Monthly Archives: April 2010

Wednesday Night at Flaco’s Cuban Bakery: Featuring Devon Stuart, Michael Claytor And His Friends, The Rocketboys and the Adult Boys Thunderband

Every Wednesday night, the mandatory music-based destination in downtown Gainesville, Florida is Flaco’s Cuban Bakery.


The food is authentically excellent, for starters. And the geographical location of Flaco’s is perfect, sitting smack-dab in the center of town. But the damn-near magnetic draw also has a lot to do with sound waves, and those uniting notes are the work of Devon Stuart (of The Takers), the power trio known as Michael Claytor And His Friends, and the entity created when both come together as a quartet; the Adult Boys Thunderband.

This symbiotic cast of characters has congregated at Flaco’s for over 102 Wednesday nights (and counting). They always play for free, they always play certain cover songs, and they always have friends stopping by to either raise a fist in community, or join in on stage for a song.

Looking around the back room at Flaco’s on such a night, one is guaranteed to see players from other local bands. Representatives from Morningbell, Brewster Baker, Umoja Orchestra and The Takers, they’re always there, and usually singing along.

Things were no different this past Wednesday night at Flaco’s, unless you count the  unexpected addition of the Austin, Texas-based band The Rocketboys, who busted out a rare acoustic set for the occasion. Two videos of that set lie below, as well as a bevy of others from some of Gainesville’s Finest.

Take a gander.

After that, go behind the scenes and listen to interviews I did with just about everyone you see/hear below, In The Den. After listening, I think you’ll know why these Wednesday nights at Flaco’s are so special…

“When I Leave This World” – Devon Stuart & Michael Claytor

“Whiskey, Wine & Beer,” by Devon Stuart

“Solidarity Forever,” by Michael Claytor And His Friends

“Real Triumphs Of Love and Fortune,” by The Rocketboys

“Take It From Me,” by The Rocketboys

Harmony, and then “Honeydew,” from the Adult Boys Thunderband

Finale for the Adult Boys Thunderband!

– Matt Lehtola

BTR Live Studio: The Sunshine Factory

In the studio with THE SUNSHINE FACTORY

5/21 @ Alabama Music Box – Mobile, Alabama

00:00 The Sunshine Factory
01:17 Down
06:50 Hey Spaceman
12:20 Interview
13:54 Blue Sky
21:03 Skin As Smooth
23:36 Interview
30:25 My Sugar Cane
26:07 Interview
37:50 Surrounded By the Sound
43:51 Interview
49:09 Deeper Look
53:35 The Sunshine Factory

Link to this show:

Crisis Pregnancy Centers: A new law in Baltimore protects pregnant women but perhaps poses a threat to our constitutional right to freedom of speech

The city of Baltimore recently passed a law—the first of its kind in the country—that requires “crisis pregnancy centers” to post signs that read: We do not offer or refer for abortion or birth control services.
Crisis pregnancy centers, which offer faith-based pro-life counseling to pregnant women free of charge, have come under public scrutiny in recent years. In 2006, a Congressional report by Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) found that the pregnancy centers often give “false or misleading information about the health risks of abortion” to pregnant women, many of whom are young and vulnerable, and often from low-income communities.

The health risks of abortion, warn many of these crisis pregnancy centers, include increased likelihood of depression, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, death by violent accident, breast cancer, and miscarriage, to name a few. Much of their information has been criticized, with claims of being misleading, from outdated sources, based on shame and fear tactics, or flat out wrong. The World Health Organization explicitly states, for example, that abortion does not cause breast cancer.

Many critics are unhappy because these crisis pregnancy centers which are supposedly giving out false information are sometimes funded with taxpayer money, in the form of both state and federal grants.

In some cases, the centers have given pregnancy tests to young women and informed them that they were not pregnant, when in fact they were. The implied tactic here is that the girls will end up not having the abortion because their is no need due to the fact that they are not pregnant. Counselors often bring up God, asking women if they believe in an afterlife: at a center in Oklahoma, a woman was told that abortion “risks the loss of your eternal salvation.”

