feels like December

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Friday, March 03, 2006

This Sticker Is A Threat To National Security

This is too funny. A kid at Ohio University has a My Bike Is A Pipe Bomb sticker on his bike and the bomb squad has to swarm it. And the kid was charged for the trouble it caused. Perhaps it would be in the cops best interest to keep up on what is happening with music these days, hahahahahahaha.



And now I really do need to start a band just so I can call it, I Am Going To Kill You With This Bomb In This Box That I Am Holding Right Here, Under My Arm.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I'm going to start posting in here again.

I'm bringing this blog back. I won't be posting reviews or interviews since those go to sctas but I still just like talking about music and will just post other things that is music-y-related and stuff.


Sunday, August 07, 2005

the metroids are on tour!

The Metroids are touring around the eastern-ish part of the country. You should go to see them if you can. and they have a tour diary. I love reading tour diaries, that's mostly why I'm posting this in case anyone else likes reading them too, lol. it's at http://www.livejournal.com/users/themetroids/

Also they need help with getting a show for Monday, August 15th anywhere in Ohio.

Tour dates!

8/3 on 88.5 WHPK around 11PM, my friend Jenni’s Radio show will be talking about us, woohoo.

8/4 The Big Horse Lounge, 1558 N Milwaukee in Chicago with The Elusive Rapmaster Ensemble, Shumai and The Specific Heats

8/5 DeKalb IL at the Practice Space with Best Friends Forever, Your Loving Tiger and Candy Sweat (The Variable Why only)

8/6 Downs IL at Stoop’s Farm, some crazy keg going away party thinger. I dunno the address. I’ll post when I have it.

8/7 Driving day through the fabulous south

8/8 The Haunted Hive with Castles Underground at 83 Maple St Charleston SC

8/9 The Pour House Music Hall at 224 S. Blount in Raleigh NC. With Parker.

8/10 Baltimore Maryland or Anywhere, Virginia NEED HELP

8/11 Philadelphia PA, probably at The Fire but this isn’t set in stone. Might NEED HELP

8/12 The Trash Bar at 256 Grand St, Williamsburg Brooklyn NYC with Tommy Dempsey and Smug, The Exiles, The Drew Blood and Red Robot

8/13 The All Asia Bar at 334 Mass Ave in Cambridge MA with The Saturday Saints

8/14 Monocacy Park in Bethlehem PA with BRRR, Harbor Lights, Pants YELL!, Soltero and more

8/15 Anywhere in Ohio. NEED HELP

8/16 Vollmar’s House 1342 S Cory Lane in Bloomington IN with Mt. Gigantic (just Metroids at this show)

The Metroids website: http://www.themetroids.com/

Monday, August 01, 2005

Spencer Owen interview. :o)

Birdy: How long have you been playing music? and how many albums have youreleased on cd?

Spencer: I've played piano since I was 2 years old. I took piano lessons from ages 4-12, and shortly afterwards, taught myself the drums, guitar and bass. I played drums for fun, but I taught myself guitar and bass for the sole purpose of recording with them, basically. I have this funny way of playing guitar where I put it in my lap, tuned to open D usually, and adroitly mash the fingers of my left hand up and down the fretboard to make the chords and melodies I want. It isn't an incredibly versatile style, although it has made for some interesting developments, like on occasion being able to play the lead and rhythm parts at once.

But I digress. I've been recording music since I was 13, used the same 6 track multi-track from Sansui for 7 years, and now it's dead and I'm looking for a new machine so I can make a new record. As for CDs, I used to release them on mp3.com, back when they used to do that service, under the name Trigger Goldberg. I did four or five that way, but I don't consider those albums anymore. I've dismantled them and used a few of the songs for later albums. The count of my "offficial" discography is 14 albums, 3 EPs. Tomorrow these numbers may change because I barely have any allegiance to anyone when it comes to what defines my albums at the moment. When they actually get released or pressed, whether by myself, which has been a couple times, or someone else, once with ballbearings pinatas and just now with this cassette label Tin Cans and Twine(http://www.geocities.com/tcatrecordings/main.html), I consider them done. But I'm trying to keep them intact as they are right now, pretend that they have been released and move on.

Birdy: Are you heavily involved with music, along with making music, you've written reviews for Fake Jazz, I think. Do you still write for them?

