LMA 2017 winners:
"Rock Artist of the Year" & "Song of the Year" (Funny Ways)
Sam "Shake" Anderson, started recording and touring at age nine. A multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter/producer. Shake has worked with artists as varied as Bruce Hornsby, Static Major, Steve Cropper, Aretha Franklin, The Indigo Girls, The Spice Girls, Days Of The New,Warren Haynes, Curtis Mayfield, Aliyah, Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder. He spent six years as musical director for soul music legends "The Impressions".
Shake has also worked with a great variety of Christian artists such as Avalon,Crystal Lewis, Annointed, Bryan Duncan,Russ Taff, Nicole Nordeman,Donny McClurkin, and formed the Grammy winning gospel group New Breed with Israel Houghton.
"Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, and the Clarinet"
World famous clarinetist Daniel McKelway teams up with some of his world famous friends to tear into the oft-overlooked classical and romantic clarinet repertoire!
Daniel McKelway is an admitted fan of the great masterworks for his instrument. He is joined by soprano Amelia Baisley, pianist Hyunsoon Whang, and TCO violist Lembi Veskimets in performances of Mozart’s Trio in E-flat, K. 498, “Kegelstatt,” and Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen (“Shepherd on the Rock”).
“These are my favorite pieces,” the Cleveland Orchestra assistant principal clarinet said during a recent conversation. “They have been my whole life and I haven’t outgrown them.”
PS, cover art by our good friend Danny Seim of Menomena!
Mark's long-awaited fifth LP, is available worldwide now!
Dublin-native Mark Geary is a celebrated musician who began his career more than 20 years ago. In 1992, Mark bought a one-way ticket to New York City and spent several years honing his craft playing the local circuit in the East Village which included numerous appearances at the acclaimed Sin-é cafe with other upcoming artists including friend Jeff Buckley.
During that time, Mark's songwriting skills and engaging live performances garnered him a dedicated audience, the respect and esteem of his peers, and a reputation as one of the finest songsmiths of his generation.
Mark is described as a "quintessential singer-songwriter" and his records have been hailed as encapsulating both boisterous joy and gentle, delicate moments that endear themselves to the listener and evoke comparisons to artists such as Van Morrison, John Lennon, Elliot Smith and Richard Thompson.
His body of work includes 4 studio albums, 2 live recordings and collaborations with a number of artists including the 2013 release of a charity version of his song 'Christmas Biscuits' with friend Glen Hansard in aid of St Vincent De Paul, in Ireland.
Mark has also lent his talents to the visual arts scoring several films including “Loggerheads” (2005), “Steel City” (2006) and TriBeCa Film Festival favourite, “Sons of Perdition” (2010) as well as having songs featured in episodes of the TV shows “Bones” and “One Tree Hill”.
Throughout 2015 and 2016, Mark toured Germany and Switzerland during which, included a headline spot on the critically acclaimed “Songs from Ireland: Old and New” as well as support on multiple occasions for his dear friend Glen Hansard.
Touring and performing are Mark's lifeblood and passion, and his finely crafted songs and charismatic storytelling provide his audience with a unique experience on every occasion. Over the last 20 years Mark has toured all around Europe, the US and Australia, and has shared the stage with performers such as The Swell Season, Glen Hansard, The Frames, Josh Ritter, Bell X1, Coldplay, Elvis Costello, The Pretenders and Joe Strummer.
Mark released his highly anticipated fifth studio album “The Fool” in Autumn 2017 and has received enthusiastic critical acclaim.
“His delicate songs about love and defiance.....recall Richard Thompson and John Lennon.....one of the East Village's favorite adopted sons.”
- Time Out, New York
Of the album “Ghosts”-
“a collection of superb songs delivered with a quiet intensity that will endear itself to listeners.” - Billboard Magazine
“After the final notes have faded into the ether, you feel as though you've been through some significant experience.”
- Irish Music Central
“He's the quintessential singer-songwriter.”
- Hot Press
“consistently turns out some amazing records” - Hybrid Magazine
“Geary can add or take away from his songs, the result is always good, their transparent simplicity is compelling and the lush harmonies are enough to give you goosebumps.”
- Zürcher Oberländer Zeitung
SAME SKY available everywhere now!
Just in case you haven't heard the best hip-hop record of 2016.
"Prayer," by Jenna Dean ft. Carly Johnson. Available everywhere NOW!
Check out this video of the band and Carly producing the track.
Jenna Dean's sonaBLAST! debut showcases their uniquely socially conscious SoCal hip hop style and features an incredible guest vocal by Louisville R&B goddess and friend Carly Johnson.
Stay tuned for news on Jenna Dean's upcoming sonaBLAST! EP and go to their website to find out when you can catch them live!!
NEW LP "CANYONS" AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE NOW
The Pass are an electro pop four-piece from Louisville, Kentucky. Weaving together psychedelic rock, mainstream pop, and '80s dance with unforgettable melodies and dance floor ready beats, The Pass have created a sound entirely of their own.
After four years of touring, writing, and releasing singles…The Pass are back with their brand new LP: CANYONS. Excited to share this new collection of songs with their fans and the music world, the album features a wide variety influences ranging from 80s pop to uptempo rock and roll. Utilizing layers and layers of synthesizers against a classic guitar, bass, and drums backing…the band explores the known rock sound set against an electronic landscape where sounds bubble to the surface and excite. Recorded at the legendary La La Land Studios in Louisville, Kentucky, The Pass worked with engineer Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket, Twin Limb) to help maximize sound, work flow, and ideas in the studio to create an album the band has long been trying to achieve. It is now ready to see the life of day.
With a raucous live show defined by high energy, lasers, fog, and an LED-synched backdrop, The Pass turn any venue into a foot sliding, head bobbing, hands in the air dance party. Since the release of their debut album BURST in 2011, they have been on a steady touring diet, playing at over 30 national festivals, thousand seat arenas, and venues from east to west coast sharing the stage with everyone from Cage the Elephant to Fall Out Boy to Walk The Moon, and more.
Over the past few years, The Pass have seen their music grow nationally and internationally through featured spots on HBO, FOX, ABC, The CW, MTV, and over 40 other TV and movie placements. Their collection of music videos have reached over 500,000 plays and over 200,000 Soundcloud/Bandcamp plays over the course of two full length LPs, a four 7" vinyl series, and two EPs.
Born and raised in Louisville, Ky., Jack has been a hip-hop soul for as long as he can remember. His mom fed him a steady diet of classics from elsewhere, legends like OutKast, Eminem, and A Tribe Called Quest. By age 12, he was inspired enough to begin recording songs in his bedroom, uploading his music to SoundCloud to share with his friends. By high school, he'd created such a buzz that he was selling out shows at popular venues in his hometown.
Set on elevating his career, Jack moved to Atlanta. There, he met fellow Kentucky native KY Engineering, with whom he formed a working relationship. KY brought Jack to DJ Drama, who took a liking to Jack's unique style—a fun, thoughtful brand of lyricism that's drawn comparisons to Drake.
Jack Harlow's debut EP on sonaBLAST! is out everywhere NOW... and we are stoked!
And check out the video for EVERY NIGHT while you're at it... see you at the next show!
"The Chives band is more like that empty highway. The escape is from your own fears and limitations. The goal is to last as long as you can. Push your edurance and come to terms with the aching and painstaking achievements you possess after such toil and torment is self-imposed. Have you seen the new Mad Max? I'm sure there's going to be a sequel and Chives would be a shoo-in for the score. Chives himself errily resembles dead man Jay Reatard and even unveils some of his unhinged agressive energy in the live show. But this isn't specifically a blast from the past. This is groove production created with rock'n'roll instrumentation. This is…Endless boogie." - The Spot Tavern
"From one man stomp - to three piece roll - to four or five piece psych trample, the talented and young chives does it all. He's been making quite a name for himself since he came onto the indy scene, as both a visual artist and as a fab rock n roll performer. This show finds the Chives band about a year into its evolution in the Indy scene - they're tighter and louder than ever, and that shriek is still on fleek." - Miss Mess
"Out of high school and into your head – Chives’ meteoric rise to the gates of garage royalty is soaked in as much fuzz as you’d rightly expect from this curly maned slasher. Whether he’s oozing blood at a Halloween house show or acing Buddy Holly covers for Record Store Day, the indefatigable rapscallion emerges from the haze with his characteristic rockabilly wail matched with catchy and distinctive scuzzed out sounds that separate him from the ever-large Midwestern garage pack." - Charles Fox
Builder of the House's full-length ORNAMENTS is available everywhere now. Download/stream this delightful piece of baroque folk/pop here!
