Thursday, December 31, 2009

Infinitus battles to promote positivity

If progressive metal is your thing, Infinitus is right up your alley. With their long hair and Iron Man t-shirts, they melt the faces of fans in the Clarksville music scene. One thing distinguishes them from other aggressive metal bands, though: Their lyrics are Christian-based. Their hope is to promote positivity through subdued Christian themed music, fit for the one who likes to rock. Hard.

“We’re genuinely happy people who like to play seemingly aggressive music,” said Wiley Jenkins, lead guitarist for the band. “The analyst will hear Christian undertones, but the everyday person probably won’t even notice it. We are hoping the goodness will just seep in subconsciously and the positive light will be shed on each of our fans.”

He added later on that they are trying a new approach to promoting Christianity while writing the music with lyrics that are close to their heart, while not limiting their appeal to only Christians.

“People say they love each other all the time, but having someone receptive to the phrase ‘Jesus loves you’ is few and far between,” Jenkins said.

Their solution is simple. They show their fans unfailing love and adoration in hopes for their good mood to gain momentum and spread farther. So far, they’ve had a lot of positive feedback.

Drummer, Roach B. Roach, who recently joined with Infinitus, recalled their most memorable show. His story soon excited the other four band members as well.

“We played at this skate park in Paris, Tennessee,” Roach said. “It was so awesome to see them get so excited about us when the show began. They were right up in our faces! Wiley ripped his pants, but he kept on playin’!”

He said those who came to see them that day loved the show so much, they asked them to come back soon after, for a follow-up show.

“It was such a neat feeling,” Jenkins said. “They came back the next time wearing Infinitus t-shirts. We remembered those fans and got to know them very well. It was a very rewarding experience because for the first time, people came to see us, specifically.”

They all agreed that they are collectively serious about their music, but on stage they like to have fun. They want to inspire their fans to let loose and have a good time.

“We’re so fortunate to have what we have,” Roach said. “We are all so different, but we work so well.”

Their last show was at the Rutledge, in Nashville for a Toys for Tots benefit. You can watch for this promising group of metal-heads in both the Clarksville and the Nashville area.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Moon Taxi's 'Live Ride' is more than a roadtrip for listeners

I'll be honest, not many live albums seem to impress me much, however, when I heard Moon Taxi's live album, entitled 'Live Ride', I was more than impressed with the way it turned out. They illustrated a quite solid and powerful mix of funk, folk and bluegrass, and they executed it in such a way that was unlike any other band I've heard thus far. The overall quality of the album is crisp and clean, and was properly mixed and mastered by  Ross Gower of Nashville Mobile Recording, in Franklin. Each member of this five piece band rises to their full potential. Go ahead, try and find a song that is satisfactory. It won't happen.  The album opens with fans chanting 'Moon Taxi', and they are clearly pumped to hear the opening song, 'Common Ground'. Although you can't actually see them playing, its so easy to visualize their stage performance. In specific, when they open up track number 10, a song that has a definite bluegrass feel entitled, 'Poacha Cooper'. Lead singer, Trevor Terndrup, says to the crowd to not be afraid to clap your hands. I did. All the songs are good, but another noteworthy song is the instrumental, track number 12, "Information Center." Its barely over two minutes long, but only two words came to mind when I heard it: pretty and epic. Its the kind of good stuff you look for that covers you in chill bumps. Wes Bailey adds the epic touch on the keys while guitarists Trevor and Spencer Thompson harmonize. Overall, I think this album is really well put together. Hearing this album before the New Years Eve show is exciting, because now I know what to expect: a memorable way to kick off the New Year.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Zoogma grooves Club 527-Murfreesboro

Zoogma kept the crowd dancing  well in to the evening when they played their show at Club 527 in Murfreesboro Friday night with local favorites, Beat Repeat and Deep Machine. 

Because of their genre, which is a balanced mixture of  electronica, rock and jazz, they brought a full crowd to the club. The crowd was comprised of mostly students from the local college, Middle Tennessee State University. Most of these students came prepared to party, and came specifically for Zoogma. Their faces were painted, which complimented the swirling light shows that accompanied Zoogma’s presentation. 

“Zoogma was so awesome,” Charles Todd, a local from the area, and a recruited fan of Zoogma, said. “I really liked how they fit perfectly with the other two bands/djs that were featured.”

Charles’ opinion seemed to be the general consensus. Many fans agreed that they really fit in with what the Murfreesboro crowd loves to listen to. Jam bands and dance music are two things that are really in high demand for these kids. 

