Light of the Stereo

Light of the Stereo

Monday, December 30, 2013

Cure for the Mondays: Kate Nash - "I Hate You This Christmas"

Kate Nash - " I Hate You This Christmas"

We're just trying to fit in a little more Christmas before the New Year.

The always amazing Kate Nash has brought her bold voice and keen sassiness to the Holidays with the release her "Have Faith with Kate Nash this Christmas" EP. Joining her in this endeavor is the West London female buzz-pop trio the Tuts. A great mix of beautifully rendered traditional songs with a few new originals to round off the record. This EP is a great acquisition to finish off this Christmas season and to enjoy for years to come.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Living Room Performance: Mel Washington - "A Chorus of Hallelujahs

Mel Washington - "A Chorus of Hallelujahs"
November 17th, 2013
Cleavland, TN

This lovely mash up of Leonord Cohen's "Hallelujah" and the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah makes for a breathtakingly beautiful song and a unique but fitting addition to Mel Washington's Christmas EP Celebration. Known for his bluesy soulfulness, Washington has created a wonderful holiday album with the help of Sarra Sedghi that blends finely rendered classics with uniquely altered versions of other well known songs including this one.
It might be too late for this year, but pick it up a copy to enjoy it for next Christmas. It quite easily could become a new holiday tradition.    

Saturday, December 28, 2013

From the Shelf: Ghost & Goblin - SUPERHORRORCASTLELAND (2013)

Ghost & Goblin

One truly unique album, SUPERHORRORCASTLELAND has the feel of a jazzy synth nightmare. With a sound that falls somewhere between a Bowie concept album and a Rocky Horror Picture Show for a new generation. New York’s Ghost & Goblins latest record is a moody masterpiece.

Filled with boldly interesting songs, this album's tracks range from the weighty concussivness of the mostly instrumental freak-out of “Fleshcraft/The Transfiguration” to the loungey madman’s rant of "Rust Golem". Ripe with atmosphere these 11 songs are dark little gems perfect for a stormy night or a dreary afternoon.

Easily my favorite underdog album of the year, SUPERHORRORCASTLELAND is a 2013 album that shouldn’t be missed. So check them out and order it on some sweet colored vinyl. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Living Room Performance: Joe Bonamassa w/ Beth Hart - "I'll Take Care of You"

Joe Bonamassa w/ Beth Hart - "I'll Take Care of You"

The Beacon Theater

November 5th, 2011

Known to surround herself with some of the best guitarists on earth Beth Hart has the sass to keep them on their toes. With the voice of an angry angel she can transition from dirty rock to graceful soul with out batting an eye. While Joe Bonamassa is some what of a guitar savant, and has been providing just the right six-string canvas for Hart to belt her songs. Their latest collaboration Seesaw, released this pass May, has earned them a Grammy Nomination and with any luck a little gold statue come January 26th.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Something fun for a great cause.

Dinner & A Movie Presents
A Christmas Story Screening and Silent Auction

Sunday December 8th
McMenamins' Mission Theater

1624 NW Glisan St.
Doors: 1PM /Show: 2PM
Tickets $5

Are you looking for something to get you in the Holiday mood while helping others in need have a better Christmas, here's your chance. Dinner & A Movie, a local non-profit that mentors impoverished families, is hosting a fun holiday event for families. Kick off the holiday season by seeing this classic film and do a little
Christmas shopping at the SILENT AUCTION. All proceeds will be used to provide Christmas gifts, meals and activities for the impoverished families D& M works with.
So this Sunday afternoon come have a little fun and make a difference while doing it. I double dog dare you!

10 Questions: The Black Whisky Union

LA's The Black Whisky Union was fittingly born in a dive bar in Burbank called the Tin Horn Flats. With just a tinge of Hollywood seediness their jazzy rock 'n' roll  is infectiously fun. Bold and powerful, this talented three piece is fronted by the stunning Brit Sheriden who might look familur from her work in front of the camera as a model and actress in shows like Supernatural.
Set to release part three of their EP trilogy in early 2014 the band had a lot to talk to BLS about.

BLS:  To get started, why don’t you tell us a little about the band. How did you guys come together? Where did you derive your name from? What made you choose it?

Jim: We met at this dive bar in Burbank called Tin Horn Flats... Brit was a waitress and Michael, and myself we patrons looking for a singer.  As we were started writing songs, we would drink a bit... Brit would have her Irish Whisky, I would have my Scotch Whisky, and Michael would have his tequila or Jager... Aka Mexican Whisky/German Whisky.
Combine the 3 whiskers and you get Black... The Union is our bond as friends and partners.

Brit: I had been looking to form a band for a long time and when I met Jim and Wess I knew we were gonna create something awesome. We all clicked from the beginning when we met at good ole Tinhorn Flats. Every writing session we would reward ourselves with a drink of our choice. Which all of our drinks combined makes up the Black and being from the South I love my Whisky. The Union to me is what means the most. We all have so much respect and love for each other. We are a little family.

BLS: From instrumental phrasing to vocal delivery, your music holds a lot of Jazz elements, how does this speak to your influences as both a band and as individual musicians?

Jim: For me it's Steely Dan... They have always spoken directly to my soul. So I typically incorporate major and minor 7th's on just about every song I write. I think blending jazz chords over rock progressions and grooves helps to separate us as a band from the normal.

Michael: For me I would not consider myself a jazz drummer/player. I’m more of groove orientated rock drummer but I feel this blends well with the other styles in the band to help create our unique sound and I’ve also always been a fan of major and minor 7th’s in songs.

Brit: A lot of my inspiration comes from country and old rock music. It is what I grew up listening to. Coming up with the vocal lines for me is so much fun. I love creating something people can groove to and sing along with.

BLS: For music, LA is a complex environment being one of the main hubs of the industry. As a band what are some of the benefits of being located in LA?

Jim: The industry is down the street and lots of amazing musicians! 

Michael :Having the opportunity to have the industry here, meet people and get your music heard. You never know who you’ll run into, where they work, and how they can potentially help with getting your music heard.

Brit: There are so many benefits. We all moved here to follow our passion. I love that this town is so full of opportunity. I dreamed of getting the chance to play at some of the places I am getting to play now.

BLS: On the flip side, LA has also become known as a crowded Mecca of struggling bands and Musicians. What are some of the obstacles you face in such a saturated market?

Jim: Well.. I never think of this as a competition... We just do what we do, and if people like it... So be it.

Michael: No matter where you are major city wise there’s obviously competition. For us we really try to concentrate on good song writing, lyrics and melody. You’d be surprised how many bands don’t focus on that down here. I feel we pride ourselves on these things and helps set us apart.

Brit: In this industry you have to have tough skin. You have to believe in yourself and keep on going. 

BLS:  You’ve been sticking close to home, are there any plans in the works for more extensive touring?

Brit: We would love to. We have not had the opportunity as of yet but I have a really good feeling that is about to change.

BLS: Brit, you’ve had some great success in acting. Which came first the music or the acting?

Brit: The Music has always come first. I begged my parents for a piano at age 5 and started singing at age 8. I always loved performing though. Something about being on that stage. I didn’t get the acting bug till I was a little older and came out to LA for the first time. 

