Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ripple News - TheLiveLine Sponsors the Tantric, Adema, Burn Halo Tour

Irvine, CA based mobile marketers TheLiveLine  has been confirmed to sponsor the TANTRIC, ADEMA, and BURN HALO tour, with FLAW appearing on select dates.  TheLiveLine will be powering all mobile efforts for the tour, including tour mobile clubs, in-venue mobile, and much more.

Text POP to 81899 for all tour updates, contests, coupons, and more!!

TheLiveLine will also be using its innovative in-venue mobile on this tour.  Concert attendees will be able to text NOW1, NOW2, or NOW3 to 81899 to receive a bounce back digital coupon for discounts off merch, exclusive contests, and more.  All in-venue mobile will take place live at the concert, as NOW is the idea here.  Different NOW keywords will be in effect for different venues.

Look out for more tours TheLiveLine will be sponsoring – stay tuned, my friends…

Check out TheLiveLine on the web:

TANTRIC, ADEMA, BURN HALO tour dates below with presale ticket links.  Buy yourself a pair now!

7/28 – Denver, CO @ Grizzly Rose - BUY TICKETS

7/29 – Grand Junction, CO @ Mesa Theater – BUY TICKETS

7/30 – Vernal, UT @ Western Park

7/31 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Club Vegas

8/3 – Sparks, NV @ The New Oasis – BUY TICKETS

8/5 – Santa Rosa, CA @ Chrome Lotus – BUY TICKETS

8/7 – Las Vegas, NV @ The Hard Rock Café on the strip – BUY TICKETS

8/8 – Tempe, AZ @ Club Red – BUY TICKETS

8/9 – Tucson, AZ @ Club DV8

8/11 – Abilene, TX @ Midnight Rodeo III

8/12 – Harker Heights, TX @ The Music Vault

8/13 – San Antonio, TX @ Scoutbar – BUY TICKETS

8/14 – Houston, TX @ The Scoutbar – BUY TICKETS

8/15 – Dallas, TX @ Trees – BUY TICKETS

8/18 – Jonesboro, AK @ The Brickhouse Grill

8/19 – Little Rock, AK @ The Village – BUY TICKETS

8/20 – Charenton, LA @ Rox Nightclub (IN) Cypress Bayou Casino

8/21 – Panama City Beach, FL @ Club La Vela – BUY TICKETS

8/22 – Jacksonville, FL @ Brewsters Pit Live – BUY TICKETS

8/25 – Philadelphia, PA @ Polaris – BUY TICKETS

8/27 – Watertown, NY @ The Exhibition Hall – BUY TICKETS

8/28 – Rochester, NY @ The Montage Music Hall – BUY TICKETS

8/29 – Cheswick, PA @ Ches-arena Entertainment Complex – BUY TICKETS

8/31 – Baltimore, MD @ Bourbon Street Quarter – BUY TICKETS

9/1 – Eden, NC @ Modelo Bay

9/2 – Charlotte, NC @ Amos’ Southend – BUY TICKETS

9/3 – Jacksonville, NC @ The Party Zone (no BURN HALO)

9/4 – Fayetteville, NC @ Jester’s Pub (no BURN HALO)

9/5 – Wilmington, NC @ The Soapbox Laundro Lounge (no BURN HALO)

9/9 – Bay City, MI @ Prime Event Center

9/10 – Warren, MI @ The Ritz

9/11 – Glendale Heights, IL @ Shark City – BUY TICKETS

9/14 – Waterloo, IA @ Spicoli’s Grill And The Rever

9/15 – Maplewood, MN @ The Rock Night Club – BUY TICKETS

9/16 – Madison, WI @ The Annex

9/18 – Rockford, IL @ Kryptonite Bar


9/20 – Syracuse, NY @ The Lost Horizon

9/21 – State College, PA @ The Arena

9/22 – Allston, MA @ Harpers Ferry – BUY TICKETS

9/24 – Providence, RI @ The Ruins

9/25 – Rochester, NY @ The Rochester Opera House

9/26 – Middleton, NY @ Orange County Speedway

Friday, July 30, 2010

Salif Keita - La Difference

The descendant of warrior princes, the son of two black African parents, Afro-pop pioneer Salif Keita was born “white.” Inheriting albinism, a lack of skin pigmentation, Keita instantly stood out among other Africans and stood out as a spokesperson for tolerance in all forms.

On La Différence, the legendary singer addresses this deeply personal issue–albinism in Africa—and gives it an urgent global resonance that takes his songs from Bamako to Beirut. As Keita’s famed “golden voice” cathartically croons in the title track, "I'm a black man, my skin is white and I like it, it's my difference/I'm a white man, my blood is black, I love that, it's the difference that's beautiful."

The distinction is often interpreted as an ill omen in his native Mali, and invited a life of ridicule, making Keita an outcast in his own community. Society, including public schools in Mali, perpetuates harmful beliefs about albinos, and they are often shunned, ridiculed, and even killed for superstitious purposes.

Although he and others have come to terms with albinism, Keita has struggled long and desperately with the stigma attached to his skin color. Though born into a noted caste of musicians with direct links to Sounjata Keita–the heroic 13th-century warrior-prince who edified the ancient Malian Empire–Keita was forbidden to play music growing up. He was also disowned by his father, kicked out of school, and rejected by the local aristocracy.

Filled with unrealized musical ambitions, Keita had no choice but to leave Mali as a young man. Armed with the strength of his convictions, he travelled to neighboring Ivory Coast, then Paris, London, and New York, where his skin color could not keep him from expressing his artistic vision. His perseverance paid off throughout the 1970s and 1980s, as he became an internationally recognized icon thanks to his gravely voice, innovative musical arrangements, and profoundly poetic lyrics.

In 1997, Keita’s fame helped him to overcome the stigma attached to albinism that persisted in West Africa, allowing him to make a triumphant return to Mali. Cautiously re-entering a community that once shunned him, he discovered a newfound acceptance, which allowed him to re-establish roots there, including building a studio in the capital of Bamako.

La Différence is the latest in a trilogy of acclaimed acoustic oriented recordings (Moffou 2002, M’Bemba 2006) that were primarily recorded at Keita’s Bamako studio. The intimate acoustic environment of La Différence allows Keita’s vocal timbres to shimmer and soar, highlighting their poetic nuances and the poignant themes of his lyrics. While the album is dedicated to the plight of albinos in Africa, leading with its title track that aims to increase the global awareness of this cause, the remainder of the album delves into a wide range of social and political issues.

Over a thick sanguine female vocal chorus and rhythmic guitar riffs, “Ekolo d’Amour” seeks to inform listeners about the ecological devastation that has befallen Africa. Fusing the powerful traditional tones of the 21-stringed kora with a contemporary guitar-rich, down-tempo, polyrhythmic groove, “San Ka Na” cites a specific example of ecological destruction, alerting audiences of the need to protect Africa’s Niger River, upon whose banks Keita played as a child. With a rough and urgent voice, Keita scorns local politicians for their neglect and complacency regarding such problems.

La Différence also finds the singer re-imagining a few previous recordings with a new palette of sounds. Harnessing the deeply echoing, bluesy textures of guest guitarists Bill Frisell and Seb Martel, an intimate rendition of 1995’s “Folon” offers a stripped-down, horn-absent version that allows Keita’s haunting voice to pierce the mellow cosmopolitan soundscape. With producer John Henry, Keita reaches back to the 1970s, recalling his days with the Ambassadeurs du Motel band in Bamako, with a new incarnation of “Seydou.”

Departing from the original track (“Seydou Bathily”), this softer version bathes Keita’s voice in a rich sonic world of resonant vocal refrains, Arabic-tinged string arrangements, interlocking guitar tones, and a multilayered percussion ensemble that merges sounds from Africa and the Middle East. Given that these songs have been refined by Keita and his band over the course of many years, some for decades, it is no wonder why his delivery comes across with a relaxed, sophisticated confidence.

Further linking La Différence with Keita’s long musical career, the melody of “Djélé” is decorated by the intricate balafon work of Keletigui Diabaté, a monumental figure in Malian music and one of Keita’s most faithful musical partners, helping him to develop as a guitarist over the course of almost four decades. Drawing on his international sojourns, “Djélé” reinforces Keita’s cosmopolitan approach to this album as the breathy tones of an accordion dance with a concert piano over top a bed of deep electric bass, legato orchestral strings, plucked African lutes, and a global array of polyrhythmic percussive timbres.

La Différence is an intimate journey into Keita’s personal struggles. Singing a hymn of universal tolerance Keita poetically claims, "some of us are black, some are white/all that difference has a purpose…for us to complete each other/let everyone receive love and dignity/the world will be a more beautiful place.”

-- provided to the Ripple by World Music News Wire

buy here: La Difference

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Otis Redding - Live on the Sunset Strip

It’s hard to believe that Otis Redding was only 24 years old when these live shows were recorded in Hollywood, California back in April 1966. Even though he was still a young man, he was an old pro by the time he hit the stage of the famous Whiskey A Go Go having experienced many hit singles and successful albums on the legendary Stax-Volt label. Otis usually recorded with Booker T & The MG’s but rarely toured the United States with them since they were so busy with studio work in Memphis.

There are plenty of live documents of the 1967 European tour and landmark performance at the Monterey festival, but this 2CD set lets you hear exactly what Otis did to audiences night after night with his road band. Most of these have been available in edited form, first on 1968’s LP In Person at the Whisky a Go Go and then more selections were released in 1993 as Good to Me: Live at the Whisky a Go Go, Vol. 2. Even if you already have those, you need to pick this up. You get 3 complete sets of Otis and his tighter than hell road band rocking the stage of a small club. Taj Mahal’s old band Rising Sons (also featuring Ry Cooder) were the opening act for these shows. In the liner notes he’s quoted as “His was one of the most amazing performances I’d ever seen and I’ve seen some great performances. I’m talking about being in the same room, not watching a film or being at some big festival. This cat just had the rafters falling down.” You gonna argue with that

It’s all here. Every grunt, whoop and holler from the Otis and from the crowd, too. When they do fast ones like “I Can’t Turn You Loose,” “I’m Depending On You” or his version of the Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” you can feel the everyone rocking. Otis liked to do his uptempo ones twice as fast at the record, but he also liked to do ballads twice as slow. “These Arms Of Mine” is even more powerful than the original and “Chained and Bound” gets the full dramatic treatment with some heartfelt testifying in the middle. His hit “Respect” is given a high energy workout. It’s interesting to compare it to the live version from Monterey a year later when he mentions that “some girl” just stole his song, meaning Aretha Franklin’s hit version. Two of the sets come from the last night of his 4 night run at the club. Otis mentions that now that they’ve been paid they can “goof off.” His idea of goofing off includes an incredible 10 minute version of James Brown’s “Papas Got A Brand New Bag” that gives JB a run for his money.

Since it was the norm for artists to do 2 shows a night, several songs are duplicated but when it comes to The Big O can you really have too much? Otis gave us so much incredible music in his way too short life and this is guaranteed to make you feel good no matter how bad your day is going. Play this one loud.


buy here: Live on the Sunset Strip

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Praise Pours in for the Stone Axe/Mighty High split 7" Single

Ok, here's the conundrum.

We got on our hands one of the coolest pieces of split vinyl to come around in ages.  But we're much too shy to write about it ourselves, and we wouldn't want anyone to think we were illegally tooting our own horns on this release.  But we wanna spread the word.

So what we decided to do, was let others tell the story of how killer this split is.  So let's go--

Stone Axe/Mighty High Split 7"

"Impossible not to crack an illegal smile when you hear this.  Stone Axe are one of the best retro-metal acts around.  Kiss might've sounded this good if they'd learned to play their instruments.  There's no one better than Mighty High at making fun of wretched metal excess.  It's priceless."  -- Lucid Culture

"Stone Axe is pure old-school metal played with a power that is sadly rare these days.  Will leave you lusting for more if an ounce of rock and roll spirit throbs in your veins. Mighty High kick off a stoned punk squall that sounds like Queens of the Stone Age playing Rancid Covers.  Both tracks are well worth your time and money and it’s hard to imagine rock fans not wanting to track down at least one of the albums by these fantastic bands. Either way, with two bands of this quality on one release this is something of a must-have."-- Sonic Abuse

"Newcomers Ripple Music managed to get two highly explosive bands onto a 7".   Stone Axe's "Metal Damage" has me thinking of pre-Stained class Judas Priest, the kind of mid-1970's metal where band's took their time and built up the sound with a steady boil of activity. Mighty High's "Don't panic, It's Organic" is even better. The main riff is huge and dripping with 1970's fuzzed out goodness. This is the perfect tune for playing about two minutes after 5:00 on a Friday. Both bands deliver the goods on this album." -- Metal Mark, Heavy Metal Time Machine

"Ripple Music have a gem on their hands. An awesome set of tunes. Stone Axe delivers the goods once again.“Metal Damage” is a throw back to classic Judas Priest from the later 70′s to early 80′s. The best duo around to preserving music from the 70′s. Mighty High really rock with their contribution “Don’t Panic, It’s Organic,”a fast paced, almost punk-like rock song. Get yours today." -- The Soda Shop

Produced in amazingly limited supplies.  The only way to get this is to catch Stone Axe or Mighy High on tour, or get your copy at

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

four o’clock balloon - S/T

I was seven years old in 1964.  The British Invasion had just begun and so had my interest in rock music.  Beatles, Rolling Stones, Who and Kinks filled the new stereo FM and monaural AM radio airwaves with UK bands playing blues and rock ‘n roll “all day and all of the night.” The shows were interspersed with reports of draft lottery number call ups and troop casualty totals from the Vietnam war.  The country was grieving the loss of a President.   The up-tempo, hard-edged but harmonious, pop song with a British accent was soothing and exuded optimism at a time of great pain, sorrow, injustice and oppression.  However, as the ‘60’s wore on the mood, and the music, grew darker.  The British Invasion only lasted for three or four years before the times, music and musicians moved on.

