Monday, December 26, 2011

alt-country movement !!!! yes!

http://smalltakeover.blogspot.com/2011/11/bradley-wik-and-charlatans-burn-what.html


I admit that I know near to nothing about the alt-country movement and wasn't even sure if I should use a hyphen or a full stop in the sub-genre's abbreviated name.  My knowledge starts with John Doe and ends right at Drag The River.  Uncle Tupelo and Wilco have largely gone ignored by this writer due to personal taste defining most of it as just plain boring.

    Both of my ears pricked up when I heard Bradley Wik and The Charlatans and it wasn't just because I thought the UK indie band had immigrated to the states.  There's an attention grabbing  gravelly raw country in the voice which melodically emotes "The Dark Lovely".  Just try listening to "66 Chevelle" without thinking of Springsteen, the Boss comes through in both Bradley's voice and the lyrics which resonate with fond remembrance of long gone younger days.
And many Night/s I’ve tried to go back to our younger days/
Listenin’ to the Stones in her daddy’s car/ Out on some Lost Highway
And we’d just pull that car off to the side of the road/
And we’d drink and we’d kiss and we’d talk about the future.

Bradley Wik represents the average working man from first hand knowledge in "Friday Night is for the Drinkers"  It's hard to fathom many who can't relate to the last lines even if it was many years ago:

Friday Night is for the Drinkers trying to shake off the
week/And Saturday Night is for all the Boys and Girls trying to
find someplace new to sleep.

"This Old House" and "I am Not Afraid" use the backing vocals of Brianne Kathleen effectively as the two voices interlock but it's still clear exactly who is the main player. There's a soul completely stripped naked in "Just Like John Fickes" demonstrating song-writing, which is capable of storytelling without getting lost in narrative and losing the song part.
I have been depriving myself if this is anything like what Uncle Tupelo and Wilco sound like and those punk bands I've heard who want to sound like Springsteen should listen to this and take notes.   Though I would suggest changing the name of the band  but that's only because I have prior knowledge of the UK indie rockers.  This album will strongly appeal to fans of Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen plus a lot of alt.country fans.  See, I'm still not sure about the sub-genre's shortened form.

4/5

There's a sneak peak of the album on this site.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Gunslinger will be taking its live show to the Avalon this Saturday Dec. 24th w/ Infected Mushroom

Gunslinger will be taking its live show to the Avalon this Saturday Dec. 24th along with friends Infected Mushroom and DJ Wolfie. Its the only game in town Christmas Eve so put grandma to bed early and get down there! Reply back to have your name on the discount list before 11pm


As electronica evolves, groundbreaking dance acts such as Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk, and Deadmau5 have all shifted gears by including singers and song structure in their most recent releases. Gunslinger approaches the evolution edgeways, first writing the songs on guitar, then producing electronically, and ultimately telling a deeper story. Anthem, Vidal, and CwhitE — aka Gunslinger — is electronica 2012: epic melodies, ethereal lyrics, and enough kick-and-bass to keep everyone dancing till sunrise. Christmas Eve, the critically-acclaimed musicians perform songs from their most recent Last Gang release, Early Volumes 1, alongside Infected Mushroom.

And a little press from the hipsters doesn't hurt either ;) http://flavorpill.com/losangeles/events/2011/12/24/gunslinger

Like, love, hate, share @ 
http://www.facebook.com/L.A.Gunslinger
Julian Hooper, Flavorpill
Note:

Thursday, December 22, 2011

North Texas’ top five albums of 2011

We believe that musical albums are like books: Each song is a chapter, and many of those chapters need to speak to each other -- to tell a story or stir some sort of emotion. A great album is intriguing from start to finish. Here are five such albums, plus two bonus discs that you should know about:
St. Vincent in the video "Cruel"
YouTube
St. Vincent in the video "Cruel"
5. Strange Mercy by St. Vincent: Annie Clark has been a celebrated musician in the underground indie scene for quite some time, and the release of her third album has further cemented that appreciation. Clark seemingly knows what she wants and is willing to wait for it, explaining the two-year gap between records. The almost muffled style she creates is hypnotic. Standout tracks are “Surgeon” and “Cheerleader.”
4. Between the Two by The O’s: The DFW area has come to know and love these two witty musicians who put on as much of a show between songs as they do while playing. Their newest record continues the contagiously sunny mindset John Pedigo and Taylor Young display regularly. Multiple tracks speak of good times and good friends, bringing a brighter day to anyone listening. And the accompanying videos for tracks like “In Numbers We Survive” and “We’ll Go Walkin” add an extra flair to the strong album.
3. Black Waxy by Oil Boom: In its simplest form, Black Waxy is sexy. Lead singer Ryan Taylor’s voice drips with passion, and behind him, you hear buzzing guitar licks, Dugan Conners' heavy drum beats, and Steve Steward’s provocative bass lines.
The album is like a night of dirty doings on the town -- like an alluring woman who is wrong in all the right ways and you just can’t help yourself. Black Waxy is our guilty pleasure, and it should be yours too.
Seryn
Seryn
2. This Is Where We Are by Seryn: The soft melodies and sweeping harmonies start quietly, curiously leading you in to a warm, safe place, but when the choruses soar to beautiful heights, that is when Seryn's album This Is Where We Are will have you hooked. We've been ensnarled in the band's acoustically pleasing music ever since. From the moment the first track begins to the last note on the final song, you will be left in a peaceful fog.
Burning Hotels' new album, Burning Hotels
Burning Hotels' new album, Burning Hotels
1. Burning Hotels by Burning Hotels: The Fort Worth duo re-created themselves while writing and recording the sophomore album, adding depth and altered instrumentation to the self-titled record. This re-invention took a year and a half to fully manifest, proving that Chance Morgan and Matt Mooty’s dedication was right where it needed to be. The result is a stunning display of thought-out lines and glittering melodies that continue to grab the listener throughout the short, eight-song record. This album is a must-have.
Honorable mentions:
Emily Riddle
emilyriddle.bandcamp.com
Emily Riddle
To the album you haven't heard of: Let it Shine by Emily Riddle: This sweet 19-year old will connect with you through her soft, ukulele-driven tunes. Riddle has already released two albums in her young age, and her sophomore album Let it Shine came out in October. It’s amazing how easy it is for Riddle to paint vibrant portraits with the calmest of tempos and almost whispered words. Surprisingly, most of the hearty tracks are cheerful in nature despite their melancholy delivery. With only a few years under her belt, it will be great to see what more Riddle has in store.
Fishboy
Fishboy
To the album with the best story: Classic Creeps by Fishboy: 2011 saw one of Denton’s most creative entities produce his best work to date. Classic Creeps combines the two great passions of Eric Michener, curator of Fishboy. The album is a collection of pop gems set to the intermingled story of 10 “Creeps” through a harrowing tale of kidnapping and time travel. And of course, since he is the creature of a delightful and true-to-life comic series, Michener made a full storyboard to go along with the album.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Janks “Hands of Time”

