Monday Morning Music Shuffle – Can See No Reason Mix

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Before we get to the shuffle, I have to take a moment to send out lots of prayers, good thoughts and love to everyone affected by the tragedy in Connecticut on Friday.  And let’s face it, it affected most of us in some way.  Several bands we follow regularly here at Ear t the Ground live not too far from Newtown. The Velveteens who were featured artists a couple of months back had family members who attend the school. Thankfully, they were okay. For those of us with children, for those of us who have any compassion – this was an unspeakably devastating event.  But talk we must.  So, I sent out the prayers and good thoughts and love to those in Newtown and those in Connecticut and those in the United States of America and those in the world.  We are sick of violence, but we feel powerless in the face of it.  But, if there is power to break the cycles and change the old ways, it will… it must come from within us.  And it won’t all come in these fleeting moments of national and international grief and outrage.  The necessary changes have to come over time, even as the immediacy of the horror begins to fade and blend with all the previous horrors which were once in our immediate path.
 


Now, we are about seconds away from rolling out our 2nd Annual Band of the Year Readers Poll.  To get into the spirit, today’s shuffle comes from a playlist of the bands who will be in the year end poll.

What struck me, as I was listening to these songs today was how much great music we’ve heard this year, and also, how many great new friends we have made. In my estimation, this makes 2012 a great year for music.  What do you think?

And the Giraffe are a band that formed in Florida and currently is split between Florida and Nashville.  They have some new music which we hope to be bringing you soon. In the meantime, we have Magic 8 from their previous release called Something for Someone.  They tied for Band of the Month back in September.

MAKAR are a NYC band who captured our hearts and captured the crown to narrowly defeat The End Men in the epic January Band of the Month voting.  We have the title track from their album Funeral Genius up next in the shuffle.
 

Walking for Pennies write really great songs.  Their album Forget About Wonderland in one you should definitely check out.  They were one of the two Bands of the Month for November/December 2012.  Check out Nashville. Which I love and not just because it is about my city….

 
As previously mentioned, The End Men were narrowly defeated by MAKAR in the Band of the Month voting for January.  The End Men were not happy.  In the Band of the Year voting – expect them to try to avenge their loss.  By luck of the Shuffle, we had two great songs from The End Men in today’s shuffle.  First, the cautionary tale, They’re All Gonna Cost Ya and then the title track from the Build it Up EP.

Atlanta’s own Killing Kuddles was “this” close to being Band of the Month back in June. He made it into the Band of the Year poll and will employ a take no prisoners approach this time around.  Here’s Too Crazy off of Waking Up Older.

Another epic battle for Band of the Month was back in May.  When South of Ramona just edged out Sci-Fi Romance.  This is another rematch which be played out in the year end reader’s poll.  South of Ramona had two songs in today’s shuffle.  First Purple Sky from the Step Inside EP which came out this year, and then Westward Souls from the band’s Demo.


South of Ramona tends to release Cover videos rather than videos of their own songs.  Here are two great covers from South of Ramona.

We will close out the shuffle which has taken me all day to complete with a great song from our March 2012 Band of the Month.  The kids from Northbrook Garage have accomplished quite a bit in their short lives (winning a contest to record at Ardent Studios, playing with Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, and of course being named Band of the Month at Ear to the Ground).  Before they set their sights of the Band of the Year crown, check out their awesome single So What.

Here’s those Chicago kids covering Grace Potter and Nocturnals with a special guest!

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Wednesday Morning Music Shuffle – So… yeah… Mix

I hope you enjoyed the premiere of the brand new song from Cosmonauts and our interview with the band… in case you missed it – go here. I heard yesterday and Mike Watt is bring his Missingmen to Nashville in October. The Americana Music Fest is just a few weeks off, Live on the Green is starting soon, and Musician’s Corner should be kicking off their Fall series very soon.  Plus news yesterday that Grimey’s is going to open an extension (Grimey’s Too) which include a cafe, bookstore, more music and possibly an expanded area for events like Record Store Day???  

Okay – let’s dive headlong into this morning’s shuffle.  I bit of a rough morning so I needed some sweet tunes to get me settled into my day, and the shuffle beast did it’s job.

First up we have Band of the Month for May (and our last ever Band of the Week) South of Ramona with The Lonesome Soul off their new Step Inside EP which we reviewed. I am still massively digging the band’s haunting folksy rock sound. 

http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=395020673/size=venti/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=4285BB/transparent=true/
 

South of Ramona so far have only released videos of covers – here is their version of the Jefferson Airplane song, Somebody to Love

Next up we have Bonnie “Prince” Billy (William Oldham)  – a Louisville, Kentucky native who makes some incredible music which contains elements of punk, folk, Americana and Indie Rock. Today, we have the title track to his 2011 EP, The Mindeater which was a collaboration with the Louisville-based The Phantom Family Halo.


And finally, we continue to reap the fruits of our surfing of the ReverbNation site. Friday Night Music Club are “a handful of song writers who came together on a project and never left.”  Today we have Why?  a tasty bit of laid back folksy flavored goodness which definitely eased my transition into work mode.

http://www.reverbnation.com/widget_code/html_widget/artist_2543072?widget_id=50&posted_by=fan_1758528&pwc%5Bdesign%5D=default&pwc%5Bbackground_color%5D=%23333333&pwc%5Bincluded_songs%5D=0&pwc%5Bsong_ids%5D=12910857&pwc%5Bphoto%5D=1%2C0&pwc%5Bsize%5D=undefined

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South of Ramona – Step Inside EP (An Ear to the Ground Review)

08/01/2012

Add the date above to your calendar of choice and set an alarm.  I’ll tell you why…

Step Inside is an invitation fraught with danger and mystery and wonder and unimaginable pleasure.  It also happens to the title of the forthcoming EP from Salt Lake City band South of Ramona, and the title fits this remarkable record.

South of Ramona was our Band of the Month for May.  They were also our last ever Band of the Week before we moved to the current Featured Artist format.  They did all this on the basis of a 5 song Demo they they released through the fine folks at Noisetrade. 


You have to understand that I loved the Demo.  I mean, I named them Band of the Week off of that set. Having said that, Step Inside is a gigantic step forward.  The band expands on their signature use of folk instrumentation playing rock leads with a confidence and a delicious taste of a sinister circus on the edge of the dusty plain they crossed on their Demo. 


More than once, I was reminded of Ear to the Ground favorite Don Ryan. 

Step Inside opens with a carny’s enticing come-on.  Ladies and Gentleman is a :25 second pitch which sets the tone for this tight, cohesive set. 

Carnival Court (Step Inside) is a dark, sideshow tent filled with those enticing hints while delivering with the band’s trademark attention to song and melody.  

Night descends on Purple Sky which starts with a chill-inducing intro before kicking into a creepy groove.  


The Lonesome Soul has a gypsy-like lilt, a persistent melody and a haunting vocal.


I, Narcissus starts with a nifty rock riff and breaks into a foot-stomping rave up with dark undertones.  Love this song!


The EP closes with Shangri-la which opens with plaintive whistling followed by a surf-guitar ready riff and more gypsyesque melodies which will have you dancing ’round the dying embers of the campfire as the last sparks float up into the air above the tents and wagons.

So yeah, back to the date at the beginning of this post.  Step Inside drops on August 1 which is just a few days off… so start saving your pennies and be the first on your block to own this record.  And spread the word.  Right now you can get a taste by downloading The Lonesome Soul using the widget below.  And then, when that alarm you set goes off next Wednesday you can go get the whole album.



http://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/v=2/album=395020673/size=grande3/bgcol=FFFFFF/linkcol=4285BB/



The band will celebrate the release of the EP with an international tour (note the Vancouver date) – if you are in one of these cities go see them do there thing live.


8.3  Las Vegas @ Yayo Taco
8.4  Santa Monica @ TRiP
8.6  Fresno @ Babylon Club
8.7  San Francisco @ Grant & Green Saloon
8.8  Portland @ Mississippi Pizza Pub
8.9  Seattle @ El Corazon
8.10 Seattle @ The Triple Door
8.11 Seattle @ 2bit Saloon
8.12 Seattle @ Blue Moon Tavern
8.13 Vancouver @ The Cobalt
8.14 Spokane @ The Baby Bar
8.16 Boise @ The Crux
8.17 Salt Lake City @ The Woodshed




I will leave you now with South of Ramona’s take on the Jefferson Airplane classic Somebody to Love.  Enjoy!


  

Polls Closed: Band of the Month is….

South of Ramona!  Congratulations to the lads from Salt Lake City and also kudos to Sci Fi Romance for a hard fought fight.  Four votes separated these two great bands.  So… South of Ramona gets an automatic bye into our Band of the Year Poll.  As for Sci Fi Romance, it’s too soon to know for sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they show up as one of our Wildcard selections.  Stay tuned.  


Okay – let’s take it out with the Band of the Month for May:


Band of the Month Poll Reminder + a couple of videos by 2 of our June Featured Artists

REMINDER:  On the left side of the screen is a Poll to vote for our Band of the Month for May.  Voting ends tomorrow evening.  To help you decide enjoy the following:

Joy of Painting – No Bones (Slap Montage)
Sci-Fi Romance covering House of the Rising Sun

And here is South of Ramona’s cover of the same song.
We continue our month long look at some great bands (See the Featured Artists of the Month on the right sidebar):
The Riverbreaks
Dogs of Oz

Featured Artist for June – Page Finished + other stuff

At long last, I have completed (sort of) the Page for the Featured Artists for June 2012.  The page is linked on the sidebar to the right or you can just click on the underlined “page” link earlier in this sentence.


Here’s a video from one of our featured artists:  Dean Fields



Here’s another: Shayfer James covering Leonard Cohen

In other news, the May Band of the Month poll is still going on.  South of Ramona have a big lead, but it’s still anyone’s game. The Joy of Painting and Sci-Fi Romance could easily mount a 11th hour charge.  Stay tuned, and more importantly, if you haven’t done so, please vote now.  The poll is located on the left sidebar.  If you need a refresher course on who these bands are – here’s the link to the the poll announcement — (link)

Our friend’s The End Men have completed their late Spring European tour, and they’d love to tell you all about it.  Hit them up on Facebook or on their website.  They are also about to head into the studio to record the follow-up to their amazing EP Build it Up.  Personally, I cannot wait.  If you are anywhere near the NYC area, or if you will be on June the 16th, The End Men will be playing the annual Northside Showcase at the Trash Bar hosted by their friends and ours, The Gypsy West.  Here are the details.

Here are The End Men performing live from this past March:





Finally, a really cool band that I am just now (and belatedly) getting into, Cupla, are taking a stand against Bullying with a new song and video called My Stand.


Here is a presser about the project:


Media Contact: Janet HansenEmail: conbriopr@gmail.comMake a Statement, Take Your Stand With Cupla to Stop Bullies(Nashville, TN – May 30) Bullying is a deadly global issue. It’s a social illness that can be cured and the British Columbia rock band, Cupla, is taking a stand to make it stop. The band is going into the studio the first week of June to work with Grammy-winning producer, Eric Tingstad, to cut their single, “My Stand.” To accompany the single, Cupla is creating a video with messages from people around the world to end the pain of senseless social behavior that has reached epic proportion. Cupla is asking people of all ages everywhere to send in still photos holding a written message to be used in a promotional video supporting, “My Stand.” Let your voice be heard and send photos in jpg format to billy@cupla.ca or bobby@cupla.ca by June 30, 2012. “My Stand” is slated for release this summer, along with the supporting video which will be sent to media outlets worldwide. When people take a stand for love we can put an end to senseless behavior that has devastating consequences, and often deadly outcomes. Add your voice, make a statement and help stop bullies once and for all.



That is all.  Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, and I will see you tomorrow with my Morning Shuffle.

Time to Vote – Band of the Month May 2012

Time to get your vote on… man that sounds soooo wrong coming from me.  Okay, time to vote for Ear to the Ground’s Band of the Month for May 2012.  As stated before this will not the last Band of the Month poll, but it will be the last featuring Bands of the Week.  Tune in tomorrow to see what we have in store for June and forward.  In the meantime, here’s a recap of the three bands up for the honor.

As usual, the poll is located on the left side bar.  You can vote once per computer.  Voting will end at 8:00p.m. (Central Time – I think) on Tuesday June 5th.  Good luck to all the bands. 

WEEK 1:  The Joy of Painting (Nashville, TN) – Website, BOTW Feature

WEEK 2:  Sci-Fi Romance (Los Angeles, CA) – Website, BOTW Feature

WEEK 3: South of Ramona (Salt Lake City, UT) – Website, BOTW Feature