(Don’t Wanna Be) Your Toy! New Video From The Fashion Slaves

Here’s a vid of “Your Toy” – a song off the new Fashion Slaves EP called “GO INSANE.”

You can pick up the EP at iTunes store.

The Fashion Slaves are playing live at the Starry Plough on August 3rd, 2013. Tickets are available here!

Everyone Is Dirty Makes Good Clean Grunge Pop Fun

Everyone Is Dirty is a new local band that I like a lot. Their FB page describes their music as Psychedelic Grunge Pop. I’d say that’s accurate, but with a dab of Art Rock sexy and a whole bottle o’ Cool sauce. They’re playing the Starry Plough and the Bottom Of The Hill soon. It’ll be so cool your mustachio will fall off into your bacon beer. Here’s an excellent tune. I love the video, too.

“Meltyface Maloney”

Jesse Michaels’ Punk Blog Settles Everything

There is a lot of bad information out there about punk rock. What is punk rock? Who started it? Is it dead, when did it die, is this band or that person truly punk, or a sellout, etc. Important stuff, and here to clear it all up once and for all, is renowned punk expert Jesse Michaels. Impressively, he covers it all in less than two minutes.

The Fashion Slaves Go Insane (And So Can You!!)

I’m thrilled to announce The Fashion Slaves new EP, “GO INSANE” is coming out soon.
Here’s one track on SoundCloud:

The story behind that song is fun. Fashion Slaves’ singer-guitarist Emily Jayne brought in a great tune called “Your Toy” to rehearsal one day and we learned it. It was by a ’77 punk-pop band called Chelsea, with some guys who went on to play with Billy Idol and other new wave era greats. Emily changed up the lyrics a bit, and the original writer James Stevenson (from Chelsea, Generation X, The Alarm and Gene Loves Jezebel), shared credit with her on the new version! Then the strangest coincidence, Stevenson’s current band The International Swingers played in San Francisco a week after we uploaded the EP for release. So of course Emily burned a CD of our version, went to the show and gave it to him. Here’s a pic of them backstage at the Red Devil Lounge. Small world and who woulda thunkit!

The EP is available at iTunes Store or Amazon.

Old School Dixieland Jazz Blues Fun

This track is gorgeous. I love the major – minor shifts and the extraordinary interplay between these crack players. This piece covers a lot of emotional ground in a short span of time. Another gem from when there were no overdubs and you had to actually play! It’s amazing how much each musician can pile on here without it ever sounding cluttered. Superb. Today’s guitar lesson and music appreciation post is..

Original Dixieland Jazz Band with Al Bernard – “St. Louis Blues”

Originally posted this at PublicDomain4U.

History Of Rock Guitar In Ten Minutes

This is a lot of fun, and I have to take my hat off to Alex Chadwick for such a marvelously obsessive study. There’s no way this history can be complete – especially as it advances past the early years – but it nonetheless does an admirable job of describing the overall evolution of rock guitar playing. And it’s a superb performance, very cleverly conceived and masterfully executed. So here you go, today’s guitar lesson post – 100 Riffs (A Brief History of Rock N’ Roll) by Alex Chadwick. Check it out:

At his site – 100riffs.com – you can check out his setup, including the pedal board he used to pull this off in one pass. He’s also got lesson videos for some of those 100 tunes, like this one of “Purple Haze” – in which he breaks down both the guitar technique and demonstrates what particular effects pedals he used to complete the sound. Pretty badass.

Is it Ragtime? Is it Blues? Is it Rock and Roll? It is All That!

People were playing rock n’ roll long before rock n’ roll was called “rock n’ roll.” Here’s more irrefutable proof, in a ragtime blues from Charlie Spand and Blind Blake from 1929 called “Hastings Street.” It freaking rocks. And rolls. Today’s guitar lesson? Just listen to this all the way through a coupla times. Soak it up. Then cop the riffs and play along. Then play it on your own. Then call yer buddy up and have them come over and do the piano part. You will become happy.

Blind Blake and Charlie Spand – “Hastings Street”

Today’s Guitar Teaching Note: Turn Off Your Effects

You don’t need reverb, echo, doubling, or any of that. Whatever room you are in, it has it’s own reverb, it’s own sound. Whether you play electric or acoustic, what does your guitar sound like? All the tone you need, it comes out of your fingers. If you practice with reverb or other effects, you wont hear that. Practice dry, add effects only when they are required for the music you’re performing. I make this note only because I see a lot of players who just leave effects on by default. It’s a mistake – you miss out on the real sound of the guitar when you do that. The guitar, by itself, is a beautiful instrument. You can do anything with it. What you can pull out of a guitar is only limited by your imagination. Reach for it. Play a note, and listen to it, in the room you’re in. Amazing things will happen.

That’s all.  Starting a new blog Category with this post – “Guitar Lessons!”

The Quiet Death Of IODA Promonet

IODA-Promonet-RIPMost people don’t know what IODAPromonet is, or was. And I don’t see any news articles about it closing, so I’m making a little post to say goodbye to what was a remarkable resource. IODA (now merged with Orchard) is an online distributor of recordings: they take the music made by independent labels like the one I record for, and feed it out to iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, and other online music retailers and subscription services. Promonet was a site that IODA created, which gave bloggers some tools to easily post and promote music in the IODA catalog. The idea was to encouraged people to discover and promote music in the “Long Tail” – the vast, undiscovered or under-discovered bulk of contemporary recorded music. I used it extensively, posting links to hundreds of records and promotional free mp3s that I found there over the years. Word is that as of today, the site is going dark along with all the content in it. I’ll miss it. But it isn’t a huge surprise. In the evolution of music and commerce in the digital age, there are hundreds of former sites. I’ve been following this stuff since IUMA. What a long strange tail it’s been.

The Strange Saga Of A Ska Monkey And Some Pelicans

I have had the pleasure of collaborating with some fine songwriters over the years, including the unique and completely original Paul Jackson. As a keyboardist, singer and composer in The Uptones, Paul has always pushed the envelope, lyrically and musically. “Bested By Pelicans” is right out of Paul’s head; I just helped bring it to life. I watched the idea grow from the initial moment of inspiration at the beach (all of it really happened, including the cheese-food-stuff!) to the rehearsal where he passed out the parts. After we recorded this, our friend, cartoonist Shannon Wheeler made some images for a lyric sheet, which Paul later animated in this clip. It’s on the Uptones’ Skankin’ Foolz Unite! album which you can buy directly from the band as a CD, or from iTunes if you’d rather get the download.