Builder of the House is a Portland, Maine-based Indie Folk outfit comprised of Robert Cimitile and Elliot Heeschen.
The group’s eclectic sound, rooted in folk and Bluegrass, started its journey on the EP “I Am a Tidal Wave” and has continued to evolve. The “Hourglass” EP has an expanded full band sound born out of collaborations with other artists in the Portland music scene who appear on the record. Haunting ballads like “A Plot In Falmouth” feature alongside the seriously irresistible pop hooks of “There Is No Hourglass, Only Sand.”
Builder of the House has been featured on ReverbNation, SoundCloud, and the CD Baby DIY Musician blog. Their sound has been described as “a cross between Elliott Smith and Ray Davies.” The music consists of “great memorable tunes with super smart lyrics” sung with a “voice that is both instantly warm and appealing.”
Builder of the House can be seen performing in Portland and around the Northeast. Check out their website for tour dates!
Characterizing Ben Sollee's music with any precision is a challenge, since it fuses elements from a wide variety of sources. In describing his music, Sollee told Jim Fusilli of the Wall Street Journal that, "Phrasing-wise, [it's a] free story-telling style of singing where it's about moving the storyline along. [My influences have been] Paul Simon, Nina Simone, Ani DiFranco, Louis Armstrong, Lauryn Hill, Sam Cooke, Phoebe Snow."Other Influences have included Mark Summer, Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten, and Pete Seeger.
Sollee's Music has been said to observe no limits. [Bill Weigandt, Wooden Box] His songs are eclectic in that they draw elements from a broad range of recognizable genre's of music, even with the scope of a single song. The amalgamation of these disparate elements seems to be done subconsciously. The internal coherence of the compositions manages to sustain them against any impression of artifice. Subject to the song varies widely—from expressive love songs (e.g., "Copper and Malachite"), to the lamentations of a long-serving prisoner ("Captivity"), to the burning of London's historic Globe Theatre ("The Globe"). A notable feature of Sollee's songs that the lyrics are of co-equal importance with the music.
Sollee's cello work is the element that seems to most impact audiences that have not previously seen him perform. The initial reaction is often one of surprise, if not shock, since most listeners' familiarity with the cello, if any, is in classical settings, primarily with an orchestra. Sollee shows up in a T-shirt instead of a tux. He plucks the cello's strings as frequently as he bows them, plays without printed music, and rarely concentrates his gaze on the instrument while performing. Mostly, he is singing, coordinating with his fellow performers, and connecting with the audience, in much the same manner that many guitar players do. In response to a probe about the uniqueness of what he is doing as a musician, Sollee has said he's "just continued with stuff that's been going on in banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and bass." In explaining his bond to the cello, Sollee told CNN interviewer that the cello is "a great Swiss Army Knife...It always does the different things I need it to do in ensembles. I can take the lead. I can play rhythm. It always creates a sound that works in the environment I'm playing in." Sollee's relation to the cello is so intimate that appears almost organic, as if the instrument were merely an extension of his body. (Jon Rieger, Wooden Box)
"I Might Be 17" out now!
Shannon Brackett is a singer-songwriter currently based in Los Angeles. Born and raised in Oklahoma, she was part of Austin's music community for many years. For the past two years, she has called the road her home, finding tuneful amusement in mountains, open roads, skyscrapers, oceans and tall trees - her ukulele and guitar riding shotgun. Shannon's songs are seasoned with the highway, heartaches and the beautiful moments in between.
Cheyenne introduced herself internationally with the 10″ release Among the Gold (2009) with Bonnie Prince Billy – a collection of late 19th-century American parlor music. After touring with the Bonnie Prince, Ben Sollee, and Daniel Martin Moore, Cheyenne released her first solo album, Before Lately (2010), followed by an EP, We Don’t Need (2012), and another full-length album, Among the Grey (2013), along with several national tours. Cheyenne won Best Singer/Songwriter in the 1st Annual Louisville Music Awards in 2013.
Cheyenne also has a passion for traditional music and released three records with counterparts Joan Shelley and Julia Purcell as Maiden Radio - one self-titled Maiden Radio (2010), one called Lullabies (2011), and the latest Wolvering (2015). Maiden Radio has been nominated for best Americana artist for 2 years running at the Louisville Music Awards.
Hauser began performing his original songs in 2011 and that year was a finalist at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival's troubadour contest as well as The Rocky Mountain Folk Festival and made showcase performances at CMJ and The Toronto International Film Festival.
In January, 2012 he released his debut album "Oh Oh" on sonaBLAST! Records with a lineup including cellist Ben Sollee, guitarist Grant Gordy (David Grisman Quintet), producer Jayme Stone, and Grammy winning mastering engineer David Glasser. Songs from "Oh, Oh" have been featured on MTV's series 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom and in the feature films YERT, 2nd Serve, and A Strange Brand Of Happy . Hauser has since toured extensively, including a showcase at SXSW and opening performances for Brett Dennen, Mayer Hawthorne, The Head and The Heart and John Hiatt.
2014 - You A Thousand Times
2012 - Oh Oh
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PHOURIST (for-rist) & THE PHOTONS began as Nick Hill's solo project (known then only as PHOURIST). After a few solo records- "Terrestrial Daydream" and "Breathe Deep" (highly textured, cinematic records), Hill became restless for a larger sound. He is quoted as saying, "Having only one guy to play all the parts is pretty limiting; especially if you can hear so much more in your head! I was also getting tired of being the guy who played pretty music... I love pretty music but I felt like I had more to give... kinda wanted to kick in some teeth." With an arsenal of songs that had no proper outlet, Hill eventually recruited Scott Boice (drums), Justin Perez (bass), Andrew Critchelow (guitar/texture). The group presents a highly dynamic, formidable and seemingly uninhibited rhythm section.
The quartet's LP, "In Infinite Indigo," is a theatrical, melodic, stripped-down affair that continues to experiment with neo-classical themes in an album rock paradigm. "In Infinite Indigo" is available now on sonaBLAST! Records.
Debut full-length "Morning Edition" is out NOW!
Available NOW at all digital retailers and HERE on CD! This is our musical tribute to the Belle of Louisville- the oldest operating steamboat in the United States and one our city's most beloved landmarks.
In October 2014 the Belle celebrated her 100th birthday! To commemorate this once in a lifetime occasion, Waterfront Park hosted over 200,000 friends from around the world for the Centennial Festival of Riverboats, and sonaBLAST! joined in on the fun!
sonaBLAST! Records has curated a “concept" compilation CD entitled “Belle 100: Steamboat Songs” to help celebrate our esteemed riverboat’s landmark centennial anniversary. The CD, available physically and digitally, features 13 tracks that celebrate, in one way or another, riverboat culture, the unique heritage of the Ohio River, and the spirit of Louisville. We’re proud to have the diverse artist contributors listed below.
All profits from CD sales will benefit the Belle of Louisville ’s endowment fund. Taxpayers presently subsidize the Belle yearly to the calliope tune of over $100,000 so any donations to the endowment are truly a gift to the community.
1. “Love You Like A River” Kyle James Hauser
2. “Steamboat Honey” Teneia
3. “I’ll Be On My Way” The Bibelhauser Brothers
4. “Around The Bend” The Pass
5. “Upstream Downstream” Steve Cooley
6. “Riverside” Leigh Ann Yost
7. “Holy Roller” The Instruction
8. “Life Is A River” Beady
9. “Dreamboat” The Ladybirds
10. “On The Avalon” Brigid Kaelin
11. “Last Ones In” Nerves Junior
12. “The Ghost of The Belle of Louisville” Roy Ruiz Clayton
13. “Paddle Wheel” Steve Cooley
The Debauchees are seemingly old souls with a youthful sneer. At just 20, the three members of The Debauchees have crafted a full-length that feels vintage and modern, classic and new. Their debut, Big Machines and Peculiar Beings, evokes the minimalist yet intricate post-punk approach of Wire, Talking Heads, and Young Marble Giants with distinct vocals that evoke an emotive Nico. And like many of their punk predecessors, this thunderous trio comes from a fine lineage of artists who formed a band before learning their instruments - to prodigious results. Vocalist Sydney Chadwick says "we all learned how to play in an unconventional way so our playing styles became personal and rule-defying."
The Debauchees are Sydney Chadwick (vocals/guitar), Ashley Bowen (bass), and Cameron Lowe (drums).
