Tuesday, August 31, 2010

News Roundup from Magnet, DOA, FensePost, Indie Rock Cafe and more

Everything But Urban reviews Echo Orbiter's Euphonicmontage

"Echo Orbiter manage to pay homage to earlier indie and experimental acts while still retaining a truly unique sound."

La Blogotheque posts Neutral Uke Hotel's Take Away Show, a video shot in Toronto

Musical Shapes previews Gwyneth and Monko's Molly Malone's show

Delusions of Adequacy reviews Neil Nathan's The Distance Calls

"From his Josh Ritter-like chug on “California Run” to the guitar-heavy sludge of “Better Be Goin’” he, more often than not, recalls the aforementioned songwriter’s ambitious tendencies. But, if you add Nathan’s obvious love for 70s classic rock and his myriad of other influences, you end up with an album as surprisingly strong as The Distance Calls."

FensePost posts Neil Nathan's "California Run" video

Indie Rock Cafe posts Neil Nathan's "California Run"

Hear! Hear! reviews Leopold and His Fiction's "Golden Friends"

Ann Arbor.com previews The White Ravens' Savoy show

Magnet looks forward to The Alan Cohen Experience's Space & Time

WFNX's "Boston Accents" plays Neutral Uke Hotel's "King of Carrot Flowers Part 1" this week

Click Here to Read More..

Monday, August 30, 2010

Staff Infection: Live and Local

It's time to reveal my true identity, dear readers. I am a local music lover stationed in Detroit, MI. I also work at a library, where I fill the shelves with music of all kinds, including local bands. I love seeing bands live, and in a town like the Motor City, there's local music to be heard every night of the week. Here's a sampling of D-Town bands I love. Give them a listen and maybe they'll be the new White Stripes, Bob Seger or Iggy Pop in your life.

Marco Polio and the New Vaccines - "The Supernatural" - Video

Big Mess - "Favors"

Drunken Barn Dance - "The Last Desperate Stand Of The Last Fair Man" from Grey Buried

I'd actually like to suggest that you buy this whole album because it's amazing.

Friendly Foes - "Batteries and Magazines" from Liz, Ryan & Sean - click that link for the whole EP for FREE

Fur - "Pretty Thoughts" from Self-Titled EP

Each Monday a different Green Light Go staff member will let you in on what songs have infected their ears for the week, while giving you the opportunity to share in the experience yourself.

This week: Kelly Bennett, Publicity Assistant
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Neutral Uke Hotel and Michael J Epstein Memorial Library Play Cafe 939

Michael Epstein has his hand in a lot of things, so it’s not peculiar that he should be playing in two different bands on the same bill. This time around he’s debuting a new project, The Michael J Epstein Memorial Library and playing baritone ukulele in Neutral Uke Hotel September 11th at Café 939.

The Michael J. Epstein Memorial Library was formed when Epstein began recruiting band members on Facebook and Craigslist. “Most are intentionally people that I didn’t previously know very well. I wanted people with fresh perspectives and few prior expectations about the operation of a band and about how the music scene and music industry works.” The group numbers ten total: nine women and Epstein. He describes their sound as “Downtempo, indie folk/pop with alt-country and anti/counterfolk tinges”. Intrigued yet? You should be. Because everything Epstein does is designed to be interesting.

Neutral Uke Hotel have been playing sold out shows to enthusiastic crowds who were encouraged to sing along, and they haven’t been shy. Shawn Fogel (vocals, ukulele), Josh Cohen (melodica), Matt Girard (trumpet), along with Epstein, play the classic Neutral Milk Hotel album, In the Aeroplane Over The Sea from start to finish in a stripped down way that makes it that much easier for the audience to shout their favorite album’s lyrics.

Epstein’s band, The Motion Sick, recently played a Boston show entitled “The Rock Primary”, which was promoted by a series of campaign, scandal and faked press videos featuring the all the bands on the bill. Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling, another of Epstein’s musical projects, is inspired by the 60s spy show The Prisoner. Their EP, The New Number 2 features a song each for five of the show’s episodes.

Neutral Uke Hotel and Michael J Epstein Memorial Library
Saturday, September 11th
Café 939
939 Boylston Street, Boston, MA
Doors: 7:30 PM
Show: 8:00 PM
Tickets: $10
Click Here to Read More..

Music Monday - Glide Magazine Talks Billy Bob Thorton, Fleet Foxes, and Elvis Costello

Glide Magazine is more than just a music website. The site has so much information, it actually has its own blog Hidden Track, which is filled to the brim; that's how much music they cover. From breaking music news, live show reviews, CD reviews, mp3s, and more, Glide is one of the few independent music sites that honestly evolved from jam bands into every genre. Literally in one day you could read about both Disco Biscuits and The Swell Season, or Umphrey's McGee and Chromeo or Norah Jones. Glide's Shane Handler gives us the scoop.

Music Monday Q&A

1. How long has Glide been operating?
Glide began in the fall of 2002, and we officially launched the site in early 2003. At that time we were a monthly online magazine, in that we posted news and reviews daily, but would publish a new batch of features and columns monthly, following the more traditional print-model. As we grew, we eventually moved to a daily updated site. In October of ‘06 we moved into the blogosphere with the launch of our popular blog, Hidden Track, which has a similar focus, but a voice and identity all its own.

2. What makes Glide different from other websites?
We’ve never shied away from bands or styles or genres, and always felt that if it was good, it was good...regardless of the pocket a band gets wedged into. Ironically, that wide range of coverage followed a parallel to the ever-changing music landscape that’s been morphing and growing since we launched seven years ago. When you look at the inaugural Bonnaroo from ‘02 and follow that up to the age of the festival and crossover genres and acts we’re currently in now – where any authentic act or genre is a plausible booking - we’ve kind of been living in that same vein since the beginning. So as our audience has grown, discovered new sounds, and moved into various musical territories, we’ve been growing and absorbing all of it right alongside them. Since that’s always been the mission so to speak, it’s given us a great sense of credibility to continue to expand our coverage and push boundaries without seemingly like we’re trying to hop on the next buzz band or genre and be something we’re not.

3. Do you think Glide has a specific musical niche?
Yeah, we cover it all, but our roots are in the jam scene...so at the end of the day, everything stems from that.

4. What albums are you looking forward to coming out?
Neil Young (TBA Daniel Lanois-produced album; Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, Hawk; Black Mountain, Wilderness Heart; Fleet Foxes (TBA), Beastie Boys, Hot Sauce Committee Pt 1; Dr. Dre, Detox; Elvis Costello, National Ransom.

5. How does Glide support independent music and what's important about doing so?
We’ve always sought to discover new music and find innovative artists, and the independent music community is obviously a great place for that. And as independent publishers, I would imagine most bloggers and site editors feel like they are a part of something larger - pouring hours of yourself into the site, devouring new music, tapping into an exciting band no one has stumbled onto yet, nudging their exposure a little and watching the buzz begin to build. It’s fun to be part of the process from the ground level.

Our Hidden Track installment, Blips, features bands under the radar and oftentimes focuses on independent artists. Fleet Foxes was actually a Blip spotlight at one time, so as I noted above, its great to discover these bands, help get the word out and watch the story unfold.

