Friday, December 05, 2008

Michael Bracy of The Future of Music Coalition: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

A little over a year ago I interviewed Jenny Toomey, who co-founded The Future of Music Coalition in 2000 with Michael Bracy, Walter McDonough and Brian Zisk. Toomey and I discussed how the organization came into existance and some of its main areas of focus. You can hear that interview here. Toomey has since moved over to the Ford Foundation and Ann Chaitovitz is the new Executive Director.

Bracy is the Policy Director for The Future of Music Coalition. He also co-owns the Misra Records label and is a partner at Bracy Tucker Brown & Valanzano, a government and public affairs consulting firm in Washington D.C., so he knows his way around the worlds of both music and legislation.

The Future of Music Coalition is, to quote, "a national non-profit education, research, and advocacy organization that seeks a bright future for creators and listeners. FMC works towards this goal through continuous interaction with its primary constituency — musicians — and in collaboration with other creator/public interest groups."

To quote Google, “Network neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet. The Internet has operated according to this neutrality principle since its earliest days. Today, the neutrality of the Internet is at stake as the broadband carriers want Congress's permission to determine what content gets to you first and fastest. Put simply, this would fundamentally alter the openness of the Internet.”

You can learn more about network neutrality at savetheinternet.com, Google, Wikipedia, and The Future of Music Coalition's Rock the Net pages.

The Future of Music Coalition's Rock the Net campaign was established in April 2007 to increase musician's awareness about the importance of net neutrality because certain telecommunications and cable companies would like to charge content providers higher fees for faster delivery of their sites. The result would be an Internet where those who couldn't afford to - or didn't want to - pay a toll would be stuck in the slow lane. Artists could lose an important connection to their fans and suffer financial loses, while listeners might be denied their freedom of choice.

The Future of Music Coalition’s benefit album, entitled Rock The Net: Musicians for Network Neutrality, was released by Thirsty Ear Recordings this past summer and the money raised goes toward supporting FMC's efforts on this front. You can buy the album direct from Thirty Ear. Artists who donated songs to the cause include David Bazan (of Pedro the Lion), Bright Eyes, The Classic Brown, BC Camplight, DJ Spooky, Free Form Funky Freqs, Guster, Aimee Mann, David Miller, Palomar, Portastatic, Matthew Shipp, They Might Be Giants, Wilco, and The Wrens.

I wanted to do an episode on the subject because the battle over net neutrality seems to be well known in geek circles, but the general population doesn't seem to be as aware and it's ultimately going to effect everyone using the Internet. I'm hoping this episode will help bring the idea to a broader audience, including music fans and musicians who will certainly depend on the web more than any other distribution channel in the future.

And while Barack Obama's selection of Susan Crawford and Kevin Werbach to lead the FCC review team are encouraging, by all accounts the battle is far from done.

Many of today's most talented artists are demonstrating their support of an open Internet where all users can access the lawful content of their choice without undue restrictions. Founding Rock the Net artists include Calexico, Les Claypool, Death Cab for Cutie, John Doe, The Donnas, Guster, Kathleen Hanna, Griffin House, Kronos Quartet, Jerry Harrison, Ted Leo, The Locust, Bob Mould, Matt Nathanson, OK Go, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., Boots Riley, Rogue Wave, Jimmy Tamborello, State Radio, Street to Nowhere, Matt Wertz, and The Wrens.

I met with Bracy during a recent Future of Music Coalition event at the Public Theatre in New York City to discuss:

* why network neutrality matters to musicians and music fans
* what it is about developing net policy that needs to improve upon past technological inventions
* how you can stay informed and take action to help keep net neutrality as a defining principle going forward

Songs featured in this interview from the Rock the Net CD include:
1) The Classic Brown: Modulation (in preview)
2) David Bazan: Cold Beer and Cigarettes (in preview)
3) DJ Spooky featuring Saba Saba: Uganda
4) Bright Eyes: I Won't Ever be Happy Again
5) Palomar: Red
6) Aimee Mann: 31 Today
7) Wilco: Impossible Germany (Live)
8) Portastatic: Hang Down Your Head
9) The Wrens: Sleep
10) Matthew Shipp Trio: New Orbit
11) FREE Form Funky Freqs: The Binds That Tie
12) They Might Be Giants: We Live in a Dump
13) BC Camplight: Soy Tonto
14) David Miller: Sunday Driver
15) Guster: Timothy Leary

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Amanda Palmer: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

I will admit I was kind of turned off by the initial onslaught of publicity when The Dresden Dolls debuted here in Boston back in 2001 and 02. I hadn't heard much of the music, but whenever something gets too overexposed so far, I always tend to look the other way, so I'll chalk that up to why I hadn't known their work better.

But a few months back, I had the opportunity to interview Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls for her collaboration with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. You can hear that interview here on iTunes. After listening to The Dresden Dolls albums, I dare say I began to get it.

For those who haven't heard their music, The Dresden Dolls are part rock, part cabaret, and generally pretty intense. The duo features Amanda Palmer on vocals, piano, harmonica, and ukelele and Brian Viglione on drums, percussion, guitar, and vocals.

Their influences seem to range from everything from Kurt Weill to punk rock to performance art to "Brechtian punk cabaret," as Palmer has called it. The Dresden Dolls catalogue includes their albums The Dresden Dolls (2003), Yes, Virginia (2006), and No, Virginia (2008).

Palmer's first solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer? was released by Road Runner Records in late September and co-produced by Ben Folds. The album is quite different from The Dresden Dolls, with both sparse songs featuring Palmer paired with vocals as well as lush, orchestral pieces that help push her songs to entirely new sonic tiers. Folds also plays piano on several songs as well.

Palmer has also worked on a Who Killed Amanda Palmer? book with Neil Gaiman, best known for The Sandman comic series, Stardust, and American Gods. The book will be released in November.

Palmer has also posted a series of music videos on her site for songs from the new album, which is a terrific idea in this era where music videos are all but dead on cable television, but while video is more popular than ever on the web. They are low-budget, but do the trick of letting you hear the music and get a bit of a preview of her live performances.

She's out on tour now in Europe and in November in the US; check whokilledamandapalmer.com for dates and details.

I met with Palmer in Boston's South End neighborhood just as she was starting rehearsals for her current tour to discuss:

* what lead her to starting work on solo material
* how she met Ben Folds and why she wanted to work with him
* how she is bringing the album to life on the road

Songs featured in the interview include:

1) Ampersand (Who Killed Amanda Palmer?) (in preview)
2) Leeds United (Who Killed Amanda Palmer?)
3) Runs in the Family (Who Killed Amanda Palmer?)
4) Girl Anachronism (The Dresden Dolls)
5) Astronaut: A Short History of Nearly Nothing (Who Killed Amanda Palmer?)
6) Have to Drive (Who Killed Amanda Palmer?)
7) Guitar Hero (Who Killed Amanda Palmer?)
8) Strength Through Music (Who Killed Amanda Palmer?)
9) Blake Says(Who Killed Amanda Palmer?)
10) What's the Use of Wond'rin? (Who Killed Amanda Palmer?)
11) Oasis (Who Killed Amanda Palmer?)
12) Another Year: A Short History of Almost Something (Who Killed Amanda Palmer?)
13) Leeds United (Who Killed Amanda Palmer?)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

San Serac: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview


Thinking back on it, I'm not exactly sure how or when I found out about San Serac, but I know I came across his Myspace page and I kept going back to hear his music, which is not something I do too often on Myspace.

