Monthly Archives: April 2015

C’mon, catch Happyness on their U.S. summer tour

Happyness picThe South London trio “Happyness” has launched a summer tour in the U.S. in support of their newest album, “Weird Little Birthday.”

In honor of this news they’ve released a video for their song “Regan’s Lost Weekend (Porno Queen)” through Paste. The song’s acoustic/piano melody is lackadaisical while structured — sort of like the video, which features a somewhat tethered boat adrift on a lazy lake.

Happyness is Jonny Allan, Benji Compston and Ash Cooper. They’re all multi-instrumentalists and share roles, but Allan and Compston share vocal duties while Cooper drums.

“Weird Little Birthday,” which is out on Bar/None Records, was mixed by Adam Lasus (Yo La Tengo, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.) The album was released in the U.K. last year to much fanfare, and they’re now ready to head overseas.

Happyness’ U.S. tour dates are below:

July 12 – Allston, MA – Great Scott

July 13 – Montreal, QBC – Casa Del Popolo

July 14 – Toronto, ON – Adelaide Hall

July 15 – Cleveland, OH – Happy Dog (Euclid Tavern)

July 16 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot and Saddle

July 17 – Washington, DC – Tropicalia

July 18 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506

July 19 – Asheville, NC – Tiger Mountain

July 20 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre Rooftop

July 21 – Atlanta, GA – 529

July 22 – Nashville, TN – The End

July 23 – Columbus, OH – Ace of Cups

July 24 – Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen

July 26 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue

July 28 – Missoula, MT – Stage 112

July 29 – Seattle, WA – Sunset Tavern

July 30 – Vancouver, BC – The Cobalt

July 31 – Happy Valley, OR – Pickathon

August 1 – Happy Valley, OR – Pickathon

August 4 – Boise, ID – Neurolux

August 5 – Reno, MN – Holland Project

August 7 –  Santa Cruz, CA – The Crepe Place

August 9 – San Francisco, CA – Brick & Mortar

August 11 – Las Vegas, NV – The Bunkhouse Saloon

August 12 – Costa Mesa, CA – The Wayfarer

August 13 – San Diego, CA – Soda Bar

August 14 – Santa Barbara, CA –  Funzone

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Filed under Alternative rock, Tour Dates, VIdeos

Go back to the beginning: Find out how the “Doctor Who” theme song was made

Remember that guy with the colorful turtleneck and scarves? Of course you do. It’s Doctor Who.

Who? yeah, that guy played the fourth installment of Doctor Who.

Who? yeah, that guy played the fourth installment of Doctor Who.

I remember Doctor Who while growing up in the 80s. It was either go play out in the sun or sit and watch PBS — that weird channel that talked about Easter Island and Amelia Earhart– Wait, that was the Leonard Nimoy-hosted “In Search Of….”, but I digress.

In_Search_of_Title_ScreenBack to the music. I mostly remembered the Doctor Who theme song– it made me feel uneasy, yet I wanted to hear it and find out more. By the time I heard it, the original was tweaked a bit, but still the same. Never a big fan of the show itself, but the music stayed with me.

Now, has uncovered an archived video on how the “Doctor Who” theme song was created.

Picture a time before Stereo sound — it’s that dark.

The song was created by Dick Mills and Delia Derbyshire of the Radiophonic Workshop at the BBC. Ron Grainer is the one who wrote the song but left it to the Workshop to actually put it together. The short video explain how the song was put together using tape loops, inspiration from the black and white graphics, and verbal cues.

doctorwho bwDerbyshire mentions words from Grainer like “filtered white noise,” “clouds,” and “winterbubble,” and thought the “swoops” in the graphic indicated sound waves. According to Derbyshire, it was done on quarter-inch mono tape.

The song begins with whooshing, machinery-like sounds, and that steady beating, undulating bassline that is so characteristically science-fiction, somehow. Then that weird high-pitched sound just swoops in — “oooweeeoooo.” You also hear bits of what sound like Tie fighters from Star Wars flying back and forth. (you might not hear that)

Ron Grainer Dr. Who sheet musicIt’s ultimately creepy but cool and gives an immediate otherworldly vibe, which of course is the point of the song and the show. Another genius thing about the song is that it’s memorable enough, yet contains enough space that you can insert your own imagination into it.

Listen to the original “Doctor Who” theme song on Youtube, and watch the clip at

Also check out the 80s version of the theme song– it’s slightly changed, but more synthesized.

What do you think the theme song sounds like? “Whooshes”? “White noise?” “X-Files”?

Drop me a line and let me know.

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Filed under Documentary, How Music is Made, Science Fiction, TV theme songs

Lady Lamb visits all dimensions in existential “After”


Lady Lamb: “After”

With “After,” indie-folk singer-songwriter Lady Lamb has crossed that perilous chasm of the sophomore album in beautiful fashion.

“After” is more polished than “Ripely Pine,” Aly Spaltro’s 2013 debut shorn from a cache of hundreds of recordings she spilled out into the night while working at a movie-rental store in Maine in 2007.

