they’re just some kids….

mac miller is currently signed to indie label rostrum records.  rostrum prides themselves on artist development, which is a fancy way of saying they back the shit out of their artists and wait for the best major label deal to come along.

mac has got talent for days.  i was blown away by his KIDS mixtape.  it’s so refreshing to hear someone rapping for the sake of rapping again.  for me, he’s a throwback to the 90’s when rappers were rapping for reputations. 

mac miller wants you to doubt him.  he wants you to say he’s too white.  he wants you to say he’s another eminem ripoff.  he wants you to talk shit so he can laugh his way to the bank.

mac miller will not be on rostrum records for long.  he’s coming…real soon.

ps.  the research says mac didn’t give credit to the production duo who made this instrumental.  bad business mac.  buuuut, on the flip side, he murders this beat and brings it to life all at once. enjoy-


nights like these


lucero opened for social distortion at northern lights in clifton park last thursday.  i’m sure we all love bands that link us to times in our lives. lucero are a forever link to my mid-twenties.  since i was bordeline obsessive about a few of their records, i made multiple attempts to see them over the past 5 or 6 years.  all things told, i’ve never expected much from their live show.

i have a few reasons for this.  #1: at the merch table they sell beer cozy’s with the phrase “the drunker you get, the better we sound”.  #2: they play additional encores if you buy them shots…i swear, i’ve seen this.  #3: prior to the set i had a brief conversation with lead singer ben nichols that went something like this…

me: i saw you guys at terminal 5 in nyc.

ben: really? that show sucked.

me: yeah, i tried to sneak a bottle of whiskey in down the front of my pants.  the door lady threw that shit in the garbage.

ben: yeah? the whole bottle? that sucks…and that show sucked.

my point? lucero are aware that they have off nights.  thursday night in clifton park was not one of those nights.  they sounded great.  it almost sounded like they were having fun.  they are also touring with a keyboard player who really fills out their sound.

for the first time i can honestly say lucero was fantastic.  the theme for the night…you guessed it.  ben said at the start of the set, “we’re just gonna stick to the drinkin’ songs”.  my question is, which songs aren’t drinking songs?

here’s a clip…see what i mean.  even when it’s bad it’s really fucking good.

calling all stars

i’ve always drawn a pretty close comparison between punk music and country music.  i know that statement is going to get under your skin, so let me explain.  punk music, at it’s core is a commentary on the social shitstorm we live in.  country music, real country music not the bullshit pop-country music that plagues the top 40, does the same thing.

punk and country view the world through completely different lenses.  i get that.  but what i can compare is the honesty in both forms of music.  you get the despair.  you get the pain.  you get the injustices.  you even get the hope.  you just get there with a different set of chords.

for me, ryan bingham bridges the gap.  he isn’t a top 40’s monster and he’s not an old school punk.  he’s no hank williams and certainly no mike ness, yet he sort of walks a fine line between the two.

he wrote a couple of the songs on the crazy heart soundtrack.  he’s got a shit ton of talent.  click below and check out “hallelujah” from his latest record junky star.

icons? tough call.


i love reading comments on music sites.  it’s one of my favorite internet guilty pleasures.  in fact, i’m guilty quite often of dropping a link to this very page into those comment strands.  one of my most favorite topics is the never-ending “punk” debate.  who or what is punk.  who or what is real vs. fake. etc etc etc.  it’s like a dog with a really long tail, and i love watching and waiting for that dizzy dog to slam head first into the wall.

many, many times jersey’s none more black (keeping with the jersey theme as halloween approaches..BEAT UP THE BEAT!!!) have been at the center of this debate.  luckily they’ve figured out how to keep it light, play honest punk rock and still be slightly more accessible than your favorite band.   

their latest record icons proves these guys are also getting better with age.  the music is fast, loose and full of energy.  it is definitely punk.  these guys are definitely the real deal and if you disagree i’ll be in corner waiting for you to stop spinning around in circles.

if they come around, see them live.  you’ll see what i mean.

listen to this:


i like bands from new jersey…rappers from new jersey.  shitty beaches and boardwalks in new jersey.  hell, i’ll even watch a new jersey nets game.  if you’ve been to asbury park you can attest.  there’s a creepy realness to the place.  a scumbaggish charm that’s hard to resist.

new brunswick nj brings us screaming females.  they’re sort of like the breeders.  except there’s only one chick (who plays the hell out of her guitar).  they sort of remind me of built to spill a little bit too.  i could spend an hour making random sound comparisons, or you could check out this video of a tremendously crafty jam called “boss”.  (the vocals are low… listen instead to that filthy guitar). 

go on itunes or wherever you buy your digital music and get their record castle talk.  it’s fucking good.

these kids like dinosaur jr.  a lot.

it’s in the water, it’s where you came from

anyone who knows me, or who has listened to me rant and rave about music will tell you that i’ve been listening to the kings of leon since they released an ep called “holy roller novocaine” many years ago.  i was instantly into these dudes…the shaggy hair, the southern-dirtbag charm, the whiskey and cigarettes… the whole nine yards.

something funny happened along the way.  it’s wasn’t over night and it certainly wasn’t because of overexposure.  somehow they honed in on a massive crowd of frat kids and stay at home moms.  they wrote two monster singles, “sex on fire” and “use somebody”.  they became full on rock stars. and honestly, what’s wrong with that?

come around sundown, their 5th and maybe best record, is a fun but familiar listen.  it’s the sound of a band comfortable in their own skin.  you can quote me here, and you may not believe it, but someone asked me two weeks ago what i thought about the record.  my reply was something along the lines of “they’re ready to take over for U2 as the most popular arena rock and roll band in the world”.  this month rolling stone magazine thinks so too…but i said it first.

check out “pyro” performed on SNL a few nights ago.  gorgeous tune.

record store day!

the third saturday of every april is record store day.  it’s one day a year when the 700 some-odd remaining independent records stores in the country celebrate being awesome. 

bands get involved and release special “record store day” releases such as limited edition pressings and 7-inch records.  the picture above is the gaslight anthem’s record store day release which is a rolling stones cover of “tumbling dice” with an unreleased b-side from the american slang sessions.  their label, side one dummy, is releasing this 7-inch on november 26th.  the label is pressing a bunch so check out if you want info about how to to pick one up.

as someone who used to work in a now closed down independent record store, i appreciate this effort.  as a music fan there is still something wonderful about digging around these shops.  it was one of my favorite saturday afternoon adventures.  there’s something cold and unfriendly about buying music at a huge chain like best buy or walmart. 

click below to read more about the event.  there’s a directory on the site…so find your local shop and support them you bastards!!