About Author: Kelly

Kelly is a writer living in Los Angeles where he works on comedy, cooks fancy Italian foods, and obsesses over rom-coms and Seahawks football. His favorite tunes hail from the genres of folk rock and mid 90’s hip-hop. He considers Mark Morrison’s, Return of The Mack, the pinnacle of human sound. For reals; it doesn’t get better than that.

Posts by Kelly



I’ve started the summer off proper. Been to a slew of live shows as of late and I’ll be damned they’ve all been great. My attendance to club shows has been lacking this past year. Living in Los Angeles it you can burn out on live tunes pretty quick. Not because the music isn’t any good, it’s all that comes with attending live music out there. There’s the traffic, the parking, finding a designated driver…I realize that those are all car related but the fact is when going out constantly involves getting behind the wheel, it gets old fast. The LA crowds also are pretty iffy too. Ask any entertainer, it’s hard to get anyone in LA to go out to see anything. Half the time the crowd seems apathetic about any band that they specifically didn’t come to see. I hate that. Especially when it involves rock music. Apathy has never encouraged a crowd to surge along with the band. You gotta get sweaty. Get messy. Make it happen. When you go out for live music, you’re guaranteed exposure to at least 2-3 new bands in a single night. Not all good, but hey, you can’t win all the time and that’s okay. All the stinkers make the great ones that much better.

a2404134072_2This past weekend I attended the record release for the band BOY TOY. I already knew they were a great band, so I entrusted them to pull together a lineup of other great bands. I had faith. That faith led me through a Friday night thunderstorm to a small bar called Baby’s All Right. BOY TOY didn’t go on until 11, but I had to check out the first of 3 opening acts. The little taste I got from their Soundcloud account was motivation enough to push me through the downpour. That and the promise of free Cutty Sark. As you guys know, I’m a sucker for whiskey. I’ll do a lot of heavy lifting when promised cheap tickets and free booze. As promised the Cutty Sark was flowing and the first opener METLALEG took the stage right on time. This week’s ARTIST OF THE WEEK: METALLEG.

Let’s kick things off with their song Leather and Velvet off of the METALLEG EP. Someone was nice enough to take the time and cut a video to this song made up of footage from the horror movie Basket Case (movie about an evil deformed formerly conjoined twin who lives in a basket) and some other flick that features a demon baby being dropped into a blender. Time well spent. I wasted a good amount of time Googling the name of this evil baby movie but you can only do that for so long before you start getting grossed out.

Despite the name, Metal s not METALLEG’s jam. They’ve dubbed themselves “gutter pop” and the sub-genre is fitting. Each track features short bursts of rock harmonies and catchy ass hooks. Their Ramones influence is quite obvious. Hell they even have the count off at the top of most of their tracks. Bottom line, these guys are rock and roll. They’re what rock and roll used to be, and what it should be. Their newest album Hit of The Week is a batch of old-school New York punk tracks that are delight to the eardrums. Here’s their single off of Hit of The Week titled…Hit of The Week.

My favorite track, as of late, has been the simplistic blast that is Bleed A Lot. I can’t stop playing that song. There isn’t a whole lot to it, but who cares? If This doesn’t get you moving then I think you’ve got problems.

I like METALLEG. I like them a lot. I think you guys will too. They know what they want to do and they do it. No bells and whistles, just rad rock songs. Check them out. You won’t regret it. Even if you do regret it, that feeling will be fleeting because their album is only 20 minutes long so it wasn’t a huge time investment for you anyway.

Big Hugs,







#AOTW: Honduras

honduras-bordersThese past few weeks my life has been truly bringing the noise. It’s hard to put that any other way. Between the city streets, the thunderstorms and the new rock, my ear drums have been busting. The start of summer has been loud as hell and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. This week the noise continues, we have another rock band out of New York that has been mixing it up for the past two years and aims to break into The Big Time at any moment now. This week’s ARTIST OF THE WEEK brings back the punk sounds that called London home in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Despite the name, these guys came up stateside and are keeping New York City louder than ever. This week’s ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Honduras. Here’s their first single off the record Borders.

If that doesn’t get your blood going, then I don’t know what will. The band put out their Morality EP this past February. Thehonduras EP is bursting at the seams with kinetic rock and catchy hooks to boot. The popular commentary on these guys from most media outlets is “Alex Turner (The Arctic Monkeys) meets the Sex Pistols.” The instrumentals certainly hint at a less friendly version of the Arctic Monkey’s but when I hear the vocals I can’t help but think that Colin Meloy formed a band that encourages pogoing while drenched in sweat and cheap beer. For those who are too young, pogoing is a dance move from back in the day where you jump up and down. It gets it’s name from the prehistoric toy know as the pogo stick. Here is the newest single off Morality, Ace. It’s definitely the type of song you could get into trouble to.

