Monday, December 31, 2007

2007: Looking back at the first year of the "People with Animal Heads" project

As of today, it has almost been a year since I began the project known as "People with Animal Heads."
Looking back on this time, I have learned an incredible amount about the underground Midwestern music scene going on.
I have interviewed countless bands, written a ton of articles on different perspectives and added in a significant amount of bullshit about certain aspects of "scenes" that piss me off.
But I am continually surprised by the amount of talented bands making music RIGHT NOW in the Midwest. This is talent that deserves more attention than it is currently being given, on a national scope.
The biggest surprise for me was that Cleveland not only has a thriving music scene, but some of the bands even responded to me for interviews! That was a major breakthrough, seeing as how I previously thought it was a deserted wasteland.
I have also learned about great bands trying to be heard, from Indiana to Michigan to Illinois to Ohio to Kentucky to Pennsylvania. A lot was accomplished in the past 12 months.
The biggest news of the year was the lo-fi resurgence going on in Columbus via Times New Viking signing to Matador. You also had your Psychedelic Horseshit, The Dolby Fuckers, etc. etc.
Unfortunately, Columbus has always been a town that religiously reinvents itself every three years. From punk to swing, to modern cheese rock to indie pop and back to punk again. I don't expect the lo-fi thing to last long. Most of these bands will break up within a year. Times New Viking will probably stick it out the longest. I see the beginnings of a national scene brewing, with similar minded groups like No Age in California.
But ultimately, you have to remember that this new lo-fi scene is a trend. Historically, it can be dangerous to lean on this too much. I will always be a fan of a band that focuses more on song-writing and substance, other than style. There is also the lemming backlash, after too many bands try to morph their sounds in order to fit in. The popularity of Arcade Fire is a great example of this, such as the Interpol thing the year before.
Hopefully, people who have read this site and have followed the project are learning something about the Midwestern music scene. I know I have.
There are too many bands who refuse to leave their comfort zones. Too many bands that never leave town. Some scenes really suffer because of it. I think Columbus is the worst offender. I'd also lump Athens, Cleveland, and Pennsylvania into that category. Indiana bands get out of town more, it's just that there's not so many of them. Same with Detroit.
The year has also seen a tremendous vacuum across the Midwest as bars closed. From Little Brothers in Columbus to Akron's Lime Spider to numerous others across Cincinnati and Dayton. It made booking shows for bands much more difficult.
As I go into 2008, my plans will naturally morph a bit. I will continue to keep up to date on the musical sounds coming out of every state in the Midwest. But I also plan on doing more research in New York, Nashville and LA regarding why the Midwest is so often ignored in the great big picture.
I have some new ideas and I will get started on those soon.
Hopefully, the more people who hear about this site, the easier it will be to get some bands to email me back and help with this project.
Spread the word about PWAH in 2008!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Midwestern Roundup!

• Story in the New York Post by writer David Landsel who counted his trip to Columbus among "five of the most memorable trips I took" in 2007. See the article HERE.
• Check out a new Cincinnati video site called Soft City Lights, currently featuring Bad Veins. I am still coming to terms with the amount of hype the band is getting, but I digress.
The site is run by Kevin Bayer, and after I saw the video he did, I decided I had to write something on here because he did such a great job. This is not some shaky amateur video footage shot on a digital camera. This is well-made, well-thought out and incredibly thorough. Any band featured on Soft City Lights should be grateful.
I really look forward to seeing other band profiles from this site. I'll be sure to post links to it next time I see it's updated.
• Chicago Tribune writer Greg Kot chose his "Chicagoan of the Year in Music" as Thrill Jockey record label found Bettina Richards. Here is the full article.
• Here's some good news I just found out about in Toledo. Not only did Frankies open back up in 2007, but 2008 will see the opening of Main Street too. These are two bars that used to work in conjunction together, back the in 1990s. Patrons would often go from bar to bar all night - sort of like how Oregon Express and The Nite Owl co-exist. Except on a much larger level. This could be good for Toledo, unless they just fill Main Street with a bunch of cheesy cover bands, which is what it sort of turned into before it closed.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Political tidbits

I'm not sure why, but I sure am going into 2008 pissed off. Even my focus on Midwestern music lately is decidedly more terse.
I think it all comes down to not wanting to see history constantly repeat itself, then witnessing it happen over and over again.

