Thursday, May 31, 2012

Boy Things join Star Beat Music!

New Jersey Indie Label and Blog Star Beat Music, home of two of this bloggers favorite Jersey artists Those Mockingbirds and Melissa & Paul have announced the signing of Hacketstown NJ rockers Boy Things Congratulations to all and long live physical media!
Star Beat Music is a multi-purpose, ever-growing independent record label based in Newark, NJ, that focuses on a diverse musical palette of bands through physical releases, blogging, booking, and consulting

Update: 'Equations' released June 2nd Listen and buy digital below.
Pre-orders for NJ indie-pop band, Boy Things 'Equations' 7'' EP. This release is a joint effort between Boy Things and Bedside Manner Collective. It's limited to 300 and pressed on black vinyl.

Press release:  
Boy Things is the perfect band for StarBeat Music. I feel as though the bands personality itself is aligned with the core identity of our label. We like to pick bands that are getting themselves out there in every way possible. Bands that genuinely wish to connect with fans and friends and for some reason, so far, most of them are all co-ed. I think the signing of Boy Things for Distribution and Marketing for their newest EP 'Equations' on 7" Black Vinyl and a small run of exclusive SBM tapes of the bands first 2 Ep's is great for our label as it opens up a new avenue and perspective for us on coordinating and planning vinyl releases. I am proud to help the best bands in the area get what they need to keep their music in people's heads and more importantly get some music in their fan's hands. This signing is great for us and I'm hoping to have the Tape in hand for a July 24th Release date, the 26th should be the release show and coincidentally the kickoff show of the Band's East Coast run with SBM label mates Melissa & Paul. Read more
Vocals- Beth Hansen
Guitar- Adam Cumiskey
Bass- Vince Rickey
Drums- Eric Dryburgh
Synth- Blake Kelevra

Popa's Rock Mix Vol 7

This month's Rock mix leans heavy on the blues, but hey so does Rock n Roll. I had thought of naming it a blues mix but gawd what kinda can of worms would that open up? I can't be doing another whole series of mixes, can I? Popa does Disco? Popa goes Pop? Anyhoo as always, like em, support em. Click play button to listen, right click file save as, or click here and download all. And again, enjoy, spread it around and send your peeps to the artists many social portals and support!

Wolf & Cub - Shut Me Out.mp3
Melissa & Paul - 30 Days.mp3
Lionel The Jailbird - Tall Tale.mp3
Sprout the Band - Drivin' Me Down.mp3
Left Lane Cruiser - Lost My Mind.mp3
Scarecrow - Morning Rooster.mp3
Stanley Woods - Coffee Black Blues.mp3
Matthew Curry & The Fury - If I Don't Got You.mp3
Erza Furman and the Harpoons - We Should Fight.mp3
The Lone Crows - Moonshine.mp3
Barbecue Bob & The Spareribs - Uncle Walter.mp3
The Rope River Blues Band - Capulet.mp3
Lazy Daisy - Another Drink.mp3
These Animals - Side by Side.mp3
Allah-Las - Tell Me (What's On Your Mind).mp3
Conor & the Stonehill Kids - Get Home.mp3
The Parlor Mob - Can't Keep No Good Boy Down.mp3
The Dirty Gems - Brainwash.mp3
The Claymores - Perfume.mp3
The Grip Weeds - Strange Change Machine.mp3

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The End Men Return!

Our good friends The End Men have returned home from a most successful tour of Europe where they garnered praise from the local presses, entertained the masses and made many new fans and friends. If you followed them on facebook or twitter you enjoyed Brooklyn's favorite couple eat, drink and party across the old continent, now they are home, seasoned with an old world flavor and stories to tell and 'new songs to write and record'. Come see them for their Endless Boozy Summer Brunch at the V Bar St. Marks the first Saturday of the months all summer. Welcome home kids!

On June 16th they will be playing Northside Festival with blog favs 'The Gypsy West' featured on Psych me Popa Vol 2 

The Gypsy West annual Northside Festival showcase at Trash Bar is always a night to find the best in Brooklyn’s rock music scene.  Featuring Clouder, Walnuts, The End Men, A Million Years, The Gypsy West and New Madrid, the line-up runs the gamut of every style of rock Brooklyn has to offer. 

