Saturday, December 8, 2012

Jim Boggia - Ample Seating Available (Live Record)

The often-rumored, seldom-believed, sometimes-feared-to-be-mythical Jim Boggia live album has finally, factually found its way into physical form.

Jim Boggia Live: Ample Seating Available - an album that lets you re-live the memories of stellar live performances most people weren’t around for to have memories of having lived in the first place!

I thought this would never happen - but Jim Boggia's Live Record is finally ready for preorder.

You have three options:
  • 15 USD: Ample Seating Available (1 CD, signed)
  • 25 USD: Ample Seating Available + Live in Japan at Cafe Goatee (2 CDs, signed)
  • 35 USD: Ample Seating Available + Live in Japan at Cafe Goatee + Handmade Live Rarities (3 CDs, signed)
Buy it HERE!

Parks - Sweater Weather

The new band of Brian E. King (Oranjuly) is called Parks. Their first single "Sweater Weather" is streaming on (see below).

To make it short: it's a blast. Give us a full record, Brian!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Top Ten Records Of 2012

Again a bit early this year (but hey, it's tradition!): here they are - My Top Ten Records of 2012:

1. Mike Viola - Acousto de Perfecto

With a LP-friendly two sided concept of Acousto De Perfecto, half new songs half new interpretations of older songs and all the web-concerts, giveaways (Kenmore Square), the tip fight (resulting in Future Horror Hockey Game), the superb Facebook Fan Group (you people are the best!), the complete Mike Viola discography project and the re-release of the Blue Thumb Candy Butchers record it was a very very special year regarding Mike Viola. 

Highlights: Secret Radio, I'm Your Dog, God Give Me Strength, Hair Of The Dog, Date Night

2. David Myhr - Soundshine

Soundshine is a record title which couldn't fit better. This album is so uplifting, positive and listenable, it shines.

Highlights: I Love The Feeling, Looking For A Life, Got You Where He Wanted, Loveblind

3. Air Traffic Controller - Nordo

I had not those high expectations for the record. Then I read who produced it and got curious. And I wasn't disappointed. It's a very strong record. No fillers. All tracks shine on their own. That's a rare compliment.

Highlights: Blame, You Know Me, Any Way, Ready Or Not, Magic

4. Ben Folds Five - The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind

After long long years of no hope for a reunion the new record suddenly was there. It's a huge grower kind of a record - many of the songs unfold at second listen. 

Highlights: Sky High, Draw A Cloud, The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind, Michael Praytor, On Being Frank, Thank You For Breaking My Heart

5. Aimee Mann - Charmer

Charmer is the strongest Aimee Mann record for a long time (which doesn't mean the last records were bad!). It reminds me of Lost in Space.

Highlights: Labrador, Charmer, Soon Enough

6. Ken Stringfellow - Danzig in the Moonlight

To be honest, it first got my attention by the cover (which is really beautiful and shines on LP in all his glory). Then I had a chance to listen to the songs (I had no big expectations).  Danzig in the Moonlight is not a record I like in full, most of the songs are amazing pieces of work, a very few are not my cup of tea though.

Highlights: You're a Sign, Pray, History Buffs, Superwise

7. Sunday Sun - EP I-III

Sunday Sun suddenly got my attention with EP I and blew me away with EP II & III. Buy it here: Sunday Sun Official Website

Highlights: Ordinary Love, Sunday Sun, Ready Take A Left, Better Than That, Honest And True, Beating Low

8. Bryan Scary - Daffy's Elixir

Bryan Scary & The Shredding Tears where in my memories for their superb EP Mad Valentines from 2009. Daffy's Elixir tops it all.

Highlights: Ziegfield Station, Ballroom Kid, Day Glo Waterfalls, Wicked Frontier, The Tale Of Opal Dawn, Another Ace In The Hole

9. Ben Kweller - Go Fly A Kite

Ben Kweller's fifth record Go Fly A Kite is also his first record of his label The Noise Company

Highlights: Jealous Girl, Free, Mean To Me, The Rainbow

10. The Cry - The Cry

I can't even nearly say how often The Cry was recommended to me from different sources. And they were right. The Cry are somewhere between The Beach Boys, Jet, The Ramones and The Beatles, which means there's a highly enjoyable mix of 60s sound, punk and pop harmonies packed in 2 minute songs.

