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Checking out the video capabilities for the 'improved' Live Journal. What better video to do it with than Transcendence. It's all about change and breaking barriers.

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April 2011
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Zoe Jakes - Beats Antique

a preview of things to come
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This has been a great week of concerts and shows already following Monday's Beats Antique show in Birmingham. It was without a doubt one of the best performances I've seen and heard. I'll write more on the show later today.

Starting with a show on Thursday, April Smith and The Great Picture Show will be in the region. If you can afford the time and the admission - GO! This is a not to be missed performance.

April 14 - Atlanta, GA - The Loft @ Center Stage (Openning for Fritz and the Tantrums)
April 15 - Hoover, AL - Barnes and Noble (Free in-store)
April 16 - Nashville, TN - Grimey's (Free Record Store Day in-store)
April 16 - Huntsville, AL - The Flying Monkey Arts Center

This is still one of Billboard's top artists for the future. Listen and see why.
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Red Light District is a very talented band primarily made up of two folks I'm honored to call my friends, Shok and Juliette. This is the band whose demo CD has been part of my regular play list on my iPod since before I left Los Angeles in 2008. Soundcloud now offers a better way for me to share this group's music.

Listen - it's really worth it!
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I've been growing to really like this band. After listening to them while in Colorado this summer (Gold, Girls, Guns) and then hearing them in the Scott Pilgrim vs The World sound track (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-jMruFHTwrY - the official full video has embedding disabled).

Gimme Sympathy


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Ok, this is a long video (1:33:00) but there's moments in this that she's caught lighting in a bottle. The story is this. Amanda lives in the Boston area and happened to meet there teens last summer in front of the Berklee School of Music (not to be confused with the Berkley University School of Music in California). One thing led to another and she discovered Travis Allen (17) was an incredible pianist. They do two improvised duets in this USTREAM recording that sent chills down my body. It's an amazing thing to see the moment when magic occurs. She was so taken by this young man's performance that she produced his first EP. It'll be release and a debut performance will be given to benefit the Berklee Summer Music program and held at the Berklee Performance Center. If you can go, GO. This ought to be incredible. If you want to get a copy of his EP, Amanda's website has details http://www.amandapalmer.net/afp/.


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More Musical Musings

Upcoming Music and Shows
I frequently highlight bands that are coming out of nowhere. This one isn’t and I’m torn on offering any recommendation. We Are The Fallen is a band with massive but unrealized (wasted) potential. They are essentially Evanescence repackaged with a new lead singer. OK, well maybe... The band is made up of the former (fired/departed/quit) members of Evanescence from the time when the band rode their debut album “Fallen” to superstardom including the band’s co-founder Ben Moody. Carly Smithson (finalist from American Idol) takes on the vocal duties a la Amy Lee. After listening to samples of their debut, there’s more than a subtle bit of déjà vu. The sound, the soaring female vocals, the orchestra rock arrangements and the deeply moody (or Moody) feeling pervaded this release. It is either a throwback or homage to their Evanescence roots. Many of the songs (penned by Moody) seem to lament his lost friendship/relationship with Amy Lee in this CD. While this should lead to some terrific potential material highlighting the conflict, most tracks lack the fire and passion this band is capable of. Carly’s vocal power to rock out a house (as displayed on American Idol) is only lightly tapped here.

Is all this bad? As mentioned, I’m genuinely undecided. I saw Evanescence when they first performed in Hollywood (Universal Amphitheater) in 2003 as part of the Nintendo Fusion Tour. Nothing can compare to the level raw fire and passion they had then. Ego’s had yet to run amuck on so many levels. There is far more potential in this group of musicians for a return to greatness than there is in the band now known as Evanescence. Time will tell.

We Are The Fallen in concert (7/28) at Sammy T’s (Headlined by Saving Abel), $23/28 (at the door).
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Part 2 to make it friendly to friendly pages..

Music on the personal level
Buying the Sirius Radio has been one of the best entertainment investments in a while. THe selection of music, comedy and news has been refreshing compared to the local radio.

Chris’s Mp3 player and replacement
After almost two years, Chris’s Mp3 player died following his trip to the UK. The battery failed and it dumped the firmware. It was built like most players. The battery on most of these will only last for 2 to 3 years. He got a lot out of that one. I replaced it with a Philips Songbird (4Mb). Initially I bought him an iPod Shuffle (same cost) but it wouldn’t hold as much music. He seems to like it so far though I’m a little stunned by how slow it was to sync up to the playlist he has. I’m pleasantly surprised at how well and how long my iPod has lasted. While it’s showing wear, I have the feeling that it has a bit more life left to it.

