Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Hide and Seek: Moga

I spend a great deal of my life looking for answers, seeking meaning in what I see and experience. Things must have a purpose, some utility, some significance, however idiosyncratic. All serve that underlying premise, more than half forgotten, that an answer must exist.

But an answer to what? What if I no longer remember the questions? What if I'm seeking out of mere inertia and boredom? Does it actually matter or merely founded on the same secret premise (that there is an object to be sought), leading into a never ending circle around myself, never reaching a conclusion?

I may not be able to feel confident in my own search, but I'm still able to identify the need and sincerity of other people's quests and questions. Many of the artists that move me and were covered here are seekers, some more readily identifiable than others. Some, like Providence, Rhode Island's Moga, may deserve a category of their own.

I've been struggling with myself these past few weeks to try and "tag" them, to call their true name and posses them. Instead, I now confess my inability to do so; it is I who is being possessed by the unknown and marvel at their own questing and seeking. The sound is unique, no doubt. But I think it is their own secret premise that hooked me, something wild and free, moving from joy to tears and back again, something primal. Something good.

In their MySpace Moga lists "Shamanistic Cultures" under 'Influences'. It is no lie.

Check out Moga on MySpace for more tracks and videos. Their album is set to be released later this month.

Moga - Mountaintop {MP3}
Moga - Cold Clear Night {MP3}

Bonus: Cold Clear Night {video}

Moga- Cold, Clear Night from Moga on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

On the Sunny Side of the Street

Things are not looking up; the dark gloom of depression is emanating from multiple sources, mostly from within. Like smog, it hovers slowly over you, blocking the sunlight and instills existential anxiety into the vacant place that used to house your heart. There is no future, merely the ever present, changing from one futile semblance of reality to another.

But look! A single ray of light is piercing the clouds, melting frost and arousing long lost memories of... hope? Is it an illusion sparked by the ongoing fatigue or is there more to it?

What is it that has such power to put a smile on your face, the kind that comes from within? Who dares exorcise the demons of depression and frustration?

A musical treasure trove of rare properties, covered in a New York Times article I was fortunate to read today, is that shining beacon. Live recordings of Ella Fitzgerlad taken over twelve nights in 1961, lost for so many years, present an amazing side of the singer, close and intimate and above all very much alive and joyous. The article has three streamable songs which transformed my death row-like day at work into something very different indeed. I hope it would have the same effect for you.

Check out the article and play the three songs ("But Not For Me", "St. Louis Blues", "On the Sunny Side of the Street") to brighten your day. More of the recordings are available on the "Twelve Nights in Hollywood" boxed set.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Empty Spaces, Moving On

I was immersed in a funny, almost tranquil feeling last night as I was pacing the company's grounds. The place seemed deserted, familiarly worn and torn; a place I spent most of my waking hours in, but now felt strangely foreign.

I'm trying to leave, the cords are all but completely severed. The only thing remaining is a destination.

But maybe the destination doesn't matter as much as the will to go and breath some life into this existence, to dig up my wanderlust and venture on. A beautiful new Leonard Cohen song, the first in 5 years, apparently, seems to support this. After all: "It's like they tore away my blindfold, and they said 'we're gonna let this man go free'."


Leonard Cohen - New Song {Video), from a live concert in Chicago, October 29th 2009 (thanks for the heads up Guy)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Stricken Peace

An odd sound marks Stricken City, a London, UK based indie pop band. Fast paced, makes-you-want-to-dance moves are mixed with some darker undertones and all somehow, for the lack of a better term, eschewed and different. In a good way.

It's not another britpop band. There's something behind their sound you can't really fathom, something that evades you. It could be the effect of Rebekah Raa's voice as it hovers and haunts the melodies, disturbing the peace. It could be some of the songs' themes and art covers. But it warrants a second listen.

Check out Stricken City on their website and MySpace. Their debut LP, Songs About People I Know, is being released this week (iTunes).

Stricken City - Small Things {MP3} from Songs About People I Know
Additional tracks are streamable on MySpace

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back Rooms and Dreams

It began, they say, in the back room of a bar, a modern equivalent of a speakeasy, in nightly sessions of poker. Hazy cigarettes smoke, a few six packs and half empty bottles of beers lying around, busy shuffling sounds and the beginning of a dream - let's start a band. We've got the means, we've got that rebel spirit, we've got that itch to make it happen.

Most would have stopped at that point, either too drunk or too sober, but not the members of Tony the Bookie. Something was burning inside (and it wasn't just the extra cheese topping). The album The Tony the Bookie Orchestra is a product of that burning, still exploring itself, improving with practice and experience. There may be others, bringing to mind freer, perhaps a little more naive times. The spirit is there.

Do you still have that spirit? Take a ride with Tony the Bookie (website, MySpace, facebook) and try out the album.

Tony the Bookie - True Love {MP3} (from The Tony the Bookie Orchestra)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Brace for impact

It seems I'm about to lose my job, again. There will be no semi-divine intervention putting me back this time. In fact, it's likely that I will be joined by most of the rest of the company soon after. Mind numbing as it was in the recent years, this job did provide a shelter through the ongoing recession, almost surviving it. But not quite.

The mood here has an eerily cheerful facade, fueled by a mix of denial, a sense of fatality and the budding realization that C'est la vie, the time to change has come. I will certainly miss my friends and some of my co-workers, but in a way I've been both waiting and dreading it for quite some time. Will this be the push I need to finally get a grip? Or is (my) life merely a series of such moments of realization after which I sink into the usual comfortable routine of the ordinary and boring?

I don't know what tomorrow will bring; I just need to find the exciting part of it, not just the scary one.

To all job seekers, future and present, I dedicate this beautiful and immensely moving song by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush; don't give up.

Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush - Don't Give Up {Video}, from So

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Relationships' Strange Power

Relationships... where do I start? The complexity of interacting with other people over time and context seems to rise in rate equaling that of entropy filling the universe. The results of both processes, gaping holes of pain, may be similar as well on some cases. In other cases, the serene stars littered skies, each in its own place, seem to present a working unified system. But humans defy the cosmos and its mathematical laws; friend is sometimes foe, kin betrays kin, love is found in the most unlikely places.