So that leads me to make another post about politics. We're finally at the ending cycles of Bush's term and that makes me happy, despite some rather lame presidential choices.

But then I read that in 2008 Bush plans to focus on worldwide relations. He wants to improve the way the USA is perceived.
Now, let's just ignore the hypocrisy of this, and the fact that people liked us a lot before Bush and now most countries think we're a blemish on the earth.
Somehow I doubt Bush is honestly planning on being Mr. Smiley Face. Seeing as how I don't trust our president anymore than I would trust a child in a room full of candy, I have deduced the real reason for his Mr. Personality Tour:
The fucker just wants to have a tax-payer paid trip around the world before the county kicks him to the curb. The asshole will spend the next remaining months of his presidency having foreign dignitaries throw elaborate parties for him, fanciful dinners, served by the lowly. I imagine the next year will be not unlike that scene in Indiana Jones, where all the people sit around the table cracking open monkey skulls in order to eat brains.
Hope you enjoy paying taxes. Because Bush is making damn sure every cent is going to his war and his upcoming trips. The fucker has vetoed a popular bill TWICE, which would have helped poor children receive health care. But we have to pay for him to go to Phuket and eat lobster on the beach.
Meanwhile in Ohio, Strickland and Brunner are trying to get the faulty voting machines replaced before the next election. Test after test have shown that they can easily be hacked into. And Strickland has said many times that he honestly believes there are security issues with the machines.
But all the Ohio Republicans are dragging their feet and whining about it. I wonder why.
Thankfully, Brunner has the power to force them to replace the machines.
Now, let's just see if they do it.
Politicians, democrat or republican, actually getting shit done is not something I see very often.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Midwestern Roundup!

• I tried to post some "Top 2007" local bands from around the midwest, then quickly realized that barely any papers actually do this. I saw a few, from the better critics. But there were not enough to do a whole "Midwest" post. Are you kidding me, people?
But you can bet your ass that there are 300 different top 10 lists in the newspapers and blogs talking about Radiohead.
I hope that in 2008 more music journalists start realizing that reporting about your own town can be more interesting than reporting about the same five national bands that people can read about in every goddam publication from here to the end of the earth. Let's try to branch out next year, shall we? Who gives a shit about Kanye West? He's paid a butt-load of money to make rubbish. Can we have more about bands that work their asses off to make music? I'd like to see more respect paid to actual bands, who are out there hitting the pavement, dying to be heard - yet end up being completely ignored every year, so some writer can talk about how much they paid for the Radiohead CD. Fuck that.
• That said, Cincinnati's City Beat asked local musicians to weigh in on their favorite moments of 2007, and other stuff HERE I thought that was the most interesting take I've seen on the Year End List.
• On Sunday it went from 58 degrees outside to 28. Someone please remind me why we all live in the Midwest?
• I guess Lou Reed lives in Chicago? (If he doesn't, please someone let me know). If he does, that means I can start writing about him. Which leads me to tell you, as most of you already know, that he will be the keynote speaker for SXSW.
• Columbus/Cincy band Paper Airplane recently wrapped up it's John Lennon tour at Oregon Express Saturday. If you missed it, it looks like it was the last time they are going to be doing it. Here's an unrelated link to a recent interview with the band conducted by the Columbus Dispatch HERE
• The Rock Potluck I wrote about before, was rescheduled for Jan. 12 in Columbus, same location.
• Pat Radio's recent show featured (Columbus) The Lab Rats. Check out the show link to the right. I don't know if I mentioned it yet, but Pat Radio can now be heard on regular radio too.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I've been meaning to post about this old news:
Bob Pollard has teamed up with Quasi's Sam Coomes and the Decemberists drummer (two out of three ain't bad) for a new release. This could quite feasibly be Hot Shit! Pardon the pun.
I give you The Takeovers.