“The fact that they combine a five piece band with a dj that uses cool samples, really sets them apart from bands that have the potential to be very similar to Zoogma,” said Megan Warren, a student from MTSU. “They’re really unique in that way. I can see how they’ve already played with such greats as Perpetual Groove and Lotus.”

Their progress as a band was evident to those who have been fans since their formation only a year ago. Some, including family and friends, even travelled from Oxford, and the surrounding areas, to show their support. Their fan base will continue to grow as they develop their talent, and will be a promising band to keep your eye on.

If you want to see more from Zoogma, their next show will be in Memphis on New Year’s Eve at  the bar/ music venue, Newby’s.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Karius Vega proves natural talent as a live DJ

Karius Vega hasn't been spinning live for long, but his musical genius has been evident for years. 

The beginnings of his career started in the studio. His passion for music 
production began as early as 12 years old, when he first started experimenting 
with mixing electronica and dance. He said he loved the immediate sense of 
control he had when mixing and editing in the comfort of a studio, but never 
quite thought of being a live dj. His styles have already diversified; his major 
styles now include IDM and drum and bass instead of predominantly electronica. 

Even though he got in to music at such an early age, he said he knew this was 
what he was destined to do. 

"I felt like I had an objective," Vega said. "Music is my life, and I aspire to wholly 
commit myself to not only that but to all those who are in search of inspiration." 

Inspiring his listeners and creating a legacy was of utmost importance to him. 
He said music is a part of communication and that communication contributed 
to keeping culture alive. Vega continued to express his gratitude for all his fans 
that have helped him grow. 

"The purpose of my ENCO mix was to get as much feedback as possible, Vega 
said. "Without my fans' feedback, I can't improve myself or accentuate the 
impact I have on the music scene." He reiterated that his fans have offered a 
significant amount of feedback, and for that he was thankful. 

He said to him, music was a bit like research. It was an ongoing process of 
refining himself and his music while trying to define his persona. He said his 
hope is to create musical history. 

"I want something to refer to once I get old," Vega said. "I want to create music 
that will help me catalogue my progress as both an artist and a person." 

He said he had high hopes for all the shows to come, and that he was in a 
constant state of perfecting his mixes. His recent  and seemingly effortless 
success as a live dj seemed to take him a bit by surprise, but his humility stayed 

"I feel so blessed," Vega said. "So far, every show has been totally packed. It 
seems to always be a full crowd of fresh faces." 

He's preparing for two major shows that will be epic, guaranteed. On December 
4th, he will be showcasing his talent at Mercy Lounge with The Protomen and 
Tallest Trees. The show, called "A Party to Plant Trees",  will operate in 
conjunction with, which is a non-profit organization that raises 
awareness and funds to help plant trees in the greater Middle Tennessee area. 
And rest assured, no party would be a party without Sweetwater Brewing 
Company's sponsorship and drink specials. 

Soon after on New Years Eve, you can catch him with Moon Taxi at the Exit/In. If 
you want to kick off the New Years right, it will be possible to do so with both 
bands and the incredible lighting and visuals that go along with it. Vega said 
he's never had the pleasure of playing with Moon Taxi, but that he's becoming 
very excited to be a part of helping people start off their New Year with a 
memorable show. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Milktooth to release a raw, well-developed vinyl:

The cleverly named band, Milktooth, named after what is known in southern 
cultures as a baby tooth has come a long way since their formation in January. 
Frontman David Condos sits cool-headed in a local cafe and recalls the release 
of their debut, self-titled EP and is proud to announce the release of a 
personalized 7'' vinyl appropriately named "Halloween in Santa Ana" which is 
more than a treat for listeners. The album is set to be released on the Thursday 
before Halloween at their release party being held at the Nashville venue, The 

They've ingeniously come together to create an epic three song vinyl that is 
filled with creepy reverberated vocals and dirty distorted bass. Condos believes 
in the importance of developing a relationship with his listeners and chose to 
make  "Halloween in Santa Ana" a very special and personalized record. 

"Each vinyl sleeve will be hand-stamped by a band member. The stamp itself 
was designed by another band member's little sister, so you can see we've put a 
lot of thought in to this," Condos said. 

Although they believe in taking their time, Condos goes on to explain that the 
idea for the record itself took a mere four days to finish. For him, it was by far 
the fastest he's ever put an idea together in the three years he's been working 
with music. 

The vinyl will also include a download code to get the songs in mp3 format, also 
including their cover of the David Bowie song, "Cat People". 

"The idea for covering David Bowie started back at our EP release show in June. 
At that point the EP only had six songs so we wanted to fill it in with a cool 
cover," Condos goes on to explain he added his own twist to it that listeners are 
to look forward to, "I worked it to my advantage that I wasn't familiar with the 
song. I just looked up the lyrics to it and we gave it our own." 

Condos is very happy with how the album sounds. His aim is to impact his 
listeners and create a sort of 'chill factor' that he illustrates by mentioning 
Radiohead's album, Amnesiac". 

"I like impassioned music, the kind that gives you those unexplained chills. 
We're just trying to make everything sound raw and live." 

Music lovers gather to 'Save the Music'

Published: October 4, 2009

Musicians, students and music lovers gathered on Friday night to listen to their favorite bands and raise money for underprivileged children across the country to have access to instruments and funding for music programs in their schools.

The Public Relations Student Society of America hosted its first ever concert in an effort to raise funds for both the VH1 Save the Music Foundation and the PRSSA.

The concert united its audience to support music, something many of them were introduced to through music education programs. This early introduction to music is the reason why many students came to study at MTSU.

“MTSU is unique in the fact that it offers a degree in the public relations field with an emphasis in the recording industry,” says Paul Bernardini, vice president of fundraising for the PRSSA MTSU chapter. 

“So, with that in mind, VH1’s Save the Music Foundation is an appropriate fit to fill a philanthropic opportunity that our chapter hasn’t yet taken full advantage of.”

The core mission of the VH1 Save the Music Foundation is to restore instrumental music education programs, ensuring that every child has access to a complete education that includes the benefits of music instruction.

“I wish I had a wonderful organization such as this when I was growing up,” says Kristi Neumann, a Nashville musician who was featured in Friday night’s concert. “I couldn’t really start learning to play the guitar until I was 19, simply because I couldn’t afford to buy my own instruments.”

According to Neumann, she wouldn’t be the same person if she had never been introduced to music.

“Music made me who I am,” Neumann says. “I would be a disaster without it. The ability for me to jam out on my guitar relieves all my stress.” 

The concert was successful, raising more than $500 from ticket sales alone. 

Donation jars were distributed to businesses throughout Murfreesboro as well to give the community a chance to make cash donations to both causes. 

Since Save the Music’s start in 1997, it has managed to raise $43 million for schools all over the country.

The MTSU show featured many musical artistst from funky house bands like DeRobert and the Half-Truths to Jennifer Berettilonghini, who fearlessly played “Iron Man” on the bagpipes. 

A band comprised 30 middle school children from both Central Middle School and Bradley Academy made an incredible guest appearance.  They were led by Luke Hill, the band director for Bradley Academy with the help of his friend, Scott Kinney.

“It’s really a difficult thing to combine two groups of children from two different schools and make it work,” Luke Hill says. “It truly was quite a feat considering the Bradley Academy kids had about six weeks to prepare as opposed to Central Middle School only having about a week to get ready.”

The band did a fantastic job and their passion for music showed in their performance. 

Robin Kinney, a student at Central Middle School played the French horn and was excited to explain her involvement. Although she has been playing the horn for one year, she plans on auditioning for the All-Midstate Honor Band as soon as she can.

“They’ve been blessed to have a band to sign up for,” Hill says. “They get to give back tonight and show their appreciation through their musical talents.”

ODP also played a huge part in the success of this concert as they controlled the sound. They were very proud and excited to be involved in a function such as Save the Music.

“We are always excited to get our hands on any musical function that we can, especially if its proceeds go toward furthering musical education,” says Taylor Cole, a member of ODP and a sophomore at MTSU.

Surrealism at Nashville's Frist Center

Published: September 16, 2009

Surrealism: seeing the ordinary as extraordinary- was the theme of Dr. Therese Lichtenstein's photography and film exhibition, called 'Twilight Visions', which opened Thursday night at the Frist Center.  The exhibition featured more than 120 photographs by French artists from the 1920's and 1930's, such as Man Ray, Eugene Atget, Hans Bellmer and Brassai, and offered a unique insight to the social and political hardships during their culture's transition between world wars.  This mixture of documentary and experimental photography beautifully captured the celebration of electricity and encouraged observers to excite their vision and to be active participants as the walked through the disoriented structure of the exhibit. "It is so important for our culture to appreciate surrealism, considering all the things going on within our nation today," Dr. Lichtensteing commented when asked about how the exhibit could be inspiration even to the American culture today. Percieving the ordinary as extraordinary serves as inspiration to us during this time of economic crisis and emphasizes the concept of the Twilight Exhibit both literally and metaphorically. In the exhibit, twilight represents the undetermined time occuring between night and day, in a more literal sense, where everything is both hidden and exposed.  Metaphorically, the exhibit also represents a comparison; be it between the grotesque and the beautiful or reality and fantasy- and sometimes when things become difficult it helps to not be able to determine a clear divide between the two. "I found it really fascinating. It’s abstract. I really enjoyed the photos by Man Ray and would like to revisit again soon, remarked Libby Robinson Lacocke, a former personal finance professor at MTSU. The exhibition will be held at the Frist until January 3, 2010 then will travel to the International Center of Photography in New York from January 29 through May 9, 2010 and lastly, to the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia from June until September 30, 2010.

