Song of the Day



The Pack A.D. (After Death, I’m told) are a couple of hard-hitting gals from Vancouver who have been doin’ the White Stripes guitar/drum thang for a few years and have picked up a pretty impressive following along the way. That might have something to do with their playing a mind-numbing 157 live shows in one year, or it could just be that people finally wanna hear real music again instead of whatever chart-topping crap Rihanna trotted out this week! Their fourth album, Unpersons, is gonna drop September 13th and they just leaked this fuzzy, gritty, sweaty little gem. This is prototypical garage-rock, so comparisons to the White Stripes are kinda obvious, but when they veer off into a more bluesy zone, drummer Maya Miller and guitarist/vocalist Becky Black have a lot of folks also thinking of Black Keys, Soledad Brothers, and even the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion! I just know I’m gonna give a listen on September 13th when that album comes out! Check out The Pack A.D. on their website

Song of the Day

You Make The Sun Fry

DOWNLOAD: You Make The Sun Fry

Normally, when you start comparing a singer to anyone who came before him you’ll typically get shot a look of disgust and a response along the lines of, “Hey Dude, I just want to be judged on my own merits!”, but Bay-area based, neo-psych, garage-grunge, fuzzy-guitar-playin’ Ty Segall so embraces the obvious similarities to Marc Bolan that he actually released an EP of classic T. Rex covers called Ty-Rex a few months back! And now he’s out with a full-length album, Goodbye Bread, where alongside the obvious Bolan touches, he’s mixed in a little bit of John Lennon vocalizing and some dirty Neil Young & Crazy Horse garage guitar licks. Goodbye Bread is his first album with Drag City and you can pick it up on iTunes. And then check out what he’s up to over on his website.

Photoshop Fail of the Day

Checking my Twitter feed this morning, I see that the eagle-eyed folks over at Design Informer (@designinformer) have spotted a pretty good Photoshop fail on Apple’s website…..

Still not seeing it? OK…that big red arrow is pointing to the reflection which clearly shows ‘i5’ and not the ‘i7’ of the Intel chip….rookie mistake!

Song of the Day

Stay Away


We had a Beck cover yesterday…how about a Nirvana cover today?!!

Brooklyn’s own Charles Bradley…the Screaming Eagle of Soul…cranks up the James Brown and makes Nirvana’s ‘Stay Away’ sound like a Motown standard! Backing him up are The Menahan Street Band, an ensemble featuring musicians from Antibalas, El Michels Affair, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and the Budos Band, who took their name from Menahan Street in Bushwick. The 63 year-old Bradley only began his singing career in his 50’s when he began performing in local Brooklyn clubs performing his James Brown routines under the alter ego “Black Velvet”. Gabriel Roth of Daptone Records, recognizing raw talent when he saw it, convinced Bradley to drop the “Black Velvet” act and signed him to Daptone where he has performed ever since.

SPIN is offering ‘NEWERMIND’…a Tribute to Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’…free for a couple of days, and since free don’t cost much, I hit the ‘DOWNLOAD’ button. Honestly, I was surprised at how most of it is unlistenable shit, especially an absurd version of ‘Come As You Are’ by some ridiculous Aussie outfit going by the name Midnight Juggernauts, who turned a Rock & Roll classic into a 4 minute Discofied atrocity on helium! But again…it is free and your taste might be different from mine (doubt it!), so head on over to SPIN, enter your e-mail address and you can make up your own mind, but for my money, I’d also make a bee-line to Daptone Records and pick up a couple of Charles Bradley records!

Song of the Day

photo by Gretchen Robinette

Lost Cause

DOWNLOAD: Lost Cause

Late last year, Nadia Ackerman kept telling me about a singer/songwriter friend of hers with the most amazing and soulful voice that would immediately have me thinking of a female Tom Waits, and that I simply must meet her. Well, since then I’ve gotten to be very good friends with Chiara Angelicola…..Bird Call as she’s known on stage…..and while her vocals can go to the dark, bluesy place that Tom calls home, on her latest EP, Other Creatures, she’s recorded covers of songs from Fleetwood Mac, Nick Cave, Man Man, Kate Bush and Beck that don’t simply parrot the originals, but instead her unique voice gives a heartfelt interpretation to each one in her own style. I remember when Beck released Sea Change…his melancholy country-blues masterpiece…and how ‘Lost Cause’ quickly became my favorite song on the album, so hearing Chiara throw a sitar in the mix really caught me off guard. This from Chiara…..

