Monthly Archives: February 2008

Live Set: Blair Combest @ The International Folk Alliance


Rachelandthecity spotlights Blair Combest – including an interview and live performance from the 20th Annual International
Folk Alliance Showcase held in Memphis, TN in February.

00:50 Diamond
06:09 Silly Girl
09:22 Crack in the Door
12:08 Interview with Blair
17:22 Callin’ My Name (live)
20:55 Crack in the Door (live)
23:33 Midas Touch
26:40 Simple (live)
30:05 My Home’s Wherever You Are (live)
34:00 That’s Why I Sing (live)


The Bloggeratti with Streetside Symphony



Don’t miss this week’s edition of The Bloggeratti where Rachelandthecity spins brand new tracks from The Hereafter, Snake and Jets Amazing Built Band, and Tobias Froberg – and an unreleased track from the upcoming Snowglobe album. She also chats with Jeremy Stanfill of Streetside Symphony and previews tracks from their new album The Curse – it’s a plethora of new music right here on BTR!!
01:05 Grandpa – The Hereafter
04:51 Ten Cities Beyond – Snake and Jets Amazing Bullit Band
07:19 Chemicals Collide – Cloud Cult
10:37 Testosterone – Snowglobe
15:15 Just Behind a Brickwall – Tobias Froberg
19:54 Cheers (A Kiss Before You Go) – Streetside Symphony
24:10 –
27:41 D.B. Cooper – Streetside Symphony
33:24 Sundowner – Streetside Symphony
37:15 Heartbreak Street – Streetside Symphony
41:25 –
43:14 The Curse – Streetside Symphony
47:22 Dax Riggs – Living is Suicide
49:16 Saints at the Gates – The Golden Dogs
52:33 Never Grow Old – American Princes

BTR Live Studio: Telenovela Star


The amazing New York trio Telenovela Star perform on today’s show. This band is SO EFFIN’ GOOD. Think Sleater-Kinney + Cat Power. Or think whatever you want. Check them out at Brooklyn’s Galapagos Art Space on March 8 or Club Midway (NYC) April 4th. Telenovela Star released their full length debut “Love, Lust, Sci-Fi & Monsters” in 2007. Find out more at

00:00 –
00:48 – Les Plum Deux
04:38 – Fluff
10:46 – Sucker
13:36 – Interview part 1
16:25 – Dr. Who
21:20 – Vampire
25:43 – Something in the Middle
28:28 – Metrics
32:24 – Interview part 2
36:08 – BLMHYL

Album: The Ruby Suns’ Sea Lion


Sea Lion is the second effort from New Zealand indie-poppers The Ruby Suns, and it’s really, really good. Really. It’s no surprise that the band has recently been signed to Sub Pop, no doubt directly related to their successful Australian tour in support of The Shins. With its title inspired by a sea lion colony in San Francisco, the album is full of surprises, world influences, and fun. While frontman Ryan McPhun may be most closely associated with his current residence in New Zealand (and the location of The Ruby Suns’ NZ label Lil’ Chief), he is originally from Ventura, California. To be sure, the various places McPhun has called home is evident in the diverse and exotic sounds on this record.

BTR has been spinning The Ruby Suns ever since we discovered that wonderful little record label called Lil’ Chief, so we were highly anticipating this release, and I’m happy to say we were not disappointed. African influences are abundant (they’ve got a track titled “Kenya Dig It”, need we say more?), as are hints of Brian Wilson, Polynesian sounds (we’re loving the abundant use of ukulele), and even a little lo-fi distortion. In fact, finding a track you don’t connect with on this album would be almost impossible.

Not surprisingly, the album features an impressive array of instruments, from the aforementioned ukulele to synths and glockenspiels. “Diverse” has been the buzzword when describing this New Zealand band, but make no mistake – this band has the talent to back up their experimental tendencies. We can’t wait to see what’s next from this talented outfit. They’re touring the U.S. shortly, including several dates at SXSW, so keep your eyes and ears tuned to BTR for updated show info, and of course, to hear the great tracks on the album!


Live dates:

Mar 13 Waterloo Records, Austin, TX (in-store performance @ 3 p.m.)
Mar 14 Bourbon Rocks, Austin, TX (Sub Pop SXSW showcase)
Mar 18 The Earl, Atlanta, GA
Mar 19 Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC
Mar 20 Barbery, Philadelphia, PA
Mar 21 Black Cat, Washington, DC
Mar 23 Mercury Lounge, New York City, NY
Mar 24 Union Hall, Brooklyn, NY
Mar 25 T.T.The Bears, Cambridge, MA
Mar 27 Waldron Arts Center, Bloomington, IN
Mar 28 Schubas, Chicago, IL
Mar 29 7th St Entry, Minneapolis, MN
Apr 01 Chop Suey, Seattle, WA
Apr 02 Holocene, Portland, OR
Apr 04 Bottom of the Hill, San Francisco, CA
Apr 05 Echo, Los Angeles, CA (early show)
Apr 06 Casbah, San Diego, CA
Apr 07 Modified, Phoenix, AZ
Apr 09 Lola’s (Fort Worth), Fort Worth, TX
Apr 11 Yauhaus, Charlotte, NC

Live Set: Cory Branan @ The International Folk Alliance


Check out Rachelandthecity’s spotlight on Cory Branan at The 2008
International Folk Alliance Showcase held in Memphis, TN. Listen to
several songs from Branan’s albums, then check out an interview with the
troubadour and the show ends with a performance from the showcase.

00:50 Girl Named Go
03:30 Tall Green Grass
07:08 Crush
10:31 Troublesome Girl
14:45 Interview with Cory Branan
20:15 Meantime Blues (live)
13:22 Souvenirs (live)
26:47 Summertime (live)
30:40 The Wreck of the Sultana (live)

Check it out here!

Spotlight: College Music Scenes

Before the inception of Columbia Records’ new gem, MGMT (The Management),  many bloggers and self-endowed A&R’s never took a second glance at the talent spewing from the many liberal-arts institutions that glitter in the shadows of New York City. Truthfully, most people still do not. Yet these same institutions have nurtured scores of talent and brought them together, before pushing them out of the nest and into your favorite local venue.


Wesleyan University

MGMT’s Andrew Vanwyngarden and Ben Goldwasser were schooled at Wesleyan University; a place that has since shared its music scene with Skidmore College (home of Pulitzer Prize winner Steven Millhauser, acclaimed poet of witness Carolyn Forché, the Tang Museum and an April 20th not to be missed). It’s about three hours in an equipment-cramped hatchback between schools, but it’s all worth it when walking into the mansion sized madhouse of Eclectic – a Wesleyan University venue and their twisted version of a frat house. As you maneuver through freaks, band geeks, hippies, scags, intellectuals and whatever else you might find crawling through the basement, you realize the type of atmosphere necessary to produce people like the once dubbed “psychic pilgrims” of MGMT. Skidmore and Wesleyan often combine their respective talents to create shows that would make your average indie label intern wet himself. Most recently, Wesleyan has also pushed out groups like the Spirit Marines (no longer together), Bear Hands, Babewatch and the Darlings.


Skidmore College

Now, the Darlings are part of Skidmore’s Famous Class Records, a label currently based in Brooklyn that manufactures silk screened merchandise like the CD/DVD/Comic books they’ve already created for Snakes Say Hisss!, the Huxtables and Boogie Boarder. If that’s not enough, Skidmore also housed the drummer for the Muggabears; a chest-thumping Sonic Youth with a little more balls. If your friends plan on keeping the car and sleeping on floors for the next week at Wesleyan, you might have to throw on those high school volleyball booty shorts with the “Spike This!” across the ass. Then you’ll have to hitchhike if you want to head south to another college and band breeding ground, SUNY Purchase.


SUNY Purchase

SUNY Purchase  (near White Plains, NY) cradles its own small scene with promising groups like Data Dog and Le Rug playing at its versatile Performing Arts Center. Le Rug has played with Snakes Say Hisss! at the Silent Barn–an often packed and often sweaty Brooklyn venue. But before they hit the city, the chances of these groups getting together are getting stronger. Those are the shows to see, and they’re happening more and more because finding each other is becoming easier and easier. Hopefully you’ll have the drive to drive out to some of these places.

Everybody’s favorite group came from somewhere, but with every studio quality album now being recorded in the bathroom over the cafeteria, sometimes you can’t wait until they leave school to see if they would, for example, be right for the soundtrack to that video you made of your friend’s mom getting hit in the face by a football. Maybe you think there are too many bands out there. Maybe the brightest ones are still too hard to see beneath those New York City shadows. As far as listening, BTR brings you brand new, quality groups every day.


Artist of the Week: Dr. Israel


Brooklyn’s Dr. Israel emerged onto the music scene in the mid-Nineties amongst the dub label Wordsound, with the help of Bill Laswell, his Greenpoint Studio, and the ability to construct a unique sound after taking a spiritual journey to Jamaica. BTR hooked up with  Dr. Israel to see exactly how his journey helped him grow into the artist he is today.

BTR: When did you begin performing under the name Dr. Israel? What is the significance of the name?

Dr. Israel: Around 1996 I took a spiritual pilgrimage to Jamaica, and was given the name Israel by elders at a Nyabingi compound in Scotch Pass. I already had the nickname “doctor” because, at the time, I was mixing a lot of records for the New York dub label Wordsound. I did my first solo record 7-tales of Israel for Wordsound soon after my return from Jamaica, and was trying to figure out what I should use as an artist name. When I told Skiz, the owner of Wordsound about my trip to Jamaica, he said that’s it, your Doctor Israel. I guess it just kind of stuck.

BTR: As a Brooklyn artist, what influenced you to begin performing Dub music?

Dr. Israel: I think that at that same time, around 1996, a lot of us in Brooklyn were really interested in doing something different. We were all influenced by hip hop, but didn’t really have a desire to create hip hop; other people were doing that. We wanted to do something dark, serious, political, and subversive, and dub just made sense. Also, at the time, Bill Laswell had his studio in Greenpoint, just north of where we were in Williamsburg. He ended up being a big influence, and a big help, so that was a factor as well. Also, for me, I grew up with reggae, and hardcore as well, so dub seemed like a natural way to fuse a lot of the elements that I wanted to see in my music. It’s important to remember that a lot of the dub stuff that came out of Brooklyn at the time had a different flavor from the European, and older Jamaican stuff. It had a more hip hop aesthetic.

