Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Audio-VisuAll... my goal of sharing more video content!

Hey AllOne family,
The pre-order-amble:
It has been some time hasn't it?!  Well, you have have heard, I am releasing a new album soon ("I've Been Thinking..." on May 3rd), I am planning an east coast tour, among other things and a lot has been happening!  This reminds me that I've been meaning to rekindle my relationship with this blog!  I post on social media daily and end up feeling that this blog is an aside to all of that or is only deserving of "really grand musings or giant events" and inevitably akin to writer's block (blog?) I end up sharing nothing at all!  So I'd like to talk about one of my goals and share a bunch of great things that have come of my endeavor to fulfill it!

Filming before sunrise with Austin Sandick
for an as-yet-unreleased video for our song
"Cardiac Compass (path to preservation" 

One of the goals of this year (and always) was/is to release more video content.  What exactly does that mean? What is the criteria to satisfy me?  Really, it could be any array of things. Well, those of you who have known me for 10+ years would know I have an affinity for an involvement with film anyway due to my wilder exploits before I "Went from HI to Playwrite.." , but that's another series of stories for another (or any-other or a-never) time!

Aside from the fact that having a video presence online is so important and integral for "promotional" purposes, I just love the fact that it gives a more intimate look at the audio/written material I've made or adds new layers to that musical art.  I also feel that video gives me an opportunity to be more intimately involved with all of you listeners/viewers.  If I can't release new song every few weeks, then I can release video of a previously released song and in that way, enliven that song again, make more interesting work, potentially collaborate with new directors/cartoonists etc or bring some of you who couldn't attend a concert, a view into what that experience might have been like! Plus, lets face it, I'm a self-indulgent-ham!

Shooting the "Pagliacci (a most memorable case)" video
with BMO  for NPR's Tiny Desk Contest Series!
The criteria is vast, whether it was a Vlog, a cinematic video, a live show performance,  a studio performance, a freestyle, an alternative version of a song with people or some odd abstract artsy type of thing, I just want to be able to use the visual platform as a way to share more and challenge myself and the material I've amassed more!
In the last 4 months and a half months, 5 videos have been released that fall under a few of these categories, and many of them revolve around the new album "I've been Thinking..." and  each of them is unique in a way, which I'm very pleased with! I'm going to list them below, with a little blurb and hope that you enjoy them!  I'm currently in the works of making at least two others and have plans to do many more different types of videos! I hope you like them!

Thank you for watching and listening!
if you wish to work together on some video content, have some suggestions or tips, or have video that you have shot over the years of some songs or poems, please comment here or email me at AllOneVoice@gmail.com and let me know!!

"Pagliacci (a most memorable case)" with BMO for NPR's Tiny Desk Concert Series.
This was expertly and promptly shot and edited by Jon Greco for the NPR Tiny Desk Concert contest.  The location was provided by my Aunt Michelle and Uncle Bob (their home) and they lent us also lent us the old desk which was necessary criteria for the shot, which felt sort of thematic for the narrative in the song!   I was just as excited about the contest as I was of having an excuse for BMO and I to do a video that also sort of shared and announced some new material from "I've Been Thinking..."

"The Case Of Sydney Barringer"  and "Build Here" Live with BMO by Nice Garage Presents...
Nice Garage is a beautiful show throwing media group based out of Long Island run by Joe Arias, Sam N, Dan Clyne and a slew of others.  They host shows once a month at Huntington's own RIPE ART GALLERY, a charming place to perform and observe great music and artwork, inside of a barn, they film and record the performances and then put them all on their site!
Adam of More Than Skies played that night as did Ninja Tree House and the show was a huge success!  As we started the "Sydney Barringer" narrative song, I decided to deliberately stand on the stool thematically and stayed there.  Although we aimed to fill the whole set premiering new material, we closed the set with a favorite, "Build Here" and people were really responsive and it was a blast, so many people came out to that show and showed love!! Please Subscribe to NICE GARAGE and check out their Tumblr, they're doing great things for the community as a whole! Thanks again to them!
Click Here to watch "The Case Of Sydney Barringer" LIVE   !
Click Here to watch "Build Here" LIVE!

"Zoom In (There's Life Here)" official video
"Zoom In (There's Life Here)" was the first official single release for "I've Been Thinking..." and that announcement also came on my birthday, with the release of this fascinating video by my friend and fellow SUNY Oswego Alumni, Tyler Edic.  The song is a meditation on small town struggles and charm, particularly in the upstate NY area and when Tyler came to me, eager to work with me, I knew that this song would be the perfect choice for him.   We played around with a few approaches and in the end I wanted a gritty and honest portrait of Oswego, NY which, to some degree, is precisely what the song is.  He shot every day diligently and conferred with me after he'd hunt on his shot list.  The final product is eerily accurate and fitting to the lyrics!  Also worth noting, following the video link will bring you to my label, Dope Sandwich Records and Tapes' youtube channel, so please subscribe and show them love!! This video is a sort-of cinematic approach and is a great example of why I love working with other people, because he brought so much enthusiasm to this project and got great coverage I never could!

