Archives for category: Indie Rock

Alex Levine on The Kinks, New York Mayor Ed Koch and Underdogs

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos are clever without being cheeky, sincere without being preachy, self-aware but never too in on their own joke. Still, their most endearing trait is a simple one: They make murderously catchy, endorphin-boosting, shout-along guitar music with vigor and zeal. – Pitchfork, Zach Kelly

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos wear New York on their sleeves as a band of brothers that have been playing together since they were Wee Brooklyn Lads, taking in the sights and sounds of Nirvana and the social angst of the 90’s as well as The Beastie Boys and mixing it with New York’s best punk pioneers, The Dictators, The Ramones with the interweaving guitar techniques of Television and put them in a modern context of socially conscious East Coast Kinks with Hip Hop lyrics.

Ryan Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Ryan Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

While at The End this past Monday night, Alex made the comment that they thought about moving to Nashville. Nashville has changed and The So So Glos would bring a different slice of pie to Music City. Alex is not only busy with the band but with Adam Reich and Shea Stadium Studio in New York.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: Tell me what is going on at Shea Stadium.

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

Alex Levine / The So So Glos: Every band that comes through Shea Stadium is documented and they are recorded by our Producer, Adam Reich who records all the bands and puts them up  at Live at Shea Stadium and archives them all.

TNB: Is it similar to the video you had that you did on KEXP Seattle that I saw on YouTube?

Adam Reich, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Adam Reich, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

AL: Yeah, yeah, it’s like that but, it’s just that all the bands at Shea are up there. You can look at full sets.

TNB: My favorite cut was “Diss Town.” I don’t think you have released that as a single.

Zach Staggers, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Zach Staggers, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

AL: It’s going to be the next single. I think.

TNB: I do like the video of “Son Of An American.” I guess that kinda shows you guys growing up playing instruments and all that kind of stuff, right?

AL: Yeah, that’s the way we started. We’ve been together for a while.

TNB: Yeah, you and your brother Ryan and I guess Zach ended up being your step-brother right?

AL: That’s how it all came together. It’s kind of the story of the band in the early stages.

TNB: As far as the sound, I was going to ask you how much Punk rock is around in New York or Brooklyn anymore? Is there a scene?

AL: We started the band about six years ago and we were definitely not in fashion or in style.  We were caught up in a lot of the Art scene and a lot of music shit parties and we were kind of always outcasts. There was noise rock or really hip shit. So, we kind of got into the DIY scene in Brooklyn and we helped  expand it. It seems like every day I see a new Punk band come out so I guess we were ahead of the times? I don’t know what to say about that.

TNB: Well to me, you are kind of a bridge because, obviously you have newer influences but, when you think of the original Punk that started in New York, I can hear that in your music  like The Dictators and a little bit of Television with the interactive guitar work that you guys do.

AL: Yeah, yeah totally.

TNB: I mean do you guys feel you are flying the flag for New York in a way?

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

AL: In some way. I think the mentality of all punkers is not necessarily what genre you play but, the energy and we are bringing a lot of different styles to the table. We’ve got Hip Hop. I don’t know if you hear that but, a lot of my lyrics are influenced a lot by Hip Hop. We are at the stage in music where  it kinda goes and it is just all mixed up in the Pop. But, the energy is Punk Rock. You know, pushing it a little bit toward the future. It is such a community between Rock and Roll and Punk Rock.  When it comes to music, I think we try to focus on a lot of different styles and there has been a lot of different kinds of music that we have been into from Motown to Country and Hip Hop as well as Punk Rock and Rock and Roll.

TNB: It is really upbeat stuff.

AL: Yeah.

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Alex Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

TNB: When Punk Rock started out, it wasn’t all like bands like Fear and stuff. There were all different kinds of styles. Dictators were kind of cornball and they were having a good time.

AL: Yeah, my favorite stuff that they did was when they had those bittersweet undertones, you know.     The Kinks pulled that off a lot, like heavy social commentary and yet it was very poppy and happy in a big way but the subject is this really dark topic. I always like a bittersweet marriage between darkness and lightness, a walk on that thin line.

TNB: I think that is a good comparison with The Kinks. You guys name check a lot of things that put you where your band is from.

AL: Yeah.

Ryan Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Ryan Levine, The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

TNB:  The Kinks talked about socio-economic things in a fun way about where they were from.

AL: Totally. I don’t think there are too many bands that talk about what they see nowadays for better or for worse, you know. They are always trying to do something simple. I think it is in our personalities to talk about it.

TNB:  I’ll tell you, starting your video off with Mayor Koch really cracked me up.

AL: Ha ha!

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

TNB: It was like how did you find that? How did you get permission? It was just hilarious.

AL: It was The Beastie Boys style that got us to think about using it.

TNB: Yeah, the video kind of reminded me of like a Beastie Boys video thing.

