The Music Initiative:Hometown Heroes Issue

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letterfrom the editor Our staff scoured the US for musicians transforming the musical landscape within their own communities. The thought– provoking lyrics and infectious beats of Austin's Quiet Company grabbed our attention, but their personalities charmed the pants off us. We are not the only ones. Apparently Carson Daly, CMJ, The Real World & The Kardashians are in love with them too. New York's Sneakas mixes it up with artists of varying religious backgrounds engaging fans in some honest dialogue. Minneapolis-based DJ Gigamesh elevates disco ensuring its legacy, as well as giving it some substantial depth.

This month The Music Initiative focuses on all things excellent within our own home towns. Musicians, artists and entrepreneurs step up their game to represent the best in their city's offerings. For this we thank you, for the opportunity to experience a piece of your city, even from afar. So, this issue is dedicated to you, our Hometown Heroes. I had the privilege to pick the brains of the folks who produce the PBS televised music series, Austin City Limits. For close to four decades, they have pushed the envelope and created new boundaries for music television programming. They envisioned and skillfully executed the perfect forum for emerging talents, as well as seasoned performers, to shine in a national spotlight.

And let's not forget our international friends. Enter BalconyTV. This innovative Dublin-based online music platform invites musicians to perform from balconies in more than 25 cities around the world. Talk about a global heaping of talent, right at your fingertips. If you happen to attend SXSW this year, check out their showcase brought to you by BalconyTV's Austin host Barbara Rappaport. Be inspired. Everyone can leap a building in a single bound. Put on your cape and change your world.



Raphael Saadiq photo by: Scott Newton/KLRU-TV

on the cover:

AUSTIN CITY LIMITS PAGE10-17 Gigamesh PAGE 28-31 Quiet Company PAGE 44-47 Sneakas PAGE 56-57 Uncle Mountain PAGE 64-65

Artistic Rhythms:






Vinyl Roots:


Monthly Spin/Spin-Off:


Coast to Coast:



How the Freaker keeps it cold and sexy. Our readers across the States pick their favorite hometown band.

Our staff reviews albums from 15 hometown heroes around the world.

Emerging Artist:

T. Champagne plants new roots in the Charleston community.


Ode to the Web


Last Call:

Big Stadiums, Big Sounds. Deep Ellum: down-and-out to up-and-coming. Denver:The Symbols Austin: John Pointer New Orleans: Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers Charleston: Stereo Reform

TMI pays homage to and

Find out what’s brewing at The Stage in Miami, Florida.


3-Day Pass:



Gadgets & Giveaways Drivemocion Ex Series LED Car Sign.


Music Fest Northwest

Get your iPod ready for our staffcomplied playlists, inspired by this month’s hometown heroes issue.


Reel Music:


Campus FM:


Eclectic Evenings:

Noteworthy Contributions Show a little Loki Love.


Make it a movie night with Pope Dreams. William & Mary: Home of the Sunken Gardens. TMI staff hosts weekly artist gatherings.

Balcony TV:

A world of talent with just one click.


The Music Initiative Editor-in-Chief: Becca Finley


Managing Editor: Liz Earle Staff Writers: Kyle Cannon, Justin Henderson, Nancy LaBarbiera, Zach Stanton, TJ Weaver Copy Editors: Jared Booth, Nicky Jones Creative Director: Joel Travis Graphic Designers: Angie Brown, Collin Gallagher, Devin VanTatenhove Cover Photograph by Bob Mule Contributing Photographers: Brandon Drennon, Scott Newton/KLRU-TV, Victoria Szczesniak Logo Design: Martha Martin Director of Media Content: Chapman Fowler Shooters/Editors: Dave Baker, Heather Brewer, Joe Davies, Chapman Fowler, Jaine Gay, Nathaniel Irvin, John Kaneday, Nick Modisett, Bob Mule, Carl Mullins, Oliver Wentworth, Roger Woodruff Digital Communications Coordinator: Kara Klein Business Development Advisor: Taylor Rains Promotions Manager: Carrie Cranford PR Manager: Acecily Alexander CFO: Kelly Corley Interns: Ella Belair, Jared Booth, Joe Davies, Kelly Floyd, Collin Gallagher, Nathaniel Irvin, Nikky Jones, John Kaneday, Bob Mule, Courtney Padove, Clare Smith, Oliver Wentworth Office: 253 St. Phillip Street Suite A Charleston, SC 29403 843-277-2483 Like Us on Facebook: Follow Us on Twitter: Watch Us on YouTube:

The Music Initiative is a monthly, online magazine produced by a group of music enthusiasts yearning to broaden and expand each reader’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 community– 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.

Staff! Ace

If you were a super hero, who would be your musical sidekick?





Travis Barker

Me'shelle N'degeo

Liam Howlett

Angie Subsonica




Adam Levine

Courtney Love

Kiiiiiiiiiiid Rock!






Michael Gira

Van Morrison

Stephen Kellogg





Ryan Stasik


Diamond Rings



Andre 3000

The Wiggles



Jack White

Jerry Garcia



Richard O’Brian



The Tromboner

Florence Welch



Billy Ray Cyrus

Robert Fripp


Chapman courtney john nancy taylor


Nestled in the coastal town of Wilmington, NC, Freaker USA’s determination to revolutionize how we drink water, sip wine and swig beer is as unique as the folks responsible for spreading this idea from one end of the country to the other. TMI took the opportunity to delve a little further into the eccentric thinking of Zach Crain, Founding Father of all things Freaky, to discover what’s in the works for these

entrepreneurs of awesomeness. For those who haven’t had the privilege of using a Freaker, describe what it is and the many fantastic benefits of using one. It’s a magical drink insulator that stretches and goes on everything that you would ever want to put it on. It keeps drinks cold while making them look sexy. What’s the Freaker crew been up to lately to help promote the product? We recently went to Atlanta and New York for trade shows, but before that we were traveling around the country throwing grilled cheese parties. We did that for about four months. I think we went just about everywhere. Did you get some good feedback at the trade shows? We did! We picked up some nice sales and quite a few stores. The response was really good. We built a booth for the events that we branded really well. We had videos playing, bright colors, big photos and three people in it acting really silly. We definitely got a lot of attention from it. And what’s up with the grilled cheese parties? I guess the concept was to go around and break bread with everybody. We just wanted to hang out and make the country our home. It’s just a way to connect everything. What’s the response been like from the Wilmington community? I feel like we’ve gotten a lot of support just from the fact that people are proud that it comes from here. It’s something fun for them to tell other people about. It’s like, “Hey! This is where Freakers come from. Check out their videos. These silly people live in the same town as I do.” We get a lot of word of mouth support that way. People feel like they’re a part of it. We definitely attached a lifestyle of having fun to the Freaker. The people who are all about that are spreading it really well and talking about it as if it’s their own little fun child.

It keeps drinks

cold sexy. hem look while making t

Who are some of your favorite local bands in town? Justin Lacey and The Swimming Machine. It’s fun music with a lot of instruments going around. They make great beats. They’re a really talented group of people. It’s really rare for me to enjoy something enough to listen to it and say things about it. If you could have a famous musician endorse the Freaker, who would it be? Does Zooey Deschanel count as a famous musician? I would say her. We’ve also got James Brown’s mug shot on our sticker.

Where do you get the ideas and inspiration for the different Freaker designs? A lot of the time we sit down and talk about things that we think would look good on a Freaker. We just kind of make stuff up and hope that it looks good afterwards. Once it’s made, we give it a name and a life and send it out to the world. Right now we’re working on six designs with Threadless t-shirts. It’s all old shirts and designs of theirs that we’re re-launching in the shape of a Freaker. What’s in store for the near future? We’re going down to South by Southwest in Austin, TX to team up with The House of Creatives. We’ll be hanging out with them for a while, acting silly in the house and conducting interviews in our box truck. We’ll probably be throwing some more grilled cheese parties, too!

Any final words for the people? If they’re just now hearing about or seeing a Freaker, I’m really excited for them! And, I love them. All of them.

We love you too, Freaker USA! -KC



n the anniversary of the first Austin City Limits taping, I had the pleasure to sit down at the KRLU offices on the University of Texas’ campus with ACL Co-Producer Jeff Peterson, Archivist Michael Toland, & Communications Director Maury Sullivan to uncover what has made this show so special and what has made it the longest running publicly televised music series.

photo by: Scott Newton/KLRU-TV

So, how did the whole thing get started? Michael Toland: Around 1974 PBS put out a call system wide to all stations saying we want original programming. Our program director, Bill Arhos, thought it would be great to have a music program. We had just moved into the building we are currently in, and had a state-of-theart studio on the sixth floor that was unusually large for a television studio, even now. He commissioned a director named Bruce Scafe, who had been directing jazz music programmings in Illinois, as well as a producer named Paul Bosner, who was plugged into the local Austin scene, which was termed as the “cosmic cowboy scene.” Paul gave Bill a book entitled “The Probable Rise of Redneck Rock” as a concept show. Bill loved it and pulled the trigger. Little known fact, the first taping was actually B.W. Stevenson. The studio was only 1/3 full due to the fact that the creators didn’t know how to get the word out yet. So, they couldn’t use the footage because the

photo by: Scott Newton/KLRU-TV

audience shots looked so empty. Then, they booked Willie Nelson who at that time was only a regional performer (that is so hard to imagine now). But, the house was packed by his fans. It’s a great show. Even now it’s a great show. Maury Sullivan: It was taped in 1974, and used as the pilot in 1975 as a PBS pledge special. Jeff Peterson: Bill and Bob had to really fight to get it on the air. The pilot was just that one episode to see how it flew. I think it surprised some of the PBS folks that it did so well. Anyway, after that first one, they asked for a thirteen-episode run for the first season.

programming. So, now this was an opportunity for smaller stations to offer more regional type programming. Austin City Limits started out as music from this area- rootsy, countryish. It reflected what was going on in Austin at the time. MS: It was a really early period in television and a unique opportunity. Total forward thinking of Bill Arhos to want to do a national program, as it was really new territory. MT: He was a pioneer. They were also produced the first bilingual children’s television show in the US.

