Buster Blue [Band]

Folk music.  It’s just great isn’t it?  You really can’t go wrong with the plucking of an acoustic guitar, the telling of tales that can either be literal or interpreted at your desire, and the soothing sound of a spit filled harmonica.  Yes, the reincarnation of Woody Guthrie inspired train songs and old country love songs is everywhere.  And while this is great, it tends to make it difficult to pick apart the good, the bad, and the misfortune.  That is until you truly find a gem of a group.  And Buster Blue is definitely a gem.

Hailing from the biggest little city in the world, Buster Blue is a distinctive 5 person group of troubadours who were born about 120 years too late.  Their sound is about as organic as you can get.  Buckets, banjos, chains, horns, and a love for telling a great story round out the amazing sound they create.  They exemplify exactly what it means to be a folk group in this day and age.  Keep it simple, keep it fun.  And a bit of raw talent doesn’t hurt either, of which they obviously have plenty to go around.

In the short years Buster Blue has been together, they have managed to scour the earth, performing wherever their feet may land.  They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Rocky Votolato, The Pharmacy, and Finn Riggins, while playing over 180 shows throughout last year, and they show no signs of slowing down.  With their latest treasure trove of an album, When the Silver’s Gone, out now you can find them west of the Mississippi on several occasions.  Check out their tour schedule to see if they are coming to a town near you.

03/07- Frog & Peach- San Luis Obispo, California

03/08- The Pour House- Paso Robles, California

03/09- Villains Tavern- Los Angeles, California

03/10- Muddy Waters Cafe- Santa Barbara, California

03/11- Margarita Villa- Ventura, California

03/16- Cosmic Cafe- Placerville, California

03/17- Plan b:Microlounge- Carson City, Nevada

03/22- Treefort Music Fest- Boise, Idaho

03/23- HD’s Hideout- Idaho City, Idaho

03/30- Crystal Bay Club- Tahoe, Nevada

03/31- The Tap- Mammoth, California

04/13- The Daily Grind- Fallon, Nevada

04/14- Plan b:Microlounge- Carson City, Nevada

04/19- Origami Lounge- Chico, California

04/20- Sophia’s Thai Kitchen- Davis, California

04/21- Shanachie Pub- Willits, California

04/26- Bombs Away Cafe- Corvallis, Oregon

04/27- Sam Bonds Garage- Eugene, Oregon

04/29- Vintage Wine Bar- Redding, California

05/01- Don Quixote’s- Felton, California (Supporting March Fourth Marching Band)

05/02- Harlow’s- Sacramento, California (Supporting March Fourth Marching Band)

05/03- The Knitting Factory- Reno, Nevada (Supporting March Fourth Marching Band)

05/05- The Partisan- Merced, California

05/06- Private Event

05/11- Ancient Mariner- Manitou Springs, Colorado

05/12- Whistler’s Cafe- Nederland, Colorado

05/14- Steaming Bean- Telluride, Colorado

05/15- Cowgirl BBQ- Santa Fe, New Mexico

05/18- Flagstaff Brewing Company- Flagstaff, Arizona

05/26- Sacramento Music Festival- Sacramento, California

05/27- Chico Music Festival- Chico, California


Learn more about Buster Blue at their official website.

The Jesus Rehab: Drunken Hillbilly Fight Bar EP [Album]

Photo by Gregg White. (greggevanwhite.com)

The Northwest’s star children of the underground are back (finally)!  The boys I once proclaimed to be “down to earth pranksters” are riding their way through the indie storm with their signature hard-sweet-core pop music brings us back to a time when a group like Weezer didn’t dull our senses with mediocrity.  Their new EP, Drunken Hillbilly Fight Bar is a beautifully crafted and stripped down (there’s just two of them now) project that frontman and mad genius Jared Cortese has been yearning to make.  And it’s safe to say that he has nailed it with his own grunged out fuzz pop that is not only rare, but beautiful in it’s own right.

Drunken Hillbilly Fight Bar EP is an absolute delight to say the least.  When Cortese screams over a loud western themed rhythm section with the line ‘We come like troubadours….” on the album’s highlight track “Night Terrors”, it is perfectly fine to feel that tingling sensation down your spine.  And when “Holiday” creeps up on you stealthier than a walrus, it’s not hard to hear elements of 90’s “alternative” rock, before it was branded as “alternative”.  Think Presidents of The United States of America (maybe a Seattle thing?) and you might be spot on, if you subtract the campy bewilderment, and substitute it for brilliant stories and danceable hard rockingness.

photo courtesy of Laura Ashbrook Compton.

The Jesus Rehab created one of my favorite records to date back in 2010 with The Highest Highs and The Lowest Lows.  And with this release, we find the band in the midst of some serious changes.  Their sound is a bit different, but that’s called growth folks.  I’ve also consistently compared these rogue gentlemen to the likes of the similarly well conceived Athens based group The Modern Skirts.  They both started in similar directions, and both shot 90 degrees in another direction, and both managed to create brilliant lo-fi, Chuck Taylor tapping, whiskey swilling indie pop that leaves your spirits higher than you were in the dirty bathroom just hours before Jared Cortese and company ripped your heart out one perfectly noted lyric at a time.  Feel the power.  Feel the intensity.  Listening to The Jesus Rehab is almost like having an outer body experience.  You’re going to feel something.  Even if it’s just “good”.

Drunken Hillbilly Fight Bar EP will be released on April 21st at the Josephine in Seattle, WA.  Stay in touch with The Jesus Rehab at their official website.

And check out an album review I wrote for their spectacular full length debut album, The Highest Highs and The Lowest Lows at Fensepost.

Age Sex Occupation: This Side of The Fence [Album]

“Well isn’t this fun!”

This could very well be a line you would inadvertently blurt out when Age Sex Occupation comes on.  These Portland scat cats have a sound that exceeds all standardized means of being “hip”, and takes it back to a 1940’s, meets 1990’s, sort of super cool “entering the room” kind of tunes.  Images of fedoras and flannel shirts cloaked over a “poet” of the new age are relentless.  Horns blaze through like a helping hand of hysteria throughout.  They’re blues.  They’re jazz.  They’re funky as all hell.  They are great.

The enlightening and entertaining sound of Age Sex Occupation’s This Side of The Fence is nothing if it is not intriguing.  The sound is collective.  Each song makes you want to dance and cry the night away, all the while balancing a fine brandy in one hand as a poorly rolled cigarette burns away in the other one along with whatever youth you are desperately trying to hold on to.  By the time “Hide and Seek” nabs your ears in its opening stages alone, you will be hooked.  The fire in your belly will burn with joy in ways you didn’t think you could even fathom at this point in your life.  That is unless you are already a happy person, then consider this album fuel.  High grade fuel that is.

The reinvention of old sounds is becoming quite the commodity these days.  Taking the old and restoring it in the 1080p generation is a modern-day cultivation that should be absolutely welcomed with the widest of open arms.  Especially when it is a band like Age Sex Occupation presenting their magic to us in such a beautiful manner.


Watch for This Side of the Fence to hit the streets on May 29th.  Keep up with the band on their Facebook page.

The Projection: While You Were Out [Album]

Pop punk is that sort of harshly label brand of music that seems to have a place in time that is neither subjective nor selective.  It just sort of pops up one day, and you find yourself remembering something you haven’t thought about it in years.  Maybe, like, having fun.  Jumping around in circles, playfully punching the shit out of your best friend as a few simple chords send your brain on a 3 minute vacation.  When did  you get so serious?  Or better yet, when did you decide that a group like The Projection couldn’t speak to you?  They can!  And they will do it….LOUD!

Hailing from heartland of Illinois, The Projection is a group that is obviously nostalgic, but still sound fresh and original.  Their sophomore release, While You Were Out, finds these punk troubadours battling through some serious love loss, party fouls, and a determination that sometimes life just sucks, so let’s have some fun with it.  Each track on the record is simply better than the next.  Each song sends you on a new journey into the band’s train of thought.  And each one feels as though it has been soaked in cocaine and sent directly to you in a dire time of need.

For all the aging snooty hipsters out there (could sometimes probably through myself in there), think of The Projection as that band that you might be able to justified spending hours among “those damn kids” at The Warped Tour to hear something so profound, and very reminiscent of the glory days of Green Day (pre-Dookie, of course).  To say that While You Were Out is a fun-filled, high-speed album with an immense amount of joy and pain to be shared alike, might just be an understatement.  This is really good (and yes, fun) stuff you really don’t hear enough of these days, in this caliber of course.

Count Gore De Vol [Interview]

The legendary Count Gore De Vol has been a household name in the world of Horror for longer than most of you Trainwreckers have probably even been alive.  He’s been at it for over 40 years, starting as a host in and around the Washington D.C. area, right up until today where he hosts the longest running on line Horror Show, at his own website.  He started The Dungeon back in 1998 (did most of you even know the internet was really a “thing” back then.), and has hosted over 600 shows in that time, and has featured some of the horror businesses greatest stars.  He was a shoe-in for the nomination and induction into the Horror Host Hall of Fame.  And even with all this success behind him, he is a vamp master who is always looking forward, and continuing to do some amazing work.  I was fortunate enough to score a few words with the legend himself, where I get the inside scoop on how it feels on top of the game, what he thinks about the Twilight Saga, and his very own brand of entrancement.  Enjoy!
How does it feel to be a legend in the horror world?

Actually…pretty good. It’s nice to be recognized for your work, but after being a horror host for over 40 years, there’s always that lingering questions, “Is this fame because of good work or just longevity?”  I really think it’s a combination of both and accept it as such.

You’ve recently been inducted into the Horror Host Hall of Fame.  How does it feel to be among one of the best?

Elated, humbled, excited, thrilled and a few other mixed emotions. It’s something I never considered. It was never my goal and I’m truly grateful. My only disappointment is the realization that I would never get to meet many of  these other members, because they’ve passed on. However, last year I did manage to spend some quality time with Zacherley, fulfilling a life long dream.

What do you believe it is that makes your website show popular, and in such high demand?

I have to believe it’s the mix of good content that’s regularly and reliably updated weekly. I’ve always felt that content is king and with the web program, I can do more for fans than I ever could with just a weekly show on TV. Of course, I couldn’t do any of it without the great contributors I have now and I’ve had for almost 14 years. These people put in a lot of time and effort for no compensation, just for the love of the genre!

Bela or Boris?  Your choice?

O come on. Just looking at me, do you really have to ask that questions? Bela, of course!  I took my look, my accent and my love of humans for dinner from Bela. As to why, Bela established the role of vampire as a truly romantic character. A dramatic change from Nosferatu. And since I’m a romantic at heart, it resonated with me.

That being said, I truly admire Boris, particularly for his much greater range and flexibility as an actor.

What are your thoughts on the new age of horror?  Does the Twilight Saga just piss you off?

Twilight doesn’t really upset me, because it’s not important to me. It’s just another take on vampire mythology, created for a new generation. I think there’s room for a lot of variation. I personally have not been impressed with the films, but there’s an audience that loves them and why should they be denied?  As to the new age of horror, I think it’s the same as the old age. A lot of retelling of already established stories using new actors that a new audience can relate to and using new production techniques that in some cases adds to the tale. A good example was the new “Fright Night.” For me the telling of the story is the most important aspect. Is the new version of the story compelling? Does it really scare me, or it is determined to just gross me out.

What is the most important aspect you look for when choosing a Creature Feature?

Is it in the public domain?  Let’s face it, with no advertising dollars supporting the purchase of film rights, I am, like so many other horror hosts, stuck with a limited pool of PD films. From within that pool I try to mix up the types so the presentations aren’t boring or predictable. Then the last factor is, “How much fun can I have with the film title or story?”

You are also an esteemed hypnotist.  How does it feel to take control of someone’s psyche for a bit?

Ah, a hypnotist controls…nothing. I can’t make a person do anything they don’t want to do. Of course it is a powerful feeling when you watch people accept suggestions that alter their reality and then have them act upon those suggestions. It’s also still a bit scary knowing that you are manipulating circumstances and in reality playing with people’s minds. I also find the shows intense and very draining . There’s a whole lot of responsibility that goes with being a good stage hypnotist.

Have you thought about getting back on television?

If someone made me an offer to back on TV that I couldn’t refuse, I wouldn’t. But TV could never be a replacement for the web program. It’s so 20th century!  In 1998, when I became the first horror host on the Internet, I really saw the day when most, if not all home entertainment would merge into some sort of web based delivery system that we would watch and interact with through a TV like device. It’s taken a while and there’s still a long way to go before the various competing platform battle it out of supremacy, but it really is beginning to happen. With my Roku Box, my internet capable Plasma TV and disc players, I now can access a world of video entertainment in my viewing room…anytime I want! Heck, I am on TV when I watch my web program on a glories 50″ wide screen HD set.

What was the last thing that made you smile?

Last night taping session. We talked to the last Mayan calendar maker about the end of the world, by way of my crystal ball and the improv between myself and my guest actor, Eric Krasner was just fantastic. I couldn’t help but smile.