Last Nights Presents: Volunteers Park 7" Release show w/ Blanko & Noiry + DJ Chris Freeman

Blanko & Noiry
Volunteers Park 
(ex-Silk Flowers, 7" Record Release)

DJ Chris Freeman (of Fusetron)

Saturday June 30th 
Big Snow
89 Varet St. Brooklyn, NY 11206

Facebook Event Page

ARCHiE SHEPP - Attica Blues Big Band

Read about it HERE.

Koudede - Alam-in | Track Feature

It is occasionally so that at times of great political struggle and cultural upheavals throughout history some of the most enduring works of art spring to life. For Koudede and the Tuareg people, maybe it is not seen in this manner. I must admit there is something lost in translation here, or lack there of rather. Much has been made of how modern times have all but isolated and marginalized the nomadic way of life that the Tuareg are traditionally known for.  As a result the blues infused track "Alam-in" comes off  to the uninitiated listener a somber yet uplifting energy from the music. Whether through the group harmonies, swinging upbeat tempos, and guitar sinews weaving a melodic swirl around the listener.

Koudede is not content to stick with a traditional acoustic. While working in the full band setting he is able to let the guitars buzz around the rhythm section, including full drum kit, in all directions. The 7" is the newest entry in the now legendary Guitars From Agadez series which brought to many people's attention other bands from the region such as Group Inerane & Group Doueh. Though the culture and people behind this music are experiencing some of the greatest upheavals and struggles in their entire history as the unacknowledged nation state of Azawad faces an extremely uncertain future. What this will mean for the Tuareg people and their tremendously moving song forms is another questions entirely.

Koudede's  is available as a limited 7" now via Sublime Frequencies


WE JUKE UP iN HERE! A New DVD+CD Documentary On The State of the Clarksdale-area's Juke Joint Culture

All photos stolen from Lou Bopp

"If you don't want to die, don't be born. 
The game's for life" - Red Paden

We Juke Up In Here is a visually sexy film that documents an un-sexy subject: The demise of the live music-fueled southern American juke joint, and the struggles of juke  owners and musicians to keep the remaining institutions alive.

Now, I could go into a long history of juke joints and the sociological and cultural importance of their history dating back to emancipation, and how the juke is being replaced by soul-crushing casinos, DJs, and gaudy corporate flourescent-lit Juquejoint facsimiles. But you probably know or can imagine that

"I'm backed by the river, and I'm fronted by the grave. That's for damn sure." -Red Paden, owner of Red's Lounge, Clarksdale, MS

Gearshifter Youngblood. 
We Juke Up In Here was created by Jeff Konkel of Broke And Hungry Records and Roger Stolle of Clarksdale's Cathead Delta Blues & Folk Art store, and thoughtfully shot by  cinematographers Damien Blaylock and Lou Bopp. This is the same team that worked on the award-winning M For MississippiIt's a visually striking film that confidently dips to either side of the line between art-film and straight-up documentary.  With We Juke Up In Here they achieve a smart balance of serious blues doc, sharp rural-moderne arthouse, and dudes-on-a-blues-roadtrip film. 

Red Paden
The story centers primarily on Red Paden, owner of Red's Lounge, as well as William "Po Monkey" Seaberry of Po' Monkey's Lounge, and juke owner/recording artist Jimmy "Duck" Holmes of The Blue Front Cafe and their challenge to stay alive as the music changes (all three joints are strictly blues- No Rap), and as their audience ages. Casinos offering free food, free drink, and cheap entertainment, have done the most damage. Juke owners just can't supply those amenities. But what they can give you is a hot dose of reality with a raw music soundtrack with out the artifice and faux flaw-free sheen of the casino trap house.
Big George Brock
The dvd package of  We Juke Up In Here is also accompanied by a CD soundtrack (recorded by Bill Abel out of his trusty ol' station wagon mobile recording unit) of tough, slanky present-day blues. The kind of rough-hewn blues you expect and trust to hear from Broke & Hungry Records. B & H has added three new (to me) artists to the soundtrack, and each of them is a knock-out. Louis "Gearshifter" Youngblood, Anthony "Big A" Sherrod (whoa), and the seriously deadly Robert Lee "Lil' Poochie" Watson. These guys ain't kids. Where have they been?

Jimmy "Duck" Holmes
We Juke Up In Here shows beautifully that while juke joint blues might be beaten up by time, culture, technology, and the law...she ain't dead yet and rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated, even though to most radars it's at best a party popper. The blues and it's surrounding culture has a living, progressing history. There are still artists giving strong, vital performances and this documentary showcases that well. You might gotta dig a little to find blues like this, but isn't that what you miss about music? The discovery? From where I sit, it's an exciting time for this genre. There are more and more permutations of blues happening every day. From gutter punks and travelers playing punk-shaded olde timey to technoheads reimagining the blues into the future. That's growth and change. I'm thankful we have these four guys not only still finding a few quality players to help hype, but also spreading the sound of those artists around the globe. 

