Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The best laid plans...Living Colour @ CMJ

My Friday night CMJ plan so carefully laid out, was completely shattered when I got a text message from my buddy Kelsey, (front man of Pillow Theory...): "Living Colour acoustic show, Angels and Kings, 10 o'clock:) "I'm so there", I texted back. All prior plans were promptly thrown to the curve (Sorry School of Seven Bells).

A little background on my relationship with Living Colour: "Cult of Personality" was one of those songs where I clearly remember where I was the first time I heard it. I was a musical theatre/teen pop geek that hadn't really discovered anything beyond what was fed to me by TV, radio or school. And although just a child, I had sensed that mainstream entertainment went through massive shifts usually based on political/economic climates or a need for a movement to clearly rebel against the one that came before it. So here I was a young pup with a Jordan Knight poster, memorizing my lines for my school production of Bye, Bye Birdie, faithfully listening to my top 40 station B96 in Chicago.

Cult of Personality comes on out of nowhere and kicks my ass. "When a leader speaks, a leader dies" were not lyrics that were typical of mainstream radio. This song actually scared me, shook me, and gave me a glimpse into the forefront of the next wave of music. It was obvious with that one song that the cultural tides were changing. It wasn't until my adulthood, however, that I would become familiar with the bands full catalog until I caught Medicine Stick (fronted by former Living Colour bass player Muzz Skillings).

Medicine Stick had tapped into a similar "stirred up" type of feeling when I caught his band. Once I found out Muzz had been in Living Colour it compelled me to dive deeper into Living Colour's catalog. I grew to love all phases of the band both with Muzz and (current bassist) Doug Wimbish. And Medicine Stick inspired me to start my own band, edibleRed, which has lasted over a decade.

I arrive an hour early, pleasantly surprised that 1) there was plenty of room (as the show was booked last minute) 2) there was a very interesting band playing before hand, Bern and the Brights an acoustic 5 piece with strings. 3) WRXP who has completely revolutionized commercial radio in New York city was running the night.

Bern and the Brights had an earthy,down home,genre-bending yet folksy feel. Ethereal, introspective and full of quick surprises... a reggae groove here, a ska beat there.... If No Doubt and Jack Johnson were college buddies sharing a bong hit at student housing and jamming...
that would be them....

As Living Colour set up, the only resemblence to an acoustic show was the brushes and scaled down kit donned by Will Calhoun. Corey Glover was fiddliing with the jukebox, Vernon Reid was somewhat under the radar back in the corner and Doug Wimbish was just hanging out and being awesome as usual.

"They said if we play too loud, they're gonna call the cops...obviously they don't know us too well!" exclaimed Big Man Glover (as written on his T-shirt). That would be the first of many zingy one liners... Sonically my favorite thing was the vocal blend between Corey, Vernon and Doug. Vernon's guitars were way down in the mix, yet the "bar band sound" contributed an air of charm. They played the hits, but seemed to be slightly tuned into each other on the newer stuff, namely "Behind the Sun".

Jokingly, Vernon teased the crowd with the "Cult of Personality" riff which inspired screams of "DO IT!!" Glover’s eye rolling and beating the microphone on his head in exasperation greatly contradicted the sheer thrill of the 50 or so people in attendance. It's hard to know what goes through the mind of a frontman of a band that has superb catalog, yet it commonly identified with one song. I briefly felt slighted as a fan. I wished Corey could just roll with it a little more. He then made a joke about being on Youtube saying "Who’s that cover band playing that Living Colour shit". I feel like Glover missed the memo that platinum artists who play in small bars are awesome.

They seriously redeemed things during "Asshole" which was perfect for the bar band version of Living Colour and really brought it home during "Out of my mind" which was unfortunately the last song of the evening. "Don't tell anyone we did this", exclaimed Corey. NO Corey, I am telling EVERYONE... And now I know you were using reverse pychology on me because I saw the "Angels and Kings" links on all of the Living Colour twitter pages. Nicely done, Big Man Glover.

Collette McLafferty, Guest Blogger

Friday, October 23, 2009

Antics and Buzz on Fierce Femmes at CMJ!

Yep folks... it is that time of year again! This year, CMJ kind of snuck up on me like Christmas sometimes does...Glad to see that the festival is becoming more diverse and is no longer just a skinny white boys rock club (although I do love my skinny white boys...holla!). So many rock little time. So after catching some cool panels (All Hail Andrew WK!), getting some free haircuts,massages, beer and swag and meeting the Marco, the official visual artist of CMJ this year, it was time to get my rock diva on...

