January 31, 2012

The Nolan Gate

Do you like Voivod? How about KARP laced with Failure, Slayer, Breadwinner, Prong, Don Cab, and Drive Like Jehu ?(Just to name a few things that come to mind when I listen to Nolan Gate.) If any of those bands mean anything to you, then please take the time to check out The Nolan Gate who hail from the NJ/ NYC area. They have a bandcamp page and their newest release costs only $2 to download.

My favorite two tracks are Alchemy and Grinding .

Full disclosure, the drummer from my old band Dahlia Seed is the drummer in The Nolan Gate (Darin Galgano) and I have played shows with / been on a split 7" with the members previous band Mothman but I would be singing their praises regardless of knowing them. I love Metal that you can't pin down with one easy tag and these guys appeal to me as a fan of heavy music that clearly comes from a variety of influences outside of the Metal realm.

January 27, 2012

Wood Playing Turntable

Take that Tim Hecker. (sorry, nerdy piano - v- nature reference)

YEARS from Bartholomäus Traubeck on Vimeo.

January 26, 2012

January 26th, 2012 : Cause & Effect : My Bloody Valentine : Part One

A ridiculous amount has been written about this band and admittedly I have put off doing a Cause & Effect on them because I felt one part overwhelmed at the prospect of where to start and one part burnt out on the group that gets name checked as often as the Beatles. Clearly a band this influential to music today deserves attention but I didn't want to dare tackle them until I had an angle that I felt really inspired by. Some twenty hours of research later, here I am.

The story line of the next two shows about MBV is based off of one simple concept. Not all bands are born over night and in some cases it takes years for a group to really find their sound, their voices, and their production style. Some artist spend their entire creative careers fine tuning and experimenting. My Bloody Valentine is a poster child for this exact notion. They have a nearly perfect path to follow from start to finish and part one of my show will investigate the early building blocks to the band's sonic layers and playing style. I have really enjoyed placing their early records under a microscope and dissecting their sound verse the information found in  the endless interviews given by the band who have been very honest and open about where their influences each step of their band's journey.

A sub plot line tonight will be debunking a few MBV myths and misconceptions about their sound. Bands that are tagged as shoegaze or C86 do not all sound the same and what sets My Bloody Valentine apart from these bands (especially in the recorded form) is the combination of how they arrived at their very specific "fluff on the needle" sound. People assume it is all about their gear, their pedals, a billion overdubs, but in actuality it is more about their technique and philosophy of how they approach their guitars that sets them apart from the masses.

Here is a great quote from singer / guitar player Kevin Shields on the subject. " Fundamentally, the huge irony with the bands called "shoegazing" was that a lot of those bands really were into the Cocteau Twins. And they all used choruses, flangers and other effects pedals to create a certain kind of sound. Three pedals I refused to use in that era were chorus, flanger and delay. Everything we did was everything but that."

And here is another interesting quote about Kevin's guitar playing: "I actually consciously didn’t want to learn how to play anything other than the two basic bar chords, so I just learned the two positions Johnny Ramone used and that was it. I absolutely didn’t want to become a guitarist in the traditional sense. In ‘81 this bass player came on the scene and he was basically playing funky, strange bass-lines…melodically it was impossible to play a chord with it. So suddenly I couldn’t play. So I would find a note and then another note and I played a very fractured style. And then I did these percussive things and I suppose that’s when I left that attitude of generating a noise, and I only really came back to it around the time of the Isn’t Anything period because the way I played the tremolo arm…it only sounds good if you have quite a clear track. If you have a lot of overdubs it actually doesn’t sound good, so you can only do it with one main, good sound, and it has to be really loud to hear properly. So I came back to that stage of cranking sound like this. [Pretends to strum while gripping the tremolo arm]. As opposed to playing guitar I was just cranking the sound. And that’s what happened—that’s the Ramones connection. What I did that was any good in the end came from the mentality that Johnny wasn’t playing guitar. Even though now I’ve learned that he was playing a lot more than I thought."

Tonight I will try my hardest to further explain Kevin's unique guitar playing technique, his love of tremolo, open tunings, and how their use of samples (reversed) makes them closer to Public Enemy than Chapterhouse. I can finally hear the difference between all of the bands that are endlessly compared to MBV and hopefully after tonight's show, you will too.

Locals tune in to 97.3 FM on your dial from 7PM to 9PM or for those streaming can hear us live via the website. I will also be posting a download to the show after each one. And don't forget, part two of this show will be happening same day and time but next week!


  • Download tonight's show here
  • The set list can be found here.
  • And the damn Green on Red song that refused to play tonight is called Apartment 6. I can't find it on YouTube but you can hear at least a bit of it here

Early '90s Flashback : An amazing band you probably never heard back in the day.

Earwig (UK band). There isn't a whole lot to be found about this band via the web but I did find this on YouTube:

"An air of mystery surrounds the indie trio Earwig and the few records they released from 1991 to 1992 on the small indie label La Di Da, based in their hometown of Hove, near Brighton, England. 

Earwig were Kirsty Yates,  Julian Tardo and Dimitri Voulis.

The band released three 12" EPs and an album titled "Under My Skin I am Laughing". The album - as well as the only single taken from it, "Everyday Shines" - received reasonably good reviews in both NME and Melodymaker. The band developed and refined a quite distinctive sound during it's existence by using both sequencers and electronics with more conventional instruments, to build introvert and claustrophobic pop songs about obsessive relationships and conflicting images of the self in an intimate personal drama."

What I personally know about them is this. In the early '90s I didn't relate to Riot Grrrl deeply and my female musician idols were not outwardly feminists but rather band members who happen to be female. (Lush, Jawbox, Superchunk, Velocity Girl, Scarce, Helium, MBV, and Swirlies to name a few examples)

A sales rep from Revolver Distribution back in the early '90s (I was working at a record store at the time). turned me on to Earwig and I managed to collect a few of their records during those brief years. Earwig never seemed to gain any real momentum with the masses and when I talk about favorite bands that feature women with music geeks, this is a group that few serious music nerds who pride themselves on knowing it all,  have ever heard of. It kills me because they are so good, so worth knowing about but their music is quite difficult to come by to this day so I guess that I shouldn't be completely shocked that remain a secret to this day.

Earwig as a trio are minimal but they still manage to be loud. They are filled with tension and energy but not in a predictable, overdriven theatrical way like Hole or Babes in Toyland. Think cool melodies ALA the Breeders or Velocity Girl but with an early electronic twist that remind me of modern day Morr Records artists like Lali Puna or  Ms. John Soda. I was inspired by Earwig  because they opened my ears to a new style of abstracted rage that that sounded completely fresh but even more importantly like something that with enough practice I might be able learn how to recreate on some level. I am terrible at naming all the band who have influenced me along the way as a musician but I can say with total confidence that Earwig is among that list. Even more exciting to me is that their songs still sound as important, beautiful, and raw as ever.

In fact, if by some stroke of dumb luck and ex member or friend to the band reads this I would kill to know more about the band and would seriously give my right arm to help reissue their catalog. (I have a small record label) These songs are too important to go unheard. I am totally serious. Calling all members of Earwig, I want to reissue you first three EPs. Pretty please? Pipe dream aside, it feels good to share a post about a band who has been important to me for not one but two decades.


January 23, 2012

I can't imagine Peter Saville approves of this!

Here is the quote from the Disney Store website. "Inspired by the iconic sleeve of Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures  album, this Waves Mickey Mouse Tee incorporates Mickey's image within the graphic of the pulse of a star. That's appropriate given few stars have made bigger waves than Mickey!


January 19, 2012

Old Band Related Photos From My Personal Collection

Hot Water Music + Strike Anywhere.

This is Bob Schick (Honor Role / Coral / Dynamic Truths) and photographer Chrissy Piper in 2000. (Hollywood Cemetery)

Chrissy shooting Hot Water Music in Oregon Hill, RVA, 2000.

Hot Water Music under a train trestle in RVA, 2000.

Thomas Barnett of Strike Anywhere hanging out with Hot Water Music on their photo shoot in RVA, 2000.

Chuck R looking over Hot Water Music pictures.

January 17, 2012

The Other Hit

People know the band Modern English for "Melt With You" but I have always been partial to "Someone's Calling". I had no idea there was a video for it until tonight

Swans on Glass is another winner and yet few people have ever heard it either.

