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It's been a while!

Friends, family and readers of Radio Radio Radio who happen across my website either on purpose or while finding photos of your favorite bands--

Indeed, you've likely noticed that this page hasn't been updated in a while. If you know me, you know that it's because my priorities have shifted and I'm getting my creative yayas out in different ways.

What I'm busy with these days (aside from too many jobs, but that isn't anything new) is my business, Music Lives On, which I run with my partner, Gabe Pressure. You might already be familiar with my Rock Chick Designs brand, and that's part of what we do. Gabe's side of things is Pressure Drop Apparel. In all, Music Lives On is musically inspired clothing, jewelry and accessories with a focus on environmental sustainability.

In other words, we love repurposing, reappreciating, creatively reusing... whatever you want to call it. I like making shiny, new, wearable art out of old, well-loved records, instrument strings, cassette tape, and whetever else I can get my hands on (or my friends offer me). Rather than collecting dust for eternity in the back of someone's garage, or going into a landfill, we're breathing new life into items that have already lived their originally intended life.

We entered in the 2011 Economic Fuel competition and were honored to have made it into the final eight teams, winning $1,000 as honorable mentions. It's nice to get the validation of successful local business owners telling you that your business is on the right track. We took that prize money and put it right back into the business, finishing our legal paperwork, getting our first batch of Pressure Drop Apparel shirts printed and buying some other small equipment.

A couple of weeks ago, a handbag that I crocheted out of cassette tape was featured in a Wall Street Journal article on cassette tape culture. All that time spent getting my journalism degree, and my debut in the Journal is because of my art business!

Anyway, I hope I don't lose you completely. I plan on leaving the website up for the purpose of article archives, and my Flickr page will stay, as well. But if you've got some time on your hands and want to see what we're up to, check out Rock Chick Designs and Pressure Drop Apparel on Facebook, and here is a constantly updating link to my online store, which I'm hosting through Etsy. If you're not already doing your holiday shopping locally, please consider at least keeping it handmade.

It's Sunday morning and I feel like I'm 17 again -- smack dab in the middle of the all-ages third wave ska scene that existed around Humboldt County when I was in high school. Only this time I'm 30, and feel like I'm high on a weekend that involved two-tone ska band The Toasters, who played Friday night at the Red Fox Tavern in Eureka, and dirty reggae band The Aggrolites, who played last night at Humboldt Brews in Arcata.

Friday night's show, put on by Norm at Bad Kitty Presents, started out with Pressure Beat Soundsystem's DJs Rotten and Gabe Pressure (disclosure: the latter is my sweetie) spinning classic reggae, ska and soul, to get the dance floor moving. The duo spins similar selections every Monday night at the Jambalaya in Arcata, all on vinyl. The Smashed Glass played a nice (but possibly overly long) set of Irish folk-punk, then the Toasters came up and the crowd broke into a complete frenzy.

The Toasters (who basically consist of Robert "Bucket" Hingley and a cast of rotating band members, depending on the tour) pretty much have their live show down to a science. Lead singer and guitarist Buck knows how to drive a crowd wild, and played everyone's favorite Toasters songs. After the show ended, the crowd -- a lot of new faces who seem to have come out of the woodwork for the show -- left satisfied and in good spirits.

Last night saw a number of return fans, mixed with a lot of folks who even differed from the first night (Where are all these folks on Monday nights?). Unlike the Aggrolites' last stop in Humboldt, which was nearly two years ago, they didn't have an opening band this time around, but opted instead to play two hearty sets of their "dirty reggae," which is sort of a mix of roots reggae and punk -- high energy, distorted, and easy to sing along to. Both sets felt, in a positive way, like listening to a highly skilled DJ, who's able to beat-match from song-to-song -- one tune would end, and instead of stopping to wait for the obligatory cheers and applause, the drummer (who, incidentally, plays together with the Aggros' new, high-energy guitar player in a band called the Bohunks) would throw down a fill that worked straight into the next song on the playlist. Interestingly, while the Aggrolites have a new album (a compilation of a series of 7" records they've been releasing over the last few months on Young Cub Records) due out at the end of this month, the stuck to playing only songs from their first few albums. The energy stayed high (in so many ways) the entire night, and the room was muggy at the end of the evening.

Here are photos from both evenings:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.h

Mark McIntire of Gratitillium
Yeah, I'm working backwards again on photo editing and posting. That's kind of what time allows for in my little world.

