August 20, 2010

Government Issue Reunion with J Robbins

It is a benefit for a DJ Stereo Faith who is trying to tackle some medical bills after an expensive operation to remove a tumor from his auditory canal.

December 11th at the Black Cat in Washington, DC. with the Goons and Set to Explode.

All the details can be found here.

August 18, 2010

August 19th, 2010: Cause & Effect : R.E.M.

Here is what I remember about seeing R.E.M. live in 1987.

1) It was a school night and I was 16.
2) I couldn't drive yet so my Mom drove me and a girl friend(s?) into the city to see the show. Being the amazing Mom that she was, she killed time in the city (NYC) while we went to the show so we could pretend to be mature and cool AKA parent free at the rock show. I grew up in NJ about 40 minutes from NYC so this was hike that meant my Mom dedicated a whole evening to playing our chauffeur.
3) It took place at Radio City Music Hall
4) I liked R.E.M mostly because I had fallen in love with them that year via a documentary called Athens, GA : Inside/Out. 

5. Mr. Stipe had many layers of clothing on and as they moved onto the next song, a shirt would come off to reveal yet another shirt. I thought he must have been remarkably skinny because for all those shirt, he didn't look layered and bulky.
6. It was a very long set and got antsy / worried that we would miss the three encores because it was getting late and we had a specific time my Mom was going to be picking us up. This was before cell phones so there wasn't a way to let her know the set was running late.
7. Michael Stipe danced unlike any other human I had ever scene. I was obsessed with Andy Warhol at the time and I remember thinking he was the first person I had ever seen in real life that was genuinely quirky to the point of alien. Ahh, the mind of a pseudo artsy  Sophomore in high school.
8. We had rather good seats and were on the floor somewhere in the first 30 rows.

Here is what I don't recall about the show but the internet had told me about:

1) 10,000 Maniacs was the opening act. I not only don't recall that but I was pretty certain until tonight that I had never seen that band play live before. I was sure that REM had played with Echo and the Bunnymen that night but apparently that isn't the case and now I am left wondering who I saw Echo play with there. (Apparently that was in 1988) I saw many shows there, (Adam Ant, Echo, Replacements, Midnight name a few) and apparently they are all starting to blur together. It also appears that I was never much of a fan of 10,000 Maniacs since this event has left zero impact on my memory.
2) I couldn't tell you what record they were touring for (Dead Letter Office / Document according to the internet) or what songs were played. It's pathetic. I look over that set list I found on a website and it means nothing to me. I mean I know the songs but I don't recall any special memories about that night in regards to any of those songs. Oooops.
3. I seriously can't recall if I ever saw R.E.M. again. I don't think I did but with my memory, who the hell knows.
4. I can't even be certain who I went to the with. Shame on me!

I know, this is probably the worst concert "review" ever but the real point at hand is that Cause and Effect tonight will be highlighting the influences, peers, and bands who have followed in R.E.M. footsteps. Only on WRIR, from 7PM to 9PM. You can listen to us on the dial at 97.3 FM in Richmond or stream us live at The set includes music by The Byrds, The Velvets, Big Star, Rain Parade, Leonard Cohen, The Soft Boys, The Feelies, Patti Smith, Pavement, Jawbreaker and more!

August 17, 2010

Mira Cook

Mira Cook is my newest musical obsession; all thanks to the recent Aquarius Records recent review of her Capella CDR.
"With only a single cassette release to her name, Mira Cook has already become one of our favorite delicate, hypnotic and entrancing music makers of the last few years. We've been lucky to get to see her play around town so much, each time watching as she adds a new self taught instrument to the mix, as she creates songs that are really like these miniature fairy tales of the everyday. Her cassette only release, was one of our best selling tapes of 2009, and for good reason. It introduced us to her unique, inviting and warm sensual world of sound. Signs contains some reworked versions of songs that appeared on the cassette along with a bunch of brand new tracks. Using loops as a way to create endless entrancing melody, and taking so sweetly to everything from dulcimer, to drum machines, to piano, to organ, etc., it's Mira's assured and captivating voice that transports us so utterly and completely. It's hard not to think about people like Joanna Newsom, Juana Molina and Bjork, as there is that same kind of unique vision, charm and golden presence in Cook's songs. We're also reminded a lot of that a capella record that Petra Haden made covering The Who's Sell Out. Like the musical equivalent of a Joseph Cornell box, every song on Signs is filled with such unique treasures!"

