Thursday, April 17, 2014

Juana Molina Interview @ Jammin' Java

I don't go to shows as much as I used to anymore, but April has been dang kind to me so far.  A couple of weeks ago, the Kraftwerk amazement, and then one of my favorite artists, Juana Molina at the Jammin' Java in NoVa.

Juana Molina started her career as a comic actress for Argentinian television, then moved to music and has so far released 6 albums including her most recent, the phenomenal Wed 21 that came out last year.  There is a brief bio of her here.  Her sound is completely unique and engaging, and in my top five all time, one of the ones I would have on my deserted island list, all of that. A review I wrote for her last album:

"Her sixth album and another stellar, solid release.  Whereas her previous albums have been mostly loops and layers of her guitar and voice, mixed with various electronic pings and pongs, this one has taken on more instruments, samples and musicians.  Her music has grown with a wider wingspan.  While maintaining her folk-tronica style, there is a sense of immediacy in the music, no longer awakening solely from the subtly of a single guitar note or vocal passage, the songs open more to a canvas of texture rather than building on the singular notion.  Some of the sounds are more aggressive in certain ways comparatively; at times warming, at times alarming, always grooving. As a result this is one of her best; she just keeps getting better with each release.  I would say this album may bear some higher levels of notoriety, and rightfully so."

I discovered her music when I first started to DJ at the station in 2006 with her fourth album, "Son".  Something in the way her voice carried over the looping tracks filled with interesting sounds and guitar that was hypnotic and satisfying to my punk bled ears.  It is much like how I enjoy Kate Bush's "Hounds of Love" in its ethereal and dreamlike qualities, only Molina seems more organic.  So basically, yeah, safe to say I am a pretty big fan.

Wed 21
I found out about her most recent tour thanks to her Facebook page.  I read a post that she was looking for music stores in Chicago.  I did a double take, "What?  You mean she is IN the states?"  I immediately checked her web page.  I had promised myself that if she ever toured any where close to Richmond, I would make the effort to see her.  Scrolling through her tour dates, I saw Chicago, Philadelphia, New York -- all just a wee bit too far for my commitment.  Then, practically overlooking it, I saw Vienna, Virginia.  Vienna!  That's near D.C., I can DO that!

I immediately posted if anyone else was interested in going to the show, I was going regardless, then my friend Kate Andrews chimed in.  Plus she had a friend in D.C. that wanted to go, and then add my pal and radio co-host for River City Limits Ceci and we had a road trip in the works.  Of course, I also wanted to try to land an interview; really just a few minutes of her time for a couple of question to air on my radio show, a picture and maybe please sign a copy of her album?  After a series of emails, I came in contact with a great guy that helps her with sound on the road named Brenndan. He emailed me to text him when I got to the club.

Signed!  (I am not sure what it says.)
This was another example of the world WAY ahead of my archaic pay-as-you-go phone. I didn't know how to text, so screw it I would just call him, same difference, right?  So we get in and I dial, he says they are in the back doing sound check and to come and meet him there.  I do, Juana is kicking a bass-drum on stage, people are talking about levels and monitors, all that fun sound check stuff.  I don't really know what he looks like but I figure the meet will happen somehow.  Then some club dude comes up to me, certainly prepared to toss me back to the front, when I mention Brenndan's name.

"Oh, he's right over there doing sound check."

This was literal.  He was plugged into the board and levelling it all. Obviously this was a BAD time to talk, and probably pretty lame of me to call right in the middle of it.  I slink back to the front to join my friends for a beer and food and hope he calls back. The front of the club starts to fill up, people anxious to get to the back and get their show on.  There is some hipster with a brim hat and a suspicious bag that MAY contain interview equipment, I get a bit anxious and want to make sure I am before this guy on the media list.  I keep checking my phone, because I have no idea how to really work the text thing and just hope that I see he tried to contact me so I can return the call.  He does and we finally meet. He tells me how time is really tight on this tour. I understand this, all I am asking for is a few minutes with one of my favorite musicians.  He says maybe like five minutes and I am content with that.  So I narrow down my questions to the top five and wait for him to signal me back.

