Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Jesse Malin interview

Certainly one of the most prolific and arguably one of the most gifted performers of the last decade, Jesse Malin has made inroads to large audiences on both sides of the Atlantic these days. Malin favorably draws comparisons to some of the most gifted and honored musicians of our age. We sat for a while prior to Malin's latest Boston and appearance. Special thanks to Jen P for transcribing our dialog.

The topics of our discussion included Jesse's most recent albums: 2007's Glitter in the Gutter, and his two 2008 releases: the live Mercury Retrograde and On Your Sleeve a covers collection. And, along the way, we tackled ideas of inspiration, songcraft, pop iconology, and Christmas. Jesse even hints about the direction of his new album (2009).

credit: Paul Storey

RYAN / RSL: Hi Jesse, we cross paths again. Thanks for meeting with me... So I just want to kinda talk about what’s going on with you. The new covers album, it’s now available in the U.S. and in the U.K. What’s this tour been like? Is it mostly covers?

JESSE MALIN: It’s a mix. We have three records out, we can do stuff from all three, plus covers makes it really fun. We always put covers in the set, in the encore. I like to take songs that are fast, like the Replacements Bastards of Young, and then make it like a ballad. Make it quiet. Show the audience, “I’m going to hop from an Elton John song to a Hold Steady song.” So I’ve always done that. But now, there’s a good part of covers, but it’s not like we’re going out and just doing a full covers set. I’m playing stuff from the first three, covers, some new material—because the next thing’s going to be a new record, you know, which I’ll do next year, which is what I’m really looking forward to.

RYAN: I love the mix-tape feel of On Your Sleeve. I really enjoyed reading the liner notes about why you chose the songs. If I recall, your cover of Simon & Garfunkel's “Me and Julio,” mentions your memories of drinking the stolen liquor from the sippy, the little apple pouches…

JESSE: Oh yeah, (remembering) with the apple juice container.

RYAN: I mentioned it in my album review... To me, (stories like that) are just very much fun and personal ... Highly Anecdotal. It makes the cover version your own in a small and human way.

JESSE: I mean, it was a lot of fun doing the covers but that was just like a holiday. I’ve made jokes with the fans, “Yeah, I’m going to do a covers record,” and then people kept emailing me. And it wasn’t just B-sides or tribute tracks on an uncut sampler. It was like, “All right, I’m going to go make a record.” So that was done real quick. I always tell people, it’s like mix tapes. It’s not like some concept, where It’s the Songs of Bob Seger Done by the Working Class Teamsters. It really is just songs I like and it’s schizophrenic as you’d make a mix tape for some friend or lover.

RYAN: I noticed there was some reordering of the tracks with some new one's shuffled in from the UK Release of On Your Sleeve to the one that's available here in the states.

JESSE: The European one, I had the sequence directed really fast. And when you’ve got a sequence up and it’s not your own stuff to begin with, it’s hard to find the arc. It's like, "Ok, where’s the story to these other people’s songs?” So when I had the American version, I had a chance to go back in and we did the Pogues’ song; we did the Bad Brains and some others… It’s a different version of the Hold Steady track. It’s a different recording with the piano on it with Christine Smith. And the Tim Hardin song, which I did with Kevn Kinney, who’s from Drivin’ N Cryin’ and now his solo stuff he plays a lot more. Kevn Kinney’s from, well originally Milwaukee, but Atlanta—really talented songwriter. So it was fun doing that track with him.

RYAN: I think there is something to be said for a singer-songwriter having fun, but paying homage to other great musicians. Doing this album really spoke to you then?

JESSE: Yeah, I like songs. Whether it’s a three-minute song, of any kind –Chuck Berry, or MGMT, or you know, whatever, the Dead Kennedys, or Woody Guthrie—it’s really what you say, the melody and the attitude. I grew up with Cheap Trick and bands like that. The Clash and the Replacements. The Dickies. Bands that had balls and also were pop bands, but had intelligent lyrics that whether they were funny or thought provoking, they hit you somewhere. So yeah, it was just a chance to do something fun

RYAN: Let's move on to Mercury Retrograde. It's a live record - and a real treat for people who enjoy your live performances. Very personal and easy-going...

JESSE: The live record was a couple of nights we did last December, around Christmas time, in New York. Me and Christine had been out on kind of a stripped down tour with the piano, a lot more stories and acoustic guitar, and I figured, “Let’s just record these and have different versions.” The studio records are all bashed out with the band or more rocked up, and the songs on this one were kinda more how the songs were written, in the bedroom or the dressing room.

