Thursday, January 28, 2010


Here, especially for your posting and sharing pleasure, is Metroid Metal's astoundingly crushing "Theme (NES)" MP3 off the new Varia Suite full-length! (Please note that the last MP3s I sent your way weren't from the full-length and were intended to be extas shared for fun--I want to clean up any confusion where that's concerned. Okay? Okay.)....



Metroid Metal is a collection of high-energy arrangements from the Metroid video game series. Originally the brainchild of Grant Henry, MM has garnered fans and praise from a stunning variety of humans from the gaming community, the metal/hard rock universe, devotees of prog, space rockers and people who didn't even know how viscerally they'd respond to MM's smart arrangements, nuances and graceful power.

The winter of 2008 brought Metroid Metal the opportunity to perform live for the first time, and Henry pulled together a group of musicians that were to become not only MM's live incarnation, but their final studio lineup. After the success at MAGfest 2009 (where the band played to literally thousands of screaming fans), the decision was made to re-record the best of the band's canon with the live group for Varia Suite, MM's first studio record.

The new album, released from Silent Uproar records, contains 14 tracks, totaling 50 minutes of uptime. In Henry's words, "It's a reinvention of a reinvention with a more human, solid, and commanding sound than any of the Metroid Metal material so far."

Please get in touch (joan at riotactmedia dot com) for your review copy, to interview Grant Henry, or for more info on Metroid Metal....until then, enjoy!


1. Prelude (SM)
2. Lower Norfair (SM)
3. Brinstar (NES)
4. Item Room (NES)
5. Item Collect (NES)
6. Kraid (NES) 02:39
7. Ridley (NES) 02:06
8. Phendrana Drifts (MP)
9. Boss Medley (SM)
10. The Tunnel (M2)
11. Space Pirates (MP)
12. Maridia/Escape (SM/NES)
13. Ending (NES)
14. Theme (NES)


Guitar - Grant Henry (Stemage)
Guitar - Dan Behrens
Guitar - Micheal Molnar
Bass - Dan Taylor
Drums - Kevin Lawrence


Check it out HERE. The band, who plays the Crocodile in Seattle this Saturday the 30th and the Doug Fir in Portland on 2/4, play "Holiday" (BeeGees cover, below), "Ghost of an Earthworm", "Night Bats" and "Wax and Wire" from their new NIGHT BATS EP (Hush Records), as well as "Spine" and "Blue Lead Fences". Enjoy!

Loch Lomond - Holiday - Luxury Wafers Sessions from Luxury Wafers on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I have just watched this five times in a row. Directed by Don Giovanni label head Joe Steinhardt! "Resilient Bastard" is off the upcoming RUMORS IN DISGUISE LP, which is out in two weeks (2/9). EMAIL US (joan at riotactmedia dot com or nathan at riotactmedia dot com) for yr review copy if you don't already have it.

SHELLSHAG PLAYING MUSICS SHOWS (including the massive Don Giovanni label showcase on 2/6 at Bowery in NYC, the crazy Harvest of Hope fest in Florida and SXSW):
02.06.10 - NYC @ Bowery Ballroom (Don Giovanni label showcase & record release!)
03.05.10 - Brooklyn NY@ Cedar Mansion Brooklyn
03.08.10 - Columbus, OH @ Carabar
03.09.10 - Athens OH @ Smiling Skull Saloon
03.10.10 - Asheville NC @ Static Age Records
03.11.10 - Athens GA @ Caledonia
03.12.10 - St. Augustine FL@ Harvest of Hope Festival
03.13.10 - Pensacola FL @ Sluggos
03.14.10 - New Orleans, LA @ Dragons Den
03.15.10 - Houston, TX @ Super Happy Funland
03.18.10 - Austin, TX @ Ben Snakepit's party (SXSW)
03.19.10 - Austin, TX @ Lew from Wild America's party (SXSW)
03.21.10 - Austin, TX @ Beerland (Panache party) (SXSW)
03.27.10 - Chattanooga, TN @ Sluggos

In attempts to dance about Shellshag's architecture, they've been explained as an amalgam of The Breeders, Sonic Youth, The Ramones, DFA, David Byrne, Guided By Voices, Moldy Peaches and early Superchunk—and, because they're a male guitarist/female drummer duo, those touch points (Jack and Meg, Matt and Kim, Juicifer) get tossed around like so much confetti, too. They've played with everyone from Iggy Pop, The Slits, The Cramps, Lightning Bolt and J. Mascis to Evan Dando, Les Savy Fav, Shonen Knife and their label mates Screaming Females, and their first (and now out of print) Gary Young EP was recorded by Pavement's Gary Young in 2004. Together, Johnny "Shell" and Jen "Shag", have forged a legacy on both coasts over the course of this crazy thing we call life: as seminal members of the '90s DIY scene in San Francisco, they ran the now-legendary public arts space Starcleaners, the former home of the Dandy Warhols, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Residents and others, they launched their own label of the same name, releasing Destroy Me, I'm Yours in 2007, and they moved to Brooklyn, forming Shellshag and becoming integral members of the Jersey-based Don Giovanni family of artists and musicians.

The thing to get, though, is that, aside from the universal truth that all roads point to now, it's not their back story, tour history or the fishing lure mentions of the scads of played-withs and sounds-likes that is of import. What is of import is that, with Rumors In Disguise, Shellshag has not only made their most incredible, inspired, hooky, crunchy, distilled and concentrated record yet—they've made the record that will define what making music in the new decade should be like. Joyous, raw, engaging, innovative, personal, weird, loud, fucking communicative, inclusive, pure. You know, the kind of qualities that made the experience of digesting and living music magnetic to begin with. That's this record.

The record's heart-theme is made up of the stuff we all, as evolving humans, struggle with, as the band explains: "Most of the songs on the record are about hope and despair, love and survival, death and fear." From the grin-laced stubborn pride in Shell's vocals on "Resillient Bastard" to Jen Shag's tom-heavy heartbeat rhythms on crunchy duet "Means That Much", every inch put to tape is as real as it gets. Finding honesty and purity of creative expression in the vastness of what our musical landscape has evolved into is a more difficult task than ever before, and it takes a band like Shellshag and a record like Rumors in Disguise to answer that search. Now, listen.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


"From the "Victoria"-mined verve of "Prince of Tacoma" to the quiet beauty of "100 Calorie Man", no stretch is skip-over territory. Every song is irrepressible in its own right." Read the full review HERE.

Monday, January 25, 2010



JANUARY 25, 2009, PORTLAND, OR: Tender Loving Empire artists Church knew that, right along with the myriad of great opportunities currently being afforded the band, those pesky things called “copyright issues” might come a-knockin some day due to their not-uncommon (and, incidentally, tough to Google search) moniker. A handful of weeks ago, the inevitable happened: representatives of legendary Australian band The Church got in touch with Portland’s Church to kindly point out that, the law being what it is, a name change was in order for the Oregonian quartet. No hard feelings, of course—it’s just the law, and besides, the band (or their publicists and label, anyway) had already been considering ways to solve the problem of being tough to find online.

Portland’s Church has now officially changed their name to Hosannas. On the subject of how they settled on this particular name, the band explains thusly: “I suppose you can just tell people it was whispered in my ear by the magic pink dolphin that saved my life last month. It translates literally to ‘save, please’ and I mean it to be a talisman that keeps us safe while on the road.” The story about the pink dolphin is fodder for a future press release that will be sent when the time is right. Speaking of good times, the band has several upcoming dates in Portland and Seattle, all of which are listed below.

1/31/10: PDX, OR @ Rontom’s (Rontom’s 100th show! W/Dirty Mittens, Jared Mees, Nick Jaina)
2/11/10: PDX, OR @ Mississippi Studios (Haiti benefit w/Blue Giant, The Minus 5, Laura Gibson)
2/12/10: PDX, OR @ The Pink Room (w/Double + Good, Orca Team, Chrome Wings)
2/18/10: PDX, OR @ Portland State University, Parkway North, Smith Student Union
3/13/10: Seattle, WA @ University of Seattle (@ The Bistro)
3/14/10: PDX, OR @ Knife Shop

For more information, contact Joan Hiller Depper and Nathan Walker at Riot Act Media (,

Hosannas on MySpace:
Tender Loving Empire:


D. Crane & Co. just sent us this tremendous new video for "100 Calorie Man" off the tremendous SETTING THE PACES (Magic Marker) with the caviat: "It doesn't have a high production value, but neither do we." Au contraire, BOAT! Bravo, dudes.

