March 29, 2010

Take That Obsessive Picture Takers

Personally, I have never really understood the modern day obsession with people taking pictures of themselves and friends at bars. With cameras attached to pretty much all cell phones, the number of pointless images of party scenes from watering holes has tripled. (Gag me with your self importance) I understand it for special occasions but for the most part, I almost pity those who take endless amounts of pictures every time they step out for a night on the town. It's as if those bar / club trips are the most exciting destinations they know and don't have anything better to share with the world. I am of the opinion that you don't need to document every God damned drink / evening out  / dance move... but maybe that is just me. I understand not every picture needs to be taken in the name of art but I am exhausted with seeing the same people, taking the same pictures of their crew, in the same bars, every time they go out. I get it. You are social, hip, well dressed, out making the scene...bravo. Your Facebook and Flickr pages are well padded with proof. Again, congrats.

My picture taking snobbery isn't a popular opinion but it's nice to know I am not totally alone with my distaste for the constant flash of cameras during a night out. DC has a new nightclub called U Street Music Hall and the ballsy owners have made it their policy to ban people with cameras...sick of "overzealous party photographers who swarm Washington's most popular dance nights". YES!!!!!  I salute the owners Will Eastman and Jesse Tittsworth for their one of a kind decision.

Read more about them here.

March 28, 2010

Give your Records a Facial

I haven't tried this as it is from Australia and out of my price league but it looks pretty darn impressive.

There is however a ghetto version to try if you feel like being adventurous with a record you won't miss if the face lift goes horribly wrong.

March 24, 2010

Dear Bands,

If you trick out your MySpace page to the point where it takes my computer 20 or more seconds to open up your page, I won't even bother listening to your music or continue investigating who you are. I am also starting to suspect that the fancier the page, the more your probably covering the fact that your band is actually terrible and a waste of my time. Chances no one  needs a picture slide show of  your last 10 shows (that looks like your Mom took for you) or the video clip of your ride to practice last night where the audio is barely audible.

March 22, 2010

Cherry Bomb : Meet the Ladies

A year ago I sent out a Facebook notice asking if any of my local lady friends were interested in learning how to DJ for free in the comfort of a non intimidating space; my home. It was really a selfish request. My goal was to have maybe one of them like it enough to want to DJ out in bars too so I potentially would have at least one female DJ friend in Richmond.

Amazingly I got 5 replies rather quickly and in no time we were all squished into my living room around my turntables and mixer.

I have never taught something like this before so I clumsily tried to explain the basic technical aspects of how DJing vinyl works and then each girl spent about 15 minutes giving it a whirl. We did this just a few more times and much to my pleasant surprise, not only were these 5 ladies absolute naturals at spinning records, from very early on they had a remarkable ear for picking unique music and putting them in perfect order. Even more shockingly when I asked how the group of girls felt about DJing a friend's birthday party (Okay, my fella to be more specific) at a bar in town, no less in front of what I was certain would be a packed crowd of friends and strangers alike, they ALL said yes.YES!!!!

That is our story; a happy accident that has blossomed into something I could have never ever in a million kagillion years guessed it would become. A year later we are not just a female collective of music lovers... we have become friends, a support system, and have expanded out from that first birthday party into a group of people driven to give back to our community. We don't want to just play records (vinyl 97.3% of the time), we also want to raise money for local charities we believe in and support local artists of all kinds by creating events that merge us all into shared events. To be honest, at this point the fact that we are girls is the least interesting aspect of our story in my eyes. I am constantly inspired, motivated, and empowered by these wonderful women and am so lucky to call them friends. We aren't a clique. We aren't cookie cutters. What I love is just how totally different we each are from each other and the music we DJ during each of our sets only helps prove that point.

Music is the thing that connects us yet makes us distinct from the next and I am honored that artist PJ Sykes took the time and effort to explore this very point with stunning black and white images of each girl  along side their record collection. ( As in the picture of me above) This isn't just a photo expose, he also took the time to ask us questions about the music that defines us, never once exploiting the fact that we happen to all be girls. And just in case that isn't enough to lure you in, he has also shared one song per girl to stream on the site so you can get an audio example of what we love.

I am so thrilled to be a part of this collective and humbled that PJ has taken us on as an art project. Click here for the full story. THANK YOU PJ!!!!!

March 21, 2010

Gabor Szabo Retrospective in Video Form

Born in 1936 and passed away in '82, this Hungarian Jazz guitarist sadly never made it big like some of his contemporaries (IE George Benson) but his cult following remains as strong as ever. He remains one of the most innovative guitar players of the '60s and as a largely self taught player (however he did flee Hungry only to America and eventually attended Berklee College)

His playing style infuses so many styles, folk, jazz, Indian, Asian, Flamenco, and with electric guitar heroes like Hendrix happening during the same time period, he too experimented with feedback however it proved to push him even farther away from commercial success.

While some of his records undoubtedly border on smooth jazz, he has a large catalog despite his short life, and tucked among these records are some true gems.

March 20, 2010

March 18, 2010

March 18th, 2010 : Cause & Effect : The Liars

 Maybe you aren't all that into guitars or keyboards but percussion is more your thing. And maybe you were looking for outsider dance music that wasn't house music made by one dude with a computer. Well perhaps The Liars will wet your whistle. Smart, non traditional rock / dance (and I am using that term loosely here) music themed heavily around drums. If you aren't familiar with the band and can't imagine what the hell I am talking about, then tune in tonight for a two hour journey of exactly what I mean.

WRIR - 97.3 FM in RVA and for those of you listening on line, 7PM to 9PM

The set will include music by : DNA, The Residents, Gang of Four, Silver Apples, Can, The Fall, Lightning Bolt, The Birthday Party, PIL, Oneida, Les Savy Fav, and more.

 I guess Mute records doesn't like links so I can't post their videos but here is a link to their youtube channel.

A Mailing Envelope that Folds Into a Record Player. No Really !

Re-posted From a Marketing Site:

Griffiths, Gibson and Ramsay Productions seems to have a hit on its hands with a direct mail promotional piece that it started mailing out to ad agencies across Canada and the United States in April.
Rather than throwing them in the bin, creative directors are calling the Vancouver-based sound design studio to get extra copies to take home to their kids.

Grey Vancouver created a portable record player from corrugated cardboard that folds into an envelope. The record can be spun with a pencil and the vibrations go through the needle and produce a recording of a children’s story called “A town that found its sound.”

“It’s actually shocking how good the sound quality is,” said Geoff Dawson, associate director at Grey, adding that it took a long time to play with different materials and designs to get the audio just right. Dawson says he hit on the idea while creating a website and new brand identity for GGRP earlier this year.

“There are a lot of parallels between GGRP and vinyl,” said Dawson. “They both have this really strong history, both are enjoying a resurgence in popularity and they both are really representative of a true creativity in sound.”

“As soon as we saw and heard the record promo piece, we knew it was perfect for GGRP,” said GGRP partner Gord Lord, in a release.

“The response we’ve been receiving has been amazing. The direct mailer is doing exactly what we hoped for and more.”

Dawson said the agency’s brief was to showcase GGRP’s creativity and love for sound.

“We know creative directors want to partner with people who have the capability and understanding to make their ideas better, and when you see something like this it just shows that GGRP gets it. They know how to be engaging, they know how to break through clutter they know how to have as much fun as possible.”

More posts about it: and

March 17, 2010

Making Brownies with Public Image LMT.

Well.....sort of. Just another reason to love Mr. Atkins of PIL / Ministry / Killing Joke / Pigface / Invisible Records. I have to wonder, can I make pizza this way? I guess there is only one way to find out.

March 15, 2010

Soundgarden: Maxwells, Hoboken, NJ 1990


When I took this picture, I was a senior in high school and in love Soundgarden's most recent release at the time, Louder than Love. I had already followed the band up North for multiple dates (they played with Voivod and Faith No More and I actually got snowed in after the Boston show because it was the dead of Winter) and this Maxwells performance followed those shows.

I recently read an article about this particular show and it blew mind to discover the back story to that night all these years later.

"After the tour had officially come to an end (Voivod had already left), Faith No More and Soundgarden were making up a gig playing a rescheduled date in a tiny restaurant/bar called Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ. The tour had been fun, with many power-packed, event-filled shows, but now the mood was somber. Something was overshadowing the performance, and I was curious to know what was going on.

Soundgarden was sequestered in their tour bus, and there was a rumor that they were gonna cancel their show. Apparently, there was a conflict with the local powers that be and it was uncertain, at that time, that there was going to be a gig to stick around for. But there was also something heavier people were dealing with. Chris seemed particularly morose and brooding. This didn't seem like the usual hangover-vibe or the somebody's-pissed-off mood that happens on a tour. Something seriously uncomfortable was in the air and intensified by the situation or not, the bad vibes were pretty thick.

It became obvious via hindsight that there was indeed something more than tour trouble marring that evening. I found out later that, back home in Seattle, a friend of the band, especially close to Chris, lapsed into a drug-induced coma, and they didn't know if he was gonna pull through. The singer for Mother Love Bone, Andrew Wood, was fighting for his life. I understood why they felt so affected, as I realized how close the band was to Wood after years of friendship and what an impact he had on me even though I met him only briefly some years earlier.

Soundgarden took the stage of Maxwell's and did the show despite what Chris was going through. He talked briefly about the traumas of drug addition and dedicated the set to Andrew Wood. The crowd that evening didn't make the connection, not knowing what had transpired, but as I look back, I could appreciate to a much greater extent, the overwhelming anxiety the band must have been experiencing.

Cornell and Wood had been roommates. "Just like six months or so, right before or right when Love Bone started," Cornell says. His need to resolve Andrew's death took the form of two songs that he wrote about Wood: "Say Hello 2 Heaven" and "Reach Down." Chris demoed the tracks and played them for his drummer, Matt Cameron, and Mother Love Bone's Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard. With the addition of Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready and vocalist Eddie Vedder, the six became Temple of the Dog, named after a lyric in one of Wood's songs. Rehearsals and jams were so inspired that before long, there was a whole LP's worth of material, released by A&M earlier in '91." - by Christine Natanael (Reflex)

March 14, 2010

Cat Nip to Record Nerds : Anything Behind the Counter

You can put the rarest / best records known to all of mankind out in the bins at a record store but it won't matter because severe record junkies think all the good stuff isn't what is readily available to them. In their mind the "good stuff" is hidden just slightly out of their reach... behind the counter, in back rooms, and in the pile tucked in the back of the store that says "not for sale".

I don't know what it is about this personality type but every day, seriously, every day, someone shopping at the store asks if they can go through the records that are not meant to be looked through. It's as if they think there is a conspiracy against them and the store is purposely hiding the records they really want in places other than where they are intended to shop. 

"Where are you guys are keeping the good stuff?" 

I dread that question and I can promise you that anyone else who works at record shop does too. There is no mystery collection waiting for you like the promised land.

Smaller shops don't have a plethora of space to work in so sometimes the kind of stuff that might be hidden from the public eye, IE a new used collection that has yet to be priced or a new release delivery is placed in semi - plain sight because we have nowhere else to do this work but apparently for some people, the temptation to pry is just too great.

 Next time you are temped to ask if you can go through a stack of records that reads perfectly clearly "PLEASE DO NOT LOOK THROUGH"...don't. Back away from the hypnotizing mystery pile and place your attention on the racks filled with records where you and everyone else are intended to buy them from.

Celebrating Ceremony

Virginia has a lot of great music to proudly call their own and the band Skywave was once at the state's top list. When the band called it quits, they split into two different factions ; A Place to Bury Strangers (Oliver/ NYC) and then Ceremony (Paul + John) who remain in Fredericksburg, VA.

A Place to Bury Strangers has made it to many shoegaze fan's top 10s list over the past  few years but oddly the equally terrific Ceremony seems to remain more of a local secret rather than a national buzz band.

Ceremony has a brand new record coming via Killer Pimp on April 27th called "Rocket Fire" and if 1o new songs weren't enough for you...there is a 7" coming with two non LP tracks too! I am really looking forward to hearing all this new material and hope there will be a Richmond, VA show in their near future....hint hint.

