Produced Recorded and Mixed by Jason Carmer
Reviewed by NME
Before pressing 'play' on 'Crown Royal' it's worth remembering that it's not so much a record as a big hip-hop pyramid constructed to the greater glory of Run DMC, by Run DMC, for Run DMC. Unless you particularly care that they did everything there is to do, first (first rap band to conquer the Grammys,
, MTV and the corporate sponsorship deal), and never tire of hearing how 'Walk This Way' became eternally prefaced with the word "genre-defying", then your concentration span might be stretched like cheap bubblegum.
'Crown Royal' sees the Hollis, Queens heroes capitalising on their, yes, boundary-breaking past by hooking up with the rock-rap heroes of today, but they're not letting you draw your own conclusions about their importance just in case you're not quite reverent enough. "I'm the reason you started rhyming/I'm the reason rap sales started climbing/That's why I'm still headlining..." they declare on the title track, a slab of brassy majesty so grandiose it could be sent down the Nile in a barge, taking a stance of regal majesty that rarely slips. The Bourgia-style choral gothic of 'It's Over', the street nostalgia of 'Queens Day', featuring Nas and Prodigy of Mobb Deep, 'Crown Royal' all prove the emperors' new clothes can look just as solid as their old threads.
At least, until Fred Durst lowers the tone. "I like tall girls/I like small girls/I like all the girls except the dirty call girls", he crows on 'Them Girls', neglecting to realise that the latter would probably rather date an 80-year-old Republican judge than a whining fool in a red hat. It's the point where you have to wonder how the once-alchemical concept of the rap-rock crossover drizzled down to today's porcine squealing about bitches. Still, faith is restored a little with the kindergarten-tough 'The School Of Old' (rhymes with "over thirty million records worldwide we've sold", of course) starring the classy Kid Rock, while the 'King Of Rock'-sampling 'Rock Show' overcomes the problems associated with a Third Eye Blind collaboration to create baroque-hop reminiscent of Billy Corgan in big-shorts.
The album culminates with the celebratory 'Simmons Incorporated' - guest starring Method Man - and a hyper-speed 2001 take on 'Walk This Way'.
Just in case you'd forgotten. As if you could. Run DMC have carried off the
cross-cultural exchange, and now, the cross-generational exchange is tucked under their entrepreneurial belts as well.
If it's like being lectured by a medal-brandishing uncle, it's forgiveable.
After all, they come from a school that
they call the old. They're her
Read more at
Produced and recorded by Paco Huidobro and Jason Carmer
Mixed by Jason Carmer
This is my studio in Berkeley!
It's got tons of cool gear, sounds great and is a comfortable, fun pace to make music.
Check out the website
Queen, Plastic & Walnut, and much more.
Desde Rusa Con Amore recorded in Russia
Mixed by Jason Carmer
Recorded by Jason Carmer
"It truly is a kick to hear Camper Van Beethoven play its craft with road-tested assurance and subtly virtuosic musicianship." Pitchfork
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In honor of their 30 year anniversary as a band, alternative rock pioneers Camper Van Beethoven have a reason to celebrate as their new album, LA COSTA PERDIDA—their 429 Records debut—had an outstanding first week of release. LA COSTA PERDIDA debuted in the Top 200 of the Billboard Pop Chart as well as #1 on the Top Current New Alternative Artist chart and #3 on the Heatseekers chart. The album has already garnered media and radio accolades with rave reviews in Spin Magazine and Pitchfork. Key radio airplay includes WFUV, KFOG, and performances at NPR's World Café and Mountain Stage. The band is in the midst of a national tour and will appear in several retail in-store along the way including February 20th @ Fingerprints in Long Beach, CA.
The lineup, featuring Victor Krummenacher (bass, baritone guitar), Greg Lisher (guitars), David Lowery (guitars and vocals),Chris Pedersen (drums), Jonathan Segel (violin , guitar , mandolin, organ , backing vocals) and Michael Urbano (drums and percussion), have reunited and created their most cohesive album yet. This album, their eighth studio album and first since 2004, is steeped in their connection to Northern California, specifically the areas where the band members first nurtured their musical talents—Redlands, Santa Cruz and San Francisco. With a geographical jumping off point, the band fills in the dramatic, joyous, interpersonal and psychological aspects of the locales as only CVB can. The ten tracks on LA COSTA PERDIDA were produced by the band and recorded in the Oakland home studio of Jonathan Segel .
2/14Minneapolis, MN Burnsville PACRickshaw StopSan Francisco, CA 2/16 HopmonkNovato, CA 2/17 Odd Fellows HallDavis, CA 2/18 House of BluesLos Angeles, CA 2/21 Tractor TavernSeattle, WA 2/22 Mississippi StudiosPortland, OR 2/23
For more information visit:
429 Records is a unit of The Savoy Label Group (SLG). SLG is the North American based division of Nippon Columbia the oldest music company in Japan. The Savoy Label Group has evolved into a Grammy Award winning and chart topping independent music company consistently outperforming competitors in key music categories as monitored by Billboard Magazine. The Savoy Label Group is led by Steve Vining and is based in Los Angeles, CA.
SOURCE 429 Records
Scotland's The View Announce First Ever U.S. Club Tour
Jan 30, 2013, 06:00 ET
Camper Van Beethoven Returns With "LA COSTA PERDIDA"
Jan 21, 2013, 11:54 ET
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Release Date: February 21, 2012
Label: Last Gang Records
Reviewed: Feb 29th 2012 ·
On Metal Moon, the first album from San Francisco-based Dirty Ghosts, there are moments of both supreme clarity and total cloudiness. The cover art is similarly black and white, though it also features two gray-blue strips on adjacent TVs. If the third color stands outs for a reason, maybe it speaks to frontwoman Allyson Baker's flatly cool emotionalism, as well as the band's clean—not formulaic—execution of dirty music, both major aspects of the Ghosts' unique debut LP.
Outside of their name, let's understand 'dirty' as the mix of elements that make up the band's sound (pre-distillation), because there are a lot. In an interview with the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Baker—former guitarist for Parchman Farm and Toronto punk outfit Teen Crud Combo—said of New Age, the 1980 single by experimental duo Chrome, "It's perfect." But Dirty Ghosts contain more than harsh riffs and electronic feedback; there is groove ("Shout It In"), grit ("Katana Rock"), style and, above all, a singularity that somehow draws from every orbiting influence at equal measure.
Bass is provided by Carson Binks, another ex-Parchman Farm member, who worked on a couple of tracks for Aesop Rock's 2007 album, None Shall Pass. Interestingly, Baker married Rock in '05, and the rapper/producer heads the programming work on Moon. For a band that sounds like no other, his contribution is welcomed and doesn't tip the music's focus in any one direction. However, the only song where Rock's drums are instantly recognizable is the album highlight, "Steamboat to Concord." On it, Baker sings over a stop-and-go break, her voice draped in warm reverb, evoking some sort of late '90s, pre-Napster r&b.
The majority of Moon's 10 tracks are worth noting, but at 38 minutes, you should really listen for yourself. In such a short time, the greatest thing about the variety shown across the album is that it maintains a central mystery about it. There's one pulse going through all the songs, but good luck figuring out what it could be; you can feel it, but it might prove difficult to articulate it as clearly. It's almost like there is a defensiveness that underpins Baker's otherwise compelling attitude, as if she's telling you "come in" and "get away" at the same time.
Still, despite (and because of) its whirlpool of originality, this album manages broad appeal for those looking for it. There's chugging '70s psych rock, punk-funk ("Surround the Controls"), inviting rhythms and an irresistibly catchy chant on Moon's opener and fierce lead single, "Ropes That Way." Here, Dirty Ghosts successfully channel the world that existed before it, resulting in music that will apply itself to you whether you're dancing or ducking for cover. Metal Moon could be the soundtrack to an hour from now.
Review by David Lord
Produced Recorded Mixed Jason Carmer
Run DMC Crown Royal- Produced Engineered and Mixed by Jason Carmer
Mixing Jason Carmer
Produced and Recorded by jason Carmer
Fuller and more thought-out than their previous releases, the Donnas' Spend the Night furthers the band's evolution from their "what if the Ramones were chicks" vibe into a really cohesive hard rock band. The straightforward lyrics still revolve around "Tonight we're gonna party," "Let's get high in the backseat of my car," and "I'm gonna steal you away from your girl," but using these tried-and-true rock & roll themes with the Donnas' equally simple song structures, their sound and message achieve a kind of rock purity that seems miles away from all of the Britneys and Christina Aguileras out there. Their allegiance to the sound of simplistic party rock bands that were around in the late '70s/early '80s (Kiss, Cheap Trick, Mötley Crüe) joins forces with the snarl of the tough girl groups of that same era (Blondie, the Pretenders, Joan Jett) in a way that hasn't been heard on a major label in at least a decade. Special recognition deserves to go to guitarist Donna R./Allison Robertson whose Ace Frehley fascination used to be cute and now sounds as though it has erupted into a full-blown obsession, but somehow she still manages to put a heavier Southern rock/Angus Young spin on the riffs, demonstrating a real attention to craft that wouldn't have even occurred to them on their 1998 debut. Despite all of this maturity, Spend the Night ain't no Mantovani; the perpetually teenaged foursome still have their raw edges and sharp teeth, it's just that the edges rip deeper and the teeth bite harder with this more efficient and well-crafted rock assault.
