Friday, December 30, 2011

Restavrant "Yeah, I Carve Cheetahs" Release Date: Jan. 10, 2012 Hillgrass Bluebilly Records

A couple of weeks ago my friend Greg asked me to do an album review of a band called Restavrant for our blog here.  Being busy with school, and family and the holidays it took me a little while to get around to actually listening to it.  What I heard upon my first listen was a spiritual, almost biblical experience.  Restavrant (pronounced restaurant) are a duo hailing from Victoria, Texas featuring Troy Murrah on vocals/guitar/slide/banjo and J. State on drums/vocals/drum machines/ and keys.  In the world of stripped down, guttural guitar driven garage rock these guys are the real deal.  Equal parts country, blues, and rock with a little metal and electronica thrown in for good measure, the sounds that come out of these two guys are quite literally genre defying.  Restavrant sound like Hank III and Jack White’s  hard partying, even harder drinkin’ bastard love child.  Murrah plays fast and with a lotta fuzz, belching out vocals like he’s at an old timey tent revival, except instead of fire and brimstone he’s preachin’ the gospel of Jack Daniels.  Throw in State on his ever evolving drum kit of license plates, suitcases, a gas can, and a tire rim and you have “Yeah, I Carve Cheetahs”, one of the freshest sounding albums I’ve heard all year.  Immediately I was struck by the sheer energy of these guys.  From Murrah’s snarling guitar and vocals on the opening track, all the way through to the last note the whole album just howls and demands that you listen more.  This is music that reaches out and grabs you by the balls, puts a cigarette in one hand, a bottle of whiskey in the other, punches you in the face and says “Drink mutherfucker!”  Jonathan Kim, writing on the Huffington Post put’s it best I think: “Restavrant sounds like a tornado ripping through a Texas town whose main industries are chainsaws, electronics repair, scrap metal, beer and sidewinder missiles.”  Restavrant are a band that demands to be heard. 
9 out of 10
Near perfect

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dead Abby, XXX-Mas Edition

Disclaimer: This is an advice column, not an instruction to life, not direct orders. There is probably going to be offensive material presented. I'm not sorry, I support freedom of speech. This may not even be real...

Dead Abby,
I want to propose to my significant other for the holidays, but am really nervous and don't know how to go about it.  How do I  go about this?
Scared and Wanting Forever Vagina

Dear Scared and Wanting Forever Vagina,
You're either going to do it or not. There should be indications as to whether or not she's going to say 'yes'.  Of course, it's going to be nerve wracking, of course there's a risk. Make a big public spectacle out of it and it will be much harder for her to say 'no'. Be really, really drunk and it will also, more than likely, sway her in the 'yes' direction.  One of the most romantic proposals I've ever heard is when one of my friends proposed to his lady by demanding a blow job.  He was very, very persistent and when she finally gave in and took his dick out, he had an engagement ring tied to it.  Of course, if you're going to choose this method, you may want to do it in bathrooms and truck stops are nice. Depending on how badly you want to marry this girl, and how doubtful you are that she's going to say yes, you could also try the 'Otis' method.  Keep her captive, set up a nice room with some nice wardrobe options, feed her a few times a day.  Eventually, she will be yours.    Some people are traditionalists and want the approval of family, if you're going to ask, you probably already know what's appropriate and what's not for your situation. Engagements are beautiful...make it magical.  Splurge, buy the expensive whiskey!

Dead Abby,
I am lonely.  Really, really lonely during the holidays and really, really need to get laid. Help!
Horny for the Holidays

Dear Horny for the Holidays,
There's a place lonely people go during the holidays, it's called the bar.  I've spent many, many a Christmas/holiday in a bar.  People are drunk and vulnerable.  It's the perfect place to pick up some stray.  Maybe offer to make a nice Banquet meal as means to lure said prospective piece of ass to your place.  Definitely start out by buying some drinks.  One crucial part of going out and getting lucky during the holidays is to have plenty of cash and condoms.  Also, make sure you're equipped with drinking legs.  No girl is going to want to go home with a sloppy drunk, drooling and pissing all over himself.  People get much more generous during the a round for the bar, that gets notice and opens doors.  Buy your prospective a drink or two...challenge them to a randy round of arm wrestling.  Act extra sweet, chances are if they're at the bar on Christmas night, alone, they're lonely too. I would give caution to girls traveling in groups.  Girlfriends are a lot less likely to let one of theirs go off with a stranger.  Of course, this is assuming that you're not some psycho serial killer.  If you are, go to the police station and offer one of the friendly, 'lonely' officers a drinky...they'll make sure to put you up in a nice, warm place with plenty of friends. Another cheerful place you could try are your local porn stores or strip clubs.  You're guaranteed to as least view some genitalia.  You may not get to touch it, but...If you're going to try the porn store route, make sure you have plenty of time.  Women don't frequent them as much as men and  you may need to stake it out for awhile before anything promising comes around.  Leave the clerk alone, they get it enough.

Dead Abby,
What is the origin of the Christmas tree?

Dear Festive!,
The first documented uses of a Christmas tree in Estonia, in 1441 with the Brotherhood of the Blackheads.  It was used for ceremonial purposes.  In the German Middle Ages, plays at Christmas time within churches often featured an evergreen "Paradise tree" from which an apple was plucked. The first evidence of Christmas trees outside of a church is of the 16th century, with trees in guild halls decorated with sweets to be enjoyed by the apprentices and children.  Now, these are documented historical 'facts'...but, I wasn't there.  I'm sure you weren't there...history can be quite uncertain.  I have my own theories...
I think the tree is a phallic holiday symbol.  Think about it, there's an erect tree with a star on the it to sex; an erect penis with a glorious star, the g-spot, at the end of it...hopefully...with a starry, starry orgasm.  I think in times of sexual repression, people used the tree as an open door to sex.  It wasn't socially acceptable to speak of sex, especially in front of family, and family quarters were traditionally very close.  My belief is the tree was erected...which began foreplay.  The wife would then decorate the tree and top it with a star when the sexual advance was to be accepted.  As if to say ''Here...I offer you my star...stab it and make it explode.''  They would, then, creep off into an alley and get in on Christmas style.
Another theory is that the tree is a symbol of fertility.  The tree would go in place of something, like, say...a bed pan.  The tree would be erected and this would be an indication that the woman was ready to breed.  This differs from my first theory, as that was one of sexual escapades and this is one for breeding purposes.  The woman would send neighborhood children out to gather a tree when her husband was away at work, have it ready, along with dinner when her husband arrives home from work, disrobes upon his arrival and they proceed on to making babies.  Or, at the very least, perfecting the skill of doing so.  I don't believe that this theory directly corresponds with Christmas, as breeding could happen at any time of the year.  With poor heating in homes though, sex would be a very practical way of warming things up.  It would also add to pleasant smells as hygiene was not always desirable.
A third theory is that, in the tradition of St. Nick, the tree was an indication of a swinger friendly household.  In the theory of Christmas, a grown man sneaks into the house leaving 'goodies'.  It was always thought that this was a tradition for children, when in fact, it's actually a pretty perverted holiday.  The tree would be set up in a window, doors left unlocked, the couple would be sparingly clothed as they slept.  This would invite random, wandering and sexually aroused strangers.  Holiday is generally a time of giving and some couples find moments of stale sex in their marriages.  Instead of creating new passions between them, they leave the door open to strange.
Now, I can only assume, based of facts I've gathered, stories I've heard that these theories have contributed to the tradition of the Christmas tree.  Perversions have been allowed to flourish in modern culture and have probably gone far beyond what I have concocted here.  Christmas trees probably mean many awful things that my perverse mind can't even conceive of.

For questions, concerns and hatemail, please send correspondence to:

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Lennon and Dimebag, Thanks for Changing Our World!

December 8th always marks a sad but celebratory time in our home. Sad, because of the death of two great musicians, and celebratory, because we still carry the memory of those two people. Though we didn’t personally know them, they influenced our lives and changed the face of music and the world that surrounds it forever.

John Lennon was shot in 1980 by a fan named Mark David Chapman. Lennon was a revolutionary figure when it came to his contribution with The Beatles and his political views. His life was an amazing journey to hear about even today. It’s horrible to know that such a peace advocate’s life was cut so short by a “fan”. We all could have learned much more from the musical roller coaster that he started our parents on so many years ago.

Dimebag Darrell was also shot on Dec. 8th, but in 2004 while performing with Damageplan at an Ohio venue. Dimebag will always be remembered for his contribution in Pantera. Darrell Lance Abbott (Dimebag) was born in 1966 and is considered one of the pioneers of modern metal. His heavy riffs and searing solos let you know that he was a samurai of the six string. Any Pantera album that you listen to will let you know of his greatness. I remember listening to Vulgar Display of Power when I was in 8th grade. It made me feel like I was on top of the world. Anyone that would have decided to fuck with me when I was listening to that would have gotten a fistful of Sony Walkman to the head.

My memories will always be of my troubled youth trying to find sanctuary in the music that still comforts me today. It saddens me greatly to know that something that held me so close in my teenage years is gone today. Cheers to those who feel like we do on this monumental day, especially to Dimebag and Lennon.

Every year we toast the memory of these two great musicians that have passed on to the other side. Last year it was Jagermeister, this year it’s Jim Beam. Please hold your drink high for both of these musicians who meant so much to all of us.

-Greg Dec. 8th, 2009

I wrote this blog on December 8th of 2009. I have tried to write something every year on this date. This year I will do the same. I wanted to post this particular blog because so much has changed musically for me since then and this was from the days of Myspace. I feel the audience is a little bigger now that Dangerous Music has moved forward and The Backstage Betty Pages was formed. I also felt that I left a few things out. I always wrote on December 8th which made this somewhat more emotionally exhausting to write. It always seemed to be accompanied by some sort of documentary or “Behind The Music” involving either Lennon or Dimebag. This year I’m going to write a day early to avoid the stress!!!

I saw Vinnie Paul perform with Hellyeah a few years back. I remember Vinnie standing up from his drum kit and ask that an entire audience of 7000+ toast the memory of his brother. I turned to my wife with a tear in my eye thinking about how cool it was to share that moment with her and even though we never met, that moment was also shared with one of my heroes from way back, Vinnie Paul. You can expect moments like this today all over the United States and even the world. Candlelight vigils are held for John Lennon in New York and I’m positive that a few shot glasses full of Jagermeister are held high for Dimebag Darrell.

My wife is a huge Beatles fan. She has even been so bold as to have Lennon’s self portrait tattooed on her skin. Our apartment from a few years ago used to look like a college student's dorm room. Littered with posters, trinkets, Todd McFarlane Beatles toys, buttons, records and about anything else related to The Beatles that you could imagine. I asked her a couple questions about her feeling on John Lennon’s death and here is what I got.

What did John Lennon mean to you?
He was part of such an important band that created such great music.  Plus the music that him and Paul McCartney wrote together will stand the test of time.  I don’t think we would have most of the music or artists today if it wasn’t for The Beatles and John Lennon.  And not only did he write fantastic music, but he had such a positive message about love and peace.  There really hasn’t been many people like him in our history.

Do you feel that music or the music industry would be different if he were still alive?
I do, but I couldn’t really tell you how.  Just because you never know how one person will affect things.  I think maybe John and Yoko would have kept pushing the envelope.  I think they would have either come off as crazy or just pissed people off.  Either way, John would have been a driving force throughout every facet of the music industry.

Today I hope everyone takes a moment to think about two great musicians who were taken from us entirely too soon. I think I will start the day out by reliving a little of my youth and blare some Vulgar Display Of Power.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mountain Sprout, Legendary Shack Shakers and Split Lip Rayfield in Ames, Iowa

My first introduction to a live bluegrass show last summer left me in a wake I thought I would never be in and also left me doing tons of research on bands I had never encountered before. Metal was always my first choice in music and if you ask anyone who personally knows me they will tell you that I trashed the music they listened to on more than one occasion. With Metal being the most superior form of music, why would you listen to anything else? Maybe I’m getting older or maybe my taste in music is changing. Whatever the case, my eyes have been opened to many other different forms of music not just Metal.

I saw Split Lip Rayfield last summer in Kansas City. After listening to countless CDs of theirs it was great to finally see them live. The bill hosted a gamut of other acts that were great, but I was there to see Split Lip. When I was informed they were coming to Ames, Iowa I jumped at the chance to see them again. A half hour drive to Ames was definitely more appealing than a two hour drive to Kansas City to see a show! Three acts were on the Ames bill: Mountain Sprout, Legendary Shack Shakers and Split Lip Rayfield. I really liked the closeness and feel of DG’s Tap House in Ames, however, I was not impressed with the bar staff. I understand it’s a college town and beer needs restocking, but with three people behind the bar I felt they could have been a little faster refilling the drinks. Oh, and their shot glasses are very deceiving, they have a lip on the inside of them that actually makes the glass appear regular size. In actuality the shots are smaller. (end alcoholic rant)

If you like your bluegrass dirty, I mean really dirty, look no further than Mountain Sprout. To the unfamiliar ear you may only hear the twang of a banjo and the harmonized clicks of the upright bass, but to the seasoned fan there is something more. The quartet from Arkansas has figured out a way to combine humor, fast paced bluegrass and beer. Your Mom may not approve of their lyrical content, but if she does you may be listening to her music. Cocaine, weed, liquor, speed, strippers, dry counties, and lustful acts with neighbors are a few song topics and this may cover the lyrics in a song or two. Content aside, Mountain Sprout is a fun band to watch live. The fiddle may not be considered a bad-ass instrument, but then again most people have never seen Blayne Thiebaud play it. If you are looking for a physically energetic band, then Mountain Sprout may not be for you. Blayne and upright bass player Daniel Redmond will be the only two that you will find standing during a performance. I thought the crowd was a little lacking at the Ames performance, this is probably due to being an opener as well as people in Iowa not knowing who they are.
Grayson Van Sickle of Mountain Sprout in Ames, IA
When I learned that Col. JD Wilkes of The Dirt Daubers was also the vocalist of  Legendary Shack Shakers I couldn’t wait to see what he had to bring to the stage with this band. I would have guessed that he wouldn’t disappoint and he didn’t! If anyone needs a free lesson on how to be a performer I would suggest watching any Youtube video of Legendary Shack Shakers. JD is an absolute madman with his taped up distortion filled microphone and all around stage presence. Their set seemed to go on forever even though it was about average length probably because of his commanding interaction with the crowd. A surprising twist to the Shack Shakers, if you like trivia, is guitarist Duane Denison used to play for The Jesus Lizard. If you are going to spend your hard earned cash on a real show and you want your moneys worth, GO SEE LEGENDARY SHACK SHAKERS!!! Photos of the Shack Shakers set can be viewed HERE

There isn’t much to say about Split Lip Rayfield that myself or other reviewers haven‘t said before. These three are amazing technical performers as well as a great cohesive on stage. I am sorry that I never got to see SLR with Kirk Rundstrom (former guitarist). This show was the end of a tour for the trio for a few days and they were to get a much needed break. The face and stage actions of Wayne Gottstine (mandolin) said it all. I did hear some people in the crowd say that they noticed him watching the game on one of the tv’s in the back while he was playing. Whether it’s true or not, Wayne plays the mandolin so effortlessly it may have been hard to tell what he was looking at. I was very happy to hear two new songs again that made it onto the set list for the evening one of which is titled “I Used To Know Your Wife”. I am told by reputable sources that this track has plans of making it on the new album stated for release in 2012. Split Lip Rayfield photos


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dead Abby, 11/17/2011

Disclaimer: This is an advice column, not an instruction to life, not direct orders. There is probably going to be offensive material presented. I'm not sorry, I support freedom of speech. This may not even be real...

 Dead Abby,
My bitch sister won't let me freely express myself. I really enjoy interpretive dance as a way of communication, and I feel that it is so very important in our day and age.What should i do about this emotionally constipated jerk that I'm related to?
-Dancing Queen

Dear Dancing Queen,
I want to start by relating a memory I have of this very issue.  I once had a sister.  Unfortunately, she passed away from a multitude of sexually transmitted diseases.  She danced.  She danced at work, she danced at the bar, she danced at shows, she danced in the grocery store. One day, a day care had an outing at a pumpkin patch that we happened to stop into.  She couldn't find a pumpkin that pleased her.  She expressed this distaste in interpretive dance.  Her pelvis swayed from one row to the next, leading her. Like some kind of breakage in the human form, her pelvis was in control.  Unfortunately, her pelvis knocked over a few children and to make a long story short, she had to go door to door, notifying her neighborhood of her innocent perversion.  She also never got her pumpkin.
I think you really have a slew of options here.  1)  Have you thought about suicide?  Since you're so repressed emotionally from the inability to stand up for yourself and dance like the obscene butterfly that I'm sure you are, you may want to look into that.  There are ways that are fairly painless for a pussy such as yourself.   2)  Have you thought about bludgeoning your sister in the head?  Easiest way to remove yourself from a negative situation is to remove the situation.  3)  Have you danced in a mirror lately?  Perhaps your version of 'interpretive dance' is offensive to all others senses.  Perhaps those around you would rather use rusty wire to amputate fingers and toes and commit a slow suicide by consuming ONLY Nikolai Vodka?  Really assess your dancing skills here.  They might really be hurting those around you.  4)  Ask the emotionally constipated jerk to seek some counseling with you.  Perhaps there's some sexual tension that needs to be worked out, hence they're getting mad at your gyrations.  Or, perhaps you're just making a big ass of yourself and should stop.  I'm also curious as to why you feel interpretive dance is so important these days...I'd really like a response to that. In my opinion, although it can be entertaining, interpretive dance is much like spandex, few should do it.

Dead Abby,
I hate my job. My boss is horrible. She belittles me and is trying to fire me with unattainable tasks that I have to have done in two weeks. I am a good employee and it is a great corporate company. I can't lose this job.

Citifiedpink Turned Beet Red

Dear Citifiedpink Turned Beet Red,
Quit.  You can either quit or they're going to fire you.  You can also use the option of accusing your boss of sexual or physical assault.  See examples below:

We all know there are different types of employees.  Some are hard workers, some are lazy piles of dung.  Generally, we see the hard workers carrying the weight...and the brunt.  That's just the way the corporate cookie crumbles in our undergarments.  Your best bet to surviving in corporate America is to go out and buy a huge butt plug.  Insert this butt plug in the sitting position.  Don't whine.  Don't even think you're going to be able to shit.  Stay there....stay still.  This will be sufficient training.  There are plenty of people who do survive this world.  I think most of them are lucky. Seriously.  Quit your job...The market is shit, but your sanity is worth the world. Really, think about it.  When you're miserable at your job, it leaks into all other parts of your life.  I bet your sex life has diminished.  I bet you're starting to separate yourself from the people you love.  I bet you're spending a lot of time in the garage hiding bottles and brillo pads.  I bet you're lashing out at people that are close to you.  I know working a shitty job is not an addiction, but the actions of people in either position are similar.  You can stay, but you'll be better off being tortured and murdered.

Dead Abby,
Is there a way to sweeten up fact that I used to be a prostitute on my resume?
-I'm A Giver

Dear I'm A Giver,
Prostitution is the oldest profession.  It's been glamorized, made fun of, had movies and books surrounding its mystique.  Women have scoffed at it, men have utilized it and governments have profited off of it.  Be proud of what you've done.  Break it all down.  Just like any other job, think about what all goes into prostitution; marketing, cleaning, accounting, care giving, therapy, discipline, scheduling, performing arts, etc.  Bottom line, there's a lot that this job entails.  As with any job, there are so many ways to name a job.  Think of all the fancy job titles one can create for a Customer Service Representative...If you thought about it, you can surely come up with at least a few job titles that aren't quite as offensive as 'prostitute'.  I think you're in a similar situation as many stay at home mom's who are now looking for 'honest' employment.  Many employers will look on either of your professions as...not so professional.  Anyone who knows anything knows that this is false. The world of a prostitute or a single mother is a thankless one.  You give and give and give and wait for that one special moment to make it all worth while...maybe it's your child making you card, maybe it's the man who likes to dress up as a baby decides NOT to shit himself...either way, it's that moment that makes your job worth while.
I could elaborate on this subject for days, but I'm going to stop there.
Pick up a Thesaurus and sell yourself!!! You're good at that!

To submit questions to Dead Abby, please direct questions to:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

My first interview in front of the camera...and glam

Sooooo.....Greg called me one day and said we were doing an interview with Blood on the Dance Floor.  He also informs me that I'm doing the interview.  I'm thinking to myself...what the fuck?!?!  I don't know anything about this band and from what I know, they are from a genre I know nothing about and can't relate to in the slightest.  See, this is the problem with musical segregation.  Obviously, everyone has their own taste, but never discredit a book based on it's cover.  I'll be the first to admit, I'm very judgmental when it comes to music.
We walked up to the venue from separate directions, and although we were coming from separate directions, we shared the same focal point.  Lined up at the door of the venue were a large group of adolescent kids decked out in every color of neon you could imagine.  There were striped socks, jelly bracelets, corsets, panda bear hats and so many more items that overloaded my visual sense. They were jumping up and down, shrieking, squealing, singing...they were happy!
Next up, Greg and I meet up with 'Chops', BOTDF's tour manager , he informs us that they are readying themselves for the interview.  If you've ever seen pictures of this group, they're pretty damn glamorous.  Instead of waiting for the duo, we decided to head inside where it was warm and vacant.  The neon was beginning to damage my vision.  It was comfortable and warm and dark in the bar and we caught the sound check for the first band, New Year's Day.  They had an adorable front woman with an adorable voice to match her adorable poppy vibe.  Greg bought two of their CD's...I was still skeptical, although I was warming...and not just because we were in a comfortable and warm and dark bar.  We had chatted with their guitar player outside briefly.  His name was Jake, he was 17 and he was from LA.  He, too, was adorable. 

Chops let us know that Jayy was ready to be interviewed, Dahvie was not.  He was still beautifying himself.  Greg and I took stage outside and set up.  As I was mentally preparing myself for some kind of onslaught, I saw a tall, slender, beautiful image exit the band trailer and walk, gracefully, towards us.  He introduced himself with confidence and took his seat.  As Greg readied the equipment, Jayy and I chatted casually.  He was really sweet and carried himself incredibly well, as one would expect of a person in his position in life.  He was well versed and as we spoke, I definitely had a rising level of respect for him.  Not that I lacked respect for him in the beginning, but we all go into situations with expectations and having viewed some of the interviews before, they came across as incredibly flamboyant and hard to control.  He is substantially younger than me, so that always comes into affect for me as well.  I have old balls and I'm getting set in my ways.
The interview went incredibly well.  It was comfortable and I learned a lot about him, pleasantly! I found it endearing as he spoke about how he 'used to have sex with everything when he was young'.  I also remember being his age and how I felt so much older than I was the year years run together.  That is neither here nor there though.
The interview finished and we parted ways.  Greg and I went inside to catch the direct support band,  Angelspit, hailing from Australia was taking the stage.  They had two fabulous looking girls, one playing bass, one owning the vocals.  There was also a tall man with a leather-type mo-hawk running a computer, I believe the projector as well as vocals.  They were a pretty impressive band.  I was standing at the back of the crowd, observing.  Same excited kids, but the crowd had grown.  There were adult folk who had joined...some completely glammed out in platform boots, more corsets and an array of colors and patterns.  There were also several tails that had joined us.  Greg enjoyed dragging me directly behind these ghoulish beasts as I have a serious distaste, bordering on fear, of people who wear tails.

They finished their set and were accosted my rabid young teens, hungry for their attention.  Next up, Blood on the Dance Floor.  I had my preconceived notions about this show, like I said before, but these guys impressed.  Is it my new cup of tea?  Probably not, but their stage show and energy were more than impressive.  They put their all into it and you could feel it.  Their audience was fully engaged...bouncing neon tutu's and bunny hats were in abundance...even tail girl was shakin' her ass...horrifically.  To each their own.

I left this show with a completely positive experience.  Jayy was great to work with and easy on the eyes.  He was an incredibly sweet and intelligent young man and their show impressed the hell out of me.  He made a comment about being a misfit.  I think everyone can relate to being in that situation at one point in their life.  We all have experience with bullying and being judged or judging. He spoke with a passion about this issue and this made me respect him even more.  Some people do and some people watch, I get the impression that Jayy 'does'.  I saw a huge group of kids at this show that had not a fear of being judged, maybe just in that moment, maybe in general, but it was an impressive thing.  Not that it makes an inkling of difference, but they gained my respect.  Jayy's goal of breaking down barriers is impressive and I think having a goal so lofty at his age is respectable in itself.  I am definitely a fan of this gentleman.

I highly recommend their show.  If they come back, I will be attending.  Even if it's not your preferred style of music, this group (as well as New Years Day and Angelspit) were a mind riot and an assault on the senses...and I mean this in a positive way.

Watch the magic here:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Lou Reed & Metallica "Lulu"

When it was first announced that Metallica would be cutting an album with former Velvet Underground frontman and general all around weirdo Lou Reed a lot of people scratched their heads. Personally I didn't know what to think. Despite returning somewhat to their roots on Death Magnetic, I just haven't been a Metallica fan since the "And Justice for All days". And Lou Reed hasn't put out a listenable record in at least twenty years, though you gotta give him credit for trying new things, even if they don't seem to work out so well in the end. So with that in mind, I think most people had already made up their minds about "Lulu" before the album ever saw the light of day. A quick google search of "Lulu" album reviews reveals some of the most scathing criticism of any album since Neil Young went electronic on "Trans" or Garth Brooks started calling himself Chris Gaines. I was strained to even find a halfway positive review of "Lulu" anywhere on the internet. I think Rolling Stone gave it the best review I could find with 3 stars. Though to be fair, Rolling Stone gives everything 3 stars. Site after site just trashed it with no mercy. Every site I went to either gave it an F or 1 or 2 out of 10. Is it possible? Could this album really be that bad? The answer to that question is a resounding no. While I wouldn't give "Lulu" a 10 out of 10 by any means, it's not a terrible record. It's just hard to wrap your head around. A 90 minute concept album based on an a pair of obscure German plays written at the turn of the 19th century about a woman who ultimately falls victim to Jack the Ripper sounds like some heady material and can easily alienate casual listeners and die hard fans alike. But a closer listen reveals a pretty solid album. "Master of Puppets" or "White Light/White Heat" this is not. But I respect these two powerhouses for trying something different. In an age when most artists (Clapton, Springsteen, I'm thinking of you especially) are happy to maintain the status quo, it's refreshing for an artist to put it all on the line, throw caution to the wind, and indulge their inner desires. Sure, Metallica could have put out "Death Magnetic II", but they didn't. They did something entirely un-Metallica. Something they've never done before. An art piece. And they did it with Lou Reed, the original weirdo rocker. I'm gonna call bullshit on all those rock critics and fans out there in internet land. "Lulu" is not as bad as they would have you believe. They either came into it with a preconceived notion of what they wanted to hear or they had already made their minds up that it was gonna suck. Whatever the case they're all full of shit. It's not the album of the year, but it's not as bad as they would have you believe. But hey, everybody's a critic right?

6.5 out of 10
Better than average but not great.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Hank III - Attention Deficit Domination

I Fucking love Doom and Stoner metal. I can't stress that fact enough. They are the sons of Sabbath and BOC. The daughters of Deep Purple and Dio. Bands that believe in heavy doses of feedback and fuzz, droning guitars and deep bass. Groups like Sleep, Bongzilla, Electric Wizard, Weedeater, and Acid King. They epitomize what it means to be a Sludge/Doom band. What can I say, I like Metal, and I like Hank Williams III. So when I heard Williams was releasing a Doom album I was excited. This could be really good. He puts out these great twangy country albums that would make his grandaddy proud, heck, he even looks and sounds like Hank Sr. He's also no stranger to the metal scene, having found relative success with his band Assjack as well as playing with Phil Anselmo and Mike Williams in the band Arson Anthem. Sadly, though Williams is adept at putting out a damn fine country album and he's had solid work with his other side metal projects, "Attention Deficit Domination" is lacking in all the areas where it counts. Whereas a fundamental element of Doom tends to be repetition and drone, Hank just does something wrong. It's very repetitive and droning, just not in the right way. His vocals are drenched in effects and it sounds like he's trying to channel Sabbath era Ozzy, but more importantly they're just way too up front. It's all very competent and well produced but it feels kinda forced, even comical at times. It's almost like he's trying too hard. While there are a couple of tracks like "Make a Fall" and "Demon's Mark" that standout, the album on whole feels more like a novelty than a serious attempt at a Doom album. Maybe I was expecting too much. ADD is not a terrible album by any means. It's actually somewhat enjoyable and has it's moments, but what it comes down to is simple....there's way better Hank III albums, and there's much better metal out there, and I'd rather be listening to those.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Disclaimer: This is an advice column, not an instruction to life, not direct orders. There is probably going to be offensive material presented. I'm not sorry, I support freedom of speech. This may not even be real...

Dead Abby,
I like to listen to deathcore/deathgrind/blackened deathmetal, but my non-metal girlfriend thinks I'm stuck in high school...can you help me explain to her the benefits of said genres?
 Sinking in Mainstream Pop!

Dear Sinking in Mainstream Pop,
Well...does she like her boyfriend to have an aggressive sexual appetite?  Does she want someone with exceptional social skills?  Does she want to date an optimist?  There have been many, many studies that show the benefits of music.  Of course, some try to pervert them and imply that the metal genres will only lead people into suicide, drug addiction and countless trips to their county health clinic.  This is complete fallacy.  Music stimulates the brain cells, can act as a pain killer, adds to people's general well being and can aid in health training.  Of course, when you look at these facts, one can only assume that listening to Celine Dion is not going to do what listening to Slayer, Whitechapel or Napalm Death will do to you.  Personally, I would much rather get nailed by someone listening to Macabre or Impaler than someone who listens to Maroon 5.  The beat would be better and I think the job would get done much more efficiently.  For people who have ongoing pain, listening to hardcore music is going to get the blood pumping, which can help in reducing pain.  Of course, I have to inquire as to what kind of music she listens to...emo?  Pop punk?  Hip-hop? If the genre differs too differently from yours, you may consider getting a new girlfriend...unless the hardcore music you expose her to is going to brainwash her into liking quality music.

Is it weird for me to want to have sex with someone just because I am not attracted to them?

Dear Hornfused, 
 *Editors note: Today's question is being guest answered "The Big Ugly". This self proclaimed Adviceologist has spent many an hour telling people where they are living their life wrong, of course this is after a few whiskey cokes.
Lindsey is that you? you sound just like a woman who I dated a while back. She was a woman of questionable virtue(read whore) also. Of course she was also one of those females that had dick thrown at her. Quite a lot of dick too. So before I answer your question One must wonder if you are oblivious to the amount of people with one of  the many  "social diseases". If you are running around stuffing as many gentleman vegetables in you with reckless abandon then there are far bigger problems than finding some sort of attractive quality. I have got to wonder are you attracted to them physically, well then I would suggest maybe lowering your standards, it is ok to hump someone way below your standards. Shame does wash off with soap, Herpes doesn't though so be careful!  Of course if you are playing rumpy pumpy with someone and can't stand their personality well then I would suggest you might try working out your repressed memories in a more constructive way. Then again I could be way off and you could just be one of those women who are sort of attractive and likes to bang fat guys and if thats the case, I can forward you my personal email.
 -The Big Ugly-

I'm looking for ideas on how to punish my partner.  How well does the silent treatment work?  Anyone have a record on their longest silent treatment?
-Silent and Deadly

Dear Silent and Deadly,
Are you a female married to a man?  If yes, this isn't a punishment.  Read again...THE SILENT TREATMENT IS NOT A PUNISHMENT.  In fact, I'm sure they have a commercial that relays this exact point.  Women have so much to say and men are really only interested in (generously) 10% of that (making a generalization).  Hell, women aren't even interested in everything other women have to say.  I think we're (as women)  pretty used to being tuned out. The longest recorded silent treatment I could find documented by the interwebs was 41 days.  That's some built up sexual frustration right there if I do say so myself!  But, really?! Do you really want to just shut them out?  If you're capable of shutting someone out for more than a week, move on...There's plenty of fish in this dirty, dirty sea.  Go swimming...go skinny dipping! Don't waste life trying to get back at someone!.....Huh?  Another thought, if you're really into punishment, you may want to pick up the book 'Different Loving', I think it could help you work out some of your 'punishment issues'.  There is a huge BDSM community out there and they're a pretty welcoming group!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What is a Whistle Pig?

Is it,  A)  country slang for a groundhog B) a rye whiskey C) a band from Illinois or D) all of the above. Technically the answer would be (D), but in this case the answer is (C). Very little information is available on Whistle Pigs if your researching the band, there are more descriptions on groundhogs. More info is available over at

When I traveled to Kansas City to interview Split Lip Rayfield was the first I’d ever heard of the Whistle Pigs. The all day 2nd annual Missouri Chainsaw Grassacre was full of great music. Quite a few bands stood out as memorable and quite talented. Actually everyone on the bill was outstanding. The Whistle Pigs were one of the bands that made me walk over to the merchandise table and buy a CD. Not because they forced me, but because I wanted to remember the awesomeness they emulated while they were on the stage.

Made up of Joe McCamish (Banjo Joe), I‘ll let you guess his instrument of choice, Nate Graham on the upright bass, and Alexander (Delicious Aloysius) Pape who is an absolute madman on the accordion. Yes, I said the accordion. It is a highly underestimated instrument especially when in the right hands. You need to see it to believe it, or pick up their latest album “Bless Your Hearts And Livers”.

The bluegrass boys from Illinois answered a few questions for me.

Greg: How did you come across the name “Whistle Pigs”?
Whistle Pigs: It comes from the old song Groundhog and just like a Whistle Pig if we see our shadow during the day we hibernate for another twelve hours, eastern standard time.
Greg: Do you ever play any traditional material on stage, or mainly original songs?
Banjo Joe: It's about fifty-fifty.

Greg: I had the chance to see you at The Missouri Chainsaw Grassacre in Kansas City. I was a bit surprised when I saw an accordion come on stage. How was this chosen over any other instrument that Alexander is accomplished in?
Alex: I was originally the guitar player in the band, but I played accordion in another band and Joe asked me if I was either going to play the guitar or the accordion. I figured I would get more chicks playing the accordion.
Banjo Joe: I am a one instrument, one band man

Greg: At that same show Joe was tuning his banjo, and had made the statement that “tuning the banjo to an accordion was asinine” at that point someone from the crowd yelled “tuning a banjo is asinine”. How do you respond to that statement?
Banjo Joe: I don't recall that, but you can tune a fish salad sandwich with a bag of chips and a Pepsi, to go.

Greg: What did each of you do for a living before finding success with music?
Whistle Pigs: Slave Wage Manual Labor

Greg: When did you sign with Mudstomp Records?
Whistle Pigs: July 2010, God bless their hearts and their livers!

Greg: “Get that marrying out of your head, I’ll be a bachelor till I die”, “ I like to party boys when I do my chores” “ I got rockin’ chair money I got the hard hard way”. These are just a few of the clever lines from the album Bless Your Hearts And Livers. How much truth is there in a Whistle Pigs song?
Banjo Joe: “Bachelor till I Die” was written by Hank Williams and he was married three times by the age of 28. “Rockin' Chair Money” is by Billy Carlisle and no one really knows about him, and I love to party when I do my chores, so yes.

Greg: What is your favorite city to play in?
Banjo Joe: I love all the cities, cities are fun.
Alex: I don't have a particular favorite, which one is next?

Greg: How did you get booked to play a predominately heavy metal show in Dallas? What year was that?
Whistle Pigs: I guess you mean the Prophet Bar in Deep Elum, you got to keep your money in your socks or so we've been told, and that was around 2010.

Greg: Do any of you listen to Heavy Metal?
Banjo Joe: GWAR!!!.!!
Nate: I guess occasionally, Anvil need I say more?!
Alex: I like blacksmithing.

Greg: Being from Illinois, how do you put together a band that has such a southern cultured style?
Whistle Pigs: We're from Illinucky, that would be the southern section. Look at a fucking map, Yankees.

Greg: Where is PK’s?
Whistle Pigs: It is a bar where we get drunk, frequently. It is located at 318 s.illinois avenue Carbondale,Il Lunch served from 11 to 2 pm every Tuesday through Saturday. Make sure you stop in on Thursday when drinks are a dollar. Tell them Whistle Pigs sent you.

Greg: What is your favorite pro wrestling move, and  if you could administer it effectively to anyone in the world, who would it be?
Whistle Pigs: Our buddy Mouse just gave Goldberg a CD so we're going to have to let the Jackhammer talk for itself. You know who you are. America, Goldberg, Whistle Pigs!

Greg: Beer and whiskey of choice?
Whistle Pigs: Whatch'ya got.

Bless your hearts and livers and we hope to see you soon.

Whistle Pigs

by Greg Waldrop

Monday, September 26, 2011

Anthrax and the homecoming of Joey Belladonna

I'm halfway through my second full listen of Anthrax's new CD "Worship Music". Surprise surprise, it sounds exactly like Anthrax. Which Anthrax you might ask yourself? The original lineup that featured Joey Belladonna on vocals, or "The Sound Of White Noise" Anthrax that featured John Bush of Armored Saint on vocals? Well, a little of both except Joey's name once again graces the credits as the vocalist. The voice that you loved so much on "Persistence Of Time", "Among The Living", and "State Of Euphoria" has returned home.

There was a time when Anthrax stated that Joey's style never fit the band. They weren't going to continue their pursuits with him as the lead. It came as a shock to everyone, especially when John Bush took the stage with Anthrax and showed the world that along with Dave Mustaine (Megadeth), James Hetfield (Metallica), and Tom Araya (Slayer) he too could front one of the "Big Four". It came as a shock to me as well, considering that my favorite band wouldn't be my favorite band anymore without the original lead singer. Only a few have been able to pull off the magic trick of the singer switch-a-roo and still be successful. After hearing John sing I was sold on the new face of the band and I stuck with them. I grew to love the sound of Anthrax over the past few albums, but I must say it is great to have Joey back. He always had a way of melodically belting a chorus like no one else could.

The sound of "Worship Music" can easily be compared to the 2003 release "We've Come For You All". If you listen a little closer though, you'll find that the lyrical content is a little darker. It seems that Joey has traded singing about David Lynch films and Steven King novels, to singing about lies, rage and "dark devil nightmares" ("Now It's Dark" was in reference to the 1986 film Blue Velvet, and "Misery Loves Company" was based on the novel Misery). If you are trying to put a fresh edge on a band that has been around for well over two decades, I suppose changing your points of view in your songs is the way to it.

Anthrax had to try and do something special with this album considering that every band from their decade has decided to make a comeback. Although they have still been in the game, Anthrax could be lumped together with the "wash-ups".

Worship, track 1 on the new disk brought me in instrumentally. Anthrax has always been top notch when it came to intros that build you up into something you can throw your neck out to. A classic example was Intro To Reality from "Persistence Of Time". The song built you up to the journey that would eventually become Belly Of The Beast. This album followed the pattern and goes directly into the extremely hard hitting double bass of Charlie Benante on the song Earth On Hell. Without giving away too much of the song plot, lets just say it is reminiscent of everything you loved or hated about the band.
We are all well aware of the zombie phenomenon that has swept over our great country within the last couple of years. Vampires and werewolves have run their course. Anthrax, apparently has caught wind and threw their own take on zombies into track 4 Fight Em "Til You Can't. The spoken intro by an obviously fake newscaster sets the tone for this proactive take on fighting the undead.
The surprise for me on this album fell in the unlisted tracks. The CD only lists 11 songs, stopping at Revolution Screams. The disk itself actually pushes to track 13 and houses a hidden song at about 11min 08sec. At first listen, I stood up and had to backtrack to make sure what I was hearing was true, and it was! Anthrax covers the song New Noise from 1999 by a not so well know band called Refused. I can't explain how great this is considering that my all time favorite band decided to cover a song that I consider a personal anthem.
The other part of Anthrax that you may not know, is that the cover art on their last two major releases was done by the great Alex Ross. Alex is one of the premier artists in the comic book world. Many people would know his work from the graphic novel Kingdom Come, which featured the greatest superheroes of all times in old age.
As a long time fan of Anthrax, I have to say that I'm glad I spent the $10 retail price for the disk. It was somewhat of a challenge trying to find considering that Best Buy is one of the only places left in this town to purchase music besides FYI. I wandered around their newly remodeled and severely downsized two aisles of music before a clerk found a few left on an endcap. In other words, GO BUY THE CD!!!

by Greg Waldrop

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Dead Abby, 9/22/2011

Disclaimer: This is an advice column, not an instruction to life, not direct orders. There is probably going to be offensive material presented. I'm not sorry, I support freedom of speech. This may not even be real...

Dead Abby,
My co-worker sucks! He won't quit talking about how awesome his wife is in bed.  I'm fine with some locker room talk, but this gets ridiculous.  He just won't stop.  Everything is compared to her tits, ass or nether region.  He's also more than eager to share pics of her.  The other day he was eating a bologna sandwich, he acted out cunnilingus on the bologna, which ruined my lunch.  How do I make him stop?  If I wanted to hear porn eight hours a day, I would buy Penthouse Letters on tape.
Sexcruciatingly Disgusted

Dear Sexcruciatingly Disgusted,
No one likes a one upper, but in some cases it makes people shut the hell up.  Try telling him stories of farmland adventures.  Make everything phallic...sexualize EVERYTHING.  Example:  The way you're nailing the carpet with your knee reminds me of how my pelvis was smashing that woman's pelvis last night.  Man, did you see that van?  I swallowed the biggest piece of summer lovin' sausage in a van that looked nothing like that two days ago.  Look at that tire!!! That looks like the magnum I strapped on to pull a train on the eight porn stars I picked up at a gas station last night....for a few.  If that fails to work, you could look into 'surprise surgery' and remove his voice box.  I'm sure his wife would appreciate that too!  If all of these methods fail to work, quit.  You can probably use the knowledge you've gotten and get into a sex trade!

Dead Abby,
Why is the nice guy considered the after dinner mint?  Why do nice guys always have to finish last?
Stranded on an Island with my Dick in my Hand

Dear Stranded on an Island with my Dick in my Hand,
How into anal sex are you?  I only ask because it sounds like you have your tail tucked so far between your legs that it's crawled into your ass and is probably making some sort of 'in-out' motion.  There are plenty of nice guys that don't finish last.  You may want to look at the women you're selecting...are you picking douche bags?  Some women (as well as men) aren't interested in making a relationship work, they're only there for a self-serving purpose, meaning they will take what you give Mr. NiceyPants.  Be selective.  Don't lay your whole life out right away.  That scares 'nice girls' away and you'll end up with the wolves that can smell your vulnerability.  Everyone loves mints, but they don't last long.  Eventually, they are going to want the steak again...are you going to give it to them?  Or would you prefer to be the timid little mint?

Dead Abby,
What do I do about that disturbing figure behind the shed at my North Pole villa?
Snow Princess turned Scared Stiff

Dear Snow Princess turned Scared Stiff,
Before taking any action, I would dig deeper into what exactly this disturbing figure is.  It could be a snuggly bear, a banshee, some sort of poultrygeist (no, that was NOT a misspelling), a homeless person or someone trying to grow the balls to approach your hot princess self, among other things.  Is this figure disrupting your life or does it just stand and creep?  If it just stands and creeps, you may want to entice it out of the shadows with a nice strip tease, of course make sure you keep a long, sharp blade handy if you're going to use this approach.  You could also recruit some help...ask the biggest viking you know to do some regulating for you.  Of course, if it turns out that this disturbing figure is actually a child with a hormone issue, causing them to appear as some sort of monster you could be facing some pretty serious criminal charges.  It could also be your standard werewolf, vampire, zombie, swamp creature, etc. trying to go into retirement.  Before you act anything out I strongly suggest you investigate further into what exactly this figure is....or just take a chance and shoot the son of a bitch!

To submit questions to Dead Abby, please direct questions to:

My Chemical Romance by Guest Writer Lord Zylok

On September eighth, the Honda Civic tour featuring (Grammy Award winning) My Chemical Romance and headliner Blink-182 swung through Des Moines, Iowa, and featured special guests Neon Trees.
Neon Trees were the first band up, and played a set consisting of six bright, keyboard laden songs. Front man Tyler Glen was hyped up and jumping about like a crazed child who had just drank a liter of coffee with 3 sugars and chased it with a pixie stick. The crowd warmed up to the band quickly, and everyone who was fortunate enough to have purchased a floor ticket was soon jumping and getting rather close to everyone else on the floor of Wells Fargo Arena. Tyler managed to sweet talk to the crowd during a small technical difficulty which stopped the set momentarily. The group finished strong with their hit “Animals”, with Drummer Elaine Bradley joining in on vocal duty, and shining.

Next up was My Chemical Romance, touring off their most recent album: “Danger Days; The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys”, a concept album that tells the story of a group of freedom fighters rebelling against our corporate masters in a dystopian future set in the desert, driving over the speed limit and shooting lasers at bad guys in masks the whole way.

Judging by the apparel of the crowd, I’d say that most of the people there were there primarily for this band. Some were in their own “killjoy” esque costumes, and sporting bandanas, shirts and gloves featuring the album’s trademark spider. The band did not disappoint on any front, singer and cult icon Gerard Way was spot on and putting on a show, guitarists Ray Toro and Frank Iero were far better than on the album, embellishing several parts of songs with some extra flair. I’ve always thought bassist Mikey Way has always been an under-appreciated part of the band on album, not getting as much volume as his strong bass lines rightly should, but he was loud and clear tonight to my own delight. My only complaint was that their set was only about 10 songs, however, they got the crowd moving harder and faster than any other band of the night, especially with their hit “Teenagers”, from the album “The Black Parade” which won them their Grammy.

The final band of the night was Headliner Blink-182, touring off of their first new album since 2003’s self titled album “Blink 182”. The band reunited in 2009 after several near fatal incidents involving members of the band, including a plane crash which nearly took the life of drummer Travis Barker. The band was met warmly by the crowd, but was never as active as during the previous acts. Blink-182 enjoyed by far the longest set time, and tried to play to the crowd, at several points stopping for some on stage antics and light hearted arguments amongst the members of the pop-punk rockers. During one of their on stage gags, they attempted a sort of Q&A, which ended when one “guy over there in the white T-shirt” questioned them only on whether or not they could play his favorite track by them, known as “The Party Song”. After some on stage debating, the threesome attempted the song, but forgot how it goes at the first chorus, citing the reason that they hadn’t played it together in nearly 12 years. However, this didn’t much seem to bother the crowd, as they still layered on the cheers for the headliners.

All in all, my ticket was definitely worth the fifty-five dollars that I spent on it, though it seemed that the general consensus from banter I overheard(and my own slant) was more had been expected of the headliner, and that My Chemical Romance had stolen the show.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My Top Ten Albums of 2011

By Grant Collar

Well, 2011 is drawing to a close, so I decided to put together a list of my top ten albums of the year.  I always kinda enjoy doing this yet I realize that no matter who compiles the list, someone is going to have a problem with it.  Either I didn’t include “this” album or I blatantly excluded “that” one that should have made it.  And it seems more often than not when I check out Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and their like minded brethren the lists just kinda piss me off.  It seems they miss so much good music and heap undue respect on mainstream bullplop or the newest flavor of the week.  I have on more than one occasion written letters to the editors of said publications expressing my frustration.  But now I'm rambling, so without any further delay, here is my list of the best albums of 2011.

10. Shabbaz Palaces “Black Up” Sub-Pop….Shabbaz Palaces is a wonderfully stylized and richly textured hip-hop album from Ishmael Butler. For those of you cats that are as old as me, you might remember Butler as “Butterfly” from the 90’s group Digable Planets. Continuing where Planets left off and venturing even further out in the sonic universe Butler has crafted an album that sounds new and fresh with each listen.

9. Mogwai “Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will” Sub-Pop….I’ve been a Mogwai fan ever since I first listened to “Come On Die Young” and I’ve only grown to appreciate their sound more as I get older.  Sure, their extended instrumental excursions, soft and delicate breakdowns and sometimes bombastic guitar blasts might not be everyone’s cup of tea but for those who tire of the same old formulaic rock music day in and day out, Mogwai is the Messiah.

8. Kurt Vile “Smoke Ring For My Halo” Matador…Kurt Vile burst out of seemingly nowhere with some of the most heartbreakingly beautiful acoustic guitar driven music I’ve heard in a long time.  Think Neil Young or Bob Dylan with a bit of a self depreciating humor thrown in for good measure.  A lot of albums sound great the first time around and then don’t quite hold up over multiple listens, especially when talking about music of the singer/songwriter genre.  Kurt is not one of these.  His melodies are striking and his lyrics clever and insightful.

7. Buzzoven “Revelation: Sick Again” Hydra Head Records….Technically, this album was recorded in 2001, but not having seen a proper release until 2011 I think it qualifies.  Buzzoven play straightforward, Sabbath influenced, stoner/sludge metal.  I’m a big fan of the genre and bands like Sleep, Weedeater, and Acid King rank among some of my favorite bands of all time so when I stumbled across this at the record store I needed to own it.  Pack it up, push play, and puff to this.

6. J Mascis “Several Shades of Why” Sub-Pop….Dinosaur Jr. Frontman J Mascis returns with another great solo album.  This time we find him ditching his trademark electric guitar and super fast riffs, for some slower, more mellow acoustic songs and it works well for him.  This one’s been on a constant rotation in my player the last few months and I still haven’t grown tired of it. 

5. Twilight Singers “Dynamite Steps” Sub-Pop….Fans of the Afghan Whigs and the short lived Gutter Twins know Greg Dulli well.  I think his growl of a voice might be trademarked.  This guy makes great music. He always has. He always will.  Nuff said.

4. Nathaniel Merriweather presents Lovage “Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By” Bulk Recordings….This one really shouldn’t even be on my list as it’s a re-release but I can’t help it.  It stands as one of my all time favorite albums.  Dan the Automator, Prince Paul, and Mike Patton crafted one of the finest hip-hop albums of the last decade.  I’m not even sure if you can really call this hip-hop but this album just drips sex.  For those of you unfamiliar with this wonder trio, Mike Patton is the genius behind such bands as Tomahawk, Fantomas, & Faith No More,  Dan the Automator is a producer extraordinaire, and Prince Paul did extensive work for 3rd Base and De Las Soul as well as his original group Stetsasonic.  Now, go home and make love your old lady!

3.Neil Young “International Harvesters” Reprise….I’m a huge Neil Young fan.  Having said that, this is one of the finest live Neil Young performances I’ve had the pleasure to hear.  Not much else to say about this one.  If you’re a fan get it, if not, well….go listen to Nickelback. 

2. Earth “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light” Southern Lord….Earth have been around for a few years now and they remain somewhat of an underground sensation.  Virtually unknown outside of the stoner rock genre, Earth have been composing sonic landscapes of incredible depth and beauty.   They’re not even really stoner rock.  Ever wonder what it would sound like if Ennio Morricone and Matt Pike got together to compose the soundtrack for a Quentin Tarantino version of Fistfull of Dollars…this is it.

1. Battles “Gloss Drop” Warp….Battles is one of those rare groups that defy genre classification.  Equal parts pop, math rock, experimental and electronica, Battles have put together and extremely catchy and memorable album.  To put it simply, these guys are fucking virtuosos.  Go on Youtube and watch the video for “Ice Cream’.  The video is visually stunning yet the music is what will grab you.  While not typical of the whole album at all, “Ice Cream” sounds like 311 on massive doses of LSD and crystal meth.  Battles definitely aren’t for everybody but if you’re searching for something new and different this is it.  Recommended for fans of Mars  Volta, Tool, King Crimson.

Label of the Year: Sub-Pop Records

So, that’s it.  I welcome all feedback so let’s get a discussion going on this.  I’m sure I left something out, but it is only ten and I had to narrow it down.  

Mary Magdalan - Queen Of The Underground

“Underground” is a loosely used term when referring to music. Most people use the word when trying to describe what type of music they listen to. Unfortunately though, these people have missed the mark completely with their description. Most people think that “underground” is music that they know about and no one else has heard of. You could almost lump the term underground with the overused “alternative” genre that every band from the mid ‘90’s was labeled. An alternative to Janet Jackson would be Alan Jackson in almost every case. Okay, I’m starting to go off on a tangent that drives me nuts about classifying music. Underground should be used to denote music and musicians who have held up a very dignified middle finger to record companies and corporations that take advantage of hard working artists! One artist that shares in the values of true underground and could be considered its spokeswoman is Mary Magdalan.
    Mary has worked hard to stay away from record companies and the hassle that comes with being signed to a major label. She has claimed that she is 100% Do-It-Yourself when it comes to her music, merchandising, booking, art and design. She does things her way and makes her own rules when it comes to being an artist.
    I wanted to find out more about how she is able to survive in the corporate dominated radio world. We also talked about her new album and present tour.

Greg: Thank you Mary for taking some time from your tour to talk with me. How have the first few weeks been?
Mary: It has been amazing. Just getting back on the road and getting to meet fans face to face is what this is all about for me. So its definitely a beautiful experience for us.

Greg: When you prepare for a tour, how do you keep Yourself and Gzus motivated when you travel?
Mary: We travel with a four pound Chihuahua so no matter how pissed or annoyed we get, the dog keeps us grounded. With us, we have been through so much over the last six months that the small stuff just rolls off anymore.

Greg: How are you able to keep a national tour going without the funding of a major record label?
Mary: It is not the easiest thing to do but since day one the only thing that we have focused on is our fans. We have never gotten into anything but that said, its always love on the road.

Greg: What can someone expect who has never been to a Mary Magdalan show before?
Mary: We like to refer to it as an experience. Its somewhere between losing your virginity and being hit by a car. We provide something that is not being done by the band coming on before us or the band coming on after us. It always has a way of being its own original performance.

Greg:  How are you able to translate your real life experiences in to your music and lyrics?
Mary: I have done a lot of self healing through making music. For me its going into what I call 'my little box' where I keep all those monsters. When a song feels good to me I open up that little box and pour some of that emotion out.

Greg: Out of all your fans, who is crazier, the guys or girls?
Mary: Definitely the girls! I did a show one night and I had this girl mosh pit. During the beginning of the set these two girls were making out. By the end of the set they had broke up. This was only one show. I wouldn't call my girls crazier than the boys but they are definitely more entertaining.

Greg: A while back you gave away digital copies of  “Pity Girl”, and you have given away limited runs of the new album “DIGI.N3RV”. How are you able to do this as an independent artist without significant loss on merchandise sales?
Mary: I do this to spread my music around to as many people as I possibly can. If this was about money I would have signed a deal a long time ago. This is art to me, not entertainment. That's why I'm doing another free mixed tape. It gives my fans that are broke access to free music and it gives me another platform in which I can do the thing I love with no boundaries.

Greg: What artists do you listen to on a regular basis?
Mary: Lately I've been listening to Adele. She's got a great sound. I like all kinds of music and can appreciate the art in everyone’s music but most of the time I am in the studio making music so I don't hear a lot of other artists music. So I guess my answer is I listen to Mary Magdalan the most. Lol

Greg: How has your music on “DIGI.N3RV” progressed from "Pity Girl"?
Mary: With my previous two albums I was able to release a lot of demons. With my new album DIGI.N3RV I was able to make music that didn't come from that dark place. It came from me as a person but it didn't involve forcing out some painful experience. It was just me, sitting on a beach writing songs that I wanted to hear & perform. I don't have the pain anymore so I can now just be me.

Greg: I always try and ask one question that doesn’t have much to do with music. If a gun is not available, what would your weapon of choice be?
Mary: A needle. Its the silent killer.

There is info available on Mary Magdalan on her Myspace and Facebook pages. She often has giveaways for digital music downloads on both these pages if you keep an eye out for them.

by Greg Waldrop

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Dirt Daubers

Type “dirt dauber“ into WIKIPEDIA‘s search engine and this is what you come up with, Mud dauber (sometimes called "dirt dauber," "dirt digger," "dirt dobber," "dirt diver", or "mud wasp") is a name commonly applied to a number of wasps from either the family Sphecidae or Crabronidae that build their nests from mud.
If you type “The Dirt Daubers” in the same field, you get something completely different, The Dirt Daubers are an American Old-time trio.[1] They are inspired by blues and other traditional Southern music genres. The group formed in Paducah, Kentucky in 2009.
Chances are that during the summer months, you can find a mud dauber in any garage that’s been left open. The Dirt Daubers may be a little harder to track down, but if you know where to look you’re sure to find a toe-tapping good time. Comprised of JD Wilkes, Jessica Wilkes, and Mark Robertson, this trio has an eclectic array of instruments, and a sound that is sure to make you at least bob your head.  I happened to find them at the Bombay Bicycle Club in Clive, Iowa while they were on tour with Scott H. Biram. The Dirt Daubers are one of the hottest things in the Americana world right now. They just released a new album titled “Wake Up Sinners” and they have been touring most of the summer.

Greg: The Dirt Daubers formed in Kentucky, correct?
 JD: Yes sir-ee Bob!

Greg: What transpired to bring the three of you together?
JD: Divine providence! I met my wife Jessica in Chicago five years ago, we started playing music together two years ago. Mark, however, has been playing bass with me in any and every project I've attempted for the past twelve years.

Greg: What is it like touring as husband and wife? Are there some pros and cons?
JD: We seem to have developed this onstage chemistry that's both comedic and edgy.  It's sort of a weird, angst-y Ma and Pa Kettle routine.  Otherwise, she keeps me both "in line" and entertained driving down the road.
Jessica: Besides JD's ridiculous road rage, it's a blast!

Greg: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard your sound before?
JD: Less bluegrass and more "acoustic rockabilly."  There's definitely an upbeat, dance-able, Kentucky-fried feel to what we're doing.

Greg: What do you do to prepare for a show, do you have any pre-show rituals?
JD: Well, I'm the lucky guy who gets to zip Jessica into her frilly square dancing dresses every night.  I can't think of a ritual that's more fun.

Greg: You did a tour with Scott H. Biram a few months back, and you actually had a stop in Des Moines at The Bombay Bicycle Club. How was that tour for you!
JD: We had a blast.  Scott Biram is the genuine article.  I've known him for years and he just keeps getting better and better.

Greg: When you were here it was just you and Jessica. Your bass player wasn’t present. Were there some changes happening with the group?
JD: Oh no.  Y'see, we're one of those bands where you might catch us as a two-piece or a three-piece. On occasion we even have a drummer.  Mark will be back on tour with us this fall when we hit the road with Pokey LaFarge.  Fun fun fun!

Greg: You recently played at The Muddy Roots festival in Tennessee. How does that festival rank with other shows that The Dirt Daubers have played?
JD: I tell ya what, that was one of the funnest gigs we've played.  But they should've called it Muddy Boots, since all it did was rain all day.  We got to help escort Wanda Jackson to the stage during the deluge though.  That was a real treat, especially for Jessica.

Greg: You also recently released a new album, “Wake Up Sinners”. How has the reaction from fans been?
JD: So far it's been fantastic.  We just found out that it's the third most added album to the Americana charts this week.  Not too shabby, huh?

Greg: What can fans expect from this album?
JD: Everything from Hot Jazz to Gospel, Hillbilly to Ragtime.  Jess and I split the duties on vocals, and you get to hear me play the harmonica in a completely different way than I do in the Shack Shakers.

Greg: How instrumentally diverse is the group?
JD: I play banjo, harmonica, piano and even a "thunder sheet" on the record.  Mark thumps the doghouse bass and takes a few leads.  Jessica plays tenor banjo, guitar and mandolin, plus, these days, she's even kicking the bass drum while we play on stage.  That's like patting your head and rubbing your stomach while walking and chewing gum!

Greg: Rumors sometimes float around about folks who smoke pipes. Could you clear up for people what is actually in the pipe that you are seen smoking before shows?
JD: Nice try, buck-o.  It's nothing but over-the-counter Cap'n Black pipe tobacco.  That or some stiff latakia (look it up!)

Greg: If you could pick only 3 personal possessions to take with you on tour, what would they be? Instruments are a given, so you can exclude those….
Jessica: High-heels, hairspray and candy.
JD: my corncob pipe, my GPS and my button nose.

Thanks to The Dirt Daubers for taking time out of their schedule to answer a few questions. If you want to find out more about the trio you can check out their MySpace or Facebook profiles.

by, Greg Waldrop