A man of many talents (social media guru, musician, producer, recording engineer) -James Whetzel, blew our minds yesterday (elevating our afternoon plane of consciousness) performing live in support of the PARK(ing) Day festivities held at SAM (Seattle Art Museum).
Whetzel’s sonic journey is unlike anything we’ve ever heard in the Northwest -merging thought provoking world textures with contemporary digital club mix bliss. As you will find out in the video below, Whetzel is indeed a classically trained player -that can seriously shred on the sarod (a 25-stringed lute-like instrument from India).
James Whetzel often produces his sound under the music moniker ‘Das Dhoom’ (Dhoom means a bass hit on a South Asian drum. Das means ten in Hindi/Urdu and the in German). James is an impressive craftsman -check out the track below, Voyage of the Seven Dragons of Dhoom, his music sparks our imagination with cinematic visuals of exotic landscapes (we’re talking major motion picture soundtrack material).
Appreciation and praise goes out to Seattle Art Museum and James for participating in PARK(ing) Day -an international event whose premise invites citizens everywhere to transform metered parking spots into temporary parks. Yesterday, SAM cleared out a section of space normally devoted to parking vehicles (setting up a row of green carpeted games and design activities) inviting patrons to take a break from the city life hustle in order to create art! Thanks to both for such a refreshingly wonderful afternoon! Cheers, FYM.
Over the past few months FYM has had the pleasure of getting to know a brilliant singer/songwriter out of NashviLLe Tennessee - RayLand Baxter. Summer 2011 has been an impressive journey for RayLand -selling out shows across North America while on tour with The Civil Wars, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, even opening for the peerless Willie Nelson in Salt Lake City recently. Today forYoungModerns is proud to showcase Baxter’s latest music video for a new tune (The Mountain Song) off his highly anticipated album Feathers and Fishhooks -due out early 2012.
The track itself- The Mountain Song, is a vivid love story, humble and free. It’s an inspiring song that we’ve had an immediate connection with since first hearing.. It’s a take me as I am kinda tune… perfect for dreamers walking together through life. RayLand’s well-crafted storytelling abilities shimmer with enlightened perspectives -We spotlight a portion of his lyrics from The Mountain Song below:
——- So I am staring at the gates of all my dreams, Yeah, and I can see you far inside, cause you’re walking down the road with me. Down the mountains and the valley’s like the breeze -Yeah we going where we wanna go, Yeah we doing anything we please.
But if I could give you everything I would, all the forests and the flowers and the trees. But if Love is all you need then we are good, for Love is all I have to give -won’t you tell me you’re the one for me. ——-
The video itself- is a fluent honest portrayal of who RayLand Baxter truly is -a kind, charismatic, genuine spirit. It should be mentioned that Ryan Holmberg (Iron Lung Studios) did an amazing job editing this music video -going through hours of footage from Baxter’s summer tour adventures, ultimately pairing together three and a half minutes of beautiful life moments from the road -set to an incredible song.
Be sure to catch RayLand Baxter live this fall, he’s currently taking a short break from the road, gearing up to go on tour with Twin Cities alt-country rockers The Jayhawks in October. To learn more about RayLand and his music visit his website HERE. Cheers, FYM
The Lower Queen Anne/Uptown neighborhood in Seattle, WA didn’t have a great year -losing a book store, record shop, video rental spot, and movie theater. Queen Anne residents were forced to leave the cozy confides of the best neighborhood in the city (sorry cap hill) to find any sort of engaging evening entertainment.
But SIFF has come to our rescue! Uptown Theater, located on Queen Anne Avenue, will be reopening under the new ownership of the Seattle International Film Festival (www.siff.net), promising us many evenings filled with amazing local, national, and international independent films.
Be sure to catch the FYM Seattle crew at opening weekend (in conjunction with Seattle City Arts Fest) singing along to Prince’s Purple Rain on Friday, October 21st (show starts at 9:30). Can’t get down with the man in velvet? Then check out the other two opening weekend sing-along shows with Hedwig and the Angry Inch giving the inaugural performance on Thursday, and Grease finishing things up on Saturday. It will be a celebration -sure to have something to make anyone want to get up and exercise those vocal chords!