Sprouted Records
Certainly unique
  • The Janks have ambition in spades. They have great ability, and they have imagination. This epic is an attempt to step beyond the norms and incorporate some new influences into that pleasant, harmonic Fleet Foxes kind of Americana.
  • And so it takes inspiration predominantly from two giants of late 60s/ early 70s music: the Californian sound of harmonic country-pop and the growlier, and less fashionable sound of prog. Both styles were rather good at the pursuit of “money and sex”, as ‘Rat Racers’ would have it, and both also vulnerable to moments of self indulgence. But in other respects, they’re not natural bedfellows. The Janks make a really good effort to create something from these, and other parts, and the ambition is laudable.
    Stand out tracks are the weighty ‘Dead Man’, a bit of Californian grunge-folk, but at times, the record drags: as the first half ends, there’s a ballad too many before they kick out again. The desire for story-telling starts to wear by the end of the record so it’s hard to treat tracks like ‘child prodigy’ as serious rather than comic.
    It feels like a stricter, meaner producer might have done some weeding, for the greater good of the record. This is not the finished product, but the next album by The Janks would be one to look out for.
  • Lynne Pettinger
8/10

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

cool gift for music friend! a pick punch!

http://coolmaterial.com/accessories/pick-punch/

Pick Punch

Pick Punch
Every guy picks up a guitar for the first time with the sole purpose of getting girls.  It starts in a dorm room somewhere, as you awkwardly try to make your way through Stairway to Heaven, and, for those with enough determination, it ends on a huge stage with scores women waiting for you to finish your set.  Whether you’re a pro or you’re still putting calluses on your fingertips, you’re most likely going through bucket-loads of picks.  With the Pick Punch, you’ve got a new pick waiting for you just about anywhere.   The Pick Punch looks like a hole punch, but instead of punching little tiny holes in loose-leaf that somehow wind up all over your clothes, it punches new guitar picks.  Old bus pass?  That’s a pick.  Soda bottle?  That’s a pick too.  Shoe-obsessed girlfriend’s credit card?  Definite pick. $25


Read more: Pick Punch | Cool Material http://coolmaterial.com/accessories/pick-punch/#ixzz1h6mEf1rh

Magnuson – Crash of Cassini 2011

Magnuson – Crash of Cassini 2011
http://figgzillamusic.com/?p=527

1. Dark Reality
2. Real Control
3. Blame
4. Dying To See
5. Somewhere
6. Stars Collide
7. Let Me Go
8. The Scout
9. Never Know
10. Forever Saturday
11. Fear & Deception
12. Vibration Girl
13. Here & Now
14. Strange Lights

Finally, music weird people can dance to. Its a very haunting, spacy, eclectic, to start off with the song Dark Reality when the rest of the album is so much more in your face and rockin. I thought that track would set the tone for the whole album but luckily I was wrong, it gets frickin down, immediately. Very unique, hard to classify, lovingly creepy music. The band is a TWO piece, yet fills the room like a 6 pack. Its an album I wished I had on vinyl, its just that type of rough-clean I like in my progressive, experimental, indie rock. I like it, but its not for everyone, as its different, and different is good people. And if you can catch them live, do it, they are amazing.
RATING: 4 of 5

Album cover - Magnuson


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rags and Ribbons have a real ace up their sleeve, and that's sheer musical talent

Rags & Ribbons' The Glass Masses on CD

http://thevinylanachronist.blogspot.com/2011/12/rags-ribbons-glass-masses-on-cd.html


Over the last few years I've been deliberate and thorough in my search for new music, resisting that "filling-in-holes-in-my-collection" mentality that comes from getting on in years and becoming locked in the rather misguided view that when it comes to rock, there's absolutely nothing new under the sun. Certainly my first instinct on a first listen to an unknown performer is to find the specific musical genre that fits, mostly so I can introduce a "RIYL" to my reasders, but I'm so tired of that type of thinking. In the last year or so I've noticed that the truly great new performers aren't reinventing the wheel of rock and roll, but devising an alchemy where familiar sounds are combined in a way that's absolutely novel. Think about Fleet Foxes or, even better, the Black Keys.

These thoughts sprinted through my mind about ten minutes into Rags & Ribbon's new CD, The Glass Masses. I couldn't quite resist playing a quick round of "Who does this remind me of?" when I heard this ambitious, theatrical and downright fun album, and I came up with Muse first, and maybe Queen second. The decidedly melodramatic vocals, delivered mostly in harmonies between keyboardist Jonathan Hicks and guitarist Ben Weyerhauser, have that same sort of sad Russian-esque folk strains of the latter while maintaining a fluid litany of Classical-strength piano runs as Freddie Mercury at his most deranged. (Drummer Chris Neff fleshes out the expansive sound of this far-reaching trio.) Yet this exciting sound is evocative of a time than derivative of a style, and it's probably been at least a couple of decades since you heard this all before. In other words, it's a cop-out to call these complex yet accessible songs anything but original.

Where Rags & Ribbons diverges from neo-glam is their earnestness, which in lesser hands can be a curse more than a strength in 2011 (see Coldplay's last three albums, which were truly awful). The vocals in the opening track, "Even Matter," do evoke Chris Martin's repertoire with their unsubtle emotional pleas despite the fact that the music is incredibly layered and ornate and therefore much more compelling. That feeling of hyper-sensitivity and forced poetry will pass once you realize that the second song, "Liar," reveals the boys can rock and weave intricate musical ideas at the same time, much like Muse and Queen. You might even feel a genuine wave of nostalgia when you hear a bit of Big Country in Weyerhauser's guitar yelps in "Abacus Kids," one of the stand-out tracks of the album. By that time you're just being silly, and you just need to drop the comparisons so you can sit back and enjoy this album.

