December 29, 2009

News: Noise Pop now accepting applications from bands, badges on sale



San Francisco’s Noise Pop Festival, Feb. 23 through March 1, 2010, is now accepting submissions from artists who want to play. You can apply through Sonicbids. At least one band will be selected and receive $500 for performing.

The mini-conference at the fest, Industry Noise, will return this year on Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Swedish American Hall. The event will discuss independent music, technology and the changing industry. Attendees can meet industry pros, listen to influential speakers, advance their artistic and business ventures and learn more about current possibilities and opportunities. In addition to panels and speakers, there are small discussion groups and individual mentoring. Industry Noise Badges are on sale now for $65 or $50 along with the purchase of a full festival badge.

Festival badges are now on sale for $150. A limited number of badges include access to the Magnetic Fields show at the Fox Theater on Saturday, Feb. 27, or the Herbst Theater on Monday, March 1. Individual shows are also on sale now. Venues include Bottom of the Hill, Bimbo's and the Great American Music Hall.

Feature: The Fresh & Onlys



Side project enthusiasts are never at a loss for ideas

By Chelsea Werner-Jatzke; photos by Brian Pritchard

There’s something about red velvet curtains being pulled aside that lends an air of spectacle to anything behind them. While I’ve rarely seen a small venue lend that grandeur to the start of a band’s performance, it wasn’t the curtain opening at Portland’s Someday Lounge that made the Fresh & Onlys feel special. It was the way Shayde Sartin’s bass subtly led the songs along, the way Tim Cohen crooned over his keys, and the way he would nod at guitarist Wymond Miles to give him props for some spontaneous soloing.

At one point during their set a sweaty boy bumped into me and asked, “Do you like this?” I suppose he was wondering why I was standing up front, but not part of the undulating bop of bodies around me. I was too busy at the time, as I have been since then, trying to figure out just what it is that the Fresh & Onlys do that makes them stand out as a beacon of clever contemporary songwriting.

Upon a first listen to Grey-Eyed Girls, the Fresh & Onlys’ second full-length release of 2009, I immediately thought they were on K Records. They haven’t released anything on Calvin Johnson’s label, but the monotone vocal pacing and lyrical themes on a song like “What’s His Shadow Still Doing Here” reeks of Beat Happening’s “Cat Walk.” A closer listen conjures images of the Beach Boys contorted into a ‘50s Buddy Holly suit – if Buddy Holly had lived into the ‘60s and traded in his large spectacles for the metaphorical third eye of psychedelia.



After getting my hands on their first full-length album, I picked up on strains of the New York Dolls during a song like “Fog Machine.” No more than three tracks spanning disparate parts of the ‘70s later, “Peacock and Wing” bridges the album into the ‘80s. These guys are all over the decades, but what makes them identifiable is the way that no one song actually fits into the categories they are combining. When harmonica comes into the driving and prophetic “Nuclear Disaster,” or the drawn-out doom of clashing guitars ends the upbeat “The Delusion of Man,” the comparisons one would jump to make are no longer valid.

While interviewing Cohen and Miles about how they feel their band fits into the Bay Area scene they come from, they were reluctant to settle on a definition. This makes sense. Despite Cohen’s impressive beard and regardless of Wymond’s long hair, reminiscent of a brother Gibb, they are far from the “beard rock” of folky mountain bands or the disco-days of the Bee Gees. Their reticence towards labeling their sound in terms of their scene most probably derives from the fact that between each member’s side projects, they seem to have something to do with a lot of the great bands coming out of San Francisco.

Singer and songwriter Cohen is like the Magnetic Fields’ Stephin Merritt: popping out great side projects everywhere he goes. Starting under the moniker Feller Quentin, Cohen has been involved with bands of all genres, including not one, but two hip-hop groups. His last band, Black Fiction, was darker and experimental, showing more of Cohen’s vocal range. Overlapping band members and an unabated creative energy led to the Window Twins, a group that highlights a pared-down lo-fi sound, one of many dimensions the Fresh and Onlys are tapped into. Amocoma, Cohen’s black metal alias, isn’t a heavy influence on the warped-pop underbelly of the Fresh and Onlys, but his drumming for 3 Leafs, a band created by Damo Suzuki of CAN, definitely is. 3 Leafs also includes the talents of Fresh & Onlys bassist Shayde Sartin and backup vocalist Heidi Alexander.

Alexander and second backup vocalist Grace Cooper are also founding members of the Sandwitches, an achingly honest and haunting freak-folk group. And Sartin has played with San Francisco’s Papercuts and Sky Green Leopards. All these projects point the listener towards the influence of ‘60s flower rock in Fresh & Onlys tunes like “Summer of Love,” played live at the Scion Festival and slated for the next record.



This aspect of their sound could have something to do with the enigma/relic of ‘60s psychedelia, Rodriguez’s reason for having the band back him live on his recent tour dates. Despite all this activity, all members agree the Fresh & Onlys are their main concern. Even though Cohen recently released his first solo album under his own name, you can find the evidence of this commitment in the sheer volume of material the band has made available. In the year since forming out of some Tascam 388 eight-track recordings, they’ve released two albums, two EPs and two cassettes on their own No-Foot Boogie Tapes label. As Cohen puts it, the Fresh & Onlys’ recording process is to record everything – even if beer spills on the eight-track, making it a four-track. “It’s a quantity over quality philosophy that I’ve embraced,” he says. “Whenever you have an idea, just record it. We all espouse the philosophy that if you have an idea, just get it down. Don’t be too precious or delicate with it.”

Perhaps it’s this philosophy that keeps their releases, despite their closeness in time, from stagnation. With so many different musical leanings and outlets, a song that gets put into the Fresh & Onlys’ catalog is defined by its amalgamous sound. “It’s unusual to have so many ideas indulged,” is the way Miles sees it. “It’s not just that we record all the time. It’s that there’s this support system both creatively and in how we record things. It’s kind of rare.”

Never a dull moment, the Fresh & Onlys aren’t slowing down any time soon. If Miles was right when he said you don’t want to see Cohen when he’s not writing a song, we can be prepared for their third album to be even more comprehensive than the last two. Cohen feels their upcoming release for early 2010 on In The Red is the closest the band has come to having the idea of making an album in mind while recording. Freely citing Country Joe and the Fish, the 13th Floor Elevators and others as influences worn proudly, it seems safe to say this band will deliver another album that lets the mind roam through genres and surprising combinations.

