The Flip Side Updated 9/19

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Music.

It’s all the rage these days. It’s also one of the most fluid and encompassing art forms in the world. The Flip Side celebrates music from a number of different avenues. Check back to read about the latest in all that is groovy.

Leslie Nuss

Musician

Introduce the band members (who’s who and who does what)

So, for right now, I’m considered a “solo” artist, Leslie Nuss and I write the songs, sing and put the projects together, though the musicians, producers, mix and master engineers are crucial.

Genre of music you play and why?

I think most people would classify me as Adult Album Alternative, but I always just felt like I was doing “music,” somewhere in the Rock ‘n’ Roll umbrella. I’ve also been referred to as a Singer/Songwriter. Those tags do sound a bit boring, though, ha.

Your take on vinyl vs. digital music and what direction do you see music evolving into?

Well, Vinyl sales outpaced CD sales this past year and in a way that’s super cool. Maybe digital will be a blip? Albums do feel great and I love to play them. I’d love to put out a release on vinyl, a greatest hits gatefold with insert sounds good.

Biggest challenges you face in getting your name/music in front of people?

I like creating more than I like promoting. I’m working on promoting my new release now, but part of me is also looking ahead to the next recording project. I started “V” and “Sh*t Happens” in 2016 and the path to the end was strewn with side trips, a few dead ends and stretched on longer than I anticipated. I also spent the down time making pottery, painting, sewing clothes, starting a screenplay, and relearning how to play the piano. I had to put that all on hold to complete the artwork for Sh*t Happens.

So, maybe finding the time and focusing (not daydreaming of a new project 🙂

I think being indie is a challenge, getting the foot in the door, getting someone to take a chance playing you/writing about you…

Now, currently, it’s having 2 kids, one of whom has special needs. He’s at home because it’s safer for him during the pandemic, but that’s a new challenge.

What are you working on now? Any tours or performances coming up?

Well, I feel like I’m just getting started with promotion for Sh*t Happens. I am going back to an old-fashioned email list, and so hand-adding all the email addresses I have, submitting songs here and there for review-it’s a challenge to find bloggers who find the music “Just right” …then I’d like to add a few videos-(for my ep, I was able to make 3 new videos) and work on some merchandise-it’s a challenge now during the pandemic-people can of course listen for free to Spotify, etc. and I understand money can be tight, so that’s a line I walk. But, I’d like people to hear these songs, some of which deal with some heavy subjects- for instance, “Shook Me” is about a friend that I lost, Bridget. “Someday” is about my son, “Hey Lisa” I wrote for a friend for her daughter–what an honor to be asked! and “Bell Tolls” is about not giving up when things are hard.

I really wanted to tour this year. I played a show in Paris on February 8th, so right at the cut-off. But it was a nice show for me, in a small club, 100% acoustic-no amplification, and that was nice. I had some carpal tunnel and other issues this year and took time off from playing, so need to get my chops back up. I’d like to play a few songs live-might just post on youTube.

 Who do you listen to and who would you recommend to others?

I still listen to my favorites-the Beatles, Kate Bush, Radiohead all on vinyl. My daughter really likes soundtracks so we play those, too. Well, I would recommend my new music 😉 There are a lot of great musicians here-Pete Remm, Jon Cornell, Scott Pazera, Nic Byrd, Peter Levin, Pat Sansone, Jon Titterington, Shawn Davis, Andrew Vogt,  and 4 producers helped shape it, Kyle Paas, Danny Giorgi, Josh Shapera and Ainjel Emme. I was lucky to get to hire a female producer (Emme) and mastering engineer- Jett Galindo. I feel like it’s so important to expand the women who get to create and shape the music (and the culture.)

I have enjoyed Wayes Blood a lot. Lush, atmospheric, nice vocals.

Anything else to add?

I think it’s super important right now to continue making and releasing art, but we’re all so aware of the other situations going on with social issues-and sometimes the water seems so turbulent. I try to give some of myself to this social fabric, giving to food pantries, speaking up when I can, holding it together. It’s a bit shocking now, to see things that many of us became aware of years ago now running amok. I’ve long thought that music is so important, it really can change lives. I can find some current inspiration in this new batch-and I hope your readers and listeners do, too!

Links:

website: http://www.leslienuss.com

Bandcamp: https://leslienuss.bandcamp.com/album/sh-t-happens

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Sh-t-Happens-Leslie-Nuss/dp/B08FGT7P1G/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=leslie+nuss&qid=1600283627&sr=8-1#

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/leslienuss
IG: http://www.twitter.com/leslienuss1

Twitter http://www.twitter.com/leslienuss1

FB http://www.facebook.com/leslienussmusic

Spotify:
https://open.spotify.com/album/4xYHOWtIV7uzj9hLdyYmMG?si=PcZgdpezRIWzuLI26aPPIA

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One from the Archives!

This time, we’re cruising back to 2013 for a look at some bands/records through the mind of The Quaker. Let’s take a look, shall we?

The Quaker Goes Deaf logo

Crystal Stilts—Nature Noir (Sacred Bones) 3rd album form New York band who play droney, narcotic 60s influenced psychedelic pop/rock with a dark, rootsy feel that’s power by chugging treble ‘n’ twang reverb guitars and down-in-a-hole vocals. There’s an inviting sense of forlorn Americana here, mostly delivered in mid-temporhythms with a dose of disturbed cowboy/electrified slug-drug rock. Some similarity to Cult Of Youth, Psychic Ills, King Dude, Johnny Cash, Brian Jonestown Massacre. Pretty cool stuff.

Scott & Charlene’s Wedding—Any Port in a Storm (Fire) 2nd album from New York City via Melbourne, Australia band—angular & urgent indie slacker pop/rock with trilling, echoic guitars snapping over punky Dylan-infected talk/sing vocals. There’s a sleazy-core staccato-drone jangle in the driving rhythms that adds a slightly lo-fi, garagey honesty to the music. The songs have a raw, immediate feel, but still retain a captivatingly hypnotic flow of melody. Former member of Spider Vomit. Recalls bands like the Television Personalities, Pavement, Nikki Sudden, Josef K, Velvet Underground, the Walkmen, the Chills, the Feelies. Good stuff!!

Boogarins—As Plantas Que Curam (Other Music/Fat Possum) Debut album (translated as “Plants That Heal”)from Brazilian duo who play haunting, beautiful & trippy psychedelic indie pop/rock with an eerie ethnic folk/garage twist. The songs have a lazy, dreamy feel that’s balanced by the creepy reverb twang of 60s guitars on acid. The compelling character of the music is so authentically fluid and “right” sounding that you don’t really notice it’s sung in Portuguese.(“Doce = “Sweet”) Sometimes recalls Os Mutantes, the Holydrug Couple, the Beatles, Foxygen. This is an album that sneaks up on you with a natural, raw grace and mesmerizingly druggy charm.

Chvrches—The Bones of What You Believe (Glassnote) Debut release from band out of Glasgow, Scotland—light, bouncy synth-pop for dancing on bubblegum clouds with Blondie, Human League, Depeche Mode, the Chromatics & the Archies. Includes members from Aereogramme & the Twilight Sad. A lot of people seem to like this, and really I can’t think of anything to say about it that wouldn’t make them angry, so I won’t (because you don’t want a bunch of 14 year olds mad at you).

Twice Young—Little Mind Alike (self released) Debut for Nashville, Tennessee band—thick, swirling, dreamy indie pop that combines gently soaring & full, beautiful song structure with vocal harmonies, strains of celestial ambience, hints of folk music and some flares of driving guitar.

Midlake—Antiphon (ATO) 4th album from Denton, Texas band who play music that somehow feels epic and serious, with a sense of history and depth. Maybe it’s the meticulous arrangements or the dark Americana/folk overtones or the subtle psychedelic rock base. Maybe it’s the excellent songwriting or the soothing vocal harmonies or the gently dramatic instrumental journeys. It’s the kind of music that’s comfortable, but never boring—like sitting in your favorite armchair, all dreamy but wide awake. Shades of Blitzen Trapper, Fleet Foxes, Grandaddy, Arbouretum, Iron & Wine, Calexico.

