R O C K
-nFASHION 2I :3
Counting Crows' Adam Duritz V:
David Wax Museum
2 A p r il 1 ,
2 1 0
Shinobi Ninja Steed Lord The Americans
Alabama Shakes Y'all Silent Disco Nature Valley Trail View The Outlaw Roadshow
The “Unofficial” Showcase Trover
When I was 11 years old, I distinctly remember putting on my Dolly Parton 45 with "9 to 5" on the A-side, and "Sing for the Common Man" on the B-Side. I rehearsed and rehearsed and couldn't get the song right. That is until, I figured out what the problem was. So, I teased up my fine blond locks; stuffed some socks in my shirt; and snuck into my mom's bathroom for some red lipstick. And ah hah, a star was born. Image & persona clearly can contribute to an artist's success or failure. So, this month The Music Initiative looks a little closer at the trends and the people who rock them.
What entails being fashionable? Is it a specific outfit? Is it a lifestyle choice? And who decides? I think for most of us the beauty about fashion is that it is within us. And as we have the ability to change and grow, so does our sense of style. Take Adam Duritz. The Counting Crows frontman has been supporting a follicle explosion for years. And as as his locks continue to grow; so does his superstardom. This year the Counting Crows have a new album of covers dropping that not only pays homage to stars of old, but also new stars that Duritz feels will be the next generation of musical light. Nothing screams fashionable more than sharing the spotlight.
Next on stage: Rock -n- Roll Camp for Girls in Portland, OR. These fashionistas help mold the girls of tomorrow from the inside out. Put the magazine and the airbrushing away. For one week a year, little ladies pick up a new instrument, and gather with some like-minded muses to create a model tune. In the wings: the WHIP IT soundtrack. No need for parameters or rules. You can't be confined; find your inner spirit. Look to the Roller Derby mavens for some enlightenment. For the encore: Steed Lord. Iceland's trio of fire pushes the limits of fashion through dress, art, photography and film.
Be bold. Let what is inside shine through to the outside. You never know what fashion you may inspire.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Local Austin favorite Bob Schneider performs photo by Scott Newton/KLRU-TV
Auditorium Shores | Austin, TX
on the cover:
SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST David Wax Museum PAGE 8-11 Adam Duritz PAGE 16-17 The Americans PAGE 20-23 Steed Lord PAGE 36-39 Shinobi Ninja PAGE 54-55
Vinyl Roots: Check out what’s hanging in music’s closet.
Gadgets & Giveaways:
Make it a movie night with WHIP IT.
Get your iPod ready for our staffcomplied playlists, inspired by strutting their stuff.
Our readers across the States pick their favorite musical fashion icon.
T-qualizer lights up the room.
Ode to the Web:
TMI looks at the stylings of the original hipsters...DADS!
TMI’s weekly filmed listening room series with musicians, visual artists, and designers.
T. Champagne: Fashionista or just frightening?
Coast to Coast:
Our staff reviews albums from 15 rockers around the world.
Balcony TV: A world of talent with just one click.
Coe College: NACA Rocks! Rock -n- Roll Camp for Girls & Girls Rock! DC
Bumbershoot: Seattle’s Urban Music & Art Fest.
Kittyzilla storms the Queen City.
Denver:Zebra Junction Austin: Deuce Coupe New Orleans: Big History Charleston: The Constellations
The Music Initiative www.themusicinitiative.com Editor-in-Chief: Becca Finley firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Editor: Kyle Cannon email@example.com Staff Writers: Jared Booth, Justin Henderson, Nicky Jones, Nancy LaBarbiera, Grayson Sanford, Zach Stanton, TJ Weaver Creative Director: Joel Travis firstname.lastname@example.org Graphic Designers: Angie Brown, Devin VanTatenhove Cover Photograph by Candie Rockwell Contributing Photographers: Scott Newton/KLRU-TV Logo Design: Martha Martin Director of Media Content: Joe Davies email@example.com Shooters/Editors: Heather Brewer Digital Communications Coordinator: Kara Klein firstname.lastname@example.org Promotions Manager: Carrie Cranford email@example.com PR Manager: Acecily Alexander firstname.lastname@example.org Business Development Advisor: Taylor Rains email@example.com Interns: Kelley Floyd, John Kaneday, Courtney Padove, Clare Smith, Oliver Wentworth Office: 253 St. Phillip Street Suite A Charleston, SC 29403 843-277-2483 Like Us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheMusicInitiative Follow Us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/MusicIntMAG www.twitter.com/TMIMagEditor Watch Us on YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/themusicinitiativecom
The Music Initiative is a monthly, online magazine produced by a group of music enthusiasts yearning to broaden and expand each readerâ€™s music experience. We believe in the power of music to change a mood and enhance a moment; as well as facilitate change and link the past with the present. This is our communityâ€“ seeped in passion, creativity and cultural awareness. Within the pages of each issue, we will bring you history, interviews, gadgets, CD reviews, art, new music outlets around the nation, and so much more. Among other exciting music related features, The Music Initiative features fans talking about music. TMI aims to uncover hidden gems found in up-and-coming bands, and also covers nationally recognized musicians and events.
HEY TMI STAFF! What is your ideal song for strutting down the catwalk? ACE
The Commodores “Brick House”
Justin Timberlake “Sexy Back”
Weird Al “White and Nerdy”
Def Leppard “Pour Some Sugar on Me”
Pink Floyd “Money”
Metric “Dead Disco”
Pink Floyd “Young Lust”
Led Zeppelin “Ramble On”
Trapt “Head Strong”
Daft Punk “Voyager”
Duran Duran “Hungry Like the Wolf”
Frankie Goes to Hollywood “Relax”
Robin Thicke “Make You Love Me”
Amanda Palmer “Map of Tasmania”
George Michael “Freedom”
“If I Like It, I Do It” Jamiroquai
Europe “The Final Countdown”
Lady Gaga “Marry the Night”
The Pet Shop Boys “It’s A Sin”
nights at the museum
David Wax Museum bring their Mex-Americana-folk around the globe
hen I first wrote about the David Wax Museum in the spring of 2009, the circumstances could not have been more different. The Museum had barely begun assembling the forces that would eventually bring them where they are today. David Wax and Suz Slezak, the smiling, stylish faces you see on this page, were playing in the back corners of small bars in Cambridge, MA, passing around a hat to the few dozen bar patrons. What a difference three years makes. Two critically-acclaimed albums and over 400 tour dates later, buoyed by the incessant word-of-mouth campaign of their enthusiastic supporters, Wax and Slezak have played coast to coast, completed two European tours, and just returned from a tour in China.
At their live shows, the style of music -perhaps best described as Mex-Americana folk -- is almost secondary to the intimacy they bring to the room. Before 2010’s Everything is Saved, which brought a new level of recognition, Wax and Slezak started touring across the country, playing in people’s living rooms. Entertaining such small spaces reinforced the value of connecting with the audience, to the point that their shows, though now in big concert halls, often feel like they are in a cozy living room. “We started doing a lot of house concerts in our early days because we couldn’t get a gig anywhere else,” explains Slezak. “So we’d call friends or fans in a town that we were passing through and see if they’d organize it in their house. People loved having us in their living room, loved inviting friends, and their friends loved it too. And it sort of turned into our story,
‘Oh, did you see the David Wax Museum in that person’s backyard, on that dock, in that living room.’” The house concerts also changed the way they viewed performance spaces. “It was a great way for us to explore the space we played in,” says Slezak. “So now we use the space creatively, we go up in the balcony, and we use the aisles, and change the idea of, ‘We are the band, we use the stage, you are the audience, you stay in the audience.’ We’ve kind of outgrown living rooms, but we’ve learned not to be scared of singing to people face-to-face. There’s a protection you get with the microphone and the stage and this barrier that we’ve been able to break down.”
The Museum, which, depending on the night, also features their “main man” multi-instrumentalist Greg Glassman, David’s cousin Jordan Wax on accordion, and guitarist/bassist Michael Roberts, has just finished recording another new album, due in early fall. They spent much of the winter recording at Great North Studios in the woods outside Parsonsfield, ME with producer Sam Kassirer, who also produced Everything is Saved. “It’s too far out for the internet company,” says Slezak of the studio. “It’s really isolated, but that makes for a really focused session. We did a ton of cooking and just squirreled away and holed up.”
Suz Slezak & David Wax
After wildly successful turns at the Newport Folk Festival and South by Southwest last year, the band has been singled out for praise in the national press, and was named one of the top live acts in America. On top of their electrifying live performance, the band’s fashion sense has been consistently applauded. “A while ago, we had a conversation with a former writing professor of David’s who said we needed to take it up a notch,” remembers Slezak. “He said, ‘You guys cannot go out there looking like graduate students!’ and ‘The role of the artist is to be an idealized version of himself or herself and to be someone larger than life.’ It’s definitely still a work in progress because fashion was not something I cared much about, but it’s been a really fun way to think about the visual aspect of music.” “I’ve always appreciated when an artist looks like they cared enough to wear something different than their regular street clothes,” says Wax. “That always made an impression on me as an audience member, and in a performance, I think that it shows that we’re taking it seriously.”
While their rise has seemed almost meteoric from afar, for the band it’s been gradual; the result of an incredible amount of day-to-day work. “It feels like we’ve just been putting one step in front of the other,” says Slezak. “We’ve put in countless hours and hours and hours in front of our computers, reaching out to people, promoting our next show, getting
the role of artist is to be idealized version himself or hers and to be some
LARGE THAN LIF
the merchandise ordered, making sure our musicians know what’s happening. There’s just so much behind the scenes, and from the outside it looks like this explosion, but from the inside it feels like we’re just plugging away. And we’re so grateful for everything that’s come out of that work.” Wax and Slezak have given themselves completely to this project, and that absorption is never clearer than at a show. It is their release, the reason for it all. Without a great product, it would just be work.
“I think that the show for us has to be moving,” says Wax. “And you have to have a lot of factors right for that to happen. But when it all clicks and everybody is in the moment and there’s that energy going between us and the audience, that’s what makes the show special for us and keeps us inspired to keep going and make it worthwhile.” -JB
the e an n of self eone
ER N FE
who is your mu
Ashley Miller Charleston, SC
Michaela Rose New York, NY
Jacob Brown Union City, MI
Krystal Collins Charlotte, NC
Holly Varnadore Denver, CO
Justin Wilson Seattle, WA
Tolly Ratliff Washington, DC
Christian Dew Gulf Shores, AL
usical fashion icon?
Shanon Hughes Dayton, OH
Campbell Trippe Charleston, SC
CC Bechek Petoskey, MI
Sara Kaloudis Wilmington, NC
Kelly Dobson Clemson, SC
Dustin Roesener White Pigeon, MI
Victoria Wollman-Wise Norman, OK
Abel Lee Dallas, TX
music's closet 1920s flapper girl
While my crew and I sit around swilling beer and smoking cigarettes our conversation topics weave a web of sports, women, cars, money, and of course, fashion. In between shot-gunning cans of lager and performing Iwo Jima-style keg stands we often debate about who wore it best, or play WWBW (What Would Bieber Wear). Relax, my latex-wearing fashionophiles, for I am only slightly poking fun at you. Truth be told, regardless the circles in which we run, fashion rears its ugly head. While most of us do not scour the pages of Vogue Magazine, or attend runway shows in Milan to tell us how to dress, we do read magazines like The Music Initiative and Rolling Stone. We do attend concerts and watch music videos. My point is that we all like music. It influences us to dance, cry, bang our heads, and, admit it or not, music influences what we wear.
The first rack that we fixate upon in this trailer parkishly-appointed walk-in is the era of the Roaring Twenties. Jazz is king and the country is in the midst of an economic boom. The jazz of this era is fast paced and toe-tapping’ great music. The Charleston is the dance of choice and the pre WWI Victorian style clothes are not friendly to vigorous dancing. The flapper dress is born. This loose-fitting type of dress with its flowing, (sometimes sleeveless), short skirt provides women freedom to shake their money makers to Count Basie. Not only does jazz music influence what women are wearing as they get their groove on, but it also influences the entire fashion industry. The first magazines dedicated solely to fashion are launched, including the aforementioned Vogue. Coco Chanel ascends the throne as the first fashion icon. If you will, kindly step over this box of costume jewelry and make your way over to the 1950s rack where Rock -n- Roll is born. Post WWII conservative men’s clothing gives way to skinny jeans, tight tee’s, and slicked-back hair. I would be remiss not to mention poodle skirts and leather jackets as well. The important thing to take from this early rock era is that
We may not be able to pin point the exact time and location when music and fashion were woven together. However, let’s sift through the bounty of dirty laundry. So, like a poor man’s episode of Cribs… or Hoarders, I invite you to join me throughout time, as we rummage in music’s closet.