A video for the new single Stars Fall !!!!!

March 11, 2010

March 11th, 2010 : Cause & Effect : The Replacements

Its really this simple. For this classic Minneapolis rock and roll band, Alex and I have created the ultimate set of songs the group has covered over the years as well as all the bands that inspired them to make music. Some radio show sets practically write themselves and really the only catch to tonight's amazing line up of material is the fact that we have a lot of curse words to bleep.

Sometimes drunk (okay...more often than not), sometimes sloppy, the important thing to note about The Replacements was they were perfectly imperfect. Raw, honest, and stuck somewhere between a tragedy and a comedy; the catalog this band left behind in their wake displays the growth from garage punk/hardcore band to a group of musicians finally comfortable enough to record fully fleshed out pop songs that their idol Alex Chilton would be proud to share a namesake with.

We kick off tonight's show with a nod to the songs Westerberg and company grew up listening to (Country, AM gold hits, and R&B), and then we dabble in the band's core genre influences from Rock to Glam, to Punk and then end with some examples of the bands that were off-shoots to the Mats.

We will be sober tonight playing these two hours of some of the best music known to man but don't let that prevent you from celebrating this raucous set with a drink or two. If their was a soundtrack to raise a glass and make a toast in the name of Rock and Roll... tonight will be it.

Tune in on the dial in RVA from 7PM to 9PM at 97.3 or listen on line at

Looks terrible but the sound is there....

And the Sire has disabled many of their videos but their channel is here:

March 4, 2010

March 4th, 2010: Cause & Effect : Pavement

Senior year in high school I thought Pavement was the next coming of Christ. It was 1989 and my favorite record store (Pier Platters in Hoboken) had introduced me to their music via a few singles. I was a buyer at a different record store and in no time, we were carrying anything they did; starting with the 10" on Drag City. Like any devotee, owning their music wasn't enough, I needed to spread the good word.

I moved to Hoboken, NJ the Summer I graduated from high school and found myself in a social circle that overlapped with many of the bands who shared a practice a few blocks from my apartment there. The bands being Sonic Youth, Yo La Tengo, and Bewitched. I can't remember if Pavement also shared that same space but the band members always seemed to be around town between the venue Maxwell's, Pier, and various parties held by employees of both of those places. This was my first understanding of the barrier being more like a speed bump between band members and audience in underground music. These weren't untouchable characters, they sat on the floors at a crowded apartment party when their weren't any more chairs available. They accidentally spilled dip on their shirts and knocked over glasses when they were too tipsy just like the rest of us non rockers. I never stopped loving any of these bands but they incidentally offered a nice reality check to a star struck teen who quickly learned they were just like everyone else but they made music I happened to love too.

I moved to Seattle a few years later and a co-worker at C/Z Records played the Fall nearly every single day. This was the first time I really understood what is now the theme of this weekly show. Somehow I managed to go years without a proper introduction to the Fall and once I took in their catalog in bulk, I realized that Pavement borrowed heavily from them. I couldn't believe this signature sound existed in other bands! It sounds ridiculous to say that now but when you are kid, you truly believe you are the first man on the moon for every life experience, and Pavement's music was like that for me from 1989 to 1993.

Alex and I spent two week's working on this week's show. We have read books on the band, watched documentaries, browsed a ridiculous number of interviews and articles on them to bring you the best possible C & E this evening from 7PM to 9PM. We opted for a set list heavy on the influences and peer groups because we had so many fantastic tracks by that point, there wasn't enough time to play all the bands who have looked up to Pavement or followed in their shoes since.

The influencing bands we picked for this show follow many of Pavement's favorites and you will get to hear the more obvious choices like the Velvets or the Fall but then we throw in groups like Creedence, Guru Guru, The Swell Maps, Faust, and Pere Ubu for good measure. It's a solid line up of some terrific off kilter rock celebrating guitars and vocalists who have helped prove that you don't need to carry a perfect tune to make a damn fine song.

Listen to us on the dial in RVA at 97.3 FM or on line at tonight from 7pm to 9pm.