Rush Hour '98 live with BMO and MC BEATS
Lastly, this live video that got magically captured by Jackie Guma of DJ BMO and MC BEATS and I jamming spontaneously at one of BMO and my features at Portside in Port Jefferson.  MC BEATS is an old friend of mine and she happened to be at this show we played.  I figured I really needed to jump on the opportunity to jam with her so we ended up doing this totally musically impromptu bit while I rapped a short racially concerned narrative from "I've Been Thinking..." called "Rush Hour '98"! I'm so glad that Jackie caught this on film because I feel like all three of us were just really in a groove and synced up!  If you have any recordings of any live performances please email them to me!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

2015 Retrospective and Favorites....goals for 2016!!

Hey AllOne family!  HAPPY NEW YEAR!
 It has been a while since I've posted...in fact nearly half a year.  The mountain on the bottom half of the time-sieve continually grows.  I clearly don't post here often. I'm not sure if that will change (although it certainly will once I'm on the road and I'm writing a daily journal of my tour experiences.  When I'm home I find most of my thoughts and energies going to projects I'm not ready to share yet (albums and short stories) or just short quick musings that get blurted out on Facebook briefly.  Aside from sharing adventures, I'm not sure what to share. regardless...lets talk about 2015 a little bit.

An experiment of a year...(no adventure has a sure outcome):
        2015 was an experiment year for me.  I intentionally took time away from traveling and performing to make progress on my album and book.  I ended up working on three albums, doing 5 podcasts, (Here are some podcast appearances from this year, please listen and subscribe to these friends of mine: Bonesaw Zine (by Chris Butera) ... Required Radio (with D.o.drent by Colette Spencer) ...  Custodian Chronicles (by Tim Mission and Garrett) ... Bandcast (by Costas Cortez) ... Custodian Chronicles (with Tim Mission, AllOne, KNife, Miggs and D.o.drent ) 
Bonesaw Zine podcast
with Chris Butera 6-2-15

My Bandcast Interview 3-11-15


  I was awarded "Most Notable Up And Comer" by the Bards Initiative, at the release party for their Bard's Annual poetry anthology, in which two of my poems were published! Additionally I had the baffling joy of getting signed to the label Dope Sandwich Records and Tapes and because of this I am unexpectedly putting attention and energy into another full length record that I'd written called "I've Been Thinking..."!  Perhaps one of the most surreal moments, I was asked by Brandon Crowson, director of the documentary "The World Has No Eyedea" a film exploring the life and death of one of my biggest artistic heroes, Micheal "Eyedea" Larsen to film an interview for the documentary, for a segment of the film regarding the future of hip-hop in the wake of Larsen's influence! 
Myself, KNife, D.o.drent and Miggs after our
Custodian Chronicles interview 10-20-15

                   The shows I played...
    Also, while I didn't leave the Island for shows, I had the pleasure of hosting two tours in May and October of D.o.drent's and the Dope Sandwich guys in autumn!  'Drent and I also filmed two live music videos of sorts for our songs "Creative Differences" and "Cause and Effect" with our artist friend Anjipan.  During the May tour, 'Drent and I also played a phenomenal show with Kill The Inventors and our new friend Ceschi, a rightfully celebrated folk-punk/experimental rap powerhouse and owner of the underground/progressive label Fake Four Inc. ! 
     I attended a few open mics to try out some new material and played a really special fundraiser show in June with AllOne & The Room (picture below) we played a really great set and the place was packed, we ended up winning an contest for who brought in the most people to the show!  I played a really athletic challenge of a 3 hour set at the Islip Arts Museum the last day of August, during it I performed The Inevitable Effort in full for the first time in years, played a set of new and old material as well as a full 45 minute interactive freestyle set with crowd suggestions written and drawn on an easel that was passed around!  
     Also I did a lot of recording for collaborative projects for others, as well as finishing about half of the music for "Rapologues"and half of "I've Been Thinking..." as well.  While I made progress on these creative endeavors, I admittedly didn't get as far as I intended.
D.o.drent and I performing at O'Briens
in Coram 10-18-15
    In the interest of transparency, I will share this next bit...there were certain release goals ("Rapologues" and "Water Coolers and Campfires") that you will note I had anticipated and planned for in 2015 and neither of these releases were met.  This failure to reach my visions and ambitions stung and produced a lesson that is humbling and helpful.  This has taught me to focus more seriously on tasks and hands and to be a better composer and executor of plans and a more confident writer/bandleader.  
     The only thing to do when you feel failure is to analyze what went wrong and build on it, informed by speculation on your missteps.  I have a lot to be grateful for, as is evidenced above as well as other personal and familial joys outside of my creative pursuits.  Expectation is integral to goal setting in some way, but it is also surely the common denominator for most pain or disappointment.  So how to reconcile this?  The easy answer is to complete your goals!  The realistic answer is to be sure that even when you fail, you be sure to recognize your triumphs and use the experience of both to create more efficient paths to victories in the future.
Recording vocals for the Rapologues
 narrative song, "The Almost Accounts"

                                                   Home Life
      Another new change for me, the entire last year I've lived in a nice town house with two great friends and roommates.  One who is a kind and mild mannered musical/technologically savvy genius who has an inspiring breadth of knowledge and skills (Paul) and the other, John who I've long considered a brother for the nearly 20 years since elementary school and who I've always said is just me with more talent and charm.  He's a screenwriter/author/poet/musician/director... plus he's hilarious and bafflingly hard working.  These guys have genuinely been a joy to live with and I can't say I've had a healthier living situation most of my life.  Paul has recorded a few songs for me for some new projects as well as aforementioned collaborations (I publicly have shared "The Case Of Sydney Barringer" for my impending album "I've Been Thinking..." as well as "Dystopiates" for Kill The Inventors new beat tape album "Symptoms") and I've had the joy and challenge of racing John for populating our own short story collections as well as editing his works and collaboratively writing an acoustic EP with him of songs that I wrote for a side-project called "Almost Elijah"!!  
    Still, I sometimes find that life in this new home seems a little too comfortable and alarmingly sedentary.  I yearn for the road achingly.  I think I find the distractions and complacency comes easily though I am grateful for it. It's nice to have a place where I can invite friends and family and strangers and be proud of it.  Hemingway's "clean well lighted place" perhaps.  I also find myself desiring to fill my home with decorations, with trinkets and conversation pieces, with potential entertaining activities.  This weighty fixation on objects can be a burdensome anchor.  As I said, this year has been an experiment, "stability" can be subjective perhaps.

