Thursday, December 12, 2013

REVIEW: Poe Boys: A Baker's Dozen: 13 Poems and Tales by Edgar Allan Poe

Something different for your ears today a little Edgar Allan Poe...

recently came across a CD called Poe Boys: A Baker's Dozen which is simply 13 Poems and Tales by Edgar Allan Poe. It's an audiobook, co-produced by Scott Colburn and Richard B. Panzer, recorded and edited by Scott Colburn, and narrated by Richard B. Panzer. 

Edgar Allen Poe was an American author, poet, editor and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career. 

I remember being made to read him in high school therefore I never really wrapped my head around it. Then again in a Lit class in college at that point I was able to see what his world was all about and found myself wrapped up in his mystery. 

This narrated disc was daunting! I remember reading "The Haunted Palace"  because I heard it was nearly impossible to comprehend. Kudos to the choice of narrative voices that were chosen on this disc. I felt drawn in even more to the stories merely due to the voices!

If you have never done POE this is a great place to get hooked!
"Never to suffer would never to have been blessed" - Edgar Allen Poe


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

CD REVIEW: Leo Welch - "Sabougla Voices"

Leo Welch - Sabougla Voices
Release Date: January 7, 2014                                 
Rating: 4.5 / 5 Stars
Label: Fat Possum Records/Big Legal Mess

Gospel Blues Debut Album by 81 year old Mississippian Leo Welch. The story of his discovery is amazing. The music is special. The album is one of this year’s best, among all genre's, exceeding all expectations.

The phone rings at the Oxford, Miss.-based label Big Legal Mess. An intern tells the caller, “Oh, we don’t really do blues here anymore.” One of the company’s principals overhears this and grabs the phone. On the other end of the line is one 81-year-old Leo “Bud” Welch from Mississippi’s Calhoun County. He’d heard about the label that brought you Junior Kimbrough’s First Recordings, Jack Oblivian, Reverend John Wilkins, Water Lairs and Bishop Manning and the Manning Family, and he wanted to know if there’d be interest in recording his debut album of downhome gospel and blues. It was then that Big Legal Mess’s Bruce Watson invited him to come to the office and play a few tunes. He was signed on the spot…as the story has it.

Even after further research into Gospel, I'll be the first to say, my roots are not in Gospel. I've been touched by Gospel singers and music, but not brought up with it. However, my roots are indeed in soul. No I'm not referring to soul music, but the human soul. Leo Welch's Sabougla Voices touched my soul.

This album is authentic, sincere, and poetic. Lyrically he speaks everything you would expect to hear in a church. Musically, well I guess you'd expect to hear it in a church too, but let me tie this into modern music. I see Leo Welch finding a home in today's music space and playing to all ages including the "hipsters.” Musically, Track #1 "Praise His Name" hooked me immediately with its rock n' roll blues vibes and #7 "Somebody Touched Me" is a dancy gospel jam with sweet and sincere female backing harmonies. 

I put this in between Worldly African artist Bombino, blind Mali couple Amadou and Mariam, and gospel feel of Mavis Staples (yes I know they are different genders; that's not the point though, it's a musical comparison). I hear Dan Auerbach's guitar riffs layered in there. They aren't, but they could be.

This album is perfect for fans of Blues, Gospel, Americana, Rock n’ Roll, World music, and Soul...both Soul's...your soul and soul music. He closes the album with "The Lord Will Make A Way". It sums up the album. A miracle brought Leo Welch and Fat Possum together 81 years later, and we get to feel it!

~ Michael Ari

BUY at:

Thursday, December 5, 2013

S.F. duo behind Sweet Felony

    Christa DiBiase (left) and Amanda Guilbeaux created Sweet Felony in June. Photo: Cynthia Anderson

Christa DiBiase and Amanda Guilbeaux were backup singers in various bands over the years; Guilbeaux also sang in Turbonegra, an all-female band that played songs by the Norwegian band Turbonegro.
The San Francisco duo decided to take guitar lessons in February and in June, after they had composed a half dozen songs, they recruited other band members.
DiBiase is the main songwriter and composer.
Lineup: Christa DiBiase, guitar, vocals; Amanda Guilbeaux, guitar, vocals; Mike Ingram, lead guitar; Hugh Caley, lap steel guitar; Carl Horne, bass, vocals; Jefferson Marshall, drums.