January 12, 2012

January 12th, 2012 : Cause & Effect : Seaweed

Like so many band discoveries of mine in the '90s, it all began with a tip off from sales reps who worked at various labels and distributors and sold to the record shop I worked at in N.J.. Before email blasts and faxes these sales people would call us and run down the list of new releases they had to sell. It was never just a cold reading of what records they had, they were almost always personal and extended way beyond whatever they were trying to sell us. I learned in great detail about who these sales reps were, where they came from, and most importantly the nuances of their local music scenes. Sales reps were rarely just employees for whatever company, they were music collectors too and often played in bands. A perfect example of this would be Mark Pickerel who was my first Sub Pop sales person. He was also the drummer in the Screaming Trees, from Washington state, was record collector, and knew everything there was to know about the bands from his region. Every call from him was an education in music, especially what was happening in his backyard. From him I learned about not just Sub Pop, but K, Kill Rock Stars, C/Z, and that list goes on. Big and small labels alike. Sub Pop distributed hundreds of local labels and through these calls with Mark I discovered a world of music coming out of Wa, OR, and ID. I eventually moved to Seattle and learned much more about their music community but the core of my education to that scene came via telephone years before my feet touched ground in the emerald city.

My introduction to Seaweed came from Mark and like so many of us who were passionate about underground music at the time, when you loved a band's record, you tracked down their mailing address (usually on the backside of a record or insert in the record) and you wrote them a fan letter. You asked if they were touring to your part of the country any time soon, you asked if they had more releases, and if you were like me, you offered them a floor to crash on if they toured. For me buying records and selling them at a shop wasn't enough. To really give back to the music community I was passionate about I wanted to extend my home to them. Often these bands were broke kids who didn't know the rest of the country well so they really needed a free place to stay, food to eat, and a local tour guide. We were all in this together, I would hope other people would do this for us when our band toured so befriending bands from all over the world was just a natural part of how our DIY culture worked. There was a massive network of small bands and fans writing letters to each other and from these pen pal friendships occasionally came life long friendships. Seaweed is one of those bands for me. We wrote some letters, they crashed with me for days at a time when they came to the NYC area (I lived in Hoboken / Jersey City then), and when our bands broke up and we all grew ancient, social media outlets like Facebook helped to revive many of these long lost friendships.

Usually each band has one member that is the main letter writer and Seaweed's guitar player Wade Neal was that guy. He was my band contact and while I know all the members, he and I were by default the most familiar because of the letters exchanged. When we stumbled across each other on Facebook the timing couldn't have been any better. Suddenly Seaweed was announcing reunion tour dates and I would have the opportunity to see them again in person (NYC) and do something I never dreamed would happen, I got to see one of my favorite Northwest bands play again.

Seaweed's importance in the timeline of hardcore and punk isn't one that is written on every history wall. For whatever reason some bands get more credit than other over time and Seaweed has for the most part remained more of a cult favorite among those who like heavy music mixed with melody. The reality is there were the hardcore bands on labels like SST and Dischord who helped lay down some important stepping stones but the next generation of band who grew up on those records (not to mention lots of metal, classic rock, emo, and new wave) developed upon that base that further expanded into post hardcore. Much like Quicksand on the opposite coast, they were  offering heavy music with all these other influences of the day (not to mention that grunge was taking off in Seattle near where Seaweed was from so there are shades of that to Seaweed too). I truly believe bands like The Deftones wouldn't exist without bands like Seaweed helping to build upon the foundation of melodic hardcore with shades of Metal mixed in. Today there is an endless number of heavy bands shamelessly adding Pop elements but int he early '90s this was still considered strange and alien to folks who either only liked Pop music or just hardcore or just Metal.

Tune in tonight to hear a band you may or may not know (but should!) tell their story through the records of their influences and peers. From 7pm to 9pm tonight I will be playing music that Wade has personally selected and while he will not be in the studio with me, he has written little footnotes about many of the tracks and I will post them to the WRIR website.

It's funny, I know I was influenced by Seaweed while playing in Dahlia Seed but I didn't know how much I had in common with their roots and influences until I began working on this radio show. I can hear now exactly why I love Seaweed so much and like so many Cause & Effect show, learned a great deal about how interconnected we all really are.

Thank you Wade for taking the time to pick tonight's set and I am really looking forward to it playing throught it all tonight!


Set list , the show download, and Wade's notes about the show are here.

January 9, 2012

More 1994 Goodness

Talk all you want about how exciting news of the return of At the Drive In or Refused is but Lync will always be more important to me than any of those other bands. And holy crap I can't believe their amazing final (and firey) show from 1994 at the Velvet Elvis is now on You Tube. 2012 is looking up!

This is yet another time and place I feel very fortunate to have experienced in person and I don't think bass players come any better than James B (plus I got to see bands like Modest Mouse and Sunny Day really take off)

Now all I need to do is convince Sam to let me re-release his early Love as Laughter cassettes. You mean there was music after Lync but before LAL's Greks Bring Gifts ? Yes! And here is a little note about these two brilliant tapes from Sam's web site. One day I will transfer my favorite songs and post them somewhere. People need to hear these lo-fi pop gems.

"This was two years after the dissolution of my band ‘Lync’. I had been living in Olympia, Wa months before and was just running wild and for a while living in the Martin Apartments where my girlfriend at the time, Becca Albee (still a really great friend), lived down the hall. Tae from Kicking Giant, Chris from Karp, and a bunch of other scene luminaries lived in the same building. In the two years I lived in Olympia I moved liked 5 times, couches, haunted houses, the lucky 7 house, wherever. I started recording on a friend’s 4-track (I think it was Corin Tucker’s or Tracy Sawyer’s) and eventually my cousin Layne Staley gave me a Tascam 8 track that I proceeded to go nuts on. I remember right before Beck’s One Foot in the Grave was recorded Beck came over to my apartment and my room was just packed with electronic stuff and recording stuff and video games and whatever and I think he was kinda impressed at my strange existence. Or totally weirded out. We got along off the bat, I liked him because he was so weird, I was such a wild spazz back then who knows what people thought. I just had too much energy.

Music gave me somewhere to put all my restlessness and I recorded tons of songs, which I first put on cassette compilations. The first one was called ‘Love as Laughter’ and the second one was called ‘Clear Sky = Blue Dye’. I gave these out to friends, sometimes they would pay for them because I never had money."

PS: If you can actually find me in this video (I am in there!), I will send you a prize.

Yo Yo A Go Go 1994

This past weekend I finally had a chance to check out the Karp documentary. (thumbs up)

This film got me thinking about the mid '90s and the time I spent living in Seattle / visiting Olympia, WA. I moved to the Northwest to find myself (gag) and discover what I was really made of when taken out of the comfort zone of where I grew up. I was originally from N.J. but when I was offered a job at C/Z Records in a shiny new city across the country, off I went. The extra absurd aspect of this move was that I remained in my East Coast band Dahlia Seed too. From 1994 to 1996 I was making trips back and forth between coasts to record and tour. It wasn't easy but this is how our band operated for years.

Dahlia Seed had not yet toured nationally but it was my friend Michelle Noel who was instrumental in getting us a slot on the epic Yo Yo A Go Go Festival that took place in Olympia, WA in 1994. This performance was going to be our introduction to the left coast. In short, this show was a BIG DEAL.

Check out the line up that year. (sorry, I know this poster is hard to read)

The plan was for the rest of the band to fly to Seattle and we would play Yo Yo together but it was foiled when circumstances led to the band not being able to afford the trip. So there we were with a once in a lifetime slot in an amazing fest but with only one member to play it, the singer, me.

While I play guitar and sing, I am truly terrible at doing both at the same time (and a below average guitar player to boot) so playing this massive show solo was not an option for me. Last minute, I begged a friend who worked a C/Z with me to learn a few of the Dahlia Seed songs I had written and together we would perform a few of them as a two piece, he on guitar and me just singing.

We practiced but nothing can really prepare you for the nerves that kick in when you play a massive show. Our day time slot was not nearly as packed as the nighttime shows but the venue holds up to 2500 people. So people or not, the theater is an intimidating and LARGE space. Dahlia Seed was a small DIY band that played to rooms with maybe, MAYBE a few hundred of people, so playing a show of this size was both exciting and terrifying for me. Not only because this was the biggest show I had ever played or the fact that I was so far from my home but because I was going to be performing without the comfort of my actual band. The bill says Dahlia Seed performed but this isn't 100% accurate. It was me and a tall drink of water who was willing to play guitar for me.

Michael (whom I met when he joined the C/Z Records family as an intern) was such an amazing sport to learn a few songs written by people he didn't know and then perform them at for what I suspect was also the biggest show he has ever played in his life. We spent a few weeks meeting in his living room practicing  unplugged the Dahlia Seed songs I knew how to play on guitar and trying to imagine how it all would sound in a giant space, electrified. We truthfully had no idea what we were in for. He was from Arizona, I was from New Jersey. We had zero context or experience to know what it was like to play the Capital Theater in Olympia.