But I should let indie singer-songwriter Eric Sarmiento (mentioned here before) present this post's track, part of a duo of new released songs, with his own words:
"they both deal with relationships and how they tend to be interwoven with the spaces of our lives, changing those spaces and being shaped by them. As the name suggests, 'strange power' is about the odd and often surprising ways in which we connect with people, and how those connections can seem to change even the most familiar places into something exotic and new. The coda section of the song delves a bit more into the ways that these connections, however powerful they might be, require work and practice to come to fruition... perhaps to really allow them to bloom to their fullest extent requires quite a bit of courage and ambition, I think."

The song itself hit me as inspired by new wave meets early-mid 2000s styles, but I'm no music expert. I just love the stuff. And it comes in a time relationships complexities come from all sides.

Keep tabs on Eric Sarmiento on MySpace and his label, Alchemist Records, as he releases his latest series of new songs, available soon on iTunes, emusic and more.

Eric Sarmiento - Strange Power {MP3}

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Implications of Having an Imaginary Band

"The band, not being a real band, consequently never formed. And so, there is little to tell about its history."

With this brilliant short intro on his last.fm page (and a lucky email nudge) I was introduced to the beautifully warm and reassuring music of Ben Romvari. A talented Canadian web designer-turned recording engineer and even more so indie singer-songwriter, he has released two records thus far: Nocturnal Fables and Illusions and the Trust EP.

What can you expect from an imaginary band? Is it like an imaginary friend, only with a larger echoing chorus? Should we expect a fallout between the non existent bassist and the almost-there-but-not-quite drummer? Perhaps, one can simply give Ben a listen and fill in the supporting characters themselves. The potential for a "real" band, and more, is there.

Check out Ben's Imaginary Band to become a true fan on his website, MySpace and last.fm. His recordings are available for stream and download.

Ben's Imaginary Band - A Reason Why {MP3} (from Nocturnal Fables and Illusions)
Ben's Imaginary Band - The magical Floating Bed {MP3} (from Trust EP)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Such Sweet Sorrow

The pain of losing someone, at least for me, is deeply personal; not only in its obvious meaning but in some odd and not completely out of place egotistical way. It is losing, not gaining; it is the end of a potential, not the beginning. Regrets, sometimes overlooked, surface with a violent vengeance and guilt strikes to the core.

It is the end of the world, the inner world, as we know it. But endings and beginnings come and go every day; death is final.

And what do we really know of our loved ones, our feelings towards them and even ourselves? More and more I agree with Joni Mitchell that it is "life's illusions I recall; I really don't know life at all". It is the shattering of those illusions, our conceptions, misguided hopes, that hurts the most.


Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now {video}

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's Melting!

The only real fault I can find in Florida's Greenland is Melting is how much their moniker is actually based in fact. Greenland is indeed melting, though it may be the result of more than just the usual human pollution. The warmth and vibrant energies projected by this three-some should be enough to melt any ice cap.

A folk/bluegrass trio with obvious punk roots, sometimes reminiscent of the Avett Brothers, GIM has just released its new album, Our Hearts Are Gold, Our Grass Is Blue. So watch out for those extra rising sea levels.

Check out Greenland is Melting on MySpace and Bandcamp for tracks and info (and other than GIM help stop global warming).

Greenland is Melting - From City to Town {MP3} (from Our Hearts Are Gold, Our Grass Is Blue)
Greenland is Melting - No More Sorry Songs {MP3} (from Our Hearts Are Gold, Our Grass Is Blue)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Finding Shelter in Leaves, or Waking Up to Winter

I don't know why it has taken me so long to emerge from this long, mind numbed slumber. I'm not sure I have in fact fully emerged, to be honest.

But even if this is just taking a small peek at the world to be followed by a return to hibernation, I feel I got an odd mixture of icy-warm wake up shower that can only do good.

Winter is still a little while longer, but some of its essence, the chilly white snow, misty morning breath and a blazing fireplace, is present here already. Made manifest by White Pines, the moniker of Joseph Scott, upon listening to the music I could have sworn I saw a couple of grey-white wolves peeking curiously at me through a screen door. Sniffing around and disappearing, they leave me with a feeling of wonder, hope and rejuvenation that transcends any particular season, much like the music itself.

The ever busy White Pines has a full schedule working the west coast of the US these days, performing with some might call his summer parallel, Cotton Jones.

Check out White Pines on MySpace and on his label, where you'll be able to stream (and stream again) his new EP, A Face Made of Wood and follow him on his tour.

White Pines - Wolves Will Shiver {MP3} (from A Face Made of Wood)

Thanks for the wake up call, Ken.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I admit, my initial response was shock. Shock and dismay. I mean, how would you respond if the places you left long ago but still look upon fondly in nostalgia were being torn apart, destroyed forever? I was also surprised by the relatively mild opposition to this brutal act. But perhaps I shouldn't really be all that surprised. After all, it's not real.

Oh yeah, I'm still stuck in my virtual world, now facing annihilation brought on by the most dangerous of beasts - its creators. Those who for the sake of the chance of bringing back old players would destroy the "old and familiar". What kind of people would be attracted by the utter destruction promised by the next expansion pack and do we really want such people, whose sole attraction point to the game is death and fire, to be running around in our midst?

Sure, the game needs to undergo changes from time to time, keeping players wanting more and challenged and attracting new ones. But the price of these changes may be too high to pay. If the apocalypse promised by the trailer is of any indication, much of the most beautiful and tranquil areas would be forever gone, all for the momentary thrill of the pouring lava and flight over churning chasms.

It's not good enough, Blizzard. You're not one of the many teenagers playing the game, taking delight in senseless killing for instant gratification. You're supposed to know better than that.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A Self Portrait

I saw death today;
Ever present, it was missing from
The dying man's eyes;
Nor was it noticed upon the wild
Creases of his face.

Paralysis gripped him
And me.

I saw death today,
But it wasn't the wheelchair
That betrayed it;
Nor the argent splinters still clinging to
The forgetful scalp.
It was in me,
Remembering, seeing, hearing, feeling --

Monday, July 27, 2009

Best Served Chilled

I sit by an enormous network switch with a huge fan that constantly streams torrents of chilled air straight into my right ear. Besides the occasional blue ear, this situation allows me the experience the arctic freeze on a daily basis, possibly in balance to the actual arctic rapidly melting away.

It also enables me to connect to some types of music in a pseudo-physical sense, feeling the chill and images they project on my own body. The story of northerner Arran Arctic, as you can read and listen to on his MySpace, is one such example. Through it I see bleak and forlorn coasts, green-grey forests and a fire blazing in welcoming hearths. It looks like a hard life, but one worth living.