Although crisis pregnancy centers are rarely staffed by medical professionals, they often place themselves next to medical clinics and hospitals, to project an image of professional care. Many are located either next to college campuses or in low-income communities, where rates for unintended pregnancy are highest.

It was these arguments that Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and others brought to the Baltimore City Council and used to eventually get a law passed mandating that crisis pregnancy centers put up disclaimer signs, under penalty of a hefty fine, as a kind of “truth in advertising” measure.

But now the Archdiocese of Baltimore is suing the city, claiming the mandatory signs constitute a violation of their first amendment right to free speech and free exercise of religion. Their argument is that the city government has no business forcing them to make a statement that is contrary to their faith, especially since the centers are staffed and run by volunteers who choose to counsel against abortion based on their religious and moral beliefs.

Aside from a constitutional violation, the pro-life community feels unfairly harassed and singled-out by the City Council. Baltimore Archbishop Edwin O’Brien has said that the new law targets “only one side of a contentious public, political debate.” Why is the government supporting the pro-choice community? Why aren’t abortion clinics required to put up signs stating, for example, that they do not offer baby bottles or adoption services?

Although the disclaimer signs for the pregnancy centers in Baltimore are intended to ensure that pregnant women receive truthful and accurate information regarding their bodies and their reproductive healthcare, the law sets a dangerous precedent: namely, that it is the job of government to regulate the language used (or not used) by businesses and non-profit organizations. The Baltimore law is the first of its kind in the country but Montgomery County, MD and Austin, TX have both recently passed similar legislation. It remains to be seen what will happen when less liberal, less progressive city governments across the country catch on.
– Hunter Stuart

Dapper Fitting Drinking Hour

00:00 Delta Juliet Latola
00:47 What We Gonna Do/Come Along/What We Gonna Do – John Brown’s Body
10:20 Pa’ Columbia – Umoja Orchestra
16:17 Bowls – Caribou
22:37 New Cascade – Nice Nice
27:27 Flash Delirium – MGMT
31:42 Delta Juliet Latola
32:14 Sing – Four Tet
39:02 We Want War – These New Puritans
46:22 Titor – Mr. gnome
48:01 A Flower In A Glove – Frog Eyes
57:08 Delta Juliet Latola
57:48 Follow Into Shadow – John Brown’s Body
66:55 Finish



May 2 2010 at Bamboozle in East Rutherford, NJ
May 28 2010 at Avila Beach Resort in San Luis Obispo, CA
May 29 2010 at Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium in Santa Cruz, CA
May 31 2010 at Sasquatch Festival in Gorge, WA
Jun 1 2010 at Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR
Jun 2 2010 at Crystal Ballroom in Portland, OR

Umoja Orchestra


May 1 2010 at Rose Live Music in Brooklyn, NY
May 2 2010 at The Shrine in Harlem, NY
May 4 2010 at The Middle East in Boston, MA
May 5 2010 at The Fire in Philadelphia, PA
May 6 2010 at The Pour House in Raleigh, NC
May 8 2010 at The Rocket Club in Asheville, NC
May 9 2010 at House Show in Atlanta, GA

Nice Nice


Apr 26 – The Record Bar – Kansas City, MO
Apr 27 – Bourbon Theatre – Lincoln, NE
May 25 – Firebird – Saint Louis, MO
May 28 – LPR – New York, NY
May 29 – Middle East Downstairs – Cambridge, MA
May 30 – Johnny Brendas – Philadelphia, PA
May 31 – Rock and Roll Hotel – Washington, DC
June 2 – Turner Hall Ballroom – Milwaukee, WI
June 3 – Turf Club – Minneapolis, MN
June 6 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR
June 8 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA
June 10 – Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA

Link to this show:

MtyMx, Continued!

The first night of MTYMX set a good tone for the rest of the festival. Even though things seemed a little unorganized, and the performances were behind schedule, the quality of the acts made up for it. Playing late the first night, Japanese rock band Acid Mothers Temple blew me away. Combining a muscular rock sound with experimental songwriting sensibilities and arrangements, they provided a soundtrack that managed to match the grandiosity of the scenery below us (cliche but true). Ever since being introduced to them my freshman year in college, I had had a burning desire to catch one of their famous live sets. They killed it.