AllOne & The Room reunited for a fundraiser
at Even Flow in Bayshore 6-7-15!

Music of 2015
 I enjoyed doing album reviews last year (I only did two elaborately for the public, but since no one really asked me to do them, I just enjoyed albums and told people about them in person!). In any case, here are my Top album releases of 2015 (in no particular order here, based on both quality of the songs/recordings and the replay quantity that came naturally to me!) 

Also, these are not all new releases but there were a handful of groups and bands I got really into exploring this year including: Led Zeppelin, Tool, Yes, my new Dope Sandwich Records and Tapes label-mate Black CaesarFive Of The Eyes, Tom Waits, Chicago rapper Qwel, Radiohead, This Good Robot, Illmaculate, numerous jazz musicians such as Art Blakey, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie to name a few!

Looking back at it, this is an eclectic grouping of musical styles and approaches.  As I've grown to explore and learn of music more with the entire process of the extensive writing and collaborating with educated and varied musicians for Rapologues, it has expanded my aural palette as well as made me more voracious than ever to listen to new music and learn from each song.  I have as much to learn about my own work from Qwel's masterfully spun lyrics as I do from the arduous instrumental work of Zeppelin or Tool.  The idea of "Training your ear" is something I think we could all do in some form in any or many disciplines, being humbled and informed by a myriad of varied practitioners of that craft or art is important.  That being said, as a writer, it is important to read and that presents this next segment...

Books I read in 2015... This year I got a bit more into graphic novels and enjoyed many new selections in that medium!  I also read as much Stephen King as I could because I wanted to finish his bibliography in anticipation of starting the Dark Tower Series (which incorporates much of his work within it!)  I have to say, the novel that rocked me the most was William Faulkner's "Absalom, Absalom!".  It was the most difficult book I'd read since reading Moby Dick in my teens and I'm ashamed to say I sometimes avoided it.  It took me four months to finish that book (and I don't double up reading multiple things as a general rule).  I was very happy with the majority of my selections... again, what were yours? What are your opinions on these books if you've read them? Any Questions?

Monday or Tuesday (Virginia Woolf) 
Songs Of Distant Earth (Arthur C. Clarke)
20th Century Ghosts (Joe Hill)
The Eyes Of The Dragon (Stephen King)
The Stand (Stephen King)
Nothing By Chance (Richard Bach)
Persuasion (Jane Austen)
The General's Daughter (Nelson DeMille)
Stranger To The Ground (Richard Bach)
Up Country (Nelson DeMille)
Ray Bradbury: The last interview (Sam Weller)
A Farewell To Arms (Ernest Hemingway)
Best American Nonrequired Reading 2010 (Various Authors)
The Vesuvius Club (Mark Gatiss)
The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy (Douglass Adams)
The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
Absalom, Absalom (William Faulkner)
Swamp Thing books 1-6 (Alan Moore)
Batman: The Killing Joke (Alan Moore)
Drunken Fireworks (Stephen King)
Mr. Mercedes (Stephen King)
The Psychopath Test (John Ronson)
Dark Tower: The Gunslinger (Stephen King)
Dark Tower: Drawing Of The Three (Stephen King)
Dark Tower: The Wastelands (Stephen King)
Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass (Stephen King)
Asterios Polyp (David Mazzuchellii)
Dark Tower: Wind Through The Keyhole (Stephen King)
The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman (Alan Moore)

The big question of resolutions:
All of this being said...what does 2016 hold?  Well most certainly it holds the release of "I've Been Thinking..." "Rapologues" and "Water Coolers and Campfires" and the "Almost Elijah" EP "For A Year"!  I plan to tour and perform far more extensively to make up for lost time!  I also intend on being more mindful of others and of my own use of time. I want to collaborate and freestyle a lot more as well! I intend on resuming, creating and sharing more video material as well as getting far more poetry and prose published!  I began learning drums last year and so I hope to continue to teach myself that instrument which I've come to enjoy so much!  What are your 2016 goals!? How can I help you? Can we collaborate?! I wish you the best.

Performing a new collaborative piece with my
lauded and legendary talented friend Kaila Mullady
at the Velvet Lounge in August 2015

I hope you've had a wonderful year and intend on having yet another,
 spend it with those you admire and respect, and say yes to yourself more often!
New year, new use!
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Album Review: Dinosaurs In Vietnam "Long Island Excavation Vol 3"

Thanks for joining me, AllOne family!!!
     While I've been working "behind the scenes" on my new album "Rapologues" and my short story collection "Water Coolers & Camp Fires" and other such personal creative endeavors, I've taken it upon myself to do a few external projects with talented friends.  One place that I've met a lot of ambitious and personable audio/visual artists, business folk, creative types is a new gathering called "The Rendezvous" that was started by my brilliant friend and collaborator Pete DeMaio.  It's sort of a "networking groups, but more on that later, as it grows and is able to invite and accept more and more people to share ideas/resources and help one another achieve their goals.  One opportunity that came my way was the chance to listen to and do a write up the Dinosaurs in Vietnam's 3rd compilation "Long Island Excavation".... lets get into it!  The project is free to download and a great treasure so I'll start by saying that I recommend you go right now to listen to it and download it immediately, but I'll get into more of it below!  EVEN IF YOU DON'T READ THIS LENGTHY REVIEW, PLEASE JUST CLICK THE COVER ART BELOW AND LISTEN TO THIS PROJECT, I PROMISE YOU THAT YOU WILL FIND AT LEAST A FEW NEW FAVORITE BANDS!!!

"Long Island Excavation is a compilation being re-released July 8th
at the Huntington Cinema Arts Center. Click this caption to DL FREE!

Dinosaurs in Vietnam is the brainchild of the talented and generous Long Island musician, engineer, friend and mastermind of many mad hats Will Forthman.  (Will actually played some role in at least half of the tracks, be it instrumental or production oriented!)  DiV has been in existence for nearly a decade, a DIY label based out of Lindenhurst run by passion and a belief in the flourishing creative scene. I asked him for an explanation of DiV (and the history and details behind this compilation) and he had this to say...

"Dinosaurs in Vietnam was started in 2007 ... Originally intended as a label, it morphed into the moniker I used to promote local shows. I booked a number of tours for Massapequa-based bands.... In 2009 I relaunched DiV as a local DIY label--- the original goal-- and released the first comp "Save Our Heads For The Future", which featured two songs from six bands. I released Volume 2, "Crude Oil" in 2010 featuring 15 bands. Both of these comps stayed true to Wrong Islands DIY aesthetic which I always appreciated... In 2012, my uncle finally completed his basement studio. Dubbed "Lindy Studios", DiV entered its third phase. Now we had a studio and I started a number of recording projects...During this time I started the beginning stages of volume 3 of the compilation series. I had a hand in about half of the 21 tracks on it; the other half were pre-existing tracks other artists contributed. With the help of Mike McManus, I finalized the track listing and Paul Motisi created the cover art, something that was kicking around in the caverns of my brain for years.... Together with Mike and Paul, volume 3 of the series "Long Island Excavation" was born. It is my most ambitious project to date and I am very proud of it. It encompasses all of the passion and belief I have in our local art community here on Long Island, and it is a photograph of a mere sample of the astounding talent we have here."

The Tracklist (click the band names to visit their site)
I've highlighted my absolute favorites,  that I can't get out of my head and/or returned to obsessively:
1. Tom Moran Band - "Pushing The Drug"
2. Joyce Nancy - "The Confessor"
3. The Grand Cannons - "Dead By Dawn"
4.The Boys Club - "When We're Up Again"
5. Killer Wails - "Four Four For Sure"
6. Rice Cultivation Society - "Cell Phone"
7. The Vigilance Committee - "Ordinary Things"
8. Yankee Longstraw - "When The Son Of A Bitch Comes Back"
9. Helicopter Goes Kaboom! - "Electrotease"
10. Moon Tooth - "Storm Pill" 
11. Bdee + The Venomous Oranges - "Cold"
12. Don Miguel - "Braille/Messages From Big Truck
 (ft. Steve Rey, SamueL & Nick Lee)"
13. Monsignor Ghost - "Better Down Than Up There"
14. Sugarskull Piledriver?! - "Highspots"
15. AfroDJMac - "I'd Never Leave You (Crashed)"
16. Jay Briggs - "Catalyst"
17. My Summer - "Compromise"
18. Motion Ocean - "High With You"
19. Unaware Wolf - "We Come True Too"
20 More Than Skies - "White Pine Way"
21. Plutonium Lovecraft - "The Butcher"
22.The Final Composite (For You)

A diverse collection
     This project is sort of an eclectic Long Island music scene starter kit.  Still, the fact that this lengthy compilation is just skimming the surface is a remarkable truth speaking to the depth of activity and talent in the Long Island music community!  Will has valiantly arranged for us a delectable sonic smorgasbord featuring a myriad of styles (as any compilation could be expected to) but even more so since DiV isn't necessarily a label so much as a scene-support-hub-collective.  Despite the diversity present here, McManus and Forthman have tastefully arranged the tracks so that the transitions between song styles and genres are relatively natural and comfortable (save for the jarring switch from the catchy chanting Yankee Longstraw song into the Helicopter Goes Kaboom! track, but to be fair, H.G.K.'s music is unique and would stand out anywhere).   Many of these songs are so cleanly mixed and arranged that you'd think they come out of a retail-bought CD (Tom Moran Band, Joyce Nancy, Moon Tooth, Don Miguel, The Grand Cannons, The Vigilance Committee some examples) , while others are more lo-fi, raw and gritty (The Boys Club, Monsignor Ghost, Sugarskull Piledriver?!, Helicopter Goes Kaboom!, Plutonium Lovecraft to name a few) .   It's a healthy balance of these two types of presentations that maintain the DIY authenticity that Dinosaurs In Vietnam treasures, while also proving all of these reputable grassroots artists have considerable pride in their work.
     A cool little background informational side-note speaking to the familial quality of creativity in this scene and on this project is that many of the performers on these songs are interchangeable from band to band.  Brian of BDEE + the Venemous Oranges, also produced the Monsignor Ghost track.  Brain and Mike McManus make up Helicopter Goes Kaboom! while Mike McManus a.k.a. Don Miguel also drums on the Tom Moran Band track.  Lauren Diehlman sings on that song as well as in Killer Wails and Unaware Wolf.  Phil Corso recorded the drums for The Vigilance Committee's song as well as the More Than Skies track.  Nick Lee is the madman virtuoso guitarist from Moon Tooth and is also featured on the Don Miguel track.  The designer of the DiV logo Paul Motisi is also responsible for the final track by Plutonium Lovecraft.  Those are just the creatively incestuous connections that I am aware of.  The point being, not only is this collection a testament to the great music that can be found in our area, but also the great congregation of people and creative types dedicated to the enjoyable and social process of creativity and music.

