Next up! Spooktacular!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sounds Good To Me 2011

To close out 2011 on a high note, I give you Sounds Good To Me 2011, a few of the bands and songs that struck a tone with me this year. Seeing as musical tastes are a fickle beast, I liked it but your mileage may vary.

The full mix is available here.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rehearsal pictures....

The "Day to Day" sessions...practice makes perfect....

"Day to Day" here

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"It May Stop, But It Never Ends..."

The only thing that is constant in life is change. Growth and change are part of all our lives and an integral part of the musical odyssey that The McLovins have shared with us. Due to the demands of an increasingly rigorous touring schedule and faced with an added workload in preparation for his future education, Jeffrey Howard has decided that now is the time for him to step back from the band. Jeff’s departure will bring to a close an amazing journey that started three years ago with their first practices and that continued through all the victories and setbacks they've shared as both a band and a family.

I'm so thankful for that the love and support that have been given Jeff and for the rewards of the music itself; all which have come through the band's hard work, persistence and practice. As a band they've evolved both musically and individually and in these past years they have literally grown-up together. We will always have memories of the good times and the trials that we shared together and all the friends that we have made along the way. Whatever comes next we can look forward to the challenges and triumphs that will come from the next phase in The McLovin's evolution.

Many times a change like this may be viewed as a loss, but I look forward to the future and we should all be very excited for the evolution of this band. The McLovins will perform together with Jeffrey through the end of December and though I'm a bit sad, I still remain excited for the changes that the coming year will bring us with some new faces and new sounds. Jeff’s retirement will ring in a new era for the band and tho Jason and Jake will continue on without him, the addition of new members will bring vitality and a new period of growth for the band. I wish him the best and he will still remain a part of this family, always their brother and always a McLovin.

© and Thanks to Karl MacWcWerter for the use of this photo

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Leave all your love and your longing behind, you can't carry it with you if you want to survive...

Again and unfortunately much too soon, the McLovins have suffered a loss, as a member of this ad hoc family has passed. This loss happened just as this extended brood was again gathering for a holiday performance and the event has rocked us all; nothing could have prepared anyone for this and it still seems almost inconceivable, an insane mistake that is just so very wrong. Ashley Kozlosky cut a path through this scene, touching countless lives while leaving a vivacious spirit and an infectious smile in her wake. Life is at times joyous but viscous, completely arbitrary and immovable, things may happen for a reason, but that doesn’t make it right.

The loss of a younger person is a doubly tragic event, not only is there the physical loss, but also the potential that will never be realized. The departed become as frozen in time; a snapshot of what was and what could have been, forever green in the bloom of youth. Ashley and her best friend Eve were both in the midst of this bloom; just starting to live their lives, the path ahead was laid out for both of them, now it’s become a solitary journey.

Ashley was a soft-spoken, thoughtful soul; incredibly talented and a fiercely loyal friend. She and Eve would spend hours working on their craft, designing and baking together, though Eve would insist that Ashley was the true baker of the duo. You could always count on her and her partner in crime to show up at a show with an amazing batch of cupcakes, inspired either the season or by the band. It was so appropriate that Eve came to the show just hours after hearing of her friend, bringing with her the unfinished cupcakes that she and Ashley had worked on the night before, I couldn't have imagined a more fitting way to honor her memory. I’ve known Ashley for 2 years and we’d become unlikely friends over a shared love of music and a kindred spirit due to the joy of this band. She’s leaving behind a wealth of memories but she’s also left us with a hole in the center of this family that time will help to fill, but along with the love and the memories, a dull ache of pain that will diminish but never disappear.

You can choose what stays and what fades away

And I'd do anything to make you stay

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

3 Faces of Close to the Line...

This summer has been a hectic and fantic time for The McLovins. After a nearly 6 week layover, the band has stormed back with a series of concerts that has cemented their position as a band to watch. As if there's any proof needed that The McLovins have really turned a corner and aren't looking back; I offer up for your perusal, 3 performances of Close To The Line. These 3 versions were performed during three consecutive shows in a span of 4 days earlier this month. Each performance is unique, each has it's own musical arc and the jamming in each is fiercely singular. Turn these up, there is something special happening this summer.

The Mclovins Live at Mills Pond (August 4 2011)

Close to the Line, middle of the 1st set

Dropped right in the middle of the first set, wonderfuly interaction between Jason and Jeff, funky and breezy, perfect for a calm summer eve.

The McLovins at Camp Creek (August 6 2011)

Close to the Line, the set opener

Fierce and assertive, an attention grabber and a kick in the teeth. Jake sets the table and Jeff and Jason serve it up, hot and tasty.

The McLovins Live at SoNo Arts Festival (August 7, 2011)

Close To The Line, 2nd set opener

This rendition sets the tone for the entire set, an aural assault, wonderfully funky and loose. A thick jam helps lead off this set off with bang.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Newport Folk Festival - The Cave Singers

Ohdarlingdear and I traveled down to the Newport Folk Festival this past Sunday primarily to catch sets from the Civil Wars and The Head and the Heart. A few of the other acts were guaranteed pleasers; Thile & Daves, Justin Townes Earle and Brown Bird, but we were so pleasantly surprised by this intense trio of Northwesterners, The Cave Singers.

Their set was positioned smack dab in the middle of the day's Harbor Stage performances and the only thing I knew about the band was an anecdote that had been related by the day's first act Brown
Bird. The story recounted a chance meeting between Brown Bird and The Cave Singers at a rest area in North or South Carolina a few years before where a small leather jacket was exchanged. The jacket was to have been signed and passed on to other bands to eventually work it's way back to Brown Bird, and earlier in the day, the jacket worked its way back to Brown Bird at Newport.

Their music is born of rust-belt americana, a darkly hypnotic roots rock stew; stomp and roll. A deep woods sound that's perfectly suited as the soundtrack for an episode of Twin Peaks.. there's something here that I can't put my finger on but oh how it works; achingly familiar fuzz guitar and sledgehammer drum rhythms focused through the lens of blast furnace vocals. This melange yields a powerfully earnest blend, equal parts folk, punk and rock; a potent potion best experienced hot and live. They played a blistering 46 minute set that had the crowd equally mesmerized and exhilarated, shock and awe indeed.

Luckily for me
Ohdarlingdear had the sense to take some pictures because I was just sitting there jaw-dropped and totally into this band. NRP and Folk Alley were kind enough to make this performance available to stream or download. I can't wait to being able to see this band again.

Check their set out here, NPR, Folk Alley
and stop by their website Here

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Run-up to Vibes..

So if you find yourself still on the fence about going to Gathering Of The Vibes this weekend, here's some recent McLovins media to hopefully help you make that decision a bit easier. The following photos are from the Farmington Patch Viewfinder coverage of last night's Blue Back Square performance in West Hartford. All photos are © Arthur Nazaryan of The Patch

click for The Patch article

To wet your whistle, here's a taste of what's in store for the Wake 'n Rage on Saturday morning during the McLovins Main Stage Mayhem... this is from Wednesday night's Blue Back Square performance.

Check out the audio recording from the band's last Saturdays Main Pub show

Thursday, July 14, 2011

okay, now it's time to get excited...

It's a little over a week until Saturday's performance down in Bridgeport, so here's a nice article from Connecticut Magazine, Ken Hayes talks about Vibes and the memory of Jerry Garcia. The magazine was kind enough to run a feature on the break-out starts of the past couple years and their feelings on their first main-stage performance.

click on image to McLovinize

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Vote for The McLovins - Grand Band Slam 2011

Now is the time to get this campaign on it's way, let's vote The McLovins as the best band in the Hartford Advocate Grand Band Slam 2011. All you have to do is click on the link, give a name and an e-mail address and vote for The McLovins as Best Band. They don't really seem to fit into any of the genres they offer, so going with Best Band category give them the best shot.

Monday, May 23, 2011

the terrible twos...

It's been two years and 80 something shows later and this train just keeps rolling on. 2 years ago I wandered into Granby Memorial High School to catch The Concert For Hope and see a band who had kept popping up on my radar for weeks.
This was my review of that first show and everything I said back then still holds true, this band is lightning in a bottle. We're now just days away from the start of the summer tour season and another whirlwind run through New England, the band is hitting a number of local stops this summer as well as the usual festival stops. Catch this band while you can, they are on an upward arc, and this scene is about to blow up.

Friday, May 20, 2011

I feel it cold and warm...the shadows start to fall.

I was talking to my daughter the other day and the inevitable subject of new music came up, I find we're constantly trying to turn each other onto the new, the odd, and the different.. the more underground, the better. This time of year I always reflect back on Ian Curtis and the lost promise of Joy Division. By my junior year in high school my musical palette was fairly well formed, always catching the local monsters Max Creek, I was a huge Deadhead, though the typical '70s era band were well represented. Led Zep, Jeff Beck, Floyd, Deep Purple, Hendrix, The Who and their ilk made up the remainder of my listening, though by 1979 there came a siren call from across the Atlantic.

In 1979 the post-punk
revolution had thundered in; full force along with the new-wave/no wave sound. The Clash, The Jam and Gen-X and were its kings, but none held the fascination for me that Joy Division did. Here was a band mentioned in whispers and scant notices, an anomaly; their album art was stark and moody as was their music. At the center of this mysterious group was guitarist and vocalist, Ian Curtis, an ex-navy family man, prone to epileptic seizures who would dance like a broken dervish, arms and legs akimbo as he poured out tortured lyrics backed up by the most amazing band.

Keeping track of this UK band meant trips down to Capitol Records in Hartford to pick up the newest import singe and perusing copies of The Trouser Press. This band was the first that I could claim as my own.. I felt I had discovered this dark jewel, an unknown pleasure as it were. On May 18 1980, the flight of Joy Division crashed to earth with the suicide of Ian Curtis, though like a phoenix, the surviving members of the band rose again as New Order, we had lost something great and something special. In this era of youtube and facebook, it's so easy to familiarize yourself with a band and even I take this ease for granted, but back then it was much harder to do. The death of the rock idol had become almost a parody of itself in the late 1960's and '70's, Hendrix, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, the list went on and on, but to me, here was a contemporary, in a sense a loss I couldn't help but take a little more personally.

As I type this I can't help but feel a bit anachronistic, as though trying to recapture a lost time, a time that really didn't exist even back then, a flimsy bubble of life in motion. We can't take any of this for granted, for the future is a propellant, pushing us forward and whether we notice it or not, we have to stop and take a breath..

..this is the way, step inside....

Monday, May 16, 2011

They've created a devastating masterpiece..

Saturday night saw The McLovins pull into Albany and in what has been their theme all year; it was a take no prisoners throw down. Co-headlining with the Albany collective COUNCIL FIRE, The band turned in a forceful 85 minute set, including a wild 23 minute opus that stands alongside the “TWEEZER REPRISE” of Nateva as the finest encores ever played by the band.

The first set started off on a high note with the band’s newest composition, the heady CLOSE TO THE LINE, featuring some awe inspiring bass pedal work from Jason. This number leads right into SEA OF WISDOM which has re-entered the bands repertoire and emerged as a first-set stunner, lyrical and blithe while still retaining a visceral intensity, a nice bridge between the more raucous tunes and the band’s melodic ballads. 357 has been used as a spicy bridge leading into QUIET KINGS but here it’s a stand-alone instrumental and sets up an incendiary version of TOKYO TEA. CARAVAN follows with a snaky and loose intro jam, again a nice balance of force and melody, leading right into the always welcome DEEP MONSTER TRANCE.

For me, the real strength of the band since the first of the year has been the set-list construction. Whether playing a 2 set gig, or a 60 to 90 minute set, the set lists have to be the x-factor of 2011. The balance of dynamics within the set has been flawless this year, sometimes it’s a slow build to a final knockout punch, or a series of plateaus before a final climax; this year’s show share a common consistency. The slower ballads or more patient songs balance the frenetic moments leaving the audience with a much richer experience; sometimes less is more and the band has learned this. It’s a testament to the growth of The McLovins that they have learned to harness their catalog and realize that song placement is now more important than ever.

DEEP MONSTER TRANCE set the table for the second half of this epic set, a mammoth 15 minute funk journey bringing the energy level right back up and leading into the cooling chill down of MON AMI. This song is a twisty romping, rollicking number with signature Mclovins tempo and tone changes; a true delight. TETOP showcases Jason and Jake’s vocals, and the closing number BEAD HEAD CRYSTAL BUGGER was a prog masterpiece highlighted by some insane Jeff Howard guitar pyrotechnics.

This was an above average show that was quickly tipped over into the legendary category when the band was given another half-hour stage time, and as usual, they made the most of it. All that had happened so far during the show was to be eclipsed by the next 23 minutes as the band unleashed without a doubt their finest jamming piece in the past year. You have to go back to the Barn Show in October of ’09 to find another example of the kind of fearless and bold improvisation backed up with rock solid pocket jamming.

I’ve listened to the show 3 times now, and each time the TWEEZER REPRISE transitions into SHAKEDOWN I get chills... it doesn’t get any better than this, this band is weaponized right now, they’re focused, hungry and on point. I can’t believe it’s just May and the summer is barely here and they’re in this mode this early... Saturday night at Infinity Hall should be a superb show... but for now, listen to this one until your ears ring... it’s a devastating masterpiece indeed.

The McLovins - Jilians Of Albany 05/14/11

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Saturday night at Jillians...

Saturday May 14th The McLovins will play a twin-bill with Council Fire at Jillians Of Albany. The McLovins will take the stage @ 8:00 and should be going off on time, so doors open at 7:00 make sure you get there early. Also a big thank you to Glow Stick Wars, time to make it rain!

check 'em out..

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day...

I wrote about Mother's Day last year, and to be honest, much has changed this year, but still the theme has stayed the same. Your Mom is your harshest critic and your unflagging champion. All your work is a masterpiece in her eyes.. she is the rule by which all other women will be measured in your life. You grow up to be the man your mother made you. Happy Mother's Day to all Moms and all we can say is thank you and we love you.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Some more musings on downoading...

As we await the coming release of last week's Pearl Street audio, I'd like to pay some attention to another McLovins project that's been in relative obscurity. Alex Knoll, a hardworking McLovin's fan has been toiling away on archiving all of the known McLovin live recordings and setlists in one easy to use spreadsheet, similar to what Phish phans have had for a few years now. The difference here is Alex is archiving and indexing each of the songs as an IPod friednly mp3. I've helped him out with some setlist notes and dates, but all of this heavy lifting was his, he's done a great job with a herculean task.

The spreadsheet is here

When you first get to the page, the list is nicely organized by year and then furthur by season. Now the sharing of music files on the internet has taken a bit of a detour in the past couple years. In the early part of this century, Torrents were all the rage, but unfortunately the lawless aspect of the internet was in full effect and many bit torrent sites gained an unsavory reputation, and most torrents die a quick and messy death. So a few years ago, the upload site became the tool of choice for music bloggers and file sharers. RapidShare, MegaUpload and Mediafire are a few of the bigger players in this game, where mp3's of shows or albums are bundled together in either a .zip or a .rar file and then downloaded in 1 or more downloads to later be unzipped or unrarred on your computer with the mp3's ready to listen to. If you find this primer a bit pedantic, I apologize, but there are some fans who don't know how all this works.

click on pics to McLovinize..

I open the spreadsheet and quickly run to the Barn Show from 2009, one of my favorite live shows..

There's 2 files here, soon to be downloaded and combined to extract the entire live show. Right click on the download link and your download request will open..

right clicking on zip #1 will open up a download window that will allow you to choose where you want the download to be stored

As with downloads from Archive.org and other sites, It's easy to keep all your music together in one spot on your drive.

I make a new download folder in my music folder to take the new files.

Now when you have your set of files downloaded, now you need to be able to open them. WinRar is hands down the best unipper of files and is a free download. I try and download any application files from CNET.com, they are a totally safe and virus free repository for any application you can imagine.

After you have loaded WinRar, you can now choose it out of your drop down menu when you go to open the files you have downloaded from Mediafire. You can Un-Rar innumerable downloads, you just need all parts of the file downloaded, and always start with the first file, and it'll unzip and build right before your eyes..

Just like magic.. now you always extract to the folder you're unzipping, you can always change the name later.. when you open your folder you'll see the whole show listed by mp3 and usually song title. Easy as pie. If anyone has any problems with any of this, just leave a comment and I can talk you through any of it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Legacy Of Nateva....

By now I think that the news has sunk in a bit, it just wasn't a horrible April Fool's day prank. Nateva is over for 2011. A lot of hard work went into the planning of this year's event, but a multitude of factors piled on and the promoters were left with only one choice, to pull the plug .

Nateva first showed up on the radar at Snoe.down 2010 during The Mclovins performance at the K1 Lodge, Nateva postcards were everywhere with the buzz about the Furthur performance and a truly different type of band line-up adding to the curiosity. Nateva was a festival less in the Vibes or Mountain Jam mode, more in line with Rothbury or Bonnaroo, an interesting mix of Jam, Indie, Electronica, Folk performers and counter-programming that made for interesting choices the whole weekend.

This was the show than charted a new course for The McLovins for the remainder of last year. I remember Jake asking what festivals they should prior to the summer season and he was getting a bit rebuffed by people who though it was hubris to try and pick and choose where they should play. Nateva showed the true power and the draw of this band.. a near perfect set played to the perfect crowd .. Nateva had a huge impact on the fortunes of the band, they rode the wave of that high the entire summer.

So thanks to all who made last years event so special and those who worked so hard to bring it back this year, and whatever happens, it may stop.. but it never ends.

Here's the original post from last year after we got back from Maine, and for those who still aren't sick of seeing it.. the video that really spoke to what this band is all about, Tweezer Reprise form Nateva 2010. This festival will be missed this year, and hopefully we'll be able to trek back up to Oxford next summer and be blown away again. To paraphrase Rick Blaine.. "We will always have Nateva.."

They knew within seconds of the end of the show that all the practice and hard work had paid off, and paid off in a big way. As the band came off the stage, a phalanx of photographers and fans ran up to congratulate them. The audience was still going wild and some of the crowd came up with wide eyes and broad smiles looking to meet the band.

I always draw the cues about the show's success from the back-stage crew. For the most part these are journeymen technicians, they've seen it all and heard it all, so when you hear excitement in the voice of a sound or lighting man, you can be sure that it's sincere. Sometimes you can be too close to the band and though I really try to be as objective, it's easy to just go with the flow, so it's always great to see your opinions justified by that of professionals. I also notice how the band is treated by other bands that they play with. Their peer bands and even veteran musicians treat the guys with respect and professionalism, knowing that there is talent and drive behind all the success that they've achieved.

After an extended meet and greet with many of the fans that hang around after the show, then the gear gets stowed away and the last of the pictures are taken, it's time for the guys to enjoy the rest of the festival. We walk around for a bit and a constant stream of people come up to the band, praising the show, thanking them, taking pics, and it's just a whirlwind as they make their way to the hospitality tent. The band catches their breath for a bit and gets re-hydrated and then they take some time to go backstage to the main stage area and meet up with some o f the festival head-liners.

The rest of the afternoon is a blur of hellos and picture taking, as the band meets Ryan Montbleau, members of Drive-By-Truckers, Grizzly Bear and then they met the man. Wayne Coyne. Now Coyyne is the visionary lead vocalist cum driving force behind The Flaming Lips. Wayne is a very focused-soft spoken, gregarious man and he and Jake really hit it off. I'd like to think he was responding to the fact that here his band was headlining at a major new festival and in front of him was a hard-working talented young band who were just starting to make it. After some more camera time, he mentioned to the band that during the lips performance they like to bring people up from the stage to dress up in costume and dance during the show and would The McLovins like to do this at that night's performance? Jason and Jeff and Jake were pumped and after being shown their costumes, all that was required now was waiting until that evening's performance.

needless to say, there's much more to come from Nateva...

Friday, April 1, 2011

McLovins debut at Pearl St Nightclub, tomorrow ight

Catch The McLovins tomorrow night, 4/2/11 at their Pearl Street Nightclub debut up in Northampton, MA. Here's the event poster with art again by Ink Design Studios. Tickets are still $10 but $14 day of the show, click on the poster for tickets.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The McLovins debut At Pearl Street in Northampton

This weekend sees The McLovins bringing their traveling roadshow back to Western Massachusetts for their debut performance at Northampton's Pearl Street Nightclub. They will be playing the clubroom Saturday night April 2 at 9:00 and tickets are on sale now, advance tix from the Pearl Street website are $11.00, day of the show they're $14.

(click to mclovinize)

The guys are very psyched to be back in NoHo and looking forward to playing for such a knowledgeable and appreciative audience, so make sure you don't miss this one.. remember The IronHorse show?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring is in the air...

This week opens with a make-over at The McLovins.com. They've updated the banner picture and cleaned up some navigation features on the site making for more enjoyable browsing experience. There is also an upcoming gigs tab, the lyrics to all the songs on "Good Catch", a comment board and news feed. The new photo is doubly nice; for if you look closely you'll see the latest addition to the Axlovin arsenal, spring is in the air, it's time to lock and load.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Low Content Friday, a few links...

It was a very hectic week, so here's a bunch of links, if you looked up at the top of the page, you'll see that the band is playing The Main Pub in Manchester Ct. tomorrow night. Here's a link, if you're on the fence, this will sell out and it will be an epic show.

I listen to a ton of music and here's a band that really stuck with me, Mumford & Sons. They've been touring like monsters this past year, and managed to steal the show during a performance with Bob Dylan and The Avett Brothers on the Grammys a couple weeks ago. Entertainment Weekly had a nice write up this week on the band, and they just released their incredible "Sigh No More" album with a bonus live disc.. again, no way to lose on them.

Another guilty pleasure is electronica.. not very picky, I love it all, from The Orb to Air, Daft Punk to Pretty Lights. I've been getting my most recent fix from the bastard step-brother of electronica; Dubstep. Two giants of the genre are Amon Tobin and Gaslamp Killer, young spinners who are just pushing the music to the limit. The Low-End Theory podcasts are required listening, nearly everything the genre has to offer.

The new folk has gotten a ton of press lately, and we're lucky to have some masters of the art right here in New England, The Low Anthem have just released their new album Smart Flesh last week and are supporting the work with performances backing up Iron and Wine and another european tour. This musically adept band weaves a tapestry of haunting gospel tinged vocals with the most joyous lyrics. Originally a trio, they came back from their last tour a quartet and have yet to slow down..equally at home in a 300 seat church or onstage at Bonnaroo, this is a band that's on the verge of becoming huge.

There's killer stuff here, so spend a minute and check some of it out, see everyone tomorrow nite...