Thursday, August 30, 2012

Icon's Killer Yamaha XS650

Icon Motorsports is primarily known for being part of the street bike market but with their Icon 1000 Collection they are branching off into a whole new area and we dig it. They are putting out some cool and interesting bikes that are clearly different from the rest of the pack. Each bike that has been built as part of their Icon 1000 Series takes a whole different approach and is channeling Mad Max in an updated version ready for 2013. This bike with the digger style frame and long goose neck exudes style. It has great lines and doesn't feel as if its overkill in any sort of way. Kudos on the custom tank paint as well.

Yamaha XS 650 custom motorcycle
Icon Motorsports Custom Yamaha XS650 as part of their Icon 1000 Collection

"Most moto clothing brands take themselves very seriously. But there’s a thick seam of irreverence running through the DNA of Icon. They don’t play games with their motorcycle apparel, but the bikes they build are eclectic, original and often downright crazy.

“Low Down & Shifty” is based on a 1974 Yamaha XS650, and it’s one of the most extreme XS creations we’ve ever seen. The custom cro-moly frame is wrapped in the bare minimum of hand-formed aluminum bodywork, which also conceals the fuel tank.

Yamaha XS 650 custom motorcycle
Diggin' the custom tank paint on this Icon 1000 XS650

The front end is from a Hayabusa. Indeed, virtually all that remains of the original machine is the engine, and even this has been extensively modified. It’s had a capacity boost to 750cc, and runs hot cams and dual Mikuni carbs fed via Pingel petcocks. Spark comes from a Boyer ignition and the pipes have been stolen from a MotoCzysz C1, one of the most technologically advanced motorcycles ever made. (Yes, there’s irony there.)

Yamaha XS 650 custom motorcycle

Icon freely admit that this XS650 has “oblique ergonomics, kidney-rupturing suspension, limited lighting and almost no fuel range.” And if you detect an apocalyptic, devil-may-care vibe to this build, you’re right.

Yamaha XS 650 custom motorcycle

The XS was created for the launch of the second Icon 1000 collection, which is revealed today. The new gear mixes raw, gritty styling with classic lines and the latest protection technology—including D3O armor. Check out the new range of jackets, boots, gloves and more here.

You can also keep in touch with all things Icon via their Limiter blog and Facebook page."

Icon 1000 motorcycle gear
Yamaha XS 650 custom motorcycle
Yamaha XS 650 custom motorcycle

Bull City Rumble - Durham, NC

Not sure what could be a better way to spend the weekend than drinking some beers and talking shop on bikes. If you are in the Raleigh Durham area this weekend or need to do a bit of traveling, here is the show for you. The Bull City Rumble is put on by a damn great bunch of folks and the turnout always brings in a quality crowd. Get out there and check out some bikes!

Bull City Rumble - August 1st to September 2nd in Durham, NC

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Green Lady Killers Featured In Tom Tom Magazine

The Green Lady Killers
Things are about to get quite interesting for the Green Lady Killers. Not only do they have new singles coming out this fall, but they have a feature podcast interview coming up with a punk icon, next month. Top that with a feature in Tom Tom Magazine and its just the beginning. After hearing these new tracks, we can be the the first to say that the Green Lady Killers have hit a new stride in their music and the buzz around Los Angeles is that they are the band to break out and go big. Need we keep on waxing poetic or do ya get the picture?

CherryBomb of the Green Lady Killers featured in Tom Tom Magazine

Friday, August 24, 2012

Flat Tires And History Repeated, New 7" Vinyl Record Split

Flat Tires And History Repeated will be tag teaming a new split 7" vinyl record for later this fall. If ya haven't heard of History Repeated, well take note, its the new project is master minded by the one and only John Stabb of Government Issue fame. We have heard these tracks and they are absolute scorchers. Much more info will be revealed shortly, but we will be doing a custom silk screen print for the cover and it will be limited to 500 copies with a digital download card.

In the interim, dive into some Flat Tires and Government Issue to stoke the fire.

Off! Is Invading Your Town On Their Southern Tour

Mario Rubalcaba, Keith Morris, Dimitri Coats and Steve McDonald are Off!
The fellas in Off! need little to no introduction. Check out the lineup and you know for sure that some good shit is about to go down. After missing them a few times, we finally get to check out their set later next month, hells yes! Below is a cool write up from

"How are you doing?

I'm doing pretty good, I'm experiencing the heaviness and fucked-upped-ness of allergy season. I've experienced like two or three days where I would have this thing in my throat, like acid reflux. I experience it every now and then if I eat the wrong thing but this has just been brutal. Like fuck, man, what is it? Throat cancer or bronchitis? This is pretty uncool. So I'm feeling that and because of that I get this like post nasal. You know it starts in your nose and your eyes and it goes to your ears and it goes to the back of your throat? I have a tendency to eat thick and heavy food, and I dig dairy and dairy just creates phlegm and so you're just laying in bed at night and it's just balling up in your sinuses and then it rolls down into your throat and it rolls down into your stomach so you wake up in the morning with a stomach ache and your throat's sore and your nose is all itchy and your eyes are all scratchy and everything. It's just really such a wonderful thing to experience. I wish it upon everybody. It's like you've not lived life unless you've experienced the discomfort of allergies, whether it be food or whether it just be pollen or weeds or grass. Whatever is in the air. Our weather here is really fucked up, too. I mean we've got really nice weather right now but two days ago it was raining and the day before that we were supposed to have the worst thunderstorm, the worst rain that we've had at this time of the year. We have all of these people who don't believe in the global warming thing, which is fine, but how do you explain all of the flooding in the Midwest and you know how all of the weird fuckin' tornadoes? We just had a bunch. What was it, like, Oklahoma or Nebraska or somewhere? Indiana? But you know there's supposed to be certain times of year where things are just supposed to be nice and you're supposed to be able to just drive along and not experience any fucked up weird wacky changes in the weather. And now all of a sudden we're getting all of that stuff. So these people need to get more real about what's happening at the North Pole, you know?

It sounds like fodder for song writing.

Yes. The heavens are going to open and you're all going to hell. So you better believe.

Well, what is "I Got News for You” about?

Well, a lot of our songs are very angry. A lot of finger-pointing. There was a reunion, a couple of reunion shows with one of the bands I was in, in the very beginning of my musical career. I was one of the founding members. And it got really ridiculous. It just spiraled into, — there could've been some more things written for
Spinal Tap. And in the process I realized why I left in the first place. It was pretty much one guy's band and everybody else were just players in it, everybody else were just parts. Everybody was kind of like the New England Patriots: Bill Belichick, the way he looks at all of the players with the exception of say, Tom Brady. You can't replace Tom Brady, but all of the other people, well, you could get a new running back or a new wide receiver or replace a defensive lineman. And that was that. It wasn't even a revolving door. But if you look at the family tree there were, oh I don't know, four singers in the band, four different bass players, and how many drummers? My friend Billy Stevenson was the drummer in the Descendants. Probably besides Greg Ginn, Billy was in the band longer than anyone else. But it was, everybody came and went. But the situation that I was in, I went to a couple of rehearsals and I got there and I was just blown away by the building that the rehearsals were taking place in. I was excited, because I love the band, I love the music, and I was a part of it. And the situation, it just turned into this comedy of errors. And when they finally did do the reunion shows I was asked to not be a part of it. You know, when I left the band we were only playing 16 songs and we were working on 4 other songs. So it was one of these situations where, if you blinked your eyes, four or five songs would've passed you by. I'm completely lost. Are you there?

I am.

Shit. I'm just spaced out.

We were talking about "I Got News for You."

The situation was that there are a lot of people that don't have good things to say about the character. You're full of yourself and you know, go on and do whatever you're gonna do, but there's just, it's pretty much just a spiteful, hateful kind of song. And having been in the situation and it's a finger pointing type of song. You know, "you're bulletproof and nobody can get at you, so you just go on about doing what you're doing." It's a character in real life. And it's not pretentious. It's very much drenched in anger. The situation was: I left a band and when I left the band everybody really disliked me. And there were a few events that went down and this is something that's gone on throughout time with people in bands, and people playing music, people stealing music, people borrowing music. It's all pretty much been played before, it's just a matter of putting your own spin on it, putting your own personality into it. A lot of finger pointing, back and forth: you're this, you're that. Very childish kind of thing. And the song has almost got a kind of hateful, spiteful, teenage kind of vibe, I guess.

Some would say that's typical of hardcore in a way, right? The last time we spoke, we talked a lot about the moment hardcore's having right now, and the audiences it's reaching for what seems like the very first time.

I don't like using the word hardcore. Unless say, I'm describing, like, adult entertainment. No, just kidding. The situation is that being in this band and playing the kind of music that we play, that's what we're labelled. But we're just like the guys in the band. They're dads and they've got kids and they've got good hearts and you know when I think of hardcore I think of like, a biker gang and Hell's Angels and Mongols and fuckin' beards and leather, and fuckin' steel-toed boots and here comes the bad gang and they're hardcore and you better get out of their way. Just because we play angry, hateful, spiteful, very energetic, very loud, very brief, very to the point kind of music, I don't know if we're really a hardcore band. 

If you were to ask us our influences you would probably say, "Yeah those influences aren't very hardcore." Cheap Trick is certainly not a very hardcore band. Although, KISS in a way, looks like what I just described with the Hell's Angels and the Mongols. We are living in a time where you know if we were doing this say, 30 years ago, maybe the moniker would apply. But we're doing a thing now: we only have so much time, there's only so much of your attention that we can hold onto because there's so much stuff going on. So it's way more hectic, it's way more urgent, it's way more in your face. This is what we are, you're gonna know what we are half way through our first song, and if you're down with it, cool. If you're not, hey, maybe we might grow on you. And you know, this isn't about creating the 30 minute opus. We don't have time. We don't have time to like hang out and jam and like stretch out. 

Would you say then that the way you play is more a reflection of right now rather than the way things were?

It's very much about what's happening now. You know, what's happening in our lives. You've got those few minutes and you've gotta make the best of them. We don't have the opportunity to turn this into anything more than it is.

Which is what?

This is a very profound statement: It is what it is. Who said that? Oh, I forget his name. He was this soul brother character on television. It was almost like something that would've been said on this comedy show called
Laugh In and it was on Monday nights. We as a band, the guys in the band, we enjoy each other's company because we don't spend a lot of time together. It's not like we're a real band and everyone's breathing down each other's necks. And there's a space for creativity. It's not a big space. You've gotta get in and you gotta do what you gotta do but don't be playing all over everybody else's parts. There's a certain mentality, there's a certain instinct amongst the players. Everybody knows where to go, and everybody knows where to go and we know that there's only a certain amount of time to be able to go there. You know, we know that it's not three-and-a-half minutes and it's not four-and-a-half minutes or five minutes. It's like let's just pounce on this and do it. And we don't get to sit around and dwell upon what's gonna happen with us or what we're gonna do for the next record. When it comes, it just kind of fuckin' happens, I guess."

Off! Is invading US clubs this fall, get out to this show!
09-14 Scottsdale, AZ @ Martini Ranch tickets #
09-15 Tucson, AZ @ The Rock tickets #
09-16 Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad tickets #
09-18 San Antonio, TX @ White Rabbit tickets #
09-19 Dallas, TX @ Trees tickets #
09-20 Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live tickets #
09-21 New Orleans, LA @ Tipitina's tickets #
09-22 Pensacola Beach, FL @ De Luna Fest tickets
09-23 Jacksonville Beach, FL @ Freebird Live tickets -
09-25 St Petersburg, FL @ State Theatre tickets -
09-26 Miami, FL @ Grand Central tickets -
09-27 Orlando, FL @ The Social tickets -
09-28 Atlanta, GA @ The Loft tickets -
09-29 Athens, GA @ 40 Watt Club tickets -
09-30 Raleigh, NC @ Kings Barcade tickets -
10-16 New York, NY @ Irving Plaza tickets +
10-17 Teaneck, NJ @ Mexicali Live tickets +
10-18 Washington, DC @ Black Cat tickets +
10-19 Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church tickets +
10-21 Cambridge, MA @ The Middle East tickets +
10-22 Montreal, Quebec @ Les Foufounes Electriques tickets +
10-23 Toronto, Ontario @ Wrongbar tickets +
10-25 Cleveland Heights, OH @ Grog Shop tickets +
10-26 Detroit, MI @ St. Andrews Hall tickets +
10-27 Chicago, IL @ The Bottom Lounge tickets +
10-28 St. Paul, MN @ Station 4 tickets +
10-30 Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room tickets +
10-31 Kansas City, MO @ The Record Bar tickets +
11-01 St. Louis, MO @ Fubar tickets +
11-03 Austin, TX @ FFF Fest tickets

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Could The Gathering Of The Juggalos Be The Bastard Child Of Burning Man?

Could the Gathering Of The Juggalos be the bastard child of Burning Man? Well, from what we have seen in the photos and videos, it might be a fair assumption. Both speak on peace and love, but the creativity documented at the Gathering of the Juggalos is far less involved, than what is witnessed at Burning Man. This could be due to the overall vibe of each event where Burning Man is all about self expression through costumes, machinery and innovation out in the desert of Nevada. We have to give a fair shake to the the Juggalos though as its more of a music fest that prides itself on self expression. Have a look at some of the photos we found from the event on

Why not tune into some Hellbound Glory and wave a flag for all those bastard children world wide

Jason only comes back to life for ICP shows and is selling what you need
Hand signals and mixed drinks
The hottest Jugglette ever caught on camera
The lady in the all the hype videos for The Gathering, what up Ninjas
Where was this piece of spaghetti at, we could have used his powers during the Rock N' Rassle Apocalypse
Unicorns humping dolphins, world peace will finally be found and only at an ICP show
Rainbows and hand signals, what up ninja!
Insane Clown Posse, in the flesh
Clown war paint abounds
Two men on roller skates flanked by dudes in riot gear, true chaos
Insane hair posse or modern day Medusa?
Tiki Clown Drinks
Yes, we know you want us to be jealous that we weren't there
Any wonder why the FBI is after the ICP and the Juggalos, hand signals fellas, keep it low key, why don't ya
Rockabilly bandana style mixed with clown makeup, the new cross over, ClownAbilly

Yamaha XS750 Custom Street Fighter From BikeExif

For a good while we have been a fan and rider of what we think of as the pitbulls of motorcycles. Those bikes being more eloquently titled as the "street fighters". Their style is squat, tight and brutally quick with loads of torque and overall its the perfect urban bike. 

When the need comes up and you have to blast out of the pocket to avoid the shitty drivers that are on every main road, that extra juice is always welcome. Or when you have to stop on a dime. I remember in quite the detail one a time a cab driver slamming on his brakes right in front of me in the middle of the street and with cars on both sides I had to grab all brakes and slide sideways to avoid crashing into him. After sliding up parallel to the trunk I just smiled and laughed because if I hadn't been on the my Buell that day, things could have been far different. 

Here is a nod to purpose built bikes that were meant to be ridden hard and put away wet. Dual front brakes and solid rear calipers will always slow ya down and in a hurry. That is just part of the equation of what makes this Yamaha below such a looker. We dig it for

Custom Yamaha XS750

"Somewhere, on the glorious roads of rural Scotland, this beautiful Yamaha XS750 custom is carving corners and blasting down the straights, at the command of its new owner. But it was built hundreds of miles away by Spirit of the Seventies, the English workshop that wears its influences on its sleeve.

Custom Yamaha XS750

Tim Rogers and Kevin Taggart have turned out a handful of classic racers so far, but “S7” is their best yet. And that’s not just down to the eye-catching paint effects. The front end has been upgraded with forks from a Yamaha YZF-R6 sportbike, and the brake system is from an R1. Adjustable Hagon shocks keep the rear under control, and extra power comes from a rebuilt engine and a bespoke three-into-one exhaust system from Co-Built.

Custom Yamaha XS750

The rear subframe has been shortened, and fitted with a carbon fiber tail unit with a leather seat pad. There’s an 18” wheel at the front now, and both rims have been powdercoated. Other details include custom rearsets and new lights and indicators.

Custom Yamaha XS750

None of this is rocket science, but a lot of work (and a great eye for aesthetics) has gone into this XS750. And isn’t the paint on that tank just gorgeous?
Images by Tim Rogers."

Custom Yamaha XS750

Antiseen Brought Southern Hostility To Tesco Fest In Detroit

Detroit city got rocked this past weekend with one hell of a lineup at the Tesco Fest. Packed elbow to elbow and punk rock pulsating from the speakers, what is not to like. More footage coming soon.

Negative Approach's Jon Brannon, Jeff Clayton of Antiseen and Tesco Vee of the Meatmen
Tesco Fest went down in Detroit, MI on August 18th, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rory Kelly, Axl Rose and Eleven Rock Magazine

Axl Rose on the cover of Eleven Rock Magazine with a feature article on Rory Kelly
As Rory kelly prepares for his hotly anticipated tour in Spain this October, the press is already starting to roll in for promotions in Europe. We can keep hyping how great of a band these fellas are, but the proof is in the pudding. They are pounding stages with a mission to prove and that is one of showing the world how hard rock is being done up right, in the south. If you haven't jumped on board with their new album, just have a listen to one of the featured tracks of the album below.

Rory Kelly feature interview in Eleven Rock Magazine out of Barcelona, Spain

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Great White Hype - Beck's Sheet Music

Who will be the next Great White Hype? Well in this case, Beck has taken to the publishing world, to hype his new album and Bob Lefsetz has done quite the interesting write up on it. 