The first night  also provided me with the opportunity to speak to Victor Vasquez, Ashok Kondabolua, and Himanshu Suri – the complete Das Racist. I had only met Victor and Ashok the night prior because Hima had fallen asleep in his hotel room and just barely caught the bus. I exchanged just a few words with them on the ride into Mexico – everyone was beat as hell from SXSW – but once there I facilitated the most fun interview I have ever conducted in my short career as a journalist. If you have ever cared enough to wonder, Das Racist are as self-aware, culture obsessed, and “crazy” as they seem in their press materials and videos. What started as a conventional interview quickly degenerated into the three gentlemen riffing on non-sequitors, word games, and scholarly references in a display of their own quirky logic. They were having fun with it. They later went on to perform an exciting and well received set of songs from their mixtape “Shut Up, Dude.”  They were the only hip hop act on the three day bill and they seemed to be all the more appreciated for it.

After a full night of listening to music and thrashing around I was completely exhausted. I was relieved to find out that a tent camp had been erected by the wonderful people working at the festival and that I would have to do little more than roll into one and fall asleep. They did not charge for use of the tents – which was inconsistent with what had been advertised on the MTYMX website – but I wasn’t going to complain. After a very embarrassing episode in which I attempted to enter a stranger’s tent thinking it belonged to my friends, I finally found a vacant one and went to sleep.

In the morning I was approached by the good-natured stranger (who recognized my voice). She told me that I had attempted to argue my way in to the tent by saying “Please let me in, I won’t be nasty.” This is by far one of the most embarrassing things that has ever happened to me. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would say that, let alone allow a stranger saying that into their sleeping quarters. I do not know why I thought that might be remotely persuasive. Of course, my friends found the whole thing very comical and made fun of me the rest of the trip.

My friends and I decided to leave the festival grounds and eat in “El Barrio Antiguo” again based on how pleasant our first experience there was. We found an incredible restaurant that had formerly been a Hacienda – essentially a large mansion with multiple courtyards and a big lot. We ate in an airy foyer with a gigantic chandelier made out of dried out corn. We drank ice cold Cokes and let the breeze roll over our sunburned skin. It was the perfect way to recharge after a late night of loud music and partying.

The second night was a big party due to sets by Andrew W.K. and Dan Deacon. Their perfect storm of energy, hyper-musicality, and palpable good-will got everyone excited and dancing. Dan Deacon in particular built a feeling of community by incorporating audience participation games into his set. It was looking like this night was going to be better than the last.

Some time after Andrew W.K.’s set, I found out that my friends got jumped and robbed. They went outside the campgrounds to take photos and were approached by a group of young men. After exchanging a few words, the young men assaulted my friends and took their cameras, passports, everything. Luckily, my friends were not seriously injured. It was incredibly shocking to me and definitely shattered my sense of safety and well-being. I realize that thefts and muggings happen everywhere, but it felt especially violating being away from home. For the rest of the trip my friends were heavy on my mind.

I spent the last day helping my friends get to the consulate and figure out how to get passports to return to the states. It was an unfortunate end to an otherwise exciting trip. What happened wasn’t anyone’s fault and I can still appreciate the good aspects of MTYMX. I can definitely see myself going to Mexico in the future to partake in some off-the-grid musical appreciation.

Link to this article:

– Thompson Davis

BTR Live Studio: Gary B and Matthew Dahl


5/16 @ Galaxy Hut – Arlington, VA

00:00 Gary B & the Notions
00:58 Taller Than a Human
03:45 Three Horse Carousel
05:58 Interview
10:25 Amy
13:00 Will Wait
14:45 Unannounced
17:33 Interview
18:09 Sally
21:35 Lori
24:45 Interview
27:19 Hall and Oates
29:57 Nation of One Two
33:33 Lisa
36:47 With Enemies Like These
39: 55 BTR Live Studio
40:18 Castle In the Sky
43:00 Kissing You Again
44:30 Interview
47:18 Bashia

Link to this show:

BTR Artist of the Week: NICE NICE

If you have ever struggled to describe a new band, stumbling upon adjectives and running through a mental catalogue of musicians to no avail, then consider Nice Nice. This post rock outfit from Portland, Oregon, composed of multi-instrumentalist Jason Buehler and Mark Shirazi, eludes categorization.