What was the look and feel of the studio?

MS: And so it began in 1976 with Asleep at the Wheel and the Texas Playboy.

MS: Well, the studio was originally created to be a performance space; it wasn’t created to be a filming studio.

At this point was the intent of the show to be local, regional or national?

JP: It’s actually has a sprung floor, so you can produce ballet. And there’s a lot of fly area available, as they were thinking about producing opera.

MT: It was always intended to be a national show. The PBS request was for programs to be developed by local stations that would then be aired by PBS to the whole system. The most significant thing about this is that up to that point, only New York, Chicago and L.A. had produced their national

What was the format, in regards to taping and crew? JP: We filmed to two inch video tape and old RCA standard definition cameras. MT: I think they might have used two on that pilot. JP: Two or three, it wasn’t very many. And in the very early days there was probably one, two producers total. And probably an assistant producer. Now there are four; but for most of the history it’s been three, but the duties have increased with web and digital, so that’s all one of our associate producers works on. MS: The general concept of letting an artist come

photo by: Scott Newton/ KLRU-TV

up and just play their music start to finish with no interruptions has not really changed. JP: And in spite of the general industry trends, we linger visually. We don’t cut a lot; we don’t have cameras swooping around. We try to let the artists project. If someone’s taking a solo, it may seem obvious, but we try to show the solo. MT: It seems obvious now, but at the time when they first started Austin City Limits, that kind of simple aesthetics was a radical departure from the way music was presented on television, especially with MTV. JP: We like other editing styles, but for Austin City Limits it’s about the music, the performance, the moment, and to introduce production values that are humble.

Has the format of the show changed throughout the years? JP: The number of cameras has maybe increased to seven tops. And now there are four producers, but for most of the history it’s been three, but the duties have increased with web and digital, so that’s all one of our associate producers works on, but the general format of the show has not changed greatly. MS: As a result there’s a real purity and a real continuity that wouldn’t exist if we had been changing a lot of those elements. When I first came here someone told me that you’ll never watch music on television the same way again once you’ve seen the way Austin City Limits is produced. It’s so true. The way that we shoot the show, the number of cameras we use, the angles and the perspectives that we are putting forth make you feel like you’re there. MS: I think the biggest addition is that we have someone on staff who shoots behind-the-scenes footage and we use that video for viral, for social media to be able to show people a day in the life.

What the studios’s vibe? MS: The studio was originally created to be a performance space; it wasn’t created to be a filming studio.

JP: It’s actually got a sprung floor so you can produce ballet. I think there’s a lot of fly area available, so they were thinking opera. You know the PBS model at that time was classically-oriented programming. It was created for KLRU by the University of Texas. There was always this idea that interns and UT students would become part of the crew and get internships. MS: The venue is intimate. We could seat up to 800 people, but the capacity in the last several years had been 320, and that was to include working staff as well. The first show I worked was Phish. We easily had 600 people. MT: And for people like Ray Charles, and B.B. King at 800. JP: We try to indoctrinate the artists to forget it’s television, play to the audience, have fun, do your normal show. We turn off, but in the old days we taped over, the lights so the performer doesn’t know which camera’s on.

How do you currently determine when and who to book for the series? JP: It was, and still is, based on availability. MS: We can have three tapings in a month, and none for three months. We never know at the beginning of the season what all the episodes are going to look like.

How do you decide who to book? JP: The booking is a pretty open process. People hit us up all the time. A ton of people are feeding us that information. Publicists, record label reps and management teams are constantly letting us know what’s going on. Joanna Newsom’s one act that was not that well-known, but we booked her.

To some extent, that must be a bit nerve-racking. MS: For promoting it’s challenging because the shows can shift sometimes. It can be challenging to talk about it, but it’s exciting because we’re able to take advantage of the talent that comes through. We’re able to be really nimble which is exciting. Turnaround can be quick…the first time we did Coldplay, we taped that show at the beginning of December and it aired three, four weeks later.

“Little known fact, the first taping was actually B.W. Stevenson.”

JP: Ummm, nine days later. MS: {chuckle} Nine days later. Well, there you go. So, our production schedule can be challenging because we might tape a show in February that doesn’t air until November. There can be a big gap of time between the taping and the broadcast. We always have to remember we have two audiences: a national one sitting at home, and a live audience who participated in the taping.

MS: Well, Norah Jones, when she was booked, was not wellknown at all. There’s definitely a real history of people who we book that go on to break it big, either in the period between when they tape the show, or right as it’s broadcast. JP: Look at the course of the bookings from the time we started until now. We’ve unearthed some stuff that wouldn’t have otherwise, I think, been on television. We are not trying to make stars. It’s great when that happens, but that’s not really what it’s all about either. We’re trying to reflect a little slice, a little sample of what’s going on in popular music at that time. And if it’s good music and it’s original, then that’s all that matters. We want a good performance and for it to be relevant.

Was there ever a time that it felt like the show wouldn’t make it? JP: Yes, a bunch of times. There was one time, in particular, when the dot-com bubble burst. We lost an underwriter. That’s probably the worst time of it. There’ve been others, but we’ve always persevered. MS: One of the reasons for its longevity and continued success is the relationship with PBS. It’s non-commercial broadcasting. The truth of the matter is when you’re creating commercial content it has to appeal to certain advertisers. You have to create a different kind of content. We haven’t had to endure that tension. We’ve been able to be non-commercial for all of these years and it has allowed the show to prosper. Funding is always fickle. When Masterpiece Theatre lost its primary funder, our board created the future Austin City Limits Committee that began to look at different ways we could leverage the content and potentially create new revenue opportunities that would allow us to continue to produce the show. Now, we have DVDs, a deal with what is now C3 presents, and the creation of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Being uncertain about the future really laid the foundation for us to be where we are today. JP: We also made the program free to PBS stations. It was critical from the standpoint that it created difficulties for us from a budgeting standpoint; but it also created huge growth for the show, as budgets for programming for local stations was tight.

photo by: Scott Newton/KLRU-TV

MS: We were distributed outside the primetime. We’re on PBS Plus or Select. Those stations had to pay an additional fee to get our content, which was a barrier for some stations to carrying us. We really wanted close to 100% coverage. So, we made a brave decision that we would provide our show to all stations for free.

Are the performers paid? MT: I’ve seen the pay sheet for the pilot, so yes. They are paid through the American Federation of Musicians PBS scale. I think Willie was paid something like $230 for the pilot show. JP: And it’s maybe double that now. It’s never been about the money. A lot of bands end up paying a whole lot of money to come do the show because they’re paying the crew, they’re paying the band, they’re paying expenses, flights. And it’s a day in the market when they’re not earning money. They’re not selling tickets.They just want to do Austin City Limits at some point.

Does the audience maintain a level of integrity with all the cameras about? JP: For the audience it’s all about the music. They’re not trying to ham it up and get on camera. They don’t care about them. Basically they’re there for the opportunity to see an incredible band in a more intimate setting. MT: The biggest change in the audience behavior is the use of smart phones to take pictures and film. MS: We really discourage it. Our Executive Producer Terry Lickona makes an announcement from the stage prior to the taping. “We’re here to capture this moment and have been doing this for 37 years. Let us take the pictures; you be in the moment.” JP: They also don’t look so good on camera if they are snapping photos, and somebody behind them looks annoyed because they’re trying to watch.

What artist epitomizes Austin City Limits today? JP: In the early days it was Willie Nelson. Then, it became Lyle Lovett. Today, it would be Wilco. They epitomize what we’re all about. We’ve had them on several times and they keep changing, they keep creating.

Favorite shows? MT: The first Leonard Cohen show is still my favorite of all time. 1988 filming, season 14. It was just amazing. The guy is a master. He is so spiritual that it’s poetry set to music. One of his lines is something about being burdened with a golden voice. He knows what his voice sounds like. He had a couple background singers that were magical and some jazz players from Austin that were in his band.

Any others? All: {chiming in}Randy Newman, the Decemberists, David Byrne, Raphael Saadiq, Alan Toussaint, The Head and the Heart, Buena Vista Social Club MS: Oh yeah, their piano player Ruben Gonzalez came on and only performed one or two songs because he had been ill. That was pretty amazing. Having to choose a favorite

is impossible, but the Elvis Costello Show was amazing. He came off the stage, went through the audience, and invited people up on stage. When is he ever doing a show when he’s inviting people to come dance on stage? JP: What about Arcade Fire? MS: Oh, when Will Butler took one of the potted plants off of the backdrop and waved it around. He beat the drum with it at one point. At the end of that show Winn gave away his microphones to people in the audience. MT: If you put a gun to my head, I would actually probably pick the Dr. John show from ’91 just because that was the first taping I ever attended. I had a friend who was interning here in the audio department. It was mind-blowing. I never wanted to see a show anywhere else again. MS: It goes back to the point about people being there for the music. There’s a reverence for the artist and it’s church-like almost. We saw it at Florence in the Machine, a daytime taping on a Monday at two o’clock in the afternoon. We saw it at Joanna Newsom. You could hear a pin drop.