BLS: You all have individual efforts outside the band. With your busy schedules how do find time to put the work into your music? Is it hard at time to balance both?

Jim: Nights and weekends... You squeeze every ounce out of everyday.

: You find the time whenever you can. Whether it’s song writing or rehearsing. We love playing together as well so we make the time for it.

Brit: I consider music a full time job as well. It is where my heart is and I want to make a career out of it. Any time I have to dedicate to the band and music I do it. 

BLS:  As a band you have released 2 EPs in a 3 part series. Why did you choose to release your music in this format versus a long play album? When can we expect Part 3?

Jim: Well having EPs released over time meant that we could concentrate on just those 3 songs... And the audience gets us in small doses. Breaking it up into 3 parts just seemed to make the most sense. Expect part 3 in Jan... Followed by the entire collection on CD with bonus songs. 

Brit: We wanted to do something different. Not a lot of bands release their EP’s out this way. We thought it would be fun for our fans and also a great way for us to concentrate on only a couple at a time. 

BLS: From your show posters to your website, there seems to be a lot of emphasis the design of your band. Is this a conscious effort? If so why is this important to you as a band?

Jim: I think there are so many bands who don't put the effort into the details... But to create posters that look as big as signed bands... To create band ass imagery. It just all seems to fit what we are all about... The whole package.

Michael: I agree with Jim and I also feel the posters are something not only for image but also nice to look back at and see all the places you played around town.

Brit: I think it is important to have to have an image for the band. Through our posters and designs it is a way of expressing ourselves and showing who we are.

BLS: Name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of?

Jim: Jellyfish, Dan Reed Network, Tommy Spase, Hayley Gaftarnick, King Washington.

Michael: The Shore, Doves, The Joy Formidable, Remy Zero, Dan Reed Network as well -

: The Head and The Heart, The Royal Concept. Josh Abbot Band, Ben Rector, Ryan Keen

Tuesday Double Feature: The Black Wisky Union "Little Lady London" & Celleste "Superstar (By Myself)"

This weeks Tuesday Double Feature has two videos staring strong leading ladies.

The Black Whisky Union - "Little Lady London"

The jazzy rock 'n' roll of LA based The Black Whisky Union was born out of a mutual love of music in a dive bar in Burbank. With a story like that how can you not expect something good out of this band. Set to release part 3 of their EP trilogy early in 2014, the band has great things ahead of them. To find out more check out our interview with the band.  

Celleste - "Superstar(By Myself)"

The booming powerhouse of Montreal's Celleste delivers her bluesy pop with keen attention to her musical strengths. Following up last year's Join the Infestation album Celleste has released an EP of acoustic versions of some of Infestation's more defining tunes. In addition to her own music, Celleste is also hard at work with her own record label Mighty Music. Hopefully with the new year she'll be able to find time for touring.  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cure for the Mondays: Klischée - "Sometimes"

Klischée - "Sometimes"

Just a little something to get you out of your Turkey Weekend stupor.

If the groovy Electro Swing of Switzerland's Klischée doesn't have you nodding your head it might be more than L-tryptophan that's got a hold of you. Set to release their latest album in early February the band has provided us with a little taste. Enjoy and hope that your Monday isn't too bad.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Living Room Performance: Ben Nicholes - "I'll Just Fall"

Ben Nichols (Lucero)- "I'll Just Fall"

May 25th, 2012

Robert Child's Guitars

Lead singer of the band Lucero, Ben Nichols has done it all. With the song writing ability of a southern poet, and the rock 'n' roll heart of a biker gang him and his band are making some of the best music out there. As always the boys are on the road with dates throughout the north and south-east. Touring in support of their latest release the Texas & Tennessee EP, it shouldn't bee too long until they make it back to our part of the world.

Monday, November 25, 2013

10 Questions: Lennon Bone of Ha Ha Tonka

With the release of their fourth and latest album Lessons and an extensive US tour in support, the Midwest sweethearts Ha Ha Tonka have been busy.
Thankfully drummer Lennon Bone was able to take some time out of his busy schedule to tell us about the new album and answer our questions.
When your done with reading the interview check out the our review of the new record.

BLS: You have recently released your fourth studio album Lessons. How has the band changed artistically over the last few albums and how did it affect the songs on this record?

LB: I think more than anything, we've just done this for enough years that we seemed to finally find our footing when it came to putting all of the pieces together. Huge nods have to be given to the producers, Dan Molad and The Ryantist, as well. When we went to the two of them, we knew we wanted to make a record that felt fully produced, and just wanted to try new things in the studio, so that's what we did. I think all of the effort we've put into the last 3 albums allowed us the chance to just do what we know how to do, and let the producers help shape the songs in new ways. It was an absolute blast seeing it all come together.

BLS: With and album titled Lessons; what lessons did you learn with this album and were there any pitfalls you were able to avoid this time around?

LB: I'm not sure what we've learned, lesson wise, with this album. Most of the lessons were from all of our previous experiences. There's so much that goes into releasing an album, much more than just recording. So, we're still bound to learn a few things as this one gains more momentum. As far as pitfalls, I guess we were able to avoid any major disagreements with each other on this record. It all just came together really easily.

BLS: What do you enjoy the most about the new album?

LB: The sonic structure of it. There's so much detail put into tones and phrasing. I love that from song to song, each has its own aural personality, beyond just chords and rhythms. Bass tones are different, different drums, guitars and vocal effects. It really feels like we've graduated to a new place.

BLS: Lessons, is the latest album released on your long time label Bloodshot Records. What is it about this Chicago indi-label that has encouraged your long-term relationship with them?

LB: Well, for one, we signed a contract. Ha. And two, they keep us boozed up when we see them. Very important factors. In all seriousness, they're really making some hard moves for this record to get out there, and we're super grateful for that. Good people, them bloodshot folks.

BLS: There is always talk of the regional aspect of music (like Southern Rock). Do you feel that there is a recognizable Midwest sound? If so, how does your band fit in to that musical pallet?

LB: I don't think there is anymore. If there was, people started ripping it off and making it their own thing, which is what we all do as musicians. I hear a lot of Kansas City bands taking the indie rock sound that's coming out of Brooklyn and making their own thing out of it, etc. There's really no regional separation between sounds anymore, since everything is at everyone's fingertips all the time. And to me, that's great. Music is just music, and it feels like we're seeing genres start to bleed together more than ever.

BLS: In your opinion, what are some pivotal Midwest bands that have influenced, or helped define your band’s sound?

LB: I'm not sure who helped define our sound in the Midwest. There are many bands that have helped us along the way, like Big Smith, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin and Murder by Death, just to name a select few. It's tough to narrow down or distinguish who exactly is responsible for helping define our sound, as I'm sure we've pulled from a ton of influences individually as well as collectively.

BLS: As an independent band the key is always getting your name out there and your music heard. You’ve worked with companies like Marlboro and recently were interviewed for Elle. Have you found that these unique outlets have provided you with avenues for new audiences?

LB: Oh, I'm sure they have! The weird thing about the industry now is that it's really tough to tell exactly where people are hearing you. We feel very fortunate to have worked with some of these people and companies, but we also just do as much as we can and hope that all the content helps expand the options for people to find us. It's very rare that we turn down any type of press opportunity.

