Issuu on Google+



DEEP TIME Going from Bedroom Recording to Pro Studios




PreSonus™ AudioBox™ 1818VSL. The thoroughbred USB 2.0 interface that’s more than just a one-trick pony.


Because the 1818VSL’s Virtual Mixer has a whole StudioLive Fat Channel of EQ, compression, and limiting plus reverb and delay effects, you can use it live on stage as a one rack space StudioLive mixer with iPad® control!

rom the folks who brought you the highly-respected FireStudio series interfaces, comes the same robust design and pristine sonics in a USB 2.0 design. Same Class A, high-voltage, XMAX™ microphone preamps that can render the most delicate musical details. Top-quality digital converters with –114dB dynamic range and JetPLL™ Synchronization to ensure optimal converter performance, better stereo separation and increased transparency. And big-boy features like Sync (Word Clock) Out, 8-channel ADAT I/O, and S/PDIF I/O.

Monitor with natural-sounding effects and signal processing.


You’ll make dramatically better recordings when you can hear real-time reverb, compression, and EQ in your headphones while tracking. Easy to do if you have a digital mixer or outboard effects processors. Impossible if you try to rely on your DAW effects plug-ins due to excessive latency (delay) that makes you sound like you’re playing in a tunnel.

So we sliced up a StudioLive™ 16.0.2 digital mixer and put its Fat Channel processors into the AudioBox 1818VSL interface — and then added reverb and delay. Now you can monitor with effects…free from audible latency.

The interface you can also use as a live performance mixer. On your laptop screen, the 1818VSL’s 26 x 8 Virtual Mixer looks a lot like VSL* on a StudioLive digital mixer. And it is. Complete with scene save and recall, and 50 signal processing pre-sets. Now, with AB1818VSL Remote for iPad®, a free download from the Apps Store, you can mix live while adding both effects and signal processing to your PA and monitor! Get full info on our website and then visit your PreSonus dealer soon.

Second Annual Users’ Conference September 28-29, 2012, Baton Rouge, LA *Virtual StudioLive. Our remote control program for Mac and PC.©2012, PreSonus Audio Electronics, All Rights Reserved. XMAX, FireStudio, StudioLive, and AudioBox are trademarks of PreSonus Audio Electronics. Weather in Baton Rouge at time of making this ad: a sizzling 98˚. But nice by September for PreSonuSphere.

Baton Rouge • USA

Grunge is more than just a genre. As any singer knows, grunge (along with dirt, grime, and sludge) is what happens to a vocal microphone, especially when it’s shared among different performers. Share music, not microbes. Get REBATES today on your own new Audio-Technica professional & elite vocal microphones…and Get Your Own Mic!

——— SEE ———O E S ID V —!——WARNING !


You may never use a club mic again! Visit for details and find your own mic.

Rebates for products purchased between July 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012.

iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Wi-Fi router required for wireless operation. Wi-Fi router and iPad not included.

wireless And tasty.

Lea rn mor e!

Break free from FOH conďŹ nement. With the DL1608’s seamless wired to wireless mixing capability, you can dial in the perfect mix from anywhere in the venue. Walk the room. Ring out monitors on stage. Mix from the bar. Hey, we just want you to be free. Think of it as 16 channels of digital liberation.



Deep Time by Andrew Fersch COVER



Keeping Austin weird, Deep Time (formerly Yellow Fever) is on a mission to create what they call “minimal weirdo pop.” They also happen to have some great insight on transitioning from bedroom recording projects to professional studios.




Sean Rowe by Beth Ann Downey

My Darling Clementine by Andrew Fersch The WHOevers by Jacquinn Williams

The deep-voiced singer/songwriter has a brand new album out on ANTI-, and we recently had a chance to talk with him about his cinematic lyrics, integrating nature into his writing, and his approach to new recording processes.

In the UK, if you ain’t American, you ain’t country. Or at least that’s what MDC is trying to disprove. Join us as we chat about vintage recording techniques, the duo’s marriage and its impact on the band, and the coolness factor of Stetson hats.

Chicago has no shortage of great hip-hop, and the WHOevers are looking to rise to the top of the hip-hop heap. These two Filipino MCs dish about their heritage, using social media to promote their music, and pre-recording tracks with Cubase.

D E PA R T M E N T S 5 Obituaries

32 Top Picks: The best in new music

54 Gear Reviews

6 Local News

44 Connect With Community Radio

56 Flashback: Scully LS-76 Vinyl

13 Tour Stop: Minneapolis, MN

47 Legal Pad: Unpaid Internships

14 Spotlights: Sean Wheeler & Zander

48 My Favorite Axe: with David Tyberg

Schloss, Ape School, Krewella, The

49 Recording: Pianos & Keyboards Pt. 2

Ducky Boys

50 Studio Diary: Jimmy Herring 52 Summer NAMM Special Report

Cutting Lathe

Photos - counter-clockwise from top. Angel Ceballos, Marius Bugge, Richard Battye, Sean Glombowski Cover photo by Ben Aqua


FROM THE TOP Howdy, y’all!

Volume 22, Issue 9

Chances are, you’re not going to make it big in the music business. Now, I say this not to bum you out or to encourage you to put down your instrument. I say this because Performer is not here to fill your head with BS tales of how to strike it rich or how to become “the next big thing.” When I see those types of headlines gracing the pages of our Distinguished Competitors, I cringe. “Become a Music Industry Mogul,” one article exclaimed. “How to Make It Big in the Music Business,” screamed another. Nonsense. There are a handful of actual moguls left, and I can unequivocally guarantee that none of them got there by reading an article or following a step-by-step roadmap to success. Truth is (and you already know this), there are only a handful of spots at the top of the game. The U2s of the world. The Madonnas. The Taylor Swifts. If anyone could get there by just following a few simple directions they ripped from a magazine, then everyone would be a star. They aren’t.

The people we cater to, the true artists, are the ones out there on the road, in the studios, making music their day job. Making it their living. Success, as far as I’m concerned, is doing what you love, full time, for as long as you can. And for our readers, and the musicians we write about, that’s the true measure of a career. So you won’t find ink wasted between our covers on bogus articles, written by people who never made it big themselves, telling you how to become a mega-star. Instead, you’ll find interviews with DIY musicians on their craft. Top picks for great new music we’ve discovered. Practical tips you can actually use in your career: studio tricks, unique packaging ideas, DIY promo articles for you and your band, legal advice and the straight dope on new gear. We can’t (and won’t) ever waste your time by promising you’ll make it big. But stick with us, and I can guarantee that you’ll find truly useful info, written by fellow artists and creative professionals who know a thing or two about what they’re talking about.

-Benjamin Ricci Editor P.S. – Tune in next month when we give you the inside scoop on becoming a YouTube sensation!





Performer Magazine, a nationally distributed musician’s trade publication, focuses on independent musicians, those unsigned and on small labels, and their success in a DIY environment. We’re dedicated to promoting lesser-known talent and being the first to introduce you to artists you should know about.

In the words of our esteemed forefathers at CREEM: “This is just to say we want you. That should’ve been obvious all along, of course, but just in case it wasn’t here’s the deal: NOBODY WHO WRITES FOR THIS RAG’S GOT ANYTHING YOU AIN’T GOT, at least in the way of credentials. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be sending us your stuff: reviews, features, photos, recording tips, DIY advice or whatever else you have in mind that might be interesting to our readers: independent and DIY musicians. Who else do ya know who’ll publish you? We really will...ask any of our dozens of satisfied customers. Just bop it along to us to and see what comes back your way. There’s really no such thing as an ‘unsolicited submission,’ you know, and if you have eyes to be in print, this just might be the place. Whaddya got to lose? Whaddya got?”

MUSIC SUBMISSIONS We listen to everything that comes into the office. We prefer physical CDs, cassettes and vinyl over downloads. If you do not have a physical copy, send download links to No attachments, please. Send CDs to: Performer Magazine Attn: Reviews 24 Dane St. Somerville, MA 02143 4 SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE

24 Dane St., Suite 3 Somerville, MA 02143 Phone: 617-627-9200 - Fax: 617-627-9930 PUBLISHER

William House - EDITOR



Samantha Ward


Adam Barnosky, Andrew Fersch, Ben Marazzi, Benjamin Ricci, Beth Ann Downey, Brad Hardisty, Brent Godin, Candace McDuffie, Chris Devine, Christopher Petro, Eric Wolff, Heidi Schmitt, Jacquinn Williams, Jason Ashcraft, Jody Amable, Julia DeStefano, Julie Cerick, Lucy Fernandes, M.C. Rhodes, Pete Lyman, Samantha Ward, Shawn M Haney, Tanya Fuller, Tara Lacey, Taylor Haag, Vanessa Bennett, Warren McQuiston, Zac Cataldo, Zack Sulsky


Angel Ceballos, Ben Aqua, Brad Hardisty, Brian Jenkins, Darshana Borah, Geoff Moore, Jared Manzo, Jason Thrasher, Joe Niem, Jonathunder, Julie Cerick, Kate Eldridge Lauren Mangini, Marius Bugge, Nikko Lamere, Paige Cavazos, Patty Scott Smith, Richard Battye, Rick Carroll, Sean Glombowski, Stefan Klapko, Stephan Ridgway, Steve Lyon, Svadilfari, Tanya Fuller, Vanessa Bennett, Zac Cataldo ADVERTISING SALES

Kathleen Mackay - Deborah Rice -

© 2012 by Performer Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any method whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher. The magazine accepts no responsibility for unsolicited recordings, manuscripts, artwork or photographs and will not return such materials unless requested and accompanied by a SASE.

Annual Subscription Rate is $30 in the U.S.; $45 outside the U.S.

Deep Purple Keyboardist Jon Lord, co-founder of British rock group Deep Purple, died July 16 of a pulmonary embolism at age 71. Lord was a talented rock organist, and co-wrote many of the group’s biggest hits, such as “Smoke on the Water,” “Child in Time” and “Highway Star.” Deep Purple is known as one of the first bands to popularize a heavy metal sound, particularly with their most successful album, Machine Head. Later in his life, Lord performed in other bands such as Whitesnake, Paice, Ashton & Lord, and The Atwoods.

Mihaela Ursuleasa, 33 Romanian Pianist Mihaela Ursuleasa died August 2 from a cerebral hemorrhage at age 33. Ursuleasa was a brilliant Romanian pianist who, in her short 15-year career, had already made prestigious appearances at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, in Birmingham with the city orchestra, and Wigmore Hall with the Belcea Quartet. She flourished in solo performances, allowing her masterful restraint to dictate performances that quickly labeled her as a prodigy. Ursuleasa was known for her enthusiasm and sparkling personality that was reflected in her spirited playing.

Jason Noble, 40 Pioneer of Post-Rock Guitarist Jason Noble passed away August 4 at the age of 40 from a rare form of cancer called synovial sarcoma. Noble was a prominent member in the Louisville, KY music scene, forming Rodan, Rachel’s, and Shipping News. Rodan was one of the first bands to develop the genre of “post-rock” by avoiding the poppy side of indie rock and swaying towards a more complex, rougher sound. Rachel’s was a stylistic departure from Rodan, creating lush instrumental pieces that blended post-rock and classical music.

Tony Sly, 41 Singer, No Use for a Name No Use for a Name singer Tony Sly died at age 41 on July 31. Sly replaced John Meyer as front man for the group in 1989 and went on to have a successful two-decade run with the band. The group’s most successful album, ¡Leche con Carne!, was released in 1995 on Fat Wreck Chords and featured the popular single “Soulmate.” Sly was known for contributing his intense energy and passionate vocals. Most recently Sly released a handful of acoustic solo albums, including Sad Bear in 2011.

Bill Doss, 43 Olivia Tremor Control, Elephant 6 Founder 43-year-old Bill Doss, member of psychedelic indie-rock band Olivia Tremor Control and co-founder of The Elephant 6 Recording Company, died July 30. Doss formed Olivia Tremor Control in 1988 with musicians Jeff Mangum and Will Cullen Hart. They were known for their albums that read as conceptual musical soundscapes, an oddity in the ’90s rock era. The group released two records before Doss departed. Olivia Tremor Control recently reunited and played at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago.


Jon Lord, 71

Marvin Hamlisch, 68 Iconic Composer Marvin Hamlisch died August 7 at age 68 after a brief illness. Hamlisch has won every major award in his composing career, conducting and arranging music for Broadway and Hollywood alike with three Academy Awards, four Emmys, a Tony, and three Golden Globes (the elusive EGOT). His movie scores define iconic works such as The Sting, The Way We Were, and Ordinary People. On Broadway he composed for A Chorus Line and Goodbye Girl among many others. He was also a principal pops conductor for symphony orchestras all over the United States.

Bob Babbitt, 74 Motown Bass Player Funk Brothers member and prominent Motown musician Bob Babbitt passed away July 16 at age 74. His bass can be heard in the iconic Gladys Knight and the Pips hit “Midnight Train to Georgia” and Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” as well as in the music of other legends such as Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, and Barry Manilow. After leaving Motown, he recorded with Frank Sinatra and other popular musicians, eventually performing on over 200 Top 40 hits.

Kitty Wells, 92 Country Legend Known as the “Queen of Country Music,” Kitty Wells passed away at age 92 on July 16. Born in Nashville, Wells grew up performing on local radio. In 1952 she recorded “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” with Decca Records, which quickly climbed the Billboard charts, allowing her to become the first female artist to top the Billboard country singles. Between 1952 and 1979, she appeared on the Billboard charts 81 times and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1976.




Austin Press Outlets THE AUSTIN CHRONICLE PO Box 49066 Austin TX 78765 (512) 454-5766 TEXAS MUSIC MAGAZINE P.O. Box 50273 Austin, TX 78763 AUSTIN MUSIC + ENTERTAINMENT (WEBZINE) 13581 Pond Springs Road, Suite 450 Austin, TX 78729 THE AUSTIN AMERICAN STATESMAN P.O. Box 670 305 S. Congress 78704 Austin, TX 78767-0670 (512) 445-3500 REPUBLIC OF AUSTIN (BLOG) 1108 Lavaca St Suite 110-448 Austin, TX 78701 (512) 761-6397 ‘NITES (BLOG) OVRLD (BLOG)

How to Get Booked at Austin City Limits Advice for Getting Your Band Noticed by Tara Lacey photo by Paige Cavazos It would be any band’s dream to play to the mass of sixty thousand plus people that converge on Austin City Limits each year. The festivities go down in just a matter of weeks – October 12-14. Getting booked to play this festival is like reaching the peak of a crag after a grueling hike – it takes a several careful steps to get there. Since the festival’s birth in 2002, Austin City Limits has seen itself grow from a two day, thirtyband event to an iconic showcase for stadium size acts like Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews, The Eagles, and this year’s headliners Red Hot Chili Peppers. The festival’s senior promoters have to spend less time convincing bands and representatives that the festival is worth playing and more time sifting through the thousands of submissions they get for the 130 open time slots. That brings up another point that couldn’t be emphasized enough – play, play, play as much as you possibly can. Find your support base then leverage the opportunity to link up with a middle-lineup ACL

band and tour. Festival promoter Amy Corbin with C3 Presents states that she spends as much time, if not more, booking the middle of the bill. She has the challenge of pleasing a fan base that purchases their tickets blindly so she has developed a knack for pinning the next big name just ahead of the curve. An in with another up-and-comer is a great way to get your foot in the door. ACL Live lends the Austin City Limits its naming rights - a big reason the festival saw such a swift rise to fame. The festival promoters have always been careful to book acts within the long running television show’s eclectic feel. ACL Live features an open call for artists.

Send submissions to Terry Lickona c/o ACL Live 310 W. Willie Nelson Blvd. Austin, TX, 78701

Art Outside Offers EDM Opps in Austin Unique Fest Highlights City’s Arts Culture

by Tara Lacey

COVERT CURIOSITY (BLOG) KUT (University of Texas at Austin) (512) 471-1631 TAPEBOMBS (BLOG) AUSTIN BLOGGY LIMITS AUSTIN SOUND (WEBZINE) PO Box 4028 Austin TX 78765-4028

For more listings, visit 6 SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE

In recent years, electronic dance music (EDM) has seen a resurgence that has managed to permeate pop culture. In a musical playground born from underground roots, the scene still lends itself to opportunities for DIY/indie artists to showcase their skills. One Austin-area festival celebrates art of all kinds – music is no exception. Art Outside is a festival currently in its eighth year, creating a small, intimate, unique atmosphere. The overall experience is the priority for Warren McKinney, the festival’s founder, so the stage that the Art Outside team creates for all of its artists is one of whimsy, wonder, and exploration – and that aura carries over to the music. One of the best things about a festival that celebrates art in all its forms is that they are open to

hearing yours and if they accept your application to play the stage, your performance will be a once in a lifetime experience. The lights, mood, stages - the whole package will set the mood for your audience. The community will welcome you and embrace your art form, just as they hope for you to embrace theirs. If you’re an aspiring electronic artist then opportunity exists within this Austin gem. Check out their website - they accept performer applications openly. Approach Art Outside with an open mind and a passion for your work, and see where it takes you.

2000W TruSource™ Technology DL2 Integrated Digital Mixer


Step up to an entirely new level of sonic innovation. Mackie DLM Powered Loudspeakers are packed with cutting-edge technology, delivering a staggering 2000 watts of power in the most compact design ever. It also features the first-ever integrated digital mixer and groundbreaking system processing. After all, you’re the one putting


blood, sweat and tears into perfecting your performance. Your PA had

How can something so small be so powerful? Watch the video and find out how Mackie packed in all that sound!

better be able to keep up. The New Shape of Sound – Mackie DLM

MACKIE.COM/DLM © 2012 LOUD Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. “Mackie” and the “running man” are registered trademarks of LOUD Technologies. Refrain from standing on the DLM after 12 or more drinks. And by “drinks” we mean grape juice.


that you’ll attend these great shows...


@ Church September 28 Jason Bennett & The Resistance Annual Little League Benefit feat. Scars, The Blue Bloods, Nick & The Adversaries, Matt Cherette Doors @ 8:00 pm $10 - 21+

Brought to you by:


@ The Drunken Unicorn September 22 feat. Nigredo Utah Demonaut Doors @ 9:00 pm $5 - 21+

San Francisco

@ Slim’s September 29 feat. William Elliott Whitmore Samantha Crain Doors @ 8:00 pm $16 all ages

the truth is out there.