While many have sounded off on the shear awesomeness of the of Morality EP, I don’t want you guys to miss out their dynamite freshman effort Cahokia. It’s the same fast paced guitars and thumping drums but features a distortion on the vocals that gives the band a Growlerslike sound. For me that’s really nice because I love The Growlers. Here’s their song Alien off of the Cahokia. The video features a pretty sweet fight. If I get into a fight this summer, I can only hope that this is playing in the background. Might juice me up enough to pick up the W.

If you’re in the New York City area this Memorial Day weekend, these guys are playing a show at the Mecurey Lounge on Sunday night at 7PM. You can bet on me being there since I like loud rock music. Check them out. You won’t regret it, unless you’re a total softie and you dig Barry Manilow or some shit. If that’s the case then maybe these guys aren’t your steez. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m a Fanilow through and through and I like these guys as much as anybody. Party on.


Big Hugs,










boytoyHPI think I’m entering my own personal chick-rock renaissance. I know that sounds weird, but stay with me. I’m not saying I wasn’t listening to girl groups in the past. I was down with the Heartless Bastards and The Donnas way back when, but honestly that was about it. I don’t know why. Did I have blinders on before? Was I sexist pig that has only now accepted the fact that ladies are rock stars too? Both are possibilities. Regardless of my lacking past, in the recent months I’ve been listening to more lady rock than ever before. The Coathangers, Dum Dum Girls, Haim, Nelson Can…all of them ladies and all of them rocking harder than most bands out there today. This week I add another band led by the fairer of the two sexes. They are 2 girls and 1 dude mixed and served as the trio known as BOYTOY. They’re this week’s ARTIST OF THE WEEK!

The line up is as follows:

Vocals: Saara Untracht Oakner

Guitar: Glenn Michael VanDyke

Drums: Mathew Gregory (Drummer on EP is Dylan Ramsey)

BOYTOY is a Brooklyn/ Boston based trio offering up a heavy dose fun with songs that feature dueling guitars, sugary pop melodies, and playful lyrics and harmonies. Their songs are upbeat and unbelievably catchy. It’s near impossible to keep your feet from tapping while listening to the latest release TV Dreams.

Prior to TV Dreams, BOYTOY tantalized listeners with their pop laced rock track Visits, which harks back to the days of 90’s rock like the Breeders. Other writers have made that comparison as well. It was inevitable that comparison get made because this is a band fronted by women. Occasionally their songs do have a Breeders vibe, but in my personal opinion BOYTOY is way more fun than The Breeders ever were. In January they released their video for Visits . It stars Horatio Sanz. Where’s that dude been? You can download the track now though their bandcamp.

One of my favorite tracks they have out currently is their song Runner. The opening to the song starts with a parade of drums and a wailing amp squeal. Reminds me of the opening to Nirvana’s School. Where Nirvana went full thrash on that song, BOYTOY flips Runner on it’s head and turns what begins as an assault, into a warm embrace.

I recently saw BOYTOY perform at Niagra bar in New York City and they did not disappoint. The fact that they closed with The Ramones’ The KKK Took My Baby Away was really the icing on the cake for me. Check out this band. Make sure to download their self-titled EP due out May 13th. If you’re in the New York area, they will be having a record release show on May 23rd. Check out the details on their Facebook page.

Big Hugs,










#AOTW- Dances

1897693_694604917244271_1175058851_nIt finally happened. I finally did it. After bitching and moaning for years about how the L.A. scene is completely fucked out. After hating my life every day as I sat in upwards of 3 hours of traffic to go to and from a job that I hated. I finally took the plunge and headed back east to New York City in search for a job and a life that offered something more. I had finally had enough. My final weeks in L.A. were littered with all of the bullshit that I’ve come to expect from the city. My car getting hit for a 5thtime, waking up to find a used tampon sitting outside my front door, a neighbors sewer line bursting so the smog filled air smelled like pure shit…all this and more. It was the city’s way of showing me out the door. Thanks L.A. You gave me a fistful of bad memories and more spite than I know what to do with. That being said, I’ve been in NYC for a little over a week and I can honestly say I find myself vastly happier. The air is crisp and cool, the sun shows itself every now and again, the streets are bustling, and most importantly I haven’t had to get behind the wheel of a car once. I find myself just wandering around from time to time, listening to music soaking everything in. During one of these sessions I picked up a magazine touting up and coming New York bands. I always find it a bit strange to read about someone’s music before you hear it, but the interview sparked my interest. Mostly because the author of the article called this band’s harmonies, “Beatles inspired”. I dunno if I’d go far as comparing them to the Fab 4 but damnit if I wasn’t delightfully surprised by their tunage. This week’s ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Dances. Let’s kick things off with their punk dance jam Rat. It’s short and sweet. It’s fast and loud. It’s fun as fuck. Turn up the volume and go with it.

