STREAM: Orenda Fink - Live on KCRW
DOWNLOAD: Orenda Fink - "High Ground" (w/ Isaac Brock)
Orenda Fink has had a busy year thus far between Azure Ray's reunion and the release of the debut CD from her electronica/dub project O+S earlier this year. Orenda hasn't slowed down and has a solo CD, Ask the Night, coming out October 6th on Saddle Creek.
Ask the Night is close in style to Azure Ray's music but the songs on this new disc have none of Azure Ray's lush arrangements. The musical arrangements on Ask the Night are fairly minimalist but the disc has a raw warmth to its sound. Most of the tracks were recorded live to 8-track in Fink's Omaha basement.
To dive into the disc, the 10 tracks on Ask the Night span a number of different styles but the core of the disc is southern gothic folk and the songs are stories of love and loss. Four songs are collaborations with Birmingham, AL artist/poet Chris Lawson who described the CD as "a narrative journey that is rooted in memories (both personal and collective) and charts georgraphies (literal and metaphorical)...Fink's new songs are unique in their ability to distill moments of heartfelt loss and pain transcended through observation, knowing, even joy."
While all of the songs are structured around Orenda's plaintive vocals, she uses a wide range of "americana" instruments (pump organ, saw, mandolin, banjo, accordion, etc.) to support her stories and melodies. She is able to twists these instruments and her vocals around different aspects of the folk genre and her songs touch upon country, bluegrass and even an old-time waltz. The disc features a wide array of players which include producers Stephen Bartolomei and Andy LeMaster, Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse), Dan McCarthy (McCarthy Trenching), and Adrianne Verhoeven (Dri, The Anniversary, Art In Manila).
Orenda Fink is playing the Knitting Factory on October 22 as part of Saddle Creek's CMJ Showcase. Other bands on the bill include Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, Old Canes, UUVVWWZ, Beep Beep and guest Suzannah Johannes. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 DOS.
Orenda Fink's MySpace Profile
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
STREAM: Orenda Fink - Live on KCRW
DOWNLOAD: Harper Simon - "Shooting Star" (MP3)
For years I've been a strong believer that iTunes (not illegal downloading) killed the music industry. Too many bands had two-three radio singles on an LP/CD and 5+ tracks of filler.
With this in mind, I loved Harper Simon's quote: “The long playing album is not just ten songs thrown together randomly. It has an arc. It has a structure. It is the attempt to make ten songs that are all as good as each other, and fit together in a seamless whole. Long playing albums like Sgt Peppers, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Pet Sounds, Blonde On Blonde, Sticky Fingers -- these albums have helped define our culture. When I was making this record, I was very conscious of making a record that was an homage to the LP.”
Harper Simon, son of Paul Simon and Peggy Harper, just released his debut CD on iTunes (Vagrant/Tulsi) and physical copies are coming out on Oct. 13th. Harper's music falls mostly into the alt-country genre and it has sort of a M. Ward/Conor Oberst feel to it. The new disc was recorded with a wide array of musicians that range from all-star nashville session players to Petra Haden and Sean Lennon to Paul Simon.
The show at Mercury Lounge is an Early Show with doors at 8PM and show at 8:30PM. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 DOS.
Harper Simon's MySpace Profile
Mick Jagger has never lived down saying 30 + years ago " “If I’m singing ‘Satisfaction’ when I’m 40, I’m going to kill myself”.
Yoko Ono is now 76 years old and she just released a 15-track CD of new material recorded with her Plastic Ono Band. The new disc, Between My Head and the Sky, was recorded at Sear Sound, the same studio that used to house the old Hit Factory (where Double Fantasy was recorded).
Sean Lennon both produced with Yoko and acted as musical leader for a group evenly divided between Japanese avant pop musicians, and downtown Manhattan improvisers. In the Japanese contingent is Yuka Honda of Cibo Matto, plus the current group led by Keigo “Cornelius” Oyamada, which includes Yuko Araki and Hirotaka Shimmy Shimizu. Cornelius and Ms. Ono performed together in Tokyo in January, and Yoko was so happy with the result she invited them over to record. In the Manhattan improv camp we find Shahzad Ismaily (guitar, bass, percussion), Erik Friedlander(cello), Michael Leonhart (trumpet, vibes), Daniel Carter (reeds) and Indigo Street (guitar) -- a singularly gifted group of instrumentalists.
Yoko and Sean were on The View earlier today for an interview and they also performed "I'm Going Away Smiling" from the new disc.
Between My Head and the Sky is available from iTunes (with a live bonus track), Amazon and everywhere else that you would expect.
Yoko Ono's Plastic Ono Band
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
DOWNLOAD: Mystery of Two - "Repeat It" (MP3)
You have to love a band that can capture the proto-punk urgency of bands like Television, Pere Ubu and early Talking Heads and create music that sounds fresh and alive. Cleveland's Mystery of Two is touring behind their recently released self-titled second disc (Exit Stencil Recordings) and are in town for two shows this week.
The first show is Thursday night at The Charleston (Why doesn't The Charleston have a decent website?? Someone other than me might want to know cover charge, set time, etc.).
The second show is at Piano's on Saturday night with Exit Stencil label mates HotChaCha. Cover is $10 -- HotChaCha goes on at 10PM and Mystery of Two play at Midnight.
Mystery of Two - CMJ Festival, Spike Hill, Brooklyn, NY 10-21-08
Here is Mystery of Two's upcoming tour dates:
Oct. 01, 2009, 8:00PM, The Charleston, Brooklyn, New York
Oct. 02, 2009, 8:00PM, Asbury Lanes w/ HotChaCha Asbury Park, New Jersey
Oct. 03, 2009, 8:00PM, Piano’s w/ HotChaCha, New York, New York
Oct. 04, 2009, 2:00PM, Ruintown w/ HotChaCha (Skate Board Party & BBQ), Baltimore, Maryland
Oct. 05, 2009, 9:00PM, HMAC w/ HotChaCha, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Oct. 06, 2009, 8:00PM, The Velvet Lounge w/ HotChaCha, Washington, Washington DC
Oct. 07, 2009, 8:00PM, The Boot w/ HotChaCha, Norfolk, Virginia
Oct. 08, 2009, 10:00PM, The Tin Roof w/ HotChaCha, Charleston, South Carolina
Oct. 09, 2009, 9:00PM, The Caledonia w/ HotChaCha, Athens, Georgia
Oct. 24, 2009, 8:00PM, CMJ Showcase @ The Charleston, Brooklyn, New York
Mystery of Two's MySpace Profile
I've been reading about Lemon Andersen's one man show (check out the write-up in the Times) and it sounds like it is going to strike some poignant chords with anyone who grew up in Brooklyn (or any large, urban city) in the 80's.
County of Kings is set in Sunset Park and Brooklyn-born Puerto Rican poet Lemon Andersen gives a tough, yet moving biographical account of a good kid growing up in an unforgiving environment. A true story of finding passion and purpose against all odds, Lemon paints a vivid portrait of his difficult and sometimes humorous experiences growing up in Brooklyn during the birth of hip-hop.
