Tag Archives: Punk

Pinsky – “Losing Touch” [NEW MUSIC]

There’s a sound I always find myself craving when fall comes around.  I don’t know if it’s the echo of good times associated with Halloween and birthdays and homecoming or if it’s just the chill that sinks into my bones that reminds me that I need a little vacation from the sweet, jangly sounds of the past few months.

Whatever the case, Pinsky hits the spot.  Their bio claims their debut is a summer record, but I would beg to differ.  The gruff vocals (split three ways!) and spiky riffs hammer home best over a dull October moon, not sparkling mid-summer sun.  It’s a little post – everything: hardcore, punk and pop, mixing genres till they break and form something fresh.  Like hooks?  Check out the lead single “Losing Touch.”  Like dense instrumentation?  Borderline jazzy guitar riffs?  Closer “States” has you covered.

Their video for lead single “Losing Touch” makes the most of a clever idea on a small budget.  I particularly love the detail of the “can-delier” hanging in the center of the performance space.  Check it out:

Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles |@Chris_Cullari | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC |

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Indian School – “The Cruelest Kind” [NEW MUSIC]

I was late to embrace Audio Karate, one of the fieriest bands to come out of the late 90s/early-aughts pop-punk scene.  By the time I was getting into their kind of raw, full-throated, vocals and live, loud, imperfect production, the band was almost broken up.  I had no idea that was the case when I stumbled across “Nintendo 89” on a Warped Tour compilation, and if I had, I would’ve begged them not to.  Listen to this beast:

The first thirty seconds are one of the most epic builds in pop-punk.  The guitar tones are perfect, the drums won’t stop, and when it all drops out to introduce those main power chords – ugh.  There’s more energy in those thirty three seconds than a six-pack of Red Bull.  I can only imagine the reaction it got live.

Anyway, these dudes went their separate ways around ’05 and left the world with two albums, Space Camp, and Lady Melody.  Buy ’em, love ’em, play ’em loud, and then check this out:

They came back!  They have a piano player, mainlined The Strokes and changed their name, but the songwriting and singer Arturo Barrio’s distinct pipes are as solid as ever.  I miss the throat – rupturing rawness of their earlier work, but hey, that’s growth.  Space Camp didn’t have a single instance of saloon style piano playing either, but “Elvis” features it heavily and it works.  It’s a give and take.

Whip-crack opener “Rob Your House” comes closest to capturing the groups free-wheeling energy of old, with the titular phrase serving as an anarchic refrain that’s gonna feel good to shout out with a group of drunken buddies at a show or before a night of debauchery.  At the same time, it also sounds the most “Strokes”y, complete with synths and – unless I’m crazy – a hint of a vocal effect.

The middle pair of tracks, “High Low” and “Wind You Up” form the backbone of the new sound: slower tempos, catchy choruses, and the addition of some acoustic strumming and clean piano sounds.  EP closer “Elvis” is the track that sounds the least likely to work on paper, but is executed with aplomb.  The aforementioned saloon piano kicks in early in the track and is mixed low, but shines in the chorus.

Over the course of the four tracks, the moment I keep going back to, the one that draws the line in the sand is two and a half minutes into “Wind You Up.”  Like the opening of “Nintendo 89” it’s another beat where everything drops away, but instead leaving space for the hell-raising guitar from that track, it’s just Art’s vulnerable croon and a piano.  Does it make me want to pogo my way into a pit  Not really, but it makes me damn excited for what Indian School does next.

UPDATE: Thanks to Eric and Lucy for pointing out I overlooked a fifth track that can be found here: http://soundcloud.com/indianschool/tracks  Enjoy!

Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles |@Chris_Cullari | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC |

Evan P. Donohue with “Rhythm & Amplitude” at The End in Nashville, TN [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

I keep finding myself at punk rock shows in Nashville, but that’s not a bad thing.  Nashville’s punk scene has grown tremendously over the last four to five years and is now thriving.  This particular show at The End was packed with a younger crowd ready to rock, and I don’t think the bartender sold less than a hundred PBRs… per hour.  With a lineup of underground Nashville bands Watusi, Spanish Candles, Evan P. Donohue, and Diarrhea Planet, this show was set up to be a wild night.  All the bands that night put on killer shows, but I was particularly interested in hearing music from Evan P. Donohue and his band.

Evan P. Donohue is a local independent Nashville songwriter and artist who has set himself apart from the typical rock bands in Music City.  He writes intelligently through stories about semi-fictional characters and experiences from his life.  With his drummer Mike Kavouras, Donohue arranges and develops music that that creatively supports and nourishes the lyrics and stories in his songs.  There aren’t too many young indie rock bands with this combination of musical excellence and purpose behind clever ideas and words.  Evan P. Donohue continues to push his music to new heights, and released a full-length debut album last year called Rhythm & Amplitute to do just that.  Check out one of my favorite songs from the album, “O Justice!”

The entire album cannot be confined to just one specific genre because I find a complex combination of feels in the music that associate with past and contemporary rock, pop, surf-rock, and Americana artists.  This rings true, since some of Donohue’s influences are T.Rex, Elvis Costello, Of Montreal, Beach Boys, Tom Waits, and David Rawlings.  Rhythm & Amplitude plays with a variety of musical styles, and the songs are a collection of reality-turned fiction stories that blend while maintaining truth as their foundation.  Evan P. Donohue’s bio states, “Masterfully crafting sardonic portraits of decidedly earnest characters, Evan P. Donohue poetically chooses his words to express the struggles and affections his often tragic characters experience by the choices they’ve faced in life. The surf-rock ballad “California Sunshine” speaks of a middle-aged man who rebels against the monotony of his life, eventually finding peace and happiness “sleeping under Starlight”, a prostitute employed at the Mexican brothel where the track gets its title.”  I really couldn’t have said it better myself!  Check out some more music from Evan P. Donohue’s Rhythm & Amplitude:

Whether it’s taking old stories and making them new or creating new truths with current realities, Donohue has something undeniably great.  His music tells tales, embraces ideas, and develops new songs that go far beyond today’s pop hits.  Nashville seems like an excellent fit for this up-and-coming artist who is set to debut more recordings this fall.  On November 11, 2011, Evan P. Donohue will be releasing a 7-inch called Jazzputin.  The record will contain two new songs that I, and every single one of his fans are very excited about.  Listen to more music, stay up to date with Evan P. Donohue, and buy an Rhythm & Amplitude!

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

New Faces Nite at The Basement in Nashville, TN with Emily Davis, Jeffrey James, Stephanie Nilles and more! [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

I’ve been going to a lot of shows recently.  I’ve been to five venues in the last four days; one festival and four concerts.  Am I tired?  No.  Am I sick of music?  No.  Am I nuts?  Well, that has yet to be proved or disproved, so we’ll leave that question out of the mix for now.  What you should know is that on most Tuesday nights, The Basement in Nashville has New Faces Nite, a free show with great bands.   In case you missed it, that’s a FREE show with GREAT bands.

This week was another example of a stellar New Faces Nite at The Basement.  First up was Emily Davis, an acoustic folk rock artist from El Paso, TX.  With the tough job of opening the night, Emily used her strong vocals and “darkly optimistic” lyrics to warm up the crowd.  Second of the night was a new local rock artist named Jeffrey James.  Jeffrey and his backing band called The Professional Children took the stage and released a blend of blues and soulful rock from his latest EP called Goin’ Back Down.  The album was produced by Nashville veteran Lex Lipstiz, who said, “Jeffrey James has one of those classic soul voices.  With his bigger than life stage presence and commanding vocal delivery, he definitely sells you on every word… I think it’s only a matter of time before he’s a huge star.”  Well, I think that’s about one of the biggest compliments you can get from a producer, so if you like rock with a little country, blues, and soul thrown in the mix, check out Jeffrey James.  These artists had good music and played well, but I would like to highlight the crowd favorite of the night.

Photo by Kellie Coughlin.

Stephanie Nilles is not your typical jazz-infused punk folk artist.  If you want to listen to something fresh, but are tired of all the Ingrid Michaelson, Grizzly Bear, and Feist indie band imitations, her music is sure to wake you up.  New Faces Nite at The Basement was my first time hearing Stephanie Nilles, and it’s been awhile since I’ve heard an artist be so creatively bold with their music on stage.  She has taken her training as a classical pianist and developed an amazing jazz and blues style filled with her own unique embellishments for each song.  Rolling Stone has even said, “she’s like ‘Ella Fitzgerald on speed beating the shit out of Regina Spektor.’  Whoa!  There’s a review that won’t go in one ear and out the other.  Even if you have your own personal preferred style of music, I think that her music is powerful enough that you can appreciate it at the least, especially if you’re a musician.  Check out the song “For a High Life Commercial” by Stephanie Nilles.

Photo by Leonard Lopp.

She’s different, but brilliant in a twisted sense that maybe she writes from thoughts that you have had, but didn’t exactly want to communicate because of what people would think about you.  I think this is a huge part of Stephanie’s music.  She also has the musical talent to back up anything she sings in that dirty Regina Spektor tone of hers.  These also aren’t your typically structured songs either, with syllables that land when they want and fully diminished seventh chords that appear in thoughtlessly considered, appropriate places.  Stephanie communicates what she wants when she wants to, and it’s thoroughly entertaining every time.  Check out another one of her songs called “Cool Aid Stand.”

If you’ve been having as much fun listening to Stephanie Nilles as I have, check out more of her music at www.stephanienilles.com.  The other bands that played that night (that I didn’t get to see) were Boom Forest, I Believe in Hotpants, and Haley Dreis.  I’ll be on the look out to cover some of these artists at a later date.  Until then, keep supporting independent music!

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

P-Nuckle Live at Cervantes’ Other Side, Denver, CO [Photos] [Free Download]

P-Nuckle Live at Cervantes’ Other Side, Denver, CO

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Photography By: Jimmy Iles | Director of Operations | @JimmyMWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

PUJOL from Nashville, TN [MUSIC]

Alright, it’s time for some more music from Nashville’s indie music scene. PUJOL is a southern gothic rock band from Nashville, TN.  The band was started by Daniel Pujol after he moved to Nashville and began writing songs about life, theology, and family.  After growing up in Tallahoma, TN, Daniel is now a very talented punk singer/songwriter in Music City who has made a name for himself the last couple years.  His band consists of Adam Tanaka on drums, Sean Thompson on lead guitar, and Joey Scala on bass.  They’ve been described as “buds bonded by the brain.”  Other members include Dan Burns, Mitch Jones, Steward Copeland, Forever Young, Angelbaby, and The Wez.  Check out this song by PUJOL called “Black Rabbit.”

As you can hear, PUJOL has developed their own distinct sound.  From the intricate guitar riffs to the scratchy vocals, their music has true originality.  It also doesn’t hurt to have Jack White producing songs for your band.  In an interview with SPIN Magazine, Pujol said, “Jack White was very polite and professional.  It felt good to finally be in a situation where knowing what you wanted to sound like was just normal and not high maintenance. Everyone involved respected my judgment as an artist, and we all worked together to help mutually refine the single as a satisfactory meeting ground between the Third Man aesthetic and my own.”  The music is a great new take on the punky garage rock music that has been coming back with a strong underground following in major cities like Nashville.  This is a band that you should definitely see live if you haven’t already.  Here’s another one of their songs (by Stewart Copeland) called “Too Safe.”  The song is “a b-side from PUJOL’s “Black Rabbit” 7-inch, which is being released by Jack White’s Third Man Records.”  You can download it here: DOWNLOAD MP3

Daniel Pujol is an advocate for vinyl records and “almost exclusively releases music on tape, vinyl or digitally.”  In an interview done by Nashville SCENE last year, Daniel describes his very intriguing view on CDs and why he chooses not to release music in the CD format.  He has some great points that I think should be discussed by any independent band thinking about releasing an album these days.  His main ideology on the topic is basically something like “CDs blow, they’re overpriced and nobody cares.”  It’s definitely something I haven’t thought about much, and I can’t really argue with the stunning truth in his argument.  Check out this video from the interview:

Pretty interesting huh?  If you like the music and like the discussion, check out PUJOL’s music here, buy one of their albums, or move to Nashville and come see for yourself some awesome concerts.  Live music has really been coming back the last couple years, so continue to support local music in your hometown and don’t be afraid to go to a concert even if you have never heard of the band.  If you’re an optimistic adventurous music lover, you’ll usually find something that you like about the music.  Thanks for listening!

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play, Music Without Labels, LLC

Heavy Cream, Useless Eaters, and Feral Beat at The Basement in Nashville, TN [SHOW]

It’s a Sunday evening in Nashville and you’re not quite done with your weekend, so what do you do?  You check out the bands that you could possibly see for only five bucks at The Basement on 8th Avenue South!  This past Sunday was a night filled with indie punk rock music derived from soul and rock-and-roll influences.  The show started at 10:00pm with a band called Feral Beat.  I had a chance to talk with their lead singer Seth Sutton after the first set, and learned that he was also fronting Useless Eaters and playing bass for Heavy Cream.  A very talented guy from Memphis, TN, Seth moved to Nashville to fully pursue music, and you can tell that he’s going after it.  The second set required a change at bass and drums in preparation for Useless Eaters, a Neo-soul trio from Nashville.  After a driving, high-energy set, Heavy Cream took the stage as the headline act, which closed out a great night of underground Nashville indie punk rock.

Feral Beat is a very new band in Nashville, TN featuring Seth Sutton on guitars and vocals, Allison Waid on drums and vocals, and Mimi Galbierz on bass.  It seems as though the group formed as a side project from Useless Eaters and Heavy Cream.  This was a fun new band to see live, and I hope that they continue to play around town.

Useless Eaters is an indie neo-soul band from Nashville, TN.  With pumping beats and infamous bright guitar tone, they seemed to have locked in a sound that suits them.  It almost makes you feel like you’re part of a early 90s garage band show, but this band is far removed from playing for themselves in some old box with poor acoustics and oil on the floor.  They have positioned themselves in a new light within Nashville’s independent scene.  Check out this song from Useless Eaters called “Daft Love.”

Heavy Cream

Heavy Cream is a local punk rock visual band featuring Mimi on guitar, Daniel on bass, Tiffany on drums, and Jessica on strings.  They are the most well known of the three groups that played on Sunday night, and their performance showed it.  The band describes their journey simply; “We started in 1997, broke up in the fall, got back together January of 2009 and sealed the deal on Valentine’s day.”  They also uniquely describe their genre as “Stonehenge punk.”  Check out one of their songs called “Tina.”

Be sure to check out The Basement’s “New Faces Nite” most Tuesdays for free shows with great local artists!

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play, Music Without Labels, LLC

P-Nuckle Live at The Gothic Theatre in Englewood, CO [Photos] [Free Download]

P-Nuckle Live at The Gothic Theatre in Englewood, CO

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Photography By: Jimmy Iles | Director of Operations | @JimmyMWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

Mike Dillon’s Go – Go Jungle Live at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom, Denver, CO [Photos]

Mike Dillon’s Go – Go Jungle Live at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom, Denver, CO

Mike Dillon’s Go – Go Jungle – “Go Go’s Theme

Jimmy Iles Beat-Play Mike Dillon's Go-go Jungle

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Photography By: Jimmy Iles | Director of Operations | @JimmyMWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

Mucca Pazza is a Circus Punk Marching Band from Chicago, IL [NEW MUSIC]

Imagine your typical high school marching band.  Now cut it in half, and cut it in half again.  Then age them, add some instruments that you wouldn’t usually see, some informal cheerleaders, and then let them “march” wherever they want and however they want.  Throw in some rebellious and quirky style, and you will have something along the lines of Mucca Pazza.  Since I was unable to attend their show in early July 2011 here in Nashville, I wanted to at least spread some hype about this totally original, unique, and independent band.  From what I heard, their show at Exit/In was outstanding, so allow me to describe this remarkable phenomenon that is Mucca Pazza.

I saw Mucca Pazza for the first time when they toured through my college two years ago.  I didn’t know exactly what to expect from a 30-piece circus punk marching band, but it was definitely something that I had to see for myself.  This is one of the most memorable concerts that I, and anyone else that has ever been to one of their shows, will never forget.  Mucca Pazza is a 30-piece circus punk marching band from Chicago, Illinois.  The band contains instruments and members that you would not find in a typical marching band.   They have cheerleaders, accordion, electric guitar, mandolin, violin and a megaphone to name a few.  They have played at Lollapalooza, Rothbury Music Festival, and Tour de Fat.  The band was even featured on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2006.  Their repertoire encompasses themes from Shostakovich and Bartok, covers of 60s TV show themes, and even Balkan-brass covers.  Balkan-brass originated in the 19th century when trumpeters in the Serbian military transposed Folk music to music they could play in a more upbeat style during rough times.  Here is a video of Mucca Pazza performing “Peace Meal” at Tour de Fat 2010.

Playing on each other’s instruments, interacting with crowd members, and dancing around the venue is all part of what makes Mucca Pazza an outstanding show.  The venue is their stage, and who knows where they’ll end up during a performance.  This is originality at its finest.  I’m not sure what I would do if I was their tour manager, but they seem to keep their crew of around 30 members in tact.  What a band!  Don’t miss their next show August 19 at Lincoln Hall in Chicago, IL.

By: Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC