Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I just got word from a lad named Gieves in Brooklyn, who is spending his stranded flood time by letting us know about his new project.  FERAL HYMNS is a collaborative project between some folks in Brooklyn and Nashville, and you know how I love me some long-distance music affairs.  Check out their Soundcloud and Bandcamp page.  Good stuff!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New Release Review - Gary Clark Jr's Blak and Blu

Just close your eyes and think of England.

Great things are in store for Austin's three-time Best Blues and Electric Guitarist, Gary Clark Jr. 

Unless anyone listens to his new album Blak and Blu.

One of the most anticipated blues rock albums of the year was released on October 22nd but there's little blues rock on it. Gary stated in an interview recently that he ditched his touring band for this new album in order to go in the studio with a fresh sound. What he left the studio with sounds like that new studio band was made up of corporate executives and the creative talents behind Justin Beiber. And the rhythm section of Billy Idol's "Eyes Without a Face."

Clark's Bright Lights EP (2011) was an excellent glimpse of what the future holds for Texas style blues. Clark's brand of fuzzy, gritty, dirty blues is to Stevie Ray Vaughn what the Black Keys were to Junior Kimbrough. But there's little of that here. 

Three songs from that EP made it onto this new full length album, but only the EP's title track "Bright Lights" gets left virtually untouched. His wonderfully soulful "Things Are Changin'" has been turned into a ballad ala 1980 Marvyn Gaye. But without the soul. Gone are the expert Epiphone harmonics, replaced by an uninspired series of soft electronic snares, cymbal splashes and the requisite finger snaps. 

The fuzzy intro to "When My Train Pulls In" is a redeeming venture into the old staple of American Blues music storytelling. It's a pure late night drive kind of groove, and shows off where Clark belongs. 

The song "Numb" works well, but this is another song he's been playing for a couple of years. 

Then comes "You Saved Me." A song so formulary, any 90's boy band could have done it convincingly. "Oh baby, you got it all, yeah, I'm so addicted, I want you more and more, yeah, yeah, yeah."

Did Kara Dioguardi write this?

Bonus track "Soul" opens with a promising subtle snare shuffle, now we're gonna get low and dirty right? Not quite. 

"All I can do lady is think about you baby, yeah, ooh, ohh"

Well fire up the fuzz, toss in a little tremelo and a healthy serving of reverb, "Travis Country" comes on strong... Just waiting for Travis Tritt to start singing "Mercy, look what just walked through that door. Hello T-R-O-U-B-L-E"

Come to think of it, didn't Chuck Berry do this song 65 years ago? 

It sounds like a song that was cut from the Honeydripper soundtrack for being too corny. And since I was the only person to see that film, let me tell you, it was pretty corny as a whole. 

And then there's "The Life." Which comes off as a Bieberesque attempt to make an epic summer chill song along the lines of Will Smith's "Summertime."

Why can't anyone write a "Sunday Morning Coming Down" anymore?

This whole album left me wondering "Who is Gary Clarke Jr?" 

The answer, I hope, lies in "Next Door Neighbor Blues." A tasteful nod to Son House and his "Death Letter Blues." This is Clark's best foray on the album. It's where he sounds most comfortable, a bluesman, his slide guitar, some footstompin' and a story to tell. Although maybe more fittingly modern, his woman just packed up and left with his Cadillac, Son House's woman had to be layed out on the cooling board.

Clark has drawn from his diverse influences, from R&B, Doo Wop, Blues, Gospel... And that's the problem. It fails to have a cohesive feel.

Gary Clark Jr is known to be one of the best up and coming guitar players today. His live shows are a must see. 

The question on this album remains:

Where is Gary Clark Jr on it?

EDITOR'S NOTE: "Eyes Without a Face" is an awesome song.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Britt and Nikki interview The Black Box Revelation!

The Black Box Revelation was back to the Doug Fir on Saturday night, opening for
The Sheepdogs, dishing out their brand of Belgian blues. Guitarist and vocalist Jan
Paternoster and drummer Dries Van Dijck have been touring America and Europe
virtually nonstop for the last several years, taking only enough time off to record their
newest album My Perception with producer Alain Johannes.

They have toured with The Meat Puppets and Jane’s Addiction as well as appearing on
The David Letterman show, and playing to crowds from 50 to 4,000. Their popularity on
Facebook has gone from 3,000 to 41,000 in less than a year. Winding down the last two
weeks of their US tour, the guys took the time to sit down and chat with us.

Their style is a healthy blend of pounding beats and fuzz-laden 60’s blues rock.
They opened their set with two phaser-heavy tunes off their new album, "My Girl" and
"Shadowman". The reaction from the crowd made it apparent that their reputations
preceded them. A man in the crown yelled out “High on a Wire!” Jan replied, “Oh you
know High on a Wire? Yeah, we can do that for you!” And off they went hard into the
Catfish blues-esque opening riff. They are a spontaneous pair, playing without a setlist,
relying for an “in the moment” type approach. They then went into a half tempo intro to
crowd favorite “I Think I Like You” and worked the crowd forward into that full speed,
full volume chorus.

Jan works his effects pedals, layering them, relying on feedback and other sonic textures
to introduce the duo’s “Sealed With Thorns” which is an eight minute slow jam session
which crescendos into a blend of noise, effects and expert control far beyond their ages
and beyond their numbers, something possibly akin to the Café Wha? in 1968.

These guys learned blues from the right places, and they are taking blues to the right
places, although next time we might need a bigger venue.

Britt: So you guys were just here opening for Jane’s Addiction, how was that?

Jan: It was great, I mean the whole tour was awesome. The great thing was that we had
big crowds every night and the people who have been listening to Jane’s Addiction for so
many years, they are from a generation who still really appreciates music and gives it a
lot of value.

B: Did you guys notice that maybe word of mouth kind of happened as you went along
on that tour, like maybe more people were responding to your music?

