It was announced earlier this week that Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Kristian Bush from Sugarland will perform the Keystone Grand Ballroom in the Convention Center at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs on Saturday, April 19 at 8 p.m.
Leaving his mark on music for more than two decades, Bush is currently on the road with his 2014 “Put Your Soul In It Tour,” backed by a five-piece band including Rebecca and Megan Lovell of roots duo Larkin Poe. Bush is currently narrowing down 300 plus songs for his debut solo album, due later this year.
Tickets for Kristian Bush are $25 and are on sale now. Ticketmaster customers may purchase tickets by logging on to ticketmaster.com; calling Ticketmaster’s national toll free charge-by-phone number 1-800-745-3000; or visiting any Ticketmaster outlet. Tickets are also available at the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs box office.
The Faction official Mayday warm-up show takes place at The Other Side located on South Main Street next to Bart & Urby’s, Wilkes-Barre, this Saturday, March 8 at 10 p.m. DJs Evil Bee, Newspy Hundo and Gary Jamze will be spinning deep house, funk house, garage and other dance selections. The $4 cover will go directly to the 7th annual Mayday Music Festival, a free all ages event that will take place from noon until 10 p.m. on May 24 and 25, at Kirby Park in Wilkes-Barre.
The Hall for All
For the first time in the history of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the annual induction ceremony will take place in an arena, at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The ceremony concert will be held at 7 p.m. on April 10. In previous years, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies were held at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, but this year will mark the very first time that the concert tickets will be sold to the public. About 10,000 Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame induction tickets went on sale and promptly sold out in minutes. The primary market face prices range from $66 to $576. There are now over 5,000 tickets is available on the secondary market with an average price of $357 and a get-in price of $108. The most expensive ticket available is priced at $3,030.
Inductees include KISS, Cat Stevens, Hall and Oates, Nirvana, Linda Ronstadt, Peter Gabriel, Andrew Loog Oldham and The E Street Band. Peter Gabriel is one member of this year’s class that is actually already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, as a result of his work with Genesis. Gabriel will become the 19th performer to be inducted more than once, joining such artists as Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Neil Young and Eric Clapton, who is the only member to be inducted three times. He was first honored as a member of the Yardbirds in 1992, then with Cream in 1993 and finally as a solo artist in 2000.
Here’s what’s in my headphones this week: Glen Phillips Abulum (PMRC, Brick Red Records) 2001
In last week’s action-packed episode of Headphones, I wrote about Scranton’s amusement tax, a tax passed on Dec. 10, 2012 that allows the city “to impose a 5-percent tax upon privilege of attending or engaging in non-exempt amusements, including every form of entertainment, diversion, sport, recreation and pastime, requiring all persons, partnerships, associations and corporations conducting places of amusements.” The City of Scranton wants its share of ticket money (from venues such as Pavilion at Montage, Scranton Cultural Center) and cover charges from local businesses which fall under the same tax. Again, this law has already passed and gone into effect in 2012 and now the city is looking to collect the money.
Shorty after the Headphones take on what I labeled the “Whack Tax” hit the streets and the Internet last Thursday, Scranton City Councilman Pat Rogan caught wind of the volatile situation. Later that same evening during the Scranton City Council meeting, Rogan brought the issue back to the attention of city council, as well as having a discussion with Mayor Courtright, and is looking into ways to possibly amend the ordinance so that it will not hurt local businesses and musicians.
Councilman Rogan is asking local musicians and business owners to contact him at patrogan1@gmail with suggested ways to help him come to some sort of resolution in the matter of the amusement tax.
Winter Blues and Booze
Panked! returns yet again to The Bog, 341 Adams Ave., on Thursday, Feb. 27, as the dancing crowd will join hands and celebrate a glorious night of winter wonder. Panked’s Frosty Bunz Winter Blowout Ball will feature all the usual fantastic staples such as a dance contest, happy hour specials, sweat, prizes and the chance to make winter leave us all alone for a few months. For more information, visit facebook.com/panked.danceparty.
It’s Oscar time and the nominees for Best Original Song at this year’s Academy Awards are all over the place. The nominees include: “Happy” from Despicable Me 2 by Pharrell Williams, “Let It Go” from Frozen by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, “The Moon Song” from Her by Karen O and Spike Jonze and “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom by an up-and-coming act from Ireland named U2.
