Tag Archives: Netherfriends

Netherfriends, Angry Young and Poor and more!

We fondly remember wonderful music and memories, Angry YOung and Poor has come to an end again. Though disappointing that Work and Sauy Yoda both canceled, amazing performances from Zingaro, Radioactivists, Netherfriends, Kizmet and the Phineas Gage more than made up for it.

Kizmet was really wonderful. Folk minimalism, two part harmonies and beat boxing. Reminds me of one of my favorite bands Coco Rosie.

Dante is a furiously talented Ukulele Player who tours Alaska. I saw him at Trapper Creek and at the Pub in Fairbanks. He plays swing and jazzy originals. he wasn’t at AYP, i just happened to find a drawing I made of him.

Pretty Birds that Kill: also didn’t play, but here is a drawing of them. 🙂

Hannah Corral: my hero, here she is rocking a guitar at Ivory Jacks with the Ba’Cuntry Bruthers

Jackie Chan!! a reunion of Three Chord Ho! Kendra, Jody and Amanda. they played a three song set, I don’t think any of them were old 3 Chord Ho! songs.

Unsupervised played rock covers, they are playing the fair too 8:30 August 8.

Netherfriends: now just one member Shawn Rosenblatt. Awesome new material, guitar scales sound vaguely Asian. He was once such a sweet, sentimental pop act, the new stuff is darker but highly enjoyable.

Freddie Fingas played a face melting set early in the day including “the star spangled Banner”

Radioactivists are super amazing! Delightful pop rock with a very talented lead guitarist named Dhani. He doesn’t play like a teenage kid, he plays like an experienced old blues guy. Eli their bass player sang two songs he had written, both were impassioned and fantastic!
It was truly inspiring to see young musicians playing so well! I thoroughly enjoyed them. They are playing again (and for the last time? as members are leaving to college)  on July 20 at College Coffee house, and then as a three piece at the fair Friday August 10 at noon.

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Indie Rock Cliche Bingo, Stumblebum Brass Band

Here is a little comic I made. The bands illustrated here are the Sahara Hotnights, Marnie Stern, and members of Netherfriends and the Raveonettes. You will have to click on them to enlarge enough to read.

I debuted new songs “Haute Couture” “An ode to Star Trek Villians,” and did encore performances of earlier pieces at Rosemary’s house CLOUDBERRY CASTLE last weekend. I played alongside Avery Wolves, 58 Roadsigns, Eating for two, Feeding Frenzy and Space Boots.

Caleb Kuntz added video of me performing “Knit that Shit” with Band of Zorses from the february 5th pub league.


New Teen Paranormal Romance will play a show this Friday (march 11) at the marlin. its 5 dollars and profits go towards CLUCKING BLOSSOM. We are performing with the Good Daze, Jesse Hobbes, and my good friend Greg who calls himself “Black Flowers Black Sun.” Highly Recommended.

We also made a Facebook Page.


Please add us as fans, there are things we can’t do until we have over 35 fans. Also, it helps when we are trying to book shows if the booker knows we have some fans out there. 🙂

My friends in the Stumblebum Brass Band are coming back to Alaska for a tour.

They will play in Fairbanks June 4 at the Marlin, I will be their opener. They also have dates all over the state in May and June, including: Talkeetna, Anchorage, Homer, Denali and Trapper Creek. Their live show is amazing. They have gotten arrested for playing outside on Christmas without a permit. Punk rock.

Check out their tour dates at

Frantic New Orleans style street jazz meets Punk rock frenzy

Stumble Bum Brass Band
Fuck You Lady Gaga. (no label)
New York, New York
Recorded at Bisi Studios by Martin Bisi
Mastered by Dr. Kevorkian
Key tracks Sweet Spot, 2nd Avenue, Girls, Anarchy, I Killed a Man.