Clouder - Broadcast Victim.mp3
Walnuts - Part of Me.mp3
The End Men - Being Nothing.mp3
A Million Years - Holy Ghost Town.mp3
The Gypsy West - Condition.mp3
New Madrid - Soberano.mp3

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Secret Country of New Jersey

photo credit: C. Rotolo ( )

Jay Monaco: Lead Vocals/Acoustic Guitar
Katelynn Siegle: Lead Vocals
Matt Siegle: Drums/Vocals
Joe Hart: Guitars/Vocals
Ryan Gross: Guitars
Tim Siegle: Bass
Hometown         Kearny, NJ

Secret Country show what alt country music can be in the hands of some rowdy, beer drinking, honky-tonkin Jerseyites. Secret Country frontman Jay Monaco has a love for outlaw country, beers, whiskey and hootin' and a hollerin' at local parties, bbq's and bars. Originally an acoustic duo, a burst of creative writing and original material lead to what is now a sextet.
Their May 22 release '7 Days a Week' and a new album due in August on Killing Horse Records is a follow-up to the band’s 2009 full-length “Women, Whiskey and Nightlife.” This release has some changes to its lineup, with Katelynn Siegle (vocals) and Ryan Gross (guitar).
This will go perfect with your Memorial Day weekend Hot Dogs and Cold Beer get a thirty pack and pound em with this stuck in yer ear you'll be laughing, singing, dancing and a hootin' and a hollerin'!
“We’re really excited to put it all out,” said Mike Sylvia of Killing Horse Records. “We built the label around them in 2009.”
“It’s a whole different thing with a girl singing,” said Secret Country bass player Tim Siegle, Katelynn’s brother. “At first it was kind of like a boys’ club. Now that we’re older, it’s not the same thing. She brings something we didn’t have.”

Seriously, check out Big Wilson River

Members: Darrin, Emma, Eric, Tyler, Alex, Dan

Hat tip to Nikki Sue and the Bad News for bringing this to my attention yesterday, Big Wilson River is a North Jersey blustering Indie Rock/Folk/Thrash band, with all the elements that I like, big rockin beats, vaudeville themes and a mix of folk with a punk attitude, Songs with titles, 'Eighty Dead Armadillos', 'Backyard Passout Fest', 'Hemingway Had a Cat' on their debut EP 2011 I was hitting purchase before the first song was over. "This band is a bunch of fucking misfits and a Tyler Peckio" -from the demented mind of Don Ryan.
Had I known about this album in 2011 it would have definitely made my best of list. Any hoo, Listen to some new songs from their upcoming release due in June? Read more below while you're listening and do your self a solid buy their 2011 debut album 'Octopus' below...It'll be the best dollar you ever spent, so spend more.
Note: From their Facebook page:

REAL TALK: we wanted to share these tracks, and while we loved mixing them, we didn't give ourselves enough time with them. several existential crises later, we are gonna to give you some earlier mixes. rough, like us and we're tired of pretending we ain't

What I've grabbed from the nets:

Big Wilson River, a longstanding band of the Northern New Jersey music scene, takes the raucous energy and adventurousness of contemporary indie rock and melds it with the sweeping American narratives of more than a century of folk music to create a musical force influenced by voices as disparate as Pavement and John Prine.

Signed to up-and-coming Bergen County, New Jersey record label Trunk Rock Records, the band released its first full-length album, Octopus, last year, garnering widespread Internet buzz and critical acclaim. After years in the local coffeehouse and state college circuit, and several lineup changes, the band has tempered and solidified their electric live show. Today, Big Wilson River is Darrin Bradbury (vocals, rhythm guitar), Emma McLaughlin (vocals), Tyler Peckio (lead guitar), Dan Scarpa (bass), and Alex Drivanos (drums). The group is all-electric, belying its acoustic folk roots, and inspires more mosh pits than many so-called punk rock groups today.