Recorded Live at the Mercury Lounge, NYC


RYAN: Performances with that Christmas feel, the special show you did for Mercury Retrograde recording, you have done that sort of thing before. If I remember correctly, you released some Christmas songs on an EP… with a Springsteen cover?

JESSE: Yeah, we did Hungry Heart, which we did for Light of Day, Parkinson’s Relief tribute album, and then there was the Christmas single we sent that around to radio stations with me with my cat and a Santa hat on.

RYAN: One of the cool things I think about you as a performer is this tangible connection you seem to have with your fans around the holidays. And I don’t think it’s—and you can touch on this—it’s not a biblical thing.

JESSE: It’s not religious thing, it’s just a seasonal, romantic, when people can get together. There’s a lot of expectation for that time of year and you look at the things that mean something to you, and you also look at the things you’ve lost and it’s just an end, wind-up, reflection. I’ve always been big on romanticism and sentimentality in songs and movies, whether it’s Casablanca or Miracle on 34th Street or “Jungleland” or “Here Comes a Regular.” So, just that kind of thing—it’s important to me.

RYAN: Character and Culture are important to me too. I want to touch on that part or your persona. Your interests - whether they be movies, your favorite actors and in popular culture - they aren't always what people might expect. Your musical influences, we know, run the gamut, but some of the cultural things that you draw from are most unexpected.

JESSE: Yeah, I grew up in the 70s. I was a kid, I was very young then, but that period of time in film, and in culture things were just a little bit different. Before AIDS and after Vietnam. The country going broke. New York was a mess. And I just think there was some kind of real excitement. Artwise, there are a lot of things that impacted me. Maybe it was just a time of coming of age.

RYAN: That’s great when you have that kind of rich and referential background. It allows you to connect to other people because you have shreds of the same past - something in common!

JESSE: So when you find that out, and you’re like, “I thought this guy came up with some original thing—this Einstein, with this genius idea!” And then they’re like, “Oh shit, I’ve got this record!" And that makes you feel like, all right, it’s not so bad. It’s like Chuck Berry once said in that Hail, Hail Rock n’ Roll movie: “There’s nothing original under the sun. I took from Muddy Waters, I took from Louis Jordan, I took and I mixed it together and here it is.” It’s all in how you put it in the pot and spit out; mix it up in the pot.

RYAN: That's great. What kind of stuff do you typically find yourself drawn to?

JESSE: For now, there’s a lot of great stuff I like. I love Wilco and Spoon. Like I said before, The Hold Steady. Just a lot of great stuff that continues to come out. Music’s in a great place. The industry might be all fucked up and scrambled, but I still think people are creating great stuff. I like stuff that’s really expressive and about freedom and individuality, and also characters that are on edge—that aren’t afraid to go down with the boat. Like the character in One Flew Over the Cuckcoo’s Nest. I always loved Tennessee Williams’s novels and his plays, from Streetcar to Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Things that are tragic but that have hope. Cassavettes movies—the band that’s opening tonight, Cassavettes are their name—characters that are human and real, and even though there’s so much darkness around, there’s still some light at the end of that tunnel that keeps you going. “All right, well, we’ll stick around for a while on this planet and make the best of it.”

Editor's Note: Boston's Cassavettes are an incredible band.

RYAN: What direction are you headed in musically for this next record? (Due in 2009)

JESSE: I don’t want to layer the record with tons and tons of instruments. I want everything to have a space. I want to make a warm, honest record. I feel like I’m going back to zero—back to when I broke up D Generation. I feel like everything’s really new, like I’m 15 and I’m really hungry and excited. Next year’s going to be like, wipe everything off. Not a lot of shows. Make the record and go back. I want to make it with a small group of people—some of the guys I’ve been playing with in this band. I want a record that isn’t…well, it’s going to be different than the last three, but closer to my first record but maybe less roots-driven. It’s not going to be a big rocker. But I say all this and I’ve written a lot of songs, but things will change. Sometimes you go into the studio and you bust out the bagpipes. I’m just excited to go in. I have a lot of songs ready, but I’m going to do a lot more writing. I’m going out not only with Butch Walker, but I’m leaving for Russia - for Moscow, with Gogol Bordello.

RYAN: Wow, that's fantastic!