The Stumblebums borrow from New Orleans street jazz for the bones of their skeleton, then punk rock for the teeth. . Those snare hits slam and that tuba is huge in the mix. The tuba is so expressive, and its pilot is adept at giving each blast character and verve, even when the tempos are enough to exhaust to anyone sane.The trumpet soars and the vocals, sometimes shouted through a bullhorn, sometimes crooned with the whisky soaked gravel, provide many “did he really just say that?” moments. Most of these songs are fast, offensive, wild and fun.
Many songs come in around 2 minutes, and would be fantastic on your mix tapes or inserted into radio playlists for a satisfying wtf moment.
Many of these songs are reproductions of sketches from their first album- redressed and touched up. Shortened and tightened perhaps from two years of intense live shows. On the first version they sounded a little flat, soggy and honestly, like they were just playing into a mic in a dead room. They sound fantastic now, Smidge’s voice and lyrics channeling vice from the great frontmen he follows, Janis Joplin, Iggy Pop, Louis Prima, Tom Waits, a touch of Hank Williams, and of course a nod to all the hip-hop frontmen who revel in being as ‘nasty’ as they can.
On “Try” they actually slow it down and let things swing. “My body’s had enough, lord I tried,” it’s a refreshing reintroduction to the blues; guitarless, undeniable, and immediate.
Jonny Balls comes out from behind the drumset to sing some lyrics on “GIrls.”  His spastic and perky drumming is hard hitting and perpetually consistent. They let him cut a brief solo on “I Wanna.” Johnny wheres the cowbell? Subtle rhythm changes in “Dirty” prove that the drum set can be a melodic element in punk rock, and help establish that the Jazz influence make sense.
Martin Bisi’s production is in your face and always faithful to the live show- the only place where there are obvious effects and overdubbing is in “Blue Eyed Blues.” Otherwise the disc just seems to be mixed and mastered very conservatively and expertly.
“Pink Cadillac,” is a nod to those 50s “oldies but goody” songs, but of course the tempo picks up and Smidge delivers a rapid fire rap. As he sings “Cuz I ain’t so bad,” he must be winking and acknowledging the nod to Louis Prima. “Hey Jonny” quotes hey Ronnie” and has a spoken intro that reminds me of the Shangri-La’s “Leader of the Pack.” It’s a celebration of cheesy pop culture, with a post-modern revisionism, or its just hilarious dirty fun. Try to keep a straight face while hear the lyrics, “Hey Jonny he’s so fine, he’s so fine I wanna fuck him from behind.”
I listened to ska punk from california back in the 90s, some of these catchy zippy trumpet lines remind me of the thrill i felt when I first heard that sound: the rich white kid angst version of authentic jamaican music.  The closest this gets to it is “Sweet Spot,” with a very busy bass line from Disco Ronnie and some “ooh ah’s” delivered like emo “ois.” This would be a great choice for a single, as its free of curses, full of catchy hooks, and the tempo changes make it consistently energizing. Here the Stumblebums enthusiastically turn up the joy and invite their listeners to dance. This track is an inspiring demonstration as to why people play music- because its the second most fun thing you can do with your fingers, I mean lips!

For fans of: Cherry Poppin Daddies, Reel Big Fish, Galactic, but that marginalizes them too much, anyone who loves passion, and doesn’t mind foul language will love this disc!

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Netherfriends, GOD, Shotgun Party, Lorraine Leckie and her Demons, The Fools, the Moon Knights

Shawn Rosenblatt of Netherfriends (actual CD art unavailable)

Home Is Where My House Is
Chicago, Illinois
Delightful zippy indie pop!
One cant fault Shawn Rosenblatt for being happy! He has come across a wonderful formula for songwriting, so let him milk it all the way to the top!
On “Nunya (beeswax)” layers of percussion and party vocals convince the listener to celebrate and we build slowly to gleeful climax. LFO synthesizers compliment jangly guitars and constant tempo changes. Sound effects and zappers join acoustic guitars and pitch shifted delayed sounds to a whispered lullaby ending. It’s almost hard to call this a “song” but its certainly a wonderful way to start an EP.

The strongest song is “Stop Smoking A$$hold, Cigarettes” He tells us a familiar story about falling in love with unpretentious methods. ” I just want to take you out for some indian food and learn what you’re all about. Let’s listen to records while we lay on the floor. I wish falling for you didn’t hurt anymore.” Who wouldn’t want to have an affair with this guy?

“Tac Tac” is another catchy number, accordion and female vocals bring an enjoyable lightness to the composition. We hear a choir and glockenspiel pleasantly bopping along and cannot help but bob our heads. He delivers with impeccably chill lightness lines like,  “you live with your parents on their inheritance. you spell the words you cannot say to me, Y-O-U C-A-N-T S-I-N-G”
In “Cory Kennedy Sings the Blues,” Shawn gets truly philosophical and abstract.
“Fashion trends and music trends and it never ends, I’m going to stay at home and never talk shit about anyone, I’ll make some friends and I’ll lose some friends and I’ll make new friends.” He meditates on experience, is he talking about the indie DIY music scene? Cinematography or buddhist meditation? Does it matter? Its a song, its a chant, its a philosophy, its an anthem. “Its all image and sound, image and sound.”
He reminds me of Sufjan Stevens and Harlem Shakes. Others have compared him to Animal Collective, but I gotta say, he’s much more “listenable” and intimate. Keep going, Shawn! And catch him live if you can!


