Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It Ain't What They Call Rock and Roll

Some are going to say this post is off topic. I am going to strongly disagree. This post is about the comic strip artist Ron Ruelle.  Full disclosure requires me to tell you that I have known Ron since we were in 3rd grade together. However, any potential conflict of interest is assuaged by the fact that I think he is an arrogant S.O.B. (just kidding*)

So, why is a post about a comic strip artist, whose characters have included various animals and angst ridden guys, not off topic for a music blog?  Well there a number of reasons... for one, the aforementioned artist is one of the significant influences on my musical life. In high school, he wrote record reviews for our school's award winning (no kidding) newspaper.  It was through his reviews that I was first introduced to X and other cool bands.

During college, we stayed in touch and traded notes on the latest discoveries in the world of music.  In those days (oh so many years ago) one had to work hard to find out about obscure bands. (i.e. no internet facebooky stuff). 

After college, Ron and I eventually both ended up in Nashville and we could frequently be found in front of the stage at cool shows...

As for his comics...  You can find information about and BUY the books he's published here:

So yeah and rock and roll - he named a cockroach character in his college strip after the lead singer of the Germs. His syndicated strip At the Zu (umlauts intended) featured a slacker lion with a Kurt Cobain hair-do.

Ron's college strip - Stoner's Aquarium was ground-breaking and pretty darn funny.  While in college, he began doing a recurring strip for the Knoxville News Sentinel's college insert called Stoopid Zu (there should be umlauts here as well, but I'm too lazy to figure out how to add them.). Stoner's Aquarium is available on his site.

During 1991 and 1992, when Ron and I were not perusing the aisle's of local record stores.  He was cranking out some incredible ideas. In 1995 he began writing a daily strip called At the Zu (he hated the name just like Charles Schultz hated the name Peanuts). That strip ran from 1995-1998.  He then continued on his own site as Darwin & Company.  You can grab the collected At the Zu and Darwin & Company strips at his site or here:






A later strip - Food, Shelter, Cable written under the name Rex Silo (so now you know) was more adult-oriented.  The main character of that strip has kind of a Burris Weems/Holden Caulfield quality - I think.

Most recently, Ron has been participating in the annual Denver 24 Hour Comics Challenge.  You can purchase years 2 through 4 of 24 Hour Comics here: 

Ron Ruelle on Amazon

This fall Ron published a compilation of his contributions to the comics challenge which you can get here:



So, do yourself a favor - check him out.  It's only rock and roll, but I like it.



*not really**




*****so not... wait what was I saying?....

Wednesday Morning Music Shuffle - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and Games without Frontiers Mix

Don't ask me about the subtitle.. my mind just running off at odd angles.

I was feeling kind of "off" walking up the hill this morning. I don't know if it was from the Nitrous Oxide or from listening to David Foster Wallace on CD....



(click  album cover to purchase and download the album Hands on the Stereo containing the song Can't Stop Kids Like Us)

Hands on the Stereo are a Hardcore/Punk band from New Jersey.  Can't Stop Kids Like Us was the first song in my mix from this a.m.




(click album cover to download No Symentry a 2010 album by Those Mockingbirds)

Those Mockingbirds were band of the week a few back.  Now they are up for Band of the Year (go vote for someone if you haven't already - Go)  Today's song is an instrumental called Mountain Slang II which is not on the album referenced above, but on their new EP Fa Sol La which is available for free on their website.


(Use the widget above to download Untetherd by Gabriel featuring Breath and Roses - you can and should leave a tip if you are able)

Today our third song is another track off the Untethered Album by Gabriel.  This one is called Breath and Roses . Which you can get via  If you haven't checked out Noisetrade - do it now.

(click album cover to purchase and download the Gone Blind EP by Porcelain Raft)

Porcelain Raft is from London. Today's fourth song was an interesting cover of Nirvana's Come as You Are which is not on the Gone Blind EP but is available for download at Sterogum.


(click album cover to purchase and download Galaxies and Such by Jillian Edwards featuring the song July & June)

Jillian Edwards is a Texas-based indie/folk artist. This is the first I've heard from her, and I'm already a fan.  July & June is the fifth and final song on today's mix.



Nirvana - In Utero

Nirvana - In Utero

Matching folio with 12 songs, including: All Apologies * Heart-Shaped Box * Serve The Servants * and more.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Morning Music Shuffle - Blitz Attack Mix

November is winding down.  Here at Ear to the Ground, we like reload the MP3 almost every Monday night with the freshest new and new to us cuts. We gather all these new songs into a playlist by month and then every Tuesday, we shuffle through that playlist and present the result.  Here then is a shuffle of songs added during the month of November 2011.

Born A Nightmare by You and Me
(Listen and Download Born A Nightmare at Sound Cloud0 
You and Me get bluesy with Born A Nightmare off their self-titled LP.

(click to purchase and download this track)
Description of a Fool by A Tribe Called Quest
"fool - defined in webster's
open up the book, read it read it
turn the page, see what it says
read it to me will you please"

(Use the aboce widget to get a hold of his new album via Noisetrade)
Love Has Lost Its Flair - Gabriel from the Untethered LP.   Gabriel is Gabriel Redding of the Redding Brothers. 

(click on album cover to purchase and download this track)

Penobska Oakwalk - Quilt

Affliliated Links:

A Tribe Called Quest: A Video Anthology A Tribe Called Quest: A Video Anthology
Fronted by Q-Tip, A Tribe Called Quest was one of the most popular and original groups in 1990s hip-hop. This collection from Jive Records collects 11 classic music videos by the trio. A Tribe Called Quest: The Video Anthology includes clips for "Check the Rhime," "Award Tour," "Scenario," "I Left My Wallet in El Segundo," and several others. ~ Matthew Tobey, Rovi

Click here for the Best Buy Homepage

Monday, November 28, 2011

Monday Morning Music Shuffle - Cool Yer Warm Jets Mix

A cold rainy morning with snow* forecast.  Stumbling into a full week after a long, long weekend.  Some toasty warm songs to ease my pain:

"You think you're bad..."
(click on album cover to purchase and download the album Kala by M.IA)
Song of the Day #1: 4 the People on the Boat by M.I.A. (feat. Diplo)

"I see through everything..."
(click on album cover to purchase and download Numbers with Wings by The Bongos)
Song of the Day #2: Numbers with Wings by The Bongos

"These are the records I buy!"
(click on album cover to purchase and download Slap Dash for No Cash by Art Brut)
Song of the Day #3: Slap Dash for No Cash by Art Brut

"'s filthy, dirty brown..."
(click on album cover to purchase and download Cumberland River by Dan Baird)
Song of the Day #4: Cumberland River by Dan Baird

*to those in more Northern climates, the predicted snow is Tennessee snow.  Or as you know it, no snow.
Affiliated Links:
Art Brut Live at Schubas 11/15/2005 Art Brut Live at Schubas 11/15/2005
Art Brut Live at Schubas 11/15/2005

Dan Baird & Homemade Sin Dan Baird & Homemade Sin
Dan Baird has made a habit of working with cool and talented rock & roll folks, and the first proper album from Dan Baird & Homemade Sin offers a lineup that should impress anyone with a taste for good and greasy hard rock boogie -- Jason & the Scorchers

Bands of the Week 2011 - A Recap - Part 3 - Weeks 18-27

 This is it.  The final recap after reading this entry and the previous 2 recaps you will be a well informed voter, which means you will need to vote for your favorite band at the Reader's Poll.

