Month: January 2015

Taught Me Everything I Know – Recommended Album: Chauncey – To Love Once More

The world's a much better place when Chauncey's together.

The world’s a much better place when Chauncey’s together.

If it wasn’t for Chauncey I wouldn’t have met my Wife. I moved to Boston in 2001 as an optimistic and bright eyed college grad. I had a potential job lined up at a revered record label (Ace of Hearts Records) and the world was going to be my delicious oyster. Two days after moving onto a couch in Allston two planes crashed into the World Trade Center and flipped everything on its head.

Chauney's last show @ Lizard Lounge. (Photo - D.Hixon)

Chauney’s last show @ Lizard Lounge. (Photo – D.Hixon)

My job fell through, the economy tanked, and my bright future turned into a grim and formless grey. The $400 I brought with me dwindled quickly and my spot on the couch got more and more lonely. In order to survive I swallowed my pride and got a job at RadioShack and spent my nights drinking $1 drafts and eating ten cent chicken wings. Things weren’t going as I had planned, until one random night, one chance meeting.

It was night time – so I was of course at the bar drinking $1 drafts, when a girl came up and started chatting with me, I think her name was Melany. Conversation, like it always does with me, eventually shifted towards music and she said she just started a record label with her friend Jacob called Change Records. I immediately started angling for a way to become part of it and let her know I was a video guy who had web skills – but was literally willing to do anything to get out of RadioShack.

Jake and Eliot. (Photo - D.Hixon)

Jake and Eliot. (Photo – D.Hixon)

I’m not sure what became of Melany, but she got me in touch with Jacob and he interviewed me at Anna’s Taqueria (my first time ever eating there actually) – and I got the job. I wasn’t able to quit RadioShack quite yet, as I maybe got paid $100 a month for doing webmaster duties for Change – but I got something much more valuable than money, I got my pride back, and that couch back in Allston wasn’t lonely anymore – it was an opportunity. He mentioned two bands that were on his label, but the one he was most rapturous about was a band called Chauncey, and I was soon to find out why.

JP & Shawn sharing a moment. (Photo - D.Hixon)

JP & Shawn sharing a moment. (Photo – D.Hixon)

I learned how to get around Boston by going to different shows around the city where I’d work merch tables, help load/unload gear, sometimes do lights, and do any other odd jobs that were needed. The guys in the band, each one of them, were absolutely phenomenal to me. I was a shy kid in his early 20’s whose ego got pretty bruised my first few months in Boston, but they treated me like I was part of their Team, and I’ll forever be grateful for that. Their compassion, humor, and commitment taught me a lot on how to focus on things I loved and helped shape who I am today. I’m certain that if it wasn’t for Chauncey or Change Records I would have move back to Upstate NY – and man….I would have missed out on so much.

During the years I worked with Chauncey I was absolutely convinced they were going to “make it”. Their live shows were high energy & exciting, their recorded material was absolutely stellar, and their work ethic was off the charts. Long story short – things didn’t work out in the “make it” sense – but they were as close to breaking through to the general public as a band can get. Boston Magazine heralded their debut the best Rock Album of the year, they were courted by numerous majors, got a lot of serious press, and recorded their sophomore album at legendary Electric Audio with Steve Albini.

After taking an extended hiatus (I refuse to say they ever broke up) – they have released a new EP, To Love Once More – and it’s as good as anything they’ve ever recorded together. There’s a synergy of cohesion with everything those five guys record together, and it genuinely warms my heart to know they’re making music together again.

Chauncey will be playing at The Lizard Lounge this Saturday (01/31/15) with Count Zero and other special guests – and it’s sure to be an excellent homecoming. If you’re looking for me I’ll be the tall dude standing towards the back with dusty eyes – time moves on and plans don’t always fall into place – but what you want isn’t always what you need – and from my biased perspective, the World needs Chauncey.

Recommended If You Like: Indie Power Pop, Awesome

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Recommended Album: Zac Trainor – ATUOTS

Zac Trainor's Debut EP will be dropping 01/30/15.

Zac Trainor’s Debut EP,  ATUOTS, will be dropping 01/30/15. (Photo – K. Chasteen)

Zac Trainor is one of the most versatile & ambitious artists I know – what sets him apart is that he’s as comfortable behind a canvas as he is behind a guitar, keyboard, or laptop. This ambidexterity allows his art to evolve together instead of being compartmentalized within each medium, creating a mosaic path that weaves consistent & familiar textures through his paintings, sculptures, and music.

