Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Dream Finisher is a self-aware record. Plain and simple. High on the current times and slick like a greaser’s coiffed hair. Ear LSD on a sonic bed of nails. Andee Blacksugar has fleshed out the end of his 2020 trilogy with his signature moves all rolled into one. Smartass lyrics adorn lead single “Twatted”,  “Nobody cares what’s inside your underwear or who went to your fucking party.” A record and sound that all the current soulless pop jackoffs could only dream of having their merry men cook up. Instead, this whole recipe was concocted mostly in a Brooklyn apartment by an eloquent dude with beautiful hair and guitar licks for days who DOES NOT CARE what you think. After one listen you’ll be ready to go for a victory lap. Tracks like “A Prayer Trapped” will get your head bopping, kinda Beach Boys meets Blur.  It bleeds NYC (“Thrill of a Lifetime”) and as much concrete as that may elude to it easily blasts you off to outer space in “Don’t Make It Easier”. Certainly a great achievement, better still is that Dream Finisher is part of a trilogy just as lush and lavish as it’s two counterparts. For those of us who love substance to their music, Black Sugar Transmission has all you need and more.

For enthusiasts of Shudder To Think, Abandoned Pools and Blur

And hey, if you like this review please poke your head in to my reviews of part one and two of the BST 2020 thrillogy. 

 https://musicsurvivalguide.org/2020/06/03/black-sugar-transmission-the-flowering-album-review/

https://musicsurvivalguide.org/2020/01/29/black-sugar-transmission-wandering-into-the-bullseye-album-review/

I’m tellin’ ya, you gotta give it to a patient, consistent and polite artist. Jerad Finck is THAT guy. And, to top it off he’s got some great sounds to go right along with it. Jerad and I have been back and forth for a few months to get him a feature on M-S-G and well, life happens and it’s already October, (BOO!). I am happy to finally give them/him a bump.

Blazar is hot on the heels of brand new single “Precious”. Great timing too, it’s upbeat, fun, danceable. All the things needed to close your eyes for a few moments on such a soulless year. No surprise it’s as good as it is, the work has been put in and quite a team was behind it.

“Precious” was released on September 18 and was produced by BLAZAR & Anthony (Ajax) Resta (Duran Duran, Elton John, Perry Farrell). It was mixed by Mark Needham (The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Shakira, Stevie Nicks) and mastered by Hans Dekline (U2, Lisa Loeb). It was written by BLAZAR, Anthony (Ajax) Resta, Jay Condiotti (Collective Soul, Raven-Symone, Tiffany). So, yea…HOLEY MOLEY.

Want to hear more? Check out the song “Better” which debuted in February before the utter chaos we have all come to know.

As always, I am happy to share and spread music that you may not know. From the underground to the outer space, it’s been featured here at some point. So, give Blazar a chance. Tell your friends and just spread the word. Together we have to keep art alive, especially now.

I. AM. SO. EXCITED to share this with all of you. The brilliant and underrated Andy Eichhorn recently resurfaced with a new EP and some social media outlets. So, naturally I took a deep breath and sent him a message, and…here we are! I am always honored when the folks who made and make the music I love will give me the time to pick their brains a bit. Andy has been nothing but super sweet since then and even sent me some goodies from his old band ZUCKERBABY! :::drool::: So, holey moley, let’s go!

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MSG – Greetings Andy! Thank you for taking the time to do this Q&A/Interview for M-S-G. I am so psyched to have this opportunity with you. For anyone about to take this adventure with us…Andy Eichhorn is a bit of a “cult” music figure once fronting Canadian Pop/Rock darlings Zuckerbaby in the mid 90’s to the early 00’s. If you don’t mind, I’d like to start somewhere around there. Can you tell us a bit about what it was like trying to get something like Zuckerbaby off the ground in Calgary Alberta, Canada in the mid 90’s?

AE – Thanks, Soda!  I’m thankful for the opportunity, you’ve interviewed a lot of great artists and I’m happy to make the cut. Well, I won’t say it was easy because nothing worth doing ever is… but it did happen very naturally.  Reed & I were really coming into our own songwriting as a team, finding our own way of doing things, listening to and getting excited about the same music we loved from the past and present. We hit a stride together creatively and could just FEEL it. Whether or not anything else was going to happen, WE were happening. And to anyone who writes or creates – that’s a one of a kind feeling! Getting the music industry to take notice of what we were doing was another story. We hammered away at any lead we could find. Cold called record companies, managers, booking agents –you name it!  It seemed that something pretty magical was brewing, and people were coming to shows to see us more and more. Music industry types started calling us back and wanting to see the band. It was all very exciting!

