Thursday, June 30, 2011

CAMPFIRE OK SIMILAR | Fleet Foxes, The Go-Betweens, Here We Go Magic, Mumford & Sons, Typhoon



Seattle’s Campfire OK, has recently released its debut album, Strange Like We Are, a set of folk- and jazz-infused rock songs that have a strong Pacific Northwest sound. Campfire OK first started out as a duo, but has since permanently added four of its session musicians. The sextet uses banjos, horns, and piano to lend an ecclectic and earthy personality to each track. The dueling banjo and piano on “Hard Times” is dramatic and folksy at the same time, while “Not Young Not Old” and “Strange Like We Are” use the same instruments to create a more up-beat tone. Strange Like We Are is more rustic/americana than Fleet Foxes and a bit more serious than Mumford & Sons. It’s a solid debut that is worth checking out for anyone who likes the aforementioned bands. – Written by DBosket

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The amount of chemicals involved in the making of this record...

WHITE ORANGE "White Orange"

By Dr. Abner Mality

The amount of chemicals involved in the making of this record likely surpasses what is sprayed on America's crops in a year. Talk about a druggy, hazy, murky psychedelic sound orgasm, White Orange has produced a doozy. These guys go beyond mere stoner rock and travel into a new dimension where acid flows like water and giant electric seahorses prance through the cosmos while caterpillar armies bow to colossal bongs. Take a look at the brain-frying cover art to get an idea what the band actually sounds like. This trip is highly recommended to those seeking to leave their body using music. Those looking for tight, crisp songwriting might be advised to keep moving along.

The usual stoner influences such as Kyuss, Nebula and Monster Magnet predominate, but mixed in with some early 90's alt-rock noisiness. The songs are based on simple riffs, but the guitar sounds are warped, woozy and drenched with more effects than showed up in the movie "Avatar". Vocals are slurred and druggy, very rarely conforming to "normal" singing and often referring to acid-psych terms like "set the controls for the heart of the sun" and "incense and peppermints make no sense". Do the songs work? I enjoyed the opening "Where" which lumbers along in enjoyably fuzzy overkill, the almost insanely simplistic "Middle of the Riddle" is ultra-catchy with its singsong nonsense lyrics, "Dinosaur Bones" brings the 90's alt-rock influences into play and "Kill the Kids" is the heaviest, most metallic cut.

Not so hot is "Wonderful", where the drunken vocals are anything but, and the meandering semi-ballad "Save Me". But then I don't consider myself the biggest psych fan in the world. If you are a big fan of 60's and 70's tinged weirdness boosted up to 21st century levels of heaviness, White Orange will likely blow your mind.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

More Than a Feeling: Interview with Ezra Holbrook

More Than a Feeling: Interview with Ezra Holbrook By Andrea Rizzo

Thirtysomething singer songwriter Ezra Holbrook has been making beautiful music most of his adult life. He took a few moments to share with on how his deep love with music began, why he digs the Portland music scene, and how yard work isn’t a top priority. You can find out more about his music here:
1. How did your love of making music come about?
I think it began with a love of listening to music. I had a really strong connection with music ever since I can remember; most of my early childhood memories are actually tied to songs in one way or another. I can remember sneaking out of my bed in the dark when I was probably five or six and putting my ear to the door while my parents listened to Neil Young's Comes A Time or sitting on the floor in our living room listening to Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles.

When I was about nine or ten, my Dad gave me a cassette copy of This Year's Model by Elvis Costello (with a stern "Don't tell your mother..." It turned out New York by Lou Reed was on the other side, which had some adult language on it as I recall). That album completely blew my mind. I listened to it obsessively, memorized it start to finish, it completely captivated me. I found that not only did I have a strong connection and deep enjoyment of music from a more technical side (musicianship, lyrics and melody, etc.) but I felt a powerful emotional connection with it as well. Sometimes it almost seems like the memory of how a great song made me feel is actually more vivid than the details of the song itself.

By the time I was in high school I knew I wanted to be a musician. I had been playing various instruments (mostly drums at that time) and dabbling with trying to learn to write and sing. Honestly there was nothing else in my life that I found very inspiring (with the exception of the things that most every high school boy finds inspiring: boobs, beer and anything else that would most likely make your parents mad). It was as if everyday life was some sort of foreign universe and music was the world that I belonged in. I knew I had to be a part of that intangible something that had influenced and affected me so profoundly. Plus girls like guys who play in bands.
2. It sounds like your album, Sympathy for Toys and Puppets, had been a long time in the making. How has it been received?
Sympathy was quite a bit of work to finish. Not only was it difficult in terms of working with the label but I was pretty young and naive at the time and a bit of a control freak as well. As I've gotten more experience making records I've learned to trust the process a bit more and let go of some of the over-thinking perfectionist stuff. So some of my earlier recordings were perhaps a bit overwrought. That being said, it seems like most folks that enjoy my music tend to see past the production and more technical aspects of the record and look more at the songs themselves; so in that regard it seems like Sympathy was received really well. It helped put my name out there a bit as a writer, and most of the folks that became fans of that record still come out to see me play today which I consider high praise.
3. You have worked all over the west coast. How are you enjoying the Portland music scene?
I love the Portland music scene. There are so many great songwriters and musicians here and it's a town that is still really supportive of them. It’s an unusual place to play music in the sense that Portland is a pretty DIY town and there is very little real "industry" presence here. As a result, I think Portland attracts musicians who are looking more for the experience of the creative process and access to the amazing talent pool of musicians and recording studios here, and less for their "big break." There seems to be more emphasis on what you're doing and less on who's watching you do it. It's got more of a small town feel in that way, more of a sense of community. Not much room for inflated egos (although those are delicious...waffle humor!). Most of the bands here are very supportive of each other and it seems that the overwhelming sentiment among Portland musicians is that success for any breed’s success for all.
4. What other projects are you working on in addition to your own music?
Right now I play drums for Casey Neill & the Norway Rats as well as Redray Frazier, two really talented singer/songwriters here in Portland. I also do a lot of record production for various folks. I'm also planning on mowing the lawn at some point. Probably not actually gonna do that last part.
5. Are you working on an upcoming release? If so, what is it?
I just released a new solo album called Save Yourself in February. It's available or on iTunes. I also have a new band called The My Oh Mys, we're working on new recordings as we speak, and should have stuff available on the Internet this summer.