Laura Pausini Inedito
Produced by Corrado Rustici
Mixed by Jason Carmer
KIMYA DAWSON THUNDER THIGHS
Produced Recorded Mixed by Jason Carmer o yeah and bass too!
This by far was the most fun I ever had making a record. Recording senior choirs, librarians, preschoolers and punks in rec centers, bathrooms, kitchens oh yeah and a studio or two all across the country. Even got to go to Bill W's! Loved it....
Published at 12:11 PM on October 25, 2011
Because she’s so earnest and goofy, and sure, willing to embarrass herself on record, Kimya Dawson ranges from underrated to grossly misconstrued, by contemporary indie critics who claim to have outgrown twee. But her screeching antifolk realism that’s feminist by default is essential in a world where Animal Collective’s bro-y musings are considered concrete. Dawson’s 2002 effort I’m Sorry That Sometimes I’m Mean is the greatest record her post-Nuyorican culture’s ever seen, even overshadowing the Moldy Peaches’ sole collaboration because it’s more poignant to match up with the funny, meaning for every talking blues about a pull-string Jim Varney doll there was an ice-cold tragedy about an abusive social worker.
After Juno made her “Anyone Else But You” the sweet follow-up Jack White’s “We’re Going to Be Friends” deserved, she receded from the spotlight to chill with her new husband and baby, releasing only the admittedly clever Alphabutt for kids.
Does Thunder Thighs have a lot of pressure on it then? Well, her audience isn’t one for the hype cycle since the hype cycle doesn’t take her so seriously. If there’s any disappointment, it’s that it doesn’t live up to that title; there’s no body image tour de force or much of any useful politics here really, unless dissing alcohol and refined sugar is your bag. Somehow I don’t see Ian MacKaye rocking out to the 42-second hippie-mom tantrum “Unrefined” though. The off-key tribute to late wrestler “Captain Lou” is more fun anyway. But Kimya’s not much for fun anyway, at least not without a little pain, and the piano-flecked opener “All I Could Do” harks back to when she was 15, feeding the homeless and wanting to die.
Dawson’s melodic palette’s improved, but her stories are mostly told. It’s great that she’s a good mother—we always knew she’d be—but the tension that powered her lonely refrains like “Why do I always pretend/ I can spoon a guy and still be his friend?” is gone. You don’t want to shit on her kiddie sing-alongs, but you don’t want to hear them again. And even her truly excellent albums are hard to play often. The best energy here is in the rap songs, one of which is a kiddie singalong with an assist from a guitar solo, Aesop Rock, and a list of children’s authors that brings to mind Le Tigre’s “Hot Topic” in the best way. And then, finally, politics and stories emerge from the dual-ventricled ten minutes of “Walk Like Thunder,” in which she brings a dying transgender friend onstage who lost “my home, my lover, my insurance and my hair.”
Artist in Music Awards Best Punk Artist 2013
PUnK Not DEaD! See?!!
Produced Engineered and Mixed by Jason Carmer
El OTro Yo- Alibiu Eoy
Produced by Paco Huidobro and Jason Carmer
Recorded and Mixed Jason Carmer
One of the biggest bands in Argentina, I miss these guys..