We look forward to seeing what else the new SIFF theater has to offer in the coming months. Thanks for bringing some much needed new life back to our Lower Queen Anne neighborhood!
The last stop on Erasure’s 27 date North American tour (in promotion of their new album Tomorrow’s World -out tomorrow in the U.S.) ended in Seattle last Thursday night at The Moore Theatre. It was an sonic engagement full of surprises and exciting visual energy.
Producer and UK electro-pop leading man Frankmusik opened up the evening with an unstoppable performance of original dance floor anthems, sincere energy, and a few notable pop medley remixes.
In recent years Vincent James Turner (Frankmusik) has been climbing his way up the music industry ladder -starting as a beatboxer, worked with Island, then getting signed to Cherrytree Records (an imprint of Interscope Records) releasing a string of successful singles and producing the latest Erasure album Tomorrow’s World.
Frankmusik live came fully equipped with a backing band (drummer, and a keyboard/vocalist). He performed tracks off his September 2011 release Do It In The AM which paired exceptionally well with the vibe of the night. It was an all you could ask for dance party -and Frankmusik was personable enough to come out into the lobby after the show to do a meet and greet with fans and sign CD’s. See below for bonus photos.
Thursday night Erasure lived up to their grand over-the-top awesomely 80’s reputation with a stunning refresher course on what great pop music should be. Of course Erasure played crowd favorites from over the past three-decades which contributed to their 25 million plus in record sales. But it was a night of new beginnings that truly made their music shine.
After all these years Andy Bell continues to be a premiere showman live -his costume changing, body shaking persona danced up the night with talented backup beauties. The focus was on new material from Erasure’s 14th studio album Tomorrow’s World (out tomorrow).
Erasure indeed gave the crowd their money’s worth with incredible set design featuring a Gothic take on what tomorrow’s world could look like. Pictured above, Vince Clarke quietly commands attention producing his beats from a gargoyle perch.
Our highlight of the evening was hearing Erasure’s classicAlways live along with formidable singles off the new record like -When I Start To (Break It All Down) and I Lose Myself.
The new tunes sound fresh and impressive -filled with personal undertones and catchy synthpop hooks. Paired with production help from Frankmusik, this latest record proves to be their strongest release in years! A special thanks goes out to both artists for giving us an entertaining night full of thunderous high-energy dancefloor bliss. Widescreen bonus photos from Erasure and Frankmusik live at The Moore Theatre below (click on each image to expand for detail)! Cheers, FYM.
FYM has a new writer covering shows for us in Seattle his name is Chris Morrison (aka TC Pounder/lead singer of the Emerald City rock outfit Pound Pound Pound). Chris is a Seattle music vet who came up during the hay-day of the grunge movement. He has an incredibly vast knowledge of the Northwest music scene in Seattle then and now, and will be a great addition to our website. His words below:
Brothers and Sisters! Attention to all you punks and protesters get up and get out cause it’s old school time -The legendary Northwest punk band Moral Crux (Jailhouse! Records) are playing live, Saturday ROcktober 15th, 2011 at The Funhouse so be there or you’re better off dead.
It’s been several years since Ive seen these guys and you know in the political state we’re currently in nothing says reality bites like some good old PUNK N ROLL. Hope to see some Old Schoolers out and STAY REAL! For more information about the show visit The Funhouse’s website HERE. -TC Cheers, FYM
In September 2011, this Art Director had the opportunity to travel back home to the Midwest (Quad Cities USA) for a much needed week-long vacation. During our stay we had the chance to reconnect with one of our favorite long-time comrades -Johnnie Cluney.
Over the past few years Johnnie has made a name for himself as THE illustrator/visual artist for the powerhouse independent music website Daytrotter.com, and for his work in the psych-rock group Mondo Drag (Alive Records). But before Daytrotter was around we just knew Johnnie as a magnetic purveyor of cool, an extremely talented musician/singer/songwriter, and as a friend. Earlier in 2011, Cluney left Mondo Drag and started a new music project called American Dust (above we feature the Cover art for AM Dust’s new EP).