Monday, June 27, 2011

magnuson - is proggy, with a decent fuzzy guitar buzz

Magnuson, Crash Of Cassini (
This is a boy/girl duo (Greg and Kyrsten Magnuson), and right out of the gate they remind me of the boy/girl duo called The Medea Connection. “Dark Reality” is proggy, with a decent fuzzy guitar buzz. “Real Control” is obtusely akin to 70s hard rock, but it doesn’t do anything new, and the vocals falter slightly. “Blame” appealing energy but the m/f vocals don’t gel. On “Somewhere” the potential is there, but something is holding it back. I’ve seen comparisons to Porcupine Tree and The Smiths, and I’d love to say that was even remotely true, but that’s really stretching it, in both directions. Mildly amusing, but never brings the house down. They could have trimmed the 14 track to 10, just for the sake of economy.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

New direction for Stephanie

New direction for Stephanie

IN A radical departure from her folky upbringing, singer-songwriter Stephanie Schneiderman has recorded an electronic album.

Under the influence of trip-hop producer Keith Schreiner, she has made Rubber Teardrop, a record brimming with bass and pulsating drums.

From her home in Portland, Oregon, Stephanie told the Jewish Telegraph: "The whole thing was a really interesting experience.

"My last album, Dangerous Fruit, was a departure and having gone through that experience it informed my thoughts for this one."

Her latest long-play effort Rubber Teardrop, builds on those experiences and she admitted that Keith was the guide on her journey into electronic music.

For an Oregonian who was raised listening to the likes of Simon & Garfunkel and Fleetwood Mac, drum and bass was a radical shift.

Tipped as one of the stars of the Portland music scene, Stephanie said: "When I sat down to write this album, I wrote with those experiences in mind.

"In that way it became a little easier and made a lot more sense to write how I have done."

Referring to her producer-cum-mentor, Stephanie said: "We found our stride together on this album."

Stephanie is hoping that Rubber Teardrop will offer her "a step toward strengthening my international exposure".

She added: "There's been some really positive feedback in the US - bloggers and reviewers have said some great things about it - but hopefully things will start to happen in the UK and across Europe as well."

Stephanie, whose music is set to be featured on the USA Today website, said that she "stepped very far out of my comfort zone for this record. It was Keith's vision that carried the album through and the songs benefit from that.

"The whole process was really interesting. It was a case of throwing caution to the wind and I'm really happy to have made that choice."

Over the last few years Stephanie has developed a professional relationship with 80s rock star Dan Reed - who spent three years studying at a yeshiva in Israel.

Stephanie and Dan have spent time touring together and he has played a role in helping her gain international recognition.

In fact, Dan's label Zero One Entertainment has released Rubber Teardrop.

She said: "We met through Keith and because of the music I've been creating recently. In Portland he effectively led the electronic music scene.

"He liked the stuff Keith and I were putting together so he wanted to get involved."

Stephanie has nothing but praise for Dan. She said: "He's such a generous soul and is so supportive of what we are doing. His label has helped in promoting the album in the States and the UK and he helped me get a distribution deal."

Despite her recent foray into electronic music, she admitted that singer-songwriter Elliott Smith has influenced her music.

Smith, who committed suicide in 2003, spent much of his adult life in Portland and is widely regarded in the city.

Stephanie said: "He's my favourite artist. I live, as he did, coincidentally, in north east Portland.

"Everybody in the city is influenced by his style. The sounds that we produce go back to his legacy."

Rubber Teardrop is Stephanie's seventh solo album, while she has also collaborated on two albums with girl group Dirty Martini.

Her latest album was actually funded by her loyal fans. She launched a Kickstarter campaign web page asking for fans to invest in the album - and within 48 hours she had achieved her target.

Multi-talented Stephanie has also enjoyed success as an actress. A role in Men of Honor, starring Robert de Niro and Cuba Gooding Jr is just one of her achievements.

Four years ago, Stephanie founded Voices for Silent Disasters - - which was Portland's first humanitarian concert series.

Featuring 35 artists, the charity raised $70,000 for Mercy Corps in Uganda.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Magnuson excels at writing hooks, and the vocal interplay is usually very strong


The Crash of Cassini is a mess. Even though it’s only forty-five minutes, it feels overlong and often alternately too bare or too cluttered. So why is it rated favorably? There are several key aspects that break through the often clouded proceedings. Magnuson excels at writing hooks, and the vocal interplay is usually very strong, except when it slips into Evanescence territory. I also quite enjoyed the duo’s ’90s rock sensibilities and the way they were integrated into the broad palette of influences. The more overtly metallic moments can also be cited as strengths, the attempts at White Stripes comparisons less so. (artist website) Rating: 3/5 Stars

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Memorials are kind of a big deal.

The Memorials are kind of a big deal. Spearheaded by ex-Mars Volta drummer Thomas Pridgen, The Memorials are hard-hitting, melodic and honest in their delivery, creating music that will raise your adrenaline and leave you wanting more. Contributing to Thomas Pridgen’s musical chaos are vocalist Viveca Hawkins and guitarist Nick Brewer.

Having released their self-titled, debut album earlier this year, the group has been touring constantly, and they aren’t showing any signs of stopping.

Funny and incredibly friendly, the group talked about getting together, their experiences at Berklee, past collaborations and touring. We laughed and joked, but most importantly The Memorials have acknowledged one important thing: Texas loves them some Memorials.

Eli Watson: So, give the readers a little background on yourselves, and we’ll go from there.

Thomas Pridgen: Well, I’ve been drumming my whole life. I met Nick at Berklee, but I’ve known Viv my whole life. I went to Berklee to learn how to play drums, when I already knew how to play drums and left earlier than most people. After The Mars Volta, I called Nick up because he was the only guy who I could think of that could play with all of my crazy stuff. And after that, it just started developing. We called up Viv, and then we just started making music, and now it is bigger than anything we can control.