Musicians have always scorned genres but few produce music with a sonic thumbprint so unique it warrants its own section of the record store. In painting with the broadest strokes, Nice Nice can be defined as post-rock with their heavily ambient electronic sound, sparse vocals, and lack of the traditional rock instrumentation.

Particularly, their music embodies a minimalistic style heard on tracks such as “I’m a Human Person” and “Control Your Areas” from their late 2008 album, Yesss!. These tracks are built upon synthesized instrumental loops, with eerie textures and shifts in dynamics that create a playground of sound as opposed to a structured musical composition. The result is pleasing and ready-made for study by sequencer enthusiasts.

Nice Nice show the breath of their influences on “UhOh” a synth based arrangement with drone vocals and hip-hop drums. What’s more, “One Hit’” has all the features of your typical indie rock song. Perhaps, the band’s greatest strength is their willingness to make any kind of music. The lack of consistency between songs is emblematic of their unbounded creativity.

In addition to their experimental sound, Nice Nice has also taken an unconventional approach to record making. In the summer of 2005 they released two EPs, Spring and Summer, and just a year after that they released two more, Winter and Fall. The collection consists of lengthy songs with multiple parts and ambient instrumentals that follow a given seasonal theme; the songs on Fall are acoustic folk instrumentals while the electric guitars on Summer are distorted and accompanied by live drums.

Just this year the band signed with renowned British label Warp and released the single “See Waves” from their 2010 album, Extra Wow, which is one of their most mainstream releases so far. “See Waves”, like much of the album, is relentlessly upbeat, laced with kaleidoscopic riffs and feet happy rhythms. Nice Nice truly have a talent for composing sonic landscapes with their music; “Big Bounce’”, “On and On”, and “Everything Falling Apart” evoke images of falling confetti and a festival of lights.

While each song has enough strength to stand alone, when listened to in succession they blend into a dreamy haze. Only “Set and Settling”and “A Vibration” break the fog with heavy rock drums and traditional vocal arrangements. For what the album lacks in focus it compensates with ceaseless creative expansion. Nice Nice are so ever-evolving in their sound, classifying them by a genre only captures what they once were.

Nice Nice are currently finishing up a tour across the United States and it is a show you do not want to miss. Also, be sure to listen up to BreakThru Radio all week long for music from the band!

Nice Nice LIVE!!!

Apr 26 – The Record Bar – Kansas City, MO
Apr 27 – Bourbon Theatre – Lincoln, NE
May 25 – Firebird – Saint Louis, MO
May 28 – LPR – New York, NY
May 29 – Middle East Downstairs – Cambridge, MA
May 30 – Johnny Brendas – Philadelphia, PA
May 31 – Rock and Roll Hotel – Washington, DC
June 1 – Grog Shop – Cleveland Heights, OH
June 2 – Turner Hall Ballroom – Milwaukee, WI
June 3 – Turf Club – Minneapolis, MN
June 6 – Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR
June 8 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA
June 10 – Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA

Link to this article:

– Ugonna Igweatu

Wiretap Music BTR

This month we feature an interview Olivia did with Sacramento’s Agent Ribbons! Plus, we have so much new music we couldn’t even play it all. Seriously. But we still played some choice cuts for you.