BLS: Having taken your band’s moniker from the State Park of the same name, what is it about this Missouri location that’s garnered such honors? Does the band have a favorite part of the park they like visiting?

LB: We initially decided on the name for a couple of reasons. 1. It wasn't taken. Very important these days. 2. It was unique, and a part of the Ozarks. We've always been very proud of where we're from, and we love having the opportunity to pair ourselves with it in a way that we can talk about it when we talk about ourselves.
We all love visiting the castle there, although there are many beautiful areas of the park. If you're in the area, you should definitely check it out.

BLS: You’re touring in support of the new album. Do you have any good stories from the road?

LB: Nothing too crazy from this tour so far.... but we're pretty early on in the album cycle. If you could check back in a few weeks, I'm sure there would be a few. Or at least some that we'd have to keep off the record. Ha.

BLS: Name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of?


Luke Temple

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin


The Spring Standards

Antennas Up

From the Shelf: Ha Ha Tonka - Lessons (2013)

Ha Ha Tonka
Bloodshot Records

The flowing rustic sound of Ha Ha Tonka’s latest album is distinct in its audio presence. Traversing between spaciously simple songs and thickly complex tunes, this album is a perfect example of the rich nature of mid-west soul-rock.

Speaking volumes of drummer Lennon Bone and bassist Luke Long’s symbiotic playing relationship is the chugging, danceable rhythm of this album. Making for a wonderfully stable foundation the beat and groove of this album is filled with playfully energetic tracks like “Staring at the End of our Lives,” that allow for the freedom of  creativity of the rest of the band to run wild . Even in the melodically sedate “Arabella” the power of the rhythm section is undeniable.

With an ebb and flow of a perfect album the boys of Ha Ha Tonka have succeeded in creating a sonic masterpiece. The lyrical landscapes the band present on this album are currently relevant and yet still have an understanding of the worn edged blue collared sensibility that rests at the heart of this nation of ours. From urban hipsters to the dusty highway nomads, Lessons has a broad range of appeal that makes it a wonderful addition to any music collection.

Cure for the Mondays: Fake Club - "Beauty Queen"

Fake Club - "Beauty Queen"

Just something fun to get you through your Monday.

These ladies from the UK are all about the rock 'n' roll and having fun doing it. They might describe themselves as the Spice Girls with instruments but Fake Club have more power to them than pop.

Friday, November 22, 2013

10 Questions: Brandon Day of Marmoset Music

A boutique music agency based out of Portland, Oregon Marmoset Music has been providing music for creative mediums of all shape and size since 2010. Mainly working within the public eye including films and broadcast television commercials Marmoset is known for crafting original music and maintaining a hand picked roster of independent artists for licensing opportunities.  On an ironic, it's a small world note, the first seeds of inspiration for what would become Marmoset Music and my own interested in music journalism were both planted from experiences working as DJs at Radio KSOC at Southern Oregon University.

Earlier this fall I had the opportunity to meet Brandon Day who's Marmoset's head of artist relations and also scouts new artist/band to add to their licensing roster. He was kind enough to answer some questions about Marmoset Music and the work that he dose there.
BLS: To start us off, why don’t you tell us a little about Marmoset Music; what exactly does the company do and what’s your job there?

BD: Marmoset is a boutique music licensing house based here in sunny Portland, Oregon. We started off as an effort to help solve what we though was a problem in the music industry: creating revenue for independent artists. With independent record labels struggling to stay afloat, we've grown to utilize the untapped potential in music licensing. What was once thought of as "selling out" is now a widely accepted form of income for artists.
We started with local artists here in Portland and have since grown to include artists from around the globe that have a similar mindset as we do. We're proud to help pair music made with heart with projects that compliment their aesthetic and creation. It's been really rewarding to see artists such as The Dimes, Derby, NTNT and Kye Kye get substantial enough income to help push their projects to the next level.
My job at Marmoset is to scout and sign artists that we believe have a good chance at meshing well with our audience. We have filmmakers and ad agencies around the world with unique projects who have identified with the music we represent. I get the fun (and rewarding) position of helping pair these two worlds.

BLS: Could you describe the different levels of licensing that Marmoset works with?

BD: There are two ways we license music: though our website ( and through working hand in hand with our music supervision team. For independent filmmaking projects, we've found that finding the perfect song on our site, and licensing it on the spot, is an efficient and valuable tool for making projects come to life. When we're approached by a larger creator, such as some of the largest ad agencies in the states, we custom pick songs from our roster that we feel will compliment their spot. If the vignette needs a bit more customization, we also have a talented Original Music team that digs deep and creates wonderful songs.

BLS: What exactly does a new music scout and the head of artist relations do?

BD: I get a chance to listen to a huge amount of independent musicians and determine which ones I believe we can help support. There is no genre or type of music off the table, and I always welcome artists to submit their work for us to listen to. If we feel the music is a good fit, I'll have our AR team sign the artists and help get them up and running on our website and roster. From there, we have a weekly meeting in which all new music is shared with the team. This makes our process work smoothly and allows new artists to have top-of-mind when it comes to pitching their songs.

BLS: With numerous licensing houses in the industry as well as a few within Portland itself, what advantages do you bring to the table in regards to your clients and the artists/bands your represent?

BD: We take pride in having personal relationships whenever possible, whether it be between the artists we represent or the clients we work with. Oftentimes, I meet with our artists over coffee (or whiskey) and learn a bit about their lives and their creative endeavors. We also make it a priority to travel to the cities were our clients live and set aside time to shake hands and get to know the people we place music with. When projects are largely pieced together through digital means, there can be a loss in personal contact with the people you're interacting with. By helping bridge that connectivity, we aim to make our relationships more meaningful and ultimately make licensing better.

BLS: Do you find that when scouting for a piece of music to use for a project it’s more productive to look for a the song itself or a band or artist that creates music with the same emotional presence that your looking for?

BD: This largely depends on the type of project we're working on. For instance, if the project is going custom, we'll utilize an artist or composer that we feel will help capture the emotions in the direction we're going for. For most projects, we're looking for the perfect song that will take a video production to the next level. Oftentimes, we're searching for that song that just nails it. It can really be an "aha!" moment.

BLS: What specifically are you looking for when you pursue a relationship with a band?

BD: I take everything into account, because I believe it all matters. It's important to take time to get to know the artist a bit (through past interviews, reading through bios, etc) as well as listening to the music. At the end of the day, I look for music that we can help support through licensing. It's always a leap of faith (so to speak) as to what we believe will license, seeing that our clients ultimately make the decision of what they will use. For every artist on our roster, we feel there is an opportunity to create income for them to help support their work and I'm conscious that I'm only signing artists that I feel we can help.

BLS: Are there things that a band can do to be more attractive to licensing outfits like Marmoset?

BD: The best thing a band can do is create music they believe in. Music that follows a story works really well for us, as it often times contains a cinematic element to it. If an artists finds expression through electro or folk or whatever they're into, being true to themselves really shows.
Also, due to voice overs, having instrumentals available is crucial.

BLS: Say that someone is interested in the music industry specifically in the area of working with licensing music. What avenues would you suggest to break into the industry?

BD: Taking the time to know the music landscape and their local music scene is a key factor. I believe it really takes immersing yourself in music culture to get a good sense at it. Many different types of backgrounds can come into music licensing. At Marmoset we have people that have traveled the world in touring bands (such as Fruit Bats and The Shins), people that are growing their local bands (such as Norman and Alameda), business students, and filmmakers. There is no specific background that makes someone fit perfectly into this world. Having a good ear and the drive to create will win over.

BLS: Marmoset is very active in supporting the local music scene here in Portland ; from MusicfestNW events to fundraisers for the Rock 'n' Roll Camp for Girls. Why does Marmoset Music take such an interest in Portland’s music scene?

BD: We've grown from the music scene that we've started in. A majority of the people at Marmoset have been raised in the Pacific Northwest or have spend considerable time growing from the music scene. We are proud of the people who create music here and hope to give back whenever possible. Above all else, there is just a lot of great music here.

BLS: I’ve read that you’re an avid music aficionado. So what’s the name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of?

BD: Oh wow! Let's see. Some of my favorite bands at the moment are:
Angel Olsen,
Outrageous Cherry
Sonny and the Sunsets

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesday Double Feature: The Wolfgangs "Cannibal Family" & The Silver Shine "Angels To Some"

This weeks Tuesday Double feature I dedicate to my friend Aaron and his love of Psychobilly bands.

The Wolfgangs - "Cannibal Family"

The six cylinder speed of France's The Wolfgangs is the sultry psychobilly of graveyard rendezvous and late night drag races. Lead by the smoky sirens call of Cha' von Wolfgangs, this band has the hypnotic power of dancing cobras. Check out 2012's Shout With the Devil album on the Longneck Records label.  

The Silver Shine - "Angels To Some"

The Bubapest based The Silver Shines have been very prolific since forming in 2004, having  put out an album almost every year.  Their 7th and latest album In the Middle of Nowhere, just saw release on the Wolverine Records label  this last spring. No strangers to the Northwest,the band came through this past June as part of their short US tour, so here's hoping they'll comeback soon.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Strumophile: Darren Brown Custom Cigar Box Guitars

Believed to have had their hayday in depression era America the cigar box guitar's (CBGs) origins can be traced back as far as slave culture of the 1700's. Developed out of lack of resources cigar box guitars have a prominent place in blues and folk music. With the recent resurgence of hand made instruments CBGs have made a comeback.
Darren Brown, the owner and creator of D.B. Custom Cigar Box Guitars has taken these basic instruments and turned them into pieces of art. Making sure that each instrument he builds has amazing handcrafted details; from hand wound pickups that provide the perfect tone, to beautifully built hard wood necks that he fashions from driftwood collected from the Bay of Fundy near his home in Canning, Nova Scotia Canada. Truly unique these guitars are amazing tools to make wonderful music. Darren Brown was kind enough to talk to us about his company and instruments. 

BLS: In your spare time, you have been fixing guitars over 30 years and have been building cigar box guitars (CBGs) since 2009. How did you get into building CBGs?

DB: I think I was 12 or 13 working on a farm in the summers. I saved up $ 74.00 for an electric Silvertone. I learned to tune by ear and had to fix that old guitar all the time. Then kids from school would bring me their beat up ones to get fixed. I’d seen Cigar Box Guitars(CBGs) years ago but never thought more about them until 2008, when I saw a rough one go by on the net. I thought I could build a little nicer one. It was rough too, but now 300 CBGs laterI’m still learning and hope I always will.

BLS: You make your career as a finishing carpenter. What advantages do you feel your experience provides when building your instruments?

DB: I do framing as well, but as I got older I found that the younger guys on the construction jobs liked to frame and do all the rough construction. So I got into doing any of the exterior and interior finish work. So over the years I learned how to slow down and think way ahead on what can happen and figure out the best way of getting to that point and of course checking twice and cutting once.

BLS: On your website you have emphasize three different styles of CBGs that you build: The Main Line, Resonators, and the Vintage Series. Can you briefly explain the differences between these styles of instruments?

DB: The web site is run by a friend and I don’t go there as much as I should.

The Main Line series CBGs are built from cigar boxes that I can get a good supply of: Cohiba, Arturo Fuente, and La Gloria Cubana boxes.

For the Resonators I make the boxes myself because cigar boxes are too narrow for the 6 inch resonator cones that go into the wood well.

As for my Vintage series, they’re mostly built with a Cohiba wood box. I have a process where I age and crack the finish and add ware makes on the body and the fret board.

BLS: From hand wound pickups to hardwood that you collected as driftwood and kiln dried; you take a very personal and hands on approach to your instruments? What inspired you to take each of these unique steps as a craftsman?

DB: There’s not a lot around where I live (Canning, Nova Scotia Canada), so I find things that I can use. The driftwood is off the Bay of Fundy and is from all over. I find cherry, ash, oak, walnut, black locust and maples of all kinds. Some of which I’ve never seen before.

As for the pickups, that I got into because of tone; for three strings I build 3 poles and and 4 strings 4 poles wound to certain ohms. They also look nicer than a big, over wound 6 string pickup slapped into one.

BLS: In building your instruments, have you found a favorite brand of cigar box you like to use when building your guitars?

DB: Yes, the boxes I like most are: Cohiba; after I thickness-plane the top thinner. Padron,Las Cobbelas, Dark Sumatras, Arturo Fuente, and the boxes I make myself.

(Manatoba Hal playing one of Darren Brown's License Plate Guitars)

BLS: Besides cigar boxes, you have built instruments out of license plates, Cheese boxes and oil cans. What is the most interesting thing you’ve built an instrument from? Is there anything you would like to build an instrument out of but haven’t yet?

DB: The oil can was tough going. I’ve been eyeing old apple crates that show up here now and then. I’d like to take the label side and build some tele of strat tops out of them. I’d also like to try old wood beer crates.

BLS: In some of your instruments you incorporate both piezo transducers and your db coil pickups that have separate outputs. How does this diversify the playability of the instrument? How does this affect the voice of the instrument?

DB: It allows you a way to run it through one or two amps or I can build blend pots into them and mix the sound that way. It’s endless what you can do with electronics in CBG’s.

BLS: If someone is interested in obtaining one of your instruments how would they go about doing so? What is your typical price point?

DB: They can reach me by e-mail:(darwood at or phone.

Prices start at $240.00 cap for basic 3 string CBG with piezo pickups.

$350.00 with coil pickups, volume and tone controls.

$525.00 for resonators.

All guitars are tax free, but shipping is extra.

BLS: What artists are currently playing your instruments?


Olds Sleeper

Manitoba Hal

Myles Goodwin of April Wine

Colin Linden of Blakie and the Radio Kings

Morgan Davies

Doc McLean

Terry Whalen

Jim Roberts

Shane Speal

BLS: It might sound like a weird question, but do you play guitar yourself? Of your instruments do you have a favorite?

DB: Yes I do play a bit. I have a 3 string and a 4 string resonator that I play with more though, through an bunch of tube amps that include a ’64 Fender Bandmaster, 38 Gibson 5 watt and ‘69 Traynor YGM 3 to name a few.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Tuesday Double Feature: Bleached "Love Spells" & Best Coast "I Don't Know How"

As the gray cold of late fall descends upon us, we all cling tightly to the fading dreams of summers. So this week's installment of the Tuesday Double Feature has videos by two bands whose sound embodies California's endless summer. So put on your earphones and let their warm musical zephyrs wash over you.