Venture on to his MySpace and Facebook for your own experience; just don't forget the ear muffs (on top of your headphones). His latest LP, The Boy in Brown, is available here.

Arran Arctic - Lonely Accordion {Video} (from The Boy in Brown)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fancy of A Lost Boy

I don't know any good songs about unicorns (or hippogryphs, for that matter). I do know a lot of great songs of religious and spiritual meaning, of personal and what sometimes seems like collective significance. Why am I writing about that now? Where have I been all this time? These questions are somewhat related.

These past few days I've been reading Richard Dawkin's "The God Delusion", a rather blunt and forceful attack on religion. Already agnostic before I began, I admit the book has carried me over a bit towards atheism. Yet shaking the shackles of the past can take time and I find that even my very way of thought is fraught with the irrational. And a significant part of me doesn't want to abandon it.

But when I say irrational I mean feelings and emotions, not superstitions (which should be left far behind). Religion, like any human creation, has its ups and downs, and while I don't share the belief that the supposed focus of most religions (i.e. god) actually exists as usually described, I can appreciate some of the feelings of wonder, hope and admiration some people of faith seem to share. To believe means to trust completely without question or doubt in something that isn't proven to be so (or perhaps can never be proven), and it's something, though I tried very hard as a child, I could never really accomplish. But to share the ecstasy in Aretha Franklin's rendition of "Amazing Grace", even as a non-Christian, that I can do. Listening to it and similar songs brings me to a point where I feel compelled to get on my knees and start praying (score one for mass media and televangelists), but then I remember there isn't really much of a point (knock out in favor of science and rational thought).

I need my irrational self. I know it's immature, a Peter Pan flying around Outland (Northrend coming soon), living in fancies and dreams. But without his imagination and vision I would be reduced to an empty shell of an automaton. And though there's no outright contradiction between science and the sense of wonder the universe seems to generate, without irrationality, without the presumption, without the fancy of a lost child, there would be no science or wonder as well.

I've found out I'm on a journey; I don't know where I'm going or where I started. The present surrounds and tempts me, the past is foggy almost as the future is murky; the sense of movement itself could be an illusion. And yet, I'm finally beginning to be thrilled about it, to discover between the bouts of storms and thunders, that I am still alive.

I'm sure this song can be interpreted in many ways; mine is taken with a sense of love towards the human race with all its faults, hoping it is on its continuous, never-ending journey in life.

The Highwaymen - Highwayman {Video}

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

... But Summer Is Here

Perhaps the summer isn't such a bad thing after all. Yesterday I wrote a guest post at Music is Art that expressed my longing for winter and summer's end. I complained about the heat and incessant bugs flying around when all I wanted was a breath of fresh, cool air.

Well, I got it in the form of Kym Campbell, a US expatriate who now lives in Australia. Kym writes and performs warm surf/folk songs that may be reminiscent of Jack Johnson or Xavier Rudd with her own personal touch and flavor. The result, other than a little more relaxed smiles around the office, is that suddenly I feel summer may not be all bad, especially when you enjoy the breeze down the beach with good music filling the air.

Treat yourselves to Kym Campbell on her website and MySpace.

Kym Campbell - Rolls That Way {MP3} (from So Alive)
Kym Campbell - Free Flowing {MP3} (from So Alive)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Have You Ever Been Julia?

I've had a small revelation today which soothed me and quailed my growing impatience quite rapidly. I'm sure most people have had it and even I had some prior notions of it, but I, as my usual way about things, forgot. It's very simple, really: I'm not perfect and am not likely to meet or encounter anyone or anything that is. Some say that god is perfect, but even if such a "thing" exists, I doubt our poor and limited human comprehension could ever truly fathom "it".

This brought about a small degree of peace, not because now I don't need to bother working to do the best I can (because perfection is unattainable), but because I could accept that the driving feelings and anxieties about not reaching some (fantastic) goals come from within, and it is, first and foremost, my own perception of myself I have to contend with. As I said, not the most original observation, but one that may make life a little more bearable in this prison of flesh.

What has all this to do with this post's music? Not a great deal. But this net mystery, recording under the moniker of Never Been Julia, has caught my attention and imagination with stormy seas ("Along the Sea") and broken memories ("When I Breath"). Also, as far as I can tell, I've never been Julia either. It's not a bad place to start (even if your name is Julia).

Check out Never Been Julia on last.fm for more tracks. If you've never been Julia too, tell me about it.

Never Been Julia - Along the Sea {MP3}
Never Been Julia - Love Will Come {MP3}
Never Been Julia - When I Breath {MP3}

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Man, Alive

I've somehow managed to survive nature's latest assassination attempt (using microorganisms in the food to try and poison me was clever, better luck next time). As I slowly recover my strength and will to live, I realize how quiet it has been around me. This is not just due to the recently canceled TV cables, but mainly because I didn't really feel the drive to listen and write about anything. Obviously, that has changed.

And with good timing too. By a lucky happenstance Brighton's indie singer-songwriter Julius has released his LP Shepherdess only a few days earlier and I've ran across it. Julius claims the LP, recorded in the mountains of France, pretty much sums up his life in the past 2 years. Well, it's a beautiful life. Calming and inspiring with remnants of happy traveling days memories and friends intertwined, the sound is clear and fresh in my ears.

Check out Julius on MySpace and last.fm for awesome tracks and downloadable EPs and LP. Shepherdess is available on MySpace.

Julius - A Man Alive {MP3} (from Shepherdess)
Julius - Dark Days {MP3} (from Shepherdess)
Julius - My Lovely Boy {MP3} (from Shepherdess)
Julius - Separate {MP3} (from Shepherdess)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Just a Man, Am I?

Cherbourg, one of my currently most listened to bands, has unveiled its official clip for the first single out of their new EP, Into the Dark. Well produced and laden with symbolism of all sorts, it is up for the viewers to get whatever meaning they can out of it. That is, except for the obvious risk in being in a rock band...

Listen to Cherbourg on their official site, MySpace, Facebook and last.fm for more tracks and gig updates. Follow them on twitter here. Buy the EPs on iTunes, Rawrip, or Rough Trade.

Cherbourg - Man {Video, HQ recommended} (from Into the Dark)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Long Boring Love Song (Not)

Sometimes there's no need for lengthy introductions or colorful metaphors. Sometimes, you just need to listen, to delve the silence into which the sound is poured only gently, because too harsh a stare would dissipate it.

