Artist of the Week Archive


#AOTW- Goldbloc

safe_image.phpGuys, I’ve been busy as of late. Job is ended, moved out of my house, and to cap things off, I’m headed out East for the next few months. I’ve forgotten how hard it is to get all the ducks in order for a cross-country adventure. I’m ready for it though. I’m in need of a change both professionally and personally. LA wears a man down. In order to deal with all of stress lately, I’ve been in need of smooth jams to bring me down.  Luckily I’ve found an up and coming Boston duo that were nice enough to put their EP Black Gold out into the blogosphere for free. This week’s ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Goldbloc. Let’s start things off with their track Days Are Dreaming.

Goldbloc is a soul synth duo made up of producer GoldenHaus and vocalist Solei. It combines soul/ R&B style Goldbloc-1vocals with a trippy synth backing. Their first EP is a mere 4 songs that pack a real punch. The heavily layer vocals mixed with the haunting electronic backing makes for a great “kick back and relax” sound.  By far my favorite track is the EP’s closer Dreams of Mine. The bass hits heavy and Solei’s already trippy voice is manipulated to bounce from side to side while fading in and out. This track is a must listen, and I highly recommend using headphones to get the full experience.

I really like this EP. I’ve listened to it a few times already and it gets better with every listen. I highly recommend down loading it because, well it’s great and it’s free. There’s no reason not to. I wish I could give a little more info on these guys but the fact is they are still quite small and there isn’t a ton of info out there yet. Download this EP and then keep an eye out for more shows coming up, especially if you live in the Boston area. Sorry this is a short one next week guys, but next week I will be reporting back with a photo essay and some fun stories.


Big Hugs,



Download the EP here




#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,






Lorde knows I have affinity for highly talented female vocalists (see what I did there? Lorde? Get it?) Go back 15 years you got me freaking out whenever Aaliyah and Timbaland’s Try Again came on The Box. I’d be screaming, “THIS IS THE SONG FROM THAT DMX & JET LI MOVIE!!!”. Did you guys have The Box? If not, it was a short-lived phone-in music video request channel. Cost $2.99 per request. Not shocking it was short lived. Due to the fact that it played actual music videos, MTV saw fit to take them down, replacing The Box with MTV 2 which promptly began airing reruns of Cribs and Pimp My Ride.

imageThere’s a new artist breaking into the big time using sounds harking back to those mid-90’s lady R&B days. With a heavy bass electro backing and a haunting voice, BANKS claims this week’s ARTIST OF THE WEEK spot. Lets start out with a stripped down version of her latest single Change.


BANKS (born Jillian Banks) Got her start back when she was a teenager living in the Los Angeles area. In middle school she fell into depression, going through many of the same trials and tribulations as many teens these days, most notably her parent’s divorce. In order to cope, she began messing around with a toy piano. Locking herself in her room for hours on end, she started creating her very own melodies and songs. Like so many tormented teen musicians that came before her, she  used her music as an outlet for any and all feelings._72046703_banks

BANKS had pretty similar outlets. She was a disgruntled teen and created beautiful songs. At the same time, I too was an angry teen, but instead of making music I bounced a tennis ball off a wall in the parking lot behind the movie theater. Alone. Same kinda thing. Her track Waiting Game is the type of song I’d listen on the way home from said parking lot, crying about how no girls liked me. I mean that as a complement. This stuff is way artsier than anything I listened to in high school though. For sure.

10 years later Banks is still pounding away on the piano writing thoughtful, entrancing tracks that swirl inbetween the realms of indie pop and electronica. After garnering attention through her Sound-cloud account she began working with many big name producer’s in London. Most note-ably, Lil Silva, Sohn, and Jamie Woon.

She made big news this past year when she announced that  would no longer “do” social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Instead she decided to maintain fan interaction by posting her cell phone number online and asking them to ring her up and have a chat. You would think that would be the last thing a young, pretty, up banks_brain_video-500x303and coming muscisian would want to do. Why is that the worst thing to do?

Well, as a member of the male gender I can say a majority of us are monsters. That being said, I am also a male who has interacted with some members of the female gender, and they too are monsters. Bottom line, humanity is made up of monsters and you shouldn’t put your phone number on the internet. Yet apparently BANKS hasn’t had any issues, in a recent interview she recanted a story about advising a young fellow on shoes to wear for his upcoming date.

BANKS has released two EPs thus far (London and Fall Over) as well as handful of singles. This summer she will kick off her first European tour and will hopefully then head stateside so she can show the Pop Pricesses around these parts how to do it. She already has the ears of the one and only Katy Perry so I can only hope some of her fans will give BANKS a listen and broaden their musical horizons. I see bright things in this lady’s future. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite tracks a minimalist pop track titled Warm Waters. Check her out. You’ll be glad you did.


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: Toy Soldiers

TSI_TOY_SOLDIERS_BAND_JOHNNY_BRENDAS_MAYBE_TRAILS_SHOW-3All to often, bands these days are going into the studio and abandoning the live take. What gives guys? Sure production methods have allowed you to put together songs piece-by-piece as tracks are doctored to be perfect, but just cause these things can be done, doesn’t mean you should do them. This week’s artist of the week has embraced the concept of the live take. Getting all the guys into the room and having a band act like a band. This produces a full rich sound that can’t be faked. This week’s ARTIST OF THE WEEK: Toy Soldiers. Let’s dive into them and their debut album The Maybe Boys

Toy soldiers formed in Philadelphia in 2007 as a duo with Ron Gallo (Guitar/ Vocals) and Mike Ballard (Drums). The two started out recording joke songs in a house basement, but then found they had a chemistry together. They took that chemistry to the stages they started playing local live shows. Gallo later wanted to expand the sound and he began collecting together the best student musicians in town to try and get a recording together. They had access to a college recording studio and jumped on the chance to make a record.  Gallo piece-mealed the first recordings together bringing people in as needed. All told there were 12 different musicians involved, the full band didn’t get together in the same room until their very first live performance. After a few shows the band decided to take their show on tour. That’s when things started to fall apart.


Scheduling a tour with 12 people is damn near impossible, especially when more than half of your members have scholastic obligations. The 12 piece quickly broke down to a 6. The day before they left it became 4. When the two0001217845_20 was over, only 3 remained. After watching what he had created crumble around him, it’s not surprising that Gallo wanted to call it quits. Who wouldn’t?


In the months that followed the disbanding, Gallo immersed himself into the blues rock of the 60’s and 70’s. He quickly fell down the rabbit hole of blues following the influences of The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin to the country influenced Delta Blues and folk of the 30’s and 40’s. As he delved deeper, the music he was discovering began to heavily influence his own work. In late 2009 he met up with fellow PA musicians Dom Billett (Drums), Matt Kelly (Guitar), Luke Leidy (Piano), and Bill McCloskey (Bass). According to Gallo, things immediately clicked. Toy Soldiers was back on track.


With the newest incarnation of Toy Soldiers Gallo was no longer the sole writer for the group. According to Gallo, this was a turning point for the band. Each song became a collaborative effort. These collaborations are really something special. Recorded after meeting Dr. Dog producer Bill Moriarty. Moriarty got the best out of this band and I can’t wait to hear what comes next. I’ve been listening to this record for a while now and I’ve grown attached to it in a way that I haven’t been to an album in quite a while. The record has soul. It encapsulates all that makes up a sweaty club show.  I highly recommend checking it out. Support these boys so we can get more tunes like these. The last thing the world needs is more poppy gloss. I’ll take the down and dirty blues any day.


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,





#AOTW- Atlantic Thrills

One of the cool things about writing for a music blog is that when your friends find out that you write for a music blog, they start sending you a lot of sweet tunes to check out. Sometimes the tunes are in fact sweet. Other times they are less so. And that’s to be expected, they can’t all be winners. Big whoop.

Issues only arise when you have a buddy that sends you this band they’re “really vibing on” and in actuality they really suck. This is only a problem because not long after they you the sucky band they’ll start asking if you’re gonna write about them. In order to avoid some awkward conversation where it sounds like I’m judging their taste in music, I constantly give the idea that I have these bands picked out way in advance. It will be weeks before I can get them into the rotation. This is all well good until many weeks pass and they just keep asking about this damn band.

This has only happened a handful of times but when it does it sucks. When someone gives you music from a band they like, it’s usually because they are passionate about that band. If you tell that person you don’t like being given, that person might take it as you judging them and their taste. That sounds weird but music gets deep with most people. It’s ingrained to who they are. When you call out their music, you’re calling them out as well.

1173613_636964976362967_994678624_nLuckily this week that wasn’t an issue. My buddy Mike Clair jumped on the ol’ Spotify and sent me the debut album from a band that I’d never heard of with the message “Thought you might dig these fellas.” Well Mike, I did dig them fellas. Big time kudos to you brother. This week’s Artist of The Week: Atlantic Thrills.

Their bio on their Reverb Nation page reads as follows:

four badass muthafuckers who like to drink whiskey and play dirty garage rock. We rarely use this site…

That’s what I like in a bio, short, sweet, and had the word muthafuckers in it. The band hails from Providence, RI and is made up of Eric Aguiar on bass, Dan Tanner on guitar/ vocals, and Josh Towers on drums. Their sound reminds me a lot of bands like The Growlers and Shannon and The Clams. They feature bluesy surf rock riffs with a psychedelic edge to them. The album is garage rock Beach Blanket Bingo with a touch of peyote. The songs pair beautifully with getting fucked up and having a good time, which is good because this is a band that likes good times. They have begun developing a pretty solid rep for being great live musicians and having some pretty racaus shows. You get a pretty good idea of their steez from videos like these for Give It Back and Light Shines.



Note to upcoming rock bands out there. Your live shows need to be raucous. No one goes to a live rock show for a mellow night on the town. That is what Cat Power is for. You got to a rock show you want that fucker to be memorable. You want to wake up the next morning a feel like you’ve been through some shit.atlanticthrills_360_280

This self-titled is their very first release and it’s barely 3 weeks old. I personally am having a great time drinking to these tracks and I think you guys will too. The only actual music video they have for the record is their firs single titled Day at the Beach.

This song and video prove the point that nothing goes better with sunshine than debauchery.



Bottom line. Great band. For all you suckers back East buried in snow, blast these songs, it might make Summer feel a bit closer than it actually is. Plus its good music to drink to and that always makes me feel warm when it’s snowin’.


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.


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