August 30, 2013 Leave a comment
August 28, 2013 Leave a comment
A couple of years ago, I absolutely fell in love with a little band that had become renowned in my then residents of Spokane, Washington known as The Horse Thieves. For a brief period, these guys were stealing shows and hearts of listeners. But, like most good things, two things happened: (1) I found out about them just a bit too late and (2) The Horse Thieves would be no more. After releasing two full length albums (on the same day!) in 2011, the band decided mutually to go their separate ways. And as their songs remained a staple in my playlists, I continued to metaphorically pray that this would not be the last I would hear from this fantastic band of wordsmiths and folk hounds.
And to my great bemusement, it shall not be! Sort of. Former frontman and master of songwriting with a voice that is simply light and dramatizing in some ways Marshall McLean has thrown together a fantastic group of musicians and took off on his own. Still thriving in the secretly beautiful city of Spokane, McLean continues to prove that he is a master musician, and brilliant mind in his own right. The enigmatic Marshall McLean Band shares similar sentiments to the days of The Horse Thieves only because it is yet another branding of Marshall’s soul put on digital wax and handed out to the listener. And we should all be so damn grateful for this.
In support of their upcoming album, Glossolalia, MMB has released their first single, “Sinking Ships”, which is without a doubt a prime example of the beauty that is certain to ensue as this band progresses on, as well as being some of the finest work McLean has put out to date. With its taunting sort of jingle jangly guitar work and Marshall’s overtly original style of singing, it will definitely be quite the feet to not lose yourself in bewilderment and excitement for the rest of the album to be released. In the simplest depictions, The Marshall McLean Band is new age folk music at its absolute finest!
Stream “Sinking Ships” for yourself right HERE, and find out for yourself.
You can also purchase the single from the band’s WEBSITE, or receive a free copy of the single with a purchase of one of their sweet t-shirts! Check it out!
August 25, 2013 1 Comment
I have found myself dancing around with myself listening to Split Ends Mend for quite a while now, and am sourly disappointed in myself for only getting around to letting you all know about it until now. But dammit if Sweet Felony isn’t one of the sweetest female fronted groups since the likes of Seattle’s Tacocat or Portland’s own Forever. And they have created an amazing punk rock/americana/doo wop/what have you album that is just such a delight.
The tracklist for Split Ends Mend is absolutely a collection of songs that will send you on an emotional rollercoaster. Just after the americana infused “Truckstop” is wrapping up, we are thrown in to a imaginable 80’s mystique with the apologetically correct track “Love On”, and then slings you off in to a doo wop and electric guitar driven sing along state of mind with “Surrender”, and the trends continue on. The trend being that there really is no trend to the beautiful madness that is Sweet Felony.
Sweet Felony’s front women Christa DiBiase and Amanda Guilbeaux are definitely a stand out sensation which is a great feat considering they reside in the legendary Bay Area, where so many legends have thrived. And the spirit is obviously continuing on as Christa and Amanda pour their heart and soul in to the beautiful tunes they will soon be known world-wide for. This is some seriously pretty and mesmerizing stuff here!
Split Ends Mend is currently available HERE. The band will support the release with their new drummer Jefferson Marshall (Assembly Head of the Sunburst Sound). They’re currently writing songs for a full-length album, with a release planned for sometime in late 2013.
August 23, 2013 1 Comment
In my humble opinion, nothing really beats a female singer/songwriter with some beautiful stories to tell. Of course “beautiful” is all relevant. In so many ways, the greatest bouts with misery can bring out some of the most beautiful words the English language has to offer. Some of the sweetest love songs are merely a house built on a plot of land called pain. So even when anger fills the heart, there is always a much kinder way to put your heart out on that metaphorical line, and release whatever demons that reside within yourself. And no greater example of such a thing can be found than in the immaculate album Go To Hell from Seattle’s latest gem of a musician known as Star Anna.
With a voice that simply uplifts your spirit even as she tried to bring you down, Star Anna creates a delightful conjuring of what it once felt like to hear a of angel with the attitude of the devil herself. Go To Hell has the feel of a closet being opened, and the skeletons scatter around your dirty Chuck Taylor’s. It is a little bit country, a little bit punk, obviously Americana inspired, and all around delight.
Whether you enjoy soft-hearted love ballads like “Mean Kind of Love”, bitter keyboard filled hate speech like “For Anyone”, or the sweetest Tom Waits cover ever imaginable like “Come On Up To The House”, this is an album that is going to make yearn to love and live all over again. Of course, a personal favorite of mine has to be “Everything You Know”, which is a perfectly orchestrated bit of mellow dramatic rage! Anna sings with such delicacy yet with so much damn empowerment that she is an absolute thrill to listen to. There isn’t a single disappointing aspect of this amazing album. It’s just all there for your taking.
Go To Hell will be released on September 24th on Spark & Shine Records. Head on over HERE to learn how you can pre-order the album TODAY!
August 19, 2013 Leave a comment
I’ve never truly understood Punk Rock. I’m also certain I never truly will, and I am okay with that. I have enjoyed several different artists who have been tagged as being “punk”, but I never really put so much thought in to whether they are “truly punk” and what not. Of course, this whole bloody debate is as old and tired as who came first, the chicken or the egg, the man or the god, and so on and so on.
But one thing is for absolute certain, using Punk Rock as a theme in the world of cinema is definitely a go to strategy. And some times it falls flat on its face, most likely due to the internal conflicts of the world of Punk Rock. But, sometimes the entire demeanor of the lifestyle is captured so damn perfectly behind the lens that even the most pretentious of “true Punks” have to give props. And in the late 90’s, we saw a shining example of such a film in the critically acclaimed film SLC Punk, a film that has continued to be a mesmerizing tale that has inspired so many people be it punk rockers or not. And this was all in thanks to the mastermind known to the world as James Merendino. His semi-autobiographical masterpiece has continued to intrigue audiences with each passing year, and has even developed a whole shit ton of buzz around the idea that Merendino is currently working on a “sequel” of sorts to the legendary film. James is also the genius behind films like The Invisible Life of Thomas Lynch and El Club de la muerte. And he was kind enough to take some time out of his busy ass schedule to give us a bit of insight on the background of the legend he has created for himself, about his upcoming film, and basically just shooting the shit in general. So here you have it folks, the great James Merendino!
I understand you worked under the wing of the legendary late Daniel Melnick. What was your involvement with Mr. Melnick, and how did said tenure affect and influence your career?
The answer to that question could fill three books. Short answer. Working with Dan Melnick was the best worst thing that ever happened to me. In the end, it had no physical effect on my career. But he definitely taught me how to play.
It is widely known that SLC Punk is semi-autobiographical to yourself, and many of the characters are based on real people. Tell us, do you still hang out with some of those characters?
Actually just one, and I talk to a few on FB.
What do you consider to be your biggest achievement as a filmmaker on a personal level?
The ability to even make a movie is such a herculanian and ill advised endeavor I would say that being able to say I am a filmmaker is the achievement.
In your professional opinion, what do you believe the greatest difference between the American and European film industries and what do you believe to be there perks and common traits with one another?
I am not sure. I guess I find European Cinema to be more friendly to Independent movies and the US is friendlier to Huge ideas.
I have no opinion about Punk rock. Other than I like it and I am sure it will stick around.
If you could create the biopic for any punk group from the late 70’s or early 80’s, who would it be?
Minor Threat. Simply because I really respect Ian.
What made you decide to revisit the world of SLC Punk with the forthcoming sequel due out next year?
I just feel and felt that there is more to say about ones own life. It’s not so much a sequel as much as it is the way I feel comfortable talking about things that concern me.
What else does the future hold of James Merendino? What have you been working on lately?
I will keep making movies and eventual die. Lately I’ve been working on a sequel/spinoff to a movie I made called SLC Punk. Before that I made a few small movies. And I’ve been a hired hand on several screenplays.
What was the last thing that made you smile?
August 14, 2013 1 Comment
August 11, 2013 2 Comments
The rapidly boiling success of new age folk and country-esque/Elliott Smith inspired melodramatic indie bands as of lately is pretty phenomenal. And if that weren’t specific enough, there is also the male/female dueling vocals that have become quite popular as well. In the 5 years I have been the internet’s answer to the kid who creates underground music zines in his high school principal’s office to share with his 4 friends, I have watched (or listened to, I suppose) so many of these great acts and frankly, I never get tired of them! It’s just such a wholesome and enlightening experience to hear such beautiful lyric driven, stripped down, and simply beautiful songs that feel as though they are derived from the soul of a man and woman you don’t know. And with that being said, I have found a few more gems in the songs of The Sea The Sea.
The Sea The Sea is just about as perfect as new folk groups can get. And the beauty is in the truly entertaining brand of complicated simplicity they bring to their fans. Much like their band’s namesake suggests, Mira Staley and Chuck E. Costa are two people who absolutely understand just how far you can go with a great set of pipes and the ability to write one hell of a ditty that gets your toes tapping and your heart burning. On a personal level, this attributes shine the brightest on a track from their debut album, both of which are titled “Love We Are We Love”. While the entirety of their debut album of the same title is wonderful, this is the track that does it for me. It is just so damn catchy and filled with love and hope. I’ve already had some brilliant sing a long moments with my wife and kids as this song rang throughout my Subaru Outback.
Whilst listening to a group like this, it is hard not to draw comparison to the recently successful Iceland base group Of Monsters and Men, who I can’t say enough good words about. Except that folks need to realize that they are not a new concept. They are simple the updated version of Mumford and Sons. A group that is been individually singled out for one reason or another for doing what so many others have been doing for years. And in the least pretentious way possible, I have to say that The Sea The Sea is a group that should be a model of perfection rather than a comparison. Then again, none of this really matters. The Sea The Sea have proven themselves time and time again as they tour across the country having fans fall in love with them over and over again. This is the sort of success we should be measuring. The ability to be absolutely genius at what you do, and developing perfect songs about love, fate, despair, and longing for a far prettier world. And this is exactly what a group as amazing as The Sea The Sea has managed to do.
The Sea The Sea will be performing at the 23rd Annual Rocky Mountain Folks Festival on August 18th. If you find yourself anywhere near the Rockies around this time, you owe it to yourself to check out what will be your newest favorite band. You also owe it to yourself to head over the their Website and pick up their beautiful self titled debut album.