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Review of JeanClaudeGodDamn’s “Bloodsport”

BY AZARIA PODPLESKY

If you’re like most music fans, you expect to hear some amount of growth when listening to a band’s latest release. Nothing too different, mind you, just a more developed, mature sound.

Liverpool-based foursome JeanClaudeGodDamn has done just that, debuting a deeper sound and lyrics that are even more aware on their second EP, Bloodsport.

The four-track EP opens with “The Fate of Sisyphus.” The song explodes from the beginning with group vocals about a manipulative girl, which are of course followed by lyrics about a manipulative boy. The bridge of call-and-response vocals between lead singer Tor Caspersen, who hasn’t lost the bite in his voice, and the rest of the band can’t be ignored and will, quite frankly, get you a little pissed off. Just like any good punk rock song should.

This track is a must-listen for all you percussionists out there; drummer Stephen Jones, the band’s newest addition, shows that he can hold his own next to guitarist/vocalist Charlie Lashmar’s and bassist/vocalist Erik Fossmo’s skillful playing.

 “Ice Cold” is a quick little ditty that is sure to get your heart racing. Like always, the guys in JCGD know how to use group vocals, and paired with a groovy bass line from Fossmo, this song is a standout.

The EP’s third track is “Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb!!,” a song that shows just how wide JCGD’s range is. After a great combination of slower verses and a heavier chorus, the song ends with snippets from interviews about the need to ignore a controversial message in order for that message to die out, which gives the lyric “We won’t give you the satisfaction of seeing our reaction” a new meaning.

Bloodsport ends with “Underdog Syndrome,” the most upbeat song on the EP. This song combines a triumphant-sounding Caspersen, who seamlessly transitions from singing softly to chastising screams in the bridge, and the entire band’s heaviest playing yet to create one hell of a closing track.

Once again, JCGD have proven that they have what it takes to make it in today’s uber-competitive music scene. My only complaint? That there were only four tracks.

For more information on JeanClaudeGodDamn, to download Bloodsport (for free!) or to watch the video for “The Fate of Sisyphus,” visit http://jeanclaudegd.tumblr.com/.

Filed under JeanClaudeGodDamn Liverpool music review freelance writing Bloodsport

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Living the Good Life

This article, about California-based piano rock band Augustana, appeared in the May 3-May 9 issue of the Inlander. You can also read this article here.

It all started when Dan Layus was 17. He was standing in a piano room at Greenville College in Illinois, and it was there, in what Layus calls one of his “stabs at writing a song,” that he penned “Boston,” the song that would eventually put his band, Augustana, on the map.

“We only stayed at the school for about three semesters then we decided to drop out, which was a very, very bad idea,” Layus says, laughing. “It’s really just one of those things, you know? We wanted to chase a dream. We wanted to get out there and try and we did.”

While Layus does not recommend dropping out of college, he can’t say it wasn’t the right move for Augustana. The California-based piano rock band’s 2005 debut, All the Stars and Boulevards, was later followed by 2008’s Can’t Love, Can’t Hurt, which featured the hit single, “Sweet and Low.”

Fast forward to April 26, 2011, the day the band released their self-titled third album on Epic Records. After several months on tour, the band hit a major bump in the road: They were let go from Epic’s roster due to the album’s lackluster sales.

If that weren’t enough of a blow, several members left the band, leaving Layus to rebuild Augustana from the ground up.

Read more …

Filed under Augustana Inlander journalism freelance writing freelance writer music music writing

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Quick Hit- Ivan & Alyosha

This quick appeared in the March 1-7 issue of the Inlander.

"Three things you should know about Ivan & Alyosha. One: they’re a folk-pop band from Seattle. Two: no one in the band is actually named Ivan or Alyosha. They took those names from Dostoyevsky’s The Brother’s Karamazov. Three: they’re working on their upcoming debut album after two well-received EPs.

The band has gained national attention after a profile on NPR and a 2010 show blew away SXSW-goers. The band also is crowd-sourcing money for an album on a Pledge Music page, giving away sweet prizes like an album listening party with the band.

-AZARIA PODPLESKY

Ivan & Alyosha and Saticoy - Fri, March 2 at 8 pm - The Belltower - 125 SE Spring St., Pullman - $6 advance; $8 - All-ages - (509) 334-3182”

Filed under Ivan and Alyosha Spokane Pullman The Inlander The Belltower music music writing freelance writing

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Quick Hit- Witchburn

This quick hit appeared in the March 1-7 issue of the Inlander.

"The lead singer of Witchburn might look, and sound, familiar, especially if you’re an AC/DC fan. Jamie Nova used to front Hell’s Belles, the all-female AC/DC tribute band that regularly hits the Knitting Factory.

Nova, who plays in Witchburn along with fellow rocker chick Mischa Kianne (guitar, violin), bassist Jacy Peckham and drummer Dana Sims, has moved on, trading school uniforms, for torn tank tops and studded belts.