How was Berklee for everybody, and Thomas is it true you lost your virginity at Berklee?

Everyone: We all dropped out of that school (laughs).
Nick Brewer: I hated that school.
Thomas: You know after awhile how people just continue to ask you the same questions? So, I would just give them answers like, “yeah, I lost my virginity at Berklee,” or “yeah, I met my dad at Berklee.” Also, don’t get it twisted. There have been interviews where Nick will say he loved Berklee, and some where he says he hated it.
Nick: I learned everything that I needed on my own, not at Berklee. The connections were one of the main things that I got from it.
Viveca Hawkins: I think we can all come to a consensus on that. The networking and all of us going there gives us a whole different dynamic, because we all came from different backgrounds, but we all have that core music theory also.

Regardless of mixed emotions, did you ever meet any of the alumni from Berklee?

Thomas: There are a few people who go back and check out the school every once and awhile.
Viveca: There are some people who Berklee have listed as alumni, when they only attended the school for like a month. They claim all of these people and give out honorary degrees to people who do not even do music most of the time. Most of us have come into Berklee around the time where it is more about the funds, and not the talent.
Thomas: Education is run by people who want money, you know? The books that they had were not in-depth and did not help in making someone a gigging musician. I just wish they had classes that dealt with people who wanted to play music. Like, the majors were ridiculous. It’s not like you join The Mars Volta and they say, “well, you have a performance major, that’s awesome.” No one really cares. The teachers there are cool, but there are a lot of holes in the curriculum. The classes should go more towards giving you the skills you need to just go and play.

For your self-titled album I noticed a bunch of Jack Daniels was involved, Thomas became a dictator and Viv had to write lyrics in a week. Did the recording process just flow, or were there a few bumps?

Viveca: I definitely was not able to write those lyrics in a week (laughs).
Thomas: The whole record was done in a week, because I’m just used to working on records really fast. When Nick and I got together to record, we only rented out the studio for a week. I just wanted it to be out already, so that way we could do gigs. With Viv, I gave her no time, because when you put pressure on people, they tend to overkill things, and I wanted Viv to overkill it. With Nick, he didn’t really have time to focus on his guitar solos, so sometimes it would be me saying, “just start the solo out on a high note,” and he would do it. I just wanted to keep the honesty in it, to where if you listen to a certain part you won’t say, “that was rehearsed.” I just wanted to keep it real.

Viveca I enjoy listening to your lyrics, and it’s great to see you being the front-woman of such a hardcore band. How do you do it, and where do your ideas come from?

Viveca: I really didn’t know how to approach this type of music, so I took a lot of ideas off of Thomas and Nick. It was a combination of how the music made me feel and stuff that Thomas would throw at me, like “what if you were a natural disaster?” or “what if you were God?” So, I would just elaborate on that and make a story out of it. I like to tell stories; that is the kind of songwriter I am. It may not be the most metaphorical or typical stuff you hear in most progressive or hard rock, but it definitely works as something that people can gravitate to.

Blood Thirsty Unicorn Records; who came up with that?

Viveca: I did (laughs). Well, here is the thing. I used to say that Thomas was my unicorn and how amazing and talented he was. So, one day, I looked up the definition to what a unicorn is, and what it said was strangely similar to the type of man Thomas is. You would have to look up the definition in order to understand it.

Viv, you’ve worked with artists such as Talib Kweli, Cee Lo Green and MF Doom. How was it working with them?

Viveca: I actually did not get the chance to meet MF Doom. It was one of those things where I was working with his producer, so we ended up making a song together indirectly. I did some background parts for Cee Lo, and he was funny. He is very short, tattooed and creepy (laughs). He is definitely original though; I cannot think of anybody else who has made music like his, so it’s cool to be able to spend some time with people like that.

Being a female in such a male-driven industry can be weird, so I just do my job and enjoy it. The project that I was involved with the longest was with Blackalicious. Gift of Gab and Chief Xcel are some of the coolest dudes you’ll ever talk to. I love hip hop and soul music, and I love being able to fuse that into what we’re doing in The Memorials. I even rap in our new album.

Thomas, you’ve recorded tracks for Currensy and Mos Def, and you played on Foxy Shazam’s latest album. How was it doing the Foxy tracks and working with Currensy and Mos Def?

Thomas: Foxy Shazam was hella, hella, hella, fun. Eric, the lead singer, is one of my good friends, and the whole band was there. I was able to work with this producer named John Feldman, who is the lead singer for Goldfinger and another good friend, and he asked me to come in and do some songs since another drummer couldn’t. So, we went through three songs in like an hour. I like “Wanna-Be Angel,” because it has an old-school style to it. I had a lot of fun with those dudes.

Currensy had happened because some dude had called me and said “I work for Damon Dash,” and I didn’t believe it. So, Damon calls me, and I go out and meet Currensy, smoke some blunts and chill out for a few minutes, and then we headed to the studio. It was weird, because I recorded with Currensy before I recorded The Memorials album, and Nick was in New York at the same time that I was and at the same party I was at, all while I was recording with Currensy. Overall, I’ve had fun with just about everybody I’ve worked with.

Have there been any that you did not enjoy?
Thomas: Yes, and those are the ones I don’t tell people about (laughs). I played on some horrible albums where someone was like, “play the crash on the snare because that’s tight.” So basically if you find an album where I’m playing the crash instead of the snare, that’s the album. There was another one where I had to take the bass drumhead off to make it sound like an 808 bass drum. So hopefully I will never have to deal with anything like that again.

How has the touring been, and has Texas been your best state so far?

Viveca: Austin was tight. Emo’s was the first bar I ever walked into in Austin. It was fun, but really hot. We played in Denton, and that was crazy. We also played the Free Press Summer Fest in Houston, and that was off the chain. It wasn’t overcrowded, and the weather wasn’t too bad. We stayed the whole night and saw Weezer, and Cut Copy absolutely killed it. They went onstage right before we did and went crazy.

Any last words?