Sonic Fabric : Clothes made from Recycled Cassette Ribbons

I am still trying to wrap my head around this one but I am amazed / excited it exists at all. As the subject header explains, an artist is making fabric out of cassette tape ribbons. There is even a way to listen to the fabric which sounds like a horror soundtrack of garbled chaos but hey, there are people who love that kind of thing (like me!). The artist has created clothes, ties, and works of art using this material she has loomed himself.

I am in awe.

Sonic Fabric site here.

August 12, 2010

August 12th, 2010 : Cause & Effect : Beastie Boys

Tonight's show is a little different than normal for us. Rather than playing the BB's roots, influences, peers, and so on, we thought it would be interesting to spend all two hours showcasing the music they took samples from; talk about the ultimate influence set!

A friend was kind enough to pass along a link to blog that listed every BB release and then every song they pulled samples from to make that release. Sounds like our radio show was practically done for us, right? I was hoping that might be the case but in actuality, to pick out the key songs to feature during our show, you need to know the BB catalog inside out first to know which songs are the most important. This means we spent hours, maybe a total of 20+ between the two of us, listening to all the music (BB + the songs they sampled) and then deciding which songs will make for the best show. Not to mention that just ONE record (Paul's Boutique) has over 150 songs they pulled samples from! I have a new respect for the layering and soundscaping a rap group does to build the music to rap over no less their ability to sculpt a few seconds of a sample into something entirely new and interesting. We picked the first four releases by the Beasties and in turn will be playing them in chronological order along side some of the music they used to shape the sound of that release.

It's been an unbelievable learning experience to put their music under a microscope and I don't know what I am more impressed with, the music or the overall distance these men have traveled since their inception in 1979 as a hardcore band.

With Kate from Luscious Jasckson on drums!

To this:

August 10, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion : Honor Role / Coral Fans Take Note ! ! !

Years in the making, the Dynamic Truths LPs are finally done and for sale at this very instant here. For those of you who have been living in the dark, I run a record label called Little Black Cloud and this is the first time I have pressed an LP on the label. My other releases, Ringfinger and Cinemasophia, were on CD only so this is an exciting first for me.

Don't know who the Dynamic Truths are? Check out this review.

Here is a tasty little sample of what Jordan from Dusted has to say:

"Categorizing Dynamic Truths as a simplistic update of Thatcher-era British angularities is also fairly misleading. Despite its deliberately stiff rhythms and gloomy minor-key melodies, the band touches equally on jangling, New Zealand-style pop and on unmistakably American tension inherited from ‘80s and ‘90s post-hardcore bigwigs Honor Role (fronted by Schick), Fudge (featuring guitarist David Jones) and Coral (with Schick and drummer Bill Walker). From 1996 through their split in 2000, these three indie veterans, along with a series of bassists (including Honor Role alum Chip Jones) and second guitarists, created music that went unnoticed by all but the sharpest area scenesters"

For a more complete back story on the band go here.

Heavy Metal Picnic

Oh Maryland, I know people overlook you as far as American states go, but some of us know where the true party is. Or ummmm, was.

Director Jeff Krulik posted this on Youtube and I am bummed to see that I missed the debut showing!

jeffkrulik | July 15, 2010
I'm proud to announce the official trailer for HEAVY METAL PICNIC, my new documentary, scheduled to premiere on Friday, August 6, 2010 at 9:30PM at AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring, MD
Produced by Jeff Krulik, John Heyn, Rudy Childs, Billy Gordon
Edited by Greg DeLiso

from the AFI Silver program:
Produced and presented by the team behind cult hit HEAVY METAL PARKING LOT (Jeff Krulik and John Heyn), HEAVY METAL PICNIC is a celebration of mid-'80s Maryland rock and roll and heavy metal, by those who lived--and survived--it. The film focuses on the 1985 Full Moon Jamboree, a weekend field party bacchanal that took place at "The Farm," home to a cast of colorful characters who lived and partied alongside unamused neighbors in the McMansions of Potomac. The Full Moon Jamboree, an affair so raucous that it made the evening news, was the field party to end all field parties, and much of it was recorded using a home video camera and a stolen CBS News microphone swiped from the Reagan Inauguration earlier that year. Twenty-five years later, we revisit the scene and meet the people behind the party, as well as the musicians who performed there, including mid-Atlantic doom metal icons Asylum

Blondie Before She Was... Well... a Blonde

Here she is from 1968 looking more like Susan Partridge. I gotta be honest, the whole record doesn't really do it for me (Wind in the Willows) however this one song is a total gem.

