Portland, Indie-roots act, Sassparilla release video, “My First Lover”


Referred to as indie-roots, punk-Americana, and punk-roots, Portland, Oregon-based outfit Sassparilla may bend and cross genres, but the result is always electrifying, especially on their latest, The Darndest Thing.

Comprised of Kevin “Gus” Blackwell (vocals, cigar box guitar, national resonator guitar), the father and son combo of Ross “Dagger” MacDonald (harmonica) and Colin “Sweet Pea” MacDonald (washtub bass), Naima (vocals, accordion, washboard), and Justin Burkhart (drums), Sassparilla offers one of the most entertaining, sweat-soaked live shows in the Pacific Northwest; complete with dancing, sing-along numbers, and plenty of good times.  Despite their reputation for rollicking, fast-paced live sets, it is the subtleties and folk-pop leanings of their latest, The Darndest Thing, that find this five-piece band slowing things down a bit; and growing up musically.  Centered on the structure of the song and the lyrics more so than the party groove and liveliness of their earlier recordings, this record gives fans a new side of the band.

“Every record we’ve done is a little different than the record before it,” comments Blackwell, the band’s primary songwriter.  “They’re all metaphors for what’s happening in my life.  So, the early records were good-time roots-punk records.  Then death happened, a friend passed away, and other life stuff happened.  I had to face the reality that I’m an adult now.  Stuff I wasn’t used to.  And, so The Darndest Thing reflects that.”

Produced by The Eels’ Chet Lyster, his contributions helped ensure growth and maturity with The Darndest Thing.

“This is the first time we’ve worked with a producer,” explains Blackwell. “We did a lot of pre-production on this like we’ve never done before on previous records.  We decided from the beginning to make this record the way it is.  We were very thoughtful throughout the pre-production and recording process.”

Blackwell likens the growth to seeing your children grow up.

“I know people have used this metaphor before, but I feel like my songs are growing up.  It’s like my songs are adults now, learning to manage money and all of that,” he says with a chuckle.

Eight songs, clocking in at thirty-five minutes, The Darndest Thing is filler-free; succinct enough to keep the listeners’ attention throughout, even for those that have never heard the band before, but meaty enough to not leave you feeling empty and cheated.

While previous records have jumped around from genre to genre, The Darndest Thing finds the songs working together, each telling a story, while the music stays consistent.  It’s their first record to truly be an album, rather than a collection of fun-time, entertaining live favorites to get the crowd moving.

A big departure for the band is album opener “New Love”; the most pop-driven song the band has ever written.  A happy, up-tempo song, it instantly denotes that something different is happening with Sassparilla on this release.

“You wear two hats in a band, live shows and recorded product,” comments Blackwell.  “I like the idea of making a beautiful record, then making a show people can dance to.  That, to me, is what Sassparilla is all about.  I feel we accomplished that.  We made a record that is strong; something my peers can respect.  We made a beautiful record; not just a record that was over-the top performance wise, like we’ve done in the past.”

Sassparilla online:





FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH have already made headlines with one of the year’s biggest rock album debuts.  American Capitalist entered at #3 on the Billboard Top 200 in early October and has already sold over 165,000 copies in just a few weeks. Fans can purchase the album on iTunes here. Now, less than two months after the release of the record they’ve got some more news.

Starting this Tuesday, November 22nd, fans will be able to get the brand new cover art for 5FDP’s current album. It features an illustration of the band’s ubiquitous “mascot,” Knucklehead over the backdrop of Time Square in New York City.

“We are the people’s band, and a lot of fans really liked this alternative artwork we had on the tour posters. So many times we heard, “THAT should be the album cover” – so we figured we’d make it happen,” explains Bathory.  “If you like the original cover, that’s cool too – I guess the original will be somewhat of a limited item from now on, so there you go.”

The new Knucklehead illustration will only be replacing the regular edition album version of American Capitalist, while the deluxe edition artwork will remain the same.

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH are still out on the road on their headlining Share the Welt Tour with All That Remains, Hatebreed, and Rains. The tour has been a massive hit, selling out most venues along the way – getting rave reviews for its solid line up and over-the-top visuals.

