Several bits of good Nashville local music news hit me today:

The most exciting one is related to the Self show I mentioned last week! Matt posted a teaser compilation track today on the Self facebook, consisting of snippets of several BRAND SPANKING NEW Self songs. My mind is already blown just hearing this the first time. CHECK IT YO:

Also, Matt answered a few questions related to the Dec. 29th show- Yes this will be a full band show, and yes it will be the only Self show for the foreseeable future. I’ve also heard unconfirmed rumors that this will be the original Self lineup, except of course for guitarist Mike Mahaffey, who passed away in 2005.

Echo Group released the third in their Challtalk Record Collection series via Bandcamp. Each EP they’ve released thus far has been nothing short of phenomenal, even if they do draw excessive comparisons to the Walkmen. I would submit to those people that wearing your influences on your sleeve and being overtly derivative are two different things. EG walks that fine line quite well in my opinion. Check it out below:

Forget Cassettes released the second in their series of O Cursa EPs. This second offering of songs is a little meaner/grittier than the first, with the 3rd track “Tearin’ Up A House” reminding me a lot of the old Forget Cassettes. Check it out below:

Last, but most certainly not least, Caitlin Rose has announced her second full length album, to be titled The Stand-In. It’s due out Feb. 25th, 2013 in the UK via Names Records, and March 5th in the US via ATO Records. She worked with producers Jordan Lehning (of the Non-Commissioned Officers) and Skylar Wilson this time around, and the songs were a much more collaborative effort than ever before. Looking forward to it! Check out the lead track “No One to Call” below:

Copyright 2010 Steve Cross

Whoa. Just whoa. I just read on Brooklynvegan that Kelley Anderson has left Those Darlins. A bit of a shock to me, really, but at the same time, I’ve known Kelley (and all of them) for years and I know that Kelley is a very driven and ambitious woman with lots of talent. I’ve no doubt she’s got some awesome projects up her sleeve and I can see how the rigorous touring of Those Darlins may have become a bit too much. I mean, look what she did by founding the Southern Girls Rock & Roll Camp! That grew into Youth Empowerment through Arts & Humanities, one of the coolest non-profits around, and a cause well worth your support & time. I have no doubt that Those Darlins will power on ahead with the talents of Jessi, Linwood, and Nikki, plus whomever replaces Kelley. The above photo is from a documentary project in which I spent a few days on tour with them, as is the one below. These haven’t been published anywhere else, and I intend to keep it that way- so please don’t download and/or use these!

Copyright 2010 Steve Cross

Playing guitar in space

February 23, 2012

I’m always happy when the worlds of music and science collide in cool ways, as should be quite evident by the name of this blog. In reality science IS music, just like science is everything, but this is one instance where it’s especially cool. Astronaut Chris Hadfield is scheduled to be commander of the International Space Station, and he also happens to be a musician. It turns out music is actually an integral part of maintaining the psychological health of the astronauts, and so NASA decided to put an acoustic guitar on the station. This video from Space.com shows Hadfield explaining the guitar design itself, as well as the challenges and adaptations one has to make when playing in zero gravity. Very cool.

On a side note, I’m well aware of collective facepalm the science community is doing right now since the story broke yesterday that the apparent faster-than-light neutrinos discovered last fall may actually be due to a simple bad GPS cable connection. This is still, as far as I can tell, unconfirmed, so I’m holding off on posting anything in-depth. But I will say that I almost expected it to be something so trivial… We’ll see how it pans out.

Some cool things to report about two great new local bands:

  • Ranch Ghost is awesome. They’re possibly my favorite “newish” local band. Their scrappy, catchy, jangly, hook-laden garage-pop hits all the right buttons on my musical palate. They have a limited edition 7″ that is available for pre-order through Jeffery Drag Records. You can stream the songs at their bandcamp. Love these guys soooo much.
  • New local supergroup By Lightning! just played their album release show this past Saturday (my pics and the Spin review are up at the Cream) and followed it up by releasing a very cool animated music video for the first “lead single” off the record- “Weather.” Check it:

Whoa. Did I really just mention those 3 bands in a row?

Cody Blaine has been making music in Murfreesboro for a good few years now in various incarnations. As most artists do, he’s changed, grown, and honed his skills quite a bit along the way. His latest project is called FAMN DAMN, a scaled-down version of his previous project Cody Blaine & The Whole Famn Damnly. That band involved drums, bass, keys, and a horn section. Needless to say, managing rehearsals for such a sizeable undertaking can take its toll on one’s willpower, so the new incarnation is much simpler- Cody Blaine sings and plays keys while drummer Mikey Lieberman caresses the skins. It’s nearly impossible not to compare Blaine’s vocal style to that of Tom Waits, but along the way he’s honed it so that it’s not as derivative. Stripping the instrumental aspects of the songs down to such bare components was also a good thing. The result is his first release on vinyl- the “Honey, Come Pull On My Tie/Borrowed Time” 7″ single. The single is currently being pressed for an unspecified release date. *Disclaimer- I did the photography and cover art for this release, so I’m not completely unbiased here.*

After debating which track to post, I landed on the B-side “Borrowed Timem,” as I slightly prefer it over the A-side.

