Jessica Martinez: Spring 2014 featured model (part 2)

Welcome to part two of our Spring 2014 model feature of Jessica Martinez. These photos were taken by George Swar at The Swallows Inn in San Juan Capistrano. If you saw yesterday’s feature, you’ll recall that I promised a video Q&A with Jessica outside The Swallows (a video that we knocked out in one take). Sadly, it (along with the rest of the spring issue) was lost when my old laptop died. In any case, here are some more amazing photos of Jessica Martinez.


Jessica Martinez…Wow!


Jessica sips a cold PBR


Jessica Martinez picks a song on the jukebox


Jessica Martinez + motorcycle = awesome


Jessica Martinez: A girl and a motorcycle – it’s a beautiful thing

Jessica Martinez: Spring 2014 featured model

On a beautiful “winter” day in southern California, Jessica Martinez posed for these shots at The Swallows Inn in San Juan Capistrano. It is an honest cowboy bar. Trust me when I tell you that I’ve seen people in the place wearing spurs. One of the traditions at this place is for a woman to hang her bra from the ceiling. Jessica did her part to sustain that excellent tradition. This is the first of a two-part series of her photos that would have been in the spring issue of the magazine. Look for the rest tomorrow, along with a video Q&A outside The Swallows Inn after her shoot. Photos as always are by George Swar.


Jessica Martinez enjoys a PBR

Jessica Martinez enjoys a PBR


Jessica Martinez at The Swallows Inn, San Juan Capistrano


Jessica Martinez

Jessica Martinez has something to hang from the ceiling

Jessica Martinez has something to hang from the ceiling

Jessica Martinez carries on the tradition at The Swallows

Jessica Martinez carries on the tradition at The Swallows



Primitive...that's how The Creeping Ivies live

Trashy Tuesday: The Creeping Ivies (Ghost World)

If you’re at all familiar with this blog, you know that Scottish duo The Creeping Ivies is one of my favorite bands. Well, loyal reader, I’m happy to announce that the band has a new full-length album entitled Ghost World. And you know something? This band just keeps getting better.

What is it about this band that attracts me so much? The first thing is the raw energy of this band. In every song, Duncan pounds out a primitive rhythm on the drums while Becca Bomb attacks the guitar and sings with a voice that is soulful and a bit spooky at times (which is fitting for an album called Ghost World). The new album has the energy and sound I’ve come to expect from The Creeping Ivies, but it also has a couple twists from previous albums. The title track includes some harmonica, which is very much in the background but provides another welcome layer to the song.

If you’re unfamiliar with this band and want to get a good sense for the sound, check out “The Bridge.” This song is psychedelic (a little), trashy (a lot), and features the howling vocals I’ve come to expect from Becca. And if you think howling is a bad thing, then you probably don’t like rock n roll.

The other curveball comes in “Dream Baby Dream,” a song that features some excellently greasy saxophone. It is an excellent compliment to the psychedelic guitar and primitive rhythm.

If I come across as a fanboy when I write about this band, it’s because I am. The first time I encountered The Creeping Ivies was on a Garage Punk compilation, and I’ve been hooked since then. The thing is, when I saw that the band had a new album, I was excited not only for me but also for my five-year-old son, who is also a big fan of the band. If you like your rock n roll raw, Ghost World will fit really nicely into your collection.

Thanks for a great 40th birthday Schwindig

Last night, I had my 40th birthday Schwindig at DiPiazza’s in Long Beach. It was truly a memorable way to celebrate. Many thanks to:

Mark DiPiazza for letting me put the show together

The Fallen Stars, Harlis Sweetwater Band, and I’MU for playing the event

George Swar for the amazing photos

and everyone who came to the show and made it the memorable event it was.


The Fallen Stars


The Fallen Stars at DiPiazza’s 20 March 2014


Mikey of I’MU


Mikey of I’MU


I’MU at DiPiazza’s on 20 March 2014


Harlis Sweetwater Band at DiPiazza’s 20 March 2014


Harlis Sweetwater


Harlis Sweetwater Band horn section


Sing it, Harlis!


The Fallen Stars


Bobbo of The Fallen Stars






Intergalactic Freedom Fighter is available now on Spotify

Incognito pick of the week: The Grasstronauts (Intergalactic Freedom Fighter)

Once upon a time, loyal reader, (December, 2012 to be precise) The Grasstronauts was one of our featured bands in the magazine. So when I heard that the band has a new EP available, I was anxious to check it out. Not just because the band is that rare musical breed – a string band – but also because it is a really good band.

It doesn’t take long to figure out that everyone in this band knows how to pick with the best of them. Focus on any one of the instruments in this song and you’ll hear that these guys are impressive. The mandolin and banjo move the song along at a good pace, while the guitar is a bit more like a rhythm instrument in this song. Then it’s all wrapped up with a bass line that is sure to get your toes tapping.

The sound of this band reminds me a lot of Yonder Mountain String Band. It is a sound that is both traditional and modern. Also on this album, the band sings about a theme sometimes visited by YMSB (like “Holdin’”) with the song “Reefer Roach Blues.”

Now, if you’ve ever read this blog before, you know that I am a sucker for a song with a good message. On this EP, that song is “Tiny Pebbles.” Just dig these righteous lyrics.

Realize with life there is no winner of the race

There’s no need to worry on and on

Time will fly on by before you know it is gone.

See what I mean? Righteous. It’s a message we probably all need to hear repeatedly. After all, a message like that never gets old, and we humans frequently forget messages like this one.

Intergalactic Freedom Fighter is a great example of what an EP should do. It gives you a good taste of the band, but still leaves you wanting more. If you’re a fan of string bands, and Yonder Mountain in particular, this EP will fit perfectly in your collection.

Scott H. Biram: Dirty old one-man band

I record songs so they don’t get lost: an interview with Scott H. Biram

This was scheduled to be the lead interview in the spring issue…before my old laptop died and took the spring issue with it. Scott H. Biram is a one-man band from Austin. By phone, he discussed becoming a one-man band, touring extensively, and what he would be doing if he weren’t making music.

I’ve tinkered with enough instruments to know that mastering one is hard. What compelled you to become a one-man band?

It was just a necessity for wanting to play shows. My bands broke up. I had a bluegrass band, and a punk-metal band. I was already doing this singer-songwriter thing. Once the bands broke up, I still wanted to tour. I toured just playing acoustic for a while. I realized I wanted to play rock clubs again. That’s more my style. So I had to do things to be able to compete with rock bands. Really, it just happened. I wasn’t inspired by any specific one-man band. It was all just a need to be on the road and a need to be something more than that singer-songwriter pansy ass.

I spoke to Cory Branan once and asked if people are surprised by his energy on stage. He said he has to do that so he doesn’t come across as a sensitive singer-songwriter type.

When I think of singer-songwriters, I just think of that bad acoustic guitar pickup sound. It makes me feel disgusted, so I don’t want to be that guy.

How long did it take you to put it all together?

It went from an acoustic thing to me stomping on the floor to me adding my vocals through an amplifier to me having something to stomp on. It’s been ever-evolving. It’s still evolving. It’s been 16 years I’ve been doing it as a one-man band. I think it’s going to keep changing until I get a band or something.

I just play acoustic guitar at home all the time. My writing and practice is me playing acoustic. Sometimes, when I play a song onstage, it’s the first time I’ve played it electric with the stomper. I try to play about 30 miles south of my hometown. I get a gig there and they’re like my guinea pig audience. I can play for two and a half hours and just get my chops back. We’re reeling it back now. We’ve got a new stragegy for when I’m playing. My Austin shows are going to be fewer than they used to be. For me, I would just keep playing as often as I could in Austin and my tour shows would be the big ones where I only come once a year. My manager and my booking agent want to turn Austin into another one of those places where I only play three or four times a year instead of 11.

Is that just to get you on the road more?

It’s to build my crowd in Austin. It’s so people don’t look at my shows in Austin and say, “Oh, we can just see him next time.” It’s music business bullshit. I don’t know. I just play music and manage managers and booking agents. I’ve been getting pretty burned out because I’m on the road 150 to 200 days a year. I need some camping time and time to build inspiration, and get in touch with reality again. The Booking Agent Blues, is that what I have to write?

That’s been a recurring theme in interviews. Musicians love being on the road, but realize they need their time at home to recharge.

It’s not even so much about being on the road. It’s that when you’re not on the road, the planning of being on the road is still happening. Even when you’re home, you’re still thinking about the road. I’m planning three or four tours ahead of time. I have an album that came out February 4th. I have a live DVD that’s in the can waiting to be put out after that. Hopefully that buys me some time and I can do some camping, or the beach.

You mentioned the new album. How does it compare to previous albums?

Nothin' but Blood - one of my favorite albums of 2014 so far

Nothin’ but Blood – one of my favorite albums of 2014 so far

It’s got a lot more covers than my last four or five records. Once I got signed to Bloodshot, I really started to focus on a lot more originals and a lot fewer covers. This album, there were some songs I wanted to cover and get out there. I’ve had them for a while. It’s still in the same vein. I consider my reords like an actual record of what’s happening with me musically. I come up with songs and I want to record them so they don’t get lost. Sometimes they get put to the side for four or five years. There’s always the chance that the’ll get lost, or I’ll forget how to play them. I try to get what I have going as soon as possible.

What would you be doing if you weren’t making music?

I’d still be making music. I’d be a producer. If I weren’t touring and making music, I’d be in the studio. At this point I have so much experience booking and managing. If I didn’t do music at all, I’d probably do something that would have me driving. I like to drive. I like being on the move. I’m done with the fucking food industry. That’s for sure. I love cooking. I cook five nights a week at home. But within two days of being back on the road, I’m thinking of what I’ll cook when I get home. I’ve been getting into cooking briskets overnight. I’ve got all kinds of stuff.

What are some things you think about cooking when you’re on the road?

I’ve got this recipe for beef tips that I tweaked from a cookbook. Spinach enchiladas – that’s my mom’s recipe. Spaghetti and meatballs from scratch. I love grilling. I grill out probably three times a week.


Give it Time is available now

Trashy Tuesday: The Revellions

After what seemed like a long hiatus, Dirty Water Records once again sent some new music my way, and I am happy to receive it. The latest I received from this great label is from The Revellions.

Now, if you’re at all familiar with this page, you know that I am a big fan of the 60s garage sound. Give it Time provides the 60s garage sound in spades right from the beginning of the album. “Bitter and Twisted” opens with a boogie-woogie piano part. Then comes the fuzzy guitar and that organ that sounds like it was delivered straight from about 1963. Add to that some soulful vocals punctuated by a good scream at the end of the song, and what you have is three minutes and 33 seconds of garage goodness.

The intro of “Don’t Wait for Me.” reminds me a little bit of the theme song for a 70s cop show. This is a really cool song. It is pure garage soul (think Spencer Davis Group) including some horns that will get your backside moving. Seriously, if you don’t like this song, then you’re probably against fun in general.

This is a great album filled with some of the things I love most in music: trashy garage sounds, and healthy amounts of soul. If you are a fan of garage soul, this is an essential album for your collection.



Happy St. Paddy's with Irish Moutarde

Happy St. Paddy’s with Irish Moutarde

Irish Moutarde is another band that was scheduled to be included in the spring issue of the magazine. While that didn’t quite work out the way I’d hoped, in the end it’s probably better to feature this Celtic punk band (from Quebec) on St. Patrick’s Day.

This album kicks off with “The Black Mill,” a gem of Celtic punk. It’s a great opening track because it is upbeat and loud, and grabs the attention. While it has bagpipes and banjo as is typical with Celtic punk, the most noticeable thing about this song is the guitar that kind of straddles the line between metal and punk. To be honest, I can say that about the guitar throughout the album. If anything, the guitar leans more toward metal. “The Cabin” is another great example.

That is followed by a song that rings true for anyone who has ever tied on one and felt the awful effects the next day. It’s called “Farewell to Drunkenness,” and it includes the lyrics that so many have vowed: “Never will I drink anymore.” Of course, that vow is often a short-lived one, and the band recognizes that it’s pretty easy to end up at the pub the night after you vow to never drink again.

This album is everything you could want in a St. Patrick’s Day album. It is upbeat and loud. Overall, the energy throughout this album reminds me a lot of another Canadian Celtic punk band: The Mahones. More than that, this album is the perfect accompaniment for an Irish stout or six, or a few shots of Irish whiskey. And hey, if you find yourself indulging in some beverages while you listen to that, just make sure you have someone to drive you.

The Next New Nothings: great garage rock from Cleveland

Crank up the volume for The Next New Nothings

The Next New Nothings (from Cleveland) would have been featured in the spring issue…if the spring issue hadn’t vanished when my old laptop died. And yes, if you’re scoring at home…or even if you’re alone… that’s two Ohio bands I’ve featured this week.

End of a World Ideology is a raw record that lands squarely in the wheelhouse of yours truly. If you want a good example, check out “I Don’t Know Who I Am.” This isn’t so much a song as an explosion of sound. Seriously, you might want to listen to this song more than once before you go on to the rest of the album.

The band throws a bit of a changeup into the mix with “Post Next Day Animal Blues.” Don’t get me wrong. It’s the same raucous garage rock you’ll hear on the rest of the album, but this has a sort of cowpunk aspect to it. If ever there were a garage rock song that you could two-step to, this is it.

A good comparison for this band is The Gories and The Compulsive Gamblers. If you’re a fan of either of those bands, chances are pretty good that you’ll dig The Next New Nothings. Oh, and do yourself a favor. Turn the volume up as loud as you can stand it when you listen to this album. Your neighbors may not appreciate it, but your rock-n-roll soul will.

To No End: Groovy blues-rock from Cincinnati

Incognito pick of the week: To No End

To No End scored a lot of points with me before I heard a note of the music. First, the band is from Ohio like yours truly. Second was the description that the band “blends the genres of blues, alt-country, grunge, pop, and progressive rock.” I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty intriguing description to me. Finally, in leaving his contact number, singer Nick Dellaposta revealed that he is from the same region of Ohio as me.

One thing is clear as soon as you start listening to this band. It has a real old-time sound to it…like a lot of the blues-rock bands of the 70s. It’s heavy. It grooves. And it rocks. The next thing I noticed is that Nick Dellaposta sounds a lot like Steven Tyler. You know, before Steven Tyler started writing sappy songs for big-budget movies of questionable merit. But wait! There’s more! The vocals also have shades of Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy. No, I’m not kidding.

This is a tight group of musicians that knows how to get people shaking their backside. The songs will make you want to bust out that old Deep Purple t-shirt and go out driving in your shaggin’ wagon.

73 Ford Econoline

73 Ford Econoline