JESSE: I’m doing a week of shows with them in Europe, and one of them includes Russia, which I’ve never been. I’m so psyched. Going to Russia with Russians! And hopefully their crowd will dig what I’m doing. But I’m doing that, and then a Parkinson’s Light of Day tour with Mike Peterson, Neil Arm, and Willie Nile, with Badly Drawn Boy joining us in London. And then my own dates in the UK to represent the English Mercury Retrograde and then... I come home.

NEW YEARS CELEBRATION IN NEW YORK: To celebrate New Years tonight, Jesse finds himself playing DJ tonight at NYC's Bowery Electric (327 Bowery and 2nd Street) In addition to Jesse's record collection, entertainment includes THE DICKIES and KITTY AND THE KOWALSKIS.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Devo's Satisfaction - 30 Years Later!

One of Our Favorites: 30 Years Later and the World still isn't ready for DEVO.

Their sound was born in Akron, Ohio .... Devo unfolded it's leathery wings (ala pterodactyl style) thirty years ago and served up elements of punk and anti-punk both mixed with the ironic and, clearly, the iconic. Three decades ago, the band produced the Are We Not Men? album and our strange world would seem just a little stranger still.

In 1978, Devo released this jewel

Monday, December 29, 2008

Music used during Sports Advertising this Week

Another Winter Sunday in New England... The Patriots scored a win but our football postseason hopes are over. (Thanks very much to that overpaid and over-hyped Jets QB and all-around loser Brett Favre for throwing interception after interception and killing our chances.... ) Yes, I know - you can't depend on somebody else's results to get yourself into the postseason. (It was our division losses that really cost us the season.) Either way, the team performed remarkably well after losing the best quarterback of the modern era and a number of his teammates.

The real reason for today's post is to discuss music.

The money being spent on music-related advertising during big-ticket events (namely sporting events and prime-time television) is unprecedented these days. And no, I am not talking about ads for the Ipod. (Although whoever is picking the artists and songs over at Apple seriously deserves an award...!) What I am writing about today is the current trend to use the songs from indie bands and throwbacks to sell your product.

Here are two notables from this week:

Modern English sells Chocolate these days

Modern English - I'll Stop the World and Melt with You

On Sunday - I heard Modern English peddle Hershey Bars and Rockwell (and Michael Jackson) dished for Geico.

One of the weirdest commercials:
Rockwell sings for Geico.
Yes, it's a pile of money with eyes.

Rockwell - Somebody's Watching Me

Rockwell recorded this song in 1984 with Michael Jackson and his brother Jermaine, who lend rare guest vocals, creating this hit song.

What are your favorite songs being used in commercials right now?

Guns N Roses Rumor - Two Year Tour Starting in March?

ALL THE NEWS: Color us skeptical and, if nothing else, just a bit pragmatic... But the word that Axl Rose and company may be planning a huge WORLD TOUR beginning in March has us a little less than excited. Sure it would be fun to see the Axl of old prowl the stage under the pyrotechnics and guitar barrage we have grown accustomed to... But please, this is a guy who named his Chinese Democracy album in fifteen minutes and then it took him 15 years to release!

Science Put to Work: Explaining the Long Hiatus

The rumors about the tour are pretty insane too! Guns' guitarist Richard Fortus told Rolling Stone that the tour would last "at least two years." The bigger the fish story, the better it seems for this band. I won't believe it until after we hear it from Axl himself. The pasty-skinned singer hasn't said a peep to the media in some time - preferring to communicate entirely though band chat rooms and through short statements post on the Guns' website. If they mobilize Rose, anything is possible. He is, after all, his own biggest fan and his own worst enemy. (Check out the scienfitic chart!)
More to you when we know more ourselves! But you better believe we ain't holding our breath until March....

While Axel and Co plot, GNR cover band Mr Brownstown cleans up! The GNR Leaker faces federal charges. Remember all that hype?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Record Breaker Series: Super Furry Animals - Mwng

* Editor's note: The Record Breaker Series is a focus on criminally overlooked, forgotten and maltreated albums. There are additions postings in this series in the right tool bar of this blog. The first thing you will notice is that these selections are pretty far flung - matching our musical tastes. How do we choose? Sometimes we just get to missing an older record and then decide to write about it. Like you, we just really dig music.


RECORD BREAKER: Today's entry begins in myth and ends in reality. It's a story that starts about a decade ago... I once heard a story that Super Furry Animals were deeply annoyed that their 1999 release, Guerrilla, wasn't supported strongly enough by their label. According to the popular myth - the band had believed that with the proper push, that record was sure to rocket them to superstardom. As it turned out, the record earned them loyal fans but not the global audience they sought.

