Archive for the ‘Indie’ 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!

*************

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

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.

RRR CompRoad Rat Records, an indie label based out of PA have just released their first compilation of Punk, Metal, and Rock artists from all over the map. Pleasantly enough my former band, NOX CULT made the cut and is featured on the 22-track Earth shaker. And, it is an absolute honor. I wanted to make sure to give this release an extra push as it is full of awesome independent artists busting their butts to be heard.  AND, Road Rat Records is making this very easy for you. They are offering the comp as a free DL right on their BandCamp page. (Link Below) So, get on it, IT. IS. FREE. Be sure to share it with a friend too.

Road Rats: Volume 1

RRRLogo

Indie

Earlier this week I posted on social media that I was looking for any and all music related indie artists of any kind to share with me the best place on the net to show off their work and I would compile a list here that we could share with each other and beyond. I guess it was a bit of a social experiment? Anyways, I had hoped for more participation. Whatever the case may be, below is a list of rad artists doing their own thing. Whether they at some point may have been on a major label, toured the world, or just make records right out of their bedrooms, it’s a list of honest and good folks doing it for all the right reasons. So please, check them out, share, and support. Especially in a time like now where we are all struggling and being faced with finding different ways to support ourselves and still put positive vibes into the universe. MUSIC-SURVIVAL-GUIDE is all of us. Stay safe out there. xxx

SODA – www.officialsoda.com

THE LICKERISH QUARTET – www.thelickerishquartet.com

SPOOKEY RUBEN – www.spookeyruben.bandcamp.com

WHITE TRASH – www.whitetrashuniverse.com

BLACK SUGAR TRANSMISSION – www.blacksugartransmission.com

OURS – www.ours.net

KALLIE MARIE – www.kalliemarie.com

THURSDAY THE 12TH PODCAST – www.thursdaythe12thpodcast.com

SADARTHA – www.soundcloud.com/sadarthagrunge

JEBB – www.jebbsmusic.bandcamp.com

MELT – www.melt4.bandcamp.com

Canadian band, THE SMILE CASE has sent M-S-G a brand new single to debut from their forthcoming album, Bipolar Bear Wildlife Park on Blacktop Records. A great description straight from the horses mouth is below:

“We are releasing a new album called ‘Bipolar Bear Wildlife Park’ on
March 6th which is more than likely one of the most painful ‘love’ records ever written. The band is an acquired taste and for fans of Elvis
Depressedly, American Pleasure Club & Craig Finn. This song and the new
album is an anxiety fueled rollercoaster that sounds better with a pair of headphones and 5mg of Diazepam.”

So, how could you NOT want to check that out? Be brave, here ya go:

The Look All Over

For more info: Blacktop Records

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Growth EP

VA based grunge darlings Sadartha return with new EP, Growth. Although not reinventing the wheel here, the band rather expands on their sound from awesome previous release Eden. With this new installment they certainly play to their strengths. Singer Johnny Noxious continues to sharpen his knifelike vocals while as a unit they remain as chilling, noisy, and loud as ever.

On Growth, Sadartha play in some pretty dark territory, but, center track “Eclipsing Binaries”, sonically lightens the load. Almost makes you wish the boys touched on that side more.

Ultimately, Sadartha does not disappoint. I would however, like to see them step out of their comfort zone on a future release. The band keeps getting better and I think with a bit more confidence they’ll be able to reach that new ground. And I would imagine they are not far off from such an achievement.

Key tracks: “Aconitum” & “Just Skin”

Sample the Sadartha catalog on CDBaby AND purchase your favorite release!

SADARTHA: CD BABY

RJMJHey folks. I just wanted to share the latest news direct from Roger about his new project with Eric Dover and Tim Smith (probably the closest to a Jellyfish reunion that will occur) – I spoke to RJMJ last week and he gave me a very quick update on the band, Lickerish Quartet…

“New LQ music in the form of a 4-song EP coming out front of April surrounded by a fan funding-Pledge style campaign.” *Although that may not seem like much it actually answers two popular questions. So, keep your eyes open.

In the meantime, did anyone see the “Inside the Album” episodes Roger did with Produce like a Pro? They got into BOTH Jellyfish albums and they are an absolute pleasure to watch:

P.S. and FYI:

lick·er·ish
/ˈlik(ə)riSH/
adjective
  1. lecherous.
    “a barrage of lickerish grins and dirty jokes”