Dries: Yeah, like yesterday we played in Seattle [Tractor Tavern] and that was a pretty
good show, cause we played there with Jane’s Addiction and on the BDI tour, and we
saw that a few people came back to see us and they’re really fans of us now, and they
follow us on Facebook and buy our CDs and everything, and that’s cool

B: I’ve seen you guys here twice, once opening for the Meat Puppets and then again with
Girl in a Coma. That first time I was here to see Meat Puppets and I thought “well, who
are these guys? No one has heard of them.” And since then, it’s been about a year or so,
you guys have really taken off.

D: We’re just like non-stop touring.

J: Yeah, we just looked at the schedule, and we played this year, just since February, we
played, spent maybe 200 days on the road.

Nikki: How do you keep your energy up?

D: Not.

N: So exhausting.

D: Just not. We’re still young I guess. So we can do it. It is exhausting, just try to get
some sleep when you can.

J: It’s weird you know, I think you just get in a certain flow you know, and you stay
energized. But then, when the last show is finished, you just (crashing sound).

B: You guys have been playing together for like ten year or so right?

J & D: Uh, seven.

B: Do you think that that helps when you’re on the road a lot, that you guys really know
each other?

J: Oh definitely.

N: It’s becomes more just getting a job done than dealing with logistics or drama.

J: Yeah, we know when to like, leave some space. Go to our corner.

B: Your corner of the van?

J: Yeah, even there, there’s no space.

B: So when you guys come back to a smaller venue like this, after playing bigger shows,
do you change your setup at all? Or do you always come out with the same attitude, the
same –

D: We always come out the same thing. Whether it’s a small venue or a big festival, we
always do the same setup and just like, maybe there is a difference like for the bigger
festivals we do got a set list, and everything, cause then we got a crew with us. But like
tonight, when we just have our tour manager with us – he’s tuning the guitars and stuff
for us as well – we can do whatever we want and that’s a cool thing. We don’t make a set
list, and what we want to play we decide it in the moment itself. So that’s the cool thing
about playing small venues.

B: Does that come mostly from what you guys are feeling, or from what you’re getting
back from the crowd?

D: Both, like if the crowd isn’t really that well, we just play a softer song.

J: Yeah.

N: You guys play a softer song?

J: (laughs) well, not in the first part. Then you’re still trying to convince them. If you see
that it’s not happening, or like they aren’t feeling it, you can think that maybe they want
something that’s more like - softer.

N: You guys sound accommodating, like you just want everyone to have a good time,
like if that’s not their bag…That’s really good, that’s awesome.

J: Yeah.

B: So you guys made some big leaps with your new album My Perception.

J: Well we just played so many shows, we did some bigger tours – with Jane’s and
BDI, but it was mainly smaller bars and venues which was cool for us. You know it’s
exhausting, the distance between the cities is the same, and if it’s a small show with not
many people there, it’s kind of tough to stay excited. I think that’s also one of the reasons
we don’t want to make the set list. Just to keep it excited and to have something –

N: Something to do –

J: Yeah in the moment. And you know just to make every show a little different.

D: Otherwise you’re just on autopilot. Like you’re playing your show, but you’re just
playing it. It’s totally like you’re not –

N: In “The Zone”?

D: Totally.

B: Plus you start getting people following you from like Seattle to Portland to wherever
you go next and they are gonna be like “Hey, wait, they played the same set last night!”

N: Yeah, yeah, do you guys have groupies? You got people who follow you from city to

J: Sometimes. Some people follow us.

D: Well we have Russian groupies. It is funny.

N: You do? Wow.

D: Yeah we played on our last European show we played Russia for the first time, and
we played Moscow, and then St. Petersburg. But that’s like an eight hour drive. It’s pretty
far, but they were there at St. Petersburg as well and then only a couple of weeks ago they
were on a festival at Belgium too.

N: That’s cool.

D: Crazy. But other than that, what are groupies?

N: People who let you crash at their place whenever you’re in town?

J: Oh yeah, cause we always stay at people’s places to keep it cheaper.

N: It’s hard to tour.

J: Well, you get to see, like a more personal view of the city where you’re staying at.
Tonight we’re actually staying at Courtney Taylor’s house – From Dandy Warhols. So
it’s great to have people all over the country where we can stay at, and we know that
when we come back we don’t have to like search for anywhere to crash at.

D: The first tour was hard. Cause we didn’t know anyone, and you crash at really shitty
floors and all that. Now we know the good places.

N: And people are really warm here too.

D: Yeah, all really nice.

N: I know if I was touring, I’d look forward to going to certain cities just to hang out with
the people.

J: It’s crazy how the hospitality is here, how the people are like, they welcome you into
their house and like go out and have dinner and everything. It’s just great.

B: You guys did David Letterman not too long ago too? How was that?

J: Great, exciting.

N: Was it fun?

J: Well we were the first Belgian band ever to play on the show, so it was like a national
big deal in Belgium.

B: Your moms all in front of the TV.

D: Yeah like all super proud.

J: They showed it on the National news.

N: Really?

J: Yeah, so we were proud and excited.

B: You played a black Telecaster?

J: Yeah well it is just a rust one, all metal. It is one of a friend of mine – James Trussard.
He is ah, he lives in LA, and he builds all these crazy guitars. And since Letterman is a
big show, we thought that it would be great to have one of his guitars on the show. So
it wasn’t mine, I just borrowed one. I didn’t have one with me at that moment, but I got
plenty of them in Europe!

N: Has to be hard travelling with all that gear.

J: Yeah and sometimes it’s tricky because we don’t want to put all the most expensive
gear in the van, like in New York last time, they broke into the van. They stole all our
bags. No instruments, well, some instruments, but mainly personal stuff. And you’re like
ah that’s stupid! And then you start thinking you don’t want to take the most expensive
gear on the road, cause it could happen like every night.

N: Oh yeah.
B: So you guys seem to have taken the foundation you’ve made on previous albums and
kind of upped it – dynamically on the new album, using more effects and stuff. Is that
something that grew in the studio, did you go into the studio with these songs worked out
already? How did that work out?