Some critics are saying that ACL has lost its heart by moving to the bigger venue. Do you feel this is accurate?

MT: I actually just read something today about that on Facebook. MT: I think when the show started, I think there was more of a shared music sensibility. Radio stations played a lot of different kind of music, there wasn’t the niches that there are now. MS: Well, there were less places to find music, too. Whereas now you can get music anywhere. JP: Anywhere. So it’s fragmented more. So there’s some really big indie acts that a whole swathe of the population just doesn’t get even if they’re music fans. Even if they’re indie rock music fans. They just don’t get that band. I think there’s also, like you said, purists; there’s also people that listen to the country and progressive country and folk and blues that we did early on and now we’re booking that stuff still, but we book indie rock and some other stuff that’s come in as well, and they just don’t like to see that. MS: Although I think you could argue that the show has always been about presenting original music no matter what the form, but Tom Waits in season 4 was not really-I mean I don’t think you can really characterize him as outlaw country. And there was Leonard Cohen in season 14. So you know, I think there has been sort of a history of presenting original music that maybe doesn’t fit any sort of genre. JP: I think we maintain the previous feel, you know, what started out as just a love for music is going after artists that are not mainstream, that are not necessarily that well-known, especially when we book them. And they may never become big acts. You know we are booking superstar acts that tour the world, but we’re also booking a lot of people that are not very well-known.

How does the new space compare to the old one?

photos by: Scott Newton/KLRU-TV

MS: The basic footprint of the old studio is not too different in size from the footprint at the new venue. The real difference is the emergency exits. Upstairs in 6A there’s only two doors in the back. If there had been additional doors on the other corners of the room then we could have had more people.

MT: There was a lot of skepticism at first. JP: There was a lot of skepticism, including on staff. The first time filming I thought, “This is going to work out great.” After that one show, I knew we had it.

JP: We designed the new facility so the footprint is the same, but it’s shaped a little differently. There is a balcony, but for most shows we block it off. It’s still a very intimate space and with our risers it looks and feels very similar. A few times a year, we’ll open up the balcony if it’s a very big artist.

For the few who have not heard of or seen a taping of the show, how would you describe it? MT: It’s a show for music junkies, both from the audience and staff perspective.

Who are you dying to get on the show?

MS: And no seat is more than, what seventy-five

Did y’all have a hand in designing it?

All: Esperanza Spalding, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Erika Badu, Eric Clapton, David Bowie, Prince, Aretha would be HUGE. She still delivers.

JP: Absolutely, for six

MT: It’s my personal

feet away from the stage.

mission to get Bob Mould.

years I was the project manager. It was right up my alley, I enjoyed it. Lots of meetings with architects and consultants and traveling to Dallas. Lots of talks about what can we duplicate, how close can we get it to the original, and how can we improve it. There are a number of areas where it’s definitely improved.

What areas are those? JP: The dressing rooms. MS: Bathrooms for the audience. They are now on the same level as the performance. In the old space, the restrooms are on the third level and the studio’s on the sixth. MT: And there are plenty of them.

Are you happy with the final product? JP: Our main goal was to duplicate it as closely as we could. I think we came pretty close. Most people who’ve gone to taping there seem to be pretty happy with everything.

photo by: Scott Newton/KLRU-TV

Any predictions on how long the show will continue?

JP: As long as there are new and interesting bands and fans, we aren’t going anywhere. It will be interesting to see where digital media takes us. MS: We announced a part of the Season 38 tapings and have had our biggest response yet…look for Radiohead, The Civil Wars, Alabama Shakes, The Shins, and Rodrigo y Gabriella with c.u.b.a.

When we talk about Hometown Heroes, I think it’s fair to say that Austin City Limits paved the road for providing musicians to receive exposure on a nationwide platform. For 38 years they have cultivated the emerging and working musician, as well as influencing fans. Here’s to another 38 years! -BF




Radio Fallout Radio Ben Mills: Austin,Fa TX llout Ben Mills: Austin, TX MiMOS A MiMO Mitch Peterson:SA San Francisco, CA Mitch Peterson: San Francisco, CA Elijah Jamalblea d Elijah Jamalblead Clare Smith: Washington, DC Clare Smith: Washington, DC Yours Yours Will Granberry: Los Angeles, CA Will Granberry: Los Angeles, CA Fruition Fruition Adrienne Beck: Portland, OR Adrienne Beck: Portland, OR Robotic Pira te Mon key Robotic Pira te Mo n key Ryan Fantau: Denver, CO Ryan Fantau: Denver, CO The Constellation s The Co nstellation s Blake Jackson: Atlanta, GA Blake Jackson: Atlanta, GA Break Science Break Science Zimone Mincey: New York, NY

Felicia Nielsen-Sarver: Cleveland, OH

Toubab Krewe Toubab Krewe Sarah Johns: Asheville, TN Sarah Johns: Asheville, TN The Boxing Lesso n The Boxing Less on Barbara Rappaport: San Antonio, TX Barbara Rappaport: San Antonio, TX Casey Doherty Casey D oherty Casey Doherty: Seattle, WA Casey Doherty: Seattle, WA The Sh eiks The ShMemphis eiks Sam Goldstein: TN Sam Goldstein: Memphis TN Centro-matic Ce ntro-matic Katy McGlynn: Dallas, TX Katy McGlynn: Dallas, TX Aerosmith Ae rosmith Elizabeth Baston: Boston, MA Elizabeth Baston: Boston, MA The Heavy Pe ts The Heavy Destiny Spang: Miami, FL Pe ts Destiny Spang: Miami, FL Nine Inch Na ils Nine In ch NaOH ils Felicia Nielsen-Sarver: Cleveland,

who’s who’syour yourfavorite favorite local localband? band?

Alabama Shakes

7-28-11 from Pegasus Records in Florence, AL – download/stream free from The soulful rock-n-roll band The Alabama Shakes are saying goodbye to their small hometown of Athens, Alabama and hello to life on the road. They’ve been all over the states this fall with several opening acts for the Drive-By-Truckers. This gig from Pegasus Records in Florence, AL features all the songs off their newly released EP. Singer Brittany Howard’s passionate voice will send shivers down your spine with “On Your Way.” It truly captures her gospel-meets-Janis sound. A whimsical song, “I Found You,” creates perfect harmony between the melody and its message of true love. The energy continues to build throughout the night when “You Ain’t Alone” blares through the speakers, releasing heavy emotion so strong it knocks you back a few steps. The Alabama Shakes pack in a wealth of moving songs that will leave you smiling, crying because you understand the pain, and hopeful for what tomorrow brings.



Making Mirrors Gotye’s third studio album Making Mirrors, released in August 2011, challenges human action and emotion with upbeat and sensible lyrics. He acknowledges many styles, including electronic, retro, pop and soul, which is tastefully executed and makes for an interesting collection. The majority of the tracks deal with the making and breaking of a relationship, but instead of focusing on the big picture, Gotye focuses on the intimate details that most take for granted. The breakout track “Somebody That I Used to Know” merges a quirky collection of sounds with Gotye’s unique, Peter Gabriel-inspired vocals. “Eyes Wide Open” also depicts the end of a relationship, but is vocally-driven with a catchy yet subtle ambiance. On the flip-side of the coin, “In Your Light” introduces a pop-revival beat with positive, inspirational lyrics which he sings beautifully. Making Mirrors is a risky album in that the styles change throughout, which may leave some feeling detached, but his calming voice and expressive lyrics trump any doubt.


Amy Winehouse

Lioness: Hidden Treasures As if a show like Glee or the thought of Tanqueray doesn’t make us crave Amy more than usual, Lioness: Hidden Treasures definitely takes you there. The new and old material creates a bittersweet experience for listeners. Different versions of the timeless hits are gifts to Winehouse fans, as is the material we’ve never heard before. It includes the classic and romantic cover of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” and a collaboration with Nas, Winehouse’s long-time crush, “Like Smoke.” She smoothly transforms from a lounge singer to the sarcastic songbird we love. This album is not a sad tribute; instead, the compilation of doo-wop, hip-hop, and jazz is a reminder of what the songstress gave and what she had in store.


New Navy Uluwatu EP

In my beach-loving opinion, nothing arouses longing for sand, sun and surf quite like a dreary winter day. You can’t change the seasons or the weather, but you can always find summer somewhere around the globe. If you can’t afford a flight to Australia, Sydney’s New Navy brings the sights and sounds from Down Under’s pristine coastlines to your living room on their debut EP, Uluwatu. This indie pop quartet’s perky pitch guitars and fast-running rhythm sections on the opening two tracks, “Zimbabwe” and “Tapioca,” create a soundtrack perfect for cruising convertible style to the waters of Gold Coast. From feelings of being overtaken by the dynamic tempo-changing, group-chanting wave of “What Was Golden,” to the soothing vocals about love lost at sea on “Oceans,” it doesn’t seem that the sun will be setting anytime soon on what appears to be a bright, illustrious future for New Navy.