Was there a band you heard when you were young that inspired you to become a musician?

CD: I was blown away when I saw Van Halen the first time. I loved the sword dance that (David Lee Roth) did; he was jumping off the drum riser and swinging the sword all around. That's when I realized: You have to entertain on many levels and try to wow the crowd and draw them in.

How does living in the Bay Area affect your music?

CD: The people here are open-minded and diverse. They are into everything. I take the best of what I hear and mix it up. You aren't pigeonholed into being a certain genre. I like the blurred lines because you can truly make your own "sound."

Which of your lyrics best defines your band, and why?

CD: "Us Again." It was the first song that we wrote together. The song tells the story of a couple that has unbridled love for each other but gets caught up on the small stuff, which ultimately breaks them apart. It's hard to control a passion like that. We are a passionate bunch, and that's what makes for good songs.

How did you name your band, and what does its name mean to you?

CD: I met a guy with a beautiful female silver pit bull back in the '90s. He named the dog Felony. I thought that was so clever and cute. I love taking a word with bad connotation and turning it into something sweet.
Check it out:
Next gig: 10 p.m. Friday. With Sugar Ponies, Demimonde. $10. The Connecticut Yankee, 100 Connecticut St., S.F. (415) 552-4440.

Saturday, November 23, 2013



By Bruce J Maier

When I first heard this record by Sherman Baker it struck me as warm and familiar,  bringing me in yet something was strange enough to keep me listening. We've all been told that less is more but I believe there are other times when more is right. Such is the case with the deep tank reverb used on the album’s opening track The Knave which contributed a bit of a wash-out like the way some of the old Columbia recordings of Simon and Garfunkel’s voices were produced and of which I always loved. To accompany his voice Baker uses a steady rhythm on the low strings of the guitar to carry all the beat of the song’s intro while he weaves his melody in and out of the empty spaces and then, much to my joy the guitar tracks start to build with the drums and Bass coming in at the precise moment of perfection and I think I’m hearing a song that Al Stewart (Year Of The Cat) could have written back in the late nineteen-seventies. Not a bad way to start off a good record and I’m not implying that the song lacks originality at all. In fact most everything we hear today has pretty much been done before but the genius plays out by how we use the colors in the crayon box of music doesn't it? There are only a few notes in our musical scale yet there are millions of ways to sequence them, and Sherman Baker does a fine job arranging them his own way.

I found myself engaged in his song “ Highway Prayer “ with its arpeggiated acoustic guitar moving at a rapid pace against an ethereal sea of guitar-effect pads in the far background. It is soothing but not to the point of becoming a new-age meditation track by any means. The words of the poem are beautiful but sung softly so as to not be in your face unless you chose for them to be. Then I start getting into Baker’s head and his thought process as a producer; why he chose this, why that was left out – and realize the sheer artistry of the man.

There are several tracks on this CD that I really like for different reasons but most of all I favor the consistency that has Sherman Baker’s own brand in every melody, poem, arrangement and production. If I were to pick a personal favorite it would have to be We Grow Old because this song is sparse and quirky with it’s up-stoke rhythm and just a single voice setting the stage and slowly building the story. It then blooms like a sunflower of brightness and color with the drums and other instruments, criss-cross harmonies cascading and of course, that killer little slightly de-tuned upright piano that gives it a little Abbey Road charm. I don’t know that Mr. Baker is consciously channeling some Mr. Lennon or not, but it’s a very pleasant, touching and subliminal tribute to the man, or at least a style that the Fab One brought to the world so long ago with his Liverpool mates. So whatever the reason or motivation this is a great song!

