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march 2013

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Hero's last

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Unplugged PG editor alisha kirby asks about the past two years, song writing and their new content

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Unplugged designer takes a shot at reviewing Atlas Genius’ debut album “When It Was Now”

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Unplugged editor Alisha Kirby reviews Into It. Over It.’s record collection “52 Weeks”

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Multi-talented artist Andrew Barnhart starts a project of his own

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Scottish John talks about the downfall of this generation’s music experience


Letter from the editor:

Free shows & Thank yous

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acramento surprises me every day. I always hear about these new bands in the area and I am always impressed by the quality of their music and most importantly the creative sound and lyricism of some. It seems like people that live in Sacramento, including myself, say things like “Sacramento: the place where nothing happens,” but in the past 4 months I’ve learned that is completely not true. I’ve been to countless shows and some were even free. Midtown Village Cafe on I and 19th streets, Fox and Goose on R and 10th streets and Shady’s Coffee and Tea on Douglas Boulevard in Roseville; all places where you can go and enjoy free open mics. With that in mind, I really encourage everyone who’s reading this to head out to their local open mic and support the next Sacramento “super star.” Not to mention I think that live shows are so much fun to go to. You get to see an artist express themselves in one of the most personal ways possible; singing about their own life experiences. You get to witness the true emotion behind the music. On a more personal note: this whole project has and is a bumpy road and I can’t even imagine doing this without my awesome staff. On top of that I have to say thank you to all my friends and family who understand why I’ve disappeared off the face of the earth and forgive me for it. It’s issue three and you’re still here, so thank you. These past couple of months have been crazy for me. This project has exceeded my image of where I thought we’d be by issue three. I can’t begin to express how grateful I am for all the readers and all the people who have helped in any way. This issue is packed with awesome content that we, the whole Unplugged staff, hope you enjoy. Thank You, Steven Condemarin Designer/Manager/Founder

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Top 5 Albums On Repeat Walk The Moon Walk The Moon

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Elephantitis Hail The Sun

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Graduation three Kanye West Folie a` Deux Fall Out Boy

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All We Know Is Falling

Five Paramore


Andrew Barnhart: the entrepreneur of Sacramento music Steven Condemarin reviews Atlas Genius debut album

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Up mag

Alisha Kirby reviews Into It. Over It.’s vinyl collection of ‘52 Weeks’

Editor in chief

Steven Condemarin

editor/Writer alisha kirby

Contributors Carlos Almanza (Photos) megan houchin (copy) Ian La Tondre (columnist)

Scottish John’s ‘And The Record Rolls On’ column

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Hero’s Last Mission talk about plans after two year music halt

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vinyl review

into it. over it.

“52 weeks” E van Weiss became one of my favorite songwriters since I sat down and listened to “52 Weeks” as a whole a few years ago. His lyrics are honest, sometimes brutally so, and they’re the type that as you listen you catch yourself saying “Wow, someone else totally knows what I am going/once went through.” There’s no heavy distortion on the vocals, and he doesn’t sing so fast, or mumble or slur to where you can’t understand half of what he’s saying. It’s a clear singer-songwriter album, plain and simple. A handful of the 52 tracks are acoustic only, others are fleshed out a bit more, and the rest are somewhere in between. This book set is incredibly well done. It’s four 180-gram LPs that fit into individual sleeves bound into the hardcover, supplemented by pages of lyrics and art to go with some of the songs. It’s a sturdy set, something I can’t emphasize enough. No Sleep Records didn’t take any shortcuts with this endeavor and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Story & Photos by Alisha Kirby


Artist spotlight

DOWNLOAD THE FIRST SINGLE, “EITHER YOU LOVE ME OR YOU DON’T” FOR FREE AT FACEBOOK.COM/SAINTSOLITAIRE

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f you think multi-instrumentalist Andrew Barnhart looks familiar it’s probably because you’ve seen him on stages throughout the Sacramento region. Since 2000 he’s played bass with the likes of Color the Sound, James Cavern and Relic 45. He was involved in his own projects as the bassist/ vocalist of Evolutia and No Avail. Each project had a wildly different sound from the next, which gave Barnhart’s own solo project, Saint Solitaire, a diverse sound of its own. His debut EP, “Full Artistic Control,” is exactly as the title implies. “I really enjoy getting deep under the hood with programming but there are some crazy bass and guitar lines throughout,” says Barnhart. That attention to detail goes one step further as he describes his sound. It’s something of a “progressive-electronic-experimental-dance-rock,” like a mix

of Thom Yorke and Foals, but with beats like Ratatat. “I recorded it all myself over about the last four years which have seen my tastes change somewhat drastically,” says Barnhart. “Sections of the EP may remind one person of Mars Volta and another of dubstep at the same time.” The “Full Artistic Control” release show is Saturday, March 9 at Blue Lamp, which also happens to be the band’s debut show. The EP will be available for free at the show, which is cool, but Barnhart also plans on shaving his 10-month-old, mountain-man beard on stage during the show. If you can’t wait that long to check him out live you can find him at Capitol Garage and Old Ironsides’ open mics on Mondays and Wednesdays respectively, as well as co-hosting his own with Mac Russ on Fridays at Clark’s Corner, at 57th & J, near Sacramento State University. By: Alisha Kirby