GOD, Austin, Luke, Ian, Quinton, Tracy. (actual cd art unavailable)

Seattle, WA.
No label.
Dancy,fancy shmancy disco punk

Seattle’s God has released their first EP, a fun and strange collection of songs they call “SIN EP.”  “No.No.No.Yes.Yes.” starts things off with frenetic disco punk rhythms, a catchy guitar and poppy vocal delivered with snotty enthusiasm by Ian Lesage.
It isn’t until 1:34 that we hear the strings come in, courtesy of cellist Tracy.
“I love love this generation, we got the best music, we got the best clothes,” Ian mocks, crocodile tears pouring from his eyes. A common theme in his music is deriding hipsters and trendy music fans.
There are moments of tenderness with only a glockenspiel and vocals, but they last only for a brief moment.
“How can we think that we are the best thing to ever come?”
“How Many Sleepers” almost sounds like a Radiohead b-side.  Demonstrating some influence from Yes or Genesis?  Is that a mellotron choir sample in there? Maybe Ian is mocking the 70s as well.
“Here’s my best shit: eat it!” ” The meaning is lost on  you all!” are some more examples of these vitrolic lyrics that Ian flings at his listener.
“Spreading at the Legs of Cancer” is my favorite, the cello is really important in the mix and plays interesting textures, the lyric hook is even pleasantly catchy!
“recycle. rinse. repeat. end.”  Is much more relaxed and spacey than the others.  Delayed drum machines and synthesizers set up a spacey mood while icy cold guitars creep in. Here Ian finally relaxes his voice and sings in a gentle whisper.”Read directions, take instructions, tear apart this broken future.
“Anti Robotics” has hints of a narrative, maybe a future cd could be a concept album with a plot and characters? The dramatic delivery and instrumentation would lend itself towards that. “She’s smarter than me, she works in a lab.” Here, multiple layers of strings and synths provide a welcome, near shoegazer sound, but the vocals are firmly in the punk tradition, they couldn’t have been delivered with anything less than a Messerschmit grimace, the vocalist about to pass out from exhaustion.
The result is an engaging album with varied moods, the lyrics can feel excessively preachy sometimes, but we all like to hate hipsters… as long as he isn’t talking about us! That is the trouble with such lyrics, how to know how the audience will interpret them… listeners may find themselves asking, “is he talking about me, or the people I dislike?” I usually prefer to hear music where the vocalist has an optimistic message, but a little sardonic humor and anhedonia have its place sometimes. If you listen to just one angry album this year, make it SIN EP from GOD.

This band is also featured in a full length movie called “5$ Cover” by Lynn Shelton.
catch it on MTV or look it up on the internet.

Lorraine Leckie and her Demons: Four Cold Angels

Lorraine Leckie and her Demons.
Four Cold Angels

New York City, NY

Lorraine has a dry delivery, encouraging the listener to crime on  “Getaway Car” seem inviting and eerie.
Rambling country guitar from Hugh Pool, and a pleasant shuffle from Paul Triff make  “Four Cold Angels” a fun ride. On “Drivin” she asks, “how good can a woman feel?” But it isn’t clear if she’s asking “how much pleasure can I experience?” or asking a potential lover, “how nice would it be to have a woman’s touch tonight?”
That kind of lyrical ambiguity, along with delightful synesthesia such as describing the taste of the Ontario sky make this a poetic album you will want to come back to repeatedly.

On “Ontario” she allows her band to kick it up a notch, delivering a truly rocking track with some of the best lyrics on the album and the most exciting guitar dexterity. We all have some nostalgia for our home towns for sculpting us into the personalities we display, she sums it up well with lyrics such as, “you learn to be humble in Ontario, you learn not to stumble  in Ontario.”
Her style, mixing country and indie brings to mind the Cowboy Junkies and Liz Phair.

