Month: August 2014

FLASHBACK FRIDAY!

There was a really weird resurgence of swing music and culture in the mid to late-90s. The movie Swingers came out in 1996 and the dudes in that movie dressed and talked like it was the 1940s. There was that scene in the movie Blast from the Past where Brenden Fraser did some swing dancing with two babes. And there the swing revivalist band the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

Led by swinger-songwriter (you laughed) Jimbo Mathus (shout out to Oxford, MS!) and featuring future indie star Andrew Bird, the Zippers brought the neo-swing movement to the masses with their breakout hit “Hell”. They dressed the part and played the tunes but the movement didn’t last very long and the Zippers never really broke through with another hit. Nonetheless, “Hell” is a catchy tune with a weird, arty video and it is our Flashback Friday vintage video this week.

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THE BHAMFM.COM MIXTAPE :: AUG 2K14

As we close in on the end of Summer it’s only fair that we share some of our current favorite songs on our monthly mixtape. As usual, our contributors have chosen some of their recent discoveries and some hidden gems you may have overlooked while sunning and funning over the past few months.

Culture Czar added some of his new faves to the mix including Anna Calvi (a track featuring music genius David Byrne), Sharon Van Etten, Six Organs of Admittance, Starflyer 59, and The Married Monk.

Here are some words from “the Czar” on his picks:

“I opted for some artists I love that are lesser known this month. SVE is getting some serious love for this record (as she should), but some of these others don’t get the attention they deserve in the US IMO…”

As for me, I opted for some more funky, modern R&B tracks by the likes of Kindness, Foxygen, Jungle, and Blood Orange (Side Note: If I could go back and add another record from 2013 to my “Best of” list I would totally add Blood Orange’s “Cupid Deluxe” record. Dev Hynes is truly the future of pop music and should be one of the top producers in the world), and I also decided to slow it down a touch with the moody How to Dress Well and FKA Twigs.

Whit brought some of her new favorite picks to add to the mix as well. The new track from Cam’Ron feat. Nicki Manaj (shouts out to Dipset), a song from hot indie buzz band Alvvays, Rizzle Kicks, Portugal. the Man, Goldroom and alt-J.

You can subscribe to our mixtape below and be on the look out for more content from this music website. Stay thirsty my friends.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY!

It’s vintage music video time. Remember 1995? Me neither. But this video is super cool and very 90s. Folk Implosion was one of the many bands of alt-rocker Lou Barlow. The band released four albums throughout the 90s and more recently they released an album in 2003 but disbanded shortly thereafter. The song “Natural One” became a huge hit after it was released on the soundtrack to the movie KIDS in 1995. You can watch the trailer for this controversial flick here and if you haven’t seen this movie go find a way to watch it now because it’s excellent. I found this copy of the “Natural One” music video on YouTube and the sound quality is not great but it’s a fantastic song.

Here’s “Natural One” by The Folk Implosion:

 

Kickstart a sign on Trimtab, if you’re into that sort of thing

Trimtab Brewery, in association with the Magic City Mural Collective, is asking for your help. They want to put a sign on the roof of their brewery, visible from Red Mountain Expressway, with the iconic, yet modified to fit the space version of the famous sign that nearly everyone who lives in this city likes.

If you’d like to give them some scratch and get some Trimtab goodies, Kickstart away.

But hey, while we’re here, let’s ask a question- is this weird? Trimtab is by all accounts a pretty successful new brewery in Birmingham. This sign, for all it’s nonTrimtabness, will still draw people to their business. So is it weird that they want you to pay for it?

The one thing I’ll say in their favor is the old adage, there’s no harm in asking. If people want to give, they give. That’s kind of the beauty of Kickstarter. But there’s a small part of me that says that this feels a little off. If the Mural folks, all fine people, put up a Kickstarter instead saying “Hey, we want to paint murals across town” I think that would be a fine thing and would probably donate to it.

But a business, which charges $5 a pint of beer made 20 feet away from me? I don’t know.

Tuscaloosa’s DIY scene in full effect this summer

This past Saturday, August 2nd, DIY Tuscaloosa and Stand-Up Tuscaloosa, hosted by RJ Marchand, joined forces to host a show at a new DIY house.

