Thursday, August 29, 2013

Star Anna - Go To Hell

Artist Interview

Chris Fullerton is a Music and Film writer.
He lives in Austin, Texas.

STAR ANNA has a voice and she sure knows how to use. Her new album, Go to Hell, touches all the musical bases. Backed by a brand new band, each song is a lesson in anger and vulnerability, as her gritty voice ranges from a growl to a sigh. Star was joined in the studio by co-producer Ty Bailie, (keyboards/organ/piano), Julian McDonough (drums), Jacques Willis (vibraphones), Will Moore (bass), and Jeff Fielder (guitars).

In the first 72 hours of having this record, I’ve listened to it straight through at least ten times. It’s late August, and friends, this is the odds on favorite to be my pick for Best Album of 2013. My favorite track, and this is subject to change on a whim, is “Mean Kind of Love.” The song bounces along, Star’s voice joyfully breaking your heart the whole time. The album opener, “For Anyone,” is also a strong song which happens to feature backing vocals by not one but two of her exes. The title track was a brilliant surprise, a deceptively soothing lullaby about telling someone to go to Hell... I talked to Star about making the album, how her life influenced the art, and why she would include her exes on the album.


CHRIS FULLERTON (RSL) - Obviously, this is a very cathartic record. You said to me "This was a tough record to make." Can you elaborate on the writing process and how it was affected by what was happening in your personal life?

STAR ANNA - I was basically stripped down to nothing and had to start all over. I got sober two years ago. Over the last year my band broke up and I found out the man I was living with and thought I loved was a total fraud. I had to find a new place to live. I didn’t cry for three months. 

We went into the studio with three tracks already finished. Making this record kept me together. With everything going on, all the ups and downs, I woke up every day thinking about how to make this record, how to get it out. The cover of the album is a self-portrait I took the first night I cried after those three months of shock. It was such a relief. The record was made, I was still sober, and I had a clean slate to rebuild myself.

RSL - The title track, "Go to Hell," is a bit of a surprise. With that title, I expected more anger, but the tone of the song was less angry and more sad and regretful. Was that deliberate?

STAR - The original version that I was going off of was Nina Simone’s. It’s very campy, almost cheesy, but her voice is so powerful and the words are so dark. I wanted to find a balance between sorrow and rage. It also seemed fitting, as it’s a song about wrong doing and sin. You don’t get away with it, not in this life or what comes next.

RSL - Tom Waits’ “Come On Up to the House” is the first cover song you’ve ever put on an album. It’s a brilliant rendition, but why this song?

STAR - For one, I just love the song. Plus it seemed like the perfect conclusion for the record, a release. It’s a heavy song, but it’s uplifting. It’s also the only song on the whole record that I play guitar on.

RSL - Which songs stand out as your favorite and why?

STAR - This is my first solo record. Maybe nobody gives a shit, but I wanted to raise the bar, come out guns blazing. I feel like I’ve had to upset and disappoint some people on the way to figuring out what I want for myself, so of course there is a part of me that wants to show myself I’m on the right path. “For Anyone” and “Let Me Be” might be my favorites. I may not have written “For Anyone” but I sing it like it’s mine. Every single word in that song was true, it’s almost ironic. And “Let Me Be” was written only a few days before going into the studio.

The line that sums this record up for me is from that song:
“I’m a new man looking sideways in the dark.” 


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Quasi premieres a cover of Sabbath's War Pigs!

Janet Weis and Sam Coomes show Ozzy who's boss...

"War Pigs" is from Quasi's "Interprets" cd. It's available with every pre-order of their new record (9th overall!) "Mole City" - which you can also get at the merch table of Quasi's fall 2013 tour!

