RARWRITER PUBLISHING GROUP PRESENTS

CREATIVE CULTURE JOURNAL

at www.RARWRITER.com      

--------------------"The best source on the web for what's real in arts and entertainment" ---------------------------

Volume 1-2016

MUSIC    BOOKS    FINE ARTS   FILM   THE WORLD

ARTIST NEWS    THIS EDITION   ABOUT   MUSIC   MUSIC REVIEWS  BOOKS  CINEMA   FASHION   FINE ARTS  FEATURES   SERIES  MEDIA  ESSAY  RESOURCES  WRITTEN ARTS POETRY  CONTACT  ARCHIVES  MUSIC LINKS

                                 

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Use this link to add your email address to the RARWRITER Publishing Group mailing list for updates on activities associated with the Creative Culture and Revolution Culture journals, and other RARWRITER Publishing Group interests.

 

ABOUT RAR: For those of you new to this site, "RAR" is Rick Alan Rice, the publisher of the RARWRITER Publishing Group websites. Use this link to visit the RAR music page, which features original music compositions and other.

Use this link to visit Rick Alan Rice's publications page, which features excerpts from novels and other.

RARADIO

(Click here)

Currently on RARadio:

"On to the Next One" by Jacqueline Van Bierk

"I See You Tiger" by Via Tania

"Lost the Plot" by Amoureux"

Bright Eyes, Black Soul" by The Lovers Key

"Cool Thing" by Sassparilla

"These Halls I Dwell" by Michael Butler

"St. Francis"by Tom Russell & Gretchen Peters, performance by Gretchen Peters and Barry Walsh; 

"Who Do You Love?"by Elizabeth Kay; 

"Rebirth"by Caterpillars; 

"Monica's Frock" by Signel-Z; 

"Natural Disasters" by Corey Landis; 

"1,000 Leather Tassels" by The Blank Tapes; 

"We Are All Stone" and "Those Machines" by Outer Minds; 

"Another Dream" by MMOSS; "Susannah" by Woolen Kits; 

Jim Morrison, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and other dead celebrities / news by A SECRET PARTY;

"I Miss the Day" by My Secret Island,  

"Carriers of Light" by Brendan James;

"The Last Time" by Model Stranger;

"Last Call" by Jay;

"Darkness" by Leonard Cohen; 

"Sweetbread" by Simian Mobile Disco and "Keep You" fromActress off the Chronicle movie soundtrack; 

"Goodbye to Love" from October Dawn; 

Trouble in Mind 2011 label sampler; 

Black Box Revelation Live on Minnesota Public Radio;

Apteka "Striking Violet"; 

Mikal Cronin's "Apathy" and "Get Along";

Dana deChaby's progressive rock

 

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Rick Alan Rice (RAR) Literature Page

ATWOOD - "A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliverance" -AVAILABLE NOW FOR KINDLE (INCLUDING KINDLE COMPUTER APPS) FROM AMAZON.COM. Use this link.

CCJ Publisher Rick Alan Rice dissects the building of America in a trilogy of novels collectively calledATWOOD. Book One explores the development of the American West through the lens of public policy, land planning, municipal development, and governance as it played out in one of the new counties of Kansas in the latter half of the 19th Century. The novel focuses on the religious and cultural traditions that imbued the American Midwest with a special character that continues to have a profound effect on American politics to this day. Book One creates an understanding about America's cultural foundations that is further explored in books two and three that further trace the historical-cultural-spiritual development of one isolated county on the Great Plains that stands as an icon in the development of a certain brand of American character. That's the serious stuff viewed from high altitude. The story itself gets down and dirty with the supernatural, which in ATWOOD - A Toiler's Weird Odyssey of Deliveranceis the outfall of misfires in human interactions, from the monumental to the sublime. The book features the epic poem "The Toiler" as well as artwork by New Mexico artist Richard Padilla.

Elmore Leonard Meets Larry McMurtry

Western Crime Novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am offering another novel through Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service. Cooksin is the story of a criminal syndicate that sets its sights on a ranching/farming community in Weld County, Colorado, 1950. The perpetrators of the criminal enterprise steal farm equipment, slaughter cattle, and rob the personal property of individuals whose assets have been inventoried in advance and distributed through a vast system of illegal commerce.

It is a ripping good yarn, filled with suspense and intrigue. This was designed intentionally to pay homage to the type of creative works being produced in 1950, when the story is set. Richard Padilla has done his usually brilliant work in capturing the look and feel of a certain type of crime fiction being produced in that era. The whole thing has the feel of those black & white films you see on Turner Movie Classics, and the writing will remind you a little of Elmore Leonard, whose earliest works were westerns. Use this link.

 

EXPLORE THE KINDLE BOOK LIBRARY

If you have not explored the books available from Amazon.com's Kindle Publishing division you would do yourself a favor to do so. You will find classic literature there, as well as tons of privately published books of every kind. A lot of it is awful, like a lot of traditionally published books are awful, but some are truly classics. You can get the entire collection of Shakespeare's works for two bucks.