The Fresh & Onlys are distinctly current in a music world so full of throwbacks to experimental rock bands. Combining such a myriad of musical inspirations and creating something upbeat and introspective – something that isn’t just a mashup of songs listened to on shag carpeting in a basement – is a feat. Whether it’s a dog’s bark, a layer of organ or some heavy distortion, the Fresh & Onlys sound is like the form a ghost takes to approach a human – seemingly familiar and yet unexpected.

www.myspace.com/thefreshonlys

December 28, 2009

Live Review: Lowell and Behold: Volume 2 Record Release Parties

Gemstones & 119 Gallery // Lowell, MA // Dec. 11 & Dec. 12, 2009

Beneath the Sheets


The beginning of December always marks a special time for the city of Lowell. Residents, students and artists alike have reason to come together and bear the brunt of the gnarly winter winds in celebration of warmer sentiments – the hope that Lowell’s future will bring more music and more art into its communities.
Although it seems a cliché predilection, it may be that this year’s Lowell and Behold fundraiser has given the city yet another reason to expect their dreams will soon find themselves realized.

Three Dub Mice


For two years in a row, college students and local musicians Seth Bailin (Nice Bass Productions) and Nicholas Congelosi (Audio Park Productions) have successfully produced and promoted a fundraiser that provides a Lowell high school senior with the opportunity to pursue music education in college. Last year’s CD and two-night benefit release party raised and awarded $1,750 in the direction of this goal.

Sinbusters


This year, Bailin and Congelosi partnered up with the rest of Audio Park Productions to create a more established team with a scope that aspired to reach out to all corners of the city. Lowell and Behold: Volume 2 is a two-disc compilation, one electric and one acoustic, featuring 30 Lowell bands. The release parties shared the theme, plugging in on Friday night at the downtown club, Gemstones, and mellowing out on Saturday at Lowell’s 119 Gallery. Both releases were a huge success and the atmosphere was thick with spirit, a tangible community mentality of young and old Lowellites all out for the same cause – more music and more opportunities for the kids.

Joshua Beetler


The first night was an eclectic clash of spacey electro-jazz, punk infused alt-rock outfits, progressive power metal and classical guitar-led thrashcore. Bands like Manifest, Hetfield & Hetfield, Three Dub Mice, and Sinbusters provided the audience with a powerful array of Lowell’s musical offerings.

The second night was no different in terms of variety. An interesting hodgepodge of singer-songwriters and their respective bands showcased a multifarious release of talent. Guitarist Joshua Beetler erupted in a land of his own with the cranky, diabolical soloing of a virtuoso. He led us through the walls of his mind with soft, sweet, weird and angry inflections from fingerpicking to pedal play.
Other musicians Brandon Downs, Clara Berry and Arielle Natale surprised audiences with their talent and growth as artists. They played their sets backed by abstract art, with kids and adults lining the walls cross-legged and contemplative.

This year, Lowell and Behold has already covered their expenses and raised over $900 for the second-annual scholarship fund.

-Amanda Macchia; photos by Ali Lipman

December 23, 2009

News: Tree Sound Studios hosts Georgia’s largest green music event

Paul and Sunshine Diaz, owners of Tree Sound Studios in front of the artists' ensemble.



On Nov. 21, the legendary Tree Sound Studios hosted more than 300 guests and musicians as various artists recorded a “Mother Earth” anthem as the theme for the 2010 Pack the Park movement. The goal of Pack the Park is to provide, refurbish or build green-wise parks in various communities.

A proclamation was read from Gov. Sunny Perdue to kickoff the festivities to officially mark the event as a historic and authentic moment in GA music history. The Pack the Park organization gathered the who’s who of the GA music industry for the event. Members and representatives of the Grammys, Art Institute of Atlanta, Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and Georgia Music Hall of Fame all attended this momentous event.

Award winning musicians, producers and composers including Chuck Leavell from the Rolling Stones and the Allman Brothers, Ed Roland of Collective Soul, Drivin N Cryin, Caroline Aiken, Tina and Toya from BBT and Lil Mama all participated in some facet of the experience.

Additionally, the extravaganza was catered by more than 20 local and regionally based organic farms, and the song and studio was powered for the night by solar, wind and biodiesel-based energy systems.
“We are thrilled to be a part of this historic moment,” said Paul Diaz, owner of Tree Sound Studios, “I have been dedicated to bringing the message of unity and preservation to the world, through music, for over 20 years. It’s an amazing thing to see it all come together here at Tree Sound.”

Tree Sound Studios already has a reputation of being the country’s largest green recording and production facility. Policies include rainwater systems, organic gardens, onsite waste composting and recycling, solar hot water, solar power, carbon offsets and biodiesel. In conjunction with Pack the Park, the event didn’t even leave a carbon footprint.

-Albert Opraseuth; photo by Nick Leng

Live Review: Stokeswood // Jungol

Christmas Extravaganza at the Drunken Unicorn // Atlanta, GA // Dec. 19, 2009



You would’ve had a hard time on this night, if being stuffed into a room like a sardine in a can disturbs you. But, such is the atmosphere when Stokeswood and Jungol co-headline a stage in Atlanta.



Christmas-themed décor abound, both bands electrified the night through sight and sound, illuminated by a well-orchestrated light show. The bands each bestowed their holiday gift to the massive crowd in the form of several new songs along with familiar favorites.




Stokeswood started off with a maddening, magical array of voices speaking upon voices, almost like a subliminal rush of frenzied thoughts that found their way through the speakers. The introduction was menacing and suspenseful, a gorgeous build up into their first song, “The Extraordinary Mrs. Crickett,” with its soulful melody that gives way to carnival-type sounds, only to accentuate the chorus as it returns.





Stokeswood is a marvel to watch, as they switch between instruments, giving up their spot on keys, synths and guitar like a game of musical chairs, all the while keeping up an irresistible, danceable backbone to the imaginative melodies and powerhouse, gut-wrenching vocals of Adam Patterson. The band undeniably owns the room with their unique unpredictable sound, expressive beats and high-energy presence. The new songs were infused with confidence in a sound that can only really be called Stokeswood’s, with subtle influences of MGMT, observed during the band’s cover of “Kids.”

The musicality of Jungol is hyper-impressive, as the band turns out rhythms that are sustained beyond imagination. Songs like “The Hound” are delivered with explosions of tense, complicated rhythms intermingled with soaring, melodic harmonies alongside an ambient-infused soundscape. The three-piece create enormous sound and intensity, driven by killer drumbeats and flawless interchange of engaging highs and entrancing lows, reminiscent of early Radiohead or even Bjork. A highlight of the set occurred when the band invited hip-hop crew, Paperwork, on stage, and they transformed seamlessly before our eyes for this awesome genre-bending moment lead by funky rhymes and beats to make you shake what your mama gave you. This excitement was wisely followed by one of Jungol’s most seductive and alluring tracks, “Places.”