MSG – And even before Zuckerbaby, you fronted Calliope, which, at its core, was you and Reed (Shimozawa). That project was a touch darker and a bit on the Alt/Grunge side. What made you guys kinda make the change and streamline your focus/sound?

AE – I always say there wouldn’t have been a Zuckerbaby without Calliope.  It was our “getting to know you” project, a stepping stone to what would become Zuckerbaby. That was around 1994 and the musical landscape was changing yet again. When Reed and I met we shared a love for so much music from all over the musical map and it all kind of spilled out on that record. As we kept going, we turned each other on to the bands and artists that each of us loved. When Calliope came to an end, we were thinking about what was next. Both of us brought a song to the other guy to see if there was anything worth pursuing. Those songs were “Bellybutton Queen” and “Heavy”.  A new band was born!   

MSG – Now, for me, Zuckerbaby was love at first sight (and sound of course). I immediately caught a heavy Jellyfish influence, which was major for me and after getting the first ZB album it only further solidified that wonderful comparison. I personally think you guys came the closest to that sound with not an ounce of it being contrived. It seemed and sounded so natural, you guys just nailed that style so effortlessly. The self-titled Zuckerbaby album is an absolute classic. AND, to top it off Jack Joseph Puig, who worked on both Jellyfish albums, worked on your 1997 debut. Can you dish some history here? 

AE – No question, we loved Jellyfish so much! Hearing Roger Joseph Manning Jr. speak recently about some of the other music he and Andy Sturmer were influenced by made sense to me. He mentioned Elvis Costello, Crowded House, Cheap Trick…all the bands I was soaking up at the time or had been into when we were writing and recording the first album. I got to spend some time in San Francisco (where Jellyfish began) and went to places like Russian Hill (a song on the Jellyfish record Split Milk) and got to try to feel the vibe.  We convinced the guys who managed them to also manage us. Working with Jack Joseph Puig was a feather in our cap for sure. He worked on the Jellyfish records as well as The Black Crowes, Tonic, The Grays (super underrated band featuring Jason Falkner, Jon Brion, Buddy Judge and Dan McCarroll.)  If you can find it – get it!  Yeah, it was very cool to walk into a studio like Ocean Way in Los Angeles and mix your songs with a legend like Jack. One night he sent us away and said he would call us when he had something for us to listen to. We decided to go to The Viper Room (a club owned by Johnny Depp at that time).  We were in the lineup outside, waiting to get in and over my shoulder I hear a familiar voice saying something like “here’s some leftovers, I think It’s still warm”. It was Johnny Depp bringing food to one of the doormen at the club. Then we got to see Tommy Stinson’s (The Replacements) band called, Perfect. Great night in LA! I went back to the hotel and called my friend Lorrie Matheson back home to tell him about the show because he is a huge Replacements fan. Lorrie ended up producing my new EP all these years later. 

MSG – Coming down off that self-titled you guys followed up with Platinum Again which was a gorgeous, more mature sounding record which left behind the bubblegum for more polished rock gems. The album also seemed a bit caliginous. I remember interviewing Reed a few years back and he said that was a real tough one to make. Care to elaborate? You guys also lost your original rhythm section around that time? What can you tell us?

AE – We were in trouble. Career, relationships – life. But we still kept going.  It WAS dark, it was different from the first record but I think it showed another side to the band that I will always be proud of. There’s a song on that record called “Sleepwalking Sister” that should have been a single. The lyrics were inspired by Susanna Hoffs of The Bangles who had a solo album in 1997. She had a song called “Enormous Wings” that she said was inspired by the author Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I listened to her record then read the collection of short stories that inspired her song and wrote the lyrics to “Sleepwalking Sister”. There are a lot of beautiful songs on that record. We collaborated with some other writers for the first time and that yielded some varying results as well. We were trying to do something other than what we had done on the first record and I think it turned out really well.   The two albums are very different but both great in their own way. And, yes, we parted ways with Brian our bass player before we recorded Platinum Again and Wayne left after the recording so he got to play on the second album. It can be a brutal business as far as relationships go. You’re forced to make decisions quickly and sometimes it’s right and sometimes it’s not.

MSG – How long did you guys work on promoting ‘Platinum’? And what was the next move or had things pretty much come to an end? Were there talks of a third record?

AE – We released Platinum Again in the Fall of 2000. It was another new era.  Things were changing in the music industry that would be game changing.  We toured Canada with Collective Soul and after that it looked like our relationship with Universal Music was coming to an end. Things kind of slowed down for the band and there weren’t many touring opportunities at that point. We did think about doing something further but not if it didn’t feel right. Nothing really definitive or dramatic happened but I was getting tired of everything. We fought really hard to make Platinum Again. The time in between the first record and writing and recording the second one was very tough. It took a toll. 

