Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Random Goodness - The Photo Soundtrack Game

I am in no particularly profound state and not prepared to share any beautiful musings on music or stellar thoughts about popular culture. So I will do neither. I am giving you two really beautiful, albeit odd, photographs for you to focus on. These picture comes with a wonderful assignment. (Psstt - it involves high quality independent rock music!)

The Game:

Listen to these four songs while checking out the two photos below. Tell me what the results are... Send me an email if you have time. You don't have to post if you don't want to. I just did this exercise by accident while listening to the songs and looking at some photographs. Don't bother if you don't like art or music. Otherwise, enjoy.

The Picture:
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"The Eye" by anon
the 2006 Burning Man festival.

The man has nothing to do with the stand, it's an art station.
He was just walking by and they asked him to draw a picture.
Completely spontaneous. Sweet haphazard creation.

The Songs:

Hipmatize Me - The Snowleopards (Boston!)

How It Ends - DevotchKa

The Picture:

Children at a Puppet Theatre.
Paris, 1963 appearing in Time Magazine.
Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt

The Songs:


Let me know what you think.
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Monday, February 26, 2007

New Music from LA: The Jack Bambi's

Alright you hype monsters. Have it your way.

I was content with the quick write-up I did last month on the rock prodigies band, the Jack Bambi's, from LA. Then Anthony Kiedis of the RHCP has to go and blow the lid off the thing with a mention in Rolling Stone magazine. Since then this page has been the crossroads for all people looking for anything Jack Bambi's.....

By the way - This is what Kiedis had to say in Rolling Stone:

"They (the Jack Bambi's) became my favorite musical experience of 2006. They're phenomenal - whenever they'd play I'd find a way to get to the show."

Ahhhh, and then there was the follow-up Blender magazine Interview. Damn, that's a whole lot of exposure. They do have a myspace and a webpage.

Why the rabid hype for a bunch of youngsters, considering the number of starving college musicians there are out there looking for their break? (The eldest; singer Lia, as it turns out - just turned thirteen years old!) Because Kiedis is right - the kids are good (exceptional for their age!) And to be honest, "He the Machine" their first demo (here today for the first time!!) is better than what results in many adult musician sessions.

It's pretty good - Listen for yourself.

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Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Tragically Hip's Road Apples

Generally the Record Breaker Series focuses on a talented band's most overlooked album. This time however we look at the absolute best recording from an artist that has largely been overlooked by the media and fans outside of their native Canada. The Tragically Hip's magical second album, Road Apples - released in 1991, is one of my favorite rock releases of all time. Here is why it should be in your music collection:


Little Bones
Twist My Arm
The Luxury
Born in the Water
Long Time Running
Bring it All Back
Three Pistols
On the Verge
Fiddler's Green
The Last of the Unplucked Gems

This incredible record made my top twenty list all through college and threatens to remain there. Why such dedication from one such as I? Simple - superb guitar, intelligent, well-written lyrics, great use of classic rock instrumentation and a great singer. (And one can't forget the added plus - that the Tragically Hip allow tapers at most of their shows. This has resulted in some excellent live recordings and a lot of good karma out there.) Basically, I'm telling you to go out and buy this album. You won't be disappointed. 


Little Bones is probably the Tragically Hip's most rockin' song. They play the song in sets regularly - generally near or at the end of the night. The song is important for its significance to the band. Unlike the majority of the songs on the Road Apples album, Little Bones was written during the recording of the album and kind of acts as a snap shot of where the young band was in 1991. Little Bones was written in New Orleans, where Road Apples was recorded in studio. The band took the trip down from Nova Scotia and found themselves in the Bayou heat. (Which is mentioned on this track.)

Little Bones was written for a local cab driver of note, presumably an older man - friendly and extremely knowledgeable - who cannot retire because of his passion for gambling. The man takes on epic if not dramatic proportions in the song. The use of guitar is amazing. This is an immense classic.