Friday, January 15, 2010


"Screaming Females (who will NOT be at SXSW because they plan to record their new album during that time) play a showcase for their label, Don Giovanni Records, at Bowery Ballroom on February 6th (tickets still on sale). Also on the bill are forgetters, Shellshag, The Measure (SA), Black Wine, Groucho Marxists and JEFF The Brotherhood, who tour with Screaming Females into February."

"Screaming Females are giving New Brunswick, NJ a good name. In 2009, the trio signed with the label Don Giovanni (also based out of New Brunswick), released their third LP, Power Move, and were courted by the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Dinosaur Jr., and Throwing Muses to go out on tour. Their diminuitive frontwoman Marissa Paternoster was even named “Best Shredder in New York City 2009″ by the Village Voice. (Children eat your heart out!) 2010 finds the Females prepping for tour and getting creative with some old 7″s. They’ve compiled six of their rarest tracks into one forthcoming collection, Singles, for which Paternoster did all the original artwork. You can download the track “I Do” here. It sounds like the kind of song I would’ve cranked in my bedroom in high school, screaming along with the opening line “I dig on calculus” and feeling very smart and rebellious. It’s a testament to the Females that the urge remains today."

"Ben Barnett has spent most of his musical life writing songs and performing under the guise of Kind of Like Spitting, an unpredictable project that released eight albums, including their standout, 2002's Bridges Worth Burning (one of my favorite records of last decade, for its aggressive drumming, shamelessly honest lyrics, and guitar riffs even heavier than the thoughts that were clearly weighing on Barnett's shoulders). Soon after that, Barnett disappeared from my radar. Kind of Like Spitting ceased to release new material after 2006, and it all felt like a dream. But now Barnett is back! And while it's too early to tell how I feel about his new band, Blunt Mechanic (I've only heard two songs), it's exciting that such a fearless songwriter has returned to the spotlight."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Listen to "Debutantes" here:

Listen to "El Rio De Los Nudos" here:

Adopted Oregonian Raúl Pastor Medall (a.k.a. Rauelsson) has been busy over the past seasons, not only flying the North pole skies back and forth between the Pacific Northwest, where he resides currently, and the lands of his native Spain, but also working on three different projects to be published in the near future: a score for a documentary film entitled 'From River to Sea', a collaboration with his admired friend, multinstrumentalist Peter Broderick, and his first full length album, 'La Siembra, la Espera y la Cosecha' to be released in the US in 180 g clear vinyl limited edition and digital formats in January 2010 via HUSH Records.

In 'La Siembra, la Espera y la Cosecha', Rauelsson expands his inviting sense of melody and arrangement yet the organic construct of its songs remains based on his willingness to work with a simple, though evocative, palette of acoustic ingredients. Produced by Portland's finest Adam Selzer (M.Ward, The Decemberists, Mirah, Laura Gibson, Loch Lomond, etc.) and co-produced by Dave Depper and Raúl, the album presents a noble collection of eleven songs which grandeur resides primarily on their well captured subtle sensibility. With emotive, dynamic transitions between austere to rich, sombre to bright territories, the production's prevailing mission was to respect the original conception of the album: a cohesive musical and thematic observation of the fragility of life and the immenseness of love as a response to such fragility. Since nature and its untamed energy provided a lyrical and sonic motif to the majority of these tracks, an organic, earthy sound corresponded.