Some bullet points about this show:

  • Local band White Manna is... loud. Totally different lineup than the last time I saw them, and they seem to be layering more noises on top of other noises. "Psych" for the sake of being psych isn't my favorite, but I get what the "psych rock" crowd sees in them. 
  • Hosannas: Wow. A brotherly Portland duo, who sometimes play with a full band (their most recent album was recorded as such). Kind of chill, but without being boring.
  • Gratitillium: My surprise of the night, Gratitillium's bass play is Mark McIntire, formerly of Portland's No Go Know (in fact, Scott Taylor of NGK booked this tour for the band). McIntire described their music as sounding a lot like the shins, but I also heard some Vampire Weekend in there, and heard someone else throw Modest Mouse into the mix. The day after the show, I sent a track of theirs called "Monkey Play" over to KHUM, and Mike Dronkers has played it on the air a couple of times. If I had my way, I'd send the band back home from tour (after they played the Arcata date, of course) to get on recording their next album, but they've assured me that's next on the to-do list after returning from this tour and a short breather. 
  • Strix Vega: I've watched/listened to this band move from clearly adoring everything Neil Young, to slowly start making the shift to the more psychedelic sounds of Pink Floyd and the Doors (Could it have anything to do with bass/keyboard/gong player Andy Powell's job as a DJ at local classic rock station KWPT "The Point"? Or perhaps he loved the classic stuff first. Only Powell knows.). They've started playing some epic instrumental pieces that just break my heart. Oh, and they finished this show by moving off the stage, into the middle of the dance floor, and playing "Carson Iceberg Wilderness," off the band's "Estranged Meadow" EP (you can also hear it in the music player, at the top of this page), acoustic. Instead of drummer Jay Forbes' full drum kit, he played only a floor tom, and Powell did his keyboard parts on (I'm not kidding) my grandmother's accordion. What a way to end the show!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

The Blue Lake crowd was in effect at the Alibi last night, for Portland punk band The Interlopers. Apparently drummer Jeff Cooley is from Humboldt, and used to work with a bunch of the Mad River Brewery folks, who are quite stoked on their recent awards at the Great American Brew Festival (Congratulations, guys!). The band started the night with high energy, opening for local Weezer tribute band Wepeel.

Weezer announced this week that the band is going to be going on the road in the next few months, playing only songs from their Blue Album and Pinkerton albums -- I think it's an attempt to win back their original fans (like me), who haven't been terribly impressed by the band's last decade-or-so of releases.

Wepeel feels the same way as many of those old Weezer fans, so they only cover songs from the Blue Album and Pinkerton. CJ, the band's singer started out last night's show at the Alibi by telling the crowd, "If you want to hear 'Island in the Sun,' leave right now." The crowd stayed (even through technical difficulties which found the bass player borrowing the Interlopers' bass player's instrument), sang along, and moshed. CJ's Buddy Holly glasses frames, a nod to the 1994 Weezer hit of the same name and the band's lead singer Rivers Cuomo, were casualties of one of the mosh pits. The frames now sit on a shelf in my apartment.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Some say that tribute bands (and cover bands) are the death of the music scene. I would argue that since most of the members of the local tribute bands are also in other bands, this isn't true. What is true is that people love what they know (how else would Humboldt County support two classic rock radio stations, an oldies station, and countless other formatted radio stations?).

The Solitary Men (a Neil Diamond tribute) and Full Moon Fever (a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tribute) have this figured out. And finally, after months of both bands playing around Humboldt County, they played together on Friday night at Humboldt Brews.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Baltic Cousins 9/13/10 [photos]

I'll admit, even more than Baltic Cousins' "folk-punk" descriptor, I was most excited to see the new band that Brad from Bellingham, Wash.'s now-defunct Black Eyes and Neckties is up to.  I didn't expect the electric violin as part of the new trio (perhaps that's what makes it folk?), and I dug it.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Rockabilly Night 9/13/10 [photos]

My buddy Gabe Pressure, and his friend and fellow DJ Rotten, started a weekly rocksteady night at the Jambalaya, this Monday. Some initial issues with the sound got things off to a slow start, but the few folks who did hang out throughout the night had a lot of fun.

DJs are a challenge for me to shoot, so I played around a bit while Gabe was spinning.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.