By Cody Miller 29 October 2009
Thinking inside the box has never been Chuck Prophet’s strongest point, and that’s a good thing. The last few years have found Prophet hipping the traditional-leaning Kelly Willis on tunes by Adam Green and Iggy Pop, and adding some razor sharp bite to Alejandro Escovedo’s latter-day career revival. Prophet’s latest release, Let Freedom Ring, is a bit of a mixture of Willis’ Translated from Love and Escovedo’s Real Animal. It’s got the surprising element of hearing a well-established artist Rating: 9
Recorded in Mexico City by Jason Carmer
Recorded and Mixed Jason Carmer
Melissa Phillips Fits and Starts Twirlie Award for Best Debut Album of 2012
Chances are you’ve heard of Third Eye Blind. These alternative pop-rockers took the 90’s music scene by storm with singlesSemi Charmed Life
and others, while still receiving acclaim from critics. Their sound is dynamic; high energy, emotional, and hook-laden. Although this may seem typical of most bands, Third Eye Blind just has something about them that elevates the band to the next level. Lead singer Stephan Jenkins serves as the driving force behind the band; you can sense his anguish, passion, or anger on each note as he pours his heart out. His high energy, one-liners, and occasional comic relief are just more of the characteristics that have made him such a prolific front-man. Jenkins has been backed by innovative guitars, slick bass-lines, and powerful drumming that have completed such a defining sound.
In 1997 the band released their self-titled debut, in which was extremely popular in the mainstream and was received a great deal of critical acclaim. “Third Eye Blind” was a very diverse and passionate record, ranging from catchy single Semi Charmed Life to the tragicMotorcycle Drive By. The band’s second full-length record, “Blue” did not disappoint as well and was their most creative effort. “Blue” may not have been as successful, but was more ambitious than its predecessor and featured some of the band’s best songs. Unfortunately guitarist Kevin Cadogan left Third Eye Blind after “Blue” and was replaced by Tony Fredianelli. Cadogan had been one of the major contributors to the songwriting, and the quality of the music after he left suffered to an extent. “Out of the Vein” was released in 2003 and while much of the album impressed, overall the effort was below Third Eye Blind’s potential. Three years later, this greatest hits compilation, “A Collection” was released.
“A Collection” represents most of the band’s best work throughout the three albums, and included two never before released tracks. “Third Eye Blind” receives the most praise here, with seven diverse and truly excellent tracks. Singles Jumper, Semi-Charmed Life, andHow’s It Going to Be make appearances, the latter standing out as arguably the best of the group. How’s It Going to Be is a passionate mid-tempo ballad in which fully utilizes somewhat ironic lyrics. “How’s it going to be when you don’t know me anymore?” Jenkins’ high energy propels the bridge into the outro, yelling “Want to get myself back in again. The soft dive of oblivion.” Graduate offers a stark contrast, with its aggressive tendencies and upbeat feel. Self-titled would not be represented properly with at least two of its closing tracks, Motorcycle Drive By and God of Wine. These are absolutely brilliant songs that are jam-packed with emotion. Motorcycle Drive By is a tragic track that makes use of Jenkins’ tormented lyrics and singing, “And there’s this burning, like there’s always been. I’ve never been so alone and I’ve never been so alive.”
This particular compilation also does “Blue” a great deal of justice from the straightforward single Never Let You Go to the heart wrenching Slow Motion. In the band’s most ambitious track, Slow Motion both lives up to its title and features some of Jenkins’ most powerful vocal performances. Follow-up single Deep Inside of You is tremendous as well, for it utilizes beautiful instrumentation that even features strings. “A Collection” also represents much of “Out of the Vein’s” high points, including mid-tempo ballads such as Crystal Ballerand Can’t Get Away From Me. Single Blinded is somewhat of a typical Third Eye Blind track; it is chuck-full of Jenkins’ one liners, hooks, and energy.
Even never-before released tracks Tatoo of the Sun and My Time in Exile are fitting and different tracks. Tatoo of the Sun is a bit of a funkier track than we are accustomed to hearing with Third Eye Blind and My Time in Exile is a piano-laden ballad in which Jenkins delivers a goodbye message. “We have grown, I've overstayed awhile in my time in exile and oh time has flown. And the only thing I've learned, I want a life now of my own. Of my own.” Overall, “A Collection” does Third Eye Blind’s first three releases justice with a compilation of 19 excellent or better tracks. Although some gems were not included here such as The Background and My Hit and Run, this collection is enjoyable for fans of the band and offers a substantial starting point for those who have not listened to the band.
