Sunday, June 24, 2018

Memory, Yet Green

Free, independent SF audio adventure – a mind-bending, twisty, time travel tale this week read by your host and author Mike Luoma from his collection Alibi Jones and the Time War of The Devrizium – the stand-alone short story Alibi Jones: Memory, Yet Green! Alibi wakes up an old man. Only... he doesn't remember growing old. He has memories, somehow, but something isn't right! The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Always free to subscribe, download and listen. Now on Spotify! 

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Best Album of 2018 So Far - The Moondoggies "A Love Sleeps Deep"

My nomination for the Best Album of the first half of 2018 - The Moondoggies - A Love Sleeps Deep

I'd like to thank God, Serendipity, the Powers of the Universe, our Benevolent Overlords, Lords of Karma or whoever pretends to be running the cosmos for pulling The Moondoggies out of my lifelong dreams of the perfect band, lifting them right out of my subconscious or unconscious, very kind of you.

You see, when I was a kid I used to draw this band, all long hair and shaggy beards - think I called them High Castle, and this was when I was young, before I was even aware of Philip K. Dick... My ideal configuration - A singer & rhythm guitarist, lead guitarist (playing some ethereal slide as well, preferably), bassist, keyboardist and drummer, with at least two of the other musicians singing backup vocals. Later, when I tried to start a couple bands, that was even the lineup I'd try to get together.

The band of my drawings bears a great resemblance to The Moondoggies! 

Easy Coming opens A Love Sleeps Deep, introduces the band and sets the tone. This is what's to come - a chiming slide guitar and organ hint at an early Floyd influence, yet the harmony vocals, powerful and layered, owe more to Bruce, Clapton and Cream. Organ fills the spaces while the slide guides the ear through shifting changes, beautiful, melodic riffs, repeated phrases and soaring choruses. They're not afraid to be majestic.

Given my references to those classic bands, know that The Moondoggies are more than the sum of their influences and parts. They mine the past for fuel to power the future - figuratively ingesting and digesting the greats to then bring forth their own beautiful musical constructions.

For A Love Sleeps Deep is a frikkin' ALBUMS! I still get CDs because I still like ALBUMS.

If some kind of definition is needed, I'd classify an Album as a musical work about 45 minutes long with some unifying principle. The "Unifying Principle" could be as simple as all songs by one band. A double album is about 90 minutes. Note: the 70-minute capacity of the CD led some artists to over-indulge - I'm looking at you, Sting! - and bloat a 45-minute work up to 70 to fill the format. Luckily, this did not last.

Although determined itself by the configuration of a vinyl LP, one could argue that the 45 minute album format has some sort of intrinsic form, some Platonic ideal, as after a short period of bloat, released musical works fell back into the traditional 45-minute long configuration.

Oh. And singles were there all along, though their strength and appeal of course grew with the explosion of mp3 downloads. Singles are snack food. The best Albums are meals.

The weakest albums - in "coherence" - are compilations of singles - compare early US releases by The Beatles and the Stones vs. their later complete album works and you can see what I mean. Or any Greatest Hits collection by a band to one of their complete album works. The intention reflected in the art of creating and organizing an album sets it apart, to greater and lesser degrees, the extremes perhaps being the Hit Singles Compilation and the Concept Album.


Digression done.

A Love Sleeps Deep is a great fucking album - don't mind the F-bomb, needed to get back to rock n' roll! Clocks in at 44 minutes - ding! There is intent, and cohesion - it's not (apparently) a concept album, yet opening song Easy Coming and closer Underground (A Love Sleeps Deep) are woven from similar musical cloth - a beautiful tapestry of influences and originality! They run 6+ and 8+ minutes, respectively, allowing the listener to submerge and get lost in them.

And in between? There is a satisfying flow - in fact, track 2 Cinders segues right into track 3 Match. Each tune stands out for different reasons. Sometimes a change in keyboards sets it apart, as when the piano opens Promises, or the more Farfisa-esque organ sound opens Cinders. The opener and closer are the longest tracks, everything else is around four or five minutes.

This is an album - you put it on and leave it on. The only thing that would make the CD more like a classic vinyl release would be if you had to get up to flip it over halfway through. There is a variety to the tunes, yet a unity to the work. The flow here does satisfy. You know... you might find you have to leave it on when you play it!

Soviet Barn Fire is another stand out track. The bare naked guitar riff opening proclaims the six-string's dominance of this one. By the time the lead rips out, another classic heavy rock outfit is recalled, as the tune has the feel of classic Leslie West and Mountain epics like Theme For An Imaginary Western or Nantucket Sleigh Ride - which also share a Cream influence.