6. Do you think online publications are taking precedence over print magazine? What kind of effect do you think that has on bands?
Online is just such a dominant medium for music discovery – it’s immediate, it’s efficient, it’s innovative, it’s sharable, it’s adaptable and it’ll continue to be a focal point for social media. Print is a different beast...it’s a solitary relationship you have on a train or on the can, and it’s great for long-form content. They are equally as strong, with varying capabilities and potentials. We could really throw a third tier in here and talk about the social equity of a band as the distribution extension for print and online – not taking precedence, but an essential in the viral exposure and integration into a fan base’s extended community.

7. What blogs/publications do you read other than your own?
There are so many great sites, but Hidden Track has a blogroll that’s pretty indicative of what we keep in the bookmark folder.

8. What has been your most definitive moment since you started Glide?
When we were granted a phoner with Billy Bob Thornton, I was both elated and justifiably, somewhat terrified. I prepared (and psyched myself out) more for that interview than any other I’ve ever done in my life. In the end, it ended up being one of the best times I’ve ever had speaking at long length with an artist. We covered a ton of ground, he opened up about a lot of different aspects of life and the conversation was genuine. Then a few months later he completely throttled that guy (Jian Ghomeshi) on Canadian public radio and I realized how bad that interview could have gone for me. I’d like to think that I had something to do with bringing out his good side, but I’ll never know.

9. If there is any musician/band you could interview (dead or alive) who would it be?
Any of these: John Lennon, David Bowie, Neil Young, James Brown, Ray Charles, Robert Johnson, Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, or George Harrison.

10. If you could be in any band (of all time), who would you rock with?
I’ll say AC/DC. They were the first band that melted my face, sitting on the baseball field at recess in fourth grade. Twenty years later, in the middle of the night, on a highway in Tennessee, listening to "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll" and the rest of High Voltage with the faint lights of Bonnaroo coming up in the distance, it still resonates like no other.

Like Glide Magazine on Facebook
Follow Glide Magazine on Twitter
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Friday, August 27, 2010

The White Ravens Join Multi-Genre Campfire Festival

The historic Club Passim, which boasts past appearances by Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Suzanne Vega, will welcome The White Ravens and their keyboard-driven pop as part its annual Campfire Festival over Labor Day weekend. The White Ravens will be playing Saturday, September 4th at 1:30 PM. The festival will feature 85 musical acts from a myriad of genres spread out over four days.

The Campfire Festival is just one stop on The White Ravens’ first east coast tour. They also have gigs lined up in Philadelphia, New York and Cambridge, MA. A White Ravens show is energetic, designed to get people to move, and the best way to do that is to set an example. With Amy’s spirited vocals and impressive bass runs, and Will’s fingers flying over the keys with maniacal speed and precision, it’s hard to resist the urge to bop along. And why should you?

Campfire Festival
Club Passim
47 Palmer Street, Cambridge, MA
1:30 PM
Tickets: $10 day pass/$30 weekend pass
Buy Tickets Online

The White Ravens Tour Dates

8/28/10 Raven Lounge, Philadelphia, PA
8/29/10 Arlene’s Grocery, New York, NY
8/31/10 The Space, Hamden, CT
9/1/10 Borders, Hyannis, MA
9/2/10 All Asia, Cambridge, MA
9/3/10 Campfire Festival, Cambridge, MA
9/4/10 Campfire Festival, Cambridge, MA
Click Here to Read More..

Leopold and His Fiction helps Clean Air Clear Stars Festival Plant Trees

San Francisco’s Leopold and His Fiction go green when they join the fourth annual Clean Air Clear Stars Festival line-up on Saturday, September 18th at 3pm. The festival features four days of music including sets by Dead Meadow, Whiskey Biscuit, Sky Parade.

In pursuit of a cleaner environment, Clean Air Clear Stars 2010 have teamed up with The Arbor Day Foundation in a partnership that guarantees five trees planted for every ticket sold. The festival runs from September 16th through September 19th at Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. For more information on Clean Air Clear Stars Festival go to http://www.cleanairclearstars.com/.

Clean Air Clear Stars Festival

Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace, Pioneertown, CA

Saturday, September 18th

Leopold and His Fiction Set Time: 3:00 PM

2 day pass - $20/ Single day - $15

Click Here to Read More..

Sara Radle Begins September Residency at Casey's Irish Pub with Rare Acoustic Set and Video Release

Sara Radle Poster
Sara Radle will fill Saturdays with sweet pop music at Casey’s Irish Pub this September. The former Rentals vocalist will begin her residency at Casey’s on September 4th with a rare acoustic set (she’ll be joined by some special guests), and the premiere of “Fooling Nobody” and “Lucy”, two music videos from her upcoming album, Four. The following Saturday, Radle will celebrate the release of her first solo album in six years, Four.

Sara Radle has been involved with so many projects that it was hard to get back to the studio to work on her own music. But the former Rentals vocalist has finally done just that, the result being Four, a full-length album due out September 14th. Filled with beautiful, darling pop songs, complete with 60s-girl-group-inspired background vocals, string arrangements and clever lyrics, Radle’s musical career comes full circle. “…It’s been a long time coming,” says Radle. “It’s special to me…it feels like I’m back on track in my path as a musician. It’s like coming back home.”

On Four, Radle’s precious and pure pop voice is showcased in ten gorgeous songs that tug at the heart (and sometimes punch) with strings and lush layers of vocal harmonies. Every song is like a peek into her personal diary; however Radle does not fit into the simple category of girl and her guitar. She is a well-versed musician and arranger who knows how to work with Americana or folk and meld them into one another with pop magic and wonderment. Radle admits she was a bit cautious about re-launching her solo career in Los Angeles (after spending years establishing herself in Texas). But with Four, it’s not so much a re-launching, as it is just the beginning.

Sara Radle

Casey’s Irish Pub

613 South Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA


No Cover

Show Time: 9:00 PM

9/4/10 Acoustic set and video premieres – Andrew Lynch opens

9/11/10 Official CD Release – Oh Darling opens

9/18/10 – The Breakups open

9/25/10 – Goldenboy opens

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Other Side - Producer Jim Diamond

Producer Jim Diamond's name has become synonymous with Detroit "garage rock." His Motor City-based studio Ghetto Recorders has recorded some of Detroit's most popular bands among handfuls of heavy hitters from all over the U.S. and beyond. The White Stripes, The Von Bondies, Andre Williams, GLG's own The White Ravens, Electric Six.....and so, so, so many more Detroit acts. People from all over flock to the his studio to get the "Jim Diamond" sound that can only be described as a bit gritty, like the state of downtown and just very, well, "Detroit." People just know his style. Growing up in Trenton, Michigan, Diamond began playing in bands in 1978. Not just a few bands, this man is well versed. He has played bass, guitar and occasionally organ and sax in about a dozen bands including The Dirtbombs, Doop and the Inside Outlaws, and Bantam Rooster. His studio career began at Harvest Music and Sound Design in Lansing, MI in 1989 as an engineer. He opened Ghetto Recorders in 1996 and has become an iconic producer to any fan of Detroit music. (p.s. That's Jim being cheeky in the middle with the check)

1. How would you describe your role as a producer?
I would say that varies from band to band depending on what they want to do. Some people want a lot of input on everything, other people just want to bang it out and have you tell them when it sucks or not. My job is always changing.

