Archive for October, 2009

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by: C. D. Harvill

Some of you older music fans may remember a time when a certain local environmental/political folk musician graced the Marquee and other media outlets. Karen Harvill, once a Mississippi Mama, is now teamed up with long-time friend and fellow folk musician Jo Billups. The pair make up the recently formed group, Sassafrass. With all the talk of global warming, the two passionate artists could not simply sit back without saying a word; so, once again, they’ve picked up their guitars and started singing. Most of their gigs have been in coffee shops in the Pensacola area; however, they have traveled as far as Ohio to perform in “green” festivals. This past Saturday was International Climate Day. To call for a clear solution to the climate crisis 350.org organized 5200 rallies in 181 countries around the world, the most widespread political action in history. The New Orleans rally, which was Sunday in Congo Square, featured Sassafrass, Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown and the marching bands from Sophie B. Wright School, Martin Behrman Charter School and O. Perry Walker High. There were speakers from 350.org, Alliance for Climate Protection, Alliance for Affordable Energy and The Coastal Restoration Network.

Sassafrass performed before and after the marching bands. Their theme-appropriate lyrics, voiced as sparkling harmonies riding on top of catchy guitar runs and compelling rhythms, served as good background music for the opening of the rally. Even for those in the audience who might not have been environmental loonies or lovers of folk music, it was a welcome respite from the foul-mouthed snowball saleswoman heaping abuse upon a fellow street vendor just outside of Armstrong Park. Once everything got started you could hear such poignant songs as “Water Wars” and the more eloquent “White on White” and “Wolves” projecting across Congo Square.  This might not have been their most energetic performance, but it was still clear that the ladies are musicians first and foremost; definitely not your average coffeehouse band.

As a former band geek, one must give kudos to “Kid Chocolate” Brown’s mad trumpet skills and, of course, to the middle and high school bands that performed as well.

With Sassafrass at the head of the parade (sporting gold umbrellas with scenes of melting ice caps and sad polar bears) the group danced second line through the Quarter to DBA on Frenchmen St. to watch the Saints play the Dolphins.

Whether you are interested in saving the environment, or simply a folk music fan, Sassafrass is a must listen.  You can check out both Sassafrass and Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown on MySpace.

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by C. D. Harvill

The 69 Eyes visited the Howlin Wolf in New Orleans on October 12. They are currently on tour with The Becoming and Dommin, promoting their new album, Back in Blood, which was released in September. Some of you may have heard of The 69 Eyes via Kat Von D’s promotion of the vampire rock band, maybe you are a fan of Bam Margera who did a beautiful, stylistic job as director of the music videos for “Lost Boys;” “Dead Girls Are Easy,” the first single off the new album, and the second single, “Dead and Gone,” or (as one fan shared with me) maybe you were listening to HIM on Pandora radio and, being a similar sound, The 69 Eyes caught your attention. Whatever the case they are worth a listen.

Surely some of you are curious as to what they mean by vampire rock? Jyrki (pronounced: yur-key) described the group as more of a cartoon rock band; their songs are not so much about love but about Jyrki’s favorite film genre–¬¬horror: more specifically, vampire flicks.

The heart-throb front-man, Jyrki, is not only a vampire rocker but also holds a master of science degree in analytical chemistry, is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and won the Outstanding Young Person of the World Award in 2006. As a Goodwill Ambassador he feels strongly about the education of children and talked about how important it is that children are educated: because if the children are knowledgeable and doing well, then mother earth is doing well. He said his being chosen for the role of Goodwill Ambassador was because he is more edgy and not someone “safe”, such as a sports star. He loves that he can be out doing his thing in a rock band while also doing something good.

Listening to the Helenski, Finland-based band’s earlier album the music has more of a melodic instrumental feel. This latest album ,unlike the rest, was recorded in the USA, with producer Matt Hyde, who, according to Jyrki “…squeezed every drop of blood and sweat and tears from us into the album.” Jyrki claims the band wanted a fresh sound, and Hyde certainly squeezed a more mainstream punk-alternative sounding album out of them. “The sound is very aggressive compared to the previous stuff… we wanted to get rid of all the extra orchestration…it’s more in your face, with an American attitude….”

Their stage performance sounded just like their recorded music, and it was fun, as an audience member, hearing Jyrki, with his accent, pumping the crowd between songs. However there was a feeling, bleeding through their performance, that they were bored, and one could spot Jyrki thinking about doing his Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson-esque stage antics before and while executing them. Whether it was simply because of it being a rainy day or because they’ve been doing this for 20 years, one can’t be sure. It was evident they weren’t really into the performance until they began playing newer hits, such as “Dead Girls Are Easy,” during which the band definitely had more than enough overflow energy from the enthusiastic audience.

With such a theatrical headlining band the opening bands were fitting. The Becoming came out with their own lights, glitzed us with their gold drum set and had a sound like Emery, if Emery was less punk and more Marilyn Manson.

On stage just before The 69 Eyes and appropriately revving the crowed for the main event was Dommin. Theatrically dressed with leather jackets bowling shirts and slicked back hair the young, more mainstream, Depeche Mode-sounding band wowed the venue with their simple keyboard progressions, catchy lyrics to hit-worthy songs such as “My Heart In Your Hands.” Lead singer, songwriter and guitarist, Kris Dommin, shocked with vocals unique to the genre, giving the band a refreshing taste.

Overall, a terrific show and, if you are in an area where this murder of bands is touring, it is worth your time and money to check out the show. If not, all three bands have music worthy of livening up your computer time or drive home from work.

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The Rock Band Network is a revolutionary system which will allow bands, studios and record labels to create and sell playable game content from their master recordings using the same professional tools used by the game’s developers.

You will be able to upload and submit your tracks for review by the Rock Band Creators community. These experienced “rhythm game” players will critique your music and approved tracks will become available in the Rock Band Store and on the Xbox LIVE Marketplace. You’ll get a cut of every purchase.

Go here for more info.

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STONE TEMPLE PILOTS has spent the last few months working on a new studio album with producer Don Was. According to singer Scott Weiland, the CD should be ready for release sometime in early 2010.

The upcoming release of PILOTS’ sixth studio album and first since 2001′s “Shangri-La-Dee-Da” has been complicated by a contractual dispute between Weiland, drummer Eric Kretz and STP’s label, Atlantic Records.

STONE TEMPLE PILOTS were reactivated in 2008 after a six-year layoff, during which time Weiland recorded two albums with VELVET REVOLVER before being dismissed in April 2008.

Weiland issued a second solo effort, called “Happy In Galoshes”, last November and has been touring on his own behind that release.

They will be playing in our area Dec. 29 at the Hard Rock Live in Biloxi, MS.

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Owen‘s “Ugly On the Inside” can be downloaded for free here.
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Drew Danburry is giving away most of his songs for free on his website.
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Sign up here to download a free autumn sampler from Afternoon Records.

Track Listing
1) Now, Now Every Children – “In My Chest” (Acoustic) *Exclusive
2) We Shot The Moon – “Red Night”
3) Sissy Wish – “Dwts”
4) We All Have Hooks For Hands – “Made Up Of Tiny Lights”
5) Target Market – “Slow Fade”
6) Tarlton – “Bol”
7) The Coast – “Floodlights”
8) Mouthful of Bees – “Thomas Aquinas”
9) One for the Team – “Questions and Panthers”
10) Phoenix – “1901″ (One for the Team Remix)

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by C. D. Harvill

Having just finished the Mississippi Coast Coliseum’s brand new convention center a group of local bands decided it was perfect timing to break it in and blow the roof off. Fosterpalooza ‘09 was headlined by: 12 Stones (based out of Mandeville, LA and signed to Wind Up Records) and Egypt Central (based out of Memphis, TN and signed to Fat Lady Music). Warming up the stage and audience, excellently so, were: Falls From Grace, Touching the Absolute, Jane Doe’s Dead and added last minute to the lineup Wake the Light.

From start to finish the show was full of energy. As it should be the show’s energy seemed to flow and build as the night continued. Despite the convention center not being acoustically friendly to music the audience didn’t mind. By the time 12 Stones had step foot on stage the crowd was potently spirited with each bands musical performance as well as stage antics. After seeing revved up performances from local favorites such as Falls From Grace’s Tony Burn’s signature entrance wearing a gas mask and, paired with amateur pyrotechnics and Jane Doe’s Dead’s ability to produce rowdy dedicated fans; how could the audience not be salivating for more?

Egypt Central had the crowd and WCPR’s Special K singing along with the successful “You Make Me Sick”. Front man John T. Falls entertained the venue not only with his vocals and visual performance, but also with his sense of humor. Their performance only left the audience wet for more.

Paul McCoy, being the front man that he is, couldn’t help but deliver the icing on the cake during 12 Stones’ set. From their entrance and throughout the rest of their performance 12 Stones delivered an energetic and musically pleasing show.

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