-Nadia Lelutia; photos by Natalie Ray

December 21, 2009

New records in the office today

Seth Gallant- Nothing, This Makes Sense
Pawz: The Verbal Virus Mixtape Volume One (Compilation)
Hanoman- Hanoman
Michael Sechrist- Still I Believe
K. C. Clifford- Orchid
Characteristic Pitches ft. Robin Eubanks- Multitude
Fear Report- Theory of Threes
Next Stop Soweto: Township Sounds from the Golden Age of Mbaqangwa (Compilation)
Fisheye- A Totally Different Disaster
Yakuza Heart Attack- Yakuza Heart Attack II
Madeline Puckette- Tsar Bomba
Thousands- The Sound of Everything
Chantilly- Caught Light
Bigbang- Edendale
The Packway Handle Band- What Are We Gonna Do Now?

December 17, 2009

Live Review: So Many Wizards


The Prospector // Long Beach, CA // Dec. 12, 2009

So Many Wizards, the melodic indie rock band from Long Beach, took the stage at the Prospector, a local restaurant, bar and nightclub in Long Beach, to promote their upcoming EP. The band, almost two years old (in February), has clearly made a name for themselves in the Long Beach community. As people start filling up the small club section of the bar, Nima, singer and songwriter for So Many Wizards, proudly promotes the band’s upcoming residency at Silverlake Lounge in Los Angeles, as well as their new Tree EP, which is “hand-crafted, 100 percent one of a kind and made with love” by the band themselves.

With a rocky start and a few re-tries, the band easily slips into their music, an enjoyable blend of guitar-driven melodies and strong vocals. Their live performance is interesting to watch, because the three men completely feed off of the audience’s energy throughout the show. If the crowd is smaller, like it was at the Prospector, then they play a more personal set, which even relies on audience participation during some choruses. Perhaps the most intriguing part of their live show is their long instrumental breaks during songs, which is nonexistent on the EP or on their Myspace. During one of their new songs, “Yellow Hands,” the band started to experiment with the verse after the second chorus. It seemed already written and no one makes a mistake or overplays. It's amazing to watch their songwriting process on stage and at the end of the song, the men look as if they are coming out of a trance as they face the ecstatic audience during the applause.

After the show, the band greeted members of the audience while packing up, and although the turnout was small, they were satisfied with the performance and their new material.

-Sasha Patpatia

Live Review: Almost Kings


New Earth Music Hall // Athens, GA // Dec. 11, 2009

The Almost Kings Dec. 11 show at the New Earth Music Hall almost literally brought down the house. Their rap/metal fusion was something to behold, live. Although their style could be classified as some quality headbanging music, their authentic hooks and experience ensure that they have more than just that to offer. These musical veterans are on the road touring for nine months out of the year, which has clearly paid off because these they certainly know how to work a stage. Their energy is explosive: singer Boze, bassist/guitarist Danny Helms and guitarist/vocalist Ryan Yunker commanded the crowd‘s undivided attention.


Shirts off to drummer Kevin Compton, as he never seemed to be still for the entirety of the set. That guy can melt your face with the contagious beats he was cranking out, well, shirtless. Boze, typically standing atop some piece of equipment on the stage, can rap with impressive precision for a live show. Especially with songs like "On Like That," the empowering and infectious hooks characteristic of many of their songs can be chanted along by listeners. If Boze was not the most entertaining member of this four-man group, Ryan Yunker on guitar would have to be Almost Kings’ secret weapon. Yunker tore it up with some guitar solos that would make your grandmother blush.


Almost Kings is a perfect show for one who is looking to let some of that pent-up aggression and inner-anguished teen out.



-Amy Ishii

Live Review: Inn Cinema // VulGarrity // Arma // Riot Inside

Subterranean // Chicago, IL // Nov. 19, 2009

Inn Cinema kicked off the head-poundingly loud evening of rock at Subterranean with a strong nostalgic streak. Vocalist Rasheed Thomas carved out well-rounded melodies over distorted power chords in a manner that could have fit perfectly between the acts of the late '90s post-grunge rock scene. The band evoked the feel of Collective Soul, but with intermittent metal breakdowns churned out between the two guitars and five-stringed bass.

Despite their edge, the foursome reverted to some of the sunny truisms of the '90s in songs such as the lyrically optimistic "Live Your Life." With a good few feet of hair between the four of them, the band maintained a solid stage presence, closing their act with a number of perfectly synchronized jumps into the air.

Multitaskers VulGarrity followed by proving just what sort of layering is possible with a well-used loop pedal or two. Multi-instrumentalist Shawn Garrity would play a solid lick on his guitar, loop it, then put down the instrument to play drums for the remainder of the song. Tracy Garrity for the most part stuck to her bass, but took her turns on the drumset as well while Shawn played guitar. Both Garrities layered vocals atop the fast-paced, melodically complex rock they created through several pedals at once. Shawn's riffs were unwaveringly catchy and intricate throughout as he jammed against himself. The duo climaxed with an epic instrumental track that layered guitar upon bass upon guitar, all over drums played so hard that Shawn had to stand up to get gravity on his side when he slammed his sticks against cymbals.

Arma followed with a turn towards the prog side of things. Reminiscent of the Mars Volta at their most compact and least pretentious, Arma retained an incredible stamina, never wavering in their energy. Lead singer Taylor Brennan's vocal endurance was perhaps most impressive; he belted at full volume the whole way through the set, never once growing hoarse. Guitarist Alejandro Guzman played atop an army of pedals, feeding increasingly complex riffs through a variety of effects. Brennan danced across the whole expanse of the stage without any hint of pretense, just caught up in the energy of the song. The band dedicated their final track to "those that rock" and then proceeded to perform a no-holds-barred cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" at full blast.

Riot Inside kicked up the volume and the performative force as they entered to flashing red backlights. "Welcome to the Riot!" announced lead vocalist Gary John, and the frontlights came up to reveal the band dressed up for the occasion. John, like a sexier Hunter S. Thompson, performed in fedora, aviators, red shirt, white tie and vest. He had unbeatable stage presence as he strutted around the stage, mic in hand. He adopted the mic stand as a makeshift cane to complete the ensemble, swinging it around over his shoulder as he leaned in over the edge of the stage. His rough-edged, full-blooded voice perfectly complemented the bad-boy swagger.

Riot as a whole did not hold back on charisma or sex appeal; their aesthetic commanded as much force as their music as they rocked out bare-armed in suspenders and sunglasses. Lew Jones on a Les Paul cranked out stunning lead guitar atop rhythm
guitarist Stefan's Morello-esque riffs. The music as a whole was reminiscent of a vocally melodic Rage Against the Machine, though amidst all the testosterone-charged rock they did have a few more subtle Floydian moments. But the fivesome made it
quite clear that they were there for nothing besides filling the venue with as much balls-out rock as possible. "Now, I know this is Wicker Park," John said between songs, "but we're a rock band. Now, what I want you to do is make so much noise that the nearest guy on a double-decker bike falls on his ass." The mesmerized crowd acquiesced.

