screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Month: July 2016

Eric Bachmann Would Like To Play In Your Living Room

Say what!? Yes, it’s true. Eric Bachmann (Archers of Loaf, Crooked Fingers) is looking for some cozy living rooms for October up and down the East Coast (plus a few places in Florida) where he can serenade you, your family and 40-60 other people. It’s appropriately being called his “Living Room Tour,” and he just started the August leg of it. See dates below. For this new set of October dates, he’s asking interested hosts to submit a few photos of their living room for consideration. It’s being sponsored by The Undertow Music Collective and they have all the important information on their website. The deadline is August 5, so if you have the space and would like to see Eric Bachmann performing up-close and personal (and not have to go anywhere), submit your living room today!

Here’s a video I filmed when Eric and his band were at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge back in April. Not a living room, but almost.

Regarding the August dates, tickets are obviously very limited (and some shows are already sold out) but there are still a handful for certain locations. You can buy tickets here.

Eric Bachmann’s Living Room Tour

Tue, August 2 : Nashville TN
Wed, August 3 : St. Louis MO
Thur, August 4 : Madison WI
Fri, August 5 : Milwaukee WI
Sat, August 6 : Chicago IL
Sun, August 7 : Cincinnati OH
Mon, August 8 : Knoxville TN
Tue, August 16 : Greensboro NC
Wed, August 17 : Richmond VA
Thur, August 18 : Washington DC
Fri, August 19 : Cleveland OH
Sat, August 20 : Columbus OH
Sun, August 21 : Lexington KY
Mon, August 22 : Brevard NC

October Living Room Tour – Venues T.B.A.

Wed 10/5 : Orlando FL
Thu 10/6 : Tampa FL
Fri 10/7 : Gainesville FL
Thu 10/13 : New York City Area
Fri 10/14 : New Haven or Hartford CT
Sat 10/15 : Boston MA Area
Sun 10/16 : Portland ME
Mon 10/17 : Burlington VT
Tue 10/18 : Albany NY
Wed 10/19 : New York City Area

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The Undertow Music Collective web | facebook | twitter

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Aloric’s Prince Tribute: When Doves Cry

If you’re still missing Prince and would like to see and hear something amazing and beautiful, check out this cover of “When Doves Cry” by London-based band Aloric. It’s also available as a ‘name your price’ download on Bandcamp.

The true mindblower, for me anyway, is that this band seems relatively new, like a year or so? Their music is ambient, atmospheric, angelic, mesmerizing, sometimes complex — and quite stunning.

Here’s another taste of ALORIC, from about eight months ago. Definitely one to keep an eye (and both ears) on.

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Introducing… The ROAMies, and their Wholly Guacamole Tour!

Indie musicians have it rough these days in the treacherous music business. Now more than ever, bands have to be extremely savvy at “creative marketing” when it comes to booking tours and getting their music out to the public. The Los Angeles husband and wife team of Alexa James and Rory Partin go by the name of The ROAMies, and they seem to have this whole “how to do a national tour” thing all figured out. They’re currently in the midst of a coast-to-coast tour of coffeehouses, inns, restaurants and wineries, and the entire thing is being sponsored by Wholly Guacamole® (which, for the record, is made from hand-scooped avocados — yum!).

So back to our dynamic duo. What’s the music like? Absolutely charming. At times boasting a vintage vibe (such as on their lovely “Me and My Shadow” Frank Sinatra cover), their most recent song “Oh, My My” is delightfully sunny, feel-good strings and harmonies Americana. The lyrics are upbeat, the melodies are catchy, but there’s enough ‘old soul’ in there not to be saccharine.

The ROAMies began separately and toured together (though not as a duo) before fans suggested that they join forces. Alexa had recorded several studio albums, with a #1 song and other tunes in the Top 10, and was even named Hot Adult Contemporary Artist of the Year at the L.A. Music Awards. Not to be outdone, Rory also had a #1 radio single and performed in more than 30 countries. Together, they’ve racked up a few awards as well. Their very different solo sounds (Partin is more Big Band, while James has a contemporary pop vibe) dictated that they form a separate and totally unique new sound. What they came up with is a melding of Partin’s South Louisiana roots with James’ hook-y melodies and upbeat lyrics. They’re accompanied by keyboards, acoustic guitar, mando guitar and ukulele for something quirky, charming and folksy — or, as they say, “happy Americana.”

