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Showing posts from 2017

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 …

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…