AL: Ed Koch, you know, kind of represented the whole of what New York is all about. In New York, you have such a perpetual underdog. We kind of see ourselves as underdogs in the whole music game because, you know, we don’t really have that much of a gimmick. We are what we are. We are not trying to sell much. We are just trying to live with the truth. A big deal to us is being underdogs.

TNB: When I looked at you guys you have this sense of dressing like uptown Beastie Boys but, also kind of like Television, where Television really didn’t have a look after Richard Hell left. They were just a band from New York and this is what we do.

AL: Yeah.

TNB: Anything coming up?

AL: Nothing really, just happy being back in Nashville and having a fun time.

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

The So So Glos, The End, Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

Advertisements
Tristen performing at The Groove, Record Store Day 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Tristen performing at The Groove, Record Store Day 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

2013 proved to be a year where Nashville didn’t make as  big an impact nationally as it should have with no major album from either Country or Nashville sub-genres making any real impact on any national or international best-of lists from Rolling Stone Magazine [other than Keith Urban noted] to Mojo or anything else in-between.

It’s not that there were not any releases with big expectations from our region, but apparently they didn’t catch on nationally or internationally for that matter. Missing in action on the best of lists were Kings Of Leon, Paramore, Jack White, The Black Keys, Taylor Swift and pretty much every record that Nashville Scene listed as the best this year including releases by Tristen and Diarrhea Planet.

Zac Brown continues to chart his own path in the Country music scene with his Southern Ground Festival, Southern Ground group of artists that is now headquartered in Nashville  and charting records that have more to tell; just recently putting out the Dave Grohl Sessions Vol. 1, the problem is, can one list a four song EP as an album? As an artist, I definitely can give Zac kudos for songwriting, performance and outright tenaciousness.

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

MODOC, Soulshine Pizza, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

It’s not to say that these were not good records, but it shows the deepening divide between well crafted music and the ability to get it out there in some way where it becomes part of the collective consciousness and not just affect the local pub crawl or mini festival.

Most stateside best-of lists had Vampire Weekend at or near the top of their lists whereas in the rest of the world they might have made the Top ten in one major publication and barely scratch the Top 40 in other important music rags and blogs outside the United States.

Luther Dickinson, North Mississippi Allstars, Cannery Ballroom 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Luther Dickinson, North Mississippi Allstars, Cannery Ballroom 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Rolling Stone probably had one of the most bi-polar lists that included everything from real music artists to “entertainers” such as Miley Cyrus – Bangerz in their Top 40 list whereas Miley Cyrus isn’t on any major serious list outside the United States. Henry Rollins had a polite way of putting it this way: there is a lot of stuff that Rolling Stone writes about that isn’t on his radar.  Rolling Stone has gotten so far away from its original intent that the 360 label controlled deal signed Entertainers make the front cover regularly as well as politicians and a great amount of type space is spent driving home the Editors personal political point of view. I can’t fault them completely; there is the occasional Ginger Baker or Merle Haggard interview perfection. They even have a great local Nashville writer, Adam Gold, who doesn’t really get to write that much about the real Nashville. In a town where a 1600 word piece could be written every week about records being made and shows being played by regional Artists, nine out of ten articles are reviews of the previous Nashville TV Show plot.  Why don’t they give Adam free reign and really show what this town has to offer?

Tim Easton & JD Simo at Grimey's 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Tim Easton & JD Simo at Grimey’s 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

As far as America’s perception of Nashville, I can’t fault the Nashville TV Show. There are some great aspects that I enjoy such as the cityscape backdrops and watching the “Live” performances to see who is playing in the band as well as T Bone Burnetts choices for locally written music. I always like to see folks like Colin Linden or Jim Lauderdale on the small screen!  I am still waiting to see JD Simo, Kenny Vaughan or maybe Dave Roe. Of course, if they put Joe Fick on there, he would probably steal the thunder away from the movie star. Honestly, Hayden Panetierre does really well playing a damaged girl that is trying to do her best to be good / bad at the same time. She has a heart of gold and a heart of stone that makes yin and yang seem as normal as Corned Beef Hash and Shrimp and Grits on the same plate. It just seems that when she tries to do something good she ends up screwing it up. I’m not sure if she is suppose to be bi-polar or her Mother smoked crack while she was in the womb but she sure does need the reassurance of her fans.

Mojo is probably the best music major publication in the world and they managed to have a list that was almost devoid of pop schlock and had an Artist, Bill Callahan – Dream River at number one that didn’t even make a stateside list.

