DTES w/Sly Roosevelt T.A.N.D. show 2.23 @ the V Club

PhotobucketEvery so often, a Facebook status update comes along that, deep down, you know sounds too good to be true.

This was exactly the case late last night when we noticed (via their ReverbNation page) that the Lexington, Kentucky-based prog rock band Dream The Electric Sleep was playing at TBA in Charleston tomorrow, Thursday, February 23rd!

It was weird because we knew they were scheduled to play the V Club that night for a This Ain't No Disco show with our friends in Sly Roosevelt.

We knew this because we'd saved Jimbo Valentine's most awesome flyer to our desktop to remind us of the show daily. Maybe there was some scheduling snafu, and DTES was coming to Charleston, making it entirely possible that we could make it to said TBA venue, see the band, and then maybe camp out at the Transit Mall or something.

You know what they about stuff that sounds too good to be true. Just as we expected, after confirming it with bassist Chris Tackett, something silly happened deep inside of ReverbNation, and it confused Charleston for Huntington.

But make no mistake dear readers, just as you've come to expect subpar coverage here, Charleston's loss is Huntington's gain Thursday night. Dream The Electric Sleep and Sly Roosevelt have each been working on new stuff, and we'll look forward to hearing that when it is ready. DTES singer-guitarist Matt Page has dutifully and descriptively been keeping fans abreast of the writing and demo process on their site, even after the band released Acoustics and B-Sides, but the blog is something very cool to see if you're a big fan of the band.

And even though, in our heart of hearts, we knew that DTES wasn't coming to Charleston, we know this show Thursday in Huntington should be killer.


Legendary New York City ska band The Toasters play 123 Pleasant Street Sunday


After 30 years, numerous lineup changes and seeing countless ska bands they influenced form, Rob “Bucket” Hingley (with guitar) brings The Toasters to 123 Pleasant Street Sunday

Reposted from The Daily Athenaeum

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Such is the case for Rob “Bucket” Hingley and The Toasters, the ska band he’s fronted since its formation in New York City in 1982.

After enduring numerous lineup changes, and seeing the popularity of ska bands ebb and flow like the tides over the years, Hingley and his legendary “third wave” two-tone ska outfit keep doing what they’ve been doing, touring and playing shows all over the U.S., and the world.

For Hingley, this is what has kept The Toasters going. On the road to Toledo for a show, bringing ska music to its fans, just like he did after crossing the pond from the United Kingdom back in 1980, is what it’s all about.

“We go and play places where people don’t or won’t reach,” Hingley said over the phone, when asked about The Toasters scorched Earth tour schedule, a show per day since mid-January. “That’s been the secret to our success, is that we’ve been road dogs. That’s paying us back in spades right now.”

The Toasters return to Morgantown for an all-ages show at 123 Pleasant Street Sunday.

Over thirty years, ten studio albums, and countless trends and fads generated by the music industry, Hingley has seen it all pretty much. He said that arriving in New York City, leaving a bustling ska scene in the U.K., finding ska practically non-existent, was a bit of a culture shock.

“There wasn’t any ska scene at all to speak of, which seemed strange to me,” the singer-guitarist said with some lingering bewilderment. “I came to New York in 1980, right at the high water mark of ska music in the U.K, maybe the high water mark was 1979. But coming from that environment where everybody knew what ska was, and bands like The Specials, and The English Beat, and Madness were coming off of number one hits. And coming to the U.S., where nobody seemed to know what it was about at all, even to the point of going to the Roseland Ballroom and seeing hardly anyone there to see The English Beat, it really was like going from feast to famine. So, getting the band started in 1982, finding like-minded people and musicians wasn’t easy.”

Fast forward thirty years, after seeing bands The Toasters influenced, like The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, achieve some level of commercial success, Hingley said ska music has went where it’s most loved: back underground.

“The support goes up and down, it depends what the flavor of the week is, the way the industry tends to focus on different kinds of music. The way it is now, it’s kind of back in the underground, and that’s probably the best place for it, because it’s a little more nurturing.”

Hingley recalled with fondness playing Morgantown in the past, and the support ska in general, and The Toasters in particular, were shown.

“Of course, big cities like New York, Chicago, L.A., there’s obviously a lot of support there. But we’re seeing pockets in some of the smaller towns, like Morgantown. That’s a real yardstick of how healthy it is when you can come play some of the smaller towns and still have the support. Back in the day, it’s 123 now, it was the Nyabinghi, they had a lot more reggae and ska bands coming through, and I’m talking ten, fifteen or even twenty years ago, there was a lot more support then. But if it’s coming back now it just shows that ska is rebounding a little bit.”

It’s the spirit embedded inside of ska that, despite any trends generated by the music industry, still attracts people to the sound, Hingley said.

“One thing you have to understand about ska music, you got to take it back and look at where it came from. It came out of the Trench Town ghetto in Jamaica, which at the time was a very, very poor area. And the explosion of ska was associated with Jamaica gaining independence from British rule about that time. It was rebel music coming out of the ghetto. It was an expression of freedom, the same as reggae music.

“It was rebel music,” Hingley continued. “In a way it’s managed to retain that energy, because even though ska music was exploited by the mainstream record companies in the 90’s, it wasn’t really the roots bands and not what I would point to as the real ska bands and the core two-tone bands that were exploited. It was punk bands with horns, or studio creations like Smash Mouth that have nothing to do with the ska scene. But because some record execs put that label on it, that was the flavor of the week. But fortunately that didn’t destroy ska music and the real ska bands.

“I think a lot of kids, when they come into it, they see that there’s fifty-five years of roots and culture, they might start out liking Mighty Mighty Bosstones as a portal, and they can trace that tree all the way back to those early artists from Jamaica. They see that it’s real, and people identify with it. It’s not a Frankenstein monster created in some major label lab.”

Coming back to Morgantown for an all-ages show and exposing a whole new generation of fans to ska

That just goes to show the fact that the style is really resilient, and has something to say to young kids. Because if they didn’t like it they wouldn’t come. It attracts kids from whatever they come from, whether they’re punk rock or metal kids. If you can find a way to mean something to kids, they’ll still come out.”

When asked how much The Toasters have left in the tank, how much longer they’ll be playing out, Hingley said he doesn’t expect any changes anytime soon.

“You have to ask my wife that,” he said with a laugh. “We’ve got a few more years, there are still some places we haven’t been yet.”

--- The Toasters play 123 Pleasant Street Sunday with The Staggering Cardoons, Black Action Cop, Call us Next Tuesday and special guests The Business Fairy and QUOTE. Doors open at 5:30, show starts at 6 p.m., cover is $8 in advance and $10 at the door. All-ages.

Online: www.toasters.org/, www.123pleasantstreet.com/


Q&A w/Aaron Sturgill of Old Worlds


The most awesome thing about doing what we do here is just finding out about or getting clued into music that we really like by bands that we hadn’t heard much about, or failed to check out if they passed through West Virginia.

Such is the case for the Columbus, Ohio-based post rock, mainly instrumental but definitely experimental band Old Worlds. Although they’ve played Huntington once previously, at Shamrock’s, we didn’t got exposed to the music they were making.

Well, that has changed. After listening to their debut A Light In The Corner, we thought it was cool so we caught up with Old World singer-guitarist Aaron Sturgill (above pic) in advance of their show Saturday at the V Club...

WVRockscene: Old Worlds has been together since 2008, right? What was the process like taking what you were doing with guitars and loops into a full band with [drummer] Mike [Poston] and [bassist] Adam [Langdon]?

Aaron Sturgill: At first, it was just my guitar, some loopers, and a drum set that I would lug around to every show. I’d jump around and sort of jam on these half-finished songs. Mike volunteered to take over the drums and expand the melodic percussion with bells, and before I knew it, we were a three-piece band opening for The Appleseed Cast. We still rely on loops and samples, both live takes and pre-recorded, but the soul of the band is in these dense orchestrations in which everyone has a hand.

rockscene: You list some kind of obscure bands -- at least some that I haven’t heard of -- as influences or artists you like. Following up on the last question, how did, as the band came together, kind of have a meeting of the minds over mutual influences, or bands you all like?

Sturgill: Mike and I used to party hard while listening to math rock like Q and not U, while Adam and I worked together and sort of found each other via The Appleseed Cast. If you haven’t heard of them, they’re a very unifying band, I’ve met people that were raised on pop punk, emo, electronica, post-rock, even classical and jazz, and somehow, The Appleseed Cast is frequently the common denominator on which we can all agree.

rockscene: You released A Light In the Corner last year, how much time went into getting that record done and just capturing the sonic landscapes you do as a band? And what’s the response been like to the record?

Sturgill: Adam took out a huge chunk of his life to record this album. We met at his church and in his basement, tracking took about three months, and mixing took another three. We couldn’t afford to pay anyone else except to master it, so the rest was on us.

As far as the soundscapes go, it was just a matter of layering and layering and layering. The first track has the sound of air escaping from an accordion, but with all these time and filter effects applied to it, such that it sounds more like the creaking of an old ship’s hull. In another instance, we set up most of the drums we owned in this big hall, so that Mike and I could do this massive percussion segment (found at the end of “Little Human Beings”).

The response to the record has been positive, although we haven’t seen any true reviews, even though we’ve sent it to dozens of blogs and other media outlets. That’s frustrating. Oxide Tones in Germany, however, was a huge windfall -- they helped us get the album pressed, and have been really, really generous with us.

rockscene: Your wife is also in the band, always an interesting angle to see in a band. How did she get welcomed into the band and how neat is it to be able to share the experience of traveling and doing shows with her?

Sturgill: Adding Kylie was kind of a no-brainer. Last year our shows started to incorporate a string section, so her experience in opera fit right in. Both of us collaborating on the music means that we can both just pick up and head out on the road, without losing much of that time that a newly-married couple needs, you know? It’s pretty rad.

rockscene: You teach violin? The strings are definitely something that stands out on the record. Obviously that’s something that you could do live but is that something your wife Kylie does on synth? And how cool is it to be able to incorporate the violin into your band?

Sturgill: Kylie and I both teach music out of our home. I do the instruments (violin, guitar, piano), and she does this awesome mashup of voice and whole-body fitness called Method Voice. My site is arcadiamusic.weebly.com.

Like I said, we started using a string trio last year -- but, of course, we want to keep the touring group as minimal as possible. Kylie certainly handles a lot of those sounds on the synth, but we’ve been lucky enough to score Seth Ellsworth as a full-time violinist. He harmonizes with the vocals and synth, and even does some background vocals, which is fantastic. Just an all-around talented guy -- he brings a lot to the table.

rockscene: One of the great thing about your songs is that there’s just enough vocals in there to really let you get into the music. So many experimental/instrumental bands can kind of lose a listener’s attention by having vocals. How do you approach writing songs for what seems to be a mainly instrumental band, still having vocals and writing lyrics, etc.?

Sturgill: Typically, if a song needs vocals, we put it in. I know that sounds glib and simplistic, but it’s the same with wonky time signatures -- you can write all your songs with shifting meters and tempos so the audience has trouble keeping up, but sometimes it’s better to keep it simple, a nice 4 or 3 or whatever.

But, this is changing all the time -- in fact, a lot of our newer material, which will be on a forthcoming EP, features a lot more of Kylie’s vocals at the forefront than mine. I’m starting to focus on guitar compositions, and letting her do what she does best. This is something that not very many post-rock bands do well or at all, so if we can figure this out, we might have ourselves a niche.

rockscene: What is up with any new material or recordings? Has much changed or have you got much new stuff since releasing what was on A Light In The Corner?

Sturgill: Be sure to check out a couple of songs we did in July for Jacuzzi Suit Records. There’s this awesome remix of “Secret History” by Glenn Davis (Triangle Piece) of the Columbus band Way Yes. We’re super happy with how that project turned out, although it looks like this will be a Bandcamp-only release for the time being.

We’re almost finished writing a five-song EP, which I’d like to see released sometime this year. That’s as much as I can say right now.

rockscene: Aside from any new music or recording, anything you’re looking forward to in 2012 as far as shows?

Sturgill: Touring has been a blast, and we’re hoping to keep it up. We have a strong relationship with Jacuzzi Suit in Chicago, and in June we’re heading out for a five-day tour with Survivalist, from Columbus.

rockscene: You’ve played Huntington once, at Shamrock’s, how were you received there in particular, but in general by new listeners, people who haven’t really heard you before, and how neat is it to just be able to pull people in with your music?

Sturgill: The crowd at Shamrock’s was outstanding, and it’s always gratifying just to be able to meet new people wherever you go. We’re really trying to share a message, or even a feeling, of love, community, and personal responsibility. The more we can talk to people and learn about them, the better.

--- Old Worlds plays the V Club in Huntington tonight with Sly Roosevelt and Sweatband


Life on Parade: David Mayfield brings his "Parade" to the V Club


Known for chaotic, energetic live shows, David Mayfield (above) brings his “Parade” to the V Club Friday

Reposted from the Huntington Herald-Dispatch

Steeped in bluegrass and country music tradition, with a chaotic live energy and onstage presence that embodies rock and roll, David Mayfield’s musical career has indeed been a long, strange trip.

The 29-year old Mayfield, talking over the phone from his childhood home near Kent, Ohio, said it’s the little things that are most important for him as he’s moved from being a backing musician into fronting his own band. The little things, like sitting at the DMV for four hours, registering your sister’s van to go out on tour.

“I’ll be pulling into Huntington in her old touring van, because mine broke down,” Mayfield said with a laugh.

The David Mayfield Parade plays The V Club in Huntington Friday with Sasha Colette and the Magnolias.

Mayfield said he and the Parade, Wes Langlois (guitar), Shelby Means (upright bass), Kristin Webber (fiddle) and Joe Giotta (drums) have finished recording their sophomore record and hope to have it out later this summer.

For Mayfield, though, who now calls Nashville home, it’s now time to get back out on the road.

“It’s been my whole life,” Mayfield said fondly. “My parents met at a bluegrass festival, and have always played music together. When I was twelve years old, I decided there’s no reason for them to go and leave and play music and me to have to stay home, so I learned how to play the bass. I went out on the road with them, and my sister joined up after that. I dropped out of school in the ninth grade to play music, and my parents sold our house, and we just traveled around in an old bus living that gypsy lifestyle I guess.”

Mayfield, after graduating as a youth from bass to guitar and mandolin, said he learned firsthand the responsibilities of being a performing musician from his parents.

“What my parents really instilled in me, is we’re providing a service, just like an electrician or a plumber. People spend their hard earned money to go out and be entertained. That’s the biggest thing I got out of the family band experience, was learning that people are coming out to the V Club because they want to be entertained and put their problems and cares behind them for a few hours and kind of go on a journey. It’s something more than just some people standing on stage singing a song. It goes to different places.”

Mayfield and the Parade got their start going places thanks to immediate support from alt-country rockers The Avett Brothers.

“I had been playing with Cadillac Sky, and we decided that we were going to break up,” Mayfield recalled. “I didn’t know what I was going to do. I played some of my original songs for Seth Avett, and he was real encouraging. He said ‘You’re a good enough songwriter, these songs deserve to be heard. You’re more at home on stage, you’re more of a performer. You shouldn’t count out going out on your own.’ Then when I put the band together, I think I had the Parade together for about a month, and the Avetts invited us to open their big New Year’s Eve show. And then, when it was time to make the record Scott and Seth both came and sang harmonies on like, half the album. So right out of the gate we had a great opportunity.”

It’s those opportunities, playing big festivals like Bonnaroo, or opening for Willie Nelson or The Avett Brothers, that, in just barely a year together with his Parade, blows Mayfield’s mind.

“It’s been nuts, you know? I’ve been doing this for so long, either as a side man, backing people up, or making records for other people. And just in one year to have been offered so many big opportunities, it’s pretty surreal, and terrifying at the same time.”

Describing the live show, Mayfield said it approaches something like controlled chaos, without much control, maybe terrifying, but definitely, a thrill.

“It gets pretty crazy from time to time. We played one festival, I climbed up on the scaffolding and threw an electric guitar into the ground like a lawn dart, and then, kind of fell down a little bit. But other than that, it’s just normal bruises and scratches from an acrobatic, crazy, two-hour set of nonsense,” Mayfield said with a laugh. “We like to keep the spontaneous energy in the air. At one of our shows you really feel like everything could all fall apart at any moment, and someone could die.”

With equal parts humility and responsibility, Mayfield, asked about the Parade’s budding fan base, said it’s still all about the music for him.

“It’s definitely exciting. One guy come to one of my shows and he had my face tattooed on his arm. I had people telling me “Breath of Love” was their wedding song. I still feel a little like ‘Why me? Go listen to that guy, he’s better than I am,’” Mayfield said laughing. “It’s definitely flattering, but it also gives me this sense, of pressure really, of keeping up to those standards, and to not let people down.”

The David Mayfield Parade w/Sasha Colette and the Magnolias
When: Friday, February 10, 10 p.m.
Where: The V Club, 741 6th Ave., (304) 781-0680
Cost: $8 adv., $10 door
Online: www.vclublive.com, http://thedavidmayfieldparade.com/, http://www.reverbnation.com/sashacolette


This is not funny: The Demon Beat slay on new split release

Following The Demon Beat closely ever since Tucker Riggleman sent us a copy of Heavy Nasty out of the blue, it’s been super neat to note any and all changes as it relates to songwriting or production. As they’ve moved from the debut, through the self-titled EP, Shit We’re 23, 1956, and most recently, Bullshit Walks, they’ve maybe taken a slightly more bluesy bent and incorporated it into their version of plug-in-and-go garage rock.

One neat thing about the band is that they’ve put music out on a few split releases, allowing fans to get something of a fix in between the more proper, full-length releases. If you were, like us, lucky enough to snag a physical copy of their Caustic Eye split with Bud Carroll & the Southern Souls, or just listen to that and their 2011 Antler Tapes split with The Shackletons, you know that the splits are both something for you, the listener, and, a chance for the band to get songs out.

So it was simultaneously exciting and not a surprise that The Demon Beat would team up with their Harrisonburg, Virginia-based friends in Elephant Child to put out a split 7” on Funny/Not Funny Records.

The distortion, the feedback, the raw, desperate energy and almost bootleg feel of the production on the previously unreleased “Teenage Wasteland” and the fuzzy, pummeling charm of the alternate version of “Change The Subject” (heard on the Antler Tapes split) make this a whole ‘nother Demon Beat split worth having, and the hot, live feel of the production is great to hear.

The Demon Beat have always benefited by being able to have singer-guitarist Adam Meisterhans record DIY, and from mixing to mastering to getting any and all songs out to their fans, the production has never left anything to be desired, but it is refreshing to hear something like this.

Elephant Child’s six-minute jam “Under The Bridge pt. 2” buttresses the shorter Demon Beat songs and ties the two bands together nicely in some sonic sense. If you haven’t got into these dudes yet, now’s the time.

Plus, Jordan Hudkins’ cover rendition of Dave Bello will no doubt make this split a collector’s item. If you pre-order the split (limited to 300) on the Funny/Not Funny site, you get an immediate download of it, and that ain’t bad.

The Demon Beat: “Teenage Wasteland”

Elephant Child: “Under The Bridge pt. 2”


Sleepwalker live on U92's Morgantown Sound

If you're like us and tuned in to hear Sleepwalker last Monday but didn't hear it, friends everything will be alright thanks to the internets.

U92 has started a pretty cool lookin' Wordpress site for Morgantown Sound, complete with Soundcloud embeds of the shows. This is waaaay better than you, say, in embarrassing ghetto fashion, hypothetically, recording Bonfire onto an old SP-808, then bouncing it back onto the digital recorder you use to interview people for articles so your old laptop will recognize the files. Just because you like Bonfire a lot.

Anyway, you may have checked out our recent thing on Sleepwalker, and heard their debut EP The Dark One. If you missed the U92 show and were looking to hear it on someone else's site, why not check out their set below?

Morgantown Sound 01-23-2012 / Sleepwalker by MorgantownSound

Set list:
Ice Skater – 1:15
Red Balloons- 3:43
6s – 9:43
Shifting of the Poles – 14:05
I Can Tell – 17:10
Burn Up in a Car – 25:00
Emile Ajar- 28:45
John’s Lament – 31:10
Dirty as Hell – 34:19