Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Heroes of The Dancefloor featuring Scissor Sisters and Pee Wee Ellis sidemen to release new album, Torch.

All proceeds to benefit homeless organizations in New York City.

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.

Torch Tracklisting:
Release Date: Novmber 25th, 2008
01. Ricky (MP3)
02. Same Scandal (MP3)
03. Sugar
04. Hooky
05. The Knack
06. Nicotine
07. Composure
08. Show Me
09. Saviour
10. Cool
11. Catch 22

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Gay zombie flick by Bruce LaBruce debuts at Museum of Modern Art, spawns equally modern soundtrack.

Gay zombie flick by Bruce LaBruce debuts at Museum of Modern Art, spawns equally modern soundtrack. Co-star Gio Black Peter to release new EP as Black Peter Group this Christmas.

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.

Former My Favorite leader teams up with daughter of Bowie guitarist Mick Ronson for new EP as The Secret History. Comparisons to Roxy Music, The Patti Smith Group, Felt and The Smiths scratch the surface.

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.

“It’s trancy and brilliant and gives me hope for the future of this planet -- all during the first song.” – The Ann Arbor Observer.

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
05. Amsterdam
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.

Waking Lights delivers lush arrangements amid pop tunes about ice cream, Vicodin and sharks on debut EP Songs For Jo.

“With their first folksy EP Songs for Jo, Waking Lights, a six-piece indie rock outfit from northern New Jersey is definitely a band to watch out for.” –The Ticker (Baruch College, The City University of New York)

Waking Lights is a musical convergence of sorts, a band borne of circumstance when singer/songwriter Matthew Maroulakos flew out of Burbank airport for the last time, returning to his hometown on the east coast. He came armed with a little black book containing a whole lot of words. Once at home in Northern New Jersey, Matthew began rehearsing with upright and electric bassist Kyle McCammon, who had just returned from honing his skills at a conservatory in Holland. Their mutual friend, percussionist Dana LaMarca, had stayed local to study classical percussion and new music while the other two were away. With all three members in the same state, they quickly enlisted Tommy Maroulakos on piano/keyboards, cellist/female vocalist Jodi Mozeika, and sultry violinist Nicole Scorsone.

The nascent sextet immediately hit upon a compelling and unique sound that at times could be called an English-language Sigur Ros, at others a more orchestral Smashing Pumpkins (when Billy Corgan was at his ballad-penning best.) The band began performing throughout the tri-state area including such venues as New York's Knitting Factory, Paul Colby’s Bitter End, Maxwell's in Hoboken, and Asbury Park's infamous Stone Pony. Soon the band was touring frequently throughout the east coast.

The band soon joined forces with Kieran Kelly and Lowell Thompson at The Buddy Project in Astoria, Queens (Sufjan Stevens' Illinois and Avalanche) to record the material that they had built up through endless demos and many live performances. After the band felt that they had captured their vision, Kenny Gioia (Bayside, Marcy's Playground, Hall and Oates) mixed the rough tracks and mastering engineer Alan Douches completed the project, which resulted in their independently released debut, Songs For Jo. This six-track EP is an autobiography, set to what some might call an indie/folk rock genre, with eclectic instrumentation, lush arrangements, and yet still maintaining a strong pop sensibility.

Waking Lights Live:
12/02 Montclair, NJ @ Live on WMSC Radio
12/05 Passaic, NJ @ The Loop Lounge
12/06 Teaneck, NJ @ Live on WFDU Radio
12/19 Teaneck, NJ @ Mexicali Live
01/07 Brooklyn, NY @ Public Assembly
02/13 Brooklyn, NY @ Red Star Brooklyn Folk Rock Festival

Songs For Jo Tracklisting:

01. Sharks (MP3)
02. Ice Cream & Vicodin
03. Nothing Here For Me
04. Comfortably Swollen
05. Sweet Virginia
06. Down In The Valley

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The cult surrounding L.A. band Killola rages on -- I Am The Messer already downloaded 30,000 times amid fans tattooing the band’s logo all over.

Get your copy HERE.

