Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2017

Dance Heavy Funktastic with Pimps of Joytime: Third Wall Chronicles

I love to find something new that I had no idea I would love so much. It's fascinating to me to think that not long ago, I didn't know this music existed and now I don't know how I would go through the rest of life without it. Did you ever ponder that? Maybe it's just me...

I know as an independent music supporter that I am supposed to hate Spotify. That is what I read on Facebook from musician friends and associates of mine. I know I am supposed to hate it, but I can't because it keeps throwing music at me that amazes me. It keeps dishing me music that grows into almost unhealthy obsessions. Mind you, I AM in fact an independent music supporter. I buy albums. I pay my way into shows. I almost always buy merch. (except for you $50 t-shirt bands...too rich for my blood...but I will buy that $2 sticker right there...) I was rocking some Vulfpeck this morning because my job was just eating away at my soul and I needed that groove in a big, bad way. As I occasionally …

Taking On Traditional with Kitchen Dwellers: Ghost In The Bottle

Music has an amazing way of creating pictures in your mind. It can pull memories out of the furthest reaches of your soul, no matter how far back they were buried. They can bring feelings you forgot you felt or never felt before at all. It can conjure up images and moving pictures inside your brain that seem to be narrated by those sounds as if perfectly choreographed and scored by masters in the field. Sometimes it's the least likely sounds. Sometimes it's music you had no idea you would ever fall in love with. Sometimes its those pictures in your mind that light the flame.

When I was growing up, my father had a Victrola. (he still does, actually) He happened to have a lot of bluegrass music on 78's and used to play them as loud as it would seem that lovely old wooden machine would go. This is my first recollection of hearing what I know to be this wonderful audible slice of Americana. I had largely forgotten about it until now.

As I find myself more and more immersed in…

The Long Awaited Twiddle: Plump Chapter 2

My car has always been covered in stickers. Always. Since I was 17 and drove a big nasty 1984 Monte Carlo. My car has always been a flag to my love of music and pretty much ensured I could never commit any major crimes with my car because I'm pretty easy to find.

So I'm sitting in traffic in sleepy Northern New Jersey yesterday. I drive a really bitchy twelve year old Volkswagen so I have to go two towns over to buy better gas or she runs like garbage. There is a nasty intersection that no one ever seems to comprehend the traffic pattern of (also known as "most of New Jersey"), so I am usually watching the cars around me in preparation for one of them to drive into me, and I happened to glance to my right. The dude in the car next to me is having a get down moment at the wheel, smiling like its the greatest day ever, and motioning to the back of my car. I roll down my passenger side window, and he rolls down his. I have no idea what this guy wants. He points to the …

Feels and Jams and Grooves OH MY with The Werks - Magic

I swear the further down this jam scene rabbit hole I fall, the more I am discovering things that I never even knew I liked. There is so much to discover once you step outside your comfort zone and it seems the further I wander from that zone, the more open my mind is to sounds, vibes, and audible journeys in general. There is just so much to discover. I have not gotten to see much of it live yet, but that is something I am working to remedy as much as possible this summer. I am delving into festivals. I am told there is no better way to truly experience this scene until you live it for a few days. For a girl used to dark and dirty New York City clubs for her music fix, this is a daunting yet deliciously exciting prospect. More on that later. I don't want to talk about camping.

Let's talk about The Werks.

Normal reviews will go into how these gents come from the great state of Ohio and are inspired by yada yada yada and I just don't really do that. Let's instead talk …

Straight Groove Rocking with Aqueous - Artifact

Can I admit something to you all?
It's totally not a complete secret, but I am willing to let it all out anyway.
They say the road to recovery starts with admitting you have a problem, and I have a problem.

I didn't want to like jam bands.

*sigh*

But I do. I really, really DO.
Not all of them. I mean, the potential is there but I like to say I am only just dipping my toes in the waters of this scene. (despite more than a few fully naked cannonballs) I am continuously surprised by just how much music is here. I am continuously impressed with how many bands are out there doing their own corner of the scene their own way and I am constantly evolving my own audible portfolio of what I love.

