Friday, February 29, 2008

The Dirtbombs Receive A Triumphant 7.1 Pitchfork Review Today.

The Dirtbombs
We Have You Surrounded
[In The Red; 2008]
Rating: 7.1
Original review

On my list of bands most likely to record a concept album about creeping future dystopia, the Dirtbombs were not in the top 10. Yet here we have We Have You Surrounded, which, while featuring the same setup (two bass, two drums, one guitar), and the same knack for inventive cover versions, shifts focus ever so slightly toward cautionary science-fiction. The lyrics take a kaleidoscopic look at the slow decline of civilization, through such as the eyes of Alan Moore (the lyrics for "Leopardman at C&A" were taken from Moore's Songbook), militant and wasted northwestern youth (Dead Moon's "Fire in the Western World"), rebels on the run ("I Hear the Sirens"), and, uh, in French ("La Fin du Monde").

Which, in theory, should work out just fine, as the Dirtbombs were first and foremost a theoretical band. Every record was to work around a new concept and a different sound entirely-- garage punk, classic soul, "car-commercial" ready pop-rock (the bubblegum record still sadly postponed). With this, Collins and co. should be able to just line up the records from their collections that correspond with the theme of paranoia and put the pieces together. No sweat.

But with that distinctive instrumental lineup, that priceless fly-buzzer fuzz tone, and Collins wailing above it all, the Dirtbombs always sounded pretty much like themselves. Songs like "Ever Lovin' Man" won't get mistaken for anyone else, but this might be the first record where they make decisive leaps from their signature sound: Rather than becoming a new band, they simply shoot for being a more versatile one. It should be well within their grasp, but Surrounded was originally slated to be a five-song EP, and I have the sneaking suspicion that "Wreck My Flow" and "Pretty Princess Day" weren't among them, nor were odd transitions like "They Have Us Surrounded" or an eight-minute noise track. "Wreck My Flow" is a leaden litany that's like a garage-punk "We Didn't Start the Fire", and Collins sounds like he's being forced to record at gunpoint as he talk-sings through "Pretty Princess Day".

But there are curveballs that work, for sure: Sparks' "Sherlock Holmes" gets the breathless "Crimson and Clover" treatment, making it all the more seductive without erasing the trace of malice in the original ("Dogs bark and he knows their breed/ And knows where they went last night..."). And the band sticks to a lovingly familiar script on "Ever Lovin Man", where the band cries "yeaaah" before its cathartic chorus like the crowd at a rally race, and chimes in on the silly a capella spy riff on "Indivisible". Not only does it keep things light, they're moments when, perhaps more so than on any previous record, The Dirtbombs sound like a band of five musicians with distinct input, rather than the many arms of Mick.

In contrast, "Leopardman" seems too sober for the urgency of its lyrics, despite having a few choice dystopian images (including "turning CDs into wind chimes," to which longtime vinyl supporters like the Dirtbombs add another layer by claiming here.) "Race to the Bottom" is an aimless collage of laser noises and shortwave radios gone mad, sounding like the robots-fucking track hidden at the end of Odelay, but without the rhythm. "La fin du Monde", however, might be the prettiest Dirtbombs track yet, with the same lo-fi bluster but guitars that shimmer rather than scratch while Collins croons a lullaby-like melody in French.

The band mixing up the palette isn't a bad thing, and Collins, for all of his garage-rock pedigree, has always been a musical dabbler, not least in techno. But a transitional record? Now? After Jim Diamond left and they cleaned house in 2005 with the exhaustive compilation If You Don't Already Have a Look, the pessimist in me thought they were pretty much done. But they came back swinging, and while they swing a little wildly, there are enough safe plays here balanced with new strategies. So what if the best track is a cover, when they're one of the best and cleverest covers acts running (and most of their originals careful tributes besides)? The band's intermittent release schedule just makes them an inflatable clown you can't really knock down; all part of the luxury of only pulling your band together when the fancy strikes you-- or, more importantly, only when you want to.

-Jason Crock, February 29, 2008

The Dirtbombs have some serious touring ahead of them over the next few months:
02/29 Melbourne, AUS @ The Tote
03/01 Perth, AUS @ Amplifier
03/02 Adelaide, AUS @ Rocket Bar
03/04 Geelong, AUS @ Barwon Club
03/05 Brisbane, AUS @ Phoenix
03/06 Hobart, AUS @ The Brisbane
03/07 Melbourne, AUS @ East Brunswick Club
03/08 Sydney, AUS @ Oxford
03/09 Melbourne, AUS @ Golden Plains Festival
03/21 Bloomington, IN @ Jake's Nightclub
03/22 Nashville, TN 2 Mercy Lounge
03/24 Memphis, TN @ Hi-Tone Cafe
03/25 Little Rock, AR @ Revolution Music Room
03/26 Dallas, TX @ House of Blues- Cambridge Room
03/27 Austin, TX @ Emo's (Indoor)
03/28 Houston, TX @ Rudyard's British Pub
03/29 New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks
03/31 Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
04/01 Birmingham, AL @ BottleTree
04/02 Atlanta, GA @ E.A.R.L.
04/03 Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506
04/04 Baltimore, MD @ Sonar
04/05 Washington, DC @ The Rock and Roll Hotel
04/06 Hoboken, NJ @ Maxwell's
04/08 New Haven, CT @ Cafe Nine
04/10 Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda's
04/11 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
04/12 Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
04/13 Montreal, QC @ Cabaret Music Hall
04/15 Ottawa, ONT @ Babylon
04/16 Toronto, ONT @ The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
04/18 Toledo, OH @ Franckie's
04/19 Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig
05/01 Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall Ballroom
05/02 Madison, WI @ The High Noon Saloon
05/03 Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
05/04 Fargo, ND @ Aquarium
05/05 Winnipeg, MB @ West End Cultural Centre
05/06 Saskatoon, SAS @ Louis' Pub
05/07 Calgary, AB @ The Warehouse
05/08 Edmonton, AB @ The Starlite Room
05/10 Vancouver, BC @ Richard's On Richards Cabaret
05/11 Victoria, BC @ Sugar Nightclub
05/13 Seattle, WA @ Neumo's
05/14 Portland, OR @ Dante's
05/16 San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
05/17 West Hollywood, CA @ Troubadour
05/18 San Diego, CA @ The Casbah
05/19 Scottsdale, AZ @ The Rhythm Room
05/20 Tucson, AZ @ Plush
05/22 Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge
05/23 Lawrence, KS @ The Bottleneck
05/24 St. Louis, MO @ Creepy Crawl
05/25 Columbus, OH @ The Basement

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Beirut's Worldly World Tour.

In a relatively short amount of time Beirut has conquered a large part of the globe. Touring in such exotic locales as Russia, Turkey, Poland, just to name a few. It doesn't appear that Beirut will be slowing down anytime soon. Next month the band will be going down under for a string of festival and venue shows in Australia and New Zealand. This will be followed by a number of European dates later on in the Spring. And this weak it was announced that Beirut will be hitting six West Coast dates including a day at Seattle's Sasquatch! Music Festival in May. In addition Beirut will be doing a special performance on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic show the same day as their May 30th show. Tally-Ho!

03/05 Sydney, AUS @ Manning Bar
03/06 Brisbane, AUS @ The Zoo
03/07 Adelaide, AUS @ Womadelaide Festival
03/09 Melbourne, AUS @ Golden Plains Festival
03/11 Melbourne, AUS @ The Corner Hotel
03/13 Auckland, NZ @ Kings Arms Tavern
03/14 New Plymoth, NZ @ Womad NZ Festival
03/16 Wellington, NZ @ San Francisco Bath House
05/22 Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
05/25 Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
05/27 San Francisco, CA @ Grand Ballroom
05/28 San Francisco, CA @ Grand Ballroom
05/30 Los Angeles, CA @ Wiltern Theatre
06/26 Paris, FR @ Olympia
06/27 Evreux, FR @ Festival Le Rock dans tous ses
06/28 St. Gallen, CHE @ Openair St. Gallen Festival
06/30 Munich, DEU @ Muffathalle
07/01 Schorndorf, DEU @ Manufaktur
07/02 Koln, DEU @ Live Music Hall
07/03 Werchter, BEL @ Rock Werchter
07/04 Hamburg, DEU @ Fabrik
07/06 Gdynia, POL @ Heineken Opener Festival

Tommy Guerrero Hanging Out & Playing Songs On

Tommy Guerrero shares some words about his new album Return of the Bastad and plays a few songs on's Studio C series. Tommy will be playing a record release party in San Francisco at 12 Galaxies on March 7th.