The band is comprised of Trvor Vaz on guitar/ vocals, David Su on drums,10172823_707988012572628_623764221_n and Sam Stoeltje on bass and vocals. The trio previously featured a 4th member on a second guitar, but after a few shows and practices when said guitarist was unavailable, the band booted him and kept it as a threesome. That goes to show you kiddies. You gotta show up. You don’t show up, you out the club. I mean band, you out the band.

This past month they released their first EP Whiter Sandson Black Bell Records. I’m a big fan of it. 4 songs. 13 minutes. A damn fine debut if I do say so. Their garage rock sound puts them in the line of indie bands like FIDLAR and Wavves yet I can’t help but have flashbacks to bands like The Vines or The Hives when they really get going. Their harmonies sweeten up the guitar thrash and show their skill as vocalists, especially on their tracks Doc Youth and Holy Fool.

I foresee this EP going into heavy rotation in the coming summer months. I also foresee myself being super sleepy after going to see them play live tonight.

Great vibes. Good jams. Get on this band early and you won’t regret it. Go to their Facebook link at the bottom of this article though. It’s easiest way to find them. Trust me. Googling “Dances” will get you nowhere. Go check ‘em out.

Big hugs from NYC,






#AOTW: Iska Dhaaf

iska-daafWe have a special feature for this week’s segment. Normally I try and bring you some tunes that you guys have never heard of and then give you all a bit of back story. This time instead of hearing the story from me, you’re going to get it straight from the source. Iska Dhaaf (Somali for “let it go”) is an up and coming Seattle band that began recording in 2011. The duo made up of Nate Quiroga (Mad Rad) and Benjamin Verdoes (Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band) just released their album Even the World Will Burn this past month. It’s some of the more interesting and entertaining indie rock I’ve heard in a long while. Drummer Benjamin Verdoes was kind enough to have a chat with me about the album, working with a duo, and the Seattle music scene. What follows is that interview. ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Iska Dhaaf. Let’s kick it off with their track Everybody Knows.


KM: Nate used to be in the hip-hop group Mad Rad and you were in the indie rock band Mt. St. Helens Vietnam band, how did you guys initially cross paths?

BV: We had run into each other at Sasquatch and just around the city. We were both promoting our projects really maxresdefaulthard. (Mad Rad) was another band that was pushing things creatively, playing really intense shows, and we kinda had that in common. I had been listening to Mad Rad’s music and I wanted to learn how to make beats. I had never delved into making electronic music so I actually hit up the producer from Mad Rad and started going over to his studio and shadowing him. Then I ended up playing guitar on a song on their second record and then ended up playing shows with them. That’s when Nate and I kinda of got together. I was really impressed with what he was doing. He was a really impressive songwriter. He played with Mt Saint Helens on a song. Then we started collaborating together and since then we haven’t stopped. We’ve been playing almost every day for three years.

KM: When you guys got together you moved from guitar to drums and Nate took over on guitar despite having never played. Is that correct?

BV: That’s right he only knew how to play a few chords. I had been playing drums off and on, it’s not something I iskadhaafneumos1-580x386was every really proficient at. To be honest when we got together we just started writing. Sometimes I would play bass, we’d loop things, we’d both write vocal melodies, and we’d harmonize on things. It was really an interesting process. At a certain point he would come in with riffs and different parts of songs. I would come in with pieces of songs. We developed these different ways of writing songs and then had to figure out how to preform them. That’s when I started doing the drums and the bass. We felt like we had such chemistry between the two of us that it didn’t really make sense to play with other people.


KM: Is that what influenced you guys to stay as a duo rather than form a full band?

BV: Precisely. We’ve had people come by. But as far as the vision of it, and the vibe, it was always a duo. We don’t really have a practice schedule. We just know that we’re going to meet every day. We just know that. It’s part of our daily existence. This band is a continuation of what we’re reading and what we’re discussing. It makes it a lot easier both musically and spiritually to keep it just the two of us.

KM: What are you reading?

BV: We recommend books to each other. My girlfriend who is brilliant will recommend books to me. Nate’s been reading Love In The Time Of Cholera. We’re reading different things right now, but we’ve definitely gone back and forth. I got really in to this guy Phillip Larkin, some really dark stuff. T.S. Elliot is what I always go back to. He’s like a staple. Recently I was reading this book Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead by Strauss.

It’s all interviews with famous people he’s done over the last couple decades. It’s really well written. The way he crafts it together. It’s really fascinating how people deal with celebrity in different ways.

KM: In the process of collaborating, how different is it from Mt St. Helens? How has your process evolved?