Thomas: Word! Just kidding man, thank you for the interview.

If these guys are rolling through a town near you, definitely check them out. A mixture of the psychedelic sounds of Hendrix, the otherworldly, neo-soul vibe of Erykah Badu and the powerful, energy-inducing music that is rock, The Memorials is a testament to music of all genres, showing how a group of talented individuals with different backgrounds can work together and bring so many influences to the table to create a sound that is fresh and full of conviction. Brace your ears and hold on tight, because The Memorials will take you on a ride that you will not want to get off of.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Stephen Marley's beautiful energy and leaping vibes Saturday @ ROSELAND THEATER

The Roseland Theater was blessed with an intimate show by Stephen Marley's beautiful energy and leaping vibes Saturday.  The crew began before their designated set time and ended thirty minutes after, it was such a treat. The oomph in the room was vibrating.

The crowd was taken on an energetic roller coaster from swaying to jumping up and down as it went from a "mellow mood" with hits like "You're Gonna Leave" and "Now I Know" to lively "Break Us Apart" and "Let Her Dance". Stephen's raspy but cogent voice and pizzazz shined and spread throughout the crowd. Whereas often the Roseland Theater can have difficulty with sound and clarity of voice, Stephen's singing was lucid. 

Stephen Marley and band performed a variety of songs from his new album "The Revelation Part 1: The Root of Life". They also played a few of his dad, Bob Marley's songs like "Buffalo Soldier" and "Jammin", which are always hits and it felt good to see him keep Bob's spirit alive. 

Spragga Benz joined Stephen on stage about midway through the set. The crowd loved when Stephen offered the mic for crowd participation. For the last few songs, a cute little star in the making 5 year old came out and got down break dancing to "Three Little Birds" and the rest of the show.

The Ghetto Youths, the opening act also joined Stephen and Spragga Benz to close out the show. Stephen invited the crowd to join him on the tour bus. An invitation hard to resist, although I did not join. The night was a delight ending with the music.   - Juliet Maisel

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

THE BAY BRIDGED local garage/power-pop duo Sassy!!!.


Diggin’ Deep is the latest album from local garage/power-pop duo Sassy!!!. The band, who recently spoke to the Weekly about “How to Be a Garage-Rock Goddess,” is giving away their latest single, “So Bad It’s Good.”
Sassy!!! – “So Bad It’s Good”

13 tracks of primal, guitar chuggin rock’n'roll with tough and sexy vocals


June 3, 2011 by bret  
Filed under Bands, CD Reviews, Music, Punk, Reviews, Sassy!!!
Diggin’ Deep by Sassy!!! (Good Trouble Records)
Diggin’ Deep is 13 tracks of primal, guitar chuggin rock’n'roll with tough and sexy vocals. Sassy!!! (don’t forget the three !!!’s) is the Bay Area duo of drummer/singer Kitty Largewood (aka Christa DiBiase of Girlband) and guitarist/singer Trixie Delicious (aka Lynda Mandolyn of Fabulous Disaster). The ladies know how to rock in a non-self-conscious way, plowing through girl-group longing for love melodies splashed with a bit of Sweet and a dash of The Runaways. It is the dual and singular lead vocals that really attract the ears to Sassy!!!’s simple rocking formula.
Some of the more memorable moments on Diggin’ Deep are the bubblegum of So Bad it’s Good and the angry distorted guitars of You Can Have HimBe Alright slows down the pace with echoed desert wind guitars and a lovely vocal duet.
(Review by Bret Miller)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chasing after desire - jessie torrisi

Chasing after desire

Austin indie musician Jessie Torrisi comes to Cafe Acoustic

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Jessie Torrisi lives the ongoing theme of her music.
It’s what has taken her from her childhood home of Philadelphia to New York City, and then to Cameroon, and then to Brazil, and then to New Orleans, before finally settling on a home in Austin, Texas.
“I think that common theme is chasing after desire, and believing that it’s worth the chase,” Torrisi says. “It’s that fire that tells you to go for it. That losing is better than staying out of the game.”
More than anything, Torrisi strives to be a great musician — and a well-traveled, educated one at that. She has been greatly influenced by songwriters like Bob Dylan and Otis Redding as well as contemporary female artists Regina Spektor and Feist. She has played drums for about a dozen New York bands. She has immersed herself in the vibrant street music of Africa. She has studied the complex rhythms and jazzy chord structures of Brazilian music. Now, the former drummer is the frontwoman of her own group and she’s touring the Midwest for the first time.
Torrisi will stop by St. Joseph on June 23 for an 8 p.m. performance at Cafe Acoustic.
Torrisi has been a darling of several indie music blogs for the last couple of years. Her self-released 2009 album “brûler brûler” (which translates to “Burn Burn” in French) turned a few heads as listeners were immediately drawn to Torrisi’s devilish charm and folk/pop tales of unrequited love. She was also heralded for her smoky but gorgeous speakeasy vocals, which many compared to Lucinda Williams, Emmylou Harris and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders.
Torrisi says she has heard a lot of comparisons to Lucinda Williams, not only as a singer, but also as a songwriter. After all, both women know their way around a torch song. Torrisi’s songs “Breeze in Carolina” and “So Many Miles” robustly paint portraits of women longing after someone they can’t have.
Torrisi says she wrote the songs of “brûler brûler” shortly after her move from New York to Austin. She says the country twang of the record came from living in the Lonestar State, but the heartbreak came from the Big Apple, and it still resides with her today.
“When I wrote that album, I was coming out of the dating scene in New York City, which is like a cocktail lounge mixed with a war zone,” Torrisi says. “And even though I’m in a relationship now, I still feel like I kind of need to be the cheerleader of the Lonely Hearts Club.”
She does say, however, that some of those scars have faded. She has moved on to writing about other subjects, like people who sleepwalk through life, why it’s keeping your head up, and different types of unresolved tension. Torrisi’s lyrics and sultry delivery mesh well with her organic pop sounds — anchored by the acoustic guitar and her diverse drum styles.
“What I do have is something that sounds very real to people,” Torrisi says. “I’m the only ‘me’ there ever was.”
There’s no doubt about that. Not only does Torrisi’s music have many unique qualities, but she’s also a one-of-a-kind performer. Many musical artists claim they get the crowd involved, but Torrisi literally does. We won’t spoil the surprise, but we will tell you that kazoos are involved.
Torrisi is actually working on organizing a Guinness World Record-breaking kazoo sit-in in November, among many other projects. Those include a new album and a music video in support of LIVESTRONG: The Lance Armstrong Foundation.
The tour is her focus in the meantime. Following her gig at Cafe Acoustic, Torrisi will be playing shows at the Replay Lounge in Lawrence, Kan., and the Czar Bar in Kansas City on June 26 and 27. For more information about the Cafe Acoustic show, call 671-1141.

Monday, June 20, 2011

new ideas, backed up by solid musicianship, that fans of the alt-rock should consider picking it up


Album | Alternative Rock | 46 Mins.
Rating: meh...
“Crash of Cassini” is the debut album of the Los Angeles-based alternative rock band Magnuson. The group is comprised of Greg and Kyrsten Magnuson, who both contribute their vocal talents throughout the album and trade off the roles of guitarist and drummer in nearly every track. While for some acts this versatility could detract from the album’s sonic cohesiveness, Magnuson manages to pull it off fairly well.
The band’s tagline is “the most musical mayhem ever created by a boy and a girl,” which is pretty apt. While their sound has its charms, much of what could be great about this album is lost in a mud of brash cymbals and overdriven guitar lines. If they toned down the mayhem slightly, there would be a lot more to like.
Magnuson’s greatest strength is their use of unusual and clever chord progressions. This is most evident in “Somewhere,” which features an unexpectedly catchy chorus that thrives on the wonderful harmonization of Greg and Kyrsten’s voices. Fortunately, Kyrsten takes the lion’s share of the vocals in “Somewhere.” Suitably high and crisp, her voice has the power to back this song up. In contrast, Greg sometimes comes off sounding a bit whiny or painfully out of key.
Despite its shortcomings, “Crash of Cassini” does have a few gems. One particularly strong entry, “Real Control,” is a traditional hard rock, bordering on metal, track where Greg’s gritty vocals are actually complemented by the rough feel of the track. Another, “Fear and Deception,” features a cleaner drum sound with a more intricate guitar riff that hints at a greater potential for Magnuson.
While “Clash of Cassini” is far from a perfect debut, it contains enough new ideas, backed up by solid musicianship, that fans of the alt-rock should consider picking it up when the album lands next month.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

for fans of Monster Magnet, Nebula, Drunken Horse, Bongzilla, The Sword, Big Chief

White Orange, White Orange

White Orange , White Orange [Made In China]

By Anthony Mark Happel » Is this band’s moniker a reference to some kind of lysergic acid? Don’t know for sure. I’d like to think so. Either way, this is a refreshing old skool throwback that opens with a crunchy Monster Magnet-like riff on “Where,” and after a couple songs it’s fairly clear that their transport vessel of post-grunge/hard psych/stoner rock rides the space between punk and metal quite effectively, with guitar and bass often melting together within the density of the mix as they hammer away at one rock theme or another for five or six minutes.

Thick bass, crispy guitar distortion and a generally noisy affect are the order of the day here. In terms of song structure, things actually lean decidedly more to the left, with a looser, less constrained approach than a lot of heavier metal-flavored bands. “Color Me Black” is a case in point. They change things up a little on “Middle of the Riddle,” finding another rhythmic theme, and then adding some more start-stop phrasing on a few tracks, and “Dinosaur Bones” is just a flat-out great hard rock song whether you’re a punk rocker or a metal head. As a final nod to the old skool, it clocks in at 44:16, making it the perfect length for one side of a 90-minute cassette; an album to be shared with friends, along with other accoutrements, in the cool of a summer evening. In other words, highly recommended for fans of Monster Magnet, Nebula, Drunken Horse, Bongzilla, The Sword, Big Chief, et.,al.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

original prog indie sound you crave, “Crash Of Cassini”

Magnuson – Crash Of Cassini – Mini Review

The volatility of two minds coming together for a single project, can be pretty captivating — some duos even have the same lasting power and impression that talented multi-membered outfits share. Kyrsten and Greg Magnunson (a last name that doesn’t sound at all ridiculous) don’t let a little thing like an overwhelming crowded music scene or the fact they play a whole bands worth of instruments get them down. The team recently released their new full-length “Crash Of Cassini,” which are fourteen tracks of what some have called “the most musical mayhem ever created by a girl and a boy,” despite the fact that the best and most influential girl/boy combo of the last decade must be the French duo, The White Stripes. Magnuson does have bass and keyboards in their music (as well as female vocals) and even though it would be hard for them to play by themselves live, it is a more all-around whole sound then Jack and Meg White. While the sludgy opening track “Dark Reality” utilized phaser-effect guitars and a splash of progressive indie, I really dug the melodic fretwork of “Real Control,”  the early Incubus-influence heard on the riffs in “Blame” and the wild vocals and guitars on “The Scout.” I was actually blown away by what these two could record and mix, essentially by themselves (even live, they switch instruments with each other in between songs without flinching and continue.) — as Greg produced the album. It isn’t a “thick” sound, as guitars are gain-heavy and Kyrstal’s vocals are placed front-and-center for most tracks, but with the layered instruments and charming song progress, it never feels watered down or uncreative. Especially when you come to one of the full-length’s more powerful tracks, “Forever Saturday,” which pounds out staircase hard rock riffs, crashes cymbals and even has Greg shouting at the top of his lungs at one point. So if you don’t need several members to give you the original prog indie sound you crave, “Crash Of Cassini” hides a selection of melodic and genuine gems, even if it sounds like it was recorded in a walk-in closet and the duo’s vocal teaming falls flat in parts.