You do not need to buy a Kindle to take advantage of this low-cost library. Use this link to go to an Amazon.com page from which you can download for free a Kindle App for your computer, tablet, or phone.

Amazon is the largest, but far from the only digital publisher. You can find similar treasure troves atNOOK Press (the Barnes & Noble site), Lulu, and others.


 

 

 

NEW YORK CITY LINKS  

 

NEW YORK CITY ARCHIVES - Use this link to go to the archives of previously published New York articles.

 

Miniature Tigers

Brookyln's Miniature Tigers have been around for awhile. Back when MySpace was still a thing, in 2006, Rolling Stone magazine trolled the plethora of recording entities represented there and named Miniature Tigers as one of the Top 25. Nothing wrong with that pick. The band tours widely and has remained a presence on the pop culture scene. In fact, the Miniature Tigers may well have been part of a shift in pop culture back away from the west coast and more to the east. The video here of "Swimming Pool Blues" would only confuse the issue, with the band (guitarist Charlie Brand, Rick Schaier on keyboard and vocals, Algernon Quashie on guitar, and Brandon Lee on bass) cavorting around some pretty west coast-looking locations, and bringing life to still photography in a clever video production. However thin the song might be, it is really catchy and nicely done, and Miniature Tigers have a great sound.

Hamilton Leithauser

Hamilton Leithauser has been the front man for the Indie band The Walkmen, and he has had a couple spots on NPR. He has a youthful recording-friendly voice, but his main strength may be his songwriting, which has a poetic heft to it that sets a little back in the mix may at first be mixed. He is another of the new romantic types, a guy who, at some impressionable moment, must have listened to a bunch of early Dylan.

D. Gookin and His Moodgadget

D. Gookin from Moodgadget on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York-based producer, songwriter and percussionist D. Gookin (aka Mike Birnbaum) is on a mission. Think of it as retaliation against a recession both economic and emotional. While his peers delve ever deeper into sonic murk, Gookin flips life's unsavory bits into maxed out, genuinely uplifting music.

Combining the adventurousness of modern electronic innovators like Tobacco and Len, his sound is as propulsive as it is melodic and as freewheeling as it is meticulously orchestrated. His first two records-2008s LP How 2 Deal and EP When You're Lonely Everybody's a Celebrity (Moodgadget)-are steeped in '80s electro and Italo Disco and yet oddly melancholic.

In 2009, Gookin released From Here the Wall of Undoing EP where he took a different tack. He pushed his drums and vocals to the forefront, adopting a psychedelic, rock-driven approach. Meanwhile, he developed his kinetic live show to match, both locally and on the road. In 2011, he returned with Spiral Style, which covers a broad swath of styles while staying true to Gookin's goal. From the anthemic electronica of opener "Way 2 Grow," to the beaming optimism of "Spirit Link," to the chopped chipmunk soul of closer "Stealing Sun Chips," the Spiral Style EP is a candy-coated feel-good affair that effectively wrings good vibes out of the bad stuff that too often slows us down.

Learn more about D. Gookin at http://dgookin.com

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Lana Del Rey

One of the more intriguing stories of the past year is the YouTube-enabled rise of Lana Del Ray, whose nakedly emotional "Video Games" caught the attention of a nation, to the extent that within months of breaking she was performing on "Saturday Night Live". She caught nearly universal criticisms for her performance, though RARWRITER.com had no trouble with her effort. On Late Night with David Letterman February 2 (2012) she did her hit in its original sparse arrangement, which puts total attention on Del Ray's natural steaminess. Letterman and Paul Shafer seemed to love it. The performance has an honest edge to it that is hard to describe as anything other than stimulating. What do you think?

 

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Glamour Girl

Charlene Kaye's Animal Love

Those style fiends over at Glamour seem to like Charlene Kaye, at least enough to provide a pad for the premiere of "Animal Love 1" from her upcoming sophomore LP of the same title. There is evidence that the 25-year-old Kaye is watch worthy. She has a clear, strong voice that is perfect for recording, and she brings tunes that have intelligence wrapped in there around the beat, a characteristic that we at RARWRITER have noticed with every Charlene Kaye release.

2011 was an amazing year for Kaye. After an overwhelming outpouring of support from fans via Kickstarter, Animal Love was recorded in Brooklyn with Charlene Kaye's band mate and producer Tomek Miernowski [The Pierces]. Charlene released the catchy single "Dress and Tie," a duet with her frequent collaborator, Glee's Darren Criss, opened for Big Boi and Minus the Bear and participated in a national tour with Internet sensation Team StarKid, went to the Grammys, and played CMJ and SXSW.

You can download the album track and learn more with interviews at Glamour and NewNowNext.

 

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World Class Song Stylist

Pop Maestro Kyle Jarrow

Brooklyn-based playwright Kyle Jarrow has won some fine honors for his musical theatrical craft, but along the way he has also led some exceptionally cool bands, including The Fabulous Entourage and Super Mirage. He is now with a new entry, Sky Pony. Watch this live performance of an original tune below, leaving no doubt that Jarrow is one of the authentic singer-songwriter talents in the country, and one doing a sophisticated brand of electro-pop thriving almost exclusively on the coasts, at least stateside. It has a smart lyrical and melodic quality and a playful, sexy bounce to its funky rhythmic structure.  More on Sky Pony below.

 

Sky Pony

"I did indeed get married, last May. Thank you for the congratulations. She's a very talented actress/singer. It's been a lot of fun starting a band with her!." - Kyle Jarrow.

Sky Pony is billed as a husband-wife act, i.e., "It's a brand new band that combines the "uptown" talents of singer/actress Lauren Worsham (City Center's Where's Charley, Goodspeed's Carnival, City Opera's Candide) with the "downtown" sensibility of her husband Kyle Jarrow (from the bands The Fabulous Entourage and Super Mirage, also an Obie Award-winning playwright for A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant) -- as well as an ever-changing collective of guest performers."

The quote above references an update to this piece that first appeared on January 18. RARWRITER.com has featured Kyle regularly on this site but hadn't been in touch with him in awhile and was not aware of the nuptials. Our best wishes!

Here is a description of the Sky Pony show in January (2012) at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn: "...a theatrical concert experience that may well blow your mind, featuring a talented calvalcade of special guests: backup singers Jessi Suzuki and Megan Stern, guitarist Kevin Wunderlich, bassist Eric Day, drummer Perry Silver (of The Fabulous Entourage), cellist David Blasher, and raconteur Clay McLeod Chapman (of Pumpkin Pie Show fame). Costumes and choreography (yes, there will be both) by Eunice Bae."

More info at www.sky-pony.com.                            (Update 13012)

 

Rachel Platten

New York City-based singer/songwriter/musician Rachel Platten  is playing Radio Holiday shows in select cities this December alongside The Fray, Gavin Degraw, David Cook & others. Platten released an LP of original material, 'Be Here', in 2011 after touring the material for a year. The performance below was recorded at her CD release. Several are available from YouTube, but this strikes me as the one that is most effective.

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Platten is a Boston native who started taking serious piano lessons about the time she got old enough to got to school, but she caught the musician bug later in her college years, while studying abroad in Trinidad. Recently signed with Rock Ridge, Platten seems to have been inspired by the Caribbean nation's Calypso music, particularly Soca, and who he wouldn't be. It re-enlivened a musical passion that she pursued by taking a songwriting course through Boston's highly-respected Berklee College of Music in Boston, and then on to New York City and subsequent travels abroad, burnishing his skills as a touring pro.

Platten is among a sizeable crop of smart and talented women who are barnstorming the world these days and storming the gates for crossover recognition. Others include Gabrielle Louise (below), and Kat Parsons, i.e., songwriters who combine real musical skills with open-heart performance. It feels as if we may be entering a particularly good period for this type of music, as happened before in the early '60s with the emergence of Carole King and her generation of similar talents. - RAR

 

MIRACLES OF MODERN SCIENCE

Miracles of Modern Science is a group of four orchestra instrument chaps, plus a drummer, who met on Facebook while students at Princeton and in 2004 starting doing what they call "orchestral space pop". They make classical instrumentation sound like avante garde synthesizer work, or maybe it is just that we have been primed by years of digital music and forgot how rangy wood instruments can be in the hands of crazy scientists thinking outside of the box, or whatever the next best cliché would be. Whatever, Miracles of Modern Science is cool. After checking out this stage show, go to YouTube to find their casual live version of the Bowie tune "Life On Mars". Wonderful to hear thoughtful folks at work doing interesting stuff.

Miracles of Modern Science just released their new LP Dog Year, which was financed through the Kickstarter scheme. National Public Radio (NPR) featured the LP on the day of its release. - RAR

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Italian Horn

Anthony Pappalardo's Red Affair

Channeling equal parts Guided By Voices, Bailterspace and Flying Saucer Attack, synth and subtle noise intertwine with short strummed songs and washed-out shoegaze reverb guitar creating direct but layered soundscapes throughout Red Affair. The cover collage was created by Robert Pollard (GBV) and the release is limited to 300 vinyl copies and available digitally. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing the home recording tradition of My Dad is Dead, East River Pipe and Sebadoh, Italian Horn, the solo project of New York City writer behind Radio Silence and Live...Suburbia, Anthony Pappalardo, announces the release of his Red Affair 12" debut via DAIS Records.

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Rolling Stone Runner-up Lelia Broussard

 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Lelia Broussard hails from the musical mecca of Lafayette, Louisiana, which has been a well-spring for musical types ranging from Cajun and Zydeco to swamp Country and Rock'n Roll. Our contributor and featured blogger Sam Broussard, of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, is a Lafayette native, as is slide master Sonny Landreth. Lelia is the most recent of this Louisiana brood to hit it big, finishing second in Rolling Stone's recent search for the next big thing, losing out to The Sheepdogs, a hairy Canadian collective of erstwhile Southern Rockers.