“Lost Cause is one of my favorite Beck tunes. I think the Sea Change record influenced a lot of people my age at the time it came out. It signaled a major shift in the music world. I knew that it would be a challenge to recreate, but I was working with some really talented people and we found a way to diverge from it in a spiritual and organic way and stay true to it at the same time. I think the sitar really expresses the spiritual and emotional aspects of the song alone. I’m really glad we went that route.”

Joining Chiara on the record are Indra Roy-Chowdhury on the aforementioned sitar, Dave Smallen on guitar & vocals, the amazing Harvey Jones on electric pianos, harmonium & synthesizers, Aaron Nevezie on bass and the whole thing was mixed & produced by Joel Hamilton at Studio G in Brooklyn.

Chiara and another good friend of the Song of the Day List, Johanna & the Dusty Floor, just wrapped up an uber-successful Kickstarter campaign and will be heading out on a cross-country tour starting August 2nd at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, so if they happen by your town, trust me…it’s well worth your time to check ’em out!

You can follow Bird Call on her website, then go pick up a copy of the Other Creatures EP on iTunes for only 7 bucks!

Finally…I was gonna drop the video for ‘Lost Cause’, but Chiara tells me that apparently Deli Magazine is getting a temporary exclusive on that one, so you’re all gonna hafta do with Beck’s original version and I’ll drop Chiara’s version when it clears Customs…..

Mola Likes Damn Ugly…

The guys over at Mola Soft Lights just noticed that I used a Demi to shoot Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren a while back, ‘cuz they just wrote about it on their blog…check it out HERE!

Musical Interlude of the Day

The Broken Places (Extended Version)

DOWNLOAD: The Broken Places

This isn’t a Song of the Day. It’s too passive and all those electronic clicks and pops don’t really fit the Indie framework I think of when I kick out something for the SOTD…..but it’s still a nice, non-confrontational way to get going this morning. ‘The Broken Places’ is the first track from Moby’s latest album, Destroyed. And since there’s really nothing I can’t say about Moby that hasn’t already been said, just check out his website!

It’s Summer…Let’s Go Fishing!!!

A few weeks ago, Adrian asked if I wanted to head up the Turnpike to shoot a couple of fund managers…Ed Nicklin and Andy Knuth of the Westport Select Funds…for the Barron’s Mutual Fund Report. We were both hoping to get anything other than the usual office environment portraits and since the Westport offices were kinda on my way up to Damn Ugly’s weekend command center, I swung by to take a look around and right behind their building I found this…

It’s funny how one simple prop can get your juices flowing on a shoot, but as soon as I saw the plastic Adirondack chairs and the river location I knew we had something to play with. And I’m not usually one who tries to cram a metaphor down the reader’s throat, but when we found out that Andy and Ed kept fishing poles in the office and that they were known to ‘fish for good deals’ in the market, I couldn’t turn up the chance to turn these fund managers into sport fishermen!

Once that was done, Kaz and I set up a nice, relaxing scene next to a waterfront shed where the boys could kick back and enjoy the sunny day…..

…which gave Barron’s the perfect opener for the section…..

Damn Ugly Answers Five Questions…

The other day, Aussie photographer Morgana Creely sat down with Damn Ugly Photography (via email…cuz she’s in Melbourne!) and asked me Five Questions…you can check out the answers on Her Blog

Song of the Day

Give Up


Most of you know that Audrye Sessions was one of my favorite bands of the past few years. Audrye Sessions are no more. Low Roar is Ryan Karazija. Ryan Karazija is Low Roar. Ryan moved to Iceland, the winter was dark, and he wrote a record. I have been dropping snippets from what he’s been working on for months, but I just spent the past hour listening to the final result…and it’s fucking awesome. He’s carefully composed a beautifully reflective, dark and brooding collection of stories that captured his feelings throughout that dark winter. This is no rock-n-roll record…the twelve songs are almost confessional and listening to them made me feel a bit like a voyeur…as though I was intruding on something profoundly personal. There were times when I got chills from the power of his soaring, chantlike vocals. This is a must-own album. You can buy it exclusively over at Tonequake Records…I suggest kicking in an extra 2 bucks for the alac (Apple lossless) cd quality download! And if you haven’t done so already, you can also pick up An Otherwise Perfect Day, the final EP from Audrye Sessions, for only 3 bucks. You can follow Low Roar on facebook.

BONUS…Here’s a stripped-down video version of ‘Patience’…..