...Thoughts on the music..
     The balance and comfort of the track listing for the first eight tracks is mostly achieved by staggering the uptempo and mellower songs.  Tom Moran Band's unrelentingly catchy opener, "Pushing The Drug" starts the collection, juxtaposing an uplifting sound with somber lyrics written with signature wit communicated with beautiful melodies and harmonies.
     The Joyce Nancy track is more openly downtrodden, but the frankness and gentle strength of her voice and the lyrics it sings make this song a powerful and addictive listen as opposed to being a maudlin deterrent.  The Grand Cannons song immediately picks the mood and tempo back up, their sound is somehow familiar and this won't be the last time I'm saying it, but I feel like it'd be perfect for a skate video.  The Boys Club track is so short and low-fi that it feels like a voicemail interlude to the fantastic Killer Wails track "Four Four For Sure".  Everything in this song, from the vocals and arrangements, the guitar tones and the oddly catchy drum parts make me feel good and it plays in my head. constantly.
     The mood mellows out again when Rice Cultivation Society comes in, an entrancing sincere sort of song about our dependency on technology.  It feels like lullaby that'd be in the credits of an independent film, and while it's a great song, it's a little slow going for me personally to get hooked on it.  The Vigilance Committee picks the pace back up with one of the most addictive songs from their debut album "Lost Again", "Ordinary Things" never lets up on the musical changes while still holding down an impressive accessibility.  They deliver another song whose guitar parts, vocals and drum patterns take turns embedding themselves in my mind.  Yankee Longstraw brings in an epic track with clever and visual lyrics "I'm a paleontologist, I've got a bone to pick with history..." and chanting lyrics and a grand arrangement.
      The album has a majority of indie folk/rock and delineations around these labels, whatever labels mean, be it folky and nearly country vibes or progressive elements.  Tracks 9-14 dip into a sort of interlude of alternative/experimental deviation from the indie-rock starting off with the aforementioned "Helicopter Goes Kaboom!" track (a band that could be lauded for being paradoxically "typically atypical"), leading into the fantastic technical metal track by Moon Tooth.  Followed by a  BDEE + The Venomous Oranges track that feels like Block Party in space, that I could totally imagine being in a skateboarding video.  Then a two song foray into hip hop with Don Miguel and Monsignor Ghost, which is admittedly a case where the production outclasses the emcees.  Steve Rey and SamueL take a sort of message route lyrically that isn't bad but it doesn't necessarily feel like anything we haven't heard while Monsignor Ghost takes the laid back humorous approach.  Sugarskull Piledriver?! pulls us roaring back into the rock realm into a wild lo-fi song with many varying parts giving shine to each instrument.
    The remaining set of five songs all (to me at a least) possess a common denominator that is a sort of nostalgic and beach/summery (no pun intended) vibe.   AfroDJMac gives us a sweet love song of sorts that makes me feel like I'm driving in the beach in the 50s, despite what his name might have you think.  Jay Briggs' song "Catalyst" slipped by me a few times (one thing that could be said to be faulty of any project of this considerably length is that songs just get lost amid the track list, particularly towards the end) However, upon repeat listens this is one of my favorite tracks and it saddens me that I can't seem to find any information on his music.  This is another song that is totally enveloping to me in its presentation, so many layers and the vocals drenched in reverb and the mix is just great.  It reminds me a little bit of Band Of Horses, which probably (I'll say it for the third time) feels like it'd be the backdrop to someone's part in a Transworld Skateboarding video.
     The next track, "Compromise" is one of my favorites on the compilation.  I caught a My Summer live set a few months ago and they played so tightly and with a great energy.  They're easily a new favorite band of mine (I think you'll find a lot of new favorite bands in this compilation, and will certainly be inspired to start seeking out the obviously verdant music scene that is thriving on Long Island).   The song has beautiful parts on all instruments and the vocals are wonderful.  While the majority of the parts are really bright, the lyrics are rather sad and the song ends saying, sincerely and poignantly, "we've all been used, some of more than others...I'm not a sucker for a happy ending anymore...we've all been had, then they sell you the box you die in.".  To juxtapose this final sentiment we have a direct and upbeat singing and dancing ukulele driven song by Motion Ocean.  Simply and obviously dedicated to just hanging out with friends, smoking pot and chilling.  Not my cup of tea, but an infectious song that I could see plenty of people loving and dancing and really enjoying, I've been to some shows of theirs and they're great people and musicians and their performances are excellent..
     Everything about the Unaware Wolf (aside from their badass name) song reminds me of hanging out on an island, I feel like it could be in a Pixar short film.  It's fun, its mellow and cute, good feelings.  More Than Skies shares a single from their monstrous triumph self-titled double album "White Pine Way" brings back a more indie rock feel with a catchy guitar lick and lovely lyrics and a more complex arrangement than we've heard in a few songs.  I love this song and knew about it prior to this compilation because I follow More Than Skies and love Adam Tomlinson's work, but of all of the ones on the double album I feel the mix of energy and oddly familiar reminiscent nostalgia of this song is the perfect choice and placement for the compilation. It's enjoyable and digestible while having plenty of substance and structure to puzzle over and enjoy.  For the final song of the compilation, Plutonium Lovecraft delivers us a lengthy relaxed song fronted by deep vocals and a catchy melody.  "The Butcher" handles the big responsibility of ending an epic compilation rather well, with a very outro feel fading out of a big fun silly part with busy drums and gang vocals and a repetitious catchy ending vocal line.
     Will Forthman and Mike McManus end the compilation with a hilarious conversational thank you to the listeners and the bands involved.  This ending is unique and flawed and silly and sincere and I think it is the final comprehensive statement literally and figuratively with their genuine joy in being a part of such a scene and a lifestyle.

