Thursday, January 26, 2006

For My Mom

Here is a song for you. I just want you to know that I am praying for you. It is by Iron and Wine. The song is called Upward Over The Mountain

"So may the sunrise bring hope where it once was forgotten."

Click here to listen to the song: Upward Over The Mountain

Monday, July 11, 2005

My Summer Playlitst

Unicorns and Flowers: Our Fantasy is The Sun

As we walk through the backyards of our neighbors we will gather the flowers along the way. The sun is so hot it urges us not to stay.

The Imperial Palace at Tangiers calls our names over the sea. As we journey toward that magical place, where we will soon be.

The roads are twisting and turning, both angry and mad, because the royal Empress feels that parallel lines are bad.

She forbids bad actions, bad manners, and bad thoughts.. We wander asunder, happy and lost.

The road widens our trail is set. We meet a mystic Unicorn, she becomes our companion, our fantastic pet.

Tally Ho! toward towers, crumbling and fat. Onward ever tarry, past Marlon Brando's Laundromat.

We have traveled so far and so wide, we can barely walk Our muscles are sore, and our bones are chalk.

Just when all is lost, a merchant appears, "Do you have any water, any food?" "Yes indeed, and I have telephone poles for sale 2."

After wandering away and quickly gathering our goods, we wandered lost, picking flowers in the woods

Until we came to a clearing, we thought it was a joke, But no! The Imperial palace of Tangiers, urges us happily upon a cloud of blue smoke...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

The Way To Shake IT

I have to drop a line to the band V. Velella. They are excellent electronic something or other. All I know is that when I play the song Telephone Poles For Sale 2, everyone dances at my club Crash Course. This is pretty notable because normally it takes some Blonde or Moving Units to make the crowd swoon. It sounds like LCD Soundsystem meets jazz-moog, if that makes any sense. All of their tracks are available on their website, which is amazing. Also, they have a plethora of songs to choose from, twenty or more. I think they are going places, if not, then your can call me a liar. Check them out!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Jennifer Gentle Is An Italian Witch

I you don't know Jennifer Gentle, you should. As well as being a mystical Italian witch, she is also a magical Italian psyche-pop band. The group formed in 2000 and has since released six records, the most recent being Valende, on Sub Pop. I daresay, they are the only internationally recognized group out of Italy right now that is producing the special breed of fantasy pop we all love. My music consultant played me I Do Dream You a song from their most recent album, and I was in love, especially with the balloon solo in the middle of the song. I was fortunate enough to get an interview with one of the founding band members, Alessio, which you are about to read!

Who is Jennifer Gentle?

Alessio: A witch!

Why the name, Jennifer Gentle?

Alessio: We love esoteric atmosphere, we thought that a witch name would might work well, maybe she is guiding us from another world.

Where do you live?

Alessio: I live in Abano Terme, near Padova, a town in north-east of Italy. It is close to Venice. Marco lives in Padova.

When and how did Jennifer Gentle form?

Alessio: Marco broke with his previous band, Carcers. I was a Carcers fan since I booked a concert for them in my venue Plan 9. We started together, then we asked other guys to play with us but we have always been the core of the band. Now some people around us has changed and the last record was recorded just by me and Marco. On stage we are 5, I play drums, Marco guitar and voice, Isaacs or Paolo guitar, Liviano keyboards, Francesco bass.

What is your approach to creating music?

Alessio: Marco always experiments with his 4 track tape machine. His approach is very free, when he feels inspired he records a song which is developed together by trying different solution. We try to capture the right sound to create the best atmosphere for what we feel. Everything should sound natural and pure.

Do the lyrics or the instrumental music come first?

Alessio: Instrumental with the voice part, then Marco writes lyrics with attention of the sound of the words. Musicality of the lyrics it is our first aim.

I hear some 1960s British influence, (ie: the Kinks, Sid Barret), is that present in the music?

Alessio: Yes, sure, but we love also ‘50’s and ‘70’s music. Marco is more interested in ‘50’s than ‘60’s…

If you could live through any decade, what would that be?

Alessio: I choose ‘20’s-‘30’s, Marco ‘50’s. No Jennifer Gentle in this case

What records have you put out?

Alessio: Our first record is “I am you are” (2001). The second album is “Funny Creatures Lane” (2002). The same year we published a live album with Kawabata Makoto (Acid Mothers Temple) called “The Wrong Cage”. In 2003 a 2-cd reissue called “Ectoplasmic Garden Party” was published by the Australian label “Ectoplasmic Garden Party”. In 2005 “Valende” was out for Sub Pop Records.

Do you listen to Celine Dion?

Alessio: Should I?

What music do you listen to?

Alessio: Everything! Can, Amon Duul, Pink Floyd, Velvet Underground, Tom Waits, Miles Davis, Ramones, Sex Pistols, Cramps, violent Femmes, Television, Nico, Beatles, Rolling Stones……………………………………………………………

Are you involved in the music scene in your community on a local level?

Alessio: No.

Jennifer Gentle seems to be the new Italian Psyche poster child, along with international contemporaries like Acid Mother Temple, Six Organs of Admittance and Simon Finn. Is this label accurate?

Alessio: It could be for some side of Jennifer Gentle music but we are more interested in pop songs. We love both freak-out jam and stupid pop songs…

Are there other Psyche bands roaming the Italian forests?

Alessio: No.

Describe one of your recent performances:

Alessio: When we can play with our complete backline we have three different set. A total acoustic moment, a electro-acoustic moment and a total electric moment with a couple of freak-out jam. I think it is a good performance with different atmosphere.

How did you get involved with American Label, Sub Pop?

Alessio: As I told you before, we published a 2-cd anthology of our first 2 cd. Ectoplasmic Garden Party was well distributed in USA and a copy arrived in a Seattle music store and captured Dean attention. Dean is our A/R at Sub Pop. He wrote us to have more info about Jennifer Gentle and so we got in touch. After a bunch of e-mail, a meeting in Florence, some phone calling we signed for Sub Pop. We are very happy about that.

Do you plan on touring to the US anytime soon?

Alessio: Hey man! We toured since two weeks ago for one month and half in the USA…please, we need to stay with our family!!!

If you come here on tour, can my band Cosmic Star (Cosmic Star: play a show with you in San Francisco?

Alessio: We had a very good time there. We played at the Bottom of the Hill and by Amoeba Records. Usually the local band are chosen by the local promoter…however let’s keep in touch!

Do you have any magical words for your fans?

Alessio: Enjoy yourself!!!


Alessio: THANK YOU!!!

Listen to:I Do Dream You

Friday, May 06, 2005

Twinkling Sweets Party- Cosmic Star EP Release!

Cosmic Star just released their first EP Twinkling Sweets Party It is available from the XIP webstore. Check out this avant pop/ disco-folk masterpiece full of charming songs and magical animals. Each CD features six little tunes and a hand drawn animal by yours truly. One of the stranger melodies, Blue Smoke has remnants of They Might Be Giants and French accordion music. The album is rife with strange enchanting instruments: auto-harp, melodica, accordion, keytar, xylophone, moog and much more! Expose yourself in the danger with this bizarre must awesome want! Buy it today!

Monday, April 25, 2005

The Best of the Worst: A Quarter Century of Music

The new year, for some of us it starts on January first, for students it begins in the fall with school, and for others, it begins on the day you get a little older and a little less wise. My year is marked by a Catholic, Pagan, Communist holiday, May First, the day I was born. To commemorate the passing of a quarter of a century under my belt, I have chosen to provide you all with a little list of infamy. My list is about music that has struck a very out of tune chord within me, videos whose sole purpose is to make those watching them slightly uncomfortable yet utterly fascinated, and performance that walks the line between naive camp and sophisticated farce. The list starts here:

5. Fuck My Heart
This song wins for the over all best/worst lyrics ever written. Had it not been for the musical integrator, Grey Day and a little tip off by yours truly, this amazing rendition of one suicide girl's personal diary entry/song lyrics would have gone virtually un-noticed. I think some of the the most poignant lyrics are: "Fuck my heart. Fuck it apart with reality and truth" and "This garden is like a molested cunt in winter". The song Fuck My Heart smells like it sounds, Juicy.

4. America We Stand As One
This song is really bad, it's especially bad because it is utterly honest. I mean, its not one of those jokey things like the last song, oh no, it is ridiculously earnest, in fact the artist has a website devoted to the cause. And the cause is America We Stand As One. I think this may have been some kind of September 11th inspired patriotic crap, but in the best worst way. The America We Stand As One video features Dennis Madalone in all his patricotic glory. There are beaches turned to American flags, firemen holding American flags and children, lots of children and angels.

3. Crackpot
Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse... Here comes Crackpot. This song is amazingly bad, and wonderfully current featured on this Toronto recording studio website as an example of their "Killer" recording. It reminds me of The Modern Lovers on crack (hence crackpot). Crackpot's website is a nightmare to navigate, and really ugly, kind of inline with the music. One of my favorite lines is: "Everything you say is wonderful. That is why you are so fuckable (not that I'd want to but...)" Yea, you get the picture.

2. I Wanna Love You Tender
See the picture above of all the smiling Finnish people with D&A shirts? That is a still from I Wanna Love You Tender. This video was released 1978 is by some obscure Finnish band, Danny and Armi, the video is bad in the best way. I am totally certain that the dancers in the video are giving it their all, and they make the video what it is: RAD! The casual and often off beat dancers, in matching white sweaters with D&A and Burgundy bell bottoms, rival any high school dance team. They use some crazy peel off lines that reveal the disco singers Danny and Armi (who later ride off into space in a 1950s car). I think that since the video was made Armi has died, but Danny is still doing music according to his website. he has some upcoming shows... in Finland.

1. Apache Boy
By far, the best worst video is Apache Boy. This video is not a joke, not at all. It features a goober singer in tribal tassels and three dancing "native girls" who are really some kind of bad white jazz dancers in halter tops. The drummer is straight out of Spinal Tap performing in front of a mini tipi that could maybe hold a small dog. Surprisingly, however, the song is really catchy- actually it was originally a Ventures song. Rock out to this #1 best-worst hit!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Politics OH! Politics

I know this is a music journal, but I was angry and alarmed at the activities and Police brutality which occured here in Santa Cruz last night. I work at UCSC campus and was a student here for five years. The students on campus are protesting increasing tuition coupled with the fireing of faculty and staff, while top level administrators get pay raises and bonuses... I have never seen anything like the images I have seen today on this video of the protest authored by my friend an co worker Marty Shulman. I have no words to explain how I feel, the only song I can think of is I Luv The Valley OH, by xiu xiu.