Highlights: Be True, Alone In The Dark, Down In The City, sleeping Alone, I Think I'm In Love, Wouldn't Last

PPS Mix Tape for Xmas 2012

It's only 24 days until Christmas Eve: here is my Mix Tape for Xmas 2012 - hope you like it:

01 - Kelly Jones - Kissing Santa On Christmas Eve
02 - Mike Viola - Give Me A Second Chance For Christmas 
03 - She & Him - The Christmas Waltz 
04 - Bleu - Cold, Cold Christmas 
05 - Jim Boggia - Christmas Baby Please 
06 - The Nines - It's Christmas 
07 - Farrah - Santa Don't Go
08 - Travis - Alone On Christmas Day 
09 - Jet - Back Door Santa
10 - Ron Sexsmith - Maybe This Christmas 
11 - Aimee Mann - Whatever Happened To Christmas 
12 - Ben Folds Five - Stumblin' Home Winter Blues 
13 - Eels - Everything's Gonna Be Cool This Christmas 
14 - David Mead - Christmas Is So Far Away 
15 - She & Him - Baby, It's Cold Outside 
16 - The Nines - Winter Song 
17 - Billy Mack - Christmas Is All Around 
18 - Jim Boggia - Christmas Wish 
19 - The Pogues - Fairytale Of New York
20 - The Darkness - Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)

Some songs are streamed here:
I made this tape not downloadable for copyright reasons and for protecting the artists. Some artists where already filtered by soundcloud. If there's still a problem with streaming the songs, I'll remove them immediately by request.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Kelly Jones - Kissing Santa On Christmas Eve (update: listen to the song)

Kelly Jones, known for her stellar record SheBANG! from 2008 (which was produced by Mike Viola) and the Melon EP (2010) returns this Christmas with the single Kissing Santa On Christmas Eve.

The song is an instant classic. Kelly is featured on vocals and glockenspiel, along with Mike Viola (guitars, bass, keyboards, also he produced the song), Eric  Summer (strings) and Scott Seiver (drums).
Kissing Santa On Christmas Eve is available online ( and  iTunes) December 4th, 2012.

You won't be disappointed - it is a perfect christmas song!

Listen here:

Kelly is also featured in the Bleusikal - the short musical for To Hell With You - the new record by Bleu (see my last post).

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bleu - To Hell With You (crowd funding the new record at

William James McAuley III, or as you may also know him - Bleu - releases his new record To Hell With You in February 2013. And he started a crowd funding campaign for it at
You can get autographed CDs, handwritten lyrics, house concerts (international!), a special for the 10th anniversary of the Readhead record (which is a very cool idea), skype concerts and he even produces your own EP!
So folks - you know what you have to do!

See more here: Bleu at Pledgemusic

Watch the promo video - it's the Bleusikal - mini-musical (featuring Kelly Jones):

Listen to three of the new songs at soundcloud:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

+ + + News November 2012 + + +

Bleu - New record

The new Bleu record is out in February 2013. You can listen to two of his new songs here:

Oh, and there's a Bleu Fan Group on Facebook:  

Mike Viola - Candy Butchers on vinyl

The never released first Candy Butchers record (some will know it as The Blue Thumb record) gets a very limited re-release. 

More information here:

It includes: LP, CD and digital download (all the mixes on the LP, a live concert from 1996 in New York City, home demos from Mike’s Bethune Street apartment). 

So people, hurry. This is preorder over soon!

Sunday Sun - EP I, II & III physical release

The three EPs of Sunday Sun are for sale now as a 3CD set in a beautiful package here: 

Neil Finn (Crowded House) - closing song for The Hobbit

The closing song for the New Peter Jackson movie The Hobbit is performed by no other than Neil Finn from Crowded House. The song is called Song of the Lonely Mountain.
It's the first of three The Hobbit movies. So who's singing next?


So, there are two new bands I'd like to share with you here. The first one is Hi-Electric.

If you like PowerPop and bands like Fountains Of Wayne, Semisonic or *gasp* Big Star, you should listen to their self-titled debut record which is out now.

The band - led by Neil Bartlett, backed by bassist Alan Yee and drummer Henry Talbot - is ready to take Hi-Electric outside of the city limits of Memphis, Tennessee.

Highlights: Tightrope, They're Only Words, Can't Say, It's Not You

Listen to Hi-Electric at soundcloud:

Official site:

Didn't Planet - We're Going Nowhere

So, new band number two: Didn't Planet. They started as a cover band, after ten years they began to write their own songs which lead to the record We're Going Nowhere. It is a concept album about being a cover band.

Being a cover band is explained by Didn't Planet: "We know it ain’t easy. Friends that 'promise to be there on Friday night… REALLY!' bar owners who inexplicably can’t remember who you are after 7 years of booking with them, countless requests for songs you don’t play, and even more countless requests to 'turn down the drums.' Add to that the sheer number of us out there... if cover bands were pigeons, Greater Boston would be Harvard Square at lunchtime. Thousands, identical to the untrained eye, all vying for the same French Fries."

Musically Didn't Planet is settled somewhere between alternative rock (Green Day) and power pop (Fountains Of Wayne).

Now for the songs:
MaryAnne(e) and We're Going Nowhere are power pop gems.  
California and Over You are very catchy and have a strong FoW feeling.  
Adam could be the next Green Day single (which not a bad thing to say, is it?).  
Kinda Got It Goin' On reminds me of the old days of rock 'n' roll, nice!
The record closes with a nice little song Someday I Might.

The only negative thing about the record: I don't like the first track. It's not a proper track, more like an intro. That could have been left out. Well, that's just a small complaint.

Overall: A great effort for a first record! Keep up the good work!

Listen here:

Official site:

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mike Viola Returns Again To The Time Machine

This is the third time Mike Viola is guest at The Time Machine with Michael McCartney. Listen here:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ken Stringfellow - Danzig In The Moonlight

Ken Stringfellow is a musician, songwriter, producer and arranger with more than 20 years of music experience. His band The Posies releases critically acclaimed records since 1988, he was part of rock legends Big Star and spent ten years on the road and in studio with R.E.M.
Ken's onstage and on-album appearances range from Snow Patrol to Neil Young, Patti Smith and Death Cab For Cutie.
He even had time to put out three solo albums - 1997: This Sounds Like Goodbye, 2001: Touched and 2004: Soft Commands.

Ken is set release his fourth album, "Danzig in the Moonlight" October 1st on Lojinx in Europe. By the way, I love the wordplay with the album title. I wonder how many people misread it.

Track list:
1. Jesus Was An Only Child
2. 110 Or 220 V
3. Superwise
4. Shittalkers
5. History Buffs
6. You're The Gold
7. Drop Your Pride
8. Pray
9. 4am Birds - The End of All Light - The Last Radio
10. Odorless, Colorless, Tasteless
11. Even the Forgers Were Left Fingering the Fakes
12. Doesn't It Remind You of Something (feat. Charity Rose Theilen)
13. Savior's Hands
14. You're A Sign

Jesus Was An Only Child is a stunning opening track, starting very relaxed and filigree but suddenly bursts out into something completely different (no, I won't mention Bowie here!). 110 Or 220 V gives you a great acoustic feeling. The next three songs Superwise, Shittalkers and History Buffs are my personal highlights from the record. All three are extremely catchy, with wonderful harmonies and lyrics. Drop Your Pride is a dark and splendid song, Pray is a perfect radio single: it's easy-going and laid-back which isn't a bad thing at all. You're A Sign closes the record with a beautiful ballad, that's alone worth buying this album!

Preorder "Danzig In The Moonlight" here:

Sunday Sun - EP I & EP II

"Sunday Sun provides the ideal soundtrack for carefree days with timeless pop songs to fall in love."
This is from the official website from Sunday Sun. Though it looks like a cliché, it fits perfectly to them. The band is the brainchild of Koen-Willem Toering, Yoshi Breen, Wouter Rentema and Jan Strasbourg, they come from the Netherlands (you may suggested it already).
EP I and EP II are already out - EP III is released on October 12, 2012. And I highly recommend them to you. Please listen below.

By the way: thanks to Miyuki who introduced them to me. I'd missed so much good music without your help!

Official website:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Music - August 2012

There are loads of new record releases either out this month or coming in the next weeks. Let's start with...