Bleached - "Love Spells"

With punkins rotting away on porches and the kids just beginning to crash from their candy sugar-highs this video from LA based sister act Bleached, is perfect. Finishing up a short European tour in support of their latest album Ride Your Heart, these girls have a little R and R ahead of them before setting sail with the Weezer cruise in February 2014.

Best Coast - "I Don't Know How"

The sun-kissed California band Best Coast have been bustling with activity. Having recently released their mini-album Fade Away on their own Jewel City Label this band isn't slowing down one bit. Currently writing material for their next album with a goal of a spring release and gearing up for a short winter tour with The Pixies, this band is taking every advantage of the wave of momentum they're currently riding. Make sure you catch them at the Schnitzer Auditorium when they play with The Pixies Wednesday, February 19th.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Cure for the Mondays: Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - "Big Blue Chevy '72"

Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - "Big Blue Chevy '72"

What car do you love the most? Me: '74 Chevy Blazer named Sherman.

The energetically fun hill blues of Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band will get you dancing and craving the sweet moonshine. Made with the most basic of instrumentation, but yielding a boldly dynamic presence this trio takes jug band elements to new modern heights. Touring in support of their latest album Between the Ditches and known for their unforgettable stage presence, you'll want to make sure to catch their show this Saturday at Dante's.

Here are the details:
Saturday, November 16th
350 West Burnside
Doors: 8PM / Show: 9PM
Cover: $10
21 & Over

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Living Room Perfomance:Alejandro Escovedo - "Man of the World"

Alejandro Escovedo - "Man of the World"

Austin, Texas


One of the most amazing American song writes alive today, Alejandro Escovedo is truly an American treasure.With a musical history that spans both time and geography and has produced amazing records in multiple genres, he is considered by many musicians to be a defining influence.Even Bruce Springsteen has praised his greatness. Lucky for us he is playing a show this Thursday evening at the intimate Doug Fir Lounge. Amazing live, this concert should not be missed.

Here are the details:
Thursday, November 14th
Doug Fir Lounge
830 E Burnside
Doors: 7PM /Show: 8PM
Tickets: $20
21 & Over

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tuesday Double Feature: The Hellfreaks "Godless Girl Fun" & The Nearly Deads "Never Look Back"

I thought it fitting with Halloween on Thursday that this weeks Double Feature be filled with Psycho-killers and zombies. So guard yourself because the sun is falling and the witching hour will be upon us way too soon.

The Hellfreaks - "Godless Girl Fun"

Uniquely unhinged, the Hungarian psychobilly band The Hellfreaks have a driving rock 'n' roll sound that plays a perfect vehicle to the siren's call of the sexy Shaky Sue. Constantly playing festivals and touring most of Europe, it's any wonder that they can find time to sleep. Their 2012 Circus of Shame is a playfully great rock 'n' roll album.

The Nearly Deads - "Never Look Back"

Nashville based grunge-pop outfit The Nearly Deads have made their name through several conquests and adulation from the likes of Billboard Magazine. Their latest E.P. Survival Guide is ripe with thick rock power and the polished pop sensibility to singer Theresa Jeane's vocals. Now if they can just survive the Apocalypse.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Cure for the Mondays: Nekromantix - "Horny In A Hearse"

Nekromantix - "Horny In A Hearse"

Here's something to get you in the holiday mood.

With Halloween just around the corner, who better to get you in the spirit but the Nekromantix.This Danish pychobilly band has been raising the dead with their bone chattering horror themed rock 'n' roll since 1989. The band will be doing a short US tour in late winter that will include a night at our own Wonder Ballroom and a few select shows with Reverend Horton Heat and the amazing Wanda Jackson.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

From the Shelf: Two Cow Garage - Death of the Self Preservation Society

Two Cow Garage
Death of the Self Preservation Society
 Last Chance Records

Loud and ruckus the latest album from Two Cow Garage is the same powerful rock perfection we’ve grown to expect from this Midwest Trio. Their sixth studio album and first on the Last Chance label these boys are continueing to create steller music. If their third album (III) was an uncertain reflection of life on the stage, Death of The Self Preservation Society is the no hold bars, finger to the world, biography of a punk rock group that’s sacrificed everything for their unconventional life. Brutally honest songs like, “Mantle in '56” showcases that Micah Schnabel has continued his development into a songwriter of the highest order. While Shane Sweeny has his own moments of lyrical genius. The primest example is the stumbling serenade of “Spiraling into Control,” which delivered in his booming gravel drawl, gives him the air of a country outlaw's bastard son.

Like a punk rock Born to Run this album is filled with astute songwriting and the unrelenting rock n roll that makes you glad that you’re alive. If you’re a fan, this album will make you think Christmas has come early. For those of you who haven’t found these boys from Columbus Ohio yet, this is a great album to get started with. Be careful though, because one taste and you’ll be hooked.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday Double Feature: Lucius "Turn It Around" & Leftover Cuties "Game Called Life"

This week's Tuesday Double Feature contains videos by two bands with strong female vocals and unique audio tapestries. So sit back and enjoy.

Lucius - "Turn It Around"

The lusciously beautiful music of Brooklyn's Lucius has a grand space and resonance that's hypnotizing. Having just released their first full length album Wildewoman, the band is getting rave reviews from the likes of NPR and the New York Times. Having just played a show at our own Bunk Bar it might be a little bit until we see them again, so go pick up their album to hold you over.

Leftover Cuties - "One Heart"

The LA based Leftover Cuties have been playing their swinging retro-jazz since 2008. With use of their music on TV and recent coverage in The A.V. Club and Paste Music it looks like this band might be hitting their stride. Their latest album The Spark & The Fire, released earlier this years has them on the road in support which hopefully will bring them our way soon.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Quick Pick: Two Cow Garage @ Dante's 10/26

Photo By Mark A Lawrence IV

Saturday, October 26th
Two Cow Garage
I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House / Barons of Industry
Adv.:$8 /Day Of:$8
21 & Over

This band of Midwest troubadours are some of the the greatest unsung heroes of modern rock "n" roll. Driven by the purest of punk rock energy and blessed with the poetic heart of song writers Two Cow Garage travel the roads of America like the angry love children of Bruce Springsteen. Whether in the studio or on stage this band goes all in shedding more blood, sweat and tears than any other band you'll ever know.
Lucky for us, they'll be playing a show this Saturday night at Dante's. Touring in support of their latest album The Death of the Self-Preservation Society.and playing with local favorites and long time friends I Can Lick any Sonofabitch in the House this show should be one for the record book. Also on the bill is the rustic sound of Barons of Industry.
So clear your schedule and get a sitter for the kids, because you don't want to miss this show.    

Cure for the Mondays: Prince - "Breakfast Can Wait"

Prince - "Breakfast Can Wait"

Prince does dirty so good?