     Please listen to this incredible compilation, rife with talent and imagination manifested in all sorts of audible goodness!  Be comforted in knowing each and every one of the people involved in this project are excellent human beings who make music and live life with unapologetic ambition and a seemingly ceaseless amount of skill!  So go ahead, stream it, download it and share it, I promise you will find a handful of bands that you love.  Another reminder, Will and the gang are re-releasing the project Wednesday July 8th and celebrating this momentous occasion with a show at the Huntington's Cinema Arts Centre, one of Will's favorite Theatre's on Long Island!  The show will feature artists that are included on the CD.  The physical copies will be $3 but the compilation will always be for free online at www.dinosaursinvietnam.com .

-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Album Review: Alexa Dexa's "Year Of Abandon"

Hello Friends!
I know I've been inactive on this blog, but trust me, it's the only place in my life that I've been dormant!  2015 has been super productive so far and I've been involved in a lot of projects, (excitingly my forthcoming album "Rapologues" (release date TBA) and my new book "Water Coolers and Campfires",  "The Vigilance Committee's EXIT A HERO" and I've attended and participated in several incredible concerts! One way to keep up with me daily is at my new AllOne Instagram page ( follow me @allonevoice)!!
 I will post later about all the great things that have been going on but I post today to review my once-tour-mate and always-good-friend Alexa Dexa's new album "Year Of Abandon", out May 15th! ORDER IT BY CLICKING HERE! ...and I'll be performing at her record release show may 15th as well. Here is a link for info on that show: Alexa Dexa Album release show.

When my former tour mate Alexa Dexa asked me to review her new album, I was flattered and intimidated.  This is a testament to her prowess and considerable knowledge and talent when it comes to composing and performing music.  As her tour mate, I can say that she is entirely authentic and lives and breathes her art and message.  Her music always comes from a genuine and curious place, both intellectually calculated and innocently/youthfully curious and whimsical.

"Year Of Abandon" is her first release since 2013's "A Bedtime Anthology".  Since then she's toured the country for months at a times, been to Europe and has clearly been collecting memories, muses and adding to her questionably healthy (joke) abundant collection of odd toy instruments and knick-knacks.  Year Of Abandon builds on the grand and dramatic electronic compositions featured on her 2012 release "A Symphony Of Band-Aids For The Visionary Wound" and the stripped-down mellow, pretty lullabies from "A Bedtime Anthology"  and adds sounds and visions she's learned and toys she's collected.

     Year Of Abandon is arguably her best offering to date.  Alexa has the special and unique capability to be invitingly vulnerable with her voice while simultaneously have intimating strength and command.  It is a complexity she controls deftly and appropriately, using her talent only when an idea asks it of her, never unnecessarily boastfully, yet still we are always impressed.  This is probably her most beautifully mixed/mastered album (thanks to Melanie Balderas).
 Here are some notes on the tracks.

This track invitingly opens the album up with one of the most straightforward approaches on the project.  There's an intriguing drum pattern with her trademark bells ring out and ambient sounds that feel like you're (appropriately) in an aquarium.  Over this entrancing arrangement, beautiful harmonies sing fantastic lyrics woven with nautical metaphors. "Delicate as glass, we peer through the surface to find what lies beneath"  The dynamics between the energy of the verses and the chorus are arresting.  Easily one of my favorite tracks.
Speed It Up (Now):
This song has a delicacy and intelligent vulnerability with a literal lyrical and musical invitation to move and swing along with it.  The music goes from a slow open with with panning electronic noises and desk bells into a sparse, building a sort of slow tension in the verses until finally the chorus offers a release that beckons us to move. It is emotive and effective and in one of my favorite moments when she builds and sings "I feel it in my lungs, you're taking away my breath, my heart is going thump thump in my chest" in the prechorus you really feel it through the music and the execution of the lines when the chorus comes in on the final chorus.
This one is brooding and seems intent on unsettling us.  It's a stark contrast to the prior track and it took me a minute to get accustomed to it.  Her lyrics are sophisticated and emotional poetry, in this song they are committed to avian related symbols.  This song is the album's first foray into depicting Alexa's adept portrayal of darkness, she creates an ominous sonic environment with a haunting array of toy recordings in the chorus and her utilization of field recordings of birds set a clear mood and topic.  It solidifies her ability to remain tightly focus and committed in portraying a concept/topic or mood in her songwriting, setting obvious and effective moods and tones for the listener that we are helpless (and often delighted) to be moved by.
The Only Thing Left:
This is another favorite of mine, she opens with the lyrics"It's not too long ago, I lost my bearings, the swiftest compass couldn't set me straight" Bizarre arrangements with jarring tempo changes that recall the sputtering and lagging then winding pace of music boxes. A little more than two minutes in, we hear what sounds like a faint EKG machine. Then she sings a bridge: "It' is desolate when you wake up in prison..it is desolate when you can't wake up" and leads into a sort of overwhelming dark pile of sounds dropping off into a reflective intro singing oohs and ahhs vocal runs that feel like perhaps the passing of a soul from the prior chaos.
This is a newer and fleshed out version that we heard close out "A Bedtime Anthology" (listen to that version HERE) the juxtaposition of dark and glitchy production against the almost jovial youthful warm sounds of the toy instrumentation, desk bells, toy piano and a whole little orchestra of clinking, grinding, tapping clicking toys offers her signature arrangement.  It offers one of the easiest to catch onto choruses of the album and a strong offering.
Priceless Measuring:
Priceless Measuring is an example of a song where there are so many subtle aspects and additions to the music, toys shifting and clanging and winding around the arrangements.  The intrigue of Alexa's affinity for toy instruments means that we are always hearing something new as she hoards fascinating little objects that invites them along her little parade.  She sings quietly and intensely, "hush hush baby don't cry. I'd crawl around legless before leaving you behind.  Trust, trust the truth you can't hide. Not even my arms can hold the weight of your pride". This is a song so confessional, one gets the guilty feeling they're listening in on a phone conversation or reading a diary.  This is an intimacy shared by only the purest and most admirably sincere artists. The closing lyrics are half sung and spoken like a slam poem among bells that feel like trickling raindrops.  I have a feeling if I listen to this at a particularly reflective moment I won't help but bawl my eyes out.
This is another favorite of mine ever since I heard it live.  The instrumentation and vocals are both probably the catchiest and quickest on the album.  We hear the rare   It has a sexy open confidence that isn't always immediately/plainly stated in Alexa's music and lyrics.  "Ain't nobody looking for what I got and I know I got it....."  In the chorus on the repeated line "gang" she effortlessly reaches ambitious notes that will get stuck in your head and you'll be frustrated you likely can't sing them or grasp her fluttery and ever-shifting vocal melodies.  There's a key pause in the beginning of the second verse "tell me who gives a DAMN about old war stories?! So I can enlist them to listen to mine..."  and it's in these subtle decisions we are reminded of her mastery as a clever and relentlessly effective and brave designer of songs.
Abandon Ship: 
With what sounds like cartoon western gun shots and breaking glass and shifting mechanical part sounds taking on some form of a percussive role in the foreboding and vaguely political/dystopian concepts in the song.  Alexa presents what might be the peak of her experimental  and literal approach to employing sounds to convey her purposes.  Dramatic synths play cinematically in the background with dissonant bells. "Empty and desolated vessels for the creative to fill with visions.  Or watch as cement falls into ash and earth overtakes it..." This one almost feels like a short film, there's a very visual aspect to this song and it feels like an interlude or a short vignette.  She advises us to abandon ship as we lead into the last track with a final gunshot.
Atomic Bridges (For Cellular Lovers):
A sort of sci-fi duet, romantic story.  "he asked me honey how'd we meet? and I said baby real sweet, I told him "wormholes through star-stuff brought me to you"  Nigel Newton plays the vibraphone, speaks poetic layers underneath her in the verses and joins her in beautiful harmonies and trades lines and layers.  He does a fantastic job filling the role of being the first vocal guest of her discography (When you've got a voice like Alexa's, who needs collaborators?  When someone is playing a male perspective in a cosmic themed romance of course!)  This is a strong closer, original, ambitious and memorable.

     Overall, Year Of Abandon, while at times challenging, is an undoubtedly excellent album.  I would argue is her best, as it builds upon all the strengths of her prior efforts and adds all sorts of new ideas and sounds she's come across along her daring travels.  As the title suggests and the songs ring out, it seems to be a project concerned with letting go, with healing wounds or moving on in spite of them, with focusing on the flight of the nestling, with the motion of the sea, with looking out into the expanse of space, walking away from the war, liberating ourselves from bleak pasts, knowing our worth and our ability to build new and endeavoring to do so.  It feels like a goodbye in a hopeful sense as we stubbornly intend on a brighter future because we deserve it.  Damn right.
    It's fantastically original and has great imagination that is expertly executed.  Some people may be intimidated or befuddled by her sometimes haunting moods or esoteric vocals and experimental approaches but this is the kind of dense yet bare music that you feel first, and settle into and keep discovering new things to love and learn about it and from it.  What feels depressing in one moment sometimes turns to shockingly bright and catchy vocal runs that you are forever stuck trying to sing.  If you can, catch her live somewhere around the country and definitely support Alexa Dexa because she is 100% authentic and if you give her a chance, she will never fail to give you all of her intellectual and emotional faculties in a song or album.

Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo
p.s. If you enjoyed this and want me to review your album...it might be a thing I'm beginning to do.. Email me at AllOneVoice@gmail.com and we can talk about it.  Big things coming!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

'14 Reminiscence/ '15 Resolutions ... Happy New Year!