In Mojo, Memphis inspired Mavis Staples – One True Vine sat at number 21 whereas it was not featured on any lists in any major American publications. What used to be true is still true, foreign music fans seem to appreciate real American Artists more than we do ourselves. Guy Clark’s My Favorite Picture Of You  as well as Jason Isbell’ Southeastern cracked some great lists without making a whisper on any stateside lists outside of Americana specific publications.

lorde pure heroineOkay, the Artist that probably really got the short end of the stick in all the lists was Lorde. Lorde’s Pure Heroine probably had more impact than any other record this year whether I like it or anybody else does. Lorde has already been ripped off by K-Tel style sound-a-like commercials for Boss and Victoria’s Secret.  They ripped her off as blatantly as if somebody had tried to write a commercial that sounded like “Honky Tonk Women” or “Brown Sugar” back in the day and just call it advertising Muzak. Lorde definitely brings more to the table than Lady Gaga’s “Fashion” going after David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” instead of previous attempts at Madonna’s eighties catalog.

Okay, as far as local goes. I think Nashville Scene got it right for the most part, but, what about Ricky Skaggs or Modoc’s new albums?  There is a much larger alternative scene in Nashville than even where Nashville Scene went with its own list.

DeRobert & the Half Truths at The High Watt 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

DeRobert & the Half Truths at The High Watt 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

Although regional albums didn’t seem to impact national lists this year, there are prospects coming up in 2014. For one, Nikki Lane has those Dan Auerbach produced tracks still waiting for a drop date. GED Soul is putting out their first full length vinyl, De Robert & The Half Truths – I’m Tryin’ on January 14th. Jack White is putting out new music by The Dead Weather.  One could hope for a new Kenny Vaughan album or even a revolutionary new Country album like Miranda Lambert’s Revolution  or how about a historical Live recording like Jerry Lee Lewis Live at Third Man from a couple of years ago.

Probably my biggest anticipated Nashville area release will be the new Mike Farris album which has been a couple of years in the making and should get a release date some time in 2014.

With the prospect that album buying is an ever shrinking source of revenue and has started to become a vanity project for almost everybody but a major label 360 signed Artist / Entertainer /  Dancer / Avatar, will the “best of” album lists start to disappear and be replaced by the “best live” performances since that is where the hopes for revenue are? I can’t answer that one. I still buy CD’s and vinyl and I don’t buy shrill sounding MP3’s. That is my line in the sand. I like liner notes, credits and photos so downloads don’t do much for me.

Doyle Lawson at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN 2013, photo - Brad Hardisty

Doyle Lawson at Simply Bluegrass, Nashville, TN 2013, photo – Brad Hardisty

It seems that music in people’s lives is as important as ever, yet twenty million views on You Tube might only translate into 80,000 units sold.  In this kind of environment, an Artist might be safer to build a following in a sub-genre such as Americana, Blues or Bluegrass and tour on that specific festival circuit rather than to try to get a grass roots following on some new angle of Indie music and try to build up from the clubs. The prospect of never getting bigger than the clubs and eternally couch surfing are enormous in the current all-music –should- be- free- to- listen- to conundrum.

I have to admit that bands are becoming creative.  The Cult talks about sending out “capsules” of music in the future such as three new songs every quarter. Jack White has printed different band names on the CD’s he has taken on tour to sell to make collectibles out of “tour bought” merchandise. Infinity Cat has put out different covers or changed up colored vinyl to keep its catalog collectible among label followers. Creative marketing is as important as creative songwriting nowadays. A limited quantity of whatever seems to be a “buy” even though it may only bring in a limited amount of money.

Will there ever be a big budget grandiose masterpiece like Rumours or Dark Side of The Moon in the future? Maybe not but, if so, it would probably come out of a big budget Kickstarter campaign for a complete vanity piece that may only sell 20,000 units due to current radio formats and the free listening or subscription services now available. If there are less units of such a great masterpiece out there than the original Ramones album, will it be found and enjoyed 20 years down the road?

I can’t give up on the fact that somehow the music business will survive in some fashion that will keep creative people out there producing something new. I love going to see a band live but, will there ever be a budget for Quincy Jones style production on real music and not the flavor of the month?

Anyways, my best of list is based on a couple of criteria. I like it and it is regional, as in, from the south or with ties to the south and not necessarily middle Tennessee. I’ll keep it to ten because there are 20 and 30 and 40 lists; why not just make it essential?

andy t nick nixonNumber 10: The Andy T Band and Nick Nixon – Drink Drank Drunk

Andy T has been a regular guitar slinger on the blues scene all around town after arriving here via California and Houston, Texas. Nick Nixon is a native son following in the tradition of the Jefferson Street scene. This mix of a stew of standards produced and mixed by Texan Anson Funderburgh was the strongest Nashville Blues record out this year with a definite Gatemouth Texas Swing Blues influence and got the two with their band on Blues Festivals nationwide in 2013. Stand-out tracks: “Midnight Hour” “Drink Drank Drunk” “Have You Seen My Monkey?”

ricky skaggs bruce hornsby coverNumber 9: Ricky Skaggs and Bruce Hornsby – Cluck Ol’ Hen Live

Ricky Skaggs has been an Ambassador of Bluegrass to the world and his collaboration with Bruce Hornsby on piano turned out to be one of the greatest live events of the past few years. This recording captured from a couple of those shows features some great jamming with Bruce Hornsby kind of going to the roots after having toured with The Grateful Dead years ago. The in-between banter gives the feel of really being there. Stand-out tracks: “How Mountain Girls Can Love” “The Way It Is” “The Dreaded Spoon.”

