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Monday, June 30, 2014

STARS & STRIPES by SKUNKMELLO


WORLD PREMIERE
NEW MUSIC TODAY


Absolutely delighted to share with you this new song from New York's Skunkmello. The trio (Matt Bartlett on vocals, guitar, and harmonica; Ed Cuervo on bass and vocals; and Jono Ori on drums and vocals) will release Stars & Stripes, via iTunes on July 1. It's the title track from their full-length release in stores on September 16 (Moped Music.)

ONE TO WATCH - The band have Skunkmello’s music has also been featured in the 2014 independent feature film Die Hipster Die and on radio stations throughout the world, including AmazingRadio (UK), Midnight Special Blues Radio (in Paris), WHRW (Binghamton, NY), WSOU (South Orange, NJ), WBAR (NYC), Penguin Radio(Asbury Park, NJ), UnRegular Radio (Boston), Rock 101 Radio (Los Angeles), Museboat Radio (Las Vegas), Rokkus Radio (Fairfax, CA) amongst others. Find out what all the fuss is about.


BLUES ROCK REVOLUTION

SKUNKMELLO
Music / Web / Fb / Tw


Friday, June 27, 2014

Summer Movies - NIGHT MOVES

Thoughts on Films
Movie Review
With all the gargantuan, special effects-infused summer blockbusters, it's easy for a film devoid of any of these qualities to be ignored, or even worse, swallowed whole. “NIGHT MOVES” has nothing in common with all the overloaded green screen productions that we've been waiting months to see. And that, dear reader, is what makes it such an excellent piece of cinema. The plot is gripping, the tension subtle but ever-present, and the writing smart and biting.






Following the mission of three radical environmentalists planning to blow up a hydroelectric dam, this movie explores not only the dynamics of their relationships, but within themselves. Josh (Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network, The Double) is a socially distant loner dedicated to the cause, but has a tendency to become a nervous wreck when things go even a little off-course. Which of course happens pretty frequently. Harmon (Peter Sarsgaard, The Killing) is a former Marine turned environmentalist who has the most experience among the three. This combined with his military background puts him at ease, even when things take a tragic turn and they face the prospect of life in prison.

Dena (Dakota Fanning, The Secret Life of Bees, Every Secret Thing) is an ardent supporter of environmental change, but she seems somewhat new to the direct action that has defined Josh and Harmon's lives, and the question is raised how she handles the real obstacles.




Eisenberg and Fanning have both impressed me immensely as actors, both in their recent work and in this movie. Both take on the roles with such a casual grace that it's hard to tell if I'm watching a movie, or if these two really are planning to blow up a dam. Without exaggeration, they're two of the best actors working currently. I haven't seen much of Sarsgaard's work, but if this is any indication of what he's capable of, I'm adding some of his films to my viewing list. Like his fellow cast members, his transition into Harmon's role is flawless. These three are very at home in their roles, and it's not so much they're taking on a part, as they're showing us a part of themselves. Dialogue is limited at times, but these three can do just as much in the silence as they can with a lengthy set of lines.

Josh shows a constant irritation with the environmentally-blind world around him, but we get brief glimpses of compassion when he gently places a bird's nest back in a tree. Dena is a veritable chameleon, adapting well to new challenges placed in her way. Harmon has his breaking point, and more than once we seem him come right to the edge, only to casually saunter his way back to safer ground. I give a lot of credit to writers Kelly Reichardt [who also directs] and Jonathan Raymond. They've crafted three diverse and realistic characters who all have these deep and colorful back stories which are only hinted at in the movie.




“Night Moves” has a nonstop tension throughout. From the initial night when they make the plan, to the big day, things never let up for this trio. I was constantly on the edge of my seat as I eagerly awaited for what came next. Usually it's only horror movies that keep me so riveted. There were plenty of unexpected twists and turns throughout, but they do so much more than keep the story moving: they develop the characters in new and unexpected ways, and by the end, some of their actions will definitely surprise you.

Night Moves may not have giant robots, epic space battles, or breathtaking special-effects, but it offers smart writing, a gripping plot, and three characters that keep revealing something new about themselves, right up to the very end.