Tommy Guerrero interview/performance podcast
Posted by Peter Gavin
Listen to Tommy Guerrero live in Studio C

Tommy G live at CNET
Former pro skater Tommy Guerrero stopped by Studio C last week to promote his latest CD, Return of the Bastard. Along with telling skating tour stories, talking about Amy Winehouse, and breaking down his term "fatinum," Tommy got down on his guitar and strummed a few tunes for us, too.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Less Is More - 75 or Less Reviews Sonic Chicken 4.

Sonic Chicken 4 (In The Red)
Suspend your disbelief for a half hour and pretend there's a little place in France that's been enclosed in a bubble since about 1965, and the last records to make it inside before the inhabitants were sealed off were The Kinks' "You Really Got Me" and The Yardbirds' "For Your Love". When listening to the Sonic Chicken 4's debut, you'll find this fictional history completely plausible. They pack a retro punch entirely untainted by anything that's happened in the last 40+ years. - paul

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Mia Doi Todd in NY Times Sunday Playlist.

2008 is proving to be quite a year for Mia Doi Todd. Her new album GEA will be hitting the shelves next week but has already received some great coverage. The album was reviewed in the 2/17/08 New York Times Sunday Arts section, scored the homepage of iTunes, and the song "Sleepless Nights" has been getting serious spins on KCRW's "Today's Top Tune." To top it off Mia is about to embark on a 27-city North American tour opening for Jose Gonzalez starting February 29th. It's only February, who's knows what's in store throughout the next ten months.

Original NY Times post

Mia Doi Todd

The singer-songwriter Mia Doi Todd, from Los Angeles, has her own connections to bossa nova. But she’s not into jazz harmony; she’s into the folk drone. “Gea” (City Zen), her lovely new record, combines the soft dynamics of classic bossa nova — its perfect sung diction, modest string-section arrangements and inner-directed charisma — with good old American transcendentalism. She strums a single guitar chord for long stretches of time, carefully singing tight riddles: “It’s an old world, old world/I devise a better way to be/Maybe not for you, but it may be for me/It’s a new world, new world.”

(Mia will be accompanied by percussionist Andres Renteria)
02/29 Miami, FL @ Airtime Theater
03/01 Orlando, FL @ The Social
03/02 Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse
03/03 Chapel Hill, NC @ UNC Great Hall
03/04 Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel
03/05 Washington, DC @ Sixth & I Historic Synagogue
03/07 Tarrytown, NY @ The Tarrytown Music Hall
03/08 Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
03/09 Morgantown, WV @ WVU Creative Arts Center
03/11 New York, NY @ Highline Ballroom
03/12 Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Masonic Temple
03/13 Boston, MA @ Paradise
03/14 Montreal, QC @ Musée Juste Pour Rire
03/15 Toronto, ON @ Phoenix
03/17 Chicago, IL @ Lakeshore Theater
03/18 Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theatre
03/19 St. Louis, MO @ Vintage Vinyl (In-store 6:00 PM)
03/19 St. Louis, MO @ Graham Chapel
03/20 Omaha, NE @ Sokol Underground
03/21 Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre
03/22 Salt Lake City, UT @ Union Ballroom
03/24 San Diego, CA @ San Diego Women's Club
03/25 Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
03/27 San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore Auditorium
03/28 Portland, OR @ The Aladdin Theatre
03/29 Seattle, WA @ The Triple Door
03/30 Seattle, WA @ The Triple Door
03/31 Vancouver, BC @ St. Andrew's Wesley United

Cleandenim Feature In New Mexico Daily Lobo.

Musician revisits pop's early days
Eva Dameron
Issue date: 2/20/08
Original post
Photo by Aubrey Edwards

Patrick Cleandenim is the up-and-coming prince of the old-school pop song.

The native of Lawrence, Kan., who recently graduated from New York's Cooper Union, released Baby Comes Home last year on Ba Da Bing! Records.

Cleandenim engages the full sounds of a string orchestra, horn section, piano and swelling vocal harmonies, backed by catchy, upbeat jazz percussion.

"When I started thinking about producing that album, I was listening to a lot of Duke Ellington suites," he said.

He was also listening to Phil Spector and the French composer Jean-Claude Vannier.

"He made kind of psychedelic, orchestral sort of albums and filmic scores and filmic albums," he said. "He is most well-known because he produced Serge Gainsbourg."

Cleandenim produced the album in 2005 when he was 20 years old and sent copies to friends and record labels. He recognizes it will be a feat to reproduce the album's full sound on stage.

"I would like to, at some point, tour and perform those songs as they should sound," Cleandenim said. "I'm waiting for my financial situation to improve. So, it's a regretful but conscious decision."

He said he strived to keep the audience captivated in the shows he used to play.

"I wouldn't say things were incredibly theatrical, but we tried to keep things engaging, somewhat with the size of the group and little sorts of special touches that we could add," he said. "Like throwing flowers into the audience or something like that. But that was a long time ago. The shows that I do in New York, it's done with a smaller rock group, and they've been pretty low-key shows as well. But we definitely hope to expand the visuals of the show."

Cleandenim is one to go out on a limb. In Kansas, he used to lug his own piano to the bars.

"I would borrow a flat-bed trailer from a friend and put my piano on the trailer and load it into the bar and perform," he said. "Most of the bars I was playing at didn't have a piano. Every bar should (have one)."

He taught himself to play when he was 13. He said he doesn't excel at reading sheet music but plays well by ear.

"I took one lesson when I was really young - I was about 9," he said. "I was wearing those water shoes, water slippers - those swimming pool shoes - spandex, and the teacher told me I couldn't wear them in class."

He never went back.

But he did go to beat writer William S. Burroughs' estate for parties in high school in Kansas.

"He died there," he said. "He lived there for 10 or 15 years to the end of his life. The man who was William Burroughs' manager - they had a personal relationship, as well - they lived together, and he still lives there. I started going to parties at the house when I was a teenager."

Cleandenim is coming out with an album in the summer.

In response to a music critic saying he would have a hard time following up on such a high-caliber debut album, Cleandenim said people will be pleasantly surprised. He said there will be hints of Afro-pop, Kraut-rock and glam, and that it will deal with the struggles of 21st-century city life.

"I am interested in taking risks and trying new modes of writing and recording music," he said. "For those who were attracted to the old-fashioned sound on Baby Comes Home, my new album may be a letdown. For those who were attracted to the songwriting on Baby Comes Home, my new album should be satisfying. If you like to dance, the new Patrick Cleandenim album may be your best friend in 2008. However, only time will tell."

Baby Comes Home is available online at, throughAmazon or at independent record shops.

Baby Dee Featured In The Wire.

Baby Dee is currenlty in the middle of a full US tour. There are still plenty of dates left and expect a batch of international shows supporting and performing with Current 93 later on this year.

02/21 Austin, TX @ Lambert's
02/22 Fort Worth, TX @ Arts Fifth Ave
02/23 New Orleans, LA @ One-Eyed Jacks
02/24 Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree
02/25 Atlanta, GA @ Eyedrum
02/26 Lexington, KY @ John Jacob Niles @ UOK
02/27 Bloomington, IN @ Waldron Theatre
02/28 Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe
02/29 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
03/01 Pittsburgh, PA @ Frick Fine Arts Auditorium @ UOP
04/20 Tilburg, NL @ Roadburn Festival
04/21 London, UK @ Queen Elizabeth Hall

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Why? On The Front Page Of Myspace!!!

While riding high off the success of the Hollows 12" and prepping for the release of the Alopecia (03/11) Why? got a nice surprise on Myspace today. Yoni & the boys are currently at 22, 664 friends and rising.

Upcomig live dates:

03/06 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall
03/07 Los Angeles, CA @ Natural History Museum
03/08 Tucson, AZ @ Solar Culture
03/09 Phoenix, AZ @ Modified Arts
03/11 Denton, TX @ Rubber Gloves
03/16 Houston, TX @ Rudyard's Pub
03/15 Austin, TX @ Lambert's (SXSW Showcase 12 AM)
03/17 Baton Rouge, LA @ Spanish Moon
03/18 Atlanta, GA @ The Drunken Unicorn
03/19 Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle
03/20 Charlottesville, VA @ Outback Lodge
03/21 Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church
03/22 New York, NY @ The Knitting Factory
03/23 New Haven, CT @ Sundazed At BAR
03/24 Northampton, MA @ The Iron Horse
03/25 Cambridge, MA @ The Middle East
03/26 Montreal QC @ La Sala Rossa
03/27 Toronto, ON @ Silver Dollar
03/28 Ann Arbor, MI @ Pierpoint at University Of Michigan
03/29 Newport, KY @ Southgate House
03/30 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland
04/01 Columbus, OH @ Cafe Bourbon Street
04/02 Bloomington, IN @ Space 101
04/03 Chicago, IL @ The Abbey Pub
04/04 Milwaukee, WI @ Cactus Club
04/05 Madison, WI @ Cafe Montmartre
04/06 Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
04/07 Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium
04/08 Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room
04/09 Columbia, MO @ Mojo's
04/10 Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot
04/11 Denver, CO @ Hi-Dive
04/12 Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
04/14 Missoula, MT @ Badlander
04/15 Spokane, WA @ Big Easy
04/16 Vancouver, BC @ Media Club
04/17 Seattle, WA @ Vera Project
04/18 Portland, OR @ Holocene
04/19 Eugene, OR @ Indigo District

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Digital Distribution

Revolver USA does more than distribute actual physical CDs, vinyl and DVDs to all corners of the world-- we've been making independent music available for digital purchase over the internet since October 2004.