August 6, 2010

Road Trip!

This groovy happening is taking place at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke Univeristy. It is called "The Record - Contemporary Art and Vinyl" and it will be running from Sept until Feb.

Check out the link to find out more here.

August 5, 2010

August 5th, 2010 : Cause & Effect : Built To Spill

Here are the top 10 reasons I am really giddy about the Built To Spill themed show this week.

1) My introduction to the Treepeople came in 1989 by my Sub Pop sales rep (I was working at a record shop at the time), Mark Pickerel who at the time was also the drummer in the Screaming Trees. Knowing I was a fan of indie rock in the vein of Dino Jr and Pavement as well as grunge, he told me to pick up a copy of a then new Treepeople 12". I couldn't predict at the time that the band members would eventually split ways with Doug starting Built To Spill years later, however at the time, The Treepeople became my favorite band from the NW. I collected them obsessively and as you will see, became a very important part of my of '20s.

2) I didn't just love the Treepeople, I worshiped them. Their split single with the House of Large Sizes is still one of my top 10 singles of all time. They recorded the song "Neil's Down" again, later, but it never packed the same punch as this original version. It was angsty, obtusely melodic, and filled with crazy guitar parts that I still can't say I am tired of.

3) The Treepeople made me want to learn how to play guitar, so I did. By 1990 I was spending evenings with my live in boyfriends Gibson and trying to my hardest to make friends with the instrument. I wasn't in a band at this point but their music made want to learn how to be a musician so I could make people feel as good as I did when I played their records.

4) I moved to Hoboken, NJ the summer after I graduated from high school. In the Spring of 1991 I got wind that the Treepeople were touring in the area and in turn, with mutual friends connecting us the old fashioned way - by letters mailed back and forth, they became the first band to ever stay with me. I was 19 and honored to have my favorite band sleeping in my cramped quarters. They stayed with me for several tours, even after Doug left the band, but they hold the sacred position as the very first band to stay with me at my first home that wasn't my parents for days at a time in turn becoming good friends.

5) Through a string of random events I found myself faced with the opportunity to work at the record label C/Z records in Seattle in 1994. This label happened to not only have the Treepeople but the recently formed Built To Spill. I had the opportunity to be a sales rep at the label who carried two bands I LOVED so passing this chance up never crossed my mind. I moved to Seattle from NJ in the Winter of that year. For some people liking a band is enough but for me these bands were the holy grail of talent to me and were worth picking up my life and moving it for. No really.

6) The Treepeople faded away that year but Built To Spill was in their baby stages as a band. Sadly they jumped over to Up Records before I had a chance to sell a proper new release by them but the little girl super fan is proud to say I am thanked in the liner noted to Built To Spill's first release Ultimate Alternative Wavers.

7) I have shared the stage twice with BTS. Once in a very stripped down version of my band at the time in Olympia, WA at Yo-Yo A-Go-Go fest in 1994 (Fugazi , Beck, Excuse 17, Halo Benders, Karp, and so many more bands played!) and once at Maxwells in Hoboken, NJ in 2005 (I think?). There is nothing more humbling than sharing the bill with an artist you have looked up to for so many years.

8) Oh the memories. From 1989 until 1999, I listened to a whole lot of music Doug Martsch has been a part of. Treepeople, Halo Benders, BTS,....there are a slew of his records that I have spent a great deal of time with. That isn't to say the later / more recent records by BTS aren't good but I just happened to have spent an extraordinary amount of time with those earlier records.

9) I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times I have seem Doug play in his various bands. I have to confess, I haven't seen them play in over a decade but more than anything, because there are memories I don't want to mess with, and for BTS...I have many special ones. They are nearly so perfect, I don't want to risk altering their place in my history book. I have said this time and time again. You never know who from your past is going to end up doing what and while I treasured this band, I never predicted them surpassing cult status and still filling theaters in 2010. Doug is the first person I know who went from CBGBs stage at 2AM on a Wed (I even watched Crispin Glover accidentally fall across their show that night as he was just wandering around that part of the city, ask who was playing, shrug with disinterest, and walk back out the door) to headlining huge shows for multiple nights in major cities across the planet. I recall one conversation Doug and I had early on at a bar where he was really frustrated as a musician, was nervous about being a touring musician with a kid on the way and was stressed about leaving a wonderful lady all the way back in Idaho. It was one of those moments where if I had been told he dropped out of music that year, I wouldn't have questioned it. It was before his pseudo fame / success as an artist and I have had so many friends hit this breaking point and decide to give up on music. Obviously Doug didn't give up (thankfully) and more than 7 records later, here we are.

