Bloodywood Releases Official Music Video For “Machi Bhasad (Expect a Riot)”; “Raj Against The Machine Tour” Dates Announced

Raj Agasinst The Machine Tour

New Delhi based Indian Folk Metal band BLOODYWOOD has released the official music video for their newest single, “Machi Bhasad (Expect a Riot).”


“Originally created for the upcoming Ubisoft game “Beyond Good and Evil 2“, Machi Bhasad is a track with a political message that celebrates the power of a new generation and its potential to be better than the last. Outside the context of the game, this song is intended as both a tribute and a call to action. It’s a tribute to musicians and leaders who inspired people like ourselves to think and act in a way that’ll benefit everyone. To question an unjust system that serves a few at the cost of the many. It’s a call to action for our generation to finish the work started by all those who came before us. To Become the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back, and change the world for the better.”

Click to Download “Machi Bhasad (Expect a Riot)” on iTunes

Bloodywood Tour Poster

Raj Against The Machine Tour Dates:
07/13 @ Dong Open Air – Neukirchen-Vluyn, Germany
07/14 @ Chez Heinz – Hanover, Germany
07/19 @ Backstage – Free & Easy Festival – Munich, Germany
07/20 @ RnP – Wiesloch, Germany
07/21 @ Bastard Club – Osnabrück, Germany
07/24 @ The O2 Academy 2 – London, England
07/25 @ Rescue Rooms – Nottingham, England
07/26 @ Rebellion – Manchester, England
07/28 @ Craufurd Arms – Milton Keynes, England
07/29 @ The Exchange – Bristol, England
08/01 @ Wacken Open Air – Wacken, Germany
08/03 @ Taman Festival – Krasnodar, Russia

Bloodywood - Band Photo

Bloodywood is: 
Karan Katiyar – Guitars, Production, Programming 
Jayant Bhadula – Vocals 
Roul Kerr – Rap Vocals


Melissa Laveaux Releases “Memory Is A Strange Bell” EP

Listen “Pie Bwa”

Catch Her Live In New York 12/4 and 12/9

Haitian-Canadian Mélissa Laveaux is a self-assured artist that combines folk, indie pop and her signature percussive finger-style blues guitar for a style that is both sophisticated and sweet on her new EP Memory Is A Strange Bell, which is out today.

“I always thought of Emily Dickinson as a wise poet for being able to concisely convey overwhelming sentiments,” Laveaux said of the influences on her new EP.“The exercise of carefully culling a handful of songs together into an EP was no easy feat. I aimed for both ends of the spectrum, my happiest and my darkest neatly tucked in between verses.”

Sung in Creolethe EP’s final track “Pie Bwa” is a variation on Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit”, written from the point of view of the blood-stained tree. Containing powerful imagery, modern orchestrations, catchy melodies and intimate prose, Memory Is A Strange Bell simultaneously touches the heart, the mind and the core. Listen  HERE.

New York fans also have the opportunity to see Melissa perform “Pie Bwa” and the rest of the tracks from Memory Is A Strange Bell tomorrow night at Cameo Gallery in Brooklyn and December 9th at Rockwood.

Anything But Cheap: Hey Monea! Take Folk Rock Back to Its Roots

The early 2010’s brought us a folk explosion in popular music. Fuzzy guitar tones and thunderous drum solos were no longer the name of the game; today, it’s all about acoustic guitars, banjos and percussion without the fifty-piece drum kits. Say what you will about the quality of bands like The Lumineers, but with their arrivals, the arenas were no longer reserved for anthemic guitar solos and mosh pits. Interestingly enough, Canton, Ohio’s Hey Monea! pre-dated this folk boom; long before folk made its mainstream mark, Hey Monea! were playing at festivals with artists like Soundgarden and John Fogerty. The Ohio natives even got to open for Bruce Springsteen himself in 2012. Despite now being in a genre crammed with newcomers aching to reach out to packed amphitheaters, Hey Monea! don’t aim to follow that trail. This is clean-cut alternative folk music through and through with no extraneous elements attached…and that’s a good thing.

