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The Bass Geek

Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio summons forth the rockabilly vampire that is Unknown Hinson tonight. Fans of expertly wielded guitar, finely crafted rockabilly music, or the general Adult Swim ouvre should arrive as early as possible to secure room. Fans of Bigger Than Elvis should also arrive early, as they open the show. Or just wait for Saturday - no Unknown Hinson, but more Bigger Than Elvis.

The Vollrath features The Drastics, Green Room Rockers, and Kwanzaa Pops and IRB tonight. Tomorrow, look for New Addiction, Spare Time Killer, and Gyles Hemstock.

The Naptown presents the jazz duo of Bergdall & Lismicchia tonight. I'd let you know who's there tomorrow, but the website didn't say anything about May. So there you go.

There's live jazz at Maria's Pizza tonight, and you can take in some form of lounge music at the Brass Ring. And that's quite enough, really. So enjoy.


New IMN Podcast and the 8-Bit Guitar

The new IMN Podcast is up - download it or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2, Thursdays at 4pm.

We've already tackled the computer in the amp earlier this week. Now, it's the computerized guitar, done DIY-style. What's the difference between this and a keytar? Aside from the difference in sound, your DIY cred deflects any potential abuse you might take for playing a keytar. Because really, haven't we finally moved beyond even the ironic keytar?


Apple, Meet Orange

Will computer geeks lust after 30-year-old sticks of RAM the way some guitarists seek out new-old-stock tubes for their decades-old Marshall heads? I'm assuming it's easier to distract the computer folks with new gadgets and faster devices, but this new Orange amp brings the two sides closer than they even have been before.  Orange's new offering actually rips out the amp guts, tosses in a Windows 7 PC with amp emulation software, and routes it to a speaker. Just plug in your guitar (and a monitor) and go.

How is it different than modeling-based-software amps like Line 6? Uh, you can play games on it? How is it different than a regular Orange amp? Uh, it's got absolutely no traditional amp guts in it, beyond the case and branding?

Vintage Orange fans probably gave up on this new product line awhile ago ("It's just not the same, man!"), but it's an interesting idea. Until your amp gets the Blue Screen of Death in the middle of your solo.


Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio bring in the singer/songwriter stylings of Chris Pureka and Nicole Reynolds tonight. Tomorrow night, take in the sights and sound of Bottoms Up Burlesque with special performers Deacon Sean and the Bar Brawlers.

The Vollrath has Cuba, Grant Gilman, and the Five Tones tonight. Tomorrow, you can catch the indie rock of We Are Hex, Past Lives, and Blackheat.

Big Car presents The Black Swans, Holy Ghost Canyon, and Beat Debris. Expect the variety only Big Car can provide - indie rock, folk leanings, and the like.

The Naptown showcases the Naptown Swingin' String Band tonight. Tonight, experience Hobeeluv. Take that anyway you wish.

It's Swing Night at the Fountain Square Theater tonight - dance to the Big Red Cardinal Swing Band. You can also enjoy the jazz at Maria's Pizza or lounge at the Brass Ring. Enjoy.


New IMN Podcast and Call to Action

The new IMN Podcast is up - download it or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2 Thursdays at 4pm.

Speaking of outlets that benefit the public (did you make your NPR pledge yet?), Fountain Square is in danger of losing its branch of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library. Budget cuts or something. Now, since we probably won't be opening a branch in Lucas Oil Stadium or Conseco Fieldhouse, that leaves the Central Library as the closest outlet for this neighborhood. The only problem is that the library doesn't just represent an outlet for books and knowledge for the folks here (which, if you think about it, isn't a bad thing to be for a neighborhood). It also provides a central location for meetings, training, and education that goes far beyond just checking out a book (which, again, is a pretty great service).

Maybe it's just that I practically grew up in a library, I dunno. Mom is a librarian, and Dad used to drive to Indianapolis just to go to the library. Yep - he'd pay for the out-of-county library card and everything. A good library is worth the resources you put into it, and Indianapolis has a pretty spectacular system. I've gotten books, recordings, sheet music, and taken in wonderful performances and speeches at our library branches. Keeping it in the neighborhoods means keeping it in the forefront of the public mind, and that means more use. Take it away, and some people simply can't or won't make the trip to the Central library. That's a huge loss all around.

As much as the education of children and the retraining of the unemployed weighs on society right now, you'd think it'd be a no-brainer to keep library branches open. Alas, this city may not see it that way - but there are still options to try and save it. Attend two public meetings, May 10th and 12th at 6:30pm at the Library Services Center, 2450 N. Meridian St. We've got enough to support the city for a one-time huge sporting event or three - we should be able to find the resources to keep books and information available to the public. They're more than just a stop to pick up tax forms.


John Paul Jones Kinda-Bass Porn

Photo from CNET by Scott Ferrara/EMG

For a mainstream tech site like CNET to take notice of a bassist's instrument, something must be wacky, geeky, or in the possession of somebody famous. The custom instrument John Paul Jones is using on the Them Crooked Vultures certainly qualifies on all counts - it's a custom Hugh Manson lap steel with bass strings worn over-the-shoulder. Then, toss in a touchpad to control some stage lights as part of the show. 'Cause, you know, he's not busy enough as it is. I guess when you're JPJ, you get control over whatever you want. It'd be an experience to hear what he'd do with this whilst collaborating with Diamanda Galas.


Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio is taking the weekend off, according to their website. Recharge and head out later.

The Vollrath hosts Jinx and the Back Alley Cats, The Perennials, Vacation Club, and Moscow Moscow Moscow tonight. Tomorrow brings in RYAT, s.a.i.n.t. RECON, Whoislouis, Yeti and Lorax of Twin Monster, and DJ Shiva.

The Naptown has the Last Drop Jugg Band tomorrow.

EDIT: The Brains Behind Pa and Cara Jean Wahlers and Grover Parido play at the Wheeler Art Center tonight. GO SEE THEM!

And, of course, there's live jazz and such at Maria's Pizza and the Brass Ring tonight. Enjoy.

Also, tomorrow is Record Store Day. I know I wrote about going beyond the album earlier in this blog, but there are still many musicians makes much good music in album format, and the folks manning the record stores that sell these albums are some of the most passionate fans and devotees of music there are. Not only should these stores get your support, but there's a ton of special releases and collector's items available for that day - the kind of thing that makes it worth going out and getting the album. Then, tack on the live performances and other celebrations, and it all makes sense. Go out and enjoy Luna Music, Indy CD and Vinyl, Vibes Records, and the other indies out there.

I've already got the new Hold Steady and the Mastodon reissue vinyl on reserve. And no, you can't borrow them.


New IMN Podcast and Big Car Music Content

The new IMN podcast is up - download it or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2, Thursdays at 4pm and whenever they want to rebroadcast, too.

Big Car is putting together a music contest for those locals who are musically-inclined (or who just want to make noise by banging on thrift store objects). I'll let the press release address that matter:

Thrift Store Music Competition offers unusual challenges
Musicians will create original songs using only instruments found at second-hand shops
INDIANAPOLIS – April 4, 2010. The nonprofit cultural organization Big Car has created an experimental twist on musical competitions with Thrift Store Music happening at Central Library later this month as part of the Made for Each Other series of interactive, community-building programs.
On April 28, teams will draw random thrift stores where they’ll shop for the instruments used to create original songs. Limited to budgets of $25, teams will likely be challenged to get creative in choosing items to play. Maybe they’ll get lucky and find an old Casio keyboard or out-of-tune toy guitar. Or maybe they’ll find no regular instruments and have to bang on glass jars or shake baby rattles. Either way, the musicians will take a few days to write new songs and then perform them in 10-minute sets at Central Library on May 2. Winners will be chosen that day — with prizes going to top performers.
Interested bands or individual musicians must be present on April 28 at 7 p.m. to draw their thrift stores. Single musicians will be randomly paired to form teams as needed. Bands can have up to four members with a minimum of two. The competition is limited to 10 bands. Neutral music experts from the community will serve as judges with audience vote factoring into the final tally.

Quick calendar Info:

What: Thrift Store Music Competition
When: 7 p.m. on April 28 for drawing; 2 p.m. on May 2 for performance
Where: Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair St.
How much: Free for the public to attend; $25 per team for instruments
Info:; (317) 450-6630

Have at it and have fun making noise, folks!


Fountain Square Music This Weekend

Radio Radio has a busy weekend planned, starting with tonight's CD release party for TJ Reynolds and the Freehand Orchestra. You saw him on the cover of this week's NUVO, perhaps? Tomorrow, Musical Family Tree showcases Gentleman Caller, Early Day Miners, Elsinore, and Accordions. Sunday, check out the California Guitar Trio - three guitarists drawing from all manner of musical genres for their set. I saw them open for King Crimson, and that should tell you a lot about what they're about and who you can expect to sit next to at the show.

For the more indie-rock-minded folks, the Vollrath has The Interiors, Everything Now!, Deadbeats, and Tribella tonight. Tomorrow, they bring in They've Shot Flanigan and Born Empty.

Big Car features a music and art extravaganza tonight with Heladro Negro, Julianna Barwick, Epstein, Kid Primitive Family, Berry, Abner Trio and Jookabox.

The Naptown has Greg O'Haver and New Augusta tonight. It's folky and such.

It's Swing Night with Twilite Nites at the Fountain Square Theater tonight, and there's live jazz at Maria's Pizza and the Brass Ring Lounge, I believe. Enjoy the weekend.

EDIT: How could I forget Rory Block at the Wheeler Community Arts Theater Saturday night? For shame, me . . .

Also, there's D. Mark and Jules playing bluegrass at Calvin Fletcher Coffee tonight.


New IMN Podcast and Recording Details

The new IMN podcast is up - download it or listen at the site or on WFYI HD2 Thursdays at 4pm.

5 songs in about 5 hours (including setup time) - not a bad recording session for the Playboy Psychonauts. It helps that all of the tracks were recorded live (two or three tracks per song), but I think we've got some good material. Now we mix and master and add pixie dust and such to see what happens. How much is pixie dust these days, anyway?

Yes, there is cowbell.