2. How long have been producing?
I guess since I started engineering professionally in 1989. One of the guys I worked for way back, he always told me that bands want your input, that was a good lesson to learn. I am much more involved now than when I was beginning. Back then I was still trying to figure out the board!

3. Who/what albums are the some of the most noteworthy artists you've produced in the past?
The White Stripes, Electric Six, Dirtbombs, The Romantics...in Argentina, Andrea Alvarez. In Australia, Rocket Science. Andre Williams, Kim Fowley, The Von Bondies. I have a record coming out with power-pop legend Paul Collins later this month. Lots of underground people over the years and in different countries.

4. What bands are you currently working with?
Just worked on a record over the weekend with local singer/songwriter Jeni Lee Richey and the Great Tribulation. Recording in progress with Jason Stollsteimer ... he has a new group called The Hounds Below. Have records coming up this fall with Left Lane Cruiser and Hacienda, both on Alive Records out of L.A. Then looking like I'll head to Australia in November to do a couple bands down there in Brisbane.

5. Do you mainly work out of one studio or do you go where a band needs you?
I work out of my studio mainly, Ghetto Recorders, but when I travel, I'll go anywhere, as long as they have a tape machine to record to.

6.How do you know if you, as a producer, are a good match for a band?
Well, I have to like the music,that is first and foremost. They'll send me demos and I'll see which songs I like, stuff like that,we'll take it from there. Generally, people who don't like my work won't want me and I wouldn't like them anyways! I usually get a good fit.

7. What's the best piece of advice you'd give a band that thinks they are ready to record?
Practice and get your stuff down tight. Nothing worse than the band trying to learn the songs in the studio, it's an expensive rehearsal space! Get it down before you come in, then we can get creative.

8. What kind of inside experience does being a musician yourself help with producing?
That is huge, my experience as a musician helps every facet of producing. I know what will work musically, how to approach songs. I can't imagine producing records and not being a musician.

9. What's your favorite thing about producing?
It's like putting together a puzzle, hearing something take form, creating something from nothing, I love that.

10. What's your least favorite thing about producing?
Waiting around for bands to learn the song. People not being prepared.

11. In addition to the music you are working on, what albums have you been listening to lately? Does it ever effect your producing?
Very much... I have been listening to Jefferson Airplane, ....'60s San Francisco stuff. It changes all the time, I love music and am a fan first and foremost.

The Other Side highlights those talented and very important folks behind the scenes of the music that we listen to. The Other Side will feature producers, engineers, booking agents, band photographers, online radio DJs, etc. It's pretty awesome.
Click Here to Read More..

Golden Bloom Opens for Sea Wolf on September 19th at The Mercury Lounge

There’s just something about one-man bands. Sea Wolf, which is the chamber-pop project of Alex Church will be playing a solo acoustic set at The Mercury Lounge on September 19th. Another man famous for doing it all, Shawn Fogel, will be opening for him with his project, Golden Bloom. Patrick Park and Sera Cahoone round out the night.

No two Golden Bloom shows are alike, with the ever-changing line-up of musicians that play with Shawn Fogel keeping things fresh. Fogel constructs intelligent contemporary indie power pop that rivals like-minded peers such as Wilco, Matt Pond PA, and Ben Kweller. The singer and multi-instrumentalist is so fully committed to his music that when he records an album, he plays nearly every instrument himself; tracking layers of his own vocal melodies for some of the purest and most encouraging indie pop out today. His other project, Neutral Uke Hotel has been taking the world by storm with live performances of Neutral Milk Hotel’s In the Aeroplane Over The Sea which is played entirely on ukulele.

Taking its name from novelist Jack London’s 1904 seafaring adventure, Sea Wolf has evolved organically from its hermetic origins in Alex Brown Church’s living room into a muscular, full-bodied musical entity with passion to burn. Dangerbird Records will be releasing a 7" vinyl-and-digital-only single for 'Turn the Dirt Over' (from White Water, White Bloom), which will be available during Sea Wolf’s solo acoustic tour.

Sunday, September 19th
Mercury Lounge
217 E. Houston St., New York, NY
Opening for Patrick Park, Sera Cahoone, and Sea Wolf (solo acoustic)
$12 in advance (tickets)
$14 at the door

Additional Golden Bloom Tour Dates:

9/7/10 TT the Bears, Cambridge MA (w/Telekinesis and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin)

Neutral Uke Hotel Tour Dates:
8/25/10 Mills City Café, Washington, DC
8/29/10 Luckey's, Eugene, OR
8/30/10 Mississippi Studios, Portland, OR
8/31/10 The Sunset , Seattle, WA
Click Here to Read More..

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Spotlight: Reno Bo

Reno Bo's Big Star-influenced pop rock is not what you'd normally expect from a Nashville singer/songwriter. He came to my attention thanks to two other power-pop musicians I know (one of them being GLG's Neil Nathan). And I couldn't be happier about this new discovery. I'm almost ashamed I wasn't already on board. Reno Bo's latest album Happenings and Other Things is a nod to classic rock done with power-pop sweetness. Todd Rundgren with fuzzed guitars, a Brendan Benson from the 1970s. R.I.Y.L. Sloan, Neil Nathan, Paul McCartney, Emitt Rhodes, Rooney, etc. etc. So good! Enjoy the adorable and cool video for the album's single "There's a Light."

Like Reno Bo on Facebook
Follow Reno Bo on Twitter

Click Here to Read More..

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

News Roundup from DOA, Magnet, Sick of the Radio and more.

JP's Music Blog reviews Neil Nathan's The Distance Calls

""Neil Nathan's voice and acoustic rock sound draws strong similarities to Matthew Sweet, especially on the album's lead off single "California Run." The chorus is so catchy that it's sure to catch the attention of radio."

Delusions of Adequacy reviews The White Ravens' Gargoyles and Weather Vanes

Magnet includes Neil Nathan's The Distance Calls in their "What Album Are You Most Looking Forward To Next Week?" poll

Sick of the Radio reviews Echo Orbiter's Euphonicmontage

"an innovative landmark in the world of indie rock"

Blogcritics posts Sara Radle's "Song For Adam" and The White Ravens' "Tick Tock"

Parasites and Sycophants review's Neil Nathan's The Distance Calls

"...The Distance Calls opens up with an interpretation of ELO's "Do Ya" setting firm ground for a nice outing that surfaces somewhere between classic rock and Matthew Sweet. Always refreshing to see people recalling the greats and not just mystifying with bells & whistles."

Campus Circle Newspaper reviews Leopold and His Fiction's Viper Room show

"This trio is a trip to watch, boiling and smashing a diverse range of musical genres that is both ethereal and bombastic."

The Daily Iowan previews Neutral Uke Hotel's show at Gabe's

Broadway World reports on Rosario Dawson's part in Neil Nathan's "California Run"

Boston.com previews Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola about their roles in the Second Annual "One Night Band"

Little Village previews Neutral Uke Hotel's show at Gabe's

The Star Tribune previews Neutral Uke Hotel's Kitty Cat Klub show

Twin Cities.com previews Neutral Uke Hotel's Kitty Cat Klub show

Isthmus previews Neutral Uke Hotel's Kitty Cat Klub show

Chicago Tunes reviews Neutral Uke Hotel's Empty Bottle show

Movies Music Mayhem previews Neutral Uke Hotel's Grog Shop show

Nuvo interviews Neutral Uke Hotel

The OCMD reviews Leopold and His Fiction's Rock Make show

The Portland Mercury asks its audience to "Name the next Neutral Uke Hotel"


Click Here to Read More..

Monday, August 23, 2010

Staff Infection: Operation Don't Complain Edition

Those who know me know I’ve taking on a personal endeavor entitled “Operation: Don’t Complain”. This isn’t the first time I’ve taken on this endeavor, but it’s the first time I’ve had the accountability of Facebook to keep it going. Every day (ok, almost every day) I give a status update on the process. And believe me it is a process. Today is day 37, and don’t get me wrong, a few complaints have leaked in there. In fact, there have been entire days devoted to a break in my no complaint status. There are a few songs that help get me back on track though. So if you find yourself on that iceberg of negativity, I encourage you to take a few listens to the songs that are a near direct route to positivity junction. And yes, this is a motherload of songs, but what can I say? There are days I need all the help I can get.

Elvis Costello, “Sneaky Feelings” from My Aim is True
David Gray, “Babylon” from White Ladder
Lily Allen, “Everything’s Just Wonderful” from Alright, Still
Golden Bloom, “If You Believe”, from Fan the Flames
Bill Withers, “Let it Be” from Just As I Am
Broken Bells, “The High Road” from Broken Bells (courtesy of Stereogum)
The Doves, “There Goes the Fear” from The Last Broadcast
Fanfarlo, “The Walls are Coming Down” from from
Paul Westerberg, “Whatever Makes You Happy” from Suicide Gratification
Heartless Bastards, “Could Be So Happy” from The Mountain
Jem, “Just a Ride” from Finally Woken
Liam Finn, “Second Chance” from I’ll Be Lightning
Ray LaMontagne, “Lesson Learned”, from Till the Sun Turns Black
Sara Radle, “Song for Adam", from Four
Sloan, “Rest of My Life” from Action Pact
Travis, "Why Does It Always Rain On Me?" from The Man Who

Each Monday a different Green Light Go staff member will let you in on what songs have infected their ears for the week, while giving you the opportunity to share in the experience yourself.

This week: Janelle Rogers, Green Light Go Owner and Publicist Extraordinaire
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Echo Orbiter Celebrate Record Release with First Live Show in Nine Years

It's been nine years since Echo Orbiter ran with the Elephant 6 gang, so we are proud to announce the band's first show in nine years!

There’s nothing like recording and releasing a new album to get the mysterious Echo Orbiter back on stage. The Philadelphia neo-psychedelic group will be taking the stage at Johnny Brenda’s (one of the ultimate and intimate clubs to play in) in Philadelphia on September 18th for their first show since 2001 to celebrate the release of their latest album, Euphonicmontage. The album, due out September 28th is a sonic montage of fuzzed up guitars, sounds that come out of left field and unexpected breakdowns. Echo Orbiter will be playing a set that features tracks from their fifteen-year career played by the original line-up: Justin Emerle (guitar), Colin Emerle (bass), and Jeremiah Steffen (drums). Joe Jack Talcum of The Dead Milkmen will be on the bill to support the band on this epic occasion.

This is a truly momentous performance. Echo Orbiter, it seemed had played its last live show in 2001. But, now, nine years later, the suggestion to play live again was all it took to get the ball rolling. “When the idea for the show was presented, I was actually surprised how quickly Colin and I decided to give it a shot”, says Justin Emerle. “It began as a small five-song set with just the two of us with acoustic guitars; it quickly evolved into a full blown live set with our original drummer getting back on board and a couple of friends helping out with other guitars and keyboards and such." A band who has been focusing on the studio for nearly ten years is likely to rack up quite a catalog, which can make choosing a set list a challenge, "It's going to be fun to play again,” says Colin Emerle, “We used to have about 30 songs to choose from back in the day, now we have over 400 to choose from. It's been fun just to go over the tracks to choose what to actually play live."

Echo Orbiter Record Release Party
Johnny Brenda's
September 18th, 2010
1201 N. Frankford Ave Philadelphia, PA
With Special Guest Joe Jack Talcum (The Dead Milkmen)
Click Here to Read More..

Music Monday - Culture Bully Talks RZA, Marketing Your Band and Tight Jeans

Chris DeLine of Culture Bully makes you both laugh and really, really think about the world of online journalism and the serious impact it has on the way bands market themselves. But then he flips the fun switch on again when he says something totally out there (read question #8 for instance) that reminds us why we love working with bloggers. Online critics love music just as much as we do, and it's great when they have that balance of a sense of humor and seriousness and professionalism of it all. Culture Bully covers folk, hip-hop, electronic, everything, really. Major label superstars and indie underdogs. As to what Culture Bully likes to cover, DeLine said, "...if it sounds good to me, I like it. That said, if it ever comes to the point where Culture Bully is rocking some Seether on the reg, I would sincerely hope someone smacks me around with a tube sock full of batteries until I come to my senses."

Music Monday Q&A

1. How long has Culture Bully been operating?
1,970 days as of August 23 2010.

2. What makes Culture Bully different from other websites?
It's the only site to be a) called "Culture Bully," and b) be 100% fully endorsed by me: Chris DeLine. I'd like to make it clear that I, in no way, stand behind the sub-par Culture Bully Español knock-off.. But if you're looking for an actual example of competitive edge... I can't think of another site that recently featured new music videos by Scissor Sisters, Behemoth, RZA and Joanna Newsom in the same day. So I've got that goin' for me.

3. Do you think Culture Bully has a specific musical niche?
(See: Behemoth & Scissor Sisters.) I was genuinely mulling this over about a week ago. To some degree I know the site alienates a lot of people because it's all over the place—too all over the place, even. But I'd rather go that route than try to pick a single genre, or sub-genre, and focus solely on that. It just doesn't seem like it'd be as much fun. I mean, at this moment there's stuff on the main page focusing on everything from heavy metal to hip-hop... Actually, come to think of it, there's a common denominator there: tight jeans. Maybe the site does have a niche and I just never realized it.

4. What albums are you looking forward to coming out?
Grinderman, Robyn, Kanye West... but there's an impossible amount of music to listen to that's released every day, so it's not like I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for anything to reach my ears. Each day offers a new surprise in that regard.

5. How does Culture Bully support independent music and what’s important about doing so?
I'm probably not the best guy to stand up and wave the indie-music flag, and I'm not even sure that I know what it means to truly support independent music. Is there a sticker, like the "I Voted" stickers you get during elections, that says "I support indie music?" Just like major labels, much independent music is so ridiculously god-awful to the point that I don't think I could wear the sticker in good conscious, if there was one. I had a friend in university who liked bands along the lines of Seether and Nickelback and whatnot, and when I would push him to qualify why exactly he likes that stuff when the options are limitless of what you can listen to he gave me a response along the lines of, "If it sounds good to me, I like it." To some degree I've grown in a similar direction. Ten years ago I wouldn't be caught dead listening to pop music, and the vast majority of rap made no sense to me. (Sidebar: not Wu-Tang though, them shits was tight even when I was in junior high, son.) But once you open your ears and let down your guard a little bit, life becomes more enjoyable; same holds true for music. I don't have much interest in ignoring major label music or specifically focusing on independent music just for the sake of doing so: if it sounds good to me, I like it. That said, if it ever comes to the point where Culture Bully is rocking some Seether on the reg, I would sincerely hope someone smacks me around with a tube sock full of batteries until I come to my senses.

6. Do you think online publications are taking precedence over print magazine? What kind of effect do you think that has on bands?
I guess the only way to know for sure would be to look at circulation statistics or earnings statements of the individual publishers to know if they're getting their asses handed to them financially. If they are, then I suppose you could draw the conclusion that the online world has taken over. Until then, though, I'd have to say no: I mean, until Pitchfork can move a couple hundred thousand issues of a print magazine every month, it's still just a website. There's still a market for print, and there will be one for the foreseeable future, but yeah, the shift toward digital publishing is eating up more and more of the pie as each year passes. There are certainly exceptions, but I still don't think the online world takes precedent quite yet. If your band gets a feature printed in some zine like NME, I'm still thinking that it means a whole lot more than getting a blog post on Stereogum (for example).

As far as bands are concerned, as the music blogosphere/world of online music publications continues to expand there becomes more opportunities to be featured somewhere on the Internet. Honestly, I love the idea that there are thousands and thousands of music blogs—so many that the idea of actually figuring out a ballpark figure is staggering—but the flip side is that there are thousands and thousands of music blogs. It becomes a blur after a while and unless you really connect with some site in particular as a reader—whether you like a blog's style, content, or are simply a fan of their niche—chances are that vast majority of everything that's out there is going to be overlooked anyways. So in the end, I'm not sure that it means that there are any more honest opportunities for bands now that there's a balance between print and online than there was when print dominated. It just means that the way bands have to market themselves is changing... but that's an entirely separate discussion for another time.

7. What blogs/magazines do you read other than your own?
Honestly, I pay more attention to Twitter and digg-ish aggregators than individual sites for the most part. But, as far as music sites are concerned, I check out arm's length-list that's featured on my links page fairly regularly. I've been enjoying more dance/electronic sites as of the late, for whatever that's worth. Non-music: Mashable, Cracked... Like I said though, on the whole I just go where the Internet leads me. It's a trying mistress at times, but one that typically treats me right in the end.

8. What has been your most definitive moment since you started Culture Bully?
This interview... or the time I got a cease and desist order from Axl Rose's lawyers... or both. It's hard to say.

9. If you could interview any musician/band (dead or alive) who would it be?
The thing about interviews is that they're pretty much force conversations between strangers. I don't know that you can expect too much from anyone you haven't really met before, especially considering the typical amount of time it takes to simply crack the ice with someone. The more you think about it, the more awkward the idea seems. That said...

Dead: I would like to hang out with Jimi Hendrix for a while. I think I could've learned a few things about partying from that cat.

Alive: I think Neil Young would have a few words that would help me gain some insight into life. The man's smart, and having lived through what he has, I can't imagine him not having a few amazing revelations just waiting to roll off his tongue. And if all else fails, we could just talk about hockey... though I honestly wouldn't mind just hanging out in awkward silence with the guy; seems like that'd make for a pretty great story to tell someone else's grandchildren.

10.If you could be in any band (of all time), who would you rock with?
I've never really wanted to be in a band. Sure, daydreams here and there, but I've never really wanted it. I'd much rather tour with a team of skateboarders, the Harlem Globetrotters, or even the Jackass crew. Actually, especially the Jackass guys: they're kind of like a band when you think about it. And I know Chris Pontius can actually jam a little bit. In the event someone has the power to make this happen holler at me, seriously—I'd jump at the chance to intern for their website or something. I'm pretty flexible and have already moved three times across two countries this year, so I have no qualms with picking up shop at a moment's notice. Please America, help show the rest of the world that dreams can come true!

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Neil Nathan's Old Roomie Rosario Dawson Guest Stars in His New Video

Being friends with a movie star certainly has its benefits. Neil Nathan, New York folk-tinged rocker and former roommate of Rosario Dawson (Harmony Korine’s Kids, Men in Black II, Sin City, Grindhouse, etc.) is lucky enough to have his friend appear in his latest music video, “California Run”, which was directed by Ric Serena and Vaj Potenza. The video can now be seen on Dawson’s official site, http://rosario-dawson.net.

Nathan says, “It was such a treat to catch up in between takes. Rosario always inspires. She made me look good when she visited my classroom (Nathan’s a former NYC high school history teacher) and now she’s doing the same on screen.”

Dawson was also excited to work with her old friend on “California Run,” “I'm so happy to support him and it was a blast to hang, sing and ride together in Topanga Canyon.” Clearly a fan of the man and the music, she says, “I wake up with ‘When The Rain Falls’ and ‘California Run’ playing through my head constantly so I'm glad to have the excuse of being in one of the videos.” The video, which features Nathan hitchhiking his way to his lost love, has Dawson picking him up and bringing him one step closer to the girl of his dreams.

“California Run” is on Neil Nathan’s latest LP, The Distance Calls which is due out August 24th. The album was produced by The Go’s Bobby Harlow at Tempermill Studios and features some of Detroit’s finest musicians: Dean Fertita (The Dead Weather, QOTSA), Kenny Tudrick and Joey Mazzola (Detroit Cobras), John Krautner (The Go), and Ross Westerbur (Deadstring Brothers).

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gwyneth & Monko Continue Tour This Fall

Gwyneth & Monko will dish up more of their earnest, stripped-down folk when they continue their tour, this time zig-zagging through Montana, New Mexico, Iowa, and Illinois. The 15-date tour is in support of the group’s newly released EP, Good Old Horse, which was released July 20th. The duo has been touring the entire spring and summer, and are loving life on the road, so why not extend into the fall? The lovely band will hit both the West coast and the Midwest on this round. Keep an eye out for a show near you.

Gwyneth and Monko Tour Dates
9/16/10 Blue Moon, Seattle, WA
9/17/10 Top Hat, Missoula, MT
9/18/10 Stillwater Landing, Whitefish, MT
9/24/10 Westport Hotel, Westport, CA
9/25/10 Caspar Community Center, Caspar, CA
10/7/10 The Adobe Bar, Taos, NM
10/8/10 Riverbend Hot Springs, Truth or Consequences, NM
10/9/10 High Desert Brewing Co., Las Cruces, NM
10/16/10 Nyland, Lafayette, CO
10/22/10 Forrest Hills Concert Series, Wichita, KS
10/28/10 Monk's Kaffee Pub, Dubuque, IA
10/29/10 Mojo's, Davenport, IA
11/4/10 Beatniks Café, Marion, IN
11/5/10 The Black Feather Café, Berea, KY Click Here to Read More..

Friday, August 20, 2010

Golden Bloom Returns to Studio with Producer Peter Katis

Wooooooooooooooooo! We are shouting at GLG! Golden Bloom (OK, well, Shawn Fogel) is finally working on another album, which will not doubt be stellar. We seriously can not wait for his next work of pop genius.

Fogel has begun recording new Golden Bloom material, once again with producer Peter Katis! If you haven't heard, Katis is an uber producer who has worked wonders on records for The National (their last five records), Frightened Rabbit, The Swell Season, Interpol and Tokyo Police Club, to name just a few. The magic began this month when Fogel returned to Tarquin Studios with the prolific pop-maker Peter Katis. Golden Bloom's last full-length, Fan the Flames, which was compared favorably to Summerteeth-era Wilco, The New Pornographers, and Big Star and loved by critics and fans alike was recorded by Katis

So what can we expect from Fogel this time? Power pop? Rest assured. Intelligent lyrics? Certainly. The best music Golden Bloom has ever made? Absolutely. Fogel says, “[The experience] is similar to Fan the Flames in that I'm trying to make the best music I can in the moment, but I'd like to think whenever you work on something new you're in some way trying to out-do your previous work. I think the songs are really strong and more mature than the last batch of songs that comprised Fan the Flames.”

Wait, it's going to be even better than Fan the Flames? That's serious. Someone is going to need to fan us.

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Favorite Friday: Alan Cohen Lollapalooza Experience

From August 6 - 8, Lollapalooza took place in Chicago and it was, as Alan Cohen of Alan Cohen Experience will tell us, completely insanely packed with performances. He saw countless bands and for this Favorite Friday, Alan gives you his intense and completely full review of all of the bands he saw. There were a lot. The breakdown of Green Day's so-called punk set is pretty awesome. From Devo to Blues Traveler, Spoon and Grizzly Bear, we'll let Alan tell us the story of Lollapalooza 2010. P.S. Glad he wore a tie-dyed shirt to a music festival, and what's with the guy covering his face? Is he crying because of how bad Green Day was?

Alan Cohen Experience's 7 Favorite Lollapalooza 2010 Experiences (And More)

Many have been asking of my "experience" (get it? Alan Cohen Experience?) over at Lollapalooza 2010, so here I am, always ready to oblige. This "review" will be done in two sections. The first will be my top seven shows of the festival, and the second will be the rest of what I saw.

I will not talk about time travel or theoretical physics in this post, except to say that at any given point, there were two bands playing at the same time at opposite sides of the park, which was about a mile away. This was true even for the big headliners. Since quantum physics has not advanced to the point yet where I could have physically been in two places at once, I did not see everybody. I will also say that Transformers 3 was being filmed in Chicago at the same time. Oh, and iPhone 4's take amazing quality audio/video.

1. Soundgarden
Let me set the stage here.. Soundgarden, Godfathers of Grunge, Sub Pop, Seattle, 1997, Lollapalooza. Yes, Soundgarden. To PLAY A SHOW at Lollapalooza 2010. Who BROKE UP in 1997. Who have NO LAME NEW ALBUM to promote. Will REUNITE for Lollapalooza. For ME to watch. Hello? People? ARE YOU READING THIS??? Do you understand the magnitude of this? Soundgarden REUNITING AFTER 13 YEARS!!! ...Do you now understand how exciting this was for me? I mean, yeah, so Arcade Fire keeps getting described as "explosive" and "amazing" and whatnot, but there was no way jose in HELL I would miss the Soundgarden reunion (they played at the same time).

Musically, there is almost nothing to say. They played and sounded like Soundgarden. Gigantic, heavy rock riffs, weird time signatures, Chris Cornell's vocals were 100% on, no multimedia screens behind them, just awesome '90s rock and some huge winking skull. Did I mention how I personally consider the '90s rock scene one of the most under appreciated rock movements ever? We all know it was a "great" time for music, but I will go ahead and say it was a G-R-E-A-T time for music. I am gushing now, so I will move on and just say that they sounded amazing, played amazingly, and I air-guitared for two hours straight (seriously).

2. Devo
Devo are the kings of conceptual music. If you know me, you know that I attempt to write a concept album just about every other year. After seeing Devo, I now bow down to the kings. Unlike Soundgarden, Devo is promoting a new album (which is great, btw). They were born in the '50s. Not even the mid or late '50s, but in like, 1950. So, what does a band of 60 year olds sound like? F*@%ing incredible. Again, unlike Soundgarden, Devo is all about multimedia presentation. Many of their songs were accompanied by videos which were synced to the songs, and actually had a lot of plot and story in them... The videos for their new songs were especially excellent, and my favorite involved a rotating line of dancing silhouettes, where humans gradually de-evolved into monkeys. Then a space ship went around selecting its favorites with a giant finger, re-evolved them to humans, then took them aboard for a big party. How cool is THAT?!

The visuals are reinforced by the band themselves. The first half of the set was their more synthy-pop stuff, with a drums, guitar, keys, vocals setup and their new, grey military-ish uniforms. Devo songs in general are relatively "sparsely" arranged, and the band members did not move unless they were playing notes or a riff, giving a very robotic feel to their stage presence. Halfway through, they put on a video about the de-evolution of man (ya'll know that this is the concept and namesake behind Devo, right?), and changed into their classic yellow plastic baggy costumes. Then they came back in a rock setup (guitar, bass, drums, vocals) and CHANGED HOW THEY MOVE! Seriously, they actually changed how they physically interacted with the music with the change in styles. Devo, a bunch of senior citizens, absolutely schooled every other band at the festival on stage presence. Bravo!

As a band, Devo is made up of the caliber musicians you just don't see anymore. Go listen to recordings of The Band, Janis Joplin, Cat Stevens, etc etc. I think that every professional rock and roller in the '60s and '70s were classically trained musicians, and Devo (who formed in the '70s) are no exception to this. If you are in a band, go watch a Devo show: you will go away with a list of a dozen things to work on for your next concert.

Is the story true? Did MGMT's label push them into working with a specific producer to generate a specific sounding album? Did the MGMT dudes really use their debut success to strong-arm the suits into letting them record and release the album they always wanted to do? Or, did MGMT go down to the crossroads, where the devil tuned their guitars/synthesizers? If that makes no sense to you, please read about Robert Johnson and listen to his recordings.

Whatever the case, I have never done such a dramatic 180 in my opinion of a band as I did with MGMT. To be brutally honest, I hated their first album. I hated the songs, I hated the production, and I especially hated the "tonal palate." Why did they use THOSE types of synths? Well, let me tell you people, their second album is awesome. It's Bowie, it's space rock, it's just great all around. Needless to say, I was very excited for their set. And... wow! MGMT is now a five-piece band: 2 guitars, bass, drums, keys. At the show, they pretty much played half their first album, and half of the second one. And you know what? Everything they played sounded f-in' wonderful. Even the old songs, which are definitely weaker then the new ones, sounded good. Sooooooooooo much better as rock songs then as hipster techno crap. They were well rehearsed, hit all the notes and transitions perfectly, and the vocals were right on. The sound at festivals is never great, for the simple reason that there is one setup for all the bands, and the sound guy/gal sets the levels during the first song. A good band chooses their tones carefully, and plays consciously with each other to set their own levels. MGMT did this, and they transcended the notoriously bad sound at that stage because they are just a great band now.

The single weak point of the set was their rendition of "Kids," which was done karaoke style with the main dudes singing over a pre-recorded instrumental version of the song. Why did they do this? Why was this the moment when the crowd went the most wild? Did they miss the rest of the set? Were we at the same show? And a BIG F-U to the stupid teenage h@%ster girl who crowd surfed and landed on my fiance's neck, then refused to apologize.

4. The Strokes
Usually when I write "people have been asking me...", I am exaggerating. But many people have actually asked me, "did you see Lady Gaga?" Noooooooo!!! And by the way, she has a really obnoxious fan base, which I had the opportunity to come in contact with on a mass scale at Lollapalooza.