5 MINUTES WITH... Bret Saunders Host, BCO Morning Show (97.3 KBCO) COLUMNIST, DENVER POST


“Sketch-a-Song” to be Released Later This Month

App Aims to Simplify Music Creation

By Zack Sulsky Interview by Zack Sulsky 30 second bio. I began at my high school radio station outside of Detroit. Ten raw watts of power on the FM dial. From there I worked at an NPR affiliate in Michigan that played jazz. Not smooth jazz, either...the real stuff. What a great introduction to the music world, by the way, meeting and recording performances by absolute geniuses who were (and still are) undervalued. After college I traveled around the U.S. before settling in Denver. I’ve been at KBCO for 15 years this week, holding down the morning drive shift. It’s the best job.

The idea of carrying thousands of songs in your pocket has become almost ubiquitous, but what about carrying a tool that can help you make them? A team of seven Denver-native college students is getting set to release a new app called Sketch-a-Song, which they think can bring out the composer in everyone. With Sketch-a-Song, musicians and nonmusicians alike can easily and rapidly build


For more info, visit

Evergroove Studio

Solar-Powered Studio in the Foothills Located in the scenic foothills of Evergreen, only forty-five minutes from downtown Denver, Evergroove Studio was founded to bridge the gap between pricey high-end studios and low-quality amateur studios in the Denver area. The Evergroove staff aims to offer excellence in sound and customer service at affordable rates, all while remaining energy-conscious with their solar-powered facility, the first of its kind in the Front Range.

Who are three local artists that you find most exciting? The Lumineers are getting a lot of people excited, as far as rock goes. For jazz, I like anything that the trumpeter Ron Miles does. Eric Allen from The Apples in Stereo has a new band, The Babysitters. I’m excited about that. What advice would you give independent musicians looking to get noticed? Be really good at what you do. I’ve heard many CDs and MP3s from people who have interesting ideas but aren’t ready for the medium time (I have no idea on how to make it in the big time.) So have your persona developed the best that you can. I can’t speak for the rest of the country, but in Denver, it seems like a better time than ever to be an independent artist. There are so many places to play.

their own songs by dragging notes into a visual field. Sketch-a-Song is a digital instrument that, unlike any physical instrument, makes it impossible to play a wrong note. The key is a series of harmonic templates coded into the app, each of which represents a progression of two pentatonic scales. As the song plays back, the palette of available pitches automatically adapts to fit the current chord in much the same way that a jazz soloist navigates a series of chord changes. The result is music that can be dynamic and musically interesting, but still well within the grasp of the ordinary user. In addition to solo creation, Sketch-a-Song features a collaborative mode, which follows the turn-based gaming model of successful apps like Words With Friends and Draw Something, and allows users to work on music with friends via the mobile web. The developers trace the genesis of their idea to the noisy found-object beat sessions they used to hold in the middle of their seventh-grade history class. But they have come a long way since their pencil-tapping days. Sketch-a-Song is scheduled to be released for iPhone and Android in September.



PRODUCTION APPROACH Evergroove is not a genre-specific facility, so their production approach varies from one project to the next, but they emphasize sensitivity to each artist’s creative spark.

PAST CLIENTS Heavy Wood Michael Aldridge Frogs Gone Fishin’ Mountain Standard Time

EQUIPMENT LIST -Soundcraft 6000 30-Channel Mixer -AKG, Audio Technica, Blue, Shure, Sennheiser Mics -Tannoy Monitors -ProTools HD2

CONTACT INFO P.O. Box 3232 - Evergreen, CO 80437 (303) 674-7618


RADIO PROMOTION (terrestrial, satellite, internet)

Dresden Dolls Bad Plus Girls Guns & Glory String Cheese Incident Esperanza Spalding Medeski Martin & Wood Steve Winwood Gov't Mule 311 Janis Ian Jim's Big Ego Stanley Clarke Umphrey's McGee Gretchen Parlato Miss Tess Mike Stern Soulive Maceo Parker PUBLICITY AND TOUR SUPPORT (print press and viral)

call: 800-356-1155 www:

5 MINUTES WITH... Shred Club Booker, Legendary Boston DJ, Hockey Aficionado

Local Festival Features Unique Submission Process



New England Film and Music Festival Premieres This April By Samantha Ward For the first time ever, the New England Film and Music Festival will kick off at the Crown Plaza in Cromwell, CT. The small festival will bring together a colorful mix of film, art, and music from locals all over the New England area for three days in April 2013. Three large halls in the Crown Plaza will each serve as home to a sampling of talented artists hand picked by fans. This is made possible by the festival’s unique submission process. Bands can send in their information to the official website where the first 100 submissions will be displayed for viewers to vote in their favorites. The winners will play for the expected 5,000-10,000 attendees who choose them. Festival organizer Robert Tamiso explains,


“We want to go more towards a people’s choice type of situation, where everyone can take a look and tell us what they like.” And even if a group isn’t selected to play in the festival, their work is still exposed to the thousands of voters browsing the site. The festival isn’t promoting any specific genre. They are looking for a variety of musical acts to suit the varied tastes of festival attendees. “We want to feature the best of the best,” says Tamiso, “You don’t have to go to California of New York to get talent. You can get it right here in New England.” For more info on getting your band involved, visit

Nectar’s Restaurant

VT Club Made Famous by Phish BOOKING INFO Nectar’s accepts EPKs and links to music, photos and press emailed to booking@liveatnectars. com. Be sure to include answers to the questions provided for bands on their website. Do not send a physical press kit unless requested. Full contact info:

Since 1975, Nectar’s has been bringing out local and

188 Main St. - Burlington, VT 05401

touring bands to rock the colorful club seven nights

Tel. 802-658-4771

a week. A landmark on Burlington, VT’s Main -

Street, the club became legendary when the local group Phish started playing there regularly in the 1980s. The club is a tight knit, casual joint serving up some of the best music in Burlington for some of the lowest prices.

STAGE STATS Capacity: 250 • Elevated stage • Full-time sound technician available • Full PA system and lighting rig • In-house lighting designer provided by request (prices vary)

PAY POLICY Payment will be determined at arrival. Bonuses are negotiable based on attendance or bar sales.

Interview by Samantha Ward Shred is currently the booking agent for the Middle East Downstairs, though also occasionally hosts shows Upstairs. The Middle East, located in Central Square since 1987, is one of the Boston area’s premier rock clubs, hosting an eclectic variety of talented local and touring bands. What’s your background in the industry? I did 20 years of radio at WBCN in Boston, 13 as Local Music Director, coordinating some great stuff for on-air and hosting Rock n Roll Rumbles since 1995, the year Doc Hopper won it. I still host the occasional music show on, when the gypsy dancer mobile bus pulls itself close enough to town. Why should we know you? I have an easy to remember name. What are you trying to do in the local scene? Help out where I can. Proudest achievement? I have yet to do that, but being able to smile and laugh every day is a good start. Who are your current favorite local artists? That would be way too unfair to the 999 other bands I don’t mention. What do you look for when booking groups for the club? Good tunes, and an ability to bring folks out to see them. For the national stuff, just looking for the best bands who are looking to play the room and can get their fans to come to see them play, as well. My job forces me to consider economics; it is a business. For more visit SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 11


NASHVILLE 5 MINUTES WITH... Ben Lowry, Guitar & Vocals Bang OK Bang

An Inside Look at NSAI, the Songwriters Trade Organization Nashville Org Advocates for Songwriters’ Rights article and photo by Brad Hardisty

Interview by Brad Hardisty Photo by Jared Manzo Ben Lowry and Abby Hairston, the former rhythm section of The One Through Tens, decided to start their own brand of the nowpopular two-man band, joining the ranks of Jeff The Brotherhood, The Black Keys and Two Gallants. But Bang OK Bang rocks heavier, with a blend of Ministry and Queens of The Stone Age thrown in for good measure. Why should we know you? Because we are very loud.  Wherever you live, you should be able to hear us from there.  If you haven’t heard us, you might want to get your hearing checked.  If you are too far away to hear us, download our album from our website. What are you trying to do in music? For the two of us, Bang OK Bang is the only therapy that offers solace from the emotional onslaught of daily life.  Trivial things disappear, and only the sheer joy of playfulness remains.  I guess we do this to avoid going to a shrink. We hope that our music can provide that escape for someone else who is struggling to cope with the messed up world we live in. What’s your proudest achievement?  So far our top achievement has probably been successfully self-releasing our first EP Chemicals with Nashville-based producer Andy Roy.  Andy’s raw talent of what makes a song work makes him an absolute joy to work with.  We would not have been able to do it without him.   Who are your current favorite Nashville acts? Thunder Brother, The Future, and Linear Downfall.  For more info, visit Visit 12 SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE

NSAI, Nashville Songwriters Association International, headquartered just one block from RCA Studio B in the former Music Mill Recording Studio, was established in 1967 as a not-for-profit trade association for professional and aspiring songwriters. NSAI operates as a legislative advocacy group on behalf of songwriters, fighting for songwriter’s rights – the right to be paid, to be taxed fairly, to be recognized and to protect the future of the profession of songwriting. Secondarily, NSAI teaches musicians about the craft of writing, providing education and guidance on the songwriting process. They also teach writers about the music industry and how it works, providing opportunities to network with and learn from music industry professionals. Membership includes 12 song evaluations by professionals, two one-on-one mentoring sessions, free workshops and access to archives that span more than two years worth of classes.


Infinity Cat Recordings

Nashville Punk Label Celebrates 10 Years

Infinity Cat Recordings was started 10 years ago by Jake and Jamin Orrall (The Sex, Be Your Own Pet, JEFF The Brotherhood, Skyblazer) and their father, Robert Ellis Orrall (songwriter and producer for Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire) to put out their own


The Nashville location has a library on songwriting, individual rooms that can be scheduled for co-writing sessions and on-site staff. It is a great place to get started in the Nashville experience. Additionally, NSAI holds several seminars, contests and hosts an annual party recognizing songwriters each year. It is the largest organization of its kind to help songwriters in every genre, with 130 regional chapters all over the world who also hold regional seminars and events. Membership in NSAI is valuable for all songwriters, allowing them to further develop their craft and to make connections within the songwriting community and the music industry.

recordings and has now grown to a large roster of Nashville-based and regional indie artists. Infinity Cat is considered one of the top indie labels in the country, and specializes in short run vinyl and cassette pressings.

Infinity Cat Recordings only accepts physical submissions. No digital submissions, please. Send demos to the following address:

CURRENT ROSTER JEFF The Brotherhood • Heavy Cream Natural Child • Cy Barkley & The Wayoutsiders Diarrhea Planet • Peach Kelli Pop Hell Beach • PUJOL and more...

CONTACT INFO Infinity Cat Recordings PO Box 50623 Nashville, TN 37205




Minneapolis and its Twin City counterpart St. Paul are some of the most musical of Midwestern cities, and the offerings they have to show for it are second to none. Although they may be (in)famous for Prince, Michele Bachmann, Kirby Puckett, and Jesse ‘the Body’ Ventura, there is so much more being offered in Minneapolis, even with a population of just over 275,000 people. The underground music scene overpowers their mainstream offerings and on any given night, you’ll find as many shows of note that you’ll want to attend compared to a city three times its size (such as Boston). by Andrew Lapham Fersch and Eric Lovold

VENUES KITTY CAT KLUB 313 14th Ave. SE Minneapolis, MN 55414 (612) 331-9800 WWW.KITTYCATKLUB.COM For local and inexpensive music, the Kitty Cat Klub is the place to be. Most shows are free, and those that aren’t only run you a finsky. Outside of Minneapolis, you may not know bands like MunQs yet, but go to the KCK and you’ll find the best the town has to offer.

GEAR WILLIE’S AMERICAN GUITARS 254 South Cleveland Ave. Saint Paul, MN 55105 (651) 699-1913 WWW.WILLIESGUITARS.COM TWIN TOWN GUITARS 3400 Lyndale Ave. South Minneapolis, MN 55408 (612) 822-3334 WWW.TWINTOWN.COM

THE CEDAR 416 Cedar Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55414 (612) 338-2674 WWW.THECEDAR.ORG The non-profit cultural center offers a variety of shows, from bigger names in conjunction with First Avenue (Best Coast, JEFF the Brotherhood) to Wizards are Real and Kishi Bashi. You might even catch some hip-hop from Mali if you come on the right night.

PRESS CITY PAGES 401 N. 3rd St. Suite 550 Minneapolis, MN 55401 WWW.CITYPAGES.COM VITA.MN 425 Portland Ave. South Minneapolis, MN 55488 (612) 673-4073 WWW.VITA.MN is the local guide to arts and entertainment in Minneapolis, St Paul, the Twin Cities area and Minnesota.

FIRST AVENUE AND 7TH STREET ENTRY 701 1st Ave. North Minneapolis, MN 55403 WWW.FIRST-AVENUE.COM The most legendary of Minneapolis clubs, First Avenue/7th Street Entry are the home of the largest collection of who’s who in the world of popular indie music. From Aesop Rock to Alabama Shakes, Glen Hansard to Blitzen Trapper, the biggest small shows in town are here.

RECORDING STUDIOS THE HIDEAWAY STUDIO WWW.THEHIDEAWAYMPLS.COM With multiple tracking rooms, two control rooms, and a huge selection of the finest outboard gear, The Hideaway is an extremely flexible recording facility that can meet most any budget. THE TERRARIUM 607 Central Ave. SE Minneapolis, MN 55414 (612) 338-5702 WWW.THE-TERRARIUM.COM

RECORD STORES ELECTRIC FETUS 2000 S. 4th Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55404 (612) 870-9300 WWW.ELECTRICFETUS.COM The Electric Fetus has been a gathering place for music heads and counter-culturists in Minnesota since 1968, and sells local LPs and CDs from MN-based artists.

FIFTH ELEMENT 2411 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55405 (612) 377-0044 WWW.FIFTHELEMENTONLINE.COM




SEAN WHEELER & ZANDER SCHLOSS GENRE Fusion of Folk/Ragtime/Bluegrass & Gospel

HOMETOWN Los Angeles, CA ARTISTIC APPROACH Inspiration through truth, beauty, and each other.

Veneration Leads to Collaboration by Julia DeStefano / photo by Geoff Moore

For powerhouse vocalist Sean Wheeler and multi-instrumentalist Zander Schloss, spirit speaks through song, and influences abound through truth and beauty. Two very different individuals, each in great admiration of one another and from their own established musical backgrounds, have met in the middle to craft a hybrid of folk, country, pop, ragtime, bluegrass, and gospel that is equal parts frenzied energy, spirit, and soul. The two met while Wheeler was on tour with Throw Rag and Schloss with his band of 25+ years, the Circle Jerks. Beforehand, they worked independently with Joe Strummer, the Weirdos, the Low & Sweet Orchestra, Queens of the Stone Age, and Eagles of Death Metal, to name a few. For these naturals at their craft, collaboration would seem predestined. Even their songwriting process appears effortless: “A lot of times, Zander will be playing his guitar and I will start singing along. I will grab my phone and record what we’re

doing as a rough idea, which we then revisit later to hash out. Sometimes complete songs with melodies will come to me and I sing them to Zander, who fills in the instrumentation,” Wheeler says. Wheeler is also quick to attribute the stylistic and lyrical progression in his songwriting to the ongoing influence of his compatriot: “He [Schloss] is tremendously talented. He probably only keeps it simple at times to appease me, but that works just as well.” It is with great eagerness that Wheeler speaks of what is to come: “We will be playing the Muddy Roots Festival in Tennessee, traveling to Alaska with Flogging Molly, and there is talk of going to Japan with Jeff Decker. We are also readying to make a second album with Gus Seyffert [The Black Keys] or Alain Johannes [Them Crooked Vultures].” “Charming” doesn’t even begin to describe the duo that has been, until now, one of California’s best-kept secrets.

“A lot of times, Zander will be playing his guitar and I will start singing along. I will grab my phone and record what we’re doing as a rough idea, which we then revisit later to hash out.” –Sean Wheeler 14 SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE

Embracing Eclecticism & Rejecting Computer Trickery by Candace McDuffie photo by Darshana Borah

GENRE Experimental Chill-Rock

record. ‘Marijuana’s On The Phone’ was chosen as the first single because everyone agreed on it; the label was into it. It just seemed very logical.” Seconds later, that aforementioned honesty inevitably rears its head. “This record doesn’t have an in-yourface single. I could have picked anything [as the first single] and it would have been strange.” Indeed, Junior Violence isn’t something to listen to unless you possess full-fledged auditory openness as well as an appreciation for sheer authenticity. “I’m a bit excessive without modernist tools - there’s not a lot of computer trickery on the album,” Johnson explains. “I get in the studio with the things I have at my disposal, so it’s done with older equipment and an older mindset.” But like any other record, the power of it is wholly contingent upon the generosity of the listener. “I’m not too concerned with fitting into the general trend,” Johnson confesses. “I tend to just run things up the flagpole and see who salutes.”



There are several words that are completely applicable when it comes to describing Ape School’s Michael Johnson. He is disarmingly self-aware, impressively superfluous, and painfully honest. Or, at least when it comes to song titles, that is. His all-or-nothing LP Junior Violence mixes abstract concepts with dangerous diction yet he insists that it is all in good fun. “I’m kind of a jackass,” he remarks with a tinge of laughter. “Actually, that’s not entirely true - but the song titles are kind of smart ass. And in a way, so is the whole record.” He goes on to elaborate on this sentiment. “The whole [album] refers to youth and death, that is, being stupid and dying. But I’m trying to do it with a wink. By no means is it a goth record.” In fact, Junior Violence is far too complex to have one underlying theme or emotion. At times, it revels in its own ironic shine as displayed on lead single “Marijuana’s On The Phone.” Johnson understands and embraces the record’s inherent eclectic nature. “This was not constructed as a pop

HOMETOWN Philadelphia, PA ARTISTIC APPROACH Recording with old equipment and an older mindset

“I’m a bit excessive without modernist tools - there’s not a lot of computer trickery on the album.” SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 15



Culling Metal Influences into EDM by Samantha Ward / photo by Nikko Lamere

“We have this harmony about music making that’s really important…We definitely like to feel the music and we can’t not move when we perform” Chicago-based EDM (electronic dance music) trio Krewella has only been around for four years, but has worked out a killer combination of collaborative music making and explosive live performances. Sisters Jahan and Yasmine Yousaf provide smooth vocals while producer Kris “Rainman” Trindl churns out beats reminiscent of the heavy metal music he played before transitioning to dubstep; heavy, intense, and head-banging. The recent rise of EDM, and dubstep in particular (thanks to acts like Deadmau5 and Skrillex), has propelled Krewella to the 16 SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE

limelight while also influencing their sound to become thicker and more bone-rattling with every drop of the bass. In the studio, the group adopts varied approaches to writing. “It really depends on the day,” says Jahan. “We have different vibes and really different feelings about how we want to create a song every day.” Often Yasmine and Jahan will begin with an a cappella part and work collaboratively with Trindl to build up from a basic beat into a finished piece. Other times he will already have a full instrumental that the

GENRE Dubstep/EDM HOMETOWN Chicago, IL ARTISTIC APPROACH To create bone-rattling beats.

girls will write over. They explain, “We have this harmony about music making that’s really important.” Composing music that includes a piece of each member’s creative energy fuels their stamina in the studio and during performances. Krewella’s love for what they’re doing is infectious. They step onto every stage with a booze-fueled, party rocking agenda. Their shows illustrate their passion for what they do with every fist pump and flailed arm. Jahan explains, “We definitely like to feel the music and we can’t not move when we perform...We rock out.” These energetic tributes to the bass-pumping gods are what make the trio certifiable knockouts.

On Fan Funding & New Business Models by Andrew Lapham Fersch / photo by Lauren Mangini

GENRE Loud (is that a genre?) HOMETOWN Boston, MA ARTISTIC APPROACH Three chords and the truth

Nearly twenty years ago, if you were at the Rat on any given Sunday, the Ducky Boys were playing. Maybe you saw Ducky’s singer Mark Lind stage diving during the Pinkerton Thugs or Dropkick Murphy’s Ken Casey jumping on stage to sing along. From then till now, a lot has changed for Lind and the boys (drummer Jason Messina and guitarist Douglas Sullivan), but their songs remain, in many ways, the same. Following the success of 2012’s Chasing the Ghost, Lind set his sights on another album, this time opting to go the Kickstarter route. “In short, this is the future of the music business. File sharing has killed the former



business model and no one has figured out how to salvage it. Simply put, this is the solution. Who cares if an album gets pirated if it’s already paid for in full?” In addition, it offers something else that Lind values: interaction with the audience. The way Lind sees it, they are offering a presale of the album, with some extra added incentives. He says, “Whenever a band sells a CD, t-shirt, LP or what have you, they turn a profit. We’re just gathering that profit in advance to help fund the recording, manufacturing and distribution of the album.” For Lind, the whole process has been a learning one, from what his role means to how he’ll record, to what he has to say. And it’s clearly a learning process that he’s willing to admit is nowhere near done. “I have a working title of a song that I’ve been working on and unable to finish for years. It’s called ‘I Was a Stupid Kid Back Then (And Now I’m a Stupid Man).’ That about sums it up. I started this band when I was 18. The band is in its 17th year now. That’s just short of half my life. I’ve changed in all of the same ways that everyone else does between the ages of 18 and 35. The only difference is that some of my points of view are documented on albums. There aren’t a ton of songs that I look back at and think, ‘What the hell was I thinking?’ At least not from a lyrical perspective. At least I can look back and understand what I was thinking as a younger man. But there are a few where I’d just like to go back in time and slap myself.”


“Who cares if an album gets pirated if it’s already paid for in full?”


Sean Rowe Talks Cinematic Lyrics and

Taking a New Approach to the Studio By Beth Ann Downey / photos by Marius Bugge

Listening to Sean Rowe against the scope of other American singer/ songwriters is like playing a game of one-of-these-things-is-not-likethe-other. Progressive songwriting is still delivered with simplicity and maturity. Lyrics about people are still tinged by his naturalist views. A matter-of-fact vocal approach is still wrought with abounding, reverberating emotion, whether the song calls for elation or heartache. After ANTI- re-released his debut Magic last year, Rowe was poised to put out the sophomore record he knows sounds like little else out there. Tracks on The Salesman and the Shark vary - simple ballads are joined by heart-wrenching duets and uptempo, experimental tracks reach outside of his previously bare material. Whether it paints a picture or creates a movie in your head, Rowe hopes to leave listeners with something they won’t forget.

You’ve been playing and writing since childhood, but you’re still young in your professional, signed music career. How’s that been going for you? How are you finding your time in the spotlight?

Well, it’s an interesting thing. I’ve been playing for many, many years but I hadn’t really toured extensively until about 2009, when it all sort of started rolling. I was touring overseas and then I got with ANTI- after that. So it’s been, I wouldn’t say a shock, but it’s been an adjustment period to [being] on the road as much as I have. I know how it works now. You can’t plan too much in one spot because that usually changes. Being flexible is what it’s all about.

I’ve seen a lot of references comparing you to Leonard Cohen and Van Morrison. Are they artists you’re personally influenced by?

I think it’s natural to get compared to somebody because that’s just the way our brains work. 18 SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE

We have to relate what we’re seeing and hearing to something that we already know, otherwise it gets a little uncomfortable for people. So I understand that, and of course those are some of my influences and musical artists that I very much respect and draw from. So yes, I’m fine with it, but there is a point where it’s kind of like, ‘I’m in there, too.’ I’m coming from my own perspective and my own voice. Especially with this record I have coming out, I felt pretty free to be myself on it. It’s taken a long time to develop my own voice, and to just let it be as opposed to trying to make it sound like anybody else.

How have you developed your voice over the years? It’s certainly one of your most striking attributes.

Part of it is genetics. I’m in the lower range of vocalists and I have been since I was a late teenager. Part of it is just being comfortable in your own voice. The other part, the skill part, takes a long time. People relate to some kind of natural approach to singing. They relate to just putting your heart out there and just letting it go, letting it be. That creates distinction, I think, in a vocalist, and that has always been my desire, to be distinct. You just let your voice sort of ride it, ride the wave of the music and the melody and just not try. Sometimes it’s difficult to not try, but if you can get into that zone, that’s the best. That’s what I’ve learned, to just let it happen.

Naturalism is another big part of your life.


”I was really trying to create this cinematic feel to it…The imagery is not just the lyrics, but the music itself creates it in the drops and the crescendos of the song.”


it; we had some restraint going on there.

Sean Rowe

The Salesman and the Shark

You wanted the record to have a certain aesthetic and a consistent feel. What was that? How do you think the record will come across as a whole to listeners?

It pretty much stuck to what I had in my head, which was really inspired by Scott Walker’s stuff, especially Scott 4. That record and Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends. I was really trying to create this cinematic feel to it, which is the way I feel about Standout Track: “Joe’s Cult” those records. The imagery is not just the lyrics, but the music itself creates it in the drops and the crescendos of the song. The way we recorded them and the studio we recorded them in having its own sound sort of brought all these songs together. Even though they are very different from each other, it has this feel to recording Magic, it was much more relaxed it, this grit to it, which was really important to me. because it wasn’t like we were rushing to get the I don’t think it’s necessary to stick with a style. record out. It took about a year and a half to fin- That’s why it’s important to me to bring out these ish and that’s not because it was difficult, it was other sides because I think it just makes it more just scheduling. The producer and I, we couldn’t interesting. People are not just one-sided, you always meet up every day. So we’d do a little bit know. They have multifaceted aspects to their perhere and a little bit there. sonality, so it doesn’t make sense to stay in that one So that right there separated it from this new place and become static. The songwriters that I release, which was a total reversion. I went to L.A. love have always done that, brought in different elefor about three weeks and just camped out near ments to songwriting to remove that static sense Hollywood where we recorded this record at Vox that people tend to expect from them. Studios. That was an amazing experience, and I found that I really work well by immersing myself What’s the plan for touring to support this in what’s happening. Whether that be in nature album? or music, I tend to get stuff done when that’s all We have a ton of dates coming in September I have to worry about. I had a lot of support from and October, so I’ll be on the road quite a bit. Most the label and we recorded pretty close to where of it is in the Northeast and the South, although they’re [based]. They were very involved with we’ll definitely be out West at some point with this record and helped out a lot with hooking up the record. I’ve played more out West then I have the producer. Things just sort of aligned in the in the East, which is kind of funny because this is right way. That was exciting and we got a lot of where I’ve lived for most of my life. good stuff out of it.

Out Now

LISTEN NOW @PERFORMERMAG.COM Does that affect your music like it does your personal life?

You take a walk in the woods and you pay attention to everything that’s happening, like the feel of the wind on your skin, the ground underneath you, listening to all of the sounds, all of the different parts of the landscape and the changes that are happening. It’s just about awareness, and it’s like that with songwriting, too. You have to be aware of the feel of the song and what the song is trying to say.

It’s cool that you relate it that way. It’s not like your naturalism comes out in your lyrics all the time…

Lyrics, especially metaphors, you can pull from anywhere. It’s your palette. You can do whatever you want. That’s the beauty of it, you know, it’s my own landscape. Songs are my own landscape and I can paint them however I want and put whatever I want in there.

I gather that in your songwriting, you’re more in favor of compounding imagery and drawing out emotion naturally than you are of telling linear stories. Is that a conscious decision for you?

It’s just the general tone that I write with. Sometimes it’s in story form, but people write in different ways and have different approaches to songwriting. Some people are very, very good at linear story writing and I like that stuff, too. Occasionally it happens that I’ll write a song that way, but it’s not something that I just sit down and say, ‘OK, I’m going to write this in linear story form because I don’t have enough linear stories in my songs.’ I don’t say that, it’s just sometimes it’ll come out like that, and that’s cool. Everybody has their own way of doing it, but mine tend to heavily focus on imagery and so I just sort of ride that out.

So tell me about the new album. Did the songwriting process or the creative approach differ at all from Magic?

Yeah, it was a lot different. When we were


With Magic, you were very particular about how it was recorded, wanting certain finger strokes and breath sounds to be perfect. But with The Salesman and the Shark you wanted it to have more of a live feel. Why did you switch up those goals?

Will the set up be full band or just you? Or will it vary?

I’m working on getting the people I’d want to take on the tour. I’m really picky about it, being a solo performer for so long. The shows, people always say there’s a dichotomy between my live show and the recording. There is for a few reasons, The instrumentation is a lot more dramatic and one is because it’s usually just me playing on this record, for sure, and we had a lot of dif- live. So it’s going to be different just because of ferent players on the record. That was really that. The other reason is that, it’s like comparexciting for me, to work with so many great ing theater to film. There’s definitely different people. It was so different from the last record approaches happening in both of those two eleas far as the way we approached it. It sounds a lot ments, live being much more in the moment and different, it’s definitely in a different world, I sup- much more intuitive and it tends to dictate what pose. The last one was pretty bare and that was songs I’m going to play. Sometimes it can be a bit very purposeful. Even on this new record, there more aggressive. But getting the right people has are songs that have a lot of space, which is really always been a challenge. Just like I don’t like to important. You’re not just throwing instruments throw on random instruments just to have them on there gratuitously because you can. The studio on the songs, I don’t like to bring in random people we were in was like walking into Willy Wonka’s just to have random people on the stage. It’s gotta chocolate factory. It had every instrument I’ve make sense, and for me it’s gotta be interesting. ever seen or even thought about before. It was just fascinating. But we didn’t use everything on



San Francisco, CA, USA Conference: Oct 26 – Oct 29, 2012 AUDIO ENGINEERING SOCIETY Exhibition: C O N V E N T I O N Oct 27 – Oct 29, 2012

Listen... Learn... Connect.

Join the AES in San Francisco

For over 60 years, the AES has been the largest gathering of audio professionals and enthusiasts on the globe, attracting delegates from over 100 countries worldwide. Workshops, tutorials, technical papers and the exhibition floor provide attendees with a wealth of learning, networking and business opportunities.

Recording • Broadcast & Streaming Project Studio • Sound for Picture Live Sound • Game Audio Acoustics • Networked Audio and MUCH More for more information visit

My Darling Clementine by Andrew Lapham Fersch / photos by Richard Battye


Tracking Live to Prove Brits Can Make Country as Good as the Yanks

Although England’s a nation that’s proven time and time again its love for folk and all things alt-country, it seemed that genuine country music had safely eluded the grasp of our compatriots across the pond. This no longer seems to be the case, and that’s partially thanks to one man, Michael Weston King.

King, who was the frontman of seminal British band The Good Sons, teamed up with his wife Lou Dalgleish, and took a step back in America’s history to record their debut album as My Darling Clementine. As much as anyone can recreate the past, these two have done it with their album of duets, for another country nonetheless. Their debut album, How Do You Plead?, might not bring classic country back to the mainstream, but it’s pretty clear that being as popular as NASCAR isn’t exactly at the top of this couple’s list.

How did you end up playing country music? What path led you here?

MWK: Very simply, Almost Blue by Elvis Costello. Lou and I were, and still are, huge fans of his and that album, courtesy of his immaculate taste in song choice and songwriters, [and it] opened up a new world of music for me. From there it was Harlan Howard, Merle Haggard, George Jones, and Gram all the way. It took Lou a little longer as she was still entrenched in more jazz and pop, but living with me she had no choice but to listen to country. LD: Although my family background was

steeped in a love of jazz, The Beatles and pop music, I fell in love with Patsy Cline’s voice at an early age. It was like a guilty secret, listening to music that was considered very uncool and rather cheesy, but there was something so pure and beautiful about the way she sang. I had no idea then that I would go on to write and sing country music myself. I was busy writing and performing within the “serious female singer/songwriter” genre. Then, when I heard Almost Blue, I realized that there was a whole other world of country music out there that didn’t have to be twee and embarrassing. As it turns out, writing and performing as My Darling Clementine is proving to be my most artistically inspiring genre. And a lot of fun.

Michael is known for his solo work and his time with the Good Sons; what other projects/musicians have you worked with in the past, Lou?

LD: Before I turned my attention to a career in music I was a professional dancer for several years. Most notably in Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom alongside Harrison Ford. Our daughter is just at the age to understand these

things and loves nothing more than to watch mommy dancing in the movie. Although I loved being in musical theatre, I was becoming more inspired to create my own work. I wanted to be at the piano, using my voice and telling my own stories. I recorded four albums and toured extensively. I opened for a lot of big names including Brian Ferry and headlined at Ronnie Scott’s club regularly. My passion for Elvis Costello’s work took a nice twist when I was invited to perform with the Brodsky Quartet (his co-writers on The Juliet Letters) playing Costello’s role. It was a challenge to sing all the songs in his key, but of course it was a real honour [editor’s note – we’re gonna use the British spelling here].  

How does My Darling Clementine differ from the Good Sons?

MWK: Well, it embraces an older, more traditional style of country music. Intentionally so. The Good Sons was much more rock, alt-country - call it what you will. We formed around the same time as The Jayhawks and Uncle Tupelo, and so we were mining a similar vein as them, taking our love of country and folk but melding it with rock, punk, etc. With MDC, we are going for a SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 23

My Darling Clementine

How Do You Plead? Out Now Standout Track: “Going Back to Memphis”

more specific way of writing, singing, arranging - rooted in older country with an element of soul, rock and roll, and rockabilly thrown in. It has been a long time since I was in a band, and MDC, as a live act, is a 7-piece band, so I am just starting getting to grips with handling lots of personalities and needs again, just like in the old days. It is a whole lot easier being a solo troubadour, only got to please myself. But the joy and excitement of seven people playing together outweighs all the trouble and strife to get on stage. Right now, I am loving being back in a band.

Is the Dwight Yoakam feel intentional? Who are your major influences?

MWK: Not really...George and Tammy, Dolly and Porter, Loretta and Conway, Johnny and June were all in mind when making this album. Also, with my love of country-soul, Delaney and Bonnie, Dan Penn, Spooner, Oldham also influenced what we did, especially on the track “She Is Still My Weakness.” LD: The Beatles were always the soundtrack to my childhood, along with Frank Sinatra, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. I hear a lot of their influences in my piano playing, the chords I lean towards and the finger work. Vocally, there is no one more technically greater than Frank, and he is my benchmark in terms of voice control and breathing. The Beatles taught me all my harmony work, as well as the importance


of melody. Then Elvis Costello came along and simply blew me away by the intelligence in his writing. He is probably the most major influence on my own writing.

feel. Our genres had begun to merge and it struck us that it might make good sense to work together instead of separately. We both immediately knew we had found our perfect musical partnership; it had been at home under our noses all the time! How has your relationship impacted you Next thing we knew, we were both dressed in as musicians? polyester and taking domestic bliss and marital MWK: Being married, and being together for baggage on the road - for better or for worse. And 12 years, there is definitely a sixth sense when it our daughter came too. comes to singing together. It just happens without too much work, a natural thing I guess. However, What does your songwriting process look we still find plenty of time to bicker about other like? things! Especially in the writing process ...or MWK: With this album, I had most of the about who is making dinner. songs written already, either specifically for it, LD: There is always an interesting mix of har- or from way back, songs that were too country for mony and down right disharmony in our kitchen previous albums and bands. Lou wrote two great (where we tend to do most of our collaborating). songs specially for the album; “The Other Half” It makes for quite an interesting domestic situa- is pure Patsy Cline, and we co-wrote one song, “I tion as we thrash out who will win the battle of the Bought Some Roses,” our take on a Jackson kind chord or melody line. of track, a conversational piece, the man and   woman despairing with each other. For the next Where did the idea for the duet project album I think there will be more co-writes; now come from? we know exactly what we are doing with this. LD: Being two individual singer/songwritLD: Hey, don’t let him tell you he wrote most ers in our own right meant that we hardly ever of the songs. Typical husband forgets about the saw each other. When our daughter came along it wife looking over his shoulder and silently workmeant that only one of us could really be doing the ing him! touring, so that tended to be Michael. As his writMWK: I think what has struck a chord with ing started to ease away from alt-country into people on How Do You Plead? is the fact these are folk solo singer/songwriter, mine started to veer songs written by “older” people, for “older” peoaway from jazz-pop towards a more country folk ple...people in their 40s and 50s who have been

through life, and all its ups and downs. LD: I am a great believer in avoiding using clever vocabulary when simple words will do. It’s often the placement of the lyric which can [determine] whether it works. And of course it is hugely important how those words sit within the melodic structure.

What did the recording process of the album look like?