Darrin Bradbury's shared vocal duties with Emma McLaughlin add dynamic tension and a healthy dose of drama to the material. Lyrically, the songs are full of sordid tales from the road, twisted meditations on death within life and life within death, and a takes a wry sense of humor toward its subjects. Frenetic rock and roll drumming from Drivanos drives the narrative forward while Peckio's blistering licks recall the sunburn you get after a really great day at the beach.

Now really get this album, you will play it over and over again! 


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Popakazooza 2012 Vol 6

So there is this energy that needs to be captured, talked about. Some people understand it. It is the feeling that you get while listening to a certain band. Makes you want to drop everything and loose it and jump around and sing and pound the ground right in the middle of whatever you were doing, walking, on the bus, driving, whatever it is. It is probably a variation of the same energy that you feel when you wake up and it’s sunny and warm out. It might be everywhere but it’s not always obtainable -KAH  

So it's been a month here's my latest collection, listen, download individuality or get them like em, support em. Vol 1, Vol 2, Vol 3, Vol 4, Vol 5

The Whitewalls - Berry Street.mp3
The Coloradas - Eight Ball Blues.mp3
Jim From The Moon - To Live To Roam.mp3
Byron Blocker & The Offbeats - Americano.mp3
The Bearfoot Hookers - Ready To Ride.mp3
Steel Toed Slippers - A Child's Lamento.mp3
The Devil Makes Three - Tow.mp3
Screaming Females - It All Means Nothing.mp3
Wells-next-the-Sea - No One Knows You Like I Do.mp3
Hurry For The Riff Raff - Look Out Mama.mp3
The California Honeydrops - Judgement Day.mp3
Longhorne Slim - The Way We Move.mp3
The Harmonica Lewinskies - Wagstaff.mp3
The Hot Seats - New Five Cents.mp3
Daddy - Hardshell Case.mp3
Dirty Bourbon River Show - You Will Never Know Him.mp3
Blame Sally - Big Big Bed.mp3
Sadie and The Blue Eyed Devils - Nobody's Baby.mp3
Caitlin Rose - Shanghai Cigarettes.mp3
F.J. McMahon - Sister Brother.mp3
Sci-Fi Romance - Steam Drill Blues.mp3
Swamp Cabbage - Silver Meteor.mp3

New Release by Conor and the Stonehill Kids

When Melissa and Paul recommend something my curiosity ticks up, so when I saw them post about Conor and the Stonehill Kids, I checked em out.  They released an album yesterday 5/22 'Soft Life' their third in two years.
I don't know much about them, they are from Jersey which tickles me pink. With tags like: garage new jersey punk shit trunk rock basement garage rock herpe rock shit surf punk New Jersey I was intrigued, this is good low-fi garage surf punk rock with a sense of humor.

Their About:  We pet cats, we pet dogs, just don’t let us around your grandparents.. You don't want to know what we are capable of.. We play surf punk.. we have fun
Their Bio: amateur guitar riffs and sexy drum fills

I mean c'mon these guys are having fun and making some good music.

Here's a couple of their EP's available for free, get em and wax some boards, chase girls and drink beers.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Static Jacks release NEW EP 'Spray Tan' for free

photo by Jessica Harris

Since they formed in 2009, Westfield, New Jersey’s the Static Jacks (lead vocalist Ian Devaney, guitarists Henry Kaye and Michael Sue-Poi, and drummer Nick Brennan) have earnestly burned their own path through indie rock’s crowded field. Ignoring music’s fickle trends, the Jacks have forged a unique blend of punk, garage, and soul sounds for a sonic punch to the gut and heart.

Following up their 2011 debut full length 'If You're Young' The Jersey lads have released their new EP 'Spray Tan' for free, Listen, download it and share it

Catch them on their Storm Through The Us Tour

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Feel Bad For May – Unplugged

Your monthly mixtape from the highly charged Limbic System's of various internet scalawags, reprobates, scoundrels and tricksters.
Have a listen, or do not press play and go directly to Feel Bad For You and collect your download and leave a comment.
1. Title: Stagolee
Artist: Beck
Album: Avalon Blues: A Tribute To Mississippi John Hurt (2001)
Submitted By: noteethleroy
Comments: I wish Beck would do more simple stuff, he’s damn good at it.