Revolver USA exclusively represents many labels and artists in the downloads realm, and the number is growing. A short list of services we work with includes iTunes,, Amazon,, Beatport... and scores of other companies around the world.

If you're an artist and/or run an independent label and you'd like your titles considered for digital distribution, please send an email to paul at midheaven dot com. Include a roster of artists/releases, as well as any links you feel are appropriate. Please don't email MP3s at this time.

More info on the bottom of this page:


Friday, February 15, 2008

Vetiver's "Covers Album" Gets The Pitchfork Press Note.

Hey, remember that "all-covers LP" Andy Cabic and his Vetiver gang were cooking up way back when? Seems it's well on its way to a listening device of your choosing, complete with title, tracklist, release month, and all those other vital stats your analytical mind craves.

A Thing of the Past is the rather appropriate title Vetiver have given to their tribute to assorted songs of yesteryear. In addition to previously mentioned covers of jams by Hawkwind, Townes Van Zandt, Elyse Weinberg, Biff Rose, and "Spirit in the Sky" guy Norman Greenbaum, the set also includes takes on tunes by Michael Hurley, Ian/Iain Matthews, and Bobby Charles, among others.

Look for this Thing in shops come May (exact date TBA) bearing the Gnomonsong stamp, and listen closely for guest appearances from Vashti Bunyan, members of the Chapin Sisters, and Hurley himself (who sings on Vetiver's "cover" of his own "Blue Driver" and contributes mock trumpet elsewhere).

That Vetiver remix 12" on Gnomonsong is out now, while Cabic continues writing new material for the next, non-cover-centric Vetiver album.

Perhaps you'll hear some of the new stuff as the band hits the road this March and April, where they'll be pulling double duty on founding Jayhawks member Gary Louris' tour. Vetiver will both open and act as the backing band for Mr. Louris, so go easy on 'em, eh?

A Thing of the Past (songwriters in brackets):

01 Houses [Elyse Weinberg]
02 Roll on Babe [Derroll Adams]
03 Sleep a Million Years [Dia Joyce]
04 Hook & Ladder [Norman Greenbaum]
05 To Baby [Biff Rose]
06 Road to Ronderlin [Ian Matthews]
07 Lon Chaney [Garland Jeffreys]
08 Hurry on Sundown [Dave Brock, Hawkwind]
09 Swimming Song [Loudon Wainwright III]
10 Blue Driver [Michael Hurley]
11 Standing [Towns Van Zandt]
12 I Must Be in a Good Place Now [Bobby Charles]

Vetiver, opening for and backing Gary Louris:

03-16 Seattle, WA - Showbox
03-17 Vancouver, British Columbia - Richard's on Richards
03-18 Portland, OR - Wonder Ballroom
03-20 San Francisco, CA - The Fillmore
03-21 Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre
03-23 Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater
03-25 Minneapolis, MN - State Theater
03-27 Madison, WI - Barrymore Theater (no Vetiver opening set)
03-28 Chicago, IL - The Vic
03-29 Pittsburgh, PA - Mr Small's Theater
03-30 Toronto, Ontario - Mod Club Theatre
04-01 Somerville, MA - Somerville Theater
04-02 New York, NY - Town Hall
04-04 Chapel Hill, NC - Cat's Cradle
04-05 Atlanta, GA - Variety Playhouse

Twitterings of the Mobile Persuasion

You probably know about Twitter. How did we exist all these years without the ability to text our friends to inform them we just got out of the shower and are blowing off work to watch Shimmy on FitTV?

Moreover, how did Revolver USA manage to make it this far without appropriately Twittering you regarding what we consider PRIORITY DEVELOPMENTS affecting our labels and artists?

Wonder no more. You now have the power to subscribe to Revolver USA's Twitter messages. We promise to keep our showering updates to ourselves, but...come to think of it...there's something we came away with from all those marketing and promotional retreats in the Santa Cruz mountains that we haven't attended. Y'know, the ones that always talk about Optimizing the User Experience.

So-- you're a User. Boss us around, experienced ones. What kind of text-message news updates would you like to receive? Email paul[at] and go off about what you want from Revolver's Twitter updates.

Similarly, fashionably obsessive iPhone owners (redundancy acknowleged) may have noticed the web clippings feature that was implemented in the most recent firmware update. This gimmick enables you to bookmark a page and have it instantly appear on the main menu screen of your iPhone, eliminating that pesky drudgery of having to, like, open up your Safari browser and navigate to a page (I know. What a burden!).

With this in mind, we'd like to remind you that you can bookmark our Midheaven mailorder/Revolver USA website via your iPhone and have that starkly-minimal-and-somewhat-enigmatic "M|C" logo adorn your main screen. Navigate to and click the "+" sign at the bottom of the screen. Select "Add to Home Screen" and the bookmarklet will nestle on the main menu for easy access.

You can do the same majick with the page you're now reading:

It's all a part of our total commitment to intruding on your mobile, intelligent lifestyle to serve our (and your-- trust us) self-interest.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mumlers Features In San Jose Mercury Sun News & On

S.J. band
Mumlers finding audience for their innovative songs
By Shay Quillen
Mercury News

Original post

After years of playing in rock bands, Will Sprott wanted to try something different.

"Every band I was in was just guitars and bass and drums," says Sprott, the lead singer and creative force behind the Mumlers. "There's whole other musical possibilities, worlds of sounds, and I wanted to mess with them."

Sprott's sonic experiments turned into the Mumlers, which quickly became one of San Jose's most talked-about bands. The septet marks the release of its first full-length CD, "Thickets and Stitches," with a show Friday at the Blank Club.

Sprott, now 26, played in local rock bands such as the Entertainment Committee, but he says it was an awkward fit.

"We practiced at 4,000 decibels, and I can't take that," he says. "I have very sensitive ears. They would always get bummed on me because I'd have earplugs and a scarf wrapped around my head."

He wanted an outlet for the songs he was writing - idiosyncratic numbers informed by Dylan and Cohen and Waits and classic soul - and he began making recordings with jazz drummer Andy Paul, a friend since their days at Bret Harte Middle School in San Jose, and multi-instrumental virtuoso Felix Archuleta.

Classically trained musician James Fenwicke came along with his French horn, and Mercedes El Vencere showed up with her tambourine and an infectious laugh. Entertainment Committee member Paolo Gomez came on board with his stand-up bass. Finally, Müller (ne John Blatchford), who engineered the demo, signed on with guitar and woodwind chops and the ideal attitude for this band.

"I just love making music," he says. "I'm not scared to pick up an instrument I've never seen before and try to make something out of it."

The versatile lineup gives Sprott a rich musical palette.

"He's a musician hoarder," Gomez says. "He likes to hoard all the musicians and then arrange them like army men."

Though the group formed casually with no commercial expectations, things changed in 2006, when the demo earned the band the chance to perform at the Bleeding Edge Festival at Villa Montalvo - alongside established acts such as Yo La Tengo - and to receive free recording time at Brett Allen's SnowGhost studio in Whitefish, Mont.

"I was blown away by their music," says Allen, one of the festival's curators. "I thought Will's songwriting was completely original, and his lyrical imagery was fantastic. I really liked the jug-band ruckus sound that they put across. . . . I thought that there was a looseness conveyed that you don't hear on a lot of modern-day pop records."

That vibe carries over to the band's debut CD, recorded at Allen's studio, which has hosted such notable acts as Stephen Malkmus (of Pavement), Brightblack Morning Light and Matmos.

"Shake That Medication" is a ramshackle funk jam about using a Prozac bottle as percussion. "Hitched to the Sun" hints at country. "Whale Song" is a solo acoustic gem.

The band practices Sundays in Müller's basement in downtown San Jose. Members trade instruments like baseball cards. Sprott murmurs approval and makes gentle suggestions at the end of a take. In one corner, El Vencere, Archuleta and Gomez giggle like kids in the back row of class.