The Ghost You Gave To Me The Woodstock progressive metal act, 3, is a “hybrid” band that is known for their unique versatility and ability to cohesively incorporate several genres of music. While the band has previously used touches of hip-hop, reggae, blues and pop, their latest outing The Ghost You Gave to Me proves to be a more straightforward and honest attempt to hone their skills. It’s immediately apparent they’ve blossomed, or discovered a sound that suits them that can only be labeled pop-progressive; but all genres aside, what counts is the music itself and its ability to capture our imaginations. After an ethereal acoustic opener, the album rips open with “React,” an amazing attention-getter with a chorus to hook the listener into the album’s sensual atmosphere, blending acoustic rhythm with electric distorted lead guitar and precise yet simple percussion. Most the songs here follow this basic formula without wearing the overall sound thin. Another exceptional song is the title track, displaying hypnotic soaring vocals executed by frontman Josh Eppard. “Only Child,” the most accomplished track here, with its sweeping pendulum of emotions, showcases an amiable prelude that invites aggressive and passionate overtones justifying the band’s deserved recognition as an enigma to keep an eye out for.


Trampled By Turtles

10-19-11 from The Grey Eagle in Asheville, NC – download/stream free from What do you think of with when you hear Trampled By Turtles? If you guessed a bluegrass band out of Minneapolis, then pat yourself on the back, my friend, because that’s exactly what they are. This quintet brings speed-picking talent with an upbeat style, true to classic bluegrass. A lot of dancing went down at The Grey Eagle in Asheville on that sweet October night. This show starts off a little slow with opener, “Separate,” a calm tune to heighten the anticipation of what’s to come. A few songs in, they really pick up momentum during “Feet and Bones,” with the fiddle raging in a whirl of fury. They begin to wind down a bit during the second set, singing of joyful childhood memories in “November.” The encore has Trampled By Turtles’ fans singing along to “Again,” giving the band a warm, fuzzy feeling inside that “they will see them again.” So when you’re in need for some good ole bluegrass, be sure to give these guys a try; they’ll fill that void. -CC


I Cannot Think EP Ladies and gentlemen, the Motown sound has left the building! After spending the last 53 years stationed in Detroit, it’s packed up its gear and headed to Paris, France. And who are the men responsible for this legendary sound’s move? Enter Outlines and their contemporary, soulful pop swagger that shines as bright as their hometown at night when viewed from atop the Eiffel Tower. While their first album featured a much more hip-hop centric focus, their newest EP builds upon their soul base with upbeat percussion and piano pizzazz. One listen to the infectious, finger-snapping rhythms of “I Cannot Think” and you’ll be pirouetting like David Ruffin during his heyday with The Temptations. With a voice that beckons praiseworthy appeal, lead singer Irfane pours it all out over a beautiful arrangement of keys, strings and bass on the ballad “Visions.” And that’s just the beginning… Vive Outlines! -KC


Conditions of My Parole When Maynard James Keenan isn’t busy fermenting wine in Cornville, Arizona on his vineyard “Merkin Vineyards and Caduceus Cellars,” he’s busy intoxicating fans with his transcendental musical output. Puscifer fits somewhere in between Keenan’s more well-known projects, Tool and A Perfect Circle, blending electronica style ballads. The glittering tracks, “Monsoons” and “Oceans,” are sure to enchant fans of A Perfect Circle or even Radiohead. Water seems to be an underlying theme of many of these songs, which may pertain to Keenan’s interest in the occult, given the rising apocalyptic concerns and Internet paranoia regarding the age of Aquarius. His vexation is apparent on “The Rapture,” an outstanding track with biblical lyrics prophesying, “Wrote to Sodom, your Gomorrah delivering redemption, feel my resurrection; about to drop Cain, like Cain dropped Abel.” Crunchy grooves remain part of Keenan’s repertoire, and remain abundant on tracks harking back to early-era Tool through the album’s title track and densely layered in the industrial cacophony of “Toma.” Puscifer’s second studio album is sure to please fans of the first and rock listeners in general who don’t mind a little tomfoolery with their melancholy.



Kairos Banding together in 1984, Brazilian heavy metal act Sepultura unleashes their 12th studio album entitled Kairos. Gaining worldwide popularity over a 20 year career with 20 million gold and platinum albums sold you can imagine how Kairos is highly anticipated. The album includes styles of nu-metal, hardcore punk, metal and thrash that are uprooted from previous releases like Chaos AD and Roots. Lead guitarist Andreas Kisser explains the concept of the album, “The whole theme of the album is the concept of the time, and the title reflects that — it's like one concept of time which is not chronological, from one to two; it's like an instant in time, it's a special time of change.” The first song, “Spectrum,” we hear the jungle-like tribal drumming, hypnotic but awakening chugging guitars, and ground-cracking vocals the band is notorious for. Loyal fans will not be disappointed as they crank up the volume on possibly Sepultura’s best album to date. -DV

Lady Gaga

Born This Way From her days struggling on the streets of NYC, till now, Lady Gaga has promoted herself as an undying artist from the concrete jungle, paying respect to NYC in her journey to transform pop music. Her sophomore album, Born This Way, nominated for three Grammy Awards, sold 1.2 million copies in its first week, making it the 17th album in history to sell a million copies in a week. Laced with themes of individuality, religion, freedom and feminism, Born This Way explores several genres – opera, rock, country and heavy metal. The dance-pop, “Marry the Night”, written in homage to NYC, contains elements of techno and 80s hair metal. Lyrically, the 25-year-old songstress pours her heart out in “You and I” as she sings of the hardships of love. Songs such as “Judas” and “Electric Chapel” turn Gaga’s goal of bringing underground pop to the forefront a reality.


Dr. Dog

Be The Void After a two-year hiatus, the Philadelphia psych-pop-rock quintet is back with their latest album Be The Void. A louder, looser, yet more mature sound than 2010s Shame Shame, the new album expands on the band’s love affair with The Beatles as well as borrowing musical influences from the 1990s and its impact on the lo-fi pop scene. Dr. Dog takes a primitive approach to their newest endeavor, incorporating unlikely instruments for the group such as banjos and sitars in songs “Lonesome,” and “Turning the Century.” From start to finish, Be The Void is quintessential Dr. Dog, but in a more polished fashion. Listeners can expect howling harmonies, propelling drums, perfect bass runs, heavy synths and catchy hooks that keep listeners afloat and make their live shows stand out amongst the rest.


Haken Visions

There’s a fine line progressive metal bands like Haken have to tread—that is showcasing brilliant musicianship without being too “showy.” Haken, the London based sextet, discover a perfect balance few bands of the genre have found in the past. On this immaculate second studio album Visions, Haken’s frontman Ross Jennings’ vocals shine like finely polished silver amongst the crisp, distorted guitar tones any metal guitarist would be envious of. The opening instrumental “Premonition” acts as a perfect overture to the intricate rhythms that ensue and drag listeners into its schizophrenic compositions that encompass this entire release. Listeners are immediately plunged into an epic lyrical concept of a man’s false accusation and eventual inquisition on “Nocturnal Conspiracy,” a song with several twists that slows upon the realization of the narrator’s inevitable doom. True beauty is found on the track “Deathless,” the album’s ballad with a heartfelt chorus that subdues listeners with wonders perpetrated by ominous lyrics regarding an afterlife experience preceding a hypnotically percussive interlude. If the overall concept doesn’t hit you lyrically, it becomes apparent on the album’s title track, a 22-minute epic that makes use of previous riffs from the album to form a cohesive whole.


King Cotton & The Remnants Justice The Misery Index

Step aside boys, the King is back! King Cotton, that is, and his musical counterparts The Remnants, have debuted their highly anticipated sophomore album The Misery Index. Hailing from the upstate of South Carolina to the middle of North Carolina, these guys bring big Nashville sound mixed with quirky pop hooks that indelibly salve the soul for listeners. The 13-track album is heavy on rootsy guitar riffs, driving drums, all-encompassing choruses and powerfully uplifting, yet brooding lyricism. Songs like “Lost Highway” and “I Lost Everything” reveal the new generation of the all-American hero, a broken soul finding his way out of the recession depression into something more hopeful, as seen in the small beacon of light cast out from the pagoda lamp on the cover. Themes of this hero juxtaposed against the lyrical imagery created in “Campfire Songs” and “Headin’ to Nashville” create a nostalgic kumbaya feelin’, one that any listener searching for that glimmer of hope can relate. So sit back, relax and take it all in with The Misery Index.



Dinoflagellate Blooms Boston’s own underground deity J.G. Thirlwell returns with his latest release appearing under the moniker Manorexia, proving it to be his most absorbing, complex dark album to date. Manorexia displays the total range of his genius, instrumentally, through a fully orchestrated mass of music, sounds and sonic madness. An unsettling intro track opens the album with the slow-building “Anabiosis,” which takes a few listens, like most of his material, to fully comprehend; the only track featuring electric guitar serves as a prelude to the bombast of climactic horns and strings that ensue. The album’s centerpiece, “A Plastic Island in the Pacific,” among his most emotionally mature pieces, presents haunting beauty in an exiguous fashion that few songs I’ve heard possess and requires “a good strapping in” to appreciate. While it may be contradictory to mention accessibility and Monorexia in the same sentence, for the sake of the readers, “The Perfect Patsy” is a shining track to look into for new listeners to the stark magic of J.G. Thirlwell.