The band’s newest album Cheap Souvenirs kicks things off rather humbly with the catchy, folksy love ballad “Adeline.” Everything you’d expect from the recent folk-splosion that engulfed America in the last few years is present in Cheap Souvenirs, but Hey Monea! don’t give into the arena rock pitfalls that Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers have fallen into. The Ohio quartet instead cut back on the bombast, focusing on simmering vocal harmonies and some catchy melodies. They trim the fat from big, big choruses and provide a surprisingly intimate and honest look into that minimalist version of alternative rock that has been torn away in recent acts. An emphasis on steady claps for percussion brings out the band’s vision on stripping down the spectacle and taking their genre back to the good ol’ times.

“I’ve been to church but I don’t pray/And I ain’t gonna start today,” sings frontman Dan Monea on “Pollyanna,” a piano-driven track that takes the best from rootsy, folk rock like Crash Kings and Alabama Shakes. From its campy, but gripping lyrics to the fantastic harmonies between the vocalists, “Pollyanna” shows the band’s biggest strengths, which translate well toward similar songs like “Stay” and “Ohio Lullaby.” The closer title track slows the pace to a steady one; it’s not a crawl, but it’s an intimate one (in a less serious light, it’d be the song your older brother would play to his significant other around Christmastime). These moments of reveling in the moment are where you see Hey Monea! in a fine light, one that doesn’t distract or obscure. It’s just there and it does a great job doing it.

Other songs on the album, however, don’t work out as well. “Never Gonna Take You Back” is a forgettable track that, despite its galloping pace and upbeat tone, doesn’t provide anything interesting for the band. It’s an odd detour, since the first two tracks are remarkably mellow ones; moving toward that crowd-jumping pace seems like an unneeded and distracting motion. The album also tends to drag a little near the end, with some of the last few songs lacking that aged amber that the beginning of the album possesses. “Cigarette” is a faster song reminiscent of modern indie bands like Vampire Weekend or a softer version of early emo rock like Jimmy Eat World. While it’s a nice surprise, it’s not Hey Monea! doing what they do best. The harmonies aren’t as noticeable, the melodies not as smooth; it’s a bit of a disappointment. These moments of diversion stick out like sore thumbs among the smooth balladry on Cheap Souvenirs, which otherwise demonstrates a homey vibe that Hey Monea! simply shine with.

Hey Monea! aren’t the hardest rocking band, nor are they the kind of band you’d expect selling out enormous arenas in this pop folk environment called 2013, but they do possess a brilliant kind of campy substance that makes Cheap Souvenirs a nice surprise. When the Ohio guys slow their pace down and let the fire burn a little bit, they show an excellent alternative to the stale folk scene. The piano chords sound off like no one’s business, Dan Monea’s singing is quite melodious (especially in the harmonies with his bandmates) and the songwriting has a rugged, but refined tone. This surprisingly interesting approach to folk rock makes the detours from the mellow tones all the more distracting. It’s great to hear variety on an album like this, but the band shows that they’re not at their best when their pacing accelerates. When they slow things down, Hey Monea! do a lot of things right. Cheap Souvenirs isn’t going to set the world on fire, but if you want an alternative album that cuts the theatrics and just performs really, really well, Hey Monea! will offer a serene and comforting look into the World of Folk That Used to Be.

Acoustic Syndicate Release “Rooftop Garden”