 BV: It’s considerably different. Actually it’s a huge relief. You use a different part of your brain when you’re collaborating with someone. You have different sensitivities. With Mt. St. Helens, the concept, the body of the songs, every decision was mine. Now it’s more of a dialogue. So it becomes really interesting to be like, I wrote the riff inside this song, and he wrote the bridge of the song. It’s a totally fluid experience. People tend to be very protective of ideas. With Nate we shared things very early. It’s a really cool process. I actually learn so much from it. The songs when I listen back, it’s not just me. I get to listen to it like I would listen to other people’s music. It’s a different experience.

KM: So there’s no telling where one person’s contributions begin or end?

BV: Exactly. With the exception of a few songs we really couldn’t play them without each other very easily. Especially with the new songs we’ve been working on. They’re a really interesting blend of parts and they need each part to function.

KM: How long does that usually take?

BV: It’s quite different actually. Some songs we’d spend months on and then we’d come back. We’d shift parts around 20 times until we’d finally figure it out. Other songs it would be a couple weeks, some songs a couple days. Sometimes we’ll just go really hard for like ten hours and spend the next coupe weeks editing. This past weekend Nate was playing guitar, I was playing drums, that’s what we did all weekend. Play one song. The song’s pretty much done now so that’s pretty cool.

KM: How does this affect the recording process?

 BV: I feel like the basic structure is pretty set (live), but some of the details aren’t. I generally have to style my drum parts after what’s happening with the bass. But it just depends on the song. Sometimes it will make perfect sense to hammer it out the way we have it at the moment, but sometimes it will be very much an editing process. We’ll go back and snip something or move it around, I’ll play a different instrument over the top of it. With Everybody Knows we’d set up in the same room and we’d do it. We did the drums, guitar, and the vocal live, and then built around it. We’ll usually go back and listen to the mixes. I’ll call Nate or he’ll call me and we usually have the same feeling. We didn’t get it or just didn’t get it right, so we’ll go back and figure out what the song needs.

KM: The first two singles, Happiness and Rumi, were they the first two you ended up recording or were they simply the first you felt were ready to put out?


BV: Well we recorded the first group of songs at the same time. I think All the Kids, True Ones, Happiness, Rumi, and Everybody Knows. We did 3 different sessions early and then we went back and finished the record. But we basically we did groups of songs that we thought were done because we wanted to do seven inches (vinyl). We did these by feel and by season. All The Kids was sort of a summer or spring song. We have these intuitions and want to follow what makes sense and what feels good. These songs feel like what we want to say right now. Then in fall it’s like, Happiness and Rumi made a lot of sense. I don’t know how many bands do that but we just try and do what makes sense to us.


KM: The opening two tracks have a Mt. St. Helens edge to them. They’re fast and aggressive. How has your past work influenced the new stuff?

BV: It’s a hard to tell. We definitely go in these different phases where I feel like we’re dealing with different subject matter. It’s the mood. We’ll go into these modes where we’re really hung up on certain things. As far as Everybody Knows it’s a very aggressive song. It’s sort of influenced by protest music. There’s a sense of urgency about it. I guess I had a lot to do with some of the arrangement in that song. Our producer Ephriam Nagler had an active hand in the delays and stuff. We kinda lean into those moods really hard until we feel like we’ve hit it.


KM: What would you say is the overall theme of your album Even The Sun Will Burn?

 BV: I think that a lot of what we’ve noticed in retrospect, a few songs were a about change of one’s self and growing. Ideas on attachment and detachment run rampant within the record. Songs like Two Ones and Dependency are very in the context of how we attach and detach from people. Then you have these elements of drone warfare and how we’re attached to technology and the way that we’re no longer involved with war. Our phones and how we’re supposed to be attached with people all the time and are some how still left with this feeling like we can’t connect. I think that the record approaches these ideas from a bunch of different perspectives. If I had to pick one thing it would be the exploration of the self and how we are connecting to society.


KM: Having this view of detachment in regards to technology, what are you views on social media?

BV: I definitely use stuff. We’ve used Facebook, but for a long time we didn’t use anything mostly because we felt like we didn’t have anything to talk about. But once we started releasing things we used it. There’s not inherent evil or good in social media. It’s just a tool. The real caution with all of these things is how you connect with it. We use it as a tool. I don’t always want to be focusing on our web presence. That’s a sketchy territory I think.

KM: What led you guys to go with the Apocalypse Now vibe with the video for Everybody Knows?

BV: Nate and I were reading a lot of things in the New York Times about what was happening with drones in Yemen and Somalia, all over the place. Even here with the stupid shit you read about Amazon delivering your groceries. It’s just this phenomenon of this thing that’s changing our society. We were reading a lot about that subject and when I was doing research I found this clip from Vietnam. It’s this super 8 clip of these troops dancing on stage with Anne Margaret. It’s really short but it was so beautiful to me. There was this sense of joy. I knew these guys were going to go back out into this terrible circumstance but in that moment there was this feeling of joy and they were so happy. I sent it to the director and he was really into it and he was definitely a fan of Apocalypse Now.


KM: How did Macklemore get involved with that?

BV: Nate sang on a song on his album The Heist and they’ve been friends for years. When we were writing the concept for the video. I was looking at these videos with Bob Hope, and we wanted this Bob Hope figure and Ben (Macklemore) was the first person who came to mind. It really kind of fit with some of the meaning behind this figure that people identify with. Ben’s vibe and just knowing him and what he represents to people was really positive.

KM: Do you think with Macklemore’s success that the focus on Seattle music will be shifting from rock to hip-hop?

BV: He’s helped broaden the focus. Nirvana is obviously in the bigger scope. They sold more records and are historically more important at this point as far as what people know. I think it’s really good. To have bands like Modest Mouse and Death Cab and these quintessential indie bands that have sold records. They broaden the template. That gets more exposure for other really talented people. I think it’s a really rich community. It’s really rare that a city can have the infrastructure and diversity to break bands like Fleet Foxes and then Macklemore, Kingdom Crumbs, Raz Simone, or whoever gets that notoriety.

KM: Are you planning any touring for the record?

BV: We have some festivals lined up. Next Wednesday we are playing Portland, then down to San Francisco, LA and Albuquerque, then Denver, Salt Lake, and Spokane on the way back. Then hopefully in June we will be hopping on other tours. Our plan is to be on tour most of the year. Just really get out there and connect with the people and share the music.

The Album is Even The Sun Will Burn is out now.

Big hugs,








#AOTW- The Hood Internet

I have a girlfriend now. It’s weird. Well not weird, just different. After being alone for so long, you forget what it means to really get to know someone of the opposite sex. Sure you have the casual conversations with women in your day-to-day life, but that’s just surface level talk but nothing like that of when realize you could see yourself spending a good portion of your future with a person.

I’m now at the point in the relationship when you really start to notice differences. Differences that get glossed over initially but then come to light once the initial excitement settles. The most glaring difference is our musical taste. While mine skews more toward blues, folk, and 90’s gangster rap, the lady generally finds herself swimming in the sugary sweet sounds of modern pop. All day. Every day. If I come home and she’s having a one woman dance party belting Beyoncé at the top of her lungs, I’m not surprised at all. I like it though. She has a brilliant happiness within her that I will never be able to match. It’s just modern pop is just not a genre I’m interested in. It’s been that way for a long time. I think I jumped ship after they decided to remove all real instruments from the songs. I felt that was a good time to tune out.

Despite my abhorrent feelings towards the genre she loves, she seems determined to find music that we will both like. So far it hasn’t worked out that well. She sends artists and I listen and then feel like a dick when I have to tell her that I’m not exactly a huge fan. It’s no fault of hers’. It’s not like she has bad taste, she’s sending things that are quite popular, but I just can’t seem to wrap my head around them. I’m just a picky bastard though. That’s what it boils down to.

Recently she sent me St. Vincent’s new album. And it’s fine. it just lacks a certain umph that I look for. It’s well crafted and cleanly polished; it just doesn’t do it for me. Then this morning I woke up and saw one of my favorite artists had gone and remixed the St. Vincent track Digital Witness. Digital Witness on it’s own is a fine pop track. But it was now enhanced with the lyrics of Humpty and the Digital Underground’s classic Humpty Dance…that’s next level shit right there.


Who would have thought that these two things would go together oh so very well? The Hood Internet, that’s who. It just so happens that they are this week’s ARTIST OF THE WEEK.

THI031401-1The Hood Internet is comprised of Aaron (ABX) and Steve Reidell (STV SLV). The two settled in Chicago and began collaborating on music in 2007. As they began crafting songs constructed from popular indie tracks and hip-hop, they realized they needed a platform to launch them. To do so they started the blog The Hood Internet. Soon thousands were downloading their tracks.


They also started the blog Album Tacos featuring iconic album covers with tacos photoshopped into them. That has nothing to do with their music, but is hilarious.


The first track I ever heard from them was their mash up Two Weeks of Hip Hop (Dead Prez & Grizzly Bear) in 2009. Really it’s just a straight forward mix of Grizzly Bear’s instrumentals with Dead Prez doing their hit Hip-Hop. It’s an interesting blend. Dead Prez’s original version of Hip Hop has the heavy bass blasting underneath their politically charged lyrics, where as the mashup featured the indie back drop, dulls the edge. It’s not any worse off. It just opens the words up to appeal to a completely different audience.