2. Title: Sun Comes Up, It’s Tuesday Morning
Artist: Cowboy Junkies
Album: Acoustic Junk (2009)
Submitted By: erschen

3. Title: American Tune
Artist: Darrell Scott (Paul Simon)
Album: Modern Hymns (2008)
Submitted By: @philnorman
Comments: One of my favorite Paul Simon songs, covered by one of my favorite singer-songwriters. A song that never fails to touch my soul.

4. Title: Black Mother Pray
Artist: Tarrus Riley
Album: Mecoustic (2012)
Submitted By: tincanman2010
Comments: No-end-to-his-talent young singer’s latest dares you to take a spiritual inventory. More here:

5. Title: The Foothills
Artist: Sara Watkins (written by Watkins and Blake Mills)
Album: Sun Midnight Sun (2012)
Submitted By: Mando Lines
Comments: Big acoustic instrumental tune, sounds like a movie theme. One of two instrumentals on Watkins’ great new record, which contains a duet with Fiona Apple as well as guest vocals by Jackson Browne and Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes).

6. Title: East Nashville Skyline
Artist: Todd Snider
Album: What The Folk – Belcourt Theater – Nashville TN (2005)
Submitted By: toomuchcountry
Comments: This version of ENS is much different than the one Snider included on his Peace, Love & Anarchy release of demos and rarities or that he now performs in his shows. And frankly, I like it better. I was really fortunate to be in the audience the night of this show to hear it. Todd’s show that night capped a great triple-header. Tommy Womack opened and was then followed by Hayes Carll. Todd then took center stage as the headliner and was accompanied by Womack and Jeff Austin of the Yonder Mountain String Band.

7. Title: Stuck on the Inside
Artist: DeepSeaGreen
Album: Acoustic Sessions (2011)
Submitted By: @popa2unes
Comments: DeepSeaGreen are a garage-rock band from London formed in late 2008. The four piece is made up of brothers Jon and Daniel Jefford (on guitar and drums respectively), Trent Halliday (vocals, guitar) and Marco Menestrina (bass).

8. Title: Loveless Park
Artist: Jason and Alison
Album: Woodshed (1995)
Submitted By: Ryan (Verbow @
Comments: Before forming Verbow, Jason Narducy and Alison Chesley played together as an acoustic duo and put out this album. This is one of my favorite songs – simple, beautiful melody that betrays somewhat downer lyrics. Great song.

9. Title: We Can’t Make it Here
Artist: James McMurtry
Album: unreleased (2004)
Submitted By: Rockstar Aimz
Comments: I yanked this acoustic version off of McMurtry’s web site a while ago. Very few bands and artists write topical or political songs, and even fewer do it well. McMurtry excels at it, and when all is said and done, this song may be the song that best represents the 2000’s.

10. Title: Iso-Residue (acoustic)
Artist: Will Johnson (Centro-matic)
Album: Original on Candidate Waltz (2011)
Submitted By: Slowcoustic
Comments: I always was a big fan of Will Johnson and here he shows he can also take an more upbeat Centro-matic tune and give it the solo Will Johnson acoustic touch. This guy can rarely do wrong acoustically in my books.

11. Title: Anastasia
Artist: Loomer
Album: BBC Live Session Track from 2005 (from the Songs of the Wild West Island album 2006)
Submitted By: Simon
Comments: Fell in love with this track when I first heard it and it remains a favourite, it’s a different tempo and mood (and all the better for it in IMHO) than the album version.
Not sure if the band are still together or recording a quick Google revealed little accept a parked website but you can listen to Anastasia and other tracks from the album here and download at eMusic.

12. Title: Question
Artist: The Old 97’s
Album: Hit By A Train: The Best Of Old 97′s (2006)
Submitted By: BoogieStudio22
Comments: This one goes out to Laura. I surprised her with ‘the question’ over 22 years ago.

13. Title: Coffee Blues (Live)
Artist: Mississippi John Hurt
Album: Salty Dog (orig. 1963, comp. album 2009)
Submitted By: Gorrck
Comments: Acoustic, but with a microphone. Does that still count? I traded the Bluesmobile for a microphone.