Sherman Baker has proved in this self-titled release that he is a songwriter of substance and a very capable musician that I don’t always find combined in the music of today. See, I kind of think there are singers, songwriters, singer-songwriters and then a few of us other weirdo’s who not only want to paint the picture, we want to go to the store and mix the paint ourselves, maybe even make the canvas so that when the song is completed it’s our baby. There’s no one else to consult or to blame. When a record turns out this good though, we deserve to take a longer bow !


Monday, November 4, 2013

CD REVIEW: Tiger Darrow's new record, Aqua Vitae w/free MP3

Just shy of 21, Tiger Darrow’s career has already woven a fabric more intricate and interesting than that of artists who have many years on her. Most notably, Tiger opened for The Eagles, Edie Brickell, Erykah Badu, Loudon Wainwright, Zoe Keating, and Michelle Shocked, as well as composing for the Robert Rodriguez film, Machete.  She is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, engineer, and singer/songwriter. Her third full-length album, Aqua Vitae, just came out a week ago.

There is no one box that could hold Tiger Darrow’s Aqua Vitae. The record feels like multiple genres cohesively combined, though Tiger herself considers her genre to be “alternative folk” music. With a similar sound and feel to ladies like Cara Salimando, Regina Spektor, and St. Vincent, Tiger’s personal style and voice come through clear and strong. Aqua Vitae makes it clear that Tiger has a gift for building a song. Her lyrics are visually stimulating and her varied vocals make them fantastically, audibly interesting too. Her vocals range from ethereal and tenuous, to powerful and precise, all of which can be heard layered within single songs.

There are a few stand out tracks on Aqua Vitae: "Lost and Found" bounces and flows charmingly, with a chorus that backs up its claim with a powerful drum beat. "Love Me Blind" adds a welcome harder and darker shade to the record, while Home is a simply just a beautifully poetic story you cant refuse. Tiger is definitely onto something. With three albums and a world of experience under her belt already, itll be really interesting to see what’s next…

By Anna Leuning

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Video of the day: Bone Cave Ballet – ‘Great Cycle’

September 28, 2013
YouTube Preview Image
From Bone Cave Ballet’s album Will of the Waves
They would like you to know:
Bone Cave Ballet
Bone Cave Ballet
“I found it interesting that Jeff, our guitarist & my boyfriend, came up with the initial video concept of a female-oppression theme… which we all fleshed out as a team. We approached it with a spirit of both humor & liberation…because laughter has its own genius way of eliciting emotional freedom.” – Jacqui Gilroy
 Using a tongue-in-cheek narrative, the video portrays female musicians’ struggle for equality and recognition in the face of deeply-rooted patriarchy. The band, which includes South Seattle residents Kelly Mynes (drums) and Ezekiel Lords (bass), both wrote and acted in their video. Filmed in three jam-packed days, the video features various locations throughout Seattle, including the Blue Moon Tavern and Woodland Park.
The band’s vision was brought to life by the LA-based team of director Jerry White Jr. and cinematographer Jeremy Royce, as well as Seattle-based Editor Brandon Wilson. Bone Cave Ballet’s songwriter/vocalist Jacqui Gilroy summed up the project this way: “The amount of talent & creative vision that went into this 5 minutes of music cinema was immense, and it’s really evident in the final product. This is the collaborative creation that I’m the most proud to have been part of to date.”
bpne cave albumAbout the track “Great Cycle” which is FREE! 
“The song Great Cycle was inspired by concepts of big change happening in the years approaching December 2012. So many myths were floating around about what the day would mean for humankind… ie. the end of our species/ massive shifts in the world as we know it. I was going through a period of personal transformation at that time,… waking-up from a phase of learning tough lessons about my own internalized oppression. I was simultaneously tuned into the scene of uprising & rebellion that was occurring across the globe in the hearts of people involved in the Arab Spring, where a large spirit of rebellion forced oppressive rulers out of power. The term ‘Great Cycle” is one the Mayans used to describe their prediction that it would be a time of large upheaval, so I approached the theme with the broad sense of righteous revolution for all who need it.
 Special thanks to our amazing crew:
 Director: Jerry White Jr.
Cinematographer: Jeremy Royce
1st Assistant Camera/Editor: Brandon Wilson
Producer: Tia White
Make – Up Artist: Tonya Carlson Jolly
Camera Assistant: William Lowry
Production Assistant: Lisa Town

Monday, August 19, 2013

another sunny day for California's George Glass.