They did the exact same thing with their track Good Ol’ Fashion Rump Shaker blending the wildn’ out Beastie Boys with the painfully cute Matt & Kim. I think it works. Matt & Kim finally become tolerable.


It just dawned on me here and now that I can’t stand Matt & Kim’s actual songs but when they get sampled for him hop tracks it’s always pretty sweet. See here


Speaking of making weak shit cool, their track Genesis Squared made Phil Collins relevant for the first time since South Park trashed him in 2000 with their episode Timmy 2000.


Since 2007 The Hood Internet has been a tour de force. 10 mixtapes, a Studio record titled FEAT, a remix of that record, consistently releasing tracks on their blog, all while touring the globe. Busy guys.


Sure, maybe the new lady and I will never see eye to eye on music. There are few artists we can agree on, but for the most part she will blast the electro dance and pop, and I’ll remember way too many numetal lyrics while pontificating about delta blues. But I’m okay with that. It’s not all about music guys. There’s more to people than what type of media they consume. Plus, there is always the hope that The Hood Internet will come together and make a Katy Perry vs. NWA mash that we can really come together on.


Big Hugs,









#AOTW LEGEND: The Presidents of The United States of America

They say you only regret the things you don’t do. I call bullshit. That’s your Dad’s version of YOLO. I’m willing to bet your Dad has a shit load of things he wishes he didn’t do, most notably have a secret Canadian family or banging the hooker outside of Bangkok while traveling abroad with his frat bros from Sigma Moo. Those warts that pop up twice a year are probably a reminder of something he wishes HE DID NOT DO. I’m constantly regretting things I do or have done meanwhile rarely do I regret skipping out on a friend’ s suicidal weekend plans.

large_presidents_United_StatesThe are things that I wish I had done though. I am not without fault. One involves this week’s band. When I was working at a bar in college. I was dead broke and given the opportunity to go see The Presidents of The United States of America. I knew I wanted to go to the show but I had no cash and knew that I could pick up a double shift at work and put myself in the black for the first time in months. Sadly I declined the ticket. Two friends that did end up going to the show were kind enough to pick up a T-Shirt for me. I was thankful sure, but it remains a constant reminder to me that I didn’t see one of the most influential bands of my youth. They got lifetime memories. I got a ringer T. When you look at it like that it doesn’t seem like making an extra $200 was worth. POTUSA was a rock band that stood for fun. Their jams moved fast and their lyrics were hilarious. That ‘s why they are this week’s ARTIST OF THE WEEK: LEGEND.

In the 90’s while much of the Pacific Northwest was shrouded in the squealing feed back of grunge there was another Seattle rock band that was more about hangin’ and having a good time than fighting as the proletariat against the on coming swill of society. I’m not sure what that last bit means but it sounds like something a 25 year old Kurt Cobain would have said that many would have considered deep and prophetic. In 1993 The Presidents of The United States of America formed with lead bassist/ vocalist Chris Ballew along with basstarist Dave Dederer and drummer Andrew McKagan . As a kid I needed that to balance out the gangster rap and Nevermind. They were tunes that everyone could be on board with. The music never took itself too seriously which is what makes it so easy to love.

Their first record, a self-titled, was recorded and released in 1994. The debut record featured such notable hits as



and my favorite, the lesser known Stranger.

These were the songs I would play as a kid when I wanted to kick it up a notch. This was the 10 year old me equivalent to Andrew W.K. Music that signified nothing more than a party.

Their follow up album II was released in 1996. When you look back you can see that the band did not stop touring from the release of their first album in 1994 until 1997. The fact that they even found the time to record a second album is amazing. These fellas were big time road dogs until lead singer Ballew got married and started a family.

The band was making a living, playing sold out shows all over the world and then it abruptly came to an end. Ballew PUSOAhad had decided, rather than continue on with the rock and roll lifestyle, hang it up and spend more time back in his Seattle home with those that he loved the most. He walked out at the peak. As a kid I was upset by this fact and really couldn’t find a way to let it go. This is why no one takes 11 year olds seriously. They can’t see the forest for the trees. Now as an older guy who rarely gets to see his own family, I get it. On the road over 200 days a year is the grind of grinds. At some point the body and the mind are just going to tell you: STOP DUDE. The band disbanded in 1998.

1998 would not be the end of music from the guys however. After the break up the band released a third album titled Pure Frosting. It was a mix of new songs, unreleased tracks, covers, and live takes. This was the farewell letter to the fans. It’s a great record. The live version of Back Porch alone makes it totally worth it.

Not being together didn’t stop the guys from making music on their own.  Ballew created tunes with both The Giraffes and The Tycoons while Dederer joined up with Duff McKagan on The Gentlemen and Loaded.