Spencer: I don't write for them, nor Pitchfork, anymore. And yes, I wrote forPitchfork for about 9 months in 2001, before I wrote for Fakejazz. These days I hate half of everything Pitchfork has to say; I think they're unintentionally total scum sometimes. Mark Richardson is still a great writer and they have decent pieces now and then, but I've drifted a long way from being interested in what they have to offer other than music news, which is the only reason I check their site daily, still. They've done a lot for me, though; I can't deny the positive experience I had with them. They just need editors, serious bullshit detectors. I'd kind of like to write for another place now, but I want money or else it won't be worth it, because I need money. (insert laughter here)

I am constantly listening to music when I'm not watching a movie, and even then I think the music is one of the most important parts of the movie, so I'm listening to that too. Right now, for instance, I'm listening to Ornette Coleman's The Empty Foxhole. I hear as much music as I possibly can and get my hands on it however I can.

Birdy: Are you still in college and if not are you working at a job in which it doesn't conflict or take up too much time from your musical endeavors?

Spencers: I'm not in college. I dropped out of UC Santa Cruz last year, not for any reason other than school was not for me at the moment. I'm currently trying to get a job. I just e-mailed this magazine that was advertising a position for a music writer actually, on Craigs list.We'll see how that goes! I want music store experience, and I've posted this ad, so if you're in the Bay Area of California, why not give me a ring: http://www.craigslist.org/eby/wan/88087271.html

Birdy: Hahaha, I love the craig's list ad. Someone should definitely be able to help you out with that, at least just for the absurdity of it. Do you love record shopping? Do you have a huge music collection?

Spencer: I do love CD shopping. My music collection is all digital. I have 120+ GB of albums, and growing. I buy CDs all the time but I return them and get 75% at the right stores, Amoeba & Rasputin, the stores I'm trying desperately to work at. I live four blocks away from Amoeba here in Berkeley. I am there all the time. My friend Sean works there(www.seansmithlives.com), another guy who I might be doing shows with in the near future, although not playing on his songs, because he's a solo acoustic guitarist. He's great though. I'd be honored to share some bills with him soon.

Birdy: And is it nice living in San Francisco? I'm curious what San Francisco is like. lol

Spencer: I live in Berkeley, which is just east of SF over the bay. I end up in SF pretty often. I actually just moved here from Santa Cruz. I'm incredibly happy to be here. It's California urban culture at its most diverse and concise. I'm from Los Angeles, and while I have an extreme affinity for L.A., I'm glad to be living here instead. Easier for a guy who doesn't drive, and more exciting as a new culture. The weather's lovely, in general. I hope this job happens so I can stay in this apartment. I room with one of my best friends, by the name ofJohn, a UC Berkeley student, brilliant musician in his own right.Wherever I send demos he sends them too, separately, and vice versa.Who knows when we'll collaborate, but we're doing fine on our own. He can be found at: http://www.crackerbox.net/audio/goodbye

Birdy: How did you start getting stuff released by Ballbearing Pinatas?

Spencer: Funny, actually-- I e-mailed Jeff Eliassen through a banner onFakejazz. He helped Ariel Pink start and he's a fantastic guy, good friend and talented musician. He lives in Colorado at the moment, and I hear from him now and then; he's been talking up the possibility of re-releasing Ribcage with a bonus EP, and I'm just waiting for it to happen, basically.

Birdy: What would the possible bonus ep if ribcage is re-released, consist of?

Spencer: It's called Summertime: 2003. Five songs I made around the time ofRibcage that were cut from the album. They're pretty good.

Birdy: Now that you mention summertime 2003 with the ep.To me there's a really great summer feel to the album, does it feel that way to you? I wonder if it's from you living in California and that having some weird effect in which that mood just shows up in your music in an odd way or something. Or like when you're writing and recording does the season affect your music in an odd way perhaps?

Spencer: I don't ever think about the season when I'm making music. I did make the Ribcage album in the summer, though, so it's nice that you think it's summery. I see more darkness in my music than most people do, probably. But it's still a good record for the beach, I bet.

Birdy: Also, many of the song titles start with "The." Was that kind of intentional or like as a funny way to label the songs? It would be funny if it were just a coincidence.

Spencer: Intentional, for sure. It's meant to be kind of wry. It has some thing to do with the idea of a song title influencing the interpretation of the song. Each title is such a vague concept, but putting "The" in front of them all kind of humorously adds a very "certain," concrete sense to it. As if to say, yes, this is about the truth of something, about the one thing that this word represents, the one way it can be. Really my personal philosophies center around the opposite of that idea, and I think there are a couple things that hint at that throughout. For example, in "The Method," I sing, "I'm not all serious/ I'm not all scientific." Case closed, basically. Not to mention the key "depressing" song, "Les Heureuses," which means "TheHappy Ones" in French (ha ha), and which also adds a very deliberate plural pronoun twist to the "The" series. " Julian O'Neil" was titled that way literally because I could not think of a title, and someone I know said, "Name it after my grandfather."

Birdy: Is Ribcage a concept album or have a certain theme? Feels like there is a connection between the songs and like a cycle or something.

Spencer: The only thing that connects the songs is what I was thinking about at the time. So yeah, it's a concept album; the concept is Spencer's brain, summer of 2003 in Los Angeles, between freshman and sophomore years of college.

Birdy: Was it a long process to record the album and was it enjoyable? Iwonder if it's a bit nerve-wracking to make an album especially in ashort amount of time.

Spencer: It doesn't take me more than two days to make a song. The song is written when I sit down in front of the recording machine. Ribcage was also the first thing I ever made with "making an album" in mind that actually turned out a success. How I do that is I just make songs and assume that they'll all be on the album until I decide that some of them aren't. In the case of my self-titled album I just recorded seven songs in a row, and then that was the album, and that's actually my most conceptually unified album.

I enjoy making recordings, but I do it for the result, not just the process. The actual joy starts when I have a mix of the song, and I can just play it a few times in a row, content that I've brought some more music that I wanted to hear into the world. That's really the purpose for my music, first and foremost.

Birdy: And who sings with you on Julian O'Neil? Do they have any musical projects they are involved in? Or is that like some type of tape manipulation thing that you did to get that sound?

Spencer: That's me sped-up. That's also the only song I didn't use tape on. I used my roommate Ben's computer in freshman year at the dorms. It's funny how well that song fits at the 3rd number, because it wasn't recorded with the rest, isn't even titled like the rest. It has no lyrics, though, and you can bend instrumentals to do whatever you want just by changing the context.

Birdy: Have you been able to do much touring or playing many shows? And when you do play shows, is it just you or do you have people help with playing some of the instruments?

Spencer: Never toured. Played a few shows in my life, all of them over the last couple years. When I do play shows, I play my music on a backing track and sing along. Sometimes I use props, sometimes I play melodica. Sometimes there's no track and I just play guitar. But I much prefer the freedom of movement and expression when I'm singing to a backing track. Some people think I need a band, but most of the folks that see me play tell me that it was more than enjoyable with just me and the tape. I really try to breathe life into it. And I'm so proud of my recordings and how they sound that it's also a nice way to get those out there. I've played at the Roxy in Los Angeles a couple times, once recently opening for my brother Alec's band, the Archbishops, and once with that band backing me up, which I dubbed the Spencer Owen Initiative. It was fun, we did a couple tunes from Ribcage. I'd enjoy doing that again, but my current preference is solo.

Birdy: Have you played with others or been in any bands?

Spencer: Sometimes my friends beg me to collaborate-- not with them, but with anyone! They just want to see me get some outside influence; it's not that I'm wanted by everyone, that's the last thing I meant by that. I do play with friends on records, and actually lately I've been in my friend Fletcher's band, he goes by Bird by Snow (www.birdbysnow.com) and has associations with a lot of hip West Coast cats. He digs the psych-folk scene and is becoming part of it more and more day by day. I played on his latest LP, a vinyl-only thing, and I also played on a track on an upcoming compilation. For him I record my own parts and add effects and such, so I'm almost co-producer, but it's more like I'm only a producer of my parts. He has me add whatever the hell I want and he generally loves it, so it's a great working relationship. I've played a couple shows with him as well, and we're looking at touring next year, which will probably be my first ever tour.

Birdy: Do you have a preference between working on things yourself or with others like in the band you are currently working with?