00:00 Wiretap on BTR: Featuring Agent Ribbons
00:59 Louise – Grand Lake
04:12 Contraption – Thee Oh Sees
07:33 Other People – MAN/MIRACLE
11:41 Diamond in the Dark – The Fresh & Onlys
15:46 Human Ram – Battlehooch
17:17 Black Hair – The Blank Tapes
20:04 W iretap on BTR: Featuring Agent Ribbons
21:45 Don’t Touch Me – Agent Ribbons
24:17 The Boy With the Wooden Lips – Agent Ribbons
27:53 Interview with Agent Ribbons
34:55 Birds and Bees – Agent Ribbons
39:08 W iretap on BTR: Next up, The Splinters
39:57 Sea Salt Skin – The Splinters
42:44 When We Swam – Thao With the Get Down Stay Down
45:37 Feels Like Fire – Sugar & Gold
49:37 Excuses – The Morning Benders
54:32 This Grand Show Is Eternal – Grayceon
59:57 Wiretap on BTR: Thanks for listening!

The Fresh & Onlys
May 7 2010 – All Tomorrows Parties curated by Matt Groening, Butlins Holiday Centre – Minehead, England UK

Thee Oh Sees

May 7 2010 – All Tomorrows Parties curated by Matt Groening, Butlins Holiday Centre –  Minehead, England UK
May 10 2010 – Belgique Anverpen Trix – Antwerp, Belgium
May 10 2010 – Trix – Antwerp, Belgium
May 11 2010 – France Annecy Brise Glace – Annecy, France
May 12 2010 – France LYON Nuits Sonores – Lyon, France
May 13 2010 – Sidro Club- Rimini, Italy
May 14 2010 – EREMO – Bari, Italy
May 15 2010 – Covo Club – Bologna, Italy
May 16 2010 – Guilty Party Boat Cruise – Venice, Italy
May 19 2010 – Le Rex- Toulouse, France
May 21 2010 – France BORDEAUX (begles) Fete de l’humanité – Bordeaux, France
May 21 2010 – Fête de l’huma (open air) – Bordeaux, France
May 22 2010 – Des Lendemains Qui Chantent – Tulle, France
May 26 2010 – PortugaL GALERIA ZBD LISBOA – Lisbon, Portugal
May 27 2010 – Portugal Plano B PORTO – Porto, Portugal
May 28 2010 – Barcelona PRIMAVERA SOUND FESTIVA – Barcelona, Spain
May 29 2010 – Barcelona Primavera Sound Showcase – Barcelona, Spain
Jun 1 2010 – Deaf Institute – Manchester, England UK
Jun 2 2010 – Clunny – Newcastle, England UK
Jun 3 2010 – Captains Rest – Glasgow, Scotland
Jun 4 2010 – Leeds Brudenell – Leeds, England UK
Jun 5 2010 – Luminaire – London, England UK
Jun 6 2010 – Vilette Sonic Festival (open air) – Paris, France
Jun 7 2010 – Atelier Francophonie – La Rochelle, France
Link to this show:

BTR Live Studio: Choir of Young Believers


5/14 The Great Escape Festival – Brighton, England

00:00 Choir of Young Believers
00:51 She Walks
06:29 Rituals
12:04 Interview
20:24 Why Must It Always Be
25:24 New Number 1
30:11 Interview
33:01 Wintertime Love

Link to this show:

Allison Kilkenny – Unreported: Honestly Discussing Mexico’s Drug Violence and the Failed War on Drugs.

Psychoactive drugs.
Image via Wikipedia

I witnessed one of the more pointless conversations on Morning Joe this morning when the crew chatted about Mexican drug cartel violence.

The panel charged with discussing this serious issue was particularly abysmal. There was Kathleen Parker, glowing from the recent announcement that she will be receiving a Pulitzer Prize to commemorate her brave decision to turn against the self-destructing Republican Party seven years after the start of the Iraq occupation, and a couple years after stating that President Obama is not a full-blooded American.

Beside Kathleen sat Thomas “Suck. On. This” Friedman, who is also a Pulitzer winner (they spent about a minute congratulating Parker for entering the exclusive “Really??Club,”) and also — why not? — Pat Buchanan. Because I know when I want to have a nuanced discussion about foreign policy and relations with Mexico, I call the guy who told Iraq citizens to suck on his dick and the lunatic who wants to station armed soldiers on the US-Mexican border, respectively.