On his debut EP, ATUOTS (At The Uprising Of The Sun), Trainor’s music sounds exactly like his most recent works look – ghostly, layered, & nostalgic. There’s a confident loneliness to the EP that lends the listener to self reflection. Negative space is as important as the synths – and the droning blending of textures leads to a mediative and peaceful state.

Zac is a Massachusetts native who now resides in Winston-Salem where he’s a collective member at Delurk Gallery and also teaches mixed-media painting techniques and abstract painting courses/workshops at the Sawtooth School for Visual Arts. Zac and I have made noise together in the past with Cold Bazooka – and our Iron Elbows project continues to evolve despite distance.

  • ATUOTS will be available via BandCamp on Friday, 01/30/15.

Recommended If You Like: Chris Clark, Bibio, Dosh, Holy Other

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Episode 66 – Lens Flare

Episode 66 – Lens Flare – 01/18/15

Episode 66 – Lens Flare – 01/18/15

Episode 66 is the practice set I did in my apartment the day before my 1/18 show on WEMF Radio. Due to technical difficulties at the beginning the broadcasted set was a little jumbled from the jump, I found my feet, but not with the original mix I wanted to present. As a result, I’m posting this “practice version” that actually turned out pretty darn good. This is only the second time I’ve used my brand spanking new controller (Reloop Beatpad), therefore you hear me feeling some things out – thus the Lens flare title – a common filter any n00b just learning Photoshop typically abuses. Hopefully this mix isn’t too glaring though, as I tried to loosely form a connecting path of funk, jazz, & hip-hop.

1. Bualuang OST – “Singto (Lion)” (Thai Funk Volume 2 – 2011)
2. Jorge Ben – “Meus Filhos Meu Tesouro” (Africa Brasil – 1976)
3. Rikki Ililonga – “Working On The Wrong Thing” (Sunshine Love – 1976)
4. Aceyalone & Rjd2 – “All For U” (Magnificent City – 2006)
5. The Poets Of Rhythm – “More Mess On My Thing” (Practice What You Preach – 1993)
6. Chance The Rapper – “Favorite Song (ft. Childish Gambino)” (Acid Rap – 2013)
7. Warren Zevon – “Nighttime in the Switching Yard” (Excitable Boy – 1978)
8. Toots & The Maytals – “Will You Be Kind” (Knock Out! – 1981)
9. Los Ecos – “Aquí En La Fiesta (I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party)” – (Cumbia Beat Vol. 1 (Experimental Guitar-Driven Tropical Sounds From Perú 1966/1976) – 2010)
10. Flying Lotus – “Never Catch Me (feat. Kendrick Lamar)” (You’re Dead – 2014)
11. Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe – “How Fine Is That” (The Bridge – 2002)
12. King Geedorah – “Next Levels (featuring Lil’ Sci, ID 4 Winds & Stahhr)” (Take Me to Your Leader – 2003)
13. Madlib – “Please Set Me At Ease” (Shades Of Blue: Madlib Invades Blue Note – 2003)
14. DJ 2-Tone Jones – “Killa Tape/Astral C.R.E.A.M. (The Pharaoh Jarel Beatdown Remix)” (Shaolin Jazz: The 37th Chamber – 2011)
15. The Pharcyde – “Passin’ Me By” (Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde – 1992)
16. Brian Auger – “Happiness Is Just Around the Bend” (Happiness Is Just Around The Bend / Inner City Blues – 1973)
17. Jaco Pastorius – “Come On, Come Over” (Jaco Pastorius – 1976)
18. Gal Costa – “Relance” (Índia – 1982)
19. Kool A.D. – “The Robbery [prod. by Amaze 88]” (51 – 2012)
20. MF Doom – All Outta Ale (The Doomilation Bootleg – 2003)
21. Talib Kweli – “Ain’t Waiting feat. Outasight” (Gutter Rainbows – 2011)
22. The Mothers Of Invention – “My Guitar Wants To Kill Your Mama” (Weasels Ripped My Flesh – 1970)
23. Edan – “Making Planets” (Beauty And The Beat – 2005)
24. Demon Fuzz – “Another Country” (Afreaka! – 1970)
25. Ace Creator – “Odd Toddlers Feat. Casey Veggi” (Odd Future Tape – 2008)
26. DJ Shadow – “What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 4)” (Endtroducing – 2005)

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Recommended Album: Post Modern Authors EP

Post Modern Authors

Post Modern Authors

A few Saturday’s ago I DJ’d at PA’s Lounge in-between the bands playing. The night was filled with a wet heavy snow drenching the urban landscape, muffling everything in slush, causing those braving the elements to trudge with heads down. The snow diminished my expectations on the night and left me uninspired, as I feared low turn-out & sub-par music.