The band reformed briefly in 2001 only to break up again. That break up didn’t stick either and the band reformed fully in 2004 and have been making music on and off together ever since. This past week they released their latest full length, 20 years since their initial effort. I wish I could write about it here and now but I haven’t listened to it YET. I’d love to hear what you guys think, Check out Kudos to You! and let’s get a discussion going. They check out the rest of their catalogue. It’s very worth it.

Big Hugs,









The other day I was watching an episode of the Sopranos. I heard a song that I hadn’t heard in years. The song kinks-resizeblasted through the Bada Bing as the Bing girls AKA “The Most Lethargic Strippers in History”, wiped down the poles. I knew I had heard the song before but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It had the classic rock vibe but I couldn’t attribute it to any of the heavy hitters that I’d come to attribute with “strip club” rock. So what do you do in these types of situations? You turn to Google. That oh so comfortable security blanket that is there for us not so much hardcore research. Mostly for ending stupid arguments at bar tables over either who starred in Jungle 2 Jungle or when Ace of Bass got together. Turned out the song that I couldn’t shake was in fact Living On A Thing Line by The Kinks. The song got me thinking. I grew up listening to a lot of The Kinks, but I’ll be damned if it sounded anything like this. The guys had some serious talent and some serious range. I love these guys and that’s why were are taking a moment to salute them with this week’s ARTIST OF THE WEEK: LEGEND segment. Here we go. The Kinks.

The Kinks jumped onto the scene in the early 60’s. The original lineup consisted of the Davies brothers, Dave and Ray, along with their friends Mick Avory, and Pete Quaife. At that time the guys were riding the wave of the British Invasion. Brit pop was hitting it’s peak with the Beatles. Their first real success was seen with their 3rd  and 4th singles You Really Got Me and All Day and All of The Night.




It was those two songs that really spawned my love for dirty, simplistic garage rock. This was the band that turned me on to groups like, Cheeseburger, The Strokes, and The White Stripes. It had a soul to it. There was power behind sound that I thought was missing from most music. Big thing to realize is thesKinks-01e songs were from the early 60’s. This wasn’t exactly a time of aggression in music. But there is the beginning of punk on those records. Many metal/rock bands contribute the Kinks as heavy influences and you can definitely hear what they mean.


While these songs were fast paced and aggressive over the years we saw that The Kinks also had a sense of humor. They could slow it down and make songs with the British tongue in cheek that most people have come to know. Songs like Lola, a poppy ballad about meeting a lovely lady in a bar who turns out not to be a lady at all.



Then one of my favorites Ape Man, a lovely satire about abandoning human society and rejoining the jungle.



Even with all the tongue and cheek and early punk incantations they branch out yet again with their poppier tracks like Victoria, Well Respected Man, and Sunny Afternoon.




To cap it all off they recorded the greatest Christmas song of all time, Father Christmas.


I realize most of the time I write legendary segments they are dedicated to history, and The Kinks certainly have a very tumultuous one, but I didn’t want to do that here today. The line up changed over time, sure, but the core stayed the same. I didn’t want to get into the infighting or which Brit band overshadowed which. All I want is for all of you to kick back, and listen to some god damn Kinks songs. Their style is timeless.

Big Hugs,







#AOTW- Smith and Weeden

I write about music for this site. I like music sure, but truth be told, when I’m riding alone in my car, stuck in traffic, for hours on end, all within the hell hole that is Los Angeles, I’m usually not listening to tunes. No sir. I’ve been a podcast guy since 2007. Talk just makes the commute go by faster. I dig the exchange of ideas maaaaan. One of my favorites podcasts is The Film Vault featuring Loveline engineer Anderson Cowan and The Adam Carolla Show sidekick “Bald” Bryan Bishop. I love that show. Every Friday I settle in and listen to two guys who, like me, are obsessed with movies. Their dynamic is great, Anderson digs the more artfully done stuff, while Bryan is more oriented toward the action pack monstrosities like Transformer series.


SEL_0590It just works. They touch briefly on new movies but mostly talk about unsung favorites. They introduce me to stuff I would have never heard of or ever thought to consider. They do that not only with movies, but music as well. Every week, they fade into their commercial breaks with a “featured artist” to expose the listeners to new tunes. This past week I was listening, and it happened to be a band where I had seen their name often, yet never heard the music. Then it hit me. Every time Deer Tick was back in Rhode Island, their name was popping up on Twitter. Seems these guys know each other and will occasionally play shows together. Anderson and Bryan shared them with me, so now I’m sharing them with you. This Week’s ARTIST OF THE WEEK: SMITH & WEEDEN.