George Glass     

Welcome Home

Self-released 2013
On their debut effort, life is another sunny day for California's George Glass.  I swept away by indie pop of the most infectious kind, sort of like a combo of the Lemonheads and Simon and Garfunkel.  The guitars are lush and the vocals so smooth and inviting on album opener, Operative Me.  The guitars charge forcefully on the chorus and then it's back to warm, slow-motion flowing melodies.  A bit of rearward looking nostalgia infects the layered vocals and snappy snares on Don't Try.  Acoustic guitar and sincere yearning pull you on Metro before it receives injections of American folk.  And then on Future Former I hear shades of The Beach Boys in those opening notes and then they give way to some gleeful indie pop.  The free flowing dance of Sporto struts along with a catchy bassline and then slips into some sappy, but captivating vocals that have my fingers snapping and my toes tapping.  The track, Patchwork Girl, thunders and rumbles along like a lazy Black Sabbath song.  Of course it is nowhere near as heavy, but there are direct musical parallels here like the slowly undulating riffs and the bass that bottoms out in portions of the song.  I love the sunnyday riffs and the insanely catchy chorus of AM Radio.  The beat sort of marches in a sharp fashion and then crests into buttery smooth layered vocals.  The final track, Spell, winds down a bit from the rest of the album, like the sun setting after a warm summer's day on the coast.  You can still hear echoes of The Beach Boys here as well.  George Glass's first album is a winner through and through.  Beautiful, emotional songs that are well crafted and dig deep despite being effortlessly easy.   

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

HAPPY RELEASE to LA's George Glass! I XO YOU!

George Glass is a flailing Charlie Brown foot aimed deadeye at Lucy's football, which isn't a football at all, look closer, it is flatter and it's grayer, and it's squat and it is gritty and it's a rectangle, hard as tooth, a cinderblock that on contact makes toes crumble into plum flesh.
George Glass is a restless Los Angeles youth seeing maturity but not exactly trusting it, uncertain of a transition from city to country or country to city -- neither are enough to contain them.

George Glass is the split-second afterimage lingering on a boxy woodframed television screen in 1986, when all that remains of the saucy charm and the hardpack body and the teased hair of craven ecstasy is a wisp of light that may exist only in your eye. George Glass is a band from Los Angeles.

BUY them!

George Glass - Welcome Home

George Glass - Welcome Home
George Glass
Welcome Home
Self-Released; 2013
I can’t decide what I love most about the music of George Glass. On one hand, the California quartet’s take on peppy indie-pop makes me happy, in that it’s full of sunny, zippy energy. On the other hand, these guys pen smart, well-crafted pop tunes that cause them to rise above the standard surf-meets-garage-rock being crafted by so many other young bands these days.

Or maybe I don’t have to decide, since I’ve been a fan of the band since I reviewed its self-titled debut in 2011. - I can just bask in the glow of vintage power-pop created with alt-country and Laurel Canyon sensibilities. That’s because Welcome Home represents a world where Mike Love took control of The Beach Boys, Superchunk is a revered rock group (and not a Goonies character), and young bands  from around the globe unabashedly copy from Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, and The Smiths (and are praised for it).
Out of the 13 tracks on this record, only a few cross the 3-minute mark, which keeps the energy and pacing quite crisp. The arrangements feature the great melodies, clean grooves, and good swing reminiscent of young college rock bands from the ‘60s and ‘80s. Moreover, as you hear on favorite cuts like “Operative Me,” “Side Effects May Include,” “Automat 23,” “Sporto,” and “AM Radio,” there’s great movement between genres, and it’s achieved with class and verve, as opposed to sounding scattered or obnoxious.

