Wednesday, November 4, 2009

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Stacy Clark to Independently Release ‘Connect the Dots’ in January

Posted: 04 Nov 2009 12:10 PM PST

Stacy Clark, the talented artist praised for her debut Apples and Oranges and recently recognized for the backing vocals on the popular Jack’s Mannestacyquin album, The Glass Passenger, has been hard at work on her second solo album.

She recently announced her separation from Shangrila and is now moving forward to release her sophomore album Connect the Dots independently this January 2010.

In addition to a new album, Clark also plans on releasing new videos, new artwork and a new website.

Check out a new song from Connect the Dots:


Stacy Clark: website | myspace | Apples and Oranges review

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The Very Best with Javelin @ DC9, Washington DC

Posted: 04 Nov 2009 09:00 AM PST

Do you know what ‘moto’ means?” singer of asked the crowd at DC9 Monday night. (I presume he was asking if we knew what it meant in his native Chichewa, the national language of his homeland, .) The crowd, smiling back at him, collectively shook their heads. “It means ‘fire’!” Funny you mention something incendiary, Esau, because on a cold Monday night in Washington, the “band” from figuratively lit a fire under the audience at the sold-out DC9 with their brand of African tinged dance music and turned the club into an all-out dance party.

b-javelin2The opener for the night was the Brooklyn-based duo . Not sure where they got their name – maybe cousins Tom Van Buskirk and George Langford were good at track and field in high school? These days, I imagine the two must be flexing their muscles carrying all their gear around – a whole table full of electronics including several synths and a drum pad, colorfully painted boomboxes they call “boombaatas” that form large speaker totems, and a collection of maracas and cowbells.

’s brief but entertaining set of pop / hip hop / electronic music at times lifted lyrics from songs of days gone by like Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy.” Another example: they commandeered the words from the children’s lullaby “Frere Jacques” and turned into something completely different. Who would have guessed that song could ever be so dancey? And with humorous song titles like “Lindsay Brohan” and “Soda Popinski,” you’d have to smile. My faves from the set were “Twyce” and “Vibrationz,” the latter name-checking of the Beach Boys and Marky Mark (aka Mark Wahlberg when he was a singer way back when). If you’re going to name your song “Vibrationz,” it’s totally appropriate to give a nod to the only two songs from popular culture that also mention such scandalous quivering.

f-verybest2 is a trio comprised of singer Mwamwaya and the -based DJ/production duo of Radioclit (Swede Johan Carlberg and Frenchman Etienne [DJ] Tron). I first became aware of them when the title track of their first official full-length album, “Warm Heart of Africa”, was added to the BBC 6music playlist. The song was an instant hit with me, buoyed by the gaiety of vocals from Mwamwaya and guest Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend (who incidentally also cowrote the song) and joyous instrumentation. I was a little skeptical how this live exhibition would turn out when Carlberg first came onstage and immediately broke out a large album full of CDs and popped a disc into his Philips player. Thankfully though, my uncertainty quickly dissolved as the band got going.

For the live performance, singer Mwamwaya alternately stood, danced, and interacted with fans directly in front of Carlberg, who played DJ and assumed additional audience warm-up duty for the evening, waving his arms back and forth vigorously to get the crowd going during songs. For added oomph, they even brought with them two energetic dancers, resplendent in jackets that read “TVB” on the back; Mwamwaya proudly announced that the girls had come “all the way from the UK!” “Julia” and “Warm Heart of Africa” from their official first album were warmly received. So was “Tengazako,” a track from their 2008 free-to-download mixtape that featured an obvious sample from ., causing everyone in the club to do the gun-toting moves that I have only recently learned are requisite when hearing her “Paper Planes.”

g-verybest3Generally, you can expect a headlining act to play for a significantly longer period of time than their opener. Unfortunately for those of us gathered to see this band at DC9, this wasn’t the case. The two of them were clearly not prepared for such a lively reaction from their Washington area adoring fans and as such weren’t equipped to do more than the eight songs they played us. At the tail end of their set, Carlberg asked the audience what song they wanted, and after some random shouts and murmurings, it was decided that ’s cover version of Vampire Weekend’s “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” would be the tune. After Mwamwaya left the stage, (the crowd didn’t want to let him go), Carlberg stayed behind to spin records, and the audience continued dancing to the pulsating beats on offer. I think if they keep this up, could very well be the next global phenomenon.

: myspace
: website | myspace

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Scotland Barr & the Slow Drags – We Will Be Forgotten EP

Posted: 04 Nov 2009 08:00 AM PST

I first heard these songs at a concert shortly after I interviewed Scotland Barr in the spring. We discussed his recent diagnosis and the album he was writing and recording. At the concert, we chatted about our experiences living in Santa Cruz (my old hometown) and Portland (my adopted home). Although I had been hoping to hear my scotlandbarr1_hi-resfavorite tracks off of All the Great Aviators Agree, he only played his new songs and I was blown away. The songs were less boisterous, mixing in more ballads with the folk and country rock. When I first heard these MP3’s they were just the teaser for the great double album that the concert promised. I couldn’t wait to hear it in its entirety and was looking forward to a follow up interview upon its release. Then he passed away and the songs changed, suddenly gaining a deeper emotional resonance.