Opportunity exists where talent, luck and skill rendezvous in a dark abode. Call this dwelling the soul and you will be on the right path, as it is where true character is born into existence. Now imagine, as you the craftsman, look into the mirror each day and know, that the achievements to be earned, will be from never giving up and never going back.

Can you do this and not lose momentum? Should everyone do this and reflect on what they want to accomplish? Well, that is entirely up to you and the journey for which you are seeking the map to the calling of your desired destination.

The other day I was speaking with a buddy and he was telling me about seeing Springsteen the other night. He said he was taking notes as the show was in his top five of all time. The chemistry on stage, the music and most of all his charisma lit up the stadium like a Christmas tree. Springsteen is a dude not resting on his years of hard work, but continuing to cultivate his work as a true music craftsman and fellow musicians look on in awe. 

Bruce Springsteen on stage in Foxboro, Massachusetts 2012, photo by Jo Lopez
Now let's get to the nitty gritty of Bob Lefsetz's write up as he digs calling a spade, a spade. Read through his diatribe below and think on what he is saying. Without fire, there is no smoke. So if ya want your music to be heard, it's got to be damn good. This goes along with your stage show, your presence and every single aspect of what it is, that you represent. Fans don't have time for ego or petty bullshit as they will leave you for someone else with true character at a moments notice. If you want to last, you have to be better than the last show you just played. Don't ever forget that music comes from the soul, but fans come in the front door and pay for the experience.
Beck's sheet music album

"It's a publicity stunt.

Unable to sell an album, people no longer interested in what he has to say musically, Beck has made an end run around the music business and gotten his old fans and techies excited, and has them spreading the word better than any major label campaign publicity would be able to.

Josh Freese started this.

Radiohead capitalized on this.

Kickstarter institutionalized this.

And now Beck is employing the same paradigm.

Let's separate music from publicity. The dirty little secret is if you're nobody, publicity doesn't count and music is everything. If you're nobody, if you've never broken through, if you have no toehold, you've got to create at least one track so good it's passed on virally to everybody.

Yes, the track can be good in a train-wreck way, a la Rebecca Black's "Friday," but it's got to be noteworthy. And this is much more difficult to do than to create a genius marketing campaign.

But if you've already got traction, if people already know who you are, then it's time to put your thinking cap on and come up with a left field marketing idea.

In other words, that old newspaper/magazine/interview game doesn't work anymore. Unless you say something truly astounding, like you were humiliated by a famous paramour, like John Mayer did, traditional publicity doesn't go viral. Everybody shrugs their shoulder and sees it for what it is...hype.

And we've become immune to hype.

Of course, if you can get your song on the radio, that pays dividends. Radio is still the dominant way to expose music, but contrary to the blowhards employed in it, radio's power is fading and will continue to diminish. These are the same self-satisfied pricks who said the CD was forever, that no one would want to buy an MP3. Just wait a few years, when there's Internet in the car, hell, there's already Internet in Audis, radio's mindshare will decrease. Just like network TV ratings plunged in the wake of the advent of cable and the resulting hundreds of stations. Talk radio is vital, on the pulse, music radio is not. Which is why MTV got out and now relies on longform shows. Music is an on demand item. You can hear it whenever you want wherever you want with a mouse click or a finger touch, ever hear of YouTube? Sure, people need to know what to listen to, there's room for trusted filters, but most commercial radio is beholden to advertisers, it's anything but trustworthy. As for satellite... What we've learned here is people are cheap. And satellite will never become ubiquitous. But Pandora is free. As are many other Internet music options.

Which brings us back to the issue of fame and exposing new music.

These old radio station wants to play their music. None that mean a damn. So, these acts can either work with Max Martin or Dr. Luke or stop making music or realize they're journeymen. Ironically, it's these old acts who will triumph most as radio declines, people no longer care if an artist is signed to a major label, an indie is just as credible, being on the radio won't be the end all and be all in the future.

Great music will still count. And we can debate whether these old acts can still create great music all day long, but one thing they have is their fame, can they leverage their fame?

That's what Beck Hansen has done here. He's a known quantity. Furthermore, he's known for cutting edge innovation. So people are interested in what he's doing. And he was smart enough to get them interested without the music! People haven't been talking about Beck for years, but with this one little stunt he's become part of the discussion. And what's even more interesting is the word was not spread by the music press, or traditional mainstream media, but "Forbes." ( In other words, if you want to go viral, you're better off being featured in "Wired" or on Gizmodo than in the "New York Times" or "Time." Because the former outlets have no b.s. images. They're not known as bastions of hype. People trust them. It may not be true if it's in the newspaper, but if it's in "Forbes"?

What Beck is doing is no different in theory from what Trent Reznor did years ago. What artists do every day on Topspin. They're upselling. Selling products that have nothing to do with the music itself. Like books. All Beck has done is push the envelope.

Name your own price is dead.

Sheet music has now been taken.

How will you get the public's attention in the future? How will you go viral?

It depends entirely on creativity. By the book, pardon the pun, does not work online, does not work with today's generation.

So Beck gets some notoriety and some coin. Maybe this stunt even drives people to his show.

But it is a stunt and it's not about music and it's no different from having some has-been movie actor appear on a sitcom. If the sitcom sucks, it's just a payday. If the sitcom is great, it burnishes your image.

It all comes down to the music. And creating great music is almost impossible.

And we're only interested in great. Good just ain't good enough.

But "Loser" was phenomenal! You only had to hear it once and you needed to hear it again. It made Beck's career. It set him up so he could employ this sheet music stunt and people would care. Have you written "Loser"?

It not, better keep your day job."

Spotify Is Growing, But Isn't It Growing Faster? - From

Digital music has been slowly creeping up to dominate the overall charts for music sales, but there is a quiet rebellion afoot. This rebellion is being staged directly with fans to bands. The cause is simple and effective and goes something like this. Fans want more interaction music and players of the music they enjoy. Call it a novelty idea, but we call it planting a flag and building your army.

As fan interaction and wanting to get even more involved with the artists they enjoy supporting, several key areas are growing steadily. Two of those things are unique items available to purchase from the bands and or labels and the amount of music being listened to on Youtube.

Check out this video of Rival Sons creating stencil art depicting their new album cover

If you haven't listened to playlists on the premier video channel, well, get started. Hell, why not even start with the Rusty Knuckles Music channel first of all! Besides our own blatant self promotion we urge yall to check out all the music you dig on youtube and pay more attention to the number one radio station world wide for finding new music and the classics you enjoy. FM radio is just too damn boring for true music connoisseurs.

Find the music you love with Spotify
"Spotify has frequently been hailed at as the savior of the moribund music industry. Sooner or later, the pundits argue, a streaming music service that gives users unlimited access to virtually every piece of recorded music in the world for a modest price – and that creates a revenue stream for artists — will crowd out the competition. Right?

Maybe so. But even as Spotify steadily builds its paid user base, a number of obstacles seem to be preventing the kind of growth that could restore the music industry to its former healthy glow.

The latest setback for streaming theory comes from Nielsen’s latest Music 360 study, which shows that teenagers get most of their music not from streaming services like Spotify, or from CDs, or even from iTunes — but from YouTube. That’s right: Close to two-thirds of U.S. teens 18 years old or younger use the video site to listen to music. Radio (56%), iTunes (53%), and CDs (50%) are next. The only streaming service that a substantial number of teens use is Pandora (35%). In other words, young people do seem to like the idea of streaming music from the web — they just don’t seem inclined to pay for it.

Nevertheless, Spotify is growing. The service updated its subscriber figures this month for the first time in a year, showing that it now had 15 million active users worldwide, 4 million of whom pay for the service every month. That’s up from 3 million in 2011. And the service is signing up subscribers at an unprecedented rate: According to a report by MusicIndustryBlog, it took seven quarters for Spotify to reach a million paying users while it took Rhapsody, a similar service, 11 years to do the same thing.

Of course, Spotify — unlike Rhapsody — had the advantage of coming of age during the era of widespread broadband use and 4G mobile capabilities. And other streaming services have been just as successful as Spotify yet now don’t even exist. (Ever heard of imeem?)

But perhaps even more discouraging for champions of Spotify is that streaming services seem to be bumping up against a number of immovable objects. For one, YouTube is emerging as a prime destination for music. Listeners can easily search and find virtually any band or artist, all at no cost, without having to download a separate program. And YouTube’s made it much easier for users to re-listen to their favorite artists through saved playlists and customizable tools.

Then there’s the fact that consumers continue to illegally download free music over the web. It’s unclear how much of an effect piracy has on streaming services, but peer-to-peer file-sharing accounts for 15% of the music acquired in the U.S., according to Russ Crupnick, music analyst at NPD Group.

Another issue is our apparently stubborn desire to own the music we enjoy the most. Nielsen’s study shows that while most adults discover new music on the radio, 61% say they still listen to music on CDs. Even the old cassette tape — yes, cassette tape — is outpacing most music services. Nine percent of adults say they still listen to tapes, while only 7% say they consume music through Spotify and 1% use either or Rhapsody. Pandora registers much better, with 32% saying they use the service. About 30% of adults say they download music through iTunes.

“I thought streaming would rapidly overtake digital downloads,” says Crupnick. “But I’ve reversed my feeling about that. What the research keeps saying is that people like the idea of ownership.”

Less than 10% of music listeners are digital-only consumers, according to Mark Mulligan of musicindustryblog. Most still listen to music through some combination of digital downloads, CDs, streaming music services, and vinyl records. More than 70% of Spotify listeners also buy digital downloads — mostly from iTunes — according to NPD Group.

“Four million paid subscribers [for Spotify] is a fantastic achievement, but it’s a drop in the ocean in the music industry,” says Mulligan. “I’m not sure we’ll ever get to the position where most people will want to pay $9.99 a month for streaming music. The bottom line is that the vast majority of people value ownership.”

In the digital space, iTunes boasts 80 million customers, and Spotify is nowhere close to seriously chipping away at those sales. While CD sales fell 6% last year, digital downloads and vinyl sales were up big. Album sales across all platforms rose for the first time since 2004 (but you can largely thank Adele for that).

Why do consumers want to own their music? Most consumers have a long history of purchasing musical recordings — but not TV shows or movies — a habit that seems hard to break. Another convincing theory is that the music we listen to is seen as a reflection of identities, more so than the TV shows or movies that we watch. Many streaming services attempt to address this impulse by allowing users to create their own individual playlists — but so far it appears that isn’t enough.

On the other hand, Nielsen’s latest numbers do provide a glimmer of hope for champions of streaming services like Spotify. The youngest generation’s reliance on YouTube shows that it doesn’t place as much emphasis on actually owning the music that they listen to. That means that a playlist, saved somewhere in the cloud, may eventually be a satisfying alternative to ownership for them. If so, streaming services may yet prove to be the music industry’s salvation."

Billy Don Burns, Review From Drifter Country in Europe

Feature review of Billy Don Burns on Drifter Country, European country music blog

"In April of this year I wrote that the new album of Billy Thurs Burns discussed here would be. With this; Nights when I'm Sober's been two months. But first a brief introduction of Billy Burns Thurs. For those who remember the movie Crazy Heart with Jeff Bridges remember, the movie would use version of the life of Mr. Burns can be. Glory, addictions, women and even more addictions, it was all gone in the way of life of this man. Besides varying success as a musician, Billy Don with big names from the country scene worked. Early 90s he produced an album for Johnny Paycheck and artists like Willie Nelson and Sammy Kershaw covered songs from him. And now appears an album with the label Rusty Knuckles. Nights when I'm Sober (portrait of a Honky Tonk Singer) is a fantastic album. Twelve songs beautifully produced, clear sound and a mix that the different layers in the music coming back. Expected on this album with no Honky Tonk Upright Bass but rather country as we know him from the Outlaw Movement seventies. The album begins with Honky Tonk Singer, a melancholic sounding ballad with beautiful fiddle and guitar licks. Born to Ride is a song which no doubt will be used again in a road movie, the text is narrative, the guitar solos sitting against a cliché, but for me, the song intact. It Would Kill Mama is tightly played, and more upbeat compared to the rest of the songs. Nights when I'm Sober is primarily a narrative album with Billy Burns Thurs lets hear what he is worth. Fantastic that Rusty Knuckles him this space. I sincerely hope that this is the beginning of more ........."

Billy Don Burns new album Nights When I'm Sober... Portrait Of A Honky Tonk Singer

Jay Berndt & The Orphans, New Projects and Big Time Talent

Fortune has been on our side many a time and we clearly know when opportunity knocks. Getting to work with some amazingly talented individuals is no easy feat and we work hard to keep the torch lit. One of the of the most talented hombres in the Rusty Knuckles Music camp, is none other than Jay Berndt and fortune has indeed been smiling on him as of late.

Jay Berndt & The Orphans is his newest project and from what we have been hearing trickle down the pipe, the songs are going to open many a new door and have lured in quite the menagerie of characters. Ever heard of a talent roster called the E Street Band? Yep, we kinda thought you might have. Well, one member of the horn section by the name of Curt Ramm has already signed on to lay down some notes and there may be more in the works.

Here is the full line up of Jay Berndt & The Orphans
Jay Berndt - Lead Vocals & Guitar
Ara Ghajanian - Bass
Mike Lopes - Drums
Mike Rakusin - Piano/Organ/Sax/backing vox
Mike DiBiase - Guitar/piano/backing vox

Jay Berndt & The Orphans kick drum head ready for the stage

Jay Berndt was made for the stage

Jay Berndt - Sad Bastard Songs
Jay Berndt - Sings Waylon For Jessica

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Flat Tires Feature Interview On Shutter 16

Link to original post on Shutter 16
"Usually flat tires are a bad thing. Correction, they are ALWAYS a bad thing. But, now there’s a flat tire worth the trouble. The Flat Tires’ brand of southern punked-up rock ‘n’ roll fits perfectly for a band from North Carolina. A recent performance at Tremont Music Hall with Rory Kelly and ANTiSEEN cemented that idea. I sat down with Flat Tires’ lead singer Clint Harrison about his thoughts on being more than just a “local” band, his love of wrestling, singing about things he knows about, and not trying to be what he (or the band) isn‘t.

Shutter 16: Just so everyone is aware, you guys are local. Right?

Clint: Yes, absolutely. We just don’t play much around here anymore but, yes, we’re from Hickory.

Shutter 16: Why haven’t you guys played here more recently?

Clint: Well, we’ve been on the road a lot more and play out of state a lot more than around here. We like it. We really haven’t played around Charlotte for almost three years. We’ve hit the road in New York, going to Florida, all in between on the East coast. Last year we went to California, did three shows there. We’re going on tour with The Queers and Agent Orange in two weeks, and that’s going to be a ten-day Northeastern tour right there. We just never wanted to be a “local” band only. We wanted to have a customer base and fan base everywhere.

Shutter 16: So what’s your take on this show tonight (Rock N Rassle Apocalypse), with the hardcore punk and wrestling mixed in?

Clint: Oh man, it’s going to be great. An insane show. It’s something you don’t get to see all the time.

Shutter 16: Sticking with wrestling, are you a wrestling fan?

Clint: Yea. We all group up with it when we were kids. We had three channels. You could always watch the NWA, Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, and all those guys talking trash to each other playing “heel.” It gets in your blood at a real young age. Now, I’m not nearly as big of a fan as some of the boys in ANTiSEEN are, but I love it.

Shutter 16: Now, the music you guys play has been described as “Carolina Shit Stomp.” Is that a good description of it?

Clint: (laughs) Well, I’ve never called it that. People around here call it that. Everybody has a term for it. I’ve heard that one, “honky-tonk.” I just call it rock and roll. But, we’re southern; we’re not trying to sit around and sing like we’re from England or California, so we do it our own way, man.

Shutter 16: Are most of the songs written from a southern perspective? Either from having seen things occur, or even autobiographical?

Clint: Most of it. Almost all of it is something that either happened to us at some point in life or something we watched happen. For instance, we have one song called “GD Woman,” and a lot of people hear it and think we’re for beating up women, which we’re not. It was something we saw at a redneck bar. We saw these bikers and came into the bar and one of them made his woman sit down at one end of the bar, while he and his buddies sat at the other end of the bar talking and shit. She had had to sit there all docile-like, and some guy came up and sat down by her, and well, that’s a WHOLE other story. Actually, I think I got that song mixed up with another song (laughs). A lot of it is southern culture. What we’ve seen, what we watched, and instead of being traumatized by things, you write a song about it and laugh about it.

Shutter 16: Your music is very distinctive with the mix of fast punk rock and the southern lyrical content, giving an easy fit to the sound of the Flat Tires.

Clint: If you don’t sing about what you know, then you’re just putting on a front. I couldn’t do what we do if we were singing about the Queen or something. We don’t know anything about all that man. Really, all we’ve ever done is keep it real as possible, go out and have a good time. People like it. Girls like it! The only people that have ever gotten mad at us about any of our lyrics has been Northeastern review guys. The women love it, they eat it up. Sometimes people get emotional about certain things we say. If you’re not doing something to get peoples attention, you’re doing nothing.

Shutter 16: How long have you guys been a band and could you see yourself doing something different other than the Flat Tires?

Clint: We’re going in to our 8th year. This was it for me. They asked me and asked me to do it (join) and I said, “All right, let’s give it a shot.” Its kind of taken a whirlwind of it’s own. I don’t think I could do anything different man. I’m not a musician, I’m a flat tire."

Check out the Flat Tires on Facebook

Flat Tires interview with Clint Harrison on Shutter 16