Indemnity: Phase One The Living Jarboe. There are not enough words to describe the melodic and chaotic brilliance of one of the most unique, enlightening, and enchanting female artists to date. Starting her career alongside Michael Gira with the illustrious band Swans in the mid 80s, Jarboe has evolved reaching epic heights with her astonishing vocal, lyrical, and musical abilities. Over a span of 20 years, she has collaborated with many perplexing bands such as World of Skin, A Perfect Circle, Neurosis, and Puscifer. Her latest solo release, Indemnity: Phase One, explores past Swans and World of Skin tracks. The third song, “Blood Promise,” is an expedition into the Swans’ collection from The Great Annihilator. In the first few seconds, the song reels you in with an anesthetizing and ambient keyboard, followed by an uprising of delayed symbols and intonations. “Please Remember Me,” the second track into the collection, revisits the song from World of Skin’s record Ten Songs From Another World. Trickled behind her voice is a lasso of backwards masking, frosted with reverberating murmurs and operatic cries that are hypo-laced with alluring violin and chamber-like piano. The whole of Indemnity looks into the past, present and future of Jarboe.


THE SPIN-OFF Staff-selected tracks from the Monthly Spin

1. Alabama Shakes - “You Ain’t Alone” 2. Gotye - “State of the Art” 3. Amy Winehouse - “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” 4. New Navy - “Tapioca” 5. 3 - “The Ghost You Gave To Me” 6. Trampled by Turtles - “Feet and Bones” 7. Outlines - “Visions” 8. Puscifer - “Man Overboard” 9. Sepultura - “Spectrum” 10. Lady Gaga - “Scheibe” 11. Dr. Dog - “Big Girl” 12. Haken - “Nocturnal Conspiracy” 13. King Cotton & The Remnants Justice “Lost Highway” 14. Manorexia - “A Plastic Island in the Pacific” 15. Jarboe - “Blood Promise”


uly 12, 1979. Chicago disc jockey Steve Dahl and his fuming mob of over 70,000 disco hating demolitionists rallied at Comiskey Park during a White Sox baseball game in an attempt to forever rid the world of disco balls, the Hustle and four-on-the-floor

dance beats. Dressed like a general preparing his troops for a slaughter, Dahl led the inebriated crowd in an uproarious chant of “disco sucks” before he ultimately blew up a crate filled with thousands of disco records that went as high into the sky as his devoted faction. Following the hate-filled explosion that left a crater in center field, the remainder of the stadium’s attendees rushed the field like a pack of malice stricken dogs and began wreaking havoc on whatever they could in protest of the music that had overtaken the airwaves and nightclubs of the 1970’s. They thought that had destroyed disco forever.

They were wrong.

Fast forward to 2012. As a light snow gently sweeps over the Minneapolis’ landscape, a lone figure surveys the Friday night frenzy of party-goers from atop one of the city’s premiere music venues, 1st Avenue and 7th Street Entry. It’s been a tumultuous week for some of the passers-by. He knows this. He can sense it in the frantic pacing of heels across the snowcovered sidewalks. It’s nights like these where the only real solution is to sweat out all the problems of the day and get lost in the rhythmic pulse of beats laced with glitzy, soulful vocals. It’s a night made for dancing, and he’s got just the solution. Armed with the inspiration of disco innovator Nile Rodgers and the influence of French house pioneers Daft Punk, his 6-foot, 5-inch frame dashes off into the night to deliver to the people a fresh blend of modern day production infused with retroactive chic. The decks are calling his name. By day, people know him as Matt Masurka, but when the disco ball starts spinning, his dance music producing alter ego comes to life.

He is Gigamesh. These are his people. This is his town.

Through years of discovering the styles of music that drive him to do what he does, Gigamesh has crafted himself into an artist fueled by sophistication and a refined taste in what it takes to create elegant dance music for the 21st century. While maintaining a reverence for the disco kings and queens who paved the way, the release of his self-titled EP this past October displays his exceptional production abilities to combine polished synths, bass and beats with seamlessly matched guest vocals on such tracks as “When You’re Dancing” (feat. Induce) and “People” (feat. Nicole Godiva). It doesn’t stop with his original material, either. With a firm understanding of the importance of maintaining the integrity of the original work, Gigamesh’s spiced up, doubly dance worthy remixes and edits of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough,” The Trammps’ “Disco Inferno” and Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” are in a class all their own. As the idea of what pop music is continues to be dumb downed with generic electronic samplings, Gigamesh is here to deliver a saving sound.

While Dahl and his army relished in what they believed to be a secure defeat against their dreaded enemy, a musical genre with such vibrant cultural implications like disco doesn’t simply fade away after one battle. It evolves in the underground clubs and back alley basements of cities around the globe. It takes on new forms and builds upon its strengths. Through the innovative minds of a new breed of forward thinking musicians still looking to provide release for their listeners, it finds its way into the sound systems of anyone looking to cut a serious rug. That’s what disco has done and will continue to do. It didn’t die on that ill-fated day back in 1979, nor will it ever. As long as heroes like Gigamesh utilize their abilities and powers for the love of the music, the

beat will only keep getting louder.




Champagne Life’s success can’t always be measured by a numerical dollar amount. It’s about doing what you love and doing it the best you can. For T. Champagne, it’s driving twenty hours straight with your dog in a big blue van to play for a crowd in the middle of the desert. It’s about embodying the spirit of a working musician.

You’ve spent the past four winters touring places like New Mexico and Colorado. Are there any particular towns and venues that keep you coming back?

My favorite definitely has to be Madrid, NM. It’s an old turquoise mining town that has transformed into a really cool art community. A lot of people there live off the grid and rely on trading and farming as means of getting by. Every time we’ve stopped in town, we’ve played at an old saloon at the end of the mine called The Mineshaft Tavern. It’s a great place to recharge mainly because of the awesome aura that’s there. Even with all the great things I’ve mentioned about Madrid, the best part about the town is that they elect a new sheriff every month… a dog!

After the tour you had a release party in Austin, TX for your new album, Life. How’d that go?

It was a lot of fun. We also had one in my hometown of Beaumont, TX. We had great crowds both nights, and it was a really well received event. I think I may have kept my friends out a little too late one night, though.

What is it about Austin that makes it such a great place for local musicians?

Austin really supports its music scene. It’s unlike any other city I’ve been. The community and local government have laid aside certain benefits for musicians. People can go there to play and develop into better artists. It started off as the blues capital of Texas and has blossomed into what it is today. It’s not just country and blues anymore. It’s a little bit of everything. Because the community realized a long time ago what they had, you can find some really top-notch players and studios in the area. Plus, there’s a statue of Stevie Ray Vaughn on Town Lake. That says enough right there.

Tell us about the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM).

HAAM is a non-profit group that started up several years ago to benefit working musicians living in Travis County. In order to apply, you have to show

contracts or other documents to prove that you make your living as an artist. They’ve joined up with local doctors and dentists to help further the cause. It works practically the same as any other insurance. Now that I’m no longer living in Austin, I don’t qualify for it, but I’m planning on presenting a similar idea to the city counsel. I want this community to realize what kind of talent is in the area and the ways in which it can support it.

How have you acclimated yourself to the Charleston music scene since you arrived late last summer?

Being a songwriter myself, I’ve been hanging around a lot of other talented songwriters in town. They all seem to keep coming out of the woodwork. I’ve been exploring a lot of the different venues in the area, and I’m starting to play a lot more happy hour gigs. I really want to flood that scene and play four to five shows a week. It tends to be an older crowd at that time and allows me to spread my music to a wider demographic. If I play late night, I can do two shows a day for two different audiences. It’s all about getting out there.

In the context of this issue’s theme, what does a hometown hero mean to you?

It all depends. You can look at it from an artist’s perspective or someone who has done a whole bunch for the community. For my hometown and me, it would have to be Dr. Jimmy Simmons. He was the dean of the music department at Lamar University and now serves as the school’s president. He brought the football program back a few years ago, knowing that it would also revive the marching band. Under his direction, the music school grew into a stellar program and continues to be a fantastic department. He brought spirit back to the school.


originally from Washington, DC

Taylor Muse: guitar, keys & vocals originally from Long Beach, CA

Cody Ackors: trombone originally from Waco, TX

Jeff Weathers: drums & cymbals originally from Houston, TX

Matt Parmenter: bass originally from Michigan

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Taylor brings great material to the band. He’s able to have the band be his brainchild. He’s been really open to letting other band members contribute. Sort of that whole idea of being able to do anything and everything yourself, but also within the framework of the collective. Cody is young and he has no life, so he’s free all the time to do things for you, help you with things. Kidding!!! He’s agreeable. He’s the most versatile musician of all of us. He could replace any one of us at any moment. Matt is an exquisitely talented bass player and piano player. He also owns ands operates a recording studio called Ice Cream Factory Studio. He’s always been a good pal. He is always like “please come sleep on my floor and let’s go get tacos.” Jeff is a genius at bringing absolutely bizarre things into conversations. He’s a great drummer. He’s just a blast to watch play. And he is one of the easiest going roommates ever. Tommy doesn’t stop smiling. Tommy’s incredibly amiable. He’s very motivated, he’s very self-driven. He’s a great mood-enhancer. He’s definitely efficient, e definitely a self-starter. th

Quiet Company is anything but quiet. TeEming with energy, wit & charm, this talented & boisterous group chatters about what makes them tick.