Much to my satisfaction – once Post Modern Authors took the stage my contempt, much like the weather in New England, turned on a dime, and I was once again warm, happy, and filled with hope. Post Modern Authors, a five-piece from Boston, play a type of music that lives on the crescendo while being strong in the soft build. There’s a dichotomy to what they play that’s equally at home in the woods or city – which makes their music fit so well with the New England landscape.

They’ve just released their debut EP via their website and it’s one of the albums that has me most excited about the Boston music scene in 2015. Spring eventually comes in New England, but it’s nice to know you can find things still in full bloom in the dead of a Boston winter.

Recommended If You Like: Alex Bleeker & The Freaks, Angela Desveaux, Blitzen Trapper

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Episode 65 – Like A Shining Diamond – 01/11/15

Episode 65 - Like A Shining Diamond

Episode 65 – Like A Shining Diamond

Visions of the Unexcused 2nd show on WEMF Radio finds Mint Pillow gaining confidence with live radio while becoming more apt to consciously experiment. The set starts with three favorite Boston bands – then weaves through decades, as each cousin related track blends styles & watermarks. The set climaxes during an elctro-jazz-fuzed moment where Pillow mixes in his favorite poem, “The Genius Of The Crowd” – by Charles Bukowski – then ends with an Iron Elbows track, which is Mr. Mint and his best friend, Zac Trainor, making noise together, something they do pretty darn well together.

1. FREE PIZZA – “Boston, MA” (FREE PIZZA – 2014)
2. Earthquake Party! – “Pretty Little Hand” (Vs. Pizza – 2011)
3. Post Modern Authors – “Rattlesnake” (Post Modern Authors EP – 2015)
4. The Drums – “Let’s Go Surfing” (The Drums – 2009)
5. Andrew Bird – “Dark Matter” (Armchair Apocrypha – 2007)
6. Fine Steps – “Cold Hands” (All Day Long – 2013)
7. Terror Of The Deep – “Times Of Uncertainty” (Death of the Gideon – 2014)
8. John Maus – “Streetlight” (We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves – 2011)
9. Roxy Music – “2HB” (Roxy Music – 1972)
10. The Dead Milkmen – “Guitar Song” (Beelzebubba – 1988)
11. Iggy Pop – “Nightclubbing” (The Idiot – 1977)
12. Hawkwind – “It’s So Easy” (Hall of the Mountain Grill – 1974)
13. Frank Zappa – “Down In The Dew” (Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow 7″)
14. TV On The Radio – “I Was a Lover” (Return to Cookie Mountain – 2006)
15. Flying Lotus – “flotus” (ideas+drafts+loops – 2013)
16. Kid Koala – “Vacation Island” (Some Of My Best Friends Are DJs – 2003)
17. DJ Shadow – “Six Days” (The Private Press – 2002)
18. Ricky Eat Acid – “Context” (2015)
19. Clark – “Tooth Moves” (Iradelphic – 2012)
20. Bibio – “All The Flowers” <Lone Remix> (The Apple and the Tooth – 2009)
21. Buffalo Daughter – “Ivory” (I – 2001)
22. The Avalanches – “Since I Left You” (Since I Left You – 2001)
23. Charles Bukowski – The Genius of the Crowd
24. Tortoise – “Gamera” (Gamera 12″ – 1995)
25. Hunter S. Thompson – Ode To Jack
26. Oscar Zeta Acosta & Hunter S. Thompson – Terry’s Taco Stand, USA (The Gonzo Tapes – 2008)
27. Ariel Pink – Picture Me Gone” (Pom Pom – 2014)
28. Sore Eros – “Make It Louder” (Know Touching – 2011)
29. Iron Elbows – “Hey Iowa” (Words – 2009)

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Episode 64 – WEMF Visions – 01/04/15

Episode 64 - WEMF Visions - 01/04/15

Episode 64 – WEMF Visions – 01/04/15

2015’s presenting a lot of exciting opportunities for Visions of the Unexcused – and none are more promising than joining the WEMF Radio Team. My weekly radio show, which is broadcasted live via WEMF early Sunday nights – will also be posted as a podcast episode on Visions in case you couldn’t catch live. This is my first show on WEMF from 1/4/15 – and features and eclectic mix that spans genre’s & generations.