Watch  “Memphis Girls” Video
Steeped in the tradition of authentic bluegrass and folk music, North Carolina’s Acoustic Syndicate are releasing their first full-length album in eight years, Rooftop Garden, today. In honor of release day, check out the new video for their song “Memphis Girls” courtesy of The Bluegrass Situation. This strangely cheerful tale is about a guy who brings his “big idea” to the city of Memphis, only to go home with his tail between his legs. Fortunately his friends are there to ease him back to reality.
Whether they’re tilling a field or digging deeper into their unique blend of rock and bluegrass, the members of Acoustic Syndicate have a distinct way of reaching back in order to move forward. Raised in a valley of the world’s oldest mountains, brothers Bryon and Fitz, along with cousin Steve, still farm the land in Cleveland County, N.C. that has been in their family since the 1700s. The impact of the years spent with their hands in the soil, growing wheat, soybeans, tomatoes and sorghum, has informed their music as much as the hours spent with their hands on their instruments.
“We are farmers,” said Steve about the McMurry men in the band. “We have a strong ancestral tradition and we will never give it up. In many ways it’s what gives us purpose and has much to do with who we are.” And it’s also why the band can bring such genuine home grown music from the field to the stage.
“But the truth is, the concern for the land can not just be important to us,” says Steve, “the folks who work it, grow food on it for others to eat, tend it from one generation to the next. Even the most apathetic and uneducated citizen might one day wonder why the rain burns their eyes or why there is a hole in the sky – why they can’t breathe or escape the heat. For some of us, only then will we truly realize the seriousness of our situation. And then it will be too late.”
And so the band plays on, with bassist Jay Sanders and dobro player Billy Cardine joining the McMurrys to create Acoustic Syndicate’s signature sound. Jamming and grinning and singing these deep and hopeful tunes encouraging people to think as they dance, expand their minds and open their hearts to the good that can be done around them.
“Through our music, we have tried to maintain a consistent message, a reminder, that this Earth is the only one we will ever have. And though we speak of some lofty ideals in our music, my most fervent hope is that when people listen to us or come to our show, they leave with a laugh and a smile and the satisfaction of having been a part of something positive.”
Tour Dates
9/13 – The Pour House – Charlestion, SC
9/14 – Cat’s Cradle – Carrboro, NC
9/20 – Oaktoberfest – Oak Park, IL
9/28 – Mount Holly Arts Festival – Mount Holly, NC
10/25 – Ziggy’s By The Sea – Wilmington, NC
10/26 – Ziggy’s – Winston Salem, NC
10/18 – LEAF (Lake Eden Arts Festival) – Black Mountain, NC
11/30 – North Carolina Music & Arts Festival – Lexington, NC
12/20 – Visulite Theatre – Charlotte, NC
12/21 – The Lincoln Theater – Raleigh, NC


Cabinet Announces Fall Tour, Part 1/Club Cafe Pittsburgh 10/4

When it comes to the music of Cabinet, the essential bywords are soul, simplicity, and serious musicianship. In concert, the combination of these qualities invariably yields an experience that is so celebratory and moving that the very word Cabinet takes on a new, vivid meaning for anyone in the audience. An inclusive and engaging energy is the uniting through-line as Cabinet weaves bluegrass, country and folk influences to powerful effect. Tight dynamics punctuate gorgeous, soaring harmonies as down-to-earth rhythm and lyrics give way to dreamy jams that are the musical equivalent of the back road scenic route. But this impressive result is no accident. Pappy Biondo [banjo, vocals], J.P. Biondo [mandolin, vocals], Mickey Coviello [acoustic guitar, vocals], Dylan Skursky [electric bass, double bass], Todd Kopec [fiddle, vocals], and Jami Novak [drums, percussion], all love and live music. They each have a nuanced approach and posses broad talents in their own rights. But the passionate, affirming, and joyous musical world that they create together is Cabinet.
This is a band that wants to play music, that loves to play music. You can hear in each song a bridled optimism, like they are just waiting to take you on an extended journey across the countryside. It is this tension, perfectly crafted with each player trading licks, that holds the listener in rapt attention.
Cabinet’s 4th record, LEAP, out now on Ropeadope Records, comes after years of tearing apart American music and building it up again in their own vision. Cabinet has unveiled a work that perfectly defines…. Cabinet. The rough hewn structure that began as six musicians with divergent styles coming together has been whittled, sanded, and polished through persistence and hard work. The result is an impressive structure that shows each of the players and their unique contribution in simple, elegant beauty.
Cabinet is a band that has outgrown any “regional favorite” tag and has progressed to a broader fanbase, all while retaining their signature sound. Not only did the band put together their very own celebration of music and art this past spring with The Old Farmers Ball Music Festival in Scranton, PA but they have also played many great venues and festivals (including CMJ 11, SXSW 11 & 12, musikfest 10 & 11, Floyd Fest ’12, Peach Music Festival ’12, Philadelphia Folk Festival ’12, Dark Star Jubilee ’13) across the land. You can expect to see them at All Good, Peach Fest, Sterling Stage String Fling, Bear’s Picnic, Catskill Chill and more this year. Cabinet has shared the stage with Yonder Mountain String Band, Allman Brothers, Pokey LaFarge, Yarn, Delta Rae, Zac Brown, Infamous String Dusters, Railroad Earth, Rusted Root, Hoots & Hellmouth, Blackberry Smoke, Hot Buttered Rum, Cornmeal, Dark Star Orchestra, Keller Williams, Hackensaw Boys, 7 Walkers, New Riders of the Purple Sage and many, many more.
More information, music, photos and more may be found at:
Tour Dates:
9/1 – Twin Rivers Music Festival – Terra Alta, WV
9/6 – Catskill Chill (DEAD SET!) – Hancock, NY
9/8 – Catskill Chill – Hancock, NY
9/13 – Carroll Creek Amphitheater – Frederick, MD
9/15 – Wang Dang Doodle Music Festival – Johnstown, PA
9/24 – ** Jammin’ Java – Vienna, VA
9/25 – ** Knitting Factory – Brooklyn, NY
9/26 – ** Church – Boston, MA
9/27 – Meeting of the Minds 6 – Meshoppen, PA
9/28 – **/++ Ardmore Music Hall – Ardmore, PA
10/2 – ** Cafe 210 West – State College, PA
10/3 – ** Woodland’s Backyard – Columbus, OH
10/4 – ** Club Cafe – Pittsburgh, PA
10/5 – ** Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH
10/11-13 – The Festy Experience – Roseland, VA
** with Holy Ghost Tent Revival
++ with March Fourth Marching Band

VEVO Premieres Tessa Rose Jackson’s New Video for “Lost and Found”

Tessa Rose Jackson Premieres 

New “Lost and Found” Video on VEVO

Debut Album (Songs From) The Sandbox Available Now

“…a summery swirl of cooing vocals, glockenspiel and synth pads.” 
– American Songwriter

“…makes quirkily loveable folk tunes that are as sunny as they are artistically mature.”
– Philthy Mag

“Pop Music: Ten Albums to Own in 2013” – Earbuddy

Singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Tessa Rose Jackson may only be 20 years old, but she has already built quite the reputation for herself, winning over audiences and critics alike worldwide with her smart and heartfelt songwriting. In addition to playing sold-out shows in Amsterdam, the Dutch songstress has taken over the radio airwaves with “Lost and Found” in high rotation on the largest Dutch radio station, and performed live on the most popular late-night TV show.

“Lost and Found” was first featured as the iTunes US Single of the Week in May, ahead of the release of her debut album, (Songs From) The Sandbox, on April 5. The track is a delightfully catchy, pop-infused tune replete with rich harmonies, handclaps and swirling layers of instrumentation – and the video does not disappoint either. You can watch “Lost and Found”now on YouTube, and we encourage you to post and share! (Songs From) The Sandbox is now available via iTunes.

Influenced both by the music she grew up listening to (The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys) and by her time at the BRIT School in London (home to fellow artists Adele and Kate Nash), Jackson describes her music as a “more accessible Feist and a slightly poppier Fleet Foxes, with a nod to Ray Lamontagne and a bit of Edward Sharpe.”

(Songs From) The Sandbox opens with the instantly captivating “Stepping Stone,” a track with toe-tapping rhythm and light, airy vocals and that premiered with American Songwriter (seeHERE). “Change Time,” which was featured in a popular IKEA TV spot and is currently used in a LG ad in Brazil, is bursting with frenetic energy, both from Tessa Rose’s galloping vocals and a lively, bouncing beat. The slower, dreamy “405” on the other hand reels the listener in with its shimmering facets and its emotional depth.

Steve Martin at Heinz Hall: What is High Brow?

Monday night Steve Martin and his backing bluegrass band, The Steep Canyon Rangers, graced the stage of Heinz Hall to a sold out crowd. Edie Brickell also joined in on stage from time to time. It’s interesting that regardless of the art form, anything played or performed in such a venue instantly becomes high brow. Heinz Hall is classy, the concert goers were well dressed, the ushers had little flashlights. With such an atmosphere one comes to expect the epitome of talent and yet, the performance, well rehearsed as it was, seemed rather out of sorts for the venue. Realistically there may be no other adequate venue for such a popular artist but the culture that was cultivated seemed forced.

That is not to say that the performance was a disaster or that comedy or even bluegrass has no place in Heinz Hall. The comedy was good. It was intelligent, sophisticated, and entertaining. The musicianship was superb. Steve Martin is a well seasoned and creative banjo player, the Steep Canyon Rangers are virtuosos on their respective instruments and their harmonies, at times showcasing five parts, were beautiful. Edie Brickell’s voice is angelic. Seemingly all the right pieces are in place for a performance worthy of Heinz Hall, a well dressed audience, and ushers with little flashlights. But, in the combination of all of these parts, something went awry.

While Steve Martin is a superb banjo player, the same cannot be said for his singing voice. Even when he wasn’t performing a comedy song it was hard to take seriously. His voice is dry with little range and much less amplification–a garish contrast to the harmonies that were developing behind him.

Edie Brickell, with her slight southern drawl and pristine feminine delivery, is not much of a lyricist. This is unfortunate as she wrote all of the lyrics for the collaborative effort Love Has Come For You, which brought the pair to Pittsburgh. You’ll remember Edie Brickell from Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians–the smash hit “What I am” still haunts any mind capable of comprehending pop music from 1988, (“What I am, is what I am, is…” whatever) her lyrics today lack just as much substance as they did when the Cold War was entering its twilight.

As far as the Steep Canyon Rangers are concerned, no complaints. They were perfect. In fact, the most enjoyable part of the show was when Steve and Edie left the Rangers to perform a few songs by themselves or, when Steve and the Rangers played an instrumental piece. That dynamic was certainly high brow.

Of course, it’s difficult to present a negative review of someone like Steve Martin. He is hilarious and his on stage banter was entertaining. Unfortunately, due to the dissonance created by the elite musicianship of the backing band against the low quality singing of Steve Martin and Edie Brikell’s lyrics, Heinz Hall felt a little underwhelming.

Flagship Romance “Hit the Ground”


Flagship Romance is an independent folk/pop duo from Jacksonville Beach, FL.  In today’s music market, more and more avid listeners are clamoring for something honest and real; scouring social media and blogs for raw talent that they can believe in. This ever increasing demand has paved the way for the rising popularity of male + female duo projects such as The Civil Wars and The Swell Season. The newest addition to this genre, Flagship Romance, hopes to take that honesty, chemistry, and “real-ness” to a new level.

What sets Flagship Romance apart is not limited to what you hear on the recordings; it extends to what you see on-stage, as well as off-stage.  “I felt like I was watching something honest and special; very similar to a modern day Johnny and June,” says Jacksonville, FL, news anchor Tracy “Dot-Com” Collins.

A Flagship Romance show is more than just an opportunity to hear two individually talented performers using their abilities to create something bigger than themselves. It is an invitation to witness an actual couple with a shared passion and chemistry, doing what they love with whom they love. Their lyrics are representative of their own experiences, while the melodies and dynamics are a tribute to their actual emotions.

In the summer of 2012, Flagship Romance entered Fudge Recording Studios in New Orleans, LA, to lay down the tracks for their first record, lovingly entitled “The Fudge Sessions.” Every morning, for five days, they would sit with the incredible studio musicians over coffee and discuss an individual song and how they think it should be brought to life. As soon as the initial vision was realized, they would immediately start tracking the song all together to give it an off the cuff, natural sound, with the focus still being on two voices and an acoustic guitar.

Flagship Romance has aligned their musical career with the clean water cause via the phenomenal organization “charity: water.” In August 2012, they organized the inaugural Clean Water Music Fest in Florida, and raised almost $12,000 by merely doing what they love to do – play music & help others. Now, because of the first Clean Water Music Fest, two entire communities in Ethiopia will have clean, safe drinking water for the first time. The duo intends on continuing the Clean Water Music Fest annually. Through their musical efforts, they commit to helping those without access to clean drinking water.

What started as “something fun” between these two lovers has created quite the stir in the southeast. They are quickly developing an extremely devoted group of grass-roots followers they affectionately call the “Flagship Romantics.”

It seems that no one can help developing a crush on this Flagship Romance.


Introducing yOya


“…songs like “I’ll Be the Fire” showcase the duo’s feel-good falsetto and folk-pop buildups.”

-Seraphina –

yOya’s Alex Pfender (vocals, guitar, drum machine) and Noah Dietterich (vocals, keyboards) first met when they were 10 years old, playing the parts of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in a school musical. Although that was their first and last musical theater collaboration, it was also the start of a partnership that’s journeyed through influences of folk, electronic, and back again.

They started writing music together in high school, when they formed a rock band that eventually evolved into yOya in 2009.  Their songs, which could be best described as “folk-tronic,” “electronic folk,” or “synth folk,” are at their core folky, acoustic tunes with real melodies and real lyrics; combined with heavy-hitting electronic beats and the broad sound-space of samples, synths, and whatever bleep-bloops make them feel good. “Our fans definitely hear the influence of Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell, as well as contemporary folk artists like The Tallest Man On Earth or The Dodos. We love Radiohead and Animal Collective as well,” says Pfender.

They first honed their songwriting skills against a backdrop of classic folk music and rainy winter days in Corvallis, Oregon. Pfender says, “It’s heavily forested on every side, which I think helped draw us toward folk music. That and the fact that both of our parents are big-time folkies with the record collections to prove it.”

When the duo eventually moved to California to study music, that acoustic background collided head-on with the electronic sounds of the Los Angeles scene. When the dust had settled yOya emerged with their unique mix of folk-hearted songs, intricate vocal harmonies, gritty synthesizers, and thundering electronic beats – their own blend of folk and electronic. “We like our acoustic guitars to sound old and rootsy, and our synths and beats to sound huge and hard-hitting,” says Dietterich.

Since self-releasing their debut album, Nothing To Die, in the spring of 2010, yOya has toured extensively through the western states and the east coast, sharing stages with Avi Buffalo, Dawes, The Seedy Seeds, Crystal Antlers, and many others.  And like friends sharing an extended road trip, they also find ways to amuse themselves on the road. “We’re very familiar with the interstates to and from LA, so we make fun of the same road signs every time.  Especially the one south of Redding, CA that says ‘Proberta Gerber,’ which we imagine is a lady who ‘serves urban burgers’ or ‘curbs squirrel murder,’ and the one on I-15 north of San Bernadino that says ‘Barstow Daggett.’ That ought to be a swear word,” says Pfender.

A bond formed in their youth, now burgeoned into a song-writing duo, Pfender and Dietterich are standing proof that true collaboration and friendship breed success. yOya have been featured in LA Weekly’s “LA Unheard” column naming them one of the “best unsigned bands in LA” which led to their SXSW debut at the Hello Music and Taylor Guitars “Artist To Watch” showcase in the spring of 2011. Their songs have also been featured in Delta’s in-flight radio as well as on Keeping Up With The Kardashians. In July 2013 they will release their follow up EP, Go North, on New Professor Music.

Follow yOya on Facebook and Twitter



Praise for yOya

“yOya, the local duo of Alex Pfender and Noah Dietterich… combine folksy familiarity with electronic embellishments on their recent self-released album, Nothing to Die.”

-Chris Martins, LA Weekly


“This band blew me away, hands down… The vocals are unique and have this soft and calming effect.”

 -Ivy League Spins


“I feel like these guys have dozens more great songs in their heads, waiting to come out.”

-Matt Jordan, You Ain’t No Picasso


“[One] of L.A.’s finest electro-pop purveyors.”

-David Greenwald, Brand X / LA Times

Welcome to Blackgrass: “Blood & Banjos” Demo Pioneers Folk/Metal Mix

Banjos haven’t had their place in metal yet. Sure, there was that one Mastodon song, but how often do you hear acoustic instruments like the banjo among gritty guitar licks and thunderous vocal shouts? Blood & Banjos aim to change that. The band’s distinctive sound (dubbed “blackgrass”) is making motions to blend the fury of black metal with the acoustic sensibilities of bluegrass. On their way to releasing a full 10-song studio concept album, Blood & Banjos have released a 3-song demo demonstrating an eclectic genre blend that takes many of the best parts of their favorite musical fields and puts them together in shocking combinations that work out better than anyone could’ve expected.


The demo has humble beginnings. Opening track “The Binding” is a steady, folksy jam with plenty of twang from the band’s namesake instrument. Siren vocals and steady croons glide along a banjo theme well. It’s lighter, brisker, but could easily pass as your typical country/folk tune. “The Binding” is a decent track, but one that does nothing to cement the band’s creativity in mixing otherwise incongruent genres. You won’t find much “blackgrass” here.

The way that Blood & Banjos jump between genres like nobody’s business comes across as rough at times, smoother at others. “Judge, Jury, and Executioner” begins with a slick banjo groove only to shockingly enter the world of metal, with screaming vocals similar to that of Dir en Grey and heavily distorted guitars. Right when you get used to the furious blitzkrieg of black metal, Blood & Banjos suppress and return to a folksy, fiddle-driven jam with vocals that echo the work of Glenn Danzig. Right after that settles, it’s back to the metal and screaming. The transition is more startling than consistent, and it can make for some slightly uneven pacing, but it’s a unique step, one that could move to influence other ambitious compositions in the band’s future.


“Sons of Darkness” proves to be a much better flowing piece than “Judge, Jury, and Executioner.” The transitions have better buildup, the guitar solos get to shine a bit brighter, and the vocals are furious and powerful without being grating. It’s with “Sons of Darkness” that the band takes the better pieces of cinematic metal like Dream Theater while mixing in that folksy groove that they solidify in the other two songs on the demo. You can see the band’s vision, their emphasis on epic scores among almost intimate sounds from the acoustic instruments; it’s a promising one. If the band’s upcoming album focuses more on the climactic motions of “Sons of Darkness”, prepare for one hell of a ride.

Blood & Banjos mix metal, folk and bluegrass into one of the most bizarrely satisfying purees of genres in recent memory. From the band’s very concept, Blood & Banjos are pushing musical boundaries in bizarre ways. “Sons of Darkness” is a fantastic experimental track, one that indicates a bright future for these banjo-twanging brainiacs. Though the transitions in the other tracks could’ve been tighter and a bit more ambitious, Blood & Banjos are resolute in their sound and they will be one to watch in the coming months.

You will be headbanging. To banjos. Just think about that.

Los Angeles Folk Rockers YARD OF BLONDES to Release New EP

Los Angeles, CA-based folk rock group YARD OF BLONDES is pleased to announce the upcoming release of their new EP, Murderology, via High Desert Lo-Fi Records and MTV award-winning and Grammy-nominated art agency HK Corp. The theme of Murderology is love and death; the EP is essentially a collection of meticulously crafted songs inspired by “murder ballads” of the 19th century. YARD OF BLONDES recorded the EP with Julian at Firewater Studios (Korn, Spliknot, Unkle) with the full support of its owner, Billy Graziadei of Biohazard.

YARD OF BLONDES boasts influences beyond folk music by incorporating stoner rock, pop-rock and indie bits in their music, as well. The band is already well known on the west coast, having performed at more than 100 shows with other great bands such as Hermane Düne or Alain Johannes (Queens of the Stone Age), and they have been growing as a full live band on the stages of L.A. clubs such as The Bootleg Theater, El Cid, The Viper Room, TAIX, Skinny’s Lounge, Hemingway, the Whisky A Go-Go and more.

YARD OF BLONDES will add to their touring resume this winter with several California tour dates in January and February, kicking off on January 14th at the Viper Room. See below for a full listing:

Murderology pre tour:
1/14 – Hollywood, CA @ Viper Room
1/18 – Hollywood, CA @ Taix (Acoustic Show w/ Craig Elkins)
1/31 – Los Angeles, CA @ Down & Out (w/ Saints and Sinners)
2/15 – North Hollywood, CA @ Skinny’s Lounge
2/19 – Hollywood, CA @ Hemmingway

In 2010, Vincent W. Jacob, a French songwriter and author met Fanny Hill, another French musician in Los Angeles. They were both looking for something new on the other side of the world. They started YARD OF BLONDES together and soon took the desert roads to confront themselves to their rock, folk and stoner influences. In addition to Vincent on vocals / guitars and Fanny on vocals / piano / organ, the two are joined by Dean Chamberlain on bass guitar, Will Schlich on guitars, and Ben Lecourt on drums.

Nathan K. (Of Stepdad) Releases New Album

Nathan K. is an experimental folk musician from Michigan. His debut record “Newspapers & Prayers” was recorded by veteran producer/engineer Jim Roll (Breathe Owl Breathe, Frontier Ruckus, Chris Bathgate). Over the past few years, Nathan has played hundreds of shows, touring the US non-stop and garnering significant attentionin the underground music community. His 2nd full length record “Dishes” was released digitally on June 26, 2012. Nathan is also a member of pop group Stepdad (Black Bell Records).

Recorded in the winter at a hospital in Michigan. In the middle of a tour, I had to come home early to be with my grandfather who was dying, and at his request, and I sang and played guitar, violin, and
banjo for him during the last few weeks of his life. During the nights, when I couldn’t sleep (I slept at the hospital), I recorded on a 4-track recorder to pass the time in the waiting room. After the funeral, I resumed the touring. I forgot about these recordings until it came time to record my 2nd full length. Choosing to record this project with Darin Rajabian (Nightlife), who asked if I had any rough cuts of the songs I intended on recording. After listening to the recordings from that winter, he insisted that these were, in-fact, the album tracks. I added bass to some of the tracks, and he set about thetask of mixing the tracks and turning them into a cohesive record which we titled, “Dishes”.

Check him out here:

Milian Hip Hop Crew SMOD Coming to Pittsburgh

If you are looking to take a bit of a turn from the typical mainstream groups that come through Pittsburgh, look no further than SMOD coming to visit us at The Shadow Lounge on July 25.
SMOD is a Malian musical band established in 2000 made up originally of Sam, Mouzy, Ousco and Donsky. The name of the band is an acronym of their first names {Smod is also a common pet name given to a loved one (wikipedia)}. Mouzy eventually left the band to pursue a solo career in France. Their music is a mix of rap, hip hop, folk, blues and traditional Malian music. SMOD embodies the emergence of a new scene in Africa, the embracing of new urban sounds while incorporating the importance of heritage.

We here at Pittsburgh Music Magazine took a listen and found SMOD’s sound encompasses a rich tradition with an upbeat new mastery that has the feeling of the islands, mixed with the pulse and beat of Marley, blended with the best of raps’ rhythm and a touch of the jungle meets Louisiana. Their music would be a welcome addition to your party mix and comes in perfect time for summer celebrations.

SMOD’s debut album was in 2002 entitled Dunia Kuntala (meaning the course of life in French) produced the music manager of Amadou & Mariam, a blind Malian famous duo. Sam is the son of the couple. This was followed in 2004 by the album Ta i tola (meaning come on). In this album, they cooperated with Amadou & Mariam, Manu Chao, King Massassi and Kisto Dem.The same year they won a golden disc for their song “Politic Amagni” (meaning politics is not good) taken from Amadou & Mariam album Dimanche à Bamako (meaning a beautiful Sunday in Bamako in French).
In 2005, their music video “Dakan” directed by Fabrice Brovelli remains very popular broadcast on Malian television. They have been featured in African Cup of Nations event and in a number of Malian and international festivals and give around 50 concerts a year in Mali. SMOD started touring Europe in 2008, supporting Touré Kinda, Matthieu Chedid, Tiken Jah Fakoly, Salif Keita, Amadou and Mariam, Oumou Sangare and Manu Chao amongst many others.
For their third self-titled album in 2010 called SMOD, they collaborated with Manu Chao who produced the album and was recorded in Mali and France. The first release from the album was “Ça chante”. Other public favourite from the album include “Ambola” and “Les dirigeants africains” (meaning the African leaders in French). As a result, they became well-known in France and in world music (wikipedia).

SMOD has received some stunning accolades such as in Rolling Stone saying, “SMOD carries Chao’s signature psychedelic bounce: bulbous reggae bass lines, one-note melodies, dubby chants, video-game sound effects” NPR “FIVE AFRICAN ARTISTS TO WATCH”, “This young group’s self-titled debut combines clever and hard-hitting political rap with appealing African guitar lines. The result is an engaging new sound of Mali, with a strong dose of Manu Chao in the mix”, and MTV IGGY, “SMOD has one of the most intriguing sounds I’ve heard in a long time.”

Check them out here:

And be sure to check them out at Shadow Lounge July 25