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Taylor Muse: I made our first record with another guy named Alex. It got picked up by a small label in California. I got to the point where I was done with music, I thought, but they convinced me to put another band together. I found Tommy through craigslist. It was real important to me not to play with people I knew already. I wanted a band of complete strangers. We had a slew of different drummers and bass players. Then, we found Matt through craigslist. Jeff played with a band we had played with quite a bit …..and they were really great. When we heard that they had broken up, I called him that day. Cody was just a fan of the band and he showed up to be an extra in our music video, and we found out he plays trombone. We were making our EP Songs for Staying In at the time, and he came to play. Shortly after that we had our first headlining show at the Parish. Tommy had the idea, let’s do a big band thing. Cody played some horns and we wore suits on stage. Kind of a defining moment. Stage props and the whole nine yards.


Taylor Muse: It’s changed a little bit. I think we’re always trying to change a little bit more. When the band started, I handed out the songs and said, here’s the song, learn it. I brought in a demo and everyone pretty much learned their part. However, the EP was a combination-half of it was songs we had left from the second record and half of it was new stuff. So with the new stuff, a lot of it was being shaped at the studio. I no longer felt like my way or the highway. I think I’m becoming more and more human as time goes on. But I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that in the beginning I didn’t have people I trusted completely, and now I do. I mean if I hate something, I’m not gonna spare your feelings. {laughing}Everybody contributes musically. There was even a lyric on the EP that Matt didn’t like that we took out. He also was heavily involved in the production of that record. He has a lot of tricks in his back pocket or up his sleeve.

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Thoughts QC: We’ve never been against touring. Our approach is that is has to be sustainable. Touring’s just not crazy viable anymore. It used to be you worked your ass off touring and that made you. Now it’s like touring needs to be necessitated by some other thing. But that’s the goal, to work to a point where we can be with our families, travel several months of the year, and not work full-time jobs. You get your supply out hoping that someone starts demanding.

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Pick up a copy of We Are All Where We Belong & take a trip with Quiet Company— it’s where you need to be. –BF


William & Mary William & Mary students are bringing back the beats, shaping the music scene in Williamsburg, VA

Students lay out on the campus quad, catching rays and brushing up on their biophysics for an upcoming exam. A pick-up game of ultimate frisbee (a campus favorite) is playing out beside them. A young gentleman is taking a nap, while a group of freshman girls pass by on their way to a late afternoon class. The live music of local bands echoes through the fresh, northern air--tunes that serve as the afternoon pick-me-up that once was a cup of instant coffee straight from your dorm. This is reality in the “Sunken Gardens,” a campus landmark surrounded by some of the oldest buildings on the William & Mary campus in Williamsburg, VA. Music is not hard to come by on this campus. Hipster coffeehouse Meridian provides a nightly outlet for student bands to share their talents and students to see peers perform. Ready for the weekend? Each week “Friday at Five,” held in the

photos by: Victoria Szczesniak

Sadler Center Terrace, features free live shows by up-and-coming bands, entertaining students returning from this week’s last class. The current group of W&M students is especially passionate about music, taking initiative to shape the Williamsburg music scene. In fact, the city community has noticed a great increase in variety and sheer quantity of live music events over the last few years. These student leaders are making sure bands that once passed through Williamsburg on their way from Norfolk to Virginia Beach are once again making a pit stop on campus Alma Mater Productions, comprised of about 100 student members, is a student-led organization that brings comedic, cultural and music events to campus. A sizeable budget from the student body gives students the opportunity to plan and produce large-scale events, such as W&M’s annual Charter Day concert.

photos by: Victoria Szczesniak

Charter Day is a weekend celebration of the college’s founding in 1693. This year the event featured Third Eye Blind and opening act Ben Kweller. The event was held on campus, but open to the public. Another completely student-funded entertainment organization, the International Performance Arts Exchange, is fast-growing on campus. IPAX provides students the means to start groups on campus that focus on their favorite entertainment genres. Recent IPAX productions include a group for spoken word and beat box. Gray Gowder, a DJ at the campus radio station, is working on a new project called IPAX Rocks, a smaller scale version of AMP that brings up-and-coming bands from the region to campus. The next time you are in Williamsburg and are looking for something to do…ask a student. Chances are they’ll be performing, coordinating or point you to the nearest campus quad for your daily musical fix.


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History. . .Back in 2007-2008, History. . .Back in 2007-2008, you did a touryou d the Tug It ofwas Waryourself, Tour. It was yo called the Tugcalled of War Tour. to methe might the Man a to me might be “Give Manbe a “Givean anrapper, Israeli-born rapper, your band m Israeli-born your band mate Mazzi, by Arrested Development. Fish” by ArrestedFish” Development. a Palestinian-American rapper, then a Palestinian-American rapper, then Vanessa come world. from a Ilive music world. I I come from a liveImusic Hidary, a Jewish artist, spoken-word Hidary, spoken-word along artist played bass and drum beforea Jewish played the bass and drumthe before with Tahani Salah, a Palestinian-Am with Tahani Salah, a Palestinian-American started and they had I started rapping Iand they rapping had Muslim artist. spoken-word artist. Muslim What was thatWhat wa the live instrumentation. Backspoken-word the live instrumentation. Back like? like? I heard just like when I heard it, Iwhen was just like it, I was

most project incredible most incredible acting thatacting I haveproject that I have Ahh, Ihas seedone someone a partisof everyone is so talented. someone their has done their been a part of andbeen everyone soand talented. SoTour the Tug also believe that it is coming at a very thehomework. Tug of War was of War Tour was I also believe thatI it is coming at a very just a political tourwent that we did. We went tour that we did. We important time. important time. to a bunch of to a bunch of and schools and schools did the concept for your Where did theWhere concept for your we did a bunch we did a bunch “I’m an American” come video “I’m an video American” come of shows in of shows in from? from? the city. We the city. We sold them all sold them all concept of the video The concept of theThe video was something I was something I It was out. It was out. had time thought long time ago. I thought had thought of a long ago.ofI athought amazing an amazing an it make wouldthis be dope make this about every it would be dope to abouttoevery experience to experience to opposeditto me. I thought it would man as opposed toman I thought would see Jews and see Jews and be itdope to make it a bigger concept be dope to make a bigger concept in Muslims in Muslims thenRevery just seeing me. Revery Media, they then just seeing me. Media, they crowds. the crowds. the deserve a shout to them, they helped deserve a shout out to them, they out helped Sometimes Sometimes put it together. Myself, Revery Media, to put it Myself, Revery Media, would they would they and Search gotcall, on a conference call, and MC Search got onMC a conference self-segregate, self-segregate, threwideas out some dope ideas and Search threwand outSearch some dope sometimes sometimes about a and museum exhibit about a museum exhibit that was it. and that was it. would they would they The idea of was to get a slice of every man. The idea was to get a slice every man. mix, but by the mix, but by the end we of the show when we were doing talkw when were doing talkI think myis favorite I think my favorite part when part is when people engaging in dialogue. werebacks engaging in were dialogue. thethe woman with the dreads was the woman with dreads was Even if the was just “I knowledge disagree accessible. alogue was just dialogue “I disagree make knowledge accessible. KRS1 calls it make KRS1 calls it never have a black like, “You’ll like, “You’ll never have a black with whatYou youguys are doing. You guys are and u are doing. are “edu-tainment,” “edu-tainment,” I think that’s where I think that’s and where getting it all wrong. our You are rong. You are bringing I’mbringing at right our now. I’m at right now. people backSome the wrong he wrong way.” of theway.” Some of the amazing. the type of line type ofIt’s line dialogues got heated, but Is that’s what we Isresponsibility heated, but that’s what we it the artist’s responsibility to the it the artist’s to amazing. It’s you keep thinking about. were striving Wethe wanted to break the you keep thinking about. or. We wanted tofor. break spit knowledge? spit knowledge? cultural norm of things, not talking about things, of not talking about and we were profoundly successful in No, she killed That’s one of my profoundly successful in No, Yeah, she killed it. That’s one some artists, their is Yeah, some artists, their responsibility is responsibility that. favorite lines I’ve ever written. favorite lines I’ve ever written. to make to make people forget andpeople dance.forget That’sand dance. That’s

the trick the trick isn’tisn’t just just to spit to spit knowledge: knowledge: the trick the trick to make is to is make knowledge knowledge accessible. accessible.

justintellectual as valid asartist. an intellectual artist. I just as valid as an I