MODOC_AlbumArtNumber 8: MODOC

MODOC has had great song placement in the last year or so that has put their music on television.  MODOC just plain rocks and “Runnin” has been all over the local airwaves. This album still has some legs after its release in August and will get a vinyl release after the first of the year. The Indiana natives have really stuck to their guns since arriving in Nashville about three years ago and have really improved their song craft and play every date they can.  A solid album is the pay dirt. Stand – out tracks: “Runnin” “Coward” “I Want You”

patty griffin american kidNumber 7: Patty Griffin – American Kid       

You could say Patty Griffin is from Austin and you could say that Robert Plant is from England, but let’s be real, they spend a lot of time here in Nashville and therefore are just as much Nashvillian as most of us who come from everywhere from California to Australia and spend perhaps a good majority of our lives here in pursuit of musical nirvana.  This may be Patty’s current album as the reigning Queen of Americana, but Robert makes enough guest appearances to let you know he is there without calling it a duet album. The North Mississippi Allstars make an appearance as well. Stand-out tracks “Don’t Let me Die In Florida,” “Ohio” and “Highway Song.”

jason isbell southeasternNumber 6: Jason Isbell – Southeastern

215 reviews and this album is still five stars on Amazon. Southeastern should be on every Top ten list this year.  Unfortunately, this was mostly shunned by American media while in Britain and Europe, where The Drive By Truckers were treated like The Rolling Stones, this gets what it deserves. Muscle Shoals will live on forever and Jason is definitely one of the favorite sons.  There are guest spots by Kim Richey (“Stockholm”) and Amanda Shires on “Travelling Alone.” There are a couple of southern rockers but most of this set would go over well at The Bluebird Cafe. Stand-out tracks “Flying Over Water,” “New South Wales,” and “Super 8.”

tim easton not coolNumber 5: Tim Easton – Not Cool

Tim encapsulizes everything cool about Nashville in one album that includes members of Robert’s regulars from The Don Kelley Band, Joe Fick [The Dempseys} on bass and JD Simo on guitar. The recording puts you front and center listening to real new Nashville Honky Honk music. What a concept! People travel from all over the world to hear it, so why not put it out to the airwaves.  If you missed the in-store that featured JD on guitar at Grimey’s, you missed one of the best in-stores of 2013. The songwriting has some gritty stories and moves things out past toney East Nashville to Riverside.  The old plywood acoustic sits in the middle of the mix. This one sits somewhere between Dylan’s Nashville Skyline and John Mellencamp’s Sun records effort a couple of years ago.  Stand out tracks include “Little Doggie (1962)” and “Four Queens.” “Troubled Times”

north mississippi allstars world boogieNumber 4: North Mississippi Allstars – World Boogie Is Coming

What can you say when the first two tracks start out with Robert Plant on harmonica recorded at Royal in Memphis? The Dickinsons along with Lightnin’ Malcolm are taking us for a ride through Holly Springs on this essentially covers album that plays out like a Midsummer Night’s Dream where R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough are still alive and Junior’s Place is still open for all night jams and ribs. Although Blues can let out your frustrations, this one puts on a smile and gets your groove going. Stand-out tracks

“Snake Drive,” Meet Me In The City” and “Goin’ To Brownsville.”

diarrhea planet artwork 2013Number 3: Diarrhea Planet – I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

Diarrhea Planet is probably the best live show in Nashville right now, especially if you like guitar. They one up Lynyrd Skynyrd with four guitars. I repeat, FOUR GUITARS!  Watching them is like watching a Jack Black music skit on SNL, but the guitar work is pretty good and they are always entertaining and have some strong music that is designed for live consumption. Stand out tracks:  “Separations” “Ugliest Son” “The Sound Of My Ceiling Fan”

guy clark my favorite picture of youNumber 2: Guy Clark – My Favorite Picture Of You

Guy Clark pays tribute to his wife and wears his heart on his sleeve and his favorite picture of his wife on the cover. My Favorite Picture of You is an introspective soul searching masterpiece that makes one stop after every song and process the lyrics they just listened to. If Nashville is about songwriting then this is this year’s litmus test. Stand-out tracks, “My Favorite Picture of You” “Cornmeal Waltz”“Heroes”

tristen cavesNumber 1: Tristen – Caves

Tristen proves a point that you can follow your muse no matter what style in Nashville and create something cohesive, beautiful and unique. If this doesn’t become the huge record it should then it will become a cult album that everybody will want to show their friend and turn them onto. If Mojo ever gets a hold of this one, Tristen will be over in England and Europe playing to sold out crowds for the next year and it will be tough to ever see her play in the backyard at The Groove on Record Store Day again.  Tristen comes from the world where Pop means great songs like The Beatles, The Smiths, Fleetwood Mac or Blondie. Stand out tracks: “No One’s Gonnna Know” “House of War” “Dark Matter” “Monster”

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN    thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom

2010, Corb Lund, Hayes Carll, Lucinda Willianms, Hayes’ parents.