NIGHT MOVES
Official / Imdb / Rotten Tomatoes


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The First Genuine Song of Summer 2014 is Here!

From the Mailbag

So, here's the deal. I can't begin to listen to, digest or publish everything we receive. About once or twice a month in 2014, I'll open new mail - and so long as the stuff is potentially of interest to our music-crazed audiences, we'll publish it. It gives everyone - no matter who you are, what kind of music you make, no matter your budget, a chance to reach our audience.





Through punctuated hand-clapping and an impossibly catchy rhythmic drive, the listener is sewn through the fibers of new album Autodidact (2014) from The Soon-Another. With influences in both Peru and now in Brooklyn, The Soon-Another are equal parts indie pop stars in training and students of folk. The irony of this latest pop band is they're not contrived at all. And that's what takes something novel and fresh and makes it truly special. None is more inspired than this ridiculously cool 2:00 long song that I've already listened to a dozen times today. This is it kids, the first genuine Song of Summer 2014!


! one to watch !

THE SOON-ANOTHER
New Album / Web / Fb / Tw



Monday, June 23, 2014

5j Barrow

FRESH SOUNDS 2014
The New LP 


Folk Rock sextet 5j Barrow
From the Dim, Sweet Light
Hear All 7 Songs here today!
Album release July 11 & 12.


WOW, AMONG MY FAVORITE MUSIC FINDS OF 2014 -  New York's 5J Barrow have skills to spare.. That much is abundantly clear from my exploration of the Folk Rock sextet's brand new album, From the Dim, Sweet Light. Beyond the skilled instrumentation (there is much to talk about here - this is a skilled record) are the frollicking vocals from Eryn Murman and Jason Hite (who have spent time on and off Broadway). Childlike but focused and powerful, it's hard to believe I'm just finding out about them now. There's a solid connection there and the work of the remaining players accentuates the warm energy feel of this project.

Music that tells a story - The record kicks off with a rising dialogue ("Talking My Soul") - it's a chat of sorts, between singers Murman and Hite before the band comes in with an explosion of hip-sway inspiring music. This leads directly into the frenetic violin at the beginning of "Circus".. the strings plucking like the excited beat of child's heart, or an adult who's about to excitedly run away into the past. "The Watcher" is the band showing off. Namaky's dominant piano (in-direct-opposition to Michael Hunter's driving violin) is seriously amazing - as cool as anything you're going to hear. The song starts slow but gets hotter and brighter until it burns out. Maybe my favorite song, 5j Barrow's rock lullaby "Wildwood" rises and falls but never loses it's wild drive.



Isaac James photograph


"Lynette" is soft and beautiful. It's a song that reminds us how strong our memories are. It's a story of surrender and what comes next.. "This Too" is another celebration of Hunter's violin, which is punctuated by Eric Namsky's piano and Ian Hunt's drums. This one could be really huge on a big stage.  the sound of a soft whisper and a story of surrendering to memories.. Even though they can devastate you all over again. From the "Big Rooms, Bright Lights" is soft and gorgeous. Though sparse in arrangement, the 'white space' here  is filled with sweet anticipation. The song works perfectly as a last song because, by the end of the record, all I wanted to do was hear the whole thing again.

5j Barrow are definitely One to Watch!  The band is Eryn Murman, Jason Hite, Eric Namaky, Michael Hunter, Ian Hunt, and Hayden Frank.




Backdrop / What's comes Next - During the summer of 2012, the six piece began gigging frequently and have been gaining buzz throughout NYC’s most notable venues, such as Rockwood Music Hall, Bowery Electric, The Bitter End and The Greene Space at WNYC/WQXR. To support their forthcoming debut full length album, From the Dim, Sweet Light, and first tour, 5j Barrow launched a 30 day Kickstarter Campaign in December 2013. In March of 2014 the group was honored to be selected as the winner of The Battle of The Boroughs: Manhattan by WNYC’s The Greene Space.

The band plays the final Battle of the Boroughs this Friday for WNYC's Greene Space (video below) and their release shows are July 11th and 12th at Rockwood Music Hall.