The Supremes and quickly adopt the “mod” fashions that the Brits brought over. From there, people start perfecting the miniskirt with odd fabrics such as vinyl and wild optical prints. To end the decade, long skirts, long hair, no shoes...and often no clothes at all become the trend. Ya gotta love those hippies…Pass me that doobie, man.
this is the first notable occurrence of young people starting to emulate their music idols such Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. Television becomes popular, thus giving mass audiences of impressionable teens up-close and intimate views of their favorite musicians’ styles. I got chills… they’re multiplyin’! With the advances in television coverage and the ever-growing population of young people looking for a role model, music and fashion quickly go from waltz speed to techno speed. As early as the 1960s we see a splintering in the types of music and fashion that young people are emulating. For instance, the British Invasion throws a giant wrench into the mainstream machine that is the baby boomer population within the US. Kids start the decade wearing the beehive hairdos from the late 50s
Watch your step and mind those platform shoes as we step toward the back of the closet. The 1970s are not called “the decade that fashion forgot” for nothing. All I can say is thank God for Debbie Harry, Johnny Rotten, and David Bowie. These pioneering artists of Punk and Glam Rock may just be the saving graces of 70s music and fashion in an otherwise earth-toned, oversized-collar blah of a decade. Strap on your glittery glove as we enter our final section of the closet. The 1980s embody everything that new-age media represents. MTV should be almost solely credited for every popular trend that lives and dies during this decade. In the 80s if you are into music or fashion, you are watching MTV. During the decade we are blasted with music that is all over the board. Punk, hair metal, rap, heavy metal, new wave, pop, and country music bombard us from all sides. All of which (thanks to MTV) make their impressions felt in the 80s fashion trends. Notable influences are Madonna, Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks, and Run-D.M.C. to name only a few. We could keep digging through these racks for days and uncover many more memorable…and forgettable fashions all spawned, or heavily influenced by music. However, bad personal wardrobe memories, the stench of moth balls, and a rather lengthy conversation with the ghost of Kurt Cobain have given me all the reason I need to get the hell outta this closet. And I’m keeping that flannel, Kurt.
the AMER ICANS older is better
Old-time Los Angeles rockabillies The Americans have only been an official band for a little over two years. At 25, singer/songwriter/guitarist Patrick Ferris is the oldest member of the band, but their minds -- and their music -- are rooted firmly in the past. Ferris is joined by childhood friend Jake Faulkner on bass, Tim Carr on drums, and Zac Sokolow on lead guitar and banjo. We caught up with Ferris to discuss the band’s style, the superiority of old music, and where stories come from. How did you first get into old-time music? I always wonder that myself. I was learning guitar at 15 or 16 and got a hold of some blues, like Blind Willie McTell and Robert Johnson. At first I thought it was interesting and different, but I didn’t love it. But at some point, whenever it was that I’d heard whatever amount of it I had to, suddenly everything was different. I would put on a modern record and it just didn’t make sense. There have been periods in my life where I didn’t listen to any current music, only stuff from the beginning of the recorded era up until 1940, that golden period of music. I really like old black music, field recordings and spirituals. That was a special time in music because it was the first time this specific group of musicians had ever been recorded. These A&R guys would go to a town and just set up on the side of the road and tell folks to
from left to right: Tim Carr, Patrick Ferris, Zac Sokolow, Jake Faulkner
come sing for them, and they found some of the most amazing music we talk about today. They recorded these people who were not raised on records, that had never heard recorded music, and we’ll never see that again.
How did the band get together? When I was first getting into this music, I got reconnected with Jake, our bass player, who I’ve known since I was born, and he happened to be getting into the same style of music at the same time. Until then, I was into very different music than everybody else, and that was frustrating. But it’s very vindicating when you meet someone who feels exactly the same way about the same songs. It means you’re not alone with your own little idiosyncrasies anymore. Now our band all likes this same music and has a real connection with it. We figured the way to make good rock -n- roll music was to infuse it as much as possible with the best American music: the oldest music. That’s where it all came from anyway.
You guys definitely have a vibe, with the slicked back hair, rolled-up jeans, and white t-shirts. Was that a conscious decision for the band to dress like it was the early 50s, or is that what you wear every day?
How do you get yourself into the mental state to write a song as intense and emotionally heavy as “Your Right Mind” or “Gospel Roads?”
Unfortunately, yeah it is (laughs). It’s funny, but when you start a band, you don’t just start with songs that work, or ideas that work, or really anything good. It really is a hard start. Things don’t sound the way you want them to and you’re not happy with it. At first, it was like pulling teeth trying to get a good song, because we’re so self-critical, and the circle in which we allow ourselves to work sometimes is so small it can be preposterous. We realized that the old blues we love so much, which we still play all the time for fun, is just too quiet for some people nowadays. So we went with the next best thing. We started playing early rock -n- roll, traditional rockabilly. Recently, we’ve been writing a lot and we’re going to record again later this year.
That’s a good question. If I knew, I would do it more often I guess. But listening helps a lot, instead of trying to write a song, sometimes I just listen, to get myself out of the way. Because sometimes songs don’t have that much to do with you, they’re just there. It’s syllables and sounds, and then they form words, and it’s a phrase that works, and it’s kind of a mystery why, but it feels good to sing and it sounds good. And generally a song will come out of that. With “Gospel Roads,” the opening line of the song is from an old spiritual by Washington Phillips, “Lift Him Up That’s All,” and I thought maybe I could kind of re-contextualize that. I would play these chords over and over and sing that line and I had no notion of what the song was about, but eventually they all came together in a way that was very much unlike how I guess I imagined it would be.
I saw you guys play one really intriguing old song in concert, this long song about FDR called “Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt.” Tell me about that song. It’s by a group called the Evangelist Singers, and the songwriter’s name was Otis Jackson. It was written and recorded in 1945 after the president had died, and it had so many verses it took up both sides of a 78. It was sung so fast in this rhythmic way, it was almost like a precursor to rap. I also wonder how it was perceived at the time, because it was right after he died. Now we kind of laugh about “current issues” songs, like about 9/11 or the economy. Those kinds of songs seem exploitative now, but in history, back in the 19th century, sheet music sold so fast that people wrote music the moment it happened. You know, when the Titanic sank, there were dozens and dozens of songs about it, and the great Mississippi flood too. They were sort of like how we are now with blogs and Twitter, and writing personal things that are not so much based on facts but on feelings, like, “Here’s this thing that just happened and now I’m going to tell everyone how I feel about it.” And maybe that’s what we, as people, really like.
“.. instead of writing a song sometimes I just listen.. ”
With the progression of music and the technology involved moving at a faster rate than ever, The Americans are living in the past so we don’t have to. www.theamericansmusic.com
Charlie Mars kicked off TMIâ€™s SXSW 2012 adventure at a LiveVibe house party in West Lake.
Tender Mercies live. Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz & Boston blogger Ryan Spalding team up to present The Outlaw Roadshow at Rustyâ€™s
"Introducing Tender Mercies at their Outlaw Roadshow, Counting Crows covers this band in their upcoming "Underwater Sunshine" album out April 10th."
Minneapolis-based Astronautalis free styling to random themes thrown out by the crowd. Talk about a lyrical genius. Intelligent, witty, insightful, endearing... this guys is the real deal.
Oh Mercy's front man all the way from Australia.
The most talked about group performing at SXSW this year, the Alabama Shakes yâ€™all! Check them out on their May tour with Jack White.
Find & share lifeâ€™s hidden gems with Trover.
Almost 30 year veteran, Ben Kweller supports Love Hope Strength, and does his home state proud performing standards and new releases from his upcoming album Go Fly A Kite.
Nashvilleâ€™s beat-rock punk trio promoted their new album Wicked Will and dished about the country music capital.
Ruby Jane may be only 17, but this multi-instrumentalist is no stranger to the music world. She is a master fiddler with notoriety as a child prodigy.
"Made from recycled vinyl, these gifts pay perfect tribute to your favorite bands."
Of Monsters and Men: Best show to walk into at Rachel Ray's VIP Feedback party. Couple that with Blue Moon & tasty treats. Can’t be beat
Austin local favorite, Bob Schneider, bares his soul all over town, including The Rachel Ray party & TMI’s party at The Rattle Inn with Paperboat Records & LiveVibe.
Lafayette, La’s Givers kept us dancing through their entire set. A real crowd favorite
Blitzen Trapper playing main stage at Rachel Ray's Feedback showcase. Hmm, what inspired this?
Grubbing out and interviewing with TMI is Lily & The Parlour Tricks. New York’s sweethearts charmed the critics at SXSW.
T. Champagne premieres his new song, ”Half A Heart.” Cowboy & Indian’s breathtaking harmonies & emotional lyrics keep the crowd at Rock Rattle n Roll Showcase silent and in awe.
Selling out stadiums in South Africa, The Parlotones bring their success, humor, & stories to the states for SXSW.
Even from the top of a parking garage, the Counting Crows commanded the stage. Great show with an amazing view of the Austin skyline. We had forgotten all the hits: “A Long December,” “Round Here,” “Mr. Jones,” and “Rain King.”
Adam Duritz, one of the nicest guys in the music biz.
On their first trip to the states, The Suburbians hailing from the UK make their stop at SXSW. Don't think they're complaining.
Danny Malone solo and owning the stage at Rock Rattle n Roll Showcase.
Get ready to dance with Stereo Telescope, these guys like to get down!
Venues, venues, venues!!
Champagne T. Champagne: fashionista or faux pas nightmare? Regardless of opinion, he is who he is. Everyone has his or her own view of music and fashion, and weâ€™re all entitled to stake our own claim however we want.
Have you ever felt any pressure to maintain a particular look to appeal to more audiences? As much fun and easy as it is to wake up and put on a t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops, I think there’s a certain responsibility of being proud that I’m a musician and songwriter. I think it’s important to look good…it’s a cross between being yourself, and being the center of attention on stage. You need to look appealing to your audience. At the same time, you’ve got to be confident to dress like who you are. I think I’m defining my look everyday. I’m getting what works and doesn’t work for me. I’ve been wearing boots more and more these days. I guess it’s because I miss Texas. I became more of a Texan since I moved. I value it as home.
If you could ever emulate a style and completely get away with it without people looking at you like you’re a complete jackass, who or what would it be? That’s a tough question. I dig the people that wore whatever because they were being who they were. They said, ‘Screw it! I’m going to wear these bellbottomed pants and ruffled shirt. It’s cool; I play in Led Zeppelin.’
Genres of music tend to breed a certain look. What’s your favorite? I’ve always liked the Black Crowes’ style. I totally dig the way it represents who they are. It’s Southern rock -n- roll, and they dress like it. They wear what
fits them and works for them. And then you’ve got Parliament-Funkadelic who’s got a guy wearing a diaper on stage. That’s pretty awesome. You can’t top that!
Do you ever think some people try too hard? It’s possible that some people do. As an artist, you can lose yourselves in your art form and fashion is one of them. Although, some people really get into what they’re doing, and as a result, their style affects both their fashion and songs. You’ve got bands from the 80s like Devo that wore cones on their heads, and it worked. That was their artistry. That was the way that they wanted to express themselves.
Do you have a favorite item of clothing you like to wear on stage? A green corduroy jacket. But, for the longest time, it was one particular pair of flip-flops, and I’d play barefoot on stage. My bassist at the time, Nick, got into it as well; so he and I would each have one pair for an entire month. It was the only footwear we had.
Any obscure fashion choices for you? I’ve got one shirt in my closet that I’m not quite ready for. I’m waiting for that one particular show to break it out. I can’t be wearing something like it into a happy hour gig. People will think I’m crazy. I’m keeping it a secret for now, but you will definitely know when it’s revealed.
The Monthly Spin Widespread Panic
Wood Tour at Tabernacle in Atlanta, GA 1-28-12. Free stream or download at www.panicstream.com The colors of the night reflect onto a spirited bunch patiently waiting for the doors of the gorgeous Tabernacle to open. For the historic Wood Tour show, the gentlemen take the stage, sitting in front of an array of Christmas lights that channel all the spirits within the Widespread Family, a 25-year dynasty that’s led to this special night. Opening the evening with a slow “Porch Song,” it greets the hungry ears with a smooth, clean acoustic sound hinting at classic Panic. A joyful hush sweeps over the crowd when the tasteful “Vacation” enters the room, symbolizing what these boys truly deserve… a life off the road. The most powerful moment of the night comes heavy into the second set. “Driving Song”> “City of Dreams” > “Driving Song” > “Breathing Slow.” The crowd goes so wild that the music stops, the lights shine on the gathering while cheers ring out for several minutes, and it lands a spot on this night’s set list as “Crowd Goes Nuts.” It’s a beautiful, yet bittersweet evening and the perfect show to the temporary end of Widespread Panic. -CC
Jason Molin FOK DUB
Planning a beach trip? Don’t forget to bring the second studio album from Jason Molin titled FOK DUB. Digital Media Manager by day, reggae-inspired musician by night, Jason Molin delivers a chill album perfect for a day at the beach. One of the most memorable songs, “Lake Rules,” is a minute-by-minute play of a day with Molin’s friends and family. He also introduces two Spanish songs, “Mi Estilo Es Tranquilo,” and “Un Momento Perfecto.” If you know what that means, then you’re awesome and I need to learn Spanish. The final instrumental song “Lub Dub” transports you to a live performance on the beach, with a drink in your hand and feeling the breeze through your hair. Just like any woman’s favorite dress, FOK DUB is a perfect day to night album.
Talk That Talk Rihanna’s music and fashion evolutions are exposed through media outlets everywhere, and her sixth album release is no exception. The raunchy, upbeat album with RihRih’s reggae roots and sex appeal burst through on songs like “Watch n’ Learn” and “Talk That Talk” (feat. Jay-Z). Listeners taste Rihanna’s sentimental side as her seriousness shines on the ballads “We All Want Love” and “Farewell.” The dance single, “We Found Love,” reeks of glitter sky-drop anthem, but the emotional lyrics and video pushes it beyond for the perfect heartbreak recovery song. This free spirit coaches us on how to let ‘em go and how to keep ‘em. It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve received, and in the words of the young diva, “it’s not even my birthday.”
