Wham City Site Extreem..ly Great!

Music Site Scavenger Series 4

Wham City
Site De Jour
Wham City is an Internet site that encompasses the OCD vision of an ingenious collective of musicians/bands, artists, writers, animators, filmmakers, comic artists, actors, and fashion stylists. A Drum Roll, Please! They can’t be stopped! Their trademark of inventiveness is extreme. Dan Deacon is their breakout music artist who is gaining national attention and press for his frenetic live shows. The magnetic force of his talent will draw people to the Wham City Website. Their projects are in full gear despite losing their physical headquarters in “Charm City” Baltimore, Maryland, the city of choice for low rent and large space.

The Wham City site menu displays uploaded projects, events, touring, creative videos, alternative TV shows, comic sites, and fashion sites that are updated regularly. Their uninhibited application of technology is a highlight, creating a site destination that is one of a kind.

The collective imprint is their kitsch aesthetic that creates a maze of visual and auditory entries. They Scramble images and sounds, melding the juxtaposition of; the new with old, found with consumed, high art with low, craft art with machine-made, trash with treasure, and commercial with lo-fi.

Through the scrambled web, the collective merges its obsessions of pop culture, consumer culture, treasured eras, comic book heroes, and video gaming into unique visual and musical affectations. They celebrate these obsessions and parody them with abandon. One of the great delights is melding the individual vision with the collective.

Living Large Resourcefully
The Wham City collective is comprised of its original founding members all (graduates of Purchase College), their friends, and talented Baltimore contributors who share a similar sensibility, vision, and lifestyle. They all live large without being weighed down by the materialistic standards driving others. They understand the inventiveness of living creatively on a low budget, which has guided their creative freedom.

To Highlight a Few of The Heavy Hitters

Dan Deacon
Dan Deacon is an absurd music composer. His music is created with a keyboard and mic plugged into a collection of discarded electronic equipment. He cranks the decibels and alters his vocal frequencies, speeding it up with whimsical nuance and childlike wonder. Creating a chaotic beat that is infectious to audiences all over the country. He combines theatrics and audience participation into a lively frenzied performance happening.

y Roche is a Baltimore based Filmmaker, Video Artist
Jimmy Joe Roche created Dan Deacon’s latest video release, "Crystal Cat," from the CD entitled Spiderman Of The Rings. Clocking in fast, the psychedelic kaleidoscope zooms in and out of Dan Deacon singing and convulsively moving his body. Through the lens are floating animation, puppetry, and guest band appearances by the Video Hippos and the Santa Dads.

Dina Kelberman: Web Designer for Wham City and so much more…..
Another founding member Dina Kelberman is their web designer and the creator of two spectacular links on Wham City. Her comic book site called Important Comics displays her small shape abstractions that communicate within the bubble, saying things like; I’m bored, I’m a loser, this sucks and you’re a dick. It is dry humor based a little on self-deprecation and is hilarious in the context of slacker culture. Somehow she manages to sprinkle sweetness into the dialogue, portraying an obscure moral. It is simple but smart.

Poor Choice Clothing features Dina’s clothing concepts. The paradoxical name magnifies her unique and insanely funny humor. The fashions are must-see. Dina’s detailed illustrations can be seen on the cover art of Wham City bands like the Santa Dads flyers for events and shows. She also creates
three-dimensional assemblies that are used for plays and video productions.

Ed Schrader Comedian / Talk Show Host
The Ed Schrader Show is an episode talk show spoof using the host formula format. He welcomes guests from bands like the Parenthetical Girls, locals, and the Charm City Roller Girls or presents a film by Meredith More with music tracks by Dan Deacon. Every show features his very own house band of rotating players. Done badly on purpose, the show looks like a late-night cable access TV show, only it is intended to be funny. Ed has unique personality quirks, like his obsessive, unhealthy love for David Bowie, and a comedic approach similar to the late Andy Kaufman.

Dina Kelberman Quote, Wham City Pipe Dreams

“There are always tons of pipe dreams being thrown around; it's hard to tell what's actually going to happen. There's talk of farms, legitimate venues, new warehouse spaces, another round-robin tour, a monthly multi-media curated exhibition, and a theatrical interpretation of Jurassic Park. Keep watching the skies!”