5j Barrow
Web / Fb / Tw





Friday, June 20, 2014

World Premiere - new from Daniel and the Lion


Things are really good in the Daniel and the Lion camp these days. Despite auto-breakdowns and lack of sleep, Jimmie Linville and Daniel Pingrey are happily facing the rigors of the road, supporting Counting Crows on national tour. They're the latest Wisconsin Wunderkind to deftly ascend the national music scene. They've been friends for a few years now, and have been aces at The Outlaw Roadshow festival showcases. The trademark characteristic of their live sets is music theater and gorgeous, emotive pop. One listen will win you over.


All Dates - Click for a Larger Image


Original Poster Art by Frank Germano of Man On Fire Design



NEW SONG PREMIERE - We caught up with the band following their first ever show at The Ryman in Nashville this week - a night that also saw the stage with Counting Crows joined by two more Outlaw Roadshow bands: Foreign Fields and Boom Forest - consequently the family feel has been undeniable. Today we have a never-before-heard, world premiere from Daniel and the Lion.. This is pure magic.


DANIEL AND THE LION 
AlbumsWeb  / Fb  / Tw




Thursday, June 19, 2014

this is Jonah Tolchin





It's hard not to get excited when I know one of the year's best new records is just days away.. Northeast singer-songwriter Jonah Tolchin, who we've crossed paths with several times the last few years on the road with the likes of Brown Bird, Joe Fletcher and the Wrong Reasons, Dan Blakeslee and The Low Anthem - is releasing a new record Clover Lane (Yep Roc) on July 1st. Jonah is a quiet powerhouse of a person. Perhaps diminutive in stature, he is a creative giant - and Clover Lane reflects that. This record will be played many, many times this year in my home!

Raised in a music-filled central New Jersey household by a professional storyteller mother and a father who once ran a record store on the Mississippi delta, Tolchin’s ears were open to music’s potential at an early age — although it took a few years to fully settle in. In 2012, with Tolchin's first full-length album, Criminal Man enjoying airplay at home in Southern New England, Jonah was asked to perform at the Newport Folk Festival. The pivotal experience came at a time when he was beginning to realize something. "Everything I've done since the beginning of my songwriting and performing career has been an evolution," he says, "And I've come to realize that I don't really consider myself a folk artist. I'm not an anything artist anymore: I don't believe in genres."

The new record was produced by Marvin Etzioni and features Chris Scruggs, Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), John McCauley (Deer Tick), Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson), and more. It was mixed in Silverlake, California with Sheldon Gomberg (Charlie Musselwhite, Ben Harper) and mastered by Bernie Grundman.


New Album available at shows June 25 - Online on July 1


Clover Lane gets its name from an astonishing coincidence. Tolchin grew up in New Jersey on Clover Lane. As he tells it, “My parents bought the Clover Lane house in 1996. Fast forward to 2012. At the suggestion of a friend, record producer Marvin Etzioni came out to a show of mine in Los Angeles (Room 5). After an inspired conversation, a few weeks later Marvin and I were recording an album together in Nashville.” The pivotal phone call to Etzioni that night had come from Jonah’s friend, singer-songwriter Alex Wright. He and his wife Chris had met Marvin through their friend and neighbor in LA, Anna Serridge. When Jonah met Anna at the Wrights, he discovered, quite by chance, that she had lived in the very same house on Clover Lane and had sold it to Tolchin’s parents sixteen years earlier. Tolchin says, “I am a believer in a deeper meaning behind life. This record is a passionate manifestation of the cosmos in perfect harmony. The house I grew up in on Clover Lane is the center of the spider’s web from which the interconnected strands have been woven into these songs and recordings.”

The Next 10 Days of Tour!

June 20th - 138 Listening Lounge, Manchester NH *
June 22nd - Dream Away Lodge, Becket MA *
June 23rd - The Oak and The Ax, Biddeford ME *^
June 24th - The Press Room, Portsmouth NH *
June 25th - (CD RELEASE!) Club Passim, Cambridge MA *#
June 26th - Dirt Floor Studios, Chester CT *^
June 27th, The Columbus Theatre, Providence RI !*
June 28th, 265 Orange St, New Haven CT*
June 29th, Rockwood Music Hall Stage III, NYC*
(more dates via the website)

* = w. Christopher Paul Stelling
^ = w. Haunt The House
# = Ian Fitzgerald
! = Ron Gallo


JONAH TOLCHIN
Album / Web / Fb / Tw


DAYTROTTER SESSION 
NEW JUST WENT LIVE!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Wax from Vacationer

From the Mailbag

So, here's the deal. I can't begin to listen to, digest or publish everything we receive. About once or twice a month in 2014, I'll open new mail - and so long as the stuff is potentially of interest to our music-crazed audiences, we'll publish it. It gives everyone - no matter who you are, what kind of music you make, no matter your budget, a chance to reach our audience.