I went to go see the Strokes instead. They were great, played well, sounded relaxed, Julian's voice was right on, and they really know how to play to a huge field of tens of thousands of people. I'm a casual listener of theirs, but I really enjoyed their set. Their songs are short, so they pretty much played everything. Julian also had a nice, humble demeanor during the set and his banter.

5. Grizzly Bear
I love this band. I'll admit that I don't listen to their recordings too much, but this was the second time I saw them live this summer. When I listen to Grizzly Bear, I get the feeling that I am missing something about their music. By that, I mean I feel a need to sit down with a music theory textbook, and really give an academic analysis to their songs and arrangements. Their music is both pleasing to listen to on an immediate level, and both gives me the desire to study it. That, my friends, is the mark of a great band.

They are a bit on the low key side in some ways, so their late-afternoon placement was perfect. People say I look like their guitarist, so maybe that has something to do with it as well. Better then being told I look like Ray Romano.

6. Spoon
These guys are a class act. Have you seen them yet? You really should. Another band that I don't listen to much on disc, but really enjoy live. They really do dominate the mid-tempo, groove rock market, and manage to stay far far away from the musical stylings of bands that give mid-tempo groove rock a bad name. They are dark, they have edge, but yet still manage to sound cool, hip, and danceable. How do they do this??? This is a band that is impossible to understand unless you see them live. And I don't mean this in the sense that they run around like idiots on stage, and that makes them "Unbelievable!!!! Explosive!!!". I just mean that recording technology is just not good enough to capture the power in their arrangements.

7. The Food (not a band, but actual edibles)
We all know that comparing food to music is like comparing apples to... you know where this is going. When making my top 7 list, I used the mindset of, "What was memorably good? What was standard good?" The "standard good" stuff continues below, but the food definitely fell into "memorably good."

Bravo Top Chef Superstar Graham Elliot Bowles was given the task this year to curate the "Chow Town." Yes, he actually curated the food selection. For a foodie like me, that is a wonderful thing. Everything there was "walk-around and eat" friendly, and everything was under $10 - groovy! Some highlights were Graham's lobster corn dogs, the Asian pork belly sliders, and the Lou Malnati's pizza. My festival fave was the Franks 'N' Dawgs sausage sandwiches. Holy crap were they good.

They also had free water bottle filling stations all over. Big applause to the organizers for providing this, and not charging $4 a pop (ala Woodstock '94).

And now the rest of the bands.

Green Day
Chose Green Day over Phoenix for the Saturday headliner. Actually, we hit up the first part of Green Day (which was pretty bad), went back to Phoenix, couldn't get a close enough spot to hear well, and went back to the musically superior stage that housed Green Day. They played their hits, and Billie Joe (Armstrong) kept insisting that, "f@$k the man, we will PLAY ALL NIGHT!" This obviously wasn't true, because outdoor venues in the middle of cities have strict curfews, which they honored even though he said they wouldn't.

"Lame" is a good word to describe their show. Most of their hits were more of a sing-a-long then an actual performance, "Let's hear it from YOU!" The "punk attitude" was so awkwardly forced. At one point, Billie Joe was ROLLING AROUND ON THE STAGE, being "punk," yet the whole shebang was carefully choreographed. You had horn players on stage Billie! They weren't following your antics, it was all planned! I didn't have huge expectations for Green Day, beyond thinking that it would be pretty cool to hear them play songs off of Dookie. But man, too much mascara or something: Green Day is no longer a band, and now more reminiscent of a Broadway show... wait a minute....

Wavves was pretty cool, the first band I saw at the festival. Nathan Williams is a hipster hero, but he has enough talent to back it up. Taking on the bass and drummer from Jay Reatard's old band was a good idea, and they provided a nice rock edge to his beach boys-y (Boise?) melodies.

The Walkmen
Forget Spoon, these guys are the real deal class act. OK, don't forget Spoon at all. The Walkmen formed at a prep school in DC, and it shows. Despite the heat, the lead singer still wears most of a suit. Their music is very... good. To be honest, 45 minutes is a good amount of time to see them, and anymore would probably start to get a bit boring. By the way, don't even bother with their albums, which are REALLY boring. They are much much better live. They do well with sparse-ish low-key arrangements, and they're not afraid to be at the slow side of mid-tempo. I give them a solid B. Would see them anytime, but wouldn't regret missing a show.

The Big Pink
Did not like this group at all. They were a good enough band playing mediocre new wave songs, with one dude whose sole role is to abuse a sampler machine. WTF was with all the industrial NIN-ish sounds that were REALLY FREAKING TOO F-IN LOUD AND DROWNING OUT THE REST OF THE BAND?! This is one example where if they just got rid of that one guy and all his musical contributions, they would be much better for it. Also, is their name supposed to be ironic? Do they even know what "The Big Pink" was? That should represent music in the style of Bob Dylan and the Band, not some industrial techno-rock hybrid. British people are so weird sometimes.

Hot Chip
Another band I just can't get into, despite many of my friends and loved ones considering them "a favorite." The caveat is that their keyboard player was off with his birthing-wife, so a big hole was left in their music. They seem like nice, sincere, and fun people, but their songs... eh. Again, another British band that insists on jacking up the sampler machine, except Hot Chip instead used it to play the same freaking techno/disco beat for every song. My fiance loves this band, so I will stop trashing them and say, "OK, OK, I'll give them another shot."

Jimmy Cliff
How could I not go see Jimmy Cliff? The man is a legend, and I have been listening to his classic album, The Harder They Come all summer. He's 62, with plenty of energy, and still apparently partakes in the Rasta rituals showcased in his movie from the '70s. His band was all young, musicians-for-hire, so they sounded great, and all had big smiles (and Jimmy Cliff.com T-Shirts). At what point as a musician do you start to be your own cover act? I can't answer this, but Jimmy Cliff probably can. It was good and fun, worth seeing for the historical value.

Morning Benders
These guys are great! They played the small stage first thing in the morning (noon). Their sound translates REALLY well to the stage, and they sound huge, melodic, all with a very mature sense of tempo (young bands tend to rush). Probably the Berkley, CA in them or something.

Quite the opposite of the Morning Benders (though they played almost back-to-back on the same stage), they are a young band with a ton of nervous energy, that rushed through their songs so much that they ended early! They must be the only band at Lollapalooza to have done this. Whatever. They are garage rock, and it worked for them. The drummer and guitarist switched instruments halfway through. Their songs are short and punky rock, almost Replacements-ish.

Blues Traveler
Yikes, what a mess they were. I went to their set hoping to catch of glimpse of the mid-'90s jam/blues/rock scene that originated from Princeton and landed in NY. I've heard plenty of great Blues Traveler shows, and I found myself saying to people, "They are SO much more then 'Run-Around'." Well, the truth is, in 2010 they are not just "Run-Around," they are bad at it! They started with that song, then went into Sublime's "What I Got" (lame), then into a jam... where the bass player attempted to do a cool, funky "slap" bass groove, but was WAY ahead of the drummer, and the organ player was holding whole notes, John Popper wasn't even playing, and the whole thing was a big, sloppy mess. Big thumbs down to this one, and I used to love this band!

The XX

More Brits with a sampler, although they do it pretty well. Their "drummer" is really a guy with an Akai (that rhymes), but instead of hitting "play" for a big, ol' rock-a-long, he actually plays the sounds with his hands. This band is weird, gothy, loves their quarter notes and eighth notes, and has a VERY sparse, empty sound. Apparently their keys player quit, and they didn't bother replacing him. Also, their music is s-l-o-w. Not my personal taste, but a cool band - respeck, respeck. The guitar player needs to practice, though.

Deer Tick
I was mostly catching up with an old friend during this set, so I wasn't paying too much attention. They are alt-country from Rhode Island. At their best, they are like... I can't place my finger on it. Wilco? Maybe. Tom Petty? His more bluesy stuff, I suppose. At their worst they are bad singer-songwriter music (not that all singer-songwriter music is bad, but bad singer-songwriter music is bad).

Blitzen Trapper
Hmmmm, I just have no motivation to write much of these guys. They're pretty cool, and so are their music videos. Go watch and enjoy them.

Mumford & Sons
Another caveat - it was really super hot for their set, and they played on a stage on a field of pavement (not the band). It got physically uncomfortable because of this, and I was having bad flashbacks of being at an Indigo Girls concert (which I have never gone to). Maybe it was the overwhelmingly female-dominated sing-a-long, or the humidity, or the harmonies, or the "take themselves too seriously Americana, but from England" shtick of theirs. But, my friend RRS will kill me, so they were pretty cool, you should go watch them, and they are a lot like Gaelic Storm.

Saw them for about 10 minutes at the small stage. Sounded fun, wore cool '80s costumes. Did not see enough to judge, because I was hungry for a Franks & Dawgs.

Victim of bad sound? Think so. Also, we were standing way to close to the subwoofers, which meant I could only hear the kick drum for the first half of the show. When I went further back, I heard what the rest of the band was playing and my opinion changed for the better. Cool stuff, you will either like them or not. I don't know think they are good enough to "love", nor bad enough to "hate". Somewhere in the happy middle. The lyrics are cheesy, "raise me up/walk to the river" sort of thing, but cheesy in a good way. Like how pizza is "cheesy" and nachos are "cheesy." You dig?
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Other Side - Producer Neal Ostrovsky

As a live drummer for The Webb Brothers, The Bon Mots, Tiny Speakers, The Damnwells and more, producer Neal Ostrovsky currently holds court in Chicago at his own multi-faceted recording studio, B-Side Audio. Originally from Massachusetts, Ostrovsky made the move to L.A., and by 1995, he landed in the Windy City. In addition to playing live and numerous session recordings as a drummer, Ostrovsky finds his real home in the studio instead of the road. Recording with the Webb Brothers, Urge Overkill and Local H, Ostrovsky likes to talk about recording gear that is completely alien to me, but I'm sure many of you will be excited at his very mention of Otari MTR90. Meet Neal Ostrovsky, this is his mad scientist/producer look.

1. How would you describe your role as a producer?
My role is to help the artist manage the recording process and to help them capture definitive recordings of their songs. In many cases, my role is of a moderator, especially if there is an abundance of creative ideas within a band. My role is also to be an objective ear. In general, you are paying a producer to make, or help make, decisions. And if you like the producer’s work, it should be easier to trust their decisions.

2. How long have you been producing?
Since the early '90s, but I started to get a lot more serious when I opened my studio in 1997. I started with a tiny 10X17’ control room adjacent to the rehearsal space I shared with the Webb Brothers. We recorded Beyond the Biosphere there on a 2," 16-track Otari MTR90.

3. Who are some of the most noteworthy artists you've produced in the past?
Probably my work with The Webb Brothers, Local H, Urge Overkill, and more recently The Damnwells.

4. What bands are you currently working with?
I’m finishing up records with Jennifer Hall, The Damnwells, The Penthouse Sweets and The Bon Mots. Jennifer Hall ..... (is) one of the most talented artists I’ve ever worked with. She’s just getting started with her career and no one really knows who she is yet. She’s very young, but has a musical maturity that rivals artists much older than her. Her band is fantastic. We’re finishing up her first record, and it is shaping up to be one of my favorite records I’ve worked on. She already has a few songs for the next one so it’s looking like the plan is to keep going.

5. Do you mainly work out of one studio or do you go where a band needs you?
I do most of my work at my own studio (bsideaudio.com), but lately I’ve been doing some of my tracking sessions at Engine Studios in Bucktown. I have also been doing some location recordings over the last two years. It seems like most of the people I work with come to my studio mainly to work with me, so it’s matters less about where we are tracking.

6. How do you know if you, as a producer, are a good match for a band?
I don’t really see myself as a genre producer, and I’ve worked on many types of recording sessions. I feel I’m a good match for any artist that is open to the contributions and experience I can bring to a project.

7. What's the best piece of advice you'd give a band that thinks they are ready to record?
I would ask them for demos of their songs. I can’t really give advice until I know where they are starting from. It also really depends on what they are trying to accomplish.

8. What kind of inside experience does being a musician yourself help with producing?
Having been on both sides of the glass, I can really understand the artist’s point of view. This is obviously a big advantage when you are guiding musicians through the process. One of the reasons that I started my studio was because of the frustration I sometimes felt when tracking in other studios.

9. What's your favorite thing about producing?
Creating something that is better than what each individual can create on their own. Working with talented and inspiring artists.

10. What's your least favorite thing about producing?
Working with bands that don’t listen. Or working with people that are not open to the unexpected. Trying to fix problems that could have been avoided with better preparation.

11. In addition to the music you are working on, what albums have you been listening to lately?
I was listening to The Bends the other day. The Pretenders' first record and Nada Surf's Let Go. I guess those aren’t current releases...

The Other Side highlights those talented and very important folks behind the scenes of the music that we listen to. The Other Side will feature producers, engineers, booking agents, band photographers, online radio DJs, etc. It's pretty awesome.
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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Spotlight - Christina Maria

Christina Maria's second album release, 2010's Straight Line, is a collection of folk-pop tunes that highlight Maria's distinctive voice that is soft, but full and strong, and shows the darkness of beautiful reality. Born in Vancouver, B.C., Maria recorded Straight Line, with five different producers, in different studios, with varying back musicians to each recording session. Even with the extra lush twinkles of the session musicians, Maria's voice (which at times sounds like early Feist) and heart ring above all. We dig her arty video for "Straight Line," and you should too.

Christina Maria Official Straight Line Video from Christina Maria on Vimeo.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

News Roundup from FensePost, WXPN, Metro Times and more

FensePost reviews Neil Nathan's The Distance Calls

"The Distance Calls is an album that could very well be thrown into a mix along the lines of any given Fairweather release, and would be able to hold its ground with no struggle whatsoever. The guy has a talent and an acoustic swagger that is undeniably real."

Detroit Metro Times previews Neutral Uke Hotel's Ann Arbor show

WXPN's All About the Music posts Neil Nathan's "California Run" as a My Morning Download

NeuFutur Magazine announces The White Ravens' East Coast tour

Oh Wheezers posts The Motion Sick's "30 Lives" video

California Music Channel plays Neil Nathan's "California Run" video

Cinncinatti City Beat previews Neutral Uke Hotel's Southgate House show

Musical Shapes previews Gwyneth & Monko's Molly Malone's show


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