Check it out via Pitchfork Media HERE

(Actually, the more I listen to the songs, it just sounds like previous GBV stuff. I was hoping it'd be more of a collaboration. Nope.)

Kot's Top 10 Chicago indie bands

Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot, weighs in on his Chicago 10: Top local indie releases of '07

At the end of each year, this column enumerates 10 reasons why Chicago's independent music scene is second to none. Several of these artists will be playing in the next few weeks (consult individual entries for details). Here are the Chicago 10 for 2007:
1.The 1900s, “Cold & Kind” (Parasol): With its sumptuous arrangements, outfitted with horns and strings, and soaring harmony vocals, the debut album by this Chicago septet is even better than its fine 2006 EP, “Plume Delivery.” The arrangements aim for rapture, even as the lyrics wrestle with the big questions. “Acultiplantar Dude” is the song I can’t get enough of: It builds to an exultant rush, even as the lyrics break your heart (with Office and Narrator, Friday at Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., $10; 773-549-4140).
2. Cool Kids and Kid Sister on Even though these two hip-hop upstarts aren’t scheduled to release debut albums until next year, they’ve already made a huge splash with a series of terrific songs on their respective myspace pages. Cool Kids’ proudly retro “88” rocked the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas, and led to a scintillating performance at the Pitchfork Festival last summer ( Kid Sister’s sassy “Pro Nails” got so much buzz that Kanye West included it on his summer mix tape, and then contributed a verse to the video.
3. Miss Alex White and the Red Orchestra, “Space & Time” (In the Red Records): Barely in her twenties, White is already a longtime fixture on the underground circuit with her phenomenal frizzed-out red hair and high-energy garage-rock. If there’s a gripe, it’s that “Space & Time” sounds like it was recorded through cardboard tubing in an aircraft hanger. No matter. The performances vibrate: White sings like she’s demanding to be released from prison, and the choruses pound down the mountainside like two-ton boulders.
4. Effigies, “Reside” (Criminal I.Q. Records): After 21 years, the first great Chicago punk band returns with an album every bit as good as the music it released during its early ‘80s heyday. If anything, there’s even more bite in John Kezdy’s lyrics as he faces up to middle age, while the guitar-bass-drums interplay remains as combustible as ever. Who says there are no great second acts in rock?
5. Powerhouse Sound, “Oslo/Chicago: Breaks” (Atavistic): Ken Vandermark is among the busiest musicians in Chicago, no small feat for a city that upholds a roll-up-the-sleeves work ethic. “Oslo/Chicago” is one of about a dozen 2007 releases that feature his work, and it’s notable for presenting the recording debut of Vandermark’s bicontinental band, which blends reggae, punk and fusion-era funk-jazz with delirious results. The inspired work of guitarist Jeff Parker on the Chicago disc is alone worth the investment (Vandermark/Tim Daisy duo Wednesday at the Hideout, 1354 W. Waubansia, 773-227-4433).
6. Frisbie, “New Debut” (Appendix): After nearly fracturing under the weight of health issues that eventually forced their longtime drummer to depart the band, the quintet returns with another set of tart pop songs that lives up to the promise of its excellent 2000 debut, “The Subversive Sounds of Love.” Seven years is a long time between albums, but the band’s ability to process their anxiety through soaring harmonies and gilded melodies has only been heightened.
7. Minsk, “The Ritual Fires of Abandonment” (Relapse); Yakuza, “Transmutations” (Prosthetic): Two brands of heaviness, Chicago style. Minsk’s tribal repetition and psychedelic swirl hit like a cyclone, and Yakuza’s blend of saxophone, world-music texture and drill-press power puts the quartet in the forefront of metal innovators. One of the year’s highlights was seeing Yakuza saxophonist Bruce Lamont jamming with Minsk at the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas.
8. Robbie Fulks, “Revenge!” (Yep Roc): Wiseguys don’t come much more astute than Fulks, whose humor sometimes masks his smart songwriting and agile mastery of country, bluegrass and roots rock. This double-CD is split into full-band and acoustic halves, perhaps the best introduction yet to Fulks’ world (Friday at Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Av., $10, 773-276-3600; Dec. 30 at FitzGeralds, 6615 Roosevelt Rd., Berwyn, $12; 708-788-2118).
9. The Sea and Cake, “Everybody” (Thrill Jockey): Over a decade, this quartet has been making sly pop records that draw on African and Brazilian influences. The band’s seventh album is one of its least fussy, with instantly engaging melodies that hum along on the guitar interplay between Sam Prekop and Archer Prewitt.
10. David Singer, “East of the Fault Line” (The Sweet Science Records): The singer’s fourth solo album is a chamber-pop gem, brimming with shapely melodies and sharply turned lyrics (Jan. 25 at Martyrs, 3855 N. Lincoln Av, $10; 773-404-9494).

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I have been a bit tied up, as of late.
I hate writing about not posting, but there you go.

Just an update on some things. That Columbus Potluck thing I wrote about below was postponed due to weather.
I may not have written anything lately, but I have been talking with some bands about stuff I plan to write about in time. I also had a nice discussion with a music critic about his views on Midwest music, as someone who knows mostly about east and west coast music scenes. It's interesting to me to learn about how The Midwest is perceived nationally. I hope to expand on that.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pat Radio/Columbus Rock Potluck 2007

This is a good time to bring your attention back to a little Internet radio site called Pat Radio. Run by smooth-voiced Pat Leonard, he has been conducting the single-best podcast for getting to know current underground Ohio bands.
This week's episode features New Dark Ages contributor Bob Miller, who I featured once regarding his now-defunct band Beard of Stars.
The reason I wanted to point out his site again is because an event called the 2007 Rock Potluck will be going on Saturday In Columbus, mirroring an event which originated in Texas. You get a crapload of individual musicians who make up the current city music scene. Mix them all up, divide them into random groups, who them invent a new band.
Their mission: Write one song together in a couple hours, then perform that song at a show later that night. A total of 40 musicians will form 8 new bands for the day.
It will be held Saturday 12/15 at the Milo Arts Building on the east side of Columbus. The night starts at 7 p.m. and everyone is invited to bring food - it's a Potluck, after all! Bands start performing at 9 p.m.

2007 Rock Potluck performers:
Russian Aleks (The Feelers)
Carlos Avendano (Flotation Walls)
Laura B. (Night of Pleasure)
Gary Brownsteen (Guinea Worms)
Brett Burleson (The Tough and Lovely)
Justin Crooks (Earwig)
Jerry Dannemiller (Moviola)
Bo Davis (Necropolis)
Joshua Draher (The Razers)
Jeff Fernengel (Tree of Snakes)
Kate Folmar (The Black Canary)
Phil Francis (The Proper Nouns)
Sean Gardner (Melty Melty)
Antonio Garza (Paper Airplane)
Billy Heingartner (The Bygones)
Brett Helling (The Cabdrivers)
Ron House (Thomas Jefferson Slave Apts.)
Leslie Jankowski (Church of the Red Museum)
Betty Jelly (The Jellyhearts)
Danielle Kelly (Rosehips)
Jimmy Lavery (The Lindsay)
Chris Lutzko (The Unholy 2)
Mark Miller (Mercury Road)
Matt Minor (Teeth of the Hydra)
Tim O'Dell (Mors Ontologica)
John Olexovitch (The Lindsay)
Phillip Park (You're So Bossy)
Lou Poster (Grafton)
Justin Riley (Super Desserts)
Donnie Roberts (Yuck Falls)
Donovan Roth (Bob City)
Tom Schmidt (The Lindsay)
Eve Searls (Bird & Flower)
Bobby Silver (Brainbow)
Zachery Allan Starkey (Zachery Allan Starkey)
Shane Sweeney (Two Cow Garage)
Zac Szymusiak (The Dolby Fuckers)
Matt Wagner (Earwig)
Dustin White (The Moon and Badtimes)