In 2010, the quartet self-released their debut album, This Is How We Slay Our Demons, an album full of metal licks and thundering drums.

-AZARIA PODPLESKY

Witchburn with Thirty-Three, the Sky Burns Red, Silent Theory and Windowpane - Sat, March 10 at 8 pm - A Club - 416 W. Sprague - $8 - 21+ - aclubspokane.com - 624-3629

Filed under Witchburn Spokane The Inlander music music writing freelance writing

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Quick Hit- The Ascetic Junkies

This quick hit appeared in the Feb. 2- Feb. 8 issue of the Inlander.

It’s difficult to categorize a band’s music when they don’t exactly know what to call themselves either. THE ASCETIC JUNKIES, a Portland-based quartet, has been called a bluegrass and folk band in the past, but that was only because they used to have a banjo player. They now call themselves an Americana/pop band but have been known to cover the likes of Beyoncé and LCD Soundsystem. Huh?

Led by vocalist/guitarist/husband Matt Harmon and vocalist/keyboardist/wife Kali Giaritta, let’s call the Ascetic Junkies an Americana pop-rock band. And they’re playing two shows in the area so you’ll have twice the chance to listen and create a more specific classification for them yourself.

-AZARIA PODPLESKY

The Ascetic Junkies and Holiday Friends! • Tues, Feb. 7 ay 7 pm • $5 advanced; $7 day of • All-ages • The Belltower • 125 SE Spring St. • 334-3182 • The Ascetic Junkies with the Horse Thieves • Thurs, Feb. 9 at 10 pm • $5 • All-ages/21+? • Mootsy’s • 406 W. Sprague Ave. • 838-1570”

Filed under The Ascetic Junkies Spokane Portland The Inlander music writing writing freelance music Americana

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SpIFF Review- A Drummer’s Dream

This film review appeared in the Feb. 2- Feb. 8 issue of the Inlander.

A DRUMMER’S DREAM

AMC | Sat, Feb. 4 | 5 pm

DRUM GEEKERY

Assembled by drummer Nasyr Abdul Al-Khabyyr, some of the world’s greatest percussionists gather at a drum camp in Canada for a week of non-stop music. What happens at that camp is truly a drummer’s dream. Featuring Al-Khabyyr, Mike Mangini, Dennis Chambers, Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Giovanni Hildago, Raul Rekow and Kenwood Dennard, this movie has as much heart as it does rhythm. In between sequences of each man doing what they do best, director John Walker works in one-on-one interviews with each percussionist, letting the viewer in on the personality and passion of the men behind the kits. CANADA | 84 mins (Azaria Podplesky)”

Filed under A Drummer's Dream Spokane The Inlander SpIFF drumming music Music Journalism freelance writing Nasyr Al-khabyyr Mike Mangini Dennis Chambers Horacio El Negro Hernandez Giovanni Hildago Raul Rekow Kenwood Dennard John Walker

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Quick Hit: Bukue One

This Quick Hit appeared in the January 19-25 issue of the Inlander.

"Bay Area rapper BUKUE ONE sticks very closely to the old saying, “Write what you know.” Mentions of skateboarding, graffiti and breakdancing, all activities he got into as a teen, are present in many of his songs.

Born Tion Torrence, Bukue grew up between Berkeley and Oakland, California, watching skateboarding videos that featured bands like Bad Religion and Black Flag and hanging out with friends who listened to N.W.A. and Run-D.M.C. This mix of music influenced him to create Urban Productions, a company that combined his love of skating and hip-hop.

Bukue’s entry into the hip-hop world came a few years later with a song about graffiti artists, “4 Tha Graff Heads,” which became a minor hit Australia. Since then, Bukue has continued to revitalize the rap scene with his unique blend of skate and graffiti culture.

-AZARIA PODPLESKY

Bukue One and Zak Hendrix - Sun, Jan. 22 at 9 pm - $5 - 21+ - Red Room Lounge - 521 W. Sprague Ave. - 838-7613

Filed under Bukue One Bad Religion Black Flag N.W.A. Run-D.M.C. music music writing journalism freelance writing the Inlander Spokane

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Top 10 Shows of the Year- A Day To Remember

This blurb appeared in the December 29-January 4 issue of the Inlander.

A DAY TO REMEMBER, BRING ME THE HORIZON, PIERCE THE VEIL, WE CAME AS ROMANS

Knitting Factory, March 30

Post-hardcore poster band ADTR, playing their second, and even more crowded, show in Spokane, took out all the stops this time around, bringing in confetti cannons, balloons and singer Jeremy McKinnon walking in a plastic bubble a la Wayne Coyne. Besides the three kids who were carried past me, two with bloody noses, I’d say this show was perfect. (AZARIA PODPLESKY)”

Filed under A Day To Remember Bring Me the Horizon Pierce the Veil We Came As Romans music music journalism journalism freelance The Inlander Spokane Knitting Factory