"We have a very lighthearted relationship," Sprott explains later. "We're not very businesslike when we get together, usually."

The band has become something of a media darling in its native San Jose and has made inroads into San Francisco, where it is returning to the Noise Pop Festival on Feb. 27. But the rest of the country remains uncharted territory for the band, which is still being booked by Sprott.

"It's really interesting just to go through this whole process of putting it out and letting the music into the world and just seeing what it becomes," he says. "I'm totally fascinated."

Meanwhile, Sprott keeps writing songs, including a lovely ballad to be called "Don't Throw Me Away" or "Change My Mind" - he's not sure yet. And the band's top scrounger, Archuleta, is in search of new ingredients.

"He's getting a tuba, which is going to be amazing," Sprott says excitedly. "Those things wrap around your whole body like a boa constrictor."
Second Stage Artist

The Mumlers are a 7-piece acoustic group from San Jose, Calif. making cozy tunes rooted in early blues, jazz and folk., February 13, 2008 - The Mumlers are a 7-piece group from San Jose, Calif. with a love for loose, jangling rhythms and easy melodies. Despite the group's size, it's an intimate sound with a comfortable mix of accordions, gently strummed guitars and muted horns that borrow elements from early blues, jazz and folk. The Mumlers have just released their debut CD, Tickets and Stitches.

Like many of the tracks, "Red River Hustle" has a dark under current with tales of lonely hearts and lonely towns inhabited by the ghosts of what might have been. The lyrical musings of songwriter Will Sprott are enchanting with clever turns.

The Mumlers get their name from William Mumler, a 19th century engraver from Boston who started the "spirit photography" craze, telling customers he could capture images of their deceased loved ones.

Upcoming Mumlers live shows:
02/15 San Jose, CA @ The Blank Club
02/22 San Francisco, CA @ Thee Parkside
02/27 San Francisco, CA @ Cafe Du Nord
03/28 Davis, CA @ KDVS (on air performance)
03/28 Sacramento, CA @ Fox & Goose
04/12 Santa Cruz, CA @ The Crepe Place

Son Lux On The Front Page Of Youtube Today.

Son Lux's video for 'Break' is a feature video on Youtube today. As of 11:50 AM West Coast Pacific Time it has received an impressive 15,000 views. Happy unhappy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tiny Mix Tapes Has Fun Announcing Akron/Family's SXSW & Coachella Dates .

Boss Michael Gira down at Young God Records is a real stickler.

Apparently, if you don’t use your vacation days, sick days, personal days, hang-over days, and fuck-it’s-cold-I’m-not-coming-in-today days before the end of the fiscal year, old man Gira has this crazy policy that you lose them!

Since the fiscal year ends soon (look, just go with it), trusted assistant to Mr. Gira and noted family man Mr. Akron has no choice but to take a highly inconveniently-timed, albeit very well-deserved vacation right in the middle of his most hectic work season. Bummer.

Mrs. Akron, stay-at-home mother of two, thinks her husband could use some time off. And frankly, she’s been searching for an opportunity to tell him so. See, things have gotten rather hectic lately, and she wants the whole Akron/Family to... well, reconnect. And what better way to do that than for the four of them to get out there and see the whole country!

"It’ll be like a tour of sorts, honey," she assures her despondent husband. "A tour for the whole Akron/Family (TMT Review)! We can even make stops at those, uh, whatdoyoucall’em... ‘South by Southeast’ and ‘Cochella’ music festival thingys along the way. I even wrote out an itinerary already! What do you say, hun?"

"It’s South by Southwest, honey," Mr. Akron retorts wearily. Still, even he can hear the faint overtones of fatigue in his voice, and after letting out a long sigh, he turns to the bedroom wall where his eyes fix upon a recent photo of the Akron/Family taken at the nearby K-Mart. How happy they all look, all energetically smiling and full of the love that comes from just standing close.

Mr. Akron turns around once again to face Mrs. Akron, new fire once again flickering in his tired eyes. "All right, honey, let’s see that itinerary."

Akron/Family Vacation 2008:

03.02.08 - Allston, MA - Harper’s Ferry
03.04.08 - Middletown, CT - Wesleyan College
03.05.08 - Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell’s
03.06.08 - New York, NY -NYU Kimmel Center-Eisner&Lubin Auditorium
03.07.08 - Pittsburg, PA - The Andy Warhol Museum
03.08.08 - Princeton, NJ - Terrace club at Princeton University
03.09.08 - Vienna, VA - Jammin Java
03.15.08 - Austin, TX - Emo’s Inside Room (SXSW festival)
04.26.08 - Indio, CA - Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
04.29.08 - Santa Cruz, Ca - Crepe Place
04.30.08 - San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop
05.01.08 - Visalia, CA - The Cellar Door
06.21.08 - Philadelphia, PA - Popped Festival on Drexel University Campus
07.24.08 - New York, NY - River to River Festival at Castle Clinton

New Dirtbombs Album Reviewed On Dusted.

Artist: The Dirtbombs
Album: We Have You Surrounded
Label: In The Red
Review date: Feb. 12, 2008
Original post

A couple of years ago, when I talked to Mick Collins, he said that the Dirtbombs were probably more than halfway through their arc as a band and that after one more album, their bubblegum record, they would most likely call it quits. Collins observed that he would ordinarily have had three or four bands during the lifespan of the Dirtbombs. No one was more surprised than he that it had lasted so long.

No kidding. The band has, at this point, been through 17 line-ups, always with the same basic structure, two basses -- one regular, one fuzz -- a guitar (Collins himself), two drummers and whoever happens to drift into the studio for backing vocals and hand-claps. (Collins' "innocent bystander" rule requires that anyone physically present at a Dirtbombs session contribute something to the record.) The distinctive double-shot rhythm section has been consistent through the Dirtbombs various incarnations -- as a soul band, as a pop band, as a cover band turning its voracious attention to everyone from Yoko Ono to Elliott Smith and even, recently, as the house band at a Cannes film festival party. While not exactly predictable, the Dirtbombs always sound like the Dirtbombs - thunderous, fuzzy, loose, funny, smarter than average and maybe a little dangerous.

So it's good news that perhaps we can put off the death of the Dirtbombs for a little while longer. Now with We Have You Surrounded, we have in hand the fourth proper Dirtbombs album (not counting the massive 2-disc singles compilation, If You Don't Already Have a Look). It is definitely not a bubblegum record.

What is it, mostly, is an end-of-the-world record, describing in celebratory, fuzzed out style, the collapse of our technologically advanced society. Its unquestionable highpoint, "Leopardman at C&A" (based on Alan Moore's graphic novel of the same name) rides a jungle-y beat, pounding double drums and fuzzy bass, making it as easy to move to as it is fascinating to puzzle out. The first verse, for instance, goes like this: "We'll hunt down television sets and kill them for their skins / We'll squeeze the juice from cell phones and we'll smear it on our faces / While zebra cars and trucks drink from a gasoline oasis / With our necklaces of radio teeth and bar-code based tattoos / We'll build a tribal fire of soundbytes / Cut from central network news." The rest is similarly vivid and surreal.

Once you notice the eschatological motif, it pops up everywhere, even "Ever Lovin' Man," which sounds as close as anything to the amphetamine-laced soul of Ultraglide in Black. It's a love song (a pleading for sex song, really, but aren't they all?), but it's set in a world where it's getting dark, where a "slipstream of destruction / has us in its tow." And it is perfectly plain in the rattle-drum pop and circumstance of "Fire in the Western World," even more so in "I Hear Sirens" and howling, moaning "They Have You Surrounded."

Still it wouldn't be a Dirtbombs record without a quota of hedonism, and good times can be had even in the red glow of the apocalypse. "Indivisible" with its manic doo-wop chorus and skronky, strutting rhythms, could hardly be more fun. Later, "Wreck My Flow" has the sinuous skank of all Collins' best fuck-off songs, even though the things that are boguing his high this time are ripped from the headlines. "Holy roller / despot / car-bomb in the parking lot / kid blow / new show / prime time lead slot..." are among the many chanted downers trying to wreck the man's flow. And then there is "Pretty Princess Day," built along the primitive lines of "Train Wreck" and like that song, putting a troublesome woman firmly in her place.

End-of-days vibe aside, the first half of the album is so consistently good that I find myself thinking "best Dirtbombs ever" right up until the moment "Pretty Princess Fades" out. Unfortunately, after this point We Have You Surrounded is pockmarked with potholes, and one - the long, excruciating "Race to the Bottom" - is big and bad enough to lose an axle in. This track is more than eight minutes long, a steady slog through arrhythmic drumming, squiggly keyboard songs and feedback. It's like the Dirtbombs said, "Fuck you all. We're a noise band now," but without making much of an attempt to learn how to be a noise band successfully. That's the worst of it, but "I Hear the Sirens" and "They Have You Surrounded" are also noticeably weaker than the rest of the album.