My husband and I follow Twiddle quite a bit and last month found us in Stroudsburg, PA where, coincidentally, this whole A Perfect Mess concept started in a little Internet broadcasting company called PIBCO. I used to drive the hour from my home in New Jersey once a week to spend two hours bla…

Tossing Out My Preconceived Notions with Big Something - Tumbleweed

I used to think I understood what this whole jam scene thing was, and I was so sure it was not my thing. In my younger days, I refused to listen to bands like Phish and moe. because I was so very sure the music was something I wouldn't relate to. I had all these preconceived notions of what the crowds were like at festivals, what the bands were like when you met them, and what the scene was as a whole. I was so wrong, it's kind of painful.

I mention a lot that my husband is a big reason for my open mind in music. I have always had a very eclectic taste. I love everything from classical to hip hop. I found myself as a teen in punk and industrial. I found my home in ska/reggae. I have always carried a love for folk. Never did I realize that all these sounds can be found in the least likely scene, at least in my mind at that time. Over the last five years, my husband (a nasty jam bassist in his own right) has been slyly pulling me into the scene one band at a time. Never has my …

More Than a Mouthful - Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad : Make it Better

I feel like I hit the auditory lottery this last year in a lot of ways. Opening my mind to another side of music has been a delicious adventure that I really didn't anticipate shaping and changing me the way it did. I started this blog/podcast focused on local artists which became almost exclusively a ska/reggae/rocksteady undertaking. It's music that lights me up and a scene that welcomed and encouraged what I was trying to do with this whole project. I wanted to share what I was finding in the scene. I wanted to promote and push bands, albums, and shows that were regional into an international audience. This has always and will always be my mission, but I have had to admit that my blinders were on.

Enter my husband.

Jam guy meets Ska girl. They bond over punk rock and get married.

We found out the two scenes we come from were so incredibly similar in so many ways. The vibe, the crowds, the social ideas were very much the same but still there was some strange imaginary line …

Smooth Reggae Feels with The Elovaters: The Cornerstone

If anyone has been following along for the last 7 years, I started this journey doing an Internet radio show out of Stroudsburg, PA. I was blogging mostly local NJ artists slowly, and my format was "alternative" which gave me the freedom to take it wherever it went...and went, it did. One Sunday I decided to go full ska and had two of my dearest friends in the studio with me. My FM DJ girlfriend Lindsay and my friend in music and giant cans of pudding, Rob. I would be doing on-air interviews with Steve Jackson from the Pietasters and Travis from Hub City Stompers. There was beer. There was laughing. More than anything, there was a realization that this has always been the music that got deepest into my soul and why in the hell was this not my focus?

After a roof collapse and two station location shifts, our home base disbanded and a few of us, like myself, decided to hop into podcasting and continue with blogging reviews. I somehow garnered myself a lot of support in the sk…

Radical Chemicals Vol 1: InCircles/ThePandemics

I am a ska kid. Now and forever. It doesn't matter how broadened my music mind gets or how much love I have for any other scene or genre. I am a ska kid. Branded in the 90's, and still dancing in front of the stage until I damn near pass out every opportunity I get.

Mind you, I'm 38 years old, married with two kids and working a full time job in suburban New Jersey so that isn't as often as I would like anymore...but in my heart, it's all a ska show all day, every day. I have met some of my nearest and dearest friends through this scene. When I was starting out doing internet radio, Podcasting, and blogging six years ago, this scene opened itself to me and gave me a huge push. It's a longtime friend. It's a cozy home. One of those friends in the scene that I met alone the way is Chris Malone, founder of Lonely Atom Records and trombone/vocalist for The Pandemics.