"Lemon Andersen is best known from his regular appearances on HBO’s Def Poetry presented by Russell Simmons, and as an original cast member and writer of the TONY award-winning Def Poetry Jam on Broadway. He can also be seen opposite Denzel Washington in Spike Lee’s Inside Man, and is featured in The Soloist, starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey, Jr."
The show formally opens on October 12th but previews start tonight. Tickets for all preview shows are $25. Once the show 'formally' opens, ticket prices range from $50 - $60 (with a limited number of $25 tickets available at the box office).
Tickets to The Public Theater (425 Lafayette in the East Village)
Country of Kings (Facebook)
Monday, September 28, 2009
The multi-Grammy winning artist hunkered down in recording studios in LA, Brooklyn, New York and his hometown of Vancouver for the last six months to make his "ultimate record about the inevitable roller coaster ride of relationships." The first single, "Haven't Met You Yet,” written by Bublé (with Alan Chang and Amy Foster) was released to radio on August 31st. Additional tunes on the album include "Cry Me A River,” "You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You,” "Georgia On My Mind" and "Baby (You’ve Got What It Takes)" which was performed with Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings. The title song is a cover of the Van Morrison gem "Crazy Love.” The CD closes out with a haunting version of "Stardust" which is performed with the acapella group Naturally 7. The album was produced by David Foster, Bob Rock and Humberto Gatica.
"I started this record knowing I was going to record it differently than my previous ones. I dug way deeper and was more introspective on this one. Basically, I sang the truth - made each song autobiographical - and you can definitely hear the difference. I went back to the way my idols made their records. I wanted an organic feel - so people could feel like they were in the studio with me. The musicians and I all sat in the room, recorded it right from the floor and we let the sounds all come together and bleed into one another. It's not contrived. Not too perfect. It just feels really good," commented Bublé on the recording process for "Crazy Love.”
Singer and songwriter Michael Bublé has sold over 22 million CDs worldwide. His previous CD, the Grammy winning, Call Me Irresponsible (2007), was a number one album in over 15 countries. His 2005 CD, It's Time, holds the record as the longest running title to remain on the Billboard Traditional Jazz charts - a full two years. It sat in the Number One position for over 80 weeks. He has had two Number One singles, "Everything" and "Home" which was also a Number One hit for Blake Shelton on the Country charts.
MICHAEL BUBLÉ “CRAZY LOVE” TRACKLISTING:
Cry Me A River
All Of Me
Georgia On My Mind
Haven't Met You Yet*
All I Do Is Dream Of You
You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You
Baby (You've Got What It Takes)
At This Moment
Whatever It Takes (bonus track)
*co written by Michael Bublé
DOWNLOAD: Julie Peel - "Unfold" MP3
Julie Peel is a Canadian singer/songwriter who just released her debut CD, Near The Sun, on American Laundromat Records. With lyrics that sound like semi-confessional stories and a layered, atmospheric production, some immediate points of comparison are artists like Beth Orton and Lisa Germano.
Julie first came to my attention with a stripped down cover of The Cure’s “A Night Like This” which was included on the Just Like Heaven: A Tribute to The Cure compilation.
While this cover tune is a good started point to Julie’s music, the music on this CD is much more varied. On a number of songs, Julie sings with a smooth and subdued voice but there are other songs (“Once More With Feeling”, “Alone”) captures an Americana/alt-country sound (think Michelle Shocked). The alt-country imagery on these songs is further strengthened by the use of ukulele, banjo, glockenspiel and kazoo. Rounding things out are subtly catching pop tunes like “Living in a Movie”.
According to a recent interview, Julie played all the instruments on the demo CD that proceeded Near The Sun. While Julie plays a number of instruments on each track (in addition to producing the CD), she is joined by two – three backing musicians on most of the tracks. Pulling from another interview, Julie said “I prefer to play with musicians, ‘cause like you said, it’s already intimate material, and I don’t really like to be the center of the attention. “
American Laundromat Records will celebrate the release of "Near The Sun" with a free show (open to the public) on October 10th (8pm - 11pm) at Pete's Candy Store in Brooklyn, NY. Julie Peel will perform with her full band (traveling as far away as France and Sweden to back her), and there will be very special guest performances by The Caulfield Sisters, Dylan in the Movies, Emilie Mover, and Rachel Browne. Though her contributions to the ALR compilations were noteworthy in their own right, this collection of original material bears testimony to Julie Peel’s own dynamic pop sensibilities.Links:
Julie Peel's MySpace Profile
Thursday, September 24, 2009
STREAM: Genesis Live 1973 - 2007 (9 tracks from the Box Set)
I always loved the Peter Gabriel era of Genesis and I stuck with the band until the 1983's self-titled Genesis LP.
Next Tuesday (Sept. 29th), Rhino is coming out with a 10-CD live box set that includes the four live albums recorded by the band from 1973 to 1992 along with some rare archival material from the 1973 (Selling England by the Pound) and 1975 (Lamb Lies Down on Broadway) tours.
The first (in chronological order) CD is a stereo/5.1 reissue of Genesis Live, which was originally recorded in February 1973. As this was a single LP, five tracks from a Lamb show recorded live at the Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles 1/24/75 have been added to the disc. This later show was allegedly recorded live for Dutch radio and selections from this show are on the 30+ year old bootleg As Through Emerald City. For long-time collectors, the good news is that only one song ("Anyway") overlaps between this release and the bootleg.
The next CD is Seconds Out which was recorded in Paris in 1976/7. This is a straight-forward stereo/5.1 reissue.
The next CD is Three Sides Live which was recorded in Germany in 1981. I hadn't realized that the original US pressing (3-live sides + a studio side is out of print. This reissue (which is only in stereo) is the old UK version of Three Sides Live, which features a fourth live side with the tracks "One for the Vine", "The Fountain of Salmacis" and "It/Watcher of the Skies". "Watcher of the Skies" is an instrumental version from the 1976 tour with Bill Bruford.
The next CD, The Way We Walk, was recorded at Earls Court, London in 1992. This reissue (stereo only) contains both The Longs and The Shorts along with the previously unreleased track "Turn It On Again".
The final CD, Live at The Rainbow 1973 (Stereo/5.1), was recorded on 10/20/73 at the Rainbow Theatre in London. Part of this show was originally aired on the KBFH and five of these nine tracks were included in the Genesis Archive 1967 - 1975 box set.
Here is the complete track listing for this disc.