Will small-town and rural jukes eventually disappear? Probably. Google Juke Joint. They're already being replaced by faux jukes- shiny Disney funqified Made In China soulless and safe nostalgia kiosks that have as much in common with Po Monkey's as House Of Blues does. 

We Juke Up In Here is a keen sixty-three minute document of the blues culture and a history of what's left of the Delta region's once-thriving juke joint culture, the root source and incubator of boogie, soul and blues. Konkel, Stolle, Blaylock, and Bopp have made important works in We Juke Up In Here and M For Mississippi. They are documenting the true ground zero for what remains of the great olde weird American blues.

CD Set List:
Big A & The All Stars - We Juke Up In Here
Louis “Gearshifter” Youngblood- Rabbit In A Log
Lil Poochie & Hezekiah Early - You Know I’ve Tried 
Dialogue: “I Don’t Have To Pretend” – Red Paden
Terry “Harmonica” Bean - Baby (Do Anything For Me)
Jimmy “Duck” Holmes -  Could’ve Been Married
Dialogue: “I’m Moving At My Own Pace” – Red Paden
Elmo Williams & Hezekiah Early - Jug Of Wine
Louis “Gearshifter” Youngblood - Get Rich And Marry You 
Big A & The All Stars - Call Me A Lover
Dialogue: “The Game Is For Life” - Red Paden
Lil Poochie & Hezekiah Early- Bring Your Fine Self Home 
Big George Brock - Down South 
Holmes, Bean & Vick - Someday (Get Over You) 
+Bonus hidden track:  Louis "Gearshifter" Youngblood - "The Juke Joint Where I'm A Goin' "

MiSSiSSiPPi GABE CARTER - Hustlin' at the Clarksdale Juke Joint Festival 2012

Making, playing, listening to and hearing music...

In the opening chapters of Professor Jeremy Begbie's authoritative book on Music and Theology entitled 'Resounding Truth: Christian Wisdom in the World of Music' the author makes the distinction between music making and music hearing (p40). Whilst that may seem obvious, he then goes on to expand this further (pp 41-46) by initially pointing out that there may be a prior stage, composition, to the essential elements of performance (making) and listening (hearing). However, let's look at two additional discussions which have expanded the making and hearing aspects of music in line with Professor Begbie's theses.

Bruce Springsteen – playing versus making music:

On his We Shall Overcome - The Seeger Sessions / American Land Edition [CD+DVD] Bruce identifies the difference between performers who simply play music and those that make music together. As the interview progresses it is clear he is referring to the way some players are not content to just interpret a music score (or chord / tab chart) but have the inherent gift to gel together with their fellow musicians such that a new plane is reached where communication is instinctive rather than reactive. The group of players effectively become one and feel the groove enabling co-ordinated variations and improvisations with no pre-meditation.

Historically it is clear when either musical conventions are challenged or there is an 'ethnic' re-imagination then substantial musical developments occur. In relatively recent times we have seen the advent of Jazz, the worldwide success of songwriting bands spearheaded by The Beatles and the Punk explosion. Equally the international popularity of Reggae and Gospel Music on one hand and the UK folk music's crossover into the mainstream with groups such as The Fishermen Friends with their repertoire of traditional shanties. There is a potential division between classical and popular music performers that disappears when they have both the grace and desire to side step such differences. This can achieve a performance and response that transcend any where the artiste could have chosen to stay either entrenched or simply played safe. This was a revelation to cellist and composer Philip Sheppard when working with the late Jeff Buckley which I explored in this post. Clearly there are a vast number of additional parameters that come into play; social, geographical and chronological and this gives more to discuss and unpack to move toward a less generalised explanation of the above.

Nick Coleman– listening versus hearing music:

This former NME journalist and music lover's entertaining yet deeply moving memoir, The Train in the Night: A Story of Music and Loss, describes how his world was changed forever when he was diagnosed as having the condition Sudden Neurosensory Hearing Loss, a combination of partial deafness combined with thunderous tinnitus. He effectively has to re-learn how to hear and for some time during his recovery it is his encyclopaedic knowledge of pop, rock and classical music that sustains him as he psychologically engineers a way to replay his record collection from memory. It is only when he realises that he needs to learn how to listen to what music is saying to him that a sense of hearing is partially restored, albeit accompanied by great physical pain and discomfort. So he concludes that he has to develop a new way to listen, one that is active rather than passive.