FAMN DAMN-Borrowed Time

In other news, Jensen Sportag‘s EP Pure Wet is officially out. Stream and purchase via their label Cascine. Like said before: SEXY. This EP could just as easily have been titled Pure Sex. No joke.

Via the A.V. Club– Slayer’s guitarist Jeff Hanneman had to back out of a few upcoming shows for what has to be the most metal thing ever: He got a case of flesh-eating bacteria from a spider bite. Thankfully he’s fine and currently recovering from surgery. Seriously, that’s one of the most metal things I’ve ever heard. And Slayer is probably the most metal metal band ever, because the singer also recently injured his neck and back from headbanging. Somebody needs to give these dudes a trophy.

What I’m saying here has been said many times already since the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, but it bears repeating as many times as possible: stop pointing fingers and end the bitter and hateful climate of politics that’s taken hold of this country. The most important thing is to refrain from automatically associating this shooting with the famous graphic on Sarah Palin’s website and/or the violent rhetoric that’s been tweeted and otherwise shared by prominent right-wing figures. The authorities still don’t know exactly what motivated Jared Loughner to do what he did. The only thing that seems to be certain is that he was mentally ill in some regard. In times like these, rampant emotion and kneejerk reactions are just the kind of things that can snowball and lead to even more violence. Logic and reason are absolutely critical. Until there is factual evidence that Loughner was incited to this violence by the right-wing rhetoric, we cannot make that claim. We must also refrain from blaming Sarah Palin or any other political figure. The only answer to this problem is reconciliation and compromise between the major political parties of this country. Both parties must open their minds and listen to each other, make some compromises, and work together to extinguish the flames of hatred rather than fan them.

This weekend in Nashville

December 3, 2010

Before I get to my picks for what to this weekend in Nashville, I must very briefly mention the famous Arsenic bacteria that NASA announced yesterday. It’s all over every news site in the universe, so I feel no need to say anything other than- this is totally awesome and it will force biologists and astrobiologists to rethink their theories of what type of life might exist on other worlds. It also proves that life can be much more adaptable than we ever thought. And I can’t help but post this great comic from XKCD:

Now for this weekend’s picks:

FRIDAY:

Charlie Louvin, w/ Porter Hall, TN at Foobar. This will be in the new Foobar expansion room, not the tiny stage at the main bar. And it’s fucking Charlie Louvin! Dude’s a living legend. 9pm I would assume… but I can’t find a definite time listing anywhere, so you might wanna show up early- dude’s a legend but he’s also very old, and old people tend to go to bed early.

Tim & Eric Awesome Tour Great Job! Featuring Tim & Eric, Pusswhip Banggang, and Neil Hamburger at the Cannery Ballroom. 9pm, but I hear it’s sold out. So hopefully you already have tickets…

SATURDAY:

Duh! Where else would you be besides La Paz? As I mentioned yesterday, I’m throwing a tacky sweater holiday disco party at La Paz with DJs Potamus and Vitalic Noise. La Paz is now at 2214 Elliston Pl., where Ombi used to be. It’s 21+, is FREE between 10-11pm, and $3 after 11pm. We’ve got $2.50 PBRs, $4 margaritas, and a round of $2 jello shots coming out at midnight. We’ll also have a disco ball, fog machine, and plenty of dark corner makeout sessions.

BUT if you MUST do something else tomorrow night-

Old 97’s w/ Hayes Carll at Mercy Lounge. 9pm but it’s sold out.

Black Cab Sessions day show: in-store at Grimey’s with Tristen and We Were The States (who have a new album out!)

Black Cab Sessions night show: at the Basement with PUJOL, Tristen, Cheap Time, Altered Statesmen, and more. If you don’t know what the Black Cab Sessions are, go here.

Have a great weekend!

It’s been a while since I posted much of anything science-related. Honestly I’ve been veeerrrry busy. Fucking slammed is a good way to put it. But here are some important bits of news/etc… to come out of the science world recently.