So regal and decadent here
Coffin-cheaters dance on their graves music,
All it's delicate fear
Is the only thing that don't change
Two-fifty for an eyeball
And a buck and a half for an ear happy hour,
Happy hour happy hour is here

Fiddler Green is an all-time favorite song from the Hip and appropriately it may be one of the most mythically charged. Fiddler's Green is an old Irish folk lore based on the sentiment that old die-hard sailors and roving Irishmen never truly find their place. There are several old folk songs about sailors, one retired from the sea, trying to find their lot and place on solid ground. The story is that sailors are supposed to place an oar over their shoulder and walk inland until someone asks them what it's for. There - is Fiddler's Green. The song is a metaphor for many Irish as well - as a great many had to find their way through Canada to finally gain entrance into the US and finally a future for their families. A great many Irish whom entered Canada never crossed another border - they staked lives for themselves and found their place in Canada. (Like my great-great-grandparents did.)

The lyrics for Fiddler's Green interestingly mentions Falstaff. He is a literary figure used in three of Shakespeare's plays - acting as an adviser or overseer to the Prince or King. Shakespeare used Falstaff, a jolly but prideful fellow, as a comedic vessel to show that incompetence and vanity often go unpunished.

September seventeen
For a girl I know it's Mother's Day
Here son has gone alee
And that's where he will stay
Wind on the weathervane
Tearing blue eyes sailor-mean
As Falstaff sings a sorrowful refrain
For a boy in Fiddler's Green

Cordelia is Shakespeare's second reference on the album. It's an amazing song. Cordelia was the third daughter of King Lear. The youngest and most hopeful of the lot, she was disowned by her father for refusing to flatter him as her sisters had. Cordelia is held in extremely high regard by all of the good characters in the play—the king of France weds her for her virtuousness, overlooking her lack of dowry.

Angst on the planks, spittin from a bridge
Just to see how far down it really is
Robbing a bank, jumping on a train
Old antiques a man alone can entertain
It takes all of your power
To prove that you don't care
I'm not Cordelia. I will not be there
I will not be there, I will not be there

As with most Tragically Hip albums, Canadian themes appear in the Road Apples lyrics. "Three Pistols" is an English translation of the name of the Quebec town Trois-Pistoles. "The Luxury" refers to the fleur-de-lis - the provincial symbol of Quebec - the most independent of the Canadian provinces. "Born In Water" concerns itself with a Canadian drama of the early 1990s; of whether the Canadian territories should be English-speaking only - or decide for themselves. 

Friday, February 23, 2007

Get Sweet on Candie Payne

Meet someone I am very excited about these days - and I'm not alone. Candie Payne is an incredible indie-folk singer on the rise. She is already gained quite an independent rock following in England. Raised in the dynamic NYC and Liverpool - both cities impacted her unique sound. Miss Payne comes from a musical family. Brother Howie (in The Strands) and Sean (stars in The Zutons) have already shown there is music in those genes.

Her debut album, "I Wish I Could Have Loved You" is released in March. Here's your chance to get ahead of the curve.

About Candie Payne's music: Smooth, Sexy, Coy and Epic. Yeah - it's that.

Candie Payne on stage in a guest appearance with The Zutons.

NEW! (3/21/07) - Candie Payne


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Mason Proper releases A Moth in Your Chest!

A Moth In Your Chest, the brand new album from Michigan's MASON PROPER, hits store shelves on March 13.

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Brian Konicek of Mason Proper

Please turn up your volume slightly.
Sit back and play this song.

Mason Proper - Carousel, Carousel

THIS is why MASON PROPER is one of my favorite new bands in 2007.

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*the brand new "Moth" album.

MASON PROPER is also...

Jonathan Visger (vocals/guitars/keys,) Matt Thomson (noise/vocals) and Brian Konicek (guitars) all grew up in Northern Michigan towns. They began playing in musical groups together as boys, eventually forming what became Mason Proper in their late teens and early twenties. After moving from their wooden hometowns to Ypsilanti, a suburb of Detroit and Ann Arbor, the group met Zac Fineberg (bass/vocals) who eventually left his own group to join the band. After two years of writing and recording parts of what would become their debut LP There Is A Moth In Your Chest , the band split back to the woods, finding new drummer Jesse Parsons along the way. The group finished recording and pressed up the record, all by themselves, without the assistance of a label. They landed that indie label in a trip to NYC, drawing the attention of Dovecote Records.