Freddie Mercury - Barcelona (Special Edition)

I’m moving into opera now. Forget rock and roll
Freddie Mercury (1987)

25 years after the original release, Queen singer Freddie Mercury’s Barcelona album recorded in collaboration with Spanish operatic soprano Montserrat Caballé, is to have a special re-release.
The record will get a fully orchestrated rework.
It'll be available on CD, CD Special Edition (CD1: A full orchestrated rework of the Barcelona album, CD2: Rarities from the Barcelona sessions, CD3: Barcelona instrumental version and a DVD with videos and interviews) and on vinyl (release: September 3 2012). Listen to the samples here:

Aimee Mann - Charmer

Aimee's all new record Charmer is available for preorder (release: September 18, 2012) on CD and Vinyl (you can also get things like a Charmer turntable slip mat and a free art print).
Listen to samples from Charmer here or watch the official video here:

Ben Folds Five - The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind 

The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind is out on September 18 2012 on Vinyl & CD. You still can preorder it from Pledgemusic.
It's Ben Folds Five's first record since the 1999 The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner.

Track list:

1. "Erase Me"    
2. "Michael Praytor, Five Years Later"
3. "Sky High"  
4. "The Sound Of The Life Of The Mind" 
5. "On Being Frank"
6. "Draw A Crowd"
7. "Do It Anyway"
8. "Hold That Thought" 
9. "Away When You Were Here"
10. "Thank You For Breaking My Heart"  

The Darkness - Hot Cakes

Hot Cakes is out now on Vinyl, CD and Special Edition (including four bonus tracks).

Aerosmith - Music From Another Dimension

The release of Music From Another Dimension is slightly pushed back to November 5 2012. The first single is Legendary Child - and it's an instant Aerosmith classic!

Track list:

2. Oh Yeah 
3. Beautiful 
4. Tell Me 
5. Out Go the Lights 
6. Legendary Child 
7. What Could Have Been Love 
8. Street Jesus 
9. Can't Stop Loving You (feat Carrie Underwood) 
10. Love Her A Lot 
11. We All Fall Down 
12. Shakey Ground 
13. Closer 
14. Something 
15. Another Last Goodbye

Bleu - It's Not Over ('Til it's Over And Done)

One of the two singer songwriters that were the initial reasons for this blog* - Bleu McAuley - will have a new record out. It is set for February 2013, and the first song from it - It's Not Over ('Til it's Over And Done) - is streaming on soundcloud. It's musically located somewhere between Four and Redhead. The song is more electronic, powerful and gripping. If this is an indication for the direction of the new record, I'm jazzed!
Icing on the cake: It was written by Bleu and David Mead!

* The other artist is not hard to guess by means of my last posts...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mike Viola - Future Horror Hockey Game

On August 15th 2012 there was a Mike Viola web show at (Notes from Underground #3). The result of this show was the song Future Horror Hockey Games.
It's a song about a tip fight of two guys - Alex & Andy - at this web show (and yes, one of them is me...). The song is available here:

Lyrics - Future Horror Hockey Games

Andy is a super fan from Germany
Alex just finished college with a bachelors degree
This song is the story of how they lost themselves
It starts on August 15th 2012

They were bidding in an online forum for the song I am singing now
The bidding started innocent but ended in thousands and
Thousand of tokens neither could afford
But it's so hard not to rush in
Once you open that door

There was  a secret weapon that Alex had in mind
Launched at the last second at a very specific time
All the fans around him would cower at his feet
Except for one called Leschnik he was impossible to beat

Andy used his super powers at the end of the fight
Coffey just finished college so he'd been up for 3 nights
He fell asleep at his computer right before the official end
Andy did not stop punching he never got up again

So here we are forever the subject of this song
Love is so mysterious it'll never do you wrong
If your a fan a dad a mother everybody wins
As sure as there are guardian angels on the head of a pin

Paul kelly and the messengers costello crowded house
squeeze before that rolling stone review that smoked them out
the clash the cars the who gordon lightfoot joni mitch
Grahm Parker and the Figgs would definitely make the list

the list of people let in to a very secret club
Where men smoke hand rolled cigarettes right down to the nub
Where women are called ladies and go powder their nose
In a table by the kitchen their sits a girl named Rose

Let's sing about the strange case of Baby Katie Blade
her mother Rose was generous she gave and gave and gave
but Andy and Alex just treated her like dirt
said "go back to your garden before somebody gets hurt"

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Mike Viola: Blue Thumb album on vinyl & StageIt online shows

The Blue Thumb album on vinyl

The long lost Blue Thumb album of The Candy Butchers will be released by Mike Viola this Christmas.