Oct 3rd - Omaha, NE - Slowdown
Oct 4th - Kansas City, MO - Record Bar
Oct 5th - St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway
Oct 7th - Birmingham, AL - The Bottletree
Oct 8th - Atlanta, GA - Drunken Unicorn
Oct 9th - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
Oct 10th - Washington, DC - Black Cat
Oct 11th - New Haven, CT - Cafe Nine
Oct 12th - Philadelphia, PA - Boot And Saddle
Oct 13th - Brooklyn, NY - Knitting Factory
Oct 14th - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge
Oct 16th - Allston, MA - Great Scott
Oct 17th - Buffalo, NY - Tralf Music Hall
Oct 18th - Cleveland Heights, OH - Grog Shop
Oct 19th - Chicago, IL - Schubas
Oct 20th - Minneapolis, MN - 7th St. Entry
Nov 3rd - Boise, ID - Neurolux
Nov 4th - Salt Lake City, UT -Kilby Court
Nov 5th - Denver, CO - Hi Dive
Nov 7th - Denton, TX - Dan's Silverleaf
Nov 8th-Nov 10th - Austin, TX - Fun Fun Fun Fest
Nov 11th - Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room
Nov 12th - San Diego, CA - Casbah
Nov 13th - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
Nov 14th - Santa Barbara, CA - Soho Restaurant and Music Club
Nov 15th - San Jose, CA - The Blank Club
Nov 16th - San Francisco, CA - Bottom Of The Hill
Nov 21st - Vancouver, BC - The Biltmore Caberet
Nov 22nd - Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern
Nov 23rd - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge

20 years of 
Album / Web / Fb 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Air Traffic Controller at Brighton Music Hall!

Photographic Evidence 
by Anne Cook

from the photo archives
at Brighton Music Hall
Boston, MA  6/12/12


Best of 2012 / Album / Web / Fb / Tw

Friday, August 23, 2013

We are Moving!

Our offices are moving this month - like right now. And we're getting down to the nitty gritty at this point... We'll be back real soon with more great stuff. Until then, listen to thissss...

about the image
about this music 

Monday, August 19, 2013

This is RayLand Baxter

The Best New Music 2013
Someone You Should Know

In a few hours one of the best EPs of 2013 will be released online (available on iTunes and Amazon - later this fall on vinyl). RayLand Baxter has earned a somewhat rabid following in his local Nashville scene but recently those doors have been flung wide, and rightfully so. This guy is on to something and it's amazing. He offered up an absolutely brilliant performance at this year's Newport Folk Festival that many fans went home talking about. He has a fun, down to earth outlook I had the great pleasure of hanging with RayLand. We shared some drinks and caught a couple sets in Newport.

The New Album: Out Tomorrow!

Named after the town in Israel where Baxter spent a pivotal time of his life, ashkeLon was recorded live in one day, at East Nashville’s Casino studio. Of the title, Baxter comments, “ashkeLon is where I started writing songs and where I have returned numerous times. For me, that was where this all began. I thought it very fitting to name this group of songs ashkeLon for that reason. It’s a very special place. It’s my little green garden in the desert.”

RayLand Baxter with violinists Odessa Jorgensenn and Kristin Weber at Newport Folk
Visible Voice is doing some good work. Check this piece out and then check their backlog!

RayLand's a likable guy with a sharp wit and a contagious smile. That easy-going side of him helps to hide the truly ethereal performances he offers up... There are key moments in each arresting performance in which you practically feel Baxter grab the audience and everything else melts away.  His songs have an emotional intelligence that shines in his lyrics and his delivery. It's going to be easy to lose yourself in these songs. And feeling will never hurt so bad or feel so good.

September 10 // Los Angeles, CA // Hotel Café
September 11 // Los Angeles, CA // Royce Hall*
September 14 // Riverside, CA // Fox Performing Arts Center*
September 15 // Temecula, CA // Thorton Winery*
September 18-22 // Nashville, TN // Americana Music Festival
September 19 // Charlotte, NC // Stage Door Theater
September 20 & 21 // Bristol, TN // Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion
September 22 // Austin, TX // The Parish†
September 23 // Dallas, TX // House of Blues†
September 24 // Oklahoma City, OK // The Blue Door†
September 26 // Boulder, CO // Fox Theatre†
October 2 // Stockholm, Sweden // Nalen‡
October 3 // Oslo, Norway // John Dee‡
October 6 // Berlin, Germany // Postbahnhof‡
October 7 // Amsterdam, Netherlands // Paradiso‡
October 9 // Glasgow, U.K. // Oran Mor‡
October 10 // Manchester, U.K. // Academy 2‡
October 11 // Dublin, Ireland // Whelan’s‡
October 13 // London, U.K. // O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire‡
October 17 // Birmingham, AL // Workplay Theatre#
October 19 // Ozark, AR // Harvest Festival
October 20 // Northport, AL // Kentuck Festival