Flagship—Flagship (Bright Antenna) Charlotte, North Carolina debut of big, epic, soaring mid-tempo stadium rock anthems that carry a slow-building intensity based around dramatic, emotional lead vocals. They can be a bit over-bearing, but they do get that “fist in the air” blood pumping. Recalls bands like the Airborne Toxic Event, the National, Snow Patrol, Coldplay, U2.

~~~

The Quaker Goes Deaf – For Your Listening Pleasure

So, who is this Quaker of which I often speak? Here’s your answer!

charlieandsheep

Charlie -aka, The Quaker – and friend (on the right)

Does a long-running bi-weekly radio show called THE QUAKER GOES DEAF on WESN in Bloomington, Illinois. Always looking for NEW music to play. I will listen to digital, but play PHYSICAL FORMATS ONLY on the radio show–CD or vinyl.
Check out my archive site listed here to see what kind of stuff I play.
Also, feel free to contact me via Facebook at www.facebook.com/charlie.edwards.756
Thanks!

Bandcamp Linky Here

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Ed Grabianowski is a true renaissance man – writer, musician, freelancer, humorist (if you can count some of his Twitter posts). I first learned about him from listening to the podcast Stuff You Should Know (hosted by Josh Clark and Charles W. “Chuck” Bryant), and came to discover that this guy is a heck of a writer and researcher.

After a brief exchange on Twitter, I realized that his talents extend into the world of music as well. So, let’s ALL get to know Ed a little better through The Flip Side.

Ed Grabianowski

Musician

Introduce the band members (who’s who and who does what)

I’m Ed Grabianowski, I sing and write the lyrics, and when we get to the studio after the pandemic, I’ll also be playing the drums for our third album. Rich Root is our guitarist and main songwriter, and when we record he handles producing and engineering duties, and will be playing bass on the third album (our bass player and drummer left the band at the end of 2019, and we’re staying as a studio-only 2-man band for now).

Genre of music you play and why?

We’re basically a heavy rock band in the Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath mold, but the genres we are usually associated with are called, variously: stoner rock, doom metal, stoner/doom, desert rock, and other combinations of those terms. And the stoner/doom community, both bands and fans, is pretty awesome.

Your take on vinyl vs. digital music and what direction do you see music evolving into?

For us, vinyl is a huge deal because people that are into our kind of music love the retro vibe and they love collecting vinyl. So we put a lot of work into album art, and we were able to put out our second album, Indecipher, on vinyl through Kozmik Artifactz Records in 2018. For me personally, I sold off most of my vinyl collection about 5 years ago. I prefer to travel light these days. I did score a nice turntable not too long ago, however, so that might change.

As far as understanding the evolution of the music industry, I could not even pretend to know. I know that Spotify is starving medium and small artists, because people just listen there instead of buying, and Spotify pays effectively nothing to artists. I do think understanding your fans and what they want will allow artists to find other ways to appeal to those fans, whether it’s a live experience, collectibles like colored vinyl, or something else.

Biggest challenges you face in getting your name/music in front of people?

Everyone will tell you the same thing: it’s an insanely crowded market. There are probably five GOOD releases in our genre or adjacent genres every week (and 20 mediocre ones). But the other thing is it’s just a goddamn lot of work. I just spent a 12-hour day working PR for the release of a song that we’re not even selling, and I’m not sure if I’ll even get any bites out of that (although I got one from you so I’m off to a solid start!). There’s a reason bands hire PR people. But no one can afford that these days.

What are you working on now? Any tours or performances coming up?

We’d already decided to be a studio-only band for the rest of 2020, when the idea of a worldwide shutdown was still science-fiction. We’re working on an acoustic EP by recording at our homes and sending files back and forth, and that should be out later this spring. The Temple of the Dog cover is really sort of an offshoot of that project. We’d been planning a full album to be out by the end of 2020, but those plans are right out the window. But that album is 90% written and ready to be recorded, as soon as we can be in the same room together.

In the meantime I keep staring at this novel, and a couple of short stories that are achingly close to being finished.

Who do you listen to and who would you recommend to others?

I really try to listen to a massive variety of music. For one thing, I seem to get bored with things and move on, only to revisit it months later. I love Wes Anderson jazz records, I love Thin Lizzy, I love Leo Kottke, and a million more. I do love heavy guitar rock above all, though. I would recommend my absolute favorite band, Ruby the Hatchet from Philadelphia, and for something heavier, a band called Horseburner that slept in my house once. And really, if the only Thin Lizzy song you know is “The Boys Are Back in Town,” dig into their catalog. There’s a lot of gems to discover.

Anything else you’d like to add?

“We’ve just released a cover of Temple of the dog’s ‘Hunger Strike’ and our first proper music video in anticipation of our upcoming acoustic EP. Check it out!”

***

Spacelord was born in Buffalo, NY in 2016, and lit up the stoner/doom scene in 2017 with their first releases: the New Horrible Menace EP and their self-titled first full-length album. In 2018 they released their second album, Indecipher, on vinyl through Kozmik Artifactz Records. After storming across New York State as a four-piece and playing a triumphant set at the 2019 Descendants of Crom Festival in Pittsburgh, Spacelord parted ways with their bass player and drummer.

Spacelord’s current incarnation is a studio-only band featuring Rich Root on guitar (as well as bass and producer/engineer) and Ed Grabianowski on vocals (and also drums). Recording for the third Spacelord album had just begun when the pandemic hit. While that album is delayed, they’re carrying on in isolation mode, passing tracks and video clips back and forth to be stitched together into something new, with plans to release an acoustic EP later this spring. Their cover of Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike” emerged from those sessions, with the video shot on zero budget near the Niagara River. It’s an homage to the 90s sound and vibe, and a tribute to Chris Cornell (and of course Eddie Vedder).

https://youtu.be/U8aOQSQs7Do

While the future is uncertain for everyone right now, Spacelord knows exactly how events will unfold in the coming years, because they exist in a realm outside of time and space. However, they can’t reveal it to anyone, else reality would curl and shrivel like the pages of an unpublished book tossed carelessly into the fire. So y’all will just have to wait and see.

https://spacelordband.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/spacelordband/

https://www.instagram.com/spacelordband/

https://twitter.com/robotviking

Grabster

Spacelord

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Jim Olson

Musician

Introduce the band members (who’s who and who does what)

I am in a new band, however most of my work/recording is done on my own. The bands I have been in play bars/fest from time to time, and are more of a social gathering and playing covers. I spend most of my time writing and recording my own songs for a creative outlet or to perhaps one day sell one to another artist. I sing and play guitar, bass, drums, piano, violin, etc, – in various degrees of proficiency.

Genre of music you play and why?

I’ve been in groups played anything from originals to 80’s rock to Blues and Dave Matthews type music to play for audiences. My own songs seem to ride the line of roots rock and reggae. I have no idea why I prefer that style of music, I was brought up in a 70’s Elvis and country atmosphere. I’ve always wanted to be in a reggae band, however, I really don’t like to ‘smoke’ and I have found that severely limits my compatibility. Kind of ironic. And sad.

Your take on vinyl vs. digital music and what direction do you see music evolving into?

I believe that both mediums of music are important in the current situation. Being able to stream anything from a provider such as Spotify is incredibly convenient. The downside of digital in my opinion is the artwork & liner notes. I loved reading the album/CD front to back while listening to the album. The other interesting thing is digital is more of a collection of songs than a ‘work’, in that, when you buy a record (and this is especially true with albums years ago) you are almost forced to listen to every song on that creation and listen to it as a whole. The artist had to write songs as a complete work, not singles. You can’t just pick and choose which song you like and move on. The vinyl record is almost like a totally different medium in that respect, it’s like being in an art gallery, instead of just looking at one painting.

Biggest challenges you face in getting your name/music in front of people?

Back in the 90’s we had someone walking around during our performance with a clipboard asking for mailing addresses. Then we would design a postcard about our upcoming shows for the month and sit there and mail them out. A ton of time and money – the process was tedious. Then in the late 90’s, email made everything easier. Now, it’s easier to get music out there, however, it’s also a popularity contest and the market is flooded. Youtube, Spotify, Soundcloud, etc has really made it easy to get music to the masses.

What are you working on now? Any tours or performances coming up?

Because of COVID19, the band is not practicing or playing, obviously. So I started re-recording some older popular songs of mine in my little recording room in my house and trying to release them as an EP on Spotify. I have been drawing animation videos to be the visual element to these for youtube, as I’m not sure how many people want to see a 45 year old dude try to make a video with himself as the subject. I also have been playing live shows during the quarantine for various virtual pubs to raise money for charity.

Who do you listen to and who would you recommend to others?

One of my favorite bands is called Dispatch. I would say to anyone that loves good songwriting, musicianship and harmonies to listen to them, starting with the “America, Location 12” album. Mind-blowing, at least to me.

Another band called the Ries Brothers I find fascinating. They are two brothers from Tampa Bay and are 20 years old. I’m astounded at how great they sound for being that young. Terrific! If you haven’t heard of them, I believe you will in a few years.

Vampire Weekend is another band that I love, especially because everything they create is un-catagorical.

Lastly I would recommend Nahko & the Medicine For the People. Great live band, great writing, interesting story behind them.

Anything else to add?

The only thing I would add is that I wish people went to bars to discover music. Back when I was in my 20’s and 30’s, you would go to a bar because you knew that that bar always had good live music and you would discover bands you liked. Then it changed, and bars would only book you depending on how many people you could bring in. Bands became beer salesmen. The band could sound like absolute garbage, but if they brought 100 people, then that was a success. But if a extremely talented band brought 20 people, they were never booked again. This dynamic got worse and worse, and now bars are struggling trying to book quality bands.

As songs sounded more and more produced, playing live music that sounded on that level became increasingly difficult, and most of the bigger venues started booking EDM or DJ’s. This shift in culture is depressing to me. The positive to come out of this is that more and more musicians are focusing on songwriting and not flashy production to play in bars and clubs and there is still a contingent out there to respond and seek out new music.

https://soundcloud.com/stimeyjim

JimOlson[3050]

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Let’s delve back to the lazy, hazy, crazy days of 2013. Aside from it feeling like a lifetime ago, The Quaker, in all his musical glory, compiled his yearly top 10 list. Let’s take a look at it, shall we?

(And to see MORE of what The Quaker has to say about other bands/albums, visit his tumblr page at https://thequakergoesdeaf.tumblr.com/)

The Quaker Goes Deaf logo

  • #10: Crocodiles—Crimes of Passion (French Kiss) 4th release from San Diego band who play really nice (not wimpy, but nice) hook-filled psychedelic pop/rock with some 60s influence. Fuzzy reverb-riff melodies echo over jangly guitar rhythms and harmony vocals to create irresistible hum-along head-nodders. Former members of Some Girls, The Plot To Blow Up the Eiffel Tower, Echo Revolution, Bolga Zohdoomah. Recalls bands like Mmoss, Green Pajamas, the La’s, Elf Power, Toy, Apples In Stereo, the Horrors, Small Faces, Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Soft Boys, the Black Angels, Stratford 4. The band plays with a passion and consistency that feels so natural and smooth it almost hides the subtle brilliance of the album. There’s nothing here that you haven’t heard before, but it is rarely done this well. Every single song is a stone-cold keeper! Recommended.

  • #9: Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats—Mind Control (Rise Above) Leaps and bounds better than their 2011 release “Blood Lust” (which wasn’t bad), “Mind Control” rocks with authority & style, delivering nine totally engrossing, massive songs that cover every-thing from doom metal to psychedelic prog-rock. The guitars have a majestically elevated roar that manifests itself with the power and “oomph” of classic hard rock chord structures. There’s an aura of fist-clenching strength in the sprawling, hard-edged Crazy Horse-styled six-string flare-ups. The ever-present din of noise is guided by the growl of glam/punk/doom-drone melody. Psychedelic mayhem is corralled and channeled through the band’s vision of acid-dripped power rock, while the presence of pop/drone driven atmospherics fills the black hole with dark paisley love notes. Absolutely perfect music for those bong-bowl moments that require the muscle of rock to drop like stars from space in a splatter pattern of smooth & pure, crunchy-hard flower power. Out of Cambridge, England, the band references artists as diverse as Big Elf, UFOmammut, Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Naam, Black Sabbath, Baroness, Torche, White Manna, Spacemen 3, The Saint James Society, Kadavar. This one is for the drugged-out guitar freaks, a killer treat for head-nodding, black light rockers. –Excellent-

  • #8: Foxygen—We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic (Jagjaguwar) 2nd release from duo living in New York & Olympia, Washington—indie rock meets 70s soft rock with a gently twisted tongue-in-cheek core, bubbling in a psychedelic pop cauldron of humor, melody and harmony-drenched retro-weirdness. There is a strange and slightly sleazy sense of bluesy R&B garage art-rock here too, often obscured by layers of sweet, messy, beautiful folky pop. The songs are played with a quasi-reverent respect for their original source of influence, in a celebratory party atmosphere where swagger & smugness only add to the mystery. Is it a joke, or are we the joke? I hear bits of Fleetwood Mac, the Rolling Stones, Syd Barrett, Free Energy, Night Moves, Blank Realm, Pigeonhed. At first listen, it seems a little trite, but there’s a creeping notion that a lot is happening under the surface here. Further investigative listening is required & desired (and ultimately rewarded).

  • #7: Bardo Pond—Peace On Venus (Fire) Somewhere between the 9th and the 13th album from this Philadelphia institution, “Peace On Venus” leaves the following impressions: Heavy, thick chord structures loaded with slow, explosive power. Penetrating, heavenly, speaker-shaking psychedelic riffs. Wall-plastering mega-slabs of twisted & trippy feedback. Mind-blowing post-hippie head rock of the highest order. An all-out, soul-deep blast of down-tempo, immersive, earth-shaking black-light manna. Heavy metal outer-space rocket-ship afterburn folk music. Incredibly soaring iron-feather stone-smashers. Loving white noise destruction from the beating heart of the earth’s lava core. The distortion of beauty in its most elevated form. The combination of dreamy vocals and rumbling power-sludge guitars is a magically effective synthesis that recalls the heavy side of True Widow and Neil Young in his most openly disturbed guitar moments. Hey, if they feel the need to throw in some haunting, atonal flute notes, who am I to complain? Hell, you could cover this with cheap pizza sauce and it would still be one of the best things I’ve heard this year. Do we quiver, cry, or let ourselves be absorbed by the encompassing sound-quake? This is the sort of quandary I wish I had to deal with more often. “Peace On Venus” is a genuinely amazing album that defines the very essence of psychedelic guitar freak-out music. Absolutely brilliant, a true classic.

  • #6: Psychic Ills—One Track Mind (Sacred Bones) 4th album from New York band—solid indie psychedelic pop/rock with a melodic, but dark and shambling, drone-blues thread of pure druggy nonchalance. Music that begs for dark,smoke-filled rooms and the comfortable, gentle sway of lost synchronized souls; all head-dancing in accidental unison to drifting vocals & a lovingly bombed-out beat. Crisp, sleazy guitar lines and detached, slurred vocals capture the natural decadence of opiate rock ‘n’ roll. Psychic Ills have found their groove on this album; it rocks with a raw, controlled power that calls to the primal, narcotic bump ‘n’ grind core of dark cellar rockers. Recalls bands like the Velvet Underground, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Wooden Shjips, the Stratford 4, Spacemen 3, Pure X,Asteroid No. 4, the Warlocks. Seriously genuine & captivating sleepy-eyed hippy music that’s perfect within its sonic intention.

  • #5: My Bloody Valentine—m b v (self released) The now legendary Kevin Shields and the band who “invented” shoegaze return twenty-two years after their third album. “m b v” sounds like it could have been released a year or two later,rather than two decades…and that’s a good thing. It feels like a (somewhat delayed) natural progression. The album is just so damn cuddly, without sacrificing any sense of power. You want to hug it, absorb it, be completely engulfed by it, and damn the consequences! There are sounds of throbbing, yearning, dreamy, otherworldly, compelling noise melodicism….swirling caverns of beautiful desperation…the numbing calm in the center of the storm, gripping, embracing….masterful, seraphic rocket-ship escapism….naturally expansive, stunningly lovely and dangerous—like the call of beckoning siren….an oscillating ocean tide sound wave barrage; smooth, rolling, powerful & eternal, with worship-worthy distortion….a magnanimously, gorgeously twisted musical life-slice, filled with a strangely haunted radiance….a gentle, thick, bubbling murmur that surreptitiously glides into the arena of surprisingly approachable & friendly dream-pop roots….carefully layered, mesmerizing feedback waves….a wonderfully murky cornucopia of sounds that is textured, abrasively inviting and solid centered with grandly disintegrating tendencies cohesively cocooned in sonic circularity. Stirred & disturbed by creative immersion in the magic of the moment, it’s an amazing journey that results in an interplanetary, psychedelic manifesto for struggling apprentice travelers. Really, just beautiful, and one of the very best albums of 2013. An unhesitatingly, highly recommended, moment of true genius. Welcome back, Kevin.

  • #4: Savages—Silence Yourself (Matador) Debut album from London female foursome—dark, driving, vibrantly haunted, edge-of-your-seat post-punk melodies for the modern age. They make you wanna jump & yell & dance & look over your shoulder. The songs have an irresistible energy and force, pushed by a relentlessly sharp, propulsive tension. They literally explode with the brazen potentiality of youthful confidence. This is sharp, clear, pointedly vicious music with a wide-eyed, energetic sense of impending disaster. The guitars, bass, & drums are all clean, up-front, heavy, rhythmic, pulsing machines of focused fury that are amped & emphasized, both by the band’s intensity and the excellent production. Jehnny Beth’s voice compliments the instruments perfectly; it’s riveting, potently distinct and deadly. Recalls bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees, X-Ray Spex, 999, P.J. Harvey, Jezebels, the Pretenders, U.K. Subs, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Au Pairs, Delta 5. “Silence Yourself” is an amazingly powerful debut; it’s heavy, focused, surprisingly accessible and an absolute monster. One of this year’s very best!

  • #3: Beaches—She Beats (Chapter) 2nd album from five member all-female band out of Australia combines aggressive dream-pop elements with some stunning, great guitar work. Every song has at least three guitars(rhythm, lead, “wah”) in it, providing a bright, psychedelic ring ‘n’ twang in a heavily tremeloed, up-front mix that’s a classy, ball-busting shoegaze sock rocker. The guitar tone often reminds me of the classic riffs from Dick Wagner & Steve Hunter on Lou Reed’s “Rock N Roll Animal”. The insistent beat frequently has a continuously rolling, motorik Krautrock feel that’s layered with dream-pop vocals & harmonies. There’s a consistently amazing, fresh & vital energy here. It’s a beautifully rare & potent mix that fuses the sparkling buoyancy of great pop music with the driving force of a psychedelic guitar rock motif. The album doesn’t have a single weak moment; every song is a 5-star pop rocker! References include Moon Duo, Stereolab, Loop, Swervedriver, Neu! (Michael Rother guests on guitar), Asteroid No. 4, Cave. “She Beats” is a refreshing blast of original, non-wimpy indie psych-pop rock and a convincing contender for best album of the year.

  • #2: Bare Mutants—The Affliction (In the Red) Impressive debut album from Chicago band who play gorgeous & gutsy post-psychedelic guitar pop with a retro-flaired, epic indie rock feel. Big, medium tempo, melodic songs with subtly building waves of druggy guitar roar. There’s an overall feel of resignation here, an emotional disconnection that brings the angst and empathy crawling out of the listener’s soul. Sixties-influenced keyboards and echoic, reverbed guitar chords pair with slurred vocal desolation in a perfect garagey pull at the heartstrings. There is a simple & magically hypnotic quality about this album that really calls to me. It’s relatively formulaic, but simultaneously pure, reverent and so naturally self-immersed that it really works! I could (and probably will) listen to “The Affliction” over and over. Members come from the Ponys, Mannequin Man, the 1900s. Recalls bands like Jesus & Mary Chain, the Velvet Underground, the Warlocks, the Raveonettes, the Stratford 4, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Crystal Stilts, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Two Wounded Birds. I love this album! –Recommended–

  • #1: Six By Seven—Love and Peace and Sympathy (Borrowed Tune Motion Pictures) 7th studio album, and the first in six years, from this underappreciated British band. Six By Seven specialize in wide-scope, epic slow-building rock songs—music that begins with a softly yearning, strained poignancy and gradually expands to an all-out sky-burst of beauty, power and hope. The band rides waves of mesmerizingly repeated riffs which subtly evolve their parameters of volume and scope until they reach the point of ultimate saturation, filling every molecule of the known world with a sense of maximum attainment, the final crescendo. And then, somehow, they coax more from their instruments. This is their secret: The most is never enough; the top can always be higher—and you can never, ever stop reaching. The energy flow materializes from a clean & compelling psychedelic drone, a soaring beacon in the dark night. Chris Olley’s voice is pure and honest, an open sore that you can see right in to. Martin Cooper’s guitar moves from the gentle promise of clarity to the brutal candor of truth, captured in layers of sustained reverb-roar. James Flowers’ keyboard work is the backbone of the flow, the understated primal energy it all rides on. The bass and drums provide the essential rhythmic core and depth of sound. The band executes their songs with flawless precision and an unusually passionate intensity. “Love and Peace and Sympathy” is easily the best thing they’ve done since their brilliant first two albums, 1998’s “The Things We Make” & 2000’s “The Closer You Get”—both highly recommended. Listening to this record is an immersive experience, a new rock ‘n’ roll baptism. In a five star world, this is a six star album. Best of 2013.

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shanana

Recently, I had the honor and pleasure to partake in a phone interview with Jocko Marcellino, best known for being the drummer of Sha Na Na. Not only is he one of the original co-founders of the group (established in 1969), but his wide-ranging credits swing from songwriter to actor to musical historian.

He, along with his bandmates at the time, appeared in the film, “Grease” as “Johnny Casino and The Gamblers”. He has written a litany of songs for television and continues to do so. And yes, he was at Woodstock. Sha Na Na was the second to last musical group to perform…preceding Jimi Hendrix.

Aside from playing with Sha Na Na, Jocko performs with his band, “Jocko and The Rockets”, a group focused more on the rhythm and blues genre than the doo-wop oldies for which the former group is best known. He has also shared the stage with his nephew-in-law, David Grohl (of Foo Fighters and Nirvana fame) as well as being credited in such movies as “Rain Man”, “National Security”, and “Night of the Comet”. His television appearances include such shows as Law & Order: SVU, The Office, and Parks and Recreation, just to name a few.

While Jocko’s professional resume runs the gamut throughout the world of entertainment, his home base is solidly grounded in music, which is why I sought him out to be featured on The Flip Side segment of my blog. The brief time I had to speak with him certainly could not even begin to convey his fifty years of knowledge, experience, and stories and do them proper justice, but it will provide a glimpse into the man and the musician who graciously gave a portion of his time to a suspense writer from central Illinois.

(The following is a compilation of our conversation, not a transcription)

Introduce the band members (who’s who and who does what)

The current members of Sha Na Na include Jocko Marcellino (vocals), “Screamin’” Scott Simon (keyboards, guitar, bass), Donny York (vocals), Tim Butler (vocals, guitar, bass), Ty Cox (drums), Randy Hill (guitar), and “Downtown” Michael Brown (sax).

The current members of “Jocko and The Rockets” include Jocko Marcellino (vocals), Ty Cox (drums), and Tim Butler (guitar/bass).

Genre of music you play and why?

Sha Na Na’s music leans toward 50s and doo-wop with a nod to the stylings of R&B. Jocko and the Rockets leans more heavily on R&B. Jocko expressed his love for classic blues and jazz as well as the music of Little Richard.

 

What is your take on vinyl vs. digital music?

He believes that digital is convenient, but that it is killing the CD market. Unfortunately, he and his bandmates sell CDs at their shows. There is a concern that people won’t have CD players anymore; that a whole generation won’t be as engaged with that type of format. However, Sha Na Na has spanned music technology and its changes over the years – from 45s to LPs to 8 tracks to cassettes to CDs and now, into the digital age.

When asked if the compression of digital music is disconcerting, Jocko didn’t appear to think so. However, he said that “Vinyl makes it punchier and hotter.” But he didn’t believe that most people could really hear a difference.

What are the biggest challenges that you face in getting your name/music in front of people?

(I asked this with the preface of stating that, since he is already famous, how does he view getting his name/music out to the newer generations such as millennials/Gen Z)

Jocko spoke to the fact that those who are his contemporaries are already familiar and enjoy the music that he and his bandmates are putting out. In addition, with the 50th anniversary of Woodstock and subsequently the 50th anniversary of Sha Na Na, there is now crossover to the new(er) generations. Plus, having been featured in the movie “Grease” (which has remained popular since its debut in 1978), Sha Na Na continues to generate and re-generate itself to an ever-growing fan base of all ages and demographics.

The fact that Sha Na Na played at Woodstock, then were featured in “Grease”, in addition to having a television show (97 episodes that initially ran from 1977 to 1981) helped the band stay on people’s radar. They never needed to depend on record or download sales, like so many other bands have had to do. Rather, their live performances, documented history, and connection with their fans have kept them current and timely.

Jocko said that after Sha Na Na had initially played around Columbia University (where they initially formed the over 10-man band), they were ready to quit. But the group had also frequented a place called The Scene (Steve Paul’s nightclub in New York City which ran from 1964 to 1970). This performance venue was host to such names as Jimi Hendrix, Led Zepplin, Frank Zappa, Janis Joplin, The Lovin’ Spoonful, and The Young Rascals, among throngs of other top acts of the day.

They booked a two-week gig near the end of The Scene’s run. Jimi Hendrix managed to get the producers of Woodstock to come down and see them and Jocko asked his manager to “say yes” to them – and get them into the line-up at Woodstock. They were booked that night and ended up getting paid $350 (with a check that bounced!)

On Sunday night during Woodstock, everything began falling apart. It had rained, the stage was collapsing, and the whole event was getting out of control. The powers-that-be went to Jimi Hendrix and asked him to go on (his contract stated that he would close the show), but he told them that other bands that had been waiting for the past few days had not had their chance to perform and he wouldn’t go on until they had their moment. Sha Na Na was one of those bands.

What are you working on now? Any tours or performances?

According to the Sha Na Na website (http://www.shanana.com/tour-dates.htm), these are the upcoming tour dates (these are the most current as of this writing on December 15, 2019 – please check back as they continually update their touring website):

Sat. Jan 18, 2020

Orange Blossom Opry Weirsdale FL

Sat. March 21, 2020

Blue Water Casino Parker AZ

Friday March 27, 2020

Wild Rose Casino Emmetsberg Iowa

Sat. March 28, 2020

Wild Rose Casino Clinton Iowa

 Jocko also stated that he is working on writing more songs for television.

Who do you listen to and who would you recommend to others?

He said that he listens to classic blues and classic jazz, Miles Davis, Sonny Boy Williamson, and the Foo Fighters. He also made special mention of the singer/songwriter H.E.R. (aka Gabriella Wilson) A quick check on her website explained that the initials stand for “having everything revealed”.

Jocko pointed out that anything that is played well and sounds good is fair game for him to listen to, regardless of the genre or style.

Where can folks find your CDs/Vinyl/Online Music?

For the latest on Sha Na Na (which includes CDs, videos, bio’s on all the members, and much more):

http://www.shanana.com/index.html

For information on Jocko and The Rockets (which includes music, photos, booking information, and more):

http://www.jockoandtherockets.com/index.html

For information on Jocko Marcellino and to purchase his CD/Album of original blues and R&B, Make It Simple:

http://www.jockomarcellino.com/

You can preview Make It Simple through Apple:

https://music.apple.com/us/album/make-it-simple-jocko-marcellino/930142057

MAKE IT SIMPLE is available at iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and other digital stores worldwide.

jockoheadshot

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Did you know The Quaker owned a store in Chicago for five years?

The Quaker Goes Deaf, “Chicago’s most DANGEROUS record store opened for business on the morning of May 19, 1995 and closed 1864 days, 3 floods, and some $2 million-of-music-sales later on Sunday, June 25, 2000. (http://www.shockandawe.us/ms/culture/tqgd.html)

Edwards traces his musical development to the late 1960s. “I sent my mom out to buy “Haunted House,’ and she came back with “House of the Rising Sun.’ It was the best mistake she ever made.” He later became a bit of a legend in Champaign-Urbana. He worked at the store Record Swap, hosted a radio show on WEFT, and in 1980 started the popular “new wave night” at Chester Street dance club. Eventually Edwards moved to Chicago and worked for Reckless on Broadway for six years. (https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/music-people-charlie-edwards-gets-a-store-of-his-own/Content?oid=887856)

These days, The Quaker (aka Charlie Edwards) is known to be “mid-level famous”. Here are some of his reviews from the tumblr site, https://thequakergoesdeaf.tumblr.com/

Three Mile Pilot—Maps CDEP (Temporary Residence)

San Diego band with five previous albums delivers creative & catchy indie guitar/keyboard pop/rock that resonates with experience, professionalism, dedication & direction. This is the sound of a band that has polished their work to a perfectly balanced pitch of melody, grit and emotional pull. It’s the kind of music you hope to hear when you put on the headphones with indie rock on the brain. Strong songs, great delivery that hovers somewhere between XTC & Wire. Members have been/are in Black Heart Procession, Pinback, Heavy Vegetable, the Album Leaf.

Savages—Flying To Berlin 7” single (Pop Noire)

Debut single from all-female London foursome—haunted, invigorating, edge-of-your-seat post-punk melodies that make you wanna jump & yell & dance & look over your shoulder. Sharp, clear, pointedly vicious music with a wide-eyed, energetic sense of impending disaster. This is good! Like a mix of Jezebels, Patti Smith, 999, Siouxsie Banshee, Joy Division, Delta 5.

The Big Sleep—Nature Experiments (French Kiss)

3rd album from Brooklyn band—chunky, thumping, aggressive indie psych-rock with catchy melodic hooks and blasting, jagged guitar/keyboard riffs. Potent songs that seep into your head and make your body want to spazz-dance, with occasional breaks for dreamy contemplation. Members from Mahogany, the Honk Kong, Haywood. Similarities to Sonic Youth, the Pixies, the Cloud Nothings, Savages, Bloc Part

Six Organs Of Admittance—Ascent (Drag City)

13th? album from California band led by Ben Chasny of Comets On Fire, Plague Lounge, Rangda & Current 93. This is wailing avant-psychedelic guitar rock with an experimental flair that rises from the roots of rock ‘n’ roll and spreads into Eastern mystic acid jams. Gentle folk-drone mantras float by, seeking the inner mind space. Strings bend, vibrate and intertwine in the quest for the ultimate riff of salvation burn-out. It’s a dreamland of spiritually capricious psychedelic guitar hero journeys.

Dinosaur Jr.—I Bet On Sky (Jagjaguwar)

10th album from Massachusetts indie guitar heroes. Dinosaur Jr. was a really good band the first time around. In their second incarnation, they’ve uncovered a magical quality that taps into their free-wheeling,from-the-heart, flowing poignancy to deliver a unique stylistic stamp of yearning, pulling, hummable, classic indie riff-rock. It’s one of those rare instances where, instead of killing passion, the band’s maturation has actually solidified it. Their 2009 “Farm” album was my #1 pick for that year, and repeated listenings have raised its status to one of the top releases of the past decade, or longer. “I Bet On Sky” feels more playful & diverse, giving up some of the epic sincerity that characterized “Farm”. It remains to be seen how well “…Sky” will wear, but after just a few listens, it’s already one of my favorite albums of 2012. The combination of J Mascis’ plaintive, gripping, slightly off-key vocals and flowing bursts of stunning guitar leads consistently reveals a sort of timeless indie rock quality that’s a very rare find. It’s beautiful, it rocks, and I want to live with it. Members have played with Deep Wound, Beachwood Sparks, Witch, SweetApple, Heavy Blanket, the Lemonheads, Sentridoh, Folk Implosion, Sebadoh. This is an album that can call my turntable “home

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The Quaker (AKA Charlie Edwards), as you might know, does a radio show on WESN 88.1FM every other Friday night. Lately, the station’s streaming function has been, shall we say, uncooperative at best and downright pathetic at its worst. The powers that be have not been so powerful.

So, in light of that, let’s revisit a few of The Quaker’s past reviews. And let’s all wish for a “radio streaming speedy recovery”!

Terry Malts—Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere (Slumberland)

2nd album from San Francisco band—aggressive, noisy & fast 3 chord/3 minute pop punk thathangs on to the melody and hook lines through a rollercoaster ride of pumped-up, fuzzy rock ‘n’roll distortion. Former members of Magic Bullets. Recalls bands like the Ramones, Descendents, Sonic Avenues, Hunx andHis Punx, Mean Jeans.

Hunx and His Punx—Street Punk (Hardly Art)

2nd album from San Francisco band turns up the volume a bit—short, fast, raw, juicy scum-garage sleaze-pop noise-punk with a hot-revved nod to the 50s/60s drive-in girl-group sound.Members from Shannon & the Clams, Gravy Train!!!!. Includes a Beastie Boys cover. Shades ofthe Ramones, Nobunny, Mean Jeans, Shannon & the Clams. “Street Punk” is a retro-shock, fun& fast energy blast!

Dr. Dog—B-Room (Anti)

On their 8th album, Philadelphia’s Dr. Dog play it loose & fun, with a classic country pop edge thatmixes a number of styles: 50s roots-harmony indie pop, backporch gospel-clap Dylan rock, banjo-pickin’ folk music with horns & fiddles & odd sounds, acoustic guitar-strum traditional stylefolk ballads, funky keyboard blues numbers, pretty & twisted psych/pop ballads, and more. Anoverall raucous and eclectic sense of down-home good-time music pervades “B-Room”. Sort of like a mix of Wilco and The Band, playing at the local bar with a sloppy, but heartfelt, style of diverse Americana.

The Sweet A.M.—Twice (self released)

2nd release from Los Angeles band with a member of X—alt-country guitar jangle rock with strong, rootsy melodies and gutsy indie guitar riffs. Similarities to Deer Tick, Diamond Rugs, SonVolt, Uncle Tupelo, Dawes, Social Distortion

To see MORE groovy reviews, visit the tumblr page at THIS LINK!

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Jacob Floyd Ross (CRUMPLER) is everything you’d want in a musician. Solid songs. Great stage presence. All-around nice guy. Plus, he’ll be in Bloomington at nightshop on September 25.

Introduce the band members (who’s who and who does what)

Crumpler is essentially me, Jacob Floyd Ross on guitar and any other sound you hear except drums.  Jason Creps, Sean Burke, Michelle Roberts, Joel Ross, & Adam Vida have contributed drums & percussion on various recordings.  For the first 20 years Crumpler was primarily a composing outlet for my collaborations with film, theater, dance, radio, and other interdisciplinary arts.

Live performances by Crumpler were extremely rare prior to me leaving Chicago in 2014.  While in Chicago, I more often performed live with Ribbon Effect, Low Skies, The Warmbloods, and Man Is Man.

All that being said… Crumpler will be touring as a trio at the end of this month (more on that below) with Matt Wenzel of The Falbonauts and Husband Material on baritone guitar and our small robot friend, Madame Beat Buddy on beats.

Genre of music you play and why?

Americana Rock with a strong goth influence.  More specifically, we descend from the Rolling Stones fork in the rock n’ roll family tree, and once you find the post-punk, indie-rock branch you will find us out on a dark & twisted limb.

Why?  That’s a great question.  Simply put… it’s just what comes out of me when I let the music spirits flow.  Some of the why is undoubtedly connected to my growing up in Texas listening to and dreaming of post-punk and new wave music.  Joy Division and the American Southwest are the most common references in reviews of my music.

Your take on vinyl vs. digital music and what direction do you see music evolving into?

Whoa.  Another big one.  I suspect there are college courses dedicated to this subject.  Nevertheless, my overarching sentiment is that I believe music is good for humans and that we should engage with it in whatever formats are available to us… that includes both listening and creating.

On a more granular note… CDs are my favorite format and vinyl is my second favorite with cassettes taking the bronze and streaming/pod music gets an honorable mention.  However, that’s my personal music appreciation preference.  I’m working towards getting more of my catalog released online, because that’s clearly a top choice for millions of people.  I think it’s silly at best to judge how other people wanna listen to music.  Once the tunes are alive and out in the world, I can’t control how people listen to them nor would I want to.

As far as the future of recorded music… who knows what technologies will come and go?  But I do believe so long as there’s electricity available humans will continue to obsess over documenting and distributing all the amazing music we generate day in and day out.

Biggest challenges you face in getting your name/music in front of people?

Well, I’d say the biggest challenge is that there are nearly 8 billion humans freaking out on a spinning sphere of stardust flying roughly 67,000 miles an hour around a flaming ball of fusion in an infinite soup of expanding galaxies.  That’s fairly distracting for people.

But also… the lack of label support, a booking agent, publicist, manager etc. compounds the challenges of promoting my music amongst a vast sea of music.  And that’s just in the related genres, not to mention ALL the other music, art, culture, work, and family that distracts people.  It’s hard to cut through the noise, but that’s what everyone is up against.  Which is one of the reasons I love playing live shows, because it’s a truly powerful and transformative way of connecting with people.

What are you working on now? Any tours or performances coming up?

Crumpler is currently preparing for a Midwest tour in support of Califone at the end of September…

http://www.jacobfloydross.com/shows

https://www.califonemusic.com/shows/

Over the winter we’ll be recording a new Crumpler full length album and playing shows in CA, AZ, and NM.

Who do you listen to and who would you recommend to others?

I listen to a WIDE variety of styles, genres, and artists.  BUT…

Here’s a dozen artists/albums that have been in heavy rotation for 2019:

Warm Drag

Sharon Van Etten

Carpet of Horses

Karen O & Danger Mouse

Hands and Feet

The Ghost Dog Soundtrack

The Johnson Spiritual Singers from Saginaw, MI

The Moondoggies

Syl Johnson

The Falbonauts

The Chameleons UK

Erika Wennerstrom (Heartless Bastards)

Anything else to add?

You can’t party without water.

jacob

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Rodney Scott is a local (Bloomington-Normal) DJ who has an in-depth knowledge of music, bands, and Central Illinois. Let’s see what he has to say:

Introduction – who you are and what you do

My name is Rodney, but on my radio show I’m “Raydog,” My radio show, Skinny Ties & Indie Rock Dives, specializes in power pop, punk, garage, rockabilly, and surf rock–preferably of the obscure kind.

Are you also a musician?

I’m definitely not a musician. I always joke I have the manual dexterity of a pregnant cow, and the self-discipline of a dachshund.

Do you offer your services for events or are you strictly “radio/on air”?

I’m strictly an “on air” personality. I can’t really imagine trying to sell my services.

How do you decide what to play with so many artists/bands/choices?

When I’m putting together a playlist I generally try to provide cruising songs, simple things: The Raspberries, The Barracudas, I like to play old greaser rockabilly, surf instrumentals, songs with lots of screaming, yelling, in the background, people misbehaving is usually the theme I’m after.

I like to craft playlists with regard to the current season. Around the time Fall begins I like to put on songs that are just depressing, bleak. I remember one night, when I was a kid (probably buzzed on Ritalin), I was laying in the backseat of my parent’s Ford LTD, a huge boat of a car, we were heading back home after attending my older brother’s basketball game. It was a bitterly cold night, Central Illinois, the flat landscape, barren fields with a light dusting of snow, the moon and the stars bright, then Fleetwood Mac’s “Sara” came on the radio, with its deliberate tempo, minimal instrumentation, all of that fit so perfectly with the night, the mood. After that moment I seemed to appreciate how music can dovetail with your physical surroundings, your psyche.

Jimmy Page once said something like good rock or pop music has a sense of drama about it, I can understand that. I try to incorporate that concept–with varying degrees of success or failure–when I’m putting my show together.

What would you like to see change as far as the music industry?

 I don’t know…I try not to sweat things I can’t control.

Biggest challenges you face as a DJ these days?

The biggest challenge I face as a radio DJ is the fact that small independent radio is not the same medium it was 30 years ago. I think it is still a viable, relevant, form of media, but honestly, most people are into streaming services like Spotify.

The experience of listening to a radio show that has a free-form, anarchic quality to it is different than streaming music you are already into, where technology enables you to leap to other bands and performers that have similar traits. Still, I try not to come off as some old geezer who hates everything new, you have to maintain perspective, ignore trends, just keep doing what you know and do best.

Anything else you would like to add?

Music tastes are personal. I make fun of hardcore punk, heavy metal, prog rock, top forty country, hippie jam bands on my show. Still, if you are really into haunting record stores, playing in bands, try to avoid tags, try to keep an open mind about different forms of popular music. People’s likes and dislikes are all unique, if you are really into something, try to figure out a way to actively take part in it.

Top 5 recommended albums?

Some random music that had an effect on my radio show: Norton Records, Crypt Records all served as a primer of sorts for weird, bizarre garage/rockabilly/surf rock, Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe’s Rockpile records from the mid 70’s, Big Star #1 Record and Radio City, the Zion IL power pop band Shoes, Cheap Trick, Dwight Twilley Band, and then just any number of compilations that are out there on labels like Numero that feature local and obscure no hit wonders. Graham Parker & The Rumour’s Squeezing Out Sparks, Elvis Costello’s My Aim Is True and, with The Attractions, This Year’s Model were huge for me. Hearing The Replacements Let It Be in March of 1987 led me to eventually sell almost all of my heavy metal cassettes several months later. I could go on and on, really veer off on some tangents, so I had better stop…

rodney

~~~~~

Let’s get our groove on with D.J. Jeremy Berg,

who currently hails from Texas.

Introduction – who you are and what you do

I am Jeremy Berg, and I DJ as The 8 Legged DJ on KUZU, 92.9 FM in Denton, TX.  I got the name from a Wu-Name generator back in college and have used it for music stuff ever since.  The funny thing is, I hate spiders.  Fortunately, I love octopuses.

Are you also a musician?

Not really.  I played clarinet, bass clarinet, and alto sax when I was younger, but it’s been almost 20 years, and I never really understood music in the way that actual musicians do.  I could follow the notes, but never got what it meant that the music was, say, in a particular key.

Do you offer your services for events or are you strictly “radio/on air”?

Strictly on air.  If anyone actually wanted to hire me to play my weird brand of stuff I’d totally do it, but I have no DJ gear of my own nor any idea how to set up a business.  Plus what I play isn’t generally danceable, which is usually what you hire a DJ for.

How do you decide what to play with so many artists/bands/choices?

I DJed for WESN in Bloomington, IL for six years and we always had to play three new songs per hour (six per show for me).  I don’t have that requirement at KUZU, but the idea’s stuck with me and anyway, I’m constantly getting more records so the newer material tends to be upfront in my mind (both newly released and new to me).  I’ll write down songs I like as I listen to an album, then start writing down other artists or particular songs, if something specific comes to mind, that I think might go with them.  I’ve got a notebook with all these clusters of names written down, which is the easy part, and then I have to actually pick songs and turn the groupings into sets, which is the hard part, especially when things don’t go together the way I thought they would.

Thinking about it, the fact that I play sets at all is a deciding factor in and of itself.  I know people who just play a song or two at a time, or play however many but aren’t about continuity.  For me, a set is like a story.  The mood should match, the sounds should match, or at least be compatible, and the end of one song should flow well into the beginning of the next song, so the choice of a single song heavily influences the choice of two or three other songs.  I like the show to ebb and flow as a whole, too, so if I’ve already got, say, a heavy metal set, I’ll try to make sure I’ve also got something softer, and then also some funk, or jazz, or psychedelic music–some way to keep things diverse.

What would you like to see change as far as the music industry?

The Universal fire was absolutely heartbreaking, and it was a result of a gigantic corporation whose chief decision makers didn’t see the value in things like John Coltrane’s master recordings.  I’d like to see the majors have more care for the music, have people who truly value it looking after it.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s likely.  Indie labels have their issues too, but at least they’re usually started by people who love music enough to want to make sure the world can hear it.

Radio could use some major changes, too.  Deregulation’s been terrible, Clear Channel buying up tons of stations and having them all play the same junk.  Community radio, independent radio, low power FM stations like KUZU are all real rarities, which is a shame.  When I listen to the radio, I want to be surprised, I want to be excited, and I want to hear music, not ads.  I definitely don’t want to hear that morning zoo crap, I swear they have an IQ ceiling for the people they hire to do those.

Also, concert ticket fees need to die.

Biggest challenges you face as a DJ these days?

Having a venue.  If it weren’t for a group of people who spent three years of their lives getting KUZU on the air and who knows how long before that working incrementally towards the day a low power license might become available, I wouldn’t have anywhere to broadcast.  And if the college station at Illinois Wesleyan hadn’t allowed community members to do shows, I wouldn’t have been on the air in Bloomington/Normal either.

Top 5 recommended albums?

Good lord this is tough.  Ask me again in five minutes and I’ll give you a completely different answer, but let’s say:

The Stooges- Fun House

EMA- Past Life Martyred Saints

Miles Davis- The Cellar Door Sessions 1970

The Hold Steady- Separation Sunday

Bjork- Post

JeremyB

~~~~~

Let’s do one more chunk with The Quaker before we visit with some other music folks. Did you know that besides for music, the Quaker has had a personal and up close relationship with chickens? It’s true. He raised and judged them back in the day (4-H) and won awards for his mastery. Word on the street is that he’s never met a chicken he didn’t like.

Take a look at a few more reviews he’s written lately. Again, if you wish, you can find these and so many more at https://thequakergoesdeaf.tumblr.com/

Massive Wagons — Full Nelson (Earache) 4th album from these talented good-time rockers out of Lancaster, England: They play crunchy-fun, gutsy rock ‘n’ roll with a punky energy, ripping power pop melody lines, classic rock chord structures and a touch of glam. The songs are a high-speed freight train that rocks ‘n’ rolls over everything in its path, leaving a fire trail of dancing rails. Shades of The Wildhearts, White Reaper, Slade, Status Quo, Black Pussy, Redd Kross, The Exploding Hearts, Cheap Trick, Smash Fashion, Guns N Roses. “Full Nelson” is what rock ‘n’ roll is all about. Just try to put this record on without smiling and bouncing around the room. I dare you. It’s pure, simple, uncomplicated and utterly brilliant. Recommended.

Wooden Shjips — V (Thrill Jockey) The 5th album from these San Francisco masters of psychedelic dreamland continues on the path of their brilliant 2013 release “Back To Land”. The songs bask in a generally subtle, smooth flow—almost jazzy at times. But the mindset is pure tripped-out bliss. Ripley Johnson’s guitar is heavenly, dreamy—a fluid, otherworldly rocketship floating through the universe on a leisurely voyage to nirvana. It hints at artists like Tom Verlaine, Mike Bloomfield, Bill Nelson, Mick Hutchinson, John Cippolina, Guy Blakeslee. The keyboards and Krautrock-tinged rhythms recall Johnson’s poppier band, Moon Duo. There are similarities to bands such as Psychic Ills, The Black Angels, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Velvet Underground, Spacemen 3, Suicide. “V” rises like a kaleidoscopic peacock on magical wings, extending a visionary optimism to starry-eyed dreamers and seekers of audio euphoria. Recommended.

The Limiñanas—Shadow People (Because Music) On their 5th album, this French duo have hit their stride with a vengeance; mixing magically psychedelic folk/pop-drone melodies with a rhythmic/Motorik rock flow that chugs along like a zoned-out power engine on a mission to find out where the world ends. These are songs with a hypnotic & driving beauty that’s couched in a mysteriously compelling aura of attraction; they gently demand that you come along for the ride. Guests include members of Brian Jonestown Massacre (Anton Newcombe sings on the track here), New Order, Bel Canto Orchestra, Les Enfants Des Autres, Hair & The Iotas, The Pink Tiles. Sometimes recalls artists like The Holydrug Couple, Moon Duo, Brian Jonestown Massacre, New Order, The Velvet Underground, The Black Angels, Spiritualized, BrianEno, Jesus & Mary Chain. The cohesive and consistent brilliance of the songs here, their never-ending emotional pull, and the continuity of rhythmic vibration to the next land—these all combine to make this the first greatalbum of 2018. “Shadow People” is an absolute stunner! Highly Recommended.

~~~~~~

Round Two with The Quaker, who originally hails from the Springfield, Illinois area. Currently, you can hear him LIVE on WESN 88.1fm every other Friday from 6pm to about 9pm. He has been writing reviews for decades – in places like The Post Amerikan (Normal, Illinois) and now-defunct magazines in Champaign, Illinois (plus more! Stay tuned) Although in the process of moving, he plans to be back on the air in either late June or July – so keep an eyeball peeled to The Flip Side for specifics.

Deerhunter—Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? (4AD) – On their 8th official studio album, this iconic band from Atlanta, Georgia continues down a path of mellow-but-weird experimental indie pop/rock. The songs play like cohesive nuggets of subconscious creativity. Bradford Cox’ ability to combine accessible pop melodies with odd and unexpected elements remains entertainingly intact. The lyrics are imbued with a concerned, if somewhat distant, existential passion. Overall it’s a comfortably peculiar bit of indie pop that feels open and vaguely welcoming. Members/guests have played in Atlas Sound, Lotus Plaza, Moon Diagrams, Macha, The Dream Scene, Drinks, White Fence, more. While there’s nothing here that makes me sit up and say “Woah!”, “Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared?” is a pleasantly stimulating listen that holds the promise of unfolding revelations.

Sad Planets—Akron, Ohio (Tee Pee) – On their debut album, this Midwest band with a pedigree plays classic pop/rock with a retro-radio-ready feel. Normally, I would follow a description like that with a negative comment. But there is something about the songs here that overrides that gut reaction. Maybe it’s the lack of pretense, or the utter in-your-face “non-coolness”; or maybe it’s just great songwriting and tunes that hang in your head by their own volition. The riffs and hooks are packed with the kind of nostalgic charm that just will not be denied. You’ll hear lots of relatable keyboards, guitars, bop-along grooves, garagey R&B and sweet pop melodies, with occasional psychedelic side trips. Members have played in the Black Keys, Guided By Voices, Sweet Apple, Cobra Verde,Death Of Samantha. You might hear similarities to Foxygen, Valley Lodge, The Beatles and a multitude of 60s AM radio groups. So, just open up your brain, stretch your ears wide, and soak it all up without judgement. This is pure, vintage-injected pop/rock fun! Recommended

Sundrifter—Visitations (Small Stone) – 2nd album from this Boston band who play fast, hard rumbling rock songs with pounding drums and arena rock vocals. The songs roar with a bluesy metal crunch and a 70s swagger. Molten threads of throbbing stoner rock grooves drive the desert rhythms, occasionally landing on some trippy psychedelic lead riffs, while chunky sledgehammer chords crank out the muscle. Bits of grunge and sludgy doom peek in the door. RIYL: Soundgarden, Queens Of The Stone Age, Kyuss, Clutch, Truckfighters, Alice In Chains, Black Sabbath. “Visitation” is a monster for everyone who digs a varied, always heavy, metal sound

~

For the premiere installment, let’s check in with The Quaker,  the musical reviewer mastermind who some of you might recognize from his bi-weekly radio show “The Quaker Goes Deaf” on WESN 88.1fm.

The Quaker (AKA Charlie Edwards) has been writing music reviews since the dawn of man. Actually, he’s been involved in the music industry for the better part of the past four decades. From owning his own record stores to DJ-ing to everything in between, Charlie understands and extrapolates on what he hears – from oldies to albums that have yet to drop. He deftly paints an “auditory picture” using imagery and comparisons to provide encapsulated reviews for his audience.

As The Flip Side is updated, you’ll read more about Charlie, his background, more reviews, and possibly, some brushes with greatness from some bands. The Flip Side is all about music – past, present, and future.

Recent Reviews from The Quaker:

The Underground Youth—Montage Images Of Lust & Fear (Fuzz Club)—On their 9th album, this Manchester, England band plays dark marching music for the terminally rejected; those who find their hope among lepers and poets. Craig Dyer yelps and wails with the articulate passion of a young Nick Cave. The songs twist and turn with an angst-driven dark rock energy, occasionally tapping into a melancholic depravity that recalls The Velvet Underground. Dyer’s baritone weaves around eerie atmospheric music that explodes in fervent eruptions with a mysterious thirst for resolution, while background guitars scratch and moan for relief. Kristof Hahn (Swans) contributes lap steel guitar on several tracks. “Montage Images Of Lust & Fear” exudes a strength and power that arises from a fearless exploration of reality’s underbelly. It’s haunted and pure, ultimately compelling. Recommended.

Craig Finn—I Need A New War (Partisan) Craig Finn is an exceptional lyricist, a master narrator of life stories. On his 4th solo album, this New York artist, who has been a member of Hold Steady and Lifter Puller, continues to paint a vivid picture of the every man American relationship experience. His insightful vision and pathos-ridden voice, filtered through words that strike at the heart and soul, will send shivers of appreciation and compassion down your spine. The music retains much of his previous classic Americana rock feel, falling on the soft side between Drive-By Truckers and Bruce Springsteen, with horns and keyboards expanding the scope into jazzier soft ballads. If at all possible, you’ll want the lyric sheet in hand on your first listen, to drive the nails home. ”I Need A New War” is a magnum opus of lyric-driven Americana rock music. When Craig Finn writes his first novel or book of poetry, I will be at the front of the line to get one. Recommended.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre—The Brian Jonestown Massacre(A) Somewhere around the 18th album from San Francisco frontman Anton Newcombe and band finds them in top notch psychedelic form. The songs are heavy on melody with plenty of tripped-out guitar work. Newcombe’s songwriting gives you exactly what you want to hear from a Brian Jonestown Massacre album. There are no surprises here, and that’s fine, as these songs are deeply rooted in the band’s trademark psychedelic sound. Reverb-drenched guitars echo over plaintive vocals, strummed chords lay down a Western shoegaze motif, and the scent of bong smoke hangs heavy in the air. All is right with the world. Recommended.

(For more reviews from The Quaker Goes Deaf, please visit the tumblr site HERE!)

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