As the story goes - Super Furry Animals became a bit disillusioned with the music industry ( - certainly cynical with the business side of things.) This led them to record their next release (and the first free of their contract with Creation), Mwng, entirely in Welsh. Super-creative, but hardly radio-friendly.

I have no idea if this is true or not, of course. But if the label were guilty of failing to promote the absolutely stunning electronic majesty of Guerrilla, which led to the band's decision to record 2000's Mwng (one of the most exquisitely beautiful pop-folk albums ever released) then I am forever grateful!

BREAKING IT DOWN: Mwng descends on the listener with a totally unexpected opening blast... then SFA make the pace softer and softer, until they reach the nadir of “Nythod Cacwn,” half way through the album. [Singer Gruff Rhys played the drums on this track himself – you can tell, and yet it is completely in keeping with the track’s incredibly fragility]. Then the album begins to ramp up again, until it hits tracks like "Ysbeidiau Heulog", which are carried by guitarist Bunf’s super heavy overdrive, mixed very low in the background, so they somehow sound like both sick and gorgeous at one and the same time. This is no small feat!


01 - "Drygioni" ("Badness") – 1:23
02 - "Ymaelodi Â'r Ymylon" ("Banished To The Periphery") – 2:57
03 - "Y Gwyneb Iau" ("Liverface") – 3:54
04 - "Dacw Hi" ("There She Is") – 4:18
05 - "Nythod Cacwn" ("Beehives") – 3:46
06 - "Pan Ddaw'r Wawr" ("When Dawn Breaks") – 4:29
07 - "Ysbeidiau Heulog" ("Sunny Intervals") – 2:51
08 - "Y Teimlad" ("The Feeling") – 4:40
09 - "Sarn Helen" – 4:18
10 - "Gwreiddiau Dwfn" / "Mawrth Oer Ar y Blaned Neifion"
("Deep Roots" / "A Cold March On The Planet Neptune") – 7:57

Nythod Cacwn (Beehives)

While I love this album - I have absolutely no idea what Gruff is saying... The real wonder of this album for me is how much I love it despite the fact that I consider myself a true fan of the lyrically-driven song. I have always felt that lyrics are the single most difficult thing to really get right in any musical project, although they are often the last to be considered. But this album shows me that I’m dead wrong - or, at least, that there's always room for more music. Instead, I sometimes find myself craving a listen to album-closer "Gwreiddiau Dwfn" / "Mawrth Oer Ar y Blaned Neifion" (translated: "Deep Roots" / "A Cold March On The Planet Neptune") - a song that carries me off into the kind of mixed-up, dizzying, dark and sweet world in which the Super Furry Animals dwell. (Trust me on this one, they leave the best for last!)

Consider this a call to arms – find Mwng at all costs and add it to your collection. It. Will. Pay. You. Back.

Super Furry Animals
Web / Myspace / Facebook

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Movie Trailer: Wolverine Origins

At the Movies: New Trailer

Not sure if you've seen this yet... It's the movie trailer for Wolverine set to hit the silver screen in May. The special effects are already getting a nod from the critics. Let's hope this one lives up to the hype!

New Wolverine Origins Trailer

Music posts return tomorrow. In the mean time, check out this year's Golden Globe nominations and our winner selections!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Mighty Mighty Bosstones Take Over :: Hometown Throwdown 11


DATELINE: BOSTON In just a few minutes I will be headed to Central Square Cambridge for Night One of The World's biggest Bosstones Lovefest.... The Middle East will host The Mighty Mighty Bosstones Hometown Throwdown 11.

Four consecutive sold-out nights of holiday revelry
surrounded by the sound of one of the city's all-time favorite bands... This is going to be some pretty insane fun! Now, it can be Christmas.

Hometown Throwdown #11 Night One (Tonight) features The Mighty Mighty Bosstones with special guests Westbound Train and Roll The Tanks.

Hometown Throwdown #11 Night Two (Saturday 12/27) featuring Mighty Mighty Bosstones with special guests The Big Bad Bollocks and The Have Nots.

Hometown Throwdown #11 Night Three (Sunday 12/28) featuring Mighty Mighty Bosstones with special guests Slapshot and The Attack.

Hometown Throwdown #11 Night Four (Monday 12/29) featuring Mighty Mighty Bosstones with special guests Big D and the Kids Table and Vagiant.

images from Hometown Throwdown 10


"Simmer Down"

Web / Myspace / Facebook

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Holiday Greetings from the Grinch!