Third Eye Blind's Stephan Jenkins has a rare knack for crafting memorable songs around atypical pop-rock topics. "Ten Days Late," from the band's 1999 sophomore effort Blue, suggested a woman missing her period, and of course the group's signature hit "Semi-Charmed Life" (from its 1997 eponymous debut) was a sunny summer anthem about a drug addict (and certainly one of the few songs in recorded history to have secretaries and 'tweens alike cheerfully singing "She goes down on me"). That subversive streak is one of Jenkins' strongest talents, and it seems almost inextricably bound to his similar (if much more uneven) gift for melody: his best tunes, like Third Eye Blind's "Jumper," seem to mine bright, tuneful colors from darker material.
That dark-light dichotomy rears its head occasionally on the group's third effort, Out of the Vein. But like the band's trademark guitar hooks, it's largely absent. Like Jenkins' wordy, little-engine-that-could delivery, Vein tries a bit too hard; unlike Jenkins, who somehow makes you root for his straining vocals, the record doesn't succeed -- at least, not fully. Not quite. "Faster" is a jolting opener, all "Aaah-aah" urgency, with Jenkins wrapping the line "I wanna get off one time/ and not apologize" in a fist-pumping frenzy. First single "Blinded" is a similarly effective slice of singalong guitar rock in the best tradition of "Semi-Charmed Life" or Blue's "Never Let You Go." (As a lyric, "Macrame queens in the afternoon" highlights Jenkins' way-overlooked ability to insert vaguely evocative lines with surgical precision, hinting at a short story we're not quite in on.) And "Crystal Baller" (originally the album's title) is a rocking highlight, a plaintive-yet-strident epistle to a lost love powered by a staccato guitar riff and Jenkins' impassioned vocal: it's destined to take its place alongside ubiquitous radio hits like "How's It Going To Be?"
But whether it's due to the loss of guitarist Kevin Cadogan or too much lag time between albums, too much of the rest of Out of the Vein struggles to scratch its way into your memory banks, hobbled by its own melodic shortcomings. Songs like "Danger" and "My Hit and Run" (which rather deftly turns a motorcycle accident into a sad expression of "seize the day" longing) never quite reach escape velocity, although the "bop-bop-bop" refrain of "Can't Get Away" comes close. "Misfits" shows hummable potential, but proves too slow. (And for heartthrob Jenkins, who famously dated Charlize Theron, to attempt to assert solidarity with the "freaks" who "don't fit in" is the height of disingenuousness.) Everything else, from the awkward "Forget Myself" to the lethargic "Good Man," disappears before it's even finished. Third Eye Blind, perhaps the best of the Semisonic-Better Than Ezra strain of guitar-pop bands (and far and away a superior band to the turgid matchbox twenty), is capable of much, much better material than this wobbly, half-and-half affair. Still, the half that's good is quite grabbing, and hints at better things to come.
MUSIC REVIEW Entertainment Weekly
Reviewed by Elysa Gardner
The trouble with guitar pop bands in the '90s basically boils down to this: Too many of today's young musicians grew up worshipping R.E.M. -- and for the wrong reasons. Many aspire to the beta-male earnestness that informs both R.E.M.'s jangly songs and their anti-rock star image. But few have matched the group's ability to use melody, rhythm, and dynamics in smart and exciting ways. For this reason, Third Eye Blind's self-titled 1997 debut album was a breath of fresh air. Where their peers had good intentions, these guys had vitality and chops. True, there was nothing groundbreaking about the San Francisco-based band's taut, driving music, which actually owed a greater debt to alpha-male influences like Jane's Addiction and U2 than it did to the boys from Athens, Ga. But at least Third Eye Blind borrowed cleverly and inventively, and with unapologetic bravado. On their sophomore effort, Blue, Third Eye Blind retain those virtues and move a bit further toward establishing their own identity. The first single, ''Anything,'' is a two-minute post-punk workout that only hints at the group's growing sophistication. Kevin Cadogan's lyrical guitar work is particularly impressive, whether he's serving up a big, juicy solo on ''An Ode to Maybe'' (too bad about the title) or lending color and nuance to the chiming ''Camouflage'' -- a fine showcase for Brad Hargreaves' crisp, muscular drumming. Though singer-principal songwriter Stephan Jenkins isn't as patently virtuosic, his distinctly animated, unaffected vocals -- which, like his lyrics, offer an appealing mix of playfulness and yearning -- ultimately do more to give Third Eye Blind a singular sound. None of his new songs quite jump up and grab you by the throat the way the band's breakthrough single, ''Semi-Charmed Life,'' did. (The crackling, power-pop-inspired ''Never Let You Go'' comes closest.) But he and his band mates imbue ''Blue'' with the unforced energy and crafty musicality that make pop music sound good -- as opposed to just sounding good for you.
