33 1/3 editor Ally Jane Grossan talks about the series’ past and future

333 spines For those who love music and books, there's nothing finer than Bloomsbury's critically acclaimed 33 1/3, which examines individual, seminal albums, in pocket books that pack a punch. The 33 1/3 series celebrates its 100th book, on Michael Jackson's Dangerous, on Thursday, September 11 and will be having a party for its 10th anniversary on Thursday, October 2, at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn. Ally Jane Grossan is a commissioning editor at Bloomsbury. She edits academic books in the realms of pop music and sound studies and is editor of the 33 1/3 series, taking over from founding editor David Barker in November 2012. She is also co-editor of the forthcoming textbook, How to Write About Music. We spoke with Grossan via e-mail about the series and its history. What was the impetus to start 33 1/3? Was there a particular book or piece of writing that was the inspiration? David Barker started the series in the early aughts. I know that he got the idea from another book series that the previous publisher, Continuum, had on contemporary novels. That series, Continuum Contemporaries, was comprised of short books about beloved contemporary novels like Disgrace, High Fidelity, and The Buddha of Suburbia, among many others. David was inspired to apply that same formula to beloved albums of music. How were you involved, and how have you stayed involved in the series over the last decade? I became involved with the series like any sensible college student terrified of unemployment -- as an intern. A college professor of mine had penned one of the early books in the series and he put me in touch with the series editor at Continuum. I had read a few of the titles in the series at that point and was elated to be involved. That first summer, I eagerly took on reading projects and if I remember correctly, the first 33 1/3 manuscript I got to read was Mark Richardson’s book on Zaireeka. That internship turned into a full-time job as an Editorial Assistant the following summer. I was promoted up through the ranks and eventually wound up as the music editor when Continuum was purchased by Bloomsbury. Now in addition to the 33 1/3 series, I edit academic titles in popular music, sound studies and political theory at Bloomsbury, the new home of the series. book cover - 333 master of realityIn addition to journalists and other writers, you've had musicians scribe installments. What do you find they bring? The books in the series by musicians have two audiences. Black Sabbath fans are sure to pick up the 33 1/3 on Master of Reality, but because of the fact that’s it’s penned by John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats, we've got a whole different fan base interested in that book. I now have a deeper appreciation for the Mountain Goats song "The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton" off All Hail West Texas. Master of Reality is one of my favorite books in the series and takes a radical approach to exploring an album: fictionalizing it. How has the series changed from its initial concept -- was fiction in the early planning, for instance? I think David Barker's original concept was to really get to "the heart of matter" of great albums. When the series began, he had solicited proposals from writers he admired, but by the time the tenth or eleventh book came out the proposals were flooding in. There were so many creative approaches: fiction, guidebooks, memoir, etc. that the scope was expanded. During the last open call in 2014, I received almost 40 pitches with a "creative" approach including novellas, screenplays, one-act plays and graphic novels. Which album proved most difficult to produce a book for? The Clash's London Calling. Three different writers have been under contract to write this book over the years and not one has been successful. Are there any books you're still crossing your fingers to see written? If so, what are they? Definitely. Look for a wish list during the 2015 open call on 333sound.com. book cover - 333 let's talk about loveWhich book has proved to generate the most commentary (it's Let's Talk About Love, isn't it?)? Yes, it's Carl Wilson's Let’s Talk About Love. That tiny book spawned a whole new conversation about taste and snobbery. It's widely taught in college classrooms in freshman seminars, creative writing classes and by pretty much any cultural studies professor who comes into contact with it. I think it’s so successful because students react so strongly at first with, "Why the hell have we been assigned a book about Celine Dion?" But then after reading it, their concept of highbrow and lowbrow culture has completely warped. There were so many interesting reactions to the book that we brought out a separate new edition that includes essays by James Franco, Mary Gaitskill, Nick Hornby and countless others. What do you think of series such as Music On Film, which have applied the research / overview / pocket book concept to other genres? I haven’t read any of the Music on Film books but I just might have to pick up the Spinal Tap one. Is there one on Monty Python and the Holy Grail? There should be. I do like it when the 33 1/3 apparatus of a tiny, focused study is applied to other genres. Our media studies editor has just started a series on video game design with the first installment covering Shigeru Miyamoto. Coincidentally, I've just signed up a 33 1/3 on the soundtrack to Super Mario Bros. In academic publishing, we call that synergy (rolls eyes). Do you have any wild plans for the next ten years? Yes, we're going global! The possibilities for the series are infinite. As long as albums are being made, there are 33 1/3rds to be written. I receive so many brilliant pitches on Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, Brazilian artists; the list goes on. So I'm teaming up with musicologists with various region-specific specialties to expand the 33 1/3 series to cover the greatest albums released all over the world. While our wide 33 1/3 audience may have never heard of artist like Yellow Magic Orchestra or Cui Jian, their influence in their respective countries is huge. Their albums deserve the microscopic 33 1/3 treatment and they'll get it soon! For more information on the 33 1/3 series, visit their website. You can RSVP to the 33 1/3 tenth anniversary party and find out more details at the Powerhouse website. Also -- for the entire month of September, Bloomsbury has all books in the series for $10 (33 1/3% off!). You can get them at Bloomsbury's store.