First, Remi Lane at The Delancey... I kind of like to call her "mini-me" because she is a fellow dangerous redhead who can rock a red sparkly red dress and hang from ceiling pipes like nobody's business. Lane has been working with Linda Perry, but is humble enough to talk about trying to get friends to come out and support in the New York Clubs... keep it real girl. She kind of reminds me of Beth Orton meets The Strokes meets U2, Meets Garbage... just commercial enough to get into the hearts and minds of the mainstream, yet just indie enough to keep her cred while doing it....she's got hooks galore coupled with intelligent lyrics.

Next was Mieka Paulie at The Gallery Bar who was playing at indie queen Rachael Sage's MPRESS Records soiree. That night, Mieka's lineup was a "cross between a solo project and a band" as we was rocking the acoustic guitar in a 3 piece. Mieka and I are both on the "Next Paradigm" compilation where she covers "Angels from Montgomery". Stunning husky vocals that leave me scratching my head for comparison. Meika has been working it for a minute... I see her name everywhere...a true inspiration for indie artists living the dream...

Then, off to the Artists Lounge for some more free beer, vodka and pomegranate soda..hmmmm. I saw a super cool boy fronted band with a hot chick guitarist/vocalist. This band was one of my highlights of CMJ. They clearly had the room (folded arms and all, everyone was loving it on the inside) and I felt compelled to make my way up to the front and DANCE... we need to bring that back people!

"Do you know who this band is?" I asked about 5 people before learning it was "The Nervous Wreckords" (NOT Nervous Records, the house music label...) featuring Brian Karscig/Anthony Saffery w/Mark Maigaard, Ray Suen, Mark Stoermer, Steve Smith. Andy Ridley, Shaun Cornell and Lindsay Matheson. Beyond their dance infectious grooves, hypnotic bass lines, killer harmonies, hooks and good looks, I think my FAVORITE thing about this band is their song titles. "I Don't Feel Tardy".... if you don't immediately know the reference, shame on you! I freaked out an when I learned that they were from San Diego, since my favorite radio station X1FM is there. I immediately accosted lead singer Anthony Saffery... all in the name of hopefully seeing them featured on "The Open Door" sessions one day and learned that Anthony is formerly of "Louis X1V", which has been covered by X1FM. Anthony is very nice to his accosters btw. Lindsey also made it a point to come say hi, as she saw us dancing in the front and giving her the unspoken "oh hell yeah hot rock chick work it girl" vibes.... we both agreed that New York and San Diego need to return to the days of dancing... big cities sometimes has a the-church-town-in-Footloose-before-Kevin Bacon-takes-over kind of vibe. Anyway, look for this band to blow up, like yesterday. They have 12 shows under their belt, most of them being on tour with The Killers.

Then last but not least, we walked over to Santos Party House, we were to exhausted to actually catch any bands, but I wanted GRGR founder Gail Silverman to experience the awesomeness of Santos Party House,even if only for a second... I ran into the folks from Panzie, who are starting to get a lot of love in the press. Tonight is a
new night, so I think we may return to there tonight...

Peace out folks!
Collette McLafferty, Guest Correspondent

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Hangin Out @ CMJ - music and messages from Andrew W.K.

Its that time of year again, the leaves are falling and NYC is hosting the annual CMJ Music Marathon. I didn't even think I would be attending this year, as GRGR did not have a showcase, but the universe via a wonderful and generous spirit dropped the opportunity in my lap and who am I say no when such a thing happens! A shout out and thanks to my friend Davida! So what's my experience so far, like most music conferences you go to lots of panels, get some good tidbits of information, make some new connections, get some free goodies and then there are those occasional surprises. Sometimes you have an unexpected experience that doesn't even have anything to do with the core purpose of being where you are at! So rather then reporting on the regular tips & tidbits I'd love to tell you about my surprise experience of attending a presentation with Andrew W.K. Now keep on mind I had no idea who this person was (OK maybe I live under a rock?), but he was a featured speaker and my friend and co-correspondent the lovely Collette McLafferty (GRGR alum, lead singer of Edible Red and MTV video super star) was encouraging me to check him out. Now Andrew was described to me as a quirky artist musician who sang songs mostly about partying (even managed a whole album of it), a kooky guest star on reality TV shows among other such things...what a surprise to get an hour and 15 minute interaction with a charming, funny character who had an uplifting, inspiring and spiritual message. So although its not directly related to music, it is about life and my spiritual Kundalini yoga teacher persona wants to share it. So here is some of the wisdom from Andrew:
Do what you love and do it with all your intensity!(in response to a guy talking about how he really loves to party)
Take responsibility for all that happens to you - don't blame it on outside forces.
Even nothing is something. - (an explanation about Andrews tattoo that was meant to mean nothing)
Its good to be outside your comfort zone, when in a place of doubt just have the experience, you can learn the most going through those things that you don't understand.
He has made a point of making himself the project instead of having to pick only one thing to focus on and do! (Amen!)
Maintain a belief that the world is good & perfect even when it doesn't make sense in its imperfections.
Following ones own will is the only way to be successful.
Keep being vulnerable and crushing your ego!
Do the most riskiest most crazy things the ones that are the least reasonable or safe.
Look at your life like a movie you are the main character and creating the the script the more outlandish the better. (makes for a more interesting movie!)
Don't think of anything as failing think everything that happens as meant to be.
We are not here to doubt others just be on your own path.

And finally how wierd was this he and I had the same vocal coach Melissa Cross - the universe is so cool!

OK after all that wisdom, CMJ is after all a Music Festival and finally we did go see some bands last night! Our pick of the day was an awesome duo Buke & Gass from right here in Brooklyn -- this girl and guy had it going on -- sounding like a full band with two guitars, a whole bunch of pedals, bells on there feet and kick drum with a tamborine! Genre was difficult to pinpoint kind of an eclectic ambient pscyhedelic rock, with cool odd time signatures alternatively melodic and dissonant. Check them out!

Till tomorrow, when Miss Collette reports on musical highlights and other nonsense from tonight!
Gail Silverman
GRGR Founder/CEO

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

GRGR Alum Edible Red Hits It Big on!

Outkast’s famous single “Hey Ya” was released in 2003 and made its way to the top of the charts shortly after. The popularity of the song is still around and lyrics like “Shake it like a Polaroid picture” are still sung over and over by the fans of today’s generation. Well what we know of “Hey Ya” has been forever changed. One of GRGR’s own alumni, edibleRed has made their way onto MTV’s Buzzworthy Blog with their remake of the “Hey Ya”. The Band re-vamped the 1964 Ed Sullivan Show inspired video and broke it down to show the sadness that the original video was missing. edibleRed did an amazing job in capturing the real essence of what the writers, Big Boi and Andre 3000,were talking about.

GRGR is very proud of edibleRed’s success with “Hey Ya” and would like to congratulate them on all their hard work. It really paid off and they deserved it especially the awesomely talented and hard working lead singer Collette McLafferty! Make sure to check out the video at

Peace and Love,


Monday, October 12, 2009

Props to Jasmine Solano

I hope all is well with you guys. School is going for me, but now I'm ready for some GRGR action.

Girls Rock Girls Rule is known for giving mucho props to women in rock & roll. These women deserve full respect for their contribution to music. Yet, today we're going to step out of this awesome genre for just a second and give kudos to hip hip DJ Jasmine Solano.

Just like many of our rockers, this chick keeps it real. Her song "That's Not it" is pleasure to the ears. Solano vibes about the pleasure that she's not getting from a guy and about the wack game that he's trying to pull on her. The beat is real slow, but is perfect to just chill to when strolling around the city with friends.

"Coco Puff" has a slow beat to it too but has a more energizing feel. Her seductive voice flows well with the steady beat. Her lyrics demand for attention. "It's electric punanny to you." Her sound is more relaxed than loud, but the listener would know what she wants. The passion doesn't echo through the ears; it can be felt.

Solano is opening for the Clipse on Oct. 22 with Myspace Music in NYC. This upcoming artist does well with getting her message out as many of our rockers do. She has truly made a name for herself in the hip hop game and is kicking ass for women in music. Keep doing your thing Solano. Until next time rockers =). Peace.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Paramore-Brand New Eyes

Hello Hello!

Miss me? I'll tell you what I missed, a new album from Paramore. Luckily the Hailey Williams and the boys just currently released their newest album, Brand New Eyes.

"Ignorance" is the recent single off the album and it's already making some noise. Despite rumors of the group breaking up, Paramore continues to put in their hard work and raw talent towards their third album.

With strong instrumentals and vocals, each track showcases that the punk pop band isn't any where close of peaking. Williams' spunky voice and strong lyrics shines through all the songs, including the last track power ballad, "All I Wanted".

My personal favorite tracks include "Brick By Boring Brick", "Turn It Off" and "Playing God".
"Misguided Ghosts" is an acoustic melodic track featuring the softer side of the band. There are no other words to describe it better than beautifully simple and delicate.

To hear other tracks off of Brand New Eyes go to Be sure to grab their CD in stores!

-Ang xo