I can't tell if Lelia Broussard is really anything or not. She clearly comes to life with the support of a band, becoming an entirely next level of performer compared to her solo persona. Below is what Teen Vogue had to say about her. - RAR

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Lelia Broussard is a people person. Onstage or off she lights up those around her. So it's not surprising that the electric 22-year-old indie-pop singer (think Regina Spektor) has been able to use her growing, obsessive fan base—not the traditional label system—to spring into the mainstream.

The Louisiana native says she grew up worshipping "the divas," like Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey, as well as Patsy Cline. By the time she was thirteen, she had picked up a guitar and begun writing her own songs. "I was having a hard time then," she recalls. "My mom was going through a divorce, and it was difficult. So music was an outlet for my feelings—it still is."

As time went on, songwriting became Lelia's only focus. "I just had it in my mind, and it was all I wanted to do," she says. After high school, with the support of her mom, the then-seventeen-year-old moved to New York City to pursue a recording career. Working as a waitress by day, Lelia, who cites acts like Phoenix, Lykke Li, and David Bowie as inspirations, played open-mike nights in the city, meeting some other performers who were just cutting their teeth—"I used to be friends with Gaga when her name was Stefani," she reveals.

Over the next few years, Lelia became a presence in the Lower East Side scene, bluffing her way onto the stages of 21-and-over venues. At the end of 2010, she recorded her first full-length, Masquerade, through funds raised on entrepreneurial social site Kickstarter.com. In January, Lelia entered herself in Rolling Stone magazine's first-ever national "Do You Wanna Be a Rock & Roll Star?" contest, a six-month fan-driven battle meant to discover and promote new talent. At press time, Lelia had made it to the fourth round—meaning she was one of the two finalists, with a strong chance to win a spot on the legendary magazine's cover. "It's an exciting time we live in as musicians," she says of the experience. "It's thrilling for the fans to make something this big happen. I haven't signed with a major label in all these years, and that's been a good thing—I've been doing what I want, and I think my fans appreciate that."

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Charlene Kaye

This year Charlene Kaye released the insanely catchy single, "Dress and Tie," a duet with her frequent collaborator, "Glee's Darren Criss", opened for Big Boi and Minus the Bear, went to the Grammys and played CMJ and SXSW! It's been quite a year and Ms. Kaye is at the top of her game. Grab the single "Dress and Tie" and check out the accompanying video following the LA recording of the track. Charlene possesses a mesmerizing, one-of-a-kind voice - check out the old-timey, glamorous video for "Mad Tom of Bedlam," and the sweetly sunny "Skin and Bones."

Charlene Kaye

The multi-faceted vocalist relocated to New York City to pursue stardom, and she is certainly doing her part, working hard at showcase events (CMJ and SWSW among them). And she is bringing the chops, little by little breaking through with national television exposure and reviews in the Huffington Post. Here she is doing some clever, high energy, sophisticated jazz with some cool dudes called The Brilliant Eyes.

 

 

Clogs Bassoonist Solo Project

Rachael Elliott

“Elliott is the Jaco Pastorius of the bassoon, sweeping between glowing bass parts and sweet, yearning melodies in the highest register.” -The Guardian

There have been some nice developments in music over the past dozen or so years, none of them nicer than the re-emergence of modern classical, or music written for classical instrumentation. I don't mean this in that Windham Hill kind of way, that makes you feel pretty certain that you have given up on life, but in that way that is illustrated by the likes of Belle Orchestre and The Books.

Add Clogs to that, the quartet of Yale Music students who came together in the late 1990s to create a decidedly impressionistic ensemble of mostly instrumental sounds. The players are top-flight, with Australian violinist Padma Newsome, guitarist Bryce Dressner, percussionist Kozumplik, and bassoonist Elliott. Dressner, who has composed for the Kronos Quartet, a group that could rightly be said to have pioneered this new era of modern classical, has had success outside of Clogs with The National. The National has about as much to do with Clogs as Arcade Fire has to do with Belle Orchestre, which is to say a little. Use this link to go to the New York City pages to see The National.

Now Elliott is releasing a project of her own - Polka the Elk - which is described as "blending jazz harmonies, hypnotic minimalism, and indelibly wistful melodic lines with pure, transcendent chamber music. The music will appeal to lovers of new and experimental music and those with slightly twisted pop sensibilities". The LP will be released on Brassland Records, the label founded by Bryce and twin-brother Aaron Dressner.

While you await September and the release of the Rachel Elliott LP, check out this masterwork from Clogs.
 

The National

Brooklyn has been home to the Dodgers and Ebbetts Field, Radio City Music Hall, Woody Allen, Isaac Asimov, W.H. Auden, Aaron Copland, Clive Davis, Neil Diamond, Jackie Gleason, Moss Hart, Rita Hayworth, Joseph Heller, Lena Horne, Moe-Curly-and-Shemp Howard, Carole King, Norman Mailer, Carson McCullers...and 2.6 million other people at any one time. The coolest people living there on this day might just be playing in The National.

Besides having some fine musical education, as a band The National has something else going for them that is impossible to develop: brotherhood. The National consists of brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner, brothers Scott and Bryan Devendorf, and singer Matt Berninger, and together they do some stuff that probably only blood relatives would - you know, if they had a shared friend. Here is The National live on Q TV. Cool band.- RAR

 

 

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

Grace Potter is pretty hard to deny as a natural musical force. Orphaned as a child, she was taken in by a relative and raised in a small room beneath a staircase...no, wait a minute, different Potter. This is the Potter from Waitsfield, Vermont, but that's kind've weird, isn't it? Actually, Grace Potter is a St. Lawrence University music dropout who started her band in 2002 with the notion that they would mine the influences of such diverse talents as James Brown and The Band. Those somehow seemed right for her voice, which is way rangy and soulful without being imitative of previous belting blues babes.

The Gypsy West

Sweet boys singing in harmony at the local music shop

 

The Gypsy West is a power trio from Brooklyn, though you would not likely get that from the video shown here. They blend progressive precision, catchy grooves and psychedelic heaviness on their radically released second LP, Accomplices II - You Might Get Caught, which will be released on September 6. Labeled “stunning,” “inspiring” and “powerful” by critics, Accomplices is a concept album released as a series of EPs, sequentially detailing the journey to and through a social revolution. You Might Get Caught picks up where Accomplices left off with the hero, Phoenix, at the threshold of revolution. Their live sound has been described as “intimate, breathless…this lean trio stomps with the ferocity of a deadly orchestra.” The Gypsy West is touring all about the New York City area in July and August (2011).

 

5/15/2011 Los Angeles, CA / Cafe Was
5/28/2011 Denver, CO / 16th Street Mall - Denver Day of Rock
5/29/2011 Evanston, IL / SPACE (ticket sales benefit Art of Elysium)
6/15/2011 Los Angeles, CA / Cafe Was

Alicia Witt can be found online at:
www.aliciawittmusic.com
www.twitter.com/aliciawitty
www.facebook.com/officialaliciawitt
www.myspace.com/aliciawittmusic

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Miniature Tigers

Cool Tune, Good Video Idea

One of the first bands to surface from exposure on MySpace was the Miniature Tigers, a Phoenix, Arizona contingent since transplanted to Brooklyn, New York. In 2006, Rolling Stone listed them as one of the best bands on MySpace. "I shot this video March 21, 2010 in McAllen TX at FUNDAY with my Nikon D300s. I added in the actual song to the video because the audio was horrible. I did my best to have Charlie in sync with the actual song, but a live performance is never the same like on an actual recording, it is off a little." - Charlie Brand, MT guitarist, songwriter and vocalist.

 

New York Songwriter Returning to Nashville

Brian Mackey Touring Honest Love

Singer/songwriter Brian Mackey is currently touring to support the recent release of his Honest Love CD, Brian Mackey is an honest, eclectic pop-infused rock, singer songwriter, with a twist of folkish Americana. One might say it's hard to pinpoint exactly what genre Brian Mackey is, but no matter how you label it, it is heartfelt, witty and truly real. It's just Brian.

A favorite of music supervisors and directors, Mackey’s music will be featured in several upcoming movies. “Color Blue” and “Honest Love” will be featured in The Boys of Abu Graib with actors Sara Paxton (Last House on the Left) and Sean Austin (Lord of the Rings), and in 29,000 Wishes, 1 Regret directed by Oliver Robins (Poltergeist). Other 2012 movies featuring Brian’s work include: "Color Blue" in Fake directed by Gregory Friedle, with Robert Loggia and Gabriel Mann, and "Color Blue" in Fathoms Deep.

Brian was selected as Viso music's January 2012 Featured Artist and his music will be heard by passengers on US Airways In-Flight Radio. He is currently working on his next album which will feature special appearances from Nashville’s own singer/songwriter Sam Ashworth, son of songwriter and producer Charlie Peacock (Amy Grant, Civil Wars, Switchfoot), and Matt Slocum (lead guitarist, Six Pence None The Richer). The album, produced by Mark Nash (producer, Six Pence None The Richer), is scheduled for release later in 2012.

The video below is Mackey and Ashworth playing "Honest Love" (and more) last year at The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville.

 

MOOT DAVIS DELIVERS MAN ABOUT TOWN

New Jersey country artist enlists Grand Ole Opry star/Outlaw Country Sirius XM host Elizabeth Cook and Kenny Vaughan as guests on new CD.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — From Auckland to Austin to Nashville, New Jersey-based country musician Moot Davis took quite a journey to make his third CD, Man About Town, but it was certainly worth it. Davis describes his new release as the one he likes the most because “it wasn’t altered to suit anybody’s tastes but mine.”

Moot Davis burst onto the country music scene in the mid-2000s. With his self-titled debut, Davis delivered a set of timeless honky tonk that brought comparisons to Hank Williams Sr. Entertainment Today touted Davis as “primed to be the leader in the new insurgent country music scene.” The kudos continued for his second effort, Already Moved On, which about.com’s Kathy Coleman ranked as the Fourth Best Country Album of the Year, ahead of the likes of Dwight Yoakam and Brad Paisley.

Man About Town fulfills the promise of his earlier efforts while also expanding into new musical territory. Tracks like “Day the World Shook My Hand,” “How Long” and “Only You” should resonate with fans of his earlier, retro honky-tonk sound. “Queensbury Rules,” on the other hand, boasts a harder, rockier sound, while “Rust” mixes country twang with a funky beat. Davis wanted a change with this disc. “I didn’t want to make the same album again and again.”

In a sign of his artistic growth, Davis accomplishes several firsts on Man About Town. “Crazy in Love With You” stands as his first duet, with the delightful Elizabeth Cook serving as his singing partner. He also delivers his first murder ballad with “Black & White Picture,” a highly cinematic tale driven by Mexican-style guitar picking.

Davis populates this CD with a number of vivid character studies. The lead-off track, “Rags to Rhinestones,” is a prime example of his storytelling talents. In this classic honky-tonk number, a musician goes from “rented rooms to mansion homes” only to squander it all and wind up being kicked “out of bars on Lower Broadway.” The tune came together for Davis after his buddy, musician Dave Gleason, told him of a successful country musician whose life and career veered off course. Davis became intrigued by the idea of “someone who rises to a certain level and then just dive-bombs.”

The song’s Nashville references reflect the fact that this album is the first one Davis recorded in Music City. (His first two, released on Little Dog Records, were done with the esteemed producer Pete Anderson in Los Angeles.) The ace players on Man About Town are from Marty Stuart’s band: guitarist Kenny Vaughan, who served as producer; pedal and lap steel player Chris Scruggs; drummer Harry Stinson and bassist Paul Martin. Also featured is fiddler Hank Singer, who plays with George Jones. These guys, according to Davis, are “all serious players but they are all regular guys too.” He describes the sessions as “one of those things where everything comes together. It’s kinda rare.”

Man About Town marks a return to recording after a short hiatus as Davis extricated himself from his Little Dog contract. A bit disillusioned with the music business, he travelled to New Zealand to do some acting. There, he says, “I fell back in love with music” and started writing songs again on an acoustic guitar. He next moved to Austin, bought a Telecaster and continued working on his tunes. The music evolved even more upon his return to New Jersey, where he played with some local guys. “They’d rehearse for hours with me, just kicking songs around. It was kind of like a therapy session.”

Growing up in New Jersey, Davis actually was more into classic rock than country. In fact, he sparked to traditional country from an unusual source: a TV ad. In his early 20s, he heard Hank Williams’ “Your Cheatin’ Heart” in a Pepsi ad and, in Davis’ words, “it just got my antenna going.” He immersed himself in the music of Hank Sr., Lefty Frizzell, Webb Pierce and others from the golden era of honky tonk. This music inspired him to learn to play an acoustic guitar and start writing songs.

A major turning point came for him when he wrote the song “Whiskey Town.” When he played it for other people and saw their reactions, Davis recalls, “I knew I was onto something.” Within a year of writing that tune, he had moved to Nashville and a year later he was flying to L.A. to record with Pete Anderson. “Whiskey Town” also landed a spot on the Crash soundtrack — the first of now nearly 20 song placements that Davis has had over the years, from movies like The Hills Have Eyes to TV shows such as Criminal Minds.

Man About Town also is the first album on Davis' own record label, Highway Kind Records. He started the label with Paul W. Reed, a Texas businessman who is a huge Davis fan. Davis marvels how this friendship developed and evolved into a business relationship too. “He really had some guts to help get this going,” Davis admits, adding, “I find it’s always better to be in charge of your own destiny.” Davis feels the current music scene has created a leveled playing field that allows the opportunity to achieve the American Dream if you work hard enough and have some talent. “Every success is a victory,” he exclaims — and with this new album, Moot Davis should have many more victories in his future. - Cary Baker

KREEP: Obnoxious Vocals, Brutal Bass/Drums - What's Not to Like?

KREEP is a hardcore metal band that features face peeling obnoxious vocals, heavy hitting drums, huge guitar riffs, and brutal bass lines that force you to punch the person next to you. KREEP is a band that demands attention and gets it.

 

KREEP has released their exceptional debut album ‘LEAD US NOT’ (available now on iTUNES, digital stores, AMAZON & finer record stores worldwide). They debuted their powerhouse skills when they played their first live show with this line up to a sold out crowd at The Joint in the legendary Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas NV for Xtreme radio’s annual Holiday Havoc concert. KREEP has just released the new video BLOODLETTING starring METAL SANAZ.

KREEP originated with potent vocalist Brett Pirozzi putting together a band that would stand out in the world of metal. Brett’s New York roots and the garbage he was hearing on the radio propelled him to want to write songs that expressed his anger with the world and music of today. Brett began to write songs that were about things happening in life and in the process realized that these issues affected a lot of people in society today. That’s the heart of KREEP: angry guys making angry music for an audience of confused people.

On drums, KREEP features the explosive and heavy hitting, Ivan de Prume. Ivan is best known for his playing with White Zombie and is a multi-platinum selling, Grammy nominated artist. Ivan’s in your face, New York attitude adds to KREEP’s musical presence and leaves listeners defenseless to his powerful and undeniable abilities on the skins. Ivan now lives in Oregon and his extensive technical knowledge in the recording studio field allowed KREEP to record their new album LEAD US NOT.
KREEP has shared the stage with numerous National acts ranging from Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, Hoobastank, Hollywood Undead, Prong, Divine Heresy, Green Jello, and many more.

KREEP is one of the premiere releases on the new MAXIMIZED Label, the major new independent METAL & HARD ROCK label headed by industry veteran JAY WARSINSKE. Jay has over 38 years experience in working with the likes of METALLICA, SLAYER, MEGADETH, AC/DC, GUNS ‘n ROSES, & many more. For more info visit www.MXMZD.com

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World's Greatest Unknown?

Michael Butler

Will the world please make Michael Butler a "star", as in a guy who gets rewarded well in cash and recognition for the extraordinary contributions he makes to this creative world? Were there justice in this veil of tears, our friend from Harlem would be passing out cash wherever he goes because his pockets would be booked just trying to carry the wealth of his talent. I love this guy. He has a poet's soul, a guitar attack that feels utterly spontaneous and effective, and he has that rare quality of the authentic in his voice. He also has that other thing going that confounds and perplexes almost every singer-songwriter: that commercial/cultural requirement to do what is familiar and loved by audiences while being completely original within one's self. Michael Butler has the advantage of sounding completely like himself while evoking ghostly recognitions of a hundred beloved and familiar singers who have gone before. He also has a cross-cultural thing going for him, a personality who owns all that comes with being Black but is so much more. Jimi Hendrix had this quality, a kind of unbound nature that belonged to a world larger than that in which he was set, which was no doubt a key to his other worldly musical expression. Ditto for Butler, whose off-the-cuff way with a melody is fresh air to those of us galvanized by a world of broadly endorsed copies. And then there is the intelligence of the songwriting, again completely universal in its cultural associations and aspirations; real melodic song structures, unbound by the narrow-band restrictions of commercial radio today, though I am unaware of a more emotionally evincing performer working anywhere in the world in 2011. Butler's biggest hurdle is that he is like a raw diamond too cool to cut.

"I’ve been Playing Bar 9 Every Saturday from 4pm -7pm in sort of a Happy Hour thing since September" Michael reports. "It’s nice to be in a bar again, getting to play all types of music that I don’t regularly get to do, and interesting that the gig came to me right off of performing covers in Europe for the month of July. For those of us who have children, kids are allowed in the Bar 9 until 9pm because it's a Restaurant as well - and the Food Ain't bad Neither, shrimp for me personally!!! (Bar 9 is at 807 9th Ave - between 53rd St & 54th St - New York, NY 10019 - Neighborhoods: Hell's Kitchen, Midtown West, Theater District (212) 399- 9336). If you can't make it to Bar 9, for sure check out the video below. - RAR  (Posted Dec 2011)

 

DJ DX

New Jersey electro hip hop artist DJ DX may not be the most original or authentic of today's beat and rap set...so why is he so likeable? RARWRITER.com is all behind his melodic structures, silly audio tuning vocal effects aside, and his thematic explorations. You decide. Watch the video below to check out "This Is My Fight" featuring 1dakid.

 

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New York - Pop

Mikey Wax

"Marion was my grandmother who I never got to meet. It's who I'm named after. Sometimes we're told childhood stories by those older than us, and like an old TV show, I can't help but picture those stories in black and white. While I know the generation before me faced many similar struggles that we still face today, it seemed to me like a simpler time. Marion passed down a white dress she once wore to my mother, and after seeing my mom in the dress, it gave me a connection to my grandmother and the past that I never could have experienced otherwise." Okay, call me a sentimental sucker, but this is really beautiful piece of music by Mikey Wax. - RAR

 

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Brian Mackey

NYC-based singer/songwriter Brian Mackey (pictured above) is currently touring to support the recent release of his Honest Love CD.

Mackey's music is an eclectic mix of acoustic and synth-driven, up-tempo indie rock with a hint of Americana. Originally from a tin roof town on the Northern Florida/Georgia border, his songs reflect life experiences and the new found freedoms of an artist in New York City.

Mackey was featured on the Songs of Love for Japan compilation CD, which also included songs by Sarah Barielles, Ani DiFranco and Tori Amos. His song "Color Blue" is in the feature film, "Fake" which stars Robert Loggia and Gabriel Mann, to be released January 2012, and in the feature film, "Fathoms Deep," releasing in February 2012. His "Honest Love" video was released in March of 2011, shot in Chicago by director Nick Cavalier. The video for his song "Sunshower" is currently in post production, slated for a release in Fall of 2011. Brian is also working on his next album, scheduled for release in early 2012.