“Why these guys aren’t already HUGE stars remains a mystery to me, but we are working on it, aren’t we?” – Dave Navarro

“This DIY band is going places. You'll need to brace yourself for the drool-able Lisa Rieffel, who blazes over Sparks-like tracks like she just gave Gwen Stefani a bloody nose.” – L.A. Weekly

“Teaching quirky ‘80s new wave pop hooks how to stomp glitter-rock-style, I Am The Messer just might pack as many eccentric but indelible melodic and rhythmic twists into its 10 songs as any rock record this year” - Chuck Eddy (Village Voice, Billboard Magazine)

Killola is three boys and one girl, making rock music out of Los Angeles, California. The band’s brand of garage pop (described as “Blondie for the 21st Century” or a derivation thereof by many) enjoys an internet presence that can best be described as ‘cultish’ with 1.5 million MySpace plays from over 80,000 friends, many of whom add the band’s familiar “K))” symbol to their screen names as a show of allegiance. Others go as far as to tattoo themselves with the band’s logo. Don’t believe it? Believe it! See HERE.

The bands says, “We'll often send a random message to people who have the “K))” in their [screen] name and out of nowhere tell them they’re in the top peeps. They get all stoked, it’s pretty sweet. Four kids showed up to our Chicago gig with K)) tattoos, that made our day.”

Obviously, Killola is quickly developing a reputation for bowling over just about everyone its music and live show comes into contact with.

And there’s more!

Since signing a deal with True Anthem, a new digital distribution company specializing in free downloadable albums through strategic brand sponsorships, Killola’s latest album I Am The Messer has notched 30,000 downloads in its first two months of distribution. Grab your copy HERE.

After attending a Killola show in downtown Los Angeles, Killola lead singer Lisa Rieffel was approached by Angela Robinson (executive producer of The L Word) and offered the role of “Daisy”, the lead character in the cult-adored web-series “Girltrash!” Watch all 10 episodes HERE.

Killola self-booked its own UK tour (12 shows in 12 days) and U.S. Tour (27 shows in 32 days) and the band shows no signs of slowing down with another tour of the United States and England lined up for April 2009. The M.O.B. Agency didn’t want to miss out on the fun, so the elite outfit responsible for booking No Doubt and Gwen Stefani, Fountains of Wayne, Joan Jett, Girl In A Coma and others recently signed Killola to their tight roster of touring bands.

Killola has also self-produced and distributed a live DVD/CD (download it HERE), self-produced and distributed two albums and has maintained a steady stream of visibility with vinyl 45s and even a digital USB-album you can wear around your wrist.

And the press already loves Killola, too. See below for some quotes from the media, find out for yourself by downloading your FREE copy of I Am The Messer, get yourself to a Killola show in your town, and drink, drink, drink the Killola-Aid.

Killola Live:
11/22 San Diego, CA @ Bar Pink
01/17 San Diego, CA @ Bar Pink
01/20 Mesa, AZ @ Hollywood Alley
01/21 El Paso, TX @ Uncle Paulie's w/The Action Design
01/22 San Antonio, TX @ Rock Bottom w/The Action Design
01/23 Houston, TX @ Chance's
01/24 Dallas, TX @ Sue Ellen's
01/25 Austin, TX @ Emo's w/ The Action Design
01/29 Long Beach, CA @ Alexs Bar

I Am The Messer Tracklisting:
Full Album Download HERE

01. The Is How The World Ends (MP3)
02. All of My Idols Are Dead
03. Strung Out On Sunshine
04. Is This A Love Song?
05. The Man From Kilimanjaro (interlude)
06. Personal Graveyard
07. Heartrate 160
08. Wa Da We Da
09. You Can’t See Me Because I’m A Stalker
10. 10,000 Pound Ego
11. Who We Think We Are (available with album download only)
12. Cracks In The Armor (available with album download only)

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Killola In The Press:
“For a band who operate out of their garage in Los Angeles, Killola have accomplished more than entire ZIP code’s worth of garage bands...” – Alternative Press

Killola play fast and furious and leave you grinning, sweating and enthralled in equal measure.” – ArtRocker Magazine, UK

“8.5!... Defending the good rep of ‘70s lippy girl new wave...” – Paper Thin Walls