Release Date: Spring 2011
Record Label: Homeless Rerun Music
Genre: Prog Rock

RIYL: Mew, Muse, Boxing Gandhis
Track Listing:
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

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ezra Holbrook is a man of prodigious talent
• Ezra Holbrook and the My Oh Mys with Redray Frazier, 6 p.m. Thursday, June 2, in the Little Red Shed. Perhaps best known for his work as a founding member of the Decemberists and the Minus 5, Ezra Holbrook is a man of prodigious talent. His most recent solo album covers love, loss and life in a low-key way, without succumbing to the often maudlin world of singer-songwriters. All ages allowed.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Banned band returns to roots for Coffee Haus finale :: CAMPFIRE OK

Banned band returns to roots for Coffee Haus finale

By Rosalie Cabison

Updated: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 21:06
Candace Shankel
The Spectator

Mychal wrote most of Campfire OK’s album on Seattle U’s campus

To close out the year for SEAC Coffee Haus series, Capitol Hill's own Campfire OK will be folk-rocking the Student Center Hearth tonight at 8 p.m.

Coffee Haus has been bringing concerts to the students since September to fit the busy lifestyle of music-loving Seattle University students.

"Students are so busy that it can be hard to get off campus to see a show," said Katie Nguyen, the SEAC Coffee Haus chair. "It's cool to have something that you can go to monthly, for free and right here on campus."

An all-ages show in Seattle can be somewhat of a rare gem with bands like Campfire OK, another reason to be excited.

"We really like all-ages things and we've only played one all-ages show in Seattle and we'd like to play more," said Mychal Cohen, front man of Campfire OK. "Younger crowds have more fun."

After playing live shows for about one year, City Arts magazine named Campfire OK "Best New Artist of 2011." The band is slated to play Capitol Hill Block Party this summer as well as Bumbershoot. However, before that excitement even begin, Seattle U students get the opportunity to see the spectacle that is Campfire OK at the Hearth.

Campfire OK is known for being quirkier than your average band, pulling stunts like walking into Oddfellows Café, without warning, to play a set for unsuspecting patrons. Seattle U can expect the same mischievous yet benevolent spirit with the Coffee Haus show. Cohen divulged some intriguing details.

First, he said that contracts with a local music venue are technically supposed to prevent this show from happening.

"Yeah, we're not supposed to do it," he said. "I like to do things and play shows that I'm not supposed to because we, as a band, have to pave our own way to do things. We like doing secret shows like this that are supposed to be for specific groups of people."

Second, he revealed that students can expect to hear almost every song from the record "Strange Like We Are," and possibly some songs that aren't on a record yet.

"I think we're planning on playing some new stuff too," Cohen said, "because we're making another record in October. We've started pre-production, which means that we have a bunch of new songs up our sleeves."

Third, Cohen pointed out some humor in the fact that they are playing this show because he was kicked off the Seattle U campus in the past.

"Half [of ‘Strange Like We Are'] was written on campus," he said. "I would go into your music building. I've never been a student but I would always walk up and ask for the piano codes and they would give them to me. I would sit in your piano rooms from 7:30 a.m. until like, 9 a.m. when it started getting busy. I was writing all of these songs in there, until Seattle U police came in and kicked me out and banned me from campus the rest of the year. Banned me!"

Cohen reassured that his ban has expired, but the idea of him getting chased around the Hearth by Public Safety officers is certainly a possibility that would make going to the last Coffee Haus show worthwhile.

Of course, that's only if the promise of awesome music doesn't make you want to go already.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I found myself alternately bemused and impressed by the confusing conflagration of swagger and introspection that besets Lightweight Bipolar Mania

Lightweight Bipolar Mania

Self-Released; 2011

I listen to more rap and hip-hop than the reviews posted to this site might reveal. Yes, I know that’s rather cliché for white, in-the-know music critics like myself to wax eloquently about the sort of beats they enjoy and the sort of lyrical flow and content they might prefer, but I’m not interested in building any sort of street cred. I know what I like, and I can talk about it rather plainly; thus, when I first heard the music of Roch, I found myself alternately bemused and impressed by the confusing conflagration of swagger and introspection that besets Lightweight Bipolar Mania.

In one sense, being boastful and prone to over-exaggeration is simply part of the rap game. If you want to listen to some sad-sack moaning about how pitiful his life is, it shouldn’t be difficult to locate a couple handfuls of white-bread folkies somewhere on a street corner in Austin, TX or Portland, OR. Yet, what Roch brings to the game is the sort of sarcastic, snarky, self-aware lyricism that Kid Cudi and Wale have made popular in the past couple of years. There are also strains of the “serious” hip-hop preferred by conscious rappers like Common and Mos Def, along with the wacky-yet-arty concept-driven rap preferred by Andre 3000.
When this youngster is on his game, the bass is big and strong, the guitar fills are interesting, the samples sound fresh, and there’s plenty of energy on the mic. We can be hear this specifically on the title cut (which serves as the album opener), “Hard Times,” “No More Starz,” and “Visionaries.” However, things lag on tracks like “A Beautiful Curse,” “Another Heartbreak,” “Dracula’s Wido,” and “Nothing,” as things become too chill and Roch leaves behind his strong mic skills in attempt to sing a bit and display some wannabe rock/soul angst.

As I indicated in the first paragraph, the album’s title is rather spot-on in its description of its contents. There is a distinctly bipolar/split personality that dominates the aesthetic: you could call it rap and hip-hop tussling with soul and R&B, or a contemplative dreamer fussing with a braggart. As much as I appreciate Roch’s ambitions and aspirations, his record comes across as a rather tepid homage to Outkast’s hit-laden (and also rather conflicted) Speakerboxxx / The Love Below double album. The kid possesses talent, but he doesn’t quite have the chops or the scene cachet to effectively pull of a heady concept album so early in his career; thus Lightweight Bipolar Mania unfortunately missed the mark. Much like Wale and Kid Cudi hit speed bumps with their respective major label debuts after releasing well-received self-released mixtapes, Roch needs to focus his considerable energy and ideas in a consistent direction in order to best display his abilities.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Imagine yourself Devo in a 2000 century-costume

This is the second album from the electro/rock/disco/funky-outfit Strength. And it is a cool album with a lot of vibes from both this and that... The album that was recorded in Dandy Warhols studio sits on a very own sort of sound... Imagine yourself Devo in a 2000 century-costume and everything spiced with a vibe of LCD Soundsystem and Roy World. The funky "Wilderness" is one favorite tune and the groovy "Brandy" another. It's a pity that the album sits on just 8 tracks and is under 30 minutes. I like this.

Wonderful set at doug fir campfire ok

ask anyone who was there this band from seattle stole the show

Campfire ok

Make them a household name

Not many bands can silent a room... demanding that much respect and attention from ever person while singing a quite perfect song softy

Rare it is and rare are they

Sunday, June 12, 2011

first recording together in an abandoned warehouse in Kentucky

Although these 5 band members and previous strangers had hardly met before their first recording together in an abandoned warehouse in Kentucky, the end result of their coming together is anything but strange.

Mathew Kendall's evocative lyrics and voice combined with the 1970's-esque feel and tone to the overall instrumentation creates an incredible indie expression.

Kendall, having grown up on the road with his rocker father, began his songwriting career at the ripe young age of 8 or 9. Each song is poppy and infectious with well wound melodies and Kendall's voice weaving Rogue Motel's Portland, Oregon world together.

With the guts to post on their website that they don't have the most original sound, honesty is clearly one of their mainstays.The song "Hurry Up" reminds one of a power ballad rock song from the 1970s, with a new modern funky twist.

Songs we recommend you listen to: "Hurry Up" and "Long Enough."

Click here to visit this band’s website.

Friday, June 10, 2011

It's time we went Gaga for Schneiderman

It's time we went Gaga for Schneiderman

By Arts Editor Mike Cohen

IN these days of Lady Gaga and her poor quality imitators, it's so refreshing to come across a singer who doesn't have to try so hard to captivate.

I only became aware of Stephanie Schneiderman last year when I discovered that she was supporting Dan Reed on one of his UK tours.

Her album Dangerous Fruit became a staple on my iPod, but it was seeing her live that truly sealed the deal.

On stage with just her guitar and no studio trickery, Stephanie held her audience spellbound.

And her new album Rubber Teardrop proves it was no fluke. Once again, Stephanie shows she is a talent who deserves a bigger stage.

It's a crime that someone like Adele can spend months at number one in the UK charts, while Stephanie barely registers on the radar.

She is quirky - but not in a Lady Gaga 'look at how mad I am' kind of way. She knows how to write a song without resorting to wearing meat dresses or telephone hats - and boy can she sing.

The tracks on Rubber Teardrop move her to a new level and I can't wait to hear Stephanie perform them live.

Stephanie has gone for a more electronic sound on the album, but it still has all her trademarks.

I'll shed more than rubber teardrops if the music-buying public doesn't wake up to the fact that she is a talent they need to hear.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Microtia – Spacemaker

Category: Music In My Ears —

It’s easy to use the work of Josh Homme, whether Kyuss or Queens Of The Stone Age, as a touchstone to describe any sort of hard rock that’s actually good, and not the sort of derivative crap enjoyed by meathead jock types. I guess that’s what happens when you are able to create strong, driving rock tunes that possess some authentic musicianship while still being able to punch you in the gut. Much to its credit, Microtia stands firmly in Homme’s camp, as Spacemaker is replete with complex arrangements that flirt with prog rock, but still know how to throttle your ears to maximum effect.
If the guys in Muse actually had balls or if Silversun Pickups were able to drop some of its Smashing Pumpkins affection and come up with its own ideas, they’d probably be able to affect what this rugged quartet has crafted here. Admittedly, there’s nothing necessarily new here, but it is damn good – powerful drums are paired with a thundering bass, while pummeling guitar riffs serve as a keen complement to the Soundgarden-esque vocals. The band has definitely matured since its 2008 debut, Distance Is Oval, but the tunes are still appropriately ragged at the edges, and the band is sounds eager to show people that not all bands from Portland, OR are clones of The Shins or The Decemberists.
I could heap a veritable pile of aggressive and apt adjectives upon the band’s sound, but that would only display my acumen with a thesaurus (and that’s not very rock-n-roll at all). What I enjoy most on stirring tracks like “Can You Hear The Jets,” “I’ll Fight Harpsichord,” “Tone Mountain Vs. The Body Of Riffage,” and “Pocket Full Of Bee Stings” is how the band regularly gives itself ample room to rock out so that the music never falls into any sort of rut. And there’s still plenty of meat-and-potatoes rock to go around here, as the group has a firm grasp of proper hard rock dynamics: i.e., they know exactly when to pull back just enough before launching into an ever larger section.
It’s good to know that, in an indie music world overwhelmed by chillwave and all manner electro-tweakery, there are still bands seeking to make neo-classic rock music, and Microtia has delivered such tunes on Spacemaker. It’s your move, Brooklyn.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

You have never heard Elliot Smith like this before...

Ron's Picks: Stephanie Schneiderman's Rubber Teardrop

There seems to be a whole lot of "fusing" going on these days. In fact, there doesn't seem to be much interest in standing on solid and familiar ground. And, honestly, can we call this a bad thing? What if The Stones hadn't held onto their Chicago blues love, while creating pop hits that stirred up an entire generation? Or if Cee Lo hadn't added the Green, and only stuck to dirty south style hip hop? We'd definitely be missing out. And we might have been able simply look past the shoegaze goddess Stephanie Schneiderman and her delightful trip-hop/folk (how's that for "fusing") and her intriguing album Rubber Teardrops.

Schneiderman's vocals are most definitely demanding of well deserved auditory attention. And the songs she writes are obscurely beautiful as they drifter over electronic beats and a modest amount of fuzz and latitude meets longitude sense of folk transparency. It is down in the play list when things slow down from the dancematic beginnings, into a soft bit of beautiful melodrama. This is where Rubber Teardrop's true colors begin to come to light. And while the sweet and sensual original tracks like "Avalon" and "Hush Now (Remix)" are obviously highlights, there is one track that will absolutely drop you to your knees. It is Stephanie's cover of "Between The Bars" that puts this album completely over the top. You have never heard Elliot Smith like this before.