"Big Machines and Peculiar Beings" is out NOW on sonaBLAST! Records.
Howe has toured nationally, placed first in a country battle of the bands, played huge concert halls and pitched songs in Nashville. She’s played radio shows, television shows, and has had her music featured in film. The list of people Howe has opened for reads like a who’s who of alt-country music: Todd Snider, Jason Ringenberg, Paul Thorn, Stacey Earle, The Be Good Tanyas, Jerry Douglas, Billy Joe Shaver, Kim Richey, Holly Williams, The Wood Brothers, Tim Krekel, Rosie Flores and Tommy Womack, to name a few.
Ever the explorer, Howe has delved into children's music, spiritual music and environmental activism and has drawn quite a bit of national praise for her efforts. She has garnered accolades from the usual Americana music supporters like No Depression Magazine and WXPN in Philadelphia while at the same time receiving kudos from Al Gore and winning an E-chievement award from the E-town Radio Show.
Be Good is Howe’s first album since 2007’s I Love Britney Spears. It is Howe’s sixth solo release and the eighth album she has produced. (She produced the compilation album Heidi’s One Night Stand as a benefit for the Musician’s Emergency Relief Fund as well as the sonaBLAST! Records release Louisville Lullabies, which benefitted The Home of the Innocents.)
Today, Howe still professes to favor intimate shows over flashy, larger ones. To testify, she says that the songwriter showcase she hosted for more than five years in Louisville remains “one of her fondest memories.” Howe has always thrived on the easy conversation that seems to happen between performer and audience when she takes the stage.
What the media is saying about Be Good...
"A must have for your... Alternative Country music playlist. Don't miss out on this gem." - I Am Entertainment Magazine
"If alt country needs a queen, we nominate Heidi Howe to the throne." - TheMusicUniverse.com
"Within two tracks, this record was already something I wanted to recommend to people." - AbsolutePunk.net
"Talent, charm, edge, humor and a unique voice in a sea of artists who are just trying too hard. Howe is the real deal." - RockWorldMagazine.com
"Her lyrics are smart and sassy and her music is infectious." - Blogcritics.org
"Howe has the coveted combination of a soothing tone and interesting views and stories that make her material easy to listen to and completely relative to people the world over." - Music-News.com
"With a voice that is thick, ringing like a bell, and syrupy like warm molasses, she is everything that is sweet about country twang." - AllWhatsRock.com
"Howe’s storytelling is captivating, her voice is wholesome and her musical talent knows no bounds." - VeggieFans.net
Described as “West London meets West Coast”, Et Tu Brucé blend pop, rock, folk, and country, and tie them all together with their signature harmonic sound. Composed of Londoners Jamie White, Matthew O’Toole, and brothers Craig and Darryn Bruce, they are fast becoming theband to watch. Likened to a number of great bands, they inhabit a space on the spectrum where few others reside. They write, perform, and produce their own records, and in doing so have collected a number of accolades from established journalists and a host of new music champions. Their music echoes from the golden age of records, crunching through the barriers and fixing itself tothe future.
Formed in 2010, Et Tu Brucé have a rich reputation on the live circuit in London, headlining some of the most illustrious city venues, such as The Water Rats, Dublin Castle, The Half Moon, The Hope & Anchor, and countless more. Fixtures on national and commercial radio stations, Et Tu Brucé continue to aim for excellence.Their first UK single ‘This City' and 'Never Seen You Cry’ was championed by BBC 6 Music, BBC London & X-FM amongst many other tastemaker radio stations.
With comparisons to Byrds, Beach Boys, Foo Fighters, Wilco, The Kinks and the Beta Band, and a huge army of followers, ‘Suburban Sunshine’ brings Et Tu Brucé into the elite. In England, their triumphant debut album Suburban Sunshine, was bestowed the title of “the sound of summer” by Best of British Unsigned and remains one of the most critically lauded albums of 2012. Amongst the host of accolades for Et Tu Brucé were nominations for Best British Band by the Online Music Awards, and Album of the Year by the Indie Music Digest.
Et Tu Brucé made their US debut in March 2013 at SXSW, where they were invited to kick-off the Yahoo! Presents Austin Psych Fest Showcase. Their performance in Austin immediately led them to a record deal with SonaBLAST! Records, and an offer to join British Invasion icons, The Zombies, on two US tours.
‘Suburban Sunshine’ available NOW!!
Justin Paul Lewis makes music with the purpose to reach people. He tells his stories and performs with the intent to make them be heard. Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Justin uses every bit of his heritage and influences to accentuate the importance of genuine music and bring that honesty to the forefront of what he does. Known for his soul-driven Americana, Justin matured as an artist by making a name for himself within the Louisville music scene. At age 25, Justin has shared show bills with acclaimed artists such as Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, and Norah Jones, all while stocking up on gas station receipts around the country realizing his mission: reaching people through music.
Rinse, Repeat, Rewind
“Rinse, Repeat, Rewind” is a collaboration between songwriter Justin Paul Lewis and cellist/producer Ben Sollee. It is a small collection of true stories with their own individual lives.
“I was enthralled with the relationship Jim James (My Morning Jacket) had with Ben and Daniel Martin Moore’s record “Dear Companion,” he revealed. “[James] worked as producer and oversaw the project, bringing entirely new ideas to the table. That relationship really struck me."
While the songs on “Rinse, Repeat, Rewind” were developing their own respective voices, it became apparent that Sollee’s body of work was suited to match what Lewis was trying to convey. While originally apprehensive to place his songs in the hands of an outsider, Sollee was the clear choice to handle the honesty and sensitivity of these four stories. "Ben is a great friend and mind. Being able to mold the songs on this EP with him truly brought new light to what we do." “Rinse, Repeat, Rewind” is the result of an artistic collaboration between two roots-heavy musicians from varying backgrounds, and each song elicits its own identity for each and every listener.
Carousel Beach is a Los Angeles / San Jose band formed in the early 2000’s. Colin Studybaker and Joseph Hurt, childhood friends who grew up in the sweltering heat of Florida, started playing together in their school days. In between various ventures they collaborated, sometimes long-distance. Joseph ran experimental San Francisco label Highpoint Lowlife while Colin engineered in Chicago at Engine Music Studios with Brian Deck, working with bands like Iron & Wine, Ugly Casanova, The Fruit Bats, and Squirrel Nut Zippers.
After touring the world with The National Trust (Thrill Jockey), Colin relocated to Los Angeles to pursue more engineering and producing, and continued to collaborate with Hurt, culminating in this debut Carousel Beach release.
Principal songwriters Hurt and Studybaker are joined on this beautifully trippy album by Katrina Lenk (MoxyPhinx), Brian Deck (Red Red Meat), and Nyles Lannon (Film School). Chris Phillips (Squirrel Nut Zippers) and Neil Rosario (The National Trust) also contributed to the sessions.
The music on Carousel Beach’s debut album is a stunning mix of influences. The opening track, “Caustic Weather,” starts with a gentle mellotron lick and ends in distorted guitars in less than three minutes, while the bouncy standout track “Ayahuasca” weaves in between innocent sing-along and freakout territory all while remaining as accessible as can be. Throw in the folky “Do We Need More,” electronic experimentalism, nature, surfing, South American shamanism, and the art of Pablo Amaringo, and you have the blueprint for Carousel Beach’s cinematic debut.
Beady is a “new folk” band based out of Louisville, Kentucky. Started in 2010, Beady has had an assortment of singers, songwriters, and instrumentalists all working together around the songs written by Jordan Trabue. Since its inception, Beady has played everywhere from street corners to radio stations to packed concert halls; anywhere there is an audience and a love of music.
With catchy hooks, lush strings, blasting trumpet, soaring harmonies and everything in between, Beady has been compared to artists such as Bright Eyes, Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers, and Sufjan Stevens. They were signed to sonaBLAST! Records and have been promoting their first label-backed album, Youngest Days, to great success, with songs getting airplay and film placement. If you're curious, have a listen or come see them at an upcoming show!
The music scene of Louisville is filled to the brim with talent and eccentricity, acting as the breeding ground of the post-rock movement via Slint and their many splinter groups. But the scene began feeling too content and needed a kick in the ass. The super fresh Nerves Junior are the men for the job and are poised to permeate the rest of the country soon enough. Formed in 2009, the group developed their sound under the influence of their love for fringe garage rock, crystalline pop songwriting, and racks of analog gear.