Thurl Ravenscroft's "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" is a brilliant song! It brings a smile to even the most wicked face. (It still makes me giggle just a little.) What a marvelous holiday gift to us all. Celebrating the love of the Grinch - the twisted soul who learned to love...

Get those 39-and-a-half foot poles ready....
It's Grinch time!

The marvelous personification of Christmas
badness brought to life by Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss's

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

The Grinch Wikipedia Page


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas with Blonde Acid Cult

Blonde Acid Cult are an RSL Cult Favorite. We shed light on this New York party band well over a year ago. But it wasn't until the latest CMJ Music Festival (BAC gigs that put the band on the bills with Ponytail, Crystal Antlers, School of Seven Bells, Moby and Holy Ghost! amongst others) that earned them a loyal following. (The Shake It Loose video shoot didn't hurt their prestige level, either....) As of late, Blonde Acid Cult have been playing private parties and special band nights all over town. This is one band you should know.....


Blonde Acid Cult brings a wild, schizophrenic level of rock and roll. Stealing cultural vibes from the best Stax Records and putting them in the blender with the suicide droning of the Stooges, this is a band making their mark these days. The band will soon announce the release date for, Habeas Corpus, their full-length debut. Definitely ONE TO WATCH in 2009!

Merry Christmas from Blonde Acid Cult! The two new songs, "Calypso" and "Let It Rain", below are yours to share with friends.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Decemberists' John Moen amazes on Perhapst


Perhapst is The Decemberists' talented drummer John Moen's side project, which he fronts and plays guitar. Moen, prior to being The Decemberists' drummer, drummed for Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, and Elliott Smith (he drummed on Elliott Smith's Saturday Night Live performance). Moen is also the drummer for Robert Pollard's Boston Spaceships.

Thoroughly Impressive

John Moen steps out from behind the Kit

John Moen plays the majority of instruments on the record. Friends such as engineer Eric Lovre (of the Dharma Bums) also lent some instrumentation help, and Stephen Malkmus assisted Moen, too, playing some guitar on the record. The live band consists of: John Moen, Chris Funk (also a current member of The Decemberists), Jonathan Drews (Sunset Valley), and Eric Lovre (Dharma Bums).

Some may remember John Moen as the front man for NW favorites The Maroons, or drummer for the widely popular early 90s indie-rock outfit Dharma Bums (Frontier Records). On the Perhapst debut (much like in The Maroons), Moen showcases his sweet, lullaby-esque vocals, dreamy melodies, and ability to create laid-back, sophisticated pop hooks.


Monday, December 22, 2008

Boston's Ryan Lee Crosby

New Material and Live Appearance Tonight!
Boston has become a city of great live performers the last few years. The singer-songwriter genre certainly has not been ignored. The talented Ryan Lee Crosby is one of a handful of folk / anti-folk performers in the city performing (singing their hearts out, really) before small audiences in need of good, intimate entertainment. The singer's tales are honest, heartfelt affairs that reach out to listeners.

Ryan Lee Crosby

For his part, Crosby has been prolifically churning out good work (Ryan Lee Crosby: There Is No Music - 2007) in addition to self-releasing materials. This month he self-released a book and EP album, Return of the Invisible Man, and now has a number of songs from his forthcoming LP, Out to Dry to perform for audiences. Tonight in Cambridge, Ryan Lee performs with Kingsley Flood at ZuZu for an evening set. Get your holiday shopping done then head on over - the music starts at 10 pm.


An Old Favorite:
Obey Me

Ryan Lee Crosby

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Digital Stocking Stuffer - The New Hot Chip EP

The New New:

On Monday, 12/22/08, the undeniably fun Hot Chip will release four songs on the new EP with Robert Wyatt & Geese. The songs on this EP were chosen from the band's album 'Made In The Dark' by Robert Wyatt and re-recorded together in London earlier this year, Hot Chip's old friends and collaborators Geese (aka Emma and Vince from The Elysian Quartet) also lent a hand to create this stunning new arrangement.

HOT CHIP continues to make strong statements in 2008

The New EP can be yours in just days:

Web / Myspace

More on Hot Chip in '08 ::: The Deal with Zune

Friday, December 19, 2008

Novel taps Ben Folds and Friends for "I Am"

NEW MUSIC from NOVEL: On March 29th, talented rap and vocal artist Novel will release his full-length The Autobiography album (Rowdy/Capitol) with a number of high-profile guests. Novel's unique rap/vocals can be enjoyed now, however, on the new "I Am…(Future Black President)" EP. This one features 5 tracks and serves notice of what is to come...

