The Flip Side – Thorsten Nesch – Musician- Updated 1/2/23

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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 and musicians. Read about the latest in all that is groovy.




Thorsten Nesch





THORSTEN NESCH was born in Solingen, Germany. His first record album he bought in 3rd grade, Bill Haley, in 4th grade The Beatles, 7th grade Dead Kennedys, and by the age of 16 he had discovered Tom Waits and writing: lyrics and stories.

He worked for the Pentagon (a bar in his home town), as a stand-up comedian, in a music store & a food truck, as journalist, camera-man (concerts like Iron Maiden) & 10 years as a novelist. 2014 he moved to Lethbridge, Canada. Since 2018 he works as a janitor. During all this time he wrote songs.

His music is based in storytelling, & his minimalist approach with a sparse instrumentation & loops, & lyrics meandering between lofi-tragedy & shoegaze-comedy let past reviewers compare him to Vic Chestnutt & Daniel Johnston.




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

I am by myself. I sing and create music by playing several instruments, often looping them or building loops. I also like to throw field recordings (like a local park) into the mix. Since January 2022 I record and release 1 EP a month. The cover photos are part of my black and white streetphotography, so are the individual canvasses (mini video loops) on Spotify.


Genre of music you play and why?

I play sparsely instrumented, rather slow, indie songwriting. Why? Good question! It’s just how it turns out. Sometimes I imagine an E-Street Band arrangement to my tune, but less than halfway through, I am more than happy with the two or three tracks in the song, and anything more would make it mushy.


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

I have both at home. Vinyl is to a music file what a book is to a word file, the haptic experience is missing. On the other hand files make music more accessible, costs to produce and distribute them are rather low. I also explore the additional multimedia possibilities of digital music: on Spotify you will find individual canvasses (mini video loops) to each of my songs, on Bandcamp a download comes with a commented 1st draft lyric sheet.


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

The advantage of digital music is also its curse: so many doing it, there is a lot of wonderful colleagues out there and we all try the same. For me the creative process outweighs all obstacles. I do what I can regarding PR, but what I love most is being in the shared studio space and hear my little magic unfold.


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

My 1 EP a month series keeps me busy, and I love every aspect of it: from writing the lyrics, creating the songs, mixing and mastering them, designing the cover and shooting the video loops. With my history in writing I also go back to older poems and lyrics and mould them into a new song, revisiting times and places and people, thoughts and feelings of the past.


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

A good place to discover music I like is my public Spotify playlist “Minimalist Songwriters” that I constantly update. A few names: Tom Waits, Tracy Chapman, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Earle, Jackie Leven, Townes Van Zandt, Nick Cave, Kris Demeanor, Geoff Berner, Vic Chesnutt, Advance Base, Wharfer, Mary Gauthier, John Prine, Leonard Cohen.


Anything else to add?

If you want to know more about me you can visit my homepage

My music is under my name here on Spotify and on all other streaming platforms, and on


Thorsten Nesch Portrait 2022










Ashley Weckesser

Musician / Interdisciplinary Artist


Introduce the band members

Ashley Weckesser is an Edmonton, AB-based composer and interdisciplinary artist working in the fields of music and sound, visual art and theater. An early-career artist, her instrumental and graphic score works have premiered at the University of Alberta’s Convocation Hall through the University’s Experimental Improvisation Ensemble (“XiMe”), Contemporary Music Ensemble and Edmonton’s Ultraviolet Ensemble. A recent graduate from the University of Alberta, she has studied composition with Dr. Mark Hannesson and Dr. Scott Smallwood. Her current interests involve music design for video games and film, producing animated graphic scores, working with advanced music software such as Max/MSP, and the visual arts. Her works have won awards for best video game audio design, multiple university scholarships and recently her animated graphic score, A Composer’s Nightmare, has been featured in the Toronto 4th Multicultural Film Festival 2021.

Ashley’s primary goal in her works is emotional storytelling that ignites passion. Music cannot effectively impact listeners without having a story and without having emotion. Ashley has taken a new interest in musical compositions that are designed to explore the impact of music on the conscious and subconscious emotional reactions of both the performers and listeners. Her goals are to design music in both the film and video game industries, as well as live performances (taking multiple forms), that turn the active listener into a participant; creating their own personal story and subsequently emoting on a transcendent level.

Genre of music you play and why?

I typically compose soundtrack music for a variety of interdisciplinary projects with the end goal of becoming a music composer for large scale films and shorts. I absolutely love this type of music for many reasons. Some of them being I find soundtrack music is highly emotional, it is elusive in nature due to a lack of lyrics allowing the imagination to wander and I find it to be much less restricting than other genres of music.

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

I think both digital and vinyl forms of music are great for their own reasons. As for the direction of music, I know that music typically reflects society. I have seen a trend  for more “realism” in music lately and I sincerely hope that it continues to grow. I would love social constructs, stereotypes, ideals of the perfect – all things that have been so carefully and elaborately fabricated by social media to keep us in some sort of dillusionary state, never feeling fulfilled and happy – to be torn down by the very people social media has built up and spotlighted. I hope music can foster a new culture of genuinity, of acceptance and of bettering ourselves in more wholesome and sustainable ways.

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

I find it challenging to talk about myself and to promote myself. It is something that I am not used to and honestly can make me feel uncomfortable! I have learned it is important to have confidence in my abilities and to be able to market them.

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

I am currently working on a video game called Tyromancy with a group of incredible friends I met during my studies. Here is a summary of the video game from one of the artists, Ian Schoeber

 “Did you tell her that we are making a post apocalyptic cheese game set in a sandwich multiverse ruled over by food based dieties, and that you play as a sentient piece of cheese whose current primary antagonists are giant rats in the middle of a giant cheese heist against muscle-bound western themed cheese miners?” – Ian Schober (Eh Neighbour! artist)

It’s pretty epic!

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

I listen to a wide variety of music from a wide variety of people! It is very difficult for me to recommend only one so if I may, I would love to list a few!


– Patrick Doyle

– Hans Zimmer

– Rachel Portman

I really could go off listing many more talented artists!

Anything else to add?

Please feel free to browse my website ( and/or my instagram (@a.weckesser) to check out what I am up to and to explore my artistic mind!

Thank you for your time!

Best wishes,


Interdisciplinary Artist









Glenda Benevides


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

I work with Gene Williams a masterfully creative artist, Producer, Mastering engineer and is my collaborating partner in writing our music. I can’t say enough about how important it is to work with not only people who are talented but who also understand the music business and can see the vision of where an artist is going. We were lucky to connect and have similar goals and talent. We also had enough differences that really compliment each others needs too. This is making a powerful combination for real artistic storytelling.

Genre of music you play and why? 

That is always an interesting question but not a real cut and dried answer actually. These days hybrid is the word when it come to that. I would consider our sound varies depending on the theme or project. Ever evolving and expanding. To give you an idea I would say a combination of R&B meets Roots. My intention is that my music touches and moves you in some way. I intent to share the soulfulness of life’s journey and have that journey move your heart.

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

Well, vinyl is old school. Some people find it nostalgic and novel but in actuality, it’s less superior in sound quality aka audio. I prefer to use digital no degrading of the sound, last forever, easy to share and it’s a fast way to give/sell people your art.

These days most people stream or download music files most computers don’t have drives to play music anymore. Especially new computers. It is a new way of consuming music and works of art. Besides there is ways to get the analog/vinyl sound it’s in key pieces of gear you record on. Then you get that warm sound and drop it on digital platform. Excellent! Plus, environmentally it’s a bit better as vinyl is made from petrochemicals and with long term exposure as you play them they can make you sick. It’s toxic. Yep!

Vintage vinyl is quite likely to contain cadmium or lead – both toxic to humans – and even some new vinyl might still contain lead. Currently, all vinyl records are made from Polyvinyl chloride, or PVC — described by Greenpeace as “the most environmentally damaging plastic”, whose production releases toxic, chlorine-based chemicals that are “building up in the water, air and food chain.”

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

I think as you said we are a saturated market with more people in the world deciding to become artists of some sort. So you really have to know yourself and see what is unique about YOU. Inside of that, design a plan that serves the audience you want to reach, the story you want to tell and the unique way you express yourself and your craft. That will give you a head start and an excellent foundation to pull from. Then, you roll up your sleeves and hit the ground and don’t give up. You may have to adjust strategies when you get new information about your audience and where they might be located. Reaching out and trying a varieties of avenues is key in any business and not all of therm will work for your music. You decide.

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

We just rapped a song called Walkin. It’s a tale of …BEWARE. Being cautious to what you’re agreeing to, as it may not be what you think it is. Always follow your inner feeling, pay attentions to those signs that we may want to ignore. If it’s a big contract or deal make sure you have someone on your side, a muisc attorney to catch the details of what’s best for you.  Get a good music attorney to take a look at what it is you might be signing… cause you maybe selling your soul to the Devil!

Yes, touring next year in UK and EU. Looking like the Fringe Festival June 2023.

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

Sometimes I just stay in my own lane when it comes to listening to others music, but when I do I want to be inspired, moved and hear something unique. A voice or a lyric that is really passionate and is saying something. Is it making a difference in my life enough for me to take time out to listen?  I always ask that question. He are a few people that fulfill that for me. Songwriter and vocalist Rachelle Ferrell, Jamie N Commons, Natalia M King, Yelawolf, Sarah Vaughn, Dakota Staton jut to name a few.

Anything else to add?

I’ve also written a book called Courage, Find the Fire and Ignite Action in Your Life. It’s my journey of trials and triumphs inside the music business and life. This gives people insights on how to step into their courage. You have to start with clarity, then courage, confidence, commitment and community. This is the process I follow in my book.

I am also planting trees to support the shift that is happening on our planet. If you want to help too, when you buy my book Courage or any of my music I will plant a tree for you too!

Love and Light, Glenda

IG: https://glendabenevidesmusic 


Spotify:  Lulu White Stream and more:

To Purchase Goddess EP or any song and Courage Handbook I will plant a tree at ONE TREE PLANTED:

Get my FREE “Own The Goddess Within” e-book

Free E-Book:


TyJon Charlie / The Unemployed Architects




Hailing from the small town of Pontiac, IL, TyJon Charlie, the lead singer and songwriter of The Unemployed Architects, is an up-and-coming independent musician with a penchant for writing infectious music and relatable narratives. His journey began many years ago in his bedroom as he started to write and record original music. He then performed these songs to live audiences across the Midwest and has been doing so for the last 5+ years with an unprecedented energy and vigor for his compositions. TyJon has managed to slowly amass a small but loyal following with these high energy performances and his unique style of writing.

Armed with big dreams and plenty of passion to spare, he seeks to positively influence the world and connect with like-minded individuals through his music. Concurrently, he has also been setting up his first solo release, titled “Pandemic Relief (LIVE near Normal)”, out this February. He has plans to release more original material individually, as well as, with the band.  


Introduce the band members

I am TyJon Charlie from the band, “The Unemployed Architects”. I am the main singer-songwriter and rhythm guitar player. To find my original music, you can search “The Unemployed Architects” anywhere you stream music. I am currently working on my first solo album, of which, you can currently stream a few live, singles on the “TyJon Charlie” artist page on any streaming platform. I, also, have a vinyl out, which you can pick up at any of my upcoming shows or Waiting Room Records here in Normal, IL.


TyJon Charlie

Spotify –

Apple Music –

Spotify –

Apple Music –


The Unemployed Architects

Spotify –

Apple Music  –

YouTube –


Genre of music you play and why?

I play acoustic rock music with a heavy focus on the songwriting. I play this style of music, because it’s the music that has always spoken to me. I love playing electric guitar when I get a chance, but I’ve always had a special connection with the acoustic guitar. There is something about a guy and an acoustic guitar flooring a whole room of people without any help. It’s the definition of doing a lot with a little which, I think, is a very powerful ability, and to some extent, is the name of the game in our current music industry.

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

As an avid listener to both, I love vinyl and digital music. I think they both serve two very different purposes. 

With vinyl, there is an amazing nostalgic and warm feeling you get when listening. It has a way of getting to the bones of the music and is a nice glue to really hold a mix together. I often think of all the old school music that was mixed to be heard on vinyl. When I put on the record “Who’s Next” by The Who and “Baba O’Riley”comes on, I always think that this is the way the artist intended the music to be heard or consumed. Then, I usually try to put myself into the shoes of people hearing this music for the first time. This is how they heard it. And those listeners from that time never had heard anything like it before. When I listen to current music, it all has many influences with a lot of sounds I’ve heard before, but that’s not how it was back then. 

With Digital music, you can literally have a soundtrack to your whole life. It’s so convenient that it’s at your fingertips. It’s really a game-changer. It also makes it super convenient to find new music at any time. The more the technology advances, the deeper you can layer the digital music. You can use that to paint a more defined piece of art. This also bleeds into the listening side of music, because you can really enjoy and get into the depth of all the layers and panning. Digital music also makes it super accessible to create music and get it out there to be heard by the average listener. 

It’s really hard to guess where music will evolve too. I mean, in the 90s, who would have guessed the internet, phones, and/or streaming platforms. I think something cool that might eventually happen with live music could be virtual reality. Maybe instead of going to live shows, you can just put on a headset and headphones and enjoy the live concert experience from your living room. Now I hope this wouldn’t be the main way to go to concerts in the future, because there is something really special about going to an actual live show with a giant group of people who all have a common purpose and goal. But it may be an option for listeners that don’t do well in large groups or people that don’t get the chance to make it out to shows as much. It also might be an opportunity for musicians to support themselves from ticket sales.

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

The biggest challenge musicians face with getting themselves and their music out there, is the sheer volume of music being created and released every day. It’s a double-edged sword that making music is more accessible to the general population. It’s great anyone can make and release it, but the flood gates are open. There aren’t as many gate keepers today. The pool of music only gets larger and larger every day. Not only on the back of a time where there were gate keepers, which is a huge amount of music already, but now, exponentially, due to the availability of anybody having the ability to create and release music.

The other thing that can be a challenge is having to the job of what the record companies used to do. In today’s era of music, you have to be your own booker, marketer, promoter, studio engineer, manager, publishing, photographer, and videographer. And staying on top of the social media could really be a whole job in itself. That being said, it is an amazing opportunity in a way, because now you can really build your own road. You don’t have to wait for someone to do those things. You can pretty much learn to do anything on the internet and then you can spend as much time and energy making whatever you need to happen, happen.

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

Right now, I’m in the process of mixing and mastering my first live, solo album which will be released in about 3 months. Simultaneously, I’m working on my first in-the-studio single as well. I play every Friday and Saturday (sometimes Sundays and Thursdays as well) all over the Midwest. The best way to see the upcoming schedule would be the website, You can also find out this information by following The Unemployed Architects Fanpage on facebook and/or The Unemployed Architects on the BandsinTown app or website.



tj4   tj3

tj2   tj




Geoff Beran & The Mystery Van


Geoff Beran & The Mystery Van is an alternative rock band centered in Illinois’ Bloomington-Normal area. They play original songs laced with hooks, crunchy guitar riffs, and infectious melodies. “Beran’s maverick pop sound is by very definition innovative,” said Bloomington’s own Pantagraph. “It is a challenge just to keep up with it, because you can never truly predict which direction its rhythms will go in next.” Reviewing Beran’s single, “Liz Phair Is My Sister,” Billboard Magazine called it “a retrolicious rock track,” while Entertainment Weekly said it was “one of the best and weirdest.”



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

My name is Geoff Beran, and I play rhythm guitar and lead vocals. We have Ryan Howes on drums, and Jeff Walker on bass, as well as backing vocals, dog howls, whatever you need. Ken Thornton plays lead guitar and he really has a way with strings.

The Mystery Van – I had a creative writing teacher in high school who always called me “Beran Beran,” like Duran Duran, and now I realize that he probably started saying that as way to remember how to say my last name! Anyway, we are Geoff Beran and the Mystery Van.

Genre of music you play and why?

The question of genre always throws me a little, because I write songs and, in most cases, I am not thinking of genre. It happens that our music is rock music, and it tends to have a “classic rock” or “alternative rock” vibe, with guitar riffs that reflect those styles. My main influences are probably Queen and Prince, both of which are highly eclectic, and maybe our music reflects some of that. Along with that, Ken, Jeff, and Ryan bring their own musical sensibilities to everything we do.

But “genre” is interesting. A song I wrote, called “You’re The Biggest Liar I’ve Ever Had The Pleasure of Not Believing,” entered my head as a clear dance pop song, a sort of celebration for the singer of the song. However, when I would perform that song by myself on guitar, without drums, I worked it out as something more like a Violent-Femmes-style bit of attitude, full of starts-and-stops. A couple of times we’ve played around with that song with the Mystery Van but haven’t really worked it into the set, except once or twice.

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

A lot of times these days, an artist will make a big release day for a digital single or EP, and I will check it out, but I’m usually looking to see if they have a CD of it coming out, and if not that, then the vinyl will do. I love vinyl, but I listen to CDs most of the time simply because I can easily play it at home or in the car, and also the cost. I have many of my own CD mix-tapes, so to speak, that I listen to as well. I do appreciate that CDs are still being made, as you get the booklet, often the lyrics and the credits, all right there in your hot little hands. You get all of that even bigger with vinyl, of course, but let’s face it, new vinyl is not cheap.

All of that said, it is nice that someone can decide they want to put something out right now, as Fiona Apple did when things locked down in 2020. Eventually, physical versions were released, but it’s great that there is this immediate outlet now to get something out. Where all of it will go is anyone’s guess.

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

People have plenty of options to experience music, whether it’s live on a stage or recorded. If you’re writing songs and singing them from a distinct point of view – your own – hopefully it will connect with listeners and stand out in some way for them.

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

Aside from finishing up some new songs, I am getting a sort of best-of collection together that will include remixes of some tracks and some rarities. Look for the band to be playing a neighborhood fest or two in September, for sure.

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

Recently I’ve been listening to the debut album by Wet Leg, and also “Endless Scroll” by Bodega, and “Thirstier” by Torres. And “Little Dark Age” by MGMT. If you like a great rock album, check out “Terrible Human Beings” by The Orwells. Or “Pack Up The Cats” by Local H.

I regularly listen to plenty of Prince, Beatles, Queen, Bowie, Blondie, Cheap Trick, Pretenders, Jack White, St. Vincent, Band Of Skulls, Talking Heads, Samia, Arctic Monkeys, Nick Lowe, New Pornographers, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Courtney Barnett, Elvis Costello, Wolf Alice, Veruca Salt, and on and on and on.

Another band I recommend checking out is Sleeper Agent, from Kentucky. They released two really great albums about ten years ago and then broke up. Such is life.

Anything else to add?

Ken Thornton has a great album of his own out there, called “Venus de Milo, Please Raise Your Hand.”

mysteryvanwyatt       terryurbana1crop


Charlie Franz


Introduce yourself.

My name’s Charlie Franz. I mainly stick to keyboards, writing songs, and singing but also dabble in ukelele, a custom four-string soprano guitar, omnichord, recorder, Native American flute, and various percussion instruments. My basement is a mini-musical instrument museum at this point. I enlist friends and session musicians (via the online marketplace Fiverr), to arrange and play what I cannot.


Genre of music you play and why?

I’m what you might call a genre-hopper. I veer between ambient pieces, singer-songwriter type fare, and more experimental stuff, but have also incorporated elements of various musical cultures, rock, jazz, country, classical music, and electronic music into my work. If it catches my interest, I’ll find some way to incorporate it into my sound.



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

I grew up listening to oldies radio and my parents’ Beatles CDs, and thought vinyl was pretty outmoded until my friend and roommate opened my eyes in college. I still think the Internet and digital modes of distribution are the future of music, but that physical releases have a certain mystique that can’t be replicated by digital storefronts and streaming services. Listeners like having something they can hold in their hands, and vinyl, CDs, and cassettes are here to stay for the long haul.



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

The two biggest challenges in that arena are that my music is decidedly eclectic and that I’m wary of mounting tours and playing the same songs over and over with little variation, as a lot of bands do. My songs are very personal and in many cases they come from spontaneous improvisation with only a very rough idea in my head beforehand. This makes them difficult to reproduce in a live setting. I envy my friends who thrive in front of an audience and play with intensity and emotion for nights on end.



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

I have a couple of albums in the pipeline now. C.W. Franz VI is my classicist album, with nods to ’70s progressive rock. It releases April 15th.  C.W. Franz VII will come after that, and will be more focused on singer-songwriter material, with alternative country and roots rock influences, and various loose jams. After that I have an album of ambient piano improvisations, a lo-fi hip hop release from my side project Peloponnesian Grove, and an album of dark ambient instrumental pieces aided by the technique of Paulstretching. I’m also in talks to open with a friend’s band, performing songs from C.W. Franz VII.



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

I listen to lots of things, but if you want the artists that have shaped my vision, I’d recommend the Beach Boys, Scott Walker’s solo work through Scott IV, Brian Eno’s ambient material, Tangerine Dream’s albums up to Rubicon, The 5000 Layers of the Onion by The Incredible String Band, Everclear and Mercury by American Music Club, Revolver by the Beatles, the work of  John Coltrane, Miles Davis’s electric period, Laughing Stock by Talk Talk, and Mark Hollis’ self-titled album from 1998. Whew, that was a mouthful. Also, check out the bands Red Scarves and Old Joy. Some of the best songwriting talent you’ll find today is in those two groups.



Anything else to add?

Enjoy the music. I’m on Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, etc under the name C.W. Franz.





Rosalind Winton




What do you do?

I am a lyricist, so I don’t have a band and I can’t sing, but I can read basic music and play simple melodies on my guitar, not very fluently I might add, although I can hum out a tune if I need to. I work with very talented composers, musicians and vocalists who help me turn my lyrics into beautiful songs. I started writing when I was 17 years old and I have achieved some amazing things, such as seeing my songs performed live on stage and winning awards.


Genre of lyrics you write?

I have written in most every genre from Rock, jazz, musical theatre, comedic, ballads, country and more.


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

I think vinyl is making a very slow come back, but I don’t think it will ever recover enough to be as successful is it was back in the day. I think digital streaming has ruined everything, even very famous artists are furious about the royalties they receive from streaming, and I think there is actually a campaign going on at the moment to change that. There is nothing like holding a physical album in your hands, whether that is a vinyl, or CD. There is something magical about looking at the artwork on an album cover, reading the liner notes and sometimes even having the lyrics set out. Even better, putting a vinyl on a record player and actually ‘watching’ the music play is something else again.



What is your writing process?

I am always writing. Inspiration comes from anything, someone can say something, and I’ll think it would make a great hook line for a song, or I’ll see a banner with something on it that is inspirational. I love trying to find different ways of saying something in a lyric. For example, I was writing a love song called Fantasy and I wanted to say ‘I can’t get you out of my mind’, but I felt that wasn’t strong enough, so I worked on it for a while and ended up with ‘I dance my whole life through with just the thought of you’ © I love starting off with the blank page and an idea and building it up to the finished lyric, it’s something I have always loved doing. I also love it when my collaborators come to me with an idea and we work together on a project, there is nothing like collaboration.



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

The one person I listen to most is Barry Manilow. He has always been the main source of inspiration to me. You’re probably familiar with his hits, Mandy, Copacabana, Could It Be Magic etc., but I recommend his original albums, Here at The Mayflower, 15 Minutes, 2.00am Paradise Cafe. These albums are genius, and the lyrics were written by Barry and his lyricists Enoch Anderson (my lyrical hero), Marty Panzer, Bruce Sussman, Jack Feldman and more. Genius lyricists who I admire greatly. Other than that, I listen to most anything else and I have an eclectic taste in music from Queen to Adele.



What have you worked on recently?

At the beginning of 2020 when the pandemic hit, my collaborator AJ Clarke came to me with an idea to write a song about what was happening. I went away to think about it and within a couple of hours, I had the lyric down. AJ loved it and in under a week he composed the music, recorded it and made a video. It’s called One Day Soon, and it has as of this moment 5,076 views on YouTube. Not a tremendous amount in the scheme of things, but a great achievement for us. Then, in July 2021, we wrote an uptempo, positive song called Let’s Get Away From It All.


Where can we find your work?

If you go to my website (I’m an editor with my own business) and click on the ‘my music’ icon, my music pages will pop up. There you will find my bio, music videos, my music CV and a couple of other projects I have worked on.


Can we contact you?

Yes, you can write to me at


Jim Lough


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

Old Town Crier is my own personal project. It’s just me playing everything, except for the song I Might Get Lost. I had to enlist my friends to sing back- up for that one! 



Genre of music you play and why?

I think my debut EP is simply rock ‘n’ roll, but it’s been described as “alt-country” and occasionally “americana.” I don’t really write in any particular genre, but I like to group my songs together based on genre. Each group of songs has a slightly different feel.



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

Any playback method is fine by me, but I’m adamantly opposed to streaming services. It’s artist exploitation, and its prevalence in our society represents a disturbing shift towards philistinism. I hope music fans will become more interested in sites like Bandcamp, which is very artist (and fan) friendly. Corporate record stores may be gone, but privately owned stores are still around and they need our support more than ever.




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

Breaking through the stream! It’s difficult to sell records when your peers are giving them away. It’s difficult for music fans to discover new artists when an algorithm decides what they listen to. 




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

I’m working on a new EP of protest music. Somehow I managed to get the attention of former record executive turned political activist, Howie Klein, and he enjoyed my EP so much, he asked to write songs for his progressive PAC, Blue America. Since I’m an avowed socialist, I immediately accepted the offer. The new EP, produced by Klein, will feature songs that highlight his candidates policies and grievances. Hopefully, it will be released in March of 2021, just in time for the primaries.



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

I’ve been discovering a lot of new artists on Bandcamp. My new favorites are Reigning Sound from Memphis and Daniel Romano from Ontario.



Anything else to add?

Please join Bandcamp and support your local record store!




Union Avenue


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

I’m Christopher Myers and I am the singer and guitarist in our band Union Avenue. Steve Knecht is the upright bass player and Chris Manzella is the drummer. 



Genre of music you play and why?

We primarily play rockabilly music. It’s one of the earliest forms of rock and roll from the 1950’s. It’s a raw, intense combination of blues music and traditional country music. I enjoy playing rockabilly due to it’s infectious energy it gives off while both listening to and playing the music. It makes you want to get up and move. We are hoping to transfer that feeling to the crowd during our shows. 




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

For me personally, I view vinyl records as the superior format all day long. If you have a proper set up – the sound is far superior to digital. It’s a warmer, richer sound compared to a sterile digital file. Not to mention the experience of actually looking at the album artwork in large size and the act of putting the record on the turntable and placing the needle down. Vinyl sales have surged in recent years and it’s a beautiful thing to see. I expect that to continue. It will never sell as much as digital files of course, but for the kind of person who really wants to appreciate the listening experience vs a casual listen to have on in the background, I would highly recommend getting a turntable, amp and speakers. It’s a sound like no other. Our band Union Avenue is hoping to release a 45 single on vinyl in the future to sell at a later date.  




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

Not everyone is familiar with what rockabilly music even sounds like. But once they hear us, they will want more. Our main challenge is probably getting people to hear us perform initially, then after listening to us they will discover this music is a lot of fun. 



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

Right now we are primarily focused on getting out to the public and working shows to get our name out there. We want to build our fan base locally and then expand from there. Our first show as a band is Saturday September 4th at Gameday Grill in Downs. We are also really excited to be a part of the White Place Street Fest on September 18th in Bloomington. We also have a show coming up at Maguire’s in Downtown Bloomington on October 16th. It should be a killer time.  




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

Currently I’ve been really into some country bop songs which were essentially country songs with your typical ‘50s uptempo, doo wop/pop chord progression with added country twang in both vocals and instrumentation. We’re actually incorporating some country bop songs into our setlist with some added vocal harmonies I’m pretty excited about. I would recommend any songs by Warren Smith, JD McPherson and Pokey LaFarge.




Anything else to add?

You can find us on Facebook by searching: UnionAvenueRockabilly. You can also find us on Instagram at UnionAvenueBand. Our YouTube channel is at:








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

CAPS LOCK is:   

Joe Borbely – Guitars, Synth, Lead Vocals, Percussion

Micah Hattaway – Bass, Guitars, Synth, Backing Vocals, Percussion, Samples

Travis Wheet – Drums & Percussion

John Wyatt Danenberger – Synth & Organ



Genre of music you play and why?

Joe: Cornfield Space Rock. Music to be abducted to. Because we believe there’s more than one little rock with brains out there.

Micah: Our chemistry set has elements of Rock n’ Roll, British Prog, Post-Punk, Modern Folk-Pop, Classic Rock, and 80’s New Wave – then we like to mix that all up and kind of watch the Laboratory explode and catch on fire.



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

Joe: Digital is disposable. Vinyl is for serious music lovers. Or homeowners. Records are heavy. I’ve never wanted to start a collection until I own land and never have to move again.

Micah: They will most likely coexist for quite some time – personally, I use both but really enjoy having the physical record, jacket, and liner notes.




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

Joe: Lots of competition and noise. It’s the same story as it ever was. You put it out into the world and hope it catches some sort of cosmic wave that propels the music into relevance in people’s lives.

I try to write from a place where people can interpret and hold onto songs in their own way. I like to keep things clear but cryptic.

Micah: The Pepsi Challenge.  I mean the commercials are made by Pepsi.  It’s called the Pepsi Challenge.  You think Coke’s gonna win ?!?!


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

Joe: Got a couple of songs in the studio phase, and more in the writing phase  we’re still somewhat new as a group and figuring out our creative process from seed to harvest.

Lol what’s a tour?

Micah: Like Joe said, we’re Song Farming.  My job is to provide the fertilizer…



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

Joe: The album came out in 2019, but I discovered Room 41 by Paul Cauthen. I love the production. There’s this mix of old school rebel country and modern sounds that I just love. His voice is stellar, and his songwriting is solid. I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

Another artist I thought would never crack into my orbit is Taylor Swift. Her two albums from 2020 spoke directly at me in so many different ways. The nostalgia coupled with loss and heartbreak hit on a situation I’d been going through in the last half of 2020. Some lessons need to be learned the hard way. Thanks, Taylor for putting emotions into words so very clearly. I’m a big believer that songs play an integral role in working through complex emotions and situations. Perspective is sometimes hard to come by when you’re in the trenches.

Micah: The latest releases from Of Monster and Men have some stellar production and excellent songwriting.  The new Run the Jewels album (RTJ4) is another awesome addition to their flawless library.  Always listening to Radiohead and Sleigh Bells.

Anything else to add?

Joe: We really hope you dig our EP.  We’re excited to see where the music takes us.

Micah: We just released our first EP – Higher Standard of Deviation.  I think our music is both accessible to most listeners and pushes some sonic envelopes at the same time.  I think people will first connect to the big-theme lyrics and infectious melodies that we’ve crafted, and then get lost in peeling away the layers of musical madness we’ve presented them.





Jussi Jaakonaho


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

On my solo material (using only my last name Jaakonaho) I don’t have a permanent line-up. On my first solo album (Ghost Riot, 2017) I used different musicians to execute stuff I wasn’t able to do myself. On live gigs I’ve had two or three musicians helping me out. Now as a freelance musician I have toured & recorded with various Finnish artists during the last 25 years. The names probably won’t mean much for people outside Finland, but I’ll put some of them here anyway; Ismo Alanko, Chisu, Jonna Tervomaa, Tuure Kilpeläinen, The Shubie Brothers, The Latebirds and even a Tanzanian singer-songwriter called Ashimba. All these artists are on Spotify and whatnot. Nowadays I also score music for tv & film and on that stuff I mostly play everything myself.






Genre of music you play and why?

As a freelance musician my work has mostly been in the rock genre with also some artists that are more pop. My main instrument is the electric guitar and my very first influences on that field were all kinds of rock music, from Motörhead to Neil Young. So the  electric guitar is the instrument that I feel I can express myself best on, and for me as a musician nothing beats a cranked-up electric guitar sound! In the musical mainstream it hasn’t universally been the hottest thing in a long time, but I still think there’s a place for it and actually the electric guitar is a pretty pliant instrument in the right hands. So I think there’s still a long way to go for it. It’s my first love and although I have since dug much deeper into the world of stringed instruments (and other instruments as well), it will remain my first love. Genre-wise I try to be as open-minded as possible. For me the timeline was: hard rock -> classic rock -> indie rock -> folk rock / country rock -> all kinds of American roots music (blues, bluegrass, country, rhythm’n’blues..) -> African music -> Latin American music -> European music around the Mediterranean -> the journey goes on. As a music producer I also like to try to stay hip enough to what goes on in modern pop. Sadly I find that most of modern rock music is very uninteresting & looking backwards. I think the most innovative record production of the day happens in the modern hip hop scene.





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

I don’t think there needs to be a divide; both have their assets. Digital streaming naturally makes music easily available for anybody with an internet connection. The vinyl boom is more for the connoisseur and naturally as an object and a piece of graphic art it’s pretty unbeatable. I’m also a recording & mixing engineer, so I don’t want to dig too deep into sound quality issues here, let’s say I have too much knowledge on it 😉 But to each his/her own and people should use whatever means they feel suit them best to get their kicks from music. If one needs the vinyl experience to get the kicks, go for it. One problem concerning the vinyl of today is that it’s not very easy to get quality lacquers & pressing. Many times the sound quality of modern vinyl is very far from what is should & could be. The craft of making vinyl is nowhere near the heyday of it. And as it was already in the heyday, many consumers have really shitty gear. So the sound quality issues are remarkable. Digital offers much more even quality, but then we get into the quality of the headphones (earbuds are usually crap) etc. So it’s not either or. I can’t see why the distribution of music digitally would not continue to grow. It’s also now possible for basically anybody to get their music digitally distributed to potentially hundreds of millions of people. The big challenge is that there’s no quality control and how to get people to find your music. Also royalty issues are a big problem; the money in the streaming is not what it should be for the artist.





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

It’s a combination of talent, personality, timing, marketing.. And it’s always been like that. One should also have a reality check on what’s popular and what’s not and where you stand on that line. If you’re making music that’s completely different than what’s on the Spotify Top 50, don’t expect an instant world wide mega-success. Of course uniqueness is very important as an artist, but it’s important to know where you stand and what are the realities. Set your goals in a realistic perspective. It’s a very hard business to get into and even harder to stay in. Dreaming is important but being awake maybe even more so. If you have the inner necessity to make the kind of music that comes out of you, then you have to do that, but be open to people’s reactions & suggestions to make it even better. There’s always the possibility of your career not going anywhere. Actually it’s much more likely than the other option. So try to take care of yourself. Work hard & stay true to your vision but don’t ignore others. We need other people.





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

I just finished producing a record for this Finnish band called Pekko Käppi & K:H:H:L. It’s a truly remarkable band and the album turned out really great. It’s going to be out in the fall. My main musical employer, mr. Ismo Alanko, has plans concerning his next moves (he is somewhat a legend in the Finnish rock music world with a 40 year career) that also concern me so that’s great. Also trying to get more work in the score music world. The biggest thing on that field for me has been the two seasons of the Finnish crime drama called ”All The Sins” (available on Amazon). There’s always some shorter engineering & mixing gigs so I’ve done ok in spite of the pandemic. Naturally no gigs which is a huge bummer.





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

Oh that would be a never-ending list of so many possible genres.. I’ll try something. I naturally have to recommend music from Finland 😉 So, Finnish artists first:


Tuomari Nurmio

Laika & The Cosmonauts

Ylva Haru

Jesse Markin


Jarkka Rissanen


Pan Sonic


Color Dolor

(just to name a few..)


some of my favs from the rest of the planet:


Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band

Youssou N’Dour

Kendrick Lamar

Randy Newman

Habib Koité


Arsenio Rodriguez


Ali Farka Touré

Mercedes Sosa

Miles Davis 

Los Lobos

Gillian Welch

Little Walter

Baaba Maal

Moses Sumney

Neko Case

Duke Levine

Kate Bush


..this is never gonna end 😉






Anything else to add?

Let’s just all try to stay sane through these testing times!



My Bandcamp:


My social media:






jussi     jussi2


Christopher Marchand


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

My name is Chris Marchand and I’ve been releasing music as a solo act for most of my career. My main instrument is guitar, but like many bedroom musicians I’ve figured out how to mediocrely play other instruments: piano and keyboard, hammered dulcimer, marimba, xylophone, bass guitar, and percussion instruments. I was in a short-lived band once called Poet Laureate with my wife and a few friends. She’s sang on a few of my songs and every now and then I have a friend sing or play a part.



Genre of music you play and why?

My main genre is a kind of singer-songwriter folk, rock, and pop music. I grew up listening to a lot of radio pop and rock music, like U2, Genesis, and Billy Joel, but more than anything I was immersed in the Christian music world, or CCM, as they call it. This means I’ve listened to a lot of Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, but also more folk artists like Rich Mullins or rock artists like Newsboys. It’s kind of this whole world that people either don’t know about or like to make fun of, but I love it and think there’s good music within. All of which is to say, I tend to make folk oriented music because that’s what seems to come out, but I always have a pop sensibility of some kind. I’m looking for a catchy hook. I learned that from The Beatles, I guess. I also like to tell stories with my music, so concept albums are fun, such as the album I wrote for my wife surrounding our dating relationship on up to getting married.

 Lately though, I’ve been getting into 80’s synthesizer music, but I’ll say more on than in a bit.




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

I was born in 1981 and so vinyl stopped being a realistic way to purchase music right as I was coming of age. Therefore, I grew up first buying cassettes (which I played on my yellow Walkman) and then tons of CDs. In other words, I really like having physical copies of the music I listen to. Over the last decade I’ve gotten into buying vinyl, though I often still buy both a CD and a vinyl version of a new album that comes out (if I’m a committed fan of the artist).

As far as the vinyl vs. streaming debate goes, I have to admit it makes kind of sad. I don’t like the experience of streaming albums. It feels pretty disconnected to me. At the same time, I understand that people are going to choose the path of least resistance and streaming is so convenient.

Rather than stir up more debate, here’s what I would say: if you are going to listen to lots of music, find a way to proactively support artists. Don’t just listen to Taylor Switft or Elton John (both of which are fine!) but try to discover local independent artists or ask your friends what obscure or independent music they listen to. The next step is to do more to support the artist than just listening to Spotify or Amazon. Actually buy an album or a t-shirt from an artist you like, support a Kickstarter campaign for a new album, or if it’s realistic, put on a house concert. The latter not only pays the artist directly, but also creates a larger fanbase. In other words: stream music if you want to, but then find ways to actively give artists your support.




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

What’s tough is that I would really need to make being a musician my whole life. There was a time when I thought I could do that, but I never had enough business acumen to figure that out. I’m the kind of person who just keeps making things, so over the years I’ve started podcasting (I currently have three that I produce) and have written a book, with hopefully more to come! Marketing yourself as an artist is a full time job and most of the time I would rather create my next thing than have to think about increasing my Twitter followers. Also, I’ve noticed over the years that people on social media are just as tired as I am and don’t like being spammed with people’s websites and Youtube videos, and thus it’s difficult (and rightly so) to get people to pay attention and not feel like another jerk salesman is trying to take something from them. So to be an artist in the marketplace is to be constantly innovating and rethinking how our art can get noticed. I honestly don’t know how fair that is. The systems seems more than a little rigged, especially for us sensitive, introverted types!




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

In December of 2020 I released an EP of instrumental Christmas music. This came about because a friend of mine was developing a game for the iPhone and he asked me to do the music for it. This caused me to search out all of this 70s and 80s analog synthesizer music as my inspiration. The game is called DRIFTR and it’s available now ( I’m in the process of adding more songs to the game and one day hope to release a full soundtrack.

Currently my music is only available on Bandcamp. I really like them as a service because they pay artists well and give the option to sell merchandise. Someday I hope my songs are available on all the streaming platforms.




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

Lately, I’ve become completely obsessed with Simon and Garfunkel. Their Bridge Over Troubled Water album is a miracle to me. Sometimes it’s so beautiful I can’t stand it. I’ve also recently revisited Amy Grant’s 80s albums, which I still love, but the artist I talk about more than anyone is Rich Mullins. His songs have impacted me the most. Among newer artists I recommend listening to Sufjan Stevens, Vampire Weekend, and John Van Deusen. But people should try to get into classical music as well. I love the work of Steve Reich, Beethoven’s piano sonatas, and since a little kid I’ve been obsessed with Star Wars music. I just got The Mandalorian soundtrack on vinyl and it made me giddy.




Anything else to add?

Yes. I need about 12 million iphone users to download the DRIFTR game. Can you contact them for me?

My music is available at



The Truth Council


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


Mitch Bland – Vocals / Acoustic Guitar

Jason McMichael – Guitars

John Massaglia – Bass / Vocals

Brock Massaglia – Drums / Percussion / Vocals





Genre of music you play and why?


Rock / Pop / Prog / Metal.  It’s what we all grew up on and what we listen to.





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


Prefer old school of actually having a physical copy of the music in hand be it Vinyl or CD, hell I miss cassettes. Unfortunately it seems technology has taken over. Most cars don’t even come with a CD player any more so you are forced to adapt to digital. The biggest down fall with all this new digital technology is the DAW’s have tons of tools in them that can make anyone regards of talent or lack of talent sound like a million dollar musician. If you aren’t careful it can also make the music sound stale and lifeless. I like hearing little flaws in music. Listen to Zeppelin’s first album, it’s full of them and that was part of the magic. That stuff would never fly in this day and age. It has even moved on to “live” performances, tracking has become the new norm which I find very insulting as both a musician and a fan of music. I wish the music industry would take a step back and go back to the raw sound of analog recording and live performances.





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


The music landscape is very much oversaturated with “YouTube stars”. Like I mentioned on the previous question anyone with a home computer and a DAW can now create and upload their music for the world to hear. It is impossible to listen to everyone. There is a lot of good and a lot of bad out there. Trying to find what you like is both harder and easier. It used to be you would head over to the local record store or read your favorite music magazine, talk to friends or even MTV as I age myself. Now you pull up Youtube or Apple Music or Spotify enter the Genre and bands you never heard of come up. This is great to discover new bands and music but also bad as unless you follow a particular band or search for them by name it’s the luck of draw on what comes up once you hit that shuffle button. This is everyone’s hint to type in “The Truth Council” in that search box 😉





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


We are currently working on wrapping up recording on our second EP titled “Green Planet” over at Eclipse Studios in Normal Illinois. Covid has stalled out live shows for the most part so we have been using the time writing and recording. We currently have two shows coming up in March. March 6th and March 20th both at The Twisted Spoke in Pekin, Illinois. Once Covid has passed our hope is to do a little mini tour of the midwest which is something none of us have done but have always wanted to do. We plan on booking more shows locally also once the restrictions lighten up.





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


All four of us are into the older prog/rock bands such as Rush, Queensryche, Dream Theater, Fates Warning. John and Brock are both big Haken fans. We all listen to a variety of music but generally land in the Rock/Prog/Pop/ and Metal worlds. As far as what I would recommend to others – The Truth Council of course. Just kidding. Listen to what makes YOU happy. That is the beauty of music, it is very subjective. What I love you might hate. It effects all of us differently. If you love a band share that love with others and try to create new fans for the bands that you listen too.





Anything else to add?
If you listen to or like a band be sure to go out and support them. Don’t stream or steal music, spend the money and BUY the music, preferably a physical copy if possible. Also go out and support the live scene. This is so important now a days. Live music is becoming harder and harder to find. Go out and watch the bands you like, if they aren’t playing go out and discover new bands. The time and hours those musicians put into their art and the time away from their families is huge compare to the little time they are given on that stage. There is no better feeling as a musician than playing to a packed house where everyone is paying attention. There is also nothing more disheartening to a musician than to look out to an empty house. So please please please go out and support your local scene.




Francisco Gutierrez Vera


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

Nube Fénix is a one man band. It is actually an alias for Francisco Gutiérrez Vera (born in Mexico City, 1981). It means “The Phoenix Cloud”, which was the omen I saw in the sky back in 2010 when I was looking for the name of the band. Since then, I’ve become a cloud hunter, and I think the theme of clouds is a basic part of our imagery, and something to work with lyrically. If I get stuck writing, we can always go back to the clouds. It has been a learning curve, doing everything, but what can I say? I’m difficult to work with.

Genre of music you play and why?

Anything but the trends! I think I’m willing to do almost anything that the muse dictates: it sounds very unromantic, but I just sit around strumming chords on the guitar and, when I like a sequence, I follow it and see where it takes me. I think Nube is in a spot in between triphop and alternative rock. I tend to avoid anything that might date the music too much, like Auto-tune, reggaeton beats, or those ever present cicada hi-hats every single rap song has now. Some palpable influences are The Blue Nile, Japan, Peter Gabriel, and of course the unavoidable Eno and Bowie vibe.

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

I DO have a take on this! To me, CD is where it’s at because of bass response. I mean, I completely understand the feeling of pulling out a piece of acetate from its sleeve and the true magic of analog frequencies vs. zeroes and ones, but I was completely blown away by CDs when they came out. Right now, though, it’s all about digital distribution, so I prefer those platforms that offer a more complete experience, like Bandcamp, where you can download the music in a lossless format and truly listen for detail. I hate what YouTube does to audio, but it’s something we just deal with.

The evolution of music itself is a very long subject to tackle, but I think in terms of distribution, I would bet on more small bands with tighter fanbases than the current Top 40 mentality which only leads to everyone listening to the same tired formulas. This whole pandemic thing leading to massive festivals shutting down, though a sad affair, is a great opportunity for bands in the shadows becoming crucial in the existence of live music.

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

I think audiences have too much to choose from, and are overwhelmed by publicity popping up on their newsfeeds with bands from who knows where. Also, our reluctant nature towards trends is a challenge for the casual listener, but I believe in creating something that you are proud of. Also, a lot of music pages on social media are seemingly more interested in posting memes than what is actually happening in music. Creating is so time consuming, by the end you are too exhausted to do the self promoting thing, and considering the myriads of artists fighting over that precious second of consumer attention, it just gets annoying! Ha ha. I will continue betting on being different and recording top quality stuff. There are ways, though. SoundCloud seems to be a good home for the unsigned.

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

Our sixth studio album is 70% completed! I would love to get back to you when we release it. After last year’s instrumental album Orbis Terrarum, we’ve now gone back to songwriting, it feels good finding new stuff to say. More than emotional expression or story telling, I look for images with the words, even using the sound of the words themselves to find the next ones that will click with the previous phrase. Too bad it’s all sung in Spanish, though! I think too many Mexican bands are singing in English and, though that may be a good way of gaining exposure, I think there’s uncharted territory in Spanish that I like to explore and it just feels much more natural. Next year we should have a small venue circuit within our area in the Caribbean, nothing fancy: just me, the guitar, the make-up, the beat tracks, and the magic of being a method actor pretending to be a musician (!)

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

Right now, Jenny Hval is blasting on the stereo at the shop (I am a jewelery salesman, no shit!), who is a complete reference to me, very experimental and the beautiful voice of a siren. I gravitate around that area: Fever Ray, Gazelle Twin, PJ Harvey… I would recommend, more than anyone in particular, to go beyond what you already know, going on Bandcamp or SoundCloud or reading music blogs and having a taste of something just because you like the cover. You’d be surprised at how often the results of exploring are rewarding. I have 25.000 downloaded albums and I have no plans of backing down and forever listening to Radiohead (though I love them) for the moment.



Anything else to add?

Yes. Please give us a spin! Go to our bandcamp, youtube, soundcloud, and see for yourself. We mean business. There’s no stopping Nube Fénix, but the music revolution lies within you. If you want better music to be made, you have to ask for it, otherwise we’re stuck with Cardi B. There’s a whole world beyond the limits we set for our perception.









Leslie Nuss


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!
















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?

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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!


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

Bandcamp Linky Here


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


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).

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.





Jim Olson


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.




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

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  • #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.




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 (, 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):

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

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

You can preview Make It Simple through Apple:

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




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. (


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. (

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

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



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…

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.





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…



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




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



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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