D: No actually with this album we just went into the studio with Alain Johannes and it
went all really good. We weren’t really that well prepared; because the previous two
albums we got like ready before we got into the studio, we did a lot of preproduction
before. But now we just had a couple of ideas and we flew over there, we went into his
house and it was just – we got so mush inspiration, all those instruments were there and
first two weeks we were just jamming and preproduction, then we started recording. All
in the same room just live recording like we always do. It just turned out really well, all
really quick and it was really cool to work with him.

J: We didn’t take any of our own gear to the studio, like for our last album.

N: So it was like playland?

J: Yeah, so for us it was more like, it seems like we used more effects on the second
record, compared to the first one, but then like with this one, was more like we focused
more on the way of playing together and the dynamics of just in the playing itself than
of using effects and all that. Cause like none of the stuff was ours, we know how to play
together, and that’s the most important thing, and we just tried to get that sound out of the
playing instead of just out of the gear and equipment. And I think we are really proud of
the record and we think it worked out really well. We love all the dynamics of the songs
and think it’s breathing enough, cause it’s important to have a song that goes up and

B: You guys playing as a two-piece band, you obviously get the comparisons, to Black
Keys, White Stripes and those –

J: And it’s funny because the Black Keys is a four-piece now!

N: Yeah that is funny, and the stuff they record usually they have a bass player too.

B: Do you guys track bass on your albums?

J: Uh no, actually the studio setup is the exact same as live. It’s just for me, the three
amps and the drum kit, and that’s it. And some guitar pedals.

B: It seems that in a lot of these other bands that the drummer, the percussion, is just
there strictly to support the guitar. But in your guys’ dynamic it seems like you guys are
on like an equal level.

D: Yeah that is what we are trying to do. Being only two of us, is gives us a lot of
freedom. On the other hand it’s nice to have the freedom to fill up all that space which
that is left. For example when I play I always try to mix it up better on all the toms to
replace the bass player.

J: Since it’s a two piece, we just have more space for both of us, like we can do more
extreme stuff. By not being in the way of another musician, cause if you’re with more
members and he needs – the bass player needs or the second guitar player needs the space
for his instrument and for his lines and all that. So maybe it’s a little egotistic? or uh like
selfish? (laughs) To not have that –

N: To have that consideration?

J: Yeah.

B: And not be limited.

Sheepdog approaches: Hey guys?

J: Hey good! We got an interview going on –

Sheepdog: These guys suck!

J&D: (Laughing)

N: Oh yeah totally! Right?

B: So who are your big influences as far as drummers go?

D: Uh like the most famous ones? Like Dave Grohl, John Bonham, Keith Moon, and the
guy I always forget his name – drummer from Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs! I like him a lot. He’s
been a big inspiration for me. So like all kinds of drummers, I’m just not really that good
at names. Lots of old jazz drummers too. Which are really crazy, lots of different styles.

B: It’s strange, well maybe not strange, but maybe odd, I know you guys are influenced
by Johnny Winter, and all these guys that you wouldn’t think of guys your age listening
to in Belgium. How did you come across these kinds of records and stuff?

J: We found them in the record collections of our parents.

N: Oh yeah, that’s great!

J: I mean like Johnny Winter was in there, and that’s how I got to know him and that
starts us into more stuff, but still the first record I found of him is my favorite. It was like
so overwhelming.

B: Opened your eyes?

J: Yeah it’s like the way –

D: I say it’s cool cause we were the fans from like Nirvana, and Zepplin and the Stones
and also like White Stripes – what they did with it, they are amazing – And you start
like going to search where they got it from, their inspiration and then you find all the old
bluesy stuff. Which is really nice, it’s cool to go back in time.

B: I read an interview with Buddy Guy, he was talking about how he was afraid for the
future of the blues, and I’m like it’s just the next evolution, like a lot of the guys like Jack
White and other people and brought an avenue forward for developing it into something a
little different, like it did in the 60’s, when it came forward with the British invasion.

J: It is never gonna be exact the same, it’s been done before. Just gotta try to get a new
spirit in there.

N: So you like Young Marble Giants and Vaselines? When you were talking about
looking up Kurt Kobain’s like influences, did you com across them at all?

D: Yeah but also like he was influenced by the Beatles –

N: Yeah you wouldn't just associate that.

D: It seems like everyone got the same basics. And they got their own ways.

B: I read an interesting thing about when they were in the studio recording that album
[Nevermind] that the producer – can’t remember his name [Butch Vig – Duh] - that
he wanted to double track Kurt’s vocals, and Kurt said no, he didn’t want to double
track anything, it seems fake. And he [Vig] said “Well John Lennon did it.” And he was
like “Well, okay.”

N: There you go.

B: You guys are playing like twelve dates this tour?

D: Another to weeks and a half.

B: Going kind of all the way across the country.

D: Yeah we started off in New York, and then all around.

B: Where are you headed after that? Are you headed back home?

D: Yeah we got some time off after this tour, because we actually need it because we’ve
been touring so long. And then next year we are going to start writing some new songs.

J: First, relax a bit, then start with a fresh mind.

B: What do you guys do other than music?

J: (laughs) Well, there’s no other option right now.

B: I mean like for when you relax, you probably get enough travel.

J: Still like listen to music. We love listening to music.

N: You like movies? Watching movies?

D: Yeah.

J: Actually I don’t watch a lot of movies, but if I watch them, then I like it. Or love it
depending on what movie it is. Or go see some art, some good paintings, that’s inspiring
as well, we draw a little bit ourselves.

N: You do some drawing?

J: Yeah make some pictures.

B: Well we will wrap it up, I know you guys gotta go to sound check. Last thing, both
times I’ve seen you here, I’ve noticed that you guys come out and you start playing and
you grab people from the get-go. But it seems like there is this turning point in your set,
both times I’ve seen it it’s in like right in the middle of "Sealed With Thorns". And there’s
this kind of point where everybody just stands and turns and forgets whatever they were
doing and they really take notice of you guys.

D: It’s good.

B: Do you guys notice when something like that happens? Where you guys actually kind
of hook the crowd and take them from being just entertained from you and making them
fans of you?

J: It’s cool to see how they first are still chatting or whatever.

D: And their reactions.

J: You can’t expect that they just get into it from the first note. Then it’s nice to see, even
if it’s only half an hour, that’s really short, but even in half an hour you can turn them
around. But now these shows are always 45 minutes, which is just enough to get a little
break in there as well, and hit them with that "Sealed With Thorns" tune. And afterwards
they are just like (wide eyed).

B: Do you guys have a favorite song of yours to play?
J: That’s probably one of them. Cause it starts out sweet and you can just go crazy in

D: I love to play "2 Young Boys".

B: Is there any one song on the new album in particular that you think is gonna grab
people and make them into fans? I they aren’t already?

D: No, I think it’s just the whole set. It’s not one particular song I think.

J: "High on a Wire" has a really pounding beat. Which is attractive I guess. And that’s been
a single, so that’s more a song that is pretty well, a good show-off what the band stands
for and what we’re doing, and it’s really bluesy in the song as well. If you have to choose
one song to get everything in there, I’d say that one.

B: Alright, we really appreciate you guys taking the time to talk with us.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  Thanks to Britt and Nikki Guerlain for covering this show, and thanks to the guys in BBR!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yeah, I'm gonna go there

I thought The Black Keys were pretty cool when I first heard them, but is it me or are all the singles off El Camino just retreads of "Lay Down Sally"?

Search your feelings.  You know it to be true.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Real Spill. Back and Forth with Mic Capes

(photos and artwork used by permission courtesy of Diamond Jeanise Ferguson of Triibe Movement)

Hey Mic, thanks for taking the time to do this exclusive for our readers. First off, what was your introduction to hip hop? You recently tweeted your top hip hop influences and they were decidedly more old school than I would've expected from someone your age. You seem to know your history of this art form pretty well. All artists begin as fans, so I'm curious what made an early impression on you?

The first introduction that I can remember was The Geto Boys video “Mind Playing Tricks On Me”. As a child I remember that video coming on and me stopping anything I was doing, running to the t.v. and sitting criss cross applesauce in front of it completely captivated by what I was hearing and seeing. It was MIND BLOWING to me, I still love that song man. As far as the first artist(s) that really pulled me in to wanting to rap was first and foremost Tupac Shakur without a doubt!!! He was almost like an older brother in times where my life was the hardest and needed the most guidance when none was around. What I loved about Pac was the fact that he could connect with more than your ears, you felt it in your heart when he rapped and you knew he meant what he said without a shout of a doubt. He was a true artist, world icon and revolutionary that passed too soon man, R.I.P. Pac. More Artists that directly influenced me were DMX, Jadakiss, Method Man, Lauryn Hill, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, Scarface, 50 Cent, T.I., Rakim, Kanye West, Biggie, and Jay-Z. Artists I listen to nowadays are definitely Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Big KRIT, Nipsey Hussle, Dizzy Wright, Glenn Waco, Rasheed Jamal, Vinnie Dewayne, Schoolboy Q, AbSoul, and a host of other artists.

Can you give me a little insight on the recording process for Rise & Grind? You've got a lot of different talented producers on the record, so maybe you could enlighten our readers on how you work. How did you connect with these people and what is your writing and recording process like?

The recording process was a long two year process that was well worth it in the end man, it was definitely tedious but rewarding. I never complained because I knew this was something I had to do in order to be taken serious, I needed to knock this first project out and do damage on every level I possibly could. I honestly put my heart into this project man, it’s based off my life over the last two years and what I’ve lived, seen, learned, and thought. Some good, some bad, and some indifferent. It’s a linear journey that I feel most will be able to relate to, and if not, they will definitely be able to understand what they had questions about before or at least feel where I’m coming from. It’s a smooth, entertaining, thought provoking, honest, content heavy project that I hope will leave a permanent mark and resonate with people. I connected with most of the producers through personally knowing them already and networking with them, a few were references given to me. It was really just a whole lot of networking man, I can’t stress that any more. As far as my recording process it was all over the place with this. I wrote four of the songs on the last day of recording yo, it was fucking nuts! In general I usually write the songs first and THEN go knock them out in the booth, it's way less time consuming. Shout out to my boy Mat Randol who recorded and mixed all but one track. “#TheResistance” was mixed by my potna Rasheed Jamal.

What are your thoughts on the current state of hip hop, both nationally and here in Portland? As a hip hop fan myself, I see a lot of lip service being paid to supporting one another, but not a lot of evidence of that actually being done. Which may not necessarily be a bad thing, just curious what your personal thoughts are.

My personal thought on the state of hip hop right now is that it has come a long way from where it was a few years ago. There’s starting to become a little more balance in the game as far as there being shit more conscious cats can listen to and at the same time still being ratchet shit you can party to, we might be in the midst of another Golden Age. Big words, but that’s how I honestly feel. Another thing that is refreshing is that a lot of artists have decided to take their careers into their own hands and go indie such as Kendrick Lamar or Tech N9ne due to the internet closing the gap between majors in how we can promote and how we can do it. A major is more of an option rather than something you have to depend on to succeed. As far as Portland I feel first and foremost we have to lose this crabs in a bucket mentality and work together. Not necessarily artistic wise, but as far as supporting one another’s efforts if need be. I feel too many are too concerned with being the first to put on for the city when in the long run it doesn’t matter, if one artist gets on - it will open the door for us all. Too many people have that "I’m too cool to support” attitude, it’s ridiculous. On another hand we have these fucked up club owners who are stereotyping hip hop and closing the doors to us every other week, it's bullshit, but I believe we can manage. Hip hop didn’t start in the club, we have more power than we think yo. Luckily I haven’t really experienced much of these problems yet but I’m not naive enough to believe I won’t tho.

In listening to this album over and over, I can tell a lot of thought went into the order of the tracks. Despite all the different producers, the album really is strengthened as a cohesive body of work by your sequencing choices. Did you structure that ahead of time or did you piece it all together at the end? How did you make those decisions?

The question I’ve been waiting for!!!!! Well it was definitely a conscious decision to put the tracks in the order they are because I’m a firm believer of the way in which you compose an album can take it to a whole nother level, the sounds HAVE to flow together in my opinion and so does the content and story line. Everything from skits to subject matter. It MUST make sense! It has to all make sense in the mind and sonically. I tried to make sure each track made sense going into the next. This is how you lessen the chances of somebody skipping tracks I believe. It was a ongoing process to get the track order down, it changed so many times man. There were a lot of tracks that I liked but got scrapped due to them not fitting the overall structure of the album.

Piggybacking on my last question, it's telling that you ended the album with the Rasheed Jamal & Glenn Waco collab. What do you have planned for the future? Both with The Resistance and your solo work?

Yes man, that was also a strategic choice to end it with “#TheResistance” track. Even more strategic to let Glenn Waco (North Portland) be the last voice heard on the tape. The reason for that is he will be the next one to drop a project, somewhat of a relay team strategy. It will be called NorthBound, so look out for that, he is a fucking problem yo!!! He doesn’t have an exact release date yet but look out for it early next year. After that will be my boy Rasheed Jamal who is easily one of the dopest artist I’ve ever encountered and worked with hands down! He represents Hot Springs, Arkansas and will remind you a little bit of a mix between Andre 3000, T.I., and Rakim - but certainly has his own identity. I don’t know the exact title of his project(s) or release dates yet but trust me, it won’t matter. As far as a team effort from The Resistance we are planning on dropping an EP in either late spring or early summer of 2013, but songs will drop be dropping periodically. As far as another solo project from me, I'm hoping to drop an EP around mid spring if things pan out how I hope they will, but for the moment it’s all about Rise & Grind and promoting it every way possible!

Lastly, anything else you want to let the world know that I haven't covered here? Anything you've always wanted to be asked and never have been or any shoutouts or just any info people out there might want to know?

First and foremost I’d like to thank everybody that had something to do with the current success of Rise & Grind from engineers, producers, features, family, friends, believers to doubters yo, I greatly appreciate it and will NEVER forget it. Y’all know who y’all are. Especially you Ryan, you’ve been one of the biggest advocates for not only me, but The Resistance as a whole unit, it's greatly appreciated and won’t be forgotten fam, real shit. If anybody is looking to book me or any other business inquires hit me at You can find the tape on or, it’s a free download so you can’t pass that up!!! If you’re interested in keeping up with my day to day life follow me on twitter, my handle is @MicCapes_Music or you can friend me on Facebook. You can just search my name (Mic Capes) and I should pop up. My Instagram is @Mic_Capes if you like pictures and shit and are interested in checking mines out. Oh, and videos coming soon!!! I can’t tell you which ones yet but you’ll soon find out, just stay tuned. Once again I’d like to thank you for such a dope interview and taking the time out Ryan, it’s much appreciated. Until next time, peace and I'm out!

Thanks homie! Appreciate your thoughtful responses. Blessed to have this opportunity to get a glimpse inside your artistic process. Love the record and looking forward to your future projects. Mad Props!

BAT COUNTRY!!!!!!! Chicken In Black edition

Videos. We love our goddamn videos.  Get ready for some more

Cool story, bro.

 I expected something a little edgier the way this band described themselves.
Good stuff, but consider my disappointment a "crushing blow."

 Crash Avenue really really really wants me to watch this video from Wickerbird.
Hmm. Good thing I did.

 Local cats Melville are having a show at Mississippi Studios.
Friday, October 19th. Be there!

 Here's something from Maxwell Powers.
You had me at "cyborg pop".

 Here's a very cool video. S
eriously though, 2PPM. "2 People Playing Music?" facepalm.jpg

 Does anybody remember Captain Caveman?
Apropos of nothing, that is.

 That's all the videos for now. I will let you in on a little something... Jesse Studenberg (of PDXPopNow! and formerly Point Juncture WA) let me have an advance listen of his new project Bazillionaire. I think you kids are gonna like it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Interview: Mayonnaise Jenkins and the Former Kings of the Delta Blues

So, there's this band called "Mayonnaise Jenkins and the Former Kings of the Delta Blues," and
they're really talented and make really cool music and all that kind of stuff. They don't live
in the Mississippi River Delta and they don't really play the blues. It's just, like, a cool

They really live in Massachusetts and are Wick Hill, Garrett Cook and Morgana Allen. While not
making music Garrett Cook is a writer of Bizarro fiction and editor for hire. Wick Hill
currently supports himself by farming.

I like their music because it's odd and off kilter. I asked Garrett and Wick a bunch of
pretentious questions about their new release A Monday and they were nice enough to answer
them as if they made sense. If you want to listen to the music while you read the interview,
follow this link:

Mayonnaise Jenkins and the Former Kings of the Delta Blues

(Interviewer: Lee Widener)

A Monday is actually your second release. Describe the journey from the first album to the

Even though A Monday is our second release, it's really just an updated version of our first
release, Prelude to a Nervous Breakdown. Garrett and I met partway through our freshman year in
college and the chemistry was instant. I happened to have my guitar when we met for the first
time, and it only took about 2 minutes before we decided that we'd like to try writing a song
together. Over the next10-15 minutes we spit one out and the rest is history. That song was
"Learn to Walk", which is track 4 on A Monday.
We finally got around to recording our first album during our Junior year. I'd been working as
a 1-hour photo tech at Walmart and I'd saved up enough money to buy some software and a
microphone or two. It was all recorded in my college dorm room, and I built a proper studio in
there with baffles and partitions. My roommate at the time hated us for it! But we didn't
care. Garrett and I would knock out takes of our songs, maybe do a little writing or
improvising or whatever, and that was it.

Prelude to a Nervous Breakdown was an act of defiance, hastily recorded, hastily written,
hastily...well, it was hasty. But the songs were good. We had some great takes and people
liked us. I hope people will like this too. For years, we wanted to clean this up and for
years, there were a couple of songs on the album that were not quite done. "You Don't Need to
Think" and "Hey Little Girl" for example.

That was 2004. Since then I always knew we'd get around to re-recording the record, I just
didn't know when it would happen.

Wick would email me every six months or so and we'd talk about it, but I would honestly kind
of swat it aside. I feel like an asshole for being that way now, but I wasn't quite in the
right space. Last Summer, after attending my mother's funeral service in PA, I asked Wick if
maybe he'd like to meet me in MA and we could hang out and catch up on some stuff. Wick took
the initiative there. He'd been wanting to get the band back together and if I'd be in town,
it would be a great start. So I sang again, I recorded again, I wrote a bit. And it was like I
had just walked to our college dininghall to refill my water bottle or something. The years
didn't exist exactly.

I'd get responses like, "Eh, I hate that song now," or, "Oh, I never wrote those lyrics down."
And they were great songs! I never know whether to laugh or cry when he says things like that,
but that's part of the fun because I love Garrett's writing and I have so much respect for him
and his craft. Plus, after he's torn something up he'll say, "I can do better anyway," and he
hasn't been wrong yet.

 And a few months later, when my relationship fell apart and I had to find a new place to
live, Wick was there again. He told me to come out to MA and we'd get serious about this shit.
And we did. We did a couple sessions with Morgana and she was a great fit for the material.
Very professional, very willing to experiment and get it out there. We were both a little
guarded and xenophobic, but Morgana's sessions were great. The differences between Prelude and
A Monday are time, philosophy, energy, equipment, a handful of tracks and a woman's voice.
Those differences are pretty epic, all things considered, so the journey was a long, a rough
and a beautiful one.

It was crazy. We recorded in a warehouse, in a storage room, a barn, basements, bedrooms -
anywhere people would let us. We hustled. We didn't have the money to record this in a proper
studio so we had to do everything ourselves. The whole process of tracking and editing, etc,
probably took, from beginning to end, a year and a half. And by that time we were ready to be

The way Wick describes the process it sounds similar to Paul Simon's description of Simon &
Garfunkel as "a poet and a one man band." What would you say the effect the different talents
you each have has on the content and style of your output?

Dead on with the Paul Simon quote. Every time I hear the song I think of the two of us. I'm
lucky in that Wick is very attuned to my sense of rhythm. I have no knowledge of conventional
solfege. I can't read music to save my life. But he listens to the tapping and he understands
how everything scans. I start with the skeleton of a melody and Wick gives it flesh and
organs, puts blood in its veins. And then I open my mouth and spoil it by improvising and he
finds a way to work around it and make it a new creature. Sometimes we get a melody Wick has
started with and I try to fit words into it and the words want a different song or the song
wants different words. But, I like to think that because of my background as a poet and
novelist, I'm not completely lost when it comes to rhythm and Wick has something to work with

Our differences give us the freedom to focus on what we do best. While we're writing we'll ask
each other a lot of, "What if..."questions, but that's basically it. You're curious about what
the other person's doing - and how they're doing it - but you don't step on their turf. I know
that Garrett is taking care ofall things lyrical so I don't really need to worry about why or
how it happens. On top of that, while we're composing I find it really inspiring to hear
Garrett's lyrical ideas as they'redeveloping in front of me because it's so similar to how my
musical ideas evolve during a session. It's like one of those old two-man crosscut saws -
we're on opposite ends of the saw, but we're cutting down the same damn tree. And you better
believe that tree is protected by Federal Law.

In a number of songs, starting with the cover of Bertolt Brecht's "Mack the Knife," on to
numbers like "Asshole With a Guitar", "At Home in Graveyards" and "Freak", there seems to be a theme
of the underbelly of society, characters living on the edge, with more than a little violence
just under the surface. Did you set out to have this theme of alienation, or is it just who
you are, and it came out organically in the music?

I've always felt like I wasn't welcome on the Earth, like Kafka's Hunter Gracchus or Gardner's
Grendel or the protagonist of a Dylan or Nick Cave song. And that puts some darkness in you.
That makes kind of a Luciferian streak. And when you got that, you can hate yourself or you
can try to be honest with the world and make them honest. I'm not saying I don't hate myself.
We all hates ourselves a bit. We're feeble, hairless monkeys that are a coin flip away from
eating each other. And that aspect of us? It's not a great thing to be. So you can either
become the guy in Billy Joel's "Captain Jack" or you can sing it out of you. It's your trip.

Even the music on this record is alienated. There's a ska song and there's a techno song, but
there's only one of each and it's a little glaring how much they stand apart from everything
else. Same goes for the lone surf song. They're fun songs, but it also means that there isn't a
traditional sense of musical continuity or cohesion. It's strange to say that our fractured
record was a result of an organic process, but that would be correct. We didn't wrestle with
any of the music on A Monday.

So, where do you go from here? Obvioiusly you want to get the music into people's brains.
How's that going to happen? Any plans to do any live performances? Music videos? Any long
range plans?

As for where we go next - we're just going to keep writing and recording.  It's funny, it was
a great feeling when we got our masters back and we knew that, finally, we really were done
with the album. But it couldn't have been more than a few minutes before I began to think to
myself, "Well, I guess it's time to start on the next one." We waited a few days, but we
immediately started writing again and that's what we've been up to since.  Writing,
rehearsing...  It never ends, and I find a lot of comfort in that.

Wick hit the nail on the head. We keep moving ahead, artistically swimming and eating, like a
musical Sharktopus. Jenkins forever.

We have a few gigs lined up, but we're still looking for a permanent rhythm section.  We'll
figure it out, but until then we'll just keep writing and recording.

Thanks guys for taking the time to endure this virtual grilling!

Once again, you can get an earful of this musical walk on the wild side here:

To keep up to date on their antics, go here:

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Halloween Half Dozen Indie Bands for Your Seasonal Spooktaculars!

It's getting close to the greatest holiday of them all- Halloween. The one day of the year
when people embrace their dark side, when everyone gets a little bit wicked. No matter how you
celebrate Halloween - whether you get dressed up in rediculous costumes, get drunk and dance
the night away - you hide away and watch horror movies till dawn, or whether you gather with a
close group and howl at the moon, there is plenty of suitable music of the season to get you
in the mood.
If you think Halloween music is all about The Monster Mash or The Purple People Eater, think
again. There's quite a variety of spooky, creepy, silly and strange music to get you in the
mood. I would like to acquaint you with six different artists that can help set the mood for
your Halloween celebrations.

Lucid Dementia is an electronic dance band fronted by a six foot tall alien puppet. Formed in
1996 by Sheldon Reynolds, they've continued to expand and refine their mix of electronic, goth, industrial and dance music into a sonic trip through the extremes of existence.
Here is a weird video of their song "Creep."

Best Used For: Having an all out Bachanale? Here's your soundtrack.


Veronique Chevalier, or "Weird Val" as she is sometimes known, has become the go to chanteuse
of the Steampunk crowd. In 2008 the wraithlike Chevalier released "Polka Haunt Us: A
Spooktacular Compilation," a CD full of dreamlike ditties and ghostly ballads. There are songs
about Ghost Trains, Beer Halls in Hell, White Witches and other spooky subjects. I managed to
meet with Veronique recently at Portland's GearCon 2012, and she confided she needs to "make
more recordings." This is true, because until you've heard her version of "La Vie en Rose,"
which somehow turns out to be about a battle with slugs, you haven't lived.
Here is an appropriately creepy video of her song "Blank Face Goblins"

Best Used For: Getting in that joyfully outrageous frame of mind you need for Halloween.
Polka Haunt Us Website:
Veronique Chevalier's Facebook Page:


The Slow Poisoner is one man band Andrew Goldfarb. He sings about a lot of really creepy stuff
like witches, hexes, bad magic, graves, caskets, and other worrisome subjects that will creep
you right out. Goldfarb is the true weird. There's a demonic glint in his eyes when he sings.
Here is an evil video of "A Wood Full of Witches."

Best Used For: Conjuring up evil spirits and getting in trouble while you rock out.
Slow Poisoner Website:


Astro Al is an extremely odd conglomeration of musical meandering, strange storytelling, and
off the wall songs. Paul Angelosanto and Debbie Nash, assisted by a wide variety of musical
cohorts, sometimes sing weird songs about rodents, giraffes, purple mushrooms and other
outre' topics, sometimes engage in extended jam sequences, and sometimes tell stories that
will make you wonder what lies just below the surface of what we call reality. Their CD
Psychedelic Drive-In Music tells the story of a haunted drive-in theatre and the movies that
were shown there.
Here's a hair-raising video tale from Astro Al called "Ghost Story."

Best Used For: Showing to your friends if you want to freak them out.


In a World Music is Nicole Buetti and Dirk Montapert. They make ghastly, evocative
soundscapes, kind of like Midnight Syndicate. Most of their music is instrumental, though they
do have songs with lyrics as well. This is the stuff you put on in the background for your
spooky party or haunted house. They'll even create a custom soundscape just for you! This is
really errie stuff, and over the years they have created an impressive array of musical
creepiness. They even have a kid's album!
Here's their atmospheric video "Ghost Ship."

Best Used For: Creepy Sounds and Effects for your party.


Inkubus Sukkubus are the real deal. Halloween has its origins in the ancient Celtic
celebration of Samhain, and you will find the spirit of those ancient times alive in Inkubus
Sukkubus. Don't expect to hear a Riverdance type fairy dance party though. Inkubus Sukkubus
rocks. They sing about madness, loving nature and evil Christian oppression of Pagans.
Here's the video for their song "Church of Madness."

Best Used For: Kicking out the jams right before you go skyclad and howl at the moon.

I hope these bands can expand your appreciation of the musical element of Halloween. Now get out there and scare somebody!


Monday, October 1, 2012

Show Review: Shirley Nanette and Friends at Billy Webb Elks Lodge

Surely you're aware of Shirley Nanette.


Shirley is a vocalist, one of the rare species to be native to Portland. She usually sings jazz (Mount Hood Festival of Jazz, Jimmy Mak's) but has been a guest vocalist with the Oregon Symphony on occasion since 1981. She was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame in 2007. Oregon Art Beat ran a segment about her a couple of years ago.

Why haven't you heard of her then?

As it turns out, she doesn't record much: just Never Coming Back from 1973 (listen to my favorite track—"Sometimes"), See You Later in 1992, and Starting Here, Starting Now from 2008. You could very well miss her completely unless you frequent the Billy Webb Elks Lodge on Sunday nights.

Which is exactly what I did this Sunday evening!

After years passing by the intriguing building, three years ago I went inside the Billy Webb Elks Lodge on a historical tour of North Portland. (Did you know? Portland's most happening jazz club of the 1940s-1950s was just across the street!) Inside, the recently restored Elks Lodge looked gorgeous, and I vowed to one day check out the bar that was open to the public.

A few weeks ago, I discovered Shirley on the intertubes and navigated to her website, where I saw that "Shirley Nanette and Friends" plays regularly at the Billy Webb Elks Lodge.

When I needed to organize a happy hour celebration, a cunning plan was conceived!

Shirley and her friends perform in the ballroom, across the foyer from the lodge bar (where a great time can be had if you're a little early for the show). The ballroom is spacious and sports a hardwood dance floor, a modest stage and satellite bar. Onstage, an elk head serves as benevolent overlord.

Sunday, Shirley introduced the evening by noting "this is where friends meet and greet each other." On this night, Shirley's "friends" included Dan Gaynor on piano, Bill Athens on double bass, and Tim Rap on drums. Rich Arnold joined Shirley onstage for a quick-tempoed duet about halfway through the second set. But Shirley's friends also pack the audience—the ballroom held 50 people, most of whom were specifically there to see Shirley perform.

And what a nice woman! After the first set, she made her way around the room talking to every single person in the audience. Whether they were there for the first time (like me) or were old friends, they were personally greeted and conversed with.

As a performer, Shirley is a crowd-pleaser as well. Her voice is glassy smooth, she's a pleasure to listen to and watch, her warmth emanates from the stage, and she highly encourages audience participation. In addition to an audience sing-along, she sang a few song requests, including a dynamite "How Glad I Am," followed in short order by Etta James' signature piece, "At Last." She closed out her second set with "Ain't Misbehavin'," jovially trying on a variety of character voices including jazz icons Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday.

Perhaps best of all, there is no cover charge to see Shirley and the band! If you go though, make sure to buy a drink or two. Check the schedule on Shirley Nanette's website and plan on a great evening when you head out to see her.

Show Review: Assemblage 23 with Espermachine


In the Dark Age known as the late-90s, I was visiting family and friends in San Diego. A married couple I knew had drafted me to join them for a goth party. The wife insisted that I wear all black – no hint light colors. My dad – who I was staying with at the time – found the demand ludicrous.

His exact critique was this, “You mean to tell me that this is a countercultural event…and there’s a dress code?!”

Valid, though his point was, there was something to be said for sticking out like a yuppie thumb.  I went with the darkest clothes I had on hand – jean shorts and a Decepticon t-shirt. And that pretty much sums up how “goth” I am. In other words, I’m about as gothic as a number 2 pencil – khaki color and all.

For decades, I’ve been on the periphery of the gothic subculture. Frankly, I’m surprised the movement (if it can be called that) ever survived the 90s unscathed. But survive it did, especially in the Pacific Northwest where sunlight is a rare commodity. My continued exposure to the EMB/synth-pop/industrial scene(s) is all thanks to the married team of Missionary Promotions. Because of them, I was able to get on the list for this show.

Problem was…I’d never listened to Assemblage 23 before. I had two days to study up on their oeuvre before the event. Thanks be to the Internet Gods for YouTube! Not only did I enjoy what I heard, but I was able to pick out favorites I hoped to hear.

The Venue

The Fez is an interesting bar/events space situated on the second level of, uh, some building on corner of W. Burnside and SW. 11th in downtown Portland. I’ve attended two other concerts hosted there – one being another Missionary effort. To say it is unique would be an understatement. The furnishings, to put it mildly, are…well…I can’t quite explain it.

I will use this pillow as an example.

Here I was, sitting on a backless couch-bench-type-thingy, and I kept nudging up against this pillow. It was hideously fascinating – plush, furry, and orange. All I could imagine was how someone could conceive of such a thing. I imagined a ginger-colored Muppet Rastafarian being skinned alive and compressed into a square.  That sums up my opinion of The Fez. I like it, but – damn – if it isn’t eclectic.

The Audience

In typical geek fashion, I half-expected to stick out like I always do at such gatherings. I was attired in black corduroy pants, black-and-gray NIKEs, and a black turtleneck zip-sweater. Less goth and more beatnick foodie-vegan-poet uniform. To my surprise, everyone in attendance for this event were just like me!

The majority of the audience looked like normal freaks and geeks who shed their everyday wardrobe to embrace their inner goth. Weekender goths, in other words. No one seemed particularly – or seriously – “scene” in the slightest, merely music geeks in one fashion or another. Sure, there were those that were decked out in vinyl, or pleathered from head-to-toe, but the majority was on my end of the geek spectrum. That was oddly reassuring.

The Opening Act

Espermachine is the brainchild of Arkansas native James Esper. To date, they have one album to their credit – Dying Life – produced by Assemblage 23’s Tom Shear. Another interesting fact I learned: The lead singer – a gentle giant of a man – owns eight cats. EBM artist, Southerner, and cat-herder – this group had my esoteric attention. 

At first, I found them prototypical of the EBM genre – dark melodies, thumping downbeats, haunting vocals, et al. – but they accomplished a feat rarely achieved. For an opening act, they engaged the crowd. Oftentimes, an opener can barely connect with an audience attending for one particular group. I’ve only seen such an achievement once.

The standout performance – for me – was for the song “Dead Man Walking”. Not sure what it was about this boot-stomp of a beast-ballad, but it had me enthralled.  Like skull-screwed, cyber-hammer hypnotized. I blame the melodic refrain. In short, very effective introduction.

The Main Act

As mentioned above, I’d heard of Assemblage 23, but never listened to their music before. The Seattle-based group was created by Tom Shear in 1988, starting off as a hobby. He wasn’t courted by record labels until roughly a decade later. This was to be their fourth Missionary-hosted concert to date.

Sound-wise, I compared them to Praise the Fallen-era VNV Nation – another influential EBM act out of Germany. Their rhythms were industrial to the core, but with an emphasis on macabre melodies tapered throughout. It was an interesting juxtaposition. In my (albeit last-minute) research, I took a liking to two particular tracks – “Damage” and “Let Me Be Your Armor”. Both were quintessentially dark electro, but were unique enough in their own right.

Lucky for me, both songs were performed live. It gave me something to fanboy-faun over along with the other dark-clad attendees. Shear was a captivating performer, avoiding one of the central trappings of other genre acts – merely standing still with the microphone. He made it a point to actively include the audience in the performance.

Also worthy of note was their nontraditional approach to the encore performance. As in, they didn’t do one; rather, instead of exiting the stage and coming back, Shear simply asked the audience if they wanted to hear more. What was equally spectacular is they did this twice! Two encores! Their final song of the night was easily their best – “Cruelest Year”, a bittersweet softer piece laden with hints of hope.


I went home without a voice, ears ringing, and a healthy beer buzz humming my skull. Last I checked, these were signs of an epic concert experience. Hadn’t had one of those in recent memory. Then again, my memory was a little fuzzy. That all said, I couldn’t think of a better (or darker) way to spend a Sunday night.

There is still one question I have, though: Is it now industry standard that all electronic musicians be bald and goateed?

Just wondering.