Lisa totally sings rock like a pop idol (as opposed to Avril who sings pop like a rock idol). Why can’t these guys be more famous instead?” – CMJ New Music Monthly

“On the surface, as warm and cuddly as a bra full of puppies... Dig a little deeper, though, and it soon becomes apparent that each bite of the candyfloss is laced with razor wire.” – Classic Rock Magazine

“Having as much 80’s Cali new wave powerquirk pop (not to mention Blondie...) in its genes as tough-chick, post-glam, herky-stomp reminiscent of the great lost French fox-metal band Shakin’ Street.” – Chuck Eddy, MTV URGE

“It has all the right synth flourishes, a new wave stomp, and hooks the size of Jaws - if you can get over the sugar-sweet-pop centre, Then be prepared for the best femme-fronted pop-rock since No Doubt ruled this earth...” – Subba-Cultcha (UK)

Killola is unquestionably a band to keep an eye on.” – Revolt Media

Blondie for the 21st Century... Their album Louder, Louder! is a monster of a debut. Leaving you breathless, charmed and feeling refreshed by the possibilities rock music still holds.” – Kudos Magazine, UK

“Seriously, pick up the new CD. It just gets cooler during every listen.” – Mish Mash Magazine

“The quartet writes ballsy rock songs, more fun than a good one night stand – sexy and thumping stuff.” – Las Vegas City Life

“A rock and roll legend continues...” – Sugarbuzz Magazine

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Luke Jackson merges Swedish pop with the arrangements of Nick Drake, Elvis Costello, Elton John collaborator Robert Kirby on ...And Then Some.

In the Spring of 2006, a seven-year email correspondence culminated in the meeting of Luke Jackson and Magnus Börjeson.

Luke had long been a devoted fan of two of the Swedish musician’s former bands: Beagle and Favorita, and the two songwriters finally met in Paris where Magnus was mid-tour playing in The Cardigans. By the end of the weekend they were old friends and Luke had accepted an invitation to Sweden for the upcoming Midsummer holiday, the focal weekend of the Swedish Summer. These celebrations were taking place in the countryside outside Malmö, at the Aerosol Grey Machine – the stunning, all-analogue recording studio of Christoffer Lundquist, producer and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire, former member of Roxette and founding member of Brainpool, yet another of Luke’s favourite bands.

The Midsummer weekend was a magical time filled with wonderful people, beautiful weather, great music, fantastic food and free-flowing booze of the highest quality. As Luke boarded his flight back to London in a Schnapps-induced fog, he considered the invitation to “come back and record any time”. It had been six years since the release of his self-produced second album Momentum, and Luke knew that the songs currently springing from his right hemisphere were the best he’d ever written.

“Why NOT make an album with my favourite musicians on the planet?” he mused. And so Luke returned to Sweden in January 2008 and set to work in the studio with Magnus on bass and Christoffer’s Brainpool bandmate Jens Jansson on drums. The four musicians worked quickly and spontaneously to capture half a dozen songs, including “Come Tomorrow” (MP3) which Luke had begun writing the day before leaving for Sweden. Luke returned to London buzzing with excitement. Not one to manifest small, he sent the rough mixes of the songs to renowned London-based string arranger Robert Kirby (who has orchestrated celebrated works by Nick Drake, Elvis Costello, and Elton John and many others). To Luke’s delight and surprise, Kirby loved the songs and offered to write orchestrations for the album and accompany Luke to Sweden to conduct the necessary recording sessions with nine players from Malmö’s Opera Orchestra.

Luke had managed to bring together two of his most beloved musical worlds: the pop sensibilities of his friends in Sweden, and the distinctive eloquence of Kirby’s arrangements. It is the collision of these two worlds which makes ...And Then Some so compelling. Densely layered guitars and vocal harmonies fuse with sweeping string lines, none of which ever draw the ear too far from what lies at the heart of Luke’s music...gorgeous, expressive, unpretentious songs born of the trials and tribulations of a life lived to the fullest.

Artist: Luke Jackson
Title: ...And Then Some
Label: Popsicle Recordings
Release Date: November 4th, 2008
Stream The Album: HERE

01. Come Tomorrow (MP3 VIDEO)
02. This Life
03. Trouble
04. Goodbye London
05. A Little Voice
06. Half A World Away
07. All I Can Do
08. 1970s Kids TV Show Theme
09. Longest Day
10. The Fear

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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jessie Kilguss takes major creative leap evoking Joni Mitchell, Marianne Faithfull and Laurie Anderson on upcoming sophomore disc Nocturnal Drifter.

Infectious lead single “A Little Place Behind My Eyes” available for download now.

Jessie Kilguss is a singer, not an actress -- it’s worth getting that straight up front. With lines as cinematic as “Mesmerized by city streets, you crept your way under my sheets.” (“Americana”), one might just be led to believe that this chanteuse who displays bedroom eyes for your ears has had some training. Truth be told, we now realize that a sincerely sung song and a soulful piece of theater are merely great examples of great art. Jessie’s known this all along, and what with Scarlett and Zooey now making records, this fact is all the more understood.

“I consider all of the arts to be interconnected and think there is fluidity in the boundaries between them,” Jessie explains. “Many of my favorite singers started out in some other artistic discipline; Joni Mitchell with painting, Leonard Cohen as a scholar/poet, David Bowie as an actor...”

Jessie’s first acting job was as one of the “afflicted girls” in Nicholas Hytner’s screen adaptation of the Arthur Miller classic The Crucible starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder. Later, Jessie had the life changing experience that sealed her fate as a singer when she appeared on London and Sydney stages with another actor and singer, Marianne Faithfull. It was during this production that Jessie realized that she wanted to be in charge of her creativity in a way that playing the same role for six months or more simply couldn’t provide.

So, the cats out of the bag. Before launching her career in music, Jessie worked as a classically trained actress who honed her acting skills at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and the prestigious Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Now, Jessie brings her background in drama to bear on her latest record Nocturnal Drifter - the follow-up to her 2007 debut Exotic Bird - merging her new found gift for songwriting into a sound and musical persona that easily arrests.

Helping Jessie keep the flow is gold record award winning production team Super Buddha (Blondie, Rufus Wainright). The super duo of Charlie Nieland and Barb Morrison was first introduced to Jessie by actress Jennifer Jason Leigh and after meeting Jessie, quickly issued a challenge. Neiland explains, “We sent her home late one night with a moody track. She arrived the next session with the tremendous ‘Lord Lucan’ completely written. It was her first song and it was amazing.”

One song soon became an album and more importantly an ongoing musical partnership that continues to impress. Kilguss’ growth since Exotic Bird is immeasurable. She and her collaborators evoke mood, menace and memory throughout as track to track, Jessie’s pure, luminous voice becomes something familiar and memorable itself.

“There’s a little place behind my eyes where I’m tired, but otherwise I’m doing OK,” Kilguss sings on Nocturnal Drifter’s first single “A Little Place Behind My Eyes,” (MP3) a playful, humorous number with an infectious spiraling melody and a drop dead electro-funk beat. It’s just one of many attention-grabbing moments on an album where Jessie gets to fully claim and guide her creativity again.

Reveling in newfound freedom doesn’t mean that Jessie has completely abandoned the stage. She’s recently been showcasing her new tunes around NYC in various intimate venues with her band The Steves featuring Wayne Batchelor on bass, Rich Hinman on guitar, Rob Heath on drums and Dan Siegler on keyboards. This crack group of musicians expertly brings Jessie’s songs to life in the live setting, creating an appointed and luxurious bed for her vocals to lie in. The show is another important accomplishment in a series of impressive creative leaps for Jessie.

Jessie Kilguss is in the midst of a ferocious creative development,” continues Super Buddha’s Nieland. “I see a great artist coming quite quickly into her own.” I feel she’s on the brink of something big and I can’t wait to see what it is.”

Nieland’s producer partner Morrison sums Jessie up succinctly, saying “[She] sounds like all the coolest music in your collection wrapped into one thing.”

This is high praise coming from a pair of accomplished record producers, but ordinary folks know Jessie’s a singer, not an actress, too. Jessie muses, “I recently saw an old friend who said ‘I always knew you were going to be a songwriter and I was wondering when you were going to figure it out.’“ She has.

Jessie Kilguss’ sophomore full-length album Nocturnal Drifter will be released on January 8th, 2009. The singer currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with her dog Mr. Walter Peanuts and after a few glasses of wine, will explain how her ex-boyfriend was arrested for floating a homemade revolutionary war era submarine too close to the QE2.

Jessie Kilguss & The Steves Live:
11/18/08 New York, NY Arlene’s Grocery (w/ Freddie Stevenson)

Nocturnal Drifter Tracklisting:
Release Date: Jan. 9th, 2009

01. Gristmill
02. Americana
03. A Little Place Behind My Eyes (MP3)
04. Time On My Hands
05. I Don’t Need People
06. This Time
07. 31
08. Marie Antoinette Song
09. Something About Lonely
10. Strangers On A Train

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Monday, November 3, 2008

Lyon, France’s Francois Virot captivates with his debut album Yes Or No, a quirky folk record destined for many year-end top ten lists.

François Virot is a rare bird, who belongs to that endangered kind of musicians that are so devoted to their art that they never care to spend some time at home.

You may not know it yet, but in the last few years, this hyperactive musician originating from the city of Lyon (he also plays the drums with his brother Charles in the ballistic noise pop trio Clara Clara) spent more time on the road than your three favorite bands put together… And together with the zillions of Clara Clara records, our boy found the time to fiddle, record and wrap up no less than 17839 demo CDs to sell at the back of the basements and spacey flats he played in.

This first album of his is thus less an introductory attempt than a solid gold sum, that of years, weeks, months, years of adorable activism. Actually, François began to play the guitar when he was seven, in 1991, because he wanted to impersonate Kurt Cobain, Prong and, well, Bryan Adams, and is somewhat akin to those miracle kids of that internet generation who have heard it and tried it all and already look like sages at the age of 20. Try him: he was into Jesus Lizard, The Melvins, Sonic Youth at the age of 9 – “but I didn’t like Sonic Youth that much”, he says; first punk crust band, Les Casseroles Brûlées (that translates as “The Burnt Saucepans”, no kidding), The Ex “who have changed my life”, at 12; then, a few years later, “ a little bit of everything, like everyone”.

So you can tell, Yes Or No may be his first official album alright, that kid is no newcomer. In a nutshell, then: it’s the record of a sage, recorded by a kid. Achieved with no superfluous addition of anything: one guitar, sometimes two, one voice, sometimes two, or three, plus an acoustic rain of hands on wood, bits and pieces of percussions. Or else, a beautiful suppressed anger against whatever, overflowing with generosity, acoustic guitar strings assaulted with no second thought whatsoever, escalating songs, funk to the core, rageously melodic, that never fears total exposure, be in it full sun or a car’s headlights in your eyes, yet without ever overplaying the feelings.

What does François Virot’s pulsing heart look like, you’re wondering? Depending on the moments, what you will hear in this programmatic Yes Or No is: an either melancholic / or joyous folksy rout, a fake grand reunion recorded onto tape in total solitude, moments of mingled Pavement-esque and Beatles-y descent, and that same brio that you like to hear in Animal Collective (we’ll be frank with you: you will think of Animal Collective from time to time, François does like to strum his guitar like it was a percussion, and play in dark, savage forests). Eventually, you will hear a voice, that is both singular and precious. People who were lucky enough to see and hear François consume himself on stage, at the back of a basement or a spacey flat, know it too too well : François needs to wince in order to hoot; yet his chanting never sound like groans; from deep down in his throat, his voice, that is gently saturated with matter, likes nothing more than to settle in your ear and levitate, harangue it without assaulting it.

You either love it or conjecture about the fact that you may hate it, then you end up loving it anyway. So, oui ou non, Yes Or No could very well become your favorite record this year. We’ll let you check the right check box, right?

Yes Or No Tracklisting:

01. Not The One (MP3)
02. Dummies
03. Island
04. Casscade Kisses
05. Say Fiesta
06. Young Sand
07. Where O
08. I Wish I Had You
09. Fish Boy
10. Yes Sun

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