Sunday, November 23, 2014

Brent Bergholm of The Battery Electric / Hsu Nami Had His Gear Stolen

Have You Seen These?

I consider my friendship with the guys in The Battery Electric to be one of the best things to have come out of running CoolDad Music over the last few years. They're great supporters of the local Asbury Park music scene, and they're great supporters of this site. I do a lot of posts about them here not only because I know them, but also because their shows are always crazy, fun, and a blast to document.

A big part of the band's appeal is the guitar shredding of Brent Övar Bergholm. You've seen him playing his black 1998 American Standard Strat with its Hot Rail bridge pickup and his 2008 Sunburst Jaguar HH through his Orange Rockverb 50 Amp. If you've seen Hot Blood recently, then you've also likely seen Brent playing a 1969 Gibson EBL bass. All of that was stolen from Brent's car in Brooklyn last night. In addition, thieves also got all of Brent's pedals.

The Strat, especially, holds some serious sentimental value as Brent's had it since he was 13 and has lugged it to almost every gig he's played since.

So, if you happen to be on eBay or Craig's list, keep your eyes peeled for these items. If you're at a Battery Electric show and the hat comes around, maybe throw in a little extra if you have it to spare; and if you're in a band, please do whatever it takes to secure your stuff. Back your van against a wall. Get a serious padlock. Hump everything inside for the night if you can.

Simply, people can really suck sometimes. This is awful, but nobody in the band was held up at gunpoint or hurt or menaced in any other way. I know these guys; and, while Brent may have a heavy heart right now, this won't be enough to keep them down.

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Few Hops to Fuzz Pop

Thanks for the music and the recommendations, Daddy Issues. See you on the Tweets (which, I think, is probably not a thing anyone says).

Daddy Issues, Daddyo's, Annabelle Chairlegs, Fuzz Pop and Exchange Rates

So here's a Friday afternoon for you at CoolDad Music HQ.

I've interacted a few times on Twitter with a Greensboro, NC band called Daddy Issues. I remembered checking them out and liking what I heard back when I noticed that they started following me (Thanks!). Something about surf rock stuck in my mind, so I went searching again.

Came across their single called "So Hard," which is apparently -- hopefully -- the first taste from an upcoming release. It's a twangy, reverby bit of surf pop that's about exactly what you think it's about.

Over to the band's Facebook page to see if I could get some more information for a post, and I noticed that they recommended two other bands.

Annabelle Chairlegs are an Austin, TX duo dealing in the retro garage-y sounds of their self-described "dirt pop." "Pipeline" has kind of a "Gimme Shelter" thing going on, which is pretty cool.

The Daddyo's from Tulsa play what they call shoegazy, grungy, stoner pop and cite My Bloody Valentine (plus), Jesus and Mary Chain (plus), Nirvana (plus), The Zombies (plus), and more as influences. "Crop Top" is a good example of what Daddyo's do with all of those ingredients.

The Daddyo's also mentioned that they were part of a cassette comp called Fuzz Pop put out by a UK vinyl / cassette label called Very Gun Records. "20 noisy & fuzzy pop bands on one tape!"

After the exchange rate, it was $13.83 with shipping. Should ship sometime after today.

I'd call that a productive afternoon.

Meet Brooklyn's Brett Saxon

The CoolDad Interview

"The CoolDad Interview." Ha. Maybe I'll make that a thing.


Brett Saxon is a Brooklyn via Minnesota singer / songwriter. His album, Review of the End, came out at the end of last year. The album plays in the sounds of folk, country, indie, and even classic rock; but the thing that shines through is Saxon's commitment to saying something with his songs. In that sense he's a folk singer in the truest sense of the word.

His story is a familiar one. Saxon moved from the Midwest to New York City to begin establishing himself as a musician. He put together a band to realize the vision of his songs. He worked on getting gigs locally, and he toured. Saxon, like 99.99% of the musicians out there, is doing it the old-fashioned way. He's not Internet famous. He's not on a singing competition reality show. Brett Saxon and his band are working hard for every gain they make. That's begun to pay off as Saxon and his band made the trip down to SXSW earlier this year and just finished up their second run of CMJ shows.

I obviously focus a great deal on the Asbury Park music scene here, so I thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of someone working their way through another thriving and competitive music scene. I ran some questions by Brett to get his thoughts on modern folk music, what it's like to play in a band versus being a solo artist, even some of his favorite music from our quickly disappearing year.

You can check out Brett Saxon's Review of the End over at his Bandcamp page, and you can see him live at NYC's Pianos for an earlyish after-work gig on December 8th.

So the first thing that jumps out at me when reading your bio is “folk singer from Minnesota, transplanted to New York.” I’m not asking you to compare yourself to Dylan, but I do get the sense when I listen to Review of the End that you’re kind of coming from the same philosophical place – a place where the music is there to serve the message of the song. What’s your definition of “folk?” Is it the content or subject matter of the songs? Is it a sound?

That’s a big can of worms. To me, folk, like every other genre, is constantly changing. Does it still have to have the social and/or political messages that used to drive folk music? If it doesn’t have either of those messages, does that still make it folk? Then, you have rock songs, or alternative songs from bands like Radiohead, that have very clear social and/or political messages. Would you consider Radiohead folk? I don’t. And I think most people wouldn’t either because of their sound. But would you consider Bon Iver folk? I do. But he doesn’t have the social/political message that some folk music does.

Sound I think plays the biggest role. Hell, maybe we are not even folk? Maybe we are more alternative folk, indie.

You’re not always just a lone troubadour with a guitar. Review of the End contains the sound of a full band with rumbling drums, guitar solos, strings, and production flourishes on songs like “From the Living Room,” “Would Be So Easy,” “Our Bodies Are Lawn Chairs,” and “The Stand Up.”  In addition to electric Dylan or Springsteen, I think I also get hints of things like Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.” Can you talk a little bit about what you were listening to as these songs came together and what you think the elements are of a great song?

Funny you mention that. Last year at SXSW we had a guy come up and make the same Pink Floyd comparison! The album was written/recorded over a longer period of time than I would’ve liked, so I was into a bunch of different artists. Probably the main artist I was listening to was Ben Howard, then St. Lucia, but also mixed in was The National, P.O.S., Fitz and the Tantrums, Townes Van Zandt, Phosphorescent.

Honesty, blood, heart, soul, struggle, pain, I think all make for a great song.

Do your songs all start out as stripped-down acoustic versions or do you conceive them from the beginning for playing with a band? What are some of the things you enjoy about performing as a solo singer / songwriter versus as the frontman to a band and vice versa?

I’ve been fortunate enough to be playing with the same group of guys for more than 6 months. Everyone in NYC is in 10 different bands and/or moving to Nashville or LA after 3 months of living in the city, so I’m very fortunate to have found these guys. Their talent is endless and it makes it all the easier to approach them with new songs or partial songs. There are no egos. It’s just people who want to make good music. I’d take performing with them over performing solo any day! It’s nice to try new things out solo, and if the setting is right, it can make for a great intimate show, but I’ve been playing solo for a long time, so I’m enjoying getting up there with the band a lot more than going solo nowadays.

I read that  “Charlotte’s Current” was your attempt at showing how easy it is to write a pop song. What’s the story behind that? What’s the difference to you between pop folk and what you feel like you’re trying to do with the songs on Review of the End?

Yeah. I was catching a show in the LES at a place where I’d catch shows but wasn’t getting booked yet, and I was watching this songwriter. You know the type: cookie cutter songwriter, nothing was different, he was just another house in the development, maybe his garage was on the right side of the house instead of the left, but the rest of the floor plan was the same. This made me upset, because he wasn’t doing anything different or trying to push any limits, and he was getting good gigs.

I don’t know. There is an art to writing a great pop song and I respect the shit out of that, but that’s not the direction I want to go in. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could write one, maybe if anything just to clear my head and remind myself to stay on course, or maybe out of spite. All I know is I went home sat down to write and 30 minutes later I had “Charlotte’s Current”.

Finally, we’re coming to the end of 2014. I assume it was an exciting year for you as you supported your record. What do you have planned for the coming year? What was some of your favorite music of 2014?

2014 was excellent! We did SXSW for the first time and CMJ for the second straight year. We just released a music video for "Charlotte’s Current."

Hopefully we’ll have some new music out in 2015, another trip down to Austin, and hopefully a bunch more NYC shows and touring. Keep on rolling.

Some 2014 Favorites
J Roddy Walston – Essential Tremors
Ben Howard – I Forget Where We Were
St. Lucia – When The Night
Robert Ellis – The Lights From The Chemical Plant
Sturgill Simpson – Metamodern Sounds in Country Music

Thanks for answering my questions.

Thank you CoolDad.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What's Going On: 11/20, 11/21, 11/22 & 11/23, 2014

This is a big freaking deal at CoolDad Music HQ.

That Mockingjay Looks So Warm

Big weekend gets started tonight. The Mockingjay: Part 1 midnight showing actually takes place at 8pm on Thursday to accommodate the early bedtimes of tweens. We've got some big names in the area tonight. Later in the weekend, both cooldaughters have swim meets; but you're tired of hearing me complain about that. Onward.

Sick Of It All are back at Asbury Lanes on Thursday. The Battery Electric, We're Ghosts Now, and Chris LeCompte play what promises to be a "cozy" Asbury Park Yacht Club for free. The Clef hosts an early evening show at Village Coffee in Wall with Weird and Wonderful Words, Eric Ayotte, Gadabout Film Festival, and Dish Ross.

I mentioned big names. Ryan Adams comes to The Count Basie on Thursday night. Mary Chapin Carpenter and Tift Merritt are at Monmouth University's Pollak Theater. Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens continues his "Confessions of a Rock Star" residency for free at Langosta, this time with The Accelerators.

On Friday, Smalltalk bring their Modern Rock at The Jersey Shore to APYC with Dead Overhead. Corrina, Corrina are closing in on Thanksgiving break and supporting ASTPAI and The Great Explainer at The Brighton Bar. The Creeptones play Langosta for free with Deaf Rhino. There's a Last Waltz tribute at The Pollak featuring a host of local luminaries like Glen Burtnik, Southside Johnny, Sal Boyd, Frank Lombardi, and Emily Grove. The Saint hosts a benefit for the beloved Jacko featuring Dogliftleg, Stag Party, TV Tramps, Real Cops, and The Escape. Jake Clemons is at The Pony. Village Coffee's got another show with Toy Cars, Unraveled, I Tried To Run Away When I Was 6, and Admissible Arsonist. Dark City brings another installment of Asbury Unplugged to The Wonder Bar.

APYC keeps bringing it on Saturday with Accidental Seabirds and The Moonbees. Teenage Halloween, The Great Depression, Eric Funn, Basement Beers, and Boys In Crop Tops are at The Meatlocker in Montclair. Passafire play their first night at The Saint. Dark City is at it again with The Vansaders, Modern Chemistry, Garden State Line, and Sons of Origin at Wonder Bar.

Sunday's kind of quiet leading into the big holiday week, but Passafire are back for a second night at The Saint.

Looks like the polar vortex may loosen its grip on us a bit by Sunday as temps creep up ever so slightly. Whatever the temperature, dress appropriately; and I'll see you out there.

Oh, and please send warm thoughts to my sister-in-law and her family who are dealing with the lake effect storm of the century up in Orchard Park, NY.

THURSDAY (11/20)

Asbury Lanes (Asbury): Sick Of It All / Negative Approach / Born Annoying, 7pm, $17 adv, $19 door (ALL AGES)

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): The Battery Electric / We're Ghosts Now / Chris LeCompte, 8:30pm, FREE

Count Basie Theatre (Red Bank): Ryan Adams, 8pm, $35-69.50

Court Tavern (New Brunswick): OC45 (Boston) / 9:18 / The Lawless Few / No RiSK / Corey Clark, 9pm

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Pat DiNizio's Confessions of a Rock Star w/ The Accelerators, 8pm, FREE

Pollak Theater (West Long Branch): Mary Chapin Carpenter / Tift Merritt, 8pm, $40-52

The Saint (Asbury): Lakehouse Music Academy Adult Rock Class Takeover, 6:30pm, FREE

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): Kip Moore, 6pm, 39.50 adv, 40.50 door (ALL AGES)

Village Coffee (Wall): Weird and Wonderful Words / Eric Ayotte / Gadabout Film Festival / Dish Ross, 4:30pm, $6

FRIDAY (11/21)

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Smalltalk / Dead Overhead, 9pm, FREE

The Brighton Bar (Long Branch): ASTPAI (fr. Austria) / The Great Explainer / Corrina, Corrina, 7pm, $10 (ALL AGES)

Clash Bar (Clifton): Test Band / Road Machine / Another Distraction

Court Tavern (New Brunswick): Cook Thugless / Doing Better / Crash The Bear / Friends In Distraction / The House of Thieves / Thirty Silver / Ashes to Oranges, 8pm

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Deaf Rhino / The Creeptones, 9pm, FREE

Pollak Theater (West Long Branch): One Last Waltz w/ Glen Burtnik, Sal Boyd, Bob Burger, Arne Wendt as The Band ft. Southside Johnny / Bobby Bandiera / Stringbean / Frank Lombardi / Emily Grove / more, 7pm, $22-32

Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse (Dunellen): Billy Hector, 9pm, $12 

The Saint (Asbury): Jacko Benefit: Dogliftleg / Stag Party / TV Tramps / Real Cops / The Escape, 8pm, $12

Starland Ballroom (Sayreville): Almost Queen a Tribute to Queen, 7pm, $15 adv, $18 door (ALL AGES)

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Jake Clemons, 7pm, $18.50 adv, $20 door (ALL AGES)

Village Coffee (Wall): Toy Cars / Unraveler / I Tried To Run Away When I Was 6 / Admissible Arsonist, 5:30pm, $5

The Wonder Bar (Asbury): Asbury Unplugged: Nick Cucci / Jeff Plate / Chris Brown / Jamie Coppa / Doug Zambon / Tony Tedesco / more, 7pm, $5

SATURDAY (11/22)

Asbury Lanes (Asbury): Bettina May's Pinup Class, 11:30am-5:30pm

Asbury Lanes (Asbury): Burlesque Night featuring: Bettina May's Art Opening and Burlesque Show, 8pm, $12 adv, $15 door (18+)

Asbury Park Yacht Club (Asbury): Accidental Seabirds / The Moonbees, 9pm, FREE

The Brighton Bar (Long Branch): Don Jamieson of VH1's "THAT METAL SHOW," 5:30pm, $13 (ALL AGES)

Clash Bar (Clifton): Crime Scene / Deafinitive / Before The End / Silence Equals Death / Knuckle Up

Court Tavern (New Brunswick): The Scandals / sydbarret / Pour the Pirate Sherry / d'arcy / Kill Wealthy Dowager, 9pm

Langosta Lounge (Asbury): Dark City Strings, 10pm, FREE

The Meatlocker (Montclair): Teenage Halloween / The Great Depression / Eric Funn / Basement Beers / Boys In Crop Tops, 7:30pm, donation requested

Roxy & Dukes Roadhouse (Dunellen): Tweed and The Sugardaddies / The Razorbacks, 9:30pm, $10

The Saint (Asbury): Passafire / TUGG / Eastbourne, 7:30pm, $15

The Stone Pony (Asbury): Colossal Street Jam, 7pm, $10 adv, $12 door (ALL AGES)

The Wonder Bar (Asbury): The Vansaders / Modern Chemistry / Garden State Line / Sons of Origin, 7:30pm, $10