It'll likely include the album on vinyl, a CDR and also bonus tracks. Stay tuned!

Some words of its development and the sad end of the project:

After the recording was finished the album was mixed and re-mixed several times and a potential single pulled and mixed by Bob Clearmountain. Lots of money was spent. Sadly, Blue Thumb went belly up (“it wasn’t our fault!”) and the Candy Butchers debut album was never released.
Our manager shopped the finished record around but we had amassed such a debt from all the re-mixing (a decision made by the powers that had been) nobody wanted to sign us cause they’d be taking on all this debt. It was crazy. I was sitting on this record that was basically my life’s work up to that point. Knowing in the back of my mind it would never be released. 

StageIt shows - Notes from the Underground

If you never had the chance to see Mike Viola live, here's the closest thing to a live gig: StageIt. Five shows ("Notes from the Underground") were scheduled, two of them are already over. You can pay what you can for it. Each of them lasts about 50 minutes. It's worth every penny you can spend!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Mike Viola - Acousto De Perfecto (Review)

Sometimes there are records that have to be on vinyl, not only because the audiophile enhancement, but also because of yet another difference to the CD medium: vinyl has two sides. Acousto De Perfecto is one of these records. 
Listening to the CD I thought "This is a strange concept". You'll find new songs like Secret Radio and Primary Care Taker, new versions of known songs like Soundtrack Of My Summer or Hair Of The Dog and instrumental parts. 
I was slightly surprised ... until I saw the LP track list: Side A are completely new songs, Side B consist of new interpretations, and both sides each end with an instrumental part.
And suddenly it fits very well.
The record is a collaboration between Mike Viola and LA-based violists Eric Summer and Kate Reddish. The latter deliver a whole new level to the songs.

Acousto De Perfecto cover
About Secret Radio, the opener of the album, Mike explains it "(...) was written onstage live at a show in Charlotte NC. This guy, a fan of pop music was putting on a "pop fest". He paid all his favorite pop artists to come to NC, put them (us) up in hotels and rented out this hall. Maybe a gym at a college? Can't remember. Anyway. About 13 people showed up on a rainy Friday night. It was an utter failure. It spoke volumes about the distorted self-perception that fans of pop music have about their pop brethren. That's another story. An ugly long story. The story of Secret Radio is me singing to those 13 people. Explaining something in song. that  they are the reason I try and try again. And always will. No matter how pathetic the numbers." 

"Songs, songs, songs. 
They pour out of me. 
Not all of them are worth finishing, 
but you gotta finish them to see. 
For people like you. 
Who keep it turned on. 
For people like you. 
I've been singing to all along. 
On My Secret Radio."
Secret Radio

And that's why people like me buy your records, Mike. It's a really superb song. Just beautiful. (more from the interview for PowerPopSquare can be found here).

Happy and Normal, Date Night and Primary Care Giver also benefit from involvement of both violinists. One of the highlights from Side A is I'm Your Dog. The song is the perfect 2 minute pop song that only Mike Viola can create (see: Strawberry Blonde or So Much Better). With a length of just 100 seconds he's done an instant classic. Side A ends with Thing in C, a stunning string instrumental. It's a really beautiful and emotional piece of work of Eric Summer and Kate Reddish.
Side B starts with new interpretations of three Electro De Perfecto songs (El Mundo De Perfecto, Soundtrack Of My Summer, Closet Cutter) and an older favorite of mine: Hair Of The Dog. It closes also with a second viola instrumental part (Tony Leather Tips) leading into a "unexpected" finale.

Track list (LP)

Side A
  1. Secret Radio
  2. Happy and Normal
  3. Date Night
  4. Primary Care Giver
  5. I'm Your Dog
  6. Thing In C
Side B
  1. El Mundo De Perfecto
  2. Soundtrack Of My Summer
  3. Closet Cutter
  4. Hair Of The Dog
  5. Tony Leather Tips
Postscript: We European are eager to see more Mike Viola live gigs! Hope you come back some day!