Hard to believe it's 2015 already, although it is easier for time to seem like it happened quickly AFTER it has transpired.  I hope ya'll have had a safe, memorable and happy time celebrating!! I want to thank all my family and friends new and old for contributing to a special year for me! Anything you're proud of that happened in 2014? Anything you're hoping to accomplish in 2015?
Here are some resolutions/goals for 2015:
-Finish and release both the "Rapologues" album and my first book "Water Coolers & Campfires"
-have more of my work published (poetry or prose)
-Make an official AllOne website
-Release more video content (of all sorts)
-Continue to read/Write/workout every day
-Spend more time with family 
-use my phone less and/or more like a phone
-learn from everything/everyone
-be loving, gentle and present
-be open to new experiences
-don't fear failure, only inactivity

2014 Recap:
2014 felt like a really transient and active year.  In no particular order here are some events that occurred immediately stand out to me I'm proud of:

**In the fall I moved into a new house, my first consistent/reliable residence in a while with two great friends for roommates, whom I can write and make music alongside in a comfortable and friendly environment!

**Released a new AllOne// D.o.drent// Tony Mahoney album "Creative Differences (A Split)" with Owen Dodrent Lefebvre, performed with him and got to know him a lot better.  The release show for this was absolutely phenomenal, so momentous!  By the way, the project is now available on Itunes as well for you apple owner's convenience...Creative Differences Itunes Link HERE  

**I stuck with my dedication to traveling as much as possible during long and short tours nearly every month. probably 2-3 months collectively out of state, The Onederlust tour was the biggest trip of the year (and my biggest solo venture yet!) and took me around and of the country to Canada and thanks to the generosity of so many good people, it was a beautiful experience and a huge success!

**Wrote a lot of songs/poems/prose finished writing a few albums/EP's I was working on (Including collaborating with my buddies KNife & Miggs (check out the experimental track "Least Informed" that I contributed my poem "anti-social-net-work-ethic" to from KNife's new album "ICONOCLAST" ) and also this track "The Hunger" with E.B. Phillips. 
**Made Progress on my forthcoming album "Rapologues" and my impending debut short story collection "Water Coolers and Campfires"

**Helped see Andrew Mesmer's first show "Believe Me, You Won't"  finally come to fruition, which was a hell of a journey and a brilliant and successful event! Read about that here.
**Placed top 3 in my first poetry slam at Walt Whitman Birthplace Association with my aforementioned poem "Anti-social-net-work-ethic"

**I had 2 poems published for the first time in the anthology Bards Annual 2014 ("Anti-Social Net-Work-Ethic" and "Rush Hour 98' ")

**Had my short story publishing debut with "The Painter" and read it aloud at the anthology release (both thanks to The Bards Initiative)

**Went to see Italy for a week with family for the first time.  That was an awe-inspiring event that produced a ton of emotions and writing...you may see some inspired works in "Watercoolers and Campfires"...

**Exceeded 1,400 fans on the AllOne Facebook Page (The location of the attention and the number may sound trivial, but it is a surreal representation of a beautiful net of support I never would have expected and that I'm always baffled by and grateful for!)

**Made my first radio appearances (and several thereafter on WUSB) thanks to Jim Davis and Say Whats Radio with Kaila Mullady. Listen to Kaila and I doing an adaptations of "Work In Progress" and also remixing the "Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air theme".  Also, thanks to my dear new friend, Chicago's own beautiful Jenna Anast, whom I met and befriended while on the AllOnederlust tour and who showed me around and invited me on her radio show in Chicago at one of the universities!!

**Filmed and released a few more videos thanks to Sean Ageman and Washed Up Media as well as Kristine Clifford and Dan Pritchard.  "Building After Buildings" and "Termagant" are the two most notable and almost cinematic poem-videos from the bunch.

** Books I read in 2014:
White Fang by Jack London // There's No Such Thing As Far Away, BiplaneOne and Hypnotizing Maria by Richard Bach // Armaggedon in Retrospect and Welcome To The Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut // Zen In The Art Of Writing and One More For The Road by Ray Bradbury // The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell // The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck // 23 Shades Of Black by K.J.A. Wishnia // Journey To Ixtlan by Carlos Castenada // Hip Hop America by Nelson George// V for Vendetta, From Hell and The Watchmen by Alan Moore // The Complete Classic Illustrated Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle // Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan// Binary by John Lange ( Michael Crichton) // Green Hills Of Africa by Ernest Hemingway // Wildwood Imperium by Colin Meloy // The First Men In The Moon by H.G. Wells // McSweeney's Quarterly Concern issue 13 // Doctor Sleep by Stephen King // Arabian Nights // Chicken Soup for the Soul (Inspiration For Writers) // Kidnapped by Robert Lewis Stevenson // This Side Of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald // The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold // Egghead by Bo Burnham // Witches Of Eastwick by John Updike // Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill // 5 works by John Leguizamo // Flint by Louis L'Amour // Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow // The Burden of Proof by Scott Turow 

**Most importantly I've spent a lot of time with family and old friends, exercised, adventured, read and wrote nearly everyday and I've met so many new and inspiring people that I'm happy to call my friends and been motivated by all of the new lives and stories I've encounter. **
 This has been an enriching year...Thank you all so much, let us all continue to build toward our goals and ideals, while shaping sincere relationships with one another.  There is no possible way to get anywhere enjoyable without the help and love of others (that goes both ways, you must love and help others as well!)
Always be loving, Always Love being!
Sincerely yours,
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo