Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Elizabeth Willis gets praise from Newsweek magazine, NPR, URB and others for debut album of heartfelt ballads by classically trained child prodigy.
“Elizabeth Willis makes powerful grown-woman music in the singer-songwriter tradition, her tunes propelled by dramatic string arrangements and an unmistakable ear for melody. “One” (MP3) is Willis at her mournful best, showcasing her ability to work wonders on heart strings and violin strings alike.” – URB
Newsweek magazine highlights Elizabeth Willis’ self-titled debut album in this week’s issue, alongside recent nods from URB (“Next 1000” pick) and National Public Radio (NPR.com review). Willis, now 21-years-old, began playing violin and piano when she was only 4-years-old. Clearly evidenced by her lush, meticulously structured self-produced album, Willis’ lifetime of training and discipline adds particular sheen to each song’s heartfelt delivery.
From the age at which most of us are still learning the alphabet and basic math, Elizabeth Willis was a prodigal musical talent destined for an impressive career as a classical violinist and pianist. Onward into her teen years, she trained vigorously -- forsaking a social life and the idea of a day off -- with an impressive array of instructors and schools, including Meadowmount School of Music (famed for former student Yo-Yo Ma) and the world-renown Mannes College of Music in New York. And, then she walked away from the classical music world after a lifetime of study and performance.
Driven by her interest in composing pop music works of her own, Willis changed her entire life in order to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter. “I didn’t have a life,” she explains. “I didn’t have a weekend off since I was 5, and I always had an interest in composition. I wrote my first song at 12.” Armed with her immense skill and the knowledge she’d gained, Willis set out writing and recording what would eventually become her self-titled debut album. The 11-song disc is a powerfully emotional and musically lush outing filled with, as you might guess, elegant piano and strings underscoring her deeply moving vocals. Willis’ songs have been compared to legends like Nina Simone, Joan Armatrading, Tracy Chapman and Antony & The Johnsons for both their emotional depth and musical warmth.
Recently, Elizabeth Willis came to the attention of rapper Ludacris, via his WeMix.com web site where musicians post their songs for others to remix and discuss. Ludacris told Rolling Stone magazine about his discovery of Willis’ music from the site, where he searches for talent to sign to his Disturbing Tha Peace label. Willis also recently won the 100% Music Award for “One”, the first single from her album. The songwriter admits that she’d never been a singer and at first had difficulty approaching the material. So, what does an artist accustomed to the finest training in her field do? She enlisted the help of renown vocal coach David Coury (who also trained Leona Lewis) and re-recorded all of her vocal tracks from the album.
“I was at first ambivalent about releasing the album,” she says. “But at the same time it was very cathartic. It’s OK that it’s very personal, because other people can identify with my experience.” Perhaps also influencing her admittedly pensive sound is her longtime love of Russian culture and composers (Willis is currently majoring in Russian Literature at Smith College). “I play generally in the lower minor keys, like Russian pieces,” Willis says. “But I also love Danny Elfman and Phillip Glass.”
Elizabeth Willis was born in Washington D.C., but spent her formative years in St Louis, MO where she started training on piano at 4-years-old, then soon went on to add violin. The violin she played on the album is the same one she had since high school, which was made by a luthier using classical renditions who only crafts three to four instruments per year. At 15, she was accepted to the prestigious Mannes College and moved to New Jersey to study full time. “Even back then I had a couple of songs,” she says. “I wrote ‘Remember You’ when I was really young.” She admits an interest in writing film scores or commissioning an opera and has not fully abandoned the classical music scene in New York. “The classical music scene is just like the punk scene or rock scene,” Willis explains. “People all know each other... but it’s also very competitive.”
To that end, Willis continues to follow the strict discipline of her education; constantly working on new projects and ideas, as well as performing live several times per month with a three piece backing band consisting of drummer Ira Grable, cellist Robin Pfoutz and electric bassist Jenny Hersch.
Elizabeth Willis Tracklisting:
02. In Your Eyes (MP3)
03. One (MP3)
05. (In) Love
06. Don’t Worry
08. Remember You
11. Move On
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Thursday, December 4, 2008
Negativland’s Seeland label to release absurd album The Teen-Pop-Noise Virus by “destroyed” co-ed boy band, Poptastic.
Seeland Records is pleased to present The Teen-Pop-Noise Virus, one of the most absurd albums of all-time by Poptastic. The music, like the band itself, was spawned from the warped minds of experimental producers Chris Fitzpatrick and Thomas Dimuzio. At the core of their debut release are twelve intricately mangled songs, but in the spaces between, there is much more.
Fitzpatrick assembled Poptastic as a coed “boy-band,” conjuring the spirit of Lou Perlman, who manned the helm of the millennial teen-pop wave. Accordingly, Fitzpatrick wrote and performed pop music and enlisted random friends to sing the sappy break-up-to-make-up lyrics he wrote in an imagined teenaged perspective. Once complete, the process had really only begun, and the production team of Dimuzio and Fitzpatrick set out to obsessively destroy the album masters with electronic effects until the music sounded as if a virus had infected the studio. Although the producers suggest the album still vaguely resembles the original, all of the original masters have been destroyed; only the remix remains.
See below for more information about Poptastic’s creators Chris Fitzpatrick and Thomas Dimuzio.
Title: The Teen-Pop-Noise Virus
Label: Seeland Records
01. You Put A Spell On Me
02. Hold Me (MP3)
03. Are You Happy? (MP3)
04. I Think of You
05. The Details
07. Someday Somehow
08. Torn Photo and a Broken Heart
09. I Want This Love To Last
10. Not Coming Back
11. Give You My Love
12. Can I Get Away?
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Monday, December 1, 2008
Young Love Records recording artists Quitzow and Setting Sun offer up new EPs for FREE, launch UK tour.
Download promo copies of the new Quitzow and Setting Sun EPs with one easy click HERE.
Both Quitzow and Setting Sun are currently in the midst of a co-headlining European tour showcasing songs from the new EPs as well as both acts current full-length albums. The two groups share more than a label and tour dates: Quitzow, the namesake of songwriter/singer/multi-instrumentalist Erica Quitzow features Setting Sun songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Gary Levitt alternately adding bass, drums and vocals to its live shows. Likewise, the Levitt-led Setting Sun includes Erica Quitzow on violin and backing vocals.