Cadillac EP Like a vivid trek across a desert-like dreamscape of elusive mirages, Cadillac’s debut self-titled EP follows a fine line between reality and fantasy that takes listeners through a sensual experience of synth pop in slow motion. With the support of Australia’s premiere indie dance label, Future Classic, this Melbourne based group builds upon the 80s electronic sounds sweeping across the land Down Under with a lustrous mixture of futuristic guitar solos, melodic synthesizers and keys, dynamic ranges of percussion, and blissful vocals. As if in homage to the first time Dorothy crossed over the rainbow into Oz, “Rising Sun” introduces audiences to the fantastical world of Cadillac as it segues into the appropriately titled Italo disco number, “Dreams.” While maintaining the style of its aforementioned partner, “Past Midnight’s” electro funk elements add to its epically crafted climax. When the journey comes to a conclusion with the smooth piano groove of “High For Me,” there’s no need to pinch yourself. Cadillac is definitely for real.
Carbon Based Anatomy With their latest EP, Carbon Based Anatomy, Florida based experimental band Cynic show no sign of slowing their steadfast progression as unique musicians and philosophers. Having dropped off the radar in 1994 following their debut LP and not resurfacing until 2008, fans of their original work were giddy at the rumor of new material. Cynic’s sound distances themselves from metal categorization, and no longer using vocorder effects, allows front man Paul Masdival to effectively flesh out his vocals for a more ‘human’ sounding approach. The opening track is hauntingly beautiful and uses a rare Amazonian dialect for vocals meant to invoke healing qualities for which the tribe is known. Sound interesting yet? The title track showcases bassist Sean Malone and drummer Sean Reinhart doing what they do best in delivering a hypnotic drone of inter-galactic qualities sustaining a progressive vibe throughout in support of Masdival’s spiritually uplifting lyrics. With “Box Up My Bones,” we hear Cynic at their most poppy, and it works. The soaring vocals are all encompassing and reassuring. Paul’s growth as a guitarist is immediately apparent, seamlessly melting licks into your ears like hot candle wax.
Live at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival 6-22-2002. Free download or stream at www.nugs.net Les Claypool is a man of many talents that range from musician, writer, producer and actor. He’s also no stranger to the festival circuit, and this show comes from the very first Bonnaroo that hosted a line-up quite different from what you see today. Already known as a creative being, Claypool steps in to this free-form jam session dressed in an all red get-up and an elongated nose renaissance mask. Joining him on stage is Buckethead, Bernie Worrell, and Bryan Mantia. The jams from this show are overwhelming, funky rock-n-roll, with a psychedelic twist. Claypool’s ridiculous thumping bass licks can stand true on their own, but when paired up with this bunch, it takes everything up a notch. Part 3’s groovy jam with a walking bass line showcases the amazing talent up on stage. Things get a little weird with their psychedelic approach to part 5; Worrell creates electronic noises with his piano skills that intensify the already spaced-out sound. What makes the show great is that what’s being played comes from feeling alone. Nothing’s planned or practiced. It’s just true, honest music.
Carnival Rides EP While this 23-year-old Virginian’s background is in traditional bluegrass and country, this four-song EP, his first, serves as a showpiece for his vocal talent, mixing pretty melodies with simple progressions. It’s definitely not “easy listening,” but it’s easy as hell to listen to. The ultra-stripped-down title track is the big winner here, and it’s the closest we get to Wilson’s soul, as he brings another level of gravitas to this personal song. Backed by a spare organ, he slow-picks his acoustic and lets his gorgeous voice do the rest: “I’m swinging on blue skies/And hoping I don’t fall/Ain’t it funny how everything/Can feel like nothing at all/Don’t take it for granted/Take comfort instead/And smile for me drifter/You know it’s all in your head.” -JB
Every so often a great new band of young musicians prove that they can showcase chops that rival their predecessors. Leprous, a handful of young men from Norway, evolve exponentially beyond their past efforts with their latest LP, Bilateral. The improvement in production is immediately apparent with tightened song structures that exhibit the band’s attention to detail. “Forced Entry,” an epic composition melding technical metal versus and popinfluenced choruses, ushers in a quietly emotional interlude that effectively adds dimension. Keyboardist and lead vocalist Einar Solberg’s synth is the driving force behind most of the tracks without overshadowing the other musicians, as is frequently the case with similar bands. His vocals soar beautifully in vibrato on the slower track, “Acquired Taste,” one of their best that hits new emotional heights for the group. Most notably is the trance-like quality of a guitar solo on the heaviest track, “Waste of Air,” that comes out of left field and is likely to glue any listener to their seat. It’s a rare quality that we’re only given a glimpse of, but hopefully, it signifies more to come from this style that they execute so well.
Some Nights From the moment Some Nights begins, it feels like a Queen rock opera reborn in the 21st century. Based in New York, NY, Fun. has exploded all over the charts. Their massive, slow-mo rock anthem, “We Are Young,” reached number one on the Billboard charts days after being released. Debuting their sound in 2009 with critically acclaimed Aim & Ignite, lead singer Nate Ruess, former member of The Format, literally penetrates notes and soars over melodies so effortlessly that I was forced to rewind several times in the album to make sure I just heard him sing as high as he did. Big time hip-hop producer Jeff Bhasker, who did recent work on Kanye West & Jay-Z’s Watch the Throne and Beyonce’s 4, jumped on the Fun. bandwagon and colored much of Some Nights with his hip hop background, throwing in auto tune and electronic drum beats that combine seamlessly with the uniquely beautiful indie/alternative sound that comprises Fun. If you are up for something entirely different but sickly infectious, Some Nights will not disappoint. -GS
The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy Over the course of 16 years, Nada Surf has accomplished what most indie bands have only dreamed of. However, in 1996 the band was pushed off as a “one-hit wonder” and had to prove to the world that they were here to stay. “Clear Eye Clouded Mind” opens the band’s seventh album, The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy, with a jolt of energy that never ceases as the snare and guitar rolls over touching lyrics. “When I Was Young” and “Teenage Dreams” sum up the album’s entire message of youthful dreams and wishes that sometimes never come true but kept us strong and alive. In the past, Nada Surf has been criticized for their lack of lyrical prowess, often relying on catchy beats to hook listeners; however, this album offers several heart melting tunes that feel more like poetry than songs. The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy is an ode to the fans, transporting them back to the feel-good guitar pop of the 90s, rather than just another album keeping up with the times.