Reportedly, the record was originally intended to be a five-song EP, and it's really too bad that the band changed its mind. The best five songs from We Have You Surrounded might have been a classic, at least on the level with Ultraglide and maybe better. As it stands, it's a really good, seriously flawed album, with some great songs and some big misses, a sort of living, breathing justification for your CD player's skip button.

By Jennifer Kelly

Pork & Pineappole - Son Lux's Beirut Remix On Pitchfork Forkcast Today.

New Music: Beirut: "A Sunday Smile (Son Lux's 'Want' Remix)" [MP3/Stream]

Beirut crooner Zach Condon told Pitchfork he was throwing himself into the world of "classical pop" on his latest album. Son Lux collagist Ryan Lott is a classically trained composer recording for Anticon. Jeez, could they have been made for each other? Lott breaks Condon's chanson-styled "A Sunday Smile", from last year's The Flying Club Cup, into an eerie, percussive lament that would fit in well beside the tracks on Son Lux debut album At War With Walls and Mazes, including the previously posted "Break". Condon's swaying vocal melody previously had the old-world communal feel of a handed-down drinking song, but on Son Lux's "Want" remix his words are chopped up, another tile in the track's complicated mosaic. Squonking digital beats and wooden drill-team clatter are joined by a loping, almost Caribbean rhythm, operatic female backing vocals, minor-key chiming, Condon's trumpet, and some strings. "All I wanted was the best for our lives," Condon sings. All Lott seems to want to do is to bring that feeling alive as vividly as possible through sound. That's a tall order, as the French don't say but Starbucks does; still, more often than not he comes close.

Son Lux Limited Engagements:
03/15 Austin, TX @ SXSW (showcase info tba)
03/22 New York, NY @ The Knitting Factory
04/05 Grand Rapids, MI @
Calvin College

Beirut International Rendezvous:
03/05 Sydney, AUS @ Manning Bar
03/06 Brisbane, AUS @ The Zoo
03/07 Adelaide, AUS @ Womadelaide Festival
03/09 Melbourne, AUS @ Golden Plains Festival
03/11 Melbourne, AUS @ The Corner Hotel
03/13 Auckland, NZ @ Kings Arms Tavern
03/14 New Plymoth, NZ @ Womad NZ Festival
03/16 Wellington, NZ @ San Francisco Bath House
06/26 Paris, FR @ Olympia
06/27 Evreux, FR @ Festival Le Rock dans tous ses
06/28 St. Gallen, CHE @ Openair St. Gallen Festival
06/30 Munich, DEU @ Muffathalle
07/01 Schorndorf, DEU @ Manufaktur
07/02 Koln, DEU @ Live Music Hall
07/03 Werchter, BEL @ Rock Werchter
07/04 Hamburg, DEU @ Fabrik
07/06 Gdynia, POL @ Heineken Opener Festival

Friday, February 08, 2008

A Hawk And A Hacksaw on NPR/The World

Nice little A Hawk And A Hacksaw segment on The World, which is a nationally syndicated PRI show that airs on over 200 NPR stations. Check out the link below.

February 7, 2008
Global hit – A Hawk and a Hacksaw

The musical group, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, hail from Albuquerque. They play Hungarian and Romanian music. Recently, they performed as the house band at a Romanian restaurant in London. The World's Hugo Boothby caught up with them there.

AHAAH are touring the Pacific Rim & playing ATP!
02/20 Perth, AUS @ Perth Beck's Music Box (International Arts Festival)
02/23 Wellington, NZ @ Pacific Blue Festival Club (International Arts Festival)
02/23 Wellington, NZ @ Pacific Blue Festival Club (International Arts Festival)
Butlin's Minehead, UK@ All Tomorrow's Parties

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Dirtbombs Cover Story In The Detroit Metro Times.

Learn everything there is possibly to know about Mick Collins, the rise and fall of the Gories, the birth of the Dirtbombs, & all things Motor City in this goliath Metro Times feature.

Pay dirt

Only Detroit could give up the Dirtbombs and a guy like Mick Collins, but don't ever call 'em 'garage'

by Michael Hurtt

It's been nearly three decades since Dirtbombs leader Mick Collins first picked up a guitar with the sole intention of "murdering the Eagles." It's been precisely four decades since Collins heard, at age 3, his very first favorite song — Little Richard's "Good Golly Miss Molly" — on a hand-me-down 78 RPM record. Since then, the tall, bespectacled, deep-voiced rock 'n' roller from Detroit has been scorned, worshipped, categorized and just plain misunderstood — sometimes simultaneously — by a music world often more interested in labeling than listening.

But Collins is now considered in many corners of the globe a musical trailblazer, an iconoclast who puts his stamp on everything from slick disco to the most archaic country blues. And, like any oddball black trailblazer from, say, Ike Turner to Phil Lynott, misinterpretation is part of the deal. It's also the curse.

There's hardly a genre or style that Collins hasn't touched in his career. There's the deconstructionalist R&B of the Gories, the gritty urban funk of the Voltaire Brothers, the straight-up punk rock of the Screws and Blacktop, the art rock of the Yeti Sanction, the mood music of the King Sound Quartet, various forthcoming techno 12-inchers, and his latest project, Man Ray Man Ray, whose ambient soundscapes recall those of the Cocteau Twins.

Front and center, however, is his longest-running, most prolific combo to date, the Dirtbombs, a genre-defying rock 'n' roll band that seizes everything — from glam rock to soul — for its explosive ouvre. Featuring the dual drumming of Ben Blackwell and Pat Pantano (disclaimer: Blackwell and Pantano are MT contributors) and the twin electric bass attack of Ko Melina and Troy Gregory, Collins considers their fourth official full-length album, We Have You Surrounded — which hits the streets Feb. 11 — to be the band's very best to date.

That's saying a lot, since the Dirtbombs — a band with an ever-revolving lineup — has had more than its fair share of brilliant moments over the years. Hell, the 2001 album Ultraglide in Black includes "Chains of Love," which you can hear on the soundtrack of Julian Schnabel's recent film, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

The band's 2005 singles collection, If You Don't Already Have a Look, is crammed with rumbling pop chaos — "Cedar Point '76," "Encrypted," "Tina Louise" and the eerily infectious "Here Comes That Sound Again," a song that, upon first listen, you'd swear had been engrained in your psyche years before it was ever written.

These are songs that should be on the radio — and chances are if they were, the Dirtbombs would be a household name.

"We used to say, in Detroit, if you only played one kind of music, you weren't serious," Mick Collins says. "Because everybody in town played in three different bands and each band played a different kind of music. That's just the way it was done in Detroit; for years and years everybody just played everything. So somebody who just played in one band wasn't serious about it. He was a hobbyist."

Collins, whose knee-slap humor fills conversations with fits of laughter, is dead serious about all kinds of music — he always has been. He has created a life in music, and that music supports him. It's his job. Collins has a real work ethic in his approach to it — and a bit of urban paranoia too, which is a vague theme that runs through many of his songs. And all of this makes sense, considering Collins grew up in Detroit.

"Detroit has pretty much always done everything by its own rules," he says, noting that the auto plant and factory assembly lines helped make the city an incredible incubator for the arts. "When Detroit was a car town, it was like, 'As long as you stamp that fender out for eight hours, whatever you do on your own time is yours.' Back in the '60s, that meant music. So everybody was cutting records. Now everybody's an artist but it's the same thing, really. There's so much going on artwise here, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that there's nothing else to do here. You just get bored and start throwing paint on walls. And we've got a lot of walls to throw paint on in Detroit!"

Collins has done more than his share of paint-throwing over the years, not all of it musical, from starring in the feature film Wayne County Ramblin' (alongside Iggy Pop) to publishing his own short stories in the regarded anthologies Best in Show and Shadows in Snow. His interests range from science fiction to comic books to movies to visual arts, but Collins is clearly a musical renaissance man.

The youngest of five children, Mick Collins was born in Detroit in December 1965. The Mumford High grad, who now lives in the East Belmont neighborhood on Detroit's west side, has been obsessed with sound ever since he can remember.