14. Title: Broken Man
Artist: Lauderdale
Album: Moving On (B Sides/unreleased) (2011)
Submitted By: Corey Flegel – This Is American Music

15. Title: Candy Cane Crawl
Artist: Greg Dulli
Album: non-album, live track from 2010 acoustic tour
Submitted By: April @ Now This Sound Is Brave
Comments: Submitting this track on Greg fucking Dulli’s 46th birthday. It’s one of my favorite songs by my favorite artist, containing nearly all the elements that make me love him – the cinematic sweep, the perfectly imperfect vocals, and the knife that cuts my soul right in two and lets all the dirt and light and blood and secret beauty pour right out. He’s accompanied by Dave Roesser on guitar and backing vocals, and Rick Nelson on cello.

16. Title: Goodbye California
Artist: Jolie Holland
Album: Escondida (2004)
Submitted By: Brad Kelley
Comments: Jolie Holland was in the Be Good Tanyas, but I only recently discovered her. Love her voice and inflections.

17. Title: Elk River Blues
Artist: Ernie Carpenter
Album: Tales of Elk River Country (1986)
Submitted By: Truersound
Comments: The Elk River runs through central WV and was dammed off in 1958 to form Sutton Lake. Ernie Carpenter wrote this tune while sitting on the ridge looking down at Sutton Lake as it covered what used to be his family’s old homeplace. Such powerful emotions from just one fiddle.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Zabalas Debut EP Stream

The Zabalas is the collaboration of Buenos Aires' export über vixen Flor Zabala and New York rock producer David Pattillo.
Flor Zabala - Vocals
David Pattillo - Guitars
Jimmy Caps - Bass
Wylie Wirth – Drums

After a chance meeting at a Wanda Jackson revival show in April 2011, the two began recording and exploring the musical worlds of late 70′s NY punk, and 60’s psychedelia in Pattillo’s NYC studio. 

David Pattillo is also the singer/guitar slinger in the garage blues duo The Dead Exs with drummer Wylie Wirth and Guitarist in The Dirty Glamour
Flor Zabala is a top Argentine model based in New York, a self described Psycho Banshee this young lady serves up a song with hot grease and lightning.
Jimmy Caps is the baddest Bassist for hire in NYC and in the band 'The Dirty Glamour' and also a music producer in his own right.
Wylie Wirth has extensive experience both sides of the Atlantic banging the skins.

I had the great fortune of seeing an impromptu performance of Flor with The Dead Exs at The Sulfolk. This young lady whips the pants off a song.

Here's Flor, David, Wylie and Jimmy performing The Stones 'When the Whip Comes Down' with The Bowery Bangs at Tammany Hall.

Have a listen to the new EP

Get the song 'Last Time' for FREE on the Beyond, Beyond is Beyond/Bang Bang Boogaloo Psych Comp
Give em a like on Facebook and stay up to date on Bang Bang Boogaloo

Monday, May 7, 2012

Shayfer James is masterful at what it is he does

Shayfer James: Vocals/Piano/Stories/Arrangements
Dusty Bones: Drums
Jeremy Gillespie: Bass/Backing Vocals/Percussion
Dante Edmont: Organs/Backing Vocals/Percussion

Frequent Guests:
Peter Horn: Fiddle
Sarah Zar: Singing Saw

Shayfer James is devilishly captivating and deliciously unusual. A man of bewitching grace, grisly humor, profound story telling, and whiskey-flavored wit. Backed live and in the studio by his band "The Well Behaved", there is a certain power and mischievous charm that permeates as they take the stage. A sense of foreboding builds and as Shayfer begins to sing, we are immersed in his darkly lyrical and evocative stories. The piano-driven music swaggers with danceable dark anthems, harrowing ballads, and experiments in chaos.