Shotgun Party
Mean Old Way
Austin Texas
Co-produced by Shotgun Party and Mark Hallman
Recorded at ?
Key tracks- Paints A Yates, the Builder, Star Song, Run n Hide

This Austin three piece tours all over the states and keeps churning out hits. I wish they would come to Alaska and share their special recipe for musical thrills with us.
The catchiest track is “Paints A Yates,” “buy a smoke and bottle, get my man and go” is a great hook, and Jenny Parrot’s cheerful, friendly voice is warm and appealing. She makes you want to jump in a car with her and speed off, commitments be damned! Or should it be a horse drawn carriage?
Shotgun Party’s short pleasant pop sensibility nods to great songwriters like Patsy Cline and Sam Cooke. Stanly Smith’s clarinet on “Run n Hide” adds an impeccable class and Jenny’s delivery is confident, she is unafraid to break a note over her knee. “Y Yo” has a different feel than the others, a wistful, mournful delivery and staccato bursts of energy. Confident stand-up bass from Chris Crepps keeps energy high and the songs moving forward. “The Builder” is another stand out track, full of hooks and pleasant choir “aaahs.” “Canned Peaches” is smokin’ hot, with a few lyrics that make you ask, “did she really say that?” “now I’m making syrup on their thighs.” I’m not sure what that means, but it makes me feel a little dirty.
“Star Song” is also filled with joyful hooks, the energy of a Texas honky tonk meets the optimism of a children’s song. “I was a star, and I will be a star again.” You’ll be singing it to yourself, mark my words.
Katy Rose Cox’s violin is absolutely screaming! “Moonlight” is a familiar cover, but with the frenetic fiddle it sounds like a new song. There is a fun and unpredictable fiddle solo on every one of these songs. She plays faster than a hummingbird flaps its wings on “Draggin the Bow.” “Tanya” has some tango-like passion, and we are fortunate they decided there was room for these violin-focus tracks on the album.
The combination of Jenny’s personality, her pop sensibility and the dynamics of Katy Rose’s fiddle make this a top notch record: an improvement over their last, and a must for fans of original country and western swing. The 17 songs never seem like too many, you just want the album to go on and on.


The Fools, Lost and Found

the fools (cd art unavailable)

New York, NY
Recorded by Cliff Kaplan and Misha Volf at Hart Studios and live at the Bowery Poetry Club.
Brief, lovingly crafted, insightful songs about people and feelings.

Honesty, integrity, and a loving tone. I feel like I trust the vocalist that everything she tells me is true. Jen Tobin’s vocals and guitar are joined by lively bass from Uchenna Bright, and occasional samples such as an alarm clock and sounds of a beach.
I was surprised to hear drums, as I have heard this band several times and never seen them play with a live drummer. The drums may be mixed a little too loudly, as they overshadow Jen’s vocals on the first track.
“The Dream” is the longest song here, most fall under 2 minutes. Here the mix is perfect, a delightful gentle pop bass line fulfills the collusion between ambiance and mood- guitar and vocals have a generous touch of reverb, and the lyrical message is delivered impeccably.

“Oh Darlin”, is another great song they choose to put in the conclusion. Not the Beatles song, but an underscored poetic little ditty.

These songs are so not “in your face,” they are never intense or immature, but they are totally immediate and relevant. This is a true “alternative” music, a music that doesn’t pretend to be more than it is or try to indoctrinate or convert the listener. The songs succeed completely and on their own terms, with a charm and inventiveness that’s completely unique.

“The pillows on your bed are getting in my way, so let’s break our hearts just to do it.” Maybe this lyric encapsulates Jen’s attitude towards love, and even songwriting, maybe not. But when your lying back in a grassy field, listening to The Fools on your head phones and daydreaming about love, who can blame you for being idealistic?


The Moon Knights

One Must Die

No label
Anchorage, Alaska
More joyful cacophony from Anchorage
Spiral Song starts the album off with a bouncy drum beat and lazy vocals. “I love you so much that my skull makes weird sounds.” Lester croons unusual lyrics with a familiar melody.
As on previous albums, Julie and Lester trade duties on lead vocals, but their style has merged due to each other’s influence, and it isn’t always clear who it is who sings. Both sing through overdrive pedals, providing a trebly bullhorn effect. Drums and guitar combine in perfect smashing disharmony.
There isn’t much saxophone from Ted on here, though he is an essential part of the live show. Adrian’s drumming has improved remarkably since the band began. “Blood Box” has some beatnik appeal, with busy bass, and half spoken  vocals,  reminding me of the weirder early tracks from They Might Be Giants albums.
“Skin” is a farewell to good friend, the most tender of the album.
“Believe My Love” is my favorite track, with bending guitar chords, and coquettish vocals from Julie. She murmurs “I’m just so angry all the time.” Is she singing from the perspective of a girl at 6 years old? a pre teen? or an adult who has an axe to grind? it isn’t clear, but it also isn’t important. Nothing is important: nothing that is, except downloading the Moon Knights new album and pumping it on your car stereo in between petty acts of vandalism.

Reccommended for fans of Parenthetical Girls, Xiu Xiu, Bikini Kill, Be Your Own Pet, The Velvet Underground.

This album is available free at:



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Nite Jewel, School of Seven Bells, Netherfriends

“Minimalist pop, Sci-fi electronic constructions.”

Nite Jewel

Am I Real?
Gloriette Records

Los Angeles, California
Produced and recorded by Nite Jewel and Cole M Greif-Niell // mastered by Pete Layman at Infrasonic Sound
The album begins with a kooky feel and a danceable groove, “Another Horizon” starts the adventure off with a light-hearted step. Here the “chorus” is fanciful and playful vocalizations and not “lyrics.” Some of these synthesizer pre-sets will remind listeners of the 80s. The gentle grooves and hooks will remind others of Zero 7 but the harmonies are organic, sexy and certainly justifiably unique.
“White Lies” repeats an eerie lyric informing us that the future is full of bright lights, but contains many white lies. Perhaps a comment on overconsumption and the denial those of us in the Western world must maintain in order to enjoy our opulence? Its a familiar science fiction message- but now in a cheerful, head bobbing new medium.
“Forget You and I” has some of the most gorgeous vocal performances on the disc, with an ocean of sound underneath, minimal percussion, twinkling synthesizers, and a melody that reminds me of Enya’s catchiest stuff.
In “Am I Real?” I picture a chorus of androids chanting the title, and imagine a scene that could be in novel from Phillup K. Dick. This song is the most organic and “live” sounding of the whole album, with guitar solos and an snappy electric bass performance, which would certainly let it rest comfortably in a mixtape alongside songs from Feist.


School of Seven Bells

Disconnect from Desire
New York, NY

Produced by Benjamin Curtis
Vagrant Records/Ghostly International.

Somewhere West of Eurythmics and Stereolab and East of Asobi Seksu and Blonde Redhead, there is school; a school of harmonies, angelic voices, shoe gazing, heavy beats, chiming guitars, skittery synths, and etheric moods. The School of Seven Bells brings us their sophomore album: Disconnect from Desire.
“Windstorm” is a great start, these repetitive synth howls succeed in putting the listener into a pleasant trance. Chugging guitars from Benjamin Curtis ( of Secret Machines) drive the pieces forward.
The voices of Alejandra and Claudia Deheza blend to perfection on each track. “Dust Devil'”s arpeggiated blips and cheesy drum fills allow us an 80s nostalgia moment. “You don’t have to be cool” Alejandra repeats, and eases us into her lounge, full of comfortable pillows of sound. “There are so many things I wish I could say to you in a way that you’d understand,” she sings on ILU. Her lyrics are always genuine and compassionate.
The mood is consistent throughout, this album should be listened to as a whole, there isn’t a stand out track that seems more “poppy” or accessible than the others.


photos by Sarah Sadler

NetherFreinds (Chicago, Il)
Cabin Party // Fairbanks, AK // September 17, 2010)
Shawn Rosenblatt charmed us all with a wry smile, mutton sideburns and a dozen catchy, friendly songs filled with smarmy lyrics and happy guitar riffs. He sings into a delay pedal, and does his own back up vocals through clever manipulation of a looping pedal. His compositions were grounded by an enthralling drum performance from Scott Westrick.
He kicked things off with “Really “that has a fanciful la la chorus, and fun latin rhythms. On “Stop Smoking A$$hole, Cigarettes” he cooed “I can jump out of airplanes too, but I’m not going to get you drunk and take advantage of you.”  Its a love song, though a weird one.

“Friends with Lofts” was a fun psychedelic song, “I played at my friends loft, we forgot the band’s name by the end of it all.” He criticizes and sings about the indie band cliches with lyrics that make me smile.
Shawn is on a tour where he hopes to visit each of the 50 states and record a song in each of them. When he announced that he would be playing his last song, a cheerful crowd member suggested a ‘worm pit,” and people began writhing on the floor. We just wanted to show you how we do it in Alaska, Shawn, here’s hoping a bit of your Alaskan experience ends up in your future songs. Thanks for sharing your joyful music with us.

I made these drawings when they played with a keyboard player, Chris, at Pianos in Manhattan.

Check out his blog here:


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