If I may suggest:

This provides a clue as to why listening and hearing are different. For example, one method I employ when trying to check something subtle but potentially troubling during a recording session is to play the piece back whilst making a cuppa when I'm not in full close up, focus mode. This synthesises the moment someone hears your work for the first time and corrections can then be effected if there is, indeed, actually an issue anyway. In a similar way there are songs that stand out on the radio as we are driving along, at times I've even stopped the car to catch who the artiste is (so annoying when the presenter doesn't say?!). My proposition is that is an example of when a piece 'speaks' to us, provoking us from a hearing only to a listening intently mode. This endorses what Coleman concludes, that hearing is passive whilst listening is deliberately active.

It is therefore safe to propose that the more acute hearing of most musicians enables them to listen better than someone less musically gifted, and, when playing in an ensemble, engages that ability to promote those special moments of making transcendent music together.


Ghost Wave - Sunsetter | Track Feature

This is some classic fuzzed out pop right here, the kind that New Zealand and Australia seem to have a patent on. There are some usual suspects that come to mind when it comes to upbeat sunshine jangle op from below the equator, but we won't get into that right now because it is a hairy subject and we don't need to tangle up the situation here. 

The group's "Sunsetter" combines just the right amount of jangle and pop finesse to allow everything around you to breeze on by. It's like seeing the world through some paisley sunglasses for a minute or too. Maybe kick back a little on the way somewhere. Does that make sense? So it goes I always say. Ghost Wave meet their peers at eye level while providing their own spin on a contemporary "classic" sound.

Ghost Wave's "Sunsetter" is available now for free via the group's bandcamp.


SOUNDCLOUD // Dot Com // Twitter // Facebook // blog // iTunes  

You might could call Amanda Broadway's terrific new release Me Without You an EP because it only has seven songs, but to me, this is the way to do an album.  All killer/no filler. Just because you can fill a CD does not mean you should. Learn this. It should also be noted that Amanda wrote all of the songs here as well. 

It's smart, strong, well-crafted soul/country/city/blues without artifice. Broadway has a muscular yet open sound (the gal can straight howl!) that is influenced by the blues-infected ladies and soul men that came before but she manages to stomp firmly between good hard blues and country with none of the cloying, soulless, overwrought, painfully melismatic American Idol-esque faux-passion one might expect from a modern Nashvillian, nor does she sound like any of the new crop of well-dressed soul retroteers. While the music has a contemporary feel, this is to Broadway's advantage as she would fit nicely on a number of charts, without losing a bit of her strong, often sultry blues vibe. Her bio states that she is not a purist and it shows. In a good way. I personally love a good musical cross-hatching and Amanda Broadway delivers. 

Her band on this recording, it should be noted, is sick. Jimmy Hall on harp, spot-on drumming by Derrek Philips, terrific horns, bass, B3 and Wurlitzer. Electric guitarist Rob McNelley in particular really sets a tone for a lot of the songs. He's got a tough raw wail on Me Without You and a serious Hooker grip on Something Funny Goin' On, and a taut and funky chickinpickin' thang on Left And Let Down (which could easily be covered by Reba and Miranda Lambert as well as Bobbie Gentry or Bonnie Raitt).

Here's what we know about Amanda Broadway: 
Photo stolen from Q Avenue Photo
She went to college in upstate New York where she very smartly studied Music Industry and Voice. A couple weeks after getting her degree she headed south to Music City USA: Nashville where she woodshedded for a couple years then released this well-recieved 7 song ep of smart modern blues called Me Without You. I gave her a holler to find out more.

It sounds like Amanda Broadway is either a very focused artist or she's diabolically plotting world domination. Which is it?
Haha, maybe a little of both? I am asked a lot if my last name is 'my real last name' or just a stage name. It is indeed my real last name - 'twas given to me at birth. Actually, I've gotten into the habit of telling my audience that fact when I play a show. If I don't, someone is bound to ask me... I've even been carded before. It's so funny to me though. If I were to choose a stage name, given what I do, 'Broadway' doesn't come to mind.

What is your pre-college musical background? How'd this all get started? Did you play in bands?
Well, I grew up loving to sing pretty much since I was able to talk. Do you remember the 8 track Singing Machine? My parents had one of those and I used to sing on it all the time. As I got older, I entered the typical talent contests and what not. In high school I was in Choir all four years, and sang the national anthem at a lot of school events. It really all got started simply from a true love for singing. It's all I wanted to do all the time. I also became interested in guitar and in high school I started to teach myself.

When did you start writing songs? Who/What inspired you to start?
I didn't start writing songs until college. Actually, songwriting was a required class for my major. I wasn't sure about it at first, but then one night I actually woke up from a dead sleep with a melody in my head. I had dreamed it. I've gotten used to song ideas keeping me up at night, but that first time was a really cool experience for me. It made me realize how much I wanted to express myself in that form. It's become something that I love, and always strive to become better at.

