Rising Taiwanese act The Fur. enjoyed galavanting around SXSW 2019. We know this because they shared a brief glimpse of the experience with us. Check out the view from their lens below, then head over to take a listen to their debut album Town.
“Yes, we are so happy to play at SXSW.”
We got hair done at artist lounge and felt cool and ready to be on stage.
Ren made a new friend.
Zero is at Walmart.
We saw someone wearing the same shirt as Ren’s, so took a secret photo with him. Nobody noticed.
It’s challenging to finish a stage setting within a short period of time at B.D. Riley’s. We yelled at each other in Mandarin and moved so quickly to get the change-over done as fast as possible. It’s so much fun to recall how we did the show.
We shopped at a toy store. How we wish to bring all the Rick and Morty toys back to Taiwan but we can’t.
In an era of computer-made, beat-driven music, Grand Canyon is the antithesis of modern pop music. However, by focusing on musicianship and timeless songwriting, and drawing on the inspiration of the classic sounds and arrangements of the 70s, it is the kind of pop music that will be wafting through the canyons for a long time. Here, guitarist Joe Guese shines looks back on a rock legend that inspired his career, as well as countless others.
My journey with Tom Petty began like many others did, with a road trip.
It was the summer of ’92. I was 10, and my family was taking our annual road trip. California was that year’s destination. I had just recently purchased, or more likely my parents purchased, Into the Great Wide Open. We set off on our journey for the west coast. Little did I know then, it would be a road trip for the rest of my life. I put Into the Great Wide Open on my discman, letting it be my soundtrack through the endless canyons and expansive horizons of the west. The music always seemed to have a vision of hopefulness, positivity, and pure rock ‘n’ roll. I picked up the guitar two years later and never looked back.
He provided the soundtrack for my youth. I’ll never forget my first Petty concert at Red Rocks, the soundtrack to high school parties, hearing “Room at the Top” the day Columbine happened, and his music present at many other seminal events in my life. Tom Petty led to some of the best and longest lasting friendships I’ve ever had. Fast forward to the winter of 2002, I had just finished up a rehearsal with my college band who was trying out a new bass player. That bass player was Ethan Mentzer. We decided to make the long walk back from the rehearsal space to the Berklee dorms. On that fateful walk, we discussed our love of Petty, girls, anything rock ‘n’ roll, and more Petty. We would go on to become lifelong friends and start a band that would tour the world. He taught us everything: cool guitars, cool amps, great songs, how to record, and most importantly the attitude and feeling of rock ‘n’ roll music. He was the embodiment of “cool”.
Petty has led me down some pretty strange and wonderful roads. I had the pleasure of playing “Running Down a Dream” with three members of the Heartbreakers and two great friends Jamie Arentzen and Matt Pynn (the Elmbreakers) a couple years ago at a Grammy party. That road also led me to Casey Shea who would also become a lifelong friend. Our mutual admiration of Tom Petty pushed us to start Grand Canyon in our mid 30s. Talk about running down a dream!
So cheers to that summer of ’92 in the back of a suburban, where I’m at now in Los Angeles, wherever that road may lead, to all the bad girls, and those boys who play that rock n roll.
New Jersey-based pop/rock collective The Ones You Forgot – comprised of Jenna Bruno (Vocals), Matthew Thompson (Guitar), Ferdinand Benauro (Guitar), Justin Rodman (Drums), and Lance Nelson (Bass) – has a beautiful new video for their track “Luna”, and we’ve got the exclusive premiere. Against a simple backdrop, allow Bruno’s 90’s-inspired vocals (think Liz Phair) to to croon this acoustic love song to you, with smokey contrast and artful dance. In addition to the video premiere, the band was wonderful enough to provide some date night ideas. As we approach the month of love – and every day – with bigger hearts, let’s see if we can’t integrate a few of these ideas!
Jenna: I would love to go on a Zip line and ropes course date! Anything outdoors-y is fun (maybe not for a first date though). I’d also love to just get some dinner, see a movie and take a drive to the beach at night – a classic date!
Lance: My first idea for a fun date would be going out to some trails and hunting for geocaches together. Another idea would be ice skating and catching a hockey game!
Justin: My first ideal date idea is beer, hatchet throwing, philly cheese steaks, and insomnia cookie! A great combo. Another fun date would be going on a hike to a waterfall.
Ferd: My first ideal date idea is going record shopping and going to the arcade!
My second date idea would be going
to the beach, hiking and top golf (all in one day)!
Matt: A fun date idea for me would be going record store hunting.
I would also love to go to the arcade and have a nice dinner. I’m thinking Ferd and I should just date already.
Keep up with The Ones You Forgot here. Too Afraid to Say is available now.
If there is one thing we can learn from Shawshank Redemption, it is this: we have to either get busy living or get busy dying. Americana trio TheDeepHollow are firmly planted in the former. Through their sophomore record, Weary Traveler, Micah Walk, Liz Eckert and Dave Littrell dig into this sorrowful life of getting older, longing for a stable home and the sometimes unbearable weight of the open road. Sonically, the band fits somewhere between the pulse of Patty Griffin and John Prine and the adventure of Jason Isbell, The Lone Bellow and Brandi Carlile. Below, Dave Littrell shares the story of his first musical experiences and how they shaped him as a musician.
Growing up, like many, our home was filled with music. It seemed like the radio was always on, a record or cassette was always playing, or a music video was always on our TV. After all, I am most definitely a product of the MTV generation. When Sting sang “I want my MTV!” in the introduction to “Money For Nothing,” his declaration was powerful and something this 7 year old could rally behind!
I am so grateful to have grown up in a home where music wasn’t just entertainment or background noise, it was important. You could even say it was a family value. I remember walking into the house after school to the sounds of Otis Redding, The Temptations, Diana Ross, The Beach Boys, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, and on and on. The Beatles LIVED in our home as far as I was concerned. John and Paul sang me to sleep most nights. We even had a full jukebox in our basement where my parents and their friends would spend nights and weekends singing (loudly) to their favorites. My mom had this charming habit of taking anything you said to her and breaking into a song. If I was being annoying to my older brother and he said “Stop!” she’d burst right into “Stop, in the name of Love, before you break my heart…” She still does it this day. This pure love for music shaped me in a way I could never imagine. I was just a kid who liked dancing in the kitchen to Motown artists, never realizing what an influence those experiences would have on me as I grew older. As a father, I try to pass that love onto my kids and there’s nothing more fun than watching my kids sing and dance to those same songs.
With that said, it is a little difficult to write about my “First Record.” To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what that record specifically was, because there were so many. But, The Beatles were kings in our household so “My First Record” has to be a Beatles album.
My uncle owned a huge record collection AND a great stereo system, which means Uncle Del was obviously the coolest guy in the world. Our tight-knit extended family all lived in the same small town in central Illinois so naturally we spent a lot of time together. Anytime I was at his house I would run directly to his stereo and start poring over his records and cassettes. He had these expensive headphones which allowed the music to be directly implanted into my brain. It felt like these musicians were playing just for me. The music was so crisp and clear, much better than my little tape player at home. It sounded so amazing! My first experience with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Billy Joel’s “52nd Street” were through these marvelous wonders of technology, but hearing The Beatles through these headphones was one of the most perfect memories of my young life.
“Beatles” was hand-written on this cassette tape and once I started listening I couldn’t stop. I think I had heard a lot of the songs before, because like I said, my Mom was a big fan. But this was different. Listening on headphones made these songs have more depth and they came alive. I couldn’t necessarily relate to the infatuated teenage lovesick lyrics or the heartache caused by my crush not answering the door or telephone in “No Reply.” (I would uncover those gems later as I experienced my own girl-crush drama.) But the melodies, harmonies, energy, and songcraft were undeniable. I distinctly remember swinging on the swing set in the backyard as the sun was setting and listening over and over. I couldn’t believe that I loved every song. With other artists, even artists I loved, I didn’t like every single song. My uncle gave me this tape (or I just kept it, who can remember?) and I became a life-long Beatles fan.
Later, I wanted to use some birthday money to buy my own, proper copy of my favorite record. (Uncle Del also said it would probably sound better if it wasn’t a taped copy.) After perusing through the cassettes at our Sam Goody at the local mall with my Mom, I realized I didn’t know the actual name of the album. It just said “Beatles” on my tired, worn-down copy. After looking at all the titles, we discerned that the tape I had listened to religiously contained the first side of “Beatles For Sale” AND the entire “Rubber Soul.” Just looking at the songs on these two records floods me with memories and remind me what incredible songwriters they were. I still play several of these songs, and “In My Life” was used in my wedding ceremony, for example.
I am constantly on the lookout for new music, and I hope to find an artist that can even come close to replicating that feeling I had listening to Rubber Soul for the first time. Unfortunately, I don’t think it can really happen. My adult brain inevitably gets in the way and I immediately decipher lyrics or chord progressions instead of listening to music the way I did as a kid. I think we should all try to listen like a kid, because it was magic.
One part June Carter sassing Johnny Cash along with two dashes of Itzhak Perlman on a midnight hayride, Mad Crush’s songs contain theatrical, back-and-forth performances between their singing protagonists Joanna Sattin and John Elderkin. Complete with humor and heartbreak, their songs are in fact bright little dramas about fussing, fighting, and occasionally making up—universal truths sprinkled with brand-new magic dust. Below, Elderkin discusses his first musical influences, which are readily apparent upon listening to Mad Crush’s recently-released debut LP.
I have a habit of dismissing great albums on my first listen. I had friends with an advanced copy of Nirvana’s “Nevermind” who freaked out when they heard it, but when I listened, I thought it sucked. Later, I gave it another try and realized I was way wrong. Like the rest of the world, I ate it up. I had a similar reaction to R.E.M.’s first EP, called “Chronic Town.” Friends I respected said that it sounded unlike anything they’d ever heard anywhere. I listened and shrugged. It was different, but what was it? But when I pulled the record out again a few months later, I was flabbergasted. Those guys were speaking my language!
The one time I got it right came before these albums, on my first listen to The Clash’s “London Calling.” I was a teenager but I’d never heard of The Clash, and I bought it because I liked the cover picture of the bass player smashing his guitar on stage. I turned on my record player and by the end of the first song I was jumping up and down on my bed like a maniac. When my younger brother came in to ask what the hell was going on, I pointed to the record player and sure enough, he jumped on the bed, too. The only time I got down was to turn over the sides. I didn’t own a lot of records yet, and afterward I probably assumed that most albums would knock me out this way, that life would be one “London Calling” after another. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t so impressed later with other records that were supposed to bowl me over. Or maybe it’s just that great…
A lifelong resident of Jeffersonville, IN, NickDittmeier finds a needed reprieve from the looming presence of loss in his life with his new record All Damn Day (due October 26th). Fronting NickDittmeier & the Sawdusters, the singer-songwriter lingers on the omniscient Grim Reaper in a way that’s hopeful and uplifting as it is forlorn, harkening to the works of such literary giants as John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, Roald Dahl and Mark Twain. Read Dittmeier‘s story on his first musical influence below:
The first musical experience I had that really made me want to be in a band was watching the scene in The Muppet Movie where Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem are introduced at their rehearsal space. Although the band was comprised of Muppets, they looked like an actual rock n’ roll band and the song they played really grooved. But it was really the band’s attitude that made me wanna be in a pack like the Electric Mayhem.
If you don’t recall the scene, let me refresh you. Kermit and Fozzy, on their road trip to Hollywood, stop in an old church where they discover a psychedelic Muppet band playing music. Dr. Teeth, the band leader, has a strikingly resemblance to Dr. John and other members of the band had loose characteristics to other rock stars of the day. You could say Janis resembles Joni Mitchell and Animal resembles John Bonham. They lay out their long term plans for the church, which included a music venue and coffee shop with organic food.
What I loved about Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem was that everyone in the band was visibly weird and quirky but were completed accepted within the context of the group. They had invented their world and all lived in it. Part of the larger premise of the Muppets was racial and gender diversity, and that’s why many of the characters’ identity was fairly ambiguous. Some characters you couldn’t really discern if they were animal or human. Why they had bright green skin, if they were human, but that wasn’t important— all you needed to know is they looked different but were accepted.
The lyrical content of the song they sang was basically how great it was being in a band and helping people and each other. Also, everyone in the band sang. That scene didn’t make me go out and get a guitar, but it did plant a seed in my head about what kind of community I could be a part of if I learned an instrument.
All of those lessons in the scene are applicable to the current situation I have with my band and the people surrounding it. We’ve gotta manage quirks and personalities and realize we’re for the most part strange people, but those are the personalities that drive this business. It takes a certain kind of weirdo to stop band practice to help a frog and a bear paint their Studebaker psychedelic colors.