Jessica Mero, Head of Marketing at Eagles Ballroom in Milwaukee relates. “5FDP‘s show was an intense metal spectacle – a perfect show by a great rock band! Over 4,000 frenzied fans filled the venue and we had to turn away hundreds who showed up too late to buy their tickets at the door.”

5FDP recently released their second single from American Capitalist, “Remember Everything,” which is rapidly shooting up the Active Rock charts.  Fans can listen to a stream of “Remember Everything” here.


For a full list of remaining Share The Welt dates visit: www.fivefingerdeathpunch.com or their Facebook page.


“Remember Everything” audio embed: http://www.thenewrecord.com/swf/the-new-record-small-player.swf?parameter=http://www.thenewrecord.com%2Ftracks%2Fembed%2F941%2F1137.xml

American Capitalist on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/american-capitalist/id462974316

Official Site: www.fivefingerdeathpunch.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/fivefingerdeathpunch


Steve Jobs co-founder of Apple dies at 56

Steve Jobs co-founder of Apple has passed away from pancreatic cancer at the age of 56.

from the front page of apple.com




2011 Pickathon to stream performances in HD video this weekend on KEPX.


For those unable to attend this weekend’s 13th Annual Pickathon in Happy Valley, video performances will be streamed in HD, courtesy of KEXP-FM, Seattle. To name but a few, performing artists will include: Mavis Staples, Wye Oak, Bill Callahan, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Damien Jurado, Vetiver, and Califone, as well as locals Alela Diane and Wild Divine, Laura Viers and Builders and Butchers.

For info and complete lineup and schedule, go here.

 Go here for directions.




The Oregon Music Hall of Fame (OMHOF) will hold a Press Conference on Monday July 11th at 5pm at Tony Starlight’s to announce the 2011 Inductees into OMHOF. This year’s inductees will be inducted on Saturday October 8th at the Newmark Theater.

OMHOF was formed in 2003 to both promote and preserve the musical arts in the state of Oregon. Since then they have been successful in putting musical programs on in many elementary schools and raised money for college scholarships, besides recognizing the great talent from our state.

Previous Inductees include Black ‘n’ Blue, Robert Cray, The Crazy 8s, Dead Moon, Johnny & the Distractions, Doc Severinsen, Nu Shooz, Quarterflash, Jim Pepper, Mel Brown, Billy Rancher, Paul Revere & the Raiders and the Kingsmen. For a complete list go to omhof.org

OMHOF will also announce the talent to play the 5th Annual Induction Ceremony as well as this year’s host. At the press conference, there will also be a performance by one of this year’s inductees.

‘Passion Of The Heist’, One of Guitar World Magazine’s Top 50 Studio Albums

I AM ABOMINATION’s ‘Passion Of The Heist’ Named as One of Guitar World Magazine’s Top 50 Studio Albums of the First Half of 2011

To Release New Digital EP, ‘Passion Of The Heist’, on July 19th, 2011 with Good Fight Music

I AM ABOMINATION’s upcoming EP, Passion Of The Heist, was just named one of Guitar World Magazine’s top 50 studio albums of the first half of 2011! This amazing accomplishment slates the band next to some of today’s top-charting groups like Foo FightersCage The Elephant, and The Strokes, and some of metal’s top-notched bands such as Protest The Hero, Asking Alexandria, and Periphery. Head to this link to check out I AM ABOMINATION’s EP amongst other great albums from 2011.

Ultimate-Guitar.com recently unveiled a brand new track cut from the band’s upcoming digital EP, Passion Of The Heist, entitled ‘Transformation’. Head to this link to listen to the new track, and make sure to pre-order Passion Of The Heist now at this linkPassion Of The Heist releases on July 19th, 2011 with GOOD FIGHT MUSIC.

Passion Of The Heist is described by the band as a concept album, and was produced, written, engineered, mixed and mastered by guitarist Nick Sampson. The EP was also recorded at Nick Sampson’s studio in New Boston, MI. All lyrics on Passion Of The Heist were written by Brandon Good. Passion Of The Heistincludes guest appearances, including an appearance by ATTACK ATTACK’s Caleb Shomo on the track ‘Ascension’.