The trouble with guitar pop bands in the '90s basically boils down to this: Too many of today's young musicians grew up worshipping R.E.M. -- and for the wrong reasons. Many aspire to the beta-male earnestness that informs both R.E.M.'s jangly songs and their anti-rock star image. But few have matched the group's ability to use melody, rhythm, and dynamics in smart and exciting ways.
For this reason, Third Eye Blind's self-titled 1997 debut album was a breath of fresh air. Where their peers had good intentions, these guys had vitality and chops. True, there was nothing groundbreaking about the San Francisco-based band's taut, driving music, which actually owed a greater debt to alpha-male influences like Jane's Addiction and U2 than it did to the boys from Athens, Ga. But at least Third Eye Blind borrowed cleverly and inventively, and with unapologetic bravado.
On their sophomore effort, Blue, Third Eye Blind retain those virtues and move a bit further toward establishing their own identity. The first single, ''Anything,'' is a two-minute post-punk workout that only hints at the group's growing sophistication. Kevin Cadogan's lyrical guitar work is particularly impressive, whether he's serving up a big, juicy solo on ''An Ode to Maybe'' (too bad about the title) or lending color and nuance to the chiming ''Camouflage'' -- a fine showcase for Brad Hargreaves' crisp, muscular drumming.
Though singer-principal songwriter Stephan Jenkins isn't as patently virtuosic, his distinctly animated, unaffected vocals -- which, like his lyrics, offer an appealing mix of playfulness and yearning -- ultimately do more to give Third Eye Blind a singular sound. None of his new songs quite jump up and grab you by the throat the way the band's breakthrough single, ''Semi-Charmed Life,'' did. (The crackling, power-pop-inspired ''Never Let You Go'' comes closest.) But he and his band mates imbue ''Blue'' with the unforced energy and crafty musicality that make pop music sound good -- as opposed to just sounding good for you.
Kimya Dawson Releases Children’s Album; Adults, Children Can’t Tell the Difference
Hey musicians: not making money selling regular albums filled with tales of love, lust and societal ennui? Then how ’bout a kids record?
It ain’t no childish move. Over the past decade, making an album of music for kids has proven to be profitable ventures for artists seeking additional revenue streams. This week, Juno superstar, former Moldy Peach and newish mother Kimya Dawson releases Alphabutt, an album of sassy, offbeat, quietly wacky tunes that are only slightly different from her ‘regular’ music (before you ask, Pitchfork gave it a 7.5). Dawson gave birth to her first kid in April and immediately got on the children’s tune bandwagon, a scene that is attracting more and more “regular” artists. Other grownups making names in the kids’ world:
Inspired, in part, by her two-year old daughter Panda Delilah, Alphabutt sees Dawson (formerly one-half of New York anti-folk duo the Moldy Peaches) singing simply and without affect, her voice deep and pleasantly scruffy, like a chewed-up, over-squished teddy bear. Dawson takes a lot of hits for being precious (a good chunk of that derision is probably tied up in post-homeskillet backlash), but Alphabutt, while predictably cute, is also frank and funny and delightfully rude. It's accessible but not cloying; Dawson doesn't pander or patronize or adopt the kind of preposterous, over-annunciated, beyond-Broadway cartoon voice that plagues so many children's records. More important, her work is candid and funny and matchless: What parent wouldn't want to play his or her kid an alphabet song (the stupid-charming "Alphabutt") where 70% of the letters refer to multi-species flatulence, "V" stands for flying-V, and "C" stands for cat butt?
Still, anyone without a child in the house, a pre-adolescent sense of humor, or a massive supply of psychotropic drugs might not find too much use for Alphabutt (babies and toddlers spend a good chunk of each day mulling scatological concerns; adults, less so, yet Dawson, nodding to her audience, references the business of excreting in nearly every track). This is a children's album, and Dawson is appropriately unapologetic about all that entails (see: lyrics about animals and potties and little monster babies). But Dawson's proclivity for simple acoustic melodies and for expertly incorporating found sound (kazoos, bells, a chorus of kids) mean that these songs-- however silly or gross-- are also artfully constructed.