Is anybody else in your family musically inclined?

My parents were always playing guitar and singing when I was growing up. My mother has a lovely voice. Fortunately, I take after her in so many ways -- with the exception of her stage fright. We all still have fun getting out the karaoke machine now and then and singing together for hours.

You seem to have such a good hard blues and country appreciation yet balanced with smart pop music sense.
Where does that come from? Can you recall what originally connected with you with blues and/or country? Was there an A-Ha! moment ...or were you just raised around it?
I was raised primarily around country music. My parents love it and got me hooked on greats like Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline. In high school, that was the direction I was heading... moving to Nashville to be a country singer. But when I got into college, my musical world was opened up a lot and I really connected with artists like Aretha, Joss Stone, Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, and so on. After I moved to Nashville, I was turned off by the modern country scene, and at the same time realized that a lot of my writing was very blues-based. Better Than You Can was one of the first songs I ever wrote (back in college), which is for the most part a 12 bar blues. My favorite songs to sing have always been those that I can really dig into and have a lot of emotion. All of that definitely led to an 'A-Ha!' moment, and I started embracing those blues tendencies more.. and it felt really good and right when I did. It didn't make sense to go pure blues - that woudn't be true to me. I love and am influenced by so many different artists and genres, and those definitely shine through on the record. You hear that pop hook in This & That and the gospel flavor in Ride, for example.

If I asked you to set your iPod to random and play the next five songs, what would they be?
1. Vintage Trouble - Run Outta You
2. Miranda Lambert - Makin' Plans
3. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Give Me A Chance
4. The Beatles - Something
5. Muddy Waters - Hoochie Coochie Man (Live at The Fillmore)
(Just cause it's so good) 6. Ray Charles - I'm Just A Lonely Boy

I see on your blog you have a new guitar. What can you tell us about it?
What did you use previously? What kind of amp do you use?

Ahh my new guitar. It's a Gretsch G5120 Electromatic. And it's orange. It's pretty awesome. I'm an amateur guitar player... as I mentioned before I picked it up in high school and it's something I really want to build up my chops at. I put in the hours when I can, but I've got a long way to 10,000 haha. When I bought this guitar, I also picked up a Fender Blues Jr. amp. It's a nice set-up. Before, I had an acoustic/electric Taylor for years. Beautiful guitar - but I decided I could get something that fit me better. My dad bought the Taylor for me, so I felt a pang of nostalgia when I sold it...but I know he understands. :) Someday I'll be shredding some bad-ass blues solos... someday...

Do you have a set band that you play with or are you putting one together? What's that been like in a town where you can't throw a brick without killing a musician?
When I play full-band shows in Nashville, I try to use the same guys if I can. At the same time, it's great (and almost necessary) to have a few back-ups. It's a funny thing living in Nashville. As you pointed out, you trip over musicians. But, they are trying to make a living too, and play with a lot of different acts. It can be a bit frustrating trying to get everyone's schedule to line up for rehearsals and gigs.

Have you been in bands before or have you always been strictly a solo artist?
I've always been a solo artist. The only bands I have ever been in were/are cover bands to make some cash. I do think it would be a lot of fun to be in one, though, and am always brainstorming side-project ideas. For example, this past Christmas my boyfriend, Mikie Martel, and I recorded our own version of "Man With The Bag." He's an incredible musician -- he recorded the whole thing, arranged it, and played horns and bass on it. We're planning on recording more tunes for a Christmas EP to release this year, since the one song came out pretty well. That project will be released under The MarWays. The name is an inside joke, and a play on our friends' band called The DanBerrys... Which brings me to my answer for the next question.
(Here's a link to "Man With The Bag")

Any local bands you dig? I highly recommend Scissormen.
The DanBerrys are really great, and are gaining some momentum right now. Check them out and I will check out the Scissormen. Also, Space Capone. They're just plain fun (and awesome).

So why Nashville? Had you been there before?
I just always wanted to move to music city to pursue my dreams. I knew since at least high-school, if not as early as middle school what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go. My family and I visited once before I actually moved here.

You've self-released this album. Are you still/have you been hoping/working for label assistance or are you cool with the new DiY paradigm?
It's a loooot of work doing it yourself. Especially as a solo artist. Balancing the business side with the creative artistic side can be really difficult. I'm always open to the right opportunities. Right now, I would love a booking agent more than anything.

After listening to Me Without You a couple gazillion times now I can't imagine that will be a problem much longer. You got a spare $7? Wanna get in on the ground floor of a fine new artist's career so you can tell your lame friends Oh, I knew Her Back When? Go HERE (for the virtual) or HERE for the hard copy. You'll thank me.

Ekhein Summer 2012 Tape Batch Part 2 - Geoff Mullen / The Accidents / The Compass Rose | Label Feature

Welcome to part two of a feature on the Ekhein label's most recent batch of cassette releases. The LA based label operated by Matthew Sullivan (aka Earn) has been exploring the depths of contemporary composition with a special focus on cassette releases has quickly become home to a large swath if contemporary music's post-noise underground. You can find the first half  of the feature here.

If the dull metallic clang of some factory nearby makes you stop and listen then this one will be a scorcher. Geoff Mullen's cassette Alone and In A Room is a strong brew of live instrumentation and tape collage all mixed up in an improvisatory precision. The music is taken from a variety of live performances but by the sound of things it would be hard pressed to separate the live and prerecorded sound.

This is not necessarily miles away from what Matthew Sullivan and Sean McCann have been up to. What makes Mullen's work stand apart is his seeming obsession with the gritty side of things. Throughout the album swells of percussive chaos continuously bang about in  every direction & the electronic hiss resonates through out. Almost like listening to a condensed version of the industrial revolution.

The Accidents Demo Color may be the further removed from the rest of Ekhein's current group of releases. It is miles away from the sonic sludge assault of Matthewdavid, Geoff Mullen's purcussive industrial din, or Matthew Sullivan & Sean McCann's new music ambience. Blasting off with synthesizers & drum machines at full blast sequenced into a sci-fi new wave paradise. This is not all a kosmiche journey though as spoken word collage pieces and some general sonic mischief follows in due course.

Somewhat surprisingly some rather pleasant sounding new age-esque guitar work enters the picture. Sure it is mixed with a variety of effects loosing up the proceedings with dashes of "weird" here and there detracting any notions of playing it straight here. Most surprising are the easily digestible track lengths averaging around 2:30 minutes, a first in the rest of the releases being discussed.

The Compass Rose may be the perfect bridging gap between The Accidents and the rest of Ekhein's summer 2012 releases. The cassette is soaked in the mythology of cyber punk literature and the bleak dystopian future put forth by Industrial music. I'm not going to necessarily say I follow whatever narrative there is to be had here, but it's probably not too far off from the last transmissions from a poetic scientist on the precipice of disaster.

This is some heavy stuff and in the times (or is it always like this?) of "dark" this and "wave" that The Compass Rose stand apart. It is as far as I can tell the overall industrial attitude that sets it apart, almost vintage in it's feel. I don't think many would argue that Monte Cazazza meets J.G. Ballard. At one point sinking into a mantra that could define this entire batch of releases;"It consists of a variety of colorful arrangements intended solely for my aesthetic approval". This may in fact be the certain mantra which has guided Ekhein's progression as a label, though I would venture to say the only color present here is grey. 

Ekhein's summer 2012 batch of tapes is available now via their website & select distributors,

Crowdfunding classical combo ColdPlay cover...

Have recently stumbled across this extraordinary duo, The Piano Guys, a virtuoso pianist, Jon Schmidt, and cellist, Steven Sharp Nelson, playing inventive cover versions and original material. For this project they enrolled charismatic singer Alex Boye who translates the song into Swahili, English, Yoruba (his mother's native language), and his own African "scat". So the original title of ColdPlay's Paradise became 'Peponi' in this brilliant and adventurous cover.

The Piano Guys are inviting folk to join a 'Founder's Club' to help them produce more music and videos... check it out!


Last Nights Presents - Traxman, The Present, Hiro Kone, & Teklife DJ Set this Saturday 6/23 LATE SHOW

The Present 
Hiro Kone

DJ Set by Teklife (ft. Traxman, J Cush, Durban) 

Saturday June 23rd
Knitting Factory 
361 Metropolitan Ave Brooklyn, NY
LATE SHOW Doors 11:59pm | $8 | All Ages
NY TIMES Arts Beat on the evening. 

Last Nights Presents: Blues Control "Valley Tangents" Release Show w/ Special Guests | Saturday June 23rd 6/23/12

Last Nights Presents:

Blues Control Record Release Show


Purling Hiss
Jordan Redaelli

DJ's Brina Turner & Paul Major 
Visuals by Power Animal

Saturday June 23rd 
285 Kent Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11237
||| L to Bedford | JMZ to Marcy | G to Broadway |||
8pm Doors | $10 | All Ages

Flyer by Lea Cho

Facebook Event Page

The New Yorker discussing the evening
Time Out NY discussing the evening

PAT HODGE- Sounds At Home

@ Facebook // iTunes // Amazon //

Pat Hodge hails from Rochester, NY via Pennsylvania, and is one of those dudes that seem to appear out of nowhere, fully-formed. I'd never heard of the kid before he contacted me, but I was very pleasantly surprised and delighted by what I heard. I had to find out who he is. 