Although Barr said that he’d written most of the songs before his diagnosis, its impossible not to hear a man looking over and assessing the span of his life. “Eyes Like LA” (MP3) sets the tone with warm ringing guitars, plenty of country harmonies, and the offhand but poignant line “They say there’s no way that I could go so soon.” A piano leads the slow and reflective “Rasputin and Me” (MP3), a look back over Barr’s life, through the places he lived and the people he loved. The sentiment is summed up in the line “What really got me, wasn’t how old we’d become, but was how young we used to be.” “Everybody Knows” (MP3) is the most upbeat of the bunch, built around a barroom sing-along-inducing chorus and funky keyboard bridge. The EP closes with the epic “Right Where You’re Supposed To Be” (MP3), a song beginning with the joy of performing and ending in contentment.

The rest of the band is now soliciting donations to help pay for recording and mixing the rest of the album. Judging from these four songs, it’s a worthwhile investment.

Track listing:

Scotland Barr and the Slow Drags: website | myspace | interview

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Interview with: Matthew Sweet

Posted: 04 Nov 2009 07:00 AM PST

Pop rock artist wears many hats. From solo to Sid ‘n’ Susie. Though he is busy touring, PopWreckoning’s Thomas Starks caught up to the artist to talk the tour and his projects:

Thomas Starks, PopWreckoning: Hello Mr. Sweet, thank you so much for taking my call. I know we have a short time so I'll get right into it. Talk to me a little about this Nov. 6th show at Eddie’s Attic. What’s going on with that?
: I've known Susanna (Susanna Hoffs) since the early 90's, we had a few friends in common. When I moved here in 93, I just ran into her more and more. I got invited to a charity show with the Bangles, and I brought up that I liked her voice, we really wanted to do something. So we played at McCabe's in LA. I played rock shows many years ago there. She invited , before the "Austin Powers" movies. He was still getting a hold of that character. So we all teamed up and started a small group called Ming Tea. That led to a song called "BBC" on the first movie, and then later we penned "Daddy Wasn't There" on the "Gold Member" movie. matthew

TS: It's amazing how those small meetings turn into great projects. So is this a tour for you both then?
MS: Oh it's not even a tour, it's just a small thing we are doing.
TS: Does it allow you to let loose a bit though?
MS: A little scary cause it makes you naked, but also very freeing.

TS: Now you recently released Under The Covers 2, a collection of covers from the 1970's. What process went into picking the songs and artists you covered?
MS: We get asked this the most. In the 60's we were sort of too young, so in the 70's we had a lot of fun. We NEVER make a list, we think of things as we go, and try doing them. The things we thought the best we couldn't leave off, that's what we chose. It got difficult at one point and we ended up having 10 more available on iTunes, bonus tracks.
TS: Which ones stand out to you as your favorites?
MS: The YES song "I've Seen All Good People." We liked Yes when we were kids. Oh and "Sugar Magnolia," a sleeper one we really liked at the end.

TS: You were able to work with Susanna Hoffs and Lindsey Buckingham on this record. What was it like working with these two?
MS: Well with Susanna, it's like my sister, I know her so well. Lindsey I had known for quite a while, but not as well. We did a song for a movie all together back in the mid nineties. Then one of Sue's son's went to school with Lindsey's kid, and that rekindled a friendship. At Sue's B-Day last Jan. we cornered him and asked him to make a record with us. It was chance for us to get him on lead a little more.

TS: You semi-recently produced a group that we’ve become pretty good friends with here at Pop Wreckoning, . What stood out to you about this band to take them into your home studio?
MS: It seems like a while ago now. It actually came out of thing in a publishing meeting with EMI, someone said you should produce a "Harmony Group." Russell played something off of Myspace, and it was them. They write REALLY amazing stuff. They came out, we did a few demos, then they got Capital wanting to sign them, then Capital got shut down! I think they are now with Verve.

TS: So do you have anyone else on your plate in the near future in terms of production?
MS: Only the Bangles and I've started my own solo record. I'm gonna try to keep up a little more, go out a little more. I recorded a song for "Men of a Certain Age" with Ray Romano.

TS: It's so rare to see a true musical affinity and professional appreciation for one's colleagues.
MS: For me I was "Mr. Hide Out." I always felt weird and never made a lot of friends, I've been there. Once the era of the 90's passed, around 2001 or 2002, I got pulled into singing harmonies for Columbia. I never had good success writing with others, I had to assert myself. Now I feel really free and fun, although I still have to hustle. When you have that better time and a good perspective, you find out what you care about, it helps me enjoy people more.

TS: I really admire that perspective, it's in our transitions that we see what is missing. Good for noticing that. Ok, Mr. Sweet, last question, if you could point our reader towards any artist in hopes of getting them to listen to them, who would it be?
MS: Wow, what would I TELL someone to listen too? As far as groups now, I don't know them that well, I think of people in a genre of music I wouldn't normally listen too. Blonde On Blonde then Pet Sounds. There are amazing things outside my orbit. I like freakbeat, garage rock stuff. Also it was in 1979 or 1980 that I started high school. That's when I started to listen to all kinds of things. I wish I would have done that when I was 11, instead of 19. Plus nowadays it's the internet that really helps us get what's out there, the internet is sooo massive.
TS: Well then is it safe to say that you would recommend to "Listen to anything outside of your orbit?"
MS: That's exactly it. Go find it.
TS: Mr. Sweet, I truly appreciate you taking my call and I'm truly looking forward to seeing you and Susanna live.
MS: Well, thank you. We just love this stuff. Have a great day!

: website | myspace

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