MWK: Very live, all in one room together, very few overdubs - just some vocals and strings, the odd guitar or pedal steel overdub, but it was very spontaneous. We wanted to capture a feeling, and emulate how records were made in the late ’60s and early ’70s, get in there and do it. Also, the players involved come from that generation of not hanging around, a lot of them from the great English pub rock era (Martin Belmont, Geraint Watkins), so they knew what they were doing. They have as good a feel and understanding for country music as anyone I have met from here.... or the US. Neil Brockbank produced the album and that was his modus operandi - everyone playing together looking into each other’s eyes. Cutting live as much as possible. If you have got the players to do it then that always works best. LD: Yes, but that meant Michael and I looking into each other eyes, too, which as you can imagine led to all kinds of trouble. Some of the time we even had our daughter there. She is used to being

“There are a lot of British people who think that country music is all about line dancing, wearing Stetson hats and shouting ‘yee-haw.’ My Darling Clementine are about none of those things, and yet we are 100% country.”

in the studio, as well as on the road, but somehow it added to the country vibe having our dear little Mabel, aged six, singing along slightly off mic.  

Michael, what is your favorite guitar? Why?

MWK: I play a big old sunburst jumbo Guild JF65 acoustic - been with me for the past 13 years, traveled all over the world, over 2000 shows, and is starting to look as old as me. Never been able to afford a lot of guitars, most musicians can’t, it is dentists and doctors with all the vintage guitars hanging on their walls. I used to own both a Telecaster and a 12-string Rickenbacker - would like to have one each of them again. Maybe next year!

How does country music go over in Britain? MWK: I could write a thesis on this, but won’t bore you. The British perception is still that it has to be American to be good, which is nonsense;

there are as many bad country records made in America as there are good ones. But that is the battle anyone non-American who is making country or country influenced music has. I have been fortunate that I have worked with a lot of fine artists from the American roots world, so I have been endorsed in a way in the minds of the British public. But still, the mainstream country fan in the UK wont look much beyond Nashville.   LD: There are a lot of British people who think that country music is all about line dancing, wearing Stetson hats and shouting ‘yee-haw.’ My Darling Clementine is about none of those things, and yet we are 100% country. I think the Brits like the irony in the way we respect the real country music but deliver it without wishing we were American. And after all, Bri-nylon dresses and safari suits are available worldwide!


Manipulating Track Ideas in Cubase Before

The WHOevers

Hitting the Studio

by Jacquinn Williams / photos by Stefan Klapko

Chicago hip-hop has never been this smooth. Sorry Kanye, the WHOevers have found that feeling that A Tribe Called Quest imbibed and put their own kiss on it. They’re confident, “far from the regular” and are focused on making feel-good music to which listeners can bop their heads, as evidenced on the group’s debut album Renovations and their upcoming mixtape, due out this month. Like Eminem, the WHOevers, comprised of Jesse Arthur Manaois (J. Arthur) and Lloyd Dotdot (DotKom), defy the stereotype for hip-hop heads. They’re not black urban teens spouting off about beating poverty with crack-slinging and back alley beat downs. They’re two Filipinos with soul and they’ve got just enough grit for street cred. The two met at Northern Illinois University, where J. Arthur used to hang out, and formed a fast friendship rooted in their love for music. “DotKom was always looking for beats, so we exchanged numbers and started working together,” he says. They had instant musical chemistry. “We grew up on the same sound and we knew what we wanted,” shares DotKom. J. Arthur used to listen to whatever was on the radio, from R&B to hip-hop from the ’90s. His parents got him into funk and soul records. He has too many favorite artists to name them all, but makes sure to put it out there that he definitely rocks with James Brown. Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five are a few of DotKom’s top influences, but they both agree that they’re big Tribe fans. The two show respect to the superstar group 26 SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE

that most successfully fused jazz and hip-hop in their “Fantastic (Reno)” video. They both wore the bulging eyes Tribe used in their “Bugging Out” video. Their album starts off sweet with a poetic intro from Jean Greezy and jumps right into “Take a Ride,” a fun Spanish-influenced uptempo track that brings to mind the feverish pace of fast cars on lonely highways. All in all, it’s a positive project that covers everything from their lyrical prowess, to having a good day to dealing with girls. Some standouts are the horn-laced and drum-punctuated “Spectacular Vernacular” and the chill “Turn it Up.” Working with and supporting the careers of other artist friends - reminiscent of the Boot Camp Clik and State Property - are two things that J. Arthur and DotKom are committed to. The WHOevers are connected to a hip-hop collective called the SpeakEasy Rum Runners which include such acts as The Highest Low, The Kitchen, Slimbo Bombay, and the Poynt Blank Crew. They’ve only performed together once with about 15 of them jamming on stage. Though you won’t find either of them playing the keys or wielding any other instruments, DotKom - who works as a substitute teacher comes from a family filled with musicians. “All my uncles are musicians in the Philippines. They all skipped school to pursue music. One uncle tried to teach me keyboards and drums,” he explains. Fallen to the same fate, J. Arthur took piano and guitar lessons in high school, but didn’t stick with it. But they do write. To get in writing mode, DotKom, the self-dubbed lyrical assassin and J.

Arthur, who is always “cool, calm and collected” start off by drinking iced coffee and setting up a hookah. “We used to write verses separately, but now we meet up and write together,” says DotKom. “Sometimes, J will start making a beat from scratch and we see where it takes us.” J. Arthur, who works as a prep cook in a hospital by day, says they play everything by ear nowadays. Making sure that they’re on the same page creatively is important to them. “We’ve been pre-recording our songs now. We used to go the studio and waste time and money. Now, we think it out and sing it on a program on the computer. It’s like doing a rough draft,” says DotKom. Currently they use Cubase software for their dry runs. They have a decent mic, but the equipment and the space they record in aren’t as high quality as they’d like. But they’re grinding. They’re on Facebook connecting with fans, shooting videos for their singles to post on YouTube, uploading to SoundCloud and tweeting. To get more of a following, they - like most artists - lean on free social media tools. “We learned to reach out to a lot of blogs. The Internet is a powerful tool. It’s the new streets now. [There is] no plastering posters. There’s social networks, SoundCloud, it’s easy access,” says DotKom. J. Arthur agrees. “We read a lot of local blogs. They put you on different stuff.” Their hard work is paying off. Lately, the tables have started to turn when it comes to getting gigs. People have started to ask them if they’ll perform at different venues. But they’re still working to book more shows. If there’s an artist coming to town that they like, they still try to put a bid in so they can be the opening act. “Having a management team helps, and a street team. They are taking care of our emails, which are starting to get too crazy. Too many deadlines and asking for shows. It’s too much for an artist who wants to focus on music to handle,” explains J. Arthur. “We were doing everything ourselves.” In addition to their work as a group, J. Arthur - who sings the chorus on “Silly Girl” - has an EP out with Jack Flash called Out of the Blue. Not to be outdone, DotKom has a solo project called Words of Wisdom that dropped at the end of June. Even though they both have 9-5 jobs, they’re working hard to pursue their dreams. But how do they find time to balance the demands of the group and their own solo careers? DotKom boils it down to their work ethic and respect for each other. “We don’t interfere with each other. We love to work on music. But, if one person is away, the other person keeps on working.”

The WHOevers

Renovations Out Now Standout Track: “Spectacular Vernacular” LISTEN NOW @ PERFORMERMAG.COM

“We used to write verses separately, but now we meet up and write together. Sometimes, J will start making a beat from scratch and we see where it takes us.”


On Transitioning From Bedroom Recording to Pro Studios

D E E P by Andrew Lapham Fersch photos by Ben Aqua and Angel Ceballos



Formerly known as Yellow Fever, Deep Time’s Jennifer Moore and Adam Jones don’t aim to do anything more than create music that people find engaging. What they are managing to do, though, is bring people back to the days of early ’90s indie rock in a sincere fashion. They’re also managing to help “Keep Austin Weird” with

will usually be some idea or topic floating around in my head while we are working on the song and by the time we are ready to arrange, I know what I want to say.  

  Well, in the last three years we’ve been through a lot of changes in both our personal lives and in the band.  The biggest factor was learning how to write with just the two of us.  We are both

  We don’t really have a genre or time period goal.  The aim is to write music that we enjoy and to make interesting pop songs that don’t lead your

titled album (released earlier this summer on Hardly Art). Moore, also previously of the Carrots, spent some time with Performer to talk about the new record.

  I write the words and melodies, and then together we flesh it out and try to stretch the arrangement into something we think is unique or decide to add new parts.  We usually start with a melody, but there are a couple songs on the new album that started with instrumental parts.  The words come towards the end of the process.  There


Subsequently, what factors played into your making this specific album, now?

As far as recording goes, everything we’ve done in the past was recorded at home.  We were interested in making this album in a studio.  Our friend Barrett Walton recorded Daniel Francis Doyle’s album, We Bet Our Money On You, in his studio and we thought it sounded amazing!  So we asked him to record us, and we made a shiny hi-fi recording that sounds really bright and dry.  Writing-wise, I think the melodies are moodier, the instruments are more herky-jerky and the arrangements are a little weirder, and all that was just influenced by the different things we were listening to at the time.   

unique lyrical qualities and arrangements on their latest self-

So, who is the primary songwriter here? It seems pretty clear that you aren’t just throwing words together and calling it music, so could you walk me through your songwriting process?

very picky perfectionist types when it comes to writing, and with recording we are even worse!  We are extremely happy with and proud of the new album, which makes the long gestation period worth it for us.  Plus, I think now we better understand how our band works.

It seems that many people have been (im) patiently waiting for you to release music; what has been holding that process up?

Is it a compliment or not that you seem to get compared to ’90s alternative rock? How would you describe what you’re doing?

“As far as recording goes, everything we’ve done in the past was recorded at home.  We were interested in making this album in a studio.” ear to think of a particular time or specific variety of music.  It would be nice to just surprise people with sounds and get a fresh reaction instead of nestling into that dear old part of their brain that has a strong affinity for garage rock, or ’90s music or whatever.  Not to say that we care particularly why or how people enjoy our music, we just hope to make it engaging for them.   

How did your time in the Carrots influence what you’re doing now? Does it impact it at all or do you feel this is totally different?

  Being in the Carrots taught me how to write songs.  It was a nice way to learn because the band was going for a very specific sound: ’60s girl group music.  So I didn’t have to worry about that aspect, and was able to experiment within a ’60s pop form.  Also, a lot of the ladies in those groups were such amazing singers.  It was an opportunity to play around with my voice a lot and discover new ways of singing.  They say that adding some limitations or a frame to a creative activity can be really helpful. 

Deep Time

How much do you believe image plays into people’s reception of your music?

 I’m not really sure.  I don’t think of us as having an image.  We do get really excited about our record, art, videos and t-shirts as a visual representation of the band.  It’s nice that musicians get to experiment with sounds and then when it’s all done get to design this appealing object and create in a different way.  Like wrapping a present. Maybe the fact that we aren’t very aware of how our images affect people is a sign that we are terrible business people.

s/t Out Now Standout Track: “Clouds” LISTEN NOW @ PERFORMERMAG.COM insurance to Austin musicians.  I suppose a con is that we have to drive very far to tour either coast.  

  How has Austin influenced you as a musi- Even with a fairly stripped-down sound, do you have specific instruments that you’re cian? Pros? Cons?   There are tons of places to play and we’ve smitten with and insistent on using?  always had a supportive group of people who come out to our shows.  Adam grew up here and played in so many different bands.  I’m sure having all that music around was a good thing.  A really fantastic part of living here is this nonprofit called HAAM [editor’s note - Health Alliance for Austin Musicians] that provides free health

 I’m pretty smitten with singing. Other than that, I think we’ve each gotten to play every instrument in this project at some point, and Adam’s good at playing everything. It’s more about serving the song.

  Why Deep Time? Some deep meaning there?

 It’s a theory that a Scottish geologist, James Hutton, came up with.  It basically means that the world is extremely old and has geologic events that seem completely random to humans, who live for such a short amount of time, but if you look at the big picture all these events are a part of a cycle.  New rocks are being created and old formations are wearing down and being tossed about and are becoming new things.  Looking at the big picture is an appealing idea to us.  Also, we thought it sounded good. SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 31



F O R E CASTLE Festival Louisville, KY / July 13-15, 2012 by Jason Ashcraft photos by Kate Eldridge

You wanna know what Forecastle Festival is like? OK. It’s a little something like this: Music. Art(ists). Ecology. Louisville-lovers. Dirty hippie dudes. Dirty hippie dames. Beardos. Rollie Fingers ’staches. Dreadlocks. Tie-dye. Bassheads. Potheads. River-bathers. Burlesque performances. Tree-huggers. Socialists. Liberals. Journalists. Hacky sack circles. Sweaty people drinking PBR. Sweaty people making out. Sweaty people drinking PBRs and making out. Teenage make-shift obstacle hurdlers. Yep, this is how it went down on the banks of the Ohio River when more than 35,000 people jumbled together to celebrate Louisville, right below its skyline at Waterfront Park. And, yes, this was a city government-endorsed event as Mayor Fischer was present to once again welcome My Morning Jacket with Forecastle founder JK McKnight. Whereas some city governments shun music festivals like these, Louisville’s embraces it.

Forecastle is living, breathing, proof that people from different backgrounds can coexist in a way that promotes unity, cultural awareness, activism and freedom, with music as the unifying stimulus. The following is a rundown of some of the standout sets during the festival. My Morning Jacket Last year I said that MMJ gave the greatest performance they could ever give. Now here I am, again, both eating my words and again saying, “MMJ gave the greatest performance they could ever give at Forecastle.” Not to mention the best performance - by far - of the entire festival. In a recent interview with MMJ bassist Two-Tone Tommy, he promised that “surprises” were in store, and the first came only two songs in when the big brass backing of Preservation Hall Jazz Band joined them for a crowd-pleasing 32 SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE

version of “Holdin’ Onto Black Metal.” Keeping the set eclectic, they played songs from virtually their entire discography, opening with “The Dark” and busting out mesmerizing versions of “The Bear,” “Anytime,” “Smoking From Shooting,” “Steam Engine,” and crowd favorites, including “Wordless Chorus” and an Andrew Bird-accompanied version of “Gideon.” They also logged killer covers of Elton John’s “Rocket Man,” George Harrison’s “Isn’t It a Pity,” The Band’s “It Makes No Difference,” and an encore performance of George Michael’s “Careless Whisper,” in which Jim delivered a message from George Michael himself, while tossing bananas to the audience and hilariously adjusting the lyrics to suit the occasion. Sleeper Agent Now here’s a band with a lot of charisma and

a seemingly bright future ahead of them Make no mistake folks, lead singer Alex Kandel is the star in this band as she danced, headbanged and pushed her way around stage with fellow bandmates, flipping her hair from one side to the next every five steps. The Bowling Green natives logged rowdy live performances of “Get Burned,” “Get It Daddy” and “Proper Taste,” all from their debut album Celebrasion. If these young Kentucky lads are to have some more big shows in their future, then all they gotta do is keep doing what they did at Forecastle. Their crowd was one of the biggest of the smaller two stages. Clutch “Hats off to My Morning Jacket for their great taste in music!” says Clutch lead singer Neil Fallon, who selfishly joked at mid-set about their invitation to play. But he’s right, especially

Artists left to right:


My Morning Jacket Neko Case Clutch


if you’re fan of good ol’ dirty and stripped-down rock ‘n’ roll, which is a style that’s not the norm at Forecastle. Filling the Boom Stage’s lawn with a couple thousand people, Clutch played cuts from their entire catalog. Opening with “Gravel Road” and closing with “One Eye Dollar,” Clutch delivered a set that spanned their 20-year career, including high-energy versions of their more popular hits like “50,000 Unstoppable Watts” and “Electric Worry,” yet strangely left out “The Mob Goes Wild.” Damn, maybe next time. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo These Afrobeat pioneers were probably one of the most under-anticipated acts of the entire festival. These guys have been playing together for decades but added a hip international flair unlike previous years. Although they’ve been jamming out since the ’60s, this was only their second trip to the States. About an equal amount of time was shared between instrumental play and the soulful French-African vocals of lead singer Amenoudji Joseph Vicky. Moon Taxi This is one band I hadn’t actually planned on seeing, but that I just happened to stumble upon while waiting to see Cabin the next stage over. I gotta say, I’m definitely glad I did, because the guys were totally balls-out rock ‘n’ roll with enough energy radiating off the stage to keep their audience growing throughout the set.

My Morning Jacket and local Kentucky musicians elevating Forecastle to a whole new level.

Cabin One of several Louisville-based indie rock acts took the stage on a muggy Sunday evening to a rather shy and undersized crowd. Lead singer Noah Hewett-Ball has a calm, cool and collected onstage demeanor that seems to carry over with most of their music. One of the finer tunes they performed, “A Lie Worth Believing,” just happened to bring out cello extraordinaire Ben Sollee for an eclectic addition to an already catchy song. Much to the modest crowd’s appeasement, keyboardist/ vilinist Sarah Beth Welder wasn’t shy about admitting that, “I got to knock something off my bucket list by playing with Ben Sollee.” Lucero The country punk rockers marked their Forecastle return. Frontman Ben Nichols’ gritty and countryfied vocals charmed the fans, numbering in the thousands, who weren’t in short supply of being fond for the alt-Southern sounds that make Lucero iconic. Promoting their latest album, Nichols and company jammed out the title track to the new record to an eager audience. And it wouldn’t be a true Lucero show if they didn’t play “Nights Like These” and “Kiss the Bottle,” which Nichols refers to as his “jaw breaking song.”

something more exciting in store than his other band’s performance at Forecastle? Just a few hours after a bit of a mundane performance with his band Ravenna Colt, Quaid joined his former bandmates in My Morning Jacket onstage for what had to be the highlight of his night. Ravenna Colt has some decent songs, thanks to Quaid, but their presentation needs some work. Many of their songs don’t warrant an energetic performance; the band just didn’t seem to be inspired by the music they were playing. It’s safe to say that this year’s Forecastle Festival topped everyone’s expectations, even my own. I admit that one of my first worries with all the amped-up hype was that there would be an equally amped-up police force ready to spoil the fun. As it turned out, that wasn’t the case. All those pot-smoking, music-junkie hippie kids aren’t really interested in bringing harm to anyone or anything. Nah. All they really want to do is get another sausage to suffice their munchies, dance in circles to a My Morning Jacket or Dr. Dog song, and maybe learn how to burn a few less fossil fuels in their daily lives.