The comfy chair!
Meanwhile, a little description about the club, Jammin' Java.  It is in a strip mall.  Yes, a strip mall.  But that also means fantastic parking! And once you get in the doors it feels like any other club you would go to; the people were friendly, the food was decent, the sound was good, and they seem to regularly book decent acts.  My only caveat is that we paid an extra five bucks for V.I.P. seating which was a total waste. It was merely a slightly raised area with tables and a private waitress. Not much worth it for this particular show, plus I had made up my mind to go up front by then anyway.  A more crowded affair, maybe, but I would just assume stand and get close.

Looping magic.
Finally, Brenndan got me to go back for the interview.  It was in a room directly behind the stage, and there Juana sat on a crate beside a mirror and asked me to have a seat beside her on some plush yellow comfy chair. The interview went wonderfully, she is a delightful person to chat with and it was really intriguing to hear the way she described things.  For instance, the way she creates music at home she described as being very immersive and used reading a book as an analogy.  "You wouldn't be picking up the book and reading the book, but picking up the book and being IN the story."  There was even a sentimental moment when she described a show in Argentina that got her a little choked up when describing it.  Very touching.

Live in ominous red.
So the five minute interview turned into 20 and can be heard here.  I left the end part of her trying to read the radio station call letters WRIR because we were having fun and it really shows her humorous characteristics. Loved it.  She signed my "Son" record and I even managed an awkward picture on the couch kindly taken by Brenndan with his smart phone and sent to me via email.

Thumbs up?  No idea what to do here, picture came out nice, though.
So yeah, great huh?  I haven't even gotten to the show yet, which was equally awesome. She was accompanied by a percussionist and a keyboardist, which filled the sound out well for the club.  They played a lot from her new album, as well as a few of her older songs.  By the second tune, "Un Dia", from the fifth album, the small group of 50 or 60 people were in the Juana Zone and dancing and having a blast. There were even two gentlemen in their sixties from Argentina now living in the U.S. that had read in the weekend paper that she was playing, so they showed up intrigued. (They had a great time too!) She played about an hour with one encore, a great set and just what I wanted!

Afterward, Brenndan came up and told me that she really enjoyed the interview with me and hoped I enjoyed the show. He didn't have to come up and say that, so I definitely felt it was genuine and I certainly appreciated it.  I've done interviews for years and you can usually feel the vibe when the chat is awkward or when it is good.  This absolutely felt like a good one and it was great to get that level of confirmation.

The night ended with us getting back to Richmond in one hour and forty five minutes! Great timing and a great time!

Her live rig is fascinating.  Plus SG!

Again, here is the audio interview link: Juana Molina

Monday, April 07, 2014

The legend that is Kraftwerk @ the 9:30 Club

As I get older, I branch out musically.  I've always considered myself a "smart listener" when it comes to music, at least in the particular music interests that I have.  As a kid, I listened to the classics ranging from The Who to the Dead Kennedys.  As I prepared myself for college I even remembered being a bit geeky and reading the Rolling Stones "college charts", consciously seeking out some of them to "prepare" for my next level of listening tastes.  As time has moved on, I like to think I have turned into a pretty good researcher of music, especially being a DJ on WRIR.  Take the band Jesus Lizard, for instance.  I would not only get anything I could by them, but I would try and find stuff from their previous bands, Scratch Acid as an example.  It was just my way of being thorough with the music I liked.

These past few years I have really jumped into the entire "kraut rock" movement.  It all started with a sweet little compilation I picked up called Deutsche Elektronische Musik on the Soul Jazz label.  It is a pretty well represented (sans KW) sampling of the sounds that were happening with some really informative liners notes that discuss the history of the movement and how it stemmed as far back as post WWII.

