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A public service announcement to music artists

Tell 'Em What Your Name Is

Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is

If you perform music (whether in a band or solo), I have one piece of advice that you should practice, practice, practice. I am going to quote Black Joe Lewis in giving you this advice: “Tell ‘em what your name is.”

And I don’t just mean that you should reach out to us here at Incognito HQ (although you should because those that do are frequently rewarded). There are loads of podcasts out there that want to play indie music from a variety of genres. There are indie music radio shows that always need new artists. But how are all these outlets going to know about you unless you tell ‘em what your name is? It’s not that hard to write an e-mail. And sometimes that’s all it takes to see some results. So, if you play music, contact us. Contact every podcast you listen to. Contact college radio stations. Just let us know who you are and where we can find your tunes.

Ska Saturday: Wobbly Bob

Infectiously catchy ska

Infectiously catchy ska

I say this a lot, but it always bears repeating (at least until I no longer hear generic band names). A good way to catch the attention of a potential listener is to have a unique and catchy name. Like Wobbly Bob. Let’s face it. That’s not a name you’re likely to forget. Speaking of names you’re not likely to forget, here are just a couple titles from the album Life Lessons for Losers (click the picture to listen):

  • “Let’s Get Wasted” (if this song doesn’t get the party started, I’m not sure what will)
  • “Captain Hellyeah!”
  • “That’s What She Said.”

This is a band I found randomly on Bandcamp and was immediately hooked. This is a band that has shared the stage with The Toasters (among many others) and it’s easy to see why. Like The Toasters, this band plays an infectiously upbeat brand of ska. Speaking of infectious, Life Lessons for Losers includes a song that should be an anthem for every poor working stiff that sits in a cubicle all day staring at a computer screen. Yes, I know it’s Saturday, so you’re already living for the weekend, but try this next Friday. Put this song on in your cubicle and sing it at the top of your lungs. It will make your day better and it will improve the day of anyone that sings along with you.

So, do I like Wobbly Bob? Absolutely, but I also feel it’s only fair to warn you that you will want to dance and sing when you hear it. Make sure you’re in a place where you can do both when you play this album.

Blue Monday: The Dirty Mac Blues Band

Simple, raw, dirty

On the Twitter page for The Dirty Mac Blues Band, the band is described as “simple, raw, and dirty.” I don’t have to tell you that simple, raw, and dirty music is right in our wheelhouse.

When you visit the band’s ReverbNation page, the first song listed is “BBQ.” This is a classic blues theme where the lyrics could be construed as dirty (at least by some uptight conservative). Terry Mackie sings things like, “I hear you like your pork pulled tight. That’s something I like real late at night. Smoked sausage too.” It’s reminiscent of singers like Bessie Smith, who sang about having “sugar in her bowl.” The band has another song where the message is less veiled. The title? “Bootycall Man.” Oh, and in addition to being about sex, this song has two of my favorite things: harmonica and slide guitar.

Terry Mackie has a big voice that is particularly noticeable when you watch some of this band’s videos. Her voice, like Big Mama Thornton’s and Candye Kane’s, is in the deeper registers and it is perfect for the blues. In fact, it’s hard to imagine her singing any other style…except maybe soul. But of course, the band deserves some attention too. The rhythms are just what are needed for the blues, and I wish I could play guitar or harmonica half as well as the guys in this band. If you want some dirty blues to get you moving, check out this band.

Funk Friday: CSC Funk Band

Great instrumental funk

CSC Funk Band is a band I encountered randomly and indirectly on Twitter when I saw a post from Electric Cowbell with a link to a song by this band. I don’t know about you, but something called Electric Cowbell catches my attention.

This is an interesting funk band because it can go from the experimental jazz funk (“Bad Banana Bread”) like Maceo Parker to Afrofunk (“Canaca”) to a pretty traditional instrumental funk (“Catcher’s Mitt”). If you’re anything like me, you like a song you can sing along with. I’m not going to say you’ll be disappointed because this band is so good, but this is strictly instrumental stuff. Fear not though, loyal reader. Sure, there are no lyrics to sing along with but there is plenty to get your backside moving. And isn’t that the point of a funk band? Of course it is. According to reports, the band is working on an album to release in early 2013. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to it.

The musical meal: “entrees”

We’ve covered both snacks and starters, and now we get to the main course of our musical meal. This is the music that I can listen to anytime and be completely satisfied.

My musical main course includes, blues, Cajun, zydeco, and Clutch

Blues definitely falls into my list of musical entrees. In fact, blues is the musical equivalent of comfort food. Think about your favorite comfort food. Maybe it’s macaroni and cheese. Maybe it’s Thai food. Whatever it is, you eat it because you want to feel better and when you’re done, you do feel better. That’s what the blues is for me. From Mississippi Fred McDowell to Junior Wells to the garage blues of The Bonnevilles, the blues always hits the spot.

Another musical entree is Louisiana music: Cajun and zydeco. The one thing that all Cajun and zydeco music has in common is that it is impossible to be in a bad mood when you listen to it. Beau Jocque is a particular favorite and Mama Rosin (a recent find) is really intriguing, but I have never encountered Cajun or zydeco music that I didn’t like.

I’m going a little off the board with this one, but hey, it’s my blog. Instead of going with a genre of music, I’m going to list a band as an entree. Clutch is a band that I have enjoyed since I was in college and I can listen to this band anytime. This is a band that can rock with the best of them and has also incorporated the blues into its heavy rock sound by covering the aforementioned Mississippi Fred McDowell and Howlin’ Wolf.

There you have it, loyal reader. My musical entrees. What are your musical entrees? Let us know about them in a comment.

Funk Friday: Pinot

Check out Pinot on Bandcamp

I’ll admit it. I found Pinot by doing a simple search for funk band Los Angeles. And boy, am I glad I did. My first impression of this band was with the song “Get It.” This is a song that brings Sly and the Family Stone to mind. Overall, this band leans more toward Sly and the Family Stone and Isaac Hayes than Parliament and Funkadelic. It is a good blend of instrumental funk (“Cornerstore” and “Mr. Rager’s Neighborhood”) and good-time party funk (“Gonna Funk You Up”). This is a good way to get funky on a Friday (or any other day).

Where have all the rock clubs gone?

No substitute for live music

I live in Orange County, California, and maybe it’s like this everywhere, but I can only judge where I live. When I look through the music listings in our alternative weekly, I see an inordinate number of listings for DJs. A lot of people like DJs. I am not one of them. In fact, I used to be a part of something where I voted on awards, one of which was best DJ. Frankly, I don’t even know what makes a good DJ. Is it the guy (or chick) that can twiddle knobs the best? How do you judge that?

The shame of the rise of the DJ is that it has come at the expense of actual musicians. What do I mean? Orange County (and keep in mind I haven’t always lived here) used to have a lot of rock clubs. Now the rock clubs are scarce, particularly in south Orange County, but you’ll never have any trouble finding a DJ. Part of that is probably an Orange County problem. This is a place that celebrates the trendy. So when the beautiful babies of OC demand DJs instead of bands, that’s what they get. As for me, I just don’t see the point of being in a club where some guy with a laptop and a couple turntables plays what sounds like one continuous song all night. Yes, I know that’s part of the argument in favor of DJs: that they can blend two tracks together so seamlessly that you don’t even hear the transition. But if the music is just loud beats and a lot of electronic skronking, is it really a good thing that A DJ set sounds like one continuous song? Not in my book. Part of the charm of going to a rock show is the stories you get between songs.

You can have your DJs. I’ll stick with actual musicians playing actual instruments. That is if I can find them where I live.

5 “guilty pleasure” songs

Who is to say what a person should or should not like. You like what you like, even if the song has a theme that might be distasteful. Here are five songs I really enjoy even though…well, see for yourself.

  • “Necro Blues” by Frantic Flintstones – I don’t really want to like this song. I never have. The theme goes beyond mere distaste (as you can probably tell from the title), but it is so catchy. Every time I listen to this song (and I have listened to it plenty), I know I shouldn’t enjoy it as much as I do. What can I say? Blame Frantic Flintstones for making such a catchy song. Note: Do not click the link to the video if you are easily offended.
  • “The Other Shoe” by Old 97s – Songs about murdering your old lady are nothing new in rock and roll. Particularly if your old lady is cheatin’ on you. I certainly don’t advocate anything like killing your old lady, but I sure do like this song.
  • “DWI” by Phil Hummer and The Buzzards – Yes, I know there is nothing funny about driving while intoxicated, but there is a lot funny about this song.
  • “The Wig He Made Her Wear” by Drive-By Truckers – Patterson Hood is a tremendous storyteller. In this song, he sings about a preacher who is found murdered and in the course of the trial, some unsavory things are found out about this preacher.
  • “Drag Queen” by The Earps – This song gives a whole new (and hilarious) meaning to the walk of shame.


All right, loyal reader. I’ve revealed my guilty pleasures to you. What are some songs that you like that might make you cringe just a little too?



Send yer questions for Ask Uncle Sal

Hey all you Incogneatos out there! This here’s Uncle Sal, commandeering the blog from Schwind while he’s in the can. Send me yer questions for the next edition of Ask Uncle Sal. Maybe ya wanna know how to handle all them relatives ya got comin’ for the holidays. Maybe ya wanna know what’s the best kinda hooch to serve with that holiday meal. Maybe ya wanna know if ya should break up with that lump of a boyfriend on Christmas Eve? I can help. Ask me any question and I’ll answer it. I never backed away from any question and I ain’t about to start now. Gotta go! I just heard him flush. “Hey, don’t forget to wash yer hands, Schwind!”

Surf Music Sunday: Mortum Surfers

Awesome surf music from Oaxaca Mexico

A lot of music comes into my life randomly. Mortum Surfers is a band that showed up in the “People You May Know” on Facebook. Before I even heard a note of this Mexican surf band, I knew I would dig it. Why? Because it is an instrumental surf band whose members wear masks. In other words, it’s right in my wheelhouse.

Something unusual registers when you listen to “Playa del Crimen.” There’s that reverb guitar and the signature drums, but just listen. That bass line is pretty hot.

Another thing I like about this band is the fact that some of its YouTube videos are just shot on location at some random place like a rooftop or a Metro station. And let’s face it. A surf version of “Besame Mucho” is pretty good stuff. This band isn’t really flashy. It just delivers solid traditional surf music, and when is that ever a bad thing?