We Are Nobody The Chap’s We Are Nobody is dripping with cynicism and irony, but it’s not without fun. The album kicks off with “Rhythm King,” a catchy, get-up-and-dance tune that describes music’s ability to redeem and heal: “Show me the way out of the darkness/remind me where my heart is.” The next song, “What Did We Do?” is less optimistic, lamenting the loneliness that often comes with touring, but still with the same high-tempo synth and drum beats that make this song great for both driving and dancing. “Better Place,” “Talk Back” and “We Are Nobody” are as melancholy as they come, with lyrics describing feeling lost in the crowd set to upbeat maracas and winding bass lines. “Hands Free” is even darker, dealing with themes of violence and war with booming cymbals, ominous bass lines, and an anxiety-inducing, repetitive chorus. The same perfect harmonies and minimal, descriptive lyrics found throughout the album become even more poignant in lines like “give me surrender or give me death.” The album finishes out on a tragic note with “Look at the Girl” and “This is Sick,” whose dreamy, romantic-sounding lyrics mask affecting narratives about beauty, love and loss.
Loners Society Loners Society EP
Matt Megrue, going by the kills-you-with-the-irony moniker Loners Society, writes sad songs. In fact, he even wrote a song about writing sad songs, where he sings, “Misery fuels my creative fits/So I’ll write the sad songs/You write the hits.” But don’t be fooled, he’s not just a downer; there is something oddly comforting -- and certainly beautiful -- in these wistful songs. The former Unusual Suspects and County Line Strangers front man starts off this four-song EP with “Outlaws & Saints,” a catchy lamentation on aging. In the brilliant chorus, set off with “Oh-oh-ohs,” he longs for everything, anything, to carry him away: “Make me an outlaw/Make me a saint/Make me somebody/Who never quit when all the shit came to call.” With echoes of Whiskeytown and early Tom Petty, the Charleston-based, Atlanta-raised Megrue shows great promise as a songwriter.
Russian Girlfriends EP While Perseus’ Russian Girlfriends EP only comes in at three tracks, the mysterious producer compiles an assorted sampling of early 90s influenced R&B, silky hooks, and funky sex appeal into a pristine package of music that he so fluently dubs as “tropical euphoria.” Whether you’re looking to take each one out separately for a romantic evening of roses and wine or court all three on a wild night spent out on the dance floor, each song’s varying appeal fits into either situation. “Cool Running’s” merging of profound bass with a soulful vocal duet creates a fresh crossover between smooth R&B and deep house sounds. From the choppy vocal snippets to the beaming laser effects, “Russian Girlfriends” adds a flavorful, futuristic spin into the mix. Sealing the deal with the seductive vocal performance of “Running Back To You,” Perseus polishes it off on a note that will keep fans coming back for more. If you’re looking for a lasting relationship, forget the mail-order bride. These Russian Girlfriends will work just fine.
Think of England A veteran of the Charleston, SC music scene, Bonner has finally put out a full-length album of original tunes. From the driving, daring rhythm of the first (and best) track, “Disaster,” to the catchy, vamped-up “Devil in a Wedding Dress,” and the classic blues of “Hey Mama,” Bonner delivers an extremely varied album. But the genre switches somehow create a consistent feeling. The songs work together, even though several different influences shine through. And “Walking in Circles,” featuring harmony vocals from Charleston’s musical matriarch, Cary Ann Hearst, is the sweetest country ditty you’re bound to hear this year, combining simple honesty with breezy beauty, recalling a few John Prine songs.
Childish Gambino Camp
Stand-up comedian and film actor Donald Glover just woke up one day and decided to try his luck at music. What resulted was this lyrically stunning and anomalous album that has all the hipsters and underground cool kids in awe. Under the rap persona “Childish Gambino,” Glover delivers a huge punch in the face to all his haters with his ridiculous flow and cleverly constructed, aggressive wordplay about women and his private parts. It really doesn’t seem like Gambino has a filter at times. On “Bonfire,” Glover makes a cultural reference with “Made the beat and murdered it, Casey Anthony,” and then jumps to the next idea like it was nothing. Glover, who is rather new to the rap game, always pays homage to his rap influences like Tupac and Jay-Z, seeming to put himself on the pedestal beside them. But the genius behind this album are the moments of true vulnerability that Glover exhibits, in tracks like “Outside,” where he speaks on how difficult it was for his family struggling financially in the projects. More impressive still is Gambino’s talent at making his own beats and vocals for all his songs, really making Camp a truly unique and expressive experience.
the Spin-Off Staff-selected tracks from the Monthly Spin
1. Widespread Panic - “Vacation” 2. Jason Molin - “Lake Rules” 3. Rihanna - “We Found Love” 4. Cadillac - “Past Midnight” 5. Cynic - “Carbon Based Anatomy” 6. Les Claypool - “Part 3” 7. Luke Wilson - “Carnival Rides” 8. Leprous - “Forced Entry” 9. Fun. - “We Are Young” 10. Nada Surf - “When I Was Young” 11. The Chap - “Rhythm King” 12. Loners Society - “Outlaws & Saints” 13. Perseus - “Running Back To You” 14. Ryan Bonner - “Disaster” 15. Childish Gambino - “Outside”
En route to SXSW from Brooklyn, NY, we caught up with Shinobi Ninja to taste their pizza pie conglomerate of hiphop, metal and reggae, worthy of their city’s famous dish. Where does all that on stage energy come from, especially after driving from 2am to 5pm? Duke Sims: The music is the blueprint of the whole thing. It’s already been written, so we just play the script. The songs were written for the reason of propelling energy. You can dance around and wave your arms in the air all you want, but the music really dictates the theme of what we do. Baby G: We used to joke with people that we don’t mean to scare them. We’ve been driving around in the van for so long that we need to just let it all out. Our music is so hype and so much fun that you can’t just stand there. It makes you move. With the guys being such metal heads, they’re up there jumping around going crazy. Since I’m a dancer, I start doing what they do, except I’m actually hitting the beat!
How as the distinct culture of Brooklyn influenced the mindset of Shinobi Ninja?
DS: Everything about me is Brooklyn because that’s where I was born and raised. Wherever you’re born, I guess you kind of grow up that way. I didn’t get to choose that. I tattooed ‘BKNY’ on my arm to
represent my friends and the people I grew up with. To me, Brooklyn is a struggle. I dropped out of high school because it was hard times. It’s a hard place. Everything is concrete: concrete basketball, concrete liquor, concrete life. Everything you do ends up on the concrete. I think it really displays the hard kind of people that live there. They say that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.
What are your thoughts on the relationship between music and fashion?
DS: In all the previous bands and solo stuff I did, I never thought style and music connected in any way. I was just about the music, and that’s where my focus was. It wasn’t until I started Shinobi Ninja that Baby G told me I needed to start focusing on my style because people listen with their eyes. What do you say to something like that? Everybody in this band has set their own style. Mike has a mustache now. You can’t tell somebody, “Hey man, I really need you to grow a mustache. Can you do that for me? There’s such a hole in this band right now that we need somebody with a mustache!” He chose that himself. If that’s what you want to do, then do it.
How would you describe your personal style and how it relates to you as a performer?