Clockwork Cotillion )
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Last month The Gorillaz Plastic Beach was released. They promptly released two singles to stoke the fires. "Stylo" was the first video from the CD while "Rhinestone Eyes" went out as a radio release. Both songs are great. In previous videos, only the "animated" members of the band were shown. Things have changed in a good way. The LIVE members of the band performing on the single Stylo appeared on the Colbert Report. Check this out.


http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/281883/april-22-2010/gorillaz---stylo
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Model Photography – Organic Armor Set (Apr 2010)

Some of you will recall my post about being banned from shooting in the Flying Monkey Art Center. Since I’ve been blocked from promoting or earning any money from my artistic skills there, I haven’t gone back to shop or view shows there. Of course, being out of town as much as I have has made that simple. I still haven’t decided how or if to approach the “ladies” responsible for my situation, but I thought that it was time to finally show off some of the shots.

I had the pleasure of doing a commercial promotional shoot back in April. The premise was simple. Two professional models (& friends), a costumer, a visiting steampunk band and I as photographer; would exchange our time and skills to produce a set of images we could all use. This was a multi-party TFP set where everyone would benefit. OA supplied the amazing bras, hats and wrist bands/chokers displayed in various photos. These are some of the results:


Murder Doll (seated) and Lindsey Porcellyne

Dangerous Ladies & Victorian Misfits )
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On the 14th of April, April Smith & the Great Picture Show did a livestream recorded concert from the Brooklyn Bowl in New York. The show is nothing short of amazing. If you haven't seen her perform, they will be in Nashville at The Basement (5/28) and in Atlanta at The Earl (5/30). These promise to be awesome shows and well worth the drive.


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Wow, when I pick’em occasionally I can really pick’em

She and the band went on NPR's Prairie Home Commanion on April 17th for a 'battle of the bands' sponsored by the show. They got to preform live.

http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/programs/2010/04/17/


Photos from the show:
http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/programs/2010/04/17/photos/#panel-10

http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/programs/2010/04/17/photos/#panel-17 WINNER

http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/programs/2010/04/17/photos/#panel-18

http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/programs/2010/04/17/photos/#panel-19



Coming to the south again!

05/28/10 The Basement - Nashville, TN 8:00pm

05/30/10 The Earl - Atlanta, GA 8:00pm


More press in Esquire Magazine:
http://www.esquire.com/the-side/feature/sxsw-best-bands-2010-031010
Slide 7 of 11


Number 15 on the iTunes Pop-charts Download list

http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/songs-for-sinking-ship-bonus/id349659719
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Singles and slideshows


Photos [xx behind this cut] )
Slide show )
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April continues to get amazing reviews. Now NPR has done an article on her and The Great Picture Show.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124094623
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After an absolutely incredible show on Tuesday evening at Bandito South (one of the best I've seen in years), I'd hoped to announce the anticipated follow-up show at the Flying Monkey Theatre. Instead I'm disappointed to announce that April Smith will not be making a return appearance on 3/26 on Huntsville due to scheduling issues. At this point I have no follow up date.

My sincere apologies for generating the interest and not being able to deliver.
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OK, so I suck at regularly updating. That's what happens when life events overcome webtime and available brain cells.

Family's doing decently enough. The possibility of moving in with Wendy was discussed and I actually saw more resistance than I ever expected from the kids. Her house is smaller and it would cause some serious issues in some manners of privacy & the kids various projects. Financially and personally it would help in some ways. Right now, it's on the back burner.

Work is going in interesting directions. I fly out Monday with my manager to observe test procedures and activities. I'm genuinely looking forward to this and think it should be enlightening in more ways than one. I'm not sure if I'll be able to post the "Nature Photo of the Day" feature while I'm away, but I'll try. I'll have my laptop from work, but the permissions on it may still block the sites. I decided that I will take my camera and try to shoot a little. There's too many places & people there that deserve photos.

As some of you know, I'm trying my hand as a show promoter and producer. No not "tried," I am actively working on show ideas. The failure to restart Sleep When You're Dead is simply due to personal requests from the previous promoters. I'll leave it at that and would beg everyone else to do the same. There will be a regional Goth show again, but it may be here in Huntsville.

I am pleased to note that I managed to get one of my favorite new artists booked to Huntsville in a few days and hopefully again in late March. Ladies and gents, spread the word - on 2/16 at Bandito Southside (formerly Bandito Burrito South), April Smith & the Great Picture Show will swing through town. This is a small warm-up gig to test the waters here. I'm hoping have a firm date for a late March when they return from the South by Southwest music festival in Austin, TX. April and her band perform a rowdy mix of cabaret, jazz, swing and indie that's nothing short of amazing. Don't take my word, the New York Post, Billboard and Rolling Stone rave about her. If you can make it to Bandito on 2/16 (8pm), you won't be disappointed! The March show will hopefully be at the Flying Monkey Theater with room to dance!.


http://www.youtube.com/user/aprilsmithmusic

http://www.aprilsmithmusic.com/

http://www.myspace.com/aprilsmithmusic
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Home for lunch if anyone's curious why I'm posting anything now..

Music
Many of you know, my musical tastes are very eclectic. One of the bands that has caught my attention, love, lust , whatever is an urban middle eastern influenced group called Beats Antique. There’s not a single vocal bit in any of their records, but instead it consists of instrumental rhythms I could see an urban gypsy belly dancer moving to. This makes sense when you consider that one of the principal composer / arrangers is the legendary dancer Zoe Jakes of the Belly Dance Superstars. The rhythms are melodic by western standards and mix Middle Eastern, techno, circus, classical string, beat box and much more. This stuff is mesmerizing. Check out their stuff at http://beatsantique.com and definitely go see them perform if you get the chance.

BTW, Abney Park and Beats Antique will be performing together in Eugene, Oregon at The Bad Faeries Ball on January 30th at the McDonald Theater. If you’re on the west coast, GO!

Likewise, if you’re in San Francisco on the 5th, The Tim Burton Ball features Abney Park with guest performance by Zoe Jakes if I recall the announcement correctly. This is another cool event and must see show.

There’s another performer that’s growing on me. Emilie Autumn. I bought the deluxe version of “Opheliac” and like it more than I care to admit. It’s angry and lyric and crazy performed by a musician described as brilliant, eccentric and mad. Sounds strangely familiar eh?

Abandoned Site Photography

The holiday crud not only interrupted various model and show shoots, but it also kept me from doing at least one serious abandoned site hunt. I have located several industrial sites on the north and south sides of Huntsville I want to scout out. In Birmingham, there’s entire city blocks downtown I want to explore. Likewise, in and near Chattanooga has several industrial complexes that lay abandoned and beckon me to explore them. The one kink in all these plans is once I take the photos, having the motivation to do anything with them. For the very same reason I haven’t been writing much except when I have time available to write the text, save it, transport it, and then get to post it when I get home hours after writing it. It’s very frustrating to have to write or post this way.
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Emilie Autumn is nothing less than remarkable. She's been performing at the high end of the rock, alt, indie and steam genres since she was 16. Her performance style is playful, sensual and so energetic it's scary. Sorry but this will auto-play when it loads

video including mildly NSFW comments 10 seconds in )
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This morning I posted information about the departure of Finn Von Claret from Abney Park. I will note first that I was stunned and saddened by her departure. I wrote as such to her blog. I’d like to clarify two points before they get taken further out of the context they were meant.

To Finn, lass, absolutely NO insult was meant and I sincerely apologize if it was taken as such.

In my posting, I commented that Abney Park seemed to be moving steadily away from a strong female vocal role. This was not in any way, shape or form as an insult to the singing talents of Finn. On the contrary, I wish that Finn had a greater vocal role to compliment Robert’s tremendous vocal skills. In previous recordings to “Lost Horizons” (“Death of a Tragedy” for example), the female vocal component was greater in many songs and offered opportunities for the ladies to strut their range and abilities. Lost Horizons represented (in my opinion) a reduction of that female vocal counterpoint . I sincerely hope that in future recordings and performances, the female “back-up singer and dancer” will be given an increased role to compliment not supersede Robert’s lead vocals. That counterpoint between his strong baritone and the female alto or soprano has been a wonderful means to show off the true and remarkable range of skill of the band.

I also asked in the post that “Is there an undercurrent?” Several folks picked up on that this was a rhetorical I’m referring again to the need for a continued strong female vocal component to the band and how it’s absolutely necessary. Great artists tend to move on to greater things in their own fields of interest. I’ve been pleased to observe in awe Finn’s dance skills outside of AP. Likewise, I’ve seen Magdalene Veen’s talents as a model and performer as well. Like many of the readers here, I adore the music of this band and wish them success. The strength of their new member (temp or otherwise) is a key to maintaining their high standards for great music. Can Najla sing in the female parts or is she only going to dance? Not an insult, but merely a question.

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