Music and Art Monday, April 29th 2019: Psilocybin Jam

This week I want to introduce you to another local band. But not local to Jacksonville like all the other bands. This band is local to my third home: Cloudcroft, NM.

There is a funny story about how I was introduced to Psilocybin Jam: my wife and I fixed our perpetually broken truck and decided to take it for a test drive into town. While there we figured we may as well soak up some 4g for a bit and parked on Burro Street across from the Western.

I heard a tapping on the window behind my head. I turned and there is this dude with dreads motioning me to roll down the window. I scrambled a bit, but obliged. “Hey, you want to go get a drink at the Western?” We sat a bit confused but responded “Sure” and followed this guy over to the bar.

He introduced himself as “Wild Bill” and then said he had to run home for a bit. We got a beer and waited for his return. It was probably two hours later that he returned, seemingly oblivious to his new friends. We had found other friends to hang out with so it wasn’t a big deal but be got a bit of a chuckle out of it. Eventually we did end up hanging out with him and he told us literal war stories (Bill’s a vet, but you wouldn’t know it looking at him) and invited us back the next week to see his band.

Psilocybin Jam is pretty good live. They are even better on their album. So good, in fact, that some guy at a stop light asked me if I was listening to the Dead. I’d argue that Bill Larrubia’s bass playing is better than anything I have heard from the Dead honestly.

Lest you think all jam bands sound alike let me point you to two songs on the album that particularly stand out. “Nietzsche” blends the sounds of an 80’s metal band with Jim Morrison-esque  vocals from Felix Hernandez and a bass line reminiscent of The Prodigy. Figure that one out… “Bad Connection” sounds like the Doors if Ray Manzarek had never discovered the keyboard. I don’t know who’s on horns but dang.

Apart from those two songs the album sounds like a typical jam band, but with something super special. Bill’s bass playing along with the drums and percussion provided by his wife Heather Miller and drummer Albert Vallejo provide a perfect foundation for the eclectic styles guitar ranging from classical Spanish to Funk to classic rock and metal. There are no boring songs on the entire record.

As of this post, Psilocybin Jam has 4 monthly listeners on Spotify. I bet we can get that number way up there. Go check them out, you’ll thank me.

Music and Art Monday, Feb 11, 19: SolaFide!

Back to the local stuff this week with a short EP recommendation.

Dagnabbit how did I miss this?!

The name “SolaFide!” popped out to me as a Reformed Presbyterian. “By faith alone”? Surely, this must be a Reformed Christian band! Nope. Not that I could tell. But at least the music is good.

When I said Viewers Like You was feel good music, I hadn’t really listened to the lyrics. While I still love the music and I still listen to their album frequently, the entire album is about an estranged relationship with a father. It’s sad, melancholy music. Amazing, but when in the wrong mood it can make you even worse.

SolaFide! is feel good music. They describe themselves as such. After several listens to their EP “Brookhaven” I tend to agree. It’s tough to be in a bad mood when a song titled “Blissful Nights” is playing on the stereo.

I’m a sucker for indie rock, and this definitely fits the genre perfectly. If I was to describe their style I’d say SolaFide! is a happy version of Death Cab For Cutie. It’s indie pop rock done right. If I were asked which local band I see going far fast this would be it.

Of course something has to be wrong with it, this is my review after all. What’s wrong with SolaFide! ‘s EP?

It’s too short! Just as you are getting into the groove, it’s over.

Can’t wait for the next one. Maybe I’ll actually make the release party.



More in this series:
Viewers Like You
Loretto
The Young Step

Check out my Spotify Playlist of local Jax artists: https://open.spotify.com/user/1253231916/playlist/0enEuhpoYdvRBg8yvbq7y9?si=xJiD-EihRSi3OVTCi1FmTg

MAAM: February 4, 2019: Kickin’ It Old School

Nothing local this week, I had a bout with anxiety over the weekend. So I went back to old stuff. There is something about going back to stuff that you used to listen to, not for nostalgia purposes, but for the uplift.

Also, it is fun to introduce your kids stuff that you used to listen to around their age. My daughter requested Queen in the car. I obliged for a bit and then decided I wanted to listen to David Bowie instead. She had never been introduced.

I realized that I was listening to him twenty years ago and at that time the music was already pushing thirty years old. Pretty much everything I listened to at her age was already thirty to fifty years old. It’s pretty incredible that some music has lasted fifty to seventy years and still resonates.

My favorite David Bowie album, and the one I got her listening to is ChangesOneBowie. It’s not technically an album but a compilation but it was the first music of Bowie’s that I ever really listened to. My best friend’s dad had it on vinyl and I swear we wore it out trying to learn the “Rebel Rebel” riff.

Those were good memories but even without them the album still picks me up. Also around that time I was listening to “Earthling” which I thought was pretty epic. “Hours” has also made its way onto my Spotify list as well. All the old is new again.

Another album I’ve been listening to for the first time in forever is the 1967-1970 compilation from The Beatles. The “Blue Album”, as I would call it, is what I used to listen to while cleaning the kitchen when I was thirteen or so.