Sohope whattodo you hopedon’t to think that one So where do youinsee yourself in you So where do you see yourself don’t thinkvalue that is one artist’s value is more artist’s more accomplish with your music?than the h with your music? important other. I used to be important other. Ithan usedthe to be

kinda on that high horse of thinking, kinda on that high horse of thinking, I want that to show a that I see myself acting w people therepeople is a that Superyou handsome… I seehandsome… myself acting andsometimes then I sawyou that sometimes need Super and there then Iissaw need different side toThere’s what youathink. There’sto just a biggerwith scale, with at least to what you think. on aforget. biggerThe scale,on hopefully at hopefully least a club to just go and club record go record and forget. The to Judaism, there’s twoalbums or three major albums out, I think de ato different Judaism,side there’s a same way two ortothree major out, I think same way you need bad movie go and you aneed a bad movie to go aand different sidea to Jews; there’s a different at thatanpoint. Making to Jews; there’s different at you thatand point. impact as an an impact as an sit and justyou let and it wash justMaking sit and just let it wash over justover side to whitearappers. a different youyounger. know… getting younger. appers. There’s differentThere’s artist getting forgetstuff. about the heavy But you thenknow… you artist forget about the heavy But then youstuff. sidesomething to New Yorkers, something different orkers, different an artist like that tries to tell you need an artist likeneed me that tries to tellme you fromIn what think. u think. the you media JewsIn the Sneakas heavyperspective. stuff in a fresh perspective. I See what what Sneakas has been up has been up themedia heavy Jews stuff inthe a fresh I See seenbut as very very frail. funny mean, but very frail. veryare funny mean, I’m at right now. TMI Talk spoke that’s where I’m atthat’s rightwhere now. Talk to since TMI spoke to since with him at with him at Adam went that a to me tomorrow. r went andSandler changed thatand a changed to me tomorrow.!! little but I really want lly want to eradicate that. to eradicate that. I want to show thatone there’s not any one -HB -TJW w that there’s not any person-a Jew be white, a n-- type a Jewofcan be white, a can If you weren’t rapping, what If you weren’t rapping, what canmy be jumping Asian. That’s jumping ian.Jew That’s off my would youoffbe would doing?you be doing? I feelinI that. am successful in that. Now am point; successful Now I want to for help bepeople. the voiceActing, for the people. be the voice the Acting, and inside. dying on and dying on the I the inside. I goingtoday, on in the today, oingWith on inwhat’s the world actually in off-offa very exciting off-offamworld actually in aam very exciting at a crucial crossroads in right at aI think crucialwe’re crossroads in Broadway Broadway showin right show now that’s prepnow that’s in prep our the culture. the called whole These Occupy With whole With Occupy called These Seven Sicknesses, and it’s Seven Sicknesses, and it’s andpolitical the wayat the political nd movement the way the at the The play is all seven the Flea Theatre. TheFlea playTheatre. is all seven powers under of us,Sophocles’ I think that fting underare us,shifting I think that of Sophocles’ tragedies and an incredible tragedies and an incredible intellectual emcees playwright need to speak ual more emcees need to speak namedwrote Shawn Grainy wrote namedplaywright Shawn Grainy up and makeThe dope records. The Oedipus’ trick it.son, dope records. trick I play Oedipus’ it. I play Eteocles. It’sson, the Eteocles. It’s the isn’t just toThe spittrick knowledge. The trick is to t knowledge. is to

Vinyl Roots

Deep Ellum

It's All Good in the Hood


eep Ellum is described as the cultural epicenter of Dallas. The former warehouse district is situated in the heart of the city and is home to a multitude of historic buildings now filled with lofts, restaurants, bars, art galleries, curio shops and of course, live music venues. The now-thriving area has a checkered history that spans more than a century. Deep Ellum’s beginnings in the late 1800’s were industrial, ranging from the Munger Cotton factory to a Ford Model-T assembly plant. There was also the historic Grand Temple of the Black Knights of Pythias, the first building in Dallas built for and by African Americans. With such a humble birth, who could have guessed that Deep Ellum would become famous for music?

It’s the Roaring Twenties, but you won’t find the characters of Boardwalk Empire anywhere near Deep Ellum. You’ll find blues legends. Blind Lemmon Jefferson, Bessie Smith, Leadbelly, and Robert Johnson were found grinding it out nightly in the nearly 20 nightclubs in the neighborhood. However, by the end of World War II, the high times in Deep Ellum started

to fizzle. Ironically, the growth of Dallas put a stranglehold on its hottest neighborhood by removing railroad tracks and street car service to make way for an elevated highway in 1969. With access to the stifled area, people simply stopped coming and many businesses were forced to close their doors. Deep Ellum falls into disrepair over the next 15 years. However, this massive devaluation of property attracts the local “starving artists” who eventually brought Deep Ellum back to prominence. By the mid 1980s, the cheap warehouse and loft rents attracted the right amount of seeds required to nurture a change in Deep Ellum, and the punk movement went gangbusters. It began with local punk bands playing in unfinished warehouse space, and quickly grew to become one of the premier locations in the country to see the largely unheralded genre. Bands such as The Dead Kennedys, Butthole Surfers, Tripping Daisy, Toadies, Black Flag, The Meat Puppets, The Flaming Lips, Red Hot Chili Peppers, 10,000 Maniacs, New Bohemians, Reverend Horton Heat and too many more to name all come to Deep Ellum early in their careers. The

growing music crowd and a massive effort by the city to make the neighborhood safer, led to an influx of new businesses. By the early 1990s there were 57 bars and nightclubs in Deep Ellum, along with restaurants, and shops of all varieties. With commercialization came higher rents and a different class of residents, living in luxury lofts instead of the quaint artist’s digs of the early 80s. Deep Ellum thrived throughout the 90s and early 2000s. Alas, all good things must end… By 2006, local media claimed that Deep Ellum was dying. This proclamation came on the heels of the closings of some of the most famous and long-standing clubs in the neighborhood. Another major contributor was the general public opinion that Deep Ellum was not a safe place to be after dark. Despite the efforts of the city, the streets remained dim-to-dark in many areas of Deep Ellum, and reports of muggings and assaults became the norm. It’s simple math: if the people stop coming, the clubs and businesses can no longer afford to keep their doors open. In fact, by 2009 there was but a single live music venue on Elm Street. The remaining clubs turned to hip-hop and dance rather than live music in order to stay afloat, and this is how Deep Ellum rode out the next several years.

" music is


where it belongs in Dallas."

One might think that right about now the bulldozers are rolling through Deep Ellum to make room for the next ultra-trendy, Dallas hot spot. Don’t look now, but in the last two years, numerous live music clubs have opened up in the old neighborhood. In fact, several of the more famous clubs, such as Trees, Club Dada, Curtain Club and Club Clearview have all re-opened their doors. In addition to the nightclub scene getting its legs back, the art scene has taken off in Deep Ellum. A dog park decorated with murals by local artists, another park called “Art Park,” and

numerous art galleries have introduced color to the once drab, dim streets of Deep Ellum. The restaurants are crowded, galleries are buzzing, and most importantly, live music is back where it belongs in Dallas. Deep Ellum may have seen better days, but there is a surging tide rolling through the neighborhood and I have a feeling that when it crests, Deep Ellum might just find itself reliving its glory days.


Uncle Uncle Mountain Mountain Where’s Where’s homehome for Uncle for Uncle Mountain? Mountain? DanielDaniel Shearin: Shearin: We allWe grew allup grew in Pitt up in County, Pitt County, NC; NC; AydenAyden and Grifton. and Grifton. That’sThat’s wherewhere we all we met. all met. In what In what city do city you doguys you feel guysthe feelmost the most wel- welcomed? comed? DS: We DS: live We inlive Asheville in Asheville now, that’s now, that’s wherewhere our base our base SC is one SC is ofone ourof favorite our favorite placesplaces to travel to travel by Those far. Those three--three-and weand likewe Boone, like Boone, NC a lot. NC a lot. How How does does musicmusic keep keep people people connected? connected?

they enjoy they enjoy listening listening to the to same the music. same music. You may Younot may not band probably band probably meansmeans you have youmore have in more common. in common. Ryan Furstenberg: Ryan Furstenberg: Also, people Also, people connect connect to the to experithe experience and encethe and songs. the songs. DS: OrDS: youOr know you know a lot ofa people lot of people say that sayatthat a show at a show they feel they connected feel connected to the to people the people around around them who them who share share that experience. that experience. In what In what ways ways do you doguys you give guysback give back to thetocomthe community? munity?

musicmusic is giving is giving back to back the to community. the community. Sometimes Sometimes it’s notit’s thenot best thepaying best paying gig in gig the in world, the world, but I feel but I feel a community, a community, especially especially a community a community like Asheville, like Asheville, and Awendaw and Awendaw GreenGreen down down near Charleston. near Charleston. Anytime Anytime


Who’s Who’s the greatest the greatest guitarguitar player player of all of time? all time? RF: Nick RF:Drake. Nick Drake. DS: I know DS: I know it’s a bit it’scliché, a bit cliché, but George but George Harrison. Harrison.

the rock theworld. rock world. He’s more He’s involved more involved in the in jazz therealm, jazz realm, but hebut does headoes lot ofa different lot of different stuff. stuff. Favorite Favorite songwriter? songwriter? RF: Probably RF: Probably Paul Simon. Paul Simon. How How did itdid feelitgetting feel getting back back into the intostudio the studio and and recording recording your your second second album, album, Miles Miles of Skyof Skyreally really like Mick like Jagger Mick Jagger as well, asbut well, I think but I in think terms in terms of of line? line? songwriting songwriting I reallyI really like those like two. those two. RL: Will RL:Oldham. Will Oldham.

DS: It DS: felt It great. felt great. It felt It rambunctious. felt rambunctious.