Enlisting the help from some of the best local/regional talents -American Dust is the most impressive sonic escapade Cluney has ever pursued. Protector is the name of their brand new EP, available now as a digital download. It’s a hauntingly beautiful, well-crafted collection of songs. It’s riding off into the sunset music, a timeless snapshot into the heart of Midwest Americana -floating in layered Mississippi River psychedelia:
Protector comes out as a physical entity at the end of October -Cluney has opted to release the new EP in the form of cassette tape (which will also come with a free digital download code). It’s a formidable creative choice, an interesting juxtaposition of old and new technology coming together, and if you don’t have a tape player… a nice tangible souvenir of a lost era in music history. Tape culture just as vinyl did a few years ago seems to be on the rise again -As Wilco just announced that they will be putting out a Ltd. Ed. version of their new album The Whole Love via cassette in partnership with vintage digital photo App kings Hipstamatic.
During our visit in the Midwest we asked Johnnie and his wife Bambi to play us a couple tunes. FYM recorded three tunes during the session (two of which we are holding on to until the physical release of Protector comes out) -above we feature Johnnie solo, performing a stunning brand new (unreleased) tune he had just finished writing titled Get Tuff.
Below, to make this possibly the most well-rounded article we’ve ever featured on forYoungModerns -Art Director J Thomas Codling interviews Johnnie Cluney as he shares his thoughts on tattoos, lo-fi music, American Dust, being a songwriter, and the new EP Protector:
FYM: Tell me a little bit about your affection for lo-fi music as a genre, and what the term ‘lo-fi’ means to you.
Johnnie Cluney: i’m not sure that lo-fi exists as a genre. i know why people would want to say that, but maybe it’s more of an action, and now re action. when i say that i just mean that the sounds that were produced by earlier artists that were considered lo-fi were produced that way because they were just using what recording gear they had available to them. they were creating a “genre” totally by accident while they were also recording their songs! i was first attracted to lo-fi sounding recordings through black flag probably, just early punk in general. there were also some super gnarly jambox mixtapes of some other indie rock going around and i thought to myself, these guys recorded this on a jambox and put out an album, i can do that. if you are a band nowadays and have a few songs you just hook up a mic or two into your laptop and roll with it. this is the new lo-fi, (using what gear you have.)
lo-fi in it’s own way i guess sort of has become a genre, or more of a sound, and that’s cool. it’s just not interesting to watch some rich kids look for the shitiest gear to record with just because they heard the newest wavves album, you know? like i said before, you recorded on a four track because they were the cheapest piece of “pro” home recording gear you could buy. i think the thing that draws me to lo-fi sounding recordings is just the realness of it all. lo-fidelety recordings just have a more natural, raw kind of vibe to them, like early rock n roll where you can actually hear every instrument. it was all about texture and tone. it’s like the i just got off work and now i’m gonna go do overdubs in my basement kind of a vibe.
FYM: Describe how American Dust came to be (the concept behind the music/name) -and what it’s like playing tunes in a band with your partner through life/wife (Bambi) again..
Johnnie Cluney: american dust just started as any other band does. i had a few songs, asked some friends to play and that was that. we are a four piece band: two guitars, one electric, bass, and drums with occasional keys and violin. i have always been super into dark pop like 80’s tom petty, heart, fleetwood mac, etc. i really just wanted to start a good rock band. and when i say that i mean that you do not notice when a good band skips genres because they are just good songs. it’s not about the genre, or anything like that. these are just songs. besides that i was not happy in my current band situation so it seemed like a good idea to just split that scene and get back on the horse. no use in sitting around.
the name american dust is sort of about waisting away in america and admiring it along the way. i know that sounds a bit grim, but here we are working, watching tv, playing songs, doing whatever we do with our days. all we want to to is be happy, so let’s do things that make us happy! no more sitting around! what’s left of 2011 is yours!
playing in a band with my wife bambi again is great. she is still learning guitar, but she has only been playing for a year or so and already knows more chords than me. it’s sometimes hard to let her into that side of me, like reading my lyrics and then understanding what they mean. that is something i am still getting used to.
FYM: Tell me a little bit about the recording process for ‘Protector’ (the musicians involved) and your decision to release the EP on cassette tape (with a digital download code)..
