Art and Politics

Art that provokes; Shepard Fairey has been working in the street culture of art to effect change for many years. Working with iconic imagery, he creates confrontational art that provokes thinking. He exploits the advertising culture's tool of aligning a subliminal message with an image to effectively proliferate a lasting impression.

Mission: Manufacturing Quality Dissent since 1989 Propaganda Engineering
“I wanted to make an art piece of Barack Obama because I thought an iconic portrait of him could symbolize and amplify the importance of his mission. I believe Obama will guide this country to a future where everyone can thrive and I should support him vigorously for the sake of my two young daughters. I have made art opposing the Iraq war for several years, and making art of Obama, who opposed the war from the start, is like making art for peace. I know I have an audience of young art fans and I’m delighted if I can encourage them to see the merits of Barack Obama.”

-Shepard Fairey

purchase poster here (100% contribution for the Obama Campaign).


Novice Theory; The Magic of Delivery @ Joe’s Pub 4 /5 /08

Novice Theory’s first headlining show at Joe’s Pub was sold out. The young Geo Wyeth rose to the occasion and delivered a charismatic captivating set exhibiting performance acumen, timing and delivery.

Novice Theory’s theatrical entry accelerated the anticipation, as he walked through the upper balcony playing the accordion. He turned to face the crowd to sing above the stairway as the patrons in the reserved dinner section raised their heads in an upward gaze. He descended the stairway towards the stage, the stoic presence of the baby grand awaited.

Without restraint he hit the keys in breakout classical mode, abstract chords and rough-cut jazz. Bringing on vocals of authenticity and forceful finesse creating an edge of the unexpected.
His charismatic performance style was revealed as he broadly struck the piano keys adding expressive facial mannerisms and head-moves resembling involuntary whiplash.

While the songs content are emotional and centered around his core identity, he juxtaposes them with buoyant keys and short scats leading to provocative lyrics. / I am not an idol / you can rub me down / I live in this fiction, but this is reality to me / this is skin with a capital T.

Ten glorious songs in, Geo took a brief intermission and came back up through the bleacher section for act two. Once again accordion in tow, singing a trance Irish-style ballad called “About A Dream” conveying a father and son forging the frontier of maleness in battle and hero fantasy. Not a sound could be heard only the wayward voice of grit.

He continued on stage singing “I’ve Been Riding With The Ghost” (a Magnolia Electric Company accordion cover) Followed by a very original take on piano of the Cat Power song “I Don’t Blame You”. The closing song “In The End We Listen” was a showstopper…/ praise all the holy names / save some from my fall from grace / ……in the fire / in the fire / in the fire……. The audience clapped in time to the striking build up.

The crowd rose to their feet as Geo left the stage, only to return saying he would do one more. Hitting a piano key for pitch he sang a rap with stompn’ snap, displaying his broad repertoire. With confidence and flair he kept the audience fully enthralled.

Special guest Carol Lipnik opened with a short but memorable set accompanied by Dred Scott on piano. She is a vocalist and songwriter with a dramatic stage style. Her vocal range soars and applies a broad strokes to the images she paints in song. The ground beneath me is slipping again / I’m not falling / I must be floating /. I have never heard a range so dynamic. Her deep resonating alto and a high octave range is not operatic but artistic and mesmerizing.

Flickr Photo Set

Before the show I asked my husband how I looked. He said, “You’re overdressed. It’s a jeans crowd. It’s the Village”. Well I looked nice but not nearly as colorful as the crowd assembled. They reminded me of the John Waters Pink Flamingos release party I attended in the early seventies in Baltimore. Get the picture!


Spreading Music; one reader at a time

Obsession Collection Blog Site is a Labor of Love.
* Created June 06.
* I have a full time job. This is my second and third shift.
* Quality over Quantity.
* I really care about music and the people who make it.

ALMOST ONE THOUSAND HITS A MONTH. Slowly one reader at a time...

I would really appreciate some encouragement. We all need it sometimes. Being an old gal it is difficult to get support from my peers. They are sleeping when I am writing or out seeing music live.

So.....if you can spread the word about Obsession Collection I would appreciate it. I don't have a facebook page because for now I am anonymous. I plan to come out of the closet. I am slowly doing just that. here original song
...It tells the story in song about the origins of this blog. About seven years ago I heard music that changed my life.

So stay here and read you will see the LOVE................


Artifact (in the virtual world)


David Dondero Video; Rothko Chapel

Just Love this song and Dondero! New video directed and animated by Alexandra Valenti and Holly Bronko. Read all my ramblings about this great songwriter.


 Also, see as part of a collection: Hoonan TV YouTube Channel with cool videos from Apollo Sunshine, David Dondero, and The Grouch hosted by Hoonan and Dat Phan. Getting hits and nice exposure for David Dondero's music.


Saturday Night Treat; Novice Theory at Joe's Pub

Saturday night......Oh, what’s an old "girl" to do?
I'll be at
Joe's Pub seeing Novice Theory's first headlining show!! There are about 40 tickets left, and some at the door.

Earl Dax is a producer extraordinaire (Weimar, New York). To my delight and surprise, he has been spreading Obsession Collections words all over town. So it is cool when someone knows how to WORK IT. Earl ends all his promotional mailings...............

As always, thank you for your support of alternative performance, nightlife and culture. ~earl

Dax amore Time Out article
My words......Novice Theory


Langhorne Slim TV TREAT

Langhorne Slim and the War Eagles made their Television debut on David Letterman. Wow and what a fine job they did! While this footage is very formal their live shows are anything but.

So for now just enjoy this TV TREAT and make plans to see them on the road. Spring tour dates on MySpace.


Langhorne Slim On Letterman

Happy News for Langhorne Slim! I'm crazy about this band!

The band Langhorne Slim is a rockin folk/blues/rock/outfit that has been wowing crowds across the US and Europe with their exuberant stage presence and rollicking sound. Stirring audiences to stomp, clap, dance, and sing along in a frenzy of glee.

Langhorne Slim has now found a home with the label Kemado Records and will unleash a self-titled full-length album with bonus tracks on April 29th, 2008. The recordings reflect the live rip-roaring high-spirited feel and acoustic gems that warm the heart.

For other articles about Langhorne Slim (press labels).


Jukebox the Ghost / Wows @ Piano’s

Jukebox has the have factor. What takes other bands years to develop they already have. The learning curve for this band has been working at mock speed. A full house of enthusiastic fans came out on a Thursday night to see this lively trio work their intuitive magic. The audience clapped, sang, smiled, and moved happily, soaking in the spirited set.

Ben Thornewill on Keys/vocals, Tommy Seigel on guitar/vocals, and Jessie Kristen on drums exude warmth, connectedness, and unpretentious ease of performance. They take their music seriously but don’t burden the audience with insecurity. They can enjoy a good flub of a lyric; laugh, shrug and continue to play.

The incredibly catchy mix of dance/ rock/pop/ compositions is integrated live with smart lyrics to match.
Ben Thornewill’s music conservatory background is apparent. He has serious chops without an attitude, but his facial expression is Oscar-worthy. Like Freddie Mercury of Queen, his vocal range can be smooth like butter or ecstatically charged. While rocking with his guitar, Tommy Seigel gawkily jerked and one-footed the stage with innate charm, devoid of pomposity. His lead vocals added a welcome diversity to the overall gestalt. Jessie Kristin’s drumming was impressive, holding together the changing rhythms that are a complex part of the Jukebox sound.

They went through much of their new recording Let Live and Let Ghosts, including the three-part "Fire in the Sky"/ "Where Are All The Scientists Now" / "A Matter of Time” that feature Siegel’s quirky vocals with Thornewill doing back up. Crowd favorites: "Good Day," "Hold it in," and "Victoria" were also in the mix and wonderful live.

Building on the party atmosphere, Ben introduced a cover song as an Indie guilty pleasure. Pleasure, it was, but I was too enthralled to remember the name.

When the set was over, the audience begged for an encore, some screaming suggestions. They chose the last grouping of songs on The Beatles Abbey Road. Easing into the beautiful "Golden Slumbers," the audience swayed and cooed. “Carry That Weight” was an awesome sing-along. “End” was the closing, and Tommy moved to stage left, leaving Jesse Kristin in full view for a great drum solo moment. This just killed.

Tides in music have a way of changing fast. Jukebox The Ghost’s refreshing personalities, undeniable musicianship, and dynamic pop and roll will sustain them. Making a buzz a breakthrough. They have it!
Jukebox The Ghost


Deer Tick, War Elephant; hard to forget /review

Deer Tick’s debut release War Elephant on Feow Records, is hard to forget. The melodies are countrified confessionals reflecting the lineage of legendary folk, alt-country, grunge, and blues. War Elephant respectively pays homage to the styles and songwriting of yesteryear; Nirvana, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and in the vein of Tom Petty, Bright Eyes (alt-country) Two Gallants, to name a few.

The songs feature the stellar songwriting and vocals of John McCauley. With lyrics worth remembering concerning unreciprocated love, romantic notions, self-reflection, self-doubt, and religious reference that bridge a broader discourse. In the songs “Not So Dense,” / now the kids are making models of god in papier mache / and “Christ Jesus,” / its your face I don’t see / he opens the discussion.

McCauley’s worn weathered tobacco-laden voice blends in perfect tandem with his smart lyrical notations. The tone, rawness, and delivery are likened to Kurt Cobain. His words defy his age and are indicative of an old soul.

The quality of Deer Tick's musicianship gives the songs tang and a homespun sound of familiarity. Strongly melding melody-driven finger picking on acoustic guitar, throwback electric (John McCauley), drum brushed snare shuffle and clanging cymbals (Dennis Ryan), dramatic double bass (Chris Ryan), and the violin for romantic and aggressive treatments (Sine Jensen).

Opening with the beautiful “Ashamed,” a classic folk ballad that conjures social commentary; / the eternal testament to how your so animalistic / and / you should have seen how the arches tumbled / they are golden no more / the beguiling chorus rise in angelic contrast as they join McCauley singing / oh oh oh / oh oh oh / oh oh / what a crying shame / what we became /.

The full jug band glory and a two-step rhythm in the songs “Art Isn’t Real (City Of Sin)," “Diamond Rings 2007,” and “These Old Shoes” bring the melody to fruition. Making the upbeat tempo of songs about unrequited love a welcome dichotomy. He declares his lovelorn circumstances inventively… / I know of a city of sin / and that’s the place I want to see you in / romancing, go back to the beginning / and / I’ll stay the whole night through / and I’ll turn from black to blue / I’m choking after you /.
“Standing in the threshold” comes on like a grunge storm, building intensity with the bass and electric guitar and plowing through the song's entirety. / you and me / created something special / oh you and me / oh we’re standing at the threshold /. The anguished screams and strained vocals provoke the finality / I fall apart from the inside out / and die…..

“Nevada” is a soft, bittersweet love declaration as
violin heart strings accompany McCauley’s voice imploring his love to / stay here and wander beside me / and ending on a sour note. / I spill my gut / if I had your trust / oh, believe me but you leave me crushed /. The haunting “Christ Jesus” is forbidding. The bass, crashing cymbals, and McCauley’s impassioned voice are equally pronounced, creating a jolting resonance.

McCauley shows off his phrasing abilities in a campy cover of an old standard “What Kind Of Fool Am I.” Beginning with a clank snare and cymbal that leads into a Bossa Nova arrangement. It emphasizes the sad but comedic self-deprecating lyrics. / What kind of clown am I / what do I know of life /. The song ends on an optimistic note, cleverly kicking in piano and violins to bring home the ultimate sappy true romantic within. Appropriately closing War Elephant with a hoot.

With not one misstep, all 14 tracks on War Elephant display their influences proudly and lovingly. It is a music assemblage of caliber and a rewarding listening experience.

Music Blogger reviewer rant…

I love writing reviews and giving them my all! Of course, I write about music I love, so that part is easy. Reviewers on staff often have too much that they are required to listen to. I don't have to endure listening to mediocre music for the sake of review. I think that might just ruin music for me. I would become jaded.

In that regard, being a paid reviewer must be complicated and almost impossible not to be subjective.
The controversy surrounding the reviewer for Maxim, who rated the Black Crowes’ forthcoming album Warpaint without really listening, is disturbing. I’m sure it is a common occurrence.

Bloggers also have their own set of difficulties. Posting regularly keeps a Blog viable and maintains reader interest and loyalty. I have read many reviews lately that are of the cut-and-paste variety.
Part of the problem is the promotional material and goodies sent as bait to peak Blogger's interest.

The written promotional resources sent to me are helpful but from the viewpoint of another writer or publicist. Often it is misleading and not about the music. Mainly, it contains buzzwords to encourage interest. That is why reviews often have similar keywords and phrases written out of context.

Lately, I’ve been receiving music online. Having done several favorable reviews of Peasant, one might think that I might have received his recording as a present with a ribbon or via e-mail. Well, I didn’t, and like most music I love, I gladly pay for it. Some music I have received is already on my radar, either I have purchased the EP or have seen the group live. I also write about groups that are not on anyone’s radar. That is something I take pride in.

So why read my reviews? I believe I have a point of view. I trust my instincts. I guarantee my readers that I really listen before writing. I listen (obsessively), absorb, and write. I will not write about music I don't love. I will write about music that has a point of view or has the potential to move music culture forward.

Listen to Diamond Rings 2007 from
Deer Tick! my latest obsession! War Elephant review, to post very soon! I paid for this one!!