Weel 18: The Hunting Accident - are a Los Angeles based indie rock band made up of former members of the bands Arlo and Piebald. Here's a video for a song we love called Hot Drum:

Week 19: Ben Semmens - is a Welsh singer-songwriter - He writes deeply, beautiful songs.  Recently, his fans help fund the recording of a new album.  Ben spent several weeks recording in the US (on a island off the coast of Georgia) where at same point he may or may not have swam naked in the Atlantic. Here he is performing Wake Me Up:

Week 20: The Fauns - are an indie, pop, shoegaze band from Bristol UK. I'll be honest, if pressed, I couldn't tell you what shoegaze means. I just know I like The Fauns. I guess introspective yet powerful would be my best attempt.  Here's a video for a song called Lovestruck:

Week 21: Two Seasons - are a Toronto based Americana, Pop, Folk band. They made an EP called Made in Basements.  They play catchy and rich songs. I couldn't find a video so here's a Soundcloud track we love called I Wouldn't Ask (For Anything to Change):

I Wouldn't Ask (For Anything To Change) by Two Seasons Music

Week 22: Themselves - are a rock band from Leicester UK. I promised myself I would not make an Adrian Mole reference as I'm sure that is getting irritating.  Damn.... Themselves are a rhythmic intensity and they know how to rock.  Here's a live video for your perusal:

Week 23: The Nearly Deads - are a Nashville based Alternative Rock band. They play high energy rock and have a powerful female lead singer. They are doing a free show this Friday at a new club in Nashville called The National Underground - so if you're around Nashville check them out. Meanwhile check out this:

Week 24: Taco Land - is a Texas based band - the brain child of Joseph Russell. Taco Land is everything you would expect of a Texas-based band called Taco Land and nothing at all you would expect from a Texas-based band called Taco Land.  They have a new album called Heart of Texas.  I couldn't find a video - so here is a Soundcloud track - it's the title track from Heart of Texas:
Heart of Texas by Taco Land

Week 25: Brother Howe - is a country punk band from Michigan.  They know their country and they know their punk.  Brother Howe speak truth and cover Johnny Cash.  Check out this video for the standout track Heaven is my Retirement Plan:

Week 26: Those Mockingbirds - are a New Jersey based Alternative Rock/Grunge band.  The band features some unique sounds for a grunge band, and they write really great songs. Here a video for a track we love called Coast to Coast:

Week 27: Don Ryan -is a New York/New Jersey based singer-songwriter.  Think Tom Waits meets something else really cool.  I think I've raved enough about Don Ryan - naw! He's really good.  Check out this video for the amazing song, This Town:

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bands of the Week 2011 - Part II - Weeks 9-17

We continue our recap of the 2011 Bands of the Week.  Reminder: Please be sure to vote in the First Annual Reader's Poll for Band of the Year.

Week 9:  The Mobbs - an honest to goodness - British band with a punk attitude.  They play it fast and nasty and it makes me want to walk around saying "bloody hell" all the time.  Well here check out this video:

Week 10: Mikey Wax - is a singer and songwriter - Long Island born.  He recently released a new album Constant Motion which hit #6 on the iTunes Singer-Songwriter chart. Here's a video for his song In Case I Go Again which has been viewed over a half a million times on You Tube:

Week 11: Elika - are an indie band from Brooklyn.  Their sound features astonishing vocals set atop a complex yet lovely combination of guitar, synth, bass and drum machine. Check out Elika's video for their song Summer here:

Week 12: Clepto - is a punk band with a definite Middle Eastern influence.  The band formed in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2000 and has since relocated to Canada. The play it hard and nasty and the music is not for the faint of heart. For the unfaint of heart it's a jolly good time....  Check out this video:  NOTE:  I screwed up on the reader's poll and mispelled the band's name. I know the band's name. It was a typo.  So if you like Clepto please vote for Cleto.

