Sunday, July 15, 2012

Texas Hip-Hop Du Jour (2012)

It's hot down here in Texas, but not as hot as these three new tracks from three different Texas hip-hop artists!

Was that a cheesy intro? I kinda like it.

Lejend is from Dallas, and just got done opening up for Kidz in the Hall and Rhymefest in Chicago. This track, Texas Heat, also features local up and comers Jurah Jahveh and Original Soul. Follow Lejend on twitter @texasheat.

Next up is Kool BRZ, from Fort Worth -- that's Funkytown to you and me. BRZ is currently setting up a Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana "Be Kool" tour; stay tuned for dates.

Deno currently resides in San Antonio, but is a native of Kingston, Jamaica. He released "Talk of da South" under his first stage name, YoungCutta, in 2008. In 2011 he toured Belgium, played the Jurbise Beer Festival, and released the single "Air Jamaica" in 2011. His latest, "Well Deserved EP," was released in June of this year.

You can purchase the Well Deserved EP from Deno's own site or from soundcloud.

Deno's next show is at Night Rocker in San Antonio, TX on August 2, 2012.

Also, you can download Deno's free android app! Pretty cool. "Keep It Real One Time" will soon have a video:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Clara Engel: "Lick My Fins" (2009)

Clara Engel is a Toronto-based singer/songwriter whose haunting avant-folk will turn on fans of Will Oldham, Patti Smith, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Diamanda Galas, Tom Waits, Vic Chesnutt, and Man Man.

Clara's a busy woman: the UK's Vox Humana released her first vinyl EP, Madagascar, last year. Italy's Backwards Music has just released a full-length LP of her's called Tender.

She's currently working on a new album, which Montreal's Talking Skull will be releasing sometime before 2013. She's using crowdfunding to get it done, which is a cool idea.

She has a new EP called "The Lovebird's Throat," coming out on Bandcamp on July 17th. Keep your ears peeled for that! Here's a cool interview with Clara from 2011 where you can also see some of her artwork.

This is pro work and I'm super-stoked to get to feature it on Clean, Nice, Quiet!

And here's a Youtube video of Clara performing live:

Monday, July 9, 2012

Scrambled Channels: "Moon Mang" (2012)

My main moon mang Aaron Aldridge created this low-fi sci-rock ditty using found sounds and, a web-based music creator which I'd never heard of, so that's cool. This track is so spacey it's first name should be Kevin.

I just made that up!

Download: Moon Mang

Sunday, July 8, 2012

U.S. HC NOW!!! (2012)

Check this out - a clean, nice, quiet sampling of spanking new hardcore from across these United States, courtesy bandcamp.

Vice is a band from Staten Island and proof that hardcore not only lives, but it's still angry as all get out. They have a full length album "You Made Us This Way" available on their bandcamp page -- twenty visceral, gripping tracks, with lyrics that rail against everything there is to hate, yet still celebrate what nerds like me call the cathartic, redemptive power of rock'n'roll. Vice will play anywhere, anytime, and can be contacted at vicehc at gmail dot com. Here's Vice's stats:

BASS RIG: James Nappo
750watt Line6 bass head
2-15 Mesa Boogie cab
Fender American Jazz Bass

Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier head
Boss Noise Suppressor pedal
Boss Chromatic Tuner pedal
ESP-LTD EC-400 guitar

Carvin V3 guitar head
Boss Chromatic tuner pedal
ESP-LTD EC-1000 guitar

DRUM SETUP: Tom DeFelice
Tama Superstar Hyper Drive 4 piece kit
Zildijan cymbals: 20" ride, 22" ride, 14" high hat
Tama Iron Cobra double bass pedal
Silver Fox drum sticks

Next up is Strike to Survive, hailing from the opposite side of the country in Northern California. They're going to be digitally releasing two new tracks this coming Friday, but loyal CNQers will get to hear one of them here first! It's called "Obsidian" and it's blistering, solid bad-assery -- as is its b-side, "Vapor Eyes."

Strike to Survive will begin a US tour at the end of the month and will be sending me a flyer/listing of the tour dates -- once that's in hand I'll post it to CNQ. I like to bug people about what they play. Timmy from Strike to Survive says, "As a guitarist I play out of a Mesa boogie dual rectifier and our bassist rocks a Mesa boogie 400+. Our other guitarist plays a twangy fender strat through a fender music man guitar amp. High volume and low gain."

Empathy is HC from Nashville. You can purchase their new album, "I Had A Million Thoughts In My Head, on their bandcamp page. They bill their hardcore as "honest and aggressive" and I think that's a spot on description for "I Had A Million...". When queried about their stats, Michael from Empathy says:

"For the record, we used a Peavey 6505+, a Mesa Dual Rectifier, and a Blackstar Ht-40, and an Orange Bass Terror for bass (amps). We used an Epiphone Les Paul Custom with GFS P90 pick-ups, an Esp LTD H-1001, and the bass is a modified Squier Jazz bass with Seymour Duncan Quarter Pounders in it (also with 250k pots and an orange drop compactor in it, as well as a Leo Quinn Badass 2 Bridge). Our drummer used a custom 70's Gretsch kit and Zildjian cymbals."

Last but not least is Direct Effect, from Orlando. These guys bring it on their 2011 Forget the Rest 7", released on Get Outta Town Records a few months ago. Their most recent effort, a three song demo called Sunburn, is a scorcher (punny, I know, but I can't help myself sometimes.) The band is Andrew Hagiwara on guitar (playing out of a JCM 900), Christian Padron bangs on a custom Resurrection drum kit, "with a pork pie little squealer snare and zildjian cymbals," he says. Jeff Fonseca does vox and Jordan Shroyer plays bass out of an SWR amp.

They're in the process of re-recording the Sunburn demos, along with 3 new songs, which will be their next release. They will be on tour from July 27th-Aug 13th with This Routine is Hell, from the Netherlands. Check out the dates here.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Adam Holtz Sampler (1998-2005)

Last month I shared Adam Holtz's 1980 single "Party Hardy," and a few weeks later was thrilled to see the man himself had contacted me -- and not to tell me to remove the post!

Instead, he wanted to send me some of his new stuff, as he's still alive and kicking and making music. I got his 12 song CD in the mail today, all songs written and performed by Adam, recorded on a four track home portastudio between 1998-2005.

Adam grew up in Lafayette, Indiana, and moved to Arlington, Texas in 1976, at the age of 16. He won the Terry Award in 1981, People's Choice Entertainer Of The Year and 1984 Best Single Act in the Metroplex. He performed at Billy Bob's on the main stage in 1982 for the Terry Awards show doing The Everly Brother's "Let It Be Me."

As for the CD he shared with me, the ballads and mellow tracks are melodic and pretty, the rockers are bloozy and funky, and it's all catchy, honest, polished for being recorded on a four track, and adult without being stodgy. A very nice 70s/80s classic rock feel throughout the 12 tracks. Adam also uses a drum machine in his songs, something to which you hardcore punkers might turn up a pierced septum -- but I think it gives the tracks a "bedroom recording" aesthetic that I, personally, very much enjoy.

Adam's range - developed over a 34 year stint as a writer and performer - is impressive in itself. He touches on gospel ("Thanks Be To God"), country ("Their Love Lives Forever"), psychedelica ("Need You're Lovin', Right Now"), grunge ("You're The One") and even a mild form of hair metal ("Now That's A Livin'," which he should have sold to Mötley Crüe). Listening to the 12 song sampler, I was reminded of Santana, ZZ Top, and even Todd Rundgren. The majority of the tracks are about love, and you know there's nothing wrong with that.

The last track Adam put on the CD for me, "What I Should Be Doin'," is a funny, touching song about a musician who knows how good he is and wonders why he's still punching a time card. All 12 tracks are endearing and highly listenable. Adam gets extra points for dropping his g's at the end of all his gerunds on the song titles. I grew up in Louisiana and Arkansas and don't know how to pronounce "ing." When I moved to the Metroplex a few years ago, the city-folk here here looked at me like I spoke Greek. They still do.

His main axe is a 1986 Yamaha SA-2100 electric guitar. He's used a Peavey XR-600 PA, with T-300 tall and short cabs since 1978, and his Randall 120 guitar amp with 4-12 cab since 1977, for live shows.

Adam's fave groups include "the Beatles, Kings X, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Badfinger, Boston, Jellyfish, and most guitar bands from the 70s-80s." Of the bands listed, I'd never heard of Jellyfish, which is cool.

He's currently listening to Wilson Phillips' "Dedicated" and The Beach Boys' "That's Why God Made the Radio."

Contact Adam Holtz at:
1616 Abbey Loop
Foley, Alabama 36535

Download: Someone Just Like You

Download: All My Love's For You

Download: I Need Your Lovin'

Download: What I Should Be Doin'