So Pat, give me your hype. 
What's your bio?
Pat Hodge is an American guitar player, singer-songwriter and producer from Rochester, New York. Drawing inspiration from the sounds and stories of rock and roll, blues, soul, gospel and folk musicians of generations past and present, his music is strangely familiar yet refreshingly unique. This sonic blend sets the tone for Hodge's lyrically focused debut release, entitled Home. The 5-track EP was released on May 23rd, 2012.

How about influences? 
How long you been playing guitar? 
Music run in your family? 
Have you always been solo or did you/do you play in bands as well?

Influences are all across the board from BB King, John Lee Hooker, Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, Otis Spann, Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Elmore James and Snooks Eaglin to James Taylor, Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Al Green, The Meters. My favorite guitar player is Peter Green from the REAL FLEETWOOD MAC. I'm also a huge fan of newer music with bands/artists like Wilco, My Morning Jacket, Band of Horses, Bon Iver, Norah Jones, Ray LaMontagne, Ryan Adams, Derek Trucks, etc. I love ALL kinds of music though -everything from delta blues to tradition and contemporary rock and roll, jazz, hip hop, bluegrass, grunge/garage rock, folk, classical and much more from the 1930's to now.
I'm fascinated by the progression of sound and it's seemingly infinite forms, and am excited about the state of the industry today. Great contemporary artists are selling out tours, live musical festivals are selling like crazy, and the independent musician can be heard. Of course major labels are driving over produced garbage that sells and will ALWAYS sell, but now more than ever, there is so much great, real, soulful music. The fact that artists like Gary Clark, Jr., The Black Keys, the Alabama Shakes, Ray LaMontagne are not only surviving, but thriving is really refreshing. REAL music will never die.

I have been playing guitar seriously for about 4 years now. I have not had much musical exposure in my family although with recently moving to Rochester, NY - I've gotten to connect and play a bit with my grandpa who lives in Cortland. He plays a lot of country/western stuff and is heavily influenced by players like Merle Travis and Chet Atkins who I have really come to appreciate.

I am just now starting to take the music thing a bit more seriously you could say, as it's been a pretty personal/private thing up til now. I recorded the EP entirely from my apartment, which has also been just as much of a learning process as playing and singing. I've been singing for about a year and a half now, which has been a difficult process. I have never had a lesson and just recently started learning covers to fill out the time of a live set. I think that for you to truly develop a sound, it's important to learn the instrument on your own. That way your approach to the instrument and what sounds good to you is completely organic and your own. Sure you're sound is guided by your influences and what your ears have been trained to enjoy, but i'm a firm believer in making the sound your own.

I played informally on the drums in a rock and roll group in college which was loads of fun/terrifying. I'll never forget the first time we played live in a Pub, I was so nervous I forgot the opening drum beat. Our lead guitar players face as he turned around to look at me as if saying 'DUDE WHAT IS GOING ON?!" is a moment I will never forget. But it was all in great fun and great to get comfortable in a live setting, something important for all musicians. 

I'm moving to Chicago this August to experience a big city and play and hear music. I intend on playing solo stuff but also diving into a few side projects and perhaps playing guitar or drums in a Chicago style blues group. Needless to say, I'm excited and am enjoying all that life has to offer these days, musically or not.
I think the key to life is doing what you love, surrounded by people you love in a place that you love.

It's apparent in Pat's words that he's a thoughtful man and it shows in his playing, as do his many influences. His sound is nimble and deft, without being self-conscious and showy. Pat's a listener. He's got that connection to the sound as a whole that makes some musicians extra-special. Everything matters but nothing gets in the way of anything else. It's timeless and nicely balanced yet deliciously soulful and blue. He has the goods to get slanky.  Check out Don't Be A Fool For Her Lovin' on headphones (all his stuff sounds great on headphones). You won't be able to help but be drawn in to a random act of taught yet smooth post-Lamontagne/post-Keys grooving. He's just getting started but he's made some good choices. Starting with a 5 song set instead of a whole album. Who has time for that? Give me quality.  No filler. He's got a fresh sound that doesn't try to make any major points. It doesn't have to.  Pat Hodge's music is just that good.

You'll find more videos on YT, he's also on Spotify.

Bruce Springsteen from boy to Soul and Spirit...

An insightful (and rare) interview with 'The Boss', who talks about the influence of his childhood house and Catholic upbringing in relation to his brilliant Wrecking Ball album. For Apple viewers here's some text but video may still be Flash :-(

P h/t Martyn Joseph

Ekhein Summer 2012 Tape Batch Part 1 - Sean McCann and Matthew Sullivan / Matthewdavid | Label Feature

Matthew Sullivan has been releasing music under various pseudonyms for a number of years now. Originally releasing some harsh noise as Privy Seals while eventually mellowing out a bit and stripping back the aggression with Earn the moniker Sullivan has been using since 2008. He hasn't been silent with this project by any means and maintains an ever growing back catalogue which all seemingly led up to last year's A Following Shadow full length on the LA based Post Present Medium.

During all this time he has also been operating the label Ekhein, with a focus on releasing music  via cassette and CD-R and has quickly come to be home to a large swath of the contemporary music's post-noise composers. The label's current crop of releases continue on Sullivan and companies winning streak offering a diverse group of artists presenting a rather cohesive aesthetic aim. In this first look into the label's current offerings the subtle hues of grey really come alive.

The first album up is Sean McCann and Matthew Sullivan's Jackpot.  On this outing the duo have essentially left all notions of genre behind. I would almost dare to say ambient or possibly post-ambient, but that is just ridiculous. Jackpot consists as a "document of sketches and collages" according to the press release  making it almost a necessity to view it in light of the duo more official or completed works such as the recently released Vanity Fair full-length on McCann's Recital imprint. This new cassette was recorded around the same time as that album so it's hard to escape it's elder releases shadow.

Jackpot ventures down the same dusty path as it's fore bearer. A mixed bag collage that is full of subtlet hints of artistry and composition many people in the "underground" seem to be lacking. The album contains enough shifts of emotion and texture to negate tags like 'drone' as well. It seems like the closet possible cousin would be something akin to Smegma or quite possibly LAFMS.

Matthewdavid turns up two sides of long form compositions compromised of a thick fog-like atmosphere that's hard to navigate through. Some sort of constant motion is happening underneath, or on the other side, of all this tape hiss and hum but it's form is difficult to make out. A slow slurp in one headphone and some sort of cosmic tripped out synth in the clouded distance.

It's a fitting entry into the Ekhein catalogue and a little bit of a departure from Matthewdavid's more beat oriented work. There are still elements of a classic mixtape heard in the crevasses of Destin but they are too difficult to discern from the sonic grey matter taking over here. Something that's not necessarily a bad thing in this case.

Ekhein's summer 2012 batch of tapes is available now via their website & select distributors. Stayed tuned for Part Two of this Ekhein label feature.

ILLLS - "Goods" | Track Feature

Sometimes things just fall into place, into a groove if you will. Hitting the kind of spot only a slushy can touch. Something to cool you down in the increasingly hot weather and provide a sweet sugar rush. Oxford, Mississippi duo ILLLS pretty much do just that in a proverbial sense. "Teeth"taken from their debut EP Dark Paradise is a hook laden track that seems to just keep getting better.  Just with all sugar coded gems some dental work down the road some accompanying dental work will be needed.

The video sees the duo wondering around jamming and making some disgusting entree. A little off putting considering the general upbeat and pop-oriented of the tune, I guess the hints of psychedelic weirdness permeated throughout have landed thfese guys somewhere else. In between there gross recipe we see the group in some dramatic setting hinting at the anthemic nature & strength of their music.

ILLLS Dark Paradise EP is available now via The Sound of Sweet Nothing.

MiXenDorp Re-Edit of Tangle Eye Blues

Free download for a few days:
  Tangle Eye Blues - Tangle Eye (miXendorp edit) by m i X e n d o r p

CHiCKEN DiAMOND - Middle Class

Our (one) man (band) in (Thionville) France (just this side of Luxembourg)  
Chicken Diamond has a cool new video out
from his forthcoming second album on Beast Records. Watch and blast:


 Some rockin' gospel action with the amazing Trumpeteers.
The rhythm guitar is gonna slay you. Play it loud and dance with the kids.

Last Nights Presents: Traxman, The Present, Hiro Kone, & DJ sets by J Cush + Durban (of Teklife)

Traxman ***JUST ADDED***
The Present 
Hiro Kone

DJ Sets by J Cush + Durban (of Teklife) 

Saturday June 23rd
Knitting Factory 
361 Metropolitan Ave Brooklyn, NY
LATE SHOW Doors 11:59pm | $8 | All Ages

Fathoming Francis... Savvy Saint

My attention was first drawn to Ian Morgan Cron's (IMC) literary output when the Greenbelt highlighted a review he had made about the 2010 Festival which I blogged about here. Subsequently his 'memoir of sorts' Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me was praised by friends such as Maggi Dawn and Martin Wroe so I felt compelled to purchase, despite the J word in the title! To say I enjoyed it is an understatement, it was one of my top reads last year and one I heartily recommend. I was also aware of IMC's earlier book, Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale, a novel about a pastor of an evangelical 'megachurch' in New England who struggles with a crisis of faith, so when given the opportunity to review it I was delighted.