Strong guitars serve as the foundation for the band’s musical aesthetic. They tend to remain clean and bright on most songs, though it helps that the guys know exactly when and how much distortion, echo, and tremolo need to enter the fray for flavor. I’m also impressed by how the self-assured tenor works its way past the instruments so that it can shake the listener’s hand before asking if he could have this dance. The rhythm section is on-point as well, as the drumming is fun, engaging, and reflective of a good appreciation of dynamics, while the counterpoint runs on the bass make my inner music theory nerd quite pleased.
When you take into account all of the nonsense I normally get in my inbox from hip buzz bands and their hipper PR folks (much less satellite radio stations and music blogs popular with modern music fans), I’m surprised that more people haven’t learned about the magic made by George Glass. I’ve never been the sort of music fan or critic that wants to hide good music from the hoi polloi, which is why I think that Welcome Home deserves all the accolades and attention it could possibly receive.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Free mp3 from sweet felony! before the album drops! next week!

Front women Christa DiBiase and Amanda Guilbeaux Write Punchy Country Tunes With a Strong Rock Edge Exploring Love in All Its Darkest and Brightest Aspects Sweet Felony is the singing and songwriting partnership of Christa DiBiase and Amanda Guilbeaux. Both women are long time veterans of the San Francisco indie music scene, with impressive resumes and varied musical interests that include stints in swing, rock, punk and experimental bands. Guilbeaux is a self-taught singer/keyboard/guitar player who started writing songs as a teen, inspired by Neko Case and Rufus Wainwright. DiBiase is a classical flute player, turned rock drummer. "Amanda and I played in a couple projects when I was a drummer," DiBiase recalls. "When we did back up vocals together, we sounded great. She was learning guitar and convinced me to take lessons with her." After a few lessons, the duo started jamming and country flavored songs began to flow from their pens. "The songs are emotional and personal reflections of heartache, love and moving on," Guilbeaux says. "Like our band name, the music encompasses our sweet and sinister sides." Sweet Felony became known for their soulful, stripped down performances, with their intertwining voices creating haunting harmonies that complimented their impressive tunes. After playing as an acoustic duo for a while, they added Mike Ingram (Texas Manglers, Pegi Young) on lead guitar and backing vocals; Carl Horne (Zen Guerilla, SuperSuckers) on bass and backing vocals and drummer Paulo Baldi (Cake, Les Claypool). They went into House of Faith Studios to make their self-produced mini-album, Split Ends Mend, while the songs were still fresh. The band's full, rich analogue sound suggests the glory days of country music, but they play with a rock edge. DiBiase and Guilbeaux share lead vocal duties, delivering songs that lift your spirits, even when they're singing about grief and regret. "Our songs come from the heart," DiBiase explains. "They helped us through some difficult times. We put a lot of passion into our singing in hopes that the audience can share our feelings." Emotions run high on the album's seven songs. Horn's driving bass line and a cheerful vocal from DiBiase propels "Truckstop," a jaunty, kick ass country rocker that details the rush of unexpected love. "At Night" is a slow, honky tonk stomper that rides a Walyon Jennings-like backbeat. DiBiase and Guilbeaux share moody lead vocals that flirt with satisfaction and desolation. A toy xylophone adds unexpected fills that keep the song from getting too heavy. Guilbeaux takes the lead on "Dream," a quiet song of lost love, marked by the duo's heartbreaking harmonies; it's the album's saddest song. Other highlights include "Love On," a reverb drenched ballad with the feel of a 50s R&B hit; "Just Friends," a tear-jerker with a lilting Latin rhythm and "Surrender" and "Us Again," bright rockers accented by Mike Ingram's concise electric guitar work. "We called the album Split Ends Mend because things always do get better," DiBiase says. "No matter how bad things are, you will survive, just as you'll get through your most harrowing bad hair day." Christa DiBiase was born and raised in a large Italian family in Portland, Maine. "Everyone was musical," DiBiase recalls. "Both grandfathers played accordion and piano, my dad would get us dancing to the sounds of The Beatles, Elvis and Deep Purple and my brothers and sisters all play instruments. I played flute until junior high when a girlfriend asked me to play drums in her band." She discovered she had a natural affinity for the drum kit and, after moving to San Francisco, played with Girlband and the celebrated drum/guitar duo Sassy, with Lynda Mandolyn. She picked up a guitar a couple years ago and started writing songs, surprising herself with the strong country feel of her music. Amanda Guilbeaux also comes from a musical family, a clan from Louisiana that relocated to Colorado. She played classical clarinet as a girl, but the rock and metal albums of her older brother and the music of Neko Case and other songwriters inspired her to learn piano and start writing her own material. In San Francisco, she played with eclectic, experimental bands like Blue Rabbit, Poor Sweet Creatures and The Comet Empire. "Recently, my songwriting has moved toward a more melodic, lyrical sound," Guilbeaux says. "I started playing with Christa about a year ago and something clicked. We were inspired by each other's life stories, the heartaches and uncanny similarities we share." Split Ends Mend will be available in stores and digital outlets in mid 2013. The band will support the release with local Bay Area gigs before launching a national tour with their new drummer Jefferson Marshall (Assemble Head of the Sunburst Sound). They're already writing songs for a full-length album, with a release planned for sometime in late 2013.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Smoking Flowers' 2 Guns on CD