The Uprising of The Young

Published: July 29, 2009

The Young is truly a band that is fueled by love and lives for expressing strong emotion through music. Steven Miller, Eric Griffin and Trevor Greene have called themselves a band for three years now, but have practically grown up together and have been involved in each other's lives for a decade or more.

This All-American, Brit-Rock inspired band named after its mutual love for Neil Young is definitely one of the most promising bands to come from the mountainous Knoxville.

The Young's first EP, "Nylon April," was released in 2008, however, the band's first full-length album, dedicated and created after lead singer Eric's brother passed away, is something beautiful to watch for, called, "After the Crash."

"It's about the things people think but never say," Miller says. "A story of love, death and the death of people we love."

The members mention the hardships of being a band and aren't afraid to tell what it's like being on the road.

Yet, the guys continue to work hard at winning the hearts of fans. Drummer Steve Miller recalls a story from a show the band played a while back in the small city of Morristown and the band's initial doubt of how audiences would react.

"It was a packed bar in a small town," Miller says. "We were scared because it was an older group of people; we had to play two sets, and was the only band performing that night.

"It was cool because we gave them autographed CDs and it was the most genuine audience I can recall."

Being genuine and honest is an on-going theme for this talented group. Using John Darnielle as the perfect example for how its musical career should go, the band mentions that all it wants is to be able to play music and support the band members' family and each other.

The next two years will determine whether or not this endearing band will stay.

"The hardest part is the money," Miller says. "We aren't looking for fame, but would be thankful if we could find a record label to back us financially."

If the band continues to work and move as a single unstoppable unit, a label will be in its immediate future. The Young have grown and its listeners now stretch to places as far as Puerto Rico.

Apparently, the band's music found its way over there some time after the distribution of the first EP.

The Young's sound is catchy and appreciated by a vast group of people: its influences being the aforementioned Neil Young along with Blur, vocals resembling Radiohead and Travis.

Even though The Young consider its work to be mostly a group effort, lead guitarist and vocalist Eric Griffin admits his passion for music enables him to do most of the creative grunt-work.

"Well, I mostly just write a lot of music and look for drink specials," Griffin says. "I'm not afraid for vulnerable situations to influence our music."

This band offers, without a doubt, powerful performances. Mixing Eric's emotional vocals, Trevor Greene's steady pulse on the bass and Steve Miller's complex drum beats, an audience can't help being totally enamored after the show is over.

Sonic Youth rocks War Memorial

Published: July 15, 2009:

Last night was everything but an "Anti-Orgasm" for Sonic Youth and its fans in the fully packed War Memorial Auditorium.

The tour is to celebrate the release of the band's new album "The Eternal," which was released on June 9.

Fans oozed in from all corners of the world, including a first time listener, 21-year-old Rickard Alden, who flew in all the way from Sweden with a few of his friends.

Alden says he did not regret his pricey round-trip plane ticket when the lights exploded in time with the first song on the set list and one of the band's many hits since its official formation back in 1982 called "Sacred Trickster." Appropriately named, this song was considered sacred to many avid fans, including Maria Lones from Union City.

"Its kind of like getting saved for non-religious people," Lones says.

Lones wasn't the only one who felt that way about the show, though. By the sixth piece, "Antennae", the fans continued their own form of worship when lead guitarist, Thurston Moore, broke down on his knees while playing, as if to brace himself from the rhythmic chaos that poured from his super-cool green guitar.

"This is a song about letting go of celebrity," Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon says to open up the emotionally epic song to follow called, "Malibu Gas Station."

Her guitar screamed harmonic riffs and the band supported her sexy vocals with its synchronized "Woo-Hoo's."

The crowd expressed appreciation, but became entranced when the band held everyone in suspense in preparation for the highly anticipated song, "Sprawl." Nick Daggs from Nashville mentioned that this song was the reason why he showed up to see his favorite band play for the 11th time.

The euphoric song "Anti-Orgasm" was next on the set list and sounded almost scientific. Drummer Steve Shelley played with padded mallets and showcased his talent.

The vintage-style opera house captured every sound, causing even the fans in the nosebleed section to feel the steady pulse of the drumbeats in their chest.

A break came by the 12th song called, "Massage History." The lights dimmed blue and Thurston grabbed a stool and his acoustic guitar, ready to serenade the awaiting sea of people, including Joshua Kramer of Louisville, Ky.

"I've been a fan since the summer of '95," Kramer says.

Kramer brought his 16-year-old son who just played in his own first concert, which featured acoustic Sonic Youth songs.

The band continued on to play two more songs, "White Cross" and "Shadow," and then exited the stage, leaving the crowd begging for an encore.

A hell of an encore is what the band gave too, playing two extended songs including "What We Know" and "Death Valley '69."

"It was amazing," says Ryan Bush from Nashville. "They played songs I wasn't expecting and I loved it."

Bush says he has seen Sonic Youth a total of six times in 17 years.

No matter how far fans had to travel to see the show, the majority of them walked away from the War Memorial Auditorium with the memories of an amazing show.

Mars Volta to deliver another twisted success

Published: July 7, 2009.

It seems we have a more whimsical Mars Volta on our hands since the release of its new album "Octahedron."

The band's new sound is a complete change of pace since its "At The Drive In" days, but the guys continue to build steam. The Mars Volta's talent as artists only shows through more with the development of this new album, in specific, the first track, "Since We've Been Wrong."

It hardly compares with anything the band has ever come out with- except maybe for the song, "Televators" from the band's first album released in 2003 called "De-loused in the Comatorium."

This mostly acoustic progressive tune is not the norm for these guys. You can feel the emotion coming from Cedric Bixler-Zavala's voice, giving you the impression that he's back home.

The biggest surprise to me came when the fourth song hit my speakers. "With Twilight as my Guide" immediately caused me to feel a little like Jack Skellington walking through a misty graveyard. Harmonious and powerful vocals combined with the eerie sound effects, mixed by Ikey Owens, puts you right in your own version of dreamland. And a dark dreamland at that.

Lyric snippets including, "My devil makes me dream, like no other mortal dream..." are refreshing in that the band hasn't lost the twisted edge that reminds us of the suicide tale told in "De-loused in the Comatorium."

Some of Mars Volta's older fans may not agree with its sudden bout of mellow, however, I believe this album unleashes the unseen capacity to completely morph and still remain epic. The consistent message to listeners about having an open mind rings clearer to me than ever, which is why I definitely have to give this album a four and a half lightning bolts.

Wild Women at Work: Those Darlins Redefine 1950s Country Glam

t's been three years running for Those Darlins, but the release of the band's self-titled debut album made it all worth the wait. These three girls from our college town are anything but ordinary.

With their powers combined, Kelley Darlin on bass, Jessi Darlin on guitar and Nikki Darlin with the baritone ukulele form a version of 1950's country glam and grunge rock that's nothing short of June Carter riding a Harley. Everyone in the band sings and everyone writes, and even though the girls record out of New York and have played at festivals such as Bonarroo and Athfest, the band pays tribute to its Tennessee roots with stylish cowboy boots and a genuine love for whiskey.

"This isn't a show, it's a party," Jessi says.

It's clear the band wants its fans to contribute and participate during shows. From dance contests to guitar solos and shedding clothes, it's impossible to know what to expect from these ladies.

Those Darlins don't foresee any immediate change in their style, though. In fact, by starting its own record label, Oh Wow Dang Records, it further declared individuality and secured a sure-fire way to avoid conformity with the modern country singers.

By standing out, Those Darlins have won over sponsors and contributors such as Blublocker Sunglasses, which agreed to sponsor the band's tour. This comes as a shock, considering Blublocker Sunglasses hasn't supported any musical act since the Oak Ridge Boys. Blublocker Sunglasses even gave away free sunglasses to the first 1,000 people to pick up the "Those Darlins" vinyl that was released to indie record stores on June 20.

As for the band, it will be in Murfreesboro for a little while longer, but on July 10 the girls will be celebrating the CD release at Southpaw in Brooklyn, N.Y. The band will also be stopping on the way to play concerts in New York City and Arlington, Va.

Basically, if you didn't get the chance to see Those Darlins at the Mercy Lounge- a road trip should be in your immediate future because these girls definitely put on a hell of a show.

Welcome to my music review spot:

I am currently uploading all reviews of albums and extensive interviews with bands to follow this statement. All to most of these are existing articles that have been published at the MTSU Newspaper Website. Simply search Kristina Outland in the search bar and it will include all these you see here. Thanks for checking in!