With a few more albums, that earnestness might be replaced with a bit more confidence that might even be viewed as sexy--something Mercury and Matthew Bellamy had (and have) down pat. Despite that minor misgiving, Rags and Ribbons have a real ace up their sleeve, and that's sheer musical talent. It's rare to see young musicians have such mastery of both their instruments and their instincts this early in the game. I can't guess whether this trio will become huge in the coming months, but I won't be surprised if they do. The Glass Masses is an impressive debut, both unexpected and exhilarating in its success at just being different...in a very old-fashioned way.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Time video - PINEY GIR



grab the free song and comp : http://www.xopublicity.com/xofortheholidays4.html

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rags & Ribbons – The Glass Masses (Self-released) IMPOSE MAGAZINE review

http://www.imposemagazine.com/bytes/reviews-the-portraits-rags--ribbons-the-lower-48
How to describe this? Exceptional quasi-orchestral, pop-ish, indie art-rock, that doesn’t overdo things, perhaps? Rags & Ribbons is Mr. Jonathan Hicks on vocals and keyboards, Mr. Ben Weyerhaeuser on vocals and guitar and Mr. Chris Neff on percussion, and they exist somewhere between the dramatic and dire most of the time, and they have some killer songs in them, a case in point being “Even Matter,” which kicks things off with a bang on this album. It’s a slam dunk right from the first chorus. On “Liar” they really take off as well, and Hicks sounds more than a little bit like Lizard from Earwig. And “Abacus Kids” is fucking awesome, with a crazy vocal hook that doesn’t let go once it gets a hold of you. More songs like that, please! I particularly appreciate the ringing sustain on the guitars. This is a far sight better than a giant icicle in your earhole, and a record that will be hanging around the stereo at our house for a while.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

THE JANKS: Defined

http://oregonmusicnews.com/2011/12/15/the-janks-defined/

by on December 15, 2011

The Janks. From left, Garth Herberg, Dylan Zmed and Zachary Zmed. Photo by Megan J Carroll
Win a pair of passes to the show, leave a comment below!
1) Definition of Jank:
a) Adjective
i) Generally displeasing. “This party is jank.”
b) Noun
i) Someone or something that is “janky” (displeasing). “I’m not dealing with that jank.”
ii) A replacement word for an unnamed object or thing. “You bringing that jank to the party tonight?”
c) Verb – transitive
i) To hit. “I just got janked in the head.”
ii) To steal. “I am going to jank that french fry.”
2)   The slang term “jank” can be a noun, verb or adjective all at the same time.  It is everything described here and more.  Truly, this is the most versatile word in our language. (According to the Online Slang Dictionary.)

For LA-based trio, The Janks, the name could not be more fitting or more ironic.  Their debut album “Hands of Time” is an eclectic, Indie-pop dream that defies convention and definition, but can hardly be considered displeasing considering the attention it is garnering. The band is collaboration between brothers Zachary and Dylan Zmed, and best friend Garth Herberg, and their musical styles are uniquely versatile with comparisons ranging from Neil Young and Queen, to Fleet Foxes and The Beatles.
Watch:  ”Don’t Hide Your Eyes” by The Janks
“It’s tough to find the name of a band that you like the meaning of that doesn’t sound ridiculous,” shared twenty-nine year-old songwriter and lead singer, Zack Zmed.  “When I think of a band called The Janks, I imagine a group of teenagers running around and up to no good.  One thing I ended up liking about The Janks is it continues that tradition of names of bands that I wish I could be a part of – The Kinks, The Beatles, The Zombies.  When you find out what the word means, that it can mean anything, the whole poor quality thing, it’s silly and we like that.  Once we tried it on, it fit phonetically and was easy to remember. In the end, it doesn’t really matter that much, it is the music that matters.”
It’s not often that a band will make an attempt to work elements of musical theatre into an album – orchestrating the progression of songs to correspond with a theme or storyline.  The Decemberists did successfully it with The Crane Wife, Green Day with American Idiot and Sufjan Stevens with Sufjan Stevens Invites You To: Come On Feel the Illinoise, to name just a few; and that is just what The Janks set out to do.
The band went into the studio with thirty songs and came out with thirteen tracks tied loosely to a universal coming of age theme.  Zmed talked through the decision to make this a type of concept/musical theatre album: “It is our first attempt at creating a story out of our music and it was a bit of an after thought.  We were thinking that we have all these songs and a lot of them deal with coming of age, some of it is lighter some darker, how can we make all this flow?  It became a loose narrative about a kid who is growing up and his parents get divorced and there is this loss of love in the home.  As he is growing up and coming of age, a large part of him is trying to find that love again – either within himself or outside himself.”
“The first half develops the plot of a young boy who comes from a broken home, while the second reflects the visceral intensity of growing up from separated roots.  At the end, we see there’s possibility for change.”

Adrian Zmed and William Shatner in TJ Hooker
The Zmed brothers are no strangers to musical theatre.  If the name sounds familiar, you likely came of age in the 80’s and either you or your sister had a poster of Zack and Dylan’s dad on your bedroom wall.  Adrian Zmed is best known for his roles in Grease 2, Bachelor Party and TJ Hooker, but as Zack will tell you, most of us only saw a fraction of his father’s talent in those roles.  “What people don’t know about him is that he started on Broadway and is a triple threat – he can sing, dance and act,” declared Zmed.
Being part of an artistic household certainly had an influence on the type of artist Zmed chose to become, but it is clear that he and younger brother Dylan are looking to forge their own path in the world of music and performance. It was while fooling around and singing vocal warm-ups with their father as youngsters that they became aware that they too possessed vocal talent.  “Dylan and I would play our dad’s warm-up tapes and joke around singing them with him, going up octaves on ridiculous syllables.  We were making fun of him, but we were singing on key and realized as kids that we could actually sing.  I think just being around musical theatre, even though I’m not extremely into musicals, had a huge effect on me.  I love the themes and the stories.  I tend to prefer opera and drama over musicals, musicals get a little too campy to me, but the spirit is there.  I enjoy writing from different characters’ perspective rather than, ‘I’m a singer songwriter just writing songs about myself.’”