It's not that I'm jaded or have low expectations when it comes to listening to a CD from someone new, but it's gotten to the point where I'm floored when I discover someone with true talent and originality. Such is the case with the new album from the Smoking Flowers, 2 Guns. Perhaps it's because Kim and Scott Collins, a Nashville-based singing duo who draw obvious comparisons to Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, have been around for a while, opening for such groups as the Black Keys, Ben Folds Five, Ziggy Marley, Concrete Blonde and the Strokes. They've been performing since shortly after they met in 1998, so they're seasoned and not the typical twenty-year-olds who dream of hitting it big while struggling with the pitfalls of such naivety.

The first thing you'll notice about 2 Guns is Kim's voice--despite the aforementioned comparisons she doesn't have Emmylou's delicate warble. She has big pipes and sounds a lot like Ann Wilson from Heart (although on "Something I Said," she seems to channel Hope Sandoval from Mazzy Star in the quieter moments of the song). She has a beautiful, impressive voice. Scott, on the other hand, has a more casual grumble that grounds her to the music and keeps her from flying away. They have a loving, familiar way with harmonies that illuminates the years they've spent together. Second, they're damn fine songwriters, and these 13 songs are rich with confidence and craft. You won't find any filler here.

Adding to the poignancy of 2 Guns is the revelation that Kim just emerged victoriously from a battle with breast cancer--the album was actually recorded last year and was delayed until she recovered. None of this leaks into the hard-bitten spirit of the album, for obviously temporal reasons, and what emerges is a Western adventure of sorts, inspired by a Route 66 roadtrip. We're talking about the real 66, the dirt road itself and not the fractured sections of I-40 we know today, and the evidence is there on the cover of the album. Kim took this from the hood of their car. That's them, and that's the road, and that's a real and heartfelt kiss that's captured. In fact, 2 Guns is the name of an Arizona ghost town the couple visited. The lonely surreal atmosphere of that visit permeates the album, where their love is the biggest thing on the horizon.

It's rare that an album captures this kind of unabashed emotion without resorting to hip distancing devices or a wall of sound. On songs like "El Matador" and "The Juggler," you hear the celebration of a couple in love. This is not the couple who embarrasses everyone else in the room with their unbridled PDAs, but a couple of poets who can express such things in a way you haven't heard before. Oh, and I haven't even mentioned how much this album rocks--just in case you were under the impression that this was an album of soulful ballads. ("Pistol Whip," for instance, sounds like a countryfied version of Queen's "Sheer Heart Attack," if you can imagine that!)