I first came across Shayfer James at Those Mockingbirds vinyl release party at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, I had never hear of him before but am sure glad I stuck around that night to catch his set.  I was in a musical transition or maybe just rediscovering a sound I have long liked of storytelling mixed with an old timey vaudevillian, carnivalesque sound and was reconnecting with past favorites like Dr. John, Leon Russell, Captain Beefheart and Long John Baldry.  I was also at this time discovering some new local talent like The End Men, Don Ryan, Elephant goes West, Skeletons in The Piano, The Bailey Hounds and The Dirty Urchins.  Which, as I look back this is what lead to the Popakazooza Compilations.

Shayfer James is masterful at what it is he does, great storytelling in riddles wrapped in enigmas, with a unique sound and stage persona. I was hooked. After the show I did my usual internet archeology and found his Facebook page and other portals. Not long after that, from his facebook postings I found out he holds an intimate webcast on many Sunday nights called Sunday for Sinners, with him and an occasional guest from his home at the piano. I now never miss an episode.
He seems to be a prolific song writer with quite a body of work in the last four years, when recently asked how he writes he said he most time writes without an instrument, while he’s walking or going about his daily business. His most recent album ‘Counterfeit Arcade’ released Nov. 2011 is follow up to 2010’s The Owl & The Elephant, which was lauded by the likes of WNYC and Indiefeed. Available on his bandcamp page and any other venue that sells music. Get it!

Counterfeit Arcade released Nov 2011

The Owl and The Elephant released May 2010

Red Room Vol 1 released December 2008 is a free download to get you started

Here's the linkie dinkies, check em out indeed Facebook Twitter the website and youtube

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Swamp Cabbage

Walter Parks - singing + picking
Jagoda - beating
Jim Devito – thumping

An electric blues trio inspired by the swampy gospel blues that wails from storefront churches and roadhouses in and around the SE Georgia low country. 

Walter formed Swamp Cabbage in 2001 as a means of exploring his southern musical influences and sharing his interpretations of them. Walter's electric guitar style is a mélange of Scott Joplin's ragtime and Jerry Reed's bayou pickin. Jim's bass barks like a tuba through a fuzz box and Jagoda drums like he's leadin' a New Orleans funeral parade. Lyrically, Swamp Cabbage offers a comedic travelogue through Walter's North Florida upbringing. On the the chance you catch a live show they guarantee you'll experience honest musicality and good laughs.

The group has three CDs – the self released debut "Honk" in 2006, "Squeal" released in 2008 on the ZOHO Roots label, and the 2010 "LIVE FROM NEW YORK ON THE IN TUNE". In May 2012 they will be releasing a new CD, 'Drum Roll Please' Pre-Order here

Steel Toed Slippers

Photo By John Chapman
Matt Moss - Drums, Percussion, Vocals
Will Nicoll - Guitar, Vocals
Nick Maury - Bass
Will Nicoll and Matt Moss formed Steel Toed Slippers in November of 2006 after meeting at their small high school in Humboldt County, California. What started as a simple guitar and drums 'jam' became something very ambitious after Nicoll introduced his own songs to the group. Enlisting Nick Maury on bass, STS went about performing all over Humboldt and Mendocino counties, rapidly creating an intriguing buzz around the community. Delta blues spirit fused with singer/songwriter elements and a strong funk vocabulary made these small town boys sound like they were on to something big. At a show, one may sense some overtones of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink Floyd, and even Tom Waits. Steel Toed Slippers had their first major show as an opening act for Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett of Little Feat, who also served as one of STS' main influences. They would go on to open up for Little Feat three years later at the legendary Canyon Club in southern California.

Steel Toed Slippers W/ Bill Payne of Little Feat (Willin)

After relocating to the LA county area to pursue their music full-time, Steel Toed Slippers hooked up with Stephen Perkins of Jane's Addiction, where they recorded a demo in his home studio. This new era of STS songs was then brought to producer Roger Cole (Zappa Plays Zappa, The Monkees) who showed them a new level of discipline and self-development. The band toured up and down the state of California at notable venues such as the Harmony Festival, The Canyon Club, the Whiskey A Go-Go, the Roxy, the Mint, the Sacramento County Fair, and several colleges including UC Santa Barbara, Sonoma State University, Cal State Long Beach, Cal State Dominguez Hills, and San Francisco City college.

