Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Rocking Horse Ranting

Who controls the people who control everything?
Why is there no check or balance on greed at the end of the day?
Why is it always up to someone else to censor which art gets heard or seen?
Why are those people so pigheaded and always, inevitably, too late?
Why is the only answer given for these questions a pedantic, "life's not fair."
Does anyone else have a problem with this answer?
Is that really what we're all willing to settle for?
I guess a better plan just hasn't been thought up yet,
But I, for one, am sick of auditioning
Trying out for the team
Being led to believe whatever they feel like telling me.
I'm sick of it always being up to other people.
I'm glad all the big industries are failing.
I'm glad new technology makes it easy for anyone to put out whatever they want.
But there's still a gauntlet to be run, as far as I can see.
It's still not really a free-for-all.
Maybe we need someone controlling everything--for quality control
But I want quality control for the quality control because it's gone to their heads.
And they're still screwing us all.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rocking Horse Rhymes

New Poem by Whitni Roche:

Riff-raff in the Park

While riding around the lake
I take in what I see and pass by
a homeless guy—stopping to share.
I watch him tear some bread for geese--
His fight for peace begins here.
I fear those geese as tall as my waist,
trying to taste anything that moves.
What would improve this urban retreat?
A smoother street? Less geese? No riff-raff with bread?
Instead—we steer our bikes away from cars;
This park is ours even if built with others in mind
a fancier kind—the public deed
favors the need of people like him,
as well as the whim of people like me.
Parks are free for the riff-raff.
I am the riff-raff.

The Rollicking Rocking Horse Happening Hangout Herald

REVIEW of the Black Dub Show at Spaceland, Silverlake--last Sat. night 2/13

A soulful backyard garden of sounds that defied stereotype, last Saturday night’s Black Dub show at Spaceland in Silverlake surprised and delighted those of us lucky enough to be in the audience. Legendary producer Daniel Lanois’ latest project, Black Dub is just starting out on its debut tour after recording. The band blends Trixie Whitley’s gut-punching vocals (gut-punching in the most beautiful way possible) with Lanois’s grittier classic rock harmonies, tempered by the sweetest drumming and bass-lines that only two true-blue Southerners could conjure: Brian Blade and Daryl Johnson from Shreveport, LA and Memphis, TN respectively.

The band played such a tasty, well-timed set that I completely forgot all reference to time and space, and the crowd was so unanimously transported that the good vibes spread to even the most cynical LA hipster, and everyone swayed along all the way through the encore. Because each song was so artfully placed in connection to the others, creating that sustained music-induced euphoria every performer strives for, it is difficult to single out any one highlight from among the general high of the concert as a whole. But if I had to choose a moment of concentrated soul-love, it would be during Lanois’ and Whitley’s stark, haunting harmonies in the chorus to “Silverado.” If those two could do their singing from the mountaintop setting the lyrics invoke, the emotion they push into every note during that song would be enough to send a rocky avalanche sliding down from the San Gabrielles, and probably set off the big San Andreas earthquake everyone’s predicting. It was raw musical power.

The night ended with a slow acoustic build beginning with Lanois and climbing to the perfected synergy this newly-formed group has so rapidly achieved. They left us wanting more. Which is high praise from one such as I who is not so big on the typical ego-massaging encores squeezed out by so many songwriting bands playing smallish venues around town. The set was like a summer rainstorm in the Southern regions that inspire so much of Lanois’ music: it began with a few gentle drops, slowly gaining force and volume for about an hour’s worth of refreshment, then, before our boots had time to get soggy—it petered back to a gentle sprinkle of acoustic showers, sending us all off to bed with gentle dripping resonating in our ears.

The Rocking Horse gives this show a 5 o’clock shadow for rustic charm, a crisp dill pickle for satisfaction, and a shining silver horse-shoe for gut impact. And while we’re at it, “Spaceland” gets our Flying Saucer Award for classy ticket-sale limitation—you just can’t pack ‘em in like sardines and expect musical magic. Thanks for the space to dance “SPACE” land! HA.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Rocking Horse Record Review

The Kings of Convenience have a new album out called, “Declaration of Dependence.” Which is also the title of a Christian-themed song by Dove acclaimed CCM superstar, Steven Curtis Chapman. I don’t know if the Kings of Convenience are aware of this, but I have a feeling the Norwegian duo may be inclined to quietly snicker about it if they found out.

I think this album sounds like what I imagine it would feel like to rollerblade along a beach in Southern California, then follow the trail as it magically leads into an undersea tunnel through the deepening Pacific, where the dolphins and jellyfish dance gently overhead as I continue skating toward Catalina island, where I emerge inside a luminous cavern filled with phosphorescent moss formations. In other words, I have fun listening to it.

From the Rocking Horse Record Review this album receives a pinwheel for musical styling, a razor blade for truth, and a mermaid’s kiss for creative whimsy.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Rollicking Rocking Horse Happening Hangout Herald

This week I recall....

“Running with the Night” at The Adventist Speakeasy

Last Tuesday, January 12, there was an excellent gathering of ladies and gentlemen from around Riverside, California, to sit in a cozy living room and hear amazing new music from local geniuses. The event was conceptualized by local artist and curator, Lee Tusman, who also played some of his i-phone mixes as part of the evening’s entertainment. This you had to see to believe. Lee wore a quilted poncho of sorts, while producing and dancing along to wild soundscapes projected from his i-phone through an old-fashioned boom box that served as his portable amp.

Before Lee, local songwriter and producer, Aaron Roche performed acoustic samplings from his new, fully orchestrated, soon-to-be-released album, “Plainspeak.” He even invited me, his dear wife, to join him on vocals for one of the folksier numbers.

The final act of the evening was an experimental guitar duo comprised of Monte Williams and Joe Hill of Spiderworks and Alien Ant Farm. They created an elegant layer-cake of sound ranging from mountain-music gentle to traffic-jam arresting. As they eventually rappelled themselves down from their wall of sound, the rapt audience stirred gently, looked around at one another in the dimly lit room, then gathered their things to head back out into the night.

Rumor has it, this won’t be the last we hear from “Running with the Night.” It’s a series coming to a neighborhood, street corner, or warehouse near you.