Spencer: The band I'm working with, Bird by Snow, is actually just Fletcher plus whoever else he recruits to add to his songs. So it's like night and day in a sense; I like adding to his songs a whole lot, but it could never replace my own megalomaniac music making passions and concepts.

Birdy: I only know your work from 18" x 2000'. / Ribcage, is your other work similar to some degree with those songs or are some things more experimental? Sounds like you do lots of things musically from what I've read.

Spencer: I weave in and out of styles and moods, and I have a couple of blatantly experimental albums. On/Playing is the title of one of my favorite albums I've made, it's almost entirely drones and noise, but the sound of it is very busy nonetheless and there's lots of things going on. I'm particularly proud of a piece for three solo guitars on there. I want to cultivate more experimental guitar playing, it's always incredibly fun for me. I listen to Sonic Youth, Tyondai Braxton, Seiichi Yamamoto and other folks who do the guitar crazylike. But yeah, my actual best album, called Meredith, is 21 songs and it veers from swingin' power synth pop to dreamy, floaty ballads to out-and-out noise/concrete. It's a good one, sums up all I like to do.

Birdy: What bands are you really into lately?

Spencer: Ornette Coleman, like I said. Caetano Veloso, and other Brazillian folks like Arnaldo Antunes and Tom Ze. R. Kelly has really been turning me on, surprisingly enough. His new album is about 3/5 incredible. I feel like I'm also about to get big into the Wu-Tang Clan and their offshoots, as I just got the new album by Mathematics and it has some great tracks. Also some grime, Dizzee Rascal and whatnot. The Mekons are a band I fell in love with recently. I can't get enough of their persona and how unique their sound can be. None of this explains the sound of my music, of course, since I haven't made any since I got into all this stuff. I should then point out that my favorite artists are the Boredoms, Laurie Anderson, the Residents, David Bowie, They Might Be Giants, Elvis Costello, Stereolab, theMagnetic Fields, Yoko Ono, on and on.

Birdy: And were you a music major in school because you seem like you can probably play any instrument?

Spencer: Art major. I did some performance and video art. I'm really a performer at heart.

Instruments come to me in whatever way I choose them to do so, and whether that's actually skill or not is debatable; I just make them do what I want them to do. Of course it helps that what I want them to do is usually shaped by what I can make them do.

Birdy: Do you have a favorite instrument at the moment or anything you are really excited about lately? I imagine you as having a huge collection of instruments, lol.

Spencer: I actually do not have a huge collection, although it flatters me that you say that, because I've always loved the image of the guy who's holed up in his studio, hella broke but he's got a million instruments somehow. I borrow a lot, I have one broken-down bass, one cheap melodica, one drum set which I can't even fit into my current apartment, let alone play it here. I did just buy an Omnichord and made an entire album with it (among other instruments). It's self-titled. You can hear it, and others, at http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Spencer%20Owen%22

Birdy: Are you still doing stuff in the visual art area and are there anymediums that you especially like?

Spencer: I design all my album art, but other than that, I don't really do art at the moment. Performance art is always fun but playing shows is enough to indulge my hunger for performance at the moment. I never got into drawing, painting, sculpture, and I also prefer art by people who, if they ever drew, painted, or sculpted, only did it as a dalliance. My favorite artist is Bruce Nauman, if that tells you anything; if it doesn't, he's this guy who started off making hour long unedited films in his studio of things like bouncing in a corner or walking very oddly around a room. Endurance tests. I find them so funny, though, and he's done so much work, all in different styles, that all has that sick, cynical sense of humor, but it all comes off as so joyous to me, so full of the 20th century postmodern life that keeps me going. I'm more into film these days than art-- my favorite filmmaker is Jean-Luc Godard. Same situation.

Birdy: Would you be interested in doing more scores for movies like as more of a job or something? And was it a fun experience doing Kalen Egan's Long Gone Daddy movie?

Spencer: Yes, absolutely absolutely. I was actually thinking recently of posting a Craigs list ad saying that I will score your film, no matter what, for a certain negotiable fee. When I get recording again, I will probably post this ad. It was a wonderful experience, scoring Kalen's movie. I want more people to see it, but I don't think it's going to get all that widespread. It's not the kind of movie that should open in theaters, it's just a great home-made feature-length film, featuring an incredible lead performance by his sister who's half hisage (and he's in his early 20s). I was very proud not only of the score but of finally being able to have a full-length movie under my belt.