Predictably, some cuts are more adult-friendly than others. "Happy Home (Keep on Writing)"-- incidentally, at three and a half minutes, it's the second longest track here-- sees Dawson taking stock of the status quo, using grown-up signifiers: "There was a time in my life that I felt so all alone/ I never thought that someday I would have a happy home/ A family and a four-track/ RadioShack microphones/ A backyard and a hammock and a paid-off student loan," she sings. Likewise, "I Love You Sweet Baby," a catalogue of a day in the life of a parent-child team, is an ode to parenthood and the ways in which it alters-- irrevocably-- an adult life: "The first thing on our list of things to do/ Is to wake up right next to you/ Second thing that we have planned/ Is to kiss both of your hands," Dawson details.
Arguably the biggest challenge facing little Americans is the lack of (non-marketed, non-commercial) culture speaking directly to them-- Alphabutt is honest and funny, and manages to sidestep all tired, kid-song tropes. Any parent tired of the "SpongeBob SquarePants" theme would do well by their tots to pick this up.
Dawson's high little voice and whimsical imaginings camouflage a brave heart that gives her the courage to be silly—and enables her to confront psychological dysfunction more candidly than any mopeaholic or drama queen to come to my attention (which both types admittedly have a hard time getting). Her chin-up ditties don't connect every time, but her abandonment of home recording will win new listeners anyway. Pop quiz: Who do you think is the target of the do-what-I-do advice "They can't all be ballads Julian"? A MINUS
Reviewed by Ken Tucker
Release Date: Oct 05, 2004; Lead Performance: Kimya Dawson
The chalky voice of the Moldy Peaches offers her fourth solo release, Hidden Vagenda, and at this point, Kimya Dawson's unaffected earnestness, firm sense of morality, and pretension-cutting playfulness are starting to seem like a miracle. These qualities are distilled in the shimmering ''My Heroes,'' but, really, they combine over the entire album — which includes unironic mentions of everyone from Jay Leno to Julian Lennon — with Dawson's acoustic guitar, toy piano, and tootling brass accompaniment to achieve the rare bliss of adult pop wisdom.
Produced Recorded Mixed Jason Carmer
...not too many artists are really making this kind of music, let alone making an honest effort in capturing both the spirit and swagger of rock & roll like Von Iva. They slap you up good. --All Music.com
Von Iva is a fierce force to be reckoned with on the independent music landscape. The San Francisco trio…have achieved their goal of replicating their studio sound for a live audience and they've imaginatively mastered the art of creating a rich and raw dance album with only keyboards, percussion and vocals on their latest Our Own Island. --Performer Magazine
Von Iva's new album showcases the trio's increasingly stripped-down and electronically juiced-up sound. Calling local dance-punk outfit Von Iva a girl band is a bit like referring to Napoleon as that short French guy. It s true, but not exactly the point....they re too busy triggering spontaneous dance frenzies to ponder how gender fits into it. The album showcases the trio s increasingly stripped-down and electronically juiced-up sound (think Detroit Cobras meets Le Tigre meets-MSTRKRFT). Their brand of must-move-this-moment music is only fully realized live, however. --7x7 Magazine
Jillian Iva, Bex, and Kelly Harris, better known as the San Francisco-based trio Von Iva, has had many musical tags thrust upon them. Electro pop punk. Soul rock dance. Synth rawk. Fashion-forward dance punk queens. Alt-pop. Gay icons. Dirty disco. The new purveyors of soul. A bombastic live band. Punk soul. A booty-shaking mix of soul, disco, and dirty raw rock and roll. Genre-crossing. Skuzzy and sultry. A saucy little affair. "Von Iva, the Bay Area synth rawk trio fronted by vixen soulstress Jillian Iva, whose shy curtsy couldn't disguise the band's raw energy on the L.A. toxic tale, La La . " - Spin Magazine "An *ss-shaking mix of soul, disco and dirty, raw rock & roll, this San Francisco band rattles the rafters with an aural love potion. Singer Jillian Iva struts and shimmies as if on a mission to unleash the prowling panther in us all. She gives the audience a direct connection to her soul while conjuring images of Tina Turner in her energy and performance." L.A. Weekly "If you're a fan of Le Tigre, Lesbians on Ecstasy, The Blow or The Gossip, Von Iva should be your new discovery...sure to be one amazingly lesbian rock show." - AfterEllen.com "Von Iva is pure swagger and bold soul. They're a gang, a sisterhood. Their focus is simply on playing good soul-punk music and actually knowing how it feels to feel rocknroll. Von Iva immerses themselves in white-hot rock..." - Venus Magazine "The fashion-forward trio... straddle