Wham City a Collective Spirit of Culture

Without a large budget and their philosophical bent intact, they have forged an Internet territory like no 
other. Slacker nation is anything but their creative culture and vision have no boundaries.


Rants of a Music Blogger

Just another reason I hate mainstream media. The review at Spin.com of David Dondero's Simple Love really pissed me off. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but to say that the lyrics of the song "Rothko Chapel" are schmaltzy by today's standards and that lyrics like this might have worked well for dust-bowl folkies is unfortunate. I wonder what this reviewer would say about the lyrics of John Lennon's classic "Imagine." The two songs reflect a similar sentiment. Considering the social and political climate today, listening to Folk with something to say is not a bad idea and is necessary.

My religion is in nature, art, and literacy

My religion is in science, music, and poetry

My religion is the mountain; my church is in the seas

My religion is to love you, yet my church is entropy

My relig
ion is in your eyes, but my church ain't organized
My faith is in the sweetness that you might realize
but my faith it could be fiction, my faith could not be smart

My religion is the weather, yeah; my church is in your heart

Complete lyrics of "Rothko Chapel."

It bothers me that thoughtful words can be reduced to a rating or discounted by a catchword. I don't care about Spin .com reviews, they do not influence what I buy or listen to. What is discouraging is that young people who could benefit by listening to music that generates reflection might be swayed by this review.

We are a society of vacant minds spoon-fed in music, education, politics, and religion. We are manipulated daily by our government and the media. The ramifications of the religious right have infiltrated our lives and laws. Religion
is used to justify atrocities, divide people, and encourage hate rather than understanding.

What is so wrong with listening to inspirational lyrics that pose questions and that leave listeners to reflect on their beliefs?
New or old words are powerful. Words and ideas can effect change. Let’s give Folk a chance to matter.
Spread this song around.

Rothko Chapel MP3

The Rothko Chapel website


Dinner With The Band

Music Site Scavenger: Series 2

No Junk Food or Muzak At This Site

Dinner With The Band is a site destination that features great music and great food. The formula is simple. Invite a band to a spacious loft for dinner and ask them to help prepare culinary specialties with the guidance of a master chef. Sit down to eat, converse and drink adult beverages. When the band is satiated, they will do what they do best: play music. This is the recipe for an entertaining and musically informative show. The simple formula is full of surprises and made fresh with the arrival of each new band. Although this site is professionally produced it is not watered down for mass appeal. That can ruin anyone’s appetite for either food or music.

Dinner With the Band is created based on the combined passions of two brothers Darin and Greg Bresnitz wDinner With The Band Logoith credentials in both food and music. Sam Mason the shows host is a well-respected pastry chef, owner of Tailor Restaurant in Manhattan, and a music fan. The fun begins in his homey pad, when the band members take on the duties of ad hoc sous-chefs. Mason’s relaxed amiable personality and style fit right into the mix. Seeing his beautiful tattoo sleeves, one might think he is a band member, brushing a snare drum instead of basting soufflés.

The show has a boutique feel and is produced with high quality digital film and sound by the top-notch outfit Super!alright! Media. Karaoke type graphics appear on the screen, to highlight each ingredient of Mason’s creative recipes. The music performances are vividly filmed, giving the viewers a close and detailed look into every aspect of the playing dynamics. More interesting then just straightforward filming, the camera picks up communication between musicians with close up footage and fresh camera angles. No gimmicks necessary, just the music.

Matt and Kim: Newest Episode Entry
The latest episode is with the band Matt and Kim a catchy dance punk duo, featuring Kim playing drums and Matt on keyboards and vocals. They are well known in the DIY circuits and have been gaininMatt and Kimg national attention for their lively energetic heartfelt sets. The striking film segments capture the duo’s obvious deep connection to each other. Their unbridled energy is so forceful and honest, that this intimate private session feels like a performance for a large crowd. Their infectious music and fun-loving spirit thrive on the screen.

Kitchen Conversations:
Matt and Kim help chef Mason prepare black olive cobbler and homemade almond ice cream. The pitting of the olives is comical as they try to negotiate the special tool. We find out little quirky details, like Matt has sensitive teeth, while we watch him try to politely hold back the pain the hot and cold dish has triggered. We learn that Kim started to play drums three years ago and get to witness how far she has progressed, only by touring and relentless practicing. My favorite anecdote is that they toured the country for three years with one self-released EP. That is DIY ethic in all its glory!