"There was no start," Collins says, talking about his fascination with music. "It just was. And I just kept at it. No one else in my family was musical. But my dad worked at a garage down the street from Angott, the state's largest record distributor. He used to work on Mr. Angott's car, and when Mr. Angott found out that my dad had five kids, every Friday he'd give him a box of records. 'Here's some of that new rock 'n' roll stuff for the kiddies.' By the time I came along, we had stacks and stacks and stacks of 45s and 78s — thousands of records. We had a complete run of Specialty, a complete run of Vee-Jay, a complete run of Chess, just everything, sitting in the basement. And my brothers and sisters didn't care, because this was 1968, '69. So they were listening to the Impressions and Sly Stone. They weren't having 'Good Golly Miss Molly.' So that was all mine.

And that was the first song I remember loving. Then I wore out a copy of 'Money' by Barrett Strong and won a new one on WDET's R&B show, which was done by these two old Polish record collectors from Hamtramck. Meanwhile, I was listening to CKLW and WJLB. At the same time, '70s funk and soul were taking off. So I was in a unique position, temporally speaking. When it comes to post-dawn of rock 'n' roll music, it was all happening for me at that period in my life."

His first rock concert? Bo Diddley at the Michigan State Fair in 1972.

"When I saw Bo Diddley — I have never heard an amplifier before, or since, make those sounds," he remembers. "I was only 7, but I never forgot it. In fact, in later years, I began to think that maybe watching him make those sounds is what inspired me to play guitar in the long run."

More importantly, old Diddley had something that Collins has never seen — or heard — since. "He had this effects box," Collins says. "It looked like a rough-hewn wood box with a hole in it, and whatever the effect was, this big wooden box did it. It was a box about 2 or 3 feet long and maybe 8 or 9 inches square. And I never saw him use it again. So whatever it did, it only did the one time."

Though he was overwhelmed with the sounds erupting from Diddley's guitar amp, the driving tribal rhythms blew the boy's mind as well.

"I like a lot of drums, as you may have noticed," Collins says, " So when disco happened, I was into it. And then punk happened."

He pauses. Then he adds, "And at some point I realized I had to pick up a guitar in order to kill the Eagles."

So then there is at least one form of modern music that Collins cannot tolerate?

"Yes. What we now call 'Classic Rock,' I was determined to kill. One day, I had just reached my breaking point and I realized, 'This has to die.' It was probably Boston or Kansas or Asia or Europe — one of those single-name rock bands. But I heard it and it was just the last straw. That was 1979 or '80."

So Collins put together then what he loosely refers to as his first band, a basement combo called the U-Boats, with some running buddies from the neighborhood.

"All the black nerd guys sort of gravitated toward each other in that neighborhood," says guitarist Dan Kroha, whom Collins would meet and begin playing with in the Gories a few years later. "They were into science fiction and Star Trek and punk rock. It was the nerd gang."

"I'd have to say that's a pretty apt description," Collins says about his first bandmates. "We had more adenoids than talent. When it gets down to it, the U-Boats was really just an excuse to make noise. We got our song lyrics out of a comic book, The Crazy Magazine Summer Special, which had a feature called 'Everything You Need to Form Your Own Rock 'n' Roll Band and Make Millions of Bucks Even Though You Have Absolutely No Talent Whatsoever.' That was the actual name of the comic! I played organ in that band but then I picked up a guitar one day and thought, 'This is amazing. This is way better for working off aggression than the organ. It screams!'"

Inching ever closer to the inevitable step up out of the basement, Collins soon formed a new band with a childhood pal — and future Voltaire Brother — Jerome "Fuzzy" Gray. That band lasted two years.

"At first, we changed our name every day," Collins says, "But we finally settled on the Floortasters. There are enough recordings of the Floortasters that I'm probably going to put out a record someday, just to do it.

The band's chief musical inspiration was a white band that rose out of UK punk, Wire. "Not that that's what we sounded like but that's what we thought we were sounding like," Collins says.

"One day we went down to Hart Plaza to see King Sunny Adé and the place was packed," he continues. "It was the most people I'd ever seen down there. And there was this guy wearing an English Beat T-shirt; a design that I'd never seen before — a tour shirt as it turned out. I said, 'Man, I have got to find out where he got that T-shirt.' My friends were like, 'Don't scare the white people, man.' 'But I've got to find out! I've just got to!' So I went up and asked him where he got it. And that happened to be Tom Lynch, who, years later, became a member of the Dirtbombs. But shortly after I met him, he introduced me to Dan Kroha."

"I was friends with Tom, and I had a big crush on his sister," Kroha says, "so I would go over and visit them in Rochester at their parents' house. I was over at Tom's one day, and Mick called. They were talking and Tom said, 'I'm hanging out with this guy here who lives in Detroit and he probably doesn't live very far away from you. You should talk to him.' He handed me the phone and I talked to Mick and found out he only lived a couple of miles away from me. So we arranged to meet and he rode his bike over to my parents' house with a bunch of records and we just started hanging out."

Kroha and Collins bonded instantly over a love of Motown, old soul and mod.

"I didn't know anybody else that knew what a mod was," Kroha says. "But Mick sure did and he was kind of identifying with that, just like I was. I'd discovered Them and the Velvet Underground and a lot of old blues and soul when I went away to college the year before. And so we just started turning each other onto music. When I played him the Small Faces' 'Watcha Gonna Do About It,' he totally flipped. Then he played me 'I'm a King Bee' by Slim Harpo and I totally flipped."

Kroha says he'd never met anybody like Collins. "I didn't know anybody, aside from myself, who had that kind of passion for music. He really wanted to discover all this stuff. He was also totally into all the low-budget movies that they would show on late-night TV. Nowadays, there are books and guides and magazines and Web sites about all that stuff. But back then, there really weren't. And yet Mick knew all about these movies."

Most of all, Kroha remembers, Collins would talk about the bands he wanted to form. "He had all these ideas. There were like five different bands going on in his head at any given time. He had album covers for 'em, he knew what the lineup was going to be, he knew what instruments they were going to consist of, what music they were playing, what the video was going to look like. It was just amazing. His imagination was incredible, and he had tons of it. I just thought, 'I've got to get this guy in a band!'"

And that's what happened.

When Danny Kroha met future drummer Peggy O'Neill shortly thereafter, the Gories — a band that would completely change the course of Detroit rock 'n' roll — was born.

"When I first saw Peg," Kroha says, "she was with a friend of hers and I was with two friends of mine. She was dressed real cool, really '60s, and back then there were no girls that looked like that. I said, 'We have got to talk to these girls 'cause we might never see 'em again!'

"So we started talking and I found out that Peg lived real close to me too. So I started hanging out with her and then we all started hanging out together. Mick and Peg and I would sit in my room at my parents' house and listen to records."

Among the trio's favorites were the various volumes of Crypt Records' Back From the Grave garage comps, which, Kroha says, they were listening to one day. "And Mick's going, 'You know, there's only three chords to these songs. They're really easy to play. We could play these songs.' And I'm going, 'Well, let's do it. We'll play guitars and Peg can play drums.' She was real shy about it, but I said, 'We'll just make it real simple — the whole drum kit will be tom-toms; no snare, no cymbal, not even a kick drum. Just tom-toms and that's it, total jungle beat ... we'll just break it down to the simplest thing and just do it."

Collins, Kroha and O'Neill were inspired to play the music that they collectively heard in their heads. The trio was dissatisfied by the fact most garage bands then were merely reviving the old records — often with more polish than passion.

"There were all these bands that would throw a harmonica solo and a double-time rave-up in at the end of a song and call it 'wild R&B,'" Kroha says. "And we were like, 'Man, we're gonna show you what wild, raw, primitive R&B really means.

"So we went to the practice space where my other band, the Onset, practiced. Peg sat behind the drums. I brought a guitar and Mick brought a guitar and we just plugged into the amps. Mick had a couple of two-chord songs, 'Thunderbird E.S.Q.' and 'You Make It Move,' which he'd already thought up. So we just broke it down to the most basic components and started doing it."

Taking their name from an episode of Sally Fields' '60s TV show Gidget, the Gories played their first show at St. Andrew's Church on the Wayne State University campus in October 1986. At the time, few were ready for the kind of primal mayhem that this three-piece Motor City destruction squad would lay down.

But there were a few people who were more than ready. One of them was Dan Rose, an aspiring filmmaker from Wyandotte.

"I went to see a band called the Sapphires that I was curious about," Rose says, "and the Gories were opening up for them. Typical me, I thought, 'Let me just get there in time to catch half of the opening band's set — I don't need to see the whole thing but I want to check them out.' So I walked into the place, having missed the first couple of songs, and I was just flabbergasted. I don't know how many shows they'd done, maybe a handful. But I was just in total shock. Looking at them and hearing them, I couldn't believe my eyes or my ears."

Rose stood front and center while "other people kept leaving. They were really loud — I thought, 'This is clearly the most important and vital band that I've ever seen.' I genuinely believe that people will be writing about and referencing the Gories long after I die or they die. They're just that important. Something about them was complete magic.