BTR: Your sound fuses many genres together. What do you think causes this?

Dr. Israel: Music is just music. Major record labels and big corporate radio invented the idea of genre, because they think it makes music easier to sell, but in reality musicians just play music. There isn’t really a kind of music; there’s just music. If you really look at genre titles, they start to come apart, and sound ridiculous. For example the term “world music” – what does that mean? There’s a world, and people in it play music…

BTR: In 1999 you released Inna City Pressure, sold 10,000 copies, topped the CMJ charts and toured. After all that success, what was it like to make a follow-up album?

Dr. Israel: Well, actually at the time I had made two records; one was Inna City Pressure, which got a lot of recognition, and the other was Next Step, which got very little, but I think was a great record as well. Inna City Pressure was on a label that had some money, a staff, a budget for promotion, and Next Step wasn’t, so…

I’ve done a lot of recording since then; some records that very few people have heard of and others that have had some great success on radio, et cetera. In all honesty, Inna City Pressure was a certain ‘idea’, and I haven’t made a follow-up album to that ‘idea’ yet. Instead I’ve chosen to explore some other ideas. For example, Patterns of War was very successful as well, maybe a little bit more successful on the the radio, but it was a totally different idea. I’m actually working on the follow up to the Inna City Pressure idea currently.

BTR: Inna City Pressure was re-released in 2005 right before Patterns of War was introduced to the world. Tell me about this time period…

Dr. Israel:
Well it was an interesting time. With Inna City Pressure, the record label at the time went out of business, while I was on the road, and when I got back I ended up being pretty disillusioned with the music business. I also had a bunch of nightmare experiences with managers, booking agents, band mates, et cetera, so by 2001/2002 I was in a pretty dark place.

I think I responded by touring extensively, and really trying to do deals with small underground labels. Around 2005 I started to do a bunch of work with Bill Laswell, and he made an introduction to ROIR. It seemed like it made sense so I licensed Inna City Pressure, and the newly completed Patterns of War, and used that relationship as a sort of stepping stone to get a little more visible in the market. In particular Patterns of War set me up for a lot of touring, opened up some new markets, really helped to expand my fan-base, and set up for a lot of collaborations as well.

BTR: You have collaborated with the likes of Rancid, Bill Laswell and Sepultura. What exactly have you done with them? Why do you think these particular artists wanted to work with a dub musician?

Dr. Israel: Well with Rancid and Sepultura, I did collaborations. Rancid was a coincidence – I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and thing worked out. Also, the Rancid guys are big fans of reggae, and great musicians, so it was really natural. The guys from Sepultura had heard a Black Sabbath remix/interpretation I had done being played in an underground club in Brazil, and they got excited and contacted me. In terms of Bill, I have done and am in the process of doing a lot of different things. I’ve been fronting one of his newest projects, Method of Defiance. I sing on the new Praxis record. I did some beats for a Herbie Hancock remix record, and am currently working on a few new Dr. Israel projects as well. In terms of Dub, Bill kind of Interprets, re-interprets, and defines it.

BTR: How has extensive touring affected the sound of your music?

Dr. Israel: Touring is key; in all actuality live music is the most real thing. Being on the road allows you to see what is happening, and what’s real. In all actuality a recorded CD is really just a representation of music; it’s what happened in a studio on a specific day, or over the course of a few specific days. When you see live music, it’s real. The sound, the vibe, the smell, it’s all there. I love being on the road because I love playing music live, and also because I like to see music played live. It’s also a great way to collect and generate Ideas.

BTR: Who do you cite as your influences?

Dr. Israel:
I’ve got a lot, but I think the biggest ones are probably Black Uhuru, the Bad Brains, Peter Tosh, and Johnny Cash.

BTR: What are you currently working on?

Dr. Israel: I’ve got a lot of things on the table right now. In terms of music I’ve been touring a lot. Solo shows, shows with Dreadtone International, shows featuring Guy Licata, shows with Method of Defiance, and some shows fronting the San Francisco-based Heavyweight Dub Champion.

I’m back in the studio right now working on two new solo projects; one will be a follow up to Inna City Pressure, while the other is a more rock-oriented project. Both are going to have some pretty incredible collaborations, but it’s a little too early to give out any details. In 2007 I completed a short film with Producer/Director John Kraljevich entitled “Ascend into Zion”, which was picked up by Palm Pictures VOD, and is now on the festival circuit. As a result, I’ve been approached to act in and co-write a few feature films this year. In addition, I’ve been developing a few book ideas, which I plan on having completed at some point this year.

BTR: Is there anything else you would like to add? Also, please let us know about any live appearances!

Dr. Israel: The only thing I’d like to add is, with the state of the world today, music as a universal language is probably our best, and maybe last chance for peace, so remember to treat one another well, and support independent music.