Ravenna Colt Who would’ve known that frontman Johnny Quaid (formerly of MMJ) actually had SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 33


OUR PHILOSOPHY ON REVIEWS OUR review section is a little bit different. We don’t use a numbered scale or star system, and we don’t feature music we don’t like. Instead, think of this as our top picks of the month. These are the new releases that we’re really enjoying, and that we recommend you check out. We also mix in a few of our favorite live shows, as well as books and videos from time to time.

You can listen to the music featured in this issue at Enjoy.

Allah-Las Allah-Las Los Angeles, CA (Innovative Leisure Records)

“A scenic wander through the Golden State” Summer albums never stay around long, but Los Angeles’ Allah-Las have crafted a summer album for the ages. Brimming with bright tones and dusty old sounds that have long been due for a comeback, Allah-Las’ self-titled debut album is a sunny, sparkling ode to the Golden State. Most people might instinctively call it “surf,” but they’d be wrong – it’s too simplistic an assessment. Allah-Las uses shockingly authentic ’60s-era instrumentation to recreate the fuzzy hooks that emanated from suburban garages during the era (and never really went away), culminating in an ideal soundtrack to any day you wish were a little warmer. Though they’re from LA, they officially declare themselves a California band, and this album sounds like Northern and Southern California have finally kissed and made up – the cavernous echo of Southern beaches melt into a foundation of the spooky, psychedelic San Francisco sound. Those who judge by song titles alone – “Catamaran,” “Sacred Sands,” “Catalina” – might think this is a corny theme album for costume parties, but Allah-Las adds up to a scenic, carefree wander through a scenic, carefree state.

infectious tugs (“Ready for Duty”). Junior Violence is underpinned by wide influence, but a judicious comparison can be made to David Fridmann’s production. Think spastic use of experimental sounds and electronic nuances framed by the hook-filled indie rock trinity: bass, guitar and drums. Johnson, a keen but hapless lyricist, has a terrific voice, further hemming a - dare the eclectic similarity - Talking Heads pop, but gels smoothly with the danceable beats in “Sourpuss Down to a Science” and “Cocaine & Guns ASAP.” Each track takes a harrowing turn, giving the release unshakable variance. The single, “Marijuana’s on the Phone” offers a lull, shuffling with a slower tempo and propped up by horn blasts, sporadic electronic grammar and Johnson’s selfharmonization. Thanks to Johnson’s mature vocals and the electronic flourishes, the album delivers a broad, cohesive result that’s highly listenable and fanatically expressive. Junior Violence is solidly recommended for fans of Panda Bear, Flaming Lips or Pavement’s Wowee Zowee. Engineered and Recorded by Michael Johnson Jeff Zeigler Mastered at Peerless Mastering by Jeff Lipton and Maria Rice Produced by Michael Johnson -Christopher Petro

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy

Now Here’s My Plan Louisville, KY (Drag City Records)

Ape School Junior Violence

“Re-imagining past singles into expansive, rambling Americana jams”

Philadelphia, PA (Hometapes)

“Ambitious, ferocious and hook-filled acid pop” Philadelphia’s Michael Johnson (the man behind Ape School) has a thing for the avant-garde. Working with Holopaw, Kurt Vile and the War on Drugs, Johnson’s sophomore release, Junior Violence, is ambitious and catchy. The album radiates colorful synths (“Beneficiary (Don’t Blame Me)”) busy with sound and strums along with 34 SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE

Engineered, Recorded and Mixed at Electrical Audio by Steve Albini Mastered by Paul Oldham Produced by Steve Albini and Will Oldham -Christopher Petro

Buffalo Killers

Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. Cincinnati, OH (Alive Records)

“Ohio band waves their freak-flag high while keeping things concise”

Mixed at Uniform Recording by Michael Johnson and -Jody Amable

Beware pulses: rambling with distinct Americana roots. Spurring his melancholy originals with the largess of a full band then ratcheting up the tempos produces glorious, fresh definition. Most notably on “I See a Darkness,” the slowcore figurehead, here fervent with a foot-stomping beat, male/ female harmony, electric guitar, Wurlitzer organ and Oldham’s staple growl, creates an essential reworking, achieving a surprising equilibrium of immensity and catchiness. Oldham deviated from minimalist songwriting years ago (when Cat Power did the same), once his sole bearing. Now the instrumentation is roomy and freewheeling, featuring strings, keys, hearty percussion and multiple singers, making this EP a must for any follower of Oldham’s legacy.

It has been a restless year for Louisville, KY native Will Oldham (AKA: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy). After releasing an EP with Mariee Sioux, collaborating with David Byrne for a Robert Smith documentary and completing his own memoir, for which this record - his 26th EP - shall accompany: Will Oldham on Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy by Alan Licht. Now Here’s My Plan is a reworking of Oldham’s most memorable and influential songs - produced, expanded and woven into a honky-tonk medley by equally iconic Steve Albini. Now Here’s My Plan courses the vein his album

This is a band that’s bound to have some killer vinyl ay home. Started by a pair of brothers and a keyboardist-turned-drummer from their old band, Thee Shams, Buffalo Killers sit nicely on the calmer side of the Howlin’ Rain/Aquarium Drunkard crop of bands, groups for whom the ’80s never happened and Dinosaur Jr. were the Stones of the ’90s. On Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. the band has made an album that sounds like it came out 40 years ago but for one big difference: it’s concise. The longest song is 4:44, and most are around the three minute mark. Opener “Get It” (which made me holler “Oh, Shit!” the first time I listened to it) could’ve been twice as long and would still be worth every second. Despite writing heavy riffs that can turn mountains into volcanoes, they don’t pummel you the way most power trios tend to (we’re looking at you Mountain, Blue Cheer, Gov’t Mule). Songs like “Blood on Your Hands” and “I Am Always Here” show a gift for creating memorable, hooky songs that recall the best of Steven Stills (dude was a beast before the coke took hold, seriously), only louder. Produced by Buffalo Killers & Mike Montgomery Recorded & Mastered by Mike Montgomery at Candyland -Warren McQuiston

The Up to the Moon EP Brooklyn, NY (Self-released)

“An acoustic curtsey for the pained at heart” Brooklyn-based songstress Chantilly’s latest EP bares a blend of gentle chords and post-pity poetry as an attempt to right her capsized sense of self. The Up to the Moon EP is a waltzing collection of battered-heart ballads and vulnerable vows that teeter on the edge of tears, dejected smiles and faded summertime memories. Fueled by an Instagram aesthetic and Pinterest personality, Chantilly’s coy charm and DIY sensibilities are captured in the organic, folktinged sound and handwritten warmth of the EP’s indie effervescence. Wry croons, weeping lap steel and dramatic rhythms whirl as a melancholy wind decorates the record’s entirety. The gloomy closer, “Don’t Wanna Wait,” casually delivers a weighty sentiment, “I don’t want to walk away and I don’t wanna stay, but I sure know how to fake it” like a commonplace catchphrase and not a heartbreaking haiku, whilst mascara runs from weeping violins - the endpoint of a shockingly sad thread. Bound by tales of uncertainty, acceptance and deflated boys, the release is a doleful portrait of an artist as a young woman, one that is flush with lure and blemished love. Produced by Saul Simon MacWilliams Recorded at The Lovely Light -Taylor Haag

Chris McFarland

Beauty and Undertow Brooklyn, NY (End Up Records)

“Haunting, powerful melodies. Emotions spill with indie acoustic rock” “Time for Us” begins with the beauty of sultry acoustic guitars, blending in with raw, unrestricted vocals. Moods and atmosphere of loss and loneliness shine in the songs, churning lovingly into a message of hope and the mindset of not giving up. The varying tempos of the tracks aid in bringing about feelings of longing. The songs are powerfully scored and written, and with stellar production, the emotions conveyed can be easily recognized. Inspired by artists in the realm of Ben Kweller, the Replacements, and Goo Goo Dolls, McFarland delivers a promising effort in shaping these storyteller melodies of life, love and romance. “Don’t go

wasting your life, trying to fix things,” McFarland sings humbly in “Wild Abandon,” sustained by scintillating percussion, energetically buzzing guitars and animated bass tones. What’s perhaps most striking in the playing of Beauty and Undertow is McFarland’s melancholy, poignant vocals that complete his trademark sound. He seems to bring you to the undertow of the ocean’s waves on “Cancer” and “Song for Every Girl,” taking your heartstrings and drawing you in with his beauty. With songs of ambition, newfound clarity and the seeking of a faith-filled concept, McFarland genuinely delivers during much of the record, complete with soaring moments that make one’s hairs stand on end. A soothing, reassuring listen and overall, a noteworthy work of music. Produced, Mixed & Engineered by Brian Bender Assisted by Jon Anderson Mastered by Nathan James at Vault Mastering -Shawn M. Haney

Conveyor Conveyor Brooklyn, NY (Paper Garden Records)

“Shoegazing indie pop sparkles with harmonic vocal bliss” With the opening sounds in “Woolgatherer” of strings and synths, Conveyor delivers its selftitled album with finesse and melodic grace. While the harmonies are gorgeous, in a myriad of vocal ranges from tenor to baritone, with perhaps the use of Nord synths, this group really brings together the complete palate of sound. The production is stellar, as Conveyor presents itself in an 11-song bathing of musical textures and heavenly colors. Songs like “Two Davids” and “Short Hair” are quite delightful breaths of fresh air, with their experimental sounds and various beats and polyrhythmic patterns, dabbled in a mixture of tempos that change on cue. “Homes” opens up with rainfall and riveting percussion in a marching fashion. Nature is the elemental focus as birds chirp and pianos paint a marvelous picture of environmental rock. Truly groundbreaking and full of creative flair, this group spent countless hours in the studio working up the final tracks for this release. Most prominent in detail are the lush harmonies and the scintillating vocals, the highlights of the band’s trademarked sound. A strange and beautiful effort the spells a message of love, and the power of nature and creation, Conveyor has truly earned their wings. Recorded at 60 S 2nd St in Brooklyn Mastered by TW Walsh -Shawn M. Haney

Dum Dum Girls End of Daze Los Angeles, CA (Sub Pop)

“Hazy, emotionally charged indie-rock about life”



Riddled with opaque harmonies, distorted guitar chords and dark musings on love and relationships comes the Dum Dum Girls’ latest EP, End of Daze. Once again lead singer Dee Dee (Kristin Gundred) pours her heart out with lush vocals over buzz saw compositions, in an attempt to better understand herself and her world. The band’s artistic expression has evolved fluidly, with layers of glossy pop and frenzied punk energy as they continue to draw on personal experiences and emotions to fuel their creative process. At the center of End of Daze are Dee Dee’s attempts to overcome grief and anxiety. “I Got Nothing” is a brooding and poignant rehashing of painful personal experiences set to a backdrop of percussion and gritty reverberation. The noise pop continues with a wealth of imagery on “Mine Tonight” and an impressive overhaul of Scottish pop-rock band, Strawberry Switchblade’s “Trees and Flowers”. There is a fuller, richer sound created by the quartet that seems to fill up any empty space. End of Daze is a smattering of short, punchy, driving tracks; a preview of a more matured and seasoned group of musicians. There is a greater depth and precision to the performances and a clear emotional growth. With two full-length albums and two EPs under the belts, these girls have demonstrated their commitment to music and have no intention of going anywhere anytime soon. -Vanessa Bennett

The Helio Sequence Negotiations Portland, OR (Sub Pop)

“Rich, free-form alternative musings and instrumental compositions resulting from a flood” The Helio Sequence is preparing to release their fifth full-length album, Negotiations, and it is an endeavor sure to please the band’s longdevoted fan base and those just finding out about the PDX group. The album culminated the wake of studio disaster - it was victim to a minor flood - and as such is the band’s venture into uncharted territory. The result: a richer and more vibrant SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 35


The Helio Sequence (continued)

Mary C Right on Time

effort, one void of the cleaner, more digitally enhanced sound they’ve been known for. There is a shift in recording style and creative process that proves fruitful here, giving them a more free form and improvisational style. The 11-track album is fueled by unabashed heartfelt lyricism and a variation of tempos, chord progressions and sound. “October” is an anthem about the “what-ifs” of a relationship, simple in composition and with a melody that builds to an infectious end. “Harvester of Souls” takes a less up-tempo approach with a more raw sound and “Silence on Silence” and “Negotiations” utilize space and introspection. It is inevitable that a band will grow and evolve with time, but the evolution is not always successful. In the case of the Helio Sequence, evolution and change have produced something truly impressive. It’s been four years since the band’s last album and with a more detailed focus on production and arrangement, Negotiations is an excellent addition to the group’s discography. -Vanessa Bennett


your ass and reaching for your hairbrush microphone to sing along with the rocking “Back to Me,” you might want to check your pulse. Produced by Mike Tuccillo and Jason Wexler

New York, NY

Recorded at ProMixMaster Studios NYC

(Chantress Music)

Engineered by Richard Ahee and Jamie Siegel Mastered by Rick Essig

“Strong voice delivering an upbeat blend of soul, funk and pop” As a white girl with a big voice recording soul-driven pop in 2012, it is inevitable for Mary C to avoid comparisons with Adele (it would have been Amy Winehouse in 2007). But frankly, the comparisons would be positive. The daughter of actress/jazz musician Mercedes Hall and sister of Brat Packer Anthony Michael Hall, Mary C first blended funk, soul, pop and jazz on her 2010 album Off the Line. Her sophomore effort, the EP Right on Time, is a boogie-inducing 18-minute romp. You won’t find any overwrought ballads on this album, with electronic undertones providing upbeat tonalities, but, as expected, the album’s real star is Mary C’s voice. Whether she’s crooning about a bad day on “Get Me Through” or growling about desire on “Love Automatic,” Mary C’s sound may not be entirely original but it is fun. Some of the songs, like the slower “Paper Moons,” drag a bit and are too derivative of other artists in order to enjoy entirely. But if you’re not shaking

-Heidi Schmitt

Pegasus Dream In Absentia Portland, OR (SoHiTek Records)

“Psychedelic pop with an electronic twist” In Absentia has earned the right to a presence on your stereo. Portland-based band Pegasus Dream oozes psychedelic rock wrapped up in an indie electro-pop blanket. The music features a hypnotic mix of rattling synthesizers and poppy guitars that transform the underbelly of noise into catchy tunes. Front man JT Lindsey brings cool and distant vocals to his bright guitar chords while Andy Carlson layers ringing keys and Jeff Bond ties the sounds together with tight percussion. Their choruses are simple and iconic. They’re

Produced and Mixed by JT Lindsey and Jeff Bond Mastered by John McCaig -Samantha Ward

Ponderosa Pool Party Athens, GA (New West Records)

“Athens band switches styles and comes up the better for it” For a few weeks I thought there were two separate bands named after a shitty restaurant chain, but no, there is just one. Ponderosa’s first album had the classic Southern born-to-boogie sound in spades. Their second album, Pool Party, is not that. At all. It isn’t even honest to call it a follow-up; it’s more like an all-out re-boot. They’ve replaced the influence of old Southern bands like the Allmans with new ones like My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses. If there was anything cynical or careerist about this transition then who cares? Because Ponderosa sounds good doing it. The first couple of things you notice about Pool Party are the layered vocal harmonies and reverbsoaked everything, which we’ve heard before, but there is so much more going on here that makes the record worth your time. Rightly admired producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev) earns his pay on this guy because the album has a haunted, removed sound where you think you hear dulcimers, some exotic Indian bowed instrument and layers upon layers of sounds hidden underneath each song. Repeated listening to “Get a Gun,” with its overloaded drums, disorienting ending, flutes and shifts between major and minor modes, reveal how packed with ideas this album is. Yes, many of the songs on Pool Party build to a huge crescendo, but people give the drummer (Darren Dodd) some props because he makes the whole over-the-top explosive climax feel new and exciting again. Produced by Dave Fridmann Mixed by Dave Fridmann & Tony Doogan -Warren McQuiston

Radio Fallout Vox E Tenebris Austin, TX (Defeat the Squares)

“Like a missing track from the Empire Records soundtrack” Radio Fallout is a three-piece rock band from Austin Texas who sounds much like most 3-piece rock bands from Austin (read: catchy melodic rock songs with depressing lyrics). If it were 1997 this band would be poised to hit the top of the charts, clocking in somewhere between The Wallflowers and Harvey Danger. Unfortunately, the Clear Channel market has dropped a little bit so at times Vox E Tenebris sounds a tad dated. This would lead one to believe that maybe the name ‘Radio Fallout’ is meant to be ironic in some capacity, but I’m not sure it is. Track 3 (“Falling In”) would make for a good lead single, the label would probably push for “Summer Sun” to be single number two, and “I Want To Be Alright” might actually be the missing track from the Empire Records soundtrack. The question is, has enough time passed to make this record ‘retro’ in some respect? Not sure about the age of the three ‘fallouts’ but maybe this is all an experiment in nostalgia. At the end of the day, Vox E Tenebris is much like the albums that it most directly draws its influences from; Radio Fallout is catchy, well produced, and (at one point in time) radio-ready. This is a band to watch if you owned The Refreshments’ Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy in ’96. Real talk. Recorded and Mixed by Evan Kleinecke at 5th Street Studios, Austin Mastered by Nick Landis at Terra Nova Digital Audio, Austin -Ben Nine-K

Radiolucent Turn Me On & Turn Me Loose Athens, GA (Old South Records)

“Southern rock at its finest” Athens, GA is often thought of for its quirky indie-pop, fueling hipster house parties across the little college town. But lest we forget, Athens is indeed located in the heart of the South, where blues, rock and honky tonk still have a definite presence in bars and clubs where Southerners raise a glass of whiskey to their favorite local bands. That’s the South that Radiolucent loves. “The Lucent,” as they’re affectionately called, have finally put out their debut full-length album,

Turn Me On & Turn Me Loose after years playing together and building their fan base. They’ve created a true Southern album, rooted in tradition while avoiding being cliché. Andy Appling’s driving drum beat, Michael Cowan’s honky tonk keyboard, and Cody Stalvey’s bluesy bass showcase the twangy, gospel-tinged lyrics of Michael Mann [editor’s note – no, not Manhunter’s Michael Mann]. This is not stand-around-andbob-your-head kind of music. This is throw-your –body-into-it-and-yell-and-drink kind of music. Mann sums the album pretty well when he sings, “I’m so country it hurts. I’m so country I can feel it in my bones.”


statements, proposals, and laments. “Safe Word” repeats, “I adore you;” “Spring Break,” a simple question. “Oxen Free” travels through a lamenting tune with sharp guitar hooks and “In Absentia” opens the record with a bubbling slice of layered synths. “Righteous Tiger” welcomes a more classic rock vibe with a smooth line of electric guitar following every chorus. The five-song EP keeps a consistent tone, perfect for the short run time of 18 minutes. The quick play-through urges listeners to keep their eyes peeled for another PD full-length that will fully explore the creative complexity that this group has proven themselves capable of.

Produced by Radiolucent and Jim “Z” Zumpano Recorded in Stonehenge at ZAC Studios, Atlanta -M.C. Rhodes

Sea Wolf Old World Romance Los Angeles, CA (Dangerbird Records)

“Self-exploration driven by haunting melodies and provocative chords” Sea Wolf, led by Alex Brown Church, is back with a new album, Old World Romance. The record is as brooding and introspective as ever. Church weaves tales of his life experiences with haunting melodies and seductive lyrics. This time around he’s incorporated the use of elegant full-band arrangements, but still retains the darker imagery of previous works. There is an atmosphere of bittersweet romance and promise to be found on Old World Romance. The album opens with an airy melody on “Old Friend,” a minimalist and melancholy ballad for the past. Here, Church’s vocals are given the opportunity to shine and once again, the fragility of his voice remains the driving force behind his work. The fast-paced and buoyant track, “In Nothing,” keeps things moving with rapidly plucked guitar chords and determined percussion. “Miracle Cure” and “Saint Catherine St.” pack a burst of energy and weave tales of rediscovery while “Blue Stockings” dials down the tempo with a more dreamlike sound. “Priscilla” and “Whirlpool” feature introspective moments reminiscent of his previous works, seeming to embody a desire to reach out to an old friend. Old World Romance is a beautiful album, dark and thoughtful but with bright moments of hope and acceptance. While it remains in the same vein of Church’s past works, it marks clear growth, a return to the Sea Wolf he always intended it to be. He continues to draw on his personal experiences and expands his sound and repertoire in an impressive and provocative way. -Vanessa Bennett




Grassroots vibes, jammin’ music, camping and a communal atmosphere.

Every 4th of July weekend, High Sierra Music Festival, an eclectic four-day music gathering, brings its grassroots vibes to the Northern California town of Quincy. While this year’s headliners, Ben Harper, Ryan Bingham, STS9, and Toots and The Maytals drew the largest crowds, HSMF also had plenty on-the -verge bands like Deer Tick, Delta Spirit, The Lumineers, and Built to Spill, who dominated the scene. At HSMF, it wasn’t unusual to witness bands finish a set, join the crowds, and enjoy the music. What sets High Sierra Music Festival apart from the multitudes of summer music festivals, are the deep-rooted traditions its patrons have cultivated over the years. Many of the festival goers are musicians themselves, joining in on an impromptu jam with scheduled bands, or are people returning for a fresh dose of new music. Paul Glowaski and Molly Nakahara of Dinner Bell Farm in Grass Valley, CA, make the annual trip to High Sierra because it’s a way to reconnect with friends, discover music that would be a good fit for their farm concerts, and to continue the “Shizzing” (colloquial slang for getting their

groove on at High Sierra). Indoor play-shops provided intimate settings that sparked creativity and conversation between fans, musicians, and music industry insiders. Singer/songwriter Steve Poltz, co-writer of Jewel’s hit song “You Were Meant For Me”, entertained with personal storytelling and songs about life on the road, while Simon Kurth (Huckle) returned as musical director for Guitarmageddon: Celebrating The Talking Heads, and Steve Adams of ALO orchestrated musicians in The Ramble Gramble: A Tribute To Levon Helm. From The Motet, who covered the Grateful Dead funk-style, to the raw country of Broke Down in Bakersfield (pictured, left), to the musings of singer/songwriter and unofficial “mayor” of HSMF, Nathan Moore, the festival did a nice job of bringing in a variety of sounds. With four revolving stages, camping, and music workshops throughout the day, musicians and music connoisseurs alike had a chance to mingle and partake in quality music and a stress-free community vibe. At High Sierra, it was as much about the atmosphere as the music.

San Francisco, CA

farewells, and an untamed assault of drums and guitar. It’s formulaic, but it’s still full of surprises: two songs in and you find yourself bracing for a blast of thrash that may or not come at the end of every verse. [editor’s note – in simpler terms, this record fucking rules.]

(ATO Records)

Produced by John Congleton

for the genre. Gritty and edgy, but not as treble intensive as a lot of the garage rock bands on the market. Tracks like “Medication” and “Hate Your Teachers” are self-aware enough to hold it down in the Pitchfork scene, but also possess enough ’77-punk pogo to fit in with groups like The Briefs or early-era Pink Spiders (minus shades and skinny ties, of course). Also check out the Sonic Youth chops on “You’re Right” and the Whoesque theatrics on album closer “Julie Jewel.” This record sounds sweaty and out of control. Unnatural Helpers are keeping the flame lit for the bands that navigated Seattle in its immediate post-Nevermind era.

HIGH SIERRA Music Festival

Quincy, CA July 5-8, 2012 article and photo by Tanya Fuller

Two Gallants The Bloom and the Blight

“SF duo creates loud, raucous record to perfectly capture rock and roll” If you’re the kind of person who judges songs within the first five seconds of hearing them, you might be a little disappointed with Two Gallants’ latest work. That’s because, on The Bloom and the Blight, the pair have perfected the art of backing into a song. You have to hang on until at least 15 seconds in for each track to get to where it’s going. It’s usually somewhere very different than where it started, but it’s never somewhere boring. After a crushing hiatus, San Francisco’s distortion kings Two Gallants are back with The Bloom and the Blight, their long-awaited new release. A raucous record that swings wildly between tender truths and bold affirmations, The Bloom and the Blight is a riotous return to form. Expanding on the folk influences that have served them so well in the past, Bloom and Blight ripples with raw conviction. Each song walks a delicate line between two sounds: hushed ballads full of declarations of devotion and bittersweet 38 SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE

-Jody Amable

Unnatural Helpers Land Grab

Recorded and Mixed by Kurt Bloch and Eric Randall

Seattle, WA

(Hardly Art)

-Ben Nine-K

“Seattle Sub-Punk” Land Grab features intense punk rock that makes a conscious nod to the golden-era Sub Pop sound. Formed around singer/songwriter/drummer (and for those who enjoy trivia, a salesman for Sub Pop), Unnatural Helpers have undergone a variety of line-up changes, but have finally solidified enough to put out a full-length. Sounds swing between a definite punk fury to drawn out grunge-like jam sessions. The recording quality of Land Grab is perfect


reviews and photos by Vanessa Bennett

Fort Adams State Park - Newport, RI July 27-29, 2012




Two days of feverish banjos, twangy melancholia and impressive musical collaborations.

The Newport Folk Festival is one of the most picturesque events to happen during the summer festival season. This marked the event’s 53rd year and once again NFF became an epicenter of rich tradition, innovation and collaboration. The festival kicked off Friday night with performances by Megafaun, Blitzen Trapper and Wilco. Saturday was the first full day of the festival. Providence based Brown Bird (featured on the November 2011 cover of Performer) was the first to take the main stage and gave a beautiful, pareddown set of driving folk tunes that delighted fans. Apache Relay and Robert Ellis graced the Harbor and Quad Stages, respectively. Ellis’ set was a more emotionally-driven affair with darker lyrics and melancholy moments, but he had the crowd entranced from start to finish. Preservation Hall Jazz Band played to an overflowing crowd on the Fort Stage, bringing their impressive New Orleans jazz to the tiny state park. Spirit Family Reunion took the Harbor Stage at 12:30 and set the bar high. These Brooklyn natives showed that folk music doesn’t just come from the mountains, but also from talent, passion and dedication. The six-piece band - complete with upright bass, banjo and washboard - blew the crowd away with an electrifying 45 minute set. They quickly became one of the most talked about acts of the festival.

First Aid Kit were moving and poignant and brought a bit of humor to the day while Sharon Van Etten displayed a seasoned level of talent, brandishing sprawling guitar riffs, textured sounds and captivating vocals. Fans continued to be torn between stages as Blind Pilot, Iron and Wine and Patty Griffin took their respective places. Iron and Wine gave a simple and tranquil performance, featuring only Sam Beam and his guitar on stage. Saturday night culminated in an utterly mesmerizing performance by My Morning Jacket. In typical Jim James style, collaboration was big as he brought up an array of artists including Ben Sollee, Conor Oberst and Alabama Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard. MMJ gave an intense and captivating performance, seeming to challenge Mother Nature as storm clouds rolled in. When the first drops of rain began an exodus resulted from the crowd, Jones and his cohorts made sure to belt out every last lyric of “I’m Amazed” before saying goodnight. Sunday ushered in the festival’s final performances with Sara Watkins opening the Fort Stage and Jackson Browne headlining the evening. Jim Jones made another appearance with New Multitudes. Comprised of Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker and James, the collaboration provided fans with driven tracks

Artists left to right: tUnE-yArDs , Iron and Wine. that echoed across the fort. The Head and The Heart gave a romantic and awe-inspiring performance that had the crowd engulfing the Quad Stage and Of Monsters and Men incited a dance party with their emotionally-charged ballads. tUnE-yArDs blew up the Harbor Stage with creative and intricate beats and loops. Merrill Garbus hopped up on stage, a smile beaming, and immediately invited fans to stand and dance. She played a slew of tracks from her most recent album Whokill and brought back some old fan favorites, as well. Between synchronized dancing, booming sax notes, fast ukulele chords, and the tinkering of empty Coke bottles, her set packed a wallop. Kristian Matsson, better known as The Tallest Man on Earth closed out the Harbor Stage to a packed house. His gravely vocals traveled across the harbor to the many fans listening from the water and the surge of patrons to his show resulted in a near shutdown by the fire marshal. This year’s Newport Folk Festival was an event to remember. Complete with another stacked line-up, it was highlighted by two days of impressive music by smaller names trying to break on to the scene. The decision of which stage to attend was never easy, but in the end never a disappointment, and proof that these Newport folks sure know good music. SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 39



by Lucy Fernandes / photos by Rick Carroll

Music Festival

Cincinnati, OH / July 13-15, 2012

Artists clockwise from left: UME, Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s, Bad Veins



Three-day indie extravaganza on the Ohio River. Breakthrough set by Ume.

Cincinnati’s roll out of the new Bunbury Music Festival, brainstormed by legendary local music entrepreneur Bill Donabedian, exceeded its inaugural expectations. The three-day indie music event attracted over 50,000 people and showcased an impressive array of over 100 performers on its six stages at Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove on the Ohio River. Some highlights include: Belle Histoire, a Cincinnati group featuring the youthful Jane Smith on vocals, displayed their lighter pop sound. They were also celebrating their Dreamers CD release until the roiling dark sky totally opened up and forced a shutdown of their set. The downpour continued, and other performances were halted as well, while lightning and thunder crackled overhead. The rain delays forced abbreviated sets for the immediately following groups, until scheduling 40 SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE

caught up in late afternoon. Chicago band Maps & Atlases presented an eclectic performance, featuring very rhythmic tempos setting the backdrop for Dave Davison’s distinctive vocals. The quirky “Pigeon” and angst-ridden “The Charm” were particular standouts. A unique group, and well worth catching. Austin’s Ume rocked a hard, loud set of energetic, hair-flailing, post-punk. Lauren Larson’s voice added a distinct counterpoint to the heaviness of the band’s instrumentation. Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s, from nearby Indianapolis, took their turn, holding forth with a dark, yet somehow artsy presence. This stylistic juxtaposition worked surprisingly well, also showcasing often-edgy lyrical content. Cincinnatians Bad Veins, riding a wave

of good fortune lately, performed under a very hot and sweaty late afternoon sun. The duo (plus accompaniment from their tape machine “Irene”) attracted a large crowd of local fans. Benjamin Davis’ voice shone in a heartfelt rendition of “If, Then”, among other crowd pleasers. By early evening, Utah’s Neon Trees really had the growing throng moving with an energetic set of catchy synth pop, their performance laced liberally with sassy interactive stage patter to the now packed audience. Cuts like “Everybody Talks” and “Your Surrender” held the crowd enthralled and wildly waving hands in response. Following the Bunbury Music Festival’s successful opening, it appears certain that Cincinnati has yet another major indie music event to enjoy, taking important steps on its way to recognition as a top-notch add to the indie festival dance card. Well done! Even better musical prospects lie ahead.


The Brian Boggess Group Debut EP

New York, NY / (Midnight Snack Records)

“Straight-ahead pop/rock cut to 2-inch tape” Brian Boggess Group’s appropriately titled Debut EP kicks off with something sorely lacking in most hipster-approved vinyl: a pure rock and roll number with an actual riff. Imagine that! “Indigo” quickly gives way to “Jack Knife,” a more subdued, tropical-sounding haze of surfy guitars,

thumping basslines and a chorus that comes crashing down in waves. One of the benefits of cutting a 12-inch EP vs. a 7-inch at 45 rpm is that you can squeeze more audio information per side, and the sonic benefits of this particular 12-inch are immediate. There’s a reason 45 rpm audiophile pressings are growing in number. Side B opens with “Mistress Anya Knees,” returning back to the band’s straight-ahead power pop sound, this time dealing with more “adult” themes, as it were. Imagine R.E.M. writing about S&M, and you wouldn’t be too far off. Again, the fact that this was recorded to 2-inch tape and cut straight to vinyl lends itself to a greater listening experience, the full balance of instruments is richer, as is the stereo separation in the speakers. Many modern vinyl EPs, most of which are simply taken from digital masters and

dumped on a 7-inch slab of wax, don’t have the same presence. All in all, the infectious grooves and upbeat nature of Debut EP make this record a winner. Highly recommended for fans of power pop, classic rock and ’80s college rock. Recorded at Stratosphere Sound, NYC Engineered by Geoff Sanoff Assisted by Atsuo Matsumoto Mastered for Vinyl by Joe Lambert Size: 12 inch Speed: 45 RPM Color: Black -Benjamin Ricci photo by Joe Niem


80+ VENUES • 1,300+ ARTISTS • 120,000+ FANS





Ghost and the City, Tumbleweed Wanderers, Rin Tin Tiger Great American Music Hall - San Francisco, CA

Troup Last Chance For Romance

July 26, 2012

Los Angeles, CA Genre: Indie Pop/Rock

article and photo by Julie Cerick


Trio of talented SF bands converging to make GAMH shake at its foundation.

San Franciscans were amped for this show from the moment it was publicized - the crowd, from the get-go, was filled with friends of each band and newcomers alike. It was a homecoming of sorts, and there was no better venue to host it than Great American Music Hall. Ghost and the City took the stage and fixated on getting the (already pumped) crowd moving and swinging with their deep, luscious, classicalinspired medleys. While drenching each song with a jazzy, hypnotic feel, each band member swayed to the beat of their own instrument - completely cognizant of their passionate concertgoers who were dancing right at their toes. Their ten-man band had taken us back in time to an era chock-full of big soul bands and singer/ songwriter Ash Maynor’s love for Ray Charles, Count Basie and the like. After a short set, a more defiant and groupassured Rin Tin Tiger came out to get weird. It was clear they wanted to create a family dynamic amongst the audience, and proved exactly that by being very vocal and personable in-between songs. But things got a bit shaky, with lead singer Kevin sounding a big unsure of himself and their daring new singles. With a mix of fast-paced rap, poppy funk beats and intense drum solos, the sound came cross as a bit lost and schizophrenic. With bassist/vocalist Sean coming in hot on his instrument and Kevin cooing softer lullabies (which would quickly switch to yelling fits), it was hard to tell what was coming


next. Overall, the group’s confidence is what made their performance an enjoyable one - that, and the fact that they were able to get an entire music hall to dance righteously. The anticipation was high for Oakland-based Tumbleweed Wanderers. Only 7-months-old, this multi-instrumental group set up quickly and bounced right into the first hit off of their selftitled EP. Introducing harmonicas, organs and banjos with a mixture of eclectic style and flare, their recipe was an instant hit. Rock and soul have never sounded so groovy and real in 2012. Vocals were powerful, honest and polished while still coming across spontaneous and harmonious. It was clear they were not here to just play music; Jeremy Lyon and Zak Mandel-Romann (band founders) made it their personal goal to make sure everyone was enjoying what they were serving up. These ‘Wanderers’ are by no means lost. They have found their sound, and are still pushing themselves (even live) to create new, eclectic noises and experiences. Needless to say, it was not a typical Thursday night of San Francisco music. Each band was genre-blending, different and rich in orchestration. At the end of the day, there’s just nothing better than rocking out to a band that’s rocking out harder than you are.

The Cast of Cheers Family Dublin, Ireland Genre: Robot Rock

Allen Thompson Band Salvation in the Ground Nashville, TN Genre: Classic Rock


163 Massachusetts Ave. (across from Berklee, next door to Daddy’s Music)




ccess the



A Musician’s Guide to Community Radio By Eric Wolff

All musicians dream of hearing their music on the radio, but unless you have a record deal with a major label, getting radio play is harder than ever. Whether it’s pop, country, hip-hop or oldies, stations play the same popular songs over and over again. These hit songs get so much airtime on commercial radio stations, little (if any) is left for music from local or independent musicians. But tune in to the right frequency and you’ll find one of the best and most underappreciated resources for musicians: your community radio station. What is Community Radio?

Community radio stations are non-commercial, independent and offer an alternative to the commercial radio programming that dominates our airwaves. Because they are independent, each station is as unique as the community it serves, but all share a commitment to providing everyone with access to radio and listeners with programming produced for and by their community. Because they are funded by listeners, rather than advertising, community stations have the freedom to offer programming that is unique and different from commercial radio. Instead of sticking to a narrowly defined genre or “format,” like almost all commercial radio stations, all types of music can be heard on community radio as well as news and public affairs programming. No matter what kind of music you play, from noise to chamber music, there’s a good chance it will fit somewhere on your community station’s schedule.