Johnnie Cluney: protector was recorded half around 2008 by myself and then half this past month by aiden and myself. for the full band songs we did all the rhythm guitars, and drums live. we overdubbed bass, keyboards, vocals, solos, etc. three of the am dust members are super into the roland vs880 recorders, so we recorded with those. they are digital 8 track machines circa 1996. we used tube compressors, tube preamps, etc. for outboard gear too. personally i have a strange way of recording just as any home recorder does. i always like to do the vocals by myself so i can fiddle around a bunch. i like to turn knobs, or do something else while i sing sometimes. i am all about texture when it comes to recording.
the musicians involved are: johnnie cluney (guitar/vocals) bambi suits (rhythm guitar/vocals) aiden landman (bass) jamey cummins (keyboards) and skye carrasco (violin). everyone of them has their own bands so i am thankful that they can still find time to play with me.
my friend and bass player aiden helped record two of the four tracks. it was cool not to have to play engineer and musician at the same time. aiden has a good ear and i was way happy with how everything came out.
the decision to release “protector” as a cassette with a download was sort of a last minute one to be honest. we had planned to do 7” with a download, but after further inspection we realized this was not financially possible. i had remembered talking to a guy about a year earlier at this company about tapes and he got me really excited about it. so anyhow, i checked into them again and placed the order. it is cool to get this almost prehistoric music format with this state of the art music format though, right? even if you do not have a cassette deck, you can buy it for the download and the art.
FYM: How do you approach songwriting -who/what inspires your song subjects. Is it more important to get a literal message across lyrically or an emotional vibe from the stories you tell.
Johnnie Cluney:i try to play guitar every day or so. i’m always coming up with riffs when i fiddle around and if one is good then i keep it and expand on it. i get inspired by life experience, situations, other songs, the unknown, sometimes the “mood” will just hit you and a song magically appears, but that’s rare. i used to tend to write my music at the same time as my lyrics, but now i’m finding that if i write the music first then i can focus more on a counter melody for the vocals.
as far as getting something across to the audience, i’m more about the emotional connection. the stories i tell are sometimes too vague for certain people to care for, which i get. but for the people who are into this type of music, i think they are looking for more of an emotional experience anyway.
FYM: Who was your protector growing up?
Johnnie Cluney: prob my mom, or my grandma i guess.
FYM: Tell me a little bit about coming from the Midwest as a musician… are you proud of where you come from? How does the Mississippi River culture surrounding you affect your creativity..
Johnnie Cluney:yeah, i mean this is where i’m from i’m still here so there must be something about it. i am a proud midwesterner for sure. i think this part of the country is special. we are right in-between two states (iowa and illinois) and we live right along the mississippi river. it’s hard to say how i’m inspired by my surroundings, living in a river town does seem to be deep in me though. growing up, we went through five or so floods. my backyard was literally the mississippi. our lives were hit real hard by the flood of 1993. that one was huge. we actually had to be evacuated for that one.
FYM: If you were to get a knuckle tattoo what would it say?
Johnnie Cluney: true blue. i actually considered this, still may happen. in cursive text.
FYM: Add anything else below that you want people to know about this new chapter of creativity in your life.
Johnnie Cluney:american dust will be releasing music via however in the future. thanks. •
At the end of October American Dust ventures out on the road with Skye Carrasco -they’re calling it The Dark Pines Tour. To purchase the new EP Protector for $5.00 visit HERE. For more information regarding American Dust visit their Facebook HERE. Cheers, FYM.
It’s National Boss Day. Typically recognized on October 16th (or the closest weekday to) it’s a time to thank and appreciate the person most complained about at happy hours across the country.
FYM wants to thank and appreciate the Bossiest Boss we know, Rick Ross, with our Jam of the Day, Hustlin’. As of late, Ross is having some health problems, reportedly suffering two seizures while on flight to a show at the University of Memphis on Friday.
We wish the Boss a quick recovery, and look forward to hearing new jams off his upcoming album, “God Forgives, I Don’t,” due out in December. Thanks for being a Boss, and stay on the hustle Rick! Cheers, FYM.