1. Watcher Of The Skies (5.1 version only)**
2. Dancing With The Moonlit Knight
3. The Cinema Show**
4. I Know What I Like(In Your Wardrobe)
5. Firth Of Fifth
6. The Musical Box (5.1 version only)**
7. More Fool Me
8. The Battle Of Epping Forest**
9. Supper’s Ready
Los Angeles based NWOBHM/traditional metal band White Wizzard made their East Coast debut last month at the Brooklyn Thuder Fest at Club Europa. The band's debut EP "High Speed GTO" was released on Earache Records earlier this month and is getting excellent press. (Check out the coverage in the Village Voice)
I had the opportunity to catch up with the band before their set and I've included some footage from the band's live set after the interview.
White Wizzard recently posted on their MySpace page (link below) that they just finished recording their first full-length disc which is due out early next year.
For anyone who missed Pelican's set the other night at Brooklyn Masonic, the band is coming back through in December for a show at Highline Ballroom.
Pelican is releasing their fourth full-length and Southern Lord debut, What We All Come to Need, on October 27th.
What guitarist Laurent Lebec has dubbed “the most perfect synthesis of everything we’ve done to date, sonically”, this new album is a giant step forward within the complex, intricate, beautiful and crushing sound Pelican is famous for. The album features more guests than have ever appeared on a Pelican album before: Greg Anderson of sunn O))), Aaron Turner of Isis, Ben Verellen of Harkonen and Helms Alee and Allen Epley from The Life & Times and Shiner. Content-wise, Lebec says “there is a current of inspiration that feels particular to each album’s music and titles. Though we lack a singer, the song names are often conceptual. This new album speaks to a rapidly decaying world, the fulfillment we find in each other, as well as the resolve to move beyond disillusionment.” If the recent Ephemeral EP is any indication of what’s to come, we can expect nothing less than the apex of PELICAN’s creative output.The show at Highline Ballroom is December 2nd and Pelican is playing with recent Southern Lord signee Black Cobra and Disappearer. Tickets are $13 in advance and $15 DOS.
Monday, September 21, 2009
The Southern Lord label showcase is in town tomorrow night with Sunn O))), Earth, Pelican and Eagle Twin. The show is at Brooklyn Masonic Temple (317 Clermont Ave at Lafayette Ave.) and doors are at 8PM. Tickets are still available and are $25.
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to do a phone interview with Sunn O)))'s Greg Anderson but I completely dropped the ball on getting this posted. I finally got the audio file cleaned up and edited this past weekend.
The interview runs about 18 minutes and I talked with Greg about the new disc, Monoliths & Dimensions, the split-single Suicide tribute with Pansonic, touring plans, future releases on Southern Lord and more.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
DOWNLOAD: Eagle Twin - "Murder Of..." (Southern Lord)
Eagle Twin is a new Southern Lord signee who is part of the current Sunn O))) tour. The band has a day off between the show in Philadelphia (tonight) and Brooklyn (Tuesday) so they have scheduled an in-store performance and signing tomorrow night at Vintage Vinyl. The performance starts at 7PM and Vintage Vinyl is located at 51 Lafayette Rd., Fords, NJ 08863.
Eagle Twin features guitarist/vocalist Gentry Densley (Formerly of Salt Lake City's Iceburn and Ascend) and drummer Tyler Smith. The band just released their debut, The Unkindness of Crows, on Southern Lord which was recorded with producer Randall Dunn (Earth, Sunn O))), Stone Gossard, Ascend).
Eagle Twin's MySpace Profile
Pittsburgh’s Good Night, States just released a new EP “In the Impossible Tension” which serves as a follow-up to the band’s 2008 full-length debut Short Films on Self-Control. While the sound of this EP is a departure from the full-band sounds of Short Films on Self Control, the shift is more evolutionary than a change in direction.
This disc was recorded by singer/songwriter Steve Gretz and multi-instrumentalist Joe Tanner during the pair’s tenure in Northern New Jersey. The other three (Pittsburgh-based) members of Good Night, States will be plugging in their sound for the band’s live shows. For this EP, Gretz and Tanner filled the missing members’ sounds with homemade electronics.
I haven’t given a lot of thought to a 2009 “Top 10” list but this disc will likely be on it. The problem that I’m having with this review is finding the right words to describe the music. “Indie rock” is too generic a phrase and it doesn’t do justice to the band’s music. I received a recent email that said that I seem to ‘have an opinion on pretty much everything’ (probably a true statement) but I’m having a hard time finding a label or band that I can use as a reference point to describe Good Night, States’ music. Some of the electronic bleeping (some of which is generated by a handheld 1980 Casio VL-Tone, a calculator, etc.) sort of reminds me of Pianosarus (does anyone outside of NYC remember them?) but this too isn’t quite a valid point of comparison.
As I haven’t been able to find the right words, I’m going to try and go through some of the labels that I’ve been considering:
Charming: “In The Impossible Tension” is completely charming; this isn’t ‘cutsie’ pop but delicate arrangements of subtly complex songs
Intimate: All of the songs have a ‘warmth’ that lets you connect with both the music and the lyrics
Twee: While there are some twee-ish elements in some of the songs, this label doesn’t hold for more than a few seconds of any one song. Steve Gretz’s world-weary vocals also minimize the validity of this label
Electronic: Even with the stripped down arrangements, there is more fullness to the songs than most electronic/electronica bands
Dark: While there are some melancholy lyrics, I’m probably not the best person to judge ‘dark’ as I have this CD sitting next to some death metal CDs in my review queue. ‘Brooding’ might be a better word.
In the Pittsburgh City Paper, Steve Gretz is quoted as saying “one band member referred to this record as 'Good Night, States with the rock 'n' roll taken out.'"
Here is a full-band version of the lead-off track from the EP, "Arsonist's Blues".
Whatever the case, this EP is significantly more that a stop-gap filler and I’m looking forward to the band’s next full-length.
Good Night States
DOWNLOAD: Those Darlins - "Wild One"
DOWNLOAD: Those Darlins - "The Whole Damn Thing" (HearYa Session)
This has to be one of the coolest venues that I've ever heard about...
Next Saturday, Those Darlins are playing Bluegrass Underground at Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, TN.
Bluegrass Underground is a radio show recorded live 333 feet below ground at Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, Tn inside of what was named by the first people to behold the natural amphitheatre, The Volcano Room. Here water and time entwined 3.5 million years ago to create one of the most acoustically pure natural spaces on earth. No man-made sound reaches the Volcano Room and the living rock hued amid the eons is jagged and uneven, providing limited echo.Given that McMinnville is 14 hours from Brooklyn, I'm not going to make it to the show but...if anyone gets pictures, send them along and I'll get them posted.
The primordial silence and perpetual darkness give way each month to the sounds of the finest music of the greatest bluegrass musicians on earth. Regardless of outside temperature, the Volcano Room is a constant 56 degrees.
For anyone who is going to make it out to the show - tickets are $20 and are available through Bluegrass Underground's website.
DOWNLOAD: Beaten Awake - "Coming Home" (from the forthcoming release Thunder$troke)
Photo: Brice Forman
Kent, OH lo-fi rockers Beaten Awake have their second CD, Thunder$toke, coming out on October 13th on Fat Possum Records and there is a track from this forthcoming release posted above. Thunder$troke was recorded with producer Patrick Carney (drummer for The Black Keys) and this disc is the follow-up to Beaten Awake's 2007 debut Let's Get Simplified (released jointly by Fat Possum and Carney's Audio Eagle label).