*supporting Boz Scaggs
†supporting Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers
‡supporting Kacey Musgraves
#supporting Holly Williams

Album / Web / FbATO Records / Tw

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Band announces the Upcoming Show will be the last for Oh No Oh My

The whole "blog band" mantle foisted on musicians the last decade is a really interesting concept worth exploring. In my mind, the term encapsulates two different types of buzz bands: those popularized first by blogs (today, in the past and in the near future). And the other group, are those indie bands introduced and trumpeted to the world during the great rise of music blogs in the years 2004 - 2008. The bands during this period have a special place in my heart.. These were the bands I was reading about and listening to when I started to get into blogs. And these musicians were the artists I first started writing about when I started this website. These bands are familiar - and always will be....

And while most of these early and influential bands have passed the way of the dodo (or worse, they kept on trucking but made music that deserved obscurity after their one great album)... Austin's Oh No Oh My (formerly Oh No! Oh My!) stood out. They were one of the great ones from this early period. Having read about them first in late 2006 or possibly early in 2007, I was delighted to have caught them in Boston at TT the Bears with Au Revoir Simone (of all pairings).. It was a brilliant night, and one of the very first times I hanging out with photographer 5342 Studios, who is now our photo editor. It was a significant show all around.

Calling it quits:  OH NO OH MY

Oh No Oh My stood out from the crowd right away. They were quirky, brainy and creative. They incorporated digital effects and synthesizers...  they didn't sound like any bands I knew locally at that time. And just when I had them dialed in, Oh No Oh My got more focused and better at their craft... seemingly ahead of their curve, the songwriting improved and while less quirky, the music still had great energy. And then the band grew up and got even better. So what now? Well, this band that lasted and lasted has now announced their conclusion.

On August 24th, Oh No Oh My have announced that they will play their last show at Red 7 in Austin. This is not a time for sadness but for celebration! Apparently this is also a record release show to boot. This band's legacy is still in place, this invaluable chance to say goodbye should end up just being fun. If this is your first exposure, go ahead pickup some albums and get yourself schooled!

Music / Web / Fb

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nathan Angelo


Introductions: NATHAN ANGELO is a conduit for music's past and it's future. In the notes of the new song, Get Back, we premiere today you will hear bits of Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5. Angelo curates these modern tellings of Soul, Jazz and Motown - American music's very soul - in an unique, loving and respectful way. Angelo is already a seasoned performer with a strong base but we think, Out of The Blue, his full length record out September 10 will help position his music to new heights. Certainly One to Watch, Nathan Angelo is well on his way to having a phenomenal 2013.


Buy It! / Web / Fb / Tw

Monday, August 12, 2013

The Backyard Bash is this Saturday!


New England's best new band THE FIELD EFFECT have climbed to the top of the indie music pile this year, providing a backdrop for this summer's love affairs and the likely bout of angst and regret in Boston. The four-piece released Cartography, their first full length at the end of last year and have used that material for live fodder on stages ever since. Their ridiculously vibrant sets have earned them a rabid fan base. This set will not be one you're going to want to miss.

The Field Effect are Doug Orey (Vocals & Guitar), Nick Greico (Guitar), Annie Hoffman (Bass) and Adam Hand (Drums).

Album / Web / Fb / Tw


THE SUSAN CONSTANT - With the material on new record, SHAPES, The Susan Constant continue to ride the line between pop and modern indie rock - it's a mix of live songs that play out best in the live setting. The band starts out a song sugary and light - it's a brand of glowing pop that audiences love. Then somewhere in the middle, this little band tears the top off the thing - resulting in huge rock jams! (Only to return once again to it's soft candy shell.) An audience enthralled, the live setting is where this band shines. They played The Outlaw Roadshow this March during SXSW week - joining one of the best lineups in all of Austin that week. And they shined!

The Susan Constant are Paul Sennott (Vocals & Guitars), Brian Kingsbury (Guitars), Emily MacPherson (Bass & Vocals), Jason Rossman (Drums) and Jim Bernat (Keyboards & Vocals).