I’m calling “Let It Go” the winner with a slight possibility of U2 snagging the Oscar, but I can’t help but wish Karen O and Jonze win the category. If you haven’t heard “The Moon Song,” it’s a simple, poignant acoustic song featuring two intertwined voices clocking in at close to two minutes of spectacular lunar love. Again, I find myself rooting for the underdog.
Here’s what’s in my headphones this week: Creeper Lagoon Take Back the Universe and Give Me Yesterday (Dreamworks) 2001.
Editor Tom Graham is a musician and singer/songwriter rooted in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Assorted Declarations from Editor Tom Graham
The Whack Tax
If you are a musician playing a gig in the city of Scranton any time soon, be wary: Scranton wants a cut of the money and considers itself part of the act … the over-served yet ineffective tambourine player if you will. It’s not just musicians who are in the city’s crosshairs — it’s actors, directors, magicians, dancers and any other artists who may be involved in what is being generalized as forms of amusement.
If you’re caught amusing someone in the City of Scranton, it’s going to cost you.
What is amusement? According to a notice sent to Scranton business owners by the Department of Licensing, Permits and Inspections dated Jan. 10, 2014, the amusement tax (passed on Dec. 10, 2012) allows the city “to impose a 5-percent tax upon privilege of attending or engaging in non-exempt amusements, including every form of entertainment, diversion, sport, recreation and pastime, requiring all persons, partnerships, associations and corporations conducting places of amusements; imposing duties and conferring powers upon the Treasurer of the City of Scranton; prescribing the method and the manner of collecting the tax imposed by the ordinance; and imposing penalties for the violation thereof.”
Exactly 5-percent of what? 5-percent of every ticketed event (Hi there Pavilion at Montage Mountain. You’re technically in Scranton and they want your money too!) and 5-percent of cover charges collected at the doors of local clubs, bars and performance spaces.
If you visit some of these Scranton venues, you can’t help but feel for owners who are fighting an increasingly difficult battle against the city when it comes to providing entertainment for their patrons. Not only do the businesses have to fork over money to the city in the form of a yearly entertainment licence — which is not common practice — but must pay substantial licensing fees to The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) which collects performance royalties on behalf of the songwriters and publishers they represent.
Scranton wants a cut of the price of admission from an event that hopes to amuse and entertain. The irony is that most of us look to suspend a portion of our day-in-day-out struggles of living on the fringe of ridiculous laws and licenses through entertainment. If a band makes $400 at the door on a busy Friday night, the owner is being asked to take $20 away from the band’s share and set it aside to help save the city from their financial woes and worries. Maybe $20 seems like a lot or maybe it seems like not enough, but it’s the principle. The city wants another piece of someone else’s pie without taking the time to look down at its own plate.
If things continue to spiral in this direction, the city and its administrators may continue to make even more ridiculous demands — like asking people not to park on the streets of downtown Scranton on Valentine’s night so it can devise a plan to properly remove accumulated snowfall from its streets and sidewalks.
I spoke with Pat Hinton, the recently appointed director of Department of Licensing, Permits and Inspections about the letter sent out to Scranton business owners on Jan. 10 and although he is listed as the writer of the letter and his number is listed under the contact information, he was unaware such a letter exists. He did assure electric city and diamond city that he would send us information as it becomes available, hopefully leading to further conversations about the amusement tax, the city’s policy and the businesses and artists it will affect.
I wouldn’t mind giving a cut of the cover charge here and there to help Scranton, but the city should have to at least play a song or two — or maybe even help carry in the drum set and speakers.
That would be amusing.
Here’s what’s in my headphones this week: Cornershop When I Was Born for the 7th Time (Warner Bros.) 1997
Editor Tom Graham is a musician and singer/songwriter rooted in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Send email to email@example.com
DANCE TO DREAM
PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING — Inform Educate Entertain
THE GOOD: London-based musical outfit Public Service Broadcasting offer up a unique debut full-length.
THE BAD: A little less guitar and a little more electronic ambiance would probably better suit these compositions. However, that’s more of a personal preference and not necessarily “bad.”
THE NITTY GRITTY: This duo combines instrumental tracks, mostly beat-heavy indie rock, with snippets of old public domain documentaries and propaganda films to create an aural brand of pop art. Of course, this process is nothing new. The Orb has been putting weird bits of dialog in their tracks for over two decades and Big Audio Dynamite was inserting extended clips from movies in their tunes way back in 1985.
PSB simply takes this process to its logical extremes on tracks like “ROYGBIV” (a 1950’s peek at technology) and “The Now Generation” (Carnaby Street was really something 50 years ago). And then there’s “Everest,” a groovy little piece celebrating man’s conquering of a mountain.
BUY IT?: Surely.
PAINTED PALMS — Forever
THE GOOD: San Francisco based indie duo Painted Palms (Reese Donohue on beats and Christopher Prudhomme supplying the vocals) cut-and-paste together an engaging debut full-length.
THE BAD: Nope.
THE NITTY GRITTY: After teasing us with 2011’s brilliant Canopy EP, the guys toured with Of Montreal, set up a new west coast base and plunged head-first into creating Forever, a swirling concoction combining sunny 60’s psychedelic pop with the modern spin of other electronic-based acts like Cayucas and Small Black.
Here you have your catchy bouncy bits such as “Here It Comes” and the title cut; tunes that resemble interstellar recreations of old Beach Boys singles. Then there are the dreamier moments like “Soft Hammer” and “Sleepwalking,” fragile delicate pieces that combine spaced-out vibes with heartbreaking melodies.
Yes, this stuff may be composed via e-mail, but the songs are finely crafted; the music truly alive with an undeniable emotional pull and hints of melancholy. Most synthetic sets don’t give off this much warmth.
BUY IT?: Definitely.
THE CRYSTAL METHOD — The Crystal Method
THE GOOD: The Las Vegas-based electronic duo (Scott Kirkland and Ken D. Jordan) is still pumping after almost 20 years.
THE BAD: This new self-titled album (fifth overall) finds the guys clamoring for relevancy. The record is good while it’s blasting, but leaves a lackluster impression.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Most of the collaborations this time are flat-out dull while a couple of them (Dia Frampton from the Voice and LeAnn Rimes?) don’t make sense. And when Kirkland and Jordon are at full groove (the crackling “Emulator” and hard driving “Jupiter Shift”), the end results come off as Vegas or Legion of Boom out-takes.
Yes, most of these cuts would fill an underground club’s dance floor at 1:30 a.m., but any track would probably pale in comparison to what was spun directly before or after it. Crystal Method may help you break a sweat, but this isn’t the duo’s “creative second wind.” In fact, 2009’s Divided by Night was more exciting.
BUY IT?: Your call.
Author Lori May’s new collection of poetry, Square Feet (Accents Publishing, 2014), deals with the complexities of love, loss, and home-making. The author uses a speaker and a fictional narrative to tell the story of two people making their way. The author is quick to note that the work is not autobiographical, saying, “I’m one of those folks who doesn’t count poetry as non-fiction and I’m trying to ensure, whenever possible, that prospective readers don’t get the wrong impression.” But whether it’s May’s self or another self speaking, it doesn’t matter. The prose is rich, alive, and succinct, a study in the economy of powerful language.
Take this piece, for example:
How much would it cost
if relationships charged
How much would you carry on
and what would you check,
possibly leave unclaimed?
Author Lori May
You don’t just write poetry; in fact, you’re known as a cross-genre writer. How is the process of writing a poetry collection, especially one as cohesive as Square Feet, alike and different from writing, say, creative non-fiction?
I’m a fan of story, regardless of genre. In a poetry collection, I hope each individual poem stands alone in its narrative while also contributing to a larger arc. Of course, when I start writing poems for a collection, I may not immediately know what the larger story is, but work to reveal the story over time. It’s really in the editing process where the big picture comes into play and that helps shape where poems appear in sequence. For prose, I feel like much of the process is the same for me. I work word by word, line by line, and don’t always know what the macro vision is until the micro components are laid out in draft form. The only difference in the process, I suppose, is that in my non-fiction I need to ensure I retain the facts while telling an engaging story, whereas in poetry —which I seldom write autobiographically— I have a bit more room to play and invent a story as the arc unfolds.
You use the short-form poem very effectively throughout this collection. What about the smaller poem appeals to you?
Thank you, Andrea. I feel like a lot can be said in few words. I’m also interested in leaving room for the reader. As a reader, I love that feeling when a poem or flash piece leaves me tinkering with interpretation, considering the possibilities of what happened on the page and how space and brevity offer room to play in response. As a writer, I enjoy the challenge of being sparse in words but grand in image.
What was the publication process like with this book?
I knew I wanted to work with Katerina Stoykova-Klemener, the editor at Accents Publishing in Lexington, Kentucky. Katerina has an amazing eye for detail and is meticulous in going over every word and every piece of punctuation. I was thrilled when Accents accepted my manuscript and they continue to be such a joy to work with. We spent quality time discussing the final shape of the manuscript throughout the editing process and then the production fell into place without a hitch. From cover design to layout, from bound copy to media relations, the people at Accents are hands-on and truly care about their authors and the success of their books. It’s been a wonderful experience.
Bookmarks appears bi-monthly in electric city and diamond city.
Send your literary news to: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Mike Evans
VALENTINES OF A DIFFERENT KIND
CLOUD CONTROL — Dream Cave
THE GOOD: Australian indie rock outfit Cloud Control brings forth a hypnotic sophomore effort.
THE BAD: No complaints.
THE NITTY GRITTY: When a band is difficult to pigeonhole, it always makes for fascinating listening. You’ll end up loving a lot about Dream Cave, but exactly what?
In the end, it’s probably the band’s adventurous spirit. For Cave never stays in one place too long; shifting from dream pop to noisy indie to ambient moods effortlessly. The constant male-female vocal switch-ups only add to the variety. Imagine a retro outfit such as Music Go Music bumping into some super-groovy turned-on members of Stereolab and then having that crew dig on a few treasured New Pornographers melodies.
That only begins to describe the sounds found within the echo-drenched and vast maze-like Dream Cave (such an appropriate title). Keen listeners will surely put their own spin on its contents.
BUY IT?: Yes. And then become blissfully lost in all the twists and turns.
THOSE DARLINS — Blur the Lines
THE GOOD: Tennessee indie rockers Those Darlins return with a more sedate third.
THE BAD: Lines isn’t flawless. Expect a few lesser tracks.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The new record isn’t as good a time as 2011’s Screws Got Loose; the overall proceedings somewhat more down-tempo. Tracks like the melancholy “That Man” or the foreboding “Western Sky” conjure up black and white images of the desert at dusk or faded picture postcards sent from mid-western motels decades ago.
Nikki Kvarnes is now the only woman in the group. Her vocals dominate, sounding a bit like Bettie Serveert’s Carol van Dijk sporting a southern drawl. And despite her less vibrant surroundings, she still manages to get the band back into catchy indie pop territory on more than a few cuts. Moments like “Optimist” and “Drive” are direct and impressive; terse little rockers that leave a lasting impression. Perhaps Lines’ greatest strength is this balanced variety; serious without being a downer.
BUY IT?: Sure.
FRANKIE ROSE — Herein Wild
THE GOOD: Brooklyn girl Frankie Rose is back with her third.
THE BAD: No gripes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Half a decade after abandoning her garage rock roots and leaving Dum Dum Girls and Vivian Girls behind, Rose continues to dive further into the worlds of ethereal indie pop and shoegazing. Get lost in Herein Wild and you’re immediately reminded of both its sparkling 2012 predecessor Interstellar and the early pre-grunge 90’s when faceless British acts like Ride and Lush were dominating the college charts. You’ll also notice similarities between Rose and latter day Cocteau Twins, back when that band was morphing from a down-tempo gothic act into a more melody-driven spacey pop outfit.
When the tempos speed up, some prime Primitives worm their way into the mix. And wouldn’t some of those jagged guitar riffs feel right at home on the Cure’s Head on the Door album? In short, there’s nothing strikingly new on Herein Wild, but what IS there sounds divine.
BUY IT?: Definitely.