You can buy 18" x 2000'. / Ribcage from Ballbearing Pinatas at http://www.ballbearingspinatas.com/home.htm

And download more songs from Spencer at http://www.archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A%22Spencer%20Owen%22

Also you can email Spencer at swimmo@gmail.com for copies of his stuff. He recently just pressed some cd's of his Meredith album and you can get it for $5.00

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

the Sleepy Trees, Interview with Caily and John.

Whooh I got to interview the Sleepy Trees. They write really good songs and you should like them because they are awesomeness times four!

Here's the interview.

Birdy: How long have the Sleepy Trees been around?

Caily: The Sleepy Trees became official around March of 2005.

Birdy: How did you and John meet and when did you start to think that it would be fun to start making music together?

Caily: We started school together and then I, Caily, moved to Florida for seven years and moved back like two years ago. When I came back we became friends who would talk constantly about bands during school and on the phone. We would make each other mixtapes and lend each other cds. We have always kind of shared the dream of having an awesome band that reflects our influences. John has always written really great lyrics, but he started playing guitar about a year ago and I started to play guitar a little over a year ago, and I am really struggling with my lyrics.

Birdy: Has it always been just you two?

Caily: It began with both of us. The past show we played, our friend Erick played keyboards with us. Then we realized that Erick, although intentions being good, was not meant for The Sleepy Trees.

Birdy: Do you plan on adding drums to your songs or other instruments or do you just prefer them to be with guitar and singing?

Caily: We really want a drummer. We try to fit other instruments into the mix. Whenever we see toy pianos or other silly instruments, we buy them in hopes to fit them into our songs.

What bands are you really into lately?

John: Actually I've been listening to Flogging Molly, The Dropkick Murphies, and Cursive.
Caily: I can't stop listening to Dennis Driscoll and The Danielson Famile! I also just got a Microphones album that I've been listening to a lot.

Birdy: Are there plans to release your music soon on Lolly Pop Records or are things a bit in the very beginning stages or something?

Caily: Our pal Waylon has mentioned that we could record a cdr of our songs and then Lolly Pop Records would distribute in Florida.

Birdy: And does Lolly Pop Records have a website? I found one but they are based in California.

Caily: I don't think Lolly Pop Records has a website, I hardly know anything about the label. : (

Birdy: What kind of town is Saxton, Pennsylvania? Is it like a small nowhere-ish kind of town or bigger and is it a nice place?

Caily: The smallest town ever in the entire universe. There is a population of 803 people. One food store and four bars.

Birdy: Are there other people in your town that you can relate to musically or is it just you two by yourselves and stuff?

Caily: It's basically only us.

Birdy: Do the Sleepy Trees have any arch-enemies?

Caily: Um not right now. There is this family named the Colvins who harassed us for walking boxes. But they didn't know that inside those boxes were... JOHN STAPLETON AND CAILY RAMONE!!

Birdy: If the Sleepy Trees were to curate a show like All Tomorrow's Parties or something, what bands would be on your wish list to play?

John: Rilo Kiley, Bright Eyes, Son Ambulence, The Microphones, and Matt Pond PA.
Caily: The Bobbettes, Dennis Driscoll, Beat Happening, Mirah, and The Diskettes.

Birdy: About how many songs do the Sleepy Trees have?

Caily: We probably have around 16 and John is constantly pumping out new songs, I make songs at a much slower rate. But we also have songs that we like to cover, so in all there are about 25.

Birdy: You and John do not write songs together but mostly by yourselves individually?

Caily: Yeah. We were discussing it yesterday, it's almost like we are two solo artists who just work together. But we like that. It's almost like The Sleepy Trees can be Sleepy Tree Records, but not yet.

Birdy: How old are you and John? I'm a bit curious because in your email you mentioned something about being five I think and in your myspace thing you say you're 96. Or is this like classified information? lol

Caily: Haha, John is 15, he was born on January 11th 1990 in Altoona, Pennsylvania. I am 15 and I was born October 24th, 1989 in Bayport on Long Island, New York.