Life Affirming Combination
The winning formula of Dinner With The Band would have a different outcome in the hands of mainstream media. Think of the mass marketing of food and the mass marketing of music, you know that both appeal to the lowest common denominator. In contrast, at this site you are treated to a life affirming combination, where great food and great music is sustenance.

It's A Fact - mp3
Matt and Kim ~ It's A Fact
DWTB podcast


Drink Up Buttercup @ The Cake Shop

After seeing Drink Up Buttercup's set at the Cake Shop I am convinced of their broad appeal, talent and ability for getting people to take notice. This band needs no warm up time and being openers, they didn't have any.

Without a moment to
waste they started with the song "Mr. Pie Eyes” that was delivered with gusto, playing garbage cans, big shakers and their vocals in full throttle. Especially enthralling is their ability to slow things down and instantly pick up the velocity. They are FUN to watch.

They combine theatrics. experimental instrumentation and rough percussion with added Beatle like harmonies. Yes, their harmonies and vocals are always on pitch and that good. They sound like Animal Collective goes pop.

It is great to see
a young band with so much promise and enthusiasm, who are eager and ready to make somebody's day. They made mine.
Flicker Set


Langhorne Slim - Phenomenal at Club Europa

Live Review - August 31, 2007
Langhorne Slim and the War Eagles headlined at Club Europa, playing what is referred to as a "proper" set on Friday night. They warmed the crowd at the packed venue then they stole their hearts. The love was palatable, and the lively commotion delirious. Tearing it up with high-energy hillbilly, rock, and folk flare, and playing songs like, "Honey Pie,” “And It's True", “In The Midnight", and “Hello Sunshine”. In between the lively stomping numbers Langhorne played solo acoustic ballads, revealing his tender heart.

The threesome of guitar and vocals (Langhorne), stand-up bass (Paul Defiglio), and drums (Malachi DeLorenzo) became a foursome with Sam Kassirer on a Rhodes piano. Kassirer rounded out the sound, and stylistically he was right on queue. What sets Langhorne Slim apart from other groups is their great musicianship and affable camaraderie. They are a brotherhood of soul, grit, hard work, and passion. They bring that ethic to every show.

Complimenting the raucous music is Slim’s phenomenal showmanship that stirred the crowd to enthusiastically stomp, shake, and smile. The last three songs were a bonus and part of an impromptu encore, that he started with a request to turn on the disco lights, which hung like artifacts from another era. The mood was established, and as the song progressed, members of the audience joined him on stage. Ending the set with the crowd pleaser “I love to Dance,” he said he should retire. The ravenous crowd was pleased he didn’t.

Langhorne Slims’ shows are always great, but headlining makes a difference. It is not too often that I see that kind of enthusiasm for music or have a night out that is so memorable.

Langhorne Slim Myspace


Music Site Scavenger

I will hunt, and I shall find music sites that are innovative, offbeat, a little wacky, and good for music. The Music Site Scavenger will be a regular series at Obsession Collection.

I have found the time to explore the Internet for musicians and fans who have an interest but don't have the time. So I hope this will give you all something to look forward to. Part one of my series is The Big Purple Van Club (the post below this one). My previous article about Daytrotter in July 2007 is
 the first.

The Big Purple Van Club

Obsession Collection -
Music Site Scavenger Series #1

The Big Purple Van Club is a French Internet music site that features videos of awesome underground music acts, filmed in a 1970s Van. While the van drives through the streets of Paris, it becomes a moving theater. The interaction between the musicians and the colorful crew replicates a contemporary version of "The Magical Mystery Tour." The Big Purple Van Club site is a destination where viewers will see all genres of music captured in an atmosphere of love and celebration. The authenticity is potent. It is like seeing a band in a basement, living room, or garage show, where few boundaries separate the audience from the musicians.

The creative staff that makes it all possible includes: Pablo Nicomedes (creator/cameraman), Mc Load Le Pirate (the van conductor), Joaquin Lola (sound), and Muchachos (lights). The chic hobo-styled foursome brings artistry and personality to the fray. They have designed ingenious ways to film and edit impromptu music sessions while layering humor in the mix.

I regularly visited their myspace site and wrote glowing comments. With a few communications in broken English, we discussed the possibility of doing an interview. Some time passed and I went back to the site and was a little concerned, it was looking a little strange.

Surprisingly, all their top friend icons were beautiful women posed in funny and provocative positions creating a parody of myspace. I was offended and didn't quite get the joke. My rush to judgment was a little embarrassing. I have grown to appreciate their zany antics. They don't take themselves too seriously, which is one reason the site is so refreshing. You almost never know what they will do next.

My interview took place with Pablo Nicomedes, the creator/film director of The BPVC via email.

As a teenager in the sixties, a van symbolized freedom and the awaiting open road of possibilities. Gas was cheap, there was the call of the sexual revolution, and young people decorated their vans as lo-fi love shacks, unlike the customized vehicles of the “Pimp My Ride” generation.

The Vans Torrid History and Karmic Upgrade
When Pablo found the van, he was surprised by its history. It was a destination for prostitutes to do business in Pigalle, the red light district in Paris. This was a love shack of a different order, and in Pablo’s mind, it represented the love of sorts. While viewing the van, He had an epiphany, he thought it would be wonderful to film musicians and poets in the van and share their energy and passion via the Internet. The dull old van got a face-lift and was painted purple. That was the inauguration of The Big Purple Van Club.

Creative Acceleration
Finding and presenting music not found in commercial media is the primary focus of The BPVC. Their music selection is not genre specific. They are open to music of any category and what suits their fancy at a particular moment. So far, many filmed sessions have included musicians respected in the underground scene, like Ramona Cordova, Francois Virot, and David Fenench. The uploaded videos offer exposure to their music.

The original concept has evolved and has enabled the fluidity of ideas. This year The BPVC presented “The Big Show,” which included twenty-five recent live-in van performers to participate. Affording pop, underground, hip-hop, strange electro, comedic, and rock to share the same stage in one night. The collective created a pre-show event with the purple van parked in front of the Le Club Des Chats. This theatrical red carpet staging area added momentum for the line-up to follow.

New Destinations
The BPVC has just updated its website, making it a necessary pit stop that showcases all its creative endeavors. They have recently added a French radio broadcast that presents a different artist weekly, along with podcasts of each performance. For the future, they are planning to bring the purple van to New York in the summer of 2008, culminating in a big show in September.

This madcap crew knows how to have fun, and their eccentric frolics can be outrageous and campy. The van interior and their costumes change to accommodate the varying line-up. This collective has discerning taste and creative vision. Most importantly, they share their love of music with viewers worldwide, hoping to make purple a symbol of music passion.


Rants of a Music Blogger

So........you have been reading about music at Obsession Collection and wondering; does she have a fucking opinion? She likes everything. Not true. I just choose not to write about music I don’t enjoy. I like what I write about. This is not a paying job or a hobby. It is a labor of love that I fit into my full-time schedule.

I am very
opinionated, extremely loyal, passionate, a little insane, foul-mouthed (to make a point), and frankly too old to be doing this. Let me just say, some music makes me ill. I have seen live acts that are not ready for the printed word. I will politely listen, or exit discreetly.

This industry is tough. So many of the musicians I write about are broke. Their commitment to music has rewards and sacrifices but is not for the weak. So…why hurt or criticize? That was never my intention. Obsession Collection is a platform for me to write about music that I think is exceptional and often ignored. Writing thoughtful articles takes time and effort, and I think the music deserves that kind of care.


David Dondero Simple Love - Authentic Songs

Simple love is David Dondero’s follow-up to his 2005 release South of the South on Team Love Records. The title alludes to the unobtainable aspect of seeking and finding simple love. Love is anything but simple, and that dichotomy sets up the disappointment and heartache for those who seek it.

The live quality of this collection of songs lends to the authenticity of the storytelling. The awesome folksy cover art suits the style of this low fi folk/ country / blues and sometimes rocking recording. The sessions were recorded on tape with minimal overdubs featuring David Dondero on guitar and vocals, Craig D. on drums and an assortment of talented musicians exchanging instrument rotation on all ten tracks. One particular standout is jazz pianist Eddy Hovizal. His chops add distinction next to the natural quality of the other instruments.

Dondero is a masterful songwriter and bona fide storyteller. Extolled by NPR’s Robin Hilton as America’s best living songwriters. I agree with his assessment. Dondero’s songs compel me to cry, smile, laugh, and snicker, concurrently. I often feel like he’s one of my family members as I affectionately appreciate the self-deprecating and sarcastic nuance of his humor and tender sweet nature of his being. I find myself chuckling while listening to the final track “Double Murder Ballad Suicide”. The guitar, conga and jazz piano play and interact with Dondero’s eight minute crazy sing / talk story involving a group of friends, a detective and tourists on the Golden Gate Bridge. Ending to my surprise with a quick trickster suicide jump off the bridge. Why am I laughing?

Throughout the recording are lonesome bluegrass sounds, twangy guitar leads, drifting pedal steel guitar and bluesy piano rifts. The sounds replicate the rinky-dink jukebox acoustics in saloons, from the underbelly of small towns and forgotten cities. There in the bar dives amongst the drifters; he’s been ditched, dumped, kicked around and hurt. He pens his misery as he travels from Alaska to San Francisco and to Oakland. His broken heart receives solace recalling the inspirational Rothko Chapel in Houston Texas and gains strength when he yearns for the Mighty Mississippi. He is a forlorn martyr that longs to find the idyllic and unrealistic “simple love”. He seeks eternal love while living life as a hot plains drifter and road rambler. The
lonely path is the one he follows.

I’m so tired / he sings in the opening track of “The Prince William Sound”. In Alaska, he’s had enough of the rugged edges of the world, where the male female ratio is off balance, and bar fights are sometimes the only solution for a jilted lover. He wants to possess the body of his girlfriends new boyfriend so she will make love to him. The rocking chorus picks up the pace but I love you more / than anyone could know / do not know anyone at all.

Dondero describes San Francisco, as the coldest city on earth in the song “When the Heart Breaks So Deep”. Leaving Alaska didn’t change his luck. The steady beat of the drum and electric guitar leads as Dondero masterfully describes the many ways he’s been broken, beat and played out like a fool: / your eggs are runny / because somebody broke out all the yolk/ or / deep butterflies are bleeding in your guts /.

The Rothko Chapel is a non-denominational sanctuary and the backdrop for Dondero to praise the virtues of authentic religious inspiration. He anoints a revered musician and sees the light and power in the church of Saint John Coltrane. He intertwines love with religious philosophy. / My religion is nature, art and literacy / my religion is science music and poetry /…and my religion is in your eyes / but my church ain’t organized /. Dondero highlights his genuine inspiration with a quote by Charlie Parker “If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn"

Featuring Piano and soft pedal steal guitar “Simple Love” is a sad and moving song that reaches emotional heights when Dondero’s wavering vocals are complimented by female vocalist Renee Woodward as they sing / I was born for the simple love/ I was worn like a boxing glove / I was torn from the human skies above /. Together their voices have an old fashioned quality found in early country male-female duos. My favorite line is his questioning his exes intentions / how could you say you love him / you don’t even like his music /. This is the ultimate betrayal of a musician.

He revisits the concept of eternal love in Oakland (the city of pain) in the song “Stuck on the Moon”. He sings / I want to contradict the past / want our love affair to last / Ending with the ultimate commitment / you give me thoughts of a baby /. But for him it’s just a concept.

“Mighty Mississippi” is a roaring rock mix with bluesy piano and thunderous drums that glorify his passion for the phenomenal majesty of the landscape. His declaration of love is extreme as he shouts / I’m going down / I like the hu/mi/di/ty!!

There are three topical tracks on the recording. One is “Lone Rose” a fond tribute to a women who is altruistic and kind to vagrants and whose death is questionable. He wrestles with the circumstances surrounding her death. Another is the song “You Don’t Love Anyone”, that describes a superficial woman plumped up with silicone and collagen who is self involved and interested in money. / You’re so beautiful / you’re so beautifully dull /. Finally he is lucky, this shallow beauty is not interested in him, cause he don’t got any money. Thrown into the mix is a traditional folk song like a children’s verse of folklore past, but only Dondero would start a song with I saw a one-legged man walk a three-legged dog.

The songs and the sound of the instruments is straightforward and real. That is what makes this particular collection so fine, and why I love David Dondero’s music so much it hurts, but I’m smiling.

Although David Dondero discography includes six full-length productions, EP's and splits, he is still under the radar, but is blessed with a core group of adoring fans. This touring year has been good, and has given him the opportunity to broaden his exposure, opening for Jolie Holland, Bright Eyes, The Mountain Goats, and this fall for Against Me. Check out his site for upcoming touring date.

David Dondero site
Rothko Chapel Listen
List of Musicians on Recording: Lance Solleck, Tom Heyman, Jonathan Humphries, Ben Howard, Travis Garaffa, Craig D, Eddy Hobizal, Lew Card, Dabid Matysiak, Rene Woodward.


The National / Boxer Review - Steady Beat / Soars and Expands in Moody Seductive Mix

Sometimes there is only so much music that one person can absorb. A close friend insisted that I hear the National. He was all ready to take me to the Bowery Ballroom show but I had other obligations. He did bring me a signed CD of “Boxer” their latest release. So I made time to listen. It turned out to be a worthwhile time investment.

Boxer is the second release from The National on the Beggars Banquet label; it is the follow-up to their 2005 critically acclaimed Alligators. The band members are Aaron Dessner bass / guitar, Bryce Dessner / guitar, Scott Devendorf / guitar, Bryan Devendorf / drums and Matt Berninger / vocals and songsmith. T
he Australian composer Padma Newsome ( Clogs ) did the orchestration and horn arrangements and Sufjan Stevens was the guest pianist.

The National’s Boxer is grown up music and I don’t mean easy listening.
The sound of Boxer is moody, poetic and smart. It is orchestral pop at its best and is for ears that listen. Lyrically the song structure present scribbling of observations mixed with word associations that form pictures and clues about thematic concepts.
The first track "Fake Empires" starts with piano, vocals and bass. About midway the drum rolls in and the texture of the horn section arrives in the backdrop. Suddenly the sonic sounds swell and soar as Matt sings / as we fade away in our fake empire /, ending on a single abrupt note.

Matt Berringer’s seductive bedroom voice has presence and surprising tonal diversity. The haunting nature of the vocals and drums are in the forefront of most tracts, and tucked in the background is the layering of instruments that rise gloriously persuasively calling. Enveloping the lyrical entries are the lush qualities of the guitar scaffolding, cascading piano segments, subtle brass arrangements and discriminating cello that breath through the steady pulse of drum beats. The drums are beating time rather then keeping time, reflecting moments that are captured in thought. They march forward with a steady tin beat, and pulsate like a life source. Steadily pumping on through life’s intricate moments and messy quandaries.

The lyrics pose a thematic approach on two fronts. The songs "Fake Empires", "Racing Like a Pro", "Mistaken for Strangers" and "Squalor Victoria" present the premise that youthful ideals are often compromised by work and money. The professionals in white shirts, the showered blue blazers that fill with quarters or the mourning of the glowing young ruffian appear in dumbstruck predicaments. Captured in lyrics like / another un-innocent / elegant fall into the un-magnificent lives of adults /.
Often the mediocrity of adult life is unfortunate.

The other songs like "Brainy", "Slow Show", "Apartment Story", "Ada" and "Start a War" deal with contemporary adult sexuality and the complexities of relationships. Among the familiar household references like
bedrooms, television, magazines and stereos the story-lines unfold. In "Slow Show" a man's vulnerability is exposed as he anticipates coming home to put on a playful show and admitting / I know I’ve dreamed about you for 29 years before I saw you /. Relationships get complicated in "Start a War" because they / expected something / something better than before /. Weary lovers need to step away.. / walk away now / your gonna start a war /. In a world corrupted by pop culture "Apartment Story" describes a couple caught up in a “rosy minded fuzz”, willing to indulge their superficial attractions, that are fleeting and will / stay inside till somebody finds us / do whatever the TV tells us / we’ll be alright / we have our looks and perfume on /. Deception can only be covered up temporarily.

Boxer is appropriately titled and it authentically represents the struggle to adapt to adulthood while trying to understand and come to terms with it’s many pitfalls. The cohesive and layered music is intricately built to stand up. Strongly the pulsating rhythm meticulously beats while orchestration soars and expands in a moody seductive mix. I'm hooked.
The National Myspace
The National Daytrotter Sessions

National on Letterman