You can pre-order the album at
Mason Proper on myspace.

Mason Proper will be in the Boston area twice in March:

On Friday March 2 at the Lizard Lounge (link)
On Friday March 30 at the Middle East with Birdmonster! (link)

I have 2 Free Tickets for
at the Middle East Upstairs on Friday, March 30.

For a chance to win (random drawing) - send me your full name via email.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Hot Time - an Evening with the Flaming Lips

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The Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne
New York's Webster Hall.

A Hot Time with The Flaming Lips
3 burning songs from the fire pit

Strychnine into What's So Funny 'Bout Peace, Love & Understanding?
A CRAMPS cover into an ELVIS COSTELLO cover!

Knives Out

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Indie Rock Wednesday: Pull Pin and Run!

The Mix - Six Songs for Your Wednesday

Pull Pin and Run
artist: Freddie C

Hey, here's more music from Wednesdays past (previous mix.)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Black and White Years gear stolen!

Gang - I just got this email from Landon from the Black and White Years. (I just wrote about them in these pages yesterday!!!) All the bands gear was stolen during a break-in. Any information that could help this great band out would be greatly appreciated.

This is heartbreaking:

I just arrived back at the house to realize that over $10,000 worth of equipment has been stolen from us. In our own home none-the-less. This includes:

Paul Reed Smith CE24 Red
serial: 723444

Apple Powrbook G4 "17 laptop-silver
serial: v73445z3p22

Warwick 5 string bass w/ wood finish

Gibson SG: brown w/ wood finish
Roland Juno-G Synth

Any info will be greatly appreciated.

For those in the Austin area: we may be planning a benefit concert, so anything helps.
We'll let you know soon.

Landon Thompson
The Black and White Years

The Black and White Years on myspace

Denver's Velvet Elvis - Taking the King Door to Door

-The Velvet Elvis -
Off the Hook 1950s songs from Denver!

Velvet Elvis' Chris Barber

Leave it for me to find a way to incorporate the old with the new. Far away from the bright lights and smoky ballrooms of Las Vegas - north to the snowy Rocky Mountains into Colorado, comes one of the best 1950's Elvis Presley cover bands I have ever heard. It's a two-man getup called Velvet Elvis - led by Chris Barber, who looks and sounds so much like a young Elvis (ala Sun Records) himself, I am sure he has stopped a few pedestrians in their tracks before. The duo is grounded by the fine upright bass work of Michael Baird. The best thing about Velvet Elvis and their roots rock and country sound is pretty much everything...

What was once old is new again, Darlin'.

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Chris Barber and Michael Baird are Velvet Elvis

The Velvet Elvis on myspace

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Bob Marley and the Wailers play California live - Halloween 1973

Hello readers. I am home sick this evening - but I am taking a few minutes to repost this amazing Bob Marley material you first saw here last month. (I got a request for this today from a reader.) And so, here is the best live recording from the Wailers I have heard. Now it's yours..

A Super High Quality Wailers Recording -

Soundboard Quality from 1973


The Black and White Years - Austin, TX strikes again!

The Black and White Years

I have been looking forward to scribing on this band for awhile, but I am chronically, as they say, backed up with new music and artists releases. What drew me to this band? They are intelligent, raw and they have a sound (a groove, really,) that is part their own and part of the indie-band collective consciousness. One listen and you will begin to pick up elements of the Talking Heads, Beck, Of Montreal and David Bowie in these songs. Not a bad mixing bowl. Then the band - living in Austin, TX - have the South-by-Southwest Music Festival // Indie-Rock ground zero thing going for them... By sharing the Black and White Years, I bring a little Austin and consequently independent rock into your life. (Is that good for a tax write off or something?)