On this current tour, they’re joined by Swiss guitarist Michel Heinzmann, who has previously toured with The ROAMies on three European tours.

Oh, and by the way, Wine Enthusiast Magazine suggests that you pair those avocado dishes with a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a sparkling wine or a Pinot Grigio. Bon appétit!

Upcoming Shows

8/9 & 8/10 – Fort Knox, Ft. Knox, KY
8/12 – Gray’s On Main, Franklin, TN
8/13 – Smith’s Olde Bar, The Atlanta Room, Atlanta, GA
8/18 – Four Seasons, Temecula, CA
8/19 – Lorimar-Old Town Tasting Room, Temecula, CA
8/20 – Danza del Sol, Temecula, CA
8/21 – Robert Renzoni Vineyards, Temecula, CA
8/22 – Bar Lubitsch, West Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA
8/24 – Naked Lounge Coffee House, Sacramento, CA
8/25 – Barmel, Carmel- By The Sea, CA
8/27 – Macy’s European Coffeehouse & Bakery- Flagstaff, AZ
8/28 – The Cell, Albuquerque, NM (pending)
8/30 – Taos Inn, Taos, NM
8/31 – Mercury Cafe, Denver, CO
9/1 – The Lariat, Buena Vista, CO
9/3 – Solider Creek Winery, Fort Dodge, IA
9/4 – Uncommon Ground, Chicago, IL
9/6 – Evangeline’s, St. Louis, MO

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Introducing… Ryan McDowell

It is often said that to be a true artist, you should be able to take your pain and turn it into art. Massachusetts-bred musician Ryan McDowell has taken that concept one step further — out of a profound rejection in his young life, he has created a four-part, 23-track concept album. Berklee Reject is exactly as its title suggests. As he wrote, recorded and performed music through his high school years, it was the dream of this talented teenager to attend Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music. The college’s unfortunate decision caused him to reassess his life and explore his identity. In doing so, he has created a masterpiece. Continue reading at Ryan’s Smashing Life.

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Introducing… Tyson Motsenbocker

When a loved one dies, it is not unusual to question one’s faith. However, not everyone walks 600 miles in search of answers and then writes and records an album. Letters to Lost Loves is what Tyson Motsenbocker created from this sorrowful vision quest. In it, he questions the justice of God’s mercies. How could this all-knowing and all-powerful force grant requests for seemingly trivial requests, and yet when asked to save someone from the ravages of a terrible illness, the plea falls on deaf ears? It is the eternal question. “In Your Name” is an angry song that is softly delivered with broken vulnerability. It is sung for Motsenbocker’s mother, who lost her battle with a long-term illness, despite years of prayer.

This video for “In Your Name” was created by filmmaker Dustin Miller, whose friend in Florida travels around and takes pictures of people living in the shadows of society in coastal towns, on the main drags and in run-down motels. The hard lives of the country’s forgotten, living, as Motsenbocker says, “under the evangelical fear of the American South,” paints a stark potrait of those who seemingly haven’t been touched by God’s grace. He sees it as a parallel story to his song. Explains Motsenbocker, “It’s stumbling down half-paved roads on the side of a highway, it’s searching for words that have never been, it’s accepting what has been lost and searching for what that loss told you could be found.”

Letters to Lost Loves can be ordered from Tooth and Nail Records or from iTunes.

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Welcome Campers: Summer Camp for Adults!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to mix a rad music festival with your fondest childhood memories of summer camp? Wonder no longer! Welcome Campers is the brainchild of The Wild Honey Pie, a music and arts collective of filmmakers, producers, writers and designers who organize special events, create original videos and publish a music blog. Their “for adults only” summer camp concert weekend is being held August 26-28 at Camp Lenox in Lee, Massachusetts, in the heart of the beautiful Berkshires.

Classic camp activities that you enjoyed as a child — nature hikes, swimming, kayaking, volleyball, pink pong, basketball, bunk parties, tie dye, scavenger hunts, arts and crafts and much more — will be joined by intimate music performances, jam sessions and a bunk full of gear and instruments that all campers can use. Everyone is encouraged to collaborate and make music together.

Featured bands at Welcome Campers include Palehound, Calliope Musicals, Buffalo Rodeo, Kid Mountain and more to be announced.

Details about this 18+ all-inclusive musical summer camp weekend can be found on their official website. There are different packages available. All tickets include lodging, meals, drinks and complete access to music and activities.

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Introducing… Kirk Starkey

There’s no instrument quite as elegant and somber as the cello. Imagine an entire orchestra of cellos. Let yourself get lost in the unfathomable depths of “New Sudbury” by Kirk Starkey. It’s part of his instrumental song cycle titled Songs of Sudbury.

He describes the album as a “personal memoir of loss and reconnection.” It is a reflection of his birthplace of Sudbury, a mining town, the loss of his brother and a reclaiming of his past. It is, as he says, “the tracing of fragments that barely exist, and the search for meaning when it’s not clear there is any to be found.” His cello playing is deeply personal, expressing so much without any lyrics whatsoever and conveying a wealth of emotion in the various tones and subtle shadings.

Starkey, based in Hamilton, Ontario, was trained as a classical cellist, and he has worked with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, Twin Within, Capella Intima, Bud Roach, Valerie Tryon, Paul Marleyn and Suzanne Shulman, among others. His playing has been heard on various television programs, and he produces recordings of acoustic music in special locations. His Songs of Sudbury album will be released on July 22.

Listen also to his previous album, Little Gidding, released in 2011.

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Introducing… Chelan

photo by Matt Drenik

photo by Matt Drenik

For their upcoming album Vultures, Joshua Tree, California band Chelan is going big, in terms of instrumentation, production and vision. On “Beams,” the sound is lush and expansive, with layered vocals, analog sythesizers, guitar, drums, piano and cello. There’s an elegant richness that surrounds and envelops, with music and vocals that soar high, evoking majestic mountain ranges.

Chelan (pronounced “sh-lan”) started out in 2007 as the duo of Jennifer Grady, a classical music teacher, and Justin Hosford, a film and TV music composer. After releasing Equal Under Pressure in 2015, they invited drummer Chad Austinson to become a permanent member. They performed live together and wrote new music at Hosford’s Joshua Tree studio and producer Matt Drenik’s studio in Portland, Oregon. Doug Boehm (Girls, Guided by Voices) was also brought in to mix some tracks.

Vultures, their fifth full-length album, is set for release on August 26. It’s an ambitious release that pushes out from the simpler and quieter sound of previous efforts. As Hosford says, “Its been a fun challenge morphing from the mostly electronic, subdued indie aesthetic of our last couple albums to the wall of sound, big production synth pop thing we went for on this record.” It was mastered by Jared Hirshland of Elysian Mastering, with album artwork by Kime Buzzelli. The band is planning a spring 2017 tour.

Vultures Track Listing

1. Beams
2. Nothing You Can Do
3. Vultures
4. Nervous
5. Carry
6. Won’t Break
7. Photograph Remix
8. Can’t Ignore It
9. The Blue Piano

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Introducing… Basement Revolver

Having a rough day? So is Basement Revolver, though this Hamilton, Ontario trio chooses to express their misery with mesmerizing dreamy pop music. The sounds and stories flow freely with chiming-to-churning guitars, purposeful percussion and haunted angel vocals. Their debut EP, set for release on July 15 on fear of missing out records, comprises four songs of various moods. “Family” starts out like a slow dirge, with Chrisy Hurn’s evocative vocals, but then builds in intensity, using the loud/soft dynamic to great effect. A lost (or stolen?) love seems to be the subject of “Johnny,” as the unfortunate ex continually repeats the hypnotic phrase “It’s a really bad time right now,” though it all sounds so pretty and serene on the surface.

“Lake, Steel, Oil” also begins quietly and peacefully though somewhat melancholic, with a mildly disquieting presence that bubbles up from underneath, slowly building to its epic crescendo (“These days are numbered, so don’t waste them on slumber”). Stunning.

“Words” is also steeped in sadness, though these disturbing thoughts are conveyed with a voice like a clear waterfall over glistening boulders. As Hurn describes it, the song came to her while she was finishing her final university semester. She had begun to feel disillusioned with the daily slog from home to school, all the papers she had written and her honors psychology thesis. “It all began to feel meaningless,” explains Hurn. “No matter what I said, in the end, words are just words, they can be stringed together to form something powerful but without context they become as mundane and incontrollable as one’s commute to and from school. Similarly, a paper is just a paper, a degree is just a degree, and there is so much more to life than the plans and the empires that we build for ourselves.”

Basement Revolver, a pretty yet powerful trio of accomplished musicians, is Chrisy Hurn (guitar and vocals), Nimal Agalwatte (bass and synth) and Brandon Munro (drums). It’s a considerable amount of fury, social observation and musical sophistication for a band just starting out. Definitely one to keep an eye on. Their debut was recorded at TAPE Studios — engineered, produced and mixed by Adam Bentley & Jordan Mitchell and mastered by Warren Hildebrand (Orchid Tapes).

If you like what you hear, the limited edition cassette-only EP can be preordered from Big Cartel. You can also preorder it digitally from iTunes. If you’re in the Ontario region of Canada, they’ll be performing through the summer. See dates below. And tell them to cheer up! (just kidding).

Upcoming Shows

7/14 – Montreal, QC – BAD LUNCH
7/15 РOttawa, ON РBlack Squirrel Books & Caf̩
7/16 – Hamilton, ON – (RELEASE SHOW) The Casbah
7/20 – London, ON – Call The Office
8/7 – Hamilton, ON – Seven Sundays in Gage Park
8/18 – Kingston, ON – The Mansion Kingston #
8/19 – Peterborough, ON – TBA #
8/20 – Sudbury, ON – The Townhouse Tavern #

& – Tearjerker
# – The Almighty Rhombus
% – Grey\\Water
* – Dan Edmonds

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Introducing… the existential inquiry and culinary choices of Butch Bastard

Butch Bastard (photo by Andrew Knaup)

Butch Bastard (photo by Andrew Knaup)

There’s a lot you can learn about yourself while waiting for your frozen food to be cooked in the microwave. Take it from Ian Murray, who records and performs under the name of Butch Bastard. Previously part of Poor Man, a project with his brother Peter plus Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott of Fleet Foxes, he moved from Seattle to Los Angeles two years ago to live on processed food of questionable nutritional value and ponder his life choices.

In “Waiting for a Hot Pocket,” he ponders friends dying, religion, existence, life strategies, imprisonment and freedom from choice, the daily grind of a working stiff, insomnia and living in Los Angeles.

“I try to get sleep as the boogeymen dance on the roof
I’m jaded and bored and a little bit long in the tooth
I feel out of place as I bury my face in the food
I think I’ve got something but I don’t really have any proof.

I’m trying to remember, I wonder if I ever felt this estranged in my youth
Los Angeles makes a nice place to let go of the truth.”

– Waiting for a Hot Pocket

This charming little ditty of existential dread is from his forthcoming album, “I Am Not A Man.” The songs were recorded almost entirely at his home studio and he plays most of the instruments. It was finished at Jonathan Wilson’s Fivestar Studios in Echo Park with drumming support from Mitch Rowland and Josh Tillman (Father John Misty).

Regarding the inspiration behind ‘Hot Pocket,’ Mr. Bastard states:

“By the time I had put the Hot Pocket in its cardboard sleeve, popped it in the microwave, waited for the cook cycle, popped it out, let it cool, filled a small ramekin with Ranch Dressing, and eaten it while watching the last 15 minutes of an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, I had done enough soul searching to compose this piece.”

Goodness knows what this talented musician would have come up with if all he had was a toaster oven! Alas, we may never know.

“Magnolia,” another track from the album, was recently premiered on L.A.’s BuzzBands. Here’s the live version of the song, and be sure to read all the pop-ups for the full effect.

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