Per their Facebook page: Download the new album FREE! Give em a follow on Twitter

Upcoming Tour Dates

May 13 San Luis Obisbo @ SLO BREW w/ Royal Southern Brotherhood
May 17 San Diego @ Anthology w/ Royal Southern Brotherhood
May 18 Hermosa Beach @ St Rocke w/ Royal Southern Brotherhood
May 19 BAY AREA To BE Announced tomorrow!
May 20 Folsom @ Powerhouse Pub w/ Royal Southern Brotherhood
May 28 Topanga @ Topanga Days w/ Fishbone
June 3 Santa Monica Santa Monica Pier

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Stream & Read: Sci-Fi Romance - The Ghost Of John Henry

We are excited to have the honor to be able to pre-release stream the new album by Sci-Fi Romance 'The Ghost of John Henry' for your listening pleasure. While you're listening read a review below by guest blogger Matthew Warburton of the blog Screaming at the Wall
The Album release date is May 8th with a CD Release Party May 11th. Pre-order link on iTunes Physical CD pre-order from the band

The Ghost Of John Henry: A Fitting Folklore Tribute
By Matthew Warburton of the blog Screaming at the Wall
Creating a concept album is a very meticulous process that requires a great deal of creative ability. If I could think of one way to describe "The Ghost Of John Henry," it would be complete. Vance Kotrla of Sci-Fi Romance has pursued an ambitious undertaking and has come out the other side with a unexpected but refreshing reunion with a legendary steel driver. John Henry's battle to prove mankind's superiority to technological advancement is motivated by very complex reasons and feelings, a point this album translates very well for the listener.

His pride in humanity drives his unyielding determination to prove the worth and strength of  a beating heart. He has compassion for those he works alongside, as the job is difficult and dangerous, but without it they would not be able to earn enough for the ones that matter most to them. Above all of this, he has a love for those waiting for him back home, and he wants more than anything else to return with his head held high. He knows that the fate of everything he holds dear hinges upon the rise of the technology out to rob him of a future, and you can feel the heat of his rage. For those of you familiar with this iconic figure, his showdown, and his fate, you will find yourself more than pleased with Sci-Fi Romance's interpretation.

You can really feel the passion behind the sounds, the lyrics speak from the echoes of a desperate man fighting against the rise of the modern world. In addition to to the impressive guitar and vocal work coming from Kotrla, this Los Angeles indie-folk band also has Kurt Bloom on drums and Jody Stark on cello, both of whom do an excellent job of complimenting the overall sound that this album was after. Kurt Bloom's style really adds a whole new level of intensity at specific intervals throughout, the ebb and flow of his parts are timed and placed perfectly. Jody Stark's cello pairs extremely well with Vance's guitar and vocals, giving each track that perfect feeling of foreboding sorrow that's so desperately needed to really resonate with the figure that is John Henry. I was immensely impressed with the musical ability of these three, and day by day I am becoming more enthralled with the appeal of it's sound and the clarity of it's message.

By the album's conclusion, there's a bitter-sweet sense of a story that has reached it's end, like a short-lived reunion with someone you hadn't realized you missed. In addition to the cathartic nature of the work as a whole, each track is an individual accomplishment worthy of praise. If you have any sort of ear for indie-folk and you're looking for something that stands out, Sci-Fi Romance's "The Ghost of John Henry" will not disappoint. Sci-Fi Romance is the literary man's indie-folk.
Previously on this Blog: Here  and Here

Update: NEW EP Released Today - Bird Dog -'Cabin'

Photo by Hiroki Kobayashi

Sometime's sharing music on this blog feels like sharing secrets, this one defiantly fits that bill. It captures some of my inner most feelings that seem hard to talk about except with certain people - Hello, my name is Popa Tunes, I'm a hopeless romantic, thanks for letting me share.

Featured on Popakazooza Vol 4  Bird Dog is a Brooklyn based outfit with a sound that draws on a wide set of roots influences from Aretha and Bobby D to S.E. Rogie, John Holt and The Louvin Brothers. Members of the band also play with the Avett Brothers, O'Death and Hospitality. Bird Dog's first full length will be released in spring 2012.
These downloads are free, you guys.

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