Red Kate / Bad Ideas split 7-inch

cover - bad ideas red kate split The first release from Kansas City's Mills Record Company features the finest punk rock 'n' roll the city has to offer, with two songs each from Red Kate and the Bad Ideas. Red Kate continues the wonderful racket they had on last year's full-length, When the Troubles Come. The first cut, "On My Mind," is a melodic rocker, almost wistful in the way it recalls someone gone. The cover of Naked Raygun's "New Dreams" clocks in at half the length of its predecessor, and blasts away for its entire 80 seconds. Factor in the copious "way-oh"s, and you've a pile-on pit classic reborn. The Bad Ideas have always been a live force with which to be reckoned, but these two recordings are fantastic. Mixing classic-era Epitaph Records energy with Sonic Youth guitar work and absolute snottiness, they're absolute keepers. I can't decide whether the straight-ahead energy of "Apocalypse Detroit" or the off-kilter jerk of "I'm Stuck" is my favorite, so I just keep flipping the record and starting over from scratch.
It's on a solid slab of 7-inch black vinyl, with cardstock covers (union-made, too -- check the mark), and might be the nicest single I've laid hand on in a good long while. It's a hand-numbered limited edition of 516. You can buy it direct from Red Kate via Bandcamp or you could easily pick it up in person when both bands play this weekend. They're at Mills Record Company in Westport Friday, June 27 at 7:00pm for the split's release party. It's free and all-ages. They're also playing as part of Lawrence Field Day Fest on Saturday, June 28. The Bad Ideas play at the Bottleneck at 9:00pm, with Red Kate on the Jackpot stage at 11:30pm.

The Big Iron, “We Will Fall” LP

cover - big iron we will fallThe Big Iron's We Will Fall sounds like the '80s, but not the one you remember. This isn't the 1980s of synth-pop, New Wave, or yacht rock -- the Big Iron are the sound of VFW shows, of the bands documented in Our Band Could Be Your Life, of the punk rock underground. We Will Fall hits every sweet spot of diverse influences you could possibly hope for. "Climate Refugee" rocks it Agent Orange surf-punk style, "Past the Pavement" pays homage to Lawrence punk rock mecca the Outhouse with anthemic SST-style ... argh. It's fun to play "spot the influences," but it's ultimately reductive of the Big Iron's sound to do so. Their songs aren't so much in the vein of "this is the Husker Du one, that's the Naked Raygun song," as they are the sum influences of guys who have been playing rock 'n' roll music for decades, and those influences are the foundation upon what this album is built. And holy fucking shit -- can we just talk about how good the title track is? It wouldn't do for a band called the Big Iron not to have some country in there, and the twangy gothic sturm und drang of "We Will Fall" has become one of about three songs this year that I've obsessed over, playing again and again and again, to the detriment of the rest of the album. The whole album is just a powerhouse. Knowing the bands from which all of these guys come, I'm completely unsurprised by how strong this sounds, but the way it all comes together is just wonderful. It really puts the rock in punk rock when you have two guitarists, instead of just one, so the band's got that full, Bad Religion kind of sound. What really impresses me about the Big Iron's work on We Will Fall is that it's not just an old-school punk album. It could've been, easily, but the band's not afraid to work in a song like "Trees Explode," which is a slow, dirty piece of work that uses huge drum hits to work a desperate, dangerous groove. It's fucking intense. The Big Iron plays an in-store release party at Kansas City's Mills Record Co. this Saturday, JUne 14, along with Lucky Graves and Freight Train Rabbit Killer. The show starts at 7:30pm, is all ages, and free. You can get the Big Iron's We Will Fall as a digital download from iTunes, or go to Mills Record Co. in Westport to get a copy on vinyl -- although, I'm sure that if you hit the band up on Facebook, they'll get you a copy of this monster piece of wax. The lyric sheet and band photo inside are wonderful. Get this.

PUP’s self-titled LP out today from SideOne Dummy; BUY IT

pup teeth Toronto's PUP have the stateside release of their self-titled debut out today via SideOne Dummy. I've been listening to it pretty regularly since I was turned onto them by Wade from Black on Black, because it's a monster stereo record -- it's the sort of thing you put on, and just steadily crank the volume until things are rattling on shelves and your ears are ringing. It's exuberant and raucous and holyfuckingshit have you heard "Reservoir"? [embed]https://soundcloud.com/puptheband/reservoir[/embed] If that doesn't make you want to go driving extraordinarily fast and pump your fist, you're dead inside. This might be my favorite song in years. It comes on, and I find myself ignoring the rest of the album to just repeat it over and over and over and over ... which is both a joy and a shame, because the song is just that fucking good, but the rest of the album is also excellent. You can buy it on either black or white vinyl, along with CD and a bunch of packages, from the SideOne Dummy store. PUP's headed out on tour with Lemuria, Cayetana, and the Menzingers soon -- go see them, because the tour's not hitting Lawrence or Kansas City, so I fucking can't.

Helms Alee’s Ben Verellen on the band’s new album and tour

helms alee Seattle's Helms Alee just released their third full-length, Sleepwalking Sailors. It's their first for label Sargent House after two LPs on Hydra Head. It's a massive piece of work, both in terms of sound and emotional impact. The trio is currently on tour, opening for labelmates Russian Circles. That tour (also featuring the ever-brutal KEN Mode) hits the recordBar in Kansas City on Saturday, March 15. We spoke with Helms Alee guitarist Ben Verellen a while back about the new album and tour. cover - sleepwalking sailorsYou've got a label switch with this new album, Sleepwalking Sailors – how did it come about? Hydra Head, essentially – they're not done, but they're done putting out new records. So, that was kind of a big bummer. We were planning on releasing a third Helms Alee record, and they just figured out they needed to stop doing what they were doing and roll things back. It kind of put us in a spot where we had to figure out what we were going to do with these – we had 20 new songs all ready to go. So, we finally decided that we were going to do a Kickstarter campaign and try and release the thing ourselves. So, we did that. Only after we recorded the record did it fall into the hands of Cathy [Pellow] from Sargent House via Chris Common, the guy who recorded the record, who was living at her house. I don't know exactly how she stumbled onto it, but she called up. How does moving to Sargent House affect how the Kickstarter works? I know you guys were basically treating it like a pre-order. We kind of realized that this was a lot of work that we wouldn't have to do. It was all pretty exciting. It's all been pretty good working with Sargent House. Sargent House has been really flexible about all of this. It's going to work out great because they're helping us put together all the reward packages to get everybody taken care of who helped chip in. It's basically going to work as if we did release it ourselves and everybody's going to receive their records. Where did you record? Here in Seattle, at a couple of different studios. At a place called Litho, and at a place called Red Room. Was the recording process less stressful, thanks to having the Kickstarter money? We've been pretty lucky in the past. Hydra Head was able to give us a little money to record. Never a lot, but it wasn't like we were pooling band money from shows, scraping into our bank accounts – that kind of thing – but the Kickstarter campaign was a big success, I would say. You guys raised $2000 more than you were asking for. Yeah! It was incredible. It meant that we could afford to record to tape now. It's something we really wanted to do. It's a little more expensive. It also meant that we got to work at some studios that we really liked. So, it felt like – it wasn't like we went and kicked in the studio for two and a half months or anything like that! But, we had a lot of material to record, but we felt like we had enough time to do it all. [embed]https://soundcloud.com/sargent-house/helms-alee-tumescence[/embed] And, to promote the record, you're going out with Russian Circles, which is a really great pairing. How did that tour get set up? Actually, before that record was even going to be put out on Sargent House, when we finished it, we figured, “Let's send it out to a bunch of our buddy bands.” And, we've known those guys for some time and we've done some touring with them in the past, so we just sent them the record and told them what we were doing. When we started talking with Sargent House, Russian Circles were also with those guys, so they were just like, “This is obvious. We'll put out the record and that tour will happen then: it's perfect.” Going back to the recording process: were you guys able to record all 20 songs? Yes, and there are going to be some surrounding releases. There's a split that came out on Brutal Panda with a group called Ladder Devils, so one song ended up there. We did another split with a band from town called Tacos, and that came out. I don't think I'm allowed to talk about the other split – it's not been announced, so I should keep my lid shut. It's more of a split 12-inch, with a band that's more well-known, and a band that we've toured with and really really like, so that one's most exciting, but I won't say anymore than that. Helms Alee is on tour through Thursday, March 20. You can find tour dates and information at their Facebook page.

Potpourri of Pearls, “We Went to Heaven”

cover - potpourri of pearls we went to heavenPotpourri of Pearls' We Went to Heaven has been playing down here in the basement, in the living room, at work, and various places over the past week. I've been trying to figure out if my initial impressions of it being amazing and weird have held up to repeated listens. Honestly, the first time I listened to We Went to Heaven, the whole '80s worship thing was a fun angle -- especially the fact they were lifting Erasure, making this a refreshing switch from bands who've been swiping New Order's sound for the better part of two decades. Repeated plays haven't really born out the opinions from the first listen. Frankly, with the exception of the last few tracks, the beats start to plod after a few tracks, and the repeated reliance on Autotune and various other bits of vocal pitch-shifting only demonstrate the unfortunate flatness in the vocals. For Potpourri of Pearls to work, these falsettos need to soar, and they barely achieve the heights of a baby bird taking its first tentative flaps out of the nest. However, when they embrace their limitations, and try something different -- when they get fucking weird -- the band clicks. "Under Every Ocean," with its extraordinarily uncomfortable juxtaposition of squeaky and super-deep pitch-shifted vocals, some beats that manage to do more than thud, and just being fucking freaky, works like crazy. Is it a dance number? Oh, hell no. People'd flee the dance floor like rats on a ship, but it's definitely far more interesting than anything that preceded it. Followed up as it by "Hang Me," a song that manages to work the weird in a much more listener-friendly way, with a flipping great hook and a groove that locks in and doesn't let go, you get the feeling that Potpourri of Pearls have it in them to embrace their inner SSION and make dance music that manages to be interesting. [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Prs5us1soM[/embed] We Went to Heaven comes out February 11. Potpourri of Pearls will have a release party that night at Philadelphia's Kung Fu Necktie with operners Disco Hootenany. Details are viewable here.

Downright Creepy’s Tim Canton on Screenland Armour’s upcoming Panic Fest

logo - panic fest Over the weekend of Friday, January 31, through Sunday, February 2, North Kansas City's Screenland Armour will play host to the second annual Panic Film Fest. In addition to a slew of classic horros films like Deep Red, Driller Killer, and the infamous Cannibal Holocaust, the fest will feature a selection of newer genre fair from Magnet Releasing. Additionally, there will be some interesting left-of-center selections like Spaceballs and Serenity to offer a bit of variety -- to say nothing of beer from Tallgrass Brewing and a wide number of vendors. It's obviously right up our alley here at Rock Star Journalist, so we reached out to one of the organizer, Tim KC Canton, of Downright Creepy He was kind enough to answer a bunch of our questions via e-mail. Seems like there's a nice mix of new & classic films. How do you decide what to include? We definitely wanted a mix of not just old and new but of other kinds of films. Horror, sci-fi, thrillers, anime/fantasy and a bit of comedy thrown in. Last year we had a lot of classics and fan favorites in our lineup, which are always a fun time - but this year we wanted to bring as many new films as we could to give genre fans something they haven't seen before. So we teamed up with IFC Midnight and Magnet / Magnolia to bring in a lot of early releases to go along with our classics. poster - space ballsAnd why Spaceballs -- some levity in the midst of the brutality of Driller Killer and (especially) Cannibal Holocaust? Exactly. Laughter and fear are two very strong emotions so if we can evoke that during our fest I think our lineup has done it's job. Spaceballs is a fantastic Mel Brooks film that plays on a franchise beloved by so many and has a niche following all its own. Just a like a good horror film needs ebbs and flows to be good - we felt the festival needed some of that same formula. Anytime we can bring John Candy and Rick Moranis together on the big screen is a win for everyone. Last year we screened Ghostbusters with a brunch special, so to continue that tradition we went with Spaceballs for some laughs. You can get brunch and a movie for $18 or just see the film for $8. This being the second year for Panic Fest, what are you doing differently than the first? I think we tried to go too big too soon last year. It was our first year for the fest and Downright Creepy was so stoked to put together this genre festival with Screenland Theaters that we thought two consecutive weekends of films would be amazing! Don't get me wrong it was, but for our first year we probably should have tried to focus our energy in one central location to pack it with the best lineup we possibly could - and I think we have done a great job of that this year by hosting it for one weekend at historic Screenland Armour in North Kansas City, MO. Having the fest in one condensed weekend will give moviegoers the most bang for their buck! Were there any particularly hard lessons you learned? I think with anything in life the more you do it the better you get at it. No exception when it comes to putting together a film festival. It is a lot of hard work to get a great lineup and pull in movies for early screenings from film studios. Which is why it has been really nice to work more with IFC Midnight and Magnet / Magnolia to do just that. We also have more vendors this year and a better space for them to setup in the loft above the full service bar and theater at Screenland Armour. So I wouldn't necessarily say hard lessons were learned other than it's just a matter of longevity to make Panic Fest a success and we hope to improve upon that each year. zombie monkey porterWhat do you get out of the partnership with Tallgrass? Some interesting beers? We get a nice buzz. That's what we get. Screenland will have ALL of the Tallgrass craft beers on hand for the festival. Which includes; Zombie Monkey, Velvet Rooster, 8bit Pale Ale, Ethos IPA, Vanilla Buffalo Sweat, Buffalo Sweat, and their standard Pale Ale. Zombie Monkey is the specialty which seems appropriate for our festival. They have also helped us with a few marketing things. Tallgrass has been really great to work with. Where did Panic Fest come from? From our twisted little brains and dark hearts ... A couple years ago Adam Roberts and Brent Miller took over as the owner-operators of Screenland Armour and reached out to my website, Downright Creepy, to team up for some events. Since then we have hosted Walking Dead and American Horror Story watch parties and even built an Insidious: Chapter 2 haunted house in their loft for a special one night double feature. After the success of some of those events, we both really wanted to showcase horror on a bigger scale in KC. Working in advertising for about 8 years and founding Downright Creepy 5 years ago, I've been immersed in the horror genre for quite some time now. So I started brainstorming what the fest could be and put a brand behind it. Panic Fest was on the short list of names that seem to resonate with more than just the horror genre and we felt it could grow into something bigger. Horror will always be the roots of the fest but it allows us to explore other genres as well. Hopefully we will be bringing the panic to movie fans for years to come. Thus, Screenland Armour presents a Downright Creepy event! It's as if there's a real genre renaissance in KC. Do you think the Fest can end up being the third pillar of a strong foundation, along with Planet Comicon and Crypticon? I really think we can. There are a lot of talented artists, filmmakers and fans in the area. We are already seeing more interest in Panic Fest this year from fans, vendors and movie studios alike. It has been amazing to see how big Planet Comicon has become and we are a big fan of what they have accomplished. The same can be said for Crypticon KC which is in it's fourth year and continues to grow. I actually do the website for Crypticon KC and Downright Creepy will have a vendor table so we hope to see you all there in August. But, as far as Panic Fest becoming a third pillar, I don't see why not. Will it take some time? Yes. Can we pull it off? Definitely. Both years we have brought in filmmakers to do Q&A's for their films but we would like to expand a bit more next year and possibly bring in a celebrity or two to sign autographs. I think the goal Adam and I have for Panic Fest is to grow it into a Fantastic Fest for the Midwest. With the addition of a brand new Screenland Crossroads theater coming to downtown Kansas City this Summer it opens up more opportunities next year in the heart of the city. [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWT75IJwfu4[/embed] Why should the casual horror fan make the trek? Tons of reasons! We will be giving away some nice prizes between screenings that range from autographed posters to Blu-Rays - along with Q&As from filmmakers. The producer and director of Pinup Dolls on Ice are coming all the way from Canada to hang out and discuss their film with a few other surprises along the way. On top of that Screenland Armour has the largest selection of craft beers in the city and you can sample Tallgrass' Zombie Monkey which you won't find anywhere else! Our lineup has a nice mix of indie flicks and early releases that you may not see in theaters or will have to wait months for the nationwide release date. I am most looking forward to Here Comes the Devil, Knights of Badassdom, Almost Human and Big Bad Wolves. Check out the Panic Fest site for the full lineup of films and vendors, as well as to buy tickets.

Chris Clavin on Plan-It-X’s new book, “Tour Sucks”

book cover - tour sucksIn addition to being the man behind Operation: Cliff Clavin, Ghost Mice, and The Devil Is Electric, plus running record label Plan-It-X, Chris Clavin is a damned fine author. The latest book he's masterminded only features a short piece from him -- but all of the pieces in it are short, because it's a collection of tour stories, entitled Tour Sucks. Some of the worst things happen: tire blow-outs on a busy interstate, dog shit onstage, various attempted sexual molestations, bad weather, and more. The book's a great read, and the perfect size to fit in a backpack and take with you. Clavin was cool enough to answer some of our questions via e-mail about the book and the possibility of another volume. How many bands did you have to contact to get the stories included? Probably about 200 bands were asked. Most didn't do it! Are there any stories that you'd heard which you couldn't convince the teller to include? Yes -- too many! A lot of band members were hesitant to share their worst stories for various reasons. Were there any tricks you tried to get them to put it down in words? Tricks? no, not really, just pleading, begging, and stuff like that. cover - tour of the living deadYour story, "Chapel Perilous," is disturbing. Was that the worst story you personally had, or simply the most entertaining? No way, it was just the first one that came to mind. I have many many more. For that matter, what's the story behind the Operation: Cliff Clavin van photo on the cover? We were hit by a drunk driver in Tucson, Arizona, in 1999 I think, it was pretty bad, as you can see from the photo, the side of our van was peeled off. Our roadie was on the loft when it happened. It worked out okay eventually, we got insurance money and stuff. It seems many of the stories have a happy ending. To what do you attribute that? I think people prefer to tell the stories that end okay, no one wants to retell or relive the true terrors. Jonathan Pool's "Sliger Slarmy" shows a side of touring not often covered -- that of the person not even playing. How'd you come by his story? He is a friend of mine and an even better friend of my co-editor, Rick Vee. Rick asked him to do something. At first we were not sure of what to think and it was long, but then we saw its greatness. Any plans to expand on this with more comics or illustrations for the next volume? Yeah, we hope volume 2 will be bigger and better! Do you want to take this opportunity to exhort any particular acts to be in the next volume? I really hope to get more stories out of This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb, Submission Hold and a few others that I know have some big ones! Tour Sucks can be purchased from the No Idea store. Additionally, they are some book release shows coming up next month on the East Coast. Details follow: Thursday 2/13, 7:30 PM Molasses Books (Readings only) 770 Hart St, Brooklyn NY L to DeKalb, M to Central Larry Livermore Spy Rock Memories) Mike Faloon Zisk The Book, Hanging Gardens of Split Rock, Go Metric) Brook Pridemore (Brook Pridemore) Joe Evans III ( Razorcake/Gorsky Press, Inc.) Saturday 2/22, 7 PM (Reading and music) Tachair Bookshoppe 60 Newark Ave, Jersey City NJ (PATH Train to Grove Street) Brook Pridemore (Reading and playing songs) Mike Faloon Zisk The Book, Go Metric) Joe Evans III ( Razorcake/Gorsky Press, Inc. - playing some songs with Marisa from Chandeliers/Science Police/Besties) Brian Cogan (The Encyclopedia of Punk) [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJSw71jt2fU[/embed]

KC Uncovered III to “Shine A Light” on the legacy of Abigail Henderson

[caption id="attachment_17418" align="alignleft" width="195"]Poster by Jud Kite Poster by Jud Kite[/caption]On Saturday, December 21, Slimm Adkins and Bill Sundahl will present Kansas City Uncovered III at the recordBar in Kansas City. As the name implies, it's the third installment in the popular cover-song performance series, but this installment's a little different than those previous. This third installment, entitled "Shine A Light," will deviate from the formula the initial KC Uncovered shows have followed. In those cases, bands would draw a CD from a hat and then have a month to learn another local act's songs. The first KC Uncovered was May 22, 2010 (also at the recordBar), and featured the likes of American Catastrophe covering Federation of Horsepower, and Federation of Horsepower covering Bleach Bloodz, and so on. The particular reason for "Shine A Light" is to celebrate the music of the late Abigail Henderson, who passed away from cancer on August 27. Henderson, in addition to her work as musician, was the co-founder of the Midwest Music Association, which raised money to help provide musicians with access to health care. As Bill Sundahl puts it, "The goal for this event is to raise awareness of the great songwriting that came out of Abigail Hope Henderson. Also, we want to raise awareness and money for MMF." In addition to being an evening full of Henderson's music, it's the first day of the 10 day voting period for Boulevard Brewing Company's KC Pils campaign. At the end of December, a ten-day online public voting period will determine how the money will be divided, with the top vote getter receiving 60% of available funds and the two runners-up each collecting 20%. As further tribute, all the door proceeds will go to the Midwest Music Foundation. Making your choice as to for whom you should vote will likely be easier than the decision-making process for which songs will be performed Saturday night. [caption id="attachment_17422" align="alignright" width="225"]Henderson at Davey's Uptown in February, 2005. Henderson at Davey's Uptown in February, 2005.[/caption]"Bill and I sat down one night and listened to dozens and dozens of Abigail's songs, ranging from her first band all the way through her last band," recalls Slimm Adkins. "It ended up being a wonderful night with a lot of whiskey and a few tears, but after a few hours we had selected 30 songs that we thought would be perfect for this event." The bands performing the songs of Abigail Henderson during "Shine A Light" are Sister Mary Rotten Crotch, Not a Planet, Vi Tran Band, The Clementines, and The Oil Lamps (featuring Bill Sundahl, Mike Meyers and many others). They were selected much in the same way that the songs were. "We just selected bands that we thought would put their heart and soul into this. This time around it's going to be a lot different, it's going to be more of a celebration, more of a -- well, tribute," Adkins explains. "We wanted bands that Abigail had some musical connection to, wether it be people she played with in the past or just fellow friends who were musicians that wanted to be a part of a tribute to her." Be prepared to get a little weepy that night, concludes Adkins: "It's going to be a emotional night, to say the least, but it's also going to be an amazing night that I think is really going to bring this community of musicians and music fans together like we've never seen before."

Windhand guitarist Garrett Morris on the band’s new album and current tour

windhand Windhand's latest full-length, Soma, is their first for Relapse Records. It's a selection of massive tunes that both soar and plumb the depths, and some tracks are monumental works. The group's currently on tour, opening for High on Fire, and they play the Granada in Lawrence on Friday, November 29. We were lucky enough to get guitarist Garrett Morris to answer a few questions for us via e-mail. This is Windhand's second time through the area in as many months. What makes Kansas City and Lawrence so lucky? It's just a coincidence, honestly. We already had the previous U.S. Tour last September booked for months when we got asked to do the High on Fire tour. There's actually a number of cities we're lucky enough to be revisiting. cover - windhand somaSoma is getting rave reviews across the board. Was the process of making the record as epic as the tracks themselves? We just recorded it ourselves at our leisure. The same way we recorded the first LP, in all honesty. It really didn't feel like we were doing anything any different than normal really. What's involved in recording a track like "Boleskine" -- specifically, how do you track a 31-minute song? It really wasn't any different than the others songs. It's still just a verse, chorus, verse song structure. Honestly, mixing it was more of a challenge. Mainly due to it being all analog. If we got to the end and made a mistake, we had to start the mix all over again from scratch. This is your first full-length with Relapse, although you released a split with Cough earlier this year. When did you decided to go with them as a label? After we recorded the split, we met with them in person and they were interested in doing a full length. It just seemed like the right fit for us. [embed]https://soundcloud.com/relapserecords/orchard[/embed] It seems that the band is attempting to shape or reshape its identity, lately -- you were saying in Spin that you "don't want to get pigeonholed as a 'doom' band," and Dorthia Cottrell, your singer, is quoted as wanting to make sure Windhand is thought of as "a good band instead of a good band with a girl singer." Is there a perception Windhand wants people to have? There's definitely no deliberate attempt to reshape the sound. You're always changing based on life events, etc., so the songs will always reflect where we're at in our lives at that particular moment in time.