Saturday Night’s are better for a lot more than fighting, this past Saturday was a primo example. Way East on the Island of Long, in a town called Ronkonkoma, sits a music venue called Backstage Pass. This little place over the last year or so has started to prove that it truly is a killer place for live music. This night a great set of bands took the stage there, but, I cannot lie, my mission was to catch the “one and only show” by this band called mUg bUg. Fronted by legendary howler and good friend of mine Dave Alvin I was super excited to see this band as I grew up listening to Dave front Queens based icons White Trash (“Apple Pie”, “The Crawl”). I wasn’t sure what to expect as I’ve only ever known Dave from WT. I of course expected it to be quality, but I wasn’t completely prepared for how rocked myself and everybody in the room would become.

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Right after War & Blues wrapped up their loosely conceptual set mUg bUg swiftly loaded on and nonchalantly took the stage with Alvin simply announcing who they were. The amount of thunderous riffage, pickle jar tightness and ease the band put forth was completely earth shattering. Alvin’s voice was edgier than ever and in tip-top shape. His fellow bugs were also clearly seasoned badass musicians. This was a no nonsense gig from a group of gents that wanted to do one thing, and that was to give an eager and very impressed audience a solid rock show, and, it transcended that surely.

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mUg bUg Photo: Soda

Highlights of the short set were “I Lost My Mind In El Paso” and another tune called “Don’t Let the Old Man In” which is purely about hanging on to your youth and not letting age dictate how you should live your life. Dave, clearly taking a more serious approach to his lyric writing this time around also bridged the songs with his usual smart ass honest humor.

Quick and to the point leaving the funk at the door the band delivered a set of hard rock songs that left everyone eagerly wanting more. A great place to leave off. *Hint hint guys*. Very much hoping for another performance from this band who could easily rise to the top of New York’s hot list.

Follow along on their FaceBook page: mUg bUg Official Facebook

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Southern California’s own AFI return with…(The Blood Album), their first in almost four years since the dense and very dark Burials. Since AFI’s 2003 breakthrough masterpiece Sing The Sorrow the band has shown us a multitude of styles and soundscapes in the form of Punk, Rock, Pop, Hardcore and beyond. This new installment is no slouch, adding to the bands now very versatile catalogue.

Once again as with Burials, (The Blood Album) shows guitarist, Jade Puget writing all the music for the group, this time however also at the helm producing the record. Much like the Davey/Jade side projects Puget continues to expand the reach and grasp of his monster talent. The album is beautifully produced and very clean with few peeks and valleys, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing with a record so accurately executed. Clearly drawing heavily on their new wave influences this album presents the listener with a bit of a sigh of relief as it’s predecessor was vast and brooding. Not that this one opens all the windows to let the sun in but it does relieve those of us that really appreciate the bands pop territories. This is also probably the closest they have come to the Sing The Sorrow sound in years.

“Blood” opens with the sonic seducer “Dark Snow” with the foursome setting the bar very high which they manage to maintain. The catchy sway of single “Snow Cats” is commercial without seeming lame. More tracks like “Hidden Knives”, will most likely become an AFI classic, both danceable and singable. It’s hard to find something really wrong with this contribution. In whole, the album is pleasantly haunting (“Above The Bridge”), nestled in punk roots (“Pink Eyes”) while remaining flavorfully accessible (“The Wind That Carries Me”).

Put quite simply, AFI is a band that can bend a genre without coming off contrived or insincere and at the same time able to easily return to any style they have showcased in their 25 plus year run. Kudos gents!

(The Blood Album) will enter billboard top 200 at number five. The bands highest charting record since DecemberUnderground.

Well, it is indeed a new year. And, ideas are flowing. Thusly the first post for M-S-G this year I guess is somewhat business oriented. I have a cool idea. I’ll also be posting it on all of my social networks, personal website, etc to see the reaction it gets.

So, cutting to the chase. I’m curious if any Band, Musician, Podcast, artist of any kind in the Music world would be interested in ad space on MUSIC-SURVIVAL-GUIDE. Last year (2016) M-S-G was visited by almost 10,000 people all over the world. There are many reasons for this. One, being the great content that I have built here since it’s inception, my meticulous writing style and attention to detail and, a multitude of other reasons. This statistic is amazing and just plain awesome to me as here I can combine two passions. Music, and writing.

This is how it will work. It’s basic and simple. If you have an ad to post or something to promote…a new record, video, radio show…an announcement of any kind, I will host it at the top of the site for AT LEAST two weeks. I generally publish on Wednesday’s. I personally think it’s great promotion as it can be seen from someone in Hong Kong or someone right around your neighborhood. Thus the beauty of a blog like this that hosts a topic that a million people love.

For this to be successful for everyone involved, there will of course be a small fee which will be only $20.00 flat. Cheap and affordable. I’m not looking to make money off of this but rather to take M-S-G up a notch this year. I guess I’ll see how it goes. Not sure if this will catch on or just become history here. We shall see.

Contact me here or email officialsoda@yahoo.com

THANK YOU AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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The Conflict, was a record (yes, a concept record) I had made with my band His Mighty Robot. 10 years ago this past Thanksgiving we released this piece of art, which revolved around a character called Sad Boy and lead me to a near nervous breakdown. As soon as it was done I hopped a plane to Chicago and disappeared for a week. I always wanted to do a track-by-track for a record that I had made and, be it that no one came knocking, I did one for myself. And, here it is. I wanted to honor this albums important birthday with something, anything. So…here it is.

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CONNECTION OF FINGERS

This song, I felt was a great introduction to the record. It leads you in with a calm fluidity before we get into any of the real chaos, it’s a song about being one with someone else, kind of like how fingers can intertwine, thusly the title was born. But it also goes beyond just connecting fingers, but full bodies as well. The last line in the song is “We have connection, with rocket lift off intensity,” an ultimate climax.

THE CLICHÉ

It’s not too long into our “Story” that our character Sad Boy decides that he has reached the end of his rope after little deliberation. This song is about experimentation with multiple partners and using them for one thing and one thing only with no concerns for repercussions. “It’s not you, it’s me is so cliché…” In this case that is very, very true. Not caring about anyone, not even one’s self. Absolute self-destruction.

STARLITE BROKEN

Being foreign in ones own body is something we all have felt at one point or another in our lives and then some of us feel that way forever. So, we create another world of our own to live in. I’ve always been a firm believer in the INDIVIDUAL. So many people want to be like something else. It’s harder to just be yourself, plainly. And here, in this twisted and chaotic structure as a band we fully experimented with that idea.

EMBRACE (Dream Sequence 1)

This song was meant to be a bouncy, fun, weird distraction from the first three tracks on the record. That’s ultimately why two dream sequences were created for the album while, at the same time, our Sad Boy is dreaming about being a child again. To embrace your inner child is truly to accept who you are as an adult. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that age should dictate anything that you are. That’s purely a load of malarkey, anyone who subscribes to that is just simply afraid to…Embrace. We also wanted to say, yea we’re alternative but we fuckin’ love jazz chords too, haha.

YOURSELF

One of my favorite songs on the record, if not my favorite. Vocally, lyrically…the composition, just everything. It’s about soul searching, it’s about realizing your own personal worth, it is about dying to survive. This song hurts my heart. We were real young when these songs were created. It captured us fully at the time, three Gemini’s to the absolute fullest. “It’s yourself you gotta know.” TRUTH.

THE CONFLICT

The centerpiece of our beautiful disaster. The light, the dark. Some of the most chilling sounds I have ever put down on a record. H-Rocker and I really knew how to communicate with sonic landscapes. I’ve never had that with anyone else. It was truly a gift. For our character this would be something like a David Lynch movie, what sense can we make of it all? Speaking of movies, this instrumental was used in the film 3-Day Weekend over a sex montage, so…I was pleased.

SNOW ANGEL GIRL & BLUE FLAME BOY (Dream Sequence 2)

Our second dream sequence. I really wanted H-Rocker to sing this one on her own, she never wanted to take lead on the tunes but I just had to have her take this one. I wanted it to be our nod to Smashing Pumpkins’ “Daydream” off of Gish where D’arcy sings lead. After we put this record out it was heavily praised as a throw back to that magical part of the 90’s with The Pumpkins, The Cure, The Pixies…when bands like that were all doing this special stuff overflowing with soul. We drew on our influences and completely embraced them for this album. It was beautiful.

THE CONDEMNED

Yikes. The dreaded spoken word piece. We spent the least amount of time on this one. It had to be visceral. The words were sharp. I wanted to spit and piss all over everything. I wanted to bring my imaginary Boy to life through me and make him feel what he had done to us and this record. A lot of noise, rushed words, screams, out of tune guitars, feet and hearts pounding. “Accepted. Finally. No Longer. Condemned.” No longer condemned to walk in your own skin, finally accepted by his God.