-Sasha Geffen

December 16, 2009

Check out the CDs we got in the office today...

Basement 247 - A Basement 247 Christmas Complication
Red Jacket Mine - Lovers Lookout
Wooster - The Heights of Things
Gills and Wings - Gills and Wings EP
Yellow Fever - Yellow Fever
Beautiful Supermachines - Shut Up
Seasick Steve - Man From Another Time
Quimera Music - Love Madness
Sachem's Head - Sachem's Head
Francesca Lee - The Pieces Left
Frigid Touch - Hello World
The Floating Men - The Sighing Hours Act II: Swimming with Gods
Coolzey - The Honey

December 14, 2009

New records in the office today

Lindstrom & Christabelle- Real Life is No Cool
Bob Blank- The Blank Generation, Blank Tapes NYC 1975-1985
Re-surch- Alcholic College Kidz
The Bay State- Haunted
Over Mountain Men- Glorious Day
Josh Canova- Adios
Dana Edelman- Blue Roses
Joy Kills Sorrow- Darkness Sure Becomes This City
Bomb the Bass- Back to Light
Rick DiDia & Aireene Espiritu- The Ten Ton Feather
Magic Heart Genies- Cardiac Arrest
Poanna- 10:10
State Champion- State Champion
Yours Til Death- Delivered
A Weather- Everyday Balloons
The Willows- Roots Run Deep
Graph- Graph
Honest Engines- Captain’s Log
AM- Future Sons & Daughters
Tindersticks- Falling Down a Mountain
The Seven Fields of Aphelion- Periphery
Agency- Revolutions
End Roulette- A Rival Sad
Ellsworth- Bright Red Road
Please Do Not Fight- Move
Another Perfect Crime- Get Out!
Vary Lumar- Plasticolor Coma
Before Lazers- Supreme Breakfast
Dublin- Ease the Pain
Tokyo Tramps- With These Hands
Brian Dolzani- Brian Dolzani
The Fancy Dan Band- Born Fancy
Fourth Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra- East Atlanta Passover Stomp
Jared Burton- Amerikana

December 7, 2009

Live Review: Drew O’Doherty // The Painted Lights // Elliott Brood

Drew O'Doherty

T.T. the Bear’s // Cambridge, MA // Nov. 18, 2009

A last minute addition to the night’s lineup, Cambridge singer-songwriter Drew O’Doherty warmed up the evening with a solo acoustic set. Somewhere between that of James Taylor and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, his voice lends an honest and sincere quality to his music. It felt more appropriate for a coffee shop environment than a rock set at T.T.’s (he was even sipping tea between songs), but it was enjoyable. I would love the chance to see him with a backing band.

The Painted Lights

Watching Boston locals the Painted Lights, I couldn’t help but feel that I caught them on a bad night. The set felt unbalanced in energy and delivery. Lead singer and guitarist Brendan Little sings with great emotion and, when he allowed himself to belt it out, the music was really compelling. Ross Lohr’s powerful drumming too, brings a lot to the Painted Lights sound. In slower songs, or when Little was drowned out, the music felt flat. The lack of passion displayed by the bassist and second guitarist was distracting as well. I’d like to see all four band members adjust their passion and energy to meet Little on his level. That would bring out the best of his singing and give the band more solid stage presence.

The Painted Lights

The Canadian headliners, Elliott Brood, were as charming as they were talented, buttering up the crowd with talk about their Boston adventures and handing out plates and wooden spoons to allow for audience participation on the percussion parts. With fast guitar, banjo, harmonica and rough, loud vocals, their music might be a good soundtrack to an adventure film about train hopping. They also get style points for dressing up in black suits and framing the drummer in a DIY light show made of Christmas-tree lights and red-tinted clamp lamps.

-Noelle Janka; photos by Wyatt Posig

December 3, 2009

News: Blackheart's giving away a tube amp to contest winner


Blackheart wants to hook up a guitarist with a new 100W tube amp. All you have to do to score this vintage-inspired head and cab is play some shows with it and write about it online. The more photos, videos and posts, the better.

Tell us why you should be the test driver for the BH100H head and BH412SL cab. Send your entry to info@performermag.com (subject: Blackheart).

News: Shure offers rebate for replacing soon-to-be obsolete wireless mics and monitors



Until Dec. 31, 2009, Shure will offer a rebates to anyone trading in a 700 MHz wireless system for one of their replacement products – even if the old system is from another manufacturer.

A recent FCC mandate bars mics from the 700 MHz band to make room for cell phones. Once cellular companies start using the frequencies, wireless mics and personal monitors will experience interference.

You can get your rebate with the purchase of the following Shure wireless products: UHF-R, ULX, MX690/SLX4L, PSM700 (H3, L2 bands) and PGX.

Visit www.shure.com/rebate for more information and to obtain a rebate form.

Live Review: The Books


The Masonic Lodge // Hollywood, CA // Nov. 23rd

The Masonic Lodge of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery almost seemed to breathe with the weight of its crowd. Scarlet wallpaper, muted lighting and aged mahogany walls that crept to the heavens provided an intimate atmosphere, incomparable to anywhere else.

Anticipation held heavy in the air as everyone anxiously awaited the Books, an experimental duo that orchestrate their own music and visuals. Although there are only two members – Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong – they produce a robust, instrumental sound with sampling and track overlays. Zammuto, on guitar, and de Jong, on electric cello, play along to pre-recorded tracks while clips from various old films are set as their backdrop. The Books bring a new dimension to their songs with the myriad of images they arbitrarily assimilate together, ultimately creating a unified meaning or undertone. “Smells Like Content” was played in conjunction with sad, pre-1930 images; the ethos evoked by the films and the perceptive lyrics silently spoken over the rhythm generated a solemn demeanor like that of a death march.

The Books demonstrate variety in their composition with songs that are solely instrumental such as “That Right Ain’t Shit,” while others such as “Cello Song” feature harmonious vocals that meld into the synthy pops. Showing off their humorous side, one song composed various anagrams from the word “Meditation,” such as the quaint phrase “I Am Ned Tito.” It's hard to portray the scope of this band concisely, the ingenuity of their sight and sound are remarkable and are truly an experience to see live.

-Becky Moine

Live Review: The K-Macks // Before The Solstice // Gift Horse

The K-Macks

The Drunken Unicorn // Atlanta, GA // Nov. 27, 2009

An anomaly presented itself at this show, where the first band was good, the second band peaked, and the last band disappointed. The K-Macks were first to play. Each song had its own cleverly engineered, unpredictable feel. I heard reggae, folk, country, blues, rock and some Motown influences. Though they were difficult to pigeonhole, the trio exhibited an impressively constructed and tightly knit compilation of songs. Kevin dominated with the bass and led the vocals, while Max’s distorted guitar riffs and background vocals created a harmonious cluster of dance-worthy music. If you enjoy anything that resembles country-fried punk rock, then you’ll enjoy songs like “Sin Boldly” and “The Cock Song.” The band even impressed with their rendition of two classic songs, “Billy Jean” and “Stand By Me.”