Beaten Awake originally came together in 2005 in Kent, OH and the band has been honing their chops on the road, touring with bands that include The Black Keys, Heartless Bastards, and Dax Riggs. Beaten Awake has also backed Daniel Johnston and there are a number of videos from this collaboration on YouTube.
After playing some shows on the East Coast last month, Beaten Awake are back home in Ohio. Here are their upcoming shows:
Oct. 04th -- Cleveland, OH, Grog Shop w/Built to Spill
Nov. 18th -- Cleveland, OH, Grog Shop w/the Meat Puppets
Beaten Awake's MySpace Profile
STREAM: Foreigner - Seven Tracks from "Can't Slow Down" (Rhino)
I lost track of Foreigner for a number of years but they came back onto my radar when they opened for Led Zeppelin's reunion show in late 2007. The reconstituted band has been getting some great reviews for their live shows over the past few years and seem to be regularly selling out 1,000 - 1,500 capacity auditoriums.
Later this month, Foreigner is putting out their first dic of new material since 1994's Mr. Moonlight. The band is releasing the 2-CD/1-DVD set, Can't Slow Down, exclusively through WalMart on 9/29 for the price of $12. (Getting off-track for a moment, I have to applaud the band for the price point for this set. The iTunes AppStore has sold a ton of apps by keeping the price point low and it is nice to see some parts of the music industry follow suit.)
Can't Slow Down contains thirteen new songs (disc one), ten remixes of Foreigner's greatest hits (disc two) and a live DVD with performances from the band's recent European tour.
For anyone who hasn't been keeping with Foreigner, principal songwriter/guitarist Mick Jones is still the driving force behind the band. For the last few years, Kelly Hansen (from the late-80's blues/hard rock band Hurricane) has been on vocals and he hits the old and new material perfectly.
Foreigner is in town for a couple area shows in early October:
10/1/09 -- Westbury, NY, Capitol One Bank Theatre
10/2/09 -- New York, NY, Nokia Theatre
10/3/09 -- Lakewood, NJ, FirstEnergy Park
10/4/09 -- Torrington, CT, The Warner Theatre
10/6/09 -- Englewood, NJ, Bergen Performing Arts Center
Saturday, September 19, 2009
DOWNLOAD: Go Crash Audio - "The Gift"
By chance, I met some of the members of Go Crash Audio when they were in town for a show at Webster Hall and they were kind enough to give me a copy of their current CD Dear, Song In My Head.
There isn't a lot of background information on the 'net on Go Crash Audio so I can't lead in with much of a bio sketch. I did find that the band is based out of Omaha, NE and they released their first disc ...With Wings and Radar in 2006. Go Crash Audio played some dates on the 2007 Warped Tour and their punk-pop sounds fits well alongside bands like Cute Is What We Aim For, Hit The Lights and a lot of the Drive-Thru Records acts.
The band's current disc was produced by Zach Odom and Kenneth Mount (Cartel, Mayday Parade, All Time Low, Every Avenue, Radagun, The Fold, etc.) who give the band's sound a nice balance between Deryck Stanek's vocals and the band's energetic pop hooks. Lyrically, Go Crash Audio fall within the emo genre but they have more of a sense of humor than many of their contemporaries and don't seem to embrace the "life sucks" outlook that defines a lot of the emo genre.
Go Crash Audio is currently touring the East Coast with Conditions and here are the upcoming tour dates:
Sept. 21 2009, 7:00PM, Vibe Lounge, Rockville Center, New York
Sept. 23 2009, 7:00PM, Melrose VFW Post 1506, Melrose, Massachusetts
Sept. 24 2009, 5:00PM, Stadium Ten Pin, Manchester, New Hampshire
Sept. 25 2009, 5:00PM, Russellville Grange, Oxford, Pennsylvania
Sept. 26 2009, 6:00PM, The Eldolyn Terrace, Altoona, Pennsylvania
Sept. 27 2009, 6:00PM, Rockstar @ Peabody’s, Cleveland, Ohio
Sept. 28 2009, 5:00PM, Mac’s Bar, Lansing, Michigan
Sept. 29 2009, 6:00PM, The Mixtape, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Sept. 30 2009, 6:00PM, The Korova, Morris, Illinois
Go Crash Audio
Last month, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Tina Sugandh was in town for a press tour. Glam.com recently called Tina "the World’s First Bollywood Pop Star” and she has been performing in public since the age of five.
Tina recently sang and played tabla on Ringo Starr's new album, sang the theme song for Kelly Ripa's pre-Regis comedy "Hope and Faith" and she has had songs in movies such as Around the World in 80 Days, Christmas With the Kranks, Ice Princess, Raise Your Voice and The Clique. Tina has also had a couple of singles on the Billboard charts and her debut full-length, TablaGirl, is coming out on May 12th.
BrooklynRocks Interview with Tina Sugandh
Tina Sugandh - "Break Me"
Tina Gives a Tabla Lesson to Ringo Starr
STREAM - Seven Tracks from Chris Bell - "I Am the Cosmos" Re-Issue (Rhino)
Following right on the heels of the Big Star box set, Keep An Eye on the Sky, that came out last week, Rhino Handmade is releasing a limited edition 2-CD pressing of Chris Bell's solo disc I Am the Cosmos.
I am the Cosmos has been out of print for a number of years having first come out in 1992 (14 years after Bell's death) on the Rykodisc label. The Rhino re-issue builds on this original release and adds a second disc which contains thirteen previously unissued songs from Chris' pre-Big Star bands, Icewater and Rock City, along with alternate versions from I am the Cosmos sessions and post-Big Star tracks.
Among the wealth of unissued recordings are eight alternate versions and mixes of album tracks, including "You And Your Sister" with Mellotron in place of the original's string arrangement, and a later version of "Get Away" featuring Big Star's Alex Chilton on guitar, Ken Woodley on bass and Richard Rosebrough on drums.The only solo material that was released during Chris' lifetime was a 1978 Car Records single featuring Bell's "I Am The Cosmos" b/w "You And Your Sister." The first 1,000 orders for this new 2-CD set will receive an exclusive reproduction of the original 7”.
The collection also gathers up a number of unreleased songs Bell recorded that did not appear on I AM THE COSMOS, including two songs by Icewater (a precursor to Big Star); collaborations with Memphis songwriter Keith Sykes ("Stay With Me") and singer Nancy Bryan ("In My Darkest Hour"); and "Clacton Rag," an instrumental recorded in 1976 that features Bell solo on guitar.
Big Star's MySpace Profile
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Playlogic's Fairytale Fights is coming out on October 27, 2009 for Xbox 360™ and PLAYSTATION®3 entertainment systems. The game will not be available on the Wii (boo-hoo) but will be available for PC in 2010.