And sometimes, it's the simple and charming songs that will win you over. Even if you thought you heard it before, think again. A topic covered as much as love could never really be boring anyway. Not if there's even a fraction of a memory left in your mind.

Check out Zach Bronow on MySpace and last.fm for additional tracks and info.

Zach Bronow - Long Boring Love Song {MP3}
Zach Bronow - Green Tourmaline {MP3}

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Fire in Nebraska, Open Hearth at the Faire

Night falls and you're still at the Faire, marveling at the wonders and sounds around you. A soft laughter echoes in the distance as you notice a quiet spot around the burning open hearth. Around it a people sitting, listening, there and far away, distant in thought and memory. They travel by the sound of the singer accompanied by his lone guitar.

That singer could be the enigmatic man who works under the moniker of Like a Fire in Nebraska. You've never been to Nebraska yourself, but somehow you get it, or think you do. Originally from Berlin and now based in Wellington, New Zealand, Like a Fire has a way of producing a warm sense of solace, much needed at day's end. And perhaps, for you, it also sounds like home.

Check out Like a Fire in Nebraska in MySpace and last.fm for a downloadable EP and a few more streamable tracks.

Like a Fire in Nebraska - Sounds Like Home {MP3}
Like a Fire in Nebraska - Recall the Songs {MP3}
Like a Fire in Nebraska - In Memory of {MP3}

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Drifting Beyond the Idle Sand

I'm officially dedicating this week to the unofficial Faire week. The overall theme of wonder and strange coupled with the underlying passion of wanderlust of these artists leave me little other choice (other than to pack my bag and join the road).

The road is long and arduous, fraught with many dangers and delights, good company, some drinking, an accident here and there and a few broken hearts. It is the tale of the wanderer fewer people nowadays want to listen to or remember, instead preferring to fantasize about lying idly in the sand while eagerly checking the cell phone for news and gossip. Not here.

A genuine article personified in the sometimes NYC based singer-songwriter James Apollo will make you pick up that 40's styled hat, hop on a freight train or just drive away. A drifter himself since 16, he's toured extensively officially and unofficially for years across the US and Europe, and somehow it all gets reflected in that weary, knowing voice. I'm glad to have found him. Just let me grab my hat and a bottle and I'll be on my way. Where to? Beyond the idle sand.

Track Jame Apollo on his website, MySpace and last.fm for tour updates and music. His latest EP, Angels We Have Grown Apart, is available on Amazon and iTunes.

James Apollo - Morphine & Wine {MP3} (from Angels We Have Grown Apart)
James Apollo - I've Got It Easy {MP3}
James Apollo - Beauty Bird {MP3}

Monday, June 08, 2009

Electric Black Faire

The traveling Darkmoon Faire, starting today, provides an arena for the worlds' strange and wonderful. That is, if it actually existed (it's virtual). If it did exist though, I'm sure NYC's Electric Black, covered here before, would have its own specially adorned and red smoke shrouded performance stage.

With their self titled debut LP fast approaching its release date (June 16th), the band has its own traveling to do, along dividing lines of the weird and the profane, the chasms of the soul and the fiery mountain ranges of the broken hearts. Where the journey will take them I cannot say, but I'm sure it will be wonderful.

Check out Electric Black on MySpace and their site for streamable tracks and updates. A second pair of singles is being released before the expected LP release of June 16th.

Electric Black - Reign The Night {MP3} (from Electric Black)

Sunday, June 07, 2009

My Gold Mask, Unblemished

You'll never know what treasures will find their way into your mailbox. Granted, my junk mail folder is overwhelmed by all sorts of people soliciting for cheap drugs, heirlooms of devout Christians in faraway countries just waiting to be picked up and inquiries into my anatomy and if I'm pleased with it. Thankfully, my inbox is spared of all this and I can find myself lucky enough to be introduced into some really unique works of art.

With my newly acquired (virtual) horse (still looking for a name, I'd appreciate some suggestions), I can finally dedicate the time needed to go through it all. And I mean all - sampling songs is just not enough sometimes. This was the case with My Gold Mask, an indie-alternative-art band from Chicago. Their debut self titled work is available for free streaming on Bandcamp, with a few songs available for download.

So I took my time listening, starting with one of the downladable tracks and then just kept going. Gretta Rochelle and Jack Armondo, the band's members, started out with home recording of what they call "extrinsic pop songs" but I think they're much more than that. It was actually one of the streamable tracks, "Like Eli", that jerked my ears into action (as it were). A dark, haunting and wondrous sound, building itself from calm to wild shamanic ecstasy of some ancient cave dwellers. Hey, that's the image I got from it. Try it out for yourselves.

Explore My Gold Mask on their website, MySpace and Bandcamp. Their self titled LP is available on the band's website.

My Gold Mask - Bitches {MP3} (from My Gold Mask)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Canada's Talking Cetaceans

I'm seriously considering turning this week to an all Canadian experience. The sheer wealth and variety of artists and styles of music I encounter coming from that country would seem to demand it. I don't want to compare it to its neighbor from the south, but there's definitely something special and very much alive going on there.

Take Vancouver's indie folk-pop Said the Whale for example. Exuberance may be a hard word to define precisely, but putting a clip of the band in the dictionary might provide a good start. Just as important, the group appears to enjoy the whole experience and gives off a certain impression of genuineness.

If you're lucky and in Canada, you can check them out for yourselves in their grand summer tour:
June 11th - Penticton, BC - Barking Parrot @ Lakeside Resort
June 12th - Lethbridge, AB - The Slice
June 13th - Calgary, AB - The #1 Legion
June 18th - London, ON - Call The Office
June 20th - Toronto, ON - Reverb (NXNE)
June 23th - Windsor, ON - Phog Lounge
June 24th - Peterborough, ON - Red Dog
June 25th - Hamilton, ON- The Casbah
June 26th - Sarnia, ON - Patty Flaherty's
June 28th - St Catherines, ON - SCENE FEST
July 8th - Winnipeg, MB - Lo Pub
July 9th - Saskatoon, SK - Amigo's
July 10th - Edmonton, AB - The Pawn Shop
July 11th - Kelowna, BC - The Habitat

You can also find Said the Whale on their website and MySpace for more updates and tracks. Their LP, Islands Disappear, is expected to be released this October.

Said the Whale - This Winter I Expire {MP3}

Said the Whale - The Light is You {Video}

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Dark, Mean and Canadian

I've been overly neglecting my writing and, even worse, my music listening these past few days. The reason for that is that I'm working hard on saving money to buy a horse of all things (a virtual one, but I'm already looking for names). So, for those who've sent their lovely music over, please forgive me, I'll get there.

One of those I was happy to find is Hamilton*, Ontario's indie folk-rock band Dark Mean. I can feel the dark strand in their music, like a small shade haunting and providing added depth to their work. The mean part eludes me, unless you mean their lean-mean feet-moving rock.

Originally set up to provide a score for a play, the group has found that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and its initial Raison d'être and has recently released its first EP. Two more are planned and these will form the first LP and the next nexus from which to grow.

Check out Dark Mean on MySpace and last.fm. Their debut EP, frankencottage, is available for free download on their website.

Dark Mean - China {MP3} (from frankencottage)

* the more I listen, read and talk to Canadian artists, the more I see Canada as a treasure trove hidden in plain sight, filled with endless riches of culture and great spirit.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Bloody Young Dudes

The mail in my inbox said that Blood Guts Bruises Cuts may not be for the faint of hearts. And it's quite correct, too. But as a title for the Alberta, Canada indie rock band The Dudes' new LP, especially when it is joined with the rather creepy promo video on the band's MySpace, it serves well enough.

That's not to say that gore and violence is what this LP is about; the general feel of it is energetic fun rock, fun to create, perform and dance to. Simple, direct and good.

So, is violence so intertwined with our lives that we can't do without it? A spotlight here and there, offered by the Dudes, may have some interesting revelations and insights.

Check The Dudes on their website, MySpace, Facebook, last.fm and Virb. Their new LP, Blood Guts Bruises Cuts, is out tomorrow, June 2nd.

The Dudes - Dropkick Queen of the Weekend {Video}

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Try Harder, Mr. Rock-Star

When I was going through my regular sources for today's post, huddled in my little corner and enjoying my few minutes of freedom, it was particularly hard for me to connect with any of them.

It's probably fatigue, given my blood washed eyes (too many flights around Kalimodr...), but I just couldn't find someone who would stand out from all the others, talented as they may be.

Then, I put on UK's indie singer-songwriter Dean Austin track "Good Job Guns Are Illegal". The difference in charisma and presence was very evident. The lyrics and intonation, expressing genuine feeling I can empathize with, along with the rest of his material, just compounded the effect.

Check him out for yourselves. Dean Austin is on his website, MySpace and Facebook. His debut EP, Our Future in Spaceships, is available on his website.

Dean Austin - Good Job Guns Are Illegal {MP3} (from Our Future in Spaceships)

* The title of the post is a reference to lyrics from "Good Job Guns Are Illegal"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Free Tinctures

So, how would you like to receive free (in spirit and in financial terms) catchy enthusiastic folk-pop songs on a weekly basis? Originally defined as "free sides", these b-sides tracks come from Donny Hue and the Colors, an NYC indie folk-pop band and their latest album, Letter from New Virginia.

A quick impression from the music, pictures and the videos of Donny and company, makes me want to get to know them better, especially in light of recent posts. Here's to New Virgina.

Form your own impression of Donny Hue and the Colors on their website, MySpace and label. The free sides are available on their label's website. The new LP, Letter from New Virginia, is coming out June 23rd.

Donny Hue and the Colors - Oh Lord {MP3}
Donny Hue and the Colors - I Speak of the Hayseed Cousins {MP3}

Bonus: Donny Hue and the Colors - Good Time Happening {Video}

Donny Hue and the Colors - Good Time Happening from The Kora Records on Vimeo.

Another great catch for a very limited time: New York indie singer-songwriter Jay Brannan has added a second performance in Tel Aviv tonight (May 26th). If you're in the area, check him out. The details are here.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cherbourg's Sounds of Music

Attention music lovers: Cherbourg's second EP, Into the Dark, is about to be released on June 1st and is available for pre-order here. Listening to it, I can just say that this London, UK indie folk-rock band is destined for greatness. The band's first EP, Last Chapter of Dreaming, (covered here) was simply amazing and still totally blows me away. The second one continues the first in some ways but also turns into new directions, with a similar end result: a great EP that moves you and evokes feelings and thoughts best shared.

Obviously, I had to try and grab an interview:
Q. Cherbourg is composed of 4 unique members. Can you tell us a little about the group and its inner workings?

A. Well, I guess, we just try to be as open as possible to everyone in the band's suggestions and when it comes to making music it really is a full band process. We all come from pretty different musical backgrounds and that really helps to keeps the songs interesting but really we just try to compliment the songs in the best way possible.

Q. What inspires you to create and make music?

A. Everything really. I don't think any of us could put it down to a single band or an author or a person. I think that our inspiration lies all over the place and is very individual to each member of the band. I was watching the Sound Of Music yesterday and felt really inspired the whole way through. That film is amazing!

Q. Both Last Chapter of Dreaming and Into The Dark feature a kind of a dark and gloomy spirit about them. Is that your "niche" in the music world or are you trying to deliver a specific message?

A. I guess they both are dark in many ways. I also think that there is a lot of optimism in the songs as well. I just think that our songs are very honest and I don't think were afraid of confronting dark topics or bleak feelings but i believe our music is also very uplifting, if you want it to be.

Q. Starting out as an indie band in a world filled with bands can be very hard (but also a lot fun, if you're with the right people). What's your approach? Do you consider yourself a part of the British folk revival movement, if such a thing exists?

A. I don't really consider Cherbourg as part of a "folk revival movement". I think a movement kind of implies that that all the bands have a message and share the same message which i don't think is true. Our approach is just to enjoy it! We're just happy to play music and enjoy and respect the bands that play and write music for the right reasons.

To support the new EP, Cherbourg is doing a very extensive tour of England and Scotland. Here are some of the tour dates (must see):
May, 23 2009 10:00 PM - Mothers Ruin , Bristol
May, 24 2009 10:00 PM - Unit, Southampton
May, 25 2009 10:00 PM - The Cellar, Portsmouth
May, 27 2009 10:00 PM - Oakford Social, Reading
May, 29 2009 10:00 PM - John Kennedy Introducing @ Watershed, Wimbledon
May, 30 2009 10:00 PM - Escobar, Wakefield
June, 1 2009 10:00 PM - The Lamp, Hull
June, 2 2009 10:00 PM - The Basement, York
June, 3 2009 10:00 PM - Royal Park Cellers, Leeds
June, 4 2009 10:00 PM - The Royal, Derby
June, 5 2009 10:00 PM - Museum Courture Cafe, Manchester
June, 6 2009 10:00 PM - The End Bar, Newcastle
June, 7 2009 10:00 PM - Captains Rest, Glasgow
June, 8 2009 10:00 PM - Sneaky Petes, Edinburgh
June, 10 2009 10:00 PM - Korova, Aberdeen
June, 11 2009 10:00 PM - Roxy, Ulverston
June, 12 2009 10:00 PM - Mad Ferret, Preston
June, 13 2009 09:00 PM - Goldney Ball, Bristol
June, 14 2009 09:00 PM - Jericho Tavern, Oxford
July, 4 2009 08:00 PM - Blissfields Festival, Hampshire
July, 10 2009 05:00 PM - Lounge On The Farm Festival (10th - 12th ), Canterbury

Listen to Cherbourg on their official site, MySpace, Facebook and last.fm for more tracks and gig updates. Follow them on twitter here. Buy the EPs on iTunes, Rawrip, or Rough Trade.

Bonus: Cherbourg - Man (Live, from the new EP Into the Dark) {Video}

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Seriousness of Being Labra

Last post I wrote about how I should lighten up and promised to write about the issue of being serious. More true to my word than I had originally intended, I skipped yesterday's post altogether. Tackling this post's artist, Labrador Labratories (a.k.a. Labra), seemed to have been just as problematic for me.

I was immediately enchanted by his MySpace tracks, imbued with Devendra-like charm and the very curious bio piece. I then proceeded with my admittedly lame and failed attempt at an interview:

Q. Can you tell us a little about you? What are you trying to convey with the bio you wrote on MySpace? How much truth is there in it?

A. Not much of an interview, man. But the story is true. Ask my grandma.

Q. What inspires you to create and make music? What are your influences?

A. A lot of pretty girls i see in the street, and also being lonely, and my big mirror in my room.

Q. What's your dream performance/record?

A. Radio city, man. Naked. With Jimi Hendrix, but he plays rhythm guitar for me.

Q. Starting out as an indie artist in a world filled with other bands and artists can be very hard (but also a lot fun). What's your approach?

A. I go right for the kill.

This left me staggering for a while. Am I just too serious and stiff? Is Labra a weird post-modern cross of a Peter Pan lost boy and a street punk/indie rocker? Is there more to him than his San Francisco styled "man" and "dude" approach? Is it just a facade? I don't have the answers for these questions; I'm not sure Labra does either.

What I do know is that I like to be baffled by artists, to let them surprise me and face the unexpected. And here I got my treat: indie freak folk with classic rock roots that's genuine, kicking and screaming in its quieter moments, all wrapped in one mystery package.

And yeah, Tom. It's not much of a review either.

Listen to Labrador Labratories on MySpace and SoundClick. He also has a page on Facebook.

Labrador Labratories - Your Arms {MP3}
Labrador Labratories - Butterflies {MP3}

Bonus: Labrador Labratories - Butterflies {Video}

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Patience and Ryan Baxley

Patience was the keyword for today (though some of my work buddies might have guessed 'anger' or 'lash-out'). Patience to deal with my shortcomings, those of others around me and the constant sense of waiting for something interesting to happen around here. But perhaps I am being too serious about work (certainly for the pay I receive) and should lighten up about it and other stuff. More on that in tomorrow's post (with the appropriate music to go with it).

For now, the music that brought me peace of mind, moving and exciting, calming and focusing. You'll get it all from California's singer-songwriter Ryan Baxley. Aside for the regular difficulties of a struggling indie artist, he'd also had the misfortune of a record mix destroyed without leaving much of a trace. Still, he's moved on and created, so far, at least 3 LPs and an EP, some of which are available on his websites. So, the combination of patience and good music is not a bad thing at all.

Listen to Ryan Baxley on MySpace and last.fm, where tracks and albums may be freely downloaded.

Ryan Baxley - Pickin' On Dadgad {MP3} (from Bedtime Stories and Fairy tales)
Ryan Baxley - Someplace I've Never Been (Part 2) {MP3} (from Bedtime Stories and Fairy tales)
Ryan Baxley - All I See Is You {MP3} (from Bedtime Stories and Fairy tales)
Ryan Baxley - Fairytale Dreams {MP3} (from Bedtime Stories and Fairy tales)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Frozen Silence's Cold Colors

The creative moniker of Finnish Matti Paalanen, Frozen Silence, invokes a myriad number of images for me. From the quiet awkwardness of a small talk gone awry, a first date going to even worse places and the seemingly infinitely wide open scenes of the far north and south: majestic glaciers, huge tundras and snow covered trees.

The last image, somewhat resembling the picture on the right taken from Frozen Silence's profile on last.fm, can also be felt and perhaps even seen while listening to the music. It's as though the images are being drawn and shaped before your eyes, except that they use material partly from your own memories, so the result is distantly familiar. And charming.

Listen to Frozen Silence on MySpace, Jamendo and last.fm. Some of his LPs can be downloaded on last.fm and Jamendo.

Frozen Silence - Childhood {MP3} (from Frozen Silence)
Frozen Silence - Loneliness {MP3} (from Frozen Silence)
Frozen Silence - Nightingle {MP3} (from Frozen Silence)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Whatever Happened to The Joint Conspiracy?

Does evolution apply to the music industry? Can one say an artist evolved from his predecessors in the genetic sense or is there more to it? If I were to say that The Joint Conspiracy, a Southend, Sussex indie rock band, was the musical cousin of Kings of Leon, would that make any sense?

Wielding similar energies and hooks, both in gigs and recorded songs, The Joint Conspiracy creates a mix of updated old style rock, reverberating with a hidden sly smile and occasionally tapped depths.

With little web activity in the last year, I just hope The Joint Conspiracy isn't an evolutionary dead end. Considering the promised potential evident in its online material, that would be a pity. Where have you gone?

Listen to The Joint Conspiracy on their official site, MySpace and last.fm. Their debut EP, Left at the Lights, is available for free download on last.fm.

The Joint Conspiracy - Tomorrow {MP3} (from Left at the Lights)
The Joint Conspiracy - Where Have We Gone? {MP3} (from Left at the Lights)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Warm Facets

Michael Jack Patrick Donahue may have a name for each of his musical facets (and he probably has a lot more of those stashed in his bedroom drawers). Recording under monikers such as FEMALE, The Great American Airplane Chase and his own given name, this Connecticut based singer-songwriter has accumulated at least dozens of tracks of all flavors and styles.

Obviously influenced by the likes of Devendra Banhart, his songs generate a calm atmosphere to play by the fire or in a warm intimate gathering of friends.

Listen to Michael Jack Patrick Donahue on last.fm and his alternate personalities on MySpace here and here.

Michael Jack Patrick Donahue - When We Go Down {MP3}
Michael Jack Patrick Donahue - A Song for Nakomis {MP3}

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Old Woman Corn Mother

Whoever said that the album as a concept was dead and gone may have to re-evaluate his position after listening to Argentina based Old Woman Corn Mother's LP Born in the Mountain, Dead in the Sea.

I admit, in today's blogosphere share-a-track environment, I too was in the habit of collecting tracks rather than immediately procure entire records (unless I felt an immediate connection to the artist, like in the case of Shearwater or The Tallest Man on Earth). But, after stumbling upon this record, I feel I have missed something, that out of sequence and context torn tracks lose something when listened to individually. There are ups and downs in every record, but sometimes it's the overall landscape that matters.

Another net enigma, the moniker of Old Woman Corn Mother brings to my imagination a seasoned venerable native American woman sitting proudly in her tepee, dispensing wisdom upon younger members of her tribe, making the most fabulous corn bread in a 100 miles radius. The album, which must be listened to as a cohesive unit, brought certain fleeting images, some of personal nature. On occasion I sensed as if someone was playing memories, bringing forgotten things to life; memories of family and home, travel and longing. I was somehow reminded of the work of Nico Muhly, but from a somehow different angle, perhaps more personal.

It was a surprise and a pleasure to encounter these feelings again.

Listen to Old Woman Corn Mother on MySpace, last.fm and virb. The album, Born in the Mountain, Dead in the Sea, is available for free download on the last.fm page. The EP Goodbye [Letters from anywhere but home] is available for free download on virb.

Old Woman Corn Mother - Breeze on the Hills {MP3} (from Born in the Mountain, Dead in the Sea)
Old Woman Corn Mother - The Fallen Leaf {MP3} (from Goodbye [Letters from anywhere but home])

Monday, May 11, 2009

On George and Queen

"Nothing could go wrong, everything's under control". How many times has this line been used to bring about harrowing events upon the seemingly unsuspecting victims? And how many times were we lulled by our self confidence founded on ignorance into another of life's nasty little surprises?

Not so in this case. George and Queen, an Auckland, New Zealand band centered around married couple Immi Paterson and Neil Newton, whose line opens this post, offers a very pleasant surprise. In a musical body of work that varies between indie pop and post-rock and spans, thus far, two LPs, they create a haunting original and somehow distantly familiar sound.

It is an evocative experience, beyond control.

Check out George and Queen on their blog, MySpace and last.fm for updates and more tracks. Their CDs can be bought on SmokeCDs.com.

George and Queen - Private Paradise {MP3} (from City)
George and Queen - Loose like Legs {MP3} (from City)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

A Battle Cry of Sorts

Sometimes you don't realize a battle has been fought until you feel the fatigue that follows it. Then, after counting the remaining attached limbs and the people around you, you can begin to really appreciate how lucky you are. Of course, not all battles are fraught with blood and gore; some are internal, even imaginary for the casual observer. Some are but skirmishes or minor raids in comparison to total war, locked in eternal conflict.

Sometimes you lose. You may survive, physically, but too important parts of you are gone. And when you look back at yourself crying those battle cries and charging, you may wish only to curl up and weep in a small safe corner.

Some analogies go too far. My battle cry is a whisper; few will ever hear it. But for those who would listen: I will not surrender; bring it on. Come, then.

On that note, just two more things in this post: I will not post ads on this site. I know this blog will never be popular and I'm coming to terms with that. My terms also call for no sell out; if I can't connect or feel the music, I cannot endorse it with good conscience. I wish the artists all the best, but I will be a poor blogger and a poorer man to stand for what I don't believe in. Similarly, I focus on the spirit of the art, as it were, less so on its commercial aspects (a topic my understanding of which is very limited). So - no ads.

The second thing, obviously, is music. This post is dedicated to Gafyn Davies, an artists who despite having a personal site filled with content, remains shrouded with mystery and rhymes. A singer-songwriter who travels with his invisible band, appearing and disappearing between gigs and albums and tells sad tales about you and me.

So many battles, so little time.

Check out Gafyn Davies on his website and last.fm for more tracks and a rather enigmatic bio.

Gafyn Davies - I Didn't Want You To Go {MP3} (from The Invisible Band)
Gafyn Davies - The Rage {MP3} (from The Invisible Band)

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Up My Tree of Natrual Curiosity

As another week draws to its inevitable conclusion, I find myself increasingly withdrawing from some of my former life's highlights. Perhaps it is the constant haze caused by lack of sleep or the transmutation of long partially dormant feelings, but I just want to get out of here, my reality.

To aid me in this and help me imagine myself curled amid the branches of a huge green tree, just feeling the smooth bark, smelling the leaves and watching a green and golden world from above, requires a dream. And not just any kind of a dream: Jasmine Dreame Wagner, also known as Cabinet of Natural Curiosities. As her moniker implies, her works reveal a trove of natural curiosities and wonders, mainly of the folk-psychedelics kind, but not limited to it.

Check out Cabinet of Natural Curiosities on MySpace and last.fm for more tracks and a huge tour dates list for those lucky on the east coast. Get her albums on her store.

Cabinet of Natural Curiosities - For Sparrow {MP3} (from Searchlight Needles)
Cabinet of Natural Curiosities - Owllullaby {MP3} (from Searchlight Needles)
Cabinet of Natural Curiosities - Bees Over Seas {MP3} (from Black Bough)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Choices: To Ad or Not to Ad

Sudden dilemmas, thrust upon you out of the blue, can have a certain awakening effect on you, if you choose to see them that way. Yesterday I received an e-mail which spurred my own dormant quandary. It came from a large commercial network which will remain unnamed, offering to add this blog to its lists in exchange for the placements of ads.

I must admit, I was flattered (even though it was probably scripted and automatically sent). The offer has a very strong allure as it has the potential to expose the blog and its content to a lot more people. After all, traffic-wise, this isn't even a minor blog - more of a nano one.

However, the commercialization and ads that are promised are not things I would gladly welcome. To maintain as true as indie spirit as I can, I rely on legal and free offerings by artists, using free and open tools that are available for all. I'm not sure I'd feel comfortable, poor aesthetics aside, seeing big company ads and slogans floating around here.

I know that there are blogs that allow ads and those that don't; you'll find both kinds in this blog's Links area. I just need to figure out what's right for me and this blog and I'd appreciate any helpful comment from any of you few but true readers have to offer.

Now for something that actually matters: good music. This post is dedicated to Ayla Nereo, a San Francisco folk singer-songwriter. For some reason I associate her with Joan Baez, perhaps inspired by certain physical similarities and voice qualities. Her own style is somewhat different, of course, and as her last.fm profile defines it as "quiet and luminous". Her current project, Beatbeat Whisper, is a duo with her brother, Davyd Nereo, and listening to their Daytrotter session, it seems to bring the best of them both.

Check out Ayla Nereo on her official site, MySpace and last.fm. Her current project, Beatbeat Whisper, is here and on MySpace. All of their charming LPs and EPs can be found here.

Ayla Nereo - The Whistler {MP3} (from Play Me A Time)
Beatbeat Whisper - Old River {MP3} (Daytrotter session)
Beatbeat Whisper - Up the Long Tracks {MP3} (Daytrotter session)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I Love You

"I Love You" - simple, heartfelt and sometimes difficult to say (or even to think). We've probably all been in those situations, pain in chest, dry throat and burning in the eyes, when all we can see or feel is the other person. Someone you think so special that all others melt before her (or him, depends on who reads this). So you approach, somewhat timid, hold her hand and feel the words ripped out of you, hurrying to their acoustic destiny in the little space between you.

These feelings and emotions have somehow been personified and forged into a beautiful, somewhat dark, song by Texas' singer-songwriter Beau McDermott. As it is simple and direct so it is powerful and moving. If there's even a shred of the romantic left in you, you will feel it too.

Check out Beau McDermott on MySpace and last.fm. More tracks are available on SoundClick.

Beau McDermott - I Love You {MP3}

Monday, May 04, 2009

Shelter From the Storm

It's windy, hot and hellish in here (and I'm not even talking about the crazy weather outside). All this inspires, aside from the occasional bad hair day, a need for something calm with an Americana flavor, to fit the rolling hay bails (and people), drifting in the storm.

The work of R. Mansfeld & Joseph James, as singer-songwriters in the Californian band Deathbot, certainly hits the spot.

Check out Deathbot on the official site, MySpace and last.fm for a lot more tracks and updates. Their debut LP, Cold Wind Revival (2008) is available for free download on their official site.

Deathbot - Shelter From the Storm {MP3}
Deathbot - My Oh My {MP3} (from Cold Wind Revival)

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Estobahn and My Day Job

With the more than usual much ado about nothing going on at work today and the ever encroaching fatigue, I'm not sure I'll be able to write much of a post today. This is a pity because Mansfield, UK's Estobahn, though mysterious and cryptic online, deserves some play time. It has a very desired calming effect that lends me some resources of patience and peace when otherwise there would be none. It's going to be a long day.

Check out Estobahn on the official site and last.fm for more tracks and info.

Estobahn - Lucid {MP3}
Estobahn - Blue Skies {MP3}
Bonus: Estobahn - Some Things Last a Long Time (a Daniel Johnston cover)

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Manson Family Picnic: An Interview

There are artists who leave an undefinable mark and feeling on you when you listen to their work. When you feel compelled to smile or get cheered up, even move your feet in a little dance but at the same time the lyrics are provoking or just plain fun. And through it all a certain feel of madness is in the air, of unpredictability. Yeah, that's my impression of Manson Family Picnic, whom I've posted about before. I couldn't just leave them like that though. Here's an interview.

Q. Manson Family picnic is composed of 5 unique members. Can you tell me a little about the group and its inner workings?

A. Definitely unique members, everyone of us is a little crazy in our own way, and we are from a bunch of different music backgrounds like noise, metal, r&b, and classical. We formed up in a wood shop in Bushwick, Brooklyn and we decided to play only acoustic instruments. Devlin use to bang on all sorts of spare machinery before we had anything that resembled drums. Some of us are trained musicians, some are not. Jeff (violin) likes to make strange sounds and noises at parties. Andrew (bass) seems to be a good driver. We all really like to cook food for each other. Arthur and I write the songs, and then we all collaborate on the arrangements, so I definitely feel that it is the intense collaboration that turns whatever we bring to the table into something that could only be expressed by the 5 individuals in this band.

Q. What inspires you to create and make music?

A. By playing and making music together we are celebrating and uplifting each others spirits. Touring has been fun and inspiring. I definitely think we are interested in the big questions... life, death and such.... suburban trauma.

Q. Is there a story behind the band's name?

A. We were playing the song "the mistakes" and we were just really getting to know each other. We started to think that we sounded kind of like a cult, like a Manson Family Picnic...ding ding ding! And it stuck. Also, I grew up in Chatsworth, Ca and used to hang around the Manson caves and play when I was a kid. Pretty weird place, Chatsworth, Ca. They use to shoot westerns a lot in the hills near the house where I grew up. Inspiring landscape! Now they make a lot of porn there.

Q. Starting out as an indie band in a world filled with bands can be very hard (but also a lot fun, if you're with the right people). What's your approach? Any funny/interesting anecdotes?

A. Well, it's strange...you know, scenes and all. They can be pretty narrow minded. But we have been able to play a lot of different kinds of scenes, and while not fitting in, I think we have been accepted. We once got kicked out of a venue because we played in the house's kitchen while the show was happening in the garage. I guess they were worried about the cops, but we only come with acoustic jingle jangle so WTF? Also, that night I think our bassist at the time was kind of a butt to the Vivian Girls. We apologize for that.

Q. What do you think of the music industry? How does the indie artist relate to it?

A. The music industry? I don't get it. But, I hope that if we keep making music that comes out of a true raw kind of collaborative effort, maybe folks will catch on.

Check out Manson Family Picnic on their website, MySpace and Facebook for streamable tracks and gig updates. Get their debut EP on CDBaby.

Manson Family Picnic - Kentucky Waltz {MP3} (from Manson Family Picnic)