Compared to Commercial Radio and Public Radio

These days, most of what you hear on the radio is played automatically by computer programs or pre-recorded by one of the few DJs at each commercial station. Community stations defy this trend by giving real people the chance to program their own shows live on air and make their own decisions about what to play. Many, if not all, of these programmers are volunteers who


are passionate about music in their community and want to help support it. Listeners often confuse community radio with public radio, but for musicians looking to get their music on the air, the two are vastly different. Though public radio offers a lot of wonderful and unique programming, it operates on the same top-down model as commercial radio, with affiliate stations airing programs and news that are intended for a national audience. Try walking into your local NPR station and asking them to play your CD. Unless you’re Mozart, or famous enough to be interviewed by Terry Gross, you won’t have much luck.

Opportunities for Musicians

Unlike public radio, community stations are committed to putting the voices and sounds of their communities on the air and produce a lot of original, local programming. These stations regularly play songs by local, independent artists, and often do interviews and even live on-air performances. Community stations can also help promote your shows by announcing your upcoming performances or doing ticket giveaways. The best part is that all of this promotion is offered for free and benefits community stations as well as the musicians. By featuring local musicians, community stations show that they are connected to their community and also keep their listeners connected.

Unfortunately, independent musicians often neglect this valuable resource, focusing instead on promoting their music via the Internet. While the Internet is a great way to make your music available to anyone and everyone, the radio is the best way to get your music heard by the people who all musicians ultimately depend on for their livelihood – their local communities! Community radio delivers your music directly to listeners in your area, the people who can go to your shows, book gigs for you, and become the hometown fan base that will help you move on to the next level. Furthermore, most community radio stations also stream their broadcasts online. An on-air performance or interview on one of these stations can both increase your exposure in your own community, and give fans in other cities a chance to hear you live. Community radio stations are also a great resource for touring musicians. Sending your music to stations in cities where you plan to play and setting up ticket giveaways, interviews, and live performances while you’re in town is the perfect way to promote your shows in new cities. If the station has an online stream, performances and interviews can be heard by your fans from back home to keep them connected even while you’re on tour.

Getting Started

Reaching out to a community radio station is easy. The first step is to find your local station. Scan frequencies below 92.0 FM (the frequency band reserved for non-commercial broadcasters) and search the Internet. Once you’ve found the website or called into the studio line, send or hand deliver your music to the station, specifically its music directors, for placement in the library. Most stations prefer physical CDs or vinyl to digital copies and full length CDs or EPs to singles. Include a single page with information about your music and a photo (a “one-sheet”). Don’t bother sending a full press kit. Be sure to tell the staff that you’re interested in doing live performances and interviews. For the station or a specific show, the best way to do this is to listen to the station, get to know the programs and reach out to a programmer whose show your music would fit well on. Call in to the station’s request line and let the programmer know you’re listening. Don’t forget to keep station staff, especially the promotions director if there is one, informed about your upcoming shows. Ask if they can make a public service announcement (PSA) about your show, put it on their calendar, or if you can set up a ticket giveaway. Once you’ve established a relationship with a station, offer to record an ID, in which you

TOP 10 COMMUNITY RADIO STATIONS IN THE U.S. KCSB 91.9 FM Santa Barbara, CA KMUD 91.1 FM Redway/Garberville, CA KBOO 90.7FM Portland, OR KBCS 91.3 FM Seattle, WA WORT 89.9 FM Madison, WI KKFI 90.1 FM Kansas City, MO WRFU 104.5 FM Urbana-Champaign, IL (Hosts of this year’s Grassroots Radio Conference, an annual gathering of community radio stations) WFMU 91.1 FM Jersey City, NJ KGNU 88.5 FM Denver, CO KAOS 89.3 FM Olympia, WA


Harnessing the Internet and On-TheRoad Promo

state the station’s call letters, its frequency and broadcast location (don’t forget to include your own name or band name!). Stations are required to air these at least once every hour and DJs love to have customized IDs to play with their show’s name in them.

Parting Thoughts

Finally, be persistent. Check in with the music directors to see if they’ve put your music in rotation. Follow up with the promotions director and see if your show has been mentioned on air. If you don’t talk to the right person the first time, try to contact someone else. If there’s not a community radio station in your area, consider joining a movement to create one. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently passed the Local Community Radio Act, which has opened the doors for community groups to broadcast on low-power FM frequencies. Advocacy groups such as the Prometheus Radio Project ( are ready and willing to help your community get access to the airwaves. Sadly, as community radio sits on the brink of expansion, a number of community radio stations whose licenses are owned by universities have had their frequencies sold in the past two years, including KUSF in San Francisco and WRVU in Nashville. These stations, and many other community radio advocates are working to challenge these sales and fight this disturbing trend. Musicians must join this fight and help protect this unique opportunity to access radio. Partner with your community radio station, share your music with your community, and help this valuable resource thrive!

Eric Wolff is a former general manager of a community radio station in Santa Barbara, CA: KCSB FM. Find more info at SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 45

along with

PRESENT A VERY SPECIAL DEMO EVENT IN BOSTON INCLUDING: · Mock Recording/Mix Sessions · Headphone & Mic Demos · Additional Product Stations · Audio-Technica Swag · Raffles and Giveaways · Free Food, Courtesy of Audio-Technica

Thursday, September 6 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. (or later) @ The Record Company Contact to RSVP or call 617-331-5098


LABOR OF LOVE Unpaid Internships in the Music Industry

THE MUSIC INDUSTRY is known for its abundance of internships, each sprinkled with the notion that a real opportunity is just around the corner.  The prevalence of “unpaid” internships has increased over the past several years, a certain reaction to the sudden decrease in entry-level paid positions for recent college graduates.  As a musician, you’ll come across opportunities for unpaid internships over the course of your early career.  Record labels, publishers, radio stations, and talent agencies regularly pursue young, hungry talent to do their dirty work and the line has blurred between legitimate internships and illegal free labor.  [Full disclosure, Performer employs unpaid in-office interns in accordance with the law] Here’s what you should know about internships:


The internship, even though it includes actual operation of the facilities of the employer, is similar to training that would be given in an educational environment.  Essentially, the internship should be mutually beneficial to both the intern and the employer.  Although the intern will be conducting work, he/she will also become educated in the field and develop a skill that is transferable to other positions in the industry.  Employers may have interns observe a variety of departments and educate them in a classroom setting while also having them perform tasks related to the business.  Often times with college internships where an individual is receiving credit, there are university supervisors who will monitor the setting and the type of work required of the intern.  This type of supervision will demand that the experience is in line with the requirements of the Department of Labor.  With post-collegiate internships, you have to be more diligent about accepting positions. 

2. The internship experience is for the ben-

efit of the intern. This is a relatively easy requirement for an employer to meet - as most interns won’t accept work unless they feel it would be beneficial (and generally, performing actual work in a real business setting is valuable experience for the “real world”).

3. The intern does not displace regular employees, but works under close supervision of existing staff.  This is a very important factor.  An employer cannot hire an intern to perform work a paid employee would otherwise perform.  For

example, some businesses have busy seasons that require additional employees.  An employer cannot hire you as an “intern” during those peak seasons without paying minimum wage if it does so to avoid paying a real employee.  The second prong of this test is self-evident:  an intern needs to have regular supervision of existing employees.  Many legitimate, unpaid internships will simply have the individual shadow a regular employee to understand the day-to-day dealings without conducting any actual business or performing tasks on his/her own.


The employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern, and on occasion its operations may actually be impeded.  This is a difficult hurdle for employers.  The Department of Labor’s position is fairly straightforward: “[I]f the interns are engaged in the operations of the employer or are performing productive work (for example, filing, performing other clerical work, or assisting customers), then the fact they may be receiving some benefits in the form of a new skill or improved work habits will not exclude them from the FLSA’s minimum wage and overtime requirements because the employer benefits from the intern’s work.”

5. The intern is not necessarily entitled to a job at the conclusion of the internship.  This factor is essential to ensure employers don’t take advantage of training periods for employees it intends to hire.  If an employer knew it would hire you, without this factor, it may be able to avoid paying you during training. 

that the intern is not entitled to wages for the time spent in the internship. An understanding of the nature of the employment relationship at the outset of the internship is a must.  Employers should put all terms in writing and have the intern sign off.   If all of the factors listed above are met, then the worker is considered a “trainee” under the law, and an employer is not required to pay minimum wage, overtime, and an assortment of other requirements under FLSA.   TIP if You’re Considering an Unpaid Internship:  While the guidelines regarding interns are clear, in practice, there is little to stop an employer from taking advantage of unpaid interns.  There is little oversight in this area and there are limited recourses available for enforcement (not to mention that interns are hesitant to report employers for fear of retribution in their respective field).  That being said, there are some practical steps you can take to make sure you get the most out of your experience.  First, try to lock the internship into a fixed duration and establish this prior to starting your internship.   Second, try to get a good idea of the detail of the job (educational training, shadowing, performing actual tasks, supervision).  There are enough resources available on the web to determine the legitimacy of the program.   For additional information on internships and the law, visit the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division website at Adam Barnosky is a Boston-based attorney and writer. For music industry news, entertainment law updates, or to suggest an upcoming Legal Pad topic, find him on Twitter @adambarnosky. Disclaimer: The information contained in this column is general legal information only. Consult your attorney for all specific considerations. 

6. The employer and the intern understand SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 47


MY FAVORITE AXE with David Tyberg photo by Patty Scott Smith




Best known for portraying Professor Dimitri von Stadberg, singer/bassist for Atlantabased transdimensional rock outfit, The Extraordinary Contraptions, Tyberg is a jazztrained bassist involved with many facets of Atlanta’s music scene and is in demand as a session musician among his steampunk colleagues.

Freedom: More compact and road-worthy than my full upright without compromising sound and playability. And unlike my doghouse, I can move around onstage with it!

Although it’s now gig-worthy, I still have some ideas to implement such as an end pin, body brace, a new strap, and new pickups.

MAKE & MODEL Custom electric upright bass co-designed by Tyberg and Randy Garcia, built by Garcia and Sharp Guitar Works. She doesn’t have a name yet. Any suggestions?

YEAR Construction began in 2010, still a work in progress. 48 SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE

OTHER NOTES WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE The intersection of rock and roll, jazz, and classical. The perfect low-frequency Swiss Army knife for the bass player who’s come unstuck in time.

SPECIAL FEATURES Magnetic pickups like a bass guitar, curved, full-sized upright fingerboard for bowing, smaller overall size for mobility, and full steampunk sexiness.

Everybody else who picks it up remarks on how heavy it is. But I don’t really notice. 

HEAR IT IN ACTION Live with The Extraordinary Contraptions and on several videos on our YouTube channel at

VISIT WWW.THEEXTRAORDINARYCONTRAPTIONS.COM Got a favorite instrument you’d like to share? Email us at

level with a very fast attack so that you don’t have to worry about a stray loud chord, while still getting a nice “hot” signal. Without a limiter you may want to be a bit more conservative, setting the trim so that loudest part of the performance on your test pass reaches only -4dB or -6dB. You would hate to have to re-record a take just because your keyboard player got a little excited and pounded a bit harder than usual during the last chorus, causing digital distortion.


Tips For Tracking Acoustic Pianos and Electronic Keyboards Part 2 of 2


fig. 3 In Part 1, we explored aspects of recording white key noise, mic placement and stereo considerations. You can read that article in the August 2012 print issue and online at

CONCERT STAGE VS. STUDIO You might be lucky enough to have a friend with a nice piano in their living room, but the downside is that there are usually less-than-stellar acoustics and unwanted background noise problems when recording in a house. Studios with big rooms and expensive pianos can be, well... expensive. If you are creative and do your homework, you can probably find a church, music school or small concert hall in your area with a well-cared-for piano that you can use off-hours for cheap. We have a local Performing Arts Center nearby with a stunning Steinway grand available for use, so check around, you might be surprised. So pack up your laptop, interface and mics and capture the piano in its natural environment without the problems a live audience can cause.

PIANO TUNING No one will care about all the trouble you took to position the mics if D#3 and F4 are out of tune on the final recording. Our studio piano goes out of tune so often that we’ve learned to tune it ourselves (it takes about an hour to do a touch up tuning). But there are plenty of local piano tuners in the $100 range - just look them up on the interwebs, it’s money well spent.

PLAY NICE TOGETHER If you are recording acoustic piano that will be part of an ensemble, then the first question is whether the piano will be played at the same time as the other instruments. If so, then the next question is whether you can physically separate the piano from the group. If it’s sharing the same space, then the piano has to be close miked, and if possible, gobos (portable sound absorbing walls) should be

set up to minimize leakage from other instruments. Try placing two mics about 14” above the soundboard as seen in (fig 3). You can also cover the piano with heavy blankets to reduce unwanted bleed. If the piano can have its own room or be recorded as an overdub, then you can back up the mics and have more placement options.

ELECTRONIC KEYS As we’ve talked about previously, you can use an electronic keyboard to “trigger” piano samples and any other sound you can imagine, from classic Rhodes to stunning. These synth and sample engines can reside inside a computer or inside the keyboard. For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume that you want to capture sounds directly from the keyboard outputs. Some keyboards, like the Roland 700GX have XLR outputs, which are nice because you can plug them directly into your mixing board or audio interface. If your keyboard only has 1/4” outputs, don’t despair; many newer mixers can handle these signals well. But if your test recordings sound thin, you may want to use a direct box, preferably a stereo one like the Radial Engineering  ProD2 Passive Stereo Direct Box (retail $150) to convert the impedance of the signal to match your mixers inputs. Just plug the 1/4” cables from your keyboard into the direct box inputs and then plug XLR cables from the direct box outputs into your interface/mixer.

HIT THE WALL Keyboard patches and acoustic piano performances vary widely in their volume, so we recommend recording a whole test pass of each keyboard part from beginning to end and adjusting your mixer’s input trim levels accordingly. Don’t be tempted to adjust the mixer’s input faders, these should always be set to 0dB. Instead, use the pre-amp trim adjustment on your mixer to get the input levels right. What is right? Well, if you have a limiter, you can set up a “brickwall” at -2dB output

Digital pianos have improved dramatically in the past 15 years, with many now providing an authentic piano feel (we like the feel and sounds of the Roland RD-700 Series). So nowadays, if the keyboardist will agree, we simultaneously record the MIDI and audio with the keyboardist performing on a digital piano. This way the keyboard player and the other artists can hear the piano live during the take. With the MIDI data recorded, we can now audition other sampled pianos with almost limitless options, including different recording spaces and lid positions. Also, we can fix less than perfect performances by manipulating the MIDI data (aka cheating). Recording MIDI data opens up the world of soft synths and samplers (too big for this article), but suffice to say that whenever you have the option to capture MIDI you should take it. The biggest hurdle we usually encounter is the picky, purest pianist who poo poos performing Chopin on anything but a pristine Petrof piano.

KEYS IN THE MIX When keys are recorded as part of an ensemble, keep in kind that they will have to play nice with all the other tracks. Unlike a solo performance where the piano has to fill the sound spectrum by itself, in a crowded mix the keys may have to be EQ’d and panned to complement the entirety of the ensemble. Resist the urge to tweak your keyboard tracks (or any tracks for that matter) while they are soloed. And you don’t have to hard pan stereo patches left and right; in fact for many patches, mono may be the way to go, using the pan control to place the keys in their own mix location that doesn’t compete. What matters most is how they sound together, so make your adjustments and don’t be afraid to roll off the low end to make room for the bass and carve out other frequencies that may interfere with vocals, guitars, etc. Zac Cataldo is a musician and owner/producer at Night Train Studios, a recording studio in Westford, MA. He is also co-owner of Black Cloud Productions, a music publishing company. Reach him at Brent Godin is a bassist/guitarist and engineer/ producer at Night Train Studios and talent scout at Black Cloud Productions. Reach him at SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 49


In The Studio With Jimmy Herring

Widespread Panic Guitarist Explores Backwards Reverb and the EBow

By Benjamin Ricci photos by Jason Thrasher

KEY GEAR Guitars -Fender American Standard Stratocaster w/ Lollar Imperial Humbuckers -’62 Fender RI Telecaster Custom w/ Lollar pickups -Fender Japanese RI Telecaster w/ Lollar pickups -1969 Fender Stratocaster w/ Lollar pickups -Fender Japanese RI Telecaster with Seymour Duncan pickups -PRS McCarty Hollow body -PRS 5-13 Rosewood -Jerry Jones Single Cut Baritone -Baxendale Custom Acoustic

Pedals -Hughes & Kettner Tube Factor -Ernie Ball Volume Pedal 50 SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE

Amps -1964 Fender Super Reverb -1966 Fender Pro Reverb -Vox AC-15 -Fuchs ODS 100

Speaker Cabs -Tone Tubby Open Back 4x12 cab (w/ Alnicos) -Mojo Tone 4x10 w/ Tone Tubby Alnicos -Mojo Tone 4x10 w/ WGS alnicos

Mics -Shure SM7 -Shure SM57 -Sennheiser 409


What was your pre-production like on this project?

Minimal. I [just] hung out with John Keane for a couple of hours discussing the music.

How did you choose the studio(s)?

I had worked with John Keane in the past and couldn’t wait to record with him again. We did some of the overdubs at Rush Anderson’s place. I like the way they approach recording.

Jimmy Herring

Subject To Change Without Notice PRIMARY STUDIO John Keane Studios ADDITIONAL STUDIOS Rush Hour Studio, Flying Whale Recording, Tank Studio, Winsome Farm Studio RECORD LABEL Abstract Logix RELEASE DATE August 21, 2012 PRODUCER John Keane



ENGINEERS John Keane at John Keane Studios; Rush Anderson at Rush Hour Studio ARTWORK Cameron Herring MASTERING Glenn Schick at Glenn Schick Mastering


What kind of sound were you looking for and how did you achieve it?

I was looking to capture the [pure] sound of my amps. Both John and Rush helped me get the sound I was looking for. They would move the mics around until we liked the sound, which didn’t take long.

How will this record compare to your work with Widespread Panic and the Dead?

To start with it’s instrumental music…and I sometimes need to fill the spot where the singer normally would be. Also, some of this music may have stronger leanings toward jazz.

Did you use any special gear or recording techniques on this one?

Yes, John Keane introduced me to a device called an EBow. I’ve heard them in other people’s music but never used one myself until now. We used it to create the drone in “Within You Without You.” Also, John turned some of my guitar tracks around backwards. He also used backwards reverb on a couple of things.