NEW MUSIC - ALBUM OUT NEXT WEEK

The new album from Philadelphia's Vacationer is “Relief” (due out June 24th) exemplifies the creative diversity of Kenny Vasoli and Matt Young, the duo behind Vacationer. In case you’re unfamiliar with the project, Vacationer is an atmospheric, indie rock band best known for the relaxing aura they create with their music. Vasoli and Young combine thoughtful arrangements and pop sensibility to create music with the sole purpose of relaxing the listener and sending their mind on a well-deserved trip

VACATIONER
iTunes / Vinyl /  Fb / Tw

Jun 23
Rough Trade NYC
Brooklyn, NY

Jun 24
Rock & Roll Hotel
Washington, DC

Jun 25
Johnny Brenda's
Philadelphia, PA

Jun 26
The Middle East Downstairs
Cambridge, MA

Aug 30
Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, PA



Monday, June 16, 2014

SAM FRIEND stellar new pop album SPIRIT MIRRIR



A BEST OF 2014 ALBUM SELECTION
STREAM THE FULL ALBUM 
BANDCAMP


JUST GREAT AND BRAND NEW - Over the weekend, Sam Friend dropped his new album online and we wanted you to immediately get a first look. The singer-songwriter who splits time between Miami and Brooklyn, has outdone himself on this one. Have a listen to Spirit Mirrir and realize why it is you love great, quirky pop songs and why we all have room in our lives for a songwriter with his heart on his sleeve. This is definitely someone you need to know about and an album you need to own.


Mackenzie Levine photo


Sam just shot a One on One Session [produced and edited by Ehud Lazin of SBG (YouTube).] Ehud was the videographer for Counting Crows on The Outlaw Roadshow summer tour and for The Outlaw Roadshow New York 2013. It's great to see friends come together through music!



SAM FRIEND
Music / Web / Fb / Tw




Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Movies - X-Men Days Of Future Past

Thoughts on Films
Movie Review

Reviews by Max Bowen
GODZILLA.
PACIFIC RIM
STAR TREK.
MAN OF STEEL.
EMPEROR.
ARGO.




Combining the best of the cast of the X-Men films with breathtaking special effects and uniquely creative storytelling, the newest addition to the saga of the mutants sets a new standard for Marvel films. Set in a dystopian future, mutants have become an endganered species, hunted to near extinction by an army of robots called Sentinels. Why they can't spare a few robots to clean up the damage so things look a little less annhiliated is anyone's guess. Regardless, the X-Men aren't so concered with aesthetics as they are with making it to the next day, an unlikely prospect when they go up against machines that can adapt to their powers in moments. Desperate for a solution that doesn't onvolve them getting atomized, the team sends Wolverine (Hugh Jackman of X-Men, Les Miserables) back in time to 1973, a pivoltal moment in history where this war can be stopped before it starts. His healing factor means that he's the only one who can survive the process, and let's face it, I don't see Cyclops or Iceman saving the day.


Back In Time


One critical part of this plan involves Wolverine allying himself with the much younger (and far less bald) Xavier (James McAvoy, X-Men: First Class, Filth). One little problem: this movie takes place after the events of First Class. Xavier has lost Mystique to Magneto. He tried to carry on by opening his School For Gifted Youngsters, but when most were drafted into the Vietnam War, he became a broken man.

Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult), the lone remaining member of the team, developed a serum which repaired the damage done to Xavier's legs, but at the cost of his powers. Suffice it to say, a mission to save the world doesn't extactly thrill him, and his response to Wolverine is the same he made to Xavier: go fuck yourself.