10) I feel like a loser collecting records and having all these stories trapped in my head that 99% of the population wouldn't give a crap about but then a show like this one comes along, and I feel a little better about having something really personal to share. We all have our favorite artists, the ones who inside our bodies are more than just musicians, they have written songs that have moved us deeply and made us feel a part of a bigger human experience. Built to Spill is one of those groups to me and I am so happy to share these memories with music fans who will actually appreciate the path I took to get to this show and the set list that represents the journey.

Tonight Alex and I will be bringing you two hours of music that relates back to Built To Spill. They are one of those groups who are famous for their covers and that always makes for some great radio. We will be playing many of the songs they have covered during their long career which double as influences as well as the bands in the peer group (some like Dinosaur JR, Pavement, and Guided by Voices that started as influences) and then their followers of which their are many. The most famous being artists like Modest Mouse and Death Cab for Cutie.

WRIR - 7PM to 9PM - 97.3 on your FM dial (RVA only) or stream us live at

August 4, 2010

Record Nerd Crush of the Month Goes To...

Elija Wood.

Guilty Pleasure: The Like

A) I always feel a little creepy as an adult liking kiddy rock but once you see the video, you will understand why I hold a torch for them.

B) They seem a little too perfect and well put together but after reading up on them via Wiki, I understand why that is.

"The Like were formed in September 2001 by Elizabeth "Z" Berg (vocals/guitar), Charlotte Froom (bass/vocals) and Tennessee Thomas (drums) at the ages of 15, 15 and 16, respectively. All three are daughters of music industry veterans; Berg's father is former Geffen Records A&R exec/record producer Tony Berg, Froom's father is producer Mitchell Froom and Thomas' father is Pete Thomas, longtime drummer for Elvis Costello. [2] From childhood, Froom, Berg and Thomas were immersed in classic rock, and all three took piano lessons before teaching themselves their current instruments.
They formed when the parents of childhood friends Thomas and Froom learned that Berg had been writing songs and showed interest in forming a band. Froom learned bass two weeks before joining, and the three began working together, getting fast results. The name comes from a habit that the girls, as many do, have of saying "like" all the time. Thomas' mother suggested the name and it stuck.

Over a period of three years, the band independently released three EPs (I Like The Like, ...and The Like, and Like It or Not), which they sold at shows and on their website. Their song "(So I'll Sit Here) Waiting" was featured on the soundtrack of the film Thirteen . "

C)  On the flipside, I am always happy to see girls playing music, instruments and all . . . rather than just playing the pin up vocalist.

D) Fuzzy guitar tones and a fun Mod theme. YAY!

August 3, 2010

How to Pirate (Copy) A Vinyl Record

Ever wanted to know how to copy that precious LP and keep that warm analog feel? Here is the answer!

Just a few easy steps!

Step 1
Using the wooden strips, make a box around the glass plate. Seal off the edges using the window cement. Make sure everything is air tight.
Step 2
Place your record inside the box making sure that the portion to be copied is facing upward. Squeeze in some window cement to mark where the hole in the record is.
Step 3
Mix the silicone (Smooth On OOMOO 30 or OOMOO 25) for about 3 minutes before pouring in to the mold.
Step 4
Pour in the mixture. Start from one corner and let it fill-up the mold to about half a centimeter. Make sure it’s even. Let it dry for 6 hours.
Step 5
Peel off the silicone from the cast. Cut off the excess using a cutter.
Step 6
Pour the liquid plastic (Smooth On Task #4) on top of the silicone cast.
Step 7
Make sure that nothing spills over the round form. You can also brush off any air bubbles that might occur.
Step 8
Carefully loosen the plate from the silicone form. Using a drill press, bore a hole through the center of the plate. You can use the silicone form as a template to make more copies.
There you have it. Your very own pirated record.
(QJ translated this from the German site, also unavailable except via archive)
How well does this work? To be seen… the next step is to rip a vinyl record (pretty easy to do using a USB turntable), then cast a copy of it using this technique. Rip the copy, compare waveforms and look for any major discrepancies. That’s today’s project.
You can read the original article HERE!