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Psychedelphia: "Your listening pleasure is our pleasure"

aldenPeople who are familiar with Psychedelphia know to not have any preconceived notions about a show. Anything and everything can happen on any given night. From the moment the Philly based quintet takes the stage, they entrance the crowd with funky, melodic grooves that hit new heights once everyone's improvisational skills are unleashed. Kenn Mogel's guitar acrobatics provide tasty leads over the diverse array of grooves held down by Alden Parker's funky Southern Fried rhythm guitar, John Olsen's innovative bass lines, and Adam Pasqueal's masterful beats. The finished product is a combination of tight grooves spliced with free flowing interplay that is always dancer-friendly.

While on stage, Psychedelphia exercises each song to its fullest potential, stretching some to twenty minutes or more, and often ending up in a place completely unforeseen. While many bands find it difficult to accurately capture their jamcentric tendencies in the Studio, Psychedelphia, in recording their In with the New EP, has effectively reigned in the length of solo sections to create highly-arranged and tightly-crafted versions of their live staples that retain every bit of the fun and danceability of their live counterparts. The final product is nothing less than a complete group effort, with each member bringing forth equal contribution to each composition. All of the writing is done with the full 4 members in mind, which allows for each member to draw from their diverse musical backgrounds to create a synthetic amalgamation of sounds. Each song is a veritable myriad of musical genres with seamless transitions into and out of each one.

Although many people would describe Psychedelphia as a jam band, it doesn't do the complexity of the music full justice to sum them up so concisely. The music of the jam band is centered around one aspect---improvisation. Psychedelphia certainly employs improvisation into their compositions, but they effectively transcend the jam band label while adhering to the philosophy of it. By incorporating elements of funk, fusion, electronica, dance, reggae, Latin, rock, and others, Psychedelphia can, at times, be labeled as any or all of those.

While they have only been together for about 6 months, Psychedelphia has wasted no time in making a name for themselves in the Philly area. Having played late night sets at many area parties and festivals, Psychedelphia always gets the crowd onto their feet and out on the dance floor. They are currently building a catalog of original material in anticipation of a nation-wide tour in the summer and fall of 2009.

Cut Off Your Hands To Release 'You & I' On 1/20

Photo by Brad Fafejta- for the Grateful Web

After debuting on Speak n Spell Records in 2006 with the bristling Shaky Hands EP, Cut Off Your Hands quickly set stages and airwaves on fire across Australia and beyond. And with steady attention to touring and the production of melodic, musical gems their avid fan base and the cavalcade of media hyperbole has only continued to grow.

With their nationwide billing on 2007's Laneway Festival and jaunts to Los Angeles, SXSW and New York really getting the ball rolling, it was, tellingly, the band's first visit to London that would prove their watershed moment. Having been bewitched by the band in Texas, the lovesick indie-maven Steve Lamacq (hosting John Peel's old show on BBC6) wasted no time in pulling them into his Maida Vale studios for a live performance when he knew they were in town. All of a sudden the boys from the antipodes were a bright pin punched on the British musical 'map', and as a consequence, their remaining shows were rammed full of hungry industry folk.

It was also while in London that the group, through various channels and the snowballing momentum, found themselves working with ex-Suede guitarist and Producer de jour, Bernard Butler, for the first time. Their second EP, Blue on Blue, being the fruit of their labors. While the recording's lead tracks, 'Still Fond' and 'Oh Girl', settled quickly into the higher echelon of the radio charts at home, things continued to move for the band abroad. For the release of their debut English 7" - the double a-side Still Fond/Closed Eyes – through vinyl-ists Fandango was followed almost overnight by the inking of a deal with 679 Recordings (home to The Streets, Mystery Jets and Death From Above 1979).

Through the heady rush of record deals, single releases and the imminent debut LP however, the group's dedication to their first love, the live arena, never waned. Incessantly in the van, Cut Off Your Hands forged solid friendships with fans and bands alike through UK tours with the whip-smart Foals, the legendary Edwyn Collins and Florida's Black Kids - not to mention shows with The Duke Spirit and Les Savy Fav. All this while also treading the festival circuit, playing eight shows in just three days at last year's CMJ festival in New York before winging their way to Iceland's epic Airwaves festival and a return to Australia to play Falls Festival and the full Australasian tour of Big Day Out - alongside Bjork, Dizzee Rascal and LCD Soundsystem.

Now based in the dynamic environs of Hackney, London, the band have finished juggling life on the road with life in the studio, (for now) having put the final coat on their debut LP 'You and I', with Butler once again at the helm. With such an amazing album waiting in the wings, Cut Off Your Hands couldn't be set in a better position to win over the World's hearts.

Right. That's about enough of the press spiel...let's hear what Nick Johnston - Cut Off Your Hands' Iggy-like, whirling dervish of a front-man - has to say about Bernard, recording and the record...