Having released his first album over 35 years ago, Prince defines what it is to be a musical icon. Always quick to embrace change, his music has pressed the boundaries of artistic expression and altered the face of American music so many times we've lost count. Armed with the latest incarnation of his New Power Generation, Prince continues to birth amazing songs and jaw dropping performances into the world.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Living Room Performance: Two Cow Garage - "Gerri"

Two Cow Garage - "Gerri"

July 2nd, 2012

Quiet Country Audio

Two Cow Garage
is one of the best bands that you may have never heard of, with potent punk energy and the soul of song-writers, these hardcore troubadours are doing for mid-west rock 'n' roll what the Black Keys have done for broken blues. Don't believe me? Well then see for yourself this Saturday Night when they play Dante's. See you there.

Saturday, October 26th
Two Cow Garage
I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House / Barons of Industry
Adv.:$8 /Day Of:$8
21 & Over

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cure for the Mondays: Kate Nash - "Fri-End?"

Kate Nash - "Fri-End?"

Here's something fun to get you through your Monday.

The UK's dynamic Kate Nash is a wonderfully energetic bundle of feminist power. Having branched out on her own, 2013 has been a great year for this young woman, having released her 3rd full-length album Girl Talk to fan applause and critical acclaim. Never one to take a breather, Nash has follow it up with the FRI-END? EP and is preparing for a North American tour. Though not quite scheduled, she'll be in our neighborhood and we can only hope she'll pop in sometime around December.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Quick Pick: Austin Lucas @ Dante's 10/15

Photo By Mark A Lawrence IV

Tuesday, October 15th
Austin Lucas
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires / Eric Schwieterman / Jeremy Wilson
350 West Burnside
Doors: 8PM/ Show: 9PM
Adv.: $8/ Day Of: $8
21 & Over

Born with a coal miners soul, the music of Austin Lucas has a certain honesty to it. As though told through the revealing golden light of bourbon his songs are achingly beautiful tales. Able to possess you, there is something comforting to them  like the creek of hardwood floors or your Grandfather's voice. 
Three years ago I caught his set at the White Eagle and I haven't been able to get that show out of my head ever since. The depth of his voice and the purity of his guitar left an impression I can't easily explain. If I'm lucky,  that same magic will fill the air of Dante's this Tuesday night.
With his latest album Stay Reckless out on the New West label, Lucas should be flush with new material. Joining him on stage is a list of great supporting acts, so even though it's a weeknight make sure you don't miss this show.

Living Room Performance: Austin Lucas - "Sun and Snow"

Austin Lucas - "Sun and Snow"

September 13th, 2008

Suburban Home warehouse

A songwriter of the highest caliber, Austin Lucas can do things with just six-strings and his voice that few others can. With a heart full of bluegrass and a soul shaped by whiskey and pain this artist creates some of the most stirring songs you'll ever hear. Make sure you catch him this Tuesday evening when he plays Dante's.

Here's the Details:

Tuesday, October 15th
Austin Lucas
Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires / Eric Schwieterman / Jeremy Wilson
350 West Burnside
Doors: 8PM/ Show:9PM
Adv.:$8/ Day Of:$8
21 & Over

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cure for the Mondays: Guitar Wolf - "Jet Generation"

Guitar Wolf - "Jet Generation"

Japanese guitar rockers will save us all!!!

The guitar frenzy of Japan's Guitar Wolf is precise and driven like a six string katana attack. Their bold rock'n'roll is wildly vicious and is awe inspiring so make sure that you catch them this Friday at Dante's. Here's the details.    

Thursday, October 10th
350 W Burnside St
Doors:8PM / Show:9PM
Adv.:$13.50 /Day Of: $13.50
21 & Over

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Tuesday Double Feature: The Black Belles "What Can I Do?" & The Coathangers "Derek's Song"

With two boldly powerful female acts, this weeks Tuesday Double Feature is dedicated to the women. So ladies show us how it's done.

The Black Belles - "What Can I Do?"

Oozing with the gothic sensuality of Elvira and late night horror flicks The Black Belles play a mean garage blues-rock that's filled with tell-tale beats and wailing guitars. Having caught the attention of Jack White, he was quick to put this quartet of dark beauties on his Third Man Records Label and produced their Debut self-titled album in 2011. The last we heard of the Belles was the 7" release of their "Wishing Well" in 2012 so I'm crossing my fingers that we'll hear from them soon.

The Coathangers - "Derek's Song"

Based out of Atlanta, the all female punk band The Coathangers is know for the strength of their live performance and their playfulness. But don't be fooled, these girl know how to play around but their music is all guts and no fear and they'll kick your ass on or off the stage. Currently touring with the Japanese rock gods Guitar Wolf, the girls will be gracing our fair city in just under a week, so guys put on your big boy pants and come see how the women do it.

Here's the Details:

Thursday, October 10th
350 W Burnside St
Doors:8PM / Show:9PM
Adv.:$13.50 /Day Of: $13.50
21 & Over

Monday, September 30, 2013

Cure for the Mondays: Blood on the Dance Floor - "Bewitched"

Blood on the Dance Floor - "Bewitched"


Arizona transplants Dahvie Vanity and Jayy Von Monroe make up the electronica duo of Blood On the Dance Floor. With a danceable pop sound and a look of a heyday of Mötley Crüe, this band is an oddly interesting mix of sensory input. I'm a little confused, but I kind of like it. With the release of their latest album Bad Blood earlier this month the duo is on the road in support with both North American and European dates. If everything goes accordingly the boys will swing through our neck of the woods for a show at the Hawthorne Theater on December 14th. Take a listen and a chance, you might be surprised.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Living Room Performance: Lucius - "Go Home"

Lucius - "Go Home"

Sycamore Bar and Flowershop

Brooklyn, New York


Hauntingly beautiful, the music of Lucius is ripe with rustic blues elements, demanding percusion and a two part vocal harmony that makes the heart ache. In preparation of the release of their debut album Wildewoman October 15th  on the Mom + Pop Label, the band is bringing their renowned live show to Portland next week. Here are the details and make sure you catch them this time around cause this bands sure to blow up in the next few months and you'll want to be ahead of the curve.

Wednesday, October 9th
Bunk Bar
1028 SE Water Ave #103
Doors: 8PM / Show:9PM
Cover: $12
21 & Over

Monday, September 23, 2013

Cure for the Mondays: The Get Togethers - "June (Oh My God)"

The Get Togethers - "June (Oh My God)"

Maybe it just takes the right person to activate our super powers.

The wildly energetic music of The Get Togethers is brimming with an infectious liveliness that carries over from their spring loaded stage performance. Their album Home As In Huston will see the light of day tomorrow September 24th. The records is an act of release. A concept album that documents the destruction and survival that lead singer Bethany Frazier faced in 2007, is filed with true emotions and bold music. Check them out.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday Double Feature: Gambles "So I Cry Out" & Until The Ribbon Breaks "Pressure"

This weeks Tuesday Double Feature presents two different kinds of love stories that are as diverse as the musical styles that accompany them.

Gambles - "So I Cry Out"

The hauntingly rustic voice of Matthew Daniel Siskin is the weighty presence of Gambles. Birthed in the summer of 2012 from a need to address those unspoken things that linger in the shadow of all our lives, Siskin began to write the songs that would eventually become his debut album TRUST. Pressed on the Secretly Canadian label, the album is set for a US release on October 1st. I eagerly await this release and the honest songs held with in.