MSG – Now, it seems like you went a bit underground after Zuckerbaby, from what I may or may not know. What was life after the band like? Were there more bands? More gigs?…Or did you decide that was it at that time?

AE – I took a step back but it wasn’t too long before we started working on new stuff. Reed and I did a lot of writing and recording between 2004 and 2006. I briefly played in a friend’s band here in Calgary. Zuckerbaby played a couple of shows locally around then as well. 

MSG – It has been really, about 2 decades since you graced us with your gifts. You just released a new solo (debut) EP entitled Satellites and Secrets, which is beautiful. I want to get into that but don’t want to leave out the fact that you did poke your head out in 2015 to do a one off reunion gig with Zuckerbaby opening for The Age Of Electric who had been celebrating “X” amount of time and did a few shows, re-released some music and what not and you guys opened up the show in Calgary. What was that like? You also issued a new single called, “Do The Crime” soon after that. Is there more ZBaby where that came from?

AE – Thanks! The EP was something I have always wanted to do. It probably would never have happened without reconnecting with Lorrie Matheson.  He has a studio called Arch Audio and invited me over one day to hang out. Next thing you know we were planning and plotting how to make a record!  All of the guys in Age of Electric are loved by me. It was so cool to open a couple of shows for them when they did a reunion. We toured Canada in 1997 with them which was absolutely classic! I’ve been inspired by their songs and talent since before Reed and I met. And he was friends with them before that! So, there’s a great history there. We recorded an album’s worth of Zuckerbaby material between around 2004 and 2007.  That’s where “Do The Crime” came from.  So there is a collection of songs from that era that we haven’t really done anything with.

MSG – I wanted so badly to get to that gig. I absolutely LOVE AOE, mega influence! Anyways, so, here we are, 2020 a year of utter chaos and you drop your solo debut after all that time, a sophisticated collection of songs indeed, almost adult contemporary. How long did it take to write, record, etc? How long did you have this planned for?

AE – Timing has never been my strong suit. I could have just shelved it when all this happened but I finally got the EP finished and didn’t want to wait any longer. Glad I didn’t because it feels really great to connect with people who seem to like what I do! I hadn’t written anything complete in a very long time but always had little ideas. I got more focused a couple of years ago as far as songwriting goes. The recording process was a few days here, a day there as time and money would allow.

MSG – So aside from this, have you and are you still involved in music in other ways? You don’t have to get too personal, but what might an average day be like for you now if you don’t mind me asking?

AE – This is it musically right now. It was a big deal for me to get back at it and my hope is to keep something going. An average day for me involves work and family mostly. I have to carve out time for myself to do my thing and stay creative. My family is very supportive! I find that if I go too long without singing and playing or working on some new idea I start to get bummed out.

MSG – What are the plans for the EP? I know, given the state of the world, there isn’t too much planning going on anywhere. Will there be another recording? Will there be any shows? You know… the door is open at my place if you ever get here and want to do a house show!

AE – You never know! If the pandemic gets under control, I might take you up on that. I had hoped to play a show in Calgary with the band who played on the recording. I also wanted to do some shows in different cities with other musicians I have known over the years, that was the plan. Maybe one day! I did a couple of acoustic shows, just me and a guitar, before the lockdown and I was starting to really like doing that, too. Everything’s gone online now so I’ll keep posting songs, covers and stuff like that. Hopefully I can get playing somewhere soon!

MSG – I feel like we covered a lot here and filled in a few historic holes. I’m sure people will really enjoy a peek inside after all this time. What did we leave out?

AE – There’s always something left out but I think this is a good wrap up of past and present. Thank you so much for doing this!

MSG – And where can people get the new EP?

AE – Satellites and Secrets is available on all the streaming platforms and CDs are available through bandcamp. And both Zuckerbaby albums are on itunes as well!