The album explores human mortality, its before and after and all the mess in between, citing the Big Bang, the age of the dinosaurs and alien sitings as bizarre precursors to humankind’s evolving identity. She uses laser-focused lyrics and dark visuals to hook the listener.

“Dear Arkansas Daughter,” with beating drums, spews angry indie-rock. Spaltro sings of a “dying” love “as sharp and serious as a pistol in the eye,” displays softened emotions mid-song, and then reignites into hardened bitterness.

Spaltro also reminds us that mundane things can still hold the answer to ancient secrets. In “Spat Out Spit, ” the mention of a peeled orange becomes her springboard to another dimension.

“We’re just made of flecks of the heavens, spat-out spit/We are filled with the gore, from long before” she quietly reasons.

“After” is full of lighter moments as well.

In the bright pop of “Billions of Eyes,” Spaltro expresses her ambivalence with traveling and touring.

“Some days I can only see into my suitcase/I just want to fall into a pile of warm laundry/ I just wanna keep very, very quiet,” she sings.


Lady Lamb: “After”

“Batter” creates another of Spaltro’s apocalyptic scenes, breaking the sparse song wide open right over a plane crash.

“Don’t let your demons take you to the cleaners,” she warns in the punk/folk rant, calling up the heavy subjects of Catholicism and virginity.

But after each honest, existential wondering on “After,” Spaltro returns the listener safely home, while she continues on her personal journey to hell and back.

“After” is out on the Mom+Pop label.

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Filed under Indie folk, Indie Rock, Punk, Review

It’s about time you got stuck on Pins


The all-female British punk quartet Pins is now poised to make its mark on the States.

For proof, check out their latest single, “Too Little Too Late” on Youtube. It features some seriously pissed off band members and other women clearly out for blood.

According to Pins:

Writing the ‘Too Little Too Late’ lyrics was very cathartic, they spewed out like hot lava from an angry volcano. It is a middle-finger-to-the-world kind of song and the video mirrors that notion. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!”

Interesting fact: the B-side is their cover of The Misfits’ “Hybrid Moments.”

Pins too little videoTheir abstract style of punk is raw and mysterious, and their sparse, clash-y sound adds a sense of desolation, as on “Little Sting.” The group’s been around since at least 2012, when their EP “LuvU4Lyf” was released.

In short, they’re good at what they do.

Check out the rest of their music on Soundcloud as well, especially that EP’s title track.

Their debut album, “Wild Nights,” on which Mark Ronson lent a hand, is out on Bella Union on June 8.

Wild Nights tracklist:

Baby Bhangs
Young Girls
Curse These Dreams
Oh Lord
Dazed By You
Got It Bad
Too Little Too Late
House of Love
If Only
Everyone Says

Tour dates:

  • 21 Apr 2015London at The Electric Ballroom
  • 14 May 2015 – 16 May 2015 Brighton at The Great Escape
  • 27 May 2015London at The Lexington

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Filed under New Music, Post-punk, Punk, Tour Dates, VIdeos

Twin Shadow drummer in serious condition after tour-bus crash

twin_shadow_tour_bus crash
Twin Shadow has released a statement on the multi-vehicle crash its tour bus was involved in on April 17 in Aurora, Colo.
According to, Twin Shadow’s tour bus hit one tractor-trailer, then another, in foggy weather. The crash also involved the tour bus of country band Thompson Square. None on that tour bus were hurt.
According to a statement from Warner Brothers, Twin Shadow drummer Andy Bauer is still in serious condition, while George Lewis, Jr., (Twin Shadow) will undergo reconstructive hand surgery some time this week.
Twin Shadow’s tour dates from April 21 through May 22 have been postponed.
The statement is below:
“Driving on Friday morning April 17th, Twin Shadow’s tour bus hit a tractor-trailer on Interstate 70 in Aurora, Colorado. The circumstances surrounding the accident are being investigated.

There were 12 people on the tour bus consisting of band and crew. Everyone was taken to two local hospitals. At this time both driver John Crawford and Twin Shadow drummer Andy Bauer remain hospitalized, in serious condition. George Lewis Jr. AKA Twin Shadow will be undergoing reconstructive hand surgery this week.

While everyone involved in the accident recovers, Twin Shadow are postponing tour dates scheduled for April 21- May 22nd.

The band and crew send a heartfelt thanks to everyone in Colorado and beyond who have helped through this difficult time.

We will update you as we have more information.”

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Filed under Music News, Tour Info

Gulp! Caribou’s video for “Can’t Do Without You” is a rainbow of emotions

Caribou has released a video for last year’s big song off “Our Love,” and it’s no fish tale.

The video is deceptively simple — it’s all about this little boy and his chance encounter with a giant flying fish (just go with it). The entire video is in slow motion. The boy is seen running, and it first it looks like the fish is chasing him, but then you realize the two are sharing a kind of brief friendship, before the fish continues on without him.

The boy gets a brief opportunity to run his hands along the the fish’s feathers, which are bathed in vibrant reds, greens, yellows, blues and shiny golds, and it may be the most touching part of the video.

caribou video kid2

With just one scene, the video covers the gamut of a child’s purest emotions: joy, sadness, wonderment and fear.