Seattle world music mind benders -Das Dhoom, have a new album out titled Poetry of Dhoom -It’s a 10-track journey into the mind of James Whetzel, who aside from being a classically trained sarod player (25-stringed Indian instrument similar to the sitar) is also quite the music producer as heard in this latest release. We suggest listening to Poetry of Dhoom w/ headphones on to get the full picture of Das Dhoom’s bliss-filled fusion of sonic realities old and new. (Listen Below)
Poetry of Dhoom is: cinematic, enlightening, refreshing -heavy on complex adventure. The new record features James Whetzel’s thoughtful vocals and sarod playing prowess. This ancient sound is paired well with vigorous digital landscapes and Sebastian Lange’s spellbinding violin work. It’s music for advocates of joy.
Below, FYM features live footage from our previous article about Whetzel -performing the tune Ending to Dhoom solo in front of Seattle Art Museum on PARK(ing) Day this past September.
Want more Das Dhoom? Be sure to check out an evening three years in the making -The Poetry of Dhoom CD Release Party this Friday October 28th from 9pm-12am at SAM Remix (Seattle Art Museum, for more information on the event click HERE). Expect good vibes, formidable music, along with Whetzel performing with the full-live band version of Das Dhoom! Cheers, FYM.
For those of you not in the know… The formidable Northwest Hip-Hop Crew THEORETICS, are playing a FREE live event at The Triple Door Musicquarium this Friday October 28th, 2011 from 9:30pm-12:00am. The culmination of the evening happens at 11pm when THEORETICS premiere their most highly anticipated Music Video, Jekyll & Hyde.
You may recall in September FYM featured an article on the group’s brilliant fund-raising bid for their next music video -The THEORETICS Kickstarter campaign raised over $5,000 to support the production costs of their latest cinematic engagement. We were very pleased to see this crew surpass the goal, and cannot wait to watch what they have come up with visually to accompany one of the most original, dynamic, thought-provoking Hip-Hop jams FYM has ever heard. View the Teaser Trailer for Jekyll & Hyde Below:
The video was filmed on location a few hours North of Seattle in Port Townsend Washington (originally a Victorian Seaport) known as the city of dreams. We’ve been to Port Townsend before, it is indeed a spooky area -to put things in perspective, any steampunk would love to retire in this community. (5.26.11 Pictured Below: THEORETICS live at The Crocodile opening for multi-platinum Canadian rapper k-OS)
FYM invites you to come out and join the celebration -this Friday at The Triple Door Musicquarium for a night of undeniable full-band, duel MC, Hip-Hop Halloween pageantry. For more jams and information on the THEORETICS -visit their website HERE. Cheers, FYM.
A new month, a new set of jams! Today we are proud to announce FYM’s Late Nite November Top 25 is now live! Visit our featured channel on Cull.TV -Check out our latest collection of Music Videos currently on Heavy Rotation at FYM HQ. It’s a playlist best viewed as midnights turn into mornings, for all tomorrow’s parties in-mind. We’ve decided to treat our video channel like a real TV network -recording promo’s (like the one below featuring our publicist and SF socialite Jane) along with peppering in campy classic TV commercials every five songs.
For those of you not in the know… Cull.TV is an incredible new website offering a well-designed platform for people to once again enjoy the magic of true music television. The site offers users the opportunity to create their very own music video playlists and share them with friends. Your selections will be viewed in a sleek full-screen format with hidden navigation (left, right, bottom) popping up with a click. In the mood to discover new music the easy way? -Cull.TV also boasts a number of distinct Cull approved feature channels to browse through.
Part of the reason why we love Cull.TV so much is because the site has made it fun to once again seek out new music (playlists breed purpose). During our Late Nite November research FYM came across a buzz-worthy duo from our sister city (San Francisco) called Dominant Legs. The video for their latest single Hoop of Love is a joyous synth-pop journey through SF road-trippin’ into the countryside (watch below).
Other new favorites from this month’s playlist include Dublin City Ireland’s Cheap Freaksrock the fuck out brand of garage fuzz with Caesar The Deceiver, and Brooklyn-based Friends funky anthem I’m His Girl. To view the entire FYM music video playlist click HERE. And be sure to check back throughout the month as we will continue to add our favorite tunes for Young Moderns. Cheers, FYM.