MSG – Well, I think that about covers it. Thanks a lot Andy, this was rad, an absolute pleasure. Another one of my nerdy music-related dreams come true. Stay safe and groovy Andy and let’s give this to the people!

https://andyeichhorn.bandcamp.com/releases

I recently dug thru some files and found some cool “behind the scenes” video footage from early guests of the M-S-G Podcast. I figured it would be fun to compile and put them up. Thanks so much to all the awesome people that have been a part of M-S-G. And a very special thanks to Monkey for capturing these moments and helping me out with a bunch of the shows. R.I.P. friend. Your legacy lives on. Hope you all enjoy this, thanks for watching

 

Just a quick update here. My interview with Eric Dover from back in May was never on YouTube due to tech issues. It had only been available on SoundCloud. Issues have finally been resolved and it is now up on YT! SO, I wanted to do just another quick bump for it so you can all enjoy it over there and please share. Direct link to YT below:

And if you want to see the original post the link is right here:

https://musicsurvivalguide.org/2020/05/06/music-survival-guide-episode-20/

THE FLOWERING

Part two in the Black Sugar Transmission trilogy of 2020 continues this week with, The Flowering. Like any other great trilogy you cannot wait for the counterparts to arrive, I’m waist deep…and not disappointed. When an artist dares to release three records in a year you wonder how a blueprint may be laid out for such an endeavor. In the case of The Flowering (successor to Wandering Into the Bullseye) it’s not necessarily a step up, but more like a dynamic dart to the left. Which is wonderful. An intriguing thing I’ve always felt about Andee’s music is that it’s very familiar yet completely fresh at the same time. As The Flowering blooms, it is at times jarring like a classic NIN record (“Death Is Breathing”) and at others like a soundtrack to an 80’s movie drenched in neon (“Through the Torture”). Savory and decadent, it does its share of glamage to your ears but also has real proper indie rock street cred. This is just another trophy in the glitter lined sonic case in the Black Sugar Transmission world. I will await this quicksand to fully engulf me when part three arrives but for now I’m fully content clinging to the branches of The Flowering to stay afloat. Check out lead single and video “This Is Crazy Town” just below.

Sometimes dedication that starts with a grain of sand can turn into a whole beach. And in the case of UNFITS, they are creating their own island. Check out the wonderful interview below (courtesy of a mystery guest) with lead Unfit El Seuño for a glimpse into his and the bands world. They also seem to have a hell of a new single and video on their hands. Get clicky and check it all out below!

1) You’ve spoken in other interviews about the theory that we are all living in a simulated reality. Can you tell us more about this theory and how it impacts your music and videos?

At this point it is more than a theory, it’s a probability. Meaning, it is statistically more probable that we are living in some form of a computer simulation than living in base matter. I think both the scientific community and modern video game development makes it irrefutable that we are probably living in some form of a simulation. That then begs the question of whether this is the only simulation or whether there is a multi-verse with many simulations. It reminds me of the famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe “A Dream Within A Dream.”  If that’s true, then I am a dream. That’s why my name is El Sueno.

2) What went into the decision to film the “Satisfy Me” video in different countries around the world? Which of the destinations was your favorite filming location?

Having been to 50 countries so far, we have such a wanderlust spirit. I literally want to go to all 215 countries as soon as we are able to travel when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.  It made sense to travel to 7 countries for the music video because the synopsis is that the lead protagonist is being inserted “experiences” via computer chips that he can’t distinguish from reality. In keeping with that theme, we wanted a wild range of experiences from bathing in an active volcano in Tuscany, racing race cars through the Dolomite Alps, riding giant squids in Moorea, swimming with giant tiger sharks in Tahiti and shooting RPG’s with the military in Ukraine.  The French Polynesian islands are my favorite.

3) Tell us about the band’s writing process. Which comes first, the music or the lyrics?

Sometimes the words come first, other times the melody comes first. There is no rigidity in songwriting, everything is flexible. Sometimes it’s neither the melody nor the words and it’s an idea or concept that comes first. Everything comes from the endless sea of consciousness and every writer is merely a conduit, not the originator of the song.

4) Do you find yourself revising a lot, or do you like to write automatically?

I am constantly revising everything. Nothing is ever “done” in art, the time in creating merely expires. That’s what makes a life in the arts so appealing, the dynamic flux and continuous tweaking of everything.

5) How do you feed your imagination?

Through creative visualization, travel, literature, experimenting with other instruments, watching documentaries, women, friends, speed, adventure. The point is that imagination likes momentum. It could be physical momentum or mental momentum. Imagination likes to jump into an already moving stream.

6) Have any of the other performers and artists you’ve met given you any words of advice that you’ve particularly taken to heart?

Sometimes performers tell other performers to “imagine the whole audience is naked” in order to overcome stage fright. I tried imagining the audience naked once and was very sexually turned on and it did nothing for battling stage fright. So I think that is bad advice. On a more serious note: demo your songs on a piano or acoustic guitar. If it can hold an audience’s attention at the most primitive level, it will certainly be compelling when all the production and arrangement is completed.

7) What are your feelings about performing live? Do you have any heroes who inspire you to perform a certain way?

What Ed Sheeran is doing live is really amazing and inspiring for me. I am also a big fan of Matthew Bellamy and showmanship in general like Hugh Jackman.

8. What are your top five albums of all time?

> Dr Dre, 2001
> The Clash, London Calling
> Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home
> Michael Jackson, Bad
> Beatles, Rubber Soul

9) Who’s an underrated songwriter, in your opinion?

Carlos St. John, Towns Van Zandt and Kid Cudi.

UNFITS

TLQ Threesome Vol. 1

Don’t pinch yourself, this is not a dream and you are very much awake. The Lickerish Quartet have arrived to whisk you off to a magical place. The odds are good if you are taking the trip you are very familiar with the pedigree in which the gentlemen that make up TLQ carry along with them. And though this band is not about looking into the past, but rather, a very bright future I do believe they are firmly aware of how to tickle longtime enthusiast’s earholes. Thusly, the universe was gifted Threesome Vol. 1. Although only an EP (hang tight, more on the way) it is transcendent in every way imaginable. The three headstones in front of The Lickerish Quartet are Eric Dover, Roger Joseph Manning Jr., and Tim Smith. All powerhouses on their own and together an unstoppable cavalcade that ooze creativity and a knack to really bring the listener on a musical journey. A fine point to make about the 4 songs featured on this EP is that, although the arrangements are superb in every fashion the band manages to deliver it all with such a fun candor only leaving you wanting to take the ride over and over again. And you’d think that only 4 songs may seem served only as an appetizer the meal is quite satisfying. Having 3 voices all worthy of the lead singer role certainly does not hinder the band at all. However, I do not want to take away from the fact that Singer/Guitarist Eric Dover is, was, and apparently always will be a beast of a singer. From every high and every low the guy just delivers with such a gusto you’re almost left dumbfounded. You also have the sweetness put forth in every Roger Manning syllable that you can’t help but smile along with him. And quiet honestly, Tim Smith has never sounded better. All of this is rolled up into one giant ball of meticulous arrangements both vocally and musically. From the fun piano intro and danceable vibe of  “Fadoodle” (look it up) all the way down to the hypnotic last moments of first single “Lighthouse Spaceship”, which unto itself is an epic and manages to collect all the components of the EP into one fantastical cocktail. With all of this said, my personal favorite track (currently) is track 3, “Magic Number”. There is a smoothness there that really hits you where it counts and is quite honestly mildly reminiscent of Chris Isaak’s unforgettable “Wicked Game”.  With all of this said, the sophistication and attention to detail of this debut offering from these seasoned vets does not disappoint. And really, did we think it would? Threessome Vol. 1 is out this Friday, May 15th.

TLQ HQ

Eric Dover - M-S-G Episode 20

I’m very excited to present to you my interview with Eric Dover. This was a tremendous honor for me. We covered a great chunk of The Lickerish Quartet and talked a bit about the past and the future. Eric was great to talk to and gave a great interview. I hope all of you dig this. Thanks so much Eric, stay awesome, we need ya!

*UNFORTUNATELY I was unable to upload this to YouTube due to technical difficulties (very unhappy about this). Please enjoy the interview over at SoundCloud, there is also a free download. Thanks! (link below)

MUSIC-SURVIVAL-GUIDE Episode 20 (Soda w/Eric Dover)

Isolated Dew cover

“This song was written with the idea of spreading hope during the Covid-19 Crisis! Frankie and I have been talking of doing a song together, and well, the song we originally planned to do together was replaced by this and I’m glad so! I want to say this: These times are tough but turn your mind to music, movies, and calls with loved ones. We will all power through this. I want to thank my parents most of all for putting up with my home recordings. Major thanks to Frankie Siragusa who has made my dream of one day being in a studio happen (I was not in studio during this, files were sent online!! Stay home folks please!!)” – Jebb

Some praise for “Isolated Dew” –

“Jebb’s new song Isolated Dew has the perfect balance of angst, optimism, and emotion. His lyrics and voice have plenty of soul. Exquisitely produced by Frankie Siragusa of The Posies, this track will leave you wanting more from this young talent.”-Scott Brown (Lurch 102.9 the Whale)

“Jebb’s finest song yet, which puts him together with another powerhouse musician that I admire, Frankie Siragusa, is a song which has me grinning from ear to ear every time I listen to it. Never give up on your dreams!”-Tyler Green (Host of Not Another Interview Show/Cohost of Jebb and Green Cast)

“Jebb’s finest work yet.. great writing and recording.. it’s powerful, driving and melodic, and has just the sort of optimism we can all use right now. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!”- Eric Barao (The Cautions/Turbo Charged)

Jebb’s Music

Isolated promo 2