"For the album we all felt Bernard was the best for our band. He just seems to understand us as a group more than most. He's very hands-on with the pre-production, with a clear vision for how each instrument has a part to play in bringing the best out of a song.

For the first time I've written songs with the studio in mind, as opposed to writing for our live show. Once again, this has been just treating each song in the way that best suits the song. Bernard's really adamant in pushing to treat each song on its merits. Some songs worked straight away, whilst others came together slowly, only sounding amazing once we put all the vocals and overdubs on.

There's a whole lot more instrumentation on the record this time as well. BB was really keen to make a record which had points of difference to separate us from the droves of British guitar bands around right now. And we've taken a few more risks than usual. Bernard has taken us (as players) out of our comfort zones, deconstructing the way we think. But it's a good, healthy thing - risk taking- because when it works out you progress. I feel that the new songs are definitely an organic progression. In that the songs from the EP Blue On Blue were completely melody based, but all fairly similar. They were bouncy and energetic. Hopefully we've made a LP which listens in a far more dynamic sense than the two previous EP's.

Our pop sensibility has come lately. (While writing the record) I was listening to a lot of doo-wop - in particular Phil Spector produced groups like the Ronnettes, and the Crystals - and I've been obsessed with how melodically centered those old songs are. It's what makes them still relevant and exciting to someone like me, a 23 year old, 50 years later. I also began seriously taking an interest in 1950's artists such as Roy Orbison, Ritchie Valens and Elvis. I found that I was no longer that interested in weird sounds, or noisy groups, all I wanted to hear and recreate were beautiful vocal melodies that are calculated but appear so effortless.

We feel we've really matured as songwriters quite a bit since the last release, and we think that maturity is demonstrated in the depth of this record. I'm happy that Bernard has been so eager to take risks with our music, and has aimed to make a record we'll still be listening to in years to come."

Still Time to Get Your Phix

- for the Grateful Web

Over the past six years, Phix has been to Phish what Dark Star Orchestra has been to the Grateful Dead:  an absolutely amazing tribute band performing show after show of music that nearly rivals the original.

Based in Boulder, CO the band consists of Paul Murlin (guitar/vocals), Derek Berg (keys/vocals), Chris Sheldon (drums, vocals), and Brian Adams (bass/vocals).  Of all the bands on the scene that cover the intricate music of jam legends Phish, nobody does it better.  Close your eyes during a show and at times you can hardly tell you are listening to four guys from Boulder rather than the well-known four from Vermont.

Unfortunately after playing over 500 shows the band has called it quits, perhaps again fashioning themselves after their heroes, who many feel prematurely disbanded.  However, that doesn't mean these guys are finished just yet.

The draw of playing the songs of Phish must be strong, because even since their last shows in the summer of 2007 coined Covertry (a clever take on Phish's last festival Coventry), some gigs keep popping up.

Two weeks ago at Dulcinea's 100 th Monkey in Denver the band performed an unadvertised show, much to the delight of those who caught word about this "reunion" concert.  The group jammed out Phish favorites such as "David Bowie", "Possum", "The Squirming Coil", "Harry Hood", and more with excellent timing and improvisational flair.

Though the band claims it is no longer touring, there have been more Phix performances announced as of late.  Perhaps the most exciting went down last weekend at the Langerado Festival in Florida, which just happened to take place at the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, the site of Phish's historic millennium concert.

Adding relevance to the experience, the band was slated to start at 11:55pm; exactly the same time Phish took the stage for their monstrous six hour New Year's Eve celebration.  Though Phix trimmed their set down to a modest three hours, it was extremely fitting nonetheless.

Poor weather did not stop the band from belting out popular covers like "Reba", "Maze", and "Divided Sky"; along with a few deeper catalogue songs like "Destiny Unbound", "Punch You in the Eye", "Moma Dance", and "The Curtain".

It now appears the band is at least willing to get together once in awhile and recreate that infectious groove that is Phish.  Anyone curious about experiencing what Phix can do will have at least one more chance in the near future.

The group is now slated to perform at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, CO on April 4 th.  This is actually a platform for the members of the band to show off their new musical projects, but they have apparently agreed to dedicate a portion of the evening to play as Phix.

With only one confirmed show on the horizon, fans of the music of Phish would do themselves a service by checking out this extremely fun tribute band.

Critical Vote on Clean Energy...Make your voice heard!

gas guzzlers are lame- for the Grateful Web

Next week, the full House of Representatives will vote on an energy bill that will boost the fuel efficiency of new cars for the first time in decades. Then the Senate will cast its vote.

 

Send your members of Congress an email message in support of clean energy right now:

 

The big automakers are going all out to weaken this bill. Your senators and representative need to hear from you this week - BEFORE that bill hits the floor for the decisive vote.

 

It's easy. Just click here and tell them to support a bill ensuring that:

 

* New passenger vehicles get an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.