Here are some other past podcasts on Pat Radio:
Program #97, Rock Potluck
Bob Miller guests this time to tell us about the upcoming Rock Potluck 2007. We hear from 15 of the 36 local bands who are contributing members to the potluck. More details and a list of who will be in which band can be had at A complete playlist with a link to download the show is here.
Program #96, Sarah Asher
Sarah Asher recently stopped by and played five songs and chatted for a spell. The results can be heard in this podcast installment. Her latest Tract Records ( release is called So This is Love. We also hear from fellow Tract artists Two Times The Trauma and Everything is Fine. The program begins with a set of classic Columbus pop from Old 3C records ( A full playlist and a link to download the show is right here, kid.
Program #95, Justin and Sarah of Terribly Empty Pockets
Justin and Sarah of the band Terribly Empty Pockets take a break from recording to pick some songs and chat. We hear from pat radio favorites Jordan O'Jordan, the Proper Nouns, Necropolis and the Lindsay, as well as Tree of Snakes, The Black Canary, and Jay Harmon. The entire playlist is here along with a link to download the show, and you can stream it here.
Program #94, Megan Palmer
Megan Palmer brought her guitar over and played five new songs from her soon-to-be released second cd Take You Away. We also hear from folks who will be playing with Megan at her cd release shows, including Church of the Red Museum, Joe Kile, Miss Molly, and Luther Wright. Read more and find links to download here.
Program #93, Paper Airplane, All Hail Records
A big tip of the chimp headphones to Jon Fintel of Relay Recording ( for recording and mixing Paper Airplane for this edition of pat radio. It sounds great. Paper Airplane is having a cd release party this weekend, and they play a few songs live and talk about the long trek toward the release of Middlemarch, their first full-length cd. We also hear from other All Hail Records bands Take No Damage, Speak Easy, The Electric Grandmother, Masters of Luxury, and Country Death. Stream the show here (Scroll down to program 93). A complete playlist is here, plus further directions on downloading the show and subscribing to the podcast.
Program #92, Chris deVille and John Ross from the Columbus Alive
Music critics and veteran podcasters Chris deVille and John Ross of the Columbus Alive show me how it's done this week. They play some of their favorite local music, including The Kyle Sowashes, Walter Rocktight, The Whiles, Greenlawn Abbey, and Maggie Green. A complete playlist is here, along with a link to download the show without all this podcast feed poo.
Program #91, Bird and Flower, Jerry DeCicca in-studio
This program features three songs a piece from Eve Searls, a.k.a. Bird and Flower and Jerry DeCicca of The Black Swans, recorded live in the not-so-state-of-the-art pat radio studio.
Remember Thomas from program #88? I play a song from his project, THEATH, plus a number of other Tract Records releases. There's a healthy dose of Columbus indie pop also, from The Cabdrivers, The Proper Nouns, Phantods, and The PolyAtomic. A complete playlist and details on how to download the show are here. You can stream the show here.
Program #90, Merit Badge Records
Ash and Matt of Merit Badge Records join me for this show. They are also in the band The Hot Damn. They discuss work on an upcoming The Hot Damn album and the beginnings of their record label, and they play some great local music from the likes of This is My Suitcase, The Cabdrivers, Gretchen King, Melty Melty, I've Got A Ghost, and Darynyck.
We also hear again from Grafton, Cheater Slicks, Rosehips and Sarah Asher. A complete playlist and details on how to download the show are here. You can stream the show here.

Viking and Yo La Tengo

I guess Columbus-based Times New Viking opened the last of eight Yo La Tengo "Hanukkah" shows at Maxwell's in Hoboken last night (Dec 11).
Their friendship with the band must still be intact. What a beautiful holiday heart-tugger.
Brooklyn Vegan has some commentary on it and numerous pictures HERE.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Each Note update

I was going to point out that you should check out a link to Each Note Secure, in order to see how WOXY recently had Cincinnati bands The Lions Rampant, Eat Sugar, The Pomegranates, and The Buffalo Killers in the studio for live performances. Then I thought, heck you might as well check out the rest of the stuff on Each Note Secure, because he wrote about the Forecastle Halfway Fest as well. Hint: Band of Horses.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wilco have gone mad

It's sometimes hard for me to write about "national" bands because of the goddam baggage they carry of nepotism and assless chaps.
But for Wilco I'll bury the shovel.
According to what I just read on You Ain't No Picasso, Wilco plan to set aside five nights to perform every. single. song. in. their. entire. catalog.
Check out the details

Vice declares Black Swans worst

It is with some amusement that the fellows in Columbus band The Black Swans report Vice Magazine has dubbed the group's recent release "Change!" as the month's worst national music output.
Check out the article HERE.
I especially appreciate the face puking symbol. Bad press is good press.

The Redwalls Part 2

Check out Greg Kot's interview with Chicago's The Redwalls, regarding the band's departure from major-label status back to the indie level at THIS link.

I have to admit I'm a bit skeptical of The Red Walls. There is something about them that doesn't feel genuine to me. They started out as a Beatles cover band, morphed into a band that sounded like the Rolling Stones, then suddenly became a band trying to sound like The Strokes.
I've seen them perform and they are great onstage, albeit in kind of a cheesy cover band, over the top, kind of way. Their songs are well written and catchy too. But I can't help feeling like they change their sound depending upon what the market demands. I guess that is the point of being a "pop" band, but I don't get the feeling they have what I call a "pure vision" about their music. Much like how countless bands in the 1990s went from sounding like Pearl Jam to suddenly becoming like Dave Matthew's Band. There is an integrity that seems to be lacking. Or maybe I'm just being a huge dick.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Coming soon...

Ideally this site was never set up to be like other sites out there. I don't review CDs, and although many bands have asked to send them to me, I normally decline - in favor of buying one at a show or at a store.
I didn't really get into this site to one day make money off of American Apparel ads flashing on the side panels. I didn't start this site to get free CDs or to get onto the guest-list at shows either. I will, however, accept donations of expensive jewelry and fur coats.
But I honestly just want to know about underground music, because I love music and I'm determined that what is being represented on the radio and television is only a tiny portion of what is truly out there.
So tune in soon for an interview with a great band out of Kentucky called The Lions Rampant.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Lions looking to run rampant

I've been seeing an interesting trend with regional bands. It's the concept of booking shows. I've already talked with Spanish Prisoners about it. And recently I had a discussion over email with Stuart Mackenzie singer of a great Burlington, Kentucky band called The Lions Rampant.
As I told Mackenzie, I think City Beat music critic Mike Breen said it best when he described their music as Mudhoney in top form. But I also think Stuart's singing is more interesting and soulful than Mudhoney's.
The Lions Rampant play a decidedly amped up version of blues/rock in a similar vein as Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. But they also have their feet dipping in a keen ear pool of indie pop. So the songs have the wild feel of blues rock, but they branch out into different paths. They also have notoriety for playing live shows dressed in homemade lion outfits. But gimmicky outfits or not, the band focking rocks. They proved that a bit at the 2007 Midpoint MUsic Festival, where I heard they dropped the suits in favor of, well, not much clothing at all.
I should also mention that the band features the dude behind The Sheds on bass. And I love The Sheds.
The Lions Rampant released two EPs in 2007 and both can be picked up via their websites.

Getting back to the story: Right now there are numerous Midwestern bands stuck in a dilemma: The have the desire to tour, but constantly face a wall of barriers. Bands like The Lions Rampant may slowly becoming known across the region, but most of these bands aren't on a very large label. In some cases no label at all. They are struggling to break through to regional acclaim, but sadly it usually takes the help and notoriety of being on a known label.
As I've said ad nauseam, labels only sign bands they are personal friends with. It's no wonder most labels fail. Even Southeast Engine had to become friends with The Wrens before they got signed to Misra.
So here is a great discussion with Mackenzie about being in a band on the cusp, dealing with daily life and booking:

People with Animal Heads: How do you go about trying to set up the shows and what are you guys hoping to do now that your CD is out?
Mackenzie: I love the question,"how you go about trying to set up the shows ..." We're all relatively new to this game, so I've been asking a lot of fellow musicians the same thing. There seems to be three schools of thought. The first one is that you should offer show trades. I'm not to sure that is the best way, because that means that you would only be playing with out of town bands while you are at home, which people get tired of...and makes it a lot harder to have a big show on your own turf and make some money (we are poor). Also, if your band has a large draw at home and the other band doesn't ... then the trade may be a bust, etc.etc.etc.. So far, we like to kinda play it by ear, if we invite a band down and put on a great show and promote it then we hope that the band will return the favor.
The other school of thought is that you need to get a booking agent. They draw up contracts for you that make sure that you get a set amount of money no matter what and they know a lot of clubs. My friends that have toured a lot, say is that these two things are super important. It seems like club owners never want to give you very much money even if you have a contract, so having a booking agent who has a relationship with the club owner and an official document is key. (Even though you still have to haggle, because if the bar does poorly the owner still will have a problem with coughing up a guarantee.)
The third school of thought is that booking agents are the best way, but they are harder to get than a label, so your best bet is to contact clubs like you are a booking agent and send them press packets, contracts etc.
I'm not really sure where we stand. Any booking agents out there? Hook us up!
As far as what we want to do now that our CD is out ... Personally, I'd like to send it to some small labels, and ideally get national distribution. That way, when we tour people may have already heard of us, or can pick up a record at their local CD store. Also booking agents are much more likely to book for a signed band.
PWAH: How is it trying to balance being in a band, with a day job?
Mackenzie: That is a great question. I'd have to say, "It sucks." I think it's important to have a job that is flexible so you can tour but that pays well enough for you to have health insurance (thanks Nixon!) get by and buy some equipment now and then.
PWAH: I'm also very interested in how your drummer is doing, because I heard he'd had health problems.
Mackenzie: He's doing better. He was in the ICU the last couple weeks, but now he is out and looking forward to playing again. He's been practicing and just bought himself a brand new "Led Zep Set" which includes a bass drum the size of a Honda Civic.
PWAH: What kind of path you are hoping to forge in the realm of blues/rock/pop?
Mackenzie: Ideally, we'd like to tour Europe, the United States and make enough money to live and get by. We're all doing this because we love music and playing live, so if we can do it and not have to work day jobs, that would be our version of heaven. Personally, my favorite type of music is blues/rock/pop. I think there will always be a small market for it because it is an organic music people can relate to, more than overproduced pop etc. Also you can dance to it, enjoyi it sitting down, in the car, on a plane on a train.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Lennon and the Airplane

This Saturday, Dec.8 was the day John Lennon was killed in 1980 by a man who is hopefully being ass-raped in prison every day. Columbus/Cincy band Paper Airplane will bring its annual "John Lennon Show" out on the road again for 2007 to celebrate Lennon's musical legacy.
The show already hit Cincinnati on Dec. 1 at The Northside Tavern with Cincinnati's The Seedy Seeds. I heard it got a great response and a good crowd.
According to a release from the band, this Saturday Paper Airplane will be at the annual Circle Five Ranch John Lennon Festival in Athens. It will be held at The Union.
Other bands on the bill that I have heard about are The John Lennon Orchestra, The Dropdead Sons and many more primarily from the Athens music scene. Check out Paper Airplane on Myspace, where they have their version of "Dear Prudence" for your listening pleasure.
Apparently the show has been bringing out an interesting crowd mix. Many older (read: gray-haired) old school music fans, clapping alongside younger music fans (read: square glasses and tats).

Midwestern Roundup!

• I think I'm excited about a new Dayton web site called Fiction Band, which I learned about from The Buddha Den. It's manifesto explains that it is a project dedicated to showcasing music/bands that record in their homes, bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. I think the whole idea is interesting, and it goes along well with what this site is trying to do (regarding highlighting underground bands in the Midwest). I plan to keep looking into the site for new music.
Spanish Prisoner signed to Cleveland indie label Exit Stencil.
• Pitchfork reported a couple more Midwestern bands headed for SXSW, namely that The Breeders are in fact getting back together and heading down to Austin. They also had info regarding the new CD the band has completed.
• I guess I have good taste. I talked about liking Bon Iver several months ago. Now it seems as though every blog on the planet is writing about him all of a sudden. He's the new "Killers/Lou Reed song." So I guess I hate him now.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Gibson shows new self-tuning guitar

For all you really shitty teenage bands out there, who never seem to be in tune. Rejoice!

TOKYO - Musicians of the world are getting a new kind of artistic freedom with technology that eliminates the challenging chore of tuning.
Robotics technology developed by German company Tronical Gmbh in partnership with Gibson Guitar Corp. enables Gibson's newest Les Paul model to tune itself in about two seconds.
For users who purchase the add-on technology, the guitar recognizes pitch. Then, its processor directs motors on its six tuning pegs to tighten or loosen the strings accordingly. Tronical has offered its "Powertune System" online and through retailers in Germany since March, according to the company's Web site.
The Gibson Les Paul guitar model with Blue Silverburst finish goes on sale globally this Friday.
Nashville, Tenn., guitar maker Gibson and Tronical said Powertune is the world's first self-tuning technology, and Gibson says it is particularly useful for beginners, who tend to find tuning a headache.
Musician Ichiro Tanaka, who tuned and played a sample guitar at Gibson's Tokyo office Monday, said the technology is handy for professionals too. If they use special tuning for just part of a concert, as he often does, it means they don't have to lug around an extra guitar with the second tuning ready.
"It's more than just convenience," said Tanaka, of Japan. "It's a feature I really appreciate."
The Les Paul Silverburst model is to cost about $2,780 in Japan and $2,499 in the U.S., with self-tuning offered for $900 extra.
Powertune is also listed online for 899 euros, about $600, and Tronical says it can be installed on many different models of electric guitars without leaving a mark.
Gibson guitars with the technology come preset with six types of tuning to play different kinds of music. They also can remember a player's additional original tuning styles, by listening with a microphone to the sounds of the strings.
To set the instrument to a particular tuning, the user pulls a knob, turns it to the desired style, indicated with a blue light, and then pushes the knob back in. An electric signal travels up the strings to the motors on the tuning pegs. The system is powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery.
Gibson hopes to sell 4,000 of the first limited-edition "robot guitars" worldwide, with 10 percent of those sales expected in Japan, said Yasuhiko Iwanade, president of Gibson Guitar Corp. Japan.
"Robots are very popular in Japan. So this is something that matches the developments here these days. It's a technology that Japanese can understand," he said.
Gibson has a history of innovating with guitars that fits well with robotics technology, Iwanade said.


Welcome Back Kot

You know, I always thought of Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot as one of the best out there. Then I read his bio of Wilco and I thought he IS the best. That book was so well written I can't find a comparison that comes close.
So I started reading more articles Kot has written and it exploded from there. He has a knack for getting musicians to talk at length about INTERESTING topics.
It occurred to me that perhaps I should start featuring his articles on here - share the love, if you will.

Let's start off by linking to his blog, which I just now discovered and plan to read like the bible:

Greg Kot's "TURN IT UP" blog