Until The Ribbon Breaks - "Pressure"

Like the soundtrack of a David Lynch film, the music of UK artist and producer Until The Ribbon Breaks has a uniquely compelling nature. Having released his debut EP A Taste of Silver, on Republic Records just this last week. URB is gearing up for a short but sweet US tour. With a high profile supporting slot with New Zealand artist Lorde, the closest he'll be getting to us is a sold out September 28th show in Seattle; but with any luck we can hope to see him some time in the near future.Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cure for the Mondays: They Might Be Giants - "You're On Fire"

They Might Be Giants - "You're On Fire"

What's the dating etiquette when your food starts singing?

Always a great source for humorous songs and videos They Might Be Giants have done it again. With the release of their latest album Nanaobot, the boys have put together a wonderful collection of fun and witty tunes. Touring in support of the new record the band will be finishing up a North American leg through October and then off to Europe in November.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Living Room Performance: Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas - "Caught Up"

Jessica Hernandez & the Deltas - "Caught Up"

The Magic Bag

Ferndale, MI

July 20th, 2012

The soul-rocking sound of Detroit's Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas is a rich study of cultural and environmental influences. Led by the bold vocal presence of Jessica Hernandez, this band has a thickly wonderful sound that's executed with amazing energy. If you were lucky enough to catch their set as part of this year's Musicfest NW you're a first hand witness. If not, don't despair, the recent release of their Live at the Magic Bag EP might be the next best thing. Also, check out BLS's recent interview with the band.

Monday, September 2, 2013

10 Questions: Jessica Hernandez

Jessica Hernandez is the saucy lead singer of  her Detroit based band The Deltas.  She took some time and talked to BLS about her music, the road and a few other things.
Make sure you you catch her this week as she plays a show Friday night at the Doug Fir as part of Musicfest NW.

BLS: With the release of your latest EP Live at The Magic Bag you’ve been able to experience both live and studio recording. Are there elements that you both like and dislike about these two recording processes? Do you have a favorite?

JH: I recently discovered that my favorite recording process is a combination of both. We just recorded a couple new songs for a new 7'' and we recorded to tape. That's kind of the best of both worlds. It has the feel of a live show but its a little safer and more planned out. You get a live feel but if someone totally fucks it up you can just do it again.

BLS: As a first-generation American that was raised in a Mexican/Cuban household. How has your cultural up bring influenced your music?

JH: My parents listening to everything from Bowie to Buena Vista so they definitely had a big impact on my musical taste from a really young age. I still listen to all the music they got me into and I think its a big part of why my sound is all over the place. I was raised on so many genres that even though I go into writing trying to be original, i can sometimes hear where weird little things come from.

BLS: Having grown up in Detroit, the home of rocking soul and gritty rock n roll do you find your music influenced by environmental elements of the Motor City?

JH: I think everyones environment influences them, so yah for sure. Motown was one of those staples when I was growing up. My grandparents are really young and they tell me about how bands like the temptations, supremes and four tops used to come and play at their high school dances growing up. On a subconscious level I feel like the vibe of this whole album coming out is like Detroit. Its somehow really beautiful and really morbid at the same time.

BLS: You included, there are 7 members in your band The Deltas, all playing a broad arrangement of instruments. How do you incorporate all those elements into your songs with out having them feel crowded?

JH: I always write starting with a different instrument. Sometimes its a horn idea first or a piano part or even a drum beat. After I write a vocal melody that's when I figure out how much room there is for everything else. I like having a big band, but I also like simplicity and the contrast of the two. It's nice to play one song with 7 people and a brass section then play another with just a piano and vocals.

BLS: How dose the wide range of instruments effect the writing process?

JH: It basically just makes me feel like I have a lot of freedom to do anything with a song. It can stay bare bones or become this huge production and I know that either way I go I have some great guys that can pull it off. It's nice to go into writing without limitation.

BLS: Is it hard being the only women in the group, or do you like being the queen bee?

JH: I'd be lying if I said I didn't like it. It definitely isn't easy being the only women but it also some how ends up being really peaceful. The guys like to party and I like to be more of a recluse on tour. Since they have their bromance I don't feel bad hiding away to be alone. I could do with less farts and boogers in the van though.

BLS: As the female lead you seem to have been able to find a way to balance the aggression of the music with a feminine sensuality. Who are other female leads from which you’ve gained inspiration?

JH: Dolly Parton, Kate Bush, Wanda Jackson, Tammy Wynette, and basically all ladies of Motown. I feel like a lot of women back in the day really knew how to pull that off. They were all these gorgeous sensual women that were so badass.

BLS: You’re in the middle of a very extensive tour. How has the road been treating you?

JH Honestly for our first year of heavy touring I couldn't ask for anything better. Even if we have a dud playing for like 4 people in some small town, it still ends up being fun and gives you more bonding time with other bands on the road. No complaints.

BLS: What’s the one question you wished more music writers would ask you in interviews? How would you answer it?

JH: How many times has someone puked in the van after a show? 1 too many.

BLS: Name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of?


The Growlers

Goran Bregovic

Fools Gold


Grupo Fantasma Del Peru

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

From the Shelf: Summer Cannibals - No Makeup (2013)

No Makeup

The dredge-fuzz rock of the Summer Cannibals debut album No Makeup has a bold thickness to it.  With heavy dream rhythms and precisely punctuated drum beats, the opening track “Sounds” foreshadows the lovely album to follow.
Ripe with the thickened guitar tones more equated with 70’s rock and 90’s grunge the Summer Cannibals have mastered a truly luscious sound on their first album.  The weighty atmosphere of these songs is the perfect home for Jessica Boudreax’s sultry vocals, while the caressing waves of instrumentation is nearly hypnotic in nature.  An instant classic, from yet another Portland band that makes supporting local music way too easy,The Summer Cannibals’ No Makeup foretells of budding greatness. With tracks like the rocking swagger of “Wives” and building drive of “Wear Me Out”this boldly wonderful album is a must have.  Even if you haven’t heard the band yet, pick it up. It will be love at first note.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tuesday Double Feature: JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound "Rouse Yourself" & Luke Winslow-King " Moving On (Towards Better Days)"

This week's Tuesday Double Feature includes videos for two uniquely interesting artists that just happen to share room on the Bloodshot Record label and will be playing shows her in Portland this coming week. So enjoy the videos and if you like what you see, go check them out live.

JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound - "Rouse Yourself"

The lovely soul music of JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound is the kind of dance inspiring ear candy that makes you glad to be alive.  Having just released their latest album Howl, the boys will be playing this Thursday evening at Lola's Room downtown. Here's the 411:

Thursday, August 15th
Lola's Room
1332 W Burnside
Doors: 7PM / Show:8PM
Adv.: $15 / Day Of: $17
All Ages

Luke Winslow-King - "Moving On (Towards Better Days)"

The music of Luke Winslow-King is a throw back to a simpler time when jazz and blues were more closely related. Touring on the heels of his latest album The Coming Tide, Winslow-King will be stopping to play two free show in our area. Here are the details:

Friday, August 16th
McMenamins Edgefield
2126 SW Halsey St
Show: 7PM
21 & Over


Sunday, August 18th
Elizabeth Caruthers Park
3508 SW Moody Ave
Show: 3PM
All ages

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cure for the Mondays: The Heavy - "Can't Play Dead"

The Heavy - "Can't Play Dead"

Blues and voodoo seem to go hand in hand, it must be all the mojo.

The rocking soul music of UK's The Heavy has all the manic feet attitude of James Brown's ghost. Known for the commercial use of their song "How You Like Me Now?" this band is so much more. With a funk and groove that's undeniable, you'll find that you can't stop dancing. Don't believe me, then check them out for yourself this Tuesday, August 13th at our own Mississippi Studios. Here's all the info:
Mississippi Studio
Doors: 8PM / Show: 9PM
Adv.: $12 / Day Of: $12
21 & Over

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Living Room Performance: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Medicine

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - "Medicine"

Mophonics Studio, NewYork New York


Recently at BLS we've been talking a lot about soul music. So I thought we'd get the women's perspective in the bluesy seductiveness of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.Still riding high from the release of last years The Lion The Beast The Beat,Grace and the band have spent their summer on tour and will continue into Fall. Having just come through town last month, we might not get to see her live again until next year, but the great thing is no matter her touring time table we always have her music.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sound Art: The Heavy North American Tour

By Tony Whitebeard of New Analog Design
Designed By Tony Whitebread of New Analog Design the North American Tour Poster for The Heavy is truly bitchin'.
Sporting the image of a dapper Wolf-man caught in mid transformation, this poster lends itself well to the ferocious power that the band is know for.
Catch the band this Tuesday, August 13th at Mississippi Studios.
Here are the details:
The Heavy
The Silent Comedy
Mississippi Studio
3939 N Mississippi
Doors: 8PM / Show: 9PM
Adv.: $12 / Day Of: $12
21 & Over

10 Questions: Andy Rosenstein Of JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound

The powerful Neo-Soul group JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound have been making some of the most groove luscious music to come out of Chicago in years. Extremely busy with the release of their latest album, Howl,earlier this year and a tour in support. The band will be swing into town to play Lola's Room this Thursday, August 15th.(See latest Triple Crown)
Andy Rosenstein, who lends keys, percussion and vocals to the band was generous in taking some time out of their busy schedule to talk to us about the band and their latest release.  

BLS: It’s been about a year since By the Light of the Stereo checked in with you. How has 2013 treated you? Are there any new developments with you and the band?

AR: 2013 has been pretty wild so far. In the winter and spring we finished the new record Howl and got all of the new music ready to perform. Since May we've been on the road. We played South By Southwest again and hit up the Firefly Festival out east, which was amazing. We went to France and are heading back for a tour all around western Europe in October. It's been great.

BLS: Back in May you released your latest album Howl. With this being your third album how was the recording and promotion experience different this time around?

AR: I wasn't in the group when they recorded the last record (Want More) but I joined months before it officially came out and did the entire Want More tour as a member of the band. I can say without hesitation that we did a lot more driving last time around. This time, thankfully we've done some flying to gigs, mostly for the west coast. It has made it a lot easier to travel so much. The other big difference this time around is that we've been getting a little more radio play, which really helps.

BLS: Compared to the rollercoaster energy of your last album, Howl plays with a more sedated and even keel. What do you attribute this too?

AR: I think on this album we were looking to make music where we didn't restrict which of our influences we would include. That allowed us to think about post-60s/70s sounds that we like, but that the band had pushed aside in the past-- synths, brit-pop, disco, modern electronic sounds, etc. Somehow when we added all of that together, it might have come out a little less rock'n'roll.
Another factor might have been me joining as the band's first keyboard player who wasn't just a side-man but who worked on the songs and arrangements. Unlike Billy and Ben I don't come from Post-Punk music, so I might have softened things a little.

BLS: Emotionally this album has more prevalent themes of loss, pain and regret. What dose this reveal of your head space when writing these songs?

AR: We wrote Howl during the year and a half of touring on Want More, so we definitely had plenty of time away from people we loved, and complications associated with that. I think that's part of it.
We also recorded Howl in Montreal because we wanted to work with Howard Bilerman, a producer with both Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade albums to his name. Going away to record was also meant to keep us focused on the work, and a little isolated from everyday pressures. It definitely succeeded in making us isolated. Montreal is great, but December there is grey and cold, and I think that comes through, even though it's not a wintery or downtempo album.

BLS: In the process of creating these last three albums have you picked up any new influences along the way?

AR: Everyone in the band is always listening to music that's new to them, whether it's something that just came out or an old gem they just discovered. We also share things that we each take for granted but that other members of the band don't know. And we definitely keep up on what is happening in the music world.
For example, we wrote and recorded Before You Die months before Get Lucky was released, but both songs have Nile Rodgers and Chic as major influences. It must have just been the right time.

BLS: You’re currently on the last leg of a fairly extensive US tour with a European tour looming in the near future. How has the road been treating you this time around? Are their any new experiences waiting for you across the pond.

AR: There are always new experiences out there. This will be our biggest tour of Europe yet, and I know everyone is really excited. The road can be incredibly fun, but it can also be pretty challenging. The trick is to roll with the punches as best you can and try to have perspective and appreciation for all the strange things that happen.

BLS: You recently released a video for “Rouse Yourself” staring Aubrey Plaza (of NBC’s Park & Recreation) and Jake Johnson (of FOX’s New Girl). What was it like to have such recognizable individuals working on this project?

AR: It was very cool for both Jake and Aubrey to make time for us. Jake's an old buddy of Billy's and has come out to see us a handful of times. He also put up a JCBUS poster in his 'bedroom' set on The New Girl, which I know a lot of people saw. With a music video-- and with making an album more generally-- the goal is to get the most people possible to hear your music, and having some big names helps on that count.

BLS: Do you find the road as a source of inspiration or do you feel the studio is more conducive to your creative process? With your busy schedule have you had a chance to write any new material?

AR: For me, it's the studio all the way. I can't write on the road because there's no privacy and quiet. When I'm at home alone is when I can clear my mind. I think to varying degrees that's generally the way the other guys work, too, but I don't want to speak for everyone.
On the other hand, I saw a shouting hobo in a park in Toronto a few weeks ago and I intend to lift a few of the things he said wholesale for a song at some point. He had some really top-shelf craziness.

BLS: If you could open for any of the forbearers of Soul, alive or dead, who would it be, and why?

AR: Hard question. I think Sly Stone, but not because our music and his have a ton in common, but just because he's my favorite.

BLS: Name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of?

Bailiff : Great chicago indie rock trio with a lot of blues influence, but done in what I think is a unique way. They're about to put out a brand new record, which they let us hear, and it's amazing.

Wild Belle: Chicago brother-sister group with a really sexy, spacey dub reggae kind of sound. They may be famous already-- hard to say what counts these days-- but they're really excellent.

Escort: killer disco band from New York. Think we're going to playing some gigs with them sometime soon.

Rubblebucket: horn-section lead indie rock band from New York with tons of character and humor. Fronted by a super bad-ass gal who plays baritone sax. Every member of the group is an insanely talented and tasteful player.

Hudson Branch: Another indie group from Chicago. Beautiful, expansive tunes, interesting orchestration, and a lead singer who sounds a lot like Paul Simon. Think these guys could be massive if they get a break.