Meanwhile, in Washington D.C., Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones) is lobbying for Congress to fund the construction of his new Sentinels as a means of controlling the perceived threat of the mutant race. While he's initially unsucessful—the government has an understanbale issue with hunting down American citizens—events will turn things around and bring these mechanical nightmares to life. Where to begin with how awesome this movie is? Let's start with the cast. You've got Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellan and many more, and this group delivers a stellar performance.


Fassbender as a young Magneto


The bleak future can be prevented if the Sentinel Program launch is derailed.



Props go to McAvoy and Fassbender (who plays a young Magneto), whose characters are broken and devoid of any hope. Xavier has seen his dream taken away from him, piece by piece, while Magneto has seen it die one person at a time. These two hate each other with such a bitterness that it's unthinkable that they could have ever been friends. But my vote for Standout Performance goes to Evan Peters, who plays the wise-cracking, faster than sound Peter Maximoff, AKA, Quicksilver. As Xavier so succintly puts it, “He's a pain in the ass,” and yeah, he is, but he had me laughing the whole time he was on screen. Fans of the comic will recognize him as the son of Magneto [spoiler....ah what the hell, you all probably know this already]. We even get a nod to this when Quicksilver meets Magneto for the first time and mentions that his mom once knew a guy that could move metal.


Magneto, Quicksilver & Xavier

The special effects really set the bar for the superhero genre, and they get a lot better with each movie. There's Wolverine's classic adamantium claws, of course, but a number of new mutants make an appearance in Days of Future Past. Blink (Bingbing Fan) creates teleportational portals that she uses in amazingly creative ways. Bishop (Omar Sy) aborsbs energy and transfers it to his gun, a process that is so cool to see. Sunspot (Adam Canto) is a living inferno.



Sunspot battles


Storm returns

Director Bryan Singer shows a real familiarity with the X-Men series and characters. While the movie plotline bears little in resemblance to the comic series of the same name, he nevertheless captures the essence of this iconic cast, and at the same time adds his own little twist that makes them all the more human—Xavier becoming an alcoholic who's abandoned all hope for the future, Magneto as a man desperate to save his people, and furious over what he views as Xavier's failure to do his part.


While this may seem like a pretty heavy movie, the characters are well-placed, and I never really felt buried by it. The action is nonstop, the writing biting and witty, and the storyline both fresh and keeping some cornerstones of the franchise.

Oh, and you'll want to stay for the after-credits sequence. Mind-blowing.





X-Men Days Of Future Past
Official / Imdb / Rotten Tomatoes


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Twin Berlin covers Molly's Lips (Vaselines / Nirvana)




ROCK COVER - One can't really hope to understand TWIN BERLIN'S hopelessly catchy garage rock sound without looking at the last year of these young musicians' lives. There was an immediate and early discovery by producers at MTV. But then the story of their time in-studio, really got surreal. They crossed paths with Mikey Welsh, formerly of Weezer, who - after hearing the band, advocated for them and offered to paint the cover art for the band's debut EP. Tipped off on the glory of their fledgling sound, Travis Barker of Blink-182, had a listen and soon decided to get involved. He selected Twin Berlin to be the winner of Guitar Center’s 'Your Next Record' contest, inviting them to record with him in Los Angeles, and even offering to play along on their first single. The band played a scalding hot set at The Outlaw Roadshow (lineup) in Austin, TX which saw these guys stripped down to their skivvies. Here's the new hotness... Check out this Vaselines cover. (Molly's Lips was of course popularized by Nirvana, who added the cover to their record Incesticide.)


TWIN BERLIN
Album / Web / Fb / Tw

You Can Call Me Al - Christopher Bell

From the Mailbag

So, here's the deal. I can't begin to listen to, digest or publish everything we receive. About once or twice a month in 2014, I'll open new mail - and so long as the stuff is potentially of interest to our music-crazed audiences, we'll publish it. It gives everyone - no matter who you are, what kind of music you make, no matter your budget, a chance to reach our audience.