  • 1   Vivification
  • 2   Abduction
  • 3   Examination
  • 4   Transformation
  • 5   Ascension (ft.Caleb Shomo of ATTACK ATTACK)
  • 6   Invasion

I AM ABOMINATION is not stranger to positive vibes towards their sound and originality. “Michigan has given us a few memorable things such as Ford cars, Eminem and Domino’s Pizza… Now the Mighty Mitten State has graced our ears with the likes of I AM ABOMINATION—a post-hardcore/progressive rock outfit that boasts a vast, enthralling sound and forward-thinking mindset,” stated TheNewReview.net in 2010.

In reference to their 2010 release, To Our Forefathers, DecoyMusic.com stated, “I AM ABOMINATION has crafted an absurdly pleasing album. From the appealing voice of lead singer Phil Druyor, the swift riffs of guitarists Shawn Reed and Zach Felps, to the floating, airy beauty of the synthesizers that surround I AM ABOMINATION’s music, To Our Forefathers is the audio equivalent of a massive heap of cotton candy.”

I AM ABOMINATION’s first full length album, To Our Forefathers, can be purchased on iTunes here.

For more information on I AM ABOMINATION, please visit these sites:


CD RELEASE SHOW: July 29th at Mississippi Studios

Read SP Clarke’s review of  “World so Sweeet”

July 29, 2011, Portland, Oregon’s own Rachel Taylor Brown will celebrate the release of her seventh studio album, World So Sweet.  Also on the bill are The Brothers Young, plus special guests.  Tickets are $10.00 in advance and $10.00 at the door.  Doors at 8:30pm, show at 9pm.

When asked to describe her music, Taylor Brown jokingly suggests, “Pith Rock; sharp ‘n’ pointy!  Or spongy and permeable!”  She starts to laugh. “Pith ‘n’ Vinegar Rock!  No, wait: there’s that horrible thing they do to frogs in a lab, that’s pithing.  Maybe Igneous Rock is better.”

Talk to those who know her music, though, and other descriptions come up. “Unsettling but addictive.” “Good stories.” “Unpredictable.” “Arresting.”  “Dark, funny, sweeping, panoramic, pretty, ugly, complex, moving.”  And, “You can dance to it.”

But to fully grasp and understand World So Sweet and Rachel Taylor Brown, you have only to listen to the record.

“I realized in retrospect how dark these songs may come off. I wish I could explain better how they make me feel hopeful,” explains Taylor Brown.  “I always feel better when dark things are out in the open instead of hidden away.  Looking at the scary stuff makes me more appreciative of the beauty in the world, makes me feel like my feet are on the ground.” She continues, “I think it helps that you can dance around to many of them. I can see someone getting down to one of these songs and never knowing what the hell I’m singing about.  I like that the songs can be enjoyed on that level–it makes me feel sneaky.  Lyrics are very important to me but I know a lot of people don’t listen to them, especially now.  It’s interesting to see who notices the words and who doesn’t.”

It’s that love of life, humor, curiosity, basic compassion, and a healthy dose of skepticism that fuels Taylor Brown. It’s heavily reflected in everything she does, including the thirteen tracks found on World So Sweet.

“I love the people I love, and the beautiful world,” she continues.  “I’m fortunate.  There was a time I didn’t want to be around.  Now that I do, it’s sweet, every day; even when it’s horrible.  There are birds.  The world is sweet, even though it’s awful.  That prayer I had to say when I was a kid: ‘Thank you for the world so sweet, thank you for the food we eat, thank you for the birds that sing, thank you, God, for everything.’  I’ve always loved that prayer, even though I don’t believe in the God part anymore.  I love anything that reflects even some little awareness that we’re living with a whole lot of other creatures and that we’re just one bit of the whole thing.”

Rachel Taylor Brown might best be described as a dubious but hopeful observer who watches the world and the people of the world destroy and create beauty daily, just one witness who can tell a story through song.

“These songs are about the usual mundane things that seem to preoccupy me; how great and how awful people are and how beautiful and ugly the world is,” she says.  “There’s huge scope in that.  I know I have a comfort level with some of the things I write about that others may not have, due in large part to my own history.  I’m not thinking of how it may hit anyone else when I’m writing.  I’m usually surprised when my husband or some other listener points out that it’s maybe hard to hear.  I really believe in letting a song be what it wants, though.  And I guess some (ok, a lot) of my songs want to be peppy tunes about the worst of human nature.  I have to say, though, I find that contradiction very satisfying.”