Now, I'm calling these older bands "influences", but I don't know how aware of Pink Floyd, Cream, Mountain or other classic rockers The Moondoggies themselves are. Haven't had a chance to ask them. This is what I'm hearing in A Love Sleeps Deep. There's also much that is pure Moondoggies!

The CD packaging is quite Album-like. Released on Sub-Pop's "sister" label Hardly Art, the labels' trademark oversize cardboard sleeve opens to reveal lyrics superimposed on a band photo. The CD inside is protected by an inner sleeve, like a vinyl record, a beautiful sunset photo on one side, a few album credits on the other. And on the CD, some crazy manipulated photo art.

2018 has been a great year for new music so far - setting a high bar for The Moondoggies A Love Sleeps Deep to rise above to become my Best Album of the year to this point. It's one of those albums I want to play for everyone I know - not that many people know the band outside of their native Pacific Northwest. Makes me want to turn more people onto this amazing release - go listen!

The YouTube link is above - or check out The Moondoggies A Love Sleeps Deep on Spotify:  

Friday, June 22, 2018

A Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Music Extra with Matt Hutton & Sean Toohey

A special Music Extra! Just heard on Mike Luoma welcomes musicians Matt Hutton and Sean Toohey into his living room for a conversation about their 25 years of making music together in Spray 9, Envy and The Red Telephone. It's in honor of a special gig Matt and Sean play at Radio Bean in Burlington (VT) this Saturday night, June 23rd, from 7p until 9p: The Hutton – Toohey Disaster: 25 Years of Songs and Sounds – where the two of them will play a set of music from throughout their career. 

From their days in Burlington as students at UVM, through local fame as Envy's popularity increased, to their move to Boston, forming The Red Telephone and signing to Warner Bros. - on to leaving the label for indie success, and up through recent reunions, Matt and Sean share a look back in words and music on a special Glow-in-the-Dark Radio Music Extra!   

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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Remember Two Things?

Join us this week for Free audio science fiction adventure and the stand-alone short story Alibi Jones: Remember Two Things narrated by host and author Mike Luoma on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Alibi Jones and the Time War of The Devrizium continues, as Alibi tries to figure out why he has two sets of memories of a single event – how can he remember something happening two different ways? It's a great time to listen as The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue! Subscribe and/or download Mike's original, independent SF for free – now on Spotify! 

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Wow... Wolfhand!

Wolfhand... Wow! It is kind of amazing to find a new band whose music you love, isn't it?

Was meditating in my room last night - you know, trying to figure out life and stuff - when the urge to see live music hit hard - the need to feel some bass, hear some shredding guitar, fall into entrainment with the rhythm, the beat. From an inkling through an urge it grew into action, and so I walked to The Monkey House in Winooski  to check out Wolfhand, A Deer A Horse, Father Figuer, and Greaseface.

Our Burlington, Vermont music scene is incredible, always has been - discovered that when I came up to St. Michael's College in the fall of '83. First two weekends featured crazy good live bands: Freshman "Dance", The Decentz, the Welcome Back "Dance", Pinhead. So tight! Great musicians and performers. Had to ask, "Where are they from?" Here. Really? Struck me then - guess great music has to come from somewhere!

Used to be, you'd see a line-up of bands in a club listing and, if you didn't know the bands, have to kind of guess at what they'd be playing, usually based on their names: "Screaming Broccoli? Huh. Punk? Maybe?" Now, you check the Facebook Event, follow links to band pages and Soundcloud and Bandcamp, you can listen to some tunes and maybe get some idea of what you might hear.

Arrived a little after 10, rather sure I'd missed one of the bands. A loud, loose young punk band was thrashing on stage, which I think was Greasepaint. It was a sparse crowd - easy to spot members of two other bands hanging together. The short-haired women were probably A Deer, A Horse, and it seemed a pretty safe bet the guys in black were Wolfhand. I'd missed Father Figuer.

The band on stage finished their fun. A Deer, A Horse ripped through a visceral set full of shredding leads, emotional to screaming vocals, and great globs of sustained bass. Felt good. But I was really looking forward to Wolfhand, based on the all of 15 minutes I'd spent checking out snippets of music deciding which live show to head out to. The little I'd heard of their stuff made me curious - sounded like dark, progressive rock. Which I kind of like.

Turned out to be just what I needed! To use some lazy musical shorthand, the music sounded like early, darker-edged, instrumental Pink Floyd. Definitely heavier in spots. Ambient in others. Very cinematic - a sense of epic scale, at times. They were playing before only a handful of us, but they poured themselves into it, and the small crowd was enrapt, and as appreciative with applause as we could be.