I then sought out and bought his third CD, Professional, and found his music to be at an interesting intersection between David Bowie, disco, and electronic dance music. Thankfully, the album did not disappoint.

Nat Rabb works under the name San Serac, an artist who plays synthesizer, percussion, guitar, electronic saxophone, electronic drums, and sings. Rabb grew up in Baltimore and played in several post-punk bands including Candy Machine and INK. He now lives and works in the Boston area.

San Serac's music reveals his love of music of Roxy Music, Midnight Star, David Bowie, Maurice Fulton, Talking Heads, Shalamar, and Prince. The music touches on electronic funk, house, disco, garage, quiet storm, and freestyle. I love the fact that he's pushing the boundaries of what styles fit or belong together; not since Talking Heads' Remain in Light or Prince's Sign o' the Times have I listened to a record again and again and been rewarded each time. Frankly, I can't wait for San Serac's next release to see where he takes us next.

To date, San Serac has released three albums: Human Savagery is a Slippery Slope (2000), Ice Age (2004), and Professional (2006). He's currently working on his next release. San Serac has also remixed a number of other artists’ music, including Faunts, Misty Roses, My Favorite, Ova Looven, Shout Out Out Out Out, Tranzistors, Wilderness, and others. I've included a few of these remixes in the show. San Serac also toured with Junior Boys in 2007.

With Johnny Dark, San Serac has also released an album on September 23rd under the outfit Stereo Image and they will performing in Ontario, Canada in late October. Check their Myspace page for details. San Serac will also be touring in November and December 2008 in the US with Wilderness.

I met with San Serac in May in Somerville, Massachusetts to discuss:
* how he writes and records his albums—essentially all by himself
* what the gestation period is like for his own creations
* how the changes in the music business are effecting how he manages his own career

Photo: Drew Jarrett

Music featured in the show includes:

1) San Serac: Professional (Professional) (in preview)
2) San Serac: Fairlight (Professional)
3) San Serac: Love Tactics (Professional)
4) INK: Alger Hiss
5) INK: Real Life in the Deco
6) San Serac: Market Research (it's Time to Shop) (Ice Age)
7) San Serac: Astonishing Murders (Ice Age)
8) San Serac: What Price Revenge (Ice Age)
9) San Serac: Nihilistic Love (Professional)
10) San Serac: Sunlight in Electric Wires (Ice Age)
11) San Serac: You, Assassin (Ice Age)
12) San Serac: Tyrant (Professional)
13) San Serac: The Black Monolith (Professional)
14) San Serac: That Obscure Object of Desire (Professional)
15) San Serac: Command Shift Sexy (Professional)
16) Faunts: Instantly Dubbed (San Serac Mix)
17) Stereo Image: Dark Chapter (S/T)
18) Stereo Image: Exposure (S/T)
19) Stereo Image: Pack Moves (S/T)
20) Shout Out Out Out Out: In the End It's Your Friends (San Serac Mix)
21) Stereo Image: Red Nights (S/T)
22) Stereo Image: Your Collapsed State (S/T)
23) San Serac: Friends

San Serac recommends Maurice Fulton, Daft Punk, Faux Fox, Shout Out Out Out Out, and A Certain Ratio.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ariel Hyatt of Ariel Publicity: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

Thanks again to everyone who took our recent online survey. I learned some great information about who is listening to the show, what you like and what you'd like to hear more of. I was especially surprised to learn from the group that responded that 57% of you identified yourselves as musicians.

I have had fun doing interviews with music industry thought leaders in recent years as it's obvious that the music business is in a great deal of flux for both musicians and music fans. Truthfully, though, I haven't heard or read many good interviews about these changes. If you go to music conferences or subscribe to things like the Pho list you get to be on the inside of all these changes, but otherwise, it's a classic case of being shut out of ideas that are advancing around you.

I hadn't realized that musicians are tuning in to Well-Rounded Radio as an educational outlet, but that does seem to be the case and this episode, with an interview with Ariel Hyatt of Ariel Publicity, it's a perfect case of providing some additional insight that I think can be very helpful to musicians.

As Hyatt explains in the interview, she started out doing traditional publicity in the music business, but realized that the world of music marketing was changing and so her own agency changed with it.

Ariel Publicity helps artists and labels get their music in front of the growing legion of citizen journalists or prosumers, as folks like me have started to be called, who are creating text, audio, and video for others to access via the Web.

Hyatt and her team also help to educate musicians through various online and in-person boot camp sessions and seminars and they're helping to connect independent musicians with independent media outlets like Well-Rounded Radio.

At the same time, music fans are discovering music in a wide range of new ways, from podcasts and audio blogs to recommendation engines, streaming stations, and mobile devices to simply speeding up the word of mouth process that have always happened, but now is happening faster and globally with new technologies.

As print publications cease production, terrestrial and satellite radio tries to evolve, and more people around the world start using these technologies as a matter of course, how will we each discover our next favorite band? I have heard the story again and again how music fans who used to simply listen to what was in the charts or featured on the cover of music magazines now are finding they listen to very little mainstream music and are finding all kinds of niches online that take their curiosity in new directions. The idea behind the Long Tail is very much changing what we consume.

This episode features a number of artists that Ariel Publicity has worked with over the last year or two. You can find out more information about them and links at wellroundedradio.net/arielpublicity

I met with Hyatt at her office in mid-town Manhattan back in February to discuss:

* how the agency came to be born and her own experience leading up to it
* some myths about the old music guard that need to be shattered
* how musicians can be smarter and strategic about using social media to advance their careers

If you enjoy this interview, be sure to listen to other interviews I have done with music industry thought leaders. Tell me who else you'd like me to interview and I'll do my best to get them on the show.

Music featured in the show includes:

1) Le Rug: Gloss (Bleenex) (in preview)
2) Fiskum: The Crossing (Darkness/Fire/Dancing)
3) Kaliopi: Naked (Around the World)
4) Kito Peters: CEO (Stories)
5) Booze Monkey: Solitaire (The Old Way)
6) N Side: Bad Manners (Just a Broke Brotha' Trying to to Come Up!)
7) Howard Britz: Scatterbug
8) Dudley Saunders: Take Me Back Home Again
9) Sarah VonDerhaar: It's Not the First Time
10) Animate Objects: Clive (Riding in Fast Cars with Your Momma)
11) Black Fortress of Opium: Dulcet TV (Black Fortress of Opium)
12) Blood Red Sun: Pray for Rain (A Nation of Saviors)
13) Inga Swearingen: Black Crow
14) The Callen Sisters: Wake Up
15) I/O/I: Compass (I/O/I)
16) Michael Wolff: Solar
17) Yahweh's People: Oh My Lord (Yahweh's People)

Photo: Greg Kessler

Friday, September 05, 2008

Well-Rounded Radio Mix 008

Back with another mix...if only had more time to do these, I certainly have the music to choose from!

For all 15 artists on this show who wanted to share their music with you, consider buying their music, whether it's on a shiny piece of plastic or as a digital file. Buy a t-shirt or a hat or whatever swag they're selling. Go see them live or make friends with them at myspace and last.fm or facebook or wherever. Tell a friend about them and share your good taste in music. Sign up to their email list or subscribe to an RSS feed. And tell them Well-Rounded Radio sent you if you can. The way the music business works is changing drastically by the day. Support the music you like and love and help change it.

Well-Rounded Radio Mix 008 features:
1) Matthew Loiacono: Only Memory (Kentucky)
2) One Ring Zero: The Ghost Of Rita Gonzalo (As Smart As We Are)
3) John Haydon: Last Night What You Told Me (Phantom Heart)
4) Hell's Kitchen: Jack is a writer (Doctor's Oven)
5) Ladytron: I'm Not Scared (Velocifero)
6) The Grownup Noise: Grey Skies (Grownup Noise EP)
7) Rayse Biggs: Um Da Da (For The Love Of It)
8) Ashley Pond: Never Seen Your Own Face (Dala)
9) Television Hill: Mulberry Bush (Twlight)
10) Vincent Bernay: track 2
11) Air This Side Of Caution: Here We Go (Nature Will Turn On Us)
12) The Kickbacks: I Crash Cars (Motel Stars)
13) Candida Rose: Kabu Verdi, Un Da (The Sum Of Me)
14) Daniel Ward: Reverance (After The Storm)
15) Terry Winchell: Waiting Here For You (Vice Versa)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mike Dreese of Newbury Comics: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview


Newbury Comics started as a comics store on Newbury Street, a famed block for shopping in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood, but now each of their 27 locations sells CDs, vinyl, DVDs, posters, toys, books, magazines, sports merchandise, clothes, shoes, housewares, and much more.

Given how much time (and money!) I have spent at Newbury Comics over these last eight years and how much great music I have discovered there and subsequently brought to my listeners, I was glad to be able to interview Mike Dreese, the co-founder of Newbury Comics, as we had a great conversation about the state of record retailing and the state of the music business in general.

If you live here, you already know why it's such a fun place. If and when you visit New England, be sure to stop by one of their stores and experience it for yourself. Newbury Comics now has locations in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island with the majority of stores in Greater Boston. Check newburycomics.com for address location and to shop online as well.

Our timing of featuring Dreese on Well-Rounded Radio's 50th episode is good as this year is Newbury Comics' 30th anniversary and they are opening two new stores this summer. One is a super store in Norwood, Massachusetts in a space formerly used by a car dealership, which sounds like it might give the Amoeba Records stores a run for their money, and a second store will be located at historic Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston. Maybe there is a future for the record store, yet.

So, I have made it to episode 50....yeah.

While I am not one to make too much of numbers, my arrival at it after producing the show for the last six years does make me stop for a minute to think about the path I've traveled and where it might be going.

Well-Rounded Radio was an idea born just outside Seattle on a sidewalk in Kirkland, Washington with my friend Marion Seymour back in 1999 during a conversation we were having about the great music interviews we both used to hear when growing up in the New York City area.

For me, it was hearing interviews with musicians from Jeff Foss on Hofstra University's Radio station (now called WRHU), on WNYU’s New Afternoon Show (which, I’ll admit, influenced my choice of NYU for college...), and from Vin Scelsa and all the New York radio station’s he’s been on over the years and who continues today on WFUV in New York and on Sirius Satellite Radio.

For Marion, it was listening to great rock and roll radio in New Jersey where she grew up and as a pioneering DJ herself in Seattle on KZAM, where she broke all kinds of programming boundaries and interviewed everyone who was anyone when they came through Seattle for more than a decade.

Since this kind of programming wasn’t something that existed to our satisfaction, I thought, why not create it myself?

In late '99 I moved back east and my wife Stacey and settled in Boston. Well-Rounded Radio started to formulate into an idea in 2000 and 2001. September 11th motivated me to do something I'd been thinking about, instead of just talking about doing, so I created a demo with a plan to pitch it to NPR. Little did I realize at the time that NPR is more competitive than most commercial radio syndication...and of course it is, because anyone with any taste would prefer to be on it!

Then came blogging and then came broadband and then podcasting. Then there was less of a need to find the distribution channel and more of a desire to take my passion for music and my joy in helping others discover really, really good music in an era where it seemed like mainstream radio didn’t care about anything but really awful hits. Of course, that’s only gotten worse.

I also hoped my show would make you feel like you were listening in on a conversation instead of it seeming like the host was trying to grill the subject or simply fawn over them. Hopefully I’ve succeeded at those goals to some degree.

As we all know, the media landscape is changing radically and while it's fascinating to watch it happen, and in some ways be a part of it, I'm sad about the passing of No Depression and Harp magazines and I'm sad that so many record stores are struggling and closing.

Part of the reason that I love record stores like Newbury Comics is that as someone who started out on vinyl and moved on to CDs and now mp3s, I think it will be sad when there are no longer these kind of physical places to interact with other music lovers and to discover new artists in surprising ways. Staring at your laptop can be fun, but it can also be pretty damn lonely, so I’m hoping "record stores" can evolve into something more than just a place to pick up an encoded physical product.

I could regale you with the time Bob Bortnick of the Dancing Hoods was working behind the counter at Slipped Disc, convincing me of the merits of The Velvet Underground and Nico, or all the hours spent digging through the vinyl at St. Mark’s Sounds or Bleecker Bob’s or Pier Platters or Midnight or Tower or that great record store on Northern Boulevard in Little Neck that I have long since forgotten its name, but who always got the import Clash albums in first!

Getting a tip from the record store clerk, picking up an album because the sticker on its shrink wrap had name-dropped all the right artists, or finding a used LP that was just cheap enough to make you want to buy it and give a band a chance...all those methods of introduction seem to be passing us by, even as new methods of introduction are becoming the norm. I'm not saying they are better or worse, but it is worth thinking about what we might be losing even as we move forward.

As a musician myself, I'm thrilled that musicians will have more power in their hands via the Internet, but I'm not that thrilled that the reduction of record stores, magazines, and record labels means that the power will rest in the hands of fewer corporate gatekeepers, like Wal-Mart, iTunes, Amazon, Microsoft, Napster, Rhapsody, Target, or whoever. Not that I have anything against any of these companies, but it's never good to have the power rest with too few, even if the Internet can connect us one to one in so many other ways. Of course there are bloggers and podcasters and other tastemakers, but distribution has always been the most valuable commodity in any media industry and that’s not likely to change.

Over the last year or two I have been looking at how I can take Well-Rounded Radio from hobby into something that I could make a living doing. I can tell by my web site traffic, emails from listeners, and the music coming to me from around the world that people like what I’m doing. My numbers keep growing and it’s clear that music fans still need real human people to filter their choices for them, just as record labels, DJs, music journalists, and record stores have done for decades. (If you want to help with this, you can take our online survey and tell us a bit about yourself.)

As a hobby, I've been careful to not let Well-Rounded Radio consume too much of my life as I raise a family and work a paying job, but it’s also something that I know is helping to connect independent musicians and an audience of listeners who also love that sense of discovery when you find a new artist that you connect to and, to put it plainly, fall in love with.

In many ways I’ve taken my activity from my 20s in making mix tapes and CDs for a group of friends combined it with my own professional experience in marketing, and upped the ante using the net.
In an era where the role of DJs, music critics, and music journalism is in flux, maybe all that we need is some ways to help us find things that we want as well as be open enough to discovering something new that might just fill some current need we have in our lives.

Although some of the artists and thought-leaders I've interviewed have been from outside Boston, the vast majority who have been on Well-Rounded Radio are from Boston's amazing music scene, which doesn't get nearly the kind of national press that it should.

Which brings me back to Boston and the 50th show.

It also makes perfect sense that Dreese is on this episode because when I was in my band Falling Stairs in the late 80s and early 90s, we used to come up to Boston from New York City to record at Fort Apache. We made it a point to go to a variety of great guitar stores in Allston and always made a stop at Newbury Comics, which was the kind of record store that I always wished we had in the New York area.

Now I've been in Boston for almost nine years and I take Newbury Comics for granted (and yes, I still shop in brick and mortar stores!), but when I go to other cities, I realize that record stores are becoming more rare each year.

Given Newbury’s success, part of me wanted to pick Dreese’s brain for how they've maintained their success and provide some ideas to other music retailers around the world to help them evolve as the music industry changes. I’m sure there’s a brilliant business plan in there just waiting to be born...

The show features a mix of music from the late 70s up to today, much of it from Boston artists.

I met with Dreese at Newbury Comics' offices and warehouse in Brighton, Massachusetts to discuss:
* how the regional chain got its start and grew to where they are today
* how the music business has changed since the late 70s and how they’re evolving with it
* the return of vinyl and what it might mean in the scheme of all the changes

Music featured in the interview include:
1) Classic Ruins: 1 + 1 < 2 (in preview)
2) Willie Alexander: Mass Ave
3) The Clash: Complete Control
4) The Cure: Boys Don't Cry
5) La Peste: Better Off Dead
6) The Lyres: I Want to Help You Ann
7) U2: Fire
8) The Neats: Red and Grey
9) Human Sexual Response: Jackie Onassis
10) The Proletariat: Options
11) Jerry's Kids: Uncontrollable
12) Treat Her Right: I Think She Likes Me
13) Dinosaur Jr: Kracked
14) Buffalo Tom: Crutch
15) Salem 66: Across the Sea
16) Throwing Muses: Bea
17) Mary Timony: Look a Ghost in the Eye
18) The Mighty Mighty Bosstones: The Impression that I Get
19) Mr. Lif: I Phantom
20) Dresden Dolls: Coin-Operated Boy
21) Ho-Ag: Golden All Night
22) Marta Gomez: Dejalo ir
23) Tulsa: Breathe Thin
24) Frank Smith: Cut Right Through
25) The Radio Knives: Stone Stone

Mike recommends Flobots, Velvet Rope, Twist and Shout, Waterloo, Amoeba, The Record Archive, and Criminal Records.

Charlie recommends visiting Newbury Comics and newburycomics.com and finding your local or regional record store through the Coalition for Independent Music Stores and buying locally! Bring a friend and help keep them all going.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Thalia Zedek: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

Thalia Zedek's music career started in the late '70s with White Women, followed in the '80s with Dangerous Birds and Uzi and continued later in the decade when she joined the New York noise band Live Skull. In the early '90s she formed the band Come, whose 1992 album 11:11 is nothing short of a masterpiece. Come's members included Chris Brokaw on guitar, Arthur Johnson on drums, and Sean O'Brien on bass and if you don't own any of their work, you should.

Since Come stopped performing later in the '90s, Zedek has released a number of solo albums including Been Here and Gone (Matador, 2001) Trust Not Those in Whom Without Some Touch Of Madness (Thrill Jockey, 2004), and Hell is in Hello, 2004 (limited edition 2.000 copies). Her EPs include You're a Big Girl Now (Kimchee Records, 2002) and The Nature of Drones (Thrill Jockey, 2005). She also released a live disc entitled Live at Tonic, NYC 1/16/2000.

Zedek's latest CD, Liars and Prayers, was also released by Thrill Jockey Records in late April. Although I think all of Zedek's work with Come and her solo albums have been outstanding, Liars and Prayers is a powerful and emotional collection of songs tackling political and personal subjects. It features a five-piece band, fleshing out Zedek's sound to a new level of complexity and intensity.

The album was produced by the band and Andrew Schneider at Mad Oak Studios in Allston, Massachusetts and Translator Audio in Brooklyn, New York in December 2007 and January 2008.

The Thalia Zedek Band, as she's now calling the outfit, includes Winston Braman on bass (who also played with Clint Conley in consonant; I interviewed Conley for both consonant and Mission of Burma; Braman has long played with Hilken Mancini, who I also interviewed a few years back), Daniel Coughlin on drums and percussion, David Michael Curry on viola, trumpet, and vocals, Mel Lederman on piano, and Zedek on guitar and vocals.

Zedek has been inspired by a variety of artists, including Patti Smith, Leonard Cohen, and Lou Reed, but over the years she has created her own distinct sound and found a strong cult audience that appreciates her impassioned vocals and moody songwriting. I've always loved the intensity in Zedek's work, really pulling me in and forcing me to pay attention to the music she makes.

Watch some videos of Come online, including live performances of Hurricane and Submerge, and music videos for Submerge, Cimarron, Somehow We're Together and a fan-produced video of The German Song. You can also see a slideshow of a song from the out-of-print Nature of Drones EP on myspace and a studio performance of 1926.

Zedek is out on tour in mid to late June with shows in New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Boston, Montreal, Toronto, and Chicago. West coast shows and some European dates are also in the works and you can visit myspace.com/thaliazedek to find out more.

I met with Zedek in May in Allston, Massachusetts to discuss:

* how the new, larger version of her band came to exist
* who else has influenced her over the years
* what some of those veiled political songs are really about

Special thanks to Anna for the mp3s of Dangerous Birds and Uzi that are included in the show. I own it all on vinyl, but I must buy me an Ion one of these days! Thanks, Anna!

Music featured in the interview include:

1) Body Memory (Liars and Prayers) (in preview)
2) Begin to Exhume (Liars and Prayers)
3) Wind (Liars and Prayers)
4) We Don't Go (Liars and Prayers)
5) Back to School (Been Here and Gone)
6) Lower Allston (Liars and Prayers)
7) Manha De Carnaval (Been Here and Gone)
8) Green and Blue (Liars and Prayers)
9) Do You Remember? (Liars and Prayers)
10) Next Exit (Liars and Prayers)
11) Come Undone (Liars and Prayers)
12) Brother (Trust Not Those In Whom Without Some Touch Of Madness)
13) Smile on Your Face by Dangerous Birds (Alpha Romero/Smile on Your Face single)
14) Criminal Child by Uzi (Sleep Asylum EP)
15) You're a Big Girl Now (You're a Big Girl Now)
16) Was by Live Skull (Snuffer)
17) Submerge by Come (11:11)
18) Bone (Trust Not Those In Whom Without Some Touch Of Madness)
19) Island Song (Trust Not Those In Whom Without Some Touch Of Madness)
20) Ship (Trust Not Those In Whom Without Some Touch Of Madness)
21) Stars (Liars and Prayers)

Thalia recommends Arboretum, The Big Disappointments, Drug Rug, Major Stars, and Retribution Gospel Choir.

Charlie recommends the new album by American Music Club, The Golden Age.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Well-Rounded Radio's Three Minute Survey

Might you have three minutes to fill out a survey for Well-Rounded Radio?

Your answers will help me determine how or if I can add sponsors to the series and increase the frequency of the show to 2-3 times a month plus increase our marketing efforts to raise awareness about the great musicians and music industry thought leaders on the show.

Click here to start.

Thanks again for listening and if you have any other thoughts above and beyond what is asked, please just hit reply and email me!

best,
Charlie

Charles McEnerney
Host + Producer
Well-Rounded Radio

Friday, April 25, 2008

Eli "Paperboy" Reed and The True Loves: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview

I first heard Eli "Paperboy" Reed (nee Eli Husock) when one of his songs was in a Salon song competition with Hallelujah the Hills, who I interviewed last year. About twenty seconds into his song, I started Googling him and was surprised to learn that he was from Brookline, Massachusetts, one town over from me in Jamaica Plain. By the time I finished listening to the song, I wanted to know more: how did a guy so young learn to infuse so many great influences and be able to turn it back into something that is both familiar and exciting?

Exposed to a lot of great soul, rhythm and blues, country, and gospel music from his father, former Boston Phoenix writer Howard Husock, Reed became a fan of Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and Al Green as well as becoming something of a historian about less-known musicians working in all of these American genres.

Reed, now 24, is living in Boston again, but after graduating high school he lived in both Clarksdale, Mississippi and Chicago—two cultural homes to different styles of the blues. During those years he DJed at a pirate radio station, learned how to play to blues fans for hours on end, played organ in a Chicago church, and hosted a Chicago radio show for blues purists. Good training for the future indeed. The “Paperboy” nickname also was given to Reed during his time in Clarkesdale given his penchant for wearing his grandfather’s newsboy hat.

His first CD, Eli "Paperboy" Reed Sings Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits, was self-released in 2004 and is currently out of print, but hopefully will see a re-release soon as well. The disc was a mix of covers and original songs.

Reed's second CD, Roll with You, is a collection of all-original songs and was produced by Ed Valauskas (producer of recent releases by Graham Parker, Jules Verdone, and many others and bassist in The Gentlemen) at Q Division Studios in Somerville, Massachusetts and will be released by Q Division Records on April 29, 2008. The album was recorded using only analog equipment and sounds amazing.

Walkin' and Talkin' features more of a southern, harmonica-infused blues, while Roll with You takes Reed toward more soul or rhythm and blues style, complete with horns, big bluesy ballads, and lots of dance numbers.

With its release, Reed has already racked up nice notices in Mojo magazine, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Billboard, The Boston Globe, No Depression, and Time Out NY. Mojo, my personal favorite, states, "There are singers who sing and there are singers whose sheer power of expression can knock you off your feet. Eli 'Paperboy' Reed falls firmly into the latter category...[he] threatens to be one of the defining voices of the year."

With some evolution over the years, The True Loves current 7-piece lineup includes Andy Bauer on drums, Ben Jaffe on tenor sax, Paul Jones on tenor sax, Mike Montgomery on bass, Patriq Moody on trumpet, and Ryan Spraker on guitar.

Reed and The True Loves are on tour now and playing all over the USA; check their myspace page for the latest dates and locations and see them live if you can as they are a very fun band in concert that will surely get you dancing.

My apologies in advance for the drop off in Reed’s voice at the very end of the interview. Afraid it happened due to a crashed hard drive and eaten file, so remember kids...back up those files.

I met with Reed in the fall of 2007, as he was working on Roll with You, in Allston, Masschusetts to discuss:

* what led him to move to two of the homes of the blues
* what doing night club DJing has taught him about performing on stage
* why he’s stopped downloading and still enjoys the hunt at record stores

Songs included in the preview include:
1) I'm Gonna Getcha Back (Roll with You) (in preview)
2) The Satisfier (Roll with You)
3) Cool Drink of Water (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
4) I'm Tired of Wandering (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
5) Walkin' and Talkin' (For My Baby) (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
6) Fat Mama Rumble (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
7) Woman Woman Blues (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
8) I Just Got to Know (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
9) Something You Got (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
10) Won't Give Up Without a Fight (Roll with You)
11) Take My Love with You (Roll with You)
12) Am I Just Fooling Myself (Roll with You)
13) I'll Roll with You (Roll with You)
14) Stake Your Claim (Roll with You)
15) (Doin' the) Boom Boom (Roll with You)
16) Don't Let Me Down (Walkin' and Talkin' (for My Baby) & Other Smash Hits)
17) It's Easier (Roll with You)
18) Am I Wasting My Time (Roll with You)
19) She Walks (Roll with You)
20) Slippershell by Kristin Hersh (Pocket Mix) (in close)

Eli recommends Sam Cooke: Live at the Harlem Square Club, Sonny Boy Williamson's Down and Out Blues, O.V. Wright's If It's Only Tonight, Dixie Hummingbird's In the Morning Luther Ingram's Pity for the Lonely, Sharon Jones and the Dap-kings, and Doctor Dog.

Charlie recommends Goodreads.com.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

John McGah of Give US Your Poor: The Well-Rounded Radio interview


Several years ago, right after my wife and I moved to Boston, I did some work with John McGah and a group of wonderful volunteers on fundraising events for Give US Your Poor, a project taking on homelessness. To quote their statement, "The Give US Your Poor mission is to create a revolution in public awareness, dispel myths and inspire action towards ending epidemic homelessness in the United States. It works to affect change at the policy level, engage volunteerism and contributions at the individual and corporate levels through media, technology and education; and to funnel support to partner homeless organizations."

Give US Your Poor is an initiative of the University of Massachusetts Boston. McGah is the founder and Executive Director of Give US Your Poor, a former Senior Research Associate at UMass Boston's Center for Social Policy, and is a recipient of a 2002 International Eisenhower Fellowships.

Released by Appleseed Recordings in September 2007, the Give US Your Poor CD is a diverse and powerful collection of songs featuring collaborations between homeless and formerly homeless musicians and celebrity artists, including Jon Bon Jovi, Buffalo Tom, Mario Frangoulis, Danny Glover, Jewel, Sonya Kitchell, Natalie Merchant, Mighty Sam McClain, Keb' Mo', Madeleine Peyroux, Bonnie Raitt, Tim Robbins, John Sebastian, Pete Seeger, Michelle Shocked, Bruce Springsteen, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Dan Zanes (who Well-Rounded Radio interviewed a few years back).

Give US Your Poor held a concert in November 2007 in Boston as part of "Boston Helps the Homeless: Awareness to Action" weekend presented by Ipswitch Co. and hosted by the Fannie Mae Foundation and Mayor Thomas Menino's Office at the City of Boston. The concert was headlined by Buffalo Tom, Mario Frangoulis, Mighty Sam McClain, and Natalie Merchant and featured homeless and formerly homeless artists that appear on the Give US Your Poor CD. Between acts video messages appeared from Jon Bon Jovi, Danny Glover, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler. See a recap and photos from the event here.

Buy the CD direct from Appleseed Recordings, at Amazon.com, or iTunes. Proceeds from the CD will go towards the national awareness and action campaign to end homelessness. In addition, local and national homeless organizations will be able to sell the CD to raise funds and awareness to their organization. Homeless artists involved will receive direct payment, all travel costs, and mechanical royalties for any original music.

Wondering what you can do to help solve our nation’s homelessness problem? Here's some suggestions from McGah:

1) write your U.S. Senator in support of the the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund. As of March 2008 it had passed the House, but not the Senate, but is co-sponsored by both a Republican and Democrat Senator. The fund primarily provides matching money towards the creation of housing for people to live in the lowest income bracket.

2) For veterans, The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans is supporting a bill "Homes for Heroes" for preventing homelessness among Iraq War Veterans. Visit The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans to find out more.

3) Visit these sites, sign up for email lists, donate to, and/or join these organizations:
The National Alliance to End Homelessness
The National Coalition for the Homeless
The National Heathcare for the Homeless Council

4) Let your voice be heard!

Give US Your Poor is also currently working on a documentary film about homelessness along with creating educational curriculums and local outreach. Watch select video previews of Southwest stories and East Coast stories. There's also a great video segment about Natalie Merchant's participation and recording session with homeless and formerly homeless artists on YouTube.

In February I met with McGah in my current hometown of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts to discuss:
* what Appleseed Recordings is and what their particular social goals are
* how Give US Your Poor solicited and selected homeless and formerly homeless artists to participate in the project
* how this project can help combat homelessness and spread the word about this critical issue

Photo: Bryan How

Songs featured in the interview include:
1) Keb' Mo' and Eagle Park Slim- Baby Don't Let Me Go (in preview)
2) Natalie Merchant and Friends - There is No Good Reason (in preview)
3) Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen - Hobo's Lullaby
4) Sweet Honey in the Rock - Stranger Blues
5) Michelle Shocked and Michael Sullivan - Becky's Tune
6) Buffalo Tom - Ink Falling (Father Outside)
7) Mario Frangoulis - Feels Like Home
8) Bonnie Raitt and Weepin' Willie Robinson - Walking the Dog
9) Tim Robbins - Impossible Boulevard
10) Madeleine Peyroux - I Think it's Going to Rain Today
11) Mark Erelli - Here and Now
12) Kyla Middleton and Dan Zanes - Boll Weivel
13) Natalie Merchant and Friends - There is No Good Reason
14) audio documentary set to music - Land of 10,000 Homeless-Minneapolis
15) Danny Glover - My Name is Not "Those People"
16) Del Goldfarb and John Sebastian - Portable Man
17) Sonya Kitchell - So Lonely
18) Natalie Merchant and Friends - There is No Good Reason

John recommends the song Last King of May by Natalie Merchant on her Ophelia CD and "I'll Work for Your Love" on Bruce Springsteen's Magic CD, and the band The Wait.

Charlie recommends Tune Your World, The Future of Music Coalition's education events in upstate New York, and following me on Twitter.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ida: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview


I first discovered the music of the band Ida in kind of a backward way. As a dad with crazy snobby tastes in kid’s music, I had discovered Dan Zanes’ music about seven years ago when my daughter was born. As a fan of his from The Del Fuegos, I got the chance to interview him for Well-Rounded Radio in 2004. When I asked him about other artists playing "good" family music, Elizabeth Mitchell’s name rose to the top (as did Ella Jenkins, who has also become a favorite of my clan).

Not long after I saw Mitchell and Littleton perform a terrific concert at FirstNight Boston in a cavernous convention room and picked up her first two CDs, You Are My Flower and You Are My Sunshine. Any band that plays Velvet Underground covers is alright with me. I was hooked. Digging a bit, I discovered that Mitchell and husband, Daniel Littleton, actually got started out playing music in the slow core band Ida, so I picked up a bunch of their earlier CDs and was equally blown away. I’ll attribute the fact that I was living on the west coast for the latter part of the 90s for why this Brooklyn-based band wasn’t on my radar sooner, but Ida has an impressive catalogue.

Mitchell started out making music at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island (at the same time as Lisa Loeb, who she later collaborated with) and then relocated to New York City. Littleton played in a number of Annapolis, Maryland bands in the late 80s, including the punk band The Hated and played in a number of bands in the early '90s, including Three Shades of Dirty, Choke, and Slack (with Jenny Toomey, who Well-Rounded Radio interviewed a few months back).

Ida was formed in 1992 by Mitchell and Littleton as a duo in New York City. The band is named for Ida Machado Schafer, the grandmother of Mitchell's old friend, the artist and playwright Erin Courtney. Schafer was 92 years old at the time Mitchell and Littleton formed the group.

The band's discography includes Tales of Brave Ida (Simple Machines, 1994), I Know About YouSimple Machines, 1996), Ten Small Paces Simple Machines, 1997), Will You Find Me (Tiger Style, 2000), Tour Support (2000), The Braille Night (Tiger Style Records, 2001), Shhh... (Time Stereo, 2002), Heart Like a River ( Polyvinyl, 2005), and The Bottom of the Hill (a live 2-CD set, Last Affair Records, 2005).

Their latest, Lovers Prayers was produced and mixed by Warn Defever (His Name is Alive) and Ida and released by Polyvinyl Records in late January 2008. The current line-up includes Jean Cook on violin, Ruth Keating, on drums, Daniel Littleton on guitar and vocals, Elizabeth Mitchell on guitar, harmonium, and vocals, and Karla Schickele on bass, piano, and vocals. The album was recorded at Levon Helm Studios, a studio owned by Levon Helm of The Band in Woodstock, New York and we talk about the place and the process in our interview.

In addition to collaborating with Levon Helm on the album, other contributors included singer-songwriter Michael Hurley, cellist Jane Scarpantoni (Lou Reed, Rufus Wainwright), guitarist and drummer Tara Jane O'Neil ( TJO, Rodan, Papa M), pedal steel player Matt Sutton (The Malarkies).

Ida's music makes me think of what Neil Young would sound like if he fronted Luna and invited over Richard and Linda Thompson to sit in. Fans of Idaho, Low, Mojave 3, or any of the music from Mark Kozelek would also not be disappointed. At times, Mitchell’s voice reminds me of Aimee Mann and Karen Carpenter.


Mitchell’s family CDs include You Are My Flower (1998), You Are My Sunshine (2002), and You Are My Little Bird (2006). Mitchell and Lisa Loeb also recorded a children’s album in 2004 entitled Catch the Moon.

Mitchell’s children’s CDs are simple, homespun affairs that my children love. And I love them for teaching traditional songs and providing my little ones with singalongs. They have a wonderful calming effect and I’ve found them perfect for getting my guys going in the morning and for calming them down at bedtime. Littleton also released a solo album with Nobody's Fault But Mine/Down by the Riverside in 2002 that explored his more experimental side, with tape loops and such.

I recently met with Littleton after a recording session at Excello Recording (who were gracious enough to let me record the interview in their great studio) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to discuss:

* recording Lovers Prayers at Helm’s historic studio
* how the band worked up new material for the album
* how he and Mitchell switch gears between their various musical lives

Daniel recommends Moondog's album for children and Milton Graves.

Well-Rounded Radio recommends a new business model for financing music: Tune Your World.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Well-Rounded Radio Mix 007

Well-Rounded Mix 007 includes music from Billy Atwell, Austin and Elliott, Ave To, Marna Bales, Chris Elliot, The Freys, Dan Gonzalez, Gogol Bordello, Alicia Bay Laurel, Midnight Siren, Leah Siegel, Song Sparrow Research, and ThreeFifty Duo.

For all 13 artists on this show who wanted to share their music with you, consider buying their music, whether it’s on a shiny piece of plastic or as a digital file. Buy a t-shirt or a hat or whatever schwag they’re selling. Go see them live or make friends with them at myspace and last.fm or mog.com or wherever. Tell a friend about them and share your good taste in music. Sign up to their email list or subscribe to an RSS feed. And tell them Well-Rounded Radio sent you if you can. The way the music business works is changing drastically by the day. Support the music you like and love and help change it.

1) Song Sparrow Research is from Seattle, Washington and includes Hamilton Boyce on guitar and vocals, Nash Turley on drums, harmonica, and vocals, and David Balatero on bass and cello. This song, Dry Sun, is from an EP called The New Ragtime Revolution.

2) Leah Siegel song A Day At The River (With You And Your Lover) is from the CD Little Mule. Siegel is based in New York City and recorded the album in Seattle, Washington. Little Mule is one of the stronger, complete albums I've heard of late.

3) Billy Atwell’s music was featured a long time back along with my interview with Dave Kusek, the co-author of The Future of Music book. Atwell released a CD entitled DOS, from which this song is from. Atwell also continues to score films do soundtrack work.

4) Gogol Bordello’s Super Taranta! was released by SideOneDummy Records and was produced by Victor Van Vugt, who also also produced Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and PJ Harvey). This song is called Zina-Marina.

5) Ave To is the trio Nicholas Kolai Laget, Oddisee, and The Unknown from their disc Three Way Intersection with a mix of jazz, hip hop, and soul. The band works in the Washington D.C. area.

6) Dan Gonzalez’s Through the Lies and the Beautiful is from his CD Public Square, his second full length CD. Gonzalez is Boston-based and also works on an education project for social justice called Columbus Day Gift Project.

7) Austin and Elliott’s Truth That Hurts is from an EP of the same title. Elliott is also featured in this show with his solo work, with the song Making Up Lost Love.

8) Chris Elliot’s song is Making Up Lost Love where you’ll find the title of the CD, satellite UFO jet plane or star, worked in. itmakes me wants to dig out the Michael Penn CDs (or tapes, probably…). Elliot is also half of the Austin and Elliot that is also featured in this show.

9) Alicia Bay Laurel’s CD is What Living’s All About: Jazz, Blues, and Other Moist Situations. This song, America the Blues, jumps out as a bit of Patti Smith meets George Carlin.

10) Marna Bales’s CD is Boys Will Be Boys and the song is Wish You Hadn’t Come Around. The disc was produced by her husband, drummer Jody Boyd and incorporates Bales’ daughter Macy in her recordings and performances.

11) ThreeFifty Duo is Geremy Schulick and Brett Parnell and take on a mix of classical, contemporary, and original songs on their self-titled CD.

12) Midnight Siren is Karen Maria Capo and John Kelly. The song, Maybe, comes from their CD Instead of Sleeping.

13) The Freys’s CD is People are Sacred and the song is Mother Moon. The band is two brothers and a cousin, Daniel, Sam, and Adam, aged 25, 22, and 21 and are based in Northern California.

Hope you enjoyed Well-Rounded Radio Mix 007…be back in a few days with our interview with Ida.

Charlie

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Fleshtones: The Well-Rounded Radio Interview


The Fleshtones have been making amazing music for more than thirty years, starting off amid the CBGB's scene of the mid 70s in New York City (with the Talking Heads, Blondie, Patti Smith, The Ramones, Richard Hell and The Voidoids, Television, etc.), starting as a garage band with a lot of soul and ultimately merging into a sound they call Super Rock, which they describe as “a greasy ball of sonic and cultural influences ranging in feel from R&B, disco, and Lost In Space to garage, frat rock, and Mexican horror flicks.”

The current band members include Ken Fox on bass and vocals, Bill Milhizer on drums and vocals, Keith Streng on guitar and vocals, and Peter Zaremba on lead vocals, harmonica, and organ. The Fleshtones were also recently immortalized in print with the release of Sweat: The Story of the Fleshtones, America’s Garage Band (Continuum Books, 2007) by Joe Bonomo. The book is a fascinating read about The Fleshtones, taking you from their origins in Whitestone, New York in the 1970s through a variety of members who have played in the band, countless tours and albums, and up to the present. So, if you want the full story, do yourself a favor and read this book.

I saw The Fleshtones dozens of times while growing up in New York and every show was a blast. Suffice to say, The Fleshtones should have been huge (and still should), but they’ve had their share of bad breaks and ill timing (i.e., not playing whatever’s in vogue at the moment…they play timeless rock and roll instead with great songs to boot!). Fleshtones fans are rabid though, and that should tell you something about their power to connect once you do get turned on to their music and live shows. As their press release says, “They survived punk rock, new wave, no wave, neo garage, post-punk, grunge, and more neo garage, never succumbing to temporary trendiness, scornful laughter, or non-alcoholic beer.”

Vindicated! A Tribute to The Fleshtones was released in the fall of 2007 on vinyl by Larsen Records (France) and on CD by Dirty Water Records (U.K.). The album features 22 international bands (including Hoodoo Gurus, the Nomads & Handsome Dick Manitoba, the Slickee Boys, the Woggles, the Swingin' Neckbreakers, Richard Mazda, and others) covering songs spanning the Fleshtones' career.

The band has more than twenty albums to their name, and every one is a keeper. Some of my favorites include Roman Gods (1982, IRS Records), Hexbreaker (1983, IRS Records), Beautiful Light (1994, Naked Language/Ichiban Records), Laboratory of Sound (1995, Ichiban Records) to the more recent Do You Swing? and Beachhead (2003 and 2006 respectively, both on YepRoc Records). For a full discography, visit their Wikipedia page.

Their new album, Take a Good Look!, was released in late January 2008 and is also on YepRoc Records. Recorded with Jim Diamond (White Stripes, The Mooney Suzuki) at Ghetto Recorder in Detroit and in the New York City’s Lower East Side at Ivan Julian’s (guitarist/bassist in Richard Hell and The Voidoids, Isley Brothers, Matthew Sweet, Shriekback) N.Y. Hed studio.

Zaremba explains the new album’s title: “’Take a good look!’ was one of Gordon Spaeth’s favorite tag lines whenever the Fleshtones were attracting unwanted (but usually warranted) attention, which was often!” Spaeth played sax in the band for years, but passed away in 2005. Per the band, "his mock-serious, cocksure attitude is alive and well in the 21st century, as The Fleshtones offer a dozen all-original tunes testifying to pride, perseverance, and sweaty good times."

The band is out on tour, with stops in March in New Haven, Boston, Providence, Baton Rouge, San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and New Orleans and in May in France, Germany, Italy, and Holland. Check out some live songs and videos of the band including Soul City, American Beat, American Beat video (from the movie Bachelor Party), Shadowline, Teenage Zombie, Right Side of a Good Thing, Hexbreaker + The Theme from the Vindicators, Jump, Jive, and Harmonize, Let's Go, Take a Walk with The Fleshtones, Accelerated Emotion, Beautiful Light, Hitsburg USA, Hard Lovin' Man, Push Up Man, The Theme From The Vindicators, Let's Get Serious, Double Dip, and a behind the scenes on the new CD, Take a Good Look.

The band also released a live DVD of a Paris performance Brooklyn à Paris! Live at La Maroquinerie DVD (Big Enough) in 2006.

I recently met with Zaremba in Brooklyn, New York to discuss:
* what it is that keeps the band going strong, 30+ years in
* how their new CD, Take a Good Luck!, was recorded and what sets it apart from many of their past albums
* how the band has responded to the various garage band revivals over the years

Photo by Anne Streng

Peter recommends The 45s, The Cynics, The Sons of Hercules, The Ugly Beats, The Maggots, The Nomads, and The Hoodoo Gurus.

Well-Rounded Radio recommends Karmafan, Tourfilter, and audio and video podcasts and webcasts from The Future of Music Coalition.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Well-Rounded Radio Mix 006

Happy February, everyone...

Well-Rounded Radio sixth Mix show includes Bedouin Soundclash, Ronnda Cadle, The Dave Kain Group, Ecce Hobo, Caitlin Frame, Gillian Grassie, Marco Mahler, Anne Roos, Post Oak Savannah, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, The Silver Lining, Devon Sproule, Stepladder, and The United Steelworkers of Montreal.

For all 15 artists on this show who wanted to share their music with you, consider buying their music, whether it’s on a shiny piece of plastic or as a digital file. Buy a t-shirt or a hat or whatever schwag they’re selling. Go see them live or make friends with them at myspace and last.fm or mog.com or wherever. Tell a friend about them and share your good taste in music. Sign up to their email list or subscribe to an RSS feed. And tell them Well-Rounded Radio sent you if you can. The way the music business works is changing drastically by the day. Support the music you like and love and help change it.

Well-Rounded Radio recommends checking out Karmafan and Tourfilter.com.

1) Stephan Catenacci’s Helga's Song is a beautiful piece of acoustic music in the spirit of John Fahey or Leo Kottke, but some of the other music on his CD Anubis 2 includes some more progressive and psychedelic sounds than you might expect after hearing this track.

2) Eli Paperboy Reed releases his second album, Roll with You on Q Division Records in March 2008 and this track is It's Easier. We'll have an interview with Reed on Well-Rounded Radio when its released and you can hear how this artist in his early 20s has absorbed so much about the blues and soul and is making a splash with his music that echos back to an earlier era.

3) The Silver Lining were produced by Tony Goddess of Papa Fritas fame and is also in The Rudds, who I interviewed here on Well-Rounded Radio. Their album Well Dressed Blues has a wonderful sound that makes me think of The Mamas and the Papas, Fairport Convention, or the soundtrack from Hair. This song is In the Future.

4) Stepladder's debut album is Nice Guys Finish and this song is Balance Beam. Stepladder is a Boston band featuring Aaron Belyea on guitars and vocals, Chris Burns on drums, and Bill Fallon on bass. The CD also is a who's who of Boston musicians who also contributed to the release of well-crafted power pop.

5) Post Oak Savannah is from Powderly, Texas and their track Sixteen Miles is a great5 example of their sound from their debut, meshing the sounds of country, Americana, and rock.

6) Devon Sproule album is Keep Your Silver Shined and co-released by Brooklyn's City Salvage Records and Chicago's Waterbug Records. It's a strong album throughout.

8) Marco Mahler's Design in Quick Rotation is also very strong album, much of which was written while he was also working on revitalizing a log cabin in the Appalachian foothills. This song is called Study Airports.

9) Ronnda Cadle is from Decatur, Georgia and The River Run is a strong album of guitar instrumentals in the spirit of John Fahey.

10) Caitlin Frame's Give In comes from The Basic EP. Frame is a Boston artist who taught herself guitar, drums, and piano as a teen and later attended Berklee School of Music in Boston, MA.

11) Ann Roos's Who Can Sail Without the Wind? is from her Mermaids and Mariners CD, which spotlights her beautiful Celtic harp playing and Dorothy Hawkinson's fiddle playing.

12) The Dave Kain Group's A Moment in Time reflects this jazz quartet's sound from the album Citizen Kane. The group is from the New York area and Dave Kain fronts the group on guitar.

13) Bedouin Soundclash's 12:59 Lullaby is a beautiful track from the band's album Street Gospel, which was released by Side One Dummy Records. The album was recorded in Toronto by bass player Darryl Jenifer of the Bad Brains and mixed by Paul Kolderie.

14) United Steel Workers of Montreals' Kerosene and Coal was released by Weewerk Records in Canada and this track of wonderful old timey music is called Enile Bertrand.

15) Gillian Grassie also plays harp, infusing some other modern trip-hop sounds into her songs, on her EP To An Unwitting Muse, which I think is a most promising release. This track is The Surface.

16) Ecce Hobo is from the Seattle, Washington area and this song is Calling My Own Name. Where the Devil Dances is another impressive album and the band cites its influences as The Kinks, Brian Eno, Syd Barrett, and Roxy Music.