The Janks
As if The Janks weren’t busy enough promoting “Hands of Time,” (co-produced and engineered by Paul Inderson of Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead) and setting up a 2012 U.S. Tour with Sophie Barker of Zero 7; the boys are preparing for a Spring European Tour with X-ray in the UK (managing tours for Coldplay, Modest Mouse, Black Eyed Peas and Gorillaz), planning their next album, AND are in the midst of a joint initiative with the Silverlake Ballet Company.  “We are working on an opera of our music right now where we are actually writing the story first and then the songs to conform to the story, it’s very fun.  We are really close with the dancers in the Silverlake Ballet Company and the head of the company who loves our music.  We decided to go into business together with this opera we are writing and the ballet will be involved.  It’s exciting but kind of daunting.  We really like the story; it is a basic love story with a few twists and turns.  It will still be The Janks music – alternative and Indie rock – but the instrumentation is going to include an orchestra and a chorus as well.  Garth will be conducting the orchestra, he studied composition at CSUN (California State University, Northridge) and has composed his own music with strings and brass before, so this is a nice outlet for him.  We hope to play the first shows in late summer, 2012.  We are just trying to finish the music right now and are making an EP of the major character themes, then we are going to try to get a grant so we can pay everyone.”
Watch:  The Janks sing “Echo Whispers” Live at Ashland’s Tidings Cafe
With such a broad range of theatre-based, musical interests, it is somewhat surprising that Zmed chose the rock and roll path as his main outlet. “I never did the theatre thing in high school, but a lot of my friends were thespians. Dylan is much more the outward performer type, I’m more introspective. I can definitely get silly and ridiculous among close friends, but I don’t want to be the center of attention.” An odd thing to hear from a lead singer, right? “Actually, a lot of lead singers bother me.  For me, I’m a musician. It’s about writing songs.  It’s about the song and not me. I’ve gotten better at being outward, but it’s definitely a challenge.”  Instead, Zmed focuses on cultivating the band’s sound.  “When Dylan joined the band two years ago, I thought, we are two brothers in a band together and we have the same voice, let’s try and cultivate the Everly Brothers, Simon & Garfunkel vibe into whatever we are doing, whether it is heavy or soft.”

The Janks at Multnomah Falls
When it comes to vibes, The Janks dig Oregon’s and have said they want to move here.  They have ventured to Ashland on multiple occasions to shoot three music videos with director Gary Lundgren (Calvin Marshall).
In terms of what Zmed hopes the future holds for him and The Janks, he says, “Dylan and I have been talking a lot more about how much we want to incorporate our European heritage into our songwriting.  Whether that’s studying old folk tunes and incorporating those sounds or just going there someday, visiting the countries and writing songs based on our experiences out there, there definitely is this element of tradition that I love in music in general, and something that I absolutely want to keep bringing into what I am doing.  It is really important for me to grasp the past, grasp the future and the present and bring all of it into what I am doing.  I wouldn’t just recreate or play old folk tunes, and I would not want to make music that is completely devoid of history, I want to bring it all together – have a song that lives in today’s world that may have a melody with a connection to the past.”
“A lot of music that is being made nowadays by youthful bands in their teens, twenties and even thirties, doesn’t have a sense of history.  Hopefully we can achieve that in what we do, not just with my heritage, but incorporating music from all over the world into our alternative pop songs. Ultimately, my hope is that for each project I do, the door opens to another project.  As long as I can keep doing this, I will be happy.  I would love to make a solid living and support a family, and if I can make something comparable to what my mother makes teaching second grade, I’ll be happy.”

See The Janks perform tonight at Kelly’s Olympian.  For a chance to win a pair of passes to the show, leave a comment below!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bradley Wik and the Charlatans' Burn What You Can, Bury the Rest...on CD

Bradley Wik and the Charlatans' Burn What You Can, Bury the Rest...on CD

http://thevinylanachronist.blogspot.com/2011/11/bradley-wik-and-charlatans-burn-what.html


Do you remember rock and roll?

No, I'm not paraphrasing "American Pie." I'm asking fellow boomers if the music they used to call "rock and roll" is still alive and burrowing between all the fragmented genres that exist in the music scene today. The overexposed musical quagmire that's flippantly referred to as Americana certainly brushes against rock and roll's shirttails every so often, but the straightforward stuff is gone. Do we miss it? Did we need something more? Or do we still secretly listen to our rock and roll albums when no one else is around?

Bradley Wik and the Charlatans' debut album, Burn What You Can, Bury the Rest gives me the same feeling of comfort as when I see a teenager, in 2011, wearing an old Zep or DSOTM t-shirt. It's no secret that the latest generation of musicians is finding solace in Springsteen and Petty and Mellencamp--Ryan Adams certainly backed up his asphalt mixer to that particular stretch of the road a decade ago--and Wik and his band have been staying up late at night, studying these songs, digging around, and finding the emotional core. They're intent on bringing rock back...not the wild, raucous and jubilant type but the introspective, weary and gently redeeming rock that we'd listen to back in the '70s just before it was time to stop partying and go home.

As someone who is bringing up the rear of the Boomer generation, I'm certainly responding to this music differently than someone more typical of Wik's audience: it's not nostalgia I'm feeling as much as comfort, familiarity and a long-neglected urge to light one up. There's an old-fashioned feeling to these songs that permeates every guitar riff, every drum fill, every bit of over-saturated reverb coming from the amps. This filters down to the lyrics, where that always tumultuous marriage of old-time religion and rock makes an appearance or two--when Wik announces on the album's opener, "The Dark Lovely," that the "heavenly choir is singing dirges," you might think of an album such as Slow Train Coming. It certainly takes you back to a place that was, in retrospect, pretty nice.

Wik's songs, propelled by the rough melancholia in his voice, all express a certain level of tired relief. It's not a feeling of giving up or giving in, but rather the break someone takes before they pack up and move on to the next adventure. Bradley Wik and the Charlatans may continue to mine this pure rock and roll for a few more albums, attracting his generation as well as their parents. Then again he could step outside of his very comfortable comfort zone and fall in with his brethren and do something else, something weird or different. But he'd be leaving a very empty room behind, the room where we used to slap on our headphones, light up a joint, sit in our denim beanbag chairs and think about the life ahead.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Strange Ones: Interview with Campfire OK

 
 
 
The Strange Ones: Interview with Campfire OK By Andrea Rizzo

This Seattle-based sextet is one of those bands that do not fit neatly into a specific genre. Campfire OK dabbles in folk, rock, indie and pop, creating a sound that is entirely their own. Lead vocalist Mychael took some time to answer a few questions for Careersingear.com. Learn more about how they create their musical concoctions, the band’s penchant for a multitude of instruments, and where the rest of the year will lead them.
1. How is your newest release, Strange Like We Are, being received?
We have had a great response so far. I'm very, very pleased with the amount of people who contact us because they have a friend that got the album and recommended them to buy it. It is a very good feeling.
2. Tell us how you create your folky-pop songs.
A magician never reveals his secrets. Kidding. This question implies that I have a certain process of writing all of the songs and truth be told, I don't. Most songs are written in their basic form by me, at my house either half asleep or wired on coffee. Then I take that shell of a song to the band and we start to add all additional instrumentation.
3. Your band is heavy on utilizing many different instruments, but not as focused on the guitar as other bands. How does this work with your sound?
I think it works wonderfully, how do you think it works? Our songs don't have much guitar simply because I write on piano most of the time. We don't try to avoid the guitar and we don't try to write music with a specific sound. We just like to play music and this ends up being how it comes out. It's very happenstance.
4. Who, or what, are some of your biggest influences?
Our influences range greatly, anywhere from western classical to Brit pop, to acid jazz, or American dance pop or rock music from the 70's and 90's. So with that in mind, it is quite difficult to pinpoint our main influences. I feel that fact is evident in the music we write too. We are never able to say, that song sounds like Nirvana or Bob Dylan.
5. What are your plans for the remainder of the year?
We plan on traveling as much as possible, play as much as possible at festivals, and track another album.

You can also check out the official Campfire OK website at
http://www.campfireok.com/ to preview songs, watch videos, find news, tour information and more.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Meaning idiot in Gaelic, this band is anything but idiotic

 Amadan (United States)
 

Meaning idiot in Gaelic, this band is anything but idiotic. They've got a fresh mix of Gaelic inspired violin and flute filled moments with a punk rock drum, and an American twangy rock voice.
Reminiscent of Dispatch and OAR at times, with a harder beat and a nod to old Ireland, Amadan somehow isn't confused. Who knew punk rock, Gaelic, and folk could come together to sound not only interesting, but also fantastic?
Apparently the Pacific Northwest of the USA has been keeping these boys a secret these past ten years. Wait, is that a didgeridoo we hear? Oh yes it is. And with three hour concerts, you might just have to get on over to Oregon and catch them live, with a beer in hand and your dancing shoes ready.
Songs we recommend y! ou listen to: "Not Your Man" and "Used to Know".
Click here to visit this band’s website.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

…And This Is Why I Speak To You In Parables 12”

White Orange
…And This Is Why I Speak To You In Parables 12”
Made In China; 2011


The strength of this two-song 12” picture disc rests first in the formatting and then in its high production quality. Notice that I didn’t say quantity, as this project is truly a study in restraint, especially when compared to the endless noodling of most psych-prog bands. What White Orange brings to the table is the sort of epic, ‘70s-influenced blues rock that fans of Deep Purple and Mastodon will certainly enjoy, but they have done so with great focus and artistic integrity. Specifically, the group has brought its impressive talent to bear on both the music and the packaging for this slab of wax. …And This Is Why I Speak To You In Parables is recorded to heavy-duty 180-gram vinyl, and is then festooned with intricate artwork on both sides of the record that is enchantingly creepy and trippy, complete with the sort of pagan-inspired imagery that is a deliberate homage to the group’s stylistic forebears.

While the A-side does clock in at just over thirteen minutes, as my friend Bob Ham declares, it’s a journey that’s well worth your efforts. A singularly strong riff anchors this glorious stomp of a track, and it allows the lead guitar to wail and explore scales at length, while providing the melodic space for the bass and drums to work their own magic.
The B-side, entitled “Middle Of The Riddle,” is a five-minute, truncated version of the A-side, as it boils down the extended version down to its primal, rocking essence. The extraneous filler – the vocal samples, lengthy intro passage, and the spacier sections – have been removed, and what remains is a relatively lean prog rock track that would probably have been very well received on radio stations back in the ‘70s.
Yet, for all of the musical majesty on display, I found myself smiling every time the song’s lyrical tagline – “Sometimes less is more” – was sung. Indeed, White Orange has presented a cogent case for the power of the vinyl single: give me your best song, and give it to me in a format where I can listen to it over and over again to maximum effect. While I am curious as to how this song will fit into the large picture that is the band’s upcoming 2011 full-length, …And This Is Why I Speak To You In Parables presents a booming song that serves as a welcome introduction to anyone interested in the misunderstood genre that is prog rock.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Thomas Pridgen’s drumming accolades

Thomas Pridgen’s drumming accolades—like winning the Guitar Center Drum-Off at age 9, getting sponsored by Zildjian at age 10, and receiving a full scholarship to the Berklee College Of Music at age 15—should help you prepare for his live show. But they won’t. And when the former Mars Volta drummer starts his set with his new band, The Memorials, your jaw will be on the fucking floor. His precise intensity and technical proficiency—combined with Nick Brewer’s guitar easily handling the changes, and singer Viveca Hawkins’ presence scorching your eyebrows off—on the band’s debut full-length makes the group’s music worth the pummeling it doles out.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The time-honored tradition of rhythmic pop