The way I'm wired, if I'm getting into a band and its music, I need to tell everyone about them. That's why I'm a Music Director. And, thus this blog post. Last night, it began with Instagram:

Spoke briefly with a couple band members after, expressing my love for what I'd heard. Don't know anyone in the band, which kind of makes it cooler, somehow? Adds mystique, in a way. Got home, bought their music on bandcamp, "Liked" their facebook page, sent them a facebook message telling them I'd liked their set, shared more posts on facebook and Twitter... can't help myself. When I get into a band and their music, this is what I do!

There's a looseness, still, in their recorded output available on bandcamp. They were a bit tighter live. They announced from the stage last night that they're going into the studio to record a new album - which I'm now very much looking forward to.

Downloaded what I could from bandcamp. Picked up their PLAGUELANDS EP, which came out in December - Bandit Cult (7:15), Plague Bearer (6:44), and Doomed Convoy (6:44). Also got the other tracks at bandcamp - the Doomed Convoy (Demo) (7:33) and Desert Altar (Demo) (10:23) from early 2017, and That Weapon Will Replace Your Tongue (9:24) from the fall of 2016.

Check out Doomed Convoy:

I'm so looking forward to seeing them live again! The next event I see listed is at Higher Ground on July 20th, supporting Voices In Vain at their record release show. There are a few bands on the bill - hope they get some time to play.

Their live set last night was exactly what I needed. Love it when the stars align!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

"About Time" You Listened!

Get Free audio science fiction adventure narrated by host and author Mike Luoma on every episode of Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Subscribe and/or download Mike's original, independent SF for free. And join us this week for the short stand-alone story Alibi Jones: About Time as The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue! 

Alibi's old lover Shirra seems to specialize in getting into deep trouble. When she shows up with a box stolen from the mysterious, time-travelling race known as The Devrizium, major consequences soon follow. Alibi ends up beside himself. Literally! Time travel, old lovers, hostile aliens – it's a great time to listen, a new start as Alibi Jones and the Time War of The Devrizium begins!  

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Monday, June 04, 2018

Escape Is At Hand?

Escape is at hand for the traveling band – Alibi Jones, his ex-girlfriend Katie Ramsey, and the Dakhur Kitrafgrundlerralkazh aka Kit. They've made it off the surface of the planet Kismet – have they really escaped? Maybe... it is the end of Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of HurChapter Twenty-Nine and the Epilog – as The Adventures of Alibi Jones continue on Glow-in-the-Dark Radio! Your host, writer Mike Luoma, narrates his science fiction – you get free audio adventures every episode! Want to listen to Alibi Jones and The Sunrise of Hur all the way through? Head back to Episode 445, released back in August of 2017, for Chapter One. And join us next week as Alibi Jones and the Time War of The Devrizium begins!  

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Friday, June 01, 2018

Spotlight Song of the Day - Million Miles "Ice Cream and Cigarettes"

Hey! Been a while. Like... almost a month! Two reasons - hadn't heard anything that made me jump up and shout, "I must shine a musical spotlight on this!" And? I've been busy working on this streaming station you need to know about -! Join me live each weekday at Noon (ET), and check out the mix I help set up the rest of the time - we've put together an adult alternative radio station that doesn't insult your musical intelligence. You can listen on TuneIn, too: WBKM - Burlington's Kinda Music. Our app is in development now.

Maybe it was all the focus on my new gig, but nothing brand-new really grabbed my attention. Until last night - as I listened to a wave of new releases, there were several tracks that hit me - that demanded I pay attention. Which was good, as I was lining up music for Fresh Cuts. Which, as I write, is coming up in a couple of hours, Friday at Noon on The new tunes lined up to take their turns in the spotlight, too - got some new Spotlight Songs of the Day on the way.

First, I'd ask you to listen to the amazing vocals of Sophie Baudry - Million Miles - on this new one "Ice Cream and Cigarettes" - man! She makes a statement here, establishes an immediate presence, blows you away with the pureness of her tone coupled with an emotional investment that shines through her talent and vocal prowess. She's good! Her PR makes her sound worldly as well - raised in Paris, lives in London, trained at the Berklee School of Music in Boston - and she wrote and recorded her debut EP in Nashville.

The EP - Berry Hill - came out back in November, but is only now surfacing and garnering attention. Sometimes, it takes a while. But a talent like Sophie Baudry's  can't long be denied - listen to "Ice Cream and Cigarettes" and see what you think. Check it out!



And remember to listen in to at Noon (ET) on weekdays!