Tag Archives: show

Music Monday: Clock Opera

Clock