29 January 2010

DOWNLOAD: FüD (food)- FüDLAND (foodland)



FüD (food) was Mick McMick and Orange Stuff. Their story involves kitchen fires, kangaroo meat, broken legs, a coal truck, more kitchen fires, Taco Bell, gay bath houses, Cocoon, and more kitchen fires. Until around 2002, when FüD (food) came to exist with Mick McMick on the Casio keyboard and theremin, and Orange Stuff on makeshift drums and trash can. It was then that songs like "All You Do Is Set Around and Eat That Chex Mix Anymore, You Don't Even Eat Real Food," "Robin WIlliams Jackin' Off In a Cup of Tea," and "My Butts A' Bleedin!!! I'll Call Ya Back Later" were born.

Hailing from Bloomingrose, West Virginia (look it up), and caped in brightly-colored bed sheets, a mask and fake beard, FüD (food) took the region by storm with their loud and rambunctious lives shows and hard-not-to-sing-along-to anthems (including others like "Popeye's Legs" and "Fuckin' Delicious).

Okay. Okay. It's hard enough to write about this band. Even more difficult to do it in a serious manner. The only point I can make is if you do take music too seriously, turn away now. FüD (food) is a band that can only be enjoyed by those who laugh with and sing along to some of the most senseless, crude and abrasive electro pop rock you'll ever find. Just download it and give it a good listen. I can almost guarantee this blog is the only place you'll find this record on the Internet. Take advantage of it.

Artist: FüD (food).
Album: FüDLAND (foodland).
Year: 2003.
For Fans Of: Frank Zappa, Dead Milkmen, Chumbawumba.


28 January 2010

WATCH: Holden Caulfield - Sorry About Last Night



J.D. Salinger, the legendary author, youth hero and fugitive from fame whose The Catcher in the Rye shocked and inspired a world he increasingly shunned, has died. He was 91.

In a tribute to his life and work, I will post a video of one of West Virginia's most beloved hardcore bands Holden Caulfield - which took it's name from the author's aforementioned novel. Here is an earlier video of one of HC's many shows during the past decade at The Brickhouse in St. Albans. As the band was a revolving door of musicians with Dana White as its only original member, I think I can see Josh McClure and Ryan McCullough Shawn Thumm on guitar, Jason Hanshaw on bass, and Charleston music legend Brian Pauley (Dirt Bear, Shindig, The Provos) on drums.

RIP J.D. Salinger.

26 January 2010

DOWNLOAD: Byzantine - ...And They Shall Take Up Serpents



I'll be honest. I've never listened to this band. I always heard the comparisons to Meshuggah and Pantera, though. I did see them once in Huntington but without vocals because their singer was sick and couldn't sing. It was an entertaining show, nonetheless, and the guys sure could play - and play loud, hard and fast - so the comparisons made sense.

The Chemical Valley between Charleston and Huntington has always been been a breeding ground for heavy metal bands (wait until I post West By God... so good). Byzantine, who formed in 2000 in Charleston, have achieved the most success. They released three albums on Prosthetic Records and toured heavily with the likes of Lamb of God and Shadow's Fall. Their sophomore release, 2005's ...And They Shall Take Up Serpents, I am listening to right now for the first time. I can understand why they have achieved the success they have. They're great musicians and play what they play very well, and despite the aforementioned nods to Meshuggah and Pantera, have carved out their own style of technical "groovy" "progressive thrash" "with the occasional smooth vocals." There are a lot of heavy chug parts and a lot of prog-ish, jazz solos. Above it all, they're statesmen who have done well for themselves and represented West Virginia very well. I also assisted on a portrait session of the band, and they were incredibly friendly guys. They get nothing but respect.

Artist: Byzantine.
Album: ...And They Shall Take Up Serpents.
Year: 2005.
For Fans Of: Messhuggah, Testament, Lamb of God.

* This album of out of stock from Prosthetic, but if you like it, support the band and label by purchasing it on iTunes.

25 January 2010

DOWNLOAD: Jonathan Glen Wood - things you find out about the people you love



Jonathan Glen Wood's musical influences may come from the likes of Merle Haggard, The Band and Hank Williams, but his true inspirations are from his friends, family and his home state of West Virginia (and maybe some whiskey). This singer-songwriter who was born and raised in the rural outskirts of Charleston, now bases himself out of Louisville, Kentucky. He has been writing roots/Americana/country tunes for years and recording them via laptop video to share with his friends. Now with his first official demo release, 2009's 5-song "things you find out about the people you love," he makes his first reach toward a larger fanbase. His songs are the product of an Appalachian upbringing, a sincere love of country and folk music, and life that has left him with stories to share. His voice is rustic and real, and his words are poignant and true. Compared to the collection of broadcasted singles Mr. Wood has begun to amass, this demo is just a small sample of the quality music he is capable of creating. But they are five songs of unfeigned, Appalachian heartspeak that's appeal doesn't stop at the ears of die-hard country music fans.

Artist: Jonathan Glen Wood.
Album: things you find out about the people you love.
Year: 2009.
For Fans Of: The Band. The Felice Brothers. Merle Haggard.


WATCH: The Apprentice



To go along with my last post, here are a couple music videos of songs from The Apprentice's first couple albums, and a live record of "We Were Just 18."

20 January 2010

DOWNLOAD: The Apprentice - An American Portrait



The Apprentice began around 2003 as a solo project by Eric DeLong, who was taking a break from playing in metal-hardcore bands in the Huntington-Ashland, Kentucky area. His first album, The Epic Struggle tasted of the common Dashboard Confessional-inspired acoustic pop emo style of the year. Come 2004, Eric recruited a full band, started playing shows, and began to carve out a more personal sound - taking influence from the artists he cared about such as Johnny Cash and Pedro the Lion. In doing so, he wrote the songs for 2005's An American Portrait - a concept album about "a typical American family dealing with the struggles of living in a culture where making money and a hot body is the pinnacle of life."

Like the emotional ups and downs of the typical family at the heart of the album, the songs of An American Portrait go from reflective and intimate on its opening track "We Were Just Eighteen" to playful and bittersweet like "Cocaine and Whiskey." An American Portrait has proved to be a re-starting block for The Apprentice. It took the band - now full-time and based out of Evansville, Indiana - on its current musical course of an Americana indie pop rock melting pot.

Artist: The Apprentice.
Album: An American Portrait.
Year: 2005.
For Fans Of: Ryan Adams, Pedro the Lion, The National.

* This record is still available for purchase via mp3, so if you like it, buy it, or The Apprentice merchandise from FDRshop.com.

13 January 2010

Q&A: Dana White



EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first of a series of Q&A interviews we will do with people who have made significant contributions to the West Virginia music scene over the years. These interviews will be with the people who played in bands, booked shows, made zines or just went to a lot of shows.

DANA WHITE for over a decade took part in the West Virginia music scene in every way possible. He published the infamous Corn 'Zine zine and Web site. He booked shows. Played in a number of bands. Most importantly, he has introduced hundreds of young people to something that has since become very important in their own lives. It's safe to say he was the single most import person in music in West Virginia in the '00s, but has contributed to the scene over the last three decades in every separate scene in this state.

Where are you from?
I lived in Milton, but then my family relocated to the Charleston area for 10 years. I have now lived in Huntington for the last 7 years.

How long have you been involved in the music scene?
About 17 years.

When did you get into the West Virginia music scene?
I really got into music when I was a teenager. When I lived in Milton, I didn't know anyone that was in a band for the longest time. I met some guys that were in a hair metal/metal cover band, and hung out with them a bit. I went to a few of their shows but I really wanted to see something original. Anything was better than not going to a show at all at that point.
After my family moved to the Charleston area when I was 17 in 1992, I met a few people whose younger siblings went to shows in the second story of an indoor flea market in Nitro. We made fun of them for it, but finally curiosity got to us and we went to check it out. I remember the bands were Freaktent, The Buddhashrooms, and The Provos. It was so much fun to see all these bands that I had never heard and be around all these people that I didn't know, but somehow feel like I was part of something special. It really moved me. I couldn't stop talking about it for the next few days.
Something else that helped me really get into the music scene in West Virginia even more was starting Corn 'Zine. I got the idea from going to Iguana Skateshop in Huntington, when I used to skate. They had a zine called Iguanazine that was just a lot of information about the regional skateboarding scene. I loved it. I talked to a couple of friends when we were on a road trip to Columbus about starting our own zine about music, skateboarding and a random things. We were on the way back home, and trying to think of a name. Someone shouted "Corn 'Zine!" based on a huge, plywood ear of corn at a farmer's market. We all laughed, but it stuck. We had no idea that anyone would ever take us seriously.
We started taking pictures at shows and while we were skating, talking to friends and bands, and writing anything that came to mind. The first issue was 4 pages long, I think. We started typing it up, reviewing CDs, tapes and vinyl, and interviewing bands. We eventually caught the eye of some record labels and started getting music in the mail to review and getting into some shows for free. It took us all over the place, but more importantly, got us in touch more with a lot of killer bands and people here at home. We went online on January 31, 1997. The site was really basic at first but started getting larger as I learned Web programming. There were not even a handful of paper issues of Corn 'Zine once we went online. A few years later, we bought CornZine.com. Just being online was a proud moment, but having our own domain name felt like we had conquered the world.
As time went on, I kept in touch with a lot of friends through Corn 'Zine and kept meeting new people and hearing new bands. I got a unique view of the West Virginia music scene. It was really something special to me that I still hold as one of my greatest accomplishments, even if it was more of a labor of love than anything the last few years.
It really came to me during 2009 that it had been too long since I had updated CornZine. Life had finally stepped up and made it a little too difficult to do it the way it should've been done. With a heavy heart, CornZine.com went offline in September 2009. The final message just read as, "it's done. thank you for the last 14.25 years. my name is dana. good night." I got a little teary watching all the files being deleted from the server. It almost sounds ridiculous, but having that much time, love, friendship and effort poured into something for that long can really affect a person in a lot of awesome ways.

What bands have you played in?
Down To None, Malicious Intent (later known as All For Nothing), Furious Styles, Holden Caulfield and currently Heart Holds True.

Of the bands you have been in, what have been your favorite shows?
Down To None played a show in Sutton, West Virginia, with a bunch of friends' bands, and for some reason everyone in the bands talked about that show as if it were legend. I have no idea what year it was. It was just a lot of fun playing in front of a huge group of people that none of the bands had met and we were all so well received.

The last show at Hyamp was really incredible because of the people there just having so much fun with all the bands. That was in March of 2007. I'll never forget the stage filling up with people and Ian McNemar taking some of the coolest pictures I've ever seen of any band I've ever played with. It was insane. Holden Caulfield's last show in August 2008 in Huntington was the most emotional I've ever been from a show in my life. So many kids had so many wonderful things to say about the night and that band. I really love playing shows, so I hope to do even more than this with Heart Holds True.

What are your favorite bands from West Virginia?
I remember the first West Virginia band that I truly loved was Dirt Bear. I was really into Flood and Seven back then, as well as a slew of other bands. Later on there was Malicious Intent (before I joined) and Chum. The Minus Tide were amazing and still hold up. I love Neutral Agreement and I never felt like they were accepted by the music scene around here the way they should've been. I always loved playing/hanging out with 69 Fingers. Out Of Nowhere was the best punk band I ever heard from our area. Beyond All Hope are awesome. There's so many bands that I've seen and played with that I can't put my finger on one of them. I would probably come down to The Minus Tide, if I had to pick, because I still listen to them the most.

What is your favorite show you've seen in West Virginia?
Again, there's no way to pick for sure. The shows I used to go to at 123 Pleasant St., were so much fun. The time that a few of us booked Saves The Day, New Found Glory and Piebald in Wheeling was one of the most surreal shows I've ever been to because it was on the second floor with windows behind the stage, and a huge snow storm while the bands were playing, and good friends around. The only show I went to at the Lambda Chi house was great because The Beautiful Down always brought the party. Every band (Neutral Agreement, The K-Word, Time & Distance and Feet First) was especially good that night. There were quite a few memorable shows from the Nitro shows way back in the day, and from The Common Grounds in Charleston. There were also a lot of shows that I got to play that were full of great bands and were genuinely a lot of fun to be part of.

What makes the West Virginia scene special for you?
I see people all the time that I became friends with at shows and I wouldn't be in the same place in my life if it weren't for them. I can trace back to 7th grade when I got Metallica's Master Of Puppets to now how my life is affected by that event, small as it may be. It got me into metal, punk and hardcore, which got me going to shows when I was in high school. I always wanted to sing in a band and became friends with a lot of bands. I started a zine. I met more people involved in music. I started a band with friends. Eventually, it led to me going all over the east coast and even meeting my wife. That's freaking awesome. She actually said to me that, "West Virginia is the world's largest small town," and it is. I see and talk to people all over the state that I am connected to through music of all genres. That means the world to me. All of this. It's wonderful and amazing and it is truly what life is about. Without friends and family, we're nothing, and I've made so many friends because of music, some of which feel like family at this point.

12 January 2010

WATCH: Drown Culture, Morgantown, 2008



To go along with yesterday's post, here are some videos of Drown Culture performing live at 123 Pleasant Street in Morgantown.


And here's a video just of David Klug drumming for Drown Culture. (He's that good, he gets his own video.)

11 January 2010

DOWNLOAD: Drown Culture - My Best Advice for Intergalactic Trading



Space. Spaced. Spacey.

These are words often associated with Drown Culture. Started around 2001 by Dallas Campbell as a solo side project to Wheeling-based bands Killed at Camp and The Minus Tide, Drown Culture later caught on as a full band. My Best Advice for Intergalactic Trading from 2002 is the first release from the band, which in all has produced no less than six self-released records. Heavy on keyboards, computer-produced effects, a pulsed snare drum and spooky vocals, the concept of the band is scientific, futuristic and from out of this world. Band members (which have featured former The Minus Tide members Rosie Campbell and David Klug) call themselves "agents" and reading a couple lines from the band's bio gives you an idea:
Led by Agent 3844, a.k.a. Senior Officer Campbell, head of tactics and programming wing of the NAIS, the Drown Culture Group was formed to circumvent the activity of the Tri Beta Federation whose compromising relationship with the GTF facility had rendered the institution open to manipulation by corporate interests. The Drown Culture Group's independent research and technology development has since been made available to various individuals and groups, and has increasingly led them into covert involvement with several pivotal space and planetary battles throughout the galactic empire, particularly the Zebulon sector.
Taking influences from Gary Numan or The Human League, and hinting at contemporaries such as Hot Chip and Daft Punk, Drown Culture doesn't lack in quality where they lack in complete seriousness. Despite the band's part-time nature, Dallas Campbell has formulated over the years a sound and image worth more attention than most sci-fi electro pop rock projects... however many there are.

Artist: Drown Culture.
Album: My Best Advice for Intergalactic Trading.
Year: 2002.
For Fans Of: Gary Numan, Daft Punk, Kraftwerk.


08 January 2010

LOOK: RIP Meuwl


Over the past six years, I have taken a lot of photos of Samuel "Meuwl" Harshbarger. This is how I got to know Sam. With my camera, I would head out on the streets of Morgantown or Charleston with Meuwl and also L-No and B. Rude and take hundreds of portraits.We tried to be serious, but often failed. Those times gave me the opportunity to work with Sam, and understand his charisma and sense of humor. He always made me laugh, and he always made a great subject for photographs. I feel blessed to have gotten the chance to get to known him and to have captured his powerful personality in a number of images. He will always be one of my favorite people to shoot, and I like everyone whose life he has touched, will miss him.

So to close out this week-long tribute to Meuwl, here are some of my favorites of those images over the years.

RIP Meuwl.

DOWNLOAD: Rabble Rousers - Tastes Like Crazy.



Rabble Rousers was the current project of Meuwl and B. Rude at the time of Sam's death. The quality of this record is only one of the many reasons why Sam's death was such a tragedy. I have nothing more to say about it than that.

Artist: Rabble Rousers.
Album: Tastes Like Crazy.
Year: 2009.
For Fans Of: Meuwl, Aesop Rock, Deltron 3030, Diplo.


07 January 2010

WATCH: The Videos of Meuwl

If you search for "Meuwl" on YouTube, you'll find plenty of videos of Sam and collaborators on stage or acting a fool. Meuwl's true talents were best presented live on the mic, and his all-too-disheveled-but-personal aesthetic balanced well with his energetic stage charisma and effortless rhymes. Here are some of those videos to give you an idea of what will be missed.

06 January 2010

DOWNLOAD: Meuwl - Soooooo Hot Right Now




This is the mix tape that started it all. In 2005, Meuwl produced this 25-track album with DJ Charlie Blac. It represents the genius that would come to be over the next four years.

Artist: Meuwl.
Album: Soooooo Hot Right Now.
Year: 2005.
For Fans Of: Blueprint, Aesop Rock, Blackalicious.

DOWNLOAD: Meuwl - Soooooo Hot Right Now.

05 January 2010

LOOK: The Art of Samuel Harshbarger

Photo by Tom Crozier

As Justin Leonard wrote in his introductory piece in a post below, Samuel Harshbarger was also a talented visual artist. and graffiti writer by the moniker PSST. Here are some samples of his work, and also work inspired by him.
Tribute piece by HK:
"Rabble Rousers" by C. Fore

DOWNLOAD: Killer Affiliates - The Chelsea Grin



Dayone Media was founded in 2003 by Samuel Harshbarger and Justin Leonard, better known as Meuwel and L-No, respectively. Based out of Morgantown, Meuwl and L-No's intention was to bring original hip-hop music, production, live shows and media to an area with not yet recognized for its talent and style in the genre.

In 2007, Dayone presented the album The Chelsea Grin from Killer Affiliates, the collaboration of producer-rappers Meuwl and L-No. The record also featured local emcees Ace Beanz, B Rude, Paycheck Game, along with Morgantown's most successful hip-hop big hitter 6'6" 240. With production and flow styles hinting at Blackalicious, Brother Ali or Rob Sonic, Harshbarger's and Leonard's indie/punk rock influences also show up at times.

Too many "white rappers" struggle to have a personal style that doesn't sound like a mimic of an emcee of the same race before them - Beastie Boys, MC Search, Cage, Aesop, or the lesser interesting Atmosphere, Sage Francis or Eminem. The rap style is often too snotty, too silly, or too trying-to-sound-not-white. For Meuwl, his word flow came with an ease that any emcee wishes to have, and only the best do. His style also had variety, and unlike too many rappers, didn't sound the same from track to track - his rhymes were some times swift and punchy, and on the next song slow and smooth. He had the ability to be funny both with his lyrics and his delivery, and he had the ability to make you think. Meuwl was not only a good emcee, a clever lyricist, but an all-around intelligent and aware individual - the valedictorian of his high school graduating class.

Long before his untimely death this past November, Meuwl was putting himself into a class of hip-hop artists that had yet to ever develop in the West Virginia. By late 2009, he was proving his talents needed to be exposed to a greater hip-hop community. Sam's death was not only a loss for his family, friends and the state's music scene but also all the fans he would have acquired over the years to come.

Along with this record, we will be posting two more - along with videos, photos, art, and more. Whether you are a fan of hip-hop or not, take this opportunity to hear and get to know one of West Virginia's most talented and beloved sons.

Artist: Killer Affiliates.
Album: The Chelsea Grin.
Year: 2007.
For Fans Of: Blackalicious, Rob Sonic, Brother Ali.

* If you like this album, please support West Virginia hip-hop by purchasing it for $5.99 from wvrapscene.com.

Killer Affiliates: L-No, Meuwl, B Rude.

04 January 2010

READ: The Life and Rhymes of Meuwl: A Tribute to Samuel Harshbarger



EDITOR'S NOTE: This week on the blog we will be doing a tribute to the life and music of our dear friend Samuel Harshbarger, aka Meuwl. We will be posting downloads, videos, photos and more as a retrospective of his all-too-short musical career as one of West Virginia's finest hip-hop and graffiti artists and most genuine people. To begin, we asked our good friend and one of Sam's best friends and producer Justin Leonard, aka Leno/L-No, to write some words about Meuwl. Here is that with a lot more to come, so we invite you to please check out the work of this incredible artist. RIP Meuwl.

The Life and Rhymes of Meuwl
By JUSTIN LEONARD
On November 5, 2009, the West Virginia music scene and world at large lost a true legend. Samuel Bridges Harshbarger, known better as Meuwl or PSST passed away on that day - at only 29 years old, it was too soon. While most know Sam as an amazing artist, musically as Meuwl and half of the Rabble Rousers, or as graf writer PSST, I knew him as a friend. A best friend at that. I grew up skateboarding with Sam and have known him since the 8th grade. He was a special guy. One that excelled at anything he tried, first skateboarding and soccer, then music and art - he was always the best.

I first heard him rhyme at an open mic at the Empty Glass in late 2002. I bumped into a friend at the mall, who asked me if I was going to see him. At the time I didn’t even know he rapped. He had just come back to Charleston from Pittsburgh and we hadn’t hung out in a while. After that night, nothing musically for me would be the same again. I had been in several punk/hardcore bands but had always wanted to make hip-hop. I decided on that day that I would learn to make beats, and since I had musical experience and some stage presence, I would be his hype man. We went on to form Dayone Global Media together, and recorded two albums - 2004’s “Sooooo Hot Right Now” mixtape and 2006’s “The Chelsea Grin” as the duo Killer Affiliates. Sam went on with our friend/frequent collaborator B. Rude to form the Rabble Rousers and recorded “Tastes Like Crazy” in 2008. They played more shows than anyone I can think of between 2008-2009 and had an East Coast tour in the works, with dates in NYC, New Jersey, Philly, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and D.C., but unfortunately that won’t happen now.

As a graf writer, Sam got up more than your average writer. The now-infamous 120 counts of graffiti/vandalism he was served around 2002 is the highest ever in Charleston that I know. He was known for his signature PSST tag (which you could not avoid ANYWHERE on I-79 between Charleston and Pittsburgh for about two years), and the funk-bot character now immortalized in a number of tattoos. He was also a skilled glassworker and produced high quality glass pipes and jewelry (I’m still sporting a scar on my thigh from one of his pipes, a pair of cargo shorts and skateboarding with Seizeone about 20 beers deep.) He was an artist in the truest sense, and the musical side could not have existed without the visual.

As I said before, for most people, this was all they knew of Sam. I feel very fortunate to have thousands of memories of him that only a few people share. This was the guy who used to camp out at whoever’s parents were out of town’s house until they got back. The guy who I woke up hungover from one of said parties to find him finishing cleaning the house and chatting with my grandmother in the kitchen like it was his own grandmother. The guy who in 75% of the existing photos of him is wearing at least one article of my clothing. The guy whose last Newport was mine and vice versa.

Luckily, there are those of us who will help to keep him alive. Whether it’s B. Rude taking the torch and performing and recording new classics, or Ozker burning legal walls with the rest of the notorious RA graffiti crew, or me still acting as the glue to keep everyone together, we’ll never stop. We can’t stop, because if we do, then we’ve truly lost Sam for good and I can’t let that happen.

We love you man… Dayone/RA all day! LEGENDS NEVER DIE.

For more music and videos, check out youtube.com and search for “Meuwl”, or go to myspace.com/dayonemedia, myspace.com/wvrabblerousers or myspace.com/beerude.

Meuwl and L-No in the studio.