This is great stuff, and I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Premiere: Armed With Legs - “Little Sinner” (Video)


Jim Vermillion and Nick Krivchenia have been making music together for several years, and on June 11, the duo is releasing its debut, self-titled album, Armed With Legs. To celebrate its release, we’re proud to premiere the Seattle-based two-piece’s first official music video for “Little Sinner”.
The video documents the evening of a quirky accordionist as he waits eagerly at home for a special lady to come over. As the video progresses, our protagonist illustrates the very concept of the song: the urge to act in strange ways to express one’s self. In this case, those impulses come in the form of dancing to old records, juggling, and creating a blanket fort. Vermillion’s lilting vocals push the song along, floating on top of looped bass lines and Krivchenia’s romping drum beat. On first listen, it’s hard to believe these sounds are coming from only two musicians, but this sound is what sets Armed With Legs apart from other indie outfits. Vermillion’s expertise is live-looping his bass lines, thus creating lush musical soundscapes from a mere three instruments: drum, bass and vocals.

You can pre-order Armed With Legs via Bandcamp and to our Pacific Northwest readers, look out for the band’s live show!

Written by

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gunslinger: Breaking Through (2013)

Gunslinger: Breaking Through"


Through the clever minds of DJs Anthem and Vidal, this electronica outing indeed meshes the old and the new as touted via the marketing push. With the customary pumping electric bass lines, blitzing synth patterns, and multicolored noise-shaping endeavors, the artists blend traditional house party metrics with an enterprising, rock-heavy sound. Complemented by pop-rock vocals, offbeat interludes, and dabs of space-rock, the program also features melodic electronics treatments. Think of the Pet Shop Boys on powerful steroids, for example. Sure enough, the DJs fuse a stylistic potpourri that is rather subliminally directed toward a multi-genre baseline. "Looking at You" features a pounding drums and bass groove and sports a retro vibe although the soft vocals equalize the zesty force field. It's an irresistible pulse topped off with thrusting percussion and nicely placed echo that adds depth. Otherwise, the duo's diversity cannot be undermined as they toss in some celestial synth voicings and an aesthetic that mimics tremolo guitar lines to round out a piece that sparks remembrances of the early techno club scene. However, their chic sound-sculpting maneuvers and judicious use of technology, induces a layered approach that lends itself well to dance, and the listen-ability factor.   Track Listing: Track #1; Track #2; Track #3.
Record Label: Self Produced


Sunday, March 17, 2013

CD REVIEW: "The Sweet Life" Mud, Blood & Beer

All I had to do was listen to first single "Little Black Heart" to know I was going to like this band! The Sweet Life is their name and "it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all" (Emily Dickenson) These guys remind me of The Hold Steady,  Drive By Truckers even the Black Crows, and Elvis Costello.

Not sure how well they do in NYC but they would be huge here in Portland Oregon! They claim to be into playing dive bars, if they ever play outside a dive bar I think I would stop listening to them. They are so the definition of upper cool DIY alt country, prog rock, and stoner rock!

Moving on from stand out track "Little Black Heart" my favorite track on the album is "Corner of His Eye" this song gives you a real stoner rock vibe. The guitar solos which make up most of the song are jammy and prog. How do I get that song on vinyl! The vocals almost remind me of an Elvis Costello.

The name Mud, Blood & Beer is cribbed from a line in Johnny Cash’s classic “A Boy Named Sue”: “Kicking and a’ gouging in the mud and the blood and the beer “which they claim is a perfectly apt description of who we are and the music we make.

My only complaint is their artwork.... it through me for a loop. They should have a super artsy cover or even only put this out on a picture disc! I almost didn’t listen to them because of the artwork. I mean I get they might have been going for the throw back look. But I thought that was what I was going to get with a listen. Some advice for bands...make your artwork non genre specific that way a writer or editor will want to listen to it just to see what it is. And my personal preference never but an image of yourself on the cover.