The self-titled single is really pretty amazing and we would like to think that Ben Folds has a big part of it. Watch, listen and enjoy!

Novel - The Five Track EP is available now:

Get Your mp3:
Novel - I Am (Red Hot!)
track features Ben Folds, Talib Kweli and Spree Wilson

Ben Folds just made the RSL Top 20 Records of 2008

Bug Lung Baby - Visger's latest is Red Hot & Free

Merriam Webster definition: Prolific - Producing young or fruit especially freely(fruitful); causing abundant growth, generation, or reproduction; marked by abundant inventiveness or productivity. Usage: Jonathan Visger, singer-songwriter for Michigan's Mason Proper, is one fucking prolific musician.

Jonathan Visger is now also Bug Lung Baby

2008 was one hell of a year - Mason Proper started it off with a showing at SxSW in Austin and released the Shorthand EP, a full-length album from Dovecote Records is totally worthy of high praise - (RSL Review of "Olly Oxen Free" and the 20 Albums in 2008 You Need to Own), Jonathan Visger was able to release a fun EP ("North South"). Get ready to be impressed..., Visger (who is now going by the nom de guerre, "Bug Lung Baby," just released yet another EP - this one is called "Trilobite Trash" and can be downloaded for free. Merry Christmas everybody.

Why the new pseudonym "Bug Lung Baby?"

Visger: I think when people see somebody's normal, boring name as the title of the musician, they instantly think acoustic guitar, vocals, stripped down kind of coffee house stuff. My stuff doesn't sound anything like that. Plus I have a bad relationship with my name for some reason. Bug Lung Baby conjures up something much more tangible and interesting to me. I would want to know what that sounded like.

All I can say is we are thoroughly impressed. We know a lot of musicians and are lucky to count Jon as a friend. (I interviewed the band back in the Spring of '07 and were amongst the first in the country to realize how damn creative Visger is.) But even we have been surprised to see how far he has come in the last 16 months. If you don't know Mason Proper or Jonathan Visger, notice has been served!

Bug Lung Baby / Jonathan Visger
Myspace / Download the Free EP / Buy some Records

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New, Winning Material from Id Guinness

We head west this morning to Vancouver. We stop in with the very talented singer-songwriter Id Guinness, who gave us Cure for the Common Crush (RSL Top 40 Artist Selection 2007 and Underground Album of the Year.) The man has cooked up some incredible new material to share with his fans and a business offer that you just can't refuse.....

Talented and Totally Original:

Id Guinness

Guinness just released ten songs on Crush d, a digital-only album release. This one serves as a bridge from the artist's praise-worthy debut last year. (Not only are the these two releases connected in title, the songs on Crush d are credited as remixes and rarities from the creative period that led up to and immediately followed its predecessor.) Readers should realize that while the material on the digital-only Crush d is a connection to the near past, it is also an extension into the immediate future - towards a record of completely new material on Soul Envy, Guinness' forthcoming full-length record release set for a Summer 2009.

Here's where the unique business offer comes in: Guinness is offering 2 records for the price of one. For $9.99 you can buy the digital download of Crush d and receive (pre-order) a copy of 2009's Soul Envy. What a brilliant plan for both the artist and listeners! Let me tell you people, this is a safe bet! Also available on the artist's page; purchase last year's amazing debut (Cure for the Common Crush for $9.99) - all highly recommended!

Nearly Lost My Mind
New song from 2008's
Crush d

Rising River
from 2007's
Cure for the Common Crush

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Invisible Children Benefit

Pause for Cause:
Invisible Children

Thrice's Dustin Kensrue signs a guitar for Invisible Children

We are going to break form here - I want to discuss a cause being taken up by a number of musicians seeking change - and better lives for hundreds of thousands of children and civilians whose lives are being torn apart by endless war.
Dustin Kensrue from Thrice, Switchfoot's Jon Foreman, Chris Conley of Saves the Day and Jim Ward (of Sparta, Sleepercar and At the Drive-In) and Aaron Weiss from mewithoutyou will perform a special acoustic concert this Friday in LA to help raise awareness and support for a great cause. Invisible Children, a non-profit organization that provides education and economic relief to war-torn northern Uganda, has enlisted some of their biggest supporters to come out to West Hollywood's legendary Troubadour club.