What was your philosophy on live, fullband takes versus individual tracking?

I like to record live in the studio, and if you get a great take of everybody then you have something special. But more often than not, you get a great drum track and rebuild the other tracks as needed. I don’t feel ashamed if I have to fix a rhythm track or redo a solo when I’m in the studio. It’s not a gig. It’s a completely different animal!

Any special guests?

Yes…Bill Evans, Bela Fleck, Tyler Greenwell, John Keane, Nicky Sanders, Ike Stubblefield, Carter Herring.

What did you try to accomplish in the studio that you’re not able to do live?

In a word…orchestration. Some of the things I wanted to do would require a 6-piece band, sometimes more. In the studio you can have special guests or guitar overdubs to get that point across, plus you can zero in on the details a little easier.

What were the toughest challenges you faced?

To get to that state of mind where you aren’t thinking. The studio can be a somewhat clinical atmosphere. Sometimes it’s difficult to get loose.

POST-PRODUCTION How did you handle final mixing and mastering?

For the mix I was just a fly on the wall. I waited until John Keane asked me what I thought before I said anything. He’s a great mixer and he just did his thing. We think similarly so I didn’t say much, but I was present for most of the mixing. As for mastering, I left that in the capable hands of John and the mastering engineer, Glenn Schick.

What are your release plans?

This album is going to be released in Japan, Europe and America simultaneously, followed by an American tour, which will encompass all the major markets along with a co-bill tour of the East Coast with Victor Wooten in November. An extensive publicity and radio campaign is planned for the album release and tour. SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 51


Top Picks for the Coolest Gear

Performer’s Summer Wrap-Up Report

Let’s cut right to it. We attended Summer NAMM a few weeks ago in Nashville, and were blown away by all the cool gear on display. Normally, new products and bombshell announcements are reserved for Winter NAMM, but we were on hand for quite a few surprises this summer. Here are our top picks for cool new gear being shown off on the convention floor.

by Benjamin Ricci

JBL Studio Monitors

Ear Trumpet Labs Microphones

One of our favorite pieces of gear was the LSR series of studio monitors. You’d be hard pressed to find a better monitor for your sessions at this price range. The 2300 series comprises three models: the 2325P, a twoway nearfield monitor with a five-inch low-frequency driver; the 2328P, another two-way nearfield with an eight-inch LF driver; and the 2310SP, a subwoofer with a 10-inch driver. All three new products are active, with the nearfields benefiting from a bi-amplified design.

Now here’s something cool, a unique set of live mics with awesome steampunk styling. We’ll let the folks at ETL explain it: “We are a small craft builder. We evolve our designs from common hardware, everyday objects, found things. Sturdy practicality is a paramount design goal – our microphones and other pieces of equipment are always meant to be used by performing musicians. We strive for a creative, artistic, and DIY sensibility. From cutting our own foam for custom packing in our recycled toolbox cases, to watching the oscilloscope while adjusting component values in each circuit, to casting our own badges for labeling, we love every step of the process.”

JamHub Silent Rehearsal Studio

Boicebox Pedalboards

The JamHub was created so you could practice silently, anywhere, anytime. According to the manufacturer, “The effects engine in the JamHub silent rehearsal studio allows you to create a ‘room’ inside the studio or you can try one of the pure effects like flanger or phaser for something a little different. It allows each player to decide how much they want to ‘wet out’ the vocals. The effects engine is connected to the mic inputs only. We did this because most modeling amps, keyboards and electronic drums have their own built- in effects. If you’ve ever heard one reverb put on top of another reverb, you understand why we avoided mixing the two.”

Another interestingly constructed product on the show floor was the Boicebox bamboo pedalboard. Three-ply, carbonized bamboo is similar in thickness to 9-ply birch, but is much tougher, has greater stiffness, requires no exterior laminate, and is a beautiful, sustainable wood. Unlike many pedalboards that require an additional hard case, adding pounds to the rig, this bamboo box IS the pedal board, saving you weight and time with an integrated design. It also meets most airline carry-on/overhead luggage requirements.


GEAR GUIDE Hughes & Kettner TubeMeister 18 Head

Drumnetics Magnetic Bass Drum Pedal Now here’s something cool for you drummers, bass drum pedals that work using magnets. According to the good folks at Drumnetics: “What better way to describe a bass drum pedal than to describe one that contains a magnetic center within its complete assembly! Our pedals incorporate this presence and you are the central figure of your performance, completing fills beyond a drive of drumbeats. The 3XF Pedal plays what you do.”

Getting into the world of small, low-wattage amps, H&K was demoing the TubeMeister 18, and these things sounded amazing. For the TubeMeister, Mr. Hughes and Herr Kettner packed all their know-how and over a quarter of a century’s passion for tube amps into a remarkably compact chassis. Thanks to German engineering, it can go from a roar to a whisper, shaking the boards on stage, tingling spines in the studio, and raising goose bumps in the still of night – even during silent recording. Serving up three different sounds at the touch of a footswitch, the soulful TubeMeister 18 is the go-to guitar amp for gigging. Its four-step power soak brings the sound of the big stage into small clubs and your own four walls. And courtesy of the built-in Red Box and silent recording capability, you can lay down pro-quality tracks at any time day or night.

Sound Enhancer – “The Enhancer” Something seemingly so simple, yet with an amazing impact on tone. The Enhancer is engineered to horn load your combo amp, greatly improving its efficiency. It also reclaims the secondary sound from the rear of the speaker cab and redirects it forward. The Enhancer lifts and tilts your amp for better sound projection and monitoring, making it the ultimate amp stand.

***BREAKING PRESONUS NEWS*** The big bombshell at Summer NAMM was the announcement by PreSonus that they’d be acquiring the online musician’s suite Nimbit. With the addition of Nimbit technology and services, Studio One users can now go from creating the first track to marketing and selling a finished project, all within Studio One and associated websites. Studio One Professional users can record, mix, master, digitally release, burn CDs, upload to the web via SoundCloud, and market and sell through Nimbit without leaving the DAW. In short, Studio One has become a complete

musician’s solution. Registered Studio One 2 customers will be able to download the Nimbit Extension free from the PreSonus Exchange. Having installed the Extension, they can sign up for a Nimbit Free or Nimbit Plus account from within Studio One and start selling and promoting their music. The benefits of Nimbit are not limited to PreSonus Studio One customers. Anyone who would like to sell and promote their music, other audio products, and merchandise can sign up at www. or can install the free Nimbit store for Facebook.



WICKED AUDIO Solus Headphones - $60 FEATURES Driver Sensitivity Freq. Range Cable Impedance Controls



Comfort, in-line volume control, stereo/mono switch for DJs.

Good, not great sound quality. Short cable.

So let’s address the elephant in the room. Wicked Audio’s new Solus headphones are meant to look like Beats by Dre. Are they a direct rip-off? Well, that’s for the lawyers to decide, but for under $100, they do sound pretty decent, and you can have that black-and-red flair without dropping a ton more cash. The good: these cans are super comfy, no

doubt about it. The cushions and head strap won’t cause any problems, even after a 3-hour DJ set. The swiveling cups are a bonus, and make mixing and cutting easier, and the addition of a stereo/ mono switch is an incredibly useful DJ feature we hardly ever see on models in this price range. For budding DJs, and even professionals who want a cheap back-up pair of headphones, these might

40mm 105 dB 20Hz - 20kHz 4 feet 32 ohms Stereo/Mono and In-Line Volume

just be the perfect choice. Now, the not-so-good: sound quality is just OK, bordering on good. We ran our test unit through a battery of DJ tests, spinning and mixing vinyl as well as digital tracks, and while we wouldn’t say audio fatigue set in quickly, there was a definite lack of clearly articulated bass; more often than not it came off as more boomy than defined. For hi-fi enthusiasts who want to listen to music for pleasure, this may pose a problem. In a club setting, it’s probably less of an issue. But, the midrange and high-end clarity was just fine. So if you can handle the artificial bass bump, you should have few complaints. Overall, the Solus is a comfy, decent-sounding set of headphones that also has a few nice touches for the working DJ. You’d be hard-pressed to find something this good for the $60 price tag most online retailers are charging. -Benjamin Ricci

OKTOBER GUITARS Annihilator - $699 w/case




Unique design, great sounds, plays great.

Shape might not be for “traditionalists.”

There are guitarists that want things vintage, as they were back in the day. The Oktober Annihilator isn’t for those players. Its shape echoes more of a medieval battle weapon than musical instrument. Designed by Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein, if fits their horror show theme very well, with its satin (or Satan) flat black paintjob. The overall fit and finish is excellent; bat inlays adorn the 25.5” scale rosewood fingerboard, and are very well done for an axe in this price range. With 27 frets, it has a definite “shredder” feel to it, with a slim and fast neck-thru design, and of 54 SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE

course a Floyd Rose tremolo. Electronics are very simple – just a single “Suckerpunch” humbucker and volume control. Sound-wise, it is a one trick pony, but it’s one heck of a trick. The tones are tight and aggressive, with plenty of grind for meaty rhythms, and clarity for leads that don’t get lost in the mix. The clean sounds are good, but might need a little EQ to tame some harsh frequencies. For the modern über metal player, this feels and sounds great. It’s fun to play, and with the extra frets, long octave runs feel limitless. The neck-thru design gives plenty of access to the

Neck Body Fretboard Frets Scale Inlays Bridge Pickup

Mahogany Mahogany Rosewood 27 Jumbo 25.5” Batwings Floyd Rose Special Tremolo Oktober “Suckerpunch”

upper registers with no problems. The floating Floyd Rose tremolo worked great, keeping everything in tune, as it built its reputation on that. The only downside to the instrument is also what makes it unique: the shape. The balance is a little neck heavy, and finding a guitar stand that this will actually fit in might be tough. It may not be very versatile for other types of music, as it is quite radical looking. But if there’s a guitar that sticks out among the usual Strat copies and single-cut clones, this is it! -Chris Devine



Modern design, versatile electronics, lightweight.


The new Maxx Fly Bass from Parker is setting the standard for the next generation of high-tech basses. Aesthetically, it’s very pleasing, with a slightly less-than-traditional shape, but still very Parker. With a 34” scale length, it balances itself nicely. Our test model came in a sunburst finish, highlighting the gorgeous swamp ash body. The neck is poplar, with a carbon glass epoxy fingerboard that sports 24 stainless steel frets. The neck is glued in, and the entire back of the instrument is coated with a thin sheet of carbon fiber to add rigidity, all while weighing in at around six pounds. The electronics suite is great, featuring active EMG pickups in the neck and bridge; a P-Bass style complemented by their MMCS. The bridge, in all

its beefiness, houses a Ghost piezo pickup in each saddle. Overall, the bass has a great modern feel - very tight and responsive. The stainless steel frets are ultra-durable, and give plenty of definition. The P-bass pickup does exactly what’s expected, pumping out fully round, warm bass tones, while the MMCS is quite punchy. It’s also splittable by pulling up on its volume knob. Blending the two together gives a nice full sound, and with the sonic variations they both provide, there are tons of low-end textures to develop and explore. With the definition of the piezo pickup, clarity and attack response increases greatly. On its own, it won’t sound like a stand-up bass, but provides a good

acoustic “lite” tone. For recording purposes, the Maxx Fly sounds fantastic plugged in direct, as well as amplified. In fact, it’s hard to find a bad tone in this bass. With its light weight, versatile sound options, and modern construction, Parker delivers an excellent bass that can cover pretty much any playing situation. The only design issue is the position of the input jack. It won’t sit in a guitar stand with a straight plug connected; an angled cable end solves the problem, but let’s be honest it’ll spend more time in the hands of a player than it will on a stand. -Chris Devine


PARKER Maxx Fly Bass Guitar - $5,999


Swamp Ash back with carbon glass epoxy wrap Poplar with carbon glass epoxy Neck Hipshot Ultra Light lollipop tuners Tuners 24 (stainless steel) Frets EMG ‘P’ split-neck Neck Pickup Bridge Pickup EMG ‘MMCS’ Hipshot bridge, Ghost piezo saddles Bridge Dusty Black, 3-Tone Sunburst, Finishes and Candy Lemon Yellow Under 6 lbs. Weight

CORT Sunset 1 Guitar – $750



Great pickups, nice Bigsby.

Control knobs are a little hard to work with.

Bigsby-equipped guitars usually only come on older, retro-fitted instruments, and don’t offer anything other than an old school whammy bar. Cort’s Sunset is a modern take on an old idea. Construction-wise, it features a chambered mahogany body with a maple top. The set neck is mahogany with a rosewood fingerboard that has some very nice pearl inlays. With some large-ish frets, it has a beefy feel. The overall fit and finish is OK. There were a few paint runs on the top of the headstock on our test model and the finish around the sound hole was a little rough. But nothing too major. The pickups are by TV Jones, a Classic in the neck, and their Classic Plus in the bridge. A simple

3-way toggle single chicken-head volume and tone knobs control everything. The sounds it can produce fit well in the rock genre, and anything in the “less gain=more tone” styles. Country twang and rockabilly tones come through nicely, as well, and in a gritty rock band format, the TV Jones pickups stick out, even when the other guitar player is wailing full on with humbuckers. They sit somewhere between a Tele and a classic Gibson humbucker, without any noise issues. Playability is excellent; using a Bigsby is a lesson in subtlety. It won’t do Van Halen dive bombs, but sweet, subtle tremolo effects are not a problem. With its roller bridge, there are no issues with

tuning. On the down side, while the chicken head knobs add to the vintage feel, the spacing of them is a bit tight; you might get your fingers stuck between the pointed ends. A regular set of knobs would have been a better choice (and are a super cheap option to add at any point). Overall, the TV Jones pickups deliver, and the Bigsby is very nice. For players looking for a uniquely styled guitar with a vintage vibrato that can deliver great twangy tones, this sticks out amongst the other single cut models on the market. -Chris Devine

FEATURES Mahogany, Set-in Neck Body Binding Fretboard Frets Scale Inlays Tuners Vibrato Pickups Controls

Mahogany, Set-in Maple Top/ Chambered Mahogany Body White Rosewood, 12” Radius 22 Large 24 3/4” Rectangular White Pearl Grover Bigsby B50 Tailpiece TV Jones Classic (N) & Classic Plus (B) (H-H) 1 vol, 1 tone, 3-way toggle



Scully LS-76 “Fully Restored, Now Used to Cut Indie Records” YEAR: 1978 HISTORY: Rumor has it, there are less than nine LS-76 Scully lathes in the world. Prior to acquiring it, the Scully was partially refurbished and we’ve done a considerable amount of work to bring it to full restoration. We believe this particular lathe to be serial number 001 of the LS-76 model because it’s completely void of serial numbers, which is unlike any other Scully. HOW IT’S USED: The Scully is used to cut vinyl lacquer masters, which are then used to create the metal parts that press records. After tracking and mixing, mastering (and vinyl mastering) is the final step before an album is pressed. The Scully lathe is used every day at Infrasonic Mastering. We’re cutting fewer production masters for CD duplication now that more bands are releasing their albums on digital 56 SEPTEMBER 2012 PERFORMER MAGAZINE

and vinyl only, so the Scully is an integral part of our workflow. Some of the recent albums we’ve mastered to vinyl on this particular lathe include projects with Fool’s Gold, The Soft Pack, Wavves and others for labels like Stones Throw and Suicide Squeeze. MODERN MODIFICATIONS: It’s a Scully mechanically, but we’re using Neumann cutting heads and electronics on it, which had to be retrofitted to work with the Scully lathe. Since these machines are no longer made, it’s often necessary to fabricate modern parts from scratch in order to repair or modify the system. LESSONS LEARNED: I think modern recording engineers will be forced to learn the physical limitations of the vinyl format, something that engineers in previous decades were more familiar with. Engineers understood how to mix for the format; they accommodated for its

limitations by correcting issues in the mix that could adversely affect the way it would translate to vinyl. Since CDs don’t have the same physical limitations as vinyl (low end phase requirements, frequency response, distortion and tracking issues, etc.), these challenges are often overlooked, making vinyl cutting more challenging than ever. Fortunately, our experience at Infrasonic clues us in to the majority of those issues before we cut the lacquer and we’re able to get the best cut possible. ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Pete Lyman is the Co-Owner and Principal Mastering Engineer of Infrasonic Sound, an audio and vinyl mastering studio in Los Angeles, CA. Lyman has mastered projects for artists including No Age, Wavves, Best Coast, Shooter Jennings, Butch Walker, People Under the Stairs, Norah Jones and The Soft Pack. For more info visit

Mak eYourGearWor kF orYou! MAKEMONEY

• Re ntoutge a rwhe ny ou' r enotus i ngi t • S e l l y ourr ec or di ngs e r v i c es • Ex pa ndy ourne t wor ka ndc l i e ntbas e


• Books t udi ot i me • Rentge a rf r om membe r s • Hi r es t udi omus i c i a ns

T r ya u d i o . S t u d i o S h a r e . or gf orF RE E ! Us eCo u ponCode :PERF ORMER Whati saudi o. s t udi os har e. or g?

audi o. S t udi oShar e. or gi sanonl i nebus i nes spl at f or m wher emus i c i ansandaudi o pr of es s i onal sc anexc hangeequi pmentands er vi c est of ul l yut i l i z et hei rown r es our c esandt hos eownedbyot hermember s .I tal l owsyout os c hedul es t udi o s es s i onsandgi gs ,aut omat i c al l ybi l l sf ors er vi c esandequi pmentr ent al s , anddel i ver sac hec kt oyoueac hmont h.

S t udi oShar eOnl i ne,L L C| T ol lF r ee( 888 )3 2 1 69 7 4| ht t p: / / audi o. S t udi oShar e. or g

Sound Better. Designed for the most demanding live performances, the new Live X family of powered and passive PA loudspeakers sets new standards for portable sound. Everything Electro-Voice has learned making audio systems for the world’s biggest events is built into Live X: •

Precision-engineered components for best-in-class performance

Lightweight wood cabinets for ease-of-use and real-world durability

Stackable or pole-mounted designs and integral monitor angles for maximum versatility

All at a price point previously unheard-of for loudspeakers of a similar pedigree. Visit your local Electro-Voice dealer for a Live X demo today.

©2012 Bosch Security Systems, Inc.

mics • dsp • amps • speakers

mics • dsp • amps • speakers

Performer Magazine: September 2012