Fairytale Fights uses the Unreal Engine 3 technology and takes popular characters from well known fairytales and turns them on their heads as players must fight their way through hordes of bloodthirsty enemies on a quest to restore their own personal honor and re-establish peace in the land of fairytales.
Inspired by twisted cartoons like Happy Tree Friends and Itchy and Scratchy, and featuring a wildly colorful and distinct art style, players can cooperatively complete quests in the single-player storyline or compete in chaotic multiplayer battle with up to 4 players.
CID, the hero of this game, is a Crash Impact Dummy who feels like he has a bigger purpose in life beyond safety testing automobiles. CID's prayers are answered as his carping is overheard by inventor Professor B.M. Werken who gives CID a special suit and sends him off on a mission to rescue the professor's daughter MIA who has been kidnapped by the evil villian D-TROIT.
CID is a a 2-D platform game where you use both the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk to guide CID through various environmental obstacles that include toxic pits, timed switches, electric fences, guard dogs and more. While the game is targeted to a younger audience, the controls aren't the most intuitive which will keep this game out of reach of the really young.
The game starts with an optional tutorial which is useful for understanding the controls and the range of CID's movements. Unfortunately, going through the tutorial doesn't make controlling CID any easier. Knowing what to do and being able to execute the move (while being chased by an evil droid) are two different things. The one real 'downer' about the tutorial and various cutscenes is that the professor's voice is like nails on a chalkboard...and he speaks vvveeerrryyy slowly.
Anyway -- on to the controls. Moving through the basic side-scrolling screens is very straight-forward but, when CID has to run or shoot his bazooka, it gets a good bit more complex. To shoot the bazooka, you have to swing the Wii-remote over your shoulder while holding the A button. Unfortunately, this move is too close to the puch move (which is done by vertically shaking the remote) so - too often than not - you end up with results that you weren't intending.
The problem with these unintended moves is that they can result in your falling from a ledge or getting killed by an attacking bad guy. A BIG catch when you die is that you have to replay the level (and 're-solve' all puzzles) as there are no in-level save checkpoints.
The game keeps itself interesting with some secret levels, boss levels and a driving mission (which is very "Pole Position-ish"). The secret levels are critical for loading up on health, orbs and lives as, if you have to restart the game, you start with the number of lives that you left off with - not the full quota of five lives with which you started the game. Orbs are important too as, once you colelct 10 orbs, you can launch a panic attack which kills all enemies in the area with a shock wave.
A decent game for younger gamers who have the patience to work through the challenges with the controls
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Boris has just released the first 7" from their Japanese Heavy Rock Hits series on Southern Lord. Over the course of the next three months, three exclusive vinyl-only 7"s will be released. If you purchase the three-single package from Southern Lord (which is available only until the second 7" is released), you will receive a bonus fourth single. This bonus 7" contains an exclusive unreleased track and an etched b-side. This bonus track, "Seasons", will be included ONLY in this package and will not be available anywhere else.
"The first 7", Volume One, "8", features two newly recorded tracks. On Side A, the title track "8" continues the spacey hard-rock sound established on their classic albums Pink and Smile, building from a mono, lo-fi wall of feedback into a ripping, slab of lush vocals, crunchy guitar and thunderous drums. Things get switched up on Side B with "ねえエヴリワン/Hey Everyone", a chewy bit of power-pop bubblegum that sees the band mining a much lighter source for their sound. It's a reminder that the most daring thing this band can do is record something so straight-forward it could easily be misconstrued as "alt-pop". Dont fret its still got a dark core and is unmistakably Boris! Gorgeous tip-on, heavy-weight cardboard jacket designed by Stephen O'Malley." Boris' only US show this year was at All Tomorrow's Party and here is some quality live footage from the show that was posted to YouTube.
Boris' MySpace Profile
I had the opportunity to talk with with Ol Drake (guitar) and Mike Alexander (bass) when they were in town last month to promote Evile's forthcoming disc Infected Nation.
The new disc (along with a limited edition colored vinyl edition) comes out on September 21st on Earache Records. The band just released the first video from this release which is for the title track "Infected Nation".
Evile is touring around Europe for the rest of the year with Amon Amarth and US tour dates will hopefully follow sometime early next year.
Here are the current tour dates;
Sept. 25, 2009, 8:00PM, INFECTED NATIONS Release Show - o2 Bar Academy, London
Sept. 29, 2009, 7:00PM, Headline Show + DRONE - Bastard Club, Osnabrück
Sept. 30, 2009, 7:00PM, Headline Show + DRONE - Ballroom, Hamburg
Oct. 02, 2009, 8:00PM, w/ AMON AMARTH + ENTOMBED - Tavastia, Helsinki
Oct. 03, 2009, 8:00PM, w/ AMON AMARTH + ENTOMBED - Rytmikorjaamo, Seinajoki
Oct. 04, 2009, 8:00PM, w/ AMON AMARTH + ENTOMBED - Teatria, Oulu
Oct. 06, 2009, 8:00PM, w/ AMON AMARTH + ENTOMBED - Gamla Tingshuset, Ostersund
Oct. 07, 2009, 8:00PM, w/ AMON AMARTH + ENTOMBED - Kulturhuset, Orebro
Oct. 08, 2009, 8:00PM, w/ AMON AMARTH + ENTOMBED - Union Scene, Drammen
Oct. 09, 2009, 8:00PM, w/ AMON AMARTH + ENTOMBED - Byscenen, Haugesund
Oct. 10, 2009, 8:00PM, w/ AMON AMARTH + ENTOMBED - USF Verftet, Bergen
Oct. 11, 2009, 8:00PM, w/ AMON AMARTH + ENTOMBED - John Dee, Oslo
Oct. 13, 2009, 8:00PM, w/ AMON AMARTH + ENTOMBED - Trädgårn, Goteburg
Oct. 14, 2009, 8:00PM, w/ AMON AMARTH + ENTOMBED - Train, Arhus
Oct. 15, 2009, 8:00PM, w/ AMON AMARTH + ENTOMBED - Vega, Copenhagen
Evile's MySpace Profile
King Diamond guitarist Andy LaRocque has remastered King Diamond's mid-90's albums The Spider's Lullabye and The Graveyard which are set to be released on October 13th. Each album will include bonus material that purchasers will be able to obtain digitally. Both The Spider's Lullabye and The Graveyard will include live “bootleg” versions (with video footage) of the following songs: 'The Spider's Lullabye' (from the album of the same name) and ‘Trick Or Treat' and 'Up From The Grave' from The Graveyard.