Before the Solstice

The evening’s highlight was Before the Solstice. Clint, singer/guitarist, painted the club with vocals synonymous to a ghost weeping from a haunted mansion. He seemed to be weeping for other lost souls and although he may be a self-proclaimed atheist, I heard sympathy for religion resound in songs such as “No One Escapes the Sun” and “Let it Die.” Every song was tight-fit into a worn and torn shroud of emotion. Upon trying to decipher their influences, the band broke into none other than “Sober” by Tool. This is not an easy song to play, but these guys pulled it off gloriously. If I closed my eyes while listening, I would’ve mistaken them for the real thing.

Gift Horse

The final band, Gift Horse, came equipped with two organs, guitar, bass, drums and vocals that could not be understood, while he slobbered over the microphone. I tried keeping an open mind throughout the band’s set, but it was difficult to distinguish between what could’ve been some decent melodies and the barrage of static that came out of Gift Horse‘s amps. Hell, maybe we could blame the sound guy?

-Judas Moon

Live Review: Treedom


Tasty World // Athens, GA // Nov. 18, 2009

Unlike most genre names, the moniker of “jam band” says nothing about a band’s actual music or what style it truly is. As a result, it serves as an easy way for detractors of jam-oriented music to dismiss groups’ artistic credibility in one fell swoop. Yeah, some jam bands meander pointlessly, but in reality, many of them have plenty of musical depth and diversity to offer.

Take Treedom, for instance. Yes, they “jam,” and their songs are mostly devoid of vocals, but the style that runs through their music is heavily influenced by psychedelic and progressive rock, utilizing unusual chord structures and timbres and delivered with a distinct streak of drama and tension. Elements of funk popped up from now and then, but put simply, Treedom is one of the darker jam bands I’ve heard.


Singer and lead guitarist Brent Ducote was the uncontested engine of the band, capable of fluid, multi-modal shredding in the vein of Trey Anastasio. However, he also tempered his proficiency with a taste for melodic structure that drew from David Gilmour. Most of Treedom’s ambitious, mind-twisting passages sprung from Ducote’s lead work. Rhythm guitarist Taylor Lorio mostly stayed out of the spotlight but provided a lithe, textural counterpoint (a la Bob Weir) to Ducote’s melodies.

Bassist Travis Dorsey provided most of the band’s funk influence on the low end – alternating between manic slap riffs and bright, busily picked basslines – and drummer Chad Danklef provided an explosive, ever-changing anchor to the sound, his subtle rhythmic variations often affecting the entire mood of the jam.

The set was mostly experimental; over half of the material Treedom played was brand new and had never been played live before. Though the songs were still in their infancy, they translated well to the audience. For the most part, nothing came across as undercooked or half-formed.


Treedom certainly has a firm grasp on what it takes to build and maintain momentum across ambitious, winding song structures, and it will be interesting to see what new musical heights the quartet will reach in the future.

-John Barrett

December 2, 2009

Live Review: Body or Brain


Bottom of the Hill // San Francisco, CA // Nov. 17, 2009

The stage exploded with vibrant color as California locals, Body or Brain, took the stage, sporting trendy and exclamatory clothing and rocking out on neon-colored instruments. But the overall look of the band was only an indication of the enthralling intensity of their music. The band’s performance was vivacious and bursting with energy, maintaining an upbeat, fun atmosphere throughout the entire set.

Lead singer Jakey Lee’s voice was infectious and his attitude was brimming with enthusiasm and charming energy that riled the audience and inspired movement. Their songs were youthful and spirited, with intense drumming and captivating guitar riffs. The music was fast-paced and playful, creating the perfect environment for toe-tapping and jumping along to the beat. Although they were the second band to perform that night, Body or Brain definitely conquered the stage, captivating fans and putting on a high-energy show. The band stood apart from the norm of pop-punk musicians, creating an image that matches the intensity and vivacity of their sound. Each song was as thrilling as the next, keeping spirits high and constantly surpassing the level of excitement and entertainment one would normally be used to.


Overall, the show was thoroughly enjoyable and the musicians definitely maintained a sense of showmanship and theatrics. Body or Brain is a band that excels at creating a fun and playful atmosphere, and their music goes straight to the bones, riling you to move and dance to their bright, colorful sound.

-Stephanie Dotto

Live Review: Synecdoche // Lost Time Accident // Dagnese // Christian Wilson // James Boyd Band

Christian Wilson

Tanqueray’s // Orlando, FL // Nov. 11, 2009

Day one of the fifth-annual Anti Pop Festival brought a stellar lineup of Orlando bands to Tanqueray’s in downtown.

The folk-flavored experimental electronica of the duo Synecdoche started the night off. Singer/songwriter Sven Arvid Tadhg used a violin bow to coax an ethereal wail from his Gibson, while on other songs he played a limited-edition Ovation 2078T to get just the right sound.

Next up was Lost Time Accident. The full-throttle, modern rock sounds of the four-piece band vibrated throughout the small room, adding another dimension to their music. Guitarist Eric Bass seemed a bit bottled up in his small space as the band blasted through a mix of songs from their EP, The Pseudo-town Square, as well as some new ones.

Dagnese

Dagnese followed. The confines of an acoustic set hardly hampered them as the three-piece band played a high-energy set of pop/rock crowd favorites. Lead vocalist Chris D’Agnese was very animated between songs telling the stories behind them, about their search for a drummer, and talking about the upcoming premier of the video for “Come Over After.”

Next up was an acoustic set by Christian Wilson accompanied by Michael Rollo on the djembe. The singer-songwriter has a long history here in Orlando, so aside from playing his solo songs, he also performed some from the various bands he’s been in. “This is a song from another band I was in forever,” he said, talking about Still Naïve. “We did really good for about a minute.”

James Boyd Band

James Boyd and Eric Fay closed out the evening with a duo acoustic set. Since most of the crowd was familiar with their music, they chose to play some newer as-yet-unrecorded songs as well as some more obscure songs from their back catalogue – most of which included some rocking jams. They were joined by Sam Stone (Exit The Ride) for “Something To Live For” from their self-titled CD.

-Kat Coffin

Live Review: Pretty Lights


La Zona Rosa // Austin, TX // Nov. 11, 2009

Pretty Lights is the moniker of electro music pioneer and producer Derek Vincent Smith of Denver. In live shows Smith pairs up with drummer Cory Eberhard, manifesting Smith’s innovation and Eberhard’s beats into the most infectious downtempo grooves on any given dance floor.