I listened to it so many times that if I hear the songs on their original albums I get frustrated because I got so used to the order on the compilation.

Another good blast from the past is Pink Floyd’s Delicate Sound of Thunder. It is probably the only live album (other than “Wings over America”, another album that I’ve been listening to again for the first time in 10 years) that I can tolerate. Most live albums are sloppy versions of the studio songs, but these actually stand up on their own.

Anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to lately. Hopefully next week my brain will be functioning correctly and I will be able to dissect something new for you. But for now you should go check out these “ancient” albums that bring me such pleasure to listen to.

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Music and Art Monday, Jan 21,2019: El Clásico

Putting a giant rooster head on your album cover? I’m sold!

“El Clásico” is the only album by the St. Augustine band The Young Steps.

Even though it’s two years old, it’s new to me in my browse through local music. I must say, it’s a trip!

The album starts out strong with Baby You Know, a raucous and repetitive tune perfect for blazing down the interstate. Gonna add that one to my driving music list.

Nature Man will have you dancing in the kitchen, and that little whistle will be stuck in your head for days.

Dire Straits is channeled in The Weather, another back beat driven song for the road. It’s subtle, but when you listen you’ll know what I mean.

After this is where the album starts to slip. The songs aren’t bad, but you begin to realize the repetitive nature of the lyrics. I needed a bit of a palette cleanse at this point. Might I suggest the “This is Christina Perri” playlist?

Ahhhhhh, refreshing!

Now that you have stepped away and been refreshed, “El Clásico” comes roaring back to life with Yoga, When I Was Young, Will-O’-The-Wisp, Of Your Love, and the exceptionally fun Dark Side of Town.

It’s a short album, and great for when you need something musically interesting, but I can’t listen to it over and over again. To me it required a break, even in the middle, to quiet my highly alerted neurons.

Perhaps it’s a little too exciting?

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Music and Art Monday, Jan 14, 2019: Loretto

After last week’s post, I decided it might be fun to run down the Spotify rabbit trail of local Jacksonville bands and review one each week. Lest you think I’m going to start pining over local bands, here’s a review that’s not so positive. Loretto is a self described “rock n’ roll band”, as such I expected some more classic type rock. What I got on their only album so far, Sleeping In The Pines, was a mixed bag of experimentation and indie noise with a few gems hidden here and there.

Honestly I didn’t like it at all at first. But when I turned it on at 5 am this morning I realized that it’s “mood music” meaning you have to be in the mood. This album is perfect for my 5 am mood. It is messy and disheveled, slightly grumpy, but optimistic about the future.

Ordinarily rejecting commercial appeal results in complete garbage, garbage that hipsters will lap up and pretend to like, because “they are not part of the system!”. Kinda like IPA’s. But this album is more a sour than an IPA.

Once you have more than one you begin to like it. Once you listen to this album a few times the intricacies begin to come out, and your palette is pleased to find a bit of depth, not just bitter hoppy nonsense. Wait. This is an album review, not a critique of beer flavors. Best tracks?

“Alaska” is by far the best song on this album. If you download one song on Spotify it should be this one.

“Things We Said Today” and “Pick Me Up” are also pretty decent.
The rest. Well, the rest is “mood music”. Give it a go, and if you don’t like it immediately, try again later.


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Music and Art Monday, Jan 7 2019: Home To Roost

Hello all, short post today. It’s been awhile since I gave a recommendation for a band, because honestly it’s rare that I should find one that I like enough to recommend.

Today’s recommendation is a new album by a local band I would have never discovered had it not been for a mother’s gushing pride. An acquaintance of mine from the life drawing sessions I attend noticed my Nirvana t-shirt and asked if I liked them. She said “you have to listen to this band, they’re like Nirvana. And my son got writing credit because he plays on this song!”

I like localism. If there’s one trendy thing I’m guilty of indulging, it’s the trend to try out all the local stuff, from breweries to restaurants to record stores and art galleries. So I said what the heck and gave Viewers Like You’s “Home to Roost” a listen on Spotify.

First impression? “This is not at all like Nirvana!”

Which is not a bad thing. Viewers Like You (look them up as “Fernway” on Facebook) sounds a lot like All-American Rejects, Phantom Planet, and another Jacksonville local band Yellowcard. It’s happy music for the most part, with a twinge of emo here and there.

Top songs? Definitely the band’s single “Anamnesis”, “Absentee”, “Back to Life”, and the track my friend’s son plays on “Worth Your Time”.

While I love the guitar riff in “Perfect” the lyrics are a bit cringey.

So give it a listen and see what you think! The band has gone from 39 monthly listeners to 68 since Wednesday, let’s see if we can get that number up!

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Music and Art Monday, August 27th, 2018: Recent Work

It’s been a slow week here. I’m kinda having a bit of writer’s block. I’ve also had painter’s block as well. The only way I have found to bust through that has been to insist on doing a little bit every day.

Here are some recent bust throughs:

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Daily Thoughts #56

I can’t remember the last time I pirated music. It used to be that one would pay $15 for a CD. Now I can pay $15 to stream and download unlimited songs on several devices. Not much incentive to pirate any more.

God is good. Life ain’t bad.

It’s going to be a busy weekend. I can feel it.

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Music and Art Monday, August 6th, 2018: Culture and Christianity

How are Christians supposed to interact with culture? Are they supposed to ignore it? Avoid it? Yell at it?

A couple of things got me thinking about this topic over the weekend. One was a Facebook post complaining about Christians who watch Harry Potter or listen to Black Sabbath or appreciate other “things of darkness.” Another was an interview with Alistair Begg about the Beatles.

The first took the position that we are supposed to avoid all the “darkness” of the world. They quoted 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”

The second took the position that we ought to know the culture we live in. We ought to be intimate with it so we can engage it with truth. We should analyze culture to learn it’s theology and understanding of humanity.

Which do I agree with?

Well, I do agree with scripture that we should not be unequally yoked. We should not marry a non-believer, we should avoid serving two masters, we cannot follow both the world and God.

But I don’t think that means completely shutting out the culture around us. If the separator is going to be completely consistent he would need to avoid working for non-Christians or even working with them. He would need to be like the Pharisees and wash up every time he came in contact with a non-believer. The whole world is dark. We aren’t called to hide from the dark or completely avoid the dark, we couldn’t do it if we tried.

We are instead called to be light in the darkness. We are to shed light on the lies of Satan. And we can’t very well do that if we bury our head in the sand and have no clue what lies are going around.

In his interview, Begg quoted John Lennon as saying that the lyrics to “Help” were a subconscious cry from his heart. But no Christian of the day was reaching out to him with truth and light. No Christian responded with the Biblical definition of love when “All You Need Is Love” came out either. It was a great opportunity to show what real love is but it was missed.

It’s much the same today. We would rather chastise the unsaved than respond to them with truths. We would rather wear our spotless robes of piety and keep our distance from the world than risk getting muddy with those in it. It’s easier to yell at the darkness and deride it than it is to correct it.

Jesus went to the world. He spoke to the worldly and the pious both. He was not afraid of being soiled by the darkness, because He always had the light of truth with Him.

As Christians, we too should not fear the dark. We should instead shine a light into it. In order to do that we have to see the darkness and know it well.

And that may mean we have to get our hands dirty. It may mean that we read books with certain uncomfortable themes or listen to the lyrics of songs that may make us cringe. We have to take every opportunity to show the love of Christ to an ugly world, and that may mean looking that ugliness right in the face. We don’t have to yolk ourselves to it and hold it in high esteem. We don’t have to embrace the lies in it. But when there is a shred of truth we should grasp onto it and expound on it. We should commend truth and correct lies.

Christians need to be involved in the culture. We need to shine on it and spread the Gospel into it. We can’t very well do that from a bunker.

Music and Art Monday, July 23rd 2018: Angel of Needs

Here’s an ancient song of mine for you this week. Unfortunately, I have to external link to the video. (https://steemit.com/music/@driptorchpress/6865nqgg)

Go easy on me, it’s been easily 10 years since I played it last.

At least I can post the chords and lyrics here. The title and chorus come from a painting “Angel Of Needs” by Giles LeBlanc, seen above. I saw it in Nova Scotia when I was 12 and fell in love with it.

Angel of Needs
12/4/00-12/9/00

Intro and bridge: G Em C D7

(Chorus)
(C)You’re just an angel (F) of needs,
(D)An angel sent (G) to me,
(Em)Maybe someday (Am) you’ll be, (Em)What you seem (Am) to be.
(Bridge)

(C)You find it hard (D) to see,
(G) What I’ve (Em) realized,
(C)When I look (D) into your eyes,
(G)And I can see for (Am) miles and miles,
(G)And I can see (Em) your smile,
(C)You’re such (F) an angel (D) to me.

(Chorus)
(Bridge x 2)

(C)Beautiful when I (D) look at you,
(G)How I see (Em) the skies,
(C)When I look (D) upon your face,
(G)I can’t see (Am) another, no others,
(G)But I can see in (Em) this place,
(C)Nothing but (F) the angel (D) for me.

(Chorus)
(Bridge x 2)

(C)I know now how (D) to be alive,
(G)How to share (Em) your time,
(C)When I hold your (D) hand in mine,
(G)And I can feel your (Am) smiling heart,
(G)I can tell no (Em) other touch,
(C)That it compares (F) with the angel (D) for me.

(Chorus)
(Bridge x 2)

(C)You make me (D) so at peace,
(G)How I love (Em) your warmth,
(C)When I hold you (D) close to me,
(G)And I can feel your (Am) laughing hands,
(G)I can feel no (Em) other hearts,
(C)As beautiful as (F) the angel’s (D) for me.

Chorus:
(C)You’re just an angel (F) of dreams,
(D)An angel meant (G) for me,
(Em)Maybe someday (Am) you’ll be,
(Em)The angel you want (Am) to be.