screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Month: June 2013

The Parson Red Heads ~ The “6” EP & West Coast Tour

One of my West Coast faves, The Parson Red Heads have just released an EP called “6” (which inexplicably, if you order it from iTunes, has 7 tracks on it…). During spring of last year, the band was in Type Foundry Studio in their hometown of Portland with Scott McCaughey and Adam Selzer, recording their new album Orb Weaver, which will be released this fall. The other big news from last year is Brette and Evan’s son George, who “was released” in the fall. For now, the EP is out to give us all some lovely tunes to hold us over until the album. Not surprisingly, it’s beautiful. Have a look and a listen below.

If you’re on the West Coast, drop in and see them somewhere. They’ll make you feel happy.

“6” track listing: Kelly Blair Bauman / Christine / The Moon Is In Your Eyes / Times / Red Quilt / Crying Days Are Over / Wedding In the Round


6/6 Eugene, OR | 6/7 Davis, CA | 6/8 Merced, CA | 6/9 San Francisco, CA | 6/11 Costa Mesa, CA | 6/12 San Diego, CA | 6/13 Los Angeles, CA | 6/14 Las Vegas | 6/15 Scottsdale, AZ | 6/16 Ventura, CA | 6/17 Felton, CA | 6/18 Chico, CA ~ see their website for details!

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Breaking News: Literary Luminaries Converge in Little Rock ‘n’ Roll Dive

photo by Kirsty Bennet

photo by Kirsty Bennet

featuring Dan Kennedy, Ophira Eisenberg, Ben Greenman and Christopher Monks
The Middle East (Upstairs)
Saturday, June 8, 2013
7pm (6pm doors) | $10 | ::: BUY TICKETS :::

Boston has an illustrious intellectual and literary tradition. Among those who have lived and written in and around the city are Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Cambridge), Anne Bradstreet (Salem, Charlestown, Boston, Cambridge), Sylvia Plath (Boston), e.e. cummings (Cambridge), Ralph Waldo Emerson (Concord), Nathaniel Hawthorne (Salem), Robert Frost (Lawrence), Anne Sexton (Newton, Lowell, Boston, Cambridge), Jack Kerouac (Lowell), Oliver Wendell Holmes (Cambridge), Kahlil Gibran (Boston) and though Baltimore claims Edgar Allan Poe, he was in fact born in Boston. Our city also has a rich rock ‘n’ roll history: Nervous Eaters, Mission of Burma, Pixies, Morphine, Jonathan Richman and The Modern Lovers, Human Sexual Response, Willie Loco and the Boom Boom Band, Rob Zombie, Tracy Chapman, Dresden Dolls, Aerosmith, The Real Kids, Passion Pit… So it’s strangely appropriate that such a distinguished group of fertile minds would be gathering at one of our skanky rock clubs to read from their works.

Dan Kennedy

The missing link between indie rock club and high brow literature might well be New York-based writer Dan Kennedy’s 2008 memoir “Rock On”, about his marketing job at one of the music industry’s corporate monsters, Atlantic Records. He’s a contributor to GQ and McSweeney’s, and is host of The Moth storytelling podcast. His most recent novel is “American Spirit”. :: twit ::

Ophira Eisenberg

Ophira Eisenberg hosts NPR’s rambunctious weekly trivia game show, Ask Me Another, is performer and host of The Moth and has performed on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, VH-1, Comedy Central, E! Channel and Oxygen Network. Her writing has been featured in “I Killed: True Stories of the Road from America’s Top Comics,” and US Weekly’s Fashion Police. This year, she released her debut memoir, “Screw Everyone: Sleeping My Way to Monogamy”. :: twit ::

Ben Greenman

As an editor of the New Yorker and renowned author, Ben Greenman has written essays, music criticism and fiction that has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Paris Review, McSweeneys, Zoetrope: All Story and Opium. His books have included “Superbad”, “Superworse”, “A Circle is a Balloon and Compass Both: Stories About Human Love” and his rock star novel, “Please Step Back”. He also contributes to the audioblog His latest work, recently released, is “The Slippage”. :: twit ::

Christopher Monks

Christopher Monks is editor of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and author of “The Ultimate Game Guide To Your Life”. His writing has appeared in print and online journals including The Morning News and McSweeney’s, and yes of course, he tweets as well.

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Christopher Paul Stelling ~ from False Cities to small towns

Christopher Paul Stelling

Christopher Paul Stelling

Tyler Lyle

Tyler Lyle

So this is how it goes when I’m trying to get something up quickly before the entire day goes by. I’ve been previously astonished by Christopher Paul Stelling in these pages, and he’s just released False Cities, which is once again a heart-stopper of an album, filled to the brim with ageless, timeless desperation, passion and hell-fire fury. I don’t have the time to do this justice, but for now — it’s an earth-shattering cry for salvation with furious fiddling and finger-picking and a voice conjuring all spirits from their not-so-final resting places for one last desperate dance.

Breathtaking music, Beer and BBQ ~ The Brew Session welcomes Christopher Paul Stelling and Tyler Lyle (Jessica’s apartment) – ::: tickets :::

What’s the rush? It’s to let everyone know about CP’s tour, currently in progress and touching down in Boston on Saturday, June 15, for one very cool and crazy intimate event at “Jessica’s apartment” (which I believe actually is some woman named Jessica’s apartment). It’s called The Brew Session, and it’s one part ridiculously fine music and another part beer & BBQ party. This sounds like something that would appeal to most Bostonians, so it would probably be wise to get your tickets quickly. The evening also features, direct from Santa Monica, singer-songwriter Tyler Lyle. I’m just listening to him now for the first time, but he sounds pretty great as well. He has a new EP out called Expatriates. Have a listen below. This is something you won’t want to miss.

Upcoming Shows

Christopher Paul Stelling
Jun 06 – The Living Room, New York, NY
Jun 11 – Cafe Nine, New Haven, CT
Jun 15 – Jessica’s Apartment, Boston, MA (Brew Session)
Jun 17 – Divan Orange, Montreal, QC
Jul 12- Bunbury Music Festival, Cincinnati, OH,br />
Jul 17 – The Shitty Barn, Spring Green, WI
Jul 20 – Ace Bar, Chicago, IL
Jul 23 РRumba Caf̩, Columbus, OH

Tyler Lyle
Jun 08 – Hotel Cafe, Los Angeles, CA
Jun 14 – The Living Room, New York, NY
Jun 15 – Jessica’s Apartment, Boston, MA (Brew Session)

Christopher Paul Stelling: web | facebook | bandcamp
Tyler Lyle: web | facebook | bandcamp

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Sea Wolf’s Spring Tour (Brighton Music Hall Friday 6/7)

I was first captivated by Alex Brown Church and Sea Wolf when I heard their wonderfully warm and melodic EP, Get To The River Before It Runs Too Low, their 2007 debut full length, Leaves In The River and its follow-up in 2009, White Water White Bloom. Gentle and flowing like their namesakes, the personal storytelling in these recordings pulls you right in.

In September of last year, Sea Wolf released Old World Romance. Once again true to its name, there’s an elegance and timelessness in their music, with lush strings and Church’s soulful vocals.. Enjoy this loveliness in an intimate setting as they make their way East to West this Spring. And for now, enjoy a stripped-down acoustic version of “Miracle Cure,” from Old World Romance.

Alex Brown Church of Sea Wolf

Alex Brown Church of Sea Wolf

Sea Wolf Tour

Jun 05 Sundown Music Series (Presented by WXPN), Haddon Heights, NJ – FREE
Jun 06 Valentines Music Hall w/ Savoir Adore, Albany, NY
Jun 07 Brighton Music Hall w/ Savoir Adore, Allston, MA
Jun 08 Bowery Ballroom w/Savoir Adore, New York, NY
Jun 09 Rock and Roll Hotel w/ Savoir Adore, Washington, DC

From there, it’s on to the South, then Texas, Arizona and back to California, with a date at the El Rey Theatre with Savoir Adore, presented by KCRW. For details, see their website.

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My Mother’s Cheek

West Hartford, Connecticut ~ special thanks to my mom for her two random quotes that inspired me.

My mom doesn’t always make a whole lot of sense. Her days, her nights, are a series of dreams and visions, punctuated by nurse’s visits, meals, medicines, trips to doctors’ offices and hospitals. Not fully conscious, not yet unconscious, it may be a repeated phrase or directive from some half-remembered alternate reality — “Don’t forget to close the door!” over and over again. What door? Nobody knows.

But every once in a while, she’ll surprise my dad and me. This time, I had come for a short visit, and I was just holding her tight, my face pressed against hers. That’s all I can do, really, and even though I know it means the world to her, it never feels like enough.

“You gave me my mother’s cheek, which I needed so very badly.”

She was eight years old when she lost her, suddenly alone in a house of men. There were her three older brothers — Joe, Phil and Ray — and her father who, despite the blood connection, I would have to say was not a very nice man. The 1920s were a different time — that’s what I keep telling myself when I go searching for answers. Being now the woman of the house, she was suddenly saddled with the chores of cooking and cleaning, of caring for the family. And her father, instead of trying to replace the lost nurturing, sought to replace that which he himself had lost. No amount of shock or grief, no paucity of wisdom excuses a man from such a crime, the betrayal of a child’s trust. Did he not feel any degree of shame or remorse as he drove his taxi through the streets of Brooklyn or during any of his other odd jobs? It’s hard to say.

Nothing much is known beyond the facts. No one ever spoke of it. The details my dad and I needed, to help us understand what we were up against, were a family secret and will not be forthcoming from her three brothers, now dead and buried. The eldest, Ray, whom I frequently butted heads with in my teens, didn’t know or knew and turned the other way. It wasn’t until my strict and straight-laced great aunt, his sister, discovered this and took my mother to live with her family in Revere, Massachusetts, that the cycle was finally broken. As much as I hated this severe woman who insisted I turn off my radio when I slept at her house, I’ll be forever in her debt. Though the damage that would last a lifetime had already been done, it lit a spark that built into a small fire which now grows inside me.

And what can be done for her? Through a plethora of stuffy men in white jackets and framed documents with seals on their office walls signifying absolutely nothing, not much. But through the love and deeply bred understanding of her daughter, maybe something. Let us work together so this shame, this sense of loss, this loss of self does not pass to another generation or into another lifetime.

“It was you who pulled me out of myself and made me wake up to life.”

Right back atcha, mom.

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More from Haunted Summer (& today in Pasadena)

Continuing on the Eastside L.A. theme, Haunted Summer is a band I talked briefly about back in February. At the time there were just demos; now there’s a proper single which you can listen to below. The tracks feature Sheridan Riley (of Avi Buffalo) on drums, Scott Bassman (Kind Hearts and Coronets) on bass and a live string trio. The single was produced by Raymond Richards (Local Natives) and mastered by Mark Chalecki (Karen O and The Kids).

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If you’re in or around Los Angeles, they’re performing TODAY in Pasadena with Taken by Trees at Levitt Pavilion, Memorial Park. It’s part of a big (and FREE) shindig that features a lot of bands, including We Are Scientists, YACHT, Tanlines, Youngblood Hawke, Radar Brothers, Fort King and Downtown/Union. Full line-up here. Bejeebers! Other shows are June 6 at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa and the KCRW & Buzzbands LA Present Chinatown Summer Nights Festival on July 20 in Los Angeles.

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