BG: Even though the world likes people that give you more than just the everyday look, at the end of the day, we’re all everyday people. For me, the biggest thing is clothes that fit you well and flatter your body. I’m really into 70s influenced high waist shorts, jeans and leggings. Especially with our music being so energetic and us being all over the place, could you imagine me in a huge tutu and headpiece? I wouldn’t be able to head bang!
What’s your vision for Shinobi Ninja?
BG: I’m a dancer, but not a dancer first. I’m a dancer who went into music, but I never want to be considered just a dancer who sings. The music and performance that we do with this band suites me perfectly. I have fun with what we do up there, but I can also do the Janet Jackson and J Lo choreography type stuff. I’ve heard people jokingly call us ‘The White Eyed Peas,’ but think about where that band came from and the level that they’re doing things now. I see us doing something like that but without all the robot suits. I’d like to take it to a level that people are thinking, “Are you kidding me now? Did she really just bust out that move with five dancers coming in from each side? Shinobi Ninja is in the building!” I know it’s a lot of work, but that’s where I’d like to see us.
The Ninjas: Duke Sims
commanding the mic
boosting the crowd
Terminator Dave decimating the drums
Maniac Mike melting faces
Blaow! Straight up in yo face!
looking lost like any bass player in a metal band
DJ Axis Powers
keeping the party spinning until 4am
What national organization keeps colleges and universities rockin’? Coe College gives us an inside look! Recent shifts in the economy are affecting college programming budgets, no doubt. But a little something is happening behind the scenes, enabling campus entertainment to thrive through it all. This “something” is the National Association for Campus Activities™ (NACA). Founded in 1960 to help advance campus activities in higher education, NACA holds national conventions and regional conferences every year. At these weekend long events, student delegates are immersed in incredible performances while attending showcases featuring musicians, comedians, poets, magicians, and lecturers. Students can book campus entertainment on the spot. But the cornerstone of NACA is what they call Block Booking. If students from schools with
close geographical proximity agree to book the same attraction within a few-days span, discounts are applied. The more schools that team together, the more you save. This promotes exciting opportunities for students to meet and work with like-minded individuals from other schools, meet industry agents and managers, and to interact with the performers. While college ambassadors are saving money building better campus life for their peers, both budding and established artists get an increased volume of bookings and will save transportation funds while they tour. During the 2012 National Convention held in Charlotte, NC in late February, schools saved $67,850 through Block Booking and 1,600 potential booking opportunities were created for member artists and agencies.
Coe College is a private, nationally recognized four-year liberal arts institution located in Cedar Rapids, IA.
SAC students hang out with Dynamic Duo at a NACA conference in St Paul, MN. The group performed at Coe later that year.
Chappo, who showcased at NACA, performs at Coe's PUB Live! series on campus.
Today, NACA has more than 950 college and university members, and over 500 associate members who represent artists, lecturers, and performers. One of these college members is Coe College, a small liberal arts school located in Cedar Rapids, IA. Megan Chapman, student chair of Coe’s student activities committee (SAC), says Coe is able to book campus entertainment for the entire year at NACA. Coe features 1-3 SAC shows each week, including The Coffeeshop Series featuring low-key acoustic singers, poets, and solo artists at the campus coffee shop, Charlie’s. PUB Live events, another SAC series, features high-energy bands brought to campus. One of Megan’s favorite things about Coe is the priority they give to campus entertainment, versus other colleges their size—and NACA provides the means to stretch every dollar to keep campus life as fun and diverse as possible!
a l l i z y t t K i Storms the
! y t i C n Quee Master crafter Jennifer “Kittyzilla” Bennett of Handmade Stuffs is invading the Charlotte, NC craft scene with her impeccably detailed plush dolls! Inspired by everything from comics like the Watchmen to cartoons like Adventure Time, not to mention her own original characters, her cuddly creations impress and delight.
What inspired you to start making plush dolls? From a young age I was pretty crafty. My mom and I always shared a love of making things, and both my parents encouraged me to be creative and try new things. Sewing has been my craft of choice for about the last decade. I love all the patterns and textures to be found in fabrics, as well as the idea of taking something flat and making it three-dimensional (and cuddly). The dolls really started out as gifts and took off from there. I had a huge stuffed toy collection as a kid, so I’m incredibly pleased to get to make bunches of new friends to snuggle and send to new homes. What is the design process for your creations? Most of the dolls start off with one of two basic body patterns that I designed and modified over the last two years, one for the taller (22”) dolls and one for the shorter (18”) ones. From there I add or modify any extra pattern pieces like hair or accessories. Any new pieces I make are basically a trial and error process, which can sometimes be very time consuming. You have to train yourself to look at the basic shapes and how they go together, instead of the piece as a whole.
What is your biggest personal fashion inﬂuence? Sewing and crafting have been a huge influence on my style. I love playing with the juxtaposition of colors, patterns and textures. I’m definitely more doll maker than a seamstress, but I know enough to make simple skirts and embellish and alter existing pieces. The latter two skills really come in handy since I shop almost exclusively at thrift stores. It’s fun and easy to experiment when clothing is so cheap! I think thrift stores are also the reason I tend towards “ugly cute”— odd colors, patterns and combinations. Do you keep a sketchbook or journal of your ideas? I have what you might call a “journal problem.” One sits by the bed in case I think of something as I’m falling asleep and need to jot it down. I have a smaller one to take with me if I want to doodle on my lunch break or someplace I’m waiting, and I have a larger one for finished ideas and drawings. There’s also usually detritus of sticky notes, napkin doodles and so on in my purse, and I have an inspiration board on my studio wall with ideas and pictures I like.
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a on a www.h even commissi er shop, fs or hh destuf throug a l l o m d d n a custom shop/h / m o c . w.etsy
This hand-crafted plush doll has been donated by the artist to the TMI charity art auction to beneﬁt Carolina Studios. Carolina Studios is an after-school and summer program providing students with a safe environment that fosters creative, educational, and career-focused initiatives through music technology and media arts. Mark Bryan, lead guitarist and founding member of Hootie and the Blowﬁsh, serves as the Chairman of the Board.
What advice do you have for young crafters? I think the most important thing about crafting is to remember that it’s supposed to be fun and natural and cathartic. Don’t be afraid to mess up or try something new, and don’t get discouraged. It takes a long time to build the skills and knowledge to do a craft well, but the effort is completely worth it. Don’t worry if other people think what you do is “weird” or pointless; if you devote your time to it and it makes you happy, then it has value. I’d also definitely recommend searching out a group. I joined a local craft group, Crown Town Handmade, over a year ago, and I’m so glad I did. Getting together with other crafty people is inspiring, encouraging and a total blast! Overall, I’m incredibly thankful I started sewing and crafting. It’s not just a creative outlet for me; it’s led to so many great memories and friends. I’d encourage everyone to make their world a little more colorful, cuddly, musical or creative. -NJ
C C 2
Coast to Coast
Our staff writers set out on a mus discovering the nationâ€™s hottest l
sical roadtrip, local bands.
