Category Archives: 0307

03.07 Engage Internet Radio, eaTV, and Shatterproof Studios

Offering Creative Cures for Commercialism
By Alex Kantarelis

Listening to the radio can get old. Usually it’s the same watered down music every hour, on constant repeat, broken up with only commercials. Satellite radio has some benefits, but then again, who really wants to pay for radio?

Good news. There is one more format out there that just brings it back to basics. Internet radio. With very few commercials, and absolutely no subscription charges, internet radio is a perfect substitute for commercial or satellite radio.

Evolving Artist Entertainment is a company that’s looking to rid the world of such monotonous radio and TV nonsense. Says Director of Operations Craig Frand, “[We are] all about giving creative people opportunities in the entertainment realm.” This is a relatively new concept in a business where making money seems to have replaced any authenticity in most music.

Evolving Artist (www.evolvingartist.com), which is based in Southbridge, has its foot in the door of both internet radio and internet TV, with two separate channels running all day, every day. “They manage and program the Evolving Artist Entertainment Network ~ Engage Internet Radio and eaTV, broadcasting new music, new music videos, original programs, and feature performances to the world, around the clock, on the internet,” Frand explains.

The music on Engage is not what you would normally hear on commercial radio. It is from smaller acts from all over the country and the world. Regardless of whether a band is on a major label or a small independent label, everyone gets a chance. “It’s really meant to help further artists’ careers, or at least offer them exposure,” Frand says. “If it’s good stuff we’ll give you the exposure,” he adds. But everything is tested carefully. They won’t just take Joe Shmo’s demo that he recorded in his basement with a $10 microphone. The new music first gets submitted to a focus group. They decide what’s good and what’s not. From there, it enters the Engage rotation. Then listeners vote on their favorite songs. The more votes for the song, the more exposure it gets.

eaTV follows the same philosophy, giving the smaller guys the chance for exposure. It is mainly music video based, but also has some original programming. “It’s like MTV in its early days,” Frand said. Where it differs from MTV is that it does not limit itself to the major label releases. “The biggest video distributors in the country and in the world send to us. “We get the stuff from the same [distributors] who send MTV their stuff. However, MTV is a little more elitist and we’re all about the new cool stuff,” Frand said.

The programming on eaTV and Engage is the best part. Both stations have original programming that airs live and is also available through the on-demand section of their website all week long. Some shows are strictly music, some are just plain entertainment. Every Sunday night on Engage is “Most Wanted,” the program that counts down the top 10 most requested songs of the week. A second version of “Most Wanted” appears on eaTV every, counting down ~ you guessed it ~ the top 10 music videos of the week. “Audio Style” features reviews of everything from the latest CDs to home products and even has travel guides. Then there’s the “Kurt & Corey Show” on Engage, hosted by two “just plain guys” who talk about everything from video games to what’s hot on the internet. If all of these shows aren’t enough for you, check out “Alan’s Short Film Series” every Wednesday night on eaTV, giving small filmmakers a chance for exposure.

Now if eaTV is the mother and Engage Internet Radio is the father, then Shatterproof Studios is the first born child. Shatterproof evolved from the two, but is independent of Evolving Artist Entertainment. Once again, its mission is to help artists further their exposure. When the studios are not being used for the radio and TV stations, they are used to make promotional videos for bands, anything from just a simple video of them playing live to an interview to a fully produced music video. The artist can then use it on their Myspace or You Tube to attract more attention to the band. The service is inexpensive and available to anyone and everyone. “Whether it’s for marketing your band, or if your mother wants to come in, sing karaoke, and send it out as a Christmas card, we can make it happen,” Frand says.

While many of the artists featured on both Engage, and eaTV are considered “underground,” they are surely not unknowns. Many of the acts have large fan bases that support them throughout the country and the world. Everyone from 90s hit makers The Barenaked Ladies to current emo/indie rockers The Academy Is get airtime. They recently featured Dutch indie-rock band Betty Serveert. They’re global!

In the end, it’s up to you, really. If you’re interested in hearing the same music over and over again interrupted only by seemingly endless commercials, then stick with radio as you know it. If you’re interested in expanding your horizons, and trying something new and modern, give Engage Internet Radio and eaTV a chance. After all, it’s 2007. Get with the times!

If you are interested in sending your music or music videos for airplay consideration, send your package to:

Evolving Artist Entertainment
ATTN: Programming Dept. CODE: EA
18 Mill Street
Southbridge, MA 01550

03.07 Machine Head: The Blackening

Lead Guitarist Phil Demmel Shares How the Killer New Album Took Shape
By Andrew T. Jones.

Machine Head has been a hard-hitting metal band since its inception in the early nineties, but along the way they’ve been through a lot of changes. The band has almost fifteen years of experience, and while most bands tend to fall into the same formula after years of writing together, Machine Head has ironically drawn their biggest fan base from deciding to just do whatever they want to. Since their last album, The Ashes of Empires, which is the first album they written with no drive to make a “big hit single.” Machine Head has honed their sound to what has really made them stand out. And their newest album, The Blackening, no doubt will prove to be the album that brings to fruition what they started on Ashes. Not many bands (especially fast metal) can keep your ears guessing and your interest piqued through nine-plus minute songs. That takes major talent. Every song is enthralling, diverse, and far beyond what you would expect from any national act metal band. But to really get an idea of what this band has done, and how far they’ve come to achieve a masterpiece like The Blackening, I had to get the full story from the guys themselves. So I spoke with lead guitarist Phil Demmel to find out what has brought Machine Head to where they are now and what makes The Blackening such a powerhouse album.

Pulse: Now where most fast technical metal bands are notorious for really short songs, how did you guys start getting into the nine minute plus epic kind of stuff you’ve got going on?

Phil Demmel: Well, it just came from writing good stuff. We didn’t want to lose any of it. As we were writing, it just seemed like we were feeding the song what it needed. I mean if it needed to be shorter then we shortened it, but the parts we came up with, they all fit in. If you listen to the songs, and of course I’m biased, but they don’t drone on.

P: Yeah, when I saw there were only eight songs I thought at first, “Is this an EP?” Then I was like, “Oh, okay.” Now, you’ve spoken of wiping the slate clean with the last album The Ashes of Empires. Is that true of The Blackening as well?

PD: I think that we’ve kinda continued the formula that we used on Ashes, just from the point of writing for ourselves. I mean 75% of that album was written before I joined the band, and it’s kinda taken the role of, “Hey, let’s not try to write singles or try to write for labels, let’s just kick out like we did before.” And I think that formula’s the same, but material-wise we’ve really pushed ourselves. I think that Ashes was not really watered-down, but kinda dumbed-down a little bit, where as on this one we’ve thrown in some really, really hard riffs to play for us, you know?

P: Do you think that what’s been going on socio- politically in recent years has inspired the aggression of the music on The Blackening and not just the lyrical content?

PD: Um, no I don’t think so. I don’t think from a musical standpoint that’s the case. I think that it just comes from us. We’ve been telling each other since touring for Ashes that we knew this was going to be the best Machine Head album. Because of the line-up and the current mood of the band, we knew that this was gonna be THE one. So I think it just comes from the hunger caused by, especially here in the States, not getting the respect from a lot of promoters and a lot of the media to where we get lumped in as, “Oh yeah, you guys are Bay Area thrash like Testament and Exodus and blah blah,”, but people don’t realize that when Burn My Eyes came out in ’94, that was like Far Beyond Driven [Pantera, and RIP DBD], so when you put it in that perspective I think and refer to The Blackening as the second album. You know since Ashes [we’re] a new band. There won’t be another Burn My Eyes. I like what we’re doing now.

P: What would you tell your die-hard fans to expect from this album?

PD: It’s brutally melodic. It’s unrelenting.

The Blackening is now available in stores. GET IT.

03.07 Up and Comers

Bands, clubs, artists, and businesses that you may not have heard of yet…but that we think are going to make a name for themselves really soon ~ and you get to hear about them here, right before they make it big!

BAND

Meet Switchblade Suicide
By Steve Henricksen

I sat down with the band to find out what these guys are all about.

OK, gotta ask. Kind of dark name. Are you dark guys?

Nah. Just the name, and really it’s more sleazy than dark. It’s kind of a Sunset Strip, gutter, snakes, strippers,and leather-mixed- together-with-bum-wine feel. Overall, we are melodic, upbeat and fun and want to show audiences a great time with music that makes them move. Besides, our alternative was “Southern Fried Christ…”

What’s the band line-up?

Dennis Lage, formerly of “Sweet Citizen,” on Vocals/Guitar, me [Geoff Jewett] on Guitar/Vocals (my last gig was as a singer for a southern rock cover band) , JJ Baulz (aka Johnny Ace, aka Brian Hoffman, aka Drummer of The Balls version 1.0, bassist for Red Army, and bassist for The Balls version 2.0) on Bass, and Matt Walsh (a veteran of many a hard rock/metal cover band) on Drums

And the Switchblade song-writing process?

I came to the table with a couple songs, then collaborated with Dennis on riffs, songs, lyrics and melodies. We all work together to add the finishing touches to each song. Usually, one of us will come to practice with something new and we play ‘til it starts to develop. Sometimes it just a melody, other times we have lyrics and a specific issue or feeling that we want to write about and the music follows.

Alright, I know it’s no longer cool to put a genre label on your band, but if you HAD to, what would it be?

80s influenced, down and dirty blues-driven rock with a message. Not always a friendly or sensical (that’s a word, right? Well, it should be!), but it’s there. Keep your daughters locked up!

So that means some of your musical influences were…?

Guns ‘N Roses, AC/DC and Aerosmith definitely top the list.

I’m proud to admit that I’m stuck in the 80s. Got any SS power ballads for me?

We have plenty of songs about the ladies, but I don’t think they qualify as panty-dropping power ballads. There are some slower songs on the back burner. We’re just trying to figure out if these songs would work with the rest of our set. Only time will tell.

Lots of musicians say that the rush of playing live is better than sex. Any comments?

They both kick ass. It really comes down to the clean up.

And on that note — any groupies, or are you taking applications?

JJ Baulz is dating an actress but Geoff is always taking applications From shy yet naughty school teachers to whip wielding she-devils, all the ladies are welcome and encuoraged to apply.

Which current bands would you like to open for on a world tour?

AC/DC, Velvet Revolver, Black Label Society…and the real Guns-n-Roses if they ever get it together again.

We’re coming up on St. Patrick’s Day. Guinness, Harp or Killian’s?

All three are quite delicious, but if we have to choose it would be our dark overlord Guinness.

Where might the members of SS be found hanging out on a weekend night?

We mostly hang out at the clubs we play at or plan to play at in the Worcester area. This city has always been a great place for rock music, just ask the countless bands who are pushing and doing their best every time they hit the stage. Ideally we would like to work with other bands to create a scene here that hasn’t been seen since the legendary Sunset Strip.

Oh, but JJ Baulz is in bed every night by 10pm.

You guys have just started playing the area. What’s next for the band ~ maybe a CD? Tracks we can catch on your MySpace?

We are definitely recording a demo in the near future and actively searching for a studio that would best suit our personalities and sound. And yes, for now you can check out some live recordings from our first gig at the “Dog” on MySpace. All we want to do is write good music and rock the balls off anyone who shows up to check us out. Rock and Roll is not dead ~ It’s just been waiting for us to kick it in the ass.

Hold on to your balls, Switchblade Suicide storms Ralph’s on Saturday, March 10 and The Lucky Dog on March 17. For more information on the band, head to myspace.com/myswitchbladesuicide.

CD
Almada

By Bobby Hankinson

After the runaway success of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” and the increasingly indie audience of former *NSYNC-er Justin Timberlake, the line between pop-cheese and rock-cred has been severely blurred. Enter Almada, an Upton-based foursome that blends infectious melodies with superb musicianship to craft a sound everyone can enjoy.

Inspired partly by pop-rock heroes Weezer and 80s hair-bands like Poison and Motley Crue, the group’s arena-ready tunes are undeniably fun. “A lot of bands today are too serious,” said singer/guitarist Jon Harrington.

The semi-ironic songs don’t get muddled with complex structures, changing time signatures or 20-minute psychedelic jam sessions. Instead, the 10 catchy tracks on their self-titled album form one big, hand-clap laden party.

Clocking in at four minutes or less each, songs like “Killed by Cuteness” and “Smilefactory” are the sort of toe-tapping, feel-good fare that effortlessly seems to keep the energy turned up to 11. The saccharine simplicity is deceiving. Like the old nail-file-smuggled-in-a cake routine, what lies beneath the sweet, frosted outside has serious break-out potential.

“She’s the Girl” and “Last Chance” barrel ahead with a straightforward approach and killer chorus. The songs bop along with a 60s-rock swing (think of the Tom Hanks’ film “That Thing You Do”), but maintain a punky edge. However, “The Ballad” ~ a Journey-esque over-the-top love song ~- is the stand-out track. With blazing guitars and powerful vocals, the emotional rocker breaks up the frenetic pace of the disc without slowing it down.

Truth be told, there isn’t a blunder in the bunch. The premium picks are no coincidence ~ Harrington said the band worked on the album in two segments, allowing them some time to review their work. “If you back up from it for a while and go back and listen to it again, you have a feel for which are good.”

The resulting selections were enough to earn Almada an opening slot for Winger at a performance in Allston and a Pulse Worcester Music Award for Best New Act. The band is already thinking about its next album (aiming for a late fall release) and booking more shows ~ a schedule that will most likely include a stop at its unofficial Worcester home, the Lucky Dog.

No matter what comes next, the verdict on Almada is already in: this pop pleasure is anything but guilty.

For more on the band,
go to www.almadarock.com
and myspace.com/almadamusic

03.07 PulseFLICKS: He’s Baaaack!

By Steph Moore

That’s right, it’s that time of year again, time for the return of…Leprechaun!

Those of you who are longtime Pulse readers know that we can’t let a St. Patrick’s Day go by without doing a little tribute to everyone’s favorite evil, goldmongering, shoe obsessed leprechaun, Angus (not that Finbar, Feidhlim, Killian Skywalker, Liam, and Rory aren’t stars in their own right, but the original is still the best). C’mon now, you know you love him, don’t even try to deny it. And what’s not to love, really? But despite the overall cinematic brilliance of the first film in the Leprechaun dynasty, there are a few (OK, hundreds) of mistakes that we just couldn’t resist sharing with you. So this St. Patty’s Day, throw the DVD in (we know you own it) and see if you can spot the goofs.

Anyone take Geography in high school?

The movie takes place in North Dakota, but there are no tarantulas in North Dakota.

Although taking place in North Dakota, the Jeep and cop car have the older Illinois plates.

Next time, spring for a Continuity Editor.

When Nathan shoots the leprechaun after he entered out through the chimney, the leprechaun lies in different positions between shots

Early on, the leprechaun badly scratches Tory on the leg, yet later in the film there is no sign of damage.

When Tori and Nathan are first in the diner, it is clearly dark outside. When Alex and Ozzie join them in the next diner shot, it is still daylight outside.

The paint marks on Nathan’s right arm change shape

When Ozzy spills the paint he is completely covered in it yet the floor below him is completely free of any paint.

Damn. You could see that?

The wires that cause the suitcase to wobble are visible, especially when Mrs. O’Grady gets close to it.

When Tory is giving the Leprechaun his gold by the well, you can see the wire holding the sack of gold.

Near the end of the movie, when the leprechaun is wresting, it is obvious there is a stunt double who is taller than the actual leprechaun – his tights change from above his knee to below is knee.

The clover patch is obviously just a green light being shone on the dirt.

After Tori gives the leprechaun his sack of gold she runs back to the house. We hear her crying in horror but her lips do not move at all.

When the Leprechaun is in the wheelchair chasing Tori, the wheels from the camera dolly are reflected in the side of the wheelchair.

Some equipment is reflected in the window of the cop car as it pulls out to chase Angus.

03.07 PulseFLICKS: “What If”

An Ode to Good Ol’ Oscar
By Robert Newton

This year’s Academy Awards came and went with very few surprises. And after watching the whole predictable shebang, it dawned on us that someone might really want to shake things up a bit.

Sci-fi writers take “what if” and use it to create
Worlds that don’t exist in ours, so wouldn’t it be great?
To take “what if” and give it a distinctive Oscar spin…
And second-guess the voters and create our own to win.

What if that day Elijah Wood had not picked up the phone?:
Culkin playing Frodo in Pete Jackson’s Gnome Alone.
Or what if Elvis did not die in that unpleasant manner?
He could have made a comeback as drug lord Tony Montana.

What if Stallone had played an underdog, a bit like Rocky?
Except it was like Boogie Nights, and it was titled Cocky.
Dame Judi Dench and Benny Hill in the touching pic Who Farted?
Dane Cook and Adam Sandler in Scorsese’s The Retarded.

DeNiro playing Ludwig ! in the musical called B!
Singing loudly lines like, “Are you talking to me?”
Star Wars starring Cheech and Chong and Cher would be quite Zen
With Jerry Lewis as Darth Vader and Dino playing Ben.

As far as family friendly goes, there isn’t much that’s tamer,
Than Disney’s rated-G affair, Alien vs. Kramer.
Or Pixar’s brand new Christian-themed The Pious Little Mantis,
Or Jacques Cousteau’s Titanic 2: The Last King of Atlantis.

The possibilities increase with sequels in the mix,
Like William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet Part 6:
The Caputrons and Montadroids are feuding robot clans,
But Rome-Ø and Julie-8 “connect” and spoil those plans.

Politically aware films win and tend to be quite heavy,
Like Steven Spielberg’s quite hard-felt The Muppets Take Entebbe.
Or Mel’s apologetic Passion of The Christ Part 2:
In which he bucks up and admits that Jesus was a Jew.

Oh lighten up, it’s time that someone crack a little wise,
And cut Important Institutions like this down to size,
What happened to the ideal that states movies should be fun?
To quote one Foghorn Leghorn, “It’s just a joke there, son!”