Watch Caribou’s video for “Can’t Do Without You” on Youtube. Caribou’s set to play Coachella this Friday.

If you have an affinity for this brilliantly oversized flying creature, you have a chance to win him.

Here’s a special message from the aquatic animal:



You’ve just seen me in the ‘Can’t Do Without You Video’ but where am I going next?

Give me a purpose, an adventure, somewhere unique for me to call home.

Can you provide me with a special plan for the rest of my days?

I’m 12 feet long, 5 feet tall, 4 feet wide and weigh 50 lbs.

Tell me what your dream is for me by emailing before April 22nd.

If your idea is chosen I will be delivered to you ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.

Hope to see you soon x

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Filed under Ambient, Dance-Synth, Synth pop, VIdeos

Desert Daze 2015 is upon us

Shimmering off in the distance, the fourth annual Desert Daze 2015, hosted by Moon Block, will be held in Mecca, Calif., on May 2. It features a huge lineup that includes Dan Deacon, Warpaint, RJD2, Deap Valley, White Lung, Minus the Bear, Psychic Ills and a lot more. The camping and music fest is one-night only

Check out their promo video, which lists all the bands under a barrage of psychedelic rock noise by Dahga Bloom, with artwork by Oliver Hibert.

Desert Daze will be held Saturday, May 2 at Sunset Ranch Oasis in Mecca, Calif. Some record stores are offering festival discounts on Record Store Day. Visit for more info.

Listen to festival-goer Fever The Ghost’s “Keep In The Dark” to get a feel for what’s to come.

Here’s the full list:





(Performing They Make Beer Commercials Like This)









TEEBS (with live band)










(& Friends Feat. LUIS PEREZ + CHRISTOPHER GARCIA Performing
Mystical Moon Music)

















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Stream Death’s first new music in 40 years

Protopunk band Death, which originated in Detroit, before quietly retiring to the woods of Vermont, has come out with its first new music since 1975, when they released the album “For The Whole World To See.”

The album is called N.E.W. and is streaming in full at VICE.

Death has managed to stay under the radar for many punk fans, even now. If you need a quick primer, check out my story from last year on how I discovered Death.

N.E.W. is out April 21 on Drag City imprint Tryangle.

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Filed under DIY, Hardcore punk, New Music, Noise Punk, Protopunk, Punk

Madonna anoints Drake with her kiss; Drake treats it like poison

Drake Madonna big kiss

Gonna dress you up in my love, whether you like it or not.

At the Coachella Music Festival this weekend, Madonna imparted a hefty kiss upon Drake while onstage. His abject disgust after the holy event has caused a stir while it also appeared to turn Drake’s stomach.

madonna- drake react1

After Madonna plants a big wet one on Drake, then continues the song without breaking a sweat, Drake immediately lunges forward, acting like he just swallowed acid. It did appear as if Madonna was cutting off Drake’s air supply, but suffering from a lack of oxygen is no reason to not enjoy being in the moment with the One Who Gave Us Like A Virgin.

Madonna is clearly a fan of Drake. She mentioned his music during a video from Sydney Morning Herald about what she listens to during her exercise routine. Besides Diplo and Disclosure, she admits she rocks out to the rapper while sculpting.

“I love Drake’s new Mixtape,” she says, so it would appear that Madonna does have some ulterior motive to show her respect: She likes his music. DRAKE EVEN NAMED A SONG AFTER HER ON HIS MIXTAPE. Doesn’t seem to be much excuse for him.

The guy should at least act like he enjoyed the surprise kiss while he’s performing with her. People paid good money to see this.

Madonna drake react2

Other public smooches by the Queen of Pop have been well received, and understandably, still hot. Drake, take note:



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Filed under Coachella 2015, Drake, Hip-Hop, Madonna, Pop

Watch Torres burn in “Sprinter” video; tour starts May 4

Torres Sprinter vidThe grainy, gritty black-and-white video for Torres’ “Sprinter,” like her song, bleeds raw emotion, then melts your face off with bursts of bright, acidic-yellow strokes of lava. By the second verse, Torres’ bitterness and anger is a vehicle that carries the rock anthem and its brief, searing guitar licks.

Torres proudly fronts her past hurts in bold relief on “Sprinter” mixing the downfalls of popular religion with the false hope that she can make those hurts fade away.

“I’ll run it back, I’ll choose the sun/I’ll run it back to everyone,” she sings delicately, and you can feel Torres’ desperation.


Brooklyn-based Torres’ (Mackenzie Scott) title track, “Sprinter,” is off her upcoming sophomore album, recorded in Dorset, England with co-producer Rob Ellis, and in Bristol at Portishead guitarist’s Adrian Utley’s studio.

“Sprinter” is out May 4 on Partisan Records and her tour kicks off the same day.

Watch Torres’ bare her soul during an acoustic performance at Time Out New York. Check out an acoustic “Sprinter” on NPR.

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