For all the hurt and pain in the world, like all of us Rachel Taylor Brown goes on.  Creating music that is equally pretty and haunting, sometimes simple but sometimes epic, the perfect strange cocktail of darkening doubt, lightening hope and “it’s got a good beat, you can dance to it.”  Music that’s meaningful but catchy, a paradox of everything the world has to offer.  With World So Sweet she brings to the surface good and evil, creating an album that is as rich as it is sparse, dense as it is airy.

Curious, I looked up “pithy.”  The thesaurus reads: “succinct, concise, compact, to the point, epigrammatic, crisp, significant, meaningful, expressive, telling.”  “Pith” means “essence, fundamentals, heart, substance, core, crux, gist, meat, kernel, marrow, weight, depth, force.”  “Pith Rock” is a weird and awkward moniker for her music, and maybe a little too close to “piss” said with a lisp.  But, you know it kind of fits.

“Taxidermy” — http://www.inmusicwetrust.com/pr/freemp3s/racheltaylorbrown_taxidermy.mp3
“How To Make A World Class Gymnast” — http://www.inmusicwetrust.com/pr/freemp3s/racheltaylorbrown_howtomake.mp3


Featuring Black Label Society and Thin Lizzy
Tour Hits Seattle on Saturday, October 29th at the WaMu Theater
Tickets On Sale Friday, June 24th at 10am!

After storming the world for nearly 40 years and taking their very special brand of heavy metal to all four corners of the planet, JUDAS PRIEST – one of the most influential heavy metal bands of all time, have announced this will be their final world tour!

However, the mighty PRIEST will certainly be going out strong as they rock the planet starting in 2011 on the massive EPITAPH tour – hitting all the major cities throughout the world they will be playing the songs that helped make the name JUDAS PRIEST synonymous with heavy metal!

The tour will feature new guitarist Richie Faulkner. The 31 year old British guitar player has blended into the band perfectly, due to his amazing six-string talents. Richie joins Rob Halford, Glenn Tipton, Ian Hill and Scott Travis in the line-up. Together, JUDAS PRIEST will hit the road for the EPITAPH Tour.

With all guns blazing and amps cranked to eleven, the band will be giving all their fans one last chance to witness the ultimate metal experience that is JUDAS PRIEST!

JUDAS PRIEST will be starting their North American tour on Wednesday, October 12th in San Antonio. A confirmed itinerary of performances for the first leg of tour can be found below.


  • 12 – San Antonio, TX: AT&T Center
  • 14 – Corpus Christi, TX: Concrete Street Amphitheater
  • 15 – Houston, TX: The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
  • 16 – Dallas, TX: Allen Event Center
  • 18 – Tucson, AZ: Ava Amphitheater
  • 19 – San Diego, CA: Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre
  • 21 – Phoenix, AZ: AZ State Fair
  • 22 – San Bernardino, CA: San Manuel Amphitheater
  • 23 – Las Vegas, NV: Hard Rock
  • 25 – Los Angeles, CA: Gibson Amphitheatre
  • 26 – Oakland, CA: Oracle Arena
  • *29 – Seattle, WA: WaMu Theater
  • 30 – Vancouver, BC: Rogers Arena


  • 1 – Edmonton, AB: Shaw Conference Center
  • 2 – Calgary, AB: Scotiabank Saddledome
  • 4 – Salt Lake City, UT: Maverik Center
  • 5 – Denver, CO: 1STBANK Center
  • 12 – Chicago, IL: The Venue at Horseshoe Casino
  • 13 – Detroit, MI: Joe Louis Arena
  • 18 – East Rutherford, NJ: Izod Center

*Tickets available at the Qwest Field Box Office,

Ticketmaster locations, charge by phone 800-745-3000, and Ticketmaster.com


Vocal Cord Surgery for Pink Martini’s China Forbes

China Forbes has been forced to take an extended hiatus from her duties as Pink Martini vocalist. Suffering an injury to her vocal cords earlier this year, at first it was hoped that an extended respite might restore her to health. But it has since been determined that she will require throat surgery.