And thank you to Caily and John for doing this interview. :)

For more information about the Sleepy Trees you should visit http://myspace.com/thesleepytrees and add them if you have a myspace thing. :)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Rachel APP "Burstin" ep Review

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Rachel APP's Burstin ep consists of six songs and is her first ep that was released earlier this year. This collection of songs is a bit more upbeat then her newer ep. There are more keyboards on this one. Also she layers her vocals on some of the songs which sounds really good. There are like two vocal tracks, one louder and the other one is lower and almost like a child singing along or something on some songs. This collection of songs is noisier, louder, and just really fun.

My favorite song at the moment is My New Home. I really like the keyboards on it and the song sticks in your head all day, replaying the keyboard parts because they are so nice sounding. This song makes me think of when I was a little kid. Some songs that are really good in a certain way do that sometimes with me. Like I wish I heard it when I was like seven or something and it could have just been good theme music for that time period or something.

Another good song is All My Efforts. Just a fun song with more good keyboard sounds on it and is fun to sing along to even though it's a song about being in love with someone that doesn't love you back anymore. That's what is interesting about her songs. They are fun and upbeat but the lyrics are a bit sadder with how things are in life, work, friends, and stuff. You wouldn't realize how bleak they are if it were not for the lyrics that are printed for you with the cd.

The last song is not as noisy as the other songs. It's just singing and an acoustic guitar. The singing, like with all of her songs is just so good. She has a good vocal range but it's like someone singing just because it's fun. Like when you first start singing for the first time and you realize that it's just so fun to sing and makes you feel so happy in a way. It reminds me of that in a way.

To find out more about Rachel APP you can go to her website at http://www.rachelapp.co.uk/
and you can order this cd at http://cdbaby.com

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Awesome Animal Ambulance "This is Sour" Review

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Awesome Animal Ambulance's This is Sour album is a really nice upbeat pop-ish album. Synthesizers, drum machine, and singing mostly. There are guitars and bass too, but it's not that noticeable really. The synthesizer sounds are really good, especially on the song "Grover Cleveland."

The only little part of the album that is maybe a flaw (the only tiny smidge of a flaw) is the beginning part to "Operation Kitty." It's not too bad but just a little cringeful with them goofing around about a friend's cat missing. But it's not like serious or anything and since it's just about a cat, makes it kind of silly and fun in a way. Reminds me of the Dead Milkmen when they are trying to be funny. But then I always thought they were funny but some didn't and with the one's who thought they were trying too hard to be funny, it's a bit like how Awesome Animal Ambulance are at the beginning of this song. But once the song starts, it's really cute and fun.

But this is still a nice, fun album. Whenever you need something to put you in a good mood, you should put this in. And I'm glad to have finally found an album with really fun synthesizers making up most of the music. It's a bit hard to find one with the right sounds going on and stuff.

This album feels like a good album to listen to on like a rainy Saturday in autumn, right after watching cartoons. Or like how Saturdays used to be, before cartoon day was kind of ruined.

To find out more about Awesome Animal Ambulance you can go to their record label Aurora Seven Records at http://www.auroraseven.com/

Mt.Gigantic "Old Smiler" Review

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Mt.Gigantic's Old Smiler album is too much fun. Fun, fun, fun. I'll probably use that word a lot but I can't help it. It makes me feel the same way that Os Mutantes songs make me feel. Just a wave of happiness and joy coming over you or something while you are listening to it.

The songs seem almost like they are dark or macabre in some way but they are too much fun and make you feel just so happy that they can't be. Maybe that's why some people find the album a little odd or something because of this paradox.

The singing is so great. Lots of chanting and quiet moments to loud screaming moments. And Megan Downey's voice is toooo good. And they came up with the greatest lyric that could ever be created by anyone. "All I really want is some pretty humans" from the song "Rachel and her children" The way it's sung is so perfect.

There also seems to be a lot going on with the lyrics. I get the feeling that there are a lot of references to things I know nothing about, lol. You hope that some day a college student will eventually write a thesis on them or something because they probably do need to be researched and deciphered to really be understood.

The instrumentation with the songs. It is all over the place, like the singing. Nice slow arrangements to really frantic drumming and guitar playing along with lots of other stuff at other times.

This is just a really special album.

To find out more about Mt.Gigantic you can go to their website at http://mtgigantic.com/
You can order the album from their label, Friends and Relatives Records at http://www.friendsandrelativesrecords.com/