The book is prefaced with a firmly worded disclaimer that Chase Falson is not IMC in disguise... Ha, I expect I will not be the only one determined to find cracks in that defence! It then opens with Chase arriving in Italy to visit his Uncle Kenny after bucking the trend in church by saying what he really thinks and, as an outcome, being given an immediate sabbatical by the church elders (the Sanhedrin?!). The key characters in the church are introduced before the action happens as Chase is 'nudged' to call this enigmatic Uncle, a Franciscan monk / priest, who has persuaded Chase to drop everything and fly to Europe forthwith.

What then ensues is somewhat of a whirlwind exploration of both the physical church connections and the theology of Saint Francis of Assisi in the company of a bunch of lairy guys who are able to impart wisdom through both their love and behaviour. So our erstwhile pastor is thrown into a bewildering world of relatively orthodox Roman Catholic rituals and edifices in the company of these 'disciples' as they unpack the history of St. Francis. As a result Chase starts to write his journal entries directly to St. Francis, another literary medium to impart some deeply personal thoughts about his pilgrimage. There are some notable counterpoints, too, as St. Francis' advanced thinking is explored, for example, I couldn't help notice the narrative as red wine was poured into plastic cups whilst simultaneously discussing how St. Francis was effectively the first Christian enviromentalist. Furthermore, during one of the services of Mass there are disctinct similarities between the young IMC and the adult Chase. Ian, you've been sussed!

Now, just as I was starting to get a little uncomfortable thinking that the answer to all my spiritual quests could only be answered by attending Mass and/or church even more, half way through the book Chase is on his own and lands up encountering Carla, a gifted and beautiful cellist. Subsequently they share a meal with a top notch musicologist who has a major effect on them both.

From then on I was hooked. Ok, music may be home territory for me, but I found myself reflecting that perhaps, as a reader, I need to cover all the same ground as Chase, to be a pilgrim too? From then on I found myself reading purposefully, allowing myself to be absorbed as even more stunning surprises were revealed before the build up to the challenging conclusion, which is neither one of received wisdom or what you might expect. This is then developed in greater detail in the excellent and comprehensive study guide included as an appendix.

Interestingly his two books appear to be directed at different audiences. Chasing Francis is much more of a book for a Christian, churchy type whilst I could certainly give Jesus, My Father, The CIA and me to anyone, regardless of their faith journey or affiliation. As a UK citizen who just has to drive across this country to experience the relatively radical teaching that forms the core of the Greenbelt Festival ethos, I feel much of the theology in Chasing Francis was comforting rather than revolutionary. However, I equally found that an important aspect of this book is the encouragement and endorsement it provides, particularly concerning the arts and, for me, music. One minor warning for non North Amercian readers is some of the language and acronyms may remain a total mystery! IMC's later book translates better in that respect.

Readers will really appreciate IMC's turn of phrase, he has a enchanting writing style that makes this book very enjoyable and, as I said earlier, a great encouragement. More significant are the layers in the narrative that give the reader the opportunity to mine the text for interpretations that match their current condition, which migrates this work from purely fiction. IMC refers to this as 'wisdom literature' in the introduction, an apposite description. And what's really intriguing is the loose ends with many of the characters, roll on the sequel...!

Ian Morgan Cron is one of the speakers this year at Greenbelt 2012


LA Vampires By Octo Octa - Freedom 2k | Video Feature

LA Vampires By Octo Octa's newest single "Freedom 2k" sounds like a manifesto or sounding bell of victory for 100% Silk. The scene & aesthetic have been closely cultivated since the label's inception last year, riding heavy on a smooth and sexy style of four-to-the-floor house the label also spreads it's wings with a grab bag variety of 90's dance musics sure to bring back bits of blissful nostalgia.

The accompanying video sees a stoic knit crew of fashionably dressed voguing at their best. Amanda Brown, aka LA Vampires, is spellbinding in her utter sincerity. Her dance moves and constantly rotating outfits and hairdos never make her blink an eye, something which seems like it would have been hard at times. It's hard to maintain a serious composure when what you're creating is at once it's own statement while also a painstakingly obvious look back into dance music's past. Yet Octo Octa's beat keeps things moving and engaging as beat drop in and out tastefully building and relieving tension with ease.

LA Vampires By Octo Octa's "Freedom 2k" is available now via 100% Silk.

Last Nights Presents: Volunteers Park 7" Release Show w/ Blanko & Noiry and DJ Chris Freeman

Blanko & Noiry
Volunteers Park 
(Former Silk Flowers, 7" Record Release)

DJ Chris Freeman (of Fusetron)

Saturday June 30th 
Big Snow
89 Varet St. Brooklyn, NY 11206

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