The Winebirds- Seance Hill
 

The time-honored tradition of rhythmic pop! The Winebirds are winding through much treaded territory on their new album, Seance Hill. This, however, isn’t a bad thing. We can forgive genre replicators if their hearts are in the right place, or if the music is good enough. In this case, The Winebirds make good enough music to make it worth your while.
The arrangement is simple; the band forms around a rhythmically strummed acoustic chord progression, time-keeping percussion, and nondescript bass. Their flare comes from the male/female harmonies, piano riffs, and synth/organ accents. The deciding factor in whether this album is listenable or not? The melody. It all falls directly on the melody’s head, which is always a slippery slope. For Seance Hill, some songs really work thanks to the melody and other songs are largely forgettable due to the lack of melody. The first five songs come out like gangbusters, using melodies that descend or have a slight hitch in them, which gives them the interesting angle this band needs. You all know how singing a line a different way can totally change a song, and on the first few here, all the little patterns they sing work. Then, as the melody gets bland, so does the music, and it all starts sounding like a hippie Americana band jamming out their “good time” but lackluster songs. When the music is backed against the wall like it is, where they get reduced to faceless progressions, it’s hard to maintain steam for an entire album.
“I Obscenity in My Mother’s Milk,” “The Solution,” and “Hit Machine” probably earn the honor of being the best songs, and they start the album in order. It’s not usually my favorite thing to have the best songs front-loaded, but then again, most albums fail to have multiple good songs, so I can’t come down on it too hard. The Winebirds aren’t trailblazing a new genre or anything very mind blowing, they just sunshine their way through an album and a few good songs pop out. It works, if not spectacularly.

"Suds! All over me! Suds! I want to be clean!"

 

W. H. Walker - Suds!



"Suds! All over me! Suds! I want to be clean!"

Okay, now that this song is totally stuck in my head and won't come out, I guess it's time to tell you about coolest party album of the year--W. H. Walker's Suds!. This six-song EP, which is culled from a forthcoming split 7" LP with Clorox Girls, hasn't a moody, reflective moment on it. This self-described "doo-wop boogie pop" is all about (Suds!) raw exuberance, a lo-fi party vibe and an overall sound that jumps cleanly between The Who circa 1965 and perhaps The Jam circa 1979.

W. H. Walker, which isn't a guy but a group, stands for Welcome Home Walker. This Portland-based band rose from the (Suds!) ashes of the Soda Pop Kids, a very different sounding band that broke up in 2007, and they take such musical heroes as Smokey Robinson, Berry Gordy and the Rubinoos and turn them into something that's 10% nostalgia and 90% sheer hyper energy.

While the doo-wop influences are (Suds!) obvious, the rawness of W. H. Walker seems to rise from the punk scene that emerged a good fifteen or twenty years later, especially in more manic songs such as "As the Night Goes." Throw in a cover tune from a Venice, California busker ("Watch Your Step") and a genuine soul ballad ("The Untold Death of Grady Jones") and the non-stop rush of sound and beat starts to ebb and flow and show a surprising amount of (Suds!) depth amid the cigarette smoke and the spilled gin.

So, Suds! is a whole lot of fun, a slight dirty EP that smells like the wrong but much more interesting side of town, the one where you have the time of your life before you run home and try to forget what you've done the night before. A bathtub full of Suds! will do the trick, I suspect.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Midwest Winters, Bradley Wik and the Charlatans

 
 
THE PLAYLIST
Midwest Winters, Bradley Wik and the Charlatans (from the forthcoming release Burn What You Can, Bury the Rest…)
“Those midwest winters will suck your soul away,” sings Wik on this song that starts off melodic and brooding before exploding into a cathartic guitar fury. Although he now resides in Oregon, these songs were born from growing up in the Midwest and have the hearty rock feel of that region. Burn What You Can, Bury the Rest… is filled with this heartland rock and roll, rich with tales of hard-working, well-intentioned characters.

The great destroyer - White Orange deals in awesomely intimidating guitars and 13-minute opuses

The great destroyer

White Orange deals in awesomely intimidating guitars and 13-minute opuses

http://www.weeklyvolcano.com/music/features/2011/12/White-Orange-band-awesomely-intimidating-guitars-and-13-minute-opuses/

WHITE ORANGE: Definitely trying to melt your brain. Photo credit: Jon T. Cruz / www.1369photos.com
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Over the years album art has grown to crazy new heights. Conveying information about the band, or a sense of what the band might sound like, has more or less faded to the background in exchange (legitimately, in my opinion) for expressing something less clear about the band's spirit. It's also an opportunity to release two more or less unrelated pieces of art. Great album covers have a certain iconic weight to them that becomes inseparably linked to the music within.
White Orange has great album art, which also happens to succinctly convey the band's spirit at first glance.
Adorning White Orange's eponymous LP (for example) is a delirious explosion of images: majestic sea horses, a serene holy man emitting brain waves, little tucked away peace signs, great swaths of vivid yellow, red and blue - this album wants to melt your brain. In the tradition of bands like Deep Purple, Mastadon, Kyuss, King Crimson and others, this is heavy psychedelic music designed to worm its way into your brain - largely without mellow mind blends, but with plodding riffage that will have you peaking when utilized in tandem with a light show.
This is psych rock for people who get laid.
"I've been into psychedelic and heavy music for a long time," says lead singer Dustin Hill. "I studied it, and was very much into early '60s underground psychedelic high school bands, and was also very influenced by - for lack of a better word, the whole doom/stoner movement, which starts in the '60s with Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath. It's not a new thing. So, with the early movement of this heavier music, plus the early movement of (psychedelia), and especially as it progressed into the desert of America with Kyuss - I mean, all of that is a heavy influence for me."
True to the band's llineage, White Orange has favored vinyl in its releases, even going so far as to make the first EP single a picture disc, covered with graphic artwork by notorious occultist Aleister Crowley. While your eyes pan the insane artwork printed on the surface of the record, you are treated to a 13-minute destroyer called "... and this is why I speak to you in parables." Mark my words when I say White Orange does not fuck around.
In the midst of all this grandiose plundering of the mind via awesomely intimidating guitars and 13-minute opuses, it's a shaky line that's being drawn between loving, successful homage and gross navel-gazing. To present, as your first submission into the greater consciousness of music a cascading river of a song is something that would've gladly been permitted in the heady days of the '70s, but now might be considered trite or presumptuous. That White Orange comes out on the other side unscathed is less a miracle, and more a tribute to the band's deft songwriting and command over a genre to which it holds so dear.