Forbes, 41, debuted as a singer with Pink Martini in 1995, when she was recruited by bandleader Thomas Lauderdale. The two of them met while attending Harvard University. It was there that they developed an idiosyncratic musical relationship. After graduation, they went their separate ways, with China developing her own craft as a folk/rock singer/songwriter. Subsequently, Lauderdale asked her to perform with Pink Martini on their first album Sympathique. The rest is local music history.

It is not Forbes’ first absence from the ensemble. She was out for six months in 2009 on maternity leave. But this instance is of greater concern for her future as a singer, in that her vocal cords are involved, and there is no chronology as to when a recovery might be expected, nor assurance that her voice will necessarily return to its former grandeur.

While China is out, Lucy Woodward will replace her for performances in the final week of June, and Storm Large will take over for July shows as well as for an upcoming European tour scheduled for this September. But, more importantly, we wish for China a speedy and complete recovery.




Tickets on sale NOW! Tickets available through all TicketsWest Locations-Safeway- Music Millennium
To charge by phone please call 503.224.8499 or order online at www.ticketswest.com

Candlebox rode the grunge bandwagon to multi-platinum success in the early ’90s, despite howls of protest from the Seattle faithful who considered their music a watered-down version of the genuine article. To be sure, Candlebox’s take on grunge diluted the punk and indie elements inherent in its original form; instead, they were rooted in the bluesy, classic-style hard rock that grunge had ostensibly replaced. Their resulting commercial appeal made them highly suspect in the minds of authenticity-obsessed scenesters, and it didn’t help matters that the band hadn’t formed until well after the Seattle hype machine had begun. Nonetheless, Candlebox unwittingly helped Usher in the post-grunge era; along with Bush, they showed how the more challenging aspects of grunge could be ironed out and polished into a sound that mainstream rock radio could embrace without reservation.

Candlebox were formed in Seattle in December 1991 by singer/guitarist Kevin Martin, a native of Elgin, IL, who’d grown up partly in San Antonio, and drummer Scott Mercado. Initially calling the band Uncle Duke, they added lead guitarist Peter Klett and bassist Bardi Martin (no relation to Kevin) and changed the group’s name to Candlebox, after a line in a Midnight Oil song. Their demo tape found its way to Madonna’s Maverick label, which quickly resulted in a record deal in 1992. Candlebox’s self-titled debut was released in 1993, and while the first single, “Change,” began to build them a following, it wasn’t until 1994, when the follow-up, “You,” appeared, that Candlebox really started to take off. “You” gave them a breakthrough hit on mainstream rock radio, which set the stage for the success of “Far Behind,” essentially a power ballad for the grunge era. “Far Behind” was a major hit on both mainstream and alternative radio, and also made the pop Top 20; its exposure helped Candlebox climb into the Top Ten on the LP chart and eventually sell over three million copies.

By the time Candlebox returned with their second album, 1995’s Lucy, the backlash was already in full swing. Partly because of the group’s previous momentum, the lead single, “Simple Lessons,” earned some rock radio airplay, and the album itself went gold and barely missed the Top Ten. However, it was largely ignored or dismissed by much of the mainstream media, and was ultimately hurt by a relative lack of memorable songs. In 1997, founding member Mercado left the band and was replaced by original Pearl Jam drummer Dave Krusen. Candlebox’s third album, Happy Pills, appeared in 1998 and marked a return to the more basic sound of their debut. “It’s Alright,” “10,000 Horses,” and the title cut all landed some airplay, but the album sold poorly; by this time, countless bands were working in a similar style, and the band’s early momentum had long since dissipated. Krusen departed in 1999, as did Bardi Martin; they were replaced by Shannon Larkin (ex-Ugly Kid Joe) and Rob Redick, respectively, but the group disbanded the following year. The original lineup of Martin, Klett, and Mercado re-formed for a handful of shows in 2006 to support the release of Rhino’s Best of Candlebox compilation. The overall positive reunion stirred rumors of a new studio album, culminating in 2008’s Into the Sun.