Let me say first that the Pandemics hit me like a ton of bricks. They have one of the boldest …

Octave Cat - Synth Heavy Instrument Funk

I was born in 1978 which aside from making me old means I was raised considerably on the synth sounds that made the 1980's great. My first crush was the singer of A-Ha and I was positively obsessed with keyboards. To this day it's something I have a tendency to focus on when hearing new music. It's one of those things I always wanted to learn and never did so it's a bit of a fascination with what can be conveyed with the instrument. It pushed into a deep appreciation for New Wave and that fine line between punk and electronica that it walked. Ok, maybe that line wasn't so fine in reality but it was in my head. Come the 1990's, I had blossomed into a dark industrial fan... and then I found punk and ska and my world changed forever. That love of electronic sounds never really left though. I just kind of forgot about it.

I love to dance, despite being terrible at it, but I really can't stand modern radio dance music. I touched on this a bit in my last review …

Teddy Midnight - Tripping into something funky and different with Velvet Blue

Woah.
What in the world did I just put on? This is not me. This is not what I am used to. I like it.

I think my jam head husband likes that I have been exploring his scene a bit more. I think he delights in the fact that once in a while, I tell him he is right about something. We met over music. We bonded over music and it's something that we continue to bond over every day since. We get our beer on and sit in the basement talking about songs that moved us at some point in our life and then we bring it up on our phones and talk about it. I will bring up some random Sting song and go, "YO! THIS! LISTEN TO WHAT HE DOES HERE!" and then make some stupid, half in the bag gesture and he will do the same. Lately, he has been passing me some pretty interesting stuff.

I have never been a huge fan of electronic music. I like to dance, though I am immensely bad at it, but the music I dance to has to make me feel something in my guts or it just seems empty. Any beat can make you mo…

Late to the Party Again: Spiritual Rez with Setting In The West

I didn't come out of the womb with my love for reggae and ska. It was something I fell into in the 90's like a lot of other people in my age bracket. I was in high school and I was introduced to Reel Big Fish, The Pietasters, The Slackers. Stubborn All Stars. I mixed it in with my love of punk, industrial, and 60's folk and rock and 80's new wave. I have always been all over the map in what lights me up. There was something about ska and reggae though that was just different. It became part of my blood. Even still, it took another 15 years for me to really delve into it deeply, finding it's roots and pioneers and learning their messages and individual sounds. I am still learning. There is so much. So many off shoots and sounds to be found. There are scene crossovers. There are fringe bands. There are sounds I still have not really heard!

That doesn't mean my ears have always been open. I have been pretty honest in previous pieces this year about how closed min…

Kung Fu - Joyride...Where the Hell Have I Been?

Where the hell have I been?

Under a rock, apparently. I didn't know who these guys were.

Have you heard of Kung Fu? No?

Do you like the funk? Gotta have that funk? You need this in your life. I think I have talked before about how my husband and I came from different musical worlds when we met - bonding over Bad Religion. He is from the jam scene. I am from the ska scene. Both of us are unbelievably loyal and unbelievably stubborn to what we love so it's pulling teeth when we want to share how amazing something is with one another.

Ok, ok. I will just throw Kung Fu into that mix too. I dropped the ball on this one. This is amazing.

This band is a fantastic mix of funk, soul, serious groove, and jazz. Imagine taking all the best parts of Sly and the Family Stone and throwing them into an elevator with Jamiroquai and letting Bootsy Collins push the buttons until everyone throws up. That's kind of what is happening in my head when I listen to Kung Fu.



I got my hands on the 2…

Open Minds, Open Hearts, Open Ears

Sometimes I think we are too hard on one another.

My husband likes to say "There is an ass for every seat." I like to think of music that way. There is a sound for every ear. Something out there can speak to everyone. You just need to find that special sound to you. You would think that with all the sounds in this world, we would be content with the music we love. That is not the case. Every time I log onto any sort of social media, I see a lot of one person ripping on another for their choice of what they put in their ears. I guess they think there is a choice.

So we are clear, I don't think there is.

We don't choose music. Music chooses us. There are bands and artists I actively tried to avoid liking and found myself fully engulfed in. The fact is, music is spiritual. Music speaks to the soul. Sometimes when we desperately need someone, anyone, to understand what we are going through we find our refuge in a song. I don't believe that is an accident. I think mu…