Shuffle Aces: Minutemen – This Ain’t No Picnic

minutemenThere are lots of bands that are well known within their genre but have somehow never become more than an historical footnote to me. Case in point: I’ve always been aware of the Minutemen and their role in the world of hardcore, but I’m not sure I ever listened to their work. I was recently listening to the excellent Sound Opinions podcast that featured an interview with Minutemen bassist Mike Watt. It was enough to tip me over the edge and I listened to the album they recommended: Double Nickels On The Dime. Continue reading

51 Musicians with Strange and Unusual Hobbies

unusual hobbiesSo you’ve made a bit of money as a musician and you’ve got a bit of time on your hands when you’re not touring/recording/writing etc. What to do? Well here are a bunch of musicians with strange and unusual hobbies – strange in that they aren’t necessarily the kinds of things you expect from those who rock. Can you imagine Prince and Damon Albarn having epic table tennis battles? Rod Stewart and Neil Young having a cuppa while discussing their latest model train acquisitions? Rivers Cuomo, Lily Allen and Kelly Deal comparing knitting patterns? Anything is possible with this lot! Continue reading

Original Song: Open Road

open roadI struggled in February to get a song done, and March has also provided challenges. I finished the first rough version of Open Road with 10 days to spare, but a bunch of things transpired to make getting the final version done very tough. Still, on the evening of the 31st I did a single final vocal take and have managed to keep the run alive – even though it’s being posted to the website a couple of days late. Continue reading

13 Loudest Bands Ever

loudest bands everWe’ve all been to loud gigs, but just how loud is too loud? And who indeed is the loudest?  The pain threshold for human hearing is 120-130 Decibels, but any sound above 85dB can cause hearing loss or damage. Interestingly, the loudest ever sound is estimated at coming from the Tunguska Meteor event that happened near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai of Russia back on June 30, 1908. According to Wikipedia, “The explosion was most likely caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 5 to 10 kilometers (3–6 mi) above Earth’s surface. It was measured with the similar impact of a 1000-Mega-ton bomb with a decibel rating 300-315. This is often considered to be the loudest single-event in history.” So that was a big rock that caused a lot of noise, but what about the act of rock? Just who are the loudest bands ever? Guinness will no longer recognize records in this category due to potential hearing damage so there are a few estimates in this lot. Continue reading

Shuffle Aces: Man Man – Head On (Hold On To Your Heart)

man manHead On (Hold On To Your Heart) is another discover courtesy the Sklar Brothers podcast – this time it’s Man Man, an experimental band from Philadelphia. The centrepiece of the band is lead singer and lyricist Honus Honus. Honus generally plays piano but during gigs he plays a Rhodes Piano or a Nord Electro 3. The band also uses a bunch of unusual bunch of instruments that certainly keeps things interesting – as well as having a stage show that can sometimes be a little bizarre! Continue reading