White Orange

with Argonaut and guests
Saturday, Dec. 10, 9 p.m., cover TBA
The New Frontier Lounge, 301 E. 25th St., Tacoma
253.572.4020

Sunday, December 4, 2011

strongly reminiscent of Barzin

 
BENEATH WIND AND WAVES / Non-être (ind. - merci à/thanks to XO Publicity)
Beneath Wind and Waves est un duo dirigé par l’auteur-compositeur-interprète Shawn Lawson Freeman. Ses chansons douces-amères chantées d’une voix ultra-douce me rappellent beaucoup Barzin (et c’est là tout un compliment), avec un côté plus rythmé à l’occasion, voire même progressif (“Hold on Tight”). Non-être est une autoproduction un peu trop clairement autoproduite, si vous voyez ce que je veux dire, mais c’est un disque prometteur.
Beneath Wind and Waves is a duo led by singer-songwriter Shawn Lawson Freeman. His sweet-and-sour songs sung with a super-quiet voice are strongly reminiscent of Barzin (and that’s quite a compliment, mind you), with more of a beat-driven side at times, and even prog rock elements (“Hold on Tight”). Non-être is self-produced, and it shows a bit too much, but it’s a promising record.
 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

slap on our headphones, light up a joint, sit in our denim beanbag chairs and think about the life ahead.

Bradley Wik and the Charlatans' Burn What You Can, Bury the Rest...on CD

http://thevinylanachronist.blogspot.com/2011/11/bradley-wik-and-charlatans-burn-what.html


Do you remember rock and roll?

No, I'm not paraphrasing "American Pie." I'm asking fellow boomers if the music they used to call "rock and roll" is still alive and burrowing between all the fragmented genres that exist in the music scene today. The overexposed musical quagmire that's flippantly referred to as Americana certainly brushes against rock and roll's shirttails every so often, but the straightforward stuff is gone. Do we miss it? Did we need something more? Or do we still secretly listen to our rock and roll albums when no one else is around?

Bradley Wik and the Charlatans' debut album, Burn What You Can, Bury the Rest gives me the same feeling of comfort as when I see a teenager, in 2011, wearing an old Zep or DSOTM t-shirt. It's no secret that the latest generation of musicians is finding solace in Springsteen and Petty and Mellencamp--Ryan Adams certainly backed up his asphalt mixer to that particular stretch of the road a decade ago--and Wik and his band have been staying up late at night, studying these songs, digging around, and finding the emotional core. They're intent on bringing rock back...not the wild, raucous and jubilant type but the introspective, weary and gently redeeming rock that we'd listen to back in the '70s just before it was time to stop partying and go home.

As someone who is bringing up the rear of the Boomer generation, I'm certainly responding to this music differently than someone more typical of Wik's audience: it's not nostalgia I'm feeling as much as comfort, familiarity and a long-neglected urge to light one up. There's an old-fashioned feeling to these songs that permeates every guitar riff, every drum fill, every bit of over-saturated reverb coming from the amps. This filters down to the lyrics, where that always tumultuous marriage of old-time religion and rock makes an appearance or two--when Wik announces on the album's opener, "The Dark Lovely," that the "heavenly choir is singing dirges," you might think of an album such as Slow Train Coming. It certainly takes you back to a place that was, in retrospect, pretty nice.

Wik's songs, propelled by the rough melancholia in his voice, all express a certain level of tired relief. It's not a feeling of giving up or giving in, but rather the break someone takes before they pack up and move on to the next adventure. Bradley Wik and the Charlatans may continue to mine this pure rock and roll for a few more albums, attracting his generation as well as their parents. Then again he could step outside of his very comfortable comfort zone and fall in with his brethren and do something else, something weird or different. But he'd be leaving a very empty room behind, the room where we used to slap on our headphones, light up a joint, sit in our denim beanbag chairs and think about the life ahead.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I would expect any band called Black Pussy to have a dirty and sleazy sound

BLACK PUSSY
 
"On Blonde"
 
By Dr. Abner Mality
I would expect any band called Black Pussy to have a dirty and sleazy sound and these guys do not disappoint on that account. They favor a sound so basic and repetitive that it makes AC/DC sound like King Crimson...it is truly rock n' roll at its most minimalist and primitive. The sound is coated with more fuzz than I find in my washing machine lint collector and will appeal to a lot of stoner rock fans...indeed, the album is dedicated to Brant Bjork.

During the very short course of "On Blonde", Black Pussy reduces rawk to its most basic building blocks. The opening cut "Marijuana" (triggered by sounds of someone toking on a bong) is almost brilliant in its stupidity, pounding out an incredibly catchy fuzz-soaked riff while the chorus beats the line "She wants, she wants your, she wants, she wants your marijuana" into oblivion. "Can't Take Anymore" follows in very similar fashion...amazingly simplistic yet effective fuzz-rock. With "Swim", the riffs become woozy and drunken, wobbling around like they have a snootful. This tune conjures up the ghosts of alt-rock icons such as Sonic Youth and Dinosaur, Jr.

From there, the repetition and simplicity begins to wear thin. This is a style that can only be pushed so far. "Blow Some Steam Off" is OK, but nothing new while "Ain't Talkin' About Love" (no relation to Van Halen) isn't dumb and catchy...just dumb. The album ends on a bad note with the low key minimalist ballad "Indiana", which irritated me to holy hell with its aimless wah-wah guitar noises burbling along.

Black Pussy sure has its good points, but they can't rely solely on super-minimal stuff to break through. If you like your rawk fuzzy, though, you can maybe invest in some Pussy.

www.myspace.com/blackpussyband
 
P.S. I can't tell you how much fun I had doing a Google image search using the band's name.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Springsteen should listen to this and take notes

http://smalltakeover.blogspot.com/2011/11/bradley-wik-and-charlatans-burn-what.html

Bradley Wik and The Charlatans - Burn What You Can, Bury The Rest



I admit that I know near to nothing about the alt-country movement and wasn't even sure if I should use a hyphen or a full stop in the sub-genre's abbreviated name.  My knowledge starts with John Doe and ends right at Drag The River.  Uncle Tupelo and Wilco have largely gone ignored by this writer due to personal taste defining most of it as just plain boring.

    Both of my ears pricked up when I heard Bradley Wik and The Charlatans and it wasn't just because I thought the UK indie band had immigrated to the states.  There's an attention grabbing  gravelly raw country in the voice which melodically emotes "The Dark Lovely".  Just try listening to "66 Chevelle" without thinking of Springsteen, the Boss comes through in both Bradley's voice and the lyrics which resonate with fond remembrance of long gone younger days.

And many Night/s I’ve tried to go back to our younger days/
Listenin’ to the Stones in her daddy’s car/ Out on some Lost Highway
And we’d just pull that car off to the side of the road/
And we’d drink and we’d kiss and we’d talk about the future.

Bradley Wik represents the average working man from first hand knowledge in "Friday Night is for the Drinkers"  It's hard to fathom many who can't relate to the last lines even if it was many years ago:

Friday Night is for the Drinkers trying to shake off the
week/And Saturday Night is for all the Boys and Girls trying to
find someplace new to sleep.

"This Old House" and "I am Not Afraid" use the backing vocals of Brianne Kathleen effectively as the two voices interlock but it's still clear exactly who is the main player. There's a soul completely stripped naked in "Just Like John Fickes" demonstrating song-writing, which is capable of storytelling without getting lost in narrative and losing the song part.
I have been depriving myself if this is anything like what Uncle Tupelo and Wilco sound like and those punk bands I've heard who want to sound like Springsteen should listen to this and take notes.   Though I would suggest changing the name of the band  but that's only because I have prior knowledge of the UK indie rockers.  This album will strongly appeal to fans of Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen plus a lot of alt.country fans.  See I'm still not sure about the sub-genre's shortened form.

There's a sneak peak of the album on this site.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Two Lesbians Raised A Baby And This Is What They Got

Two Lesbians Raised A Baby And This Is What They Got

a brutally morbid death metal comp of late 80s/early 90s death metal

 a brutally morbid death metal comp of late 80s/early 90s death metal. 
 
Click on the Rants link on Nocturnal Cult Webzine (www.nocturnalcult.com) to view the mix and download it.  And be prepared to have your bones ground into dust.  
 
Or of course you can cheat and download the mix immediately here:
 
Here is the tracklisting for those of you taking the easy way out
 
Disgrace (Finland)  = Debt of Gods (1991)
Traumatic (Sweden) = The Hole (1996)
Convulse (Finland) = False Religion (1992)
God Macabre (Sweden) = In Grief (1993)
Devastation (USA) = Devastation (1986)
Cenotaph (Mexico) = Ashes In The Rain (1992)
Burial (USA) = Victims of Drowning (1991)
Eternal Dirge (Germany) = Out of the Eons (1992)
Carbonized (Sweden) = Monument (1991)
Absu (USA) = Immortal Sorcery (1991)
Funebre (Finland) = The Walls Held Screams (1991)
Bloodstone (Sweden) = Shadow World (1995)
Cadaver (Norway) = Bodily Trauma (1990)
Atrocity (Germany) = Humans Lost Humanity (1989)
Gorement (Sweden) = Darkness Of The Dead (1994)
Depravity (Finland) = Silence of the Centuries (1993)

Monday, November 28, 2011

GUNSLINGER: Even tough guys gotta dance.

Written by ~Dino Raeker   

http://poprocketpress.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=197:rock-and-roll-over-jan-2011&catid=41:music&Itemid=54

GUNSLINGER

Early Volumes 1
Blitz Music

With a name like Gunslinger, you might expect some rootin’ tootin’ tuneage along the lines of the Outlaws or even, say, Steve Wynn. What you get instead is dance music. Dance, gringo, dance, before the pistol stops shooting at the ground and starts shooting at your feet. Gunslinger, it turns out, is the work of one Chris Anthem. He’s optimistically entitled his first release Early Volumes 1 in anticipation of a long and productive career. Possessing songwriting skills to match his programming prowess, Chris should survive a good many DJ draw downs in the clubland corral. His trick is pumping the 80s New Romantics full of electro steroids and letting them run wild. The top of your head starts buzzing while your heart keeps beating. Anthemic vocals thankfully prevent your brain from needing life support. The bass line doesn’t let your feet stop moving the whole time either, of course. A pistolero looming nearby is not necessarily required to enjoy good dance music. Even tough guys gotta dance.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

California's The Memorials self-titled debut album is a rowdy

The Memorials


http://www.nocturnalcult.com/newcontents.htm
California's The Memorials self-titled debut album is a rowdy, yet soulful metallic party.  Punk and thrash riffs are mashed up against a relaxed middle section on We Go To War.  The effect is a free-for-all melee surrounding the eye of the storm.  A bouncing bass-line has my feet tapping as Natural Disaster begins, and wailing organ synth accompanies this nicely.  Viveca's vocals bring to mind a more aggressive, edgier Garrison Starr as they sway in a despairing yet sultry way.  The song gains momentum and unleashes an avalanche of bass and roiling drums.  A lazy, dreamy playfulness drips from the hazy Bjork-ish voice on Day Dreamer as the drums and dissonant guitars at times bring to mind Voivod.  I know it sounds odd, but I hear it buried in there.  And then the album drifts off course with the silly party song, Let's Party.  It's as if an MTV beach band stumbled into a barroom rock jam.  And to continue the downward spiral, the funky swirl of Westcoast fails to grab me at all, sounding flat and a little forced.  The band regain their footing on the punked-up new wave jam, Dream, which incidentally is my favorite track on the album.  Viveca's voice drips sorrow and honey all in one.  Thrash riffs and powerful drums drop into menacing restraint on GTFOMF.  And here we go again, drifting off course with Real, a toughened up take on classic soul-pop, the kind of hit the Pointer sisters might have hit you with in the 80s if they were utilizing metal guitars.  Insane blast beats and guitars sizzle with electricity hiss as Why Me? rears its paranoid head.  The track undulates with a psychotic rhythm as it settles in.  Sunny pop-punk crossed with Weezer on the track I Remember You leaves me feeling light and a bit refreshed.  The Each track, and by proxy the album as a whole is just slightly too long, leaving me a little worn down by the time we cross the finish line.  Plus the disparate styles creates an album that loses focus for me.  Some of the material on this album is great and others seem out of place or in a way, forced.