September used to be back to school month, now that school starts early, September is not only when the CMA’s hit Nashville, but, when the world comes for Americana, Bluegrass and where Next Big Nashville morphed into Soundland and moved to October.

While Nashville may be known for the CMA’s , Eric Church and Taylor Swift, it is also known for what Rolling Stone called the “coolest music festival in the world”, The Americana Music Festival hits the city for the ultimate pub crawl from September 12th-15th.

Dan Baird with Brad, 2010, Cannery Ballroom, Stones Tribute

Past years have seen everybody from Don Was to Robert Plant to Nashville’s Own, Justin Townes Earle put on some great showcases.  Last years’ awards show mashed up Gregg Allman, Robert Plant with The Avett Brothers, The Civil Wars and Mumford and Sons (sorry, the name reminds me of Sanford and Son). In fact, it seemed like a hybrid MTV awards show where music mattered and all sugar pop was left at the end caps in Wal Mart.

This year proves to be no exception, some notable sets will be Memphis night at The Rutledge featuring sets by Jim Lauderdale and the Mississippi All-Stars, okay, yes, I’ll say it again, Jim Lauderdale and The Mississippi All-Stars also a late set featuring an all-star jam playing the music of Big Star.

For those with a traditional view of what is “Americana”, Corb Lund will be at Mercy Lounge this Wednesday followed by a tribute to the late Levon Helm. In fact the line-up seems to be all inclusive with The Wallflowers, Mindy Smith, Chris Scruggs, Rodney Crowell among others playing all over the place for several nights.

As far as Americana goes, the easiest party route is to hang between Mercy Lounge and The Cannery Ballroom with an occasional run to The Basement for some harder to find sets.

Don Was, photo – Brad Hardisty

The problem is, this year, there are some great line-ups at The Rutledge and the Station Inn that will make that shuttle route a little difficult and may necessitate borrowing somebody’s 20-speed bike to get around each night.

Peelander-Z at Exit/In, NBN 2010 – photo – Brad Hardisty

The awards show at the end of the event, always proves to be a magical evening at The Ryman. This year should be no different. I am rooting for Alabama Shakes in the Emerging Artist category as well as Jason Isbell (Alabama represent!) & The 400 Unit with Album of the Year, Here We Rest.

The Dillards, IBMA 2010, photo – Brad Hardisty

Not to be outdone, IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Week runs from 24th-30th at, for convenience, The Nashville Convention Center and Renaissance Hotel. The IBMA Convention is not just about showcases, but, people are encouraged to carry around their guitars, fiddles, mandolins  and join in the jam sessions that run almost till the sun comes up every night.

You could say Ricky Skaggs is our local Bluegrass patron Saint, with yearly residencies at The Ryman and a new album, Music to My Ears coming out this month, but, there are many new young artists playing traditional bluegrass as well as pulling in some modern ideas and pre-war non-bluegrass styles.

This is the real rebellion. While the music industry is finding a million ways to make computers sing and dance and auto-tune any Disney character into stardom, both the Americana Music Festival and the IBMA World of Bluegrass celebrate real musicianship, communal collaboration and a reason for a Luthier to keep honing his skills in search of the perfect tone wood.

This recipe continues to build both communities with younger generations every year.

After all, how many times can the music business reinvent the 70’s and the 80’s?

Mike Farris hanging at Mercy Lounge, Americana 2010, photo – Brad Hardisty

So, while commercial Country is now going to be shown every week in the night time soap, Nashville, basically re-spinning the movie Country Strong, “Americana,” which can claim anything from pre-war anthems to Red Dirt scene country and Bluegrass, New Grass and all its modern heirs are really the new cool. These two celebrations are really the underground cool.

As far as Soundland? What happened? Well, it’s now on October 6th and after a peak year three years ago that featured major music business players talking about the next generation of music delivery and several days of new music, it is now one day down by the river with bands that already play Lollapalooza and other big festivals.

Wanda Jackson signing autographs at Mercy Lounge after Jack White produced album showcase, Americana 2010.

There are only a few locals, when Nashville could really do a Next Big Nashville with such a burgeoning Indie Rock and other type Music Scene, we get Soundland with just a couple of token Nashvillians, PUJOL and Nikki Lane.  I guess we are going for national respect and now start-ups like Secret Stages in Birmingham are filling in the gap. Can I just say…huh?

– Brad Hardisty, Nashviille, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Meadownoise at The Groove, Aug. 25th, all photos-Brad Hardisty

Meadow noise , a solo project by Matt Glassmeyer, released a new Seven inch vinyl – CD combo in limited signed handmade numbers with an in-store at The Groove in East Nashville last Saturday, August 25th, with a solid set of new material.

With beer on tap and moderate temps, The Groove hosted what could have been called more of a house party than an in-store at their current location.  The Groove fits in with a neighborhood chalk-full of the new Nashville, an ever changing local scene of new songwriters, that while serious on storytelling, don’t have any Country twang and live in a cross culture of the classic “Leave It To Beaver” neighborhood with modern urban eateries.

Meadownoise is a one man “combo” taking a Billy Preston meets Bruce Hornsby approach to a post Five For Fighting world played out on an old studio furniture prize, a fifty year old Wurlitzer Electric Piano with some mild changes in delay textures and a backbeat of self-created looped rhythms that Matt creates by beating on a guitar with some metal works on the body and then twists the heck out of a parametric EQ to create beat machine style audio.

The biggest piece of Meadownoise is the word pictures that seem to make you think in new ways with new lines, kind of like when Jeni’s moved into the neighborhood and forced patrons to describe Ice Cream in new terminologies for the triple scoop.

The songs ran the gamut, like a verbal historical narrative of a Nashvillian middle age soldier viewing the changes as the Civil War was starting. Nashville was taken over by the Yankees very early on and it was a strange site to paraphrase, “The blues are coming.”  The blues were coming, but, in a different way that would change the south.

Even Toddlers got the beat! Meadownoise at The Groove.

I guess the real songplay came with “Get Back at My Girlfriend” with a beat reminiscent of The Beatles, “Get Back” and Billy Preston’s Electric Piano driving a very new chord structured Indie groove.  

Meadownoise publicly thanked family, friends and a laundry list of supporters that helped to make the release happen as well as inviting everybody over for an after party at his house as well as a late night gig at the Secret Identities Art Show.

It really was a neighborhood show,  a tight village of eclectic musicians and songwriters on every block with a studio nearby that produced Robert Plant’s last album. An enclave where people eat handfuls of crunchy things, buy locally sourced meat and where change and a classic 40’s style neighborhood intersect.

Meadownoise, handcrafted packaging, limited run, 7 inch- CD combo.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Eclectic Singer/Songwriter, Brent Byrd is hitting Nashville for some serious showcases and good times.

Brent Byrd – Photo courtesy Morning Sock Studios

30 second Bio?

 I was born, didn’t start living until 12…when I got my first guitar, started a horrible band, had no money, joined the army, got out of the army, started a not so bad band and began this long, long journey of becoming a full time musician. I’ve lived and played music all over the US from San Diego to Miami and have performed with many great artists some of which have long forgotten about me and some of which I have long forgotten about, I live in St. Augustine Florida but very rarely and I still have no money!  Ahhh, the life of a musician.
 
What have you been up to lately?

 Well, lately I spend most of the time cruising my RV from town to town playing music. I just finished up my 2nd solo CD “ Evolution Of The Free” and just trying to get it heard by as many    people as possible. So yeah, lately my eyes have just been glued to the pavement!
 
Why Nashville?

 I’ve never been much of a follower and there are tons of really good musicians that head to Nashville with the hopes and dreams of being a full time musician.  I’ve been building a good fan base throughout the Southeast and Midwest over the past 2 years and I’ve kind of avoided Nashville because of that reason but I think it was inevitable. I mean, it is ” Music City” so of course I finally had to throw myself right in the fire and I love it. The vibe, the scene, the musicians, the food, not so much the heat but being around all these musicians just makes me strive to be a better musician. (note- Brent, it is not usually this hot, but, the humidity is good for your guitar and makes for fluid playing and good vocal chords! Ha!- The Nashville sound!)

Found any good food or venues you like to hang at?

The National Underground has given me the opportunity to play there every Thursday through Sept. so I have been hanging out there quite a bit.  They have great burgers and the staff is very cool but I’ve been walking around Broadway going into anywhere that has music, which of course is almost everywhere. I also really like Jacks BBQ and Crema is a cool place to hang out.  I am in search of a great sushi place although I am on a pretty tight budget so PBR’s have become a staple lately.
 

Brent Byrd – Photo courtesy Morning Sock Studios

What should we know about your music?

It’s folk infused rock with a dash of reggae served with a side of southern jam…music that is! I write about real things, my life experiences, my views and mainly I want people to stop and think about life and how we live it. 
 
Favorite gear?

 Well, I recently just purchased a new Boss RC-300 loop pedal which has really enabled me to take my show to a new level. I have been using loops with my performances for the past 3 years but with this new one I can add multiple instruments and control them individually. I tour with a Martin acoustic but I have a Gibson J-200 which by far is my favorite…I just can’t leave her sitting in the RV so she stays home but I did give her a cell phone so we can still talk.
 
Any favorite local songwriters or artists?

 I’ve been really trying to network with some local artists and experience Nashville to the fullest.  I really like Tim Boucher, he is currently touring but I have performed with him at The National Underground and just enjoy his music and talent. I actually grew up with Joshua Jones from Steel Magnolias but I haven’t reconnected with him yet, but we are from the same hometown and he always wanted to play my Gibson at open mic nights…which of course I let him but watch him like a hawk.
 
What would you tell others that would be helpful about coming to Nashville? Preparation?

Watch other bands, get to your show early and support the musicians playing before and after you, don’t show up 2 minutes before your gig and leave right after your gig, thank the sound tech and staff and play your ass off…how’s that!

Upcoming gigs?

I will be performing at The National Underground every Thursday at 7pm in August and September 2012 as well as at Two Old Hippies on Wed. Sept 12th, 2012 at 6 pm.

 – Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Free Infinity Cat Cheese Sandwich!

Friday night in Nashville, as a deluge began about 9:15, the Rock Block turned into a creek with water almost to Restaurant and guitar store doors across the street when Psychic Hotline took to the stage at Exit/In to kick-off a ten year Birthday Bash for Infinity Cat Records, the ”for-real” Nashville Punk Rock label home to JEFF The Brotherhood, Heavy Cream, Diarrhea Planet and other Nashville originals.

Psychic Hotline / Exit/In -all photos – Brad Hardisty

Psychic Hotline, fronted by Jessica McFarland ( Heavy Cream), not to be confused with the Ontario, Canada band, opened with a tight deadpan Buzzcocks / L7 set  like a rapid fire Tommy gun. 

Deluxin’ at Infinity Cat 10th Celebration Show

People were drying out and soaking up the sounds of Deluxin’, another Buzzcocks/ Television / Voidoids (Dad bands) with a somewhat Zach De La Rocha approach at the microphone-style unit fronted by Nathan Vasquez (former Be Your Own Pet) who knows how to put his scream on.

Tristen at Exit/In – Photo/Brad Hardisty

Tristen (Gaspadarek)brought things into a more mellow mood with an Indie take on Americana which may be more attributed to what is coming out of East Nashville, sans-drummer Americana with a drum machine was interesting, but all things aside, Tristen has a great voice, great songs, great bass player (kind of real classic country walking style going on like Merle’s band, The Strangers) and has had some wonderful things said about her in Rolling Stone and American Songwriter. Tristen rocked the house in green sequined sixties style short shorts, doin’ a little dance-get down tonight style. This was ladies night for vocals.

All I got was this cheese sandwich, Jessica’s Psychic Hotline setlist and Diarrhea Planet’s setlist. What’s it worth to you?

Before Diarrhea Planet took over Exit/In, Robert Orrall, Jake and Jamin’s Dad (JEFF The Brotherhood) brought out a huge box of cheese sandwiches in plastic sandwich bags with Green Infinity Cat Logo stickers affixed and began throwing them out into the audience, this in turn, lead to spinning plastic bags being thrown around with the hefty sideways Frisbee-bean bag style tosses whizzing by everywhere.

Diarrhea Planet pelted by sandwiches!

When Diarrhea Planet hit the stage, the sandwiches started being aimed at the band with drummer, Casey, drumming like a sonic hedgehog with two Louisville Sluggers, taking some head and crotch shots. Casey could only laugh when it’s sandwiches. The 50 sandwich-filled plastic bags ended up back onstage when the  four guitar (yeah, four, that’s one more than Lynyrd Skynyrd in a “Spinal Tap” my band is louder than yours kind of way) assault started.

Stack-O-Sandwiches! No cats were harmed.

One of the guitarists started stacking up the sandwiches on the side, only to hurl all of them back at the audience toward the end of the set.

Diarrhea Planet originally started as a two-piece noise band out of Belmont University and is now kind of the Valiant Thorr of Indie Punk, throwing out all kinds of styles at the same time with a wall of Johnny Ramone, Randy Rhoads, John Frusciante and Malcom Young all hitting at once, with leads and interlocking rhythm going every which way.  There were no lead breaks since any two might be playing lead at the same time. This is fun party music that kind of goes down like a Peelander-Z set meets the Beastie Boys. If you play guitar and you don’t have a good time at a Diarrhea Planet show, something is definitely wrong with you. Okay, I think this is one of my favorite Nashville bands now.

Robert Orrall, Nashville City Council member, Infinity Cat Records staff, Jake Orrall

Before the final set of the night, Ronny Steine, Nashville Councilman-at-large, was joined onstage by Robert “Bob” Orrall, Jake Orrall (JEFF The Brotherhood, Skyblazer, Infinity Cat Records) and members of the Infinity Cat team to accept a plaque from the Nashville Metro Council with a lot of important “whereas” clauses, Resolution No. RS2012-339, “honoring Infinity Cat Recordings on its Tenth Anniversary as one of Nashville’s best independent labels.”  A really unique turn of events; a Nashville Homegrown Indie Punk label turning ten years old that is on most every writer and magazine in the states Top 10 best Indie label list, having their very own day, July 20th, 2012, Infinity Cat Record Day, Nashville, Represent!