Denver zebra junction
Zebra Junction can claim one of the most unique sounds in modern music—an eclectic mix ranging the span of bluegrass to funk to electronica. I struggled for a few minutes to compare Zebra Junction to another wellknown band, someone who might describe them to my fellow music lovers; however, I couldn’t think of anyone that fit them... so I’m sticking with unique. Zebra Junction consists of two members, Shawn “Flitz Alan” Palmer and Micah Lundy, who each rock multiple instruments that create their musical blend. Flitz plays drums and percussion, baritone guitar, banjo, ukelele, harmonicas, kazoos, whistles, and scat. Micah plays a customized mandola, customized baritone guitar, vocal processor, samples, foot cymbals and hand percussion, and scratchbox (a modified Playskool tape deck). Zebra Junction began working together over a decade ago and since then has released four
micah lundy studio albums. Their most recent album, Hooligan Stew, was a collaboration with comedian Josh Blue. Previously, they’ve released Pomme de Terre (2008), Waterborne (2005), and Orange Porridge (2001). And somehow these guys still found the time to tour all around Colorado, North America, and Europe. Unfortunately, Zebra Junction is currently taking a bit of a hiatus and focusing on giving back to the musical community. In the summer of 2008, the duo began The Band School to teach kids how to play music and write and record their own songs. Whether it’s learning new playing techniques during private lessons or performing live with band mates at a local music venue, students are exposed to a wealth of knowledge and experience from this wellrounded, professional duo. From recording to touring, creating to teaching, Zebra Junction has yet to disappoint with their special methods of sharing their art. Even though they’ve amassed an impressive resume thus far, let’s hope the kids are inspiring this quirky combination to deliver even more of their playful, stress-free vibes!
Austin deuce coupe www.deucecoupeaustintexas.com
I’ll never forget the first time I heard Stray Cats sing “Stray Cat Strut” on the radio as a kid. I begged my mom to buy the cassette tape for me. I played it over and over until that tape wore out, and rockabilly music has flowed through my veins ever since. Something about a quick beat and a standup bass grabs me and makes me move. Then, add in the “true” rockabilly performers-throwback style-- and their diehard fans, and you’ve got a recipe for fun.
Following a traditional rockabilly approach, Austin-based Deuce Coupe appear completely “dudded up” with cuffed Levi’s, western pearl snap shirts, old style suspenders, pointy-toed boots and wayfarers. Not only do they look fab, but they also throw down a mean beat. And playing at The Mean-Eyed Cat, a venue with a name that reflects its look that also hosts some of the best down-home music in Texas, they are prepped to bring it all the way.
Front man Kevin Fox, who sings and plays the standup bass, exemplifies rockabilly. His talents combined with band members Justin Moore (guitar) and Adam Berlin (drums) give their fans a hell-raising, foot stompin’ good time at their shows. They perform a combo of covers and originals. Of their originals, I enjoyed their newest, “Hotrod Mama,” with its raw originality and straightforward lyrics. The lyrically sexy “Hot,” not only made me hot, but also made me hone my swing dancing skills. When covering the old time favorite, “Maybelline,” adam berlin and the Stray Cats “Rev It Up & Go,” Deuce Coup gave both songs a special twist. These guys are some of the nicest people in town, and absolutely making strides to the top with their fresh, feelgood rockabilly.
New Orleans big history www.bighistorymusic.com When I first came across Big History, I was entranced by their electronic dance beats within seconds of my introduction to “Wardrum,” a smooth mix of soulful vocals and electro crescendo. While the band is still considerably young, each song off their debut five-track EP, All At Once, possess very different qualities—something that can be a bit of a challenge in other similar pop tracks, especially for a band still seemingly defining their sound. The six piece group, made up of Matt Glynn, Blandon Helgason, Amanda Wuerstlin, Bret Bohnet, Cory Schultz, and lead vocalist Meg Roussel, utilize dance beats, ranging from disco to hip hop, as the core component of their sound. Once the foundation for their body-moving blueprint is laid, they dress it up with escalating synth hooks, emotionally charged lyrics, and a direct appreciation for pop sensibility. From the steady kick of “All At Once” to the swelling blast-off of “Wolfblood,” their music creates an anticipation and tension for what’s coming next.
While New Orleans tends to be best known for producing a vast array of talent in other traditional genres such as jazz and zydeco, the modern, electronic infused sounds of Big History are sweeping through the city and gaining considerable recognition from the music community. Folks are definitely starting to take notice, and this is most evident through their recent nomination for Best Emerging of 2012 for Gambit’s Big Easy Music Awards. It’s not easy succeeding at doing something different, but these guys and gals seem to be headed on the right track. Birthed from a plethora of other impressive locals acts such as The City Life, Silent Cinema, and Antenna Inn, it seems the wellversed, stylistically different members of Big History have found their rightful, respective positions to continue influencing and pushing the envelope for what kind of music people can expect out of the Big Easy.
Charleston THE CONSTELLATIONS www.theconstellationsmusic.com the booty shakin’ shoes on tight at this point. “Felicia,” a funky infestation of keys meshed with Jones’ velvety yet rough around the edges voice, proved their effectiveness when all these frenetic forces click in unison.
Astronomers define a constellation as a group of stars forming a recognizable pattern traditionally named after its apparent form. In the case of lead singer Elijah Jones and his party hardy crew known as The Constellations, these ace talents incorporate alternative rock, groove driven funk and electronic flair into their sound that derives from the dive bars and degenerate clubs of their hometown, Atlanta. Fueled by tall boys of PBR and the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle of their city, this eightheaded wild animal’s live experience beckons crowd members to hop aboard their fast train to fun that doesn’t stop until the sun comes up. Was it the hand-clapping rhythms induced by the group’s darling backup vocalists and percussionists on thought provoking songs “Love is a Murder” and “December?” Or could it be the captivating, singalong chorus of “We’re Here to Save the Day?” No one can truly say, but The Constellations’ tenacious charisma swept through the crowd, swiftly and effortlessly, as it captured any unfamiliar attendees to participate in the band’s dynamite performance. Best to have strapped
Clearly, the effects of Atlanta’s nightlife has influenced the band. The grandiose beats and provocative lyrics of “Take a Ride” resounded with such vigor that it continued to shake the room, even after the last note. No Constellations’ show would be complete without the masterfully crafted, fast paced fury of “Step Right Up.” Like the eerie ringmaster that he so vividly describes himself as Jones guided the crowd on a hazy journey through the nutty, unpredictable streets of the ATL as his band mates charged ahead in a relentless jam. The stars were shining bright that night. They just weren’t in the sky. They illuminated the stage in the form of The Constellations.