Everyone on the panel agreed that Mexican drug violence is a problem, but no one seemed prepared to discuss the issue of drugs, and specifically drug decriminalization. Talking about drug violence without bothering to point out that drug prohibition has been a spectacular failure is like a doctor treating a chronic smoker with cough drops. You’re really not getting to the heart of the matter — the thing that is catalyzing all other violence.

Prohibition has forced drugs underground, and created a permanent black market in which violent gangs get rich, and everyone else suffers the consequences. Buchanan was quick to point out that drug gangs shoot officers and sometimes kill children (if I can hunt down the episode transcript, I’ll add his exact quote,) but what he failed to mention is that many cops and DEA agents think drugs should be legalized precisely because the US has lost the War On Drugs.

Jack Cole, a 26-year veteran of the New Jersey State Police, who served 14 years undercover in the Narcotics Bureau, and executive director of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), recounted to me the first moment when he realized something was wrong with drug criminalization.

It occurred to me that I liked a lot of the people I was working on more than some of the people I was working for. I discovered nearly all of the 114 million people in the US above the age of twelve whom DEA says have used an illegal drug (46% of that population) were basically just like me. The only difference was they wanted to put something in their body that I don’t want to put in my body.
We nor our bosses had any idea of how to fight a war on drugs. Our bosses did know one thing though; they knew how to keep that federal cash-cow being milked in their personal barnyard. To accomplish that they had to make the drug war appear to be an absolute necessity. So early on we were encouraged to lie about most of our statistics and lie we did.

We exaggerated the amount of drugs we seized by adding the weight of any cutting agents we found (lactose, mannitol, starch, or sucrose) to the weight of the illegal drug. So we might seize one ounce of cocaine and four pounds of lactose.

There are thousands of current and former law enforcement officials like Jack, who I’m sure would have very much liked to discuss this issue on MSNBC. It would have been wise for Morning Joe to have at least one pro-decriminalization voice on its panel, but instead the show’s producers offered Buchanan, who is always a wealth of racism-inspired rage, Friedman, who made some weird statement about Mexico being Waziristan, and Parker, who sat there thinking about her Pulitzer.

No one proposed a solution to the problem. I guess Buchanan’s “solution” is always implicitly more militarization, but he didn’t even really flesh out that strategy because Mika and Joe looked so horrified at the mere mention of it.

It’s not even like the issue of decriminalization is some whacked-out premise peddled only by stoners anymore. Millions of Americans favor legalization, including 56 percent of citizens in California where there is an upcoming vote in November that may legalize marijuana.

Moments before Buchanan aired his “Release The Hounds” strategy to relations with Mexico, Scarborough lamented the fact that California, home to the sixth largest economy in the world, is bankrupt and may soon be a failed state. Taking drug revenue away from the criminals, regulating the product like any other market commodity, and then pumping that cash into communities may save California, and yet the MJ crew managed to completely miss that link.

Furthermore, drug criminals are not terrorist insurgents as Friedo appeared to be arguing. This is a policing issue, and more importantly, this is a decriminalization issue. Drugs are a hot commodity, and they always will be. Republicans forever spout the virtues of the free market and supply and demand. Well, there’s a huge demand for drugs. That’s not going to stop, but if the US decriminalizes drugs, the police can gain some leverage against the cartels. No longer would cops have to waste time and resources policing citizens’ personal decisions about what they put into their bodies, and they can instead focus on real problems, like violence.

Most importantly, decriminalization means the cartels would lose their stranglehold on society in the same way the mob lost their booze market after prohibition ended.

I actually think all drugs should be legalized, even the “really bad ones” like heroin and cocaine. People are using them even though their illegal, and the addicts are afraid to seek help because they might be cruelly sent to prison. But heroin and cocaine still have a strong social stigma. Marijuana, on the other hand, might have a chance at being legalized.

There are obviously a whole host of details about the legalization process that need to be worked out, but that’s really exciting. Discussing those things might have, at the very least, made Morning Joe watchable — maybe even informative.

Link to this article:

– Allison Kilkenny