Really though this album is awesome! and who cares about the artwork the real art is the 13 original tracks! Nice work older guys (again only know this cause you posted your faces on the cover!)  - xo kaytea
Record Label: MBB Recordings
Hometown: New York City
Genres: Americana - alt-country, indie rock, cow punk

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Thick danceable techno pop/rock from Gunslinger

Gunslinger - Breaking Through (Independently released CD, Pop/rock)

Thick danceable techno pop/rock from Gunslinger. These guys are definitely coming from a place where technology is the main driving force in the music. We checked out the band's web site...and we'd be willing to bet our best bottom booties that these guys put on one helluva show. These dance-inducing tracks initially reminded us of 1980s icons Sparks in many ways...but the overall sound is much more synthesized and gritty. The band made quite a splash in 2010 with their debut album Early Volumes 1. With the release of Breaking Through, our guess is...that is exactly what this band is about to do. They have great positive energy and a sound that could be appreciated by millions. The band will no doubt be touring heavily in support of this one so keep your eyes peeled to see if they're playing anywhere near your nest. These guys seem to be on a mission to redefine alternative dance music. And with cool tracks like "Breaking Through," "Busy Pop," and "Looking At You"...they'll probably do just that...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Gunslinger's Breaking Through on CD


Gunslinger bills itself as a "genre-jumping group of musicians/producers and DJs...pairing past with present, blending classical song structure and vocal with years of professional electronic dance experience." That description could fit most up-and-coming alternative bands these days, but where Gunslinger excels is in the seamless blending of these two realms, of avoiding the trap of sounding like a '70s rock band drowned in goofy electronic effects. Gunslinger, which is actually an international duo (Anthem is from SoCal while Vidal is from Lisbon, Portugal), keeps the songs on Breaking Through strong, lean and tight without the constant gear-shifting and strange ambient tangents that define most indie bands these days.

Stripped down to their skivvies, these songs are basic rock and roll, slanted perhaps to prog and maybe even glam (the opening title track will probably remind you of T. Rex), but catchy and anthemic and more suited to arenas than the local underground club. The electronic peripherals are just that, framing devices, and you won't walk into a room during a random moment of Breaking Through and wonder "What kind of music is this?" It won't take you long to realize it's contemporary with its manufactured beats and deftly layered ambience, but you'll feel at home. Gunslinger sounds like a less manic and drama-ridden version of Muse, and if you're the kind of person who hears Muse and thinks about Sweet, these two guys will drop you off at the same bus stop.

Out in the real world, Gunslinger is making a name for themselves. Their live gigs can either be a DJ set or a stage show with drums, guitars and keyboards. Anthem and Vidal are even planning a remix of The Doors' Waiting for the Sun, which shows they have strong ties and a healthy amount of respect for the stuff baby Boomers hold dear--which is obvious when you listen to Breaking Through. Look at it this way...I know lots of people my age who are looking for an entry into the DJ scene and perhaps jump too readily into the deep end and find themselves quickly dog-pedaling back to the edge of the pool. (There's a friend of mine who nearly drowned a couple of weeks ago while listening to the latest from Shackleton--too soon, too soon!) Gunslinger might be a good lesson #1 for those cautious soles who want to explore what the kids are listening while still basking on dry land, listening to Electric Warrior and Desolation Boulevard.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

THE LOVE DIMENSION live and a NEW video!

We are happy to announce we have a new music video to share with you! It is for one of the songs off our EP, "Not Until All Beings Are One", which we just released on Smoky Carrot Records in the UK.
It was directed by Matt Robeson from White Light Prism. You can check out the video here:

You can listen to the entire EP on the Smoky Carrot Website.

Monday, February 4th 2013 @ Bottom of the Hill
San Francisco, CA

The Love Dimension
w/ Victoria Victrola & The Vaudevillains
doors at 8:30pm $8

Tuesday, January 8, 2013