If a band If a band calledcalled you guys you up guys and upsaid, and said, “Come “Come WhatWhat is theissongwriting the songwriting process process like for like Uncle for Uncle on tour on with tour us,” withwho us,” would who would you want you want that that Mountain? Mountain? band band to be?to be? DS: It DS: varies It varies a lot actually. a lot actually. Sometimes Sometimes we’ll be we’ll workbe workDS: Personally, DS: Personally, I’d sayI’d Wilco say Wilco or Fleet or Foxes. Fleet Foxes. Mumford Mumford and Sons andwould Sons would be a great be a one great asone well. as well. start messing start messing around, around, and then andsomething then something will hop willinhop in there that therewill that turn willinto turna into song.a Sometimes song. Sometimes someone someone If youIfguys you could guys could traveltravel back back in time, in time, what what de- dewill write will awrite smalla piece small of piece a song, of a and song,then andsometimes then sometimes cade would cade would it be and it bewhy? and why? someone someone will write will an write entire an entire song and songwe’ll andarrange we’ll arrange it. it. DS: The DS:60s. TheIt’s 60s. myIt’s favorite my favorite time totime readtoabout read about because because of what ofwas whatgoing was going on in the on in country the country at the at time. the Plus time.itPlus it was a was greata time greatfor time music. for music.

UM Where Where dodo you you guys guys

Any big Any plans big plans for 2012? for 2012?

DS:DS: Everywhere. Everywhere.

RF:RF: LifeLife experiences. experiences.

DS:DS: Emotions Emotions areare thethe biggest biggest inspirations. inspirations. Sometimes Sometimes it comes it comes from from your your imagination. imagination.

DS: We’ll DS: be We’ll hitting be hitting the studio the studio recording recording in 2012, in 2012, chipping chipping away at away some at new somesongs. new songs. We’veWe’ve got some got some new tracks new tracks we’re working we’re working on that ondidn’t that didn’t make make it on it on Miles Miles of Skyline. of Skyline. I thinkI we’re think also we’regoing also going to do atolot doofa lot of videosvideos of us playing of us playing and just and put just it on putYouTube. it on YouTube. The The videosvideos will feature will feature the songs the songs we’ve we’ve written written that we that we don’t really don’t really know know what to what do with. to do with. -TJW -TJW

C C 2

Coast to Coast

Our staff writers set out on a mus discovering the nation’s hottest l

sical roadtrip, local bands.



Denver The Symbols

Venue: Bushwacker’s Saloon Something different! That’s the Coloradobased band The Symbols’ slogan and life mantra. A fresh pop sound stemming from familiar blues, funk and jazz genres, yet seamlessly pulled off in an intransient, modern way. Upon first listen, vocalist Mer Sal sounds like Gwen Stefani’s protégé, but after a few songs in, it becomes clear that there is much more to The Symbols than meets the ear. Their sound can best be described as 90s sensation, Shawn Colvin, covering a Blondie tune mixed with Fleetwood Mac’s songwriting skills and Santana’s coveted guitar solos. It’s unique and whimsical; it’s whimsically unique! The genre-crossing foursome’s show is an amalgamation of different sounds, musical textures and rump shaking, making it a force to be reckoned with for any musically inclined audience member. Guitarist, Jasco, teases the crowd with sexual bluesy guitar licks while Mer ignites our funky bones, succumbing to her buttery smooth and hypnotically-inspiring vocals. I’m in a blues trance and refuse to get out, until the drums pick up and the guitar’s whammy bar splices the solo; Mer steps off stage, giving

the audience some peace with the guitar-drum-bass ménage a trois, then when I thought I’ve finally been lost in the groove, Mer is back and belting out all sorts of demons like the Blues greats that have paved the way before her. The Symbols spice up the night with their uniquely fresh funky grooves and moves, making for a memorable experience at Denver’s Bushwacker’s Saloon. Not only do The Symbols put on a great live show, but they also help save lives. After a long-time friend became diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, The Symbols have been determined to fight the disease in his honor. A share of the band’s proceeds goes to the Michael Raymond Olson MS Fund, a fund the band started to raise money for his support. True hometown heroes! Please visit HOM-General for more information and to donate to their cause! Check out tunes and things from The Symbols’ website


Austin John Pointer Venue: The Saxon Pub If musician John Pointer was a musical instrument, he would be the only one you would ever need to buy. In fact, unless there is a single musical instrument that can sound like a full band, he may be the most unique instrument of all. Watching John Pointer live, you never know what to expect. He is known for his combination of singer/songwriter style and beatbox rhythms. He uses his whole body by beatboxing, playing guitar and stomping his feet to mimic a drum beat. The entire combination is not only fun to watch, but produces a mesmerizing sound. I have seen John perform many times in the Austin area, but this last show I caught was at The Saxon Pub in south Austin. It is a small venue (although often hosts many of Austin’s best talent) and on this particular evening John had just returned from a tour in Europe. If there was any jet lag on his part, he certainly didn’t let it show. John played many of his original songs such as “One by One,” which has a soulful R&B sound with some acoustic instrumental mixed in. The song “The Flame” is a great showcase of John’s many talents–his flair for multi-tasking shines through as he beatboxes, plays guitar, sings and stomps all at the same time. John also performs a song called “The Holy Trinity of Rhythm” in which he

takes his audience through a music lesson, showing how the different beats and sounds play together just as if he were teaching a drum lesson. John has many great originals, but is also well known for a particular cover version of the Led Zeppelin song “Kashmir.” What took the entire band of Led Zeppelin to perform, John can perform single-handedly— and perform it well! The only downside to John’s music is there is no way to get the full effect by just listening to it. It is just as much a visual experience as it is an audio one. John is an asset to Austin because of his many musical talents, but also raising public awareness because of his hard work to financially support the artists in the community so they can continue to enrich the world through music. He created a website called Patronism (www.patronism. com) where fans can go and “pay what you feel” to download their favorite music from local musicians. In addition to his own incredible musical talent, his help in fostering the relationship between those who enjoy local music and those who make the music is another example of why Austin is proud to call John Pointer our own.


New Orleans Dwayne Dopsie and the zydeco hellraisers Venue: Tipitina’s

I’ve always loved Zydeco music; what I have heard of it. In movies like Eve’s Bayou and Passion Fish, set in the bayous of Louisiana, a taste is given of this cultural art form, but the music only plays background to the stories. So when the opportunity arose to hear this elusive music live, I jumped at the chance. Needless to say, seeing Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers was an educational experience for me. My initial plan was to try to blend into the crowd and just observe, but two songs into his set I knew that was not an option. “Been Such a Long Time” was the beginning of the end for me. As soon as his accordion’s slow intro began, the anticipation began to raise in the room. Being new on the scene, I had no idea what I was in for, but I knew it would be an experience. His fingers flew across the accordion buttons the same way an organ player’s would on Easter Sunday, producing a religious experience that rocked the party nonstop.

The infectious steady, tempo of the drum player mixed with the frenzied percussion of the washboard kept the crowd’s toes tapping, fingers snapping, and bodies swaying. Then, like a puppet master, Dwayne conducted the dance floor with every squeeze and extension of his instrument. “Better Go Get It,” “Thinking of You,” and “Where’d My Baby go” showcased their mastery of live entertainment. Their combined energy had the spot jumpin’ and pumpin’ way into the night. By the time they played “Zydeco 2 Step,” the walls were sweating, trying to hold all the excitement in the space. By the end of the night I was wrung dry, the crowd was gasping for air, and Dwayne and the Zydeco Hellraisers had definitely lived up to their name. Everyone left spent and content, and I learned a lesson that I won’t soon forget.


Charleston stereo reform Venue: The Pour House

Without hesitation, Stereo Reform burst onto the scene with an energetic force, and the audience had no qualms with joining in for what was bound to be an exhilarating set that showed off all their talents. Having spent substantial time developing their throwback, groove-driven rock in both Charleston and Los Angeles, Neil Turner (vocals, bass, keys), Will Evans (guitar, vocals, keys), and Vince Seabrook (drums) have a firm understanding that fun times at a rock show translate on both of our diverse coasts.

A band’s music should speak for itself. All too often, it seems that groups spend just as much time and effort writing lengthy paragraphs for their Facebook profiles, about how their newest album can’t be confined to one genre, as they actually do create this genre defying sound. The first time I visited Stereo Reform’s page, the aforementioned notions faded faster than it took the Greenville, SC based trio to describe just what kind of music they make. It’s not just plain rock, nor is it straightforward funk. You can definitely dance to it, but it’s not all about the electronic groove. They call it “Dance-aFunk-a-Rock-a-Tronic” and leave it at that. Now, all I had to do was press play and let the music do the rest. After a quick sampling of their party platter, I knew this was an act I had to catch live to get the real effect. Bless my lucky stars! With an upcoming show at the Charleston Pour House, I didn’t even have to wait a week to get a taste of their full course meal.

In between wildly sporadic dance moves and heaps of hootin’ and hollerin’, the festive crowd’s excitement grew exponentially as the three traversed through a catalogue of some of their hardest-hitting funk like “Robots of Evolution,” “Exotical Pants,” and “Electronic Supersonic Love Appeal.” Throughout the constant entertainment of swirling lights and bedazzling showmanship, “10 Miles Out of NYC” took me time traveling back in time to the Chili Pepper’s innovative, uproarious Freaky Styley. That period may be long gone, but Stereo Reform continues to churn out the electrifying enthusiasm one show at a time.


Downtown Charleston 229 St. Philip Street

• Pizza

• Calzones

• Subs

• Salads

• Wings

• And More!