"As Bright As Your Night Light," their nine-song debut, is an expansive, eclectic collection of electronic-laden experimental rock with a hook-heavy edge and dense atmosphere, equally psychedelic and accessible. Dreamy, ambient meditations and waves of soft acoustic guitar on “Get Left in the Dark” and intimate down-the-rabbit-hole dirge of “Downtown Lament” represent one end of the group’s repertoire, while the dark analog stomp and driving mid-tempo of “Kale” and soaring, intricate chorus of the title track showcases the group at their most bombastic. The group’s flawless meshing of airborne, resplendent textures and infectious choruses hit a fever pitch on songs like “In Absentia” and “Champagne & Peaches,” sure to cause fans of Deerhunter, Women, and similar boundary decimating artists to perk their ears up.
Without compromise and immune to any and all trend-riding, Nerves Junior are paving their own path with a distinct spin on what’s happening in the buzz-band-a-minute indie culture. These guys are one to watch.
Ben Arthur’s new release, If You Look for My Heart, is an interrelated concept album and novel pairing. Sharing title, themes, and characters, the album and the book are densely interrelated, yet independent works. Guest appearances by Aesop Rock and Rachael Yamagata on the album are echoed in the narrative of the book.
Ben has released five previous albums and one novel, performed on national television and the internationally syndicated radio program Acoustic Café, and has shared the stage with artists including Dave Matthews, Tori Amos, Bruce Hornsby, Shawn Colvin, Toots and the Maytals, and Sophie B Hawkins. Ben has licensed his songs to ABC, CBS, Showtime, and PBS, and has had three half hour specials devoted to his work on Sirius XM radio.
Since 2011 Ben has hosted and co-produced the video series Dubway Days, in which he writes and records a song with a featured artist over the course of a day. Guests so far have included John Wesley Harding, Ollabelle, Vienna Teng, Tracy Bonham, and Latin film star and two time Grammy-nominee Ximena.
Live performances, interviews, fan-made videos, and covers of Ben’s songs by other artists can be found online at YouTube, Facebook, iLike, LastFM, etc. On Pandora Ben’s songs have logged half a million plays.
Hoots & Hellmouth are a busy bunch. Road warriors to the bitter end, they’ve somehow found time to enter the studio twice in the last year to produce two records showcasing their forward-thinking roots/soul music. Their latest offering, the full-length Salt, was recorded in their hometown of Philadelphia at Miner Street Studios with friend/engineer Jon Low (Dr. Dog, Sharon Van Etten, Twin Sister). The result speaks volumes to the evolution of a band committed to pushing their boundaries and exploring new sonic horizons.
Salt builds on the fresh ground broken on their previously released EP, Face First In The Dirt, continuing down a path of explosive creativity. “Why Would You Not Want To Go There?” kicks things off with a building intensity reflective of their passionate live performances, but tempered with well-placed flourishes of piano and electric guitar. H&H’s trademark soul vibe is thick on “Lay Low,” incorporating the stomp groove and call-and-response vocals familiar to established fans of the band. By the time the listener reaches the middle of the record, the dynamic and deep “Apple Like A Wrecking Ball” and “The Ache” drive home the point that these guys are not content to rest on their laurels. To round it all out, album closer “Being Borned Again” continues their tradition of massive group sing-alongs so vibrant the listener already feels the chills of the anticipated live rendition.
Lyrically, Sean Hoots has always endeavored to keep a keen eye on the craft of songwriting, and Salt showcases the artist on top of his game. These new songs reveal a greater depth of vulnerability and personalization unheard on previous H&H offerings. This is the sound of a writer digging deep, planting seeds and harvesting a bumper crop of thought-provoking, soul-scraping tunes.
With all the envelope-pushing found on Salt, one thing that won’t change any time soon is the band’s love of the road. Touring the old-fashioned way (relentlessly!), the band performs in all manner of venues on their own and with friends like Dr. Dog, O’Death, Heartless Bastards, Langhorne Slim, Grace Potter, etc. From rock clubs to folk festivals, they tour consistently and persistently, including triumphant stops at Wakarusa, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, SXSW, thousands of dive bars and more than a few farms in between.
SonaBlast! Recording Artist Ted Stevens is all about connecting with an audience, and not just through a few clicks on Facebook or some other impersonal online social media.
"I'm interested in making work that deals with the things that connect us,” Stevens says, “and the things that are between us. I want to share in the common human experience, because, to varying degrees, we all go through the same things in life. I want to share those things with an audience."
Stevens is wasting no time in getting in touch with that audience. Since returning to the US last summer after four years of living in Glasgow, Scotland, Stevens has already released the explosive single “Into the Black,” a follow-up single and accompanying video for the balls-out-strut of “Sally’s Alright,” and is getting ready for the release of his first full-length, Waiting.
This drive and dedication is inherent in every facet of Stevens’ work. Each step of the way, from writing the song, to recording, to releasing and promoting, is just as important as the other. “Everything I do is about making sure the songs are presented in the best possible way, so that they have a chance to be heard and shared with an audience,” Stevens say. “To that end I try to keep an eye on that song's life beyond the writing and recording.”
However, splitting his time between two countries made this process slightly more complicated. "A lot of these songs were started in my home studio in Scotland. I'd record the basic tracks and ideas, then take it back to Kentucky to finish,” says Stevens. “It took a long time to do but in the end I think it was worth it because each country I was in, and their surroundings, affected the life of the songs as they developed.”
After putting together a formidable live band, Stevens is gaining praise for his electrifying live performances and garnering heavy airplay throughout the Midwest. Despite the intelligence and urgency of the music, the live Ted Stevens experience has almost nothing to do with a tidy arrangement, and instead finds its roots in that bygone era when musicians didn't just hunch over their instruments for 55 minutes, but tried to give the audience a show. "I've never been a guy that just wears his jeans onstage, that's for sure," Stevens says.
With the release of Waiting, Stevens is poised to take his career to the next level. “There’s more to being a musician than playing a show here or there and putting out an album every five years,” says Stevens. “Nothing great ever comes easily.”
“The last songs that made me cry were by a young New York singer, Kelley McRae. One was called “Time,” and the other one “Break Us.” – Wim Wenders
In 2011, after 7 years in Brooklyn and with a growing national fan base, Kelley traded in her apartment for a VW camper van and hit the road. Her husband Matt, who is also her guitarist, was on board. “At the beginning of the year we quit our jobs. We sold the furniture, the piano, everything,” Kelley said. “We took off on ‘The Great VW Camper Van Tour’ and we’ve played shows all over America. It’s been insane and absolutely amazing.”
Since leaving New York City, they’ve played over 100 shows, driven 25,000 miles, teamed up with tour sponsor True Lemon, been featured in a national American Airlines campaign, and been filmed for a major French documentary.
With no end date in mind, McRae’s tour is driven by the same grit and grace that has defined her music.
“I grew up in Mississippi and the music that I loved the most was, at its core, Southern music: The three part harmonies of the hymns they sung at my grandparents Baptist church, the Bill Withers tape my dad played on car trips, the stories my grandpa would tell me of hearing Blind Lemon Jefferson playing on the hood of an old car out in front of their house at the farm” shared McRae. “And the artists that would eventually come to influence me the most – Lucinda Williams, Aretha Franklin, Patty Griffin, Gillian Welch, Uncle Tupelo, Richard Buckner, Mary Gauthier – they may not all be southern, but they sure do sound southern. This was the music that felt like home, even when Brooklyn came to feel more like home than anywhere else ever has.”
McRae’s albums ‘Never Be’ (Producer JD Foster: Calexico) and ‘Highrises in Brooklyn’ (Producer Brian Deck: Iron and Wine, Josh Ritter) have found impressive fans: Paste Magazine gave her four stars, WNYC’s ‘Soundcheck’ named her performance one of the year’s best, Wim Wenders says her music makes him cry and Bob Harris of BBC Radio called her ‘brilliant.’ Her songs have been featured on MTV, in the Sundance film ‘Children of Invention,’ on an international Unicef commercial, a national American Airlines campaign and on the hit TV show ‘Army Wives.’
Yost's homegrown stories of love, loss and winding roads are captured in rhythm and song and projected on one’s soul. That is the difference between hearing music and witnessing an artist. Whether it's part of a nightclub set past midnight, a fundraiser at a park or a road trip with a soundtrack to go –her music has become a part of the emotional and social landscape of Louisville, Kentucky.
Love Jones is an American band, in Louisville, Kentucky in spring 1990 by Ben Daughtrey (drummer) and Barry Thomas (bassist), with Chris Hawpe (singer/guitarist), Stuart Johnson (drummer) and Jonathan Palmer (singer). According toEntertainment Weekly, Love Jones was the leader of the "cocktail nation" groups of the early 1990s. These groups, which included Combustible Edison, Nightcaps, Squirrel Nut Zippers and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy were a reaction to thegrunge/alternative wave that swept through America in 1992. Cocktail Nation members celebrated the aesthetics and music of the 1950s and early 1960s — lounge jazz, crooning pop, and martinis. Love Jones played any sort of pop music that could fit that label — pop, blues, R&B, bossa nova, doo wop.
Love Jones started in Louisville in 1990 along with bands like Slint and Palace Brothers, showing the diversity of the Louisville music scene. In 1992 Love Jones moved to Los Angeles and took up a Thursday night residency at the nightclub Largo for a weekly show that featured guest performers like Jon Brion and Mark Flanagan, who eventually performed on Love Jones recordings.
Roy Ruiz Clayton’s debut album, “New Army of Ragged Angels,” produced by Grammy award-winner Chris Goldsmith, is full of poetic images not found since Dylan Thomas or Fredrico Garcia Lorca. These lyrics rank among the most powerful and captivating of modern-day poetry.
The well-crafted melodies are performed and sung with a raw attitude backed by a top-notch band. Roy’s vocals and guitar, along with Michael Jerome on drums, Tom Freund on bass, Marc Ford on electric guitar, Jason Yates on organ, Lily Haydn on violin, Victoria Williams backing vocals and Jimmy Hoyson as recording and mixing master, Julie Lohnes on cover design.
Raised in the steel mill town of Fontana, California, Roy moved on his own to San Diego at the age of 16 where he began writing songs. Often he would muster the courage to play them on “hoot night” at the Heritage Coffee House where the legendary Tom Waits was the doorman. One night in a back room of the Heritage, Tom played Roy a Ramblin’ Jack Elliott record on a turntable and its sound was one that would change forever the young Clayton’s life. Inspired, Roy invented his own songwriting category through years of not being afraid to work and experience the world he writes about.
T. Bone Burnette, has called Roy’s song, “Everyone’s a Detective”, “one amazingly beautiful song.”
Workers are a long stretch of highway on a hot summer night. They are a blanket of pitch-black sky pocked with thousands of points of light. They are your headlights searching the road ahead, a mystery unfolding as you roll forth into the darkness. They are a sense of calm as you roll off into the void, more curious than frightened.
The Louisville, Ky., trio makes lush, atmospheric music that washes over you, pounding your chest and overwhelming your senses with searing guitars, pulsing bass and crackling drums. The lyrics are dark and tangled, the melodies cresting and crashing. You draw comparisons to everything from Jesus and Mary Chain to The Secret Machines before determining that Workers’ music is an experience unto itself.
Workers were formed in 2001 under the name Your Black Star by singer/guitarist Jeremy Johnson and drummer Andrew Osborn, two kindred spirits bonded by their love of bombastic, fearless rock ’n’ roll. Like a lot of bands, the birthing process proved difficult; bassists came and went before a true fellow traveler was discovered in Brandon Duggins.
They have taken a decidedly unorthodox approach to building a fan base. Rather than fall into the trap that some bands fall into, Workers resisted the temptation of becoming a bunch of local heroes who only play before adoring friends and neighbors. Rather, they threw themselves on the crucible that is the never-ending tour, taking the show on the road to test themselves before unfamiliar audiences.
A friendship with the Japanese band Drum:Kan prompted Workers to venture to Japan, where they quickly developed an unlikely connection with rock-starved fans. Tours of Australia and New Zealand provoked a similar reaction, as well as positive international press, and numerous spins on the influential BBC. Overseas buzz led to deals with labels in Japan, England and Australia, as well as a UK tour with indie darlings the New Pornographers, but the band was still a bit of a mystery back home. Seeing this as less a problem than an opportunity, Johnson, Osborn and Duggins spent the better part of
the past three years rampaging through the states, playing in the esteemed South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin and the CMJ Festival in New York as well as sharing the stage with Sleater-Kinney, The Hold Steady and Catfish Haven. “Sound from the Ground,” the band’s American debut, won critical acclaim stateside, tagging Workers with the weighty “next big thing” label. Expectations can stifle a band, but the trio confronted them head on.
In fact, confrontation was the key word with the mid-2007 release of the band’s raw and aggressive EP “Beasts.” For “Beasts,” the band again toured the US, this time with the likes of Pelican, Clouds, Earth and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. They received rave reviews and found a personal niche, but more importantly, “Beasts” marked Workers’ first collaboration with producer Erik Wofford, known for his work with the Black Angels, Voxtrot, and Snowden. If the band found a direction within the harsh extremes of “Beasts,” they found a true navigator in Wofford, prompting the band to start work on a follow up in late 2007.
The result is the self-titled LP “Workers”, to be released February 6, 2009. On “Workers” the band no longer prompts the obvious comparisons to influences and peers of their previous efforts. Gone is the former preoccupation with sadness, death and depression. The indiscriminate anger of “Beasts” has been replaced with an inspired fire from within. Singer and lyricist Johnson still flirts with darkness, but “Workers” is an album about life. Confident and headstrong, the band veers into more uplifting realms with focused song-writing, powerful arrangements, and a greater sonic palette. An increased appetite for experimentation and atmosphere, coupled with Wofford’s innate ability to capture more than just wave forms in a room creates a rich tapestry of sounds, textures and grooves. “Workers” is both a celebration and an oral history a life in America, but more importantly it is the sound of an American band who has found its true voice. Prefix Magazine once predicted that Workers “may just be the band to spark American indie-rock’s true resurgence.” “Workers” may just be the album to prove it.
To call Block a singer-songwriter is to underestimate the importance of storytelling in his songs. Influenced by the Beat poets, he tells stories of Village gentrification, fake punk rockers and the illusion of an easy marriage songs with lyrics that ring true because of Block’s own life experience.
He emerged from the anti-folk scene in New York’s East Village. His first album, 1996′s Lead Me Not Into Penn Station, met with acclaim at college radio and in the indie music community. Producer Glen Ballard (Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill) chose Block to be the first artist released on Java Records joint venture with Capitol Records in 1998. That album, 2000s Timing Is Everything, featured the tune Catch A Falling Star the opening credit song for Drew Barrymore’s film Never Been Kissed. When Blocks major label debut sold a paltry 100,000 copies he was unceremoniously dropped by Java, having successfully demonstrated that he would not be their next big thing.
Without a record label and beyond his 20s, Block had a decision to make: continue to plug away on his own dime as an indie artist or quit music altogether. He chose the latter. “I quit because I reached the place where all of your dreams are supposed to come true. When Java dumped me I was 32 years old with a wife and two kids. I had to make money. The music business had vampired the life out of me. I left, thinking that I’d never return.”
Block reinvented himself, morphing into Jamie Block, Vice President of Investments at a major financial firm. “Wall Street was a whole new life. Not even my peers knew that I had been a career musician. I didn’t even listen to music anymore. It pained me, but I didn’t want to know what was new or happening.”
Fast-forward to a rainy morning, seven years later: suburbanite Jamie Block, comfortable in his fancy car, triple latte in hand. “I was driving to work at 6am in the dark, listening to WFUV,” he recounts, “and the great deejay Claudia Marshall played my tune ‘Catch A Falling Star’ (from Timing Is Everything). When the song ended, she asked, Where did you go, Block? Please phone home. So he did what anyone would do I picked up my cell phone and called her!
Block knew he still had some songs inside him. He decided to record a few, just for the fun of it, with no one to please but himself. In this fashion, Block and engineer Mark Hutchins co-produced The Last Single Guy, a new album true to Blocks legacy of wry, literate and occasionally heartbreaking tales of modern, urban life. Block has reemerged for the simplest reason: he loves making music.
The Last Single Guy shows that he never lost his touch. There’s the lament of Ave. A in which that famed East Village streets once-bohemian culture has turned into a punk theme park. There’s the young man in A Sweet Potato Pie with a wife and family at home who still craves the edge of a little drugs and sleaze that he finds in a strip joint. And then theres the invocation of A Color of Heaven, in which Block sings with a universality and compassion that makes this song his most moving to date: In the Chinese shadow / Of the wild America / In the staggering heat of the day / We will all be standing / In the power and the glory / At least I hope so someday.
This album demonstrates an attention to contemporary rhythms that is rare for an artist with folk music roots. The beats complement the lyrics, adding modern groove and syncopation to Block’s lurid tales. In Molly Malone the rhythm section is propulsive and fluid, setting a foundation for the guitar and other instruments to build upon, with each adding its own, distinct coloring. Flugelhorn, Jew’s harp, banjo, drum machines and an occasional full horn section complement layered guitars, piano, Blocks buzzsaw baritone vocals and his ever-incisive lyrics, making this comeback CD the best Block album ever.
He may have been gone for years, but Block is back, wiser and more insightful for what he’s lived and who hes become. He reflects, “It’s fun this time. I’m not trying to be a rock star and the songs on The Last Single Guy were written and recorded in that spirit.” WFUV deejay (and fan) Rita Houston concludes, “Block quit and went away. Perhaps because he went away, these songs turned out the way they did.”
This album is raw. And when I say raw, I mean it sounds almost as if they plugged all their instruments directly into a tape deck, pressed record, and recorded it all in one take. But this is no discredit to album’s producer, Kevin Ratterman of Wax Fang, who seemingly captured the band’s true essence from the lack of overproduction.
You may just do a double-take on the opening track, Shackles Down, thinking you just came across a never-released Rolling Stones recording. That is as soon as you hear lead singer Adam Kramer’s Jaggerish vocal style. But as you venture through this album, you’ll soon understand that The Broken Spurs have created a truly original sound of their own, primarily defined by a barrage of guitar-fueled-cock-n-ball-straight-up rock-n-roll. No wonder they were asked to open for AC/DC in Freedom Hall with songs like these.
The peak of “Natural Disaster” comes right at the album’s midway point, with Jawbanger, a down-right raw and dirty rock-n-roll song that starts with a banging bass line and then whose vocals and guitars start rivaling one another for supremacy. At the song’s bridge, Kramer belts out an in-your-face riding of his Gretsch Firebird guitar’s “E” chord that may just make your own jaw drop, as you realize what Louisville rock-n-roll sounds like. Not one of the songs really seem to disappoint or stray away from the high-energy, guitar-laden spirit the album carries. Other impressive tracks is Shackles Down, Natural Disaster, Runnin, and Steal Your Thunder.
So, for those out there who try to proclaim that “rock-n-roll is dead,” well, here is recorded proof that maybe you should quit with that bullsh*t. And for all you real rock-n-roll junkies, here is your soundtrack for the whole “rock-n-roll ISN’T dead” campaign.
- Jason Ashcraft
A Paste Recommends artist and Starbucks-featured songwriter, Max Gabriel’s music is distinguished by startling lyrics, an unconventional voice, and cinematic textures. At once literary and highly accessible, his songwriting has been compared to that of Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman, and early David Byrne.
His 2007 debut, on NY/Louisville indie sonaBLAST! Records, The Exile of Saint Christopher, was produced by Scott Healy, whose wide-ranging performing and recording credits include Bruce Springsteen, Al Green, BB King, Jackson Browne, and Branford Marsalis. Guests on the record included Bakithi Kumalo of Paul Simon’s “Graceland,” and folk-rock sensation Brett Dennen. Collaborating again, Gabriel and Healy have just released a three-tune EP in anticipation of Gabriel’s sophomore effort (early 2011 release). Those in attendance include legendary bassist Lee Sklar (The Doors, Leonard Cohen, Crosby, Stills and Nash) and Shawn Pelton (Bruce Springsteen, Shawn Colvin).
“You,” from the EP, was recently featured nationally on Fuse’s “Live From Bonnaroo 2010.” Max has played such prestigious festivals as Brooklyn’s Northside Festival (“A free-for-all celebration of New York’s best independent musicians, filmmakers, and artists,” says the NY Times), CMJ, and Washingon’s Strawberry Festival.
Misha Feigin was born and raised in Moscow and is known as one of Russia’s premiere guitarists. When he immigrated to the US in 1990, he left behind an established position in the Moscow arts scene highlighted by his four albums on the Melodia label, features on major radio and television shows, and national and international tours. He began recording free improvised music in 1986 in Moscow with Auction’s Dimitry Matkovsky. He also performed with the Russian pop-folk star Janna Bichevskaya.
Misha perfromed free improvised music at the Vancouver Jazz Festival, at the Birmingham Improv. Festival, and in New York at the Knitting Factory and Tonic, where he also played with Elliot Sharp, Eugene Chadbourne and Ami Denio. Other performances have included John Russell, LaDonna Smith, Davey Williams, Craig Hultgren, Toshi Makihara, Peter Kowalt, Leonid Soybelman, Sergei Letov.
Misha has played concerts in 47 US States, Canada, Israel, England, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Russian and English are heard throughout Misha’s dynamic performances, which incorporate original poetry and spontaneous storytelling. He plays classical and acoustic guitars, balalaika, keyboards, harmonica. Misha’s music is a blend of various ethnic idioms and musical styles. His five US releases are “Only One Road”, “Only Once”, and “Dreams” with original folk music in Russian and English on Dreaming People Records, and “Spontaneous Folks’ Music” and “June in Moscow” with free improvised music on Spontaneous Folks’ Records.
Misha’s German release is “Improv Songbook” (together with Robert W. Gerlach). Misha’s latest CD on Leo Records, “Both Kinds of Music”, features duos with Elliott Sharp, Davey Williams, LaDonna Smith, Craig Hultgren, and Eugene Chadbourne.
In 2003, Misha’s reputation as a multifaceted entertainer has been “officially” confirmed by the release of Searching for Irina, a powerful story of the era when the political trials showed signs of Stalin’s horrors, while sex, drugs, and rock’n'roll penetrating the Iron Curtain clashed with the seemingly impervious system.
Now, following Irina’s sold-out success, Fleur Publishing is preparing for the December release of “The Last Word in Astronomy”, Mr. Feigin’s collection of poems with material spanning the last two decades of creativity of this impressive author, winner of the Thomas Merton Prize for Poetry in 2000.
Originally from Jackson, Mississippi, Teneia is quickly making a name for herself in the Indie music scene. Her angelic voice, unique guitar rhythms, and moving lyrics have helped to solidify her growing reputation as a truly gifted artist, one whose dedication is as strong as her music.
One of Teneia’s most recent pieces, “Stand”, earned a placement in the HBO documentary ‘Prom Night in Mississippi,’ featuring Morgan Freeman. “Stand” embodies Teneia’s ability as an artist to address deeply rooted social issues fearlessly and confidently.
Teneia’s folk and soul roots have been developing since the tender age of ten when she started singing in her church choir. It wasn’t long before she realized singing would become her lifelong passion. She has fully embraced her tremendous vocal range which is only exemplified through her remarkable sense of control. With the addition of her unique cord progressions Teneia’s music is a full-bodied experience. She has truly grown to understand who she is as an artist.
Teneia released her second LP “Confessions of a Scorpio” with her bandmates, The Highlands, in 2011. “Love You Thru Words” was picked by the fans to become the first single off of the highly anticipated record because of its soothing melody and profound lyrics. Teneia states, “this record has been the most fun to make and simultaneously the hardest. I had to give up a lot of control and really listen to others to make this record what it should be. Mauriece Hamilton (producer & bandmate) and I have clicked from day one. He really understands me as an artist and really makes me dig deep to find the soul and possibilities that I can achieve in being present in the music. I think this record will be a success because of all the hard work that is being done and the talent that is attached to it.”
Louisville, KY singer-songwriter Jamie Barnes grew up listening to his father’s tales of opening for the Doors and The Beach Boys, playing drums with Tom Dooley and the Lovelights: “tales of Jim Morrison that I probably should not have heard at that young age!?” Add together Appalachian roots, weekend family jam sessions with father and big brother playing Pink Floyd and classic rock covers (plus a sheepish admission that he loved prog-rock bands like the Moody Blues and Jethro Tull at the time), plus stints singing in the church choir, by age 20 Barnes already had his first record deal. That same year, he dropped out of college, met a girl, got married, and kicked a nasty prescription drug habit for depression and anxiety.
Lauded for his introspective songwriting, on The Recalibrated Heart, Barnes unloads ten personal works about persecution, deprivation and redemption. Recorded in his home studio over two years and playing every instrument, Barnes uses a varied palette of instruments including guitar, banjo, flute, keyboards, sarod, tabla and other various devices of percussion. Only one song has a guest mandolin and accordion player. Jamie is a frequent guest performer on Louisville’s NPR station WFPK’s ‘Live Lunch’, and this record was on over thirty triple AAA top 40 lists. His song “Harp of the Fool” will be featured in Marlene Rhein’s (music video director for Amy Winehouse, Tupac Shakur) new film entitled “The Big Caller” as the end credits roll.
Peter Searcy describes his career as looking like a cardiograph read out, “it goes up, comes down, it flattens out, it goes back up. As long as it keeps going I’m good”. No doubt it has kept going. From his early years in the seminal punk band Squirrel Bait to the indie rock of Big Wheel and Starbilly to his prolific solo career, Peter Searcy has never stopped singing. Music scenes and formats might change but Searcy’s passion has remained a constant.
Trained as cellist and nurtured at a creative high school with other like-minded, independent artists (Louisville’s Brown School with classmates, Will Oldham, members of Slint and Freakwater) Peter’s path as a musician was set early on. Says Searcy of his influences, “my initial exposure to music was mostly the singer/songwriter, 70′s am radio stuff I’d hear riding in a car. That stuff still has a huge impact on me”. He adds, “when I started making my own musical choices as a teenager I gravitated towards the more melodic, aggressive music at the time. Stuff like Husker Du and The Replacements. I like to think that my solo stuff combines the best of what I grew up loving.”
Searcy’s music is filled with hooks and an honest, emotional resonance that speaks directly to listeners. It’s no wonder his songs have found their way in to numerous movies and television shows. His song “I Believe” was featured on Oprah and used for a campaign to launch the TV show “Lipstick Jungle”. Searcy has toured extensively in the states and abroad. He has shared the stage with wide array of diverse artists (Bob Dylan, John Hiatt, Bob Mould, Dido and many more). He also stays busy backing other artists on cello and electric bass and producing artists in his studio, Never Nervous Sounds. Searcy shares his 111 year old Victorian home in Louisville with his wife Layla and a menagerie of dogs and cats.
Natalie Felker looks the listener straight in the eye, via her piano and supple voice, and talks you into accepting the dagger — because you know full well that it’s two-sided, and that she’ll accept the other blade. As husband Ben’s guitars start up a sharp squall, you hear why it’s worth the cost: One listen to the bright voices coming in all around to surround you in a reassuring embrace and you’re ready to pick up the dare, the challenge. The Fervor formed around this pair — her voice and keys, his guitar and harmony. Right from the start, Natalie was capable of facing up to piano-based alternative divas, but with the skill and resolve to wrest the inspiration from the affectation. She could be the flirt who always said upfront something more honest than your carefully crafted thoughts. Or she could drop her voice low and quiet, be your confidant and your gospel-chord-pounding witness to raw self-confrontation.
In sharpening its focus, the group added drummer Mat Herron and set out on a slew of live shows in 2007 to support of its first album, “Bleeder.” Michael Campbell was found to play bass, and they again criss-crossed the eastern United States. As they developed their live show, the group began to realize their power as a collective. Meanwhile Natalie continued to craft strong new songs for a band moving toward bringing light to mysteries of personality and intimacy, but without any pretense of a definitive answer and far removed from any calming platitudes.
San Francisco sessions confirmed their rebirth. Under producer Charles Gonzalez, the band holed up at Mission Bells (Jackie Greene, Mother Hips) and Radical Sound (Rogue Wave). Between these two facilities, The Fervor found classic gear and physical ambiance to realize the album they had been hearing, one focused on performance, and not perfection. The West coast style had infiltrated the camp and greeted them like a long lost friend. They returned home to Louisville, where friend and engineer Kevin Ratterman (My Morning Jacket, California Guitar Trio, Wax Fang) mixed and maintained the focus: on the power of what The Fervor can do together in a room. From these sessions emerged “Arise, Great Warrior”. It’s a record that is gut-punching in impact, but life-affirming in its lasting spark and hopeful mysteries.
With often dark and introspective lyrics draped over power chords, The Instruction (a ivesome comprised of Blake Sakal, Stephen Wolf, Jeremy Stein, Andrew Cheyne and Landon Tompkins) have made their mark through relentless and energetic live shows, sharing the stage with everyone from These United States to Thao with the Get Down Stay Down and MC Chris. With their SonaBLAST! Records debut, Failure by Design, the group is ready to move forward into the rest of the world.
Hailing from Louisville, KY, home to such enigmatic and diverse musical icons as Slint, Will Oldham, My Morning Jacket, Rachels and a wide array of 70s punk bands, it shouldn’t be terribly surprising to find The Instruction’s sound as something fresh in the face of an oversaturated indie rock market focused on gimmicks. This is perhaps never more true than with songs like Mayday, Hello Darlin’ & Into the Tomorrow, which display the kind of raw emotion that would be right at home in both the indie charts and commercial radio. While you can sometimes feel vague nods to their influences, Failure by Design is at all times their own, with songs dripping with power chords, pumping bass, and infectious choruses. The Instruction is founded on Stein and Terrell’s hermetic rhythm section with guitars that are abrasive in all the right ways, and at the very core of their sound is Sakal’s vocals, which bring to mind the grit and masculine sexuality of Jim Morrison. Tight production and years of playing together brings the package together, and with a new release, a new record deal, a solid fan base and a series of music festivals on the bill, The Instruction are going to surprise and enrapture you. Listen, Learn, Love.
With their SonaBLAST! Records debut, “and their songs STRAY and YOU’RE MINE being featured on MTV’s hit show “16 and Pregnant”,” Failure by Design, the group is ready to move forward into the rest of the world.
The Seedy Seeds don’t know you, but they already like you. With a completely original sound and presentation, including banjo, accordion and toy keyboard beats, The Seedy Seeds create upbeat, melodic, danceable indie music that is equally at home alongside pop-punk, alt-country, and lo-fi.
The concept for the band was born of a casual conversation in late 2005, in which Mike and Margaret hypothesized performing as a group with the instruments they owned but hadn’t yet learned to play. The Seedy Seeds began writing, performing, and recording music shortly thereafter. Brian joined in 2008 following the release of Count The Days, on which he contributed supplemental percussion. In 2010, The Seedy Seeds signed with sonaBLAST! Records, and re-released Count The Days.
Tim Krekel (1950-2009) was a genuine American original. As a unique singer, songwriter, and guitarist, he dedicated himself to creating music that was -and remains- a real testament to life, love, and rock & roll. Over his four-decade career, Tim’s gifts to the music world have been frequent and plentiful, and he enjoyed success on many different levels.
It is hard to overestimate how many different bands, tours, and songs Tim Krekel saw in his years in the music business. Second to becoming his native Louisville’s ultimate guitar rock hero, Krekel is best know for his years in Jimmy Buffett’s band and, of course, of his songwriting. Krekel provided hits for Rick Nelson, Lonnie Mack, Jerry Reed, Dr. Feelgood, Canned Heat, Delbert McClinton, Martina McBride, and dozens more. In 1984, Crystal Gayle hit #1 with Tim’s “Turning Away,” and Patty Loveless did the same in 1995 with “You Can Feel Bad.”
In March of 2009 Tim Krekel was diagnosed with cancer. By mid June of that year, he was at the final stages of what he described as “a most wonderful life.” Tim was able to pass away under the loving care of his family and hospice on June 24, 2009.
Lucky Pineapple was comprised of an unlikely combination of classically trained musicians, veterans of the Louisville punk scene, theatre performers, improvisational noise artists and all around unique individuals. From their earliest days, since inception in 2004, they have tried to play out of the ordinary shows including art gallery parking lots, Zombie Proms, film festivals, house parties, a student lounge at Transylvania University, as a musical interlude during a teen talent show at the Louisville Free Public Library, frequent appearances on WFPK’s Live Lunch series, cross-dressing events, Louisville Slugger Field (home of the Louisville Bats AAA baseball team), warehouse music festivals, and world renown theaters (such as Actors Theater Louisville). Their live shows have included light shows, video projection collaborations, matching tuxedos, inflatable palm trees, magicians, costumed superheroes, a go-go dancer, their own dance troupe, eye balls, a bubble truck, and a semi-regular group of back-up singers.
The band self-released their debut album The New Rainbow in 2006 and were featured on a Noise Pollution split seven inch with fellow Louisvillians VRKTM that same year. In 2005, recording engineer and Lucky Pineapple friend Mike Bridavsky was at a Tape-Op convention and found himself winning a poker game for which the prize was a free day of recording at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio in Chicago. After donating this prize to Lucky Pineapple, the band chipped in for a second day of recording. The five songs that came from this session provided the foundation for The Bubble Has Burst in Sky City (2009), and was later filled out with additional material recorded at their home studio. Shortly after a 2008 Noise Pollution release, that album caught the ears of sonaBLAST! Records, who agreed to back it for a national rerelease in August of 2009. Concurrent with the rerelease, the band partnered with local filmmaker Andrew Vititoe to produce their first music video for “Moment in an Empty Street.” The video premiered at the Louisville Film Society’s 2nd Annual Kentucky Showcase of Short Film and Video, to rave reviews in September of 2009. Recently, Lucky Pineapple made their debut performance at a sold out showcase at South By Southwest Music Festival in March, 2010. In February, 2011 the band announced that they had officially ended.
The Old Ceremony draws plays lush, literate rock.
With eight years of touring the US, Canada, and Europe and five albums under their belt, the Durham/Chapel Hill, NC band occupies its own darkly lit corner of the musical world. It is a corner filled with ominous rumblings and world-weary but hopeful characters.
TOC has performed with CAKE, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Chuck Berry, Polyphonic Spree, Mountain Goats, and Avett Brothers, and their sophomore album, Our One Mistake, was included in PASTE Magazine’s “Top 100 Albums of 2006.” Their newest album, Fairytales and Other Forms of Suicide, will be available Aug 21, 2012 on Yep Roc Records.
TOC is led by songwriter Django Haskins, and includes drummer Dan Hall, vibes/organist Mark Simonsen, bassist Jeff Crawford, and violinist/keyboardist Gabriel Pelli.
Collider was an electroclash/punk/rock band formed in New York City in 1997 by singer/keyboardist Jed Davis and guitarist Sean Gould. The duo's combination of electronic beats and synthesizers with rock guitars and pop song structure made Collider an early entrant to the Electroclash movement. In fact, as the genre had not yet been named, Davis and Gould referred to their style as "electropunk".
Between 1997 and 1999, Collider performed regularly across New York state but concentrated mainly on Manhattan's Lower East Side. In addition to frequent gigs at CBGB, the Mercury Lounge and the Spiral, the duo also played monthly at Coney Island High.
Collider's first two albums, Blowing Shit Up (1998) and Physics (1999), were released by New York label Eschatonality, the latter in conjunction with MP3.com.
In 2000, Davis and Gould added a rhythm section of Chris DeRosa on Drums and Tom Kaz on Bass and toned down the electronic elements as the band moved towards straightforward punk rock. In this form, the band came to the attention of Joey Ramone, who invited Collider to open for him at what would be his finalCBGB appearance, on October 18, 2000. This version of Collider was also the support act when Living Colour reunited at CBGB on December 21, 2000.
In 2002, with a new rhythm section of Mike Keaney (bass) and Joe Abba (drums), Collider signed with SonaBLAST! Records and recorded a 6-song EP, WCYF, with original Ramones drummer and producer Tommy Ramone producing. WCYF would be the first album produced by Tommy Ramone since The Replacements'Tim in 1985.
This version of Collider served as the live backing band for Maverick Records singing duo The Deuce Project in 2003, and as a session group for a number of singers and duos in New York City and Boston, Massachusetts. Davis and Gould disbanded Collider in 2004 in order to pursue other projects.
1. In My Balloon- Lucky Pineapple
2. Benjamin- Danny Flanigan
3. Lullabye (by Albert Goldbarth)- Alistair Shell
4. My Baby- Leigh Ann Yost
5. Dream a Little Dream- Justin Lewis with Emily Caudill
6. Shelter for the Night- Arnett Hollow
7. Dream- Carter Wood
8. For My Children: A Lullaby- Ron Whitehead, Harry Pickens
9. Made in Korea (Song for Stinky Pete)- Heidi Howe
10. Down Below- Yardsale
11. All the Pretty Little Horses- Harry Pickens
12. Grey Lady- Sandpaper Dolls
13. Dark and Lovely- Love Jone
Hipster parents looking for music that they can enjoy with their children will be thrilled to hear Louisville Lullabies: Cradle Rockin’ Sleeper Hits. The compilation features 13 musical acts from Louisville performing original and traditional lullabies. Artists include: Carter Wood (a Louisville native who had George Strait record some of her songs while living in Nashville), Love Jones (regrouped for this benefit), Arnett Hollow (Forecastle and WFPK‘s Live Lunch performers), Lucky Pineapple, Harry Pickens (pianist, composer, teacher and organizational consultant), Sandpaper Dolls (amazing a cappella trio), Ron Whitehead (author of 19 books with appearances on more than 20 CD’s), Yardsale (Louisville’s self-proclaimed ‘Second Most Rootin-est, Tootin-est Band‘), Danny Flanigan (performing a song he wrote for his son), Leigh Ann Yost, Justin Lewis, Alistair Shell (Stephen George performing his first released recording), and Heidi Howe (Louisville performer, author and co-producer of the CD). All of the proceeds from the CD benefit the Home of the Innocents.
The CD is the brainchild of Gill Holland, the founder of sonaBLAST! Records, who wanted to do something for his neighbor, The Home of the Innocents, located in the East Market district. Gill produced the CD with Louisville musician Heidi Howe, the founder and director of Louisville Preschool for the Arts
Independent Music For Independent Coffee Drinkers: Volume 1
1. Never Be – Kelly McRae
2. I Get Stupid – Charlotte Kendrick
3. Violet Morning – Jamie Barnes
4. Obi’s Chair – Mark Geary
5. It Rained All Night – BLOCK
6. Poison Pen – The Old Ceremony
7. Wake Up Eleanor – Gabriel Judet-Weinshel
8. Papers In Order – The Old Ceremony
9. Far Away – BLOCK
10. Keep You – Kelley McRae
11. Don’t Turn My Love Down – Jamie Barnes
12. Here’s To You – Mark Geary
Eleven new songs from Hawaii based singer-songwriter John Grover! Featuring "Be The Change," "Feed The Fiend," and "We All Come From Love."
“Loggerheads” interweaves three separate but related stories that take place in different parts of North Carolina. On Mother’s Day 1999, Mark, a young drifter with an interest in endangered loggerhead turtles, begins a relationship with motel handyman George. On Mother’s Day 2000, Mark’s adoptive mother Elizabeth wonders what has become of her estranged son. On Mother’s Day 2001, Mark’s birth mother Grace quits her job to begin a search for the child she gave up years before-a search that ultimately brings the stories together. Film produced by Gill Holland. Soundtrack features original music by Mark Geary. Kelley McRae, and Andrew Hunt. Singer-songwriter and folk feel.
1. Cold As It Gets- Patty Griffin
2. Cocktails- Robbie Fulks
3. The Silver Cord- Kim Carnes
4. All For Nothing- Mark Geary
5. Home Wrecker- Grey DeLisle
6. Forgiveness- John Crooke
7. Time- Kelley McRae
8. Momma’s Crazy- Andrew T.Hunt
9. Rowing Song- Patty Griffin
10. Facing The Fall (Grace’s Theme)- Mark Geary with Ann Scott
11. Turtles- Mark Geary
12. I Quit- Mark Geary
13. Flowers- Mark Geary
14. Decision- Mark Geary
15. Ruth Calls- Mark Geary
16. Mark’s Theme- Mark Geary
A thought-provoking drama about the power that a famous university professor holds over his students and assistants. The film was produced by Gill Holland. The score was written and performed by Ceiri Torjussen. The score features piano and electronics, mostly with an ambient sound. Other tracks feature Mark Geary, Andrew Hunt, and Kelley McRae.
1. Opening -Ceiri Torjussen
2. Marilyn -Ceiri Torjussen
3. Sandy Died -Ceiri Torjussen
4. Jogging -Ceiri Torjussen
5. South -Mark Geary
6. Bruised Basil -Ceiri Torjussen
7. Julia’s Tips -Ceiri Torjussen
8. Funeral Arrivals -Ceiri Torjussen
9. The Sweetest Thing -Andrew T. Hunt
10. Coke is it -Ceiri Torjussen
11. Seducer -Ceiri Torjussen
12. Body Watcher -Ceiri Torjussen
13. River -Ceiri Torjussen
14. Crabbing -Ceiri Torjussen
15. Never Be -Kelly McRae
16. Emergency -Ceiri Torjussen
17. Carter Leaves -Ceiri Torjussen
18. I’m Back! -Ceiri Torjussen
19. Hold Tight -Mark Geary
20. Burial -Ceiri Torjussen
21. Opening Letter -Ceiri Torjussen
22. Ride With Me -Ceiri Torjussen