Friday, August 09, 2013

Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Trashcan

Hallelujah the Hills have always been something of a gifted misnomer that didn't quite fit in the Boston of old. It's a city that only now - in the last handful of years has come to celebrate its breadth of talent and musical diversity. From the beginning, Hallelujah the Hills (started in 2007 as a spin-off of the defunct but beloved The Stairs) were out front, playing celebratory, Americana Rock-inspired ramshackle jams when most everybody else fell into the categories of either hard rock or shoegaze pop. Times change. And Boston has become one of the bright spots nationally the last few years, casting a spotlight on artists from several genres. The city has been fueled by an active music scene sparked, in part, by bands like Hallelujah the Hills.


Listening to their new one, Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Trashcan - an album that serves as a new effort and a double-album greatest hits / B-Sides collection, allowing me to firmly conclude that this band has always been out front of the curve. Wordsmith and Ringleader Ryan Walsh has widely been heralded as one of the best pens out there and here's proof positive.

Named for the 1963 cult classic comedy, Hallelujah the Hills (directed by Adolphus Mekas), the band have become serious players on the national scene and have influenced other musicians from coast-to-coast. This is important music! Hallelujah The Hills is Ryan Walsh, David Bentley, Nicholas Ward, Brian Rutledge, Joe Marrett, David Bryson and Ryan Connelly. You need to see these guys play live!

 Album $5!! / Web / Fb / Tw

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Remembering Elliott Smith (Happy Birthday Elliott)

The title of today's piece is a little inside joke for me. This is a piece about Elliott Smith's music and it's undeniable emotional power... his voice both remote and unique, but immediate and close - like some kind of second consciousness refusing to leave the brain of listeners - like some kind of sticky ghost.

Depending on where in your life you stumbled across Elliott Smith can really change the way you think of his music and how it speaks to you. I guess, like with anything else, it's all just a matter of approach. Songs are so personal, especially Elliott's. His writing (while so successful at doing so) were not so much an attempt to reach out to listeners but to make sense of his own world. We are all looking for that. And so Elliott drew us into his world. It was a place often filled with angst and emotional pain, it was also a place of simplicity, ragged beauty and light. "Remembering Elliott Smith" ... as if we could forget.

(editor's note: some tracks removed)
Please purchase this worthy material

For some of our readers, listening to Elliott for the first time - I urge you to listen to (and to hear) each of the tracks. Each represents different times, approaches, subject matter. Each of these is trademark Smith and there's a reason I selected these to serve up to you.

Elliott Smith was born on this date in 1969. It's hard to imagine / it hurts to imagine, what could have been had he not left us 10 years ago. Here's to hoping that we find all the Elliott Smiths out there - especially the ones in our own lives and we give them their moment in the sun.


Song of the Overnight

Filligar's new album HEXAGON is amazing.

Web / Fb   YtTw

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Why PACIFIC RIM deserves a viewing this summer

Thoughts on Films
Movie Review
You Already Made Up Your Mind?
Read This & Guess Again.

Pacific Rim, the latest creation of director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, The Hobbit, Pan’s Labriyth), brings back some classic genres of my childhood in a whole new format, delivering scene after scene of smashing, explosions and the utter destruction of entire area codes. The film also manages some depth of character, which is impressive when you consider that the cast is competing against 500-foot tall monsters for your attention. Let’s be honest, when’s the last time you watched movies like Cloverfield for its acting?

The story begins some 15 years after humanity has found itself at war; set upon by a race of behemoths of mind-shattering size called the Kaiju (Japanese for “strange creature). They assault city after city - killing thousands each time and devastating civilizations. These creatures come from a portal which opens in the Pacific. The Armed Forces are quickly rendered obsolete, and the leaders of the world pool their resources to create the Jaegers (German for “hunter”), giant robots that can go toe-to-toe with the Kaiju. Is it me, or is humanity only ever united when faced with extinction, after which they go right back to hating each other?

The film focuses on Raleigh Becket (played by Charlie Hunnam), former pilot of Gipsy Danger, a battle-hardened but broken warrior who quits the Jaeger program after a fight with a Kaiju ends in tragedy. Shortly after he leaves, the Kaiju start becoming stronger and stronger, and the Jaeger program is slated to be phased out. The successor to the Jaegers? A giant wall. Years of warfare and studying the corpses of the enemy, and the sum total of that is a giant wall. Take a moment and weep for this species of dullards, if you don’t mind.