YOUR BODY AS A CRUCIFIX

And so we segue-way into religion again, which under lays a lot of this record. I even threw out the title REALIGION as a possibility for the album. This pushes more of the male/female vocal trade offs into our outer space. We walked into a room, picked up our guitars, cleared our throats and sat in front of a hot mic. I always like to hear a juicy mouth on a record. This song uses crucifixion as the beautiful imagery we wanted to put across. We search for repentance, we search to vomit all the guilt and lies before it’s too late, “You say, you will pray for me, and I will listen, undoubtably (which actually isn’t a proper word, but this is a fantasy anyway) almost a play on words for the Godless. The confession has come; it is almost time for judgment. One of my favorite guitar outros sits on the edge of this song.

PLAY PRETEND

Another one of my favorites hands down. It’s for the dreamer in us all. Don’t believe what the doctors tell you, don’t eat all those pills or you’ll become a zombie. So many young boys and girls die because they can’t cope with whom they choose to love or how they live their lives. It takes a Sad Boy to truly know this. Your dreams sometimes are only ever dreams. Again, this is a fantasy if you choose to believe in fiction. It’s all too real “Make believe, that you are free.”

SAD BOY

What you’ve been waiting for (Barrett finally got his chimes!) This is the final chapter in a diary of a lost soul that we love and that we wish could have lived to see another album. Let me be perfectly crystal clear about this song. I/we do not condone suicide because it fucking sucks. But sometimes you just don’t ever feel right enough to live. Here, another character enters, and briefly, a Dr. Kevorkian of sorts appears to help our Boy make his final decision. “Do me a favor, let me drown. Would you please help kill me?”

“I know it sounds so sick but what can you do to cure a Sad Boy?” I miss him…I miss her, heart achingly. I miss this mighty robot. It is not a sin. You are all angels.

CONNECTION OF FINGERS (REPRISE)

She sat down by the piano. We had no map for the end of this journey. I closed my eyes, pen to paper and listened to those painful fingers press those keys to hammer to cord/chord. We died all over again. Rewind. Repeat. It is infinity. The Conflict is a circle, heaven and hell for all the misunderstood beautiful souls.

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Please continue to share and discover this record.

Digital: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-conflict/id212939651

Physical: http://www.officialsoda.com/apps/webstore/products/show/866281

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This past Sunday (10/23) the weird world of entertainment lost Pete Burns. Just 57 years old, the androgynous pioneer suffered from a massive cardiac arrest as confirmed by his manager Monday morning. 2016 hasn’t exactly been a banner year as far as deaths go (and hell, a large number of other things too, let’s face it).

A perpetual diva and an entity all unto himself Burns rose to commercial stardom in 1985 when his group Dead Or Alive released the album Youthquake dead-or-alive-%22youthquake%22-covercontaining the mega hit “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)”, which, up until his dying day would continue to remain a meal ticket for the singer as well as a nail in a coffin of a very tumultuous career. When I first discovered Dead Or Alive I was much too young to really understand the endless concept and art that went behind Pete and DOA. As I got older and of course began to really understand Music and Art and obsess over it more and more, Dead Or Alive really did stick out to me. It wasn’t even so much the kitschy music as it was so obviously Pete Burns at the helm of this often bizarre and confusing outfit which I wound up loving. His outlandish behavior and looks over the vast many years made people love or hate him. Not knowing him personally I’d imagine there really was absolutely no in-between. I even missed a chance to see Dead Or Alive play at a beach club once because I was too young to get in. I did indeed try to sneak in after being turned away but got caught. I didn’t want to risk catching any heat from the large security men, me being a young boy with weird hair, eye make-up and a bright polkadot shirt on.

Clearly addicted to plastic surgery, even after his very first botched nose job. Burns continued to have extensive work done, “Getting a new face is like buying a sofa”. His lips were destroyed and rebuilt, he had several rhinoplasties and beyond…way beyond. Apparently no part of his body except the soles of his feet went untouched by needle or knife and his entire earnings were spent on destroying and rebuilding his looks, even selling off the rights of his songs to do so. pete-burnsSelf esteem issues were obviously present in a man who was indeed once beautiful and possessed a voice so powerful it would rumble your floorboards. What can really be said about Pete Burns that he already hadn’t said or done anyway? Not much. There were few as blunt and daring and fucking Mad, Bad and Dangerous to know as one Pete Burns. He showed us all what it meant to truly let your freak flag fly. His outlandish behavior, outfits and commentary on the UK’s version of reality television show Big Brother brought him back into the mainstream. Train wreck or not, you couldn’t take your eyes off him. Bending genre and gender to the point of utter shatter he was truly a force of nature. Whether he was burning American flags in Texas or bridges with record labels, he did it with such a grandiose flair that was uncompromised and next to few if not none.