“Andy LaRocque re-mastered both records and you can really hear more details and sounds that I remember recording but didn't come through in the original mastering. The records have much more bottom end this time around. There's even more details and clarity than the original version and you'll hear things you've never heard before in both releases. Andy did a great job re-mastering and improving these albums above and beyond my expectations. The artwork has also been completely redone for Spiders and Graveyard and is just amazing. I did not expect them to come out this good and am just completely thrilled with the result.Links:
We originally were going to include bonus footage on the albums as a CD-ROM, but the sound and video quality was going to suffer tremendously and that is just unacceptable. Instead, the bonus footage is going to be available for download to those who purchase the albums. The video downloads will be available in multiple formats so everyone can see them."
King Diamond's Website
Monday, September 14, 2009
Poet/musician Jim Carroll died over the weekend and his death was announced publicly today.
All of the original Jim Carroll Band CDs are out of print but you can still order the Rhino best-of compilation A World Without Gravity from Amazon.
Jim Carroll Fan Site
Midwest transplants and recent Kanine Records signees We are Country Mice are playing the last night of their residency at Piano's with a free show on Thursday night. This is an early show and We Are Country Mice are playing at 8PM.
We Are Country Mice formed earlier this year and released a well-received limited edition single through Insound (whose site surprisingly seems to be under construction). Here is a live version of one side of the single:
We Are Country Mice - "Ballad of John" (Live @ Lit Lounge)
I caught the band when they opened for Drink Up Buttercup at Cameo Gallery. Time Out New York called the band “country-flecked indie pop” but I was thinking more "Weld" era Neil Young after seeing the band play live.
We Are County Mice are currently working on their first full-length which is due out in Feb. 2010.
We Are Country Mice
"History on My Arms" is a reissue of Lech Kowalski's 2003 documentary "Hey Is Dee Dee Home" with two additional video vignettes and a bonus audio CD.
I would assume that most readers are familiar with "Hey Is Dee Dee Home" so I won't go into great detail on the main feature. "Hey Is Dee Dee Home" contains interview footage with Dee Dee that was shot in 1992 for the still-unreleased Johnny Thunders bio-pic "Born to Lose". As such, the main subject of the interview is Johnny Thunders, The Heartbreakers and the almost-super group Whores of Babylon (which included Johnny, Stiv Bators and Dee Dee). Dee Dee is candid and honest about his drug habit and his relationships with Joey (stole his TV), Richard Hell (used to cop together) and Johnny (who he seems to respect but not particularly like). The main feature is a bit sad as Dee Dee seems fairly proud of his healthy living and that he doesn't have track marks on his arms anymore. He even asks the film crew to get him vitamins when they go out for coffee.
"History on My Arms" is the first of the vignettes and, while it is somewhat interesting, its non-essential. The first ten minutes shows Dee Dee riffing around on a guitar while the film crew sets up. The film then goes into an uninterrupted narrative of Dee Dee explaining the history behind each of his tattoos. While its kind of cool to see Dee Dee tell the 'history on his arms' uninterrupted, most of this footage is used in different parts of the main feature (with some different camera angles). The only thing to note though is that the continuous rolling of the camera brings out more of Dee Dee's personality and gives him a lovable charm.
I found "Vom in Paris" to be fascinating as I've read "Please Kill Me" (which spends some time talking about the "Whores of Babylon" recording sessions) and keep waiting for the full "Whores of Babylon" sessions to be released. Vom Ritchie was the drummer for the band and he reaccounts a significantly different version of the Dee Dee/Johnny Thunders falling out and the incidents that transpired that got Dee Dee sent back to NYC. I won't be a spoiler so I'm going to stop here.
"Dee Dee Blues" is a 40 minute bonus CD which is the 'diamond in the rough' of this release. This is a raw, lo-fi document of Dee Dee riffing on his guitar (seemingly dancing around the melody for "Can't Put Your Arm Around A Memory" at times), playing covers and talking to his cat. As a long-time bootleg collector, I think this footage is priceless.
If you are a Dee Dee Ramone fan, you need this release. If your reference point for Dee Dee is "Blitzkrieg Bop", this release probably isn't a good place to start.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
"Hurry Up Hedgehog!" is a puzzle game for the Nintendo DS that came out earlier this year from Oxygen Games. This game is based on a German board game called Igel Ärgern and the object is to get three of your four hedgehogs from the left to the right side of the board before your opponent(s) can do the same.
This game is easy to get started with as all of the action is right in front of you on the 6x9 board on the bottom screen. When it is your turn, you can move one hedgehog vertically (it has to be your own) and one hedgehog horizontally (your own or another player's). The turns are not timed so you have plenty of time to chose your moves with care. The challenge comes in making sure that the computer opponent or another human player doesn't shunt your hedgehog into one of the many holes that are scattered around the game board. If your hedgehog falls into one of these holes, it won't be able to get out until all of the other hedgehogs catch up to it.
As you can see from the picture, the top screen doesn't do much outside of keep score and provide you with some visual cues (via the hedgehog) on how you are doing in the game.
As a one-player game, "Hurry Up Hedgehog!" isn't that dissimilar from the iPhone games that I play on the subway on my way to work. Like many of the iPhone game, "Hurry Up Hedgehog!" warrants repeat play but there isn't enough depth to the game to warrant playing past the 15-20 minute train ride. What looks interesting though is that you can play against up to 5 opponents using the DS wireless feature but...I don't know anyone else with a copy of this game so I wasn't able to explore this feature.
I'm starting to feel really old --
I spent last weekend in DC and walked by the old 9:30 Club (picture below). That whole side of F Street has been remodeled and it looks like none of the properties have been rented (go figure...). Somehow, I don't think you would have had the music or the scene that sprung up out of the 9:30 Club in a neighborhood that now has a McCormick & Schmick and Gordon Biersch.
The same sentiment hold for CBGB. Forgetting the rent debacle, would the club have survived on the Bowery given the high-end stores and restaurants that have opened up around it?
Given the sky-high rents in most major cities, it just seems like there is no going home again.
After moving from DC to NYC in the 90s, I was a regular at the Continental (Divide) and Coney Island High and was sad to see both club go. (There was a quote from Trigger on BrooklynVegan a few years ago: "I’m surrounded by McDonald’s and Starbucks and K-Mart and I’m paying that level rent."
What took the cake for me was that I was on St. Mark's Place earlier today and the former Mondo Kim's location is going to be a karaoke bar. I wasn't that big a fan of Kim's - good used CD selection, major attitude from the employees - but I suppose that a karaoke bar makes the transformation of St. Mark's Place complete.
I fully recognize that change is a continual thing that happens everywhere (and that I'm the one who is out of the step with the pace of change) but I have a hard time seeing how this change is for the better.
Friday, September 11, 2009
DOWNLOAD: FranKo - "Night Time" Acoustic BritSounds Session (MP3)
UK buzz band FranKo were in NYC in late July for a brief promo tour. For anyone who hasn't heard the band, their sound falls somewhere between Franz Ferdinand and The Killers. I had the chance to catch up with the band at their first US show, which was at Kenny's Castaway, and filmed the first two songs of their set.
FranKo just released their debut single "Night Time" which is available on iTunes (click on the picture of FranKo for a direct link). The band is currently working on their first full length with producer Jim Lowe (The Stereophonics), which is due out in March 2010.
FranKo is playing a couple of shows in the UK next month (dates below) and will also be back in NYC for CMJ Festival.
Upcoming tour dates:
Oct. 03, 2009, 7:00PM, The Basement Door - Oxjam, Richmond
Oct. 31, 2009, 12:00PM, Freestyle Festival w/ MxPx, CKY, London
FranKo's MySpace Profile
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
This is likely to be one of the biggest releases of the year -
The Beatles' catalogue has been digitally remastered (for the first time) and packaged with a replica of the original UK album art, which includes expanded booklets containing original and newly written liner notes and rare photos. For this initial release, each CD will also include a brief documentary film about the album. Adding to the flurry, new stereo and mono box set collections will also be released tomorrow.
The remastering process took place over a four year period at Abbey Road Studios in London.
"The re-mastering process commenced with an extensive period conducting tests before finally copying the analogue master tapes into the digital medium. When this was completed, the transfer was achieved using a Pro Tools workstation operating at 24 bit 192 kHz resolution via a Prism A-D converter. Transferring was a lengthy procedure done a track at a time. Although EMI tape does not suffer the oxide loss associated with some later analogue tapes, there was nevertheless a slight build up of dust, which was removed from the tape machine heads between each title.
From the onset, considerable thought was given to what audio restorative processes were going to be allowed. It was agreed that electrical clicks, microphone vocal pops, excessive sibilance and bad edits should be improved where possible, so long as it didn’t impact on the original integrity of the songs.
In addition, de-noising technology, which is often associated with re-mastering, was to be used, but subtly and sparingly. Eventually, less than five of the 525 minutes of Beatles music was subjected to this process. Finally, as is common with today’s music, overall limiting - to increase the volume level of the CD - has been used, but on the stereo versions only. However, it was unanimously agreed that because of the importance of The Beatles’ music, limiting would be used moderately, so as to retain the original dynamics of the recordings.
When all of the albums had been transferred, each song was then listened to several times to locate any of the agreed imperfections. These were then addressed by Guy Massey, working with Audio Restoration engineer Simon Gibson.
Mastering could now take place, once the earliest vinyl pressings, along with the existing CDs, were loaded into Pro Tools, thus allowing comparisons to be made with the original master tapes during the equalization process. When an album had been completed, it was auditioned the next day in studio three – a room familiar to the engineers, as all of the recent Beatles mixing projects had taken place in there – and any further alteration of EQ could be addressed back in the mastering room. Following the initial satisfaction of Guy and Steve, Allan Rouse and Mike Heatley then checked each new re-master in yet another location and offered any further suggestions. This continued until all 13 albums were completed to the team’s satisfaction."
The collection of remasters comprises all 12 Beatles albums, with track listings and artwork as originally released in the UK, along with the US version of Magical Mystery Tour. Rounding out the set, Past Masters Vol. I and II are now combined as one title, for a total of 14 titles over 16 discs. This release marks the first time that the first four Beatles albums will be available in stereo in their entirety on compact disc.
The Wizard of Oz - 70th Anniversary Celebration with a Concert and Screening in Central Park on Sept. 29th
This event starts off at 7:30PM with Jennifer Hudson, Julianne Hough, Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson and Bilal performing songs from the movie. The movie, which will be shown on a giant inflatable screen, starts at 8:30PM.
The concert and movie are free; get to the Park early though to stake out a space because seating is 'first come, first serve'.
It won't be the same as seeing the movie in Central Park but, for anyone who misses this event, Netflix will be streaming "The Wizard of Oz" free online at www.netflix.com/wizardofoz for 24 hours beginning at 9:00 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 3.
Netflix Wizard of Oz 70th Anniversary Celebration
DOWNLOAD: Roman Candle - "They Say" (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: Roman Candle - "Why Modern Radio is OK" (Daytrotter Session)
Chapel Hill, NC indie rock band Roman Candle are playing a show tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge with Wild Beasts.
Roman Candle are currently touring behind their newest disc Oh Tall Tree in the Ear (released this past May) which is the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2006 Chris Stamey-produced release, The Wee Hours Revue. Oh Tall Tree in the Ear has been getting strong reviews and you have to love Paste Magazine's quote: "Oh Tall Tree in the Ear is part the kind of ragged, sprawling travelogue you'd imagine Paul Westerberg would pen if he was a roadie for Oasis at the height of Britpop, and part barrage of hallucinatory Dylanesque visions vomited up after a boozy, blurry night spent careening down dark, moonlit North Carolina backroads."
Tomorrow night's show is an early show - Roman Candle is listed on the Merc's website as going on at 7:30PM (which probably means 8PM). Cover is $12.
Roman Candle's MySpace Profile
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
My kids wanted to see the movie "Aliens in the Attic" when it was released in the theaters earlier this summer but we never found the time. As such, none of us can comment on how closely this game ties with the movie's plot line but that is probably not important as the game play is very familiar to the experienced gamer.
The game play reminds me of the late 80's arcade games like "Bad Dudes", "Super Mario Land" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". "Aliens in the Attic" combines elements of the 'best 'em up' games with that of a platform game. The plot of the game is that you have to guide the Pearson children through five sections/twenty-five levels of the family's vacation house as you attempt to save the Pearson parents and neighbors from the alien invasion. You can rotate your character between the three kids (Tom, Jake and Hannah) and each kid has unique abilities that you will need at some point in the game.
When you start the game, Tom and Jake have homemade guns with a limited amount of ammo. Hannah can't use a gun (ever) but she has the ability to double-jump to reach high platforms and to fit through narrow spaces - both of which are critical to successfully completing this game. The game moves on a scrolling left-to-right basis and, as you move through the game, you will find objects that will help you defeat the aliens. There are alien weapons (that only Tom can use), additional ammo, weapons upgrades, health packs and more. As you navigate the platforms and swarms of aliens, you will also have to defeat a boss in each of the five sections of the house.
"Aliens in the Attic" should resonate well with fans of the movie and junior gamers. I gave the game to my 12-year old to play as I wanted to get her unbiased reaction. As a non-gamer, she thought the game was 'hard' until I showed her how to move, fire and aim all at the same time. The game has now held her attention for multiple hours and she came close to finishing the other night.
The only thing to be watchful of is that experienced gamers may find the game too easy. I sat down one evening and finished the game in a couple of hours.
Friday, September 04, 2009
Cage Is Headlining Club Europa on Sept. 13th with Ravage, Machines of Grace, Martyrd and Phoenix Reign
DOWNLOAD: Cage - 9 Song Music Mega-Pack
Note: This download is legit - the band has made available 9 full length songs as a free download
San Diego power-metal band Cage are coming to the New York area to play the Binghamton Metal Festival on Sept. 12th. Before leaving the area, the band is playing a headlining show at Club Europa on Sept. 13th.