"When they were done with their set," Rose continues, "I ran up and said, 'I've never seen anything like this before. You guys remind of a cross between Diana Ross & the Supremes, Suicide and John Lee Hooker!' It just turned me into a gabbing liquid idiot."

Like the Velvet Underground before, the Gories were scorned in their heyday by many local musicians and worshipped worldwide after their breakup. This primal, bass-free trio, fronted by this crazed black guy and featuring a girl drummer with no cymbals was too much, too soon, even for Detroit. Yet the band single-handedly ignited the Detroit's garage scene of the '90s and beyond. Its three albums, Houserockin', I Know You Fine (But How You Doin') and Outta Here, stand in complete opposition to almost everything that was going on at the time, particularly the so-called "Paisley Underground" garage revival in Los Angeles.

Although the Gories often spun their take on local '60s classics by the Keggs and Nick & the Jaguars, they never restricted themselves by genre, instead, they chose songs that could be stripped to the core and rebuilt from the first beat up.

Alongside such ear-bending original songs as "Feral," "Nitroglycerine," "Sister Ann" and "You Done Got Wrong," there were storming renditions of John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillun," Howlin' Wolf's "You'll Be Mine," Suicide's "Ghostrider," and even Machine's early disco classic "There But For the Grace of God Go I."

As Kroha rocked atop his Vox amp, blasting powerful chords from his Fender Jaguar and demolishing harmonicas like a back-alley Billy Boy Arnold, Collins, dressed in a dark suit, shades and black Converse Chuck Taylors, attacked his cheap Kent guitar like a man possessed. By the end of the show, his six-string would usually be in pieces (only to be painstakingly rebuilt by Kroha before the band's next gig), having been savagely smashed into his amp, or whatever happened to get in its way.

Calm, cool, collected (and in the words of late Detroit music journalist Tony Fusco, "Knockout gorgeous and all business"), O'Neill powered the ruckus with a primal drumming style that Jack White would later use as the basis for the White Stripes.

"Peg definitely brought an attitude to the Gories," Kroha says. "She brought that tough attitude that Mick and I don't really have. Without her, the band wouldn't have been so tough and menacing. Plus, she could really keep a beat; she really had a swing to her drumming that you can't buy. You can't teach someone how to swing.

Mick taught her the basic beat, but he didn't teach her how to swing."
The combination was rock 'n' roll magic. But the band permanently broke up —— after a volatile European tour. After three albums and seven years together, enough was enough.

The band's international popularity has skyrocketed since its breakup. That's for good reason, notes Blackwell, who cites the Gories as his all-time favorite band. The Dirtbombs drummer was a grade-schooler during the Gories' run. He was a teenager when he first heard them — after his uncle Jack White handed him one of their albums. It began to dawn on Blackwell how crucial the Gories were to the city and its musical history.

"At a certain point, I realized how ingrained everything they were doing was to Detroit," Blackwell says. "And then I thought, 'OK, they formed in Detroit in 1986.' I'm sitting there thinking about my rudimentary knowledge of Detroit history and I know what Detroit was like in 1986. It was the last place on earth you wanted to be. Being 14 or 15 when I heard it, I'm thinking, 'How did something so amazing come from this city at that time?' And as I got older I realized that that's when things flourish: when conditions are at their worst."

Blackwell continues: "The older I get, I just keep thinking, 'This band was so brilliant and so perfect.' I honestly would have thought that belief would've changed when I joined the Dirtbombs — like, I'm going to discover that Mick's some record-collecting comic-book nerd and all that stuff, which he is — but I still love the Gories. That they were so young, doing something so far away from the norm, is just incredible.

After the Gories, Collins mapped out his next band's discography-to-be in a spiral notebook. It would be a singles band that only released 45s and EPs, he decided. And this time, there'd be two drummers and two bass guitarists to lay down a relentless, pile-driving rhythm behind Collins' fuzz-drenched guitar and caterwauling vocals.

Why the rather unorthodox lineup?

"I just thought it would be fun to do," Collins says. "There was no other reason for it. It wasn't a kind of a reverse thing from the Gories. I was thinking, 'Nobody has a rock band with two drummers and two bass guitarists; I'm gonna try that.'"

As for the notebook plans, they jumped from EPs to albums. Larry Hardy, a Gories fan who signed the Dirtbombs to his In the Red Records label, wanted full-length records.

The band's debut LP — originally planned as a set of vinyl EPs — on In the Red was 1998's punk-fueled Horndog Fest. The record captured the Dirtbombs bristling live set perfectly; Collins' subversive spirit was evident from the first song. "Vixens in Space" sports a kind of white-noise havoc that'd send many running for the hills, yet it was followed by "I Can't Stop Thinking About It," a well-crafted, hook-heavy pop song.

Was this some kind of test to see just how much the casual listener could take? Absolutely not, Collins says. "That's was just the order of the set."

After Horndog Fest, Collins decided that if this band was going to make albums rather than singles, as per the notebook plan, they were going to be albums in the truest sense of the word. Each would be a concept, whether defined by genre, theme or otherwise. He made a list, most of which has now been fulfilled, though a long-planned bubblegum album has yet to surface.

In his plan, Collins also had a predetermined lifespan for the Dirtbombs — four years. That didn't work out either, and the music world is better for it. But back to that list ...

"I had this idea that I'd take a bunch of songs by well-known R&B performers and do rock versions of them for the fourth Dirtbombs album," Collins says. "But when Greg Cartwright [of the Oblivions, Compulsive Gamblers and currently, Reigning Sound] played me Phil Lynott's 'Ode to a Black Man' [from the late Thin Lizzy frontman's solo album, Solo in Soho], I said, 'I have to record this song before somebody else beats me to it!' And in order to record that song, I had to do the entire rest of the album around it. So Ultraglide in Black came second, when it was supposed to be fourth."

Released in 2001, Ultraglide's timing was everything. That album hit the streets at the precise moment Detroit's latter-day garage revolution was exploding. This was a mixed blessing, Collins says, and it's where a complex man becomes even more complex.

You see, though he was an integral part of the Gories, a band that spearheaded a movement — and directly influenced a southwest Detroit guitarist named Jack White to become a musical spokesperson for millions — the one thing that irritates Collins to no end is being classified as "garage music." It's simple, he says. He hasn't been in a garage band since the Gories. The Dirtbombs have been around for a decade-and-a-half and don't play garage music. And that, in his opinion, should be that. But it isn't.

"The point is not whether I like or dislike garage music," Collins says. "The point is it was never the only thing I played. In Detroit, everybody's always understood that I play a lot of different stuff — they see my DJ thing, they see the electronic stuff. I've got all these things happening. But whenever anybody writes about me, all they write about is garage rock. Being pigeonholed as playing garage rock is the only thing that has ever really rankled me. I don't have any problem being in any other ghetto, artistically speaking. You can call my writing whatever you want to call it; you can call my art whatever you want to call it. I don't care. But quit calling me 'garage rock.'

"The ultimate irony of all this is that before the Gories, I was making electronic music," Collins continues. "The Gories was something to tide me over until I finally got a house 12-inch out. And the Gories record came out, I said, 'OK, I guess I'm doing this for a while.' But I never quit making electronic music. I'm still making electronic music. ... I'm sick to fucking death of being called garage rock!

"I cut an album of R&B covers right when everybody was looking at us," Collins says of Ultraglide, "which, in retrospect, was probably not the best idea. Ben [Blackwell] looks at me like I'm nuts. But I wish I hadn't done it. I am not unaware that most of the publicity we get now is mainly due to Ultraglide, but that's not the point. ... It was never intended to be a garage rock record. Some people think of it as a soul record, which it was not. It was a rock record.

"Black people understood immediately that it was a rock record," he says. "They knew all the songs but that didn't stop it from being a rock record. It was everybody else that didn't get the picture. Ultraglide was a great big garage rock signifier, little did I know. And we've spent years living that down."

Yet the pendulum swings both ways. When Collins released a funk album in 2004 by another one of his projects, the Voltaire Brothers (I Sing the Booty Electric on Fall of Rome Records), the response from many so-called fans was less than stellar.

"I got a lot of complaints because they were expecting more garage rock and were put out by the fact that it was an actual funk record. The whole time I'm saying, 'I was playing funk records long before I was playing punk or garage records. Funk will always win out over everything else. It's not my fault you motherfuckers weren't around. I wasn't making it for y'all anyway!'"