 

* Utilities produce 15 percent of their electricity from

renewable sources by 2020.

 

An energy bill with these two centerpiece provisions will cut America's oil dependence, make a down payment on reducing global warming pollution, and usher in a cleaner energy future.

 

Even if you sent Congress a message about clean energy back in September, please be sure to send another email message at this critical juncture.

 

Your message from back home can do more to counter the auto lobbyists and deliver a clean energy future than any other single weapon we've got.

 

We've waited two decades for Congress to pass legislation that could start breaking the chains of our enslavement to the automakers and Big Oil. We're unlikely to get a second chance for many years to come.

 

Please seize this one chance for a clean energy future. Make your voice heard on Capitol Hill today!

Big vote coming on clean energy bill. Make your voice heard.

Tell the auto industry to improve mpg- for the Grateful Web

An army of auto industry lobbyists is swarming over Capitol Hill.

Their mission? To strangle a clean energy bill in the cradle - before you and I can enjoy better gas mileage and more renewable energy.

Your senators and representative need to hear from constituents like you right now - BEFORE that bill hits the floor for the decisive vote.

Click here to send them email messages in support of clean energy now: http://www.nrdcactionfund.org/clean_energy

Even if you've already called Capitol Hill, please be sure to both of your senators and your representative an email message at this critical juncture.

Your messages from back home can do more to counter the auto lobbyists and deliver a clean energy future than any other single weapon we've got. 

It couldn't be easier to do. With one click on the website you can call on all three of your elected officials to support a clean energy bill ensuring that:

* New passenger vehicles get an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020.

* Utilities will produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

An energy bill with these two centerpiece provisions will cut America's oil dependence, make a down payment on reducing global warming pollution, and usher in a cleaner energy future.

Even if you've already called Capitol Hill, please be sure to send both of your senators and your representative an email message at this critical juncture. Click here: http://www.nrdcactionfund.org/clean_energy

We've waited two decades for Congress to pass legislation that could start breaking the chains of our enslavement to the automakers and Big Oil. We're unlikely to get a second chance for many years to come.

Please seize this one chance for a clean energy future. Make your voice heard on Capitol Hill today!

BUSTLE IN YOUR HEDGEROW

Benevento- for the Grateful Web

On March 1st the on-and-off again Led Zeppelin tribute band, Bustle in Your Hedgerow, brought their high-energy show to the Bluebird Theater on historic Colfax Avenue in Denver.  A handful of fans showed up to hear their favorite Zep tunes, and were rewarded with a musically stunning performance that covered a wide range of the classic rock outfit's catalogue.

This group of jamband all-stars is comprised of the Benevento/Russo Duo on keys and drums, with Dave Dreiwitz of Ween on bass, and Scott Metzger of Particle/RANA on guitar. Formed about three years ago, the members have since set out to reprise, as Marco Benevento stated, the songs of "the greatest band ever".  While they may not exactly sound like the kings of British hard rock, they certainly breathe some new life into some old favorites.

Though I was unable to witness the entire performance, it was exciting to see what some talented musicians could do with some classic Zeppelin songs.  Renditions of "Moby Dick" and "Kashmir" highlighted a fiery first set of covers.  Also, a blues-heavy version of "Dazed and Confused" reminded the audience that Page, Plant, Jones, and Bonham quite possibly were the greatest rock band ever.

The jams on these tunes were very heavy, and for the most part the band was in sync with each other.  Though each member proved their worth, the show benefited the most by the contributions of Metzger's guitar work.  This was the first time I had the opportunity to see him perform live, and he was phenomenal.  His style is less bluesy than that of Jimmy Page, with heavier licks and a modern jam-oriented approach to solos.

scottAs much fun as it was to actually hear a group cover Zeppelin well, the band failed to provide one aspect that made the original so explosive:  vocals.  Whether it was by choice or lack of a good singer, Bustle in Your Hedgerow performed the covers without anyone singing.  Rather, Benevento used his Wurlitzer organ to administer notes where Robert Plant's vocals would be.  And to be honest, it just came out a little cheesy.  I do not doubt his ability to play keys, however it did diminish the overall quality of the songs.  This talented cover band would benefit greatly from having someone worthy on vocals (might I suggest Theryl DeClouet, formerly of Galactic, who would give the lyrics an interesting and very energetic twist).

Obviously, the members have no plans to quit their "day jobs," but do plan to continue showing off their take on vintage Zeppelin ballads.  Speaking with Dreiwitz after set break, he told me that they were "just having a ton of fun playing in a tribute band."  Having fun indeed, as it was evident in the energy with which these guys played.  Any purist Zep fan might say, "What is and what should never be", referencing an early Zeppelin tune to explain that no one should ever cover the iconic rock group.  However, any fan of classic rock should enjoy the smoking instrumental work these guys blanket over such influential pieces.