Cage has now been together for over 15 years and the band released their fifth album Science of Annihilation earlier this year. Cage plays traditional heavy metal (I learned this phrase from Al Ravage) and later period Judas Priest or Megadeth are easy points of comparison.
Cage is sharing the bill with Ravage, Machines of Grace (featuring Zach Stevens from Savatage), Phoenix Reign and Martyrd. Tickets are $10 and doors are at 7PM.
Cage's MySpace Profile
Ace Frehley will be doing an autograph signing at Vintage Vinyl on Saturday, Sept. 26th at 1PM. You have to pre-order (from Vintage Vinyl) a CD ($15.99) or LP ($17.99) of Ace's new release Anomaly to get into the signing.
While Vintage Vinyl's site says that Ace will only be signing copies of Anomaly, the email blast that I received from Vintage Vinyl said that "Ace will sign one record per customer (customer's choice) including KISS records."
As always - call the store to confirm...
Here is the video for "Outer Space", which is the first single from Anomaly.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
I had the chance to chat with Icelandic musician/singer Mugison last month just prior to his ‘5-shows in 5-boroughs’ awareness building campaign for Amnesty International. Mugison’s post-show reflections (from his MySpace blog) follow this interview.
|From Mugison - Hiro Ballroom, NYC|
BrooklynRocks: How did this ‘5-shows in 5-boroughs’ tour come about?
Mugison: On my last album Mugiboogie, I did a song called “The Animal” which is based on the 2007 Year Report from Amnesty International. As Amnesty “co-wrote” this song without knowing it, my US manager contacted the organization to ask if they wanted to do something with this as I felt I owed them something. This day of shows came out of those conversations.
BrooklynRocks: How did you come up with the idea of a show in each of the boroughs?
Mugison: I think that my manager got the idea from what I had been telling him about the promotional shows I’ve played in Iceland. You run to a shop, play a half-hour gig and then run to the next shop for the next set. I think that my record has been nine bookstores in a day.
BrooklynRocks: How often do you get over to the US? I think the first time that you hit my radar was the show at the Hiro Ballroom about a year ago.
Mugison: I’ve been really neglecting the US – I really want to work more over here. I’ve been making a living off music since 2003 and 99% percent of my time is spent doing stuff in Iceland or Europe. It is just so expensive to come over here with a band as it is such a big country. It is easier to focus on smaller countries like Germany as you can do three circles around Germany in four weeks or something. There are always ideas like moving out to the US for six months or so and really working it. My experience is that you have to come again and again and again to the same places. You start with 10 people in the audience, it grows to 50 and, if you are really lucky, you get a hundred by the third time you are there.
|From Mugison - Hiro Ballroom, NYC|
BrooklynRocks: As Mugiboogie came out last spring, is there any new material or another album forthcoming?
Mugison: Yeah – we toured last year and year was all about touring. This year I started to develop an instrument and we finally finished the first prototype for that instrument. My next album is going to be based around the concept of this new instrument, which is a mixture of…if you go to the dentist on acid and have a Terminator kind of scenario. It is hard to explain. My next album will be more electronic based than the last one that was more Jimi Hendrix influenced.
BrooklynRocks: For your next US release, are you going to stay with Ipecac?
Mugison: I don’t know – they do things on an album-by-album basis. They have been very kind to me spreading the word.
BrooklynRocks: I noticed on your website that you have the pay-what-you-will/free download thing going. What got you going in this direction?
Mugison: I figured I’d try it because people can get it anyway for free. I talked to this girl one evening who convinced me that it would be better if I give the music away and that way I’d get people’s email addresses so there is some value from them downloading.
BrooklynRocks: Now are you still making the hand-made CDs and how many are you making these days?
Mugison: For a $20 contribution, you get three CDs and two of them handmade. We have done 13,000 of the original and 32,000 of Mugiboogie.
BrooklynRocks: I read in an interview that you gave that you have little old ladies from your community in Iceland making the CDs and folding the art. How does that work in the community and what do they think about songs like “Jesus Is A Good Name to Moan”?
Mugison: (Laughs) Those little ladies are old ladies in my village and I’m not sure that they really understand English.
Here is Mugison's blog post on his 5-borough set of shows:
A very BIG thank you to all who came to the shows a few days ago in NY. I loved all 5 shows, it was a musical marathon. I did 45 min shows in each Borough. I started the day in Staten Island at the Jacques Marchairs Museum of Tibetan Art, Me and my gang were all so exited when we where driving to Staten Island, all wondering how the day would turn out.. so it was great to go into the Museum and see all that Tibetan Art. We all knew when we walked in there it was going to be great, we all calmed down.. Man, that place was so peaceful and beautiful. If your ever in NY and want peace of mind go down there and chill out, it’s amazing. Then we went up to Queens and played at Silent Barn, it was a special place, I think 5 or 6 people live there, like a socialistic commune. I used to live in a similar space when I was in London, I felt right at home. It was the hottest day of the summer in NY (so far), I sweat when I play the guitar and scream but in Queens I must have broken a record.
In the Bronx I played at the Bronx river art museum. Jose, the guy running the place, was very friendly, they had snacks and stuff, good stuff. By then I’d drunk 6 liters of water, I’ll have to admit all that sun and singing was getting to my head, making me feel weird in a good way. I was turning into a music junky, could not wait until the next one. We went to Manhattan and had an hour to kill. We got there early and it made me all itchy - i just wanted to pick up that guitar and play. There we played at the City Winery, it was the only kind of normal bar we played in on this funny tour.. a huge place. All went well.. I thought we had to run down to Brooklyn but we met so many friends in Manhattan we got a little bit delayed.. but that was okey.. we made it on time to Brooklyn to Pete’s Candy Store, the place was like a pocket theater.
It got packed, lot..s of icelandic folks which was great.. they helped me out singing some of the songs, great way to end the day in few singalongs. I was waiting all day for my voice to disappear.. cause I’d scream like a pig at all the shows, but it was still there when I finished the marathon, maybe a bit rough around the edges but still there.
The best thing with these gig..s was working with amnesty International. We got them to come along to all the gig..s and helped them promoting their campaign for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi. I did a song called the Animal on my last album Mugiboogie. I made the song after reading the amnesty 2007 year report... I played that song at all the show exept the last one..my head was playing tricks on me.. I thought I had played it.. but then I was told I forgot.. We were selling a poster at the gig..s to support Amnesty, ohh it was an honor for me to work with them, I hope this is just the beginning of our relationship.click here on the link.. You can go here and take action right now,. Every one of you counts, please check it out and fill out a simple form and take part changing the world to a better place.
I want to Thank Amnesty, Jerrod and the team at Gold Mountain for putting this together. Icelandair for the ticket and Aneels grandma for lending us her car..Also, I would like to thank Scott for coming out and filming the whole event.. Please check out his movie www.walkingonmyfingertips.com ..I Would also like to thank and a big kiss to Runa for coming along and sing at some of the shows with me.