The core of the album was recorded at Type Foundry, Portland, OR, during the fall/winter of 08/09, with Dave Depper (Jolie Holland, Loch Lomond, Norfolk and Western, etc.) and Rachel Blumberg (M.Ward, Jolie Holland, Mirah, Norfolk and Western, etc.) as the spine of this vertebrate ensemble. Without much rehearsal or pre-production, Dave and Rachel followed their intuition and tracked most of their material live to a 2" tape machine, layering pianos, bells, bass and percussion over Raúl's figerpicked nylon and acoustic guitars. Reel-to-reel magnetic tapes awaited for Raúl's return as, back in Spain, he retreated in the Mediterranean country side to concentrate on lyrics. Surrounded by a mountainous scenario, with a small recording equipment, he tracked most of his vocal parts in ancient stone-walled houses, searching for spaces where natural reverb could propel words and sounds and integrate with the music as another instrument. Returned to Portland, Raúl worked with Adam for a couple of weeks at Type Foundry on finishing and mixing these songs. During those days, the springtime blossoms brought friends/HUSH cohorts to the studio, and they contributed with vocals (Laura Gibson, Loch Lomond's Ritchie Young), strings (Amanda Lawrence, Heather W. Broderick) and other instrumentation that spooled together into a cohesive whole. 'La Siembra, la Espera y la Cosecha' also features cameos by singer-songwriter compatriots Santi Campos and Julio de la Rosa.

Rauelsson's tone of reflective folk romanticism is also present in the evocative artwork of the album, featuring composite visuals based on fragments of a painting by nineteenth-century German landscapist Andreas Achenbach. The release of 'La Siembra, la Espera y la Cosecha' will be preceded by a free/support digital e.p. (Debutantes e.p., release date TBA) with alternative versions of some songs of the album and exclusive material not to be found elsewhere.

1. Debutantes
2. El Río de los Nudos
3. La Calma
4. Cambio de Mar
5. Casi la Cosecha
6. El Desierto de las Palmas
7. Columpios
8. Palidez (un Aviso)
9. Raíces (otro Aviso)
10. Lápices sin Punta
11. Cosidos

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


That's right!!! Get in touch with myself (Joan) or Nathan to get YOUR review copy of the record about which these great folks are saying these great things:

"Lessons learned from albums past—the solo era's layered, poppy shoegaze and the jagged rhythms and slashing guitars of Davis' post-punk bands—unequivocally make Charge It Up! the best of Davis' most recent work."--Independent Weekly

"It's a dose of warped power pop that should tide you over until the new Ted Leo album comes out."--Snob's Music

"Wrangling the blistering fuzz of Sonic Youth and hitching it to rocket-powered rhythms, the outfit has produced an album that careens down the cathartic back roads that turn art rock into jubilant pop."--Daily Tar Heel

And get a load of these new dates:
01.14.10 - Durham @ The Pinhook
01.15.10 - Washington, DC @ Big Bear Cafe
01.16.10 - NYC or Philly -LOOKING FOR HELP
01.17.10 - NYC @ Cakeshop

Monday, January 4, 2010


From the INDEPENDENT WEEKLY: "In recent years—his solo era, we might call it—Ben Davis has focused on texture and mood, dripping somber songs through lush arrangements and ignoring the jarring angularity of his work in Sleepytime Trio and Milemarker. Indeed, for two LPs and a split with Des Ark, strings flowed behind guitars, forming clouds instead of flashing lightning. The music was pleasant and interesting enough, but it missed the urgency of Davis' earlier outfits. Even his admittedly poppy post-Milemarker band, Bats & Mice, was wound tighter than that solo material.
Let's consider that solo era, then, as a period of woodshedding for Davis, during which he developed his songwriting and explored new ideas on the path to Charge It Up!, the first Ben Davis LP to include his Jetts. Lessons learned from albums past—the solo era's layered, poppy shoegaze and the jagged rhythms and slashing guitars of Davis' post-punk bands—unequivocally make Charge It Up! the best of Davis' most recent work.

Charge It Up!'s guitars lead. The band builds atmosphere only so that the guitars may tear through it with a sharp riff. Synthesizers burble and buzz, racing astride the guitars and in front of the fittingly charged rhythm section. Davis' pinched voice likewise rises to the occasion, borrowing timbre from Ted Leo and stretching its limitations—occasionally for the worse, but mostly for the better. The busy arrangements shift suddenly, making space a rare commodity for these Jetts. But the well-designed pieces—led by the melodies Davis adds over top—fit.

This marriage of melodic maturity and textural density to abrupt shifts and exaggerated counterpoints lends Charge It Up! the excitement and energy Davis' late-career albums have lacked. This is, if nothing else, the logical culmination of Davis' ouevre to this point. More than that, though, it's the record that returns this indie rock veteran to more than "formerly of Milemarker and Sleepytime Trio" status."