Icon? Yes. Lunatic? Probably. One of a kind? Absolutely. It’s a shame that another colorful character had to be taken away from us in this very confusing year. Pete may have been impossible but he shared with us the fact that you can do YOU no matter what…but again, at what cost? Money, relationships…your face? I’d dare say that few will ever be as brazen. So, thank you Pete, whether is was brave or just plain crazy I’m hoping you’re shit kicking the afterlife on glitter platforms…”I just keep a hearing, you runnin’ on up my stairs but you’re not there”…R.I.P.

“People always want to know – am I gay, bi, trans or what? I say, forget all that. There’s got to be a completely different terminology and I’m not aware if it’s been invented yet. I’m just Pete.”

This past Saturday night (10/15/16) Teenage Fanclub returned to NYC’s Bowery Ballroom to a very ecstatic and eager crowd. Just a few weeks prior The Fannies dropped their latest record simply titled Here, (Charting at No. 10 in the UK). The almost bare bones approach the band has been taking for the last 10 plus years has shown that when a band matures a number of things may indeed change, including the sound and songwriting, but in the case of Teenage Fanclub they remain a very sharp force to be reckoned with as far as that is concerned. Their album covers and artwork may be very subtle since 2005’s Man-Made but the content that awaits the listener is, and has always been a blissful experience, even since their noisier days there’s always been…the bliss.

Arriving on stage just after 10pm on a Saturday night in New York City, the band was greeted by an excited sold out audience. Opening with lead track “Start Again” off of their classic record, Songs From Northern Britain, we were all immediately immersed in what Teenage Fanclub was about to offer us this evening (that offering would be 20 songs long). The band would proceed with a mixed variety of tunes spanning their near 30 year run as a group.

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Teenage Fanclub Live @ Bowery Ballroom, NYC 10/15/16 (Photo: Soda)

The in between song banter was playful and humorous from Norman Blake. Although Teenage Fanclub doesn’t necessarily have an elected frontman, Norman seems to fill those shoes, and sweetly. As the crowd shouted out song title after song title the men on stage smiled from ear to ear, clearly content with the turn out and enthusiasm. There was never a contest to see who played better or sang louder, the band was just one well oiled machine. Vocal harmonies and instrumental chops still perfection, evident on such songs as “I Don’t Want Control Of You”, “Don’t Look Back” and the infamous, “The Concept” it makes you wonder why this band was never a massive success story.

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Teenage Fanclub Live @ Bowery Ballroom, NYC 10/15/16 (Photo: Soda)

As the night pressed on Mr. Blake spoke to and joked with the crowd. At one point he was asked by an audience member to tell whomever it was that was farting the whole night to please control yourself. Over an hour had passed and the announcement from Norman came that the end of the show was evident. Concluding with their biggest American hit, “The Concept”, The Fannies jangled through an amazing rendition, leaving all in attendance hungry for more. And, we would get just that, in the form of a powerful encore including fan favorite, the very upbeat “Radio” off of their ’93 record, Thirteen (this would be the only selection performed from the much maligned album) and concluding the night with “Everything Flows” from their 1990 album, A Catholic Education.

A beautiful and charming performance. Thank you Teenage Fanclub! Come visit again soon.

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Teenage Fanclub setlist 10/15/16 Bowery Ballroom, NYC (Photo courtesy of Gabby Lemons)

http://www.teenagefanclub.com

This Saturday, October 15th 2016 marks two years ago since this Blog/Idea went live. I had talked about it for some time before finally jumping in and throwing up my first post. I wasn’t sure if it was going to continue or even end right there. So many ideas…ya know. But here, 2 years later and growing slowly over time my MUSIC-SURVIVAL-GUIDE is very strong and a cool source for music geeks all over the world. It allows me to squeeze two of my passions up into one ball and throw it all to an infinite sky. This project alone has put me on the phone with one of my idols for a huge three part interview, has gotten me tickets to rad shows to review, some free swag…all because people respect the quality and content that goes into my work. I treat it like everything else. It’s a joy for me to see anyone sharing these write-ups and enjoying them right along with me. Anyways, let me not get all whimsical here, there’s plenty of other stuff to write about. Soon enough I’ll get an official domain up for M-S-G as it grows here and slowly on other networks.

So, if you read one or many posts here, I thank you. If you’ve shared an interview, I thank you…and so on and so on. Here’s to many more years!