Within the fusing, the madness, the complete and utterly confusing (in a good way) mix of transparency that was fore mentioned, there is also a common and gentle bond with the deepest of human emotions scattered about the album's track list. Love is present, as to be expected. But, the love expressed within Schneiderman's lyrics is of the up most respectable type. It's the coffee the morning after sort of love. As well as the secret disposal of a previous nights Romanticisms. It's as if Rubber Teardrop is simply a throwing stone for this songstress's everlasting search for peace of mind, and the also never ending process of taming the beast of fortitude and luxury that we will probably never get over. No emotion is barred. No derogatory stone is left unturned. This is human experience in the greatest musical sense imaginable. This is good stuff.

Check out the entire album at

Monday, June 6, 2011

Seattle’s Campfire OK comes to Portland

Seattle’s Campfire OK comes to Portland.

Posted on May 26th, 2011

You can see them play in Portland on Sunday, June 12th at Doug Fir.

The group formed when Mychal enlisted the help of friends to help him finish an album he was recording and producing in his studio. At the time, Mychal was playing in a two-piece (drum and piano) band, and wanted to bring additional instruments into the live setting. The additional musicians help translate the dense recorded effort into an exciting live show that at times features a small women’s choir and additional percussion. Campfire OK is actively working on new arrangements and original material.
Campfire OK might be classified as indie-rock, Americana, or folk due to their use of brass, piano, banjo, and acoustic guitar.The resulting arrangement is an elegant blend of piano-and-drum syncopation, rich melodic lines, and dynamic multiple-vocal stylings.
Strange Like We Are – Available NOW on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and Sonic Boom Records in Seattle.

You can hear their music and watch their videos at


NPR: Song of The Day – “Campfire OK’s “Strange Like We Are” grows as it goes, with handclaps and

three-part harmonies culminating in powerful choruses.”

Seattle’s City Arts lists CAMPFIRE OK as #2 Best New Band

SEATTLE WEEKLY – “Local collective Campfire OK is one of those beautiful, restless entities that don’t stay in one place for too long but still manage to write concise, focused songs. Strongly rooted in the raw acoustic roots of the Smithsonian Folkways Anthology series, the band pushes the boundaries of the revival band stigma, incorporating subtle modern elements (synth swells and delay pedals) effortlessly atop the weathered antique frames of their songs”
SEATTLE P.I. – “They are exquisite crafters of moments, able to take a heavily syncopated bridge into an a capella denoument without losing each other or the audience. They exuded confident fun, and the crowd loved them for it. They’re making their way down to SXSW next month and I’ll be very surprised if they don’t make some large waves while they’re there.”
THE STRANGER – “While they’re every bit as organic as nature-loving artists like Fleet Foxes or even the Moondoggies, Campfire OK are also a bit more complex, involving many orchestral characteristics-sweeping, dramatic piano and perfectly placed blasts of horns.”

Sunday, June 5, 2011

THE MEMORIALS to AUSTIN @ emos (the onion show preview)

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.,244746/

Saturday, June 4, 2011

like XTC’s lush and melancholy pop winning a tug-of-war with Tool’s



Bonedome is the moody, prog-pop brainchild of Dallas-based

multi-instrumentalist Allan Hayslip. “Houston, we have a little problem,”

intones Hayslip, introducing the dense psychedelia of “I Can Lose You.”

The song suggests Peter Murphy standing in for John Lennon on “Tomorrow

Never Knows.” Other songs, like “Easy” and “Red Flags R Trouble” sound

like XTC’s lush and melancholy pop winning a tug-of-war with Tool’s

doom-laden math-rock. Hayslip’s website names him “a lyricist whose

playful way with words seems constantly at war with his massive grudge

against the world.” Witty and angry, “Slow Jesus Xing” is a prime example

of this. “He ain’t heavy, he’s fat and American,” profanes Hayslip. The

pessimistic “Fade Away” is a darkly comic, crunchy pop answer song to

Buddy Holly’s classic “Not Fade Away.” (

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Memorials / The Phuss / Leg Sweeper / Soviet / On After Dark at Hailey’s on 6 / 3 Fri by Travis McAnelly

The Memorials / The Phuss / Leg Sweeper / Soviet / On After Dark at Hailey’s on 6 / 3 Fri by Travis McAnelly

Thomas Pridgeon has been wowing audiences for years with his technical and amazingly fast drumming skills. He gained a lot of acclaim and popularity with his stint as the drummer for the Mars Volta, where he was featured for two albums. After a falling out with the band he split and went off to find his musical outlet. Now he is touring with a band called The Memorials. A California based group that blends rock, jazz, funk, and soul into a fast paced and awe-inspiring performance. The band will have four opening acts, so be sure to get there early and support the local bands lucky enough to open for one of the greatest drummers of our time.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Garage pop combo Welcome Home Walker will bring a sound that blends 1950s soul and '60s garage pop

Welcome Home Walker headlines

Sunday: After the grunge movement in Seattle ended, the Pacific Northwest did not stay quiet. In the late 1990s, bands from Portland, Ore., like the Dandy Warhols and Brian Jonestown Massacre rose to prominence. In 2010, Portland is one of the biggest music and cultural destinations in the country. Midwesterners migrate to the city en masse. This weekend, a little part of Portland will visit Lafayette. Garage pop combo Welcome Home Walker will bring a sound that blends 1950s soul and '60s garage pop with a 21st century punk presentation. With a name inspired by a Sam Cooke lyric, Welcome Home Walker features members of The Nice Boys and The Soda Pop Kids. Bloomington's Charlie and the Skunks will open the show. The band made a great Lafayette debut earlier in the month with a tight set of danceable garage pop.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The New Wave-inspired pop-rock band

Neon Trees & Paper Tongues

Utah’s most popular homegrown band at the moment is Neon Trees, which hails from Provo and is riding a wave of success nationally with its catchy radio hit “Animal.” The New Wave-inspired pop-rock band and tourmate Paper Tongues are playing a show associated with this weekend’s Dew Tour, a nationally touring festival of action sports.