Then the record collecting began.

Anytime I could pick up something from Can or Neu or Kraftwerk at the record stores, I would.  The sound is so good on vinyl, particularly Kraftwerk; you can really hear the nuances in the grooves. Of course, I remember Kraftwerk from my youth,  the Computer World album, being their most accessible and popular during the 1980s.  They sounded a lot like all those other 80s bands to me back in my youth.  It was only when I got older that I realized the significance of them.

It was in January of this year that I learned that they would be touring the U.S.  On Friday, April 4th they were going to be playing in D.C. at the 9:30 Club.  I needed to go.  I was lucky enough to land tickets for the show that sold out in an hour.  (They then made a second show.)

Kraftwerk has always been a band of simple meaning and design, and brilliant in doing so.  A few years ago, they did a legendary performance at MoMa, which I think may have spawned this brief tour.  They have sporadically toured in the last decade or so, even releasing a highly sought live album as well as the Tour de France album, which was their first studio record since the 1980s.

How often do you have the opportunity to see such a legendary and important band?  These days, with tours like these from the likes of acts such as the Simple Minds, Psychedelic Furs or PiL or anyone that has been in the "business" for so long, then out of circulation for a comeback tour, they are just dry humping the cash cow. The Kraftwerk show was absolutely not the case.

This show was performance art.

My friend Jeff and I arrived at the club around 5:30 with the doors opening at 6, the show at 7.  As we prepared to get in line, Jeff saw a couple of friends that were standing in a line to get to the downstairs bar for some reason.  They told us they were letting in the first 30 or so downstairs at the bar for 25% off drinks and food, and that we would be let in first once the doors open.  We enjoyed a beverage, promptly handed our souvenir 3-D glasses (YES!) then led upstairs to the venue. What a stroke of tremendous luck!

I knew I wanted to be fairly close to the stage, not only for the sound and 3-D visual spectacle but also to be a fan boy and closer to the band.  As show time approached, it got sold-out show kind of crowded.  People were getting just as anxious as I, some even wearing their glasses as soon and they came in.  Then there was a burbling of electronic bed music; much different from the weird Detroit Soul the club had been playing previously.  It was go time.

The four members, donning Tron-like bodysuits, walked out in proper order to their electric podiums. Let the Deutsche Elektronische Musik sermon begin!  The crowded went nuts as they opened with their most popular U.S. hit, The Robots. As the members of the group pensively looked to their pulpits, making sure the sequencing was in order and the keys played properly, behind them the spectacle of very simple, basic and brilliantly designed 3-D animation began.  It was utterly mystifying and incredible as we were repeatedly wowed; robot arms reaching out over us, space ships flying into our eyes, numbers and languages pushing over our heads, hovering around Metropolis cities or even taking a ride in a VW bug on the Autobahn.

They played one or two songs from nearly every album (not including the 1st two, which were less electronically based) and usually updated them with new passages or directions in the mix.  The digital projections matched what they were playing on their keyboards and it helped put us entirely in their 3-D world; the sound of cars honking on the highway, trains flying past us, radioactivity.  It was a delightfully immersive experience.

The Play list, clocking in at over two hours, asterisk were my favorite moments, though the entire thing was sonically delicious!
  1. Metropolis 

What I find intriguing about a band that has been doing music for 40+ years, is that Kraftwerk was a uniquely futuristic band during its day.  Electronic, forward thinking, ground-breaking and mysterious.  As their time came and went with songs like "Computer Love", "Radio-Activity" or "Numbers", now 25 years old, their lyrics are timeless.  They are to the point observations about our human culture that cross all boundaries of language.  Hearing them that evening, and today, they STILL sound unique and future-istic. The music is still vibrant and relevant, even if done by four strange Germans with grey hair.  Masters of electronic sound and vision.

This Kraftwerk show was one of the best and most rewarding I have ever seen.  It goes right up there with the Jello Biafra show at the Canal Club playing DKs covers in 2010, with seeing Alice Donut and Nomeanso in '93 at the Black Cat, with Polysics two years in a  row in D.C., Guitar Wolf at Kingdom last year.  You only have a few handful of shows in your life that are the best, and for me this was one of them.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

So we watched an interesting thing on PBS last night on the Mayans. There was speculation from archeologists that the religious movement of Quetzalcoatl (feathered serpent) had more political ramifications during that era. And that as the Aztec Empire began to fall, there was less government in the urban centers and more priests. So, yeah, my head likes to make history repeats itself connections. Sorry, it's the English major in me.  I created this:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Never get out of the boat... Flu on the high seas.

A number of weeks ago my good friend Mark Ryan, a doctor, posted an ominous status update on Facebook about making sure that people in Richmond get a flu shot because he had already seen a number of cases come in through his office.  This was back before the holidays and for some reason that premonition stuck with me.  “I should really go get a flu shot.”  I kept saying to myself, week after procrastinated week.  Until, well, bam, I got the flu.  The flu sucks, people.

Back when I used to work at VCU, they had a number of days during the cold and flu season when they would offer free flu shots to any and every employee that showed up to the designated locations where we managed to kill work time with other staff waiting in long lines.  At the time in my twenties, I thought that not only was it a great time killer at work, but also covering my butt from a potential influenza outbreak.  I wonder if they still offer that and if the lines are still long?

During the first few years of my new job at the library, I actively sought out the location for my free flu shot.  It took a number of phone calls to find out the information, but once I pinpointed the place, it was pretty convenient and there were no lines at all, it was as if no one was getting them any more.  I guess VCU just advertised it better.  After a few years, a lot of excuses were made; it’s a scam, they are actually putting dead flu virus in your body and you still might get sick, and just because you are inoculated for one flu doesn’t mean you won’t still get the flu.  I don’t remember if I wound up believing all the nay-saying or just became lazy, but I stopped getting mine about 7 years ago.  

I am not trying to advocate going to get a flu shot necessarily, but, well, now I have the flu, and I am just expressing this notion.  I think it’s the worst case of it I have ever had.  It is certainly the first occasion that I have been tested and diagnosed, so it’s extra special to me this time.  I’ve had chills before, headache, fever like crazy, but this is all of those at once for a nearly a week now.  After being diagnosed Tuesday, and not told till later that I had a fever of a 102 while in the Doctor's office, I went home and straight to bed.  

That first night, after knowing it was flu, well, finally being out of the state of denial that is was flu, was transcendent.  I wanted to recall every heinous feeling to write about later. The way the chills shook me from the skin down deep into my body, coursing through till I literally “va va va” my chattering mouth in hopes to relieve some sort of pressure.  How when the fever rose up its dragon head, I felt like it was an atmospheric pressure surge, that the meat on my bones and skin on my forehead were possibly, in all hallucinogenic actuality, cooking from the inside.  I imagined how long my body would have to simmer at 102 to achieve a cannibal’s medium rare.  At one time in the middle of the night, the fever was so fast and strong that I thought I would perhaps be the first case of spontaneous human combustion in a decade.  Aches in the body that swarmed over me like african bee stings, joints that throbbed with every pulse of the blood pump.  Layers of clothes changed several times that night, from overdressed sweats under flannel sheets to shorts and a long sleeve shirt, probably settling on the exhausted discomfort rather than actually finding something comfortable.  

My dreams were annoying looped bits from this brilliant online comedy show with Jerry Seinfeld called “Comedians in Cars getting Coffee”  -- yeah, Super Dave Osborne is pretty funny being crazy in a Bentley, but Super Dave Osborne is not funny repeatedly badgering his hoarse voiced wit in your fever dreams.  Other times the dreams fell to the fever; sweating profusely on a beach in my Don Ho shirt, wearing a panama jack hat, sipping on a rum drink from a coconut.  What the hell?  No, it was hell, surely that had to be me in hell.  I knew going into the restless toss and turns of attempted sleep, that eventually I would pass out from exhaustion, but would it be sleep?

The doctor’s office gave me a note to be bedridden for seventy-two hours, three days, so no work for me.  Well, I have this stubbornly American ideal that I have still have to work, that taking sick time will burden others, which technically it does in this day of less staffing.  I was leaving my workmates stranded on overworked island while I slept in the luxury of the 102 degree fever dreams of pina colada hell.  I called my boss, she was understanding.  I told her that I really was in no condition to work, I was ragged out, but that I would definitely come in Friday if I felt better.  I was on this med called Tamiflu which shortens the length of the flu and helps ease the severity, I should be fine by Friday, right?  She told me to go ahead and take off the Friday too,  I won’t have the energy, plus I could still spread flu.

I had so much other stuff to do this week that I was looking forward to as well.  I was to attend and photograph a storytelling event, I was to have an author dinner with the contributing authors of our new book, I was to attend my wife’s award ceremony, and we were going to see The Producers Friday night.  I had to get subs for my DJ shows.  I was bedridden, the flu sucks.

I sleep most of the day that Wednesday, I sleep a lot of the day that Thursday.  Each morning the routine;  I get up, make french toast, go back to bed and sleep till noon.  Get up and then rummage around and snack, I think feed a cold is in my bloodline, then I lay back down.  This is why the scene in Master and Commander (a great sick day movie, by the way), where they are dead in the water for days on end and they start to believe that  the curse of the phantom ship is starting to be true, is significant while ill.  That holds a certain relevance to me under flu.  You may think you are ready to roll, that you got this, that oh yes, Friday you will be ready.  Fat chance.  You get up, move around a bit, then suddenly bam, you are weakened, tired, and you’ve hacked up more yellow charms from your throat.  You may fancy yourself a Captain Jack pursuing that French man-o-war and ready to take her on, then bam, the pursuit is gone, the sails have bellowed the last gasp of the breeze and you are stranded in the middle of the bed wondering when was the last time you dosed the alka seltzer cold remedy.  Flu takes the wind out of your sails. The flu is exhausting.

Trust the government or not, their website is vastly helpful and should be adhered to.  Yeah, sure, they offer really obvious stuff you should do to treat it; rest, plenty of fluids --just like mom used to tell you.  It also advises you to stay in bed when you need to, do not feel obligated to go do things, rest for pete’s sake.  Google has tracked searches for flu trends in the U.S. and it is astonishing.  Red zones across every state practically, and with Tamiflu becoming short in supply, you have to wonder if it is going epidemic.  Sure, the fear is there, we as Americans are great at that, but do we have as much fervor about treatment?  Less than 100 years ago, the Influenza epidemic wiped out a ton of people. Sure, we've made advances in treatments, but the virus has mutated too. Adaptation. Okay, I am rambling now.  It’s Friday, I got up this morning around 9:30, made some french toast and am now back in bed, slowly succumbing to tiredness, lack of energy and heavy eyelids.

I have a bit of a twisted metaphor to end this.  You know that scene in the movie Jaws, when Richard Dreyfuss is arguing with Robert Shaw about the Anti-shark cage he is bringing along on the Orca?  

Quint: Cage goes in the water, you go in the water. Shark's in the water. Our shark.
Quint: Farewell and adieu to you, fair Spanish ladies. Farewell and adieu, you ladies of Spain. For we've received orders for to sail back to Boston. And so nevermore shall we see you again.

I kind of have this weird idea that the shark is the flu and staying in the boat is a flu shot.  Getting out of the boat?  Not getting a flu shot.  So I guess that makes my friend, Mark, Quint.  This I believe is sage advice from a professional and a friend, get a flu shot, never get out of the boat. 

I know, it’s probably the antihistamines talking...

Friday, January 07, 2011

Picks of the Litter 2010

Once again, my musical choices for the last year, 2010. Hopefully I will get a podcast of the radio show I did up soon as well.


Best of 2010

Archie Bronson Outift “Coconut” (Domino)
A good 6 am ripper to get you started, an English 3 piece full of noise and overdrive. Not really much more to say about this except this is their third release and boy, be prepared to freak people out with this one Sonic toes tapping and melting blasts from the UK. Driving, otherworldly, bizarrish, and fun.

Ima Robot “Another Man’s Treasure” (Echo park Records)
Which kind of brings me to this band. I bought this thinking it would be much like their first release, a new wave pop blast kind of thing. I have to admit that at first I was a bit disappointed, getting something way more mellow, tribal, subdued. So I put it away for a while. Then I went back to it with a different attitude, and what do you know, not bad at all. This could be considered their “All you need is Love” album because a lot of the tunes address that, very neo hippy, kind of, but it really has a personality that it worth mentioning. An abject lesson in expectation and open-mindedness for me.

Sharon Jones & Dap Kings “I Learned the Hard Way” (Daptone Recordings)

Sharon Jones & Dap Kings are already the best in new soulful funk these days, taking the classic spin and you just can't beat their butt shaking sound. I learned the Hard Way also proves that this woman is not a one trick funky pony, but a great soul artist, I would even wager one of the best around today. You feel every word sung by hear on this one. Talent.

Raw Soul “Rare & Unreleased Funk from Norfolk, VA 1971-1973” (Arcania International)
A great compliation of the backbone band Raw Soul (Barry Saunders, guitar, Maurice Glass, bass, and Grover Everett, drums) and their many releases on singles with singers from the Norfolk area and beyond. A great capturing of some Virginia funk during some peak funky times, and before disco screwed a lot of it up. This album, with some decent liner notes, will school you on the old school, solid. One of my definite favorites this year.

Virginia Rocks (Exhibit & Richmond Folk Festival) (JSP Records)
The exhibit at the Virginia Historical society put together by Don Harrison and Brent Hosier and a research essay for the Blue Ridge Institute & Museum of Ferrum College is resoundingly beautiful and captured the true heart of Virginia Rockabilly from it’s inception. There is a somewhat accompanying compilation of music called Virginia Rocks that gives you great liner notes (some of the best) in case you missed the exhibit and not only that, but we Richmonders also got to enjoy and earful of some of the living legends like The Dazzlers who played a show during the Richmond Folk Festival this year. If you like rockabilly, this exhibit was required viewing, and this cd compliation is necessary for your collection.

Rough Guide to Bhangra (Rough Guide)
Who would have ever thought that a label that churns out so much random world music would give you a doubledose of worth of spectacular Bhangra? Well, that’s not fair, Rough Guides give you choice cuts from bands picked by people that know far more than me about what is going on out there. This one grabbed me by the boo boo and kept my attention and my ipod on repeat a lot. Not only do you get a great compilation of what is out there now, but a bonus cd of a 20 year “Best of” retrospective of one of the hardest working Bhangra bands out there, Achanak. And all for like 12 bucks! A great deal and worth it!

Gogol Bordello “Trans-Continetal Hustle” (American Recordings)
So when I saw that Rick Rubin has his stink all over this cd I was absolutely dubious. He had ruined Gossip’s cd the year before and I was expecting this to be equally compromised. Surprise! It actually feels like he kept his overproduced mitts off of this one, or at least gave merely producing guidance. This is a matured Gogol Bordello, still with the same piss and vinegar of their earlier punkiness but with a more reflective and insightful angle, yet not losing their revolutionary edge. Probably their most approachable work as well. And damn, there is a song that speaks out against this whole immigration thing, Immigraniada; an anthem and probably one of the most politically active and angry and relevant songs of the year. Get this one.

Sleigh Bells “Treats” (Mom & Pop)
Okay, unless this band does something really creative and awesome next record, this will pretty much be it. But wow! It is very unique, strange, interesting and rocking, all in one mouthful. Take a guitarist Derek Miller from the hardcore punk band Poison the Well and the singer from the teen pop group Rubyblue, Alexis Krauss and you get an interesting combo. Sometimes you don’t know if it is some tripish Top 40 attempt that forgot the Autotune, or if it a head swinger from the indie flail circuit. Either way, it keeps you attentive. The thing about this album is that every song, the whole album, sounds like something that would be played at a football or hockey game. Listen to Crown on the Crown and tell me you can’t equate that to some football thing. Anyway, an interesting album and worthy.

The Dead Weather “Sea of Cowards” (Warner)
Sophomore release of the supergroup with members of The Kills (Alison Mosshart), Queens of the Stone Age (Dean Fertita), The Greenhomes (Jack Lawrence) and The White Stripes (Jack White). I would have never really been tuned into to this until one day while I was at the local indie record store. They were cranking this early in the morning, the vocals sounded so familiar and some of the effects on the keyboards were like, WHAT? Man, that is awesome. Completely rad and full of interesting stuff. Definitely a seventies vibe with some super new modern energy and sound and done with such delicious authenticity that you want more. Tracks: I’m Mad, Gasoline, Invisible Man, or Old Mary.

Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School of Medicine (live)
So to confess, Jello Biafra, Alternative Tentacles label, is basically how I lived most of my 20s and 30s. He was my punk idol. Smart guy, great music with the Dead Kennedys and beyond, and gives a crap. So when I heard his new project with members of various AT bands, particularly Ralph Spite from Victims Family, another AT band, had a cd out AND where coming to Richmond, I had to go. I had never gotten the chance to see the Dead Kennedys and I had heard that they were doing some DK convers during the tour. Jello turned 50 last year and I think this was his last hurrah nationwide tour and let me tell you, YES! It was great. A modest punk crowd, but definitely enough to have a blast. He was in perfect Jello form, belting out some great new tunes and the icing on the cake, like 5 DK songs! In the pit and as smart alecky as ever, it was exactly what I wanted and I have to say my favorite show of the year.

Devo “Something for Everybody” (Warner)
Just when you thought new wave was dead, comes back one of the founding bands and a new album. The Something for Everybody CD really was just that. Midway into the year, the band hosted a website that had what they called a “song study”. This meant that anyone who signed up to the site got to preview all the songs they created for this album, then vote which were to appear on it. Along with brilliant informative deadpan videos to accompany you during your listening process, it was a brilliant concept; completely Devo-ian. So unfortunately the “ballad” made it to the album, but a good solid record just the same. They came to Richmond too but I missed them, I heard they were great though!
Yes, the Devo Internet is made of Cats:

I Heart J-Rock (Complilation)
If you want a fun representation of what Japanese Rock is about, look no further than this one right here. Some familiar groups, like Shonen Knife and TsuShiMaMire, but good American newcomers as well, giving you just enough of a sample of them to want more; like LazyGunsBrisky and Molice. Enjoy!

Dynamic Truths “Understanding is overated” (little black cloud records)
It is SO Great to have this terrific bands material compiled on a cd, limited pressing as well. A great capturing of some of the most talented musicians in Richmond at the time, and does it make me feel old remembering seeing these guys when they played? No way! RVA RULES baby, past present and future!

The Fall “Your Future Our Clutter” (Domino Recordings)
Yeah, the Fall have been around a long time and pretty much the only original member left is the nearing 60 Mark E. Smith. And yeah, there isn’t really much left of what the first few Fall albums were, but that is OK to me. This cd is a challenge for anyone who likes to understand everything they hear, so beware. There is a lot of repetition and grumbling vocals that sometimes bubble up and make sense, but if you are up for it. This puppy rocks in it’s repetition and the grumbling is spectacularly rebellious. Once you crack this nut of an album, you are in and there and enjoying the world of Your Future Our Clutter. Great title that says SO MUCH about our modern world of shopping for crap just for the sake of collecting material goods, dontcha think?

Peelander Z (live @ Camel)
Hey! I got to play Yellow’s guitar during the part where they do human bowling and get audience members to participate by playing all of their instruments! Too bad the guy they picked for drums had NO sense of rhythm, but I still rocked it anyway, and it was the most crowded I had seen a Peelander show (3rd time), rowdy as hell, but those Japanese guys now living in New York City sure can handle the crowd control! A blast!

Cheer Accident (live at the camel)
Another great live show I got to see from another band I had long respected but never got the opportunity till this year, is Cheer Accident, who are still going at it after all these year, they have never stopped. And they are the nicest bunch of people you could meet, very appreciative as they stayed over at my friends Laura and John’s house after the show. I talked to some of them before they played, told them I really liked their stuff, and the only cd I had was Not A Food, and they totally played some of the songs from that for me! YES!!!! Good show too, unique, blending some sing songy pop with hard hitting math rock that will melt you. Thanks for coming to Richmond Cheer Accident!

Twinkranes “Spektrumtheatersnakes” (B-Music)
Okay, this came out late in 09, but we only got it at the beginning of 10, so this counts as a 10 release. So when I first read the review in the studio here of this, penned by Paul G. of Pauls Boutique, and it said “car chase music” I had to give it a spin, so to speak. Damn. This thing is on fire. It is repetitious in notion, but stops there. Each song is a journey in sound, building, developing, rocking your face off. Sure you can feel the kraut rock elements, but there is so much texture as it blends with the fine sonic keyboard tapestries, tightly off kilter rhythms, bass rumblings and brilliantly memorable vocals. This is a band you will sit up when you listen and go, what? What IS this and how can I get MORE. Even more careful listening will realize that this these gents aren’t only rock musicians, but Musical Craftsmen. Every time I go away from this and come back, I learn more, appreciate more, then next thing you know I’ve
listened to the cd three times in a row. This is the kind of band I wish I could be in. This is my pick of the year.

Splork / Parlour Shakedown (Plaza Bowl)
A little selfish here, since it was one of my band Splork’s last show, but damn! It was a good one despite the scrambling we had to do to get bands to play with us, we wound up getting a great surprise in Parlour Shakedown, who brought the crowd honestly, and the stage performance to inspire us and our new drummer, Noell, to bring it too. Loads of fun, a blast and MISS YOU SPLORK! RIP!

Parlour Shakedown (RVA Band)
These guys sound like they have been playing for years, but guess what? They only recently graduated from high school!! Smart guys, nice guys, funny guys, talented. If this is how they sound now, imagine the creativity as they age like fine wine! Local band of the year and well deserved of the following they have, they do a great live show, and expect more from them. Local band of the YEAR!

Catnip Dreams (RVA Band)
Super band supergroup with members of the Diamond Center, Hot Lava, The I-Las and Color Kittens, and I am sure I am missing another band of two in their. They were the most anticipated local group of the year to see live, like at the Jonny Z festival. And they bring their cuteness and throwback 60s pop music goodness with sharp teeth to boot. Dig em.

The Catnip Dreams (Scooter Boy) from Todd Raviotta on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Not here so much these days. BUT have taken on a 365 Make Something kick.

Odd, yet entertaining I hope.

Napkin Moustache a Day

365 Napkin Moustaches, One a Day for a Year. Can I do it?

It is turning into a writing blog, dig it.

Friday, August 06, 2010


Nice vacation last week, camped in 100+ degree weather, then spent a few days at our spot in the mountains, then family reunion at the end.

Good stuff.
Oh in August 2010's issue of Richmond Magazine for WRIR!! Sweet!

Getting into a little bit of psychedelic electronic stuff, Bruce Haack was an awesomely weird dude.javascript:void(0)