Monday, June 23, 2008

Rumors Heard in Myspace, Episode 5

With summer upon us, there's something in the air that we've noticed here at the Ripple office. It all started when our good friends Mos Generator came back from their tour of Europe and jumped right back into the studio, set to release two vinyl only discs. Their words were, "Europe is clamoring for vinyl." Now, that struck us as interesting. We've known that some big bands have been releasing vinyl, like the White Stripes and Foo Fighters, but just last week we received a submission for review by a new indie label, Death by Audio, who sent us not only copies of their first two CD's, Coin Under Tongue and Sisters, but also a cassette and a full vinyl album. To top it off, in the paper today, Associate Press states that vinyl sales are up 36% from 2006 to 2007 to more than 1.3 million units. Amazon now has a vinyl only section and even Best Buy is testing vinyl sales.

Hmmm, now this is interesting. Here at the Ripple, we've always felt that music is meant to be a full sensory product, a tangible item, not just an ethereal series of 1's and zeros transferred through cyberspace and then deleted. Music, also, is not supposed to be entirely free. Artists slave to produce a product we enjoy for years, in some cases becoming the soundtrack of our lives, our weddings, parties etc. They're supposed to be paid for this. It remains to be seen if this new interest in vinyl will give the music industry a shot in the arm of much needed adrenaline, but perhaps the real question is, does this resurgence of vinyl represent, in some small way, a rebellion against the disposable place that we've placed music recently? We certainly hope so. In any event, we're damn glad we still have our turntable at the Ripple office.

On that note, we'll start off this months Myspace Rumors with a brand-spanking new, vinyl only release.

Big news coming your way for fans of Afrobeat, African music or just something a little different in the sound of your dance and bass heavy groove. Lion Head Recordings is the new label from veteran electronic dub producer Glyn "Bigga" Bush. Now this is the guy who created some amazing work with Rockers Hi Fi, long a Ripple favorite for modern dub. The first taste of Bigga's limited edition funk, afro and dub vinyl releases is this tasty 12 incher delving deep into the early '70's Afrobeat style brought back to sparkling life with modern technology, some serious studio wizardry and a handful of swirling dubs and textures. Fans of pulsing polyrhythms and undulating bass styles won't want to miss this, guaranteed to get your bottom end in motion. Check it out at or And keep your eyes peeled for Bigga's first album, 13 Faces of Lightning Head. If it's as good as this EP, just go ahead and mark it essential.

Keeping with the theme of vinyl releases, Hirax are planning on releasing a double vinyl 12"edition of live tunes entitled, Thrash and Destroy. No word yet on a release date and we'll let you know as soon as we hear something, or you too can check out their page If you can't wait for the live album, load up the party van and make the trek to San Francisco for the Tidal Wave Festival 11. It's being held on the 5th of July and Hirax will being sharing the stage with Bay Area thrashers Exodus, Attitude Adjustment, and Detente. By the by . . . Hirax are putting the wraps on their new studio album El Rostro de la Muerte and is planned to hit the streets in August. You can also hear the tune "Satan's Fall" from the disc on their page.

Back to the CD format, another great treat for those in the chill-out vibe is the new Brown Baby Records release, Hussein Boon's Life Changes. A London-based guitar player of exquisite talent, Boon mixes his instrument into some seriously gorgeous mellow jazz/chill soundscapes, guaranteed to melt the work week's tension from your bones. Think of it as modern smooth jazz with ambient textures. Or just think of it as beautiful. Definitely worth a look. Check him out at

If you're in the mood for something a little different, something to help you kick back and enjoy your summer yet still touch your heart, check out this vastly talented young singer/songwriter Vanessa Kafka. In her soft, poignant songs you'll hear traces of Natalie Merchant, Suzanne Vega and an old Ripple favorite, Jann Arden. Working with the good folks at Aberrant Sound in Concord Mass, Vanessa is due to release her debut album this fall, but lots of tracks are available for listen on her myspace page. One early morning, I started my day by walking the dog, tending to my garden, and then perusing the web with Vanessa's tunes as accompaniment, perfectly setting the mood as I eased into my day. "Silhouette," "If He Stays," and "Tell Me So," are the early Ripple picks, but you be the judge and let us know your choices. We expect big things from her in the future.

On a progressive note, one of our favorite groups of Swedes, Trettioariga Kriget have a double live album in the works that, word has it, will span the entire TK career starting from the 2nd live gig. In conjunction with this release, Olle Thornvall, chief lyricist for the band, is writing a book on the history of Trettioariga Kriget. I'm giddy with excitement over this one and just want to share with all of you Waveriders. Not content with resting after the recent success of their latest album, I Borjan Och Slutet, the rumor mill is ripe with tales of the band hard at work on the third part of the trilogy (Elden Av Ar, I Borjan Och Slutet.) They're merely in the writing process, so there's gonna' be some time before that album reaches our ears. But, when it does arrive, we TK fans will also have a visual of the band in the form of their very first DVD release. Exciting times, my friends. If you can't wait for that DVD, their performance, along with those of Anekdoten, Opeth, Mats/Morgan, Plankton, and Comus from the Melloboat Festival, was captured on tape and planned for a DVD release. Info on this endeavor is a bit sketchy at this point, and as always, if bat-like ears hear it . . . you'll hear it.

Our progressively psychedelic chums in Imogene are no longer called Imogene. To alleviate some of the confusion between them and the more pop flavored Imogene Heap, our Imogene has decided to change their name to Heavy Water Experiments Considering the affinity to the lower sound registers and the fluidity of their music, the name is a perfect fit. Since I heard a few samples of the new tunes, I've been figuratively perched on the edge of my seat in wait for the release of the new album. I've been assured by the band that the album is in fact complete and will be available in the very near future. Hee-hee!

Coming from the Rocking World of Switzerland, we got the grinding industrial sounds of Fanoe and their brand-spanking new album, Down To Heaven. Now, anyone who reads the Ripple knows that we're open to all kinds of metal, but Racer has a warm, special place for a perfectly executed industrial beat, and he's found this album to be chock full. In fact, one of Fanoe's cuts, "Skin and Bones," a pulverizing mix of pounding beats and tearing riffs, ala Rammstein, has already been burned onto Mrs. Racer's workout ipod, about the highest praise you can give something that hasn't been deemed holy. Find them at or buy there CD through CD Baby by clicking on the photo of the album art above.

Miggs has hit the road in support of their latest release, Unraveled, which was reviewed in the very pages on the Ripple. They're tooling around the southeastern portions on the U.S. with what appears as a brutal trek to Montana in the middle of a string of shows in Florida. Granted, it's a show with Maroon 5, but man . . . look at those frequent flyer miles pile up! As far as Unraveled is concerned, it was released on June 17th and 17 must be the magic number, coz' as of this entry, it's climbed to number 17 on the Hot AC/Top 40. Good job, gents . . . your successes are richly deserved.

Did y'all go out and pick up a copy of Being You from Attic of Love? Why not? I'd never try to guilt you Waveriders into spending your hard earned duckets, especially in this economy. However, think of it as an investment. While that recently purchased SUV is being used as a lawn ornament, your ears will still be getting plenty of use from this disc. Here's some news about the band for ya' . . . they've posted a couple of new tracks on their page and the band asks that you drop everything and check 'em out. Okay . . . they never actually told me that, but I'm sure they were thinking it.

Ever hear of Petty Crux? We hadn't either until a few weeks ago, but then we did, and we posted a review on their album, All That Survived the Crash. We received such a stunning response from you readers that we wanted to make sure that you got your Petty Crux fix. These cats moved from Miami (Florida, that is) to New York because that's what a musician is supposed to do. Makes sense to me. Find your market and pursue your career there. Well, apparently, Jim Croce isn't the only one singing the tune "New York's Not My Home" and the band are considering a move to the greater Los Angeles area. Boys, we'd welcome you to the west coast any day.

In closing this months episode, we want to pass on our love to the friends, family, bandmates, and anyone who had the pleasure of just meeting Michelle Meldrum. Michelle was the leader of the group Meldrum and she passed away suddenly due to a cystic growth on her brain that restricted the flow of oxygen and blood to her brain. Stop by the bands page and read up on her . . . she seems like a genuine soul and a true champion to the women of metal. Though I never had the opportunity to meet her, I did see her perform once and got the sense that she truly loved playing guitar and rocking out. I don't mean to mention this for any reason other than to spread the word that, though our community within the music world is splintered into a million sub-genres, we're still a community who thrives on the artful expression of sound. We are one living organism and the loss of one from our being deserves a moment of respect. Michelle . . . we light a candle in remembrance of you.

Until next month, my friends . . . wink wink, nudge nudge.

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