THE BENEFIT CONCERT: Kensrue will be performing songs from his brand new holiday album, This Good Night Is Still Everywhere (released digitally 11/18 on Vagrant) and his debut solo release, Please Come Home, which debuted on the Billboard Top 200 chart. "Musicians have so much potential to inspire their audience and include them on issues happening around the world," says Kenny Laubbacher from Invisible Children, "it's amazing to see this group of individuals embrace that power and act on it for a positive influence."


The concert is sponsored by MySpace, Jedidiah Clothing and SocialVibe, the event will also jump-start multiple auctions for limited-edition and one-of-a-kind band paraphernalia including a Thrice backdrop from previous tours, Riley Breckenridge's drumset, hand painted guitars from Circa Survive, miscellaneous equipment used by Fall Out Boy, and more to come.
The bottom line is if you can't get out to LA, you can bid online for the AUCTION or find another way to help raise awareness or funds for Invisible Children. The
ACCESS THE SHOW FROM YOUR COMPUTER: Planners just made us aware that fans will able to stream the entire acoustic program from their desktops at Band The site looks to require registration to access the material, so do that now so you don't miss a beat on Friday!

ABOUT INVISIBLE CHILDREN: Established in 2005, Invisible Children is a social, political, and global movement using the transformative power of a story to change lives. By inspiring youth culture to value creativity, idealism, and sacrifice, the movement fuels the most effective, adaptable, and innovative programs in the world. The movement started with a documentary film about children being abducted and forced to fight as soldiers for a rebel army in northern Uganda.

Children in Uganda have been forced to take up arms

The film, now seen by over 3 million people worldwide, has inspired a global movement of artists, musicians, and activists committed to using their time, talent and money to help end the 22-year war. Throughout the year, Invisible Children tours with bands like Thrice and Fall Out Boy to continue spreading the word and getting people involved.

UNDERSTANDING THE CONFLICT IN UGANDA: The war in northern Uganda has been called the most neglected humanitarian emergency in the world today. For the past 23 years, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda (GoU) have been waging a war that has left nearly two million innocent civilians caught in the middle. The GoU's attempt to protect its citizens from this rebel militia has largely failed, leaving an entire generation of youth that has never known peace.

The LRA rebel movement can be traced back to a woman named Alice Lakwena. In the 1980s, Lakwena believed the Holy Spirit spoke to her and ordered her to overthrow the Ugandan government for being unjust to the Acholi. Lakwena and her followers, known as the Holy Spirit Movement, gained momentum as resentment toward the government increased. When Lakwena was exiled and no clear leader of the movement was left, Joseph Kony, who claimed to be Lakwena’s cousin, took control and transformed Lakwena’s rebel army into the LRA.

Kony’s LRA did not receive the same support as the Holy Spirit Movement because of their extreme tactics. With dwindling support for their cause and heightened government offensives, the rebels resorted to abducting children and indoctrinating them into their ranks. It is estimated that more than 90% of the LRA’s troops were abducted as children.

Ugandan Displacement Settlements

In 1996, as a response to the LRA attacks in the villages, the Ugandan government forcibly evicted thousands from their homes, relocating them into overcrowded camps in hopes of providing protection. But over a decade later roughly 1 million individuals still live in these camps and struggle to survive among the effects of abject poverty, rampant disease, and near-certain starvation. [MORE HISTORY]

The ROCK AUCTION: Bidding on Key Items this Saturday!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

EITS - Live in Paris (2002)

Time to take a little break and breathe a little. Time to chill and open your mind (- let it be artistic and engaged!) Rest your feet. And listen! I thought I might throw on some cerebral candy from Austin's Explosions in the Sky. This silly talented band is making some of the most amazing instrumental music these days. With the holidays and work and family and bills... well, it's time you took a break. Turn it up and let it play:

Live - September 22, 2002
La Guinguette Pirate - Paris, France


Explosions in the Sky released the Double-Length LP All of A Sudden I Miss Everyone in the spring of 2007. (RSL Top 40 Album of 2007.) The album is immense and powerful - capturing in clarity, EITS' amazing exploration of space. I think I learned as much about myself while listening to it as I did about the band's ability to open people's minds.

Here is today's stunning bonus track - and it's from last year's album. The song is called, The Birth and Death of the Sky. Listen, then buy.

Explosions In The Sky
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Friday, December 12, 2008

This Blue Heaven - Debut Album is Quicksandglass


Melodic yet cerebral, catchy but never canned or played-out, Boston's This Blue Heaven will demonstrate tonight how good they can be with their debut record, Quicksandglass.

Their Sound: This Blue Heaven incorporates the less tweedy elements of folk with old-school UK new wave. Add to that the indie rock earnestness of acts like Rilo Kiley and Death Cab for Cutie, and the band has forged an audible identity all their own. The album was produced by David Messier of Boston's Same Sky Productions.

Five deep, the band hit the streets in 2007 and started landing regular gigs and a loyal following at clubs throughout New England in no time. Like jangle pop evangelists, the quintet coaxed their congregations from the pews and into the aisles with danceable, thought-provoking tunes and theatrical performances.

Tonight at Oliver's marks the band's return and now those audiences can take something from the show with them - Quicksandglass. Tonight's show will also feature The Honors, Common Thrill (also releasing a new CD) and RSL favorites The Motion Sick.

Buy The CD / Research the Band:
This Blue Heaven

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Golden Globe Nominations are in - The Dark Knight Stiffed but Ledger will Win


Well the year of "The Dark Knight" at the box office didn't amount to much at all for the caped crusader in terms of Golden Globe nominations, but they can't take away the box office and holiday video sales. The 66th annual Golden Globe nominations were unveiled today. The winners will be announced during the televised January 11th ceremonies.

Movies We Will Be Watching...

Below are a few of the categories and a few of our quick picks for winner. (We haven't seen all the films so we're guessing much like you are. We will be trying to catch up before the winners are announced!)

Film of the Year Nominations
(Drama Category):

Darkhorse Pick for Winner

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button [trailer]
Frost/Nixon [trailer]
The Reader [trailer]
Revolutionary Road [trailer]
Slumdog Millionaire [trailer]

Film of the Year Nominations
(Comedy or Musical):

Brad Pitt & Burn After Reading beats out In Bruges (barely)

Burn After Reading [trailer]
Happy-Go-Lucky [trailer]
In Bruges [trailer]
Mamma Mia! [trailer]
Vicky Cristina Barcelona [trailer]

Best Actor in a Drama:

Frank Langella (above with Kevin Bacon)

The Nominees:
Leonardo DiCaprio for his role in Revolutionary Road
Frank Langella for his role in Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn for his role in Milk
Brad Pitt for his role in The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
Mickey Rourke for his role in The Wrestler

Best Actress in a Drama:

We think it's a Kate Winslet's year (above with DiCaprio.)
But will it be for her role in Road or The Reader or both?

Anne Hathaway for her role in Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie for her role in Changeling
Meryl Streep for her role in Doubt
Kristin Scott Thomas for her role in I've Loved You So Long
Kate Winslet for her role in Revolutionary Road

Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical:

James Franco (above with Seth Rogan) in Pineapple Express

Javier Bardem for his role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Colin Farrell for his role in In Bruges
James Franco for his role in Pineapple Express
Brendan Gleeson for his role in In Bruges
Dustin Hoffman for his role in Last Chance Harvey

Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical:

Sally Hawkins in Happy-Go-Lucky

Rebecca Hall for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Sally Hawkins for her role in Happy-Go-Lucky
Frances McDormand for her role in Burn After Reading
Meryl Streep for her role in Mamma Mia!
Emma Thompson for her role in Last Chance Harvey

Best Supporting Actor:

Guess Who? Heath Ledger beats out Hoffman.

Tom Cruise for his role in Tropic Thunder
Robert Downey Jr. for his role in Tropic Thunder
Ralph Fiennes for his role in The Duchess
Philip Seymour Hoffman for his role in Doubt
Heath Ledger for his role in The Dark Knight

Best Supporting Actress:

Penélope Cruz wins in a toss up with Kate Winslet

Amy Adams for her role in Doubt
Penélope Cruz for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis for her role in Doubt
Marisa Tomei for her role in The Wrestler
Kate Winslet for her role in The Reader

Best Animated Film:

Don't Mess with Jack Black's Panda

Bolt from Disney
Kung Fu Panda From DreamWorks
Wall-E from Disney and Pixar

Best Foreign Language Film:

Waltz with Bashir is an animated film

The Baader Meinhof Complex (Germany)
Everlasting Moments (Sweden, Denmark)
Gomorrah (Italy)
I've Loved You So Long (France)
Waltz With Bashir (Israel)

For the Rest of the Nominations: