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Sluggo's, Pensacola's venerable Vegan restaurant/bar/live music venue is trying to make the local institution even better, but is gonna need some help to do it

If you enjoy our programs, you likely know what a worthy cause this is and would enjoy an even better experience going there in the future. So check out the link above and consider sending a few dollars their way.

Sluggo's hopes to have the upgrades and renovatin' done before the legendary Jonathan Richman hits town in a few weeks.

-Tim/Left of the Dial

Left Of The DIal 6/29/15: John Agnello Day!

Mr. Agnello graciously tuned in live! And he made a request! 

If you have no idea who the man is or what he does, here's where you find that out

He also did a great interview for Marc Maron's WTF podcast (you know, the one that President Obama did as well).

After you review all that, hit our "on demand" section and listen to an hour- long snippet of the man's 30+ year career. He and I would both love it if you did.

-tim/left of the dial

A Different Kind Of Eruption: Edward Van Halen Speaks

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Pretty disappointing to read that Edward Van Halen, an iconic, gigantic influence on my guitar playing (and thousands of others'), has become a supremely bitter, old crank.

And not even understandably bitter, either: in this interview with Chuck Klosterman for Billboard, the guy who named his band after himself, is hailed as one of his instrument's true geniuses and innovators, and is praised far and wide for hours of riffs that thrill most rock music fans (while annoying the shit out of 21st century Guitar Center employees), somehow believes he isn't getting enough credit.

Here he is, redefining "begrudgingly" while acknowledging the brand-strengthening work of David Lee Roth:

I think it’s now built into people’s DNA, that it just won’t be Van Halen if it’s not Roth’s voice.

So it's not David Lee Roth's contribution to those 6 records, it's really just biology, right?

And from that concession, there's this 180 degree turn, where a guy who's universally credited with an advancement in musicianship and aesthetic can't stand for anyone else to be seen, heard, and/or recognized. Here's his take on the widely acclaimed contributions of Van Halen's original bassist/background vocalist, Michael Anthony:

Every note Mike ever played, I had to show him how to play. Before we’d go on tour, he’d come over with a video camera and I’d have to show him how to play all the parts.

Mike’s voice is like a piccolo trumpet. But he’s not a singer. He just has a range from hell. Mike was just born with a very high voice. I have more soul as a singer than he does. And you know, people always talk about Mike’s voice on Van Halen songs, but that’s a blend of Mike’s voice and my voice. It’s not just him.

Okay. While the exact amount of credit due Anthony's vocals is sorta debatable, I guess (mostly because most live Van Halen footage does show EVH at a microphone at appropriate times, right along with Anthony), why has Van Halen never stood up or even metioned his vocal contributions before, or protested Anthony's lion's share of the kudos?

And as to Mike Anthony's bass prowess, or lack thereof? I call total and utter bullshit on this point, and if I'm siding with Sammy Hagar on anything related to Van Halen, I must be right in my convictions. I'm confident that EVH's jealousy and overwhelming bitterness is what's writing his revisionist history. I'm a musician (and one who's spent most of his small performing career as a bassist), not even a world-class one, and I can't accept this for one second. Van Halen got signed (i.e.got invested in), and got wildly famous and filthy rich in an age where a record label/industry conglomerate wouldn't hesitate to tell even the best band, "lose that bass player. He's already balding and can't even play his instrument." Given the ambitions of the Van Halen brothers and David Lee Roth, I can't imagine them keeping such a weak link once a major-label deal was dangled in front of them if Anthony was such a musical invalid.

I really think that Edward Van Halen, as distinguished among his peers as he is, has developed a profound ego complex in the last 10 years of Van Halen The Band's diminished presence in conversation about Rock Music. As much as I adore his body of work as a guitarist, I recognize that I am likely in a slight minority of All Van Halen Fans Ever that place his individual brilliance only just ahead of the other components of the band (even Hagar; hey, he had his moments.). And I think EVH can recognize that, too.

He just can't accept it now, like he clearly did accept it back in the salad days of '75-'95, when it was hot-and-cold running money, drugs, airplanes, and US Festivals.

(And not to malign the vocal stylings of either Edward Van Halen or Michael Anthony, neither of you ever had 10% of the soul David Lee Roth had on those records. You did probably keep pace with Sammy Hagar, though.)

C'mon, Edward. Isn't owning a giant percentage of the hearts of today's guitarists, along with that percentage of a music-appreciation society that doesn't necessarily know that there's six strings on a guitar, enough for you? Enough to recognize and not wildly diminish the contributions of a few gifted men?

Steve Earle & The Dukes/The Mastersons - Vinyl Music Hall, May 15 2015

...a little bit late, but...

Confession: I'm probably never going to Hangout Fest (unless the Replacements show up). I have never been a fan of gigantic crowds (went to one Lollapalooza in my twenties, loved it but never returned), parking three miles away, or spending a half-day in Southern Charm, a.k.a. withering humidity. Give me a great band (or solo artist, too) in a dive bar or similarly close-quarters venue, and I am at peace.
(End pensive musings)

So, as Friday Night At The Hangout Festival was managing to go on without me, I went to see Steve Earle & The Dukes at Vinyl Music Hall. Funny thing is, I had forgotten about the show happening at all. While I'd observed over the years that Earle was plugging away on the road and releasing album after album of well-reviewed new material, I hadn't actively listened to anything he'd done in quite awhile. I received a few texts from my old friend and landlord (and roots-music lover, supporter of Radio Free Pensacola) Marshall, first asking me if I was on the way down to see the show, then imploring me to try to make it down if at all possible. "Why not," I'm thinking. If I'm not going to throw my (self-awarded) Music Afficianado ass into Hangout Fest (with its admittedly great lineup), the least I can do is drive fifteen minutes downtown to see one of America's most consistent and provocative songwriters along with an undoubtedly stellar band (more on that in a bit).

I will be eternally grateful to Marshall for pushing the right buttons, and drawing me out that night. This was one of the best shows I've ever seen.

From his first sung line, through Copperhead Road, Guitar Town, and his show-ending covers of Hey Joe (during which I tweeted, enraptured, "When did Built To Spill show up?") and encore Wild Thing, what stood out as a highlight for me was how Earle's voice has held up, midway through his fourth decade in touring and recording. When someone says an artist could "sing the phone book and hear applause when he's done", Steve Earle's one of the people they're talking about.

And not to be outdone, the current lineup of The Dukes came to play as well. I don't know that I've ever seen an instrument-per-band-member count that high. And the four Dukes (and Earle, too) definitely came to play all of them and play them well. From what looked like a full-guitar-sized mandolin, vintage Fenders and Martins, to a fiddle through a guitarist's pedalboard, there was no sound beyond the reach of the Dukes. I can't say enough about violinist/guitarist/stringed-things/vocalist Eleanor Whitmore (also of openers the Mastersons with husband/fellow Duke Chris Masterson), and her massive tones and phrasing throughout. What came out of her alternated between what sounded like a frenzied slide guitarist or just lush-but-loud My Bloody Valentine-like sheets of hum. Her presence in the duet My Baby's Just As Mean As Me was a true standout in a night full of 'em. Also in the band? Current, and long-term, Dukes drummer Will Rigby, of the DBs and Alex Chilton fame. He's still pounding away, with tasteful authority.

Earle led his band through a long, and unwaveringly tight set, briefly stopping for air after his (arguably) most well-known song, the contrabandit anthem Copperhead Road, a little early in the set list so, "all you people on parole and probation can take off now and get home before your ankle monitor goes off and you get that phone call." He's still got that barb-wire, ready to swing.

All in all, I wouldn't have traded a night like this for a night at any other festival this year. I can't imagine this fish will ever want to be that far out of his comfy waters again. Check out Steve Earle's latest, Terraplane, and if you see he's coming to your town (or back to this one), I strongly encourage you to go, to see an American Original (as unoriginal as that title is).
 

 

 

My Sweet Summer: The Best of The Hangout Beach, Music and Arts Festival by Canaan Lamp

Every year on the third weekend of May, Gulf Shores gets taken over by music lovers all over the world at The Hangout Beach, Music and Arts Festival. The festival, now its 6th incarnation, entertains a variety of genres and includes multiple performers around the musical landscape. Here's the best of what happened over the weekend:

Foo Fighters


The Foo Fighters returned to the Hangout Fest for the second time in fest history, and the festival made a wise choice in bringing back the rock giants for the second time. The band's set included hits from across the band's 8 studio albums and numerous cover songs, including live set staple "Young Man Blues", and new covers to the band's reptiore, including "Miss You" (as made famous by The Rolling Stones) and "Under Pressure" (Queen/David Bowie). Having seen the Foo Fighters twice and being extremely familiar with their live set and discography, I was expecting to have my mind blown and it surely was. The Foos produced a show that gave 110% and then some, because that's what the Foo Fighters do; they go out and proceed to melt every single face in the audience and let them dance. The festival also featured guest spots from members of Zac Brown Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. There was energy the entire show, even on their slower tunes. The band was the perfect way to kick off the festival, and set the tone for what was an absolutely perfect weekend.

Future Islands


Greenville, North Carolina's Future Islands made huge waves after their appearances on Late Show with David Letterman, and the band continued to ride the massive tidal wave of those appearances and the success of their latest album Singles at Hangout. Samuel Herring is the best front man in music today, no if's, and's or but's about it. He and the band brought the ruckus to the main stage in the mid-afternoon slot, playing songs across their discography including the hit "Seasons (Waiting on You" that they performed on Letterman that led to their acclaim.) Herring's use of dancing, growling vocals and connection with the audience was captivating and extremely pleasing, giving the entire crowd a great show. If they keep up this type of growth, Future Islands will be around for a long time and maybe could be headlining these things in a short period of time.

Beck

Beck is an icon, a legend in the business of making unique, rock/hip-hop/folk tunes to massive critical acclaim and the praise of all of his fans who have been with him from the first time they heard the opening riff of "Loser". His set as the final act of the festival on Sunday night was a career spanning spectacle, going for the kill early with "Devil's Haircut", "Black Tambourine", "Loser" and "The New Pollution" kicking off the set. Beck performed full of energy, leading the crowd in countless sing alongs, hand waving, jumping and screaming, never losing a beat as he flowed thru his vast stream-of-consious like lyrics. There were doubters about whether or not Beck could carry a night of the festival, but his performance put all of his critics to rest. Beck was absolutely perfect and was the best way to end the fest.

The Beach and the Weather

Many fans of the Hangout Fest were worried heading into the weekend, after the weather forecast called for extensive storms, some of which featured chances of rain at 80%. However, the need for rain jackets and worry was unwarrented as outside of a brief sprinkle by the main stage during Spoon's performance, the weather was wonderful and the cloud cover provided cooler temperatures. The beach was also in tip top shape, as we know that the beach and the Gulf of Mexico are really the top attraction at every Hangout.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band


New Orleans' own Preservation Hall Jazz Band had by far the busiest weekend of all the bands at Hangout. After coming in with DJ Windows 98 (aka Win Bulter of Arcade Fire) and then performing the song "In The Clear" with the Foo Fighters, the band performed their own set of jazz classics at the BMI Stage themselves on Saturday night. On top of all that, they performed an additional set on the Salt Life Stage on Sunday, featuring numerous guests including Jim James of My Morning Jacket, Beats Antique and Lake Street Dive among others. Preservation Hall had some of the most work but also seemingly the most fun at the fest, and I surely do hope they end up back on a Hangout bill in the near future in some sort of capacity.

And there were so many other fanastic acts over the weekend, like Frank Turner and the Sleeping Souls, Jenny Lewis, Spoon, Jeff the Brotherhood, Deap Valley, TV on the Radio and more.

Hangout 2015 was a total success! I can't wait to see who the fest will bring next year! Hangout is always a top notch, fantastic festival that is always well run and extremely professional. Every festival has it's bumps and bruises, especially with security, but once inside, Hangout was once again one of the most fun times of the year.

The staff of the Lost Sandal would like to thank Hangout for the incredible hospitality we recieved while in the media area and around the festival. It was a pleasure to attend and we hope to return next year.


Crystal Castles Carry On Without Alice Glass

There's been a lot of talk lately about Crystal Castles regarding Alice Glass leaving the duo, her statements regarding the reasoning behind her leavingEthan Kath (the duo's other half) responding to Glass' statements, and Glass responding to Kath responding to Glass. 

In case you don't actually feel like reading through the reporting done by Pitchfork (shouts out), here's the gist. Alice felt creatively suffocated so she left to go start her own thing. She expressed her sentiments and reasoning for doing so in an interview and then her and Ethan got into a passive aggressive argument about what was meant by what was said by both parties. 

So, fast-forward to right now and we have a new song from Crystal Castles (just Ethan, no Alice). Here's that song. 

Ethan says the song was released to let the fans know that he will carry on the name and more music is in the near future. Further, he recently did an interview with Pitchfork addressing the back-and-forth between himself and former bandmate Alice, stating that he truly does "want her to do well and be happy" and that he is excited for her new music as a solo artist. 

In the aforementioned interview Glass did with i-D, she said her new music will sound "like a kitten eating their hoarding owners after they die." So there's that. Unfortunately, no music has been released, or even teased (outside of these descriptors), yet.

Regarding the female vocalist featured on the new Crystal Castles track, "Frail", all Kath will reveal is her first name. It's Edith. 

We'll do our best to stay on top of any new developments with Crystal Castles or Glass' solo project but you can follow Crystal Castles and Alice Glass on Twitter if you wanna try and beat us to the chase. Their Twitter handles are @CRYSTALCASTLESS and @ALICEGLASS. Ethan has a personal one too, but doesn't appear to ever make any posts. You can follow him anyway if you want. His handle is @ETHANKATH. 

Check out www.crystalcastles.com to stock up on merch and get links to all their different social media accounts.

TEAM* Release Music Video For "Just Like You (When You Turn Out The Lights)"

TEAM*, an indie rock outfit forming out of Dallas, TX back  in 2013 , just released the music video for one of the songs from their latest album, Good Morning Bad Day. As this post is being typed, the video still has less than 200 views. That means you can avoid being a band waggoner! You are on the forefront of all that is cool! 

Pick up the album on iTunes or Bandcamp

Check out the music video for "Just Like You (When You Turn Out The Lights)" and check the list of tour dates below the video to see if and when they're playing near you!



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