  • First off, there’s been rampant speculation on some news blogs in the last day or so regarding an upcoming NASA press conference (scheduled for tomorrow afternoon) that will “affect the search for extraterrestrial life.” Of course many are taking that to mean that NASA has found aliens. That almost certainly NOT the case, and I must direct you to the ever-reliable ambassador of reality, Dr. Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy, for much more reasonable speculation on what NASA will be announcing tomorrow. Also, as always, Universe Today is on top it as well. The announcement will probably involve the discovery of a new way or process by which life could exist on Saturn’s moon Titan. So chill out, and don’t believe the sensationalist news sites that are claiming NASA has discovered aliens.
  • The Large Hadron Collider has been busy slamming lead ions together for the past month or so. They had been in a “recess” of sorts since their last set of collisions involving single protons. Now they’re slamming much heavier lead nuclei together in an effort to recreate the conditions that physicists think existed just milliseconds after the Big Bang. (On an atom-size scale, of course.) They got what they were looking for, though it was a bit surprising. The leading theory was that a superheated blob called a quark-muon plasma existed, and that it acted much like a gas. However, this experiment showed that the quark-muon plasma actually behaved more like a perfect liquid with no viscosity. This collision was the most energetic heavy ion collision ever achieved on earth, 13 times more powerful than the previous record set by the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider in Brookhaven, NY, but it’s only about half of the LHC’s full capacity. Who knows what we’ll find when the LHC ramps up to full capacity over the next few years. (Via NewScientist)
  • We have now officially discovered over 500 exoplanets in our galaxy. Sort of. The news was announced, but there is really no way to put a “500” label on one particular planet. The problem is that the line between “confirmed” and “unconfirmed candidate” is a bit unclear, and many times in the past previously “confirmed” planets have been retracted as new, more accurate data has been gathered to prove they were in fact something else that’s not a planet. But the number is sufficiently past 500, so we can officially be happy that just 20 years after the discovery of the first exoplanet, we’re now past the 500-mark. With NASA’s Kepler spacecraft on the hunt, and already having produced over 700 exoplanet candidates, that number will soon start to rise very quickly. I’d say the next exoplanet milestone we’ll be celebrating is 1,000, along with the discovery of a true earth-twin. (Via Universe Today)

Before we get to the sparse show listings for this weekend, here’s some long-awaited local music news:

Caitlin Rose’s debut album Own Side Now will finally see a US release on March 15 of next year. People state-side have been wondering and waiting for news as to the US release, since it’s been out in the UK and Europe for several months now. The release will be followed-up by what should be a pretty extensive US tour in the spring/summer months. Good news indeed, for a truly great album.

Wow. It’s a slow weekend in Nashville, rock show-wise. I honestly have nothing for you tonight. Nada.

TONIGHT:

I almost forgot about Black Mountain/Black Angels tonight at Mercy Lounge. But personally they are too jammy for my taste. So… meh.

Wooops. That show was actually last (Thursday) night.

SATURDAY:

Mashville ft. DJs Wick-It, Bitch Please, Mike Vulcan, and Bateman @ The End. 9pm $5

SUNDAY:

Codaphonic, Listen Like Thieves, Kat Jones, and StereoPhidelics @ the 5 Spot, 9pm $5

I must also mention that my band POWERBRRRD will be playing a Rock the Block at the Exit/In on Tuesday, along with Nite Nite, The Grayces, Frank the Fuck Out, and Little Viking. POWERBRRRD will be debuting our new 4-piece lineup, so make of that what you will.

Yeah! Have a good weekend!

Monday night must’ve been a slow news night in California, and everywhere really… but what most media has been calling a “mystery missle launch” was probably just a jet airliner contrail. It’s all a matter of perspective, really.

The footage came from a news helicopter that was flying off the coast of Orange County, CA, Monday night. The footage is shot looking westward and the object appears to be a rocket rising from the ocean. But if a jet airliner is flying directly toward you from over the horizon, and leaving a contrail behind it, it will look as though it is rising from the ground going straight up. If the atmospheric conditions are right, the contrail will quickly get widened by upper-level winds, and vortexes left by the plane’s wings can cause a spiral-like appearance. The bright light at the tip of the plume is only visible for a short time, which would indicate that it’s simply the glint of the setting sun reflecting off the plane’s underbelly. After some blog-reading I found that in fact, contrails have been mistaken for missles from this very same area before, and the culprits are planes traveling from Hawaii to Phoenix. There’s also a small possibility that it was a small target rocket from an island west of LA and used to test the military’s new airborne laser defense system, but the company that conducts those tests has said that it did not have any launches that day.

I think what we have here is a case of sensationalist media capitalizing on the mistake of a helicopter news team. Normal people probably see contrails from this same flight path almost every night and may think it’s interesting, but they forget about it and move on. Because it happened to be a news helicopter team who were fooled by the illusion this time, it instantly became a media blitz and got blown waaaay out of proportion. I’m saying I’m 100% sure it was a jet airliner contrail, but I’d be surprised if it wasn’t. More detailed info on this particular incident’s explanation can be found at NewScientist. Also, a detailed explanation and comparison of this incident to other contrail incidents can be found at the Contrail Science blog.