John Aldridge: Bass, Brass
Scott Butler: Guitar, Piano, Vocals
Landon Thompson: Lead Guitar

Songs from
"Real! In Color!"

Do yourself a favor and make these guys your friends. Learn about them and pick up their "Real! In Color!" album. The Black and White Years on myspace.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Sunday's Sweet Little Extra - Velvet Underground

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The Velvet Underground
This week's Sweet Little Extra

Velvet Underground
Chemical Brothers
the Sugarbabes

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Ireland's Fionn Regan

I think that one of the things that people like about reading this page daily is that it's easy to tell how enthusiastic I am about music. My approach is that of a friend who has the dirty on something new and exciting. Never has this been more true. Today's artist of the day is still new to me - but believe me when I tell you how impressed I was to hear him play.

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Irish import - Fionn Regan!

Fionn Regan is an Irish singer-songwriter who impresses people pretty much everywhere.

Here's a sneak peak at this most talented new artist today. Download the song, cherish it - and remember you heard it here first!

Cheers, Ryan

Fionn Regan on myspace

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Brazil's CSS: Cansei De Ser Sexy - Get in on this!

CSS is
"Cansei de Ser Sexy!"

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This electric alterno-pop outfit from Brazil has earned national media status in their home Brazil and are even now catching on in the US and Europe. They carve their songs from rock, lay down beats and still carry their Hello Kitty purses in public. Welcome to the RSL Blog Artist of the Day - CSS; Cansei de Ser Sexy.

In Portuguese, Cansei de Ser Sexy means "Tired of Being Sexy.", That fact alone had me intrigued... And with good reason! The Brazilian band hails from São Paulo where they have achieved icon-level status. Last year they released their self-titled album. The record (released by Sub Pop) took off enough to burn through the first released numbers and just got re-released (on the Warner label) a couple weeks back. This time they are moving into uncharted territory. Dancehalls in Tokyo and across Europe know this band. It won't be long into 2007 before they begin to penetrate the US market.

I predict very big things.

How can you not like a band that does promo art
like this:

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CSS on Myspace
The Casei de Ser Sexy webpage

Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday's Secret Track - Crazy Black Beatles!

"The Beatles"

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"The Black Eyed Peas"

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Crazy Black Beatles
(download or die!)

Damn that's hot.
It's gonna be like that, huh?

This sick-a** mash is brought to you by
FATHEAD Wall Graphics!
Fathead is this page's new sponsor. Please support the page by clicking over and checking out their wares. They are a friendly company with a great, fun products - on sale now!

The hunt is over - Life size Star Wars Fatheads

REAL Big - You favorite NFL team at

Sponsors pays the bills.

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The Best Laid Plans - Blog Radio Volume 18

Welcome to Friday - and the gate to the weekend.For today's post I had every intention of publishing the long-overdue finale for the "It Almost Slipped Through the Cracks 2006 Series" or to publish you one of the several BRAND NEW overdue artist profiles I have been working on, but life and the idiosyncrasies that makeup my person objected - and prevailed.

The reason.... I had songs (some shared here today) trapped in my head all day long. As you know, this can be a joyful experience or torturous depending on the content. Thankfully, these were quality songs.

The indie-rock hit parade continued after work on the way home. Evidently, I had left the RSL Mix Disc Volume 13 (no joke - I have a disc series completely made-up of songs published on these pages) in the player and ... short story, long. -> I decided to give you a RSL Blog Radio for your Friday instead of a regular post today....!

What is Blog Radio? This collection celebrates my musical tastes, gives me a chance to dust off some old classics and slip in some new artists who might otherwise not get some exposure. It also reflects me and my state of mind. I give you a new installment once every week to ten days.

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Artist: KellyVivanco

Here it is... Don't forget to support the arts. If you like something you have heard here today, please visit the artist webpage and pick up a disc. Good art - like plants, pets and children - have to be supported in order for them to continue to grow and thrive.


The weekend looms -