Along with this kinship, both groups share an open interest in cross-breeding musical forms, merging classical strings (violin and cello especially), folk, chamber pop and hints of early electronic rock. The results are truly refreshing. Setting Sun has been compared to Merge artists The Radar Brothers, Elliott Smith at his darkest and early Nick Drake while Quitzow invites nods like “Solex meets Liz Phair” and “combining the fun of Peaches with the intelligence of Lori Anderson.”
More About Quitzow:
“Oh, words can’t express how much I adore this woman (full name: Erica Quitzow). If you dig Peaches, Le Tigre and early Liz Phair, she’ll be right up your alley. I want to be her roommate.” – USA Today
“Sexy makes its presence with seductive vocals over eerie keyboard sequencing. Quitzow’s latest work is baby-making music for a new generation.” – Remix Magazine
“Upstate New York singer songwriter Erica Quitzow gives her cello and Moog art whimsy a bubbly groove and defiant summer strut.” – SPIN
Animal Nature is the new EP from upstate New York via California songwriter Erica Quitzow. It consists of five songs created while touring in support of her previous full-length release, Art College. The songs were inspired and influenced by live performances and are thus an extension of the project. The songs were brought home as skeletons of samples and drum loops, each originally named after the state in which they were created. Erica added the Quitzow touch, creating a collection of pop tunes and dreamy sounds capes; its dancey digital elements warmed up with an organic analog feel provided by cello, violin, acoustic guitar, live percussion and Moog. Scroll down to continue or click HERE.
More About Setting Sun:
“Children of The Wild, evokes the laid-back simple life of Levitt’s upstate New York home. Driven by simple acoustic guitar lines, graceful string orchestrations, and Levitt’s hushed vocals, Setting Sun’s arrangements are dramatic and poignant.” – NPR’s Second Stage.
The new Setting Sun EP Children of The Remix is an experiment in song, sound and freedom. Beginning with another new catchy tune, “They’re Calling” (MP3), it bops along as it rolls through a cast of characters asked to rise to an occasion, whether it is facing your own fears or taking yourself out of your own comfort zone, this song is their stories. The rest of the EP has songs re-tooled from Children of The Wild. It is further out in a crossbreed of genres, resulting in a crossbreed of folk-electro-synth-singalong-indie-pop. The song “Carry me Away” is freshly recorded in a new meter from its original 6/8 to 4/4. The result is mind opening. The three remaining songs are electro-filled. By messing them up, deconstructing and reconstructing them it gave their creator a great sense of freedom and release. Removing fundamental elements and knob turning the remaining ones to oblivion while adding electronic drums and about a thousand keyboards reveals the fact that know matter how you serve them these are spectacular, well written songs. Scroll down to continue or click HERE.
Quitzow – Animal Nature Tracklisting:
Release Date: November 25th, 2008
01. What Time Is It? (MP3)
03. In The Land of Science
04. New York Haunting
05. Animal Nature
Setting Sun – Children of The Remix Tracklisting:
Release Date: November 25th, 2008
01. They’re Calling (MP3)
02. How Long (Remix)
03. No Devil Me No More (Remix)
04. Carry Me Away (Remix)
05. Not Waste (Remix)
Quitzow & Setting Sun On Tour:
12/02 Castelfidardo, ITALY Soppalco
12/03 Milan, ITALY The Rocket
12/04 Roma, ITALY Traffic
12/05 Bari, ITALY Time Zones
12/06 Pescara, ITALY Mono Festival
12/07 Lucerne, SWITZERLAND Treibhaus
12/09 Luxembourg DGLIG
12/11 Valence, FRANCE Minstral Palace
12/13 Peer, BELGIUM De Wissel
12/14 Brussels, BELGIUM La Filature
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www.fanaticpromotion.com/rosterdetails.php?indexkey=1447 (Setting Sun)
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More About Quitzow (continued):
Animal Nature is the new EP from upstate New York via California songwriter Erica Quitzow. It consists of five songs created while touring in support of her previous full-length release, Art College. The songs were inspired and influenced by live performances and are thus an extension of the project. The songs were brought home as skeletons of samples and drum loops, each originally named after the state in which they were created. Erica added the Quitzow touch, creating a collection of pop tunes and dreamy sounds capes; its dancey digital elements warmed up with an organic analog feel provided by cello, violin, acoustic guitar, live percussion and Moog.
Art College spent eight weeks on the CMJ charts and gained critical acclaim from national publications such as SPIN Magazine. The touring band, which consists of drums, bass, cello, Moog, Korg, and guitar, is a rotating cast of four to five members and continues to tour Art College. Songs from Animal Nature will show up in sets very soon! These new tunes will make their premieres during Quitzow’s European tour.
Animal Nature touches on themes of love, the music industry, spiritual ideology, and escapism. The uncertainty of the music industry and a challenge to “get it started” to the opportunities teasing the project are addressed in the first song, “What Time Is It (MP3),” as well as a more obvious plea to a love interest. Mortality, escapism, and addiction are explored in “Float” and “New York Haunting,” while “In The Land of Science” is an anthem for a Darwinian, materially based belief system. The title track reminds us to notice our animal emotions; fear, comfort, sexuality, and power, amidst the technology and heady culture we live in.
Quitzow hopes you enjoy these new songs and assures you the quirkiness herein is not an affectation, but a genuine extension of her personality. If you have your doubts, consider how relatively new an art form pop music is and thus how natural it seems to attempt to cross into uncharted territory. While a love for nostalgia is appreciated and accepted as occurring spontaneously, Quitzow has no interest in intentionally recreating a sound for its own sake.
Quitzow In The Press:
“Goddamn it I can’t describe it using conventional pigeonholing terminology; it’s just FUN. Do you know what FUN is? Art College is FUN” – Rum-Soaked Review
“Indie-pop crooner Erica Quitzow favors droll arrangements that mash up strings with hip-hop beats. Her mordant wit helps tie the weird mix together.” – Time Out New York
“…her approach to songwriting heavily reflects the collage aesthetic favored that the late-career Beatles.” – New York Press
“An accomplished instrumentalist, sonic collagist, and pop creative. Quitzow could prove to be an imagination to look out for.” – Bitch Magazine
“On her second one-woman band album, singer and multi-instrumentalist Erica Quitzow stakes out a triangulation point between the electroclash aggression of Peaches, the melodic richness and cross-genre fearlessness of the Magnetic Fields, and the disco-classical fusion of the late Arthur Russell.” – allmusic.com
“…throbbing Timbaland-style synth lines. Her greatest asset is her gift for writing strong, simple yet elegant hooks for strings.” – Fluxblog
“While rumbling Moog lines and old school-ish MPC beats fill out the low end, additional keyboards flutter on top, slipping in and out while rallying behind the driving melodies. Oh, and did I mention this is the carefully crafted (or possibly mad scientist influenced) output of a one-woman band?” – CDBABY, Editor’s Pick
“Erica Quitzow rocks the mic like an ethereal hybrid of Jeff Buckley, Siouxsie Sioux, and Toni Halliday.” – San Francisco Bay Guardian
“New York’s Quitzow uses a swill of humor and keyboard-based melodrama to illustrate the superficial and sometimes slaughterhouse rules with which people tend to curse one another. Alternately dreamy and debauched, always smart.” – Independent Weekly, Chapel Hill
More About Setting Sun (continued):
Inspired by great songs with memorable melodies, driving beats and inventive, honest sounds, the songs of Setting Sun are like a complete reinvigoration of a music scene suffering from its own irony, pastiche, and self-dramatization. Don’t let the name fool you — Gary Levitt’s evolving musical project is a motion of rising, a triumphant success that inspires drive, love, and enjoyment, even when it acknowledges life’s dejection.
Setting Sun is the name by which Gary Levitt expresses his current musical vision. Levitt has served a lifetime in music. Since putting his hands on a guitar, Levitt has pursued his subsistence by music alone—no easy task. Traveling and living back and forth on both sides of the country, Levitt has gained a musical education.
Half of Setting Sun is the good songwriting and clever arrangements. The other half is the technical wizardry Levitt has developed as a producer. Working out of various studios, he has worked with many bands and songwriters helping to craft their art. As a sideman he was signed to Virgin Records where he got the experience of recording with platinum producer Nellee Hooper (Bjork, Smashing Pumpkins, Massive Attack). Gary has lived and worked in San Francisco, LA, London and NY.
The third Setting Sun record Children of The Wild (released June, 2008) stayed in the Top 200 CMJ charts for eight weeks and landed many and mostly positive reviews. Its sound is a mix of acoustic instruments (cello, violin, guitar, drums) crossbred with synth and an occasional splash of electronics. Its sound was reported as “organic” and compared to Hunky Dory-era David Bowie, Scott Walker, Elliott Smith, and The Arcade Fire. Many of these songs are still spreading and just starting to catch people’s ears all over the world. They have been featured on NPR, the BBC and are being used for a feature film coming out in 2009.
The new Setting Sun EP Children of The Remix is an experiment in song, sound and freedom. Beginning with another new catchy tune, “They’re Calling” (MP3), it bops along as it rolls through a cast of characters asked to rise to an occasion, whether it is facing your own fears or taking yourself out of your own comfort zone, this song is their stories. The rest of the EP has songs re-tooled from Children of The Wild. It is further out in a crossbreed of genres, resulting in a crossbreed of folk-electro-synth-singalong-indie-pop. The song “Carry me Away” is freshly recorded in a new meter from its original 6/8 to 4/4. The result is mind opening. The three remaining songs are electro-filled. By messing them up, deconstructing and reconstructing them it gave their creator a great sense of freedom and release. Removing fundamental elements and knob turning the remaining ones to oblivion while adding electronic drums and about a thousand keyboards reveals the fact that know matter how you serve them these are spectacular, well written songs.
A veteran of the indie music scene, Levitt started as a member of feverish NY band The Kung-Fu Grip. After four years of relentless touring, they made their way out to San Francisco where they paired down their members to a tightly focused three piece, all providing vocals for their cathartic, shock art sound. Levitt simultaneously formed Heavy Pebble with Erica Quitzow, becoming a hit in the music scene in San Francisco and touring the west coast, playing their quirky pop songs with post-modernist film collage projections to crowded houses and critical acclaim. After various line-up changes and key members leaving, both groups disbanded.
Upon having these long-term projects fall apart leaving Levitt with no material to perform, he decided his next project would be solely his own. Levitt sequestered himself in a friend’s San Francisco apartment with some borrowed gear and “two cheap microphones” to record what was to become Setting Sun’s debut, the appropriately titled Holed Up. Marked by a sense of palpable urgency, the album seamlessly fuses Levitt’s chief references—warm acoustic guitar, melodic counterpoint bent Beatles/Bowie pop, loud/quiet Pixies/Nirvana dynamics—into a catchy and inversely intimate lo-fi blend.
Young Love Records released Holed Up to many positive reviews coinciding with the group touring regularly, performing as a three-piece. Gary also embarked on two separate month-long solo tours, playing every night, often paired with daytime radio and college shows, and sleeping where he could. He eventually settled home and began writing and recording his sophomore CD Math and Magic.
Curious to hear Setting Sun’s potential with outside production assistance, Levitt embarked on the recording of his second album with producer Richard Chiu. With a different approach than the solo explorations of Holed Up, Math and Magic is more polished, produced, and collaborative than its lo-fi experimental predecessor. The intimacy of Holed Up is not lost, but perhaps served on a cleaner plate. Released on Young Love Records in 2005, songs “The Only One” and “Found It By Midnite” can be heard in the short film Paper Jam, which won several awards in the festival circuit including “Best Music”. Setting Sun has been getting increasing attention from the film and television industries. As more people get exposed many find the music to be a natural fit with the moving image.
Setting Sun In The Press:
“Setting Sun uses not only vintage psych and folk-rock as musical touchstones, but the melodramatic likes of Scott Walker and Hunky Dory-era David Bowie. Moods range, with the boyish charm of Levitt’s vocals and the inventive melodicism of his tunes tying the whole thing together.” – All Music Guide
“Here’s another band where I had an impossible time picking one song, since all of them are podcast-worthy. The new album, Children of The Wild has several incredibly well-crafted songs with a vocal that reminds me of Bright Eyes.” – USA Today
“Setting Sun creates an odd atmosphere, probed by twizzling sounds, and the feeling that this is the soundtrack for the aftermath of a crash landing.” – parasitesandsycophants
“These tunes have more hooks than a tackle box.” – Daily Freeman
“Pop with its edgily tense cortege of suspense straining strings.” – Losing Today
“A feeling of loss and longing permeates the music; even songs that may sound happy on the surface are shot through with dark splinters and devastating insights.” – East Bay Express
“On a superficial level, the listener might assume this is an album brimming with morose lyrics, but the songs feel infectiously hopeful without being too sweet.” –Feminist Review
“For this third album to date, Levitt has assembled an impressively wide array of experience to produce a sound that fulfills all expectations that were provided by the potential of his first two albums.” – Obscure Sound
“In the vein of a modern classic like Bright Eyes, Levitt’s unrivaled pop sensibilities make for meticulously crafted songs on both ends of the emotional spectrum. This is definitely an album to own.” – Pop Wreckoning
“There’s a little Bowie in there, and some Elliott Smith, but who cares about comparisons? Setting Sun writes and plays great songs.” – New Times
“It kind of made me feel like I was 15 again and listening to a new Sub Pop band.” – Impact Press
Salme Dahlstrom climbs the Billboard Magazine Dance Chart with “C’mon Y’all” remix by Madonna, Mariah, Diddy treatment team, Klubjumpers.
Salme Dahlstrom’s latest album The Acid Cowgirl Audio Trade is a pop-electronica record filled with singles, the latest being the infectious “C’mon Y’all.” Dahlstrom recently released an EP comprised of eight remixes of the song including one by Klubjumpers that has been steadily climbing the Billboard Magazine Dance Chart over the past several weeks, now lodged at #35. Previous Klubjumpers clients include superstars such as Madonna, Mariah Carey, Diddy, Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears, Lil Wayne and the list goes on. Check out the Klubjumpers remix of ”C’mon Y’all” right now (MP3)!
Dahlstrom’s album and this latest group of remixes are both self-released on Dahlstrom’s own Kontainer Music label, a practice that is quickly becoming the norm as major labels face their self-created end times. Echoing the recent stories of Katy Perry’s (“I Kissed A Girl”) experiences with persevering as an artist and performer after being courted, groomed and dropped by major labels, Dahlstrom has had struggles of her own.
Dahlstrom elaborates saying, “When it came time to put out my album I felt I had to do it independently. My last encounter with the major labels ended badly and I was left in limbo for six months while my label tried to get their shit together. They kept telling me that they really wanted me to stay on and that they would find a new home and I would be their number one priority. After six months of the same song and dance, I told them I was walking. During that half a year, I didn’t write a song, not a single note. I was totally paralyzed by the situation... I felt lost. I never wanted to be in that spot again and decided that it was time to take charge. As I produced some new songs and was talking to major labels about record deals, I was also starting to formulate a plan on how I could do this without them.”
Like Moby did with Play before her, Dahlstrom was able to license every track from The Acid Cowgirl Audio Trade. She explains, “I started getting licensing requests to use the new songs in commercials, movies etc. Pretty quickly I had a little business going. A couple of years earlier this would have constituted selling out, but times had changed and licensing was the future. I never wrote songs with product placement in mind, but it was gratifying to see how well my songs were received by licensing agents and ad agencies, and the fact that they were willing to pay good money to license gave me confidence in that I could write and produce ‘hits.’ By the time I put the album out all songs on the album had been licensed for something.”
The Acid Cowgirl Audio Trade was written and produced solely by Dahlstrom, who also programmed, edited, and mixed the entire album in her studio in New York City. Her songs were recently featured on the new season of The Hills (“Hello California” and “On My Knees”) and Brooke Knows Best (“Hello California”) as well as One Tree Hill and Veronica Mars. The album’s first single, “Superstar Car Crash” (MP3 VIDEO) was featured on the latest season of Big Brother Australia where a whole episode was dedicated to the cast making a music video for it. Her songs have also been featured in various campaigns for Miller Lite, Subaru, Vodafone, Virgin Mobile and others. Be sure to look out for Salme Dahlstrom’s The Acid Cowgirl Audio Trade with its latest single and slew of remixes… Listen today! C’mon y’all!
C’mon Y’all – The Remixes Tracklisting:
Release Date: September 9th, 2008
01. Klubjumpers Extended Mix (MP3)
02. Tribal Injection Low End Mix
03. Dephunk Afterhours Mix
04. DJ Brad Smith Electro Mix (MP3)
05. Mike T Euroboy Mix
06. Bashar Payback Dub
07. Klubjumpers Radio Mix
08. Re-Zone Electro Radio Mix
The Acid Cowgirl Audio Trade Tracklisting:
Release Date: August 19th, 2008
Stream The Album HERE
03. Superstar Car Crash (MP3 VIDEO)
04. C’mon Y’All (MP3)
05. G.L.S. (‘08 Remix)
06. Hello California (MP3)
07. Reality Check
08. Thinking About It... Baby (‘08 Remix)
09. Wearing The Peace
10. Little Helper
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More About Salme Dahlstrom:
“I take music very seriously, but I try not to take myself too seriously. I am here to have a good time. To me music is about entertainment, nothing else.” – Salme Dahlstrom
Self-written and self-produced, Dahlstrom recorded The Acid Cowgirl Audio Trade in her personal studio in New York City where she handled her own programming, editing, mixing and almost all playing on the record. A fan of Fatboy Slim and The Crystal Method, Dahlstrom maintains a similar style while having created entirely her own samples by recording a slew guitar riffs, bass lines, live drums, and vocals, and then cutting them up, re-sampling, filtering and tweaking them to use as the foundation for production.
Born in the countryside of Sweden, Dahlstrom began studying classical music at the age of four. She spent her teenage years writing songs and performing with local bands. Dahlstrom’s professional career began when she signed a publishing deal with EMI. She spent countless hours in the EMI studio learning the craft of producing and experimenting with different genres of music.
Dahlstrom traveled to the US in 1999 where she soon sparked a buzz in the music scene leading the NYC underground band aboyandagirl. With Dahlstrom center stage, an aboyandagirl delivered live music with such passion and energy that within a year of its creation, it was signed to RuffLife/Warner Bros. Records.
Following a fallout with the major label system, Dahlstrom took matters into her own hands with her full-length release of The Acid Cowgirl Audio Trade including the single “Superstar Car Crash” which was featured on the latest season of Big Brother Australia during which an entire episode was dedicated to the cast making a music video for it.
Quotes From The Press:
“The album is a pure adrenaline shot of pumped up beats as vibrant as a high definition rainbow after an electrical storm. It’s a hi-nrg voyage from the shores of Madonna to the temples of Fatboy Slim via the electroclash of Felix Da Housecat.” – The Devil Has The Best Tuna
“Salme Dahlstrom is into electronic pop goodness. Over the top, but never losing her footing, her album The Acid Cowgirl Audio Trade is a good time party album that should be played really fucking loud…” – Here Comes The Flood
“Salme Dahlstrom’s ‘Hello California’ is crystalline, guilty-pleasure pop” – Jon Sobe, blogcritics.org
“The album is slickly stylized, with catchy hooks being the focal point. The music seems to be built up around the hooks as a way to compliment them, rather than stealing the spotlight...” – Snob’s Music
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Heroes of The Dancefloor featuring Scissor Sisters and Pee Wee Ellis sidemen to release new album, Torch.
According to the Coalition for The Homeless, in March 2008 there were 34,638 homeless people living in the Municipal Shelter system in New York of which 14,715 were children. The inspiration for Torch by Heroes of The Dancefloor came from a homeless woman on the street of New York who was about 36 weeks pregnant and who was begging in the rain. She looked completely desperate.
Heroes of The Dancefloor will release Torch and the lead single “Same Scandal” (MP3) on INgrooves the week of Thanksgiving, this Tuesday November 25th. ALL of the proceeds from the sale of Torch will go to two charities working with the homeless in New York: Picture The Homeless (LINK) and Coalition For The Homeless (LINK). NO money will go to the musicians including any mechanicals, royalties or publishing.
Torch features Gary Alesbrook who tours with Kasabian and Scissor Sisters on Trumpet, James Morton on Sax and Dan Moore on Keyboards and Bass (who both tour with former James Brown sideman Pee Wee Ellis), Guitar by Alex Hutchins and Vocals by Mamazu. Mixes and remixes have come from top US DJs such as Nick Chacona and Anthony Mansfield and top US and UK engineers including Adam Noble in the Strongroom, Joe Fields and Sam Dillon in Soho Studios, Doug McBride in Gravity Studios in Chicago, Grammy-award winning Thom Russo in Los Angeles and Grammy-award-winning Mick Glossop in London.
Picture The Homeless is an award winning grass roots organization in New York City that was founded and is led by homeless New Yorkers in 1999. They are the only organization in NYC, and one of the few nationally, that is led by homeless people. Their organizing campaigns focus on changing the structural causes of homelessness as well as making improvements in the delivery of life sustaining services to homeless individuals and families. As a complement to the soup kitchens, shelters and advocacy organizations, it is critical that homeless people themselves have a seat at the table where public policy decisions are made that impact our lives and communities. Picture The Homeless is proud to have been selected for a Harry Chapin Self-Reliance Award. Their motto is Don't Talk About Us, Talk With Us!
The Coalition For The Homeless is the nation's oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women, and children. They believe that affordable housing, sufficient food, and the chance to work for a living wage are fundamental rights in a civilized society. Since 1981, they've fought successfully for lasting solutions to homelessness through our renowned advocacy. They provide housing, food, job training, crisis services and children's programs to over 3,500 New Yorkers each day.
Previously, Heroes of The Dancefloor released its debut album Momentum, the proceeds of which benefited the San Francisco-based organization Coalition On Homelessness (LINK), the sister charity of New York’s Picture The Homeless.
Release Date: Novmber 25th, 2008
01. Ricky (MP3)
02. Same Scandal (MP3)
05. The Knack
08. Show Me
11. Catch 22
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New Media: www.myspace.com/fanaticnewmedia
Monday, November 24, 2008
Canadian director Bruce LaBruce, the man behind such gay-themed, controversial films as Hustler White and The Raspberry Reich recently premiered his latest and most accomplished film to date, Otto; Or Up With Dead People (TRAILER) at NYC’s Museum of Modern Art. Obviously, John Waters was in attendance. The film is a brand new, exceptional addition to the zombie genre the renounces the most obvious clichés, with LaBruce letting his protagonist – gay punk zombie Otto – ramble and roam the streets of Berlin until he finds himself cast for a low budget flick. With a keen eye for style, the director picks and mixes references from classic horror, silent movies and Modernity into a strident, yet poetic film. In this, Otto; Or Up With Dead People continues the tradition of the political pornographer’s previous successes.
While watching the film, music fans will notice more than 50 international tracks and sounds! After careful selection, Berlin-based label Crippled Dick Hot Wax now presents the movie’s official soundtrack (featuring 14 tracks and available on CD or 2XLP), promising to take us on a truly crazy acoustic rollercoaster ride. Despite the artists glaring differences, the result is a surprisingly coherent, compact and homogeneous compilation. Weaving classical, electronic, drone, avant-garde, pop and punk/disco into a well-balanced whole, the soundtrack introduces cinema and music lovers alike to the weirdly wonderful world of Bruce LaBruce.
LaBruce explains, “To capture the tone I wanted for my undead melancholy baby, I started looking at lots of Charles Addams and Edward Gorey cartoons, trying to pinpoint that arch, macabre, and deliciously ghoulish posture. Asking the famous fashion designer Rick Owens to do the costumes was an easy choice: he has that neo-Gothic, doomed romantic sensibility in spades. But for the music I didn’t want to narrow it down to a single sound or style: I wanted something modern and classical, tonal and atonal, traditional and avant-garde, pop and experimental. The only solution was to send out word on MySpace that I was looking for music for a melancholy gay zombie movie. The response was overwhelming. Suddenly I was inundated with hundreds of messages from musicians of all stripes and polka dots, mostly independent, self-produced artists from all over the world with dark and disturbing yet endlessly creative ideas. The variety of music was astonishing, including a vast array of genres: obscuro, experimental, ambient, post-punk, industrial, psychedelic, melodramatic popular, electronica, gothic, emo, indie, avant-garde jazz, metalcore, deathcore, and drone, and various combinations thereof. Tapes, vinyl, and CDs began to flood my apartment, a process that went on for about a year.” Click HERE for the rest of Bruce LaBruce’s story behind the music of Otto!
One musician that does not appear on the Otto soundtrack, but does appear in the film itself is co-star Gio Black Peter who plays the role of Otto’s boyfriend, Rudolph. Gio’s New York and London based band, the Black Peter Group is set to release the It’s F**ked Up! EP (Gulp Communications) on December 22nd, 2008. Co-written and produced by Andrew “Friendly” Kornweibel, It’s F**ked Up! is a cornucopia of sonic delights, taking in influences from electro, rock, punk, rockabilly, country and funk. The EP features the addictive title track (MP3 | VIDEO) and “Goody Two Shoes” (MP3), a cover of the Adam Ant 50’s-inspired rockabilly pop tune, which suits Gio’s distinctive vocal perfectly.
The Black Peter Group has been around the globe in 2008 with its “Flesh Show” tour – see a YouTube short documenting this HERE. From New York’s infamous Ruff Club, Miss Shapes, and Kill Whitey parties to London’s notorious All You Can Eat, Nuke Them All, Trailer Trash and Collapsing New People parties. The Black Peter Group has also shown the kids at the Pop In (Paris), Cabaret Furie (Paris), Torino SUPERM (Italy), Galleri S.E. (Norway), Los Ninos (Belgium) and Suck My Sound (Berlin) events how to party just like they did back in “old” New York City -- a time when NYC was a colorful place covered with beautiful graffiti and every night out was a guaranteed adventure. And it doesn’t stop there. The group has also performed at the Bergan National Academy of the Arts in Norway, Berliniale Film Festival in Berlin, Show Studio in London, the Super Super Fashion Show ‘08 in London and The John Conelly Gallery in New York.
In addition to Gio’s acting and music, the artist is an accomplished painter and philanthropist, as well. Best known for works produced on NYC subway maps (LINK), Gio’s paintings are currently being shown in Norway and Berlin with a show in NYC planned for the near future. Gio also recently had the honor of participating in NOBODY WA S THIRSTY, a collaborative project created by Australian denim label NOBODY and Ivan Kane’s CAFE WA S in association with charity: water (LINK) with the goal of bringing clean water to the children of Africa. At the moment 4,500 children die every day due to the lack of clean water. Each NOBODY WAS S THIRSTY tee-shirt sold gives two African children clean water for 20 years. For more info and/or to purchase a NOBODY WA S THIRSTY tee-shirt, visit www.nobody.com.au.
For additional info about the Black Peter Group, read an in-depth interview with Gio Black Peter at the East Village Boys website HERE. Black Peter Group has been featured in I.D. Magazine, Super Super Magazine, K48 Magazine, Pavement Magazine, Cake Magazine, TETU Magazine, BUTT, and Zoo. Download a full packet of Gio Black Peter press clippings HERE.
Artist: Various Artists
Title: Otto: Or, Up With Dead People Soundtrack
Label: Crippled Dick Hot Wax
Release Date: November 25th, 2008
01. Mikael Karlsson - Descent
02. Jean-Louis Huhta – Halfway Between The World And Death
03. 4th Sign Of The Apocalypse – Ascending The River
04. All My Friends – Theme From All My Friends
05. Pandas Of Black Metal – Kill Your Gods
06. Misty Roses – Mario And Dario
07. The Living Dead Boys – Discohell
08. No Bra – Doherfucker
09. Brittle Stars – On The Cusp Of Infinity
10. Eyes And Teeth – Sonicize
11. Othon with Ernesto Tomasini – Metalipsis
12. La Jovenc – Going Home
13. Ultra Milkmaids + V – Load
14. The Homophones – Everyone’s Dead (MP3)
Artist: Black Peter Group
Title: Its F**cked Up EP
Label: Gulp Communications
Release Date: December 22nd, 2008
01. Goody Two Shoes (MP3)
02. Its F**ked Up (MP3 | VIDEO)
03. Kamakaze Kid
04. Its F**ked Up (12” Version)
05. Its F**ked Up (Humpday Project Remix)
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Former My Favorite leader teams up with daughter of Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson for new EP as The Secret History.
EP to be released by Le Grand Magistery, home of Stars, Momus, PAS/CAL and others. Record release party at Public Assembly in Brooklyn this Thursday night!
Desolation Town, is the debut EP from New York City’s The Secret History to be released by the Le Grand Magistery record label. The Secret History was formed in 2007 by songwriter Michael Grace Jr., best known for acclaimed cult indie pop band My Favorite.
The Secret History also features vocalist Lisa Ronson, daughter of Bowie guitarist, and glam-rock legend Mick Ronson. Le Grand Magistery is a label which has earned it’s reputation as a critics favorite by bringing artists like Stars, Momus, Baxendale and PAS/CAL to American ears for the first time.
The Secret History continues as a vehicle for Grace’s myth and monster laden song writing, which unfolds across cinematic landscapes…part New York in the late 1970s, part Sicily at the turn of the last century, part Nowhere. The sound itself, created by longtime collaborators Darren Amadio on guitar, Todd Karrasik on drums, Gil Abad on bass, and Kurt Brondo on keys, is a kind of continental art rock, combining the rainy jangles of C86, the stomp of glam, the innocence of the girl groups, and the anxiety of disco. Comparisons to Roxy Music, The Patti Smith Group, Felt and The Smiths scratch the surface. The words form the libretto of a mope rock opera, concerning the members of a fictional band called "The Haunted Hearts." Their stories parallel Grace’s own, whose decade long relationship with My Favorite’s vocalist disintegrated in 2001, to be followed shortly after by the disintegration of the band… which had consumed his entire adult life.
Grace first met vocalist Lisa Ronson at an Irish speak-easy in the East Village called ‘The Scratcher,’ with the third verse of Dylan’s “Desolation Row” echoing through the bar (a moment referenced in the title of the EP) She was living in Chinatown, bookkeeping for the Museum of Modern Art when she answered an ad in The Village Voice seeking a “Female Voice/Tragic Cult Figure.” Her dad, Mick Ronson, was the greatest Spider from Mars (and producer on Lou Reed’s Transformer and Morrissey’s Your Arsenal), and that was tragic enough, but it was the voice...and everything desperate just under the surface of it... that convinced the lads. The addition of Erin Dermody, an ethereal young lady in dress, to sing harmonies, completed the new project. A sold out debut at Cakeshop (which Grace dubbed CBTweeB’s) was followed by shows alongside Love Is All, Boyracer, My Teenage Stride, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Dig and others. They also appeared at the legendary 40 Watt Club for the Athens Popfest.
The songs of Michael Grace Jr. have made fans of some of his favorite artists, leading to opening slots with Belle & Sebastian and The Magnetic Fields. Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople fame was seen tapping his foot at a recent performance, and Grace’s song “The Happiest Days of My Life” was chosen by Morrissey himself to be part of his pre-concert music in 2006 alongside his usual list of heroes and fascinations. But perhaps most importantly, his songs are included on mix tapes the world over by indie kids in the know, who wander into a dark, emotional universe that most of the mainstream music press has never glimpsed.
About Desolation Town:
The lead track “It’s Not The End of The World, Jonah” (MP3) presents the shabby end of a hipster ‘belle epoch’ as an allusion laden night at the discothèque, where all memory and desire collapse. Driven by brittle funk and a dramatic trumpet break by frequent Arcade Fire member Kelly Pratt, the song becomes a vehicle for the longing and unease in Ms. Ronson’s voice, alternating in fits and starts. “Our Lady of Pompeii” meanwhile tells a tale of alienation from the perspective of an Iraq War soldier who leaves his girl and his rock n’ roll band behind to find dubious redemption in the dust of Fallujah. The drums and piano lock into a glam rock stomp that shatters the tune, and the protagonist alike. “The Ballad of The Haunted Hearts” somehow marries “Still Ill,” to “Like a Rolling Stone” in a Spector-esque slab of anthem pop. The psychedelic no-wave of “Obelisk,” leads right into the power chord and farfisa swirl of “Mark & John (Bring on The Glitter Kids.)” This live favorite turns The New York Dolls inside out, in a gothic meditation on the death of John Lennon and The New Testament. The ghost of Giorgio Moroder makes an appearance during the middle 8, but God fails to. The EP concludes with “Our Lady of Palermo,” a redemption seeking “lamentation” ballad in the finest 19th century folk tradition. The girls create a haunting harmony over accordion and guitar eulogy... part Gram Parsons, part Cocteau Twins. Grace transplants a depressive youth in Long Island to Palermo, Sicily… the tortured city of his great grandparents. The plaintive concession that “our dreams are wrong,” closes a chapter while opening up the narrative of what’s to come.
The Secret History Live:
11/20 Brooklyn, NY Public Assembly (Record Release Party!)
Artist: The Secret History
Title: Desolation Town EP
Label: Le Grand Magistery
Release Date: November 11th, 2008
Download the Promo Booklet HERE
01. It’s Not The End of The World, Jonah (MP3)
02. Our Lady of Pompeii
03. The Ballad of The Haunted Hearts
04. Obelisk/Mark and John
05. Our Lady of Palermo
Facts about The Secret History:
- This is the new project by songwriter Michael Grace Jr., formerly of acclaimed cult indie pop band My Favorite. Features most of the ex-members of the band, including guitarist Darren Amadio, drummer Todd Karasik, bassist Gil Abad and keyboardist Kurt Brondo
- Features the debut of vocalist Lisa Ronson, daughter of Bowie guitarist and Glam Rock legend Mick Ronson.
- This is the opening chapter of a mope rock opera concerning the fictional band "The Haunted Hearts," which is based in part on the disintegration of Michael Grace’s 12-year relationship with My Favorite singer Andrea Vaughn, and the eventual Fleetwood Mac-ish disintegration of the band.
- The Ziggy Stardust-esque “The Haunted Hearts” rock opera was already half written before daughter of actual Spider From Mars, Lisa Ronson answered an ad in the Village Voice seeking a “Female Vocalist/Tragic Cult Figure.” Destiny was not messed with.
- Michael Grace and his previous band My Favorite have received abundant critical praise in the music press, mentions in American Poetry Foundation blog, opening slots for Belle & Sebastian and The Magnetic Fields, were put on mixed tapes by Morrissey… are minor celebrities in Scandinavia…but remained unknown to most not wearing anoraks to bed. That should change with The Secret History.
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The Secret History In The Press:
“This is music that matters to me. The songs have become requirements; Grace’s obsessions suddenly seem to have become mine. The alien, the girl or boy “differing in nature or character typically to the point of incompatibility,” to quote Webster’s. This band reflects an amalgamation, of sounds and styles while all the while retaining an awareness of the awkwardness of youth. Each single track is better than most bands’ entire album.” – Ink 19
“This pristine, heartbreaking panorama of teenage wastelands past and future is no mope-fest: tight instrumentation and clever lyrics give it a near-lethal bite and snap.” – Gear
“When Belle and Sebastian recently performed in New York, the Scottish popsters specifically requested the presence of one band to open the show. Nope, it wasn’t Hall & Oates, but good guess. It was the Long Island ensemble called My Favorite. It’s really no surprise that Belle and Sebastian would be drawn to the chirpy pop melodies and dark, quixotic lyrics, and titles that could even make Morrissey smile...” – Boston Globe
Their “nostalgia for meaningful things,” which includes black anoraks and synthesized strings, creates enough distance from the music’s initial inspiration to block the pain and allow them to bask in the unmitigated joy of melodies well-delivered.” – RollingStone.com
“Stage noir with silent dialogue that tells you high school is death and pop songs are the afterlife. And beyond this, that pop music is a kind of purgatory truth: There’s no half-allegiances here--you were born to die a teenager. Be a ghost or be boring.” – Twin City Pages
“Poetic themes find their perfect companion in a glorious concoction of arching, melancholy synth lines, arpeggiated ‘80s guitar melodies, and wistful, cooing vocals. A loving tribute to fallen idols...” – The Big Takeover
“Songwriter Michael Grace delivers themes of isolation and alienation matched with upbeat tunes and sweet voices... creating a pleasantly ironic group of songs that suggest dejected suburban dwelling can inspire beauty.” – Boston Weekly
“If you don’t know every lyric to ‘Meat Is Murder’ or never patched a broken heart with ‘Disintegration,’ you’ll likely be mystified by the band’s dreamy teenage anthems. Those of us who fall into this category, however, will find it an blissful journey back into days that were anything but.” – Pitchfork Media
The greatest thing ever written about My Favorite can be found here in the influential music blog “The War Against Silence” HERE.
Monday, November 17, 2008
“Dancethink Music” purveyors My Dear Disco teams up with Grammy-nominated Shiny Toy Guns, The Cure, Tricky knob-turner for new album.
A year and a half after its inception, My Dear Disco has already earned a permanent place in the incredible lineage of bands that have emerged from the Detroit suburb of Ann Arbor’s music scene -- bands like Funktell, Cloud 9, Tally Hall, Nomo, and The Macpodz.
Known for their distinctive, “Dancethink Music,” My Dear Disco’s debut has been met with critical acclaim since it’s release in 2007, described as, “…at once a psychedelic exercise and a grasp at the Top 40,” (CD Reviews.com), “Ultimately the successful delivery of many musical variables, tastes, and influences into one final product ...“ (The Sentinel-Tribune), and displaying influences “…from Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder to Daft Punk and Tom Waits.” (The Battle Creek Enquirer).
With music featuring electrified Irish Bagpipes, and a line-up including a two-time International Acoustic Music Award winning composer, a three-time Ireland’s World Champion instrumentalist, a first place Michigan Idol winning singer, and two first place M-Block Records “New Music on the Block” winning recording artists, My Dear Disco’s live show has been hailed as “…one of the must see acts in Detroit and Ann Arbor.” (The Detroit Fashion Pages).
My Dear Disco’s latest full-length, Dancethink LP, features mixes by Grammy-nominated engineer Mark Saunders and his multi-platinum record generating studio in New York, the same people responsible for the sound of Shiny Toy Guns 2007 Warner Brothers release We Are Pilots, Tricky’s Maxinquaye, David Byrne’s Feelings, and The Cure’s Wish.
On May 15th, 2008 My Dear Disco was named one of the most promising bands in the country by American Eagle’s “New Music Union.” As a result, My Dear Disco was invited to perform at the American Eagle Summer Festival, curated by Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Coming off of a fully-stocked summer schedule -- including BlissFest, Hoxeyville, Dunegrass, Feel Good Festival, The Jazz Aspen Snow Mass, and Nelson Ledges, alongside artists such as Lotus, Moe, Buckethead, and Bela Fleck -- My Dear Disco is in full-flight, following their “Dancethink Music,” wherever it takes them.
My Dear Disco Live:
11/22 Geneva, NY @ Sigma Phi Epsilon
12/04 Buffalo, NY @ Nietzsche's
12/05 Ithaca, NY @ Castaways
12/07 Somerville, MA @ Johnny D's
12/09 Philadelphia, PA @ World Café Live
12/10 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
12/13 South Haven, MI @ Foundry Hall
12/19 Chicago, IL @ Martyrs'
12/26 Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe
12/27 Detroit, MI @ Saint Andrews Hall
12/31 Traverse City, MI @ City Opera House
Quotes From The Press:
“...one of the new ‘it’ bands of Ann Arbor.” – Real Detroit Weekly
“One of Ann Arbor’s hottest bands brings its own signature brand of dance-rock... for yet another night of sweat-soaked, techno-meets-funk, party-all-night grooves that would make even ABBA blush. Seven wild folks on a mission to make Donna Summer proud, oh dear - Disco is back.” – Toledo City Paper
“It’s like sitting next to an electrical storm.” – The Current
“...traversing musical territory thus far unexplored” – The Michigan Daily
“With shreds of Devo, Gloria Gaynor, The Cranberries, and Men At Work, My Dear Disco’s compositions aren’t just for the dance floor. But if you’re looking for exuberant house in the mold of Roger Sanchez, they have you covered.” – The Lansing State Journal
“Brains and Booty.” – The Ann Arbor News
Artist: My Dear Disco
Title: Dancethink LP
Label: Dancethink Records
Release Date: January 13th, 2009
Watch The LP Trailer HERE
01. White Lies (MP3 LIVE)
02. For Your Love
03. My Dear Disco
04. All I Do
06. The Way
07. Madam Eon – Part One
08. Madam Eon – Part Two
09. M.Y.F. (Move Your Feet)
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Band Member Bio Excerpts (follow links for full bios): Tyler Duncan (Synths/Uilleann Pipes/Sax): In 1999 and 2000, Tyler Duncan won the All-Ireland Championship (the World Championships of Irish Music) on the uilleann pipes -- the first American to win the All-Ireland on that instrument. In 2001, he won the All-Ireland on the bodhran -- the first American to win an All-Ireland on that instrument as well. Read full bio HERE.
Theo Katzman (Guitar/Vox): Multi-instrumentalist and singer Theo Katzman was born to the highly acclaimed bebop musician Lee Katzman (former member of the Benny Goodman Band, SuperSax, The Baha Marimba Band, and many more). Read full bio HERE.
Mike Shea (Drums): As a child, Mike Shea’s first passion was Irish dancing. He competed in --and won--numerous local, regional, and national competitions, including the Mid-America Championship, which earned him a place in Ireland’s World Championship competition. Soon after, Mike discovered his true passion in life: Drums. Read full bio HERE.
Michelle Chamuel (Lead Vox): Michelle Chamuel began singing and experimenting with musical instruments at age four. In 2001, Michelle attended Oberlin’s intesive TAMARA Computer Music program -- soon-after, she recorded and self-produced an album of all original music. Read full bio HERE.
Joey Dosik (Keys/Sax/Vox): Joey Dosik is a Saxophonist and Keyboardist with roots in jazz, soul and afrobeat. Growing up in Los Angeles, he began to learn jazz from a wide variety of creative musicians, including members of the Pan Afrikan People’s Arkestra, and the Cal Arts improvised music scene. Read full bio HERE.
Christian Carpenter (Bass): Bassist Christian Carpenter holds a degree from the innovative Jazz & Contemplative Studies program at the University of Michigan, where he studied with Bass legends Robert Hurst, Dianna Gannet, and Marion Hayden. Equally adept on Electric, Fretless, and Upright, Christian has been involved in a number of Musical Theater Productions, Rock Outfits, Jazz Combos, and Folk/Singer-Songwriter groups. Read full bio HERE.
Bob Lester (Guitar/Inventions/Vox): In the spring of 2008, Robert Lester graduated from the University of Michigan School of Music with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performing Arts Technology. Throughout his time at Michigan, he maintained a dedicated focus on performance and instrumental techniques, as well as utilizing the compositional and technological resources that the University of Michigan is known for. Read full bio HERE.