Week 13: Simon Fagan - is an Irish singer/songwriter.  He has a unique voice and a great sound.  Look for a new EP coming soon.  Meanwhile check out this video of one of our favorite songs, Something I Don't Know

Week 14: The Walla Recovery - a cello-folk rock quartet from Texas.  They write moving and beautiful songs.  Here is a video of The Walla Recovery performing a cover of Coldplay's Til Kingdom Come:

Week 15: Lost Romance - are a New Jersey based rock band.  They play expansive music which lives up to the vast history of New Jersey music.  Here's a favorite of ours, Top of the World, performed live at The Saint in Asbury Park:

Week 16: Sealight - is a French/Australian band.  Their sound combines acoustic and electronic elements to make a beautiful soundscape.  They recently released their debut EP - Dead Letters which was reviewed here at Ear to the Ground.  Here is the title track from the EP:

Week 17: The Jinxes - are a melodic folk-pop band from Monterey, California. They have a rich creative spirit and a ear for sweet melodies.  Here is a video of a song, we love called Migration:

That's it for now.... Stay tuned... Part III is coming soon. And be sure to vote.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday Morning Music Shuffle - Lead Balloon Mix

Thankful for all of you and for the great music that has come my way this year.

Dreary and drizzly morning even though the forecast says a 0% chance or rain. I guess drizzle is not considered rain?
Another shuffle of the November 2011 playlist:

I'm Real Punk by Brother Howe.   The one where BOTW alums Brother Howe demonstrate that they are in fact Real Punk.  Put on your slam dancing shoes and slam dance your blues away.
(click on the Rock 'n Roll Country album cover to purchase and download I'm Real Punk by Brother Howe @

VCR by The Antlers.  The one where The Antlers - the Brooklyn-based indie rock band - covers The xx - the English indie pop band. Let's go watch things on VCR...
(click on the (together) album cover to purchase and download VCR (The xx Cover) by The Antlers @

Walking For You by The Avett Brothers.  The one where transportation won't hold the Avetts back from their baby...
(click on the Carolina Jubilee album cover to purchase and download Walking to You by The Avett brothers @

Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 by Roger Waters. The one where Roger Waters covers Pink Floyd.  Wait, is it really a cover when a solo artist does a song by his old band?  Growing up the son of a college professor, I'm sure it was disturbing for him to hear me singing this song...
(click on the in the flesh album cover to purchase and download Another Brick in the Wall Part 2 by Roger Waters @

Don't forget to vote for the Band of the Year.

Affiliated Links:
Track Listing: 1. Intro2. VCR3. Crystalised 4. Islands 5. Heart Skipped A Beat 6. Fantasy 7. Shelter 8. Basic Space 9. Infinity 10. Night Time 11. Stars

The Avett Brothers The Avett Brothers
We believe it is important to preserve what makes music special, and make it easy to craft listening experiences. At MOG, browse millions songs and play them instantly. Or just turn on radio where you can stop and replay songs. You can also create playlists for any occasion, and even download songs to your mobile. We are dedicated to employing the cleanest but most powerful technology so you can enjoy music as much as ever.

'Roger Waters The Wall Live'  2010 Tour-Toronto Event Tee 'Roger Waters The Wall Live' 2010 Tour-Toronto Event Tee
This Toronto event specfic tee reads 'Roger Waters the Wall Live' on front. The back lists the three dates of the shows and reads 'You're Just Another Brick in the Wall Toronto Air Canada Centre'. There are a limited quantity of these tees.

Bands of the Week 2011 - A Recap - Part 1 - Weeks 1-8

Here is more information about the Bands of the Week for 2011:

Week 1:  Maxim Ludwig & the Santa Fe Seven - California based Rock band  - Appeared at this year's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco and has earned a spot at this years SXSW Festival in Austin. Check out the video of a song we like, Stacy C'mon:

Week 2: Stomacher - is a San Francisco based Rock band. They play atmospheric, sometimes dark yet melodic music. They recently had a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund their next album which is currently in production.  Check out the video for Untitled/Dark Divider from their Sentimental Education album:

Week 3: Redding Brothers - is a Nashville based indie band. Unlike the Doobie Brothers or Cary Brothers, The Redding Brothers are actually brothers named Redding. The band once wrote, recorded and released a song a week for one whole year.  Check out a live video of their song  Solid :

Week 4: World Service Project - is a London based - Jazz/Experimental/Punk Band. Here is a recent video of their performace at the London Jazz Festival:

Week 5: You and Me - are Val and James from Montreal Canada.  They have been making music for 10 years.  They play Folksy, Pop, Bluesy, Rock music.  Here is a widget with their self-titled album:

Week 6: The Alternates -are a Los Angeles based indie rock band.  They are an exciting band that I expect to hear much more from.  Front man, Spencer Livingston recently released a song called Occupy Wall Street.  Here's a track we like called The Modern Way.

Week 7: Ubiquity Machine - hail from Arlington, Virginia.  Back when I named them band of the week, I didn't know anything about them except that I really liked some of the music I was hearing.  They list their genre on Facebook as: AltIndiePopRockSkronkDeathPolkaDancercize which I love.  Here is their sublimely lovely international smash hit, A Beautiful Girl:
01 A Beautiful Girl by Ubiquity Machine

Week 8: Inner City Elegance - are Canadian with a connection to Brazil.  They are a honest to f**k ROCK band.  Don't believe me? Check out their latest video - just released November 13.  It's called Swearing Like a Sailor:



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday Morning Music Shuffle - As You Were (We Are) Mix

Calm before storms - morning routine - saying things and writing words and hoping it all doesn't get away.  We are lovers in dangerous times... for what it's worth... I can't get no satisfaction but I if I try sometimes I just might get what I need. Sometimes you can't make it on your own...

I added 23 new songs to the MP3 player this week.  58 total so far for November. Here is a random sample of those 58 songs:

Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars

(Click on picture to purchase and download the Barton Hollow version)
Today, I heard a live version of this song from a live album I got from Noisetrade.

Single Ladies (Put a RIng On It) by Beyonce

click on album cover to purchase and download song)
I know what you're thinking - Beyonce? But, she is Sasha Fierce!

Undone (The Sweater Song) by Weezer (as perfomed by BOTW alums Brother Howe).
(click on the album cover to purchase and download Brother Howe's version of The Sweater song originally done by weezer.)
Brother completely Undo - um come undone on this killer version of the Weezer classic.
In a Razor Town by Jason Isbell

(Click on album cover to purchase and dowmload this song)
Former DBT member now one of the most exciting voices on the Americana scene.  A stand out track from Sirens in the Ditch.

Body and Soul by Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse

Regardless of anything else, Amy Winehouse had prime chops, and here she goes toe to toe with a legendary crooner on this remake of the 1930 song.

Check out some of our affiliates

Beyonce: The Beyonce Experience - Live [Blu-ray] Beyonce: The Beyonce Experience - Live [Blu-ray]
Beyonce: The Beyonce Experience captures a performance by the Dreamgirls star at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The setlist includes solo hits alongside some of her most well-known work with Destiny's Child including "Survivor." ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
During his time with {$the Drive-By Truckers}, {$Jason Isbell} always sported the least grizzled voice of the bunch, a surprisingly radio-ready baritone that sounded smoother than {$Patterson Hood}'s sandpaper croon and more streamlined than {$Mike Cooley

Amy Amy Amy: The Amy Winehouse Story Amy Amy Amy: The Amy Winehouse Story
Author Nick Johnstone unravels the life and career of one of Britain's most brilliant yet doomed stars. Amy Amy Amy tracks Winehouse's erratic journey to fame from her North London Jewish family home, detailing her meteoric rise to stardom, the two albums that catapulted her to the top and her death in 2011. Her well publicized problems with drugs, anorexia, bulimia and suspected self-harm kept her in the headlines, always threatening to obscure her undiminished singing talent. Amy Amy Amy redresses the imbalance, giving full measure to Winehouse's talent while offering an honest account of her multiple personal crises.