Dan Rose says Mick is a hard person to pin down. "Your average rock journalist who's going to write about him is going to say, 'Oh, so you're a punk rocker? Oh, so you're a garage guy? Are you a blues guy? Are you a funk guy? Are you a techno guy? What are you?' And Mick's just like, 'I'm everything and I'm nothing.' A lot of people want to be pigeonholed but Mick does not want to be pigeonholed."

"It's just the need to label everything," Collins says. "The Dirtbombs are sick of me complaining about it, but it's my one whipping post."

At the same time, Collins admits that the publicity — misinterpretations and all — that he won from Ultraglide and Detroit's garage explosion did have a silver lining.

"There were a lot of people who would turn up at our shows because we were from Detroit and because Jack White mentioned me. ... I've never made any secret of thanking Jack for that. I told Ben, 'The next time you talk to Jack, you tell him I said 'thanks.'"

What's funny is that type of musical profiling is what kept the Dirtbombs from gaining an audience in the first place.

"I always thought, rather than keep changing a band's style, why not just do a different band?" Collins says of the many musical hats he's worn. "I figured I'd just make a bunch of different records for different audiences and they'd all be OK with it. But I didn't realize that it didn't work that way. So by the time the Dirtbombs happened, all my existing fans were angry that it didn't sound like the Gories. And I didn't have any new fans."

Though the press won't stop calling the Dirtbombs "garage," a term that's as played-out as any classic rock song on radio, Collins stresses that most garage fans still resent the Dirtbombs. And so the friends that those fans dragged to the band's early shows — music aficionados who had no preconceived expectations — became their core audience. "Now we have an actual audience who are much more in tune with what we sound like and what I do rather than what I did 15 years ago."

In the end, because Ultraglide in Black hit when it did, and not now, as was planned — the timing was serendipitous. It's a stunning album so it's hardly surprising that when art world superstar-turned-film director Julian Schnabel heard it, he picked their volcanic take on the Melvin Davis and J.J. Barnes Detroit soul chestnut "Chains of Love" for a key scene in his latest film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Schnabel even flew the band to France's Cannes Film Festival — where he took the award for best director — to perform the song live last year.

"I was standing out front of Peoples Records," Collins says, "and our agent called and said, 'Well, this guy has a movie at the Cannes Film Festival and he wants you to play his premiere party.' I said, 'Let me think about that. OK, I thought about it — yes!' Three weeks later we were on the plane to Cannes."

He continues, "We knew we weren't gonna get much more than half an hour to play, so the question was, 'How many good songs can we get in before they throw us out of there?' We did a special set of songs that we thought they would be OK with until they threw us out. But then when they said, 'You guys have 10 minutes,' we just turned everything up to 10 and went for it. Then they threw us out.

"Afterwards, we were sitting backstage and [Schnabel] came back dressed in pajamas and carrying a tray of pastries. And he said, 'Let's do some pastries.' I said, 'Of all the things I've been asked to do backstage after a show, pastries has never been on the list.' So we did a tray of pastries. He was a really cool guy."

With the Dirtbombs' new album, serendipity plays in again. Originally planned as a five song EP, We Have You Surrounded — like Ultraglide — blossomed into a life of its own around a single song. Collins discovered the lyrics to "Leopard Man at C&A" in a comic book. The problem was he could never find the music.

"'Leopard Man at C&A' was written by Alan Moore who wrote The Watchman, one of the more famous comic books in recent years," Collins says. "He's also friends with David Jay from Bauhaus and they have a band together that plays every so often. Now, I had read somewhere that he had written the song for Bauhaus and that they had recorded it. I looked for a year and I never found it. Apparently Bauhaus never cut the song, even though it was allegedly written for them. So I finally decided, 'Well, I'm just going to write my own music to these lyrics.'"

That song, Collins says, has "such a fabulous take on the idea of urban paranoia that it became the original catalyst for doing a whole record about it. So there's this weird zeitgeist throughout We Have You Surrounded; every song — no matter how it started — became about urban paranoia, sometimes not even intentionally."

From the roar of impending doom in "Ever Lovin' Man" to the locked-in dance groove of "Wreck My Flow" — We Have You Surrounded rages with passion and humor, referencing enough genres, styles and eras that it manages to be unclassifiable.

Collins doesn't think it's anything out of the ordinary to do an album focused on urban paranoia. "Every hip-hop record, to an extent, is about urban paranoia — so why not a rock band?" he says. "And in Detroit, it's a constant undercurrent throughout all our music; you can't escape it. It's in all those Norman Whitfield productions at Motown, all those '70s rock records, all the techno stuff. Once social upheaval really started happening in the mid-to-late '60s, it really became part of how we made music here. You know, sooner or later somebody's going to throw something through a window or pull a switchblade on somebody in one of your songs; it's just what we write about in Detroit."

Collins may be too close to his own work to realize it, but if there's a singular thread that binds his disparate musical projects together to those fans that embrace them all, it's often that theme of urban paranoia. The Voltaire Brothers' "Trouble Man Everyday" sampled a street preacher in Hart Plaza whose sermon was the very essence of it. A dozen years before that, writer Robert Gordon noted it in a Gories review for SPIN Magazine when he wrote, "Though there's no explicit language on it, this may be the most frightening, harrowing album in a decade ... Hell never seemed closer than 'Six Cold Feet.'"

"That song's a great urban paranoia story, it's about running and hiding," says Dan Rose, who cast Collins as the West African spirit Ogun in his film Wayne County Ramblin'. Rose has coupled Collins with everyone from Iggy Pop and Chan Marshall to Eddie Kirkland and Lorette Velvette for recording collaborations. "I was so impressed with that song — the way Mick moans over the beginning like Nina Simone and the way Peggy hits the floor tom with the maraca. It's so simple that you can hear the rattle of the gourds on it ... it's totally mystical. "And 'There But for the Grace of God Go I' was a song steeped in urban paranoia.

"Mick's a shaman," Rose continues. "He's told me he is, and I believe him. I believe him because of how he's interacted with me, untold things he's done not in my presence that I've seen fruition with ... Bo Diddley claimed that the seven African Powers that are heralded in a lot of the African religions speak through his amplifier. And I believe that too."

Collins says some of his work is born of similar experiences. "I exclude everything else while I'm working on a song," he says. "I forget what time it is, how long I've been standing there, and things just get written. For instance, I have no memory of writing 'Granny's Little Chicken' (from Horndog Fest). I was standing there, pacing around, had a beer and when I came back to the paper, there were words on it, they were in my handwriting but I didn't remember writing any of it.

"Recently, I was watching something about schizophrenia and they were talking about hearing voices. I jokingly said to myself, 'I don't hear voices, I hear music.' But is that the same thing? You know, because I've been focused on music throughout my entire life, am I really hearing voices but I'm just interpreting them as music?

"I hear music all the time and if it's a song I've never heard before, I try and write it down because it's probably an original. That's how the originals come about. I'm just hearing the voices. When [the voices] stop singing Martha & the Vandellas or whatever it is they're singing and it's something I've never heard before then, yeah, it's probably going to be the next Dirtbombs single."

Currently preparing for an upcoming Australian tour, the Dirtbombs recently cut seven songs for forthcoming singles. But the band's future remains, as always, uncertain and unwritten. How long will they stay together?

Collins isn't exactly sure. "I really don't think that we could make a better record than We Have You Surrounded.

"I think it's the best record I could make with the Dirtbombs. The Dirtbombs were not supposed to last 17 years. I've said just about all the loud, fast things I have to say and this band does not do quiet. At the very least, I've got to take a hiatus."

A hiatus? The self-contradictory Collins considers the notion, and says, "But if I stop now, I'm not sure how willing I would be to pick the Dirtbombs up again. Because I just don't think I have that much more to say with the high-energy rock thing."

One thing's certain, Collins will always have songs, the best of which, perhaps, have yet to be written. Or perhaps they were written 30 years ago but nobody's heard them yet. His long-awaited debut techno 12-inch recording finally sees light of day soon on Mahogani Records, and he's currently working on more of them. You just never know what he's up to — and you wonder if he even knows — but chances are it'll be remarkable.

"It's kind of beautiful that Mick's fortysomething years old and he's just making music, that's what he does and he accepts that," Ben Blackwell says. "And if that means that he still lives with his dad and that he doesn't have a day job in the 'real world,' well, that's who he is. A hundred years from now people will still remember what he's done and people will appreciate it. But that doesn't say anything about where his next meal is coming from."

"I think at this point I'm unable to stop,' Collins says. "Whereas in years past, I've been unwilling to stop. There was a point — everybody goes though it — when I said, 'I can quit anytime I want to.' Well, now I can't quit."

The Dirtbombs CD release show is Saturday, Feb. 16, at the Magic Stick (4120 Woodward Ave. Detroit; 313-833-9700).