Smith & Weeden formed up in 2007 after Jesse Emmanuel Smith and Seamus Weeden met while working at Whole Foods. The two played together for a while under the name King Falcon but then separated as Weeden moved to Austin and Smith to Rhode Island. After two years apart they reunited at the SXSW festival in 2011. There they met1375120_687857804566179_1798446790_n up with fellow Rhode Island band MOGA. The two stayed with the group during the festival, in fact, they recorded their only EP in their rental house. Smith and Weeden were born.


The EP is fantastic. It’s Delta Spirit meets Old Crow Medicine Show. While the EP is only six songs, it covers a vast spectrum. Opening with somber tracks Drinking Through Some Problems and Angeline.



Closing withe more up beat tracks like Playin’ A Part and Take a Train which really capture the Americana sound of the early 60’s/ 70’s folk rock vibe. Hell you might even find a hint of CCR in there.


The final track Just Call encapsulates loneliness pretty perfectly.


This past December they put together a Kickstarter to aid in the release of their first full-length album. They are going MC5 style making their debut album in front of a live audience. On a personal note, I love this. Nothing sets the tone like a live record. You get the energy from the crowd, the band is giving it their all because they know it’s getting recorded. Gotta be on point. There’s really nothing like it. You can check out the trailer for the Kickstarter here.




The album will be released in 2014 but it’s undetermined exactly when in 2014 that will be. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later because I can’t wait to hear more from these fellas. They got a good vibe that I can get behind.

ALSO: check out the Film Vault. Great show. http://tfvpodcast.wordpress.com


Big Hugs,









#AOTW- Nelson Can

You guys ever get sucked into a Youtube Wormhole? If you’re unaware, a Youtube Wormhole is when you set out to watch just one video but then end up watching thousands. It happens when a clip ends and then Youtube gives you about two-dozen other videos that are in some way related to the one you just watched. You find yourself clicking them. Next thing ya know you can’t stop clicking. What began as a two-minute break to watch a guy fall down some stairs, turns into 4 hours of watching Dads get kicked in the dick. That my friends, is a Youtube Wormhole. In college while studying for finals, my roommate and I would find ourselves working hard, only to be side tracked by a barrage of kid fights and car crash videos. You may think that watching little kids punch each other is barbaric, but it’s also supremely entertaining. You should try it. Kids are idiots and they can’t fight. Youtube Wormholes aren’t just for violence and comedy. When used properly they can propel you towards bands and music you would have never encountered if not for whatever magic brings those links up.

nelson-canI recently went on one of these music voyages while looking for an artist to write about this week. Going from music video to music video, trying to find something that was even remotely inspiring. Finally I landed on what can only be described as one of the worst DIY music videos I’ve ever seen. Visually I was bummed. But the music was rad. Hands down the most fun chick band dance rock I’d heard in a while. I continued down the tube and found more of their tunes and much more visually stimulating vids. I was in the Wormhole. It got me, and it got me good. This week’s ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Nelson Can. Here’s the first track I heard of theirs Apple Pie. The jam is great.



Nelson Can is a band made up of some badass Danish broads that formed together back in 2011. They are Selina nelsoncan-grp1-xl-cc-0113-petersvendsenGin on lead vocals, Maria Juntunen on drums and back up vocals, and finally Signe Signesigne on bass and vocals. The first thing I noticed about this crew is they don’t have anyone playing guitar. My buddy Mike Clair always says, “If there ain’t any guitars, then I don’t want to hear it.” That dude is missing out. One of my other favorite groups of all time, Death From Above 1979, also features the stripped down bass/ drums set up. These two bands prove, that’s really all ya need. The power of the sound they create from relatively nothing is incredible. The bass throbs; the drums pulse, and the vocals from all three of these ladies are impressive as all get out. They had their first releases come out in 2011 but they were unavailable in the US. They released 3 total EPs (Nelson Can, The Freudian Slip, and Echo Me). AMERICAN iTunes was kind enough to make a compilation of these EPs for all of us to enjoy. One of my favorite tracks comes off their self-titled, it’s called Do You Really Wanna Get Rid of Me.


Their songs surge forward at a breakneck speed that then slam into really damned catchy hooks. This compellation is a great mix of their stuff and really shows their skill as musicians. While their early tunes are great it’s the new ones that have me most excited. Their newest singles Attack and Call Me When You Wanna Get Laid are phenomenal. Attack has a distinct Dead Weather vibe which makes a lot of sense. These girls can fucking wail.



Call Me When You Wanna Get Laid’s riffs have a sound a lot like another femme fronted band, The Heartless Bastards, but where the bastards tend to take a more eased back approach, Nelson comes at the listener with an edge.


Get down with this lady crew early. They’re already playing the Euro festivals. It’s only a matter of time before the US tours start. All you guys who got hated on for jumping on the Haim ship late, don’t let it happen again. Rock out to these dance rock tracks early and often. You won’t regret it for a single second.


Big Hugs,



Nelson Can