Dedicated to the cello and to his passion for Pop, Christopher Bell released a refreshing new album 'Fire' that will make you rethink the role of cello in mainstream music. Recorded in Illinois, Fire is a return to Bell finding ways of putting the cello in the foreground of pop music. Using techniques from banjos to basses Bell transforms the instrument past its classical origins. Fire is the follow up to Bell's successful 2013 release, Sirens, an LP of sparse, otherworldly pop. He and his songs have been featured on CBS Evening News With Katie Couric, independent films, TV shows and web series. This new cover of the Paul Simon classic is worth sharing again..



Christopher Bell
new album / Web / Fb / Tw





Monday, June 09, 2014

Summer Movies - GODZILLA

Thoughts on Films
Movie Review

Reviews by Max Bowen
PACIFIC RIM
STAR TREK.
MAN OF STEEL.
EMPEROR.
ARGO.





GODZILLA is quite possibly the most iconic character in cinema history, an embodiment of the kaiju genre which we have seen done over and over again. Ever since he first rose from the ocean depths to lay waste to Tokyo in 1954, the King of the Monsters has come back time and again, in sequels, reboots, toys, comics, and multiple cartoons. When watching this latest iteration of Godzilla, two questions came to mind—does it live up to the hype, and does it offer anything new? To both questions, I give a resounding, “hell yeah.”




Directed by Gareth Edwards (Factory Farmed, Monsters), this movies goes back to the roots of the film franchise, giving us devastated cities, superb battles, and of course, gargantuan monsters that thrill us as much as they make us want to run for the hills. No romantic subplots, no government intrigue, just property damage in the trillions and Godzilla's trademark scream. It's not a particularly challenging equation, and Edwards does this cinematic legacy proud.


The film focuses on Joe Brody (played by actor Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame) and his son Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, star of Kick-Ass and Kick-Ass 2). These two are swept into a showdown between Godzilla and a pair of insect-like leviathans known as MUTO (short for Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism). After a nuclear power plant where Joe worked at in Janjira, Japan is wiped out unexpectedly, he becomes obsessed with finding out what happened. The entire area is quarantined by the government, leading to Joe trying some less than legal methods to learn the truth.








Meanwhile, Ford—a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy—does his utmost to get away and start a new life, but circumstances uproot him and slam him right in the middle of what quickly becomes a fight for the very planet. No pressure, right? Both give a commanding performance, never once giving us the impression that they are in any way capable of dealing with the events unfolding around them. In fact, they're totally out of their league, which I like, since it really leaves it up in the air as to whether they'll survive. They're doing the best they can with what they have, and in some cases, that's not much more than giving a G.I. Joe to a scared kid as one of the MUTOs approaches.





The special effects are spectacular, and the painstaking detail used in crafting these monsters—from the serrated plates on Godzilla's back to the eyes of both MUTOs—brings them to life in a whole new way. The result is a breathtaking series of visual milestones, from the hatching of the first MUTO to the unleashing of Godzilla's radioactive fire breath. Part of me pines a little for the cheesy rubber suits, but that's just nostalgia talking, and I give props to the hundreds (seriously, watch the credits if you think I'm exaggerating) of people responsible for the effects. These enhance an already solid piece of writing, rather than be the shaky platform upon which the film is built.




The original Godzilla was meant to be a metaphor for nuclear weapons, with the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki still fresh in the minds of the people. The origin is retconned for this latest iteration, but I like the new ideas. There's a clear message that humanity has taken technology and used it as a crutch far too often, but I don't feel like it's rammed down my throat.



THE WHAT COULD HAVE DONE THIS? EFFECT OF THE SLOW REVEAL




One element I really liked was the slow reveal of the monsters. Edwards doesn't want to forget the human side of the story (both figuratively and literally), so a lot of time is spent on the cast and their own stories. The star of the show doesn't make an appearance until nearly halfway through, and while it's a move that some have derided, I think it effectively builds the suspense. When Godzilla lets loose with his epic roar, I was grinning ear to ear. With incredibly detailed monster design, intense action, and suspense that had me holding my breath, Godzilla's a win for fans of big beasts and leveled landscapes. Long live the king.



GODZILLA

Monday, June 02, 2014

Live Photos! Moe. in Providence

Photographic Evidence
By Ian Perz

Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel
Providence, RI
May 30, 2014


RSL STREAMING PHOTO ALBUM






Moe.
Downloads / Web / Fb / Tw