Skyblazer returns!

For the final big one of the evening, Jake and Jamin Orrall (JEFF The Brotherhood, if you don’t know by now) put back together a mid-2000 project, Skyblazer (possibly named for the early Nineties Sony video game?), that they had with Lindsay (Cake Bake Betty) Powell. Skyblazer also released (never before released) the 2006 recording on Infinity Cat and it was available for the first time at the show on 12 inch vinyl.

Jake and Jamim Orrall looking Through the Past darkly!

Jake’s guitar tone was nice and fat with trippy wha going into that Sunn Lead Concert head.  The four piece band did plenty of long stoner jams in the veins of early Hawkwind or Black Mountain (who were quite new in 2006)… especially like Black Mountain with the almost Jefferson Plane-ish twin harmonies of Jake and Lindsay.

It was a fun set, plenty of heavy “Iommi” guitar, with some almost Hendrix channeling, Jake is really a soul surfer of a player.

If Skyblazer had become the dominant thing, Jake and Jamin would have been on Jagjaguwar and touring with Black Mountain or even Swedish band, Graveyard nowadays. Funny how life is; the Orrall family is really helping to turn Nashville into Music City one great band at a time.  

The Infinity Cat Records 10th Anniversary celebration continues Saturday Night in the shadow of the new convention center skyline at The Zombie Shop with Heavy Cream and Cy Barkley as two of the featured artists.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

On an unusually hot June night, Dead Fingers from Birmingham, Alabama, played the Basement underneath Grimeys New and Preloved Music, in a stripped down Trio with “really married” Taylor Hollingsworth and Kate Taylor backed by minimalist drums of Alan Rosser, as part of their mini-tour last Sunday the 24th.

Dead Fingers Opened up with the classic Taylor song, “Bonnie and Clyde” from his 2005 Brash Music release, Tragic City,  before going into the line up from the first Dead Fingers – Fat Possum release.

Playing to an intimate crowd including some friends who made the drive from Birmingham, Kate and Taylor matched song for song on “Closet Full Of Bones”, “Another Planet” with the different blend of almost Spanky & Our Gang meets southern Americana, Dead Fingers managed to break down a lot of barriers between styles and periods to create their own matchbox of sound.

Taylor stuck mainly to finger picking almost Piedmont style most of the night going from the bluesy slide of “Lost In Mississippi” to primitive western a la Rose Maddox and The Maddox Brothers rather than the current Fleetwood Mac radio country for “On My Way.”

There was a hint of classic Taylor Hollingsworth writing when going into “Against The River” riffing.

Kate and Taylor looked real comfortable together as well as baby bump makes three, Taylor and Kate, who have been married for a while now, are expecting a girl towards the end of the year.

It looks like the child will have music in her DNA taking in the tour from the stage, listening to musical vibrations.

Kate comes from a big Birmingham musical family, with sister Maria Taylor , an artist on Conor Oberst’s  Saddle Creek Records , as well as brother Macey Taylor who has played Bass for Maria, Taylor, Conor Oberst and several other bands and music projects.

Kate is no stranger to the stage, having played in Maria Taylor’s touring band on drums as well as other instruments and supporting vocals.   

Mystic Valley Band at Coachella 2009, Macey on bass, Taylor on Acoustic

Macey and Taylor both played in the two album project that Conor Oberst ended up putting together, The Mystic Valley Band where Taylor sang at least one of his own originals at every tour stop.  They ended up playing some big shows in 2009 including Coachella. Following that project, Taylor released the acoustic project, Life With A Slow Ear, Team Love Records in 2009.

Dead Fingers became the project as Kate and Taylor started taking life on together as a couple.

Kate’s brother Macey at Coachella / Photo- Brad Hardisty

Taylor, even in the stripped down mode, showed plenty of flash, using a harmonizer pedal to get some cool neo-pedal steel type leads going on the country material, and some intense slide work through the night.

Taylor Hollingsworth singing “Air Mattress” at Coachella 2009 / Photo – Brad Hardisty

Dead Fingers included a new song in the set that will be on the next release which they are scheduled to begin recording in the near future.

The duo shows great depth and versatility in their songwriting able to take off in different ways which especially works well in Nashville where, cult classic country, blues and roots rock are part of the whole Indie scene.

Dead Fingers will be back in Nashville on July 12th at The Mercy Lounge opening up for Jason Isbell (formerly of  The Drive-By Truckers) & The 400 Unit. Definitely a lot of Alabama in that show.

 – Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com