  1. Blo – It’s Gonna Be A Good Day (Phase II – 1974)
  2. C.S. Crew – Doin’ The Good Thing (Funky Pack – 1976)
  3. Mozes And The Firstborn – What’s Wrong Momma (Mozes And The Firstborn – 2014)
  4. Alex Chilton – Jumpin’ Jack Flash (Free Again: The “1970” Sessions – 2012)
  5. The Woolen Men – Land Of Laughs (Dog Years – 2013)
  6. The Flamin’ Groovies – Yesterday’s Numbers (Teenage Head – 1971)
  7. Yo La Tengo – Can’t Seem To Make You Mine (Camp Yo La Tengo – 1995)
  8. Tenor Saw – Roll Call (Roll Call – 1984)
  9. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Ain’t Nobody (Calamity / Ain’t Nobody 7″ – 2014)
  10. Skull Snaps – It’s A New Day (Skull Snaps – 1973)
  11. The Juan Maclean – Running Back To You (In A Dream – 2014)
  12. Cookies – July Seventeen (Music For Touching – 2014)
  13. Cookies – Crybaby (A) (Music For Touching – 2014)
  14. Afro Funk – Afro Funk (Body Music – 1975)
  15. Les Macchabées – Rien A Faire (Les Macchabées – 2005)
  16. Canned Heat – Time Was (Hallelujah – 1969)
  17. Mac DeMarco – Freaking Out The Neighborhood (Mac DeMarco 2 – 2012)
  18. Cool Ghouls – Earthquake (Cool Ghouls – 2013)
  19. Armaggedon – Oh Man (Armaggedon – 1970)
  20. Guided By Voices – Bad Love Is Easy To Do (Cool Planet – 2014)
  21. Juan Wauters – Sanity (Sanity 7″ – 2013)
  22. The Mantles – Bad Design (Long Enough to Leave – 2013)
  23. Dug Dug’s – Eclipse (Dug Dug’s – 1971)
  24. Minutemen – History Lesson, Pt. 2 (Double Nickels on the Dime – 1984)
  25. Michael O. – Face The Facts (Face The Facts 7″ – 2014)
  26. Sonic Youth – Brave Men Run (In My Family) (Bad Moon Rising – 1985)
  27. All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors – Jayne Baby (All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors – 2001)
  28. WU LYF – Spitting Blood (Go Tell Fire to the Mountain – 2011)
  29. The Beta Band – Dog Got A Bone (The Three E.P.’s – 1997)
  30. Chauncey – My Radio (My Radio (Everything I Know) – 2005)
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Recommended Album: Free Pizza – Boston, MA

Free Pizza, yo.

Free Pizza, yo.

Free Pizza‘s first LP, which is co-released by Bufu and Feeding Tube, is an absolute must own. The Jamaica Plain based group play a unique brand of discordant stoner jangle that’ll make you want to hug your stereo, buy it a beer, and crank the volume. Limited to only 300 copies it’s sure to go fast, but hopefully Free Pizza will be sticking around for awhile – as they’re a band that’s got me pretty damn excited for 2015.

Recommended If You Like: The Woolen Men, Meat Puppets, Weed

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Visions of the Unexcused on WEMF Radio

Visions of the Unexcused on WEMF

Visions of the Unexcused on WEMF Radio

I’m stoked to be DJ-ing live today (01.04.15) from 5:00-7:00pm in the studio at WEMF Radio. WEMF is a new LIVE online radio station specializing in great music and the best personalities in Boston. In a modern world riddled with the likes of  iHeartMedia & musical algorithms – WEMF is a very much needed breath of fresh air, and is as close to real radio you’ll get in 2015.

This is hopefully the first of many such sessions – follow live tonight, and hit me up on Twitter (@TheUnexcused) with any requests or feedback. I’ll be offering the mix as a podcast after as well. Huzzah!

Listen Live!

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