the border between skuzzy and sultry with sweat-inducing plunges into the intersections of Gossip spit and spunk, Devo/Wire post-punk, and Timbaland gadung-a-dung-dunk. Go on now, boys and girls: surrender to the nasty." - SF Bay Guardian "Best Girl band! Believe the hype: Von Iva is the new purveyor of soul, and it's got the groove-drunk fans to prove it." - SF Weekly "The new Von Iva songs build on the best qualities of the EP and take them to an entirely new level; the band s skill with catchy as hell, dance-inducing jams is sharper than ever, and Jillian Iva s strong, soulful voice is simply captivating. Few bands exert stage presence like this one." - The Bay Bridged "Von Iva shouldn't be written off as another girl band: with fierce body-rocking beats, this powerhouse of the Bay Area scene is taking dance-punk to the masses." - The Owl Magazine "Led by singer Jillian Iva, whose pipes have the husky snarl of a roadhouse diva, if not the range to shake things up, the trio crashes synthesizers straight through the soul pantheon. Iva's a vocalist to be reckoned with...Under her leadership, Von Iva becomes a down-and-dirty soul/blues outfit.... After wallowing in nostalgia for years, soul's future may finally be nearly here." - Aversion "With the energy and inspired soul of a small town gospel choir at a Sunday morning service, Von Iva has miraculously managed to mix rock with a strong gutter-punk sound. Hailing from the Bay Area, Von Iva is sexy, unpretentious, loud and fueled with an energy that I haven't see experienced since I first heard Otis Redding belt out Try A Little Tenderness. Von Iva is here, and they've bent an entire genre in half along the way." - Rockpile
In the middle of nowhere in Arizona is a road side attraction souvenir shop called The Thing. It’s just an otherwise useless spot in the middle of the desolate southwestern desert serving no other purpose than to provide a small dose of entertainment for lonely truck drivers, cross country travelers, and bored rock bands making their trek across the country to play gigs in smoky bars for their nightly audience. Except, "The Thing" inStarlite Desperation
’s first track wants to hold your hand, whispers cannibalistic curses, wishes you’d send it Valentine’s, and is here to do more than just provide cheap entertainment.
I’ve read a few reviews for Violate A Sundae, the new EP from Starlite Desperation, and they all fail to mention why you need to go out and buy it: it’s catchy, dirty rock n' roll. Fuzzy, distortion heavy guitars meant to be played loud start off the EP, but it is Dante Adrian’s voice that swaggers and drawls and drags you across six songs that wail and reach out to the listener. His lyrics are clever and passionate, and sometimes humorous. The bass lines creep and crawl under your skin and the drums make you nod your head in a hypnotic back and forth motion while you listen to the guitars swirl around your head.
Adrian’s lyrical landscape is lush and full of creativity, but it is the frantic pulse of the seriously distorted rock n' roll guitars that pushed Violate A Sundae into the ‘must listen’ group of CDs resting atop my stereo. It’s heavy. It’s strong. It sounds like melodious tumult and it’s the best material Starlite Desperation has put out to date.
Violate A Sundae is a great comeback for a band that broke up in 2002 to pursue other music projects, most notably Lost Kids, and then reformed in 2003. The EP is somewhat of a return to Starlite Desperation’s old ‘spirit’. The colors, the cover...remind me a bit of the 7-inch they released on the East Bay label, Catchpenny Records, in 1997. (One of the songs in particular, "Our Product," was included in the Skyscraper/Gold Standard Labs CD compilation released in Spring 2003)
The new Starlite Desperation sound has apparently found a way to feel comfortable, embracing its past and its history while moving in a new direction musically. The new EP finds a way to feed the appetite of fans of their older, more distortion heavy sound, without compromising the band’s own appetite for creativity.
Vocalist Dante Adrian describes how he approaches songwriting, "I've always tried to approach every song as if it's the first and last song I'd ever make; plus, we're all getting better at this. Since we knew it was going to be an EP, we avoided the ups and downs that can characterize a full length. In other words, part of its aesthetic was determined by the short format." All six songs hit home, with "Born To Be Dizzy" standing out as the catchiest song on the album. The band has plans to record a full length in the Fall after they complete a U.S. tour.
Starlite Desperation last played Denver in April when they opened up for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and The Rapture. They’re back in the States after a successful European tour. Don’t miss them on July 12th, when they perform at the Larimer Lounge.