In a turn which surprises absolutely no one, the wall is a dismal failure, and Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), seeks out Raleigh, and teams him with Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), a prodigal pilot who only lacks any real experience, and has plenty of emotional turmoil of her own. I’m sure it’ll all work out fine.

What’s interesting is that as the war drags on, the populace becomes desensitized to the idea of super-sized Godzillas constantly paying them a visit, and the whole thing becomes a sort of spectacle, with toys, T-shirts and all kinds of merchandise being created. Hey, just because the world’s ending doesn’t mean you can’t make a buck, right?

The attention to detail in this movie is quite simply mind-blowing. The exterior of the Jagers differ based on their fighting styles, and in some cases, their personality. In once instance, we see a Jaeger with three pilots, and three arms to match. But the real treat is inside. Jagers have two pilots, and rather than sitting in a pair of seats, the two are connected to the robots—and each other—via a neural bridge. They walk, the Jaegers walk; they raise their arm, and the robot does likewise. The robot gets damaged, and they feel that pain.

This connection also means that each pilot experiences the feelings and memories of the other, and any emotional baggage gets force-fed right into their cerebellum. This leads some pretty intense scenes with Raleigh and Mako, as each are carrying more than their fair share. The fight may be outside, but another battle seems to always be raging in the cockpit.

The settings begin dim and dark when the Kaiju begin appearing, but in scenes when the war is in humanity’s favor, we see plenty of blue skies, cheering crowds, and even the giant mechas on parade. Once things turn south, we’re back to a drab interior, with rusted walls and low morale. It’s a good reflection for the changing tide of the war, and the set design is solid and detailed.

Let’s talk about these two, because they bring a lot to this movie. Polar opposites, Raleigh is emotional, fearless, and never afraid to say what he’s thinking. By contrast, Mako is timid, restrained, and checks every word she says before it leaves her mouth. At first, she seems as much as a machine as the Jaegers she monitors, but in truth, she has a dark past, and as much as she wants to be a pilot, you can tell she’s scared to death when the time comes. Pentacost is a stalwart leader, and while his performance was kind of wooden, he delivers his lines with force and dedication.

Pacific Rim is an overdose of pure nerdiness, and those of us who grew up as fans of comics, video games, and monster movies will find something to love.

Our Grade: B
worthy summer entertainment.


Thursday, August 01, 2013

NAUKABOUT is this Saturday!

The 2013 Naukabout Beer Music, Arts & Food Festival this Saturday will feature Jukebox the Ghost, David Wax Museum, Adam Ezra Group, Baker Thomas Band, Van Gordon Martin Band, Otis Grove, Jeff Conley, Tall Heights, Dietrich Strause, Toy Soldiers, Sarah Blacker and Sally Taylor. In addition to performing with the Baker Thomas Band, Tom Bianchi will curate a singer/songwriter stage featuring local artists.


In addition to great beer from Naukabout Beer Company, the festival will feature The Island Creek Seafood Experience, a raw bar showcasing locally sourced oysters, clams and lobster plus other fresh seafood options curated by the Island Creek Oyster Company.

The charity partner for this year’s event is Partners for Youth with Disabilities (PYD). PYD provides one-to-one and group mentoring programs for over 450 individuals dealing with cognitive, developmental, and physical disabilities in the Greater Boston area each year.

The Naukabout Festival is now in it's sixth year of operation!

Music Schedule - Two Stages!
Baker Thomas Band  12:15 - 1:00pm
Dietrich Strause  1:05 - 1:3pm
Otis Grove  1:40 - 2:20pm
Sarah Blacker  2:25 - 3:00pm
Sally Taylor  3:05 - 3:20pm
Tall Heights  4:15 - 4:55pm
Van Gordon Martin Band  3:20 - 4:10pm
Jeff Conley  6:05 - 6:40pm
Adam Ezra Group  5:00 - 6:00pm
Toy Soldiers  7:50 - 8:30pm
David Wax Museum  6:45 - 7:45pm
Jukebox the Ghost  8:35 - 9:35pm

$29 Advanced ($39 at the Gate) 
Children under 12 are free! 

Gates open at noon. Festival Music runs until 10pm (Rain or Shine)