One of the house residents, James Hale, had expressed interest in having shows at his house a few months ago. He advertised having a big back yard and a thirst for more house shows in Tuscaloosa.

Upon first meeting with him to check out the space, I was taken aback at how potentially ideal the location could be. The backyard was huge and fenced in, with a big grill on an elevated porch, which was partially screened in. There was also parking in the yard and on the street. So long as we cleared it with the neighbors and adhered to the area’s 9pm noise ordinance, I didn’t foresee any reason for it to get shut down.

The evening of entertainment kicked off with the first band, a new local called Pentapuss, which was Maia Wade on guitar and vocals, Ronnie Lee Gipson on drums, and Frank Nette playing bass guitar. Separately they are all good musicians, so together it was legit, especially for a first show. Maia commented that the show gave her hope that “we might be able to foster a more diverse music community in Tuscaloosa”, adding that it was the most diverse crowd she’d seen at a house show in a long time. “We are definitely aiming to have eclectic bills, and not just one genre.”

After Pentapuss’ set, Randy Ford delivered the first stand-up comedy act. The audience seemed to enjoy the mix of music and comedy, plus I thought it was great to see people dance, then laugh, then rinse-lather-repeat.

Next up was Knympho Knife, a three-piece describing themselves as “fuzzed out jazz-punk.” If you want a sample of what they really sound like, check out their feature on local TV show, Tuscaloosa Monorail.

When the cops walked up to the yard during Knympho Knife’s set, they were just asking how long the music would be going so that if they got any noise complaints they could tell people when it was ending. We told them that we thought the noise ordinance was 9pm and were planning to have the music done by then, to which one of the cops replied “9pm on a Saturday?!” So I asked him “Can we push it to 10pm?” and he confirmed “We can’t tell you when to end your party, but if we get too many noise complaints then the bands will have to stop playing.” Fair enough, so we just turned down the bands’ volumes and the cops never showed for the rest of the night.

The next stand-up performer was Beth Howell. I remember there being a lot of people there by that time, and it was great to see that good of a turnout, especially with the majority staying on the screened in part of the porch to watch her set. There was definitely a supportive vibe in the air that night.

The third band to play was Freaky Deakys. They played earlier this Summer at the Southside Nitty Gritty Glen Iris house fest, as well as Vallofest in Montevallo. This six piece showcases Trevor Dane aka “Sweet Tea; Dane Deaky” on rhythm guitar and vocals, Rolfe Briney aka “Knight Driver” on lead guitar, John Engle aka “Smiles Davis Deaky” on bass guitar, Jack Vogt aka “Boom Boom Fingerling Deaky” on drums, Abraham Glubrecht aka “Squeaky Deaky” on fiddle, and Forrest Moody aka “Captain Peach Fish” on keyboard. Their live show was high energy and included fire dancers, who were Hannah Barrett and Andrea Dillingham. Trevor Dane said that the goal of their aesthetic was to “make everyone happy and forget about their worldly troubles, while presented in an artistic fashion.” He also added that for them, letting loose is like a form of meditation. I am a strong believer in art and exercise therapy, so I think dancing and engaging in a show will always make you feel better. Additionally, fire dancer Hannah Barrett reflected that “House shows are really something special, bringing like-minded people together to enjoy and spread the word of talented musicians, all the while making crazy unique memories such as friendly mosh pits on porches and fire dancers in the backyard.” There is definitely something about a house show that a bar can never capture. Both atmospheres have their places, but with DIY Tuscaloosa’s focus to provide more all ages shows, it seems that house shows are the way to go for now since most bars will only compromise to 18+.

You can catch Freaky Deakys‘ upcoming shows Thursday, August 14th at Parkside, and then the next night, Friday August 15th, at a house show in Montevallo (they ask folks to shoot them a message on their Facebook for more info). They are also getting filmed this week for a future episode of Tuscaloosa Monorail.

Caleb Garrett closed out the stand-up acts for the night, which lead into Dead Balloons‘ set. They were also featured on a previous episode of Tuscaloosa Monorail and are playing at Black Market Bar & Grill- 5 Points South later this month.

The next all ages DIY Tuscaloosa show will be Friday, August 22nd, a back-to-school show. Though our all ages shows are free admission for now, donations are encouraged because they are what keeps it going.