Pretty Lights has been selling out shows left and right since they hit the road in August playing to late night party people from coast to coast – most recently selling out a New Year’s party set to take Chicago into 2010. While La Zona Rosa wasn’t sold out, the crowd’s enthusiasm for the downtempo duo from Denver filled the place to the rafters.

Pretty Lights has one of the most dexterous sets on the electro music scene following their successful record, Filling Up The City Skies. Smith laced in new mixes at La Zona Rosa from the album Passing Behind Your Eyes – released in early October. “Fly Away Another Day” loops haunting piano over funky echoing effects that compliment Eberhard’s carefully placed dicey beats accentuated with plenty of resonant cymbals. “World of Illusion” is driven by Eberhard’s drums, then gives way to haunting falsetto vocal loops over a mix of synthed-out violin. It is an orchestral odyssey of incessantly danceable tracks that translates into a hell of a party live.

To compare this duo to an average DJ would be a misrepresentation – they don’t just spin, but create beats live and manipulate original sound loops via MLR. They have an innovative style that is emotive, inventive, stirring and can “Keep Em Bouncin” to all hours of the night – not to mention the lights they travel with are in fact pretty.

In addition to initiating a sound that keeps dance floors bumping without conforming to mainstream electronic style, Smith is also a pioneer in self-released music distribution. You can download any Pretty Lights album for free at www.prettylightsmusic.com.

-Tara Lacey

November 30, 2009

Check out what records we got in the office today

Heather Maloney- Cozy Razor’s Edge
Golden Triangle- Double Jointer
Sarah Elizabeth Foster- Gardening From the Ground Up Part One
Linda Good- Love is a Curious Thing
Ben Wilson- Strange Dogs
Jessie Kilguss- Nocturnal Drifter
The Press- INTEOTWIJTEOAE
Keira is You- Nothing Else Will Happen
The Mary Dream- This Kind of Life
Shurman- Still Waiting for the Sunset
The Villains- The Villains
Chris Kasper- Chasing Another Sundown

Live Review: Soapbar // The Entrance Band // Jacob’s Ladder


Tasty World // Athens, GA // Nov. 9, 2009

Soapbar’s show at Tasty World proved to be an intimate gathering where fans could go and soak up some high-quality, low-key entertainment. The three-person band delivered a performance perfect for spicing up a pleasant night downtown. After warming up to the stage after their first few songs, the band seemed to spring to life with “Speech, Speech,” which showcased the members’ versatile playing style. Heather Daniel on drums was high energy and stole the stage a few times during the set. All members had their chance to shine; Soapbox’s setlist created a dynamic that allowed each the chance to step up and show the crowd what they can do. Bassist Adam Mizell had a few complex bass lines that melded nicely with the band’s rock-out, but sing calmly style.


Soapbar are a well-practiced group, with chemistry that was evident in their good-natured banter between songs and entertaining on-stage cut-ups with each other. Even though the charming Athens band was grateful for their audience, they would have played to an empty venue if they had to – Soapbox came to play their hearts out.

-Amy Ishii

Festival Review: Fun Fun Fun Festival

Minor Mishap Marching Band
Photo by Tara Lacey

Waterloo Park // Austin, TX // Nov. 7-8, 2009

My Fun Fun Fun festivities may have been cut short due to a bout with streptococcus, but the fine folks over at The Austinist had plenty of pre-festival events to compensate. Friday night pre-parties dotted downtown Austin, many of them free to the public and VIP to festival attendees. Most notably was the official kickoff held in neighboring venues Mohawk and Club DeVille, called Local Music is Sexy 8. Together, the venues offered up a solid set of talent. How could a music weekend be marred by illness when it is gets started with the boisterous sounds of a bumble bee clad Minor Mishap Marching Band or chills to the tune of Austin’s own Black Before Red?

Photo by Heather Appleman

Nevermind the fact that Mika Miko and the Fuck Buttons played some of their final appearances together before hitting the road to hiatusville – the folks at Transmission Entertainment presented a solid lineup of newbies and indie heavy hitters to ease the pain of fans through music discovery. Discovery is the theme uniting festival patronage at Fun Fun Fun. This festival is all about underground acts and is thus an overtly hipster festival with few children to be found. One young man even took it on himself to capitalize on the gathering by “vending hipster” as he carried around a tray of wayfarer shades, fedora hats and other miscellaneous hipster wares for sale.

Les Savy Fav
Photo by Tevin Hudgins

As far as bands that stood out, I can only attest to Saturday’s talent (per the mentioned bout with strep throat), but let’s just say that Transmission Entertainment knows what they’re doing and once again Cherrypeel stepped up to the plate to offer festival-goers a blend of some of the most palatable indie acts. Festival heavy hitters Yeasayer rocked into the darkness with their psychedelic, synthy pop sounds, leading the way into a crazy night. Following Yeasayer’s happy art-pop, Les Savy Fav took the orange stage for a different turn with their face melting rock and over-the-top stage antics. Frontman Tim Harrington mounted a ladder and surfed it across the crowd perpendicular to the ground, then parallel, then with an unwelcome spectator aboard – all the while growling out lyrics to “The Sweat Descends” as he fought said spectator for his microphone and the spotlight.

Ratatat
Photo by Heather Appleman

Performer Magazine cover vets Ratatat pleased the crowd with their art riffs and heavy electro synth, but only after some serious technical difficulties from Saturday’s patchy rain. Ratatat’s tech issues left me curious as to what I was hearing from the blue stage and I headed over there to hear California alt-hop group the Pharcyde heating things up and their crowd was pumping. There were booties shaking and bodies grinding as they spit rhymes into the humid Austin night. Ratatat worked out the sound issues in time to close out Saturday strong, leaving festival-goers and strepto-infecto me ready for more.

-Tara Lacey

November 23, 2009

Check out the records we got in the office today

Krista Ravengael- Thanks, but No
In the Christmas Groove compilation
Sententia- The Center in the Sand
Pale White Moon- Call of the Wolf Peach
Allison Weiss- Allison Weiss Was Right All Along
Lakehurst is Burning- Lakehurst is Burning
Bill Bachmann- Big World Out There
Destry- It Goes On
Michael Tinholme- Brother, Can You Spare a Dime
Michael Tinholme- The Party’s Over
Michael Tinholme- When Winter Falls on New York
Michael Tinholme- Happy Christmas (War is Over)
Lima Charlie- Easy Kill
Estrella Cristina- This is Life
Brad Heller and the Fustics- Beyond this Life
Hot Day at the Zoo- Zoograss
Distant Lights- Simulacrum
Angelo Spencer- Angelo Spencer et Les Hauts Sommets
Letters- If It Ain’t Breakfast Don’t Fix It
Dave Perkins- Pistol City Holiness
Lemon Sun- Run With the Faithless
Stu, Mac and Clive- Dirty World Supreme
Brett Gleason- The Dissonance
Bray- @mphibian
Richie Lawrence- Melancholy Waltz
Virgin Islands- The Age of Anxiety
Neil Sedaka- The Music of My Life
Tab the Band- Zoo Noises

Live Review: Picture Atlantic // Bottom of the Hill // San Francisco, CA // Nov. 6, 2009



The Bottom of the Hill pulsed with a vibrant energy as Picture Atlantic took the stage, enveloping the crowd in an aura of fantastic merriment. Frontman Nikolaus Bartunek (vocals/keys/guitar) radiated a sort of vivacious attitude with his spastically entertaining dance moves and his contagious smile (not to mention, he had a hell-of-a-voice). All the members in the band were lively and energetic, having as much fun playing their music as the audience had listening to it. Their stage presence was electrifying and spirited, adding to the overall aesthetic of the performance.



The band produced catchy, danceable tunes that drove the crowd wild and clung to your memory. Their slower, more intimate songs drove straight to the heart, pulling you into a state of emotional bliss and putting your mind at ease. Although the band may appear to be producing traditional alternative rock, that is not the case. Their pop-ish, upbeat songs are reminiscent of a British pop-rock sound, but the they manage to take that style and make it completely their own. The set consisted of an even balance of jaunty and contemplative songs, quickening your heartbeat and then soothing you with a soft, delicate ballad.

The crowd continued to respond positively to the band’s zealous performance, feeding into the energy emitted by the musicians and creating an atmosphere of overall delight. Although they were the opening act at a CD release party, Picture Atlantic owned the stage while they were on it, putting on a memorable show and raising the spirits of all who were in attendance. It’s perfect lazy day beach music for anyone who loves a captivating sound and that good lasting feeling you get when you know you’ve just experience something that truly made you smile.

-Stephanie Dotto

Record Review: As Tall As Lions - You Can't Take It With You


Press play. Hear the music swell forward, anxious and wanting, elevating your heartbeat with every stomp and clap. Finger-picked acoustic guitar smoothes the edges of the music as it crests into a wave that thrusts your ears into the many, many thick, calm and serene rewards of You Can’t Take It With You. An album overflowing with moments that feel so very lush, with moments that are here and now and nowhere else.

This is As Tall As Lions.

This latest album from the Long Island quartet, nearly two years in the making, achieves sonic landscapes as arid as desert and dripping wet as jungle – all encompassed within a flow that feels as natural and evolving as the passing sun. There is a sensibility in the writing and production that evokes images of closed eyes and shared smiles in the engineering booth. They worked hard, that much is clear. Did they get what the worked for? Well, it’s difficult to throw full support behind something, but it must be said: yes. You Can’t Take It With You by As Tall As Lions is a positively stellar work of music.

The opener, “Circles” is an immediate departure from the wintered cityscape texture of their previous, self-titled album. The song is kinetic and it is a statement piece. It immediately comes alive with a pulse that feels like a more organic nod to Radiohead’s “15 Step.” The coarse rhythm of the stomps and claps flower into a satisfyingly thick harmony-laden chorus. Pulsating harmonies and a guitar solo that absolutely screams mounts the energy higher and higher, culminating in an abrupt ending. It leaves the ears suspended mid-air to be utterly smacked by the entrance of the next track, “Sixes & Sevens.” This is Rock Music, ladies and gentlemen.

The title track, “You Can’t Take It With You,” with its glistening textures and opening Spanish Phrygian melody, is a desert mirage in the heat of this album’s mid-day sun. The heavy verse precedes a lush chorus drenched in the sweat of an acid trip. By the end, a dramatic color change triggered by the line “give me your consciousness” may very well dilate your pupils. “Duermete” is where the labor becomes that of love. The song is warm and damp, a deeply personal celebration of introspection. It’s a love song for the present, no matter how difficult it may be. Its delicate, piano-driven hits bounce into the thick of four-part harmony to close out the first half of the album.

The split in You Can’t Take It With You is quite apparent from the four-minute ambient interlude that follows “Duermete.” From here on out, it feels like the B-side with its enjoyable, but alas, significantly less memorable tracks (excluding “The Narrows”). While this album was perhaps abrasive on the first listen, it was compelling and on fire from minute one. Since that first listen, it has aged well as its distinctly foreign flavors soon became familiar and ultimately soothing. The music stays warm until the nightfall of the B-side, and even then, remains endearing. As they are not profoundly technical musicians, As Tall As Lions rely on their natural gift to turn what in lesser hands may just be sounds into pure music. In their lyrics, they are hopeful where others are lonesome – even in their darkest of subjects such as existential crisis:

“What a life, what a lie
We’re living here on borrowed time
And life’s what happens in between the planet and the…
You either live it up
Or don’t live it down
So don’t be giving up
Or let it bring you down”

It’s hard to say how far-reaching this album will be. It’s melodically driven pop-rock, but with a very distinct flavor. One can only hope this album spreads to as many heads as possible, since those are sure to become home to expanded minds.

-Will Cady

November 17, 2009

Check out the records we got in the office today…

The Great Affairs – self-titled
Anna Madorsky – Incantation
Diego’s Umbrella – Double Panther
Patrick Kavaney and the Last Drags - Darning Socks for the Apocalypse
Camp Out – Closer
Bryan Minus – Forage
Faello Nor – Solus Affairs
Tomeka Williams - The Black Hood
Thomas’ Apartment – Tuesday Night Lights
The Alpha Centauri – Lavarocks
Lovewhip – Love Electric
Doug & Telisha Williams – Ghost of the Knoxville Girl
Hey Mama – self-titled
Julianna Barwick – Florine
JahQues – self-titled
Toro y Moi – Causers of This
Field Music - self-titled
Bums Life – Stumblin’ & Mumblin’
Annie Crane – Through the Farmland & the Cities
Jacob Jones – Bound For Glory
Derek Hoke – Goodbye Rock N Roll
Ben Sollee and Daniel Martin Moore – Dear Companion
The Album Leaf – A Chorus of Storytellers
Brown Bird – The Devil Dancing
South China – Washingtons
Honey Clouds – Fall on the Honey Clouds

November 16, 2009

News: Kill Hannah's van stolen


Emo-goth band Kill Hannah recently had their van and trailer with all of their equipment (totaling $120,000), merch and personal belongings stolen in Philadelphia. Their van was parked at the Holiday Inn, 900 Packer Ave., when the robbery happened.

The band had to cancel the rest of their tour dates. Police recovered the van with an empty trailer a day later. Tragically, the band's equipment was destroyed in a bus fire in Europe last year.

This happened only a week after another band, Mae, had their van stolen from the same location. Sean Agnew of R5 Productions says that at least 10 bands have had their equipment stolen from this location.

Keep your eye out for some of the stolen gear:

Epiphone Elitist Riviera Custom Shop SN#T301722
1992 Ernie Ball Music Man Stingray Bass
Pair of matching vintage 1968 Fender Bassman Heads Custom Shop
Gibson ES-135 White
2003 Gibson Firebird
Marshall Triple Lead Stack

Fans have already starting helping the band out by setting up a donation website: www.killhannah.net/donate.

If you have any information about the missing equipment, e-mail bethany@davisartistmanagement.com.

News: NY Songwriter's Circle announces songwriting contest finalists


The New York Songwriters Circle recently announced 12 finalists for its fourth annual songwriting contest and three finalists for its Young Songwriters Award.

The finalists for the songwriting contest are Barnaby Bright, Kate Branagh, Caleb Hawley, Clara Oman, Janet Onyenucheya, Adrien Reju, Martin Rivas, Bobby Smith, Chloe Temtchine, Justin Tracy, the Sweet Remains and Reed Waddle.

The Young Songwriter Award finalists were chosen by a poll on the social networking and gaming website Fashion Fantasy Game. They are 15-year-old Ali Brustofski of New York, 17-year-old Aubrey Caswell of Thousand Oaks, Calif., and 17-year-old Maddie Georgi from Pittsburgh.

Past winners of NYSC’s contest include Grammy-wining songwriter Gordon Chambers (who wrote “I Apologize” for Anita Vaker) and Siedah Garret (who co-wrote “Man in the Mirror” for Michael Jackson).

The winners will be determined by a panel of judges at live performances on Nov. 18 and 19 at Bitter End in Greenwich Village.

The winner will receive over $25,000 in cash and prizes as well as a performance spot with John Oates, a Gibson acoustic guitar, an opportunity to record with producer Glenn Barrett and a guest spot on Jonathan Clarke’s Q104.3 radio show.

Live Review: Hawks and Predator

Hawks

The 529 // Atlanta, GA // Oct. 26, 2009

Once again, the 529 Bar in the East Atlanta Village hosted a magnificent Monday night concert that showcased some of the city’s finest local talent. The small club has quickly gained a paramount reputation for cheap drinks, great bands and one of the best sound systems in the entire city. Usually Monday night shows are free, but a touring band from the U.K. called Future of the Left caused the door price to rise to $7. Still, by the time Predator took to the stage at a little after 10 p.m., the venue was at capacity.

In the vein of classic punk rock bands from a time forgotten, Predator is easily one of the city’s most entertaining punk acts. The three-piece blistered through their borderline early '80s hardcore songs that also entwine bits and pieces of more modern elements. The guitars were raunchy and distorted, the drums were fast and often in double-time, and the when the vocals synced up it was damn near perfect. Their vintage-punk sound is slightly nostalgic, but also at the same time incredibly progressive. Tearing through some of their songs like “Creep” and “You,” it was plain to see that these men are students of their genre and are well on their way to becoming masters.

Hawks

For anyone in Atlanta that hasn’t seen the spectacle that’s a Hawks show, my god was this a great night to start. Hawks is the sort of band that will unapologetically scare the shit out of your parents, grandparents and other assorted family members. Their songs are noisy, dissonant, aggressive and sexually charged. Their set opened up with their traditional mix of samples and crowd banter, but quickly exploded into their noise-core set. Andrew Wiggins’ guitar riffs scream and yell with the utmost ferocity and gruff. The rhythm pockets created by the drummer and bass player drive the songs while chaos is created around their anchor.

When singer/screamer/yeller Mike Keenan starts doing his thing, well…that’s when the real show begins. One of the best front-men in the city, Keenan charges the crowd, grabs random bystanders and screams into the microphone and their ears, climbs structures and lets girls stick their fingers down his throat. Needless to say, if you have any qualms about being in a situation that could potentially erupt into an awkward situation, or if you can’t hold your own in the pit, then stand back. Otherwise, the show culminates in Keenan stripping down to a banana hammock while the rest of the band builds to a dissonant and dischorded crescendo. Hawks is always an awesome experience and on this night they were in rare form.

-Albert Opraseuth

November 12, 2009

Live Review: Reptar


The Secret Squirrel // Athens, GA // Sept. 29, 2009

The Secret Squirrel, an Athens resident’s home-turned-concert-venue, sprung to life Sept. 29 as Reptar was about to hit the stage. Staying true to their faithful followers' expectations, the band once again delivered a top-notch performance. Reptar cranked out their captivating electronic-pop, with lively synth lines and contagious beats that kept the crowd dancing the entire set.


Members Graham Ulicny (guitar, vocals), William Kennedy (keyboards), Ryan Engelberger (bass) and Andrew McFarland (drums) thought the crowd was so wonderfully raucous they decided to hold a dance competition, to which the winner received a golden spatula. The ease with which Reptar was able to form a formidable connection with their crowd only added to the enthusiasm of the already electrical ambiance, as if those in attendance needed anything other than singer Graham Ulicny’s talents for entertainment.


A fairly accurate description of the Secret Squirrel venue would be "garage-sized." Yet, this contributed nicely to the feel that everyone knew everyone else, and Reptar were just coming around to see their old, close friends, to hang out, and rock out. The environment was laid back – no bouncers, no one to take tickets or monitor who came and went – not to mention the stage was barely raised, further solidifying the fact that Reptar were just one with the crowd. Even if you were to step outside for a quick breather, you’d still be able to get a clear glimpse of the band through the doors. If the goal for concert attendees was to come out on a school night, hear some Reptar at their best, meet some new folks, and dance like mad for the golden spatula, then anyone who was there would rave that the night was a wild success.

-Review by Amy Ishii; photos by Parker Feirbach

News: Folk Music History Month in Harvard Square


A collaborative of members from the New England Folk Music Archives and the Harvard Square Business Association, called Forever Young, have launched a Folk Music History Month in Harvard Square for November.

The celebration includes a series of multimedia events involving Harvard Square storefronts and restaurants. The “Community Gallery Window Project,” displayed inside stores, features vintage photos, folk art, and folk music history ephemera from private collections and artists who spent time in the area. Some of the musicians captured in the photos include Janis Joplin, Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Tom Rush and Taj Mahal.

There's also a variety of shows throughout the month, including “Brunch with the Folks” on Nov. 15, where a number of bands will be featured from brunch to dinnertime at a number of different venues. Other events include “Irish Music in Boston,” a discussion and performance at Tommy Doyle’s on Nov. 19; a screening of the film “Festival!” at the Brattle Theater on Nov. 22; and folk music every night through the end of November at Club Passim on Palmer Street.