Talent at Tenderbox Festival

Brooklyn's The Knitting Factory hosts a
second annual gala of female musical talent.

RARWRITER.com takes a peek behind the curtains at the Tenderbox Festival, which showcases female singers and female-led bands. We have ranked (4 stars is Excellent) some of these acts. The ones without stars were either not ranked or were not very impressive, at least to our ears. You might follow the links, where available, and judge for yourself. The big star in this group is definitely Charlene Kaye.

Holly Miranda (Indie Folk)êêê
Eternia & The Band (Hip Hop)
XYLOS (Multi-instrumentalist Pop)
êê
Charlene Kaye and The Brilliant Eyes (Indie Rock Electronic)
êêêê
The Debutante Hour (Indie Folk/ multi instrumental/quirky)
ê
Alyson Greenfield (Folk Electro Hip Hop)
Kalae All Day (Hip Hop/Soul)
EULA (Post Punk)
Miss Geo (Indie Electronic Pop)
Canyon. (Indie Folk)
Rebecca Jordan (Jazz/Soul/Folk)
êê
Mira Stroika (Cabaret/Pop/Punk)
White Wave (Experimental)
Pepper Fandango (Folk / Blues)
Sweet Soubrette (Indie Folk)
ê
Helicopria (Prog Rock)
êêê
Sarah Aument (Indie Pop Rock)
êêê
WOJCIK (Garage Rock)
Sarah Walk (Singer/Songwriter / Piano Rock)
Annie Fitzgerald (Americana/ Folk)
êê
WYATT (Indie Folk Pop)
êê
Natalie Farr (Alternative Folk)
ê

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ARIEL APARICIO’S NEW VIDEO GOES VIRAL

NYC Benefits And Summer Pride Performances Planned

Brooklyn-based, genre-bending musician Ariel Aparicio recently released the video for “She Will Show Us” and over 10,000 viewers watched the video within 72 hours of release. The video also made its broadcast premiere on Logo's NewNowNext Music last week. Says Aparicio of the video and song: “I wrote this song in the summer of 2008 during the whole Obama euphoria we were all pretty much caught up in. So when we set out to make the video, I wanted to capture some of that. My director, I.R. Marin, happened to have some footage from the inauguration (her nephew was there) and also some of those post-victory celebrations. I was thrilled with how she was able to incorporated that ‘real’ footage, with the stuff we shot and the additional ‘Americana-type’ imagery she used. I love the video.”

“She Will Show Us” is a track from Aparicio’s recently-released album “Aerials” (it hit digitally on March 8, 2011), which was produced by Tom Gilroy. The album has proven to be a favorite of many – SiriusXM Out Q host Larry Flick (who hosted Aparicio on his show in early March), had this to say about “Aerials”: “I am a huge fan of Ariel's new album ‘Aerials.’ It's filled with deep, richly textured, smart, and soulful songs. He seems intent on bleeding for his listeners... giving them a degree of truth that demands close examination and ultimate empathy. Best of all, Ariel wraps his songs in arrangements that are nowhere near trendy, yet they're completely accessible and mainstream. These are songs that will endure over time.”

Aparicio is scheduled to perform on May 15th at Crash Mansion in NYC at the “Love RAINN on Me” benefit for RAINN (Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network; http://loverainns.net/) as well as June 7th at Public Assembly in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for the PCCHF Benefit ( http://www.pcchf.org/). He’ll be hitting the Rainbow Stage at Milwaukee Pride on June 11th. He’s also scheduled on June 17th to headline at National Underground in NYC as part of Pride Celebration with several other singer-songwriters.

Born in Cuba and raised in Miami, Aparicio was surrounded by the rhythms of salsa, funk, and disco. The discovery of Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin in adolescence prompted him to grow out his hair and pick up the guitar, but Aparicio never segregated genres from one another. While the wider world is still discovering Aparicio's charms, trendsetters in the LGBT community have been aware of his work for several years; as early as 2005, The Advocate named him as a rising star to watch. His version of Jim Carroll's classic “People Who Died” was nominated for an OutMusic Award in 2010, and Aparicio was also the subject of OUTMusic's 2009 “Freedom of Expression” campaign, an effort to end the silent discrimination against openly queer artists in the entertainment industry.

Songs and videos from his previous releases, including “the bEdRoom tapeS,” “All These Brilliant Things,” “Frolic & F***,” and “All I Wanted” have made him a popular fixture on Logo's NewNowNext and the Click List. Aparicio’s video for "People Who Died" from “the bEdRoom tapeS” popped back up on the Click List again in 2011 after it spent many weeks on the countdown in 2010. His video for the track “Lucille” was ranked #7 on Logo’s Best of 2010, while his cover of “Pretty In Pink” topped out at #3 on the same chart at Logo in 2009.
www.arielaparicio.com
www.myspace.com/arielapariciomusic
www.twitter.com/arielaparicio
www.facebook.com/pages/Ariel-Aparicio/39944058816

For more information, please contact: Krista Mettler / Skye Media & Rock Ridge Music - publicity@rockridgemusic.com

 

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