Stand-Up Tuscaloosa also has an open mic every Wednesday 9pm at Glory Bound Gyro Company.

To stay updated on more events like these, follow DIY Tuscaloosa’s group page.

Review: They Want My Soul by Spoon

Let’s just get this out of the way, I LOVE this album. This is my favorite album of the year, without a doubt. If you know me, you know sometimes I deep dive into an album and it’s all I listen to for months at a time. Notable examples of this are most Radiohead albums, Honeycomb by Frank Black and The Monitor by Titus Andronicus. It’s not healthy, and I realize that. But it happens.

It’s happening right now.

Spoon has always been a band that would come on random and I’d immediately wonder who they were, and why I wasn’t listening to them all the time. And for a while there about 4 years ago, I did. I devoured their back catalog while enjoying their 2010 release, Transference. I liked Spoon. I never loved them.

I think I do now. This album hit right as I was ready for something new. Every few months I sample the Metacritc best albums of the year, looking for new things. After about 10 albums, I had almost written this year off as one where nothing blows me away. I’m still listening to last year’s stuff, to be honest. But that’s no good. I need some new. I can’t come on here and talk about how that Vampire Weekend album remains incredible. Oh hell, I just did. Anyways, Spoon.

They Want My Soul starts catchy with “Rent I Pay”. A great riff and that jangliness typical of Spoon, but there’s a harder edge here. There’s some grit.

But then, a staccato piano riff over a slower song that is nothing short of beautiful. Here they are performing Inside Out on Jimmy Fallon backstage with just a piano. I’ve watched this ten times.

From there, it continues. My favorite track is #3, Rainy Taxi. If you want a song to define the band, to me it’s probably this one. It doesn’t sound like the sing-songy early days, or an older band who’s trying to hard. Rainy Taxi sounds like a band who is confident in their sound and place in the world.

The rest of the album equals this. I get a little tired of some of the repetition of Knock Knock Knock and Do You, and the last song New York Kiss sounds like they are saying “New York Kicks” to me, which in some ways would be better. But Outlier and the title track, They Want My Soul, are peerless.

That’s the kind of music I need to obsess over, if I’m going to do it. That’s the kind of thing I don’t mind burying my ears in. Listen to the new Spoon. You’ll be better for it.

Birmingham’s newest venue: Syndicate Lounge

Syndicate Lounge is a new Birmingham venue that is hoping to officially open by the end of September. Located at 427 20th Street South by the Pizza Hut, it has the convenience of being close to UAB and Five Points while also having sufficient parking on the street. Its previous owner actually wanted to keep it boarded up because it was already kind of a speakeasy, but that’s what gives it its unique look and atmosphere.

Though it is next door to hip hop room The Foreign Exchange, Syndicate Lounge owner Aaron Greene stated that he doesn’t think it will compete much because The Foreign Exchange has more spoken word and eclectic bills. Syndicate Lounge will be more straight forward rock bands, going for an “old school venue type vibe.”

Greene & company had been looking for the right place to start the venue for the past seven years, after previously booking for the 1213 Club in Anniston. Now they’re are working on getting a food and liquor license, and will eventually have a dinner menu and happy hour drink specials. He plans to have 13 shows a month, starting in November. They may have a concert in the street for their grand opening, and already have permission from the city to do so, but all of the details are still being worked out.

Greene shared that open mics for more bluesy jams, but not like the singer-songwriter acoustic guitar style because “enough places around town already do that”. Also on the agenda? Monday metal nights, Tuesday night vinyl nights, open mic on Wednesday nights, and shows on Thursday-Saturday. Another big draw will be “Syn Nights” on Sundays, a service industry night where workers get half-off.

syndicate2

Shows will be 18+, though there is a possibility of matinee shows being all ages. Aaron relayed that youth are a big inspiration for him doing this, and he wants the younger crowd to have more shows to attend. They are wanting to have benefit shows as well as wedding parties & private events. Not straying far from their eclectic side, Syndicate still plan to host the Alabama yo-yo competition, as well as having video game nights.

Friday, July 25th was the venue’s first show, with Capsized, Sister Sniffle, Landmine Spring and Baak Gwai. I really dug the venue and the vibe, so if that was a preview of what’s to come, then Birmingham has yet another venue to look forward to.