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Album review

RIYL (REC

OMMEN

ANIMAL

DED IF Y OU LIKE ):

KINGDO

M

PHOENI

A

X

THE ROY AL CON WALK TH E

CEPT

MOON

WOLF G

ANG

TR ACKS YOU SHOULD CHECK

OUT:

2. IF SO

4. TROJANS

3. BACK SEAT

6. ONE A DAY

fter their self-recorded single “Trojans” peaked at number four on the U.S. Alt-Rock Billboards in 2012, Australian quartet Atlas Genius have returned with their debut full-length, ‘When It Was Now.’ The album bounces back and forth between guitar-chug, upbeat synth pop and bass-heavy, mellowed-out pop melodies. The well-written and catchy lyricism of tracks like “If So” and “One A Day” prove that Atlas Genius could stick around our radio waves for a while longer. But, “Trojans” might just be the strongest track of the album with intimate lyrics like “Write a song/make a note/for the lump that sits inside your throat/change the locks/change the scene/ change it all but can’t change what we’ve been.” This album can be compared to a synthfilled The Temper Trap, a more “in-your-face” version of Phoenix, or even a calmer Vampire Weekend. The bonus tracks include club-ready versions of “Trojans” and “Back Seat” as well as a relaxing, acoustic version of “If So.” After listening to this album you will quickly realize that “Trojans” was no fluke, just sayin’. By: Steven Condemarin

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And The Record Rolls On Scottish John touches on the evolution of Records to digital media

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owdy! I just want to dive right into this. I know that a lot of the time I like to dilly-dally with y’all, and be like, “Hey guys look at how cool I am with this fancy funny intro about my cat,” but not today. I’m feeling ready damn it, let’s do this, team. Do you like to download music? Yes you, right there, reading this. How do you feel about downloading some serious tune-age? It’s awesome right? If I want an album, I can just get it - no questions asked - either illegally free or buying it from something like iTunes. Did you see what I said there? I said, “If I want an album.” There’s a key word in that little sentence that if you don’t understand right away, it’s okay, it’s a huge point and I’ll let you in on the secret, but we’ll get there

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later.

Back to downloading, it’s cool, right? I love the fact that in my car right now I have a small silver and black plated device, slightly bigger then a deck of cards, with a little less than 20,000 songs on it; how cool is that? Technology freakin’ rules, man. Don’t worry though, this isn’t all about technical stuff, this is about evolution. No not monkeys and apes and humans, but music and how we listen to it. Here’s a little snippet (God I love that word. Snippet) of how music and all of this cool tech stuff has seriously changed the world of sounds; I recently watched this documentary, “PressPausePlay,” on Netflix (good Lord, I love Netflix) about the evolution of technology in music, art, photography, and blah, blah, blah, you guys get where I’m going with this. One of the bigger points that it made me really think about was: albums. Now if you

haven’t guessed that key word by now, it’s albums. Albums to me are one of the greatest things on this planet, and that’s with no exaggeration, and I’m sure many of you have felt the same at some point. My life has been inspired, built up, saved, taken on adventures by albums; I’ve cried, slept, made love, had sex (there’s a difference), ran, cooked, studied, and basically have done anything that doesn’t require extreme listening skills, to an album. Do you know what I mean? The sad part is, more and more of this young “now” generation, with downloadable everything, doesn’t know what I mean. People don’t want albums anymore. Our generation’s attention span has swept down into the “threeminute single.” That’s all this age seems to care about now-a-days. People don’t buy albums anymore. We buy singles, we buy the songs we hear off the radio or maybe even the occasional ones


“there is a degree of sacrifice When you listen to a record as a downloaded file . . .

and

for the convenience . . .

The world

made

this decision

regardless ” that sound cool in our Jason Mraz Pandora station. It legitimately bums me out. Check this, peeps: there was once something called vinyl. Now, vinyl records were huge and they were played on these massive things called record players. Popular conception says the fact that we went from vinyl to 8-track to cassette to CD to downloadable music is evolutionary. Well, to a degree that is correct, there’s a catch though. When you listen to a record as a downloaded file and then the same record on vinyl, the vinyl sounds better most of the time. I’m just saying there is a degree of sacrifice for the convenience. It’s what we call a technical sacrifice. It’s easy to see once you know about it and the world made this decision regardless. Now don’t get me wrong, I’d much rather drive around with my iPod instead of a stack of vinyls taller than a human pyramid made up of the NBA WestCoast All-Star team. Sounds reasonable, right? Now the other side of this music evolution is what I brought up earlier; albums. Albums are going away. It used to be when you had a vinyl you were virtually forced to listen to the whole record if you wanted to hear

a track in the depths of song nine or ten. Now we don’t have to. Let’s be real, we’ve all done it: we buy a record and maybe we’re a couple tracks in and the first ten seconds of track five doesn’t suck us in so we just hit skip and keep on going until we find something we like. There can be so much more past those first ten seconds but if your song doesn’t draw me in quick enough, a lot of times I just say “screw it” and move on. And ya’ know what, a lot of times I’m right and that song sucked, or maybe was just “meh” compared to the rest of the album. Despite my initial instincts, sometimes I just need to hear that skipped song to understand the full vibe or concept of the album. Sometimes I’m just plain wrong and that song completely kicked shit (that’s right I’m still using this phrase)! For instance, I was listening to Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City” album. That shit’s dope, no questions about it. However, at first I listened to a couple songs in kind of a random order. It was pretty cool, but I was like, “Hmmmmmm, why the fudge mountain are all my friends trippin’ mad shit over this album?” At

that point, I did two things: First, I got high. Then, I listened to the entire album with my headphones while drumming on my practice pad. I fucking loved it. I’ve also listened to the whole thing sober and don’t worry, it’s still awesome. After listening to the whole album, I got a real grasp on what the concept was rather than the vibe of just a few tracks. It’s freakin’ cool, man! It’s like instead of one awesome painting of a mountain, you have ten sick paintings of mountains and goats and rocks and snow that all mesh together to make this huge mountain range. My opinion: Despite me believing that you should listen to an album in its entirety most of the time - I think we should all take at least ten minutes a day to

listen to some music. I’m not talking about listening while we drive, or study, or sex up your lover, or whatever, I’m talking about laying down in the middle of the day, slapping headphones onto that gorgeous head of yours and escaping. Ten minutes of really feeling why we all fell in love with music in the first place, ya’ know? Well, I’ve made my peace here. Feel free to email me with questions, comments, or simply just to say “I think you look like a funny dancer and everything you say is something somebody with six toes would say.”

Always a pleasure, Scottish John

Scottishjohn.unplugged@gmail.com Photos by Carlos Almanza


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t’s not always true what they say about having too many cooks in the kitchen. For Hero’s Last Mission, a band where all four members sing, share song writing duties and star in the band’s YouTube web series, each member’s individual influence has kept the music fresh and the crowds on their feet. I spoke with Luis Hurtado to catch up on what’s been happening since the band’s previous release, and to see where Hero’s Last Mission is headed.

So go ahead and say who you are and what you do in Hero’s Last Mission. Hello, this is Luis from Hero’s Last Mission, and I play guitar and sing.

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It’s been almost two years since you released “Stay On Course.” What have you been doing all this time? The past two years have been quite a journey for Hero’s Last Mission. A rigorous schedule, member changes, filming webisodes, and constantly working on new material have decorated our path! But seriously, the past two years have been great! Any plans to start working on new material? Currently, we are working on a new release which we’re looking to get out ASAP! And while we haven’t had a release in a while we have been releasing videos from our YouTube channel. Just

something we like to do for fun, but it’s also a great tool to keep more fans and friends up to date with all things HLM. Two years isn’t really that long. Do you ever feel pressured to adapt to fan’s shorter attention spans? Well as far as adapting to shorter attention spans I’d say that keeping our fans up to date with our videos helps quite a bit! Because everything is so accessible now a days, making sure we keep connected with our fans is key! So pressure? Maybe a little bit, but a little pressure is never a bad thing. Keeps us always trying to be a step ahead.

How does the band’s songwriting process usually progress? (Someone comes with lyrics or a chord progression or?) Lately we’ve all had ideas that we put together to create that music magic. We’ll go into the studio with a skeleton and just jam it out until it starts sounding like one entity rather then four people playing together. Of course, that doesn’t mean that we don’t run into songs that fall short, but you can always go back to the drawing board to bring it alive again.


The past few months have been full of band reunions and breakups - are there any you’re especially excited or heartbroken about? One band reunion that I’m very excited about is Fall Out Boy! They have probably been my favorite band since the first time I heard them. I had a sampler CD from Fueled By Ramen records and I would loop the two songs that they had on there for hours! I’ve gone to see them about 10 times, and our band was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to perform with the singer, Patrick Stump. So you could say that I’m a super fan. And we are all looking forward to seeing how they have evolved as a band.

Anything else you’d like to throw in?

Your sound still has an obvious amount of rock influence, but this last album seemed to be a bit more country. Was that a conscious decision or just a happy accident?

www.heroslastmission.com

We’ve all been inspired by many music genres, and because of that we each bring a unique style. So as far as us having a country flare, I’d say it’s more of an accident.

We’re definitely excited. The future looks full of endless possibilities and we’re not looking to slow down any time soon. Keep a close eye on all of our social media outlets; we’ve got new videos, new songs, new tours that we can’t wait to share!

www.youtube.com/heroslastmission www.facebook.com/heroslastmission www.twitter.com/hlmmusic

SCAN OR CLICK TO CHECK OUT HLM’S FACEBOOK PAGE

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Photos courtesy of Hero’s Last Mission

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f we post info on upcoming releases and events in sacramento Thank you for reading! If you have any questions or comments, email us at sac.unplugged@gmail.com. ask us how to be featured in our next issue or how to advertise in our next issue! Copyright Š 2013 by Unplugged Magazine. All rights reserved. Unplugged Magazine does not take ownership of contributed material.


Unplugged Magazine issue 3