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 (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 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 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 Na├»ve. “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

-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
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.

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