Carlos Santana band mate Tommy Anthony (Guitar/Vocals), and John Allen (Guitars),  Michael Quinn (Bass), and Omar Hernandez (Drums)  mine the sound of The British Invasion on four o’clock balloon’s first and only self-titled albumThis is a new, yet nostalgic, project.  For those of us that cut our teeth on 1960’s British rock and blues the music sounds like an old friend.

The album starts with “I Need You,” a song worthy to be vintage Kinks.  The driving bass is reminiscent of the original bass player for the Kinks, the late Pete Quaife, who appeared on most of the Kinks’ hits between 1962 to 1969.  The song is Kinks music that could easily have been written by Ray Davies in his prime.  This effort is followed by “Means To An End”  a song crafted with a sound Pete Townsend would have admired during the Who’s “Magic Bus” era.

In 1966, Left Banke, an American baroque pop band, had a hit with the song “Walk Away Rene.”  At about the same time the Beatles released “Revolver.”  Amazingly four o’clock balloon is able to perform a Vulcan mind meld between the sounds of these two styles on their track “Stood In The Rain.”  If it were 1966, “Stood In The Rain” could have been a bigger hit than “Walk Away Rene.”

On “Tell Me Why” the band’s sound floats more toward the mid-1970’s.  It is as if George Benson and George Harrison during his “Crackerbox Palace” period had formed a band and recorded together. The song “How Long,” is a beauty of a jazz pop tune and is followed by “So Wrong” and “Real, ” songs which would be right at home on the Beatles “Rubber Soul” album.

four o’clock balloon is also able to mash mid-1960’s Kinks’ with Beatles’ pop melodies on “More or Less.  Then, what follows is bizarre fun - a song called “Ripley,” an interesting jingle jangle of a ballad about, of all things, a rhinoceros. 

George Harrison’s sitar-based musical sound from the Beatles’ song “Tomorrow Never Knows” provides the backdrop for the next track, “Less Than Nowhere.”  Following this flurry of fab four fun comes the heavier “Why Me, Why You?”  The tone of this track is closer to that of mid-60’s garage bands like the Troggs

The album ends with the song “The Joker Laughs at You.”   It is another Beatles-like mid -60’s foray. four o’clock balloon explores the sound of  the experimental Beatles heard in 1967’s “I Am The Walrus” and mixes it with a touch of “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.” 

Some will say that the sound is nostalgic - that music has long ago moved on from the British Invasion and even from the Beatles.  Most musicians pay tribute to this type of music as the foundation of modern rock and all that has come after it.  Bands occasionally attempt to modernize an old mid-1960’s song or two, but, few write new music in the style. This album proves that that is unfortunate.  There is power in the music of that era that transcends its place in time.

Of course, it never hurts to be favorably compared to the Beatles.

- Old School

Monday, July 26, 2010

Melvins – The Bride Screamed Murder

Prior to hearing The Bride Screamed Murder from Melvins, I knew very little about the group. Now, after listening to The Bride Screamed Murder several times back to back to back, I know even less about them. I can say this, though . . . Melvins approach the creation of music unique to their own perspective, a perspective forged from the fires in the bellies of stars in solar systems light years away from what we may perceive as normal. That’s not to say that the music is unlistenable or so avant that it won’t fit into the average persons everyday scheme of minutia, its more akin to working a logic problem where the solution to the puzzle isn’t directly in front of you or obvious. Listening to Melvins made me rethink the way I think about music, challenged my perception of logical sound flow, dared me to push the envelope on what I thought I already knew (or was confused by) in music. This album really should come with a condom . . . the raping that my mind took has me in living in fear on how I will listen to the next album submissions.

“The Water Glass” kicks off with a ballsy, detuned guitar riff . . . all sludge-y and fat, oppressive and overwhelming . . . but it’s not the tonal quality that makes me rethink what I thought I already knew. No . . . no, that would be coming from the odd time signature of the riff and how the flourishes that drums add to the mix. Then, the washes of feedback bathe my ears in waves of septic brilliance, drenching my audio receptors with dense and sticky sound.  All of this happening within the first minute and half before seamlessly shifting into a wild high school marching band tirade of beats and vocal chants. Are you kidding me with this?!?!? In-freaking-sane! Leave it to Melvins to push music to the fringes of reality! The majority of this tune is bereft of any instruments outside of the drums and vocals, yet it remains one of the heaviest tracks that have assaulted my headset in months. What any of this has to do with a water glass is beyond, but I’m okay with that. I like the mystery. It gives me something to come back to during those future listens when I need to have my mind impregnated by fresh ideas.

“Evil New War God” is another burly, dense onslaught of sludge toned guitars . . . all playing this massive riff that doesn’t make logical sense to me. Just go with the flow, friends, and the happy conclusion will show itself in time. Listen for the majestic ball crushing riff at the 1:38 mark. Crom! That’s the kind of sludgery that makes me think of St. Vitus. A massive wall of distortion with the capability of deflecting the blast from a nuclear bomb. Note the little flourish of cowbell that these guys mix in there. Awesome! And the vocals . . . again, the sinister quality and paranoid menace permeates from between the flurry of dense notes that barrage the listener. And just to make sure you’re paying attention, the band drop this beast of a tune down to a quasi-jazz beat, cymbal ride, and soft bass drum pattern, before the eerie keyboards add some texture. This entire composition has more in common with jazz than hardcore or punk or metal or whatever genre people lump Melvins in these days. Absolutely spectacular song!

The Bride Screamed Murder is a roller coaster ride for certain, but Melvins have created a thrill ride that’s more than just senseless left turns and corkscrew loops. They’ve composed an epic listen by weaving bizarre nuances in between solid riffs and straight forward ass kicking. “Electric Flower” is one such song as it incorporates a pseudo- surf vibe with a five finger formed fist and a crushing blow to the bridge of the nose. Mixed in all of this chaos, the band still works in portions of magnificent musical performances that highlight the individualism of the musicians at hand. These guys have one of the busiest drummers in all the land. Tons of rolls, little cymbal flourishes, crazy fills that defy reason . . . simply mad! Listen for the guitar solo as it cuts through the din of frenetic chaos with a touch of class. So much going, so much emotion, so much sonic violence . . . and all within three and a half minutes.

Then, as it should come as no surprise, the band throws in a psychedelic track in “Hospital Up,” filled with weaving and shimmering guitar lines, all of it making me feel like I’m bathing in a lava lamp. The guitar tones aren’t as dense as some of their more straight forward rockers and heavy tunes, but there’s still an imposing vibe fluttering throughout all of the music. The vocals have a gritty crooning quality to them, almost reminding me of moments from Farflung (fantastic psychedelic stoner doom band) and I’m digging how the nuance within the voice conveys an element of manic paranoia. Again, the band work well together to create a song that would fall to pieces if it were performed by any other group of musicians. The individualistic qualities of the players shines on and I go back to my earlier ascertainment that Melvins are more of a jazz band than anything else. Hell . . . listen to the end of the tune when all hell is breaking loose. The keys . . . the bass . . . the horns . . . jazz.

Finally, strap your asses in and assume a crash position. “Inhumanity and Death” is a hundred mile an hour death trip down a winding one lane deer path through oncoming traffic. Don’t look up, just pray that you’ll make it to the bottom of the hill in one piece . . . and alive. The opening bass line and subsequent vocal scream is enough to fill the most seasoned thrill seeker with terror, and as the song careens to its conclusion, there will undoubtedly be soiled shorts amongst the riders. I stink now, but I’m smiling . . . and I’m happy.

Dudes . . . and Dudettes . . . I simply love The Bride Screamed Murder. I can’t tell you if Melvins as a whole area good band, but based on this album alone, I’d call them gods. The musicianship is insane and the musical perspective is refreshing. I don’t suggest diving into this one head first without any previous understanding of what these guys are about. Busy yourself with something on your initial listen to familiarize yourself with the aural assault that is wrapped up in this disc before completely immersing yourself in the music. Once you do go back to giving it your full attention, it won’t hurt as much . . . well, at least, it shouldn’t. The Bride Screamed Murder is a brilliant execution of avant jazz metal that will surprise you every time you listen to it.  -  Pope

buy here: Bride Screamed Murder

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Sunday Conversation with Modern Day Moonshine

Modern Day Moonshine was one of the bands that made us put our money where our mouths are.  After hearing their self-titled EP, Modern Day Moonshine, we were so impressed with their laid back, yet passionate take on an Allman Brothers mixed with Crosby, Stills, Nash, meets Neil Young, crossed with The Meters vibe, that we just had to go ahead and make them one of the first acts signed to the nascent Ripple Music Label.  With a dynamite new album coming later this year, we couldn't miss out on the chance to have the gents, Todd (guitar/vocals), Brendan (bass) and David (drums) pop on over to the Ripple Office and share their thoughts.

When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

T:  Hendrix mix tape that I got when I was 19.  Pink Floyd mix tape too. "Flamenco Sketches" by Miles Davis soon after that.

D:  G n' R Appetite at 10.  Hendrix Band of Gypsys at 23.  Neil Young live at Massey Hall '71 when I was 27.

B:  "Stand by Me" soundtrack at 8.  Zeppelin II at 12.  Spinal Tap at 25.

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

T:  Its a crapshoot. Most of the time its the chord progression first. Maybe a third of the time its built around the lyrics.

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

T:  Purity of nature and the flaws of society.

Genre's are so misleading and such a way to pigeonhole bands. Without resorting to labels, how would you describe your music?

B:  An organized freak out of songs with soul.  A drunken pontoon boat tour of the 60's and 70's.

What is your musical intention? What are you trying to express or get
> your audience to feel?

T:  Social and self awareness.

In songwriting, how do you bring the song together? What do you look for in terms of complexity? Simplicity? Time changes?

T:  Its all organic.  Shouldn't be contrived.  Its just gotta hit your core somehow.

D:  I've been in bands where we would pine over this kind of thing.  This band?  Not so much.  Its about the feel and whatever the tune calls for.

The business of music is a brutal place. Changes in technology have made it easier than ever for bands to get their music out, but harder than ever to make a living? What are your plans to move the band forward? How do you stay motivated in this brutal business?

D:  We stay motivated by doing the same thing we've always done:  Playing tunes.  Gigging has always been our MO, and I think tha'ts what the business is reverting back to again.

Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

D:  Getting lost on on the way back to San Diego after a gig in Mexico. Watching a 45 minute trip turn into a 4 1/2 hour trek through the finer points of the Baja Peninsula while being hungover in the cab of a pickup
truck.  We turned around when we passed the donkey pulling the produce cart.

T:  Playing a gig in Palm Springs and then heading to Joshua Tree afterwards with a bottle of whiskey.  Staying up til 5 am.  Then waking up at 8 am to 100 degree heat with no water.  Then driving 3 hours back to
San Diego to play 2 gigs that same night with super glue holding my fingers together after a late night hiking "incident."

B:  Having the guitarist from Tesla come up to me at a gig and say "Don't let this happen to you."  Apparently he was homeless or something.

What makes a great song?

B:  It doesn't suck.

T:  You tell me.

D:  Its 30+ years old.

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

T:  (loooooong pause):  200 songs later, I honestly don't remember. (Longer pause)  I do remember writing a Ricky Nelson style song when I was eight.  My dad showed me my first guitar chords.  And happened to be a fan.  Incidentally, the first song he ever taught me was "House of the Rising Sun."

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

T:  All of them.  Always most proud of the newest one.

D:  Any of them.  And any off-the-cuff improv jams that we have come up with.

B:  "Robots Marching."

Who today, writes great songs? Why?

MDM: Wilco, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Radiohead.  All of them are and always have been original.  That and they all continue to evolve.

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

D:  Each one has its place.  Love the sound of vinyl.  Love being able to download on iTunes (and have it effortlessly charge a soon to be maxed out credit card).  CD's for driving.  Still waiting for cassettes to make a
long overdue comeback.

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music.  When we come to your town, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

T:  I only go to the woods.

D & B:  Amoeba (SF or Berkeley) has just about everything.  Good vinyl selection too.

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?

B:  "Don't change.  Have a great summer"

T:  "Clock's tickin'.  Do somethin'!"

D:  "Look up "Creed Shreds 3" on YouTube"


Buy here:

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Single Life - 7 Inches of Fun - featuring Fuck Knights/G-Biz, Cheap Freaks, Mojomatics, Empire! Empire!/Football, etc.

Fuck Knights/G-Biz – Split! 12” EP

Kinda cheating here adding this one to the Single Life column, but go with me.  It works well here.  First up is the Fuck Knights, about as idiotic and amateurish a band name as you’re ever gonna find.  And no surprise, the Fuck Knights play an intensely sloppy, lo-fi, fuzzed out splatter of garage punk.  Oh, were my expectation set low when I dropped the needle on this spinning licorice pizza.  Then --woah and behold!-- the Fuck Knights blew me and my pretentious judgments right out of the fucking water.  Two cuts here and there’s no delicate way to say this, so I’ll just jump right in.  “i/primitive” is a certified, bonafide, undeniable garage rock classic.  From the intensity of the primitive pounding percussive beginning, with it’s sonic disaster production, spare-muffler-part guitars, and shrieking headhunter vocals.  Dig right into that lost-surf rock guitar solo.  Latch your horse onto that primal groove and beat.  This song is an absolute blast.  Then, just when you think you got it figured out –wham –bam—the Fuck Knights blow your mind with the drum breakdown leading into a post-blues whammy riff.  The song plays out that way, guitars rolling along the Mississippi in an extended garage-blues jam.  Freaking dynamite! 

“Teenage Wasteland” recorded live on a portable cassette recorder is another retro-blast of oil stained rock and roll, complete with howling harmony vocals.  The Fuck Knights are the real deal.  Not to be missed for fans of the fuzzed, the scuzzy, and the garage-bred.

G-Biz failed to impress with the side of quasi-haze garage hip hop, shriek and roll.  Not my cup of 10-40.  I’ll just keep the Fuck Knights side on my turntable and wait for their next primitive treat to come my way.

buy here:

Cheap Freaks – Play Four Songs

Speaking of garage fuzz, the Cheap Freaks come along right on cue.  Coming from Dublin, the Cheap Freaks add a touch of quasi-psychedelia, a la the 13th Floor Elevators to their sonic attack.  “Caesar the deceiver” tosses some odd guitar touches into the guttural pulp mix and a hefty dose of “Hurly Burly” chops.  1984 rocks with a caveman-pounding-his-mate intensity.  “Nowhere to Go,” revs up the speed-inhalation with a nasty dose of poppers, whiskey and cheap wine. Guitars go in furious circles while the vocals chop through the fuzz.  “Something Wrong,” sounds like an outtake from some 1960’s beach movie on really bad speed and acid.  It’s all enough to give Annette Funicello hives.

Total lo-fi, garage slop noise.  It’s punky.  It’s fuzzed.  Of course it’s from Big Neck Records.  A definite hit for the like minded.  Call me one.

The Mojomatics  - Love Wild Fever b/w Heavy Dose of Sympathy

Brandishing a cleaner assault than the Cheap Freaks, Big Neck Records comes right back at cha with this charger of a 7” splatter-fest.  The Mojomatics play it hard and fast and bring some downright dirty harmonica into the mix.  Vocals are definitely a step out of the garage, can actually carry a tune and be heard here.  That’s a plus.  Mainly, this is a speed romp through pounding fields of bluesy garage beauty.  “Heavy Dose of Sympathy,” follows suit, barreling down the road the boys plowed on side A. 

A twosome, with The Mojomatics have been tearing it apart for ages. MojoMatt plays guitar, harmonica and vocals, while Davmatic destroys the drums.  It may all seem so simple, but trust me, these cats can rile up quite a ruckus.  They're a truly professional unit.  Don’t think the White Stripes, think the Standells on uppers, the Monks on crank.  Think whatever you want, then buy it.

Buy Cheap Freaks and Mojomatics here:

Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely State)/Football, etc. – Split 7”

The value of a split 7” is the opportunity to check out two different bands, offering up their top cuts.  It’s like the previews before a summer blockbuster film.  A taste of what’s to come.  A hint at what you may want to track down.

In that regard, this split succeeds admirably at bring two up-and-coming alt-emo bands to the surface.  Following on the heels of their critically-acclaimed debut full-length, Empire! Empire! Demonstrate why their at the head of the pack of the current roster of emo-revivalists.  Emotive singing will either catch your ear or turn your stomach, but theirs no denying the craft here.  Guitars layer and bleed into each other while the rhythm section creates all sorts of syncopated havoc.  All carefully crafted, expertly put together.  Not necessarily something you’ll hum on your way to work, but at the top of the heap as far as emo goes.  Football, etc. toss their hat into the ring with their expressive ditty, “Fightin’ Phoenix.”  Plowing a similarly fertile field of chiming guitars, huge looping bass and alternating rhythmic and pounding drums, this three piece show they’re no slouches.  Guitarist/singer Lindsay Minton adds a new texture with her languid, lazy vocals.  The whole affair brims with earnestness and warmth, something often missing in the emo world.  Definitely a group to watch.

Buy here:

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Hawkwind Triad

Most tribute albums are kind of a waste of time and money. Maybe there are a handful of worthy homages but for they’re usually disappointing and you wind up rarely playing the entire record. The Hawkwind Triad is a different story all together. Here you get 3 bands, that all have a pretty strong Hawkwind influence in the first place, paying tribute and taking liberties with material that they clearly love. The participants are US Christmas, Minsk and Harvestman.

Of the 3 bands, US Christmas probably play the songs closest to the originals and tap into the Space Ritual high energy levels that Hawkwind performed at. Take away all the tripped out space effects and Hawkwind always had a ass kicking rock and roll soul, especially during the era Lemmy was in the band. “Master Of The Universe” opens the record in high spirits. The riff is huge and they faithfully recreate all of Dik Mik’s bizarre “audio generator” blips and squiggles. “Psychedelic Warlords (Disappear in Smoke)” and the 11 minute “You Shouldn’t Do That” are great examples of why Lemmy always said that Hawkwind may have looked like hippies but weren’t all peace and love. If the astronaut boogie of “Orgone Accumulator” doesn’t you get you doing the zombie dance, turn in your space suit immediately and return to the mundane earth.

Minsk attack “7x 7” with a lot of intensity and vigor. This is probably what it actually sounds like as your breaking through the sound barrier. Things get pretty trippy on the 12 minute “Assault & Battery/The Golden Void,” 2 songs from the 1975 album Warrior on the Edge of Time. “Assault & Battery” is delivered slow and hard with lots of intense vocals. “The Golden Void” takes you on a pretty wild ride with some slower parts to balance out the space frenzy. The mainly acoustic “Children Of The Sun” somehow manages to mix in equal parts Jethro Tull and Swans into the original Hawkwind song.

Of the 3 bands, my favorite songs are from Harvestman, a side project of Neurosis members Steve Von Till and Jason Roeder. Von Till’s tortured vocals work really well with the material, especially on “D Rider.” “Down Through The Night” has even more sound effects the original. “Magnu” is an 8 minute stomper that fans of Can as well as Accept’s “Princess of the Dawn” can rock to together. Lemmy’s “The Watcher” is given a bleak, creepy overhaul that will make you feel paranoid even if you’re not stoned.

Old time fans of Hawkwind should really like this and it also serves as a great introduction to a band that’s often misunderstood. Play this one loud for sure.


Buy here: Hawkwind Triad

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Oscar D’Leon - Sonero del Mundo

Sonero del MundoI can’t dance.

I mean my hips feel it, my body feels it, my head nods to it, but my feet are large bricks.  There are times, however, that even my concrete boots move with grace, usually to good salsa music and nobody does latin salsa better than Oscar D’Leon.

Oscar D'León was born in Caracas, Venezuela on July 11, 1943.  When he was young he worked by day as an auto mechanic and by night played bass for local “conjuntos” - small Cuban folk bands consisting of guitar, bass and percussion that sang folk songs.  On stage D’Leon would sing and dance with a double bass.  He went on to form a number of orchestral bands and gained a reputation as a great improviser.  His first great successes occurred in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s recording with his band, La Salsa Mayor, a merengue standard "Juanita Morell."  In 1978 he founded a second band called “La Critica” that played Cuban rhumba music and he would alternate singing for both bands.  In the 1980’s he became a well-known Caribbean music singer, but it was during the 1970’s that D’Leon earned the Spanish nickname  “el Sonero del Mundo” - the Son Singer of the World.  In 2003 D'León suffered 3 heart attacks, one while performing on stage, and two at the hosptial, due to high cholesterol.  He continued to perform and record through 2009 but, on Dec 20, 2009, he suffered yet another heart attack. Fortunately at the time of this writing, D’Leon is still with us.

In 1996, D’Leon release his namesake album  el Sonero del Mundo.  I took two years of high school Spanish and grew up in Southern California.  Frankly, all that means is I know how to ask in fractured Mexican Spanish  for another beer and directions to the bathroom. Yet, that noncomprehending is one of the great pleasures of latin salsa music - I may have no idea what the songs are about ( I’m sure the songs run the gambit of human emotion, interaction and experience) and, due to my illiteracy, I may never know. But, somehow, it doesn’t matter.  Salsa music moves the soul as well as the sole whatever the vocalist may be singing. To my feet el Sonero del Mundo’s “el Sonero del Mundo” is one of the finest salsa albums of all time.

Carlos Santana cut his teeth on latin jazz and you can hear why.  Salsa is infectious big band street music. Great salsa dancers mesmerize and amaze.  It is sexual, fast-paced, joyous.  When performed by a great musician it creates a community.  Indigenous peoples had music and it bordered on the religious.  The music was based on beat.  Drums and percussion, flutes and horns - a communal dance to the beat.  Salsa music takes that aboriginal aesthetic and refines it and envelopes it in fluid motion and grace.  While D’Leon sings “Mirala Como Se Menea” (”Mirala How It Shakes” (thank you Google Translate)) you shake too.  When I hear “Volver a Verte” (”To See You Again” (again thank you Google Translate)) I want to attempt those intricate salsa steps that I know I have no chance of ever doing.

Ultimately, today’s column is a tribute to salsa master Oscar D’Leon.  I hope he reads this because I have something to say to him - Gracias. Usted me han movido y el mundo.

- Old School

Buy here: Sonero del Mundo

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Running Kind - The Girl For All The World

This is shit kicker music. Country western, beer-drinkin’, cowboy-boot clankin’ music. Pull on those Tony Lamas and dust off those Lee Jeans. You’ll be hittin' the honky-tonks, cryin’ in your beer, hee-hawin’ with your horse, and all the time there will be guitars, bass, drums, mandolins, piano, dobro, pedal steel, even a trombone, a-playin’ to entertain you.

You see, these boys can really get down. Leslie can sing a touch or two - so can George, Matt, Neil and Frank. You’ll be two-steppin’, a-waltzin’, box steppin’ and country swingin’.  You will also be wantin’  to listen. So get yourself a cold one.

Matt and Leslie Bosson sang together in the Mt. Greylock Regional High School choir. Later on  they married and came up with this here band, Running Kind, named after an old Merle Haggard tune.  They got George Alexander to break out his Telecaster, Mitsuru “Neil” Fukusawa to bang on the drums and pick a bit of mandolin, Frank San Filippo to thump the stand-up bass and play an electric Fender, and Kevin Smith to tickle the ivories. Darlin' Jim D'Damery adds a bit of dobro to Running Kind’s song “Don’t That Make No Sense” and John Groover McDuffie, from Rita Coolidge’s band, dropped in and played pedal steel on the songs “Two Roads,” “A Okay,” “Seemed Like A Good Idea,” “I Still Love You (Like I Loved You Before),”  “Return of the Grievous Angel,”  and on “Don’t Cry No Tears.”

Here in the US of A country music outsells metal, rap, latin, jazz, new age, classical, Christian and soundtrack music.  It has a long domestic history - it is a true American art form. Generally, it consists of silly lyrics, story-telling and “woe is me” love songs.  The twang-tinged musicianship can be awe-inspiring like a Doc Watson guitar pickin’ instrumental or a Flatt and Scruggs duet.  All these ingredients are combined on Running Kind’s album - The Girl For All The World.

Throughout this collection Running Kind taps into the various sub-genres of country.  The song “Life To Go,” is a George Jones classic about a jailed woman doing a life sentence that tells her tale of woe and remorse.  It is a ballad played in a style reminiscent of Marty Robbins’ hit song “The Chair.”  The album’s title song “The Girl For All The World”  is a story, unusual for country in that it could be interpreted as a lesbian love song, delivered in a mournful style akin to an Emmylou Harris slow ballad.

The next track, “Two Roads,” is the only song on the album written jointly by Matt and Leslie. Acoustic, electric and slide guitars, drums, keyboards and vocals all come together to form an excellent two-steppin’, twangy fandango about separation and reunion.  It is followed by “A Okay” a warm, honky-tonk, love song featuring some stellar slide guitar work.  Leslie’s voice on the track called to mind the vocal style of the late Nicolette Larson.

A bluegrass lilt permeates “Don’t That Make No Sense,” a song about life and how it changes us.  The music, not the words, harken to Mungo Jerry’s 1970’s hit “In The Summertime.”  Running Kind follows “Don’t That Make No Sense” with “Seemed Like A Good Idea,” a comedic ballad, complete with trombone, that is in the tongue in cheek style of Buck Owens.  In fact, it reminded me of Buck’s classic “Pfft, She Was Gone.”

The album slows down for “I Still Love You (Like I Loved You Before)” a “somebody done done somebody wrong” song.  The lyrics are typical country western fare over music that echos the song “Anna (Go With Him),” written by the great Arthur Alexander, but, probably better known from the hit cover version by The Beatles on their 1963 album Please, Please Me.   After “I Still Love You (Like I Loved You Before)”  the band plays “Old Girl,” a blockbuster of a country/folk/rock/alternative crossover tune that has more of a relationship to an Outlaws or Marshall Tucker Band song than it does to traditional country western.  This one could play, and become a hit, on country, rock, alternative and folk radio stations.

The last two songs on the album are covers. Gram Parson’s “Return of the Grievous Angel” is about as country a country ballad as you can get.  Running Kind gives it an even greater yee-haw treatment, and a slightly more upbeat tempo, than Gram Parsons did on his album Grievous Angel.  The song is about coming back to one’s love after time on the road.  The album culminates with a cover of Neil Young’s “Don’t Cry No Tears”  a short ballad about lost love.  It is played in a more polished manner and in a traditional country style rather than in the folk-rock style of Neil Young & Crazy Horse on their album Zuma.

Any old cowpoke worth their boots will tell you that there are two types of shit-kicker music - good and bad.  Partner, this is the good shit.

- Old School

Monday, July 19, 2010

It Crawled from the Basement – The Green Monkey Records Anthology

It Crawled From the Basement: The Green Monkey Records AnthologyMusic history is littered with eccentrics.  Personalities just --or way-- left of center.  Visionaries who doggedly pursue their own sound or vision despite the mountainous odds against them.  Despite an overwhelming lack of public acceptance.  Often times despite any reasonable sense of financial reward. 

And thank God for them!  Often it’s in these way-right-hemisphere thinking individuals that real creativity is borne.  Whether or not it’s appreciated in their lifetime is another matter.

I may have been too late for the first lifetime of Green Monkey Records, but damn it, I’ll wave that monkey flag high and proud now that they’ve resurfaced.

Calling their music post-punk/pre-grunge Seattle, Green Monkey Records was an indy’s indy.  Sprouting from the most humble, inauspicious of beginnings to release scattered handmade cassettes, a toss off of 7” vinyl, some albums and finally some CD’s.  Running from 1983 to 1991, Green Monkey (named after a stuffed animal that label-boss Tom Dyer found in the attic of his grandmother’s house) put out 44 releases of remarkable, sub-basement, glorious pop, punk, psych-folk, and the downright weird. 

The most remarkable thing about Green Monkey Records was that either by pure chance or immaculately calculated vision, the quality of music they put out was way above the bar from what you’d expect from their pieced-together, learn-as-we-go-along, record-everything-in-my-basement beginnings.  What could’ve turned into a “novelty” label manufacturing tracks exclusively for the Dr. Demento Show instead became one of the great homes of pre-Sub Pop indy rock.  I’m sure a great deal of luck went into creating the dynamite catalog of Green Monkey releases, but just as much credit has to go to label-boss Tom Dyer, who clearly has a diamond ear for a quality pop band.

It Crawled from the Basement is the brand new Green Monkey Records anthology.  Having let the label lay dormant but for a few licensing deals, Dyer had recently become rejuvenated, revitalized, re-energized, and the Green Monkey is swinging again.

As any anthology from an underground indy label would be, not all the songs on It Crawled from the Basement will click with every listener.  Nor should they.  That’d defeat the purpose of Green Monkey which was to explore the wide range of the indy scene developing in Seattle in the post-punk years.   Some good, some not so good, all unique and very original.

Putting this disc on for the first time, I was all ready to dismiss it.  I’m not a fan of quirk rock.  Never found the Dr. Demento Show all that interesting, and I like solid chops in my pop, not weird noises and sounds coming from human orifices.  Imagine my surprise when I found myself not only going back time and time again to the 2-disc anthology, but suddenly finding myself on ebay bidding outrageous $$$ to buy up any Green Monkey vinyl I could find.  I was hooked.  Through some insidious, devious act of mental subterfuge, I’d become a Green Monkey furry beast!  (As I wrote this, I just found and bought two Mad Mad Nomad 7" singles off ebay.)

Too many songs (47 of em) on this anthology to go through them all in this review but the highlights are such standouts they have to be mentioned.

Al Bloch delivers a powerful, stripped down, fuzz guitar-and-organ, garage pop lament to teenage angst, “Hangin Around,”  that is so catchy it’s been outlawed in several countries, then rumbles back with a rollicking, post-sixties ode to unrequited love, “Falling Star.”    Mr. Epp & the Calculations, featuring a pre-Mudhoney Mark Arm, turn in a teenage slacker anthem “Out of Control” that rivals early Suicidal Tendencies in it’s punk-fueled, hate-my-life-and-parents rebellion.  So sloppy, the song seems to succeed in spite of itself. 

Hating novelty songs, I’m not supposed to like Me Three’s “Alien Breakfast,” nearly as much as I do, but the damn song is as addictive as a sugar high.  Liquid Generation’s “I Love U,” is a catchy-as-fuck garage rock bender.  The Walkabouts turn out a sumptuous male-female harmony psychedelic pop song to rival anything by the Go-Betweens.   Capping Day crank out a retro-garage punk stomper with “Mona Lisa,” with more balls than half the Pretenders catalog, and the Bombardiers let loose a bomb bay full of detonating garage/punk that could lay waste to a small city. 

The Queen Annes crank out a trio of freaking great cuts including the harmonica-led burner “You’ve Got Me Running.”  If that song doesn’t get you going, you better hook up your right atrium to some jumper cables.  The Glass Penguins lay down some inspired, gentle psych-pop of the sort The Windbreakers created, including the rather bizarre “Shadow of a Fish,” and the infinitely-gorgeous “She Moves Me.”   And some one-off cuts by Mad Mad Nomad, Jon Strongbow, The Fastbacks, Keith Livingston, and the label’s main-madman, Tom Dyer keep the variety coming.

But I’m being intentionally sly here, cause the highlights of this 2-disc set are clearly wrapped up with four bands.   I’ve learned that Green Monkey Records will forever be associated with the Green Pajamas, and for good reason.  Possessing a voice that’d make Alex Chilton shiver, Jeff Kelly can create a pop-psych ditty as effortlessly as I trip over a 1-inch curb.  And the track that Green Pajamas’ fans clamor for is “Kim the Waitress,” presented here in all it’s instantly-infused-into-your-consciousness glory.  I don’t even have words to describe the craft here, but with its incessant bass line, sitar flourishes, constant toe-tapping beat, and lyrics written in homage to a real-life waitress at Mr. Ed’s Restaurant in West Seattle, “Kim the Waitress,” may just be one of the most incredible pop songs you’ve never heard.   But there’s so much more to the Green Pajamas than one song.  Each of the 5 songs here hits its mark.

The next undeniable band here is Life, which steals the imagination with their two cuts, “If it Works (Don’t Fix it)” and “If I Had You (For Natalie)” which both chime with a burning post-The Alarm passion of jangling guitars, soaring vocals, and never-ending hooks.  The Hitmen, blow any cobwebs off the disc with their two slices of post-punk inspired, bass-massive rock.  “I Love Your Poems of Love” bridles with an edgy-post Echo and the Bunnymen nervousness, while “Thrasher’s Corner,” simply destroys, like some cranked up, pissed off post-punk, metal, reggae, hybrid.

Finally, a special nod needs to be tipped towards Tom Dyer’s own band, The Icons who strip the paint off every bumper in the garage with their charging purist-blast of “Write Back to Me.”   Dyer has just re-released the Icons classic retro-rock masterpiece, Masters of Disaster, on CD and I got that baby here in my hot little hands.  So expect a review of that one soon.

I’ve left tons of good music out of this review like The Elements, Slam Suzanne, and Danger Bunny, but there’s just too much here to talk about.  If you’re a fan of indy pop music—good honest, ballsy, delicate, garage-y, punky, folky, mildly trippy pop music—do yourself a favor and pick up this anthology.  It will be nearly impossible for you not to find several tracks that you’ll just wonder how you lived this long without.  This isn’t a CD set to be played, it’s one to be savored, immersed in, bathed in.

It really is that good.

Now I gotta go find me a green stuffed monkey.


Buy here: It Crawled From the Basement: The Green Monkey Records Anthology

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Sunday Conversation with Darklight Corporation

Dark, heavy, and with a killer groove!  That's the brand-spanking new album from New Zealand's Darklight Corporation.  Equal parts industrial and thrash, Darklight blew the Ripple office into a frenzy of ugly white boy metal dancing!  Could wait to share a beer with them on the Ripple couch.

When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond, and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious, aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

Well I grew up in a very musical house, we had a lot of classical mixed with the top40 music of the time like, Abba, Bay City rollers, Neil diamond etc. But when I had enough money to go and buy my own records I bought this compilation album called Heavy and I dropped it on the turntable and the first track was Number of the Beast by Iron Maiden, and the hair just stood up on the back of my neck and I couldn’t stop playing it over and over, drove my parents crazy, but that was the pivotal moment in my life that I knew I wanted to devote my life to this music I was hearing. Like you say, there were other minor epiphany’s but that was The Moment and I will never forget it.

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

The guitar is my primary instrument so I pretty much come up with the riff first then throw down some drums so I can get a real feel for the song, if at that stage it doesn’t get me excited I will pass on it and try some thing else, I know pretty quick if I am onto something or its just dead in the water hahahaha. But I will pretty much get a full demo together of the song without vocals and take it to the rest of the band to get their input, then we record the music for real and Fabio takes it away and writes the lyrics and melody over the top of the finished music.

Seems kind of strange from a songwriters point of view but it definitely works for us. I think because I am more musically inclined I like the music to be able to stand on its own so if you heard the track without vocals you would still think, hey that’s pretty cool.

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

Inspiration is a bit of a mysterious thing. Most of the time when I sit down to write music its just crap, and I’m going, man what are we gonna do, I think I have lost it. And you can go or weeks like that then one day you sit down and just pick up the guitar and this magic comes out without even thinking about it. It’s defiantly the joy of music, you can’t force it, it just happens.

As for motivation, I think once you tap into that magic there’s no going back, you are always looking for That Moment when it all comes together and you write something purely from your soul. And it’s all about the mood your in to what comes out, that’s why music is such a personal thing. I’m just after that moment where I go, Fuck yeah that’s cranking hahahaha.

Genre's are so misleading and such a way to pigeonhole bands. Without resorting to labels, how would you describe your music?

Yeah I don’t really mind when people try to pigeonhole us into some sort of genre, we are what we are and people only do it so they can see if they can identify with you or not. If we say we are a metal band some people go, I don’t like metal, but if they hear us they go, that’s pretty good for a metal band, hahaha.
I think we will go with the Euphoric Metal tag for this question hahaha

What is your musical intention? What are you trying to express or get your audience to feel?

I think we would like our music to give the listener a real sense of excitement and escape and make them feel stoked at that moment in time. Like we do when we are playing it. We want our music to be explosive and exciting.

 In songwriting, how do you bring the song together? What do you look for in terms of complexity? Simplicity? Time changes?

We try to keep it simple really, I think the more simple the idea is the more people get it. Too many ideas in one song are definitely a vibe killer. We really work on getting different parts of a song to mesh together organically and to keep it flowing.

The business of music is a brutal place. Changes in technology have made it easier than ever for bands to get their music out, but harder than ever to make a living? What are your plans to move the band forward? How do you stay motivated in this brutal business?

The changes in technology have been awesome for us as we self produce our music and we can do this to a very high level and compete with “studio” releases. If we had to spend $50000 on recording each album it would cripple us.

As for staying motivated, we do this cause we really love what we are doing and even if we are not successful we would still do it, it’s in our blood. We are self managed and self produced but we use professional companies when it comes down to business, In the US companies like Twisted Hillbilly Records, Blastzone Distribution and Rainmaker PR are all doing what they do best for our album release and this is the way of the future for indie bands I think. Do what you do best and make the music then delegate the other jobs to industry professionals who know how to get your music into the right places.

And I think it’s really important to connect with the people who like your band and really work on the fan/band relationship, do not take them for granted and treat them with the greatest respect.

Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll moments?

Live our drummer triggers samples from a laptop with a drumpad unit, and this had not been set properly and the vibrations from the PA were setting off samples in wrong places etc pretty bloody embarrassing at your first gig, but we sorted that problem out pretty quick hahahaha

Other than that the usual, pissing your pants onstage, dropping Fabio’s pants mid chorus and generally getting feral hahahahahaha

What makes a great song?

When you listen to a great song, nothing else matters and you get lost in that moment. It’s the ultimate escape and it can’t really be explained in words, it’s the emotional response that tells you.

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

Man I thought it was the best song ever hahahaha turns out it sucked, but it planted the seed and hopefully the songs have got better since then.

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

I am really proud of some of the new songs we are doing, I think I am really developing as a guitarist and producer and I love the results we are getting.

As far as one song, I think it would be "One Man Revolution" off the debut album cause it really nails down what we are about and the Darklight sound.

Who today, writes great songs? Why?

There are a lot of great artists writing great songs and it’s easier to discover them now. Deftones, Beyonce, Muse, Disturbed, Massive Attack, Rammstien, Slipknot to me, all write great songs. A great song can’t be measured, or forgotten easily. There are so many great songs that never reach the mainstream, that’s the excitement of music you never know where you will discover a great song that resonates with you.

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

Vinyl is definitely the sexiest format for music, it just looks and feels fucking cool. But I don’t think it really works with most of the modern music made today, in our genre I don’t think it would have the same sonic impact that it does in digital. Cd is still the king when it comes to audio quality in the digital age. Mp3 is just shit really, but people still put up with it for some reason. We need to have a more audiophile format as the standard. Standard wav file or cd is my choice.

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. When we come to your town, what's the best record store to lose ourselves in?

In Wellington there are a few great record stores, Real Groovy would have to be the best. Big store with everything you would want and if they don’t have it they will get it. Loads of secondhand music too. Its real music lover’s paradise and you can spend hours in there listening to vinyl and cds.

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the waveriders?

Well a great big “good on ya” for actively discovering new music instead of just being feed it from the media. That’s the great thing about the internet, you can get out and explore and discover so much great music that you didn’t really have access to before.

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