In an effort to win over the crowd (suspecting that we needed a little extra to help to win people over) we picked up a box of cookies from the Olympia Brewery. Fun fact : Olympia Beer made and sold cookies. When we took the stage, we stood there for a minute in awe of it all (and me wearing a baseball jersey sent from Dahlia Seed guitar player Chris). Michael then as planned threw out cookies into the audience. Fun fact number 2 - Michael had such a great arm that he could wing cookies all the way back into the balcony. Fun Fact number 3 - bribing the audience with baked treats never hurts.

You would think I would have a perfect memory of the biggest show I have ever played but honestly, I don't. The experience was so big, so overwhelming, that it all gets a little hazy after we stepped into the middle of the stage. I didn't really have the experience as a musician to handle the pressure of that moment confidently. We didn't have a total melt down but it wasn't a flawless performance either. Mistake were made. We were clumsy but we made through the whole set and enjoyed ourselves immensely. I would like to believe there was some sort of charm to our performance (hooray for cookies!) but I can't begin to guess what it was like to listen to or watch from a stranger's perspective. The crowd was kind to us. They clapped, made us feel welcome, and it was almost as if they seemed nervous for us. As awkward as it all was, it was an absolutely positive experience that I still can't believe I was a part of. And even more amazingly, thank you person I don't know for actually having a photo and placing in on the internet of what still remains the biggest show I have ever played in my life. Maybe not played perfectly, but dang it, I still played it!

PS: We didn't make the cut on the music compilation of that year's fest but trust me, it was for the best.

January 6, 2012

Looking Like A Broken Record

You Heard it Here First

A friend to the North just tipped me off to Yamantaka. Deerhoof meets Emerson, Lake, & Palmer? What would happen if Boris and the Cocteau Twins created a rock opera using face paint? Epic, tribal,clouds of melody rising above chaos...it comes highly recommended.

You can purchase their CD or LP here.


January 5, 2012

January 5th, 2011 : Cause & Effect : PJ Harvey

Tune into WRIR tonight from 7PM to 9PM to hear JJ tackle PJ Harvey this week on Cause & Effect.

January 2012 marks our third year of doing this show and I would like thank all of you who have listened to us over the years. We really appreciate your support and we can't wait to bring you another year of shows.

I will be officially celebrating our third year anniversary during my show next week. I have a special one planned  - something that feels more like a gift to myself as a member of one of my favorite bands has picked all the music to shape their own Cause & Effect show.

Guitar player Wade Neal of the Northwest band Seaweed has been kind enough to pick two hours of music that shaped the band's style from their early Sub Pop days through to today (Merge Records).

More on that next week!

Hey Old School Flaming Lips Fans

I bet you will like this song by My Best Friend who are a Brooklyn 5 piece. They have a new record coming via Warp Records (one of my favorite labels ever) on January 27th called In Ghostlike Fading

  My Best Fiend - Cracking Eggs by mybestfiend

January 4, 2012

My Bloody Valentine Fans

I have been working on a My Bloody Valentine Cause & Effect that will be aired later this month and in the process, stumbled across this SF band, Fleeting Joys. File under MBV follower.

Frampton Gets Lost "Comes Alive" Guitar Back After 30 Years...

...and dollar bins in record stores across America sigh with relief.  Read the news story here.

Mogees Magic

"Mogees is an interactive gestural-based surface for realtime audio mosaicing" In other words, by using contact microphones, one can turn just about any surface into a musical instrument using varying finger gestures.

According to their YouTube video:

"In this video we show how it is possible to perform gesture recognition just with contact microphones and transform every surface into an interactive board.

Through gesture recognition techniques we detect different kind of fingers-touch and associate them with different sounds.

In the video we used two different audio synthesis techniques:

1- physic modelling, which consists in generating the sound by simulating physical laws;

2- concatenative synthesis (audio mosaicing), in which the sound of the contact microphone is associated with its closest frame present in a sound database.

The system can recognise both fingers-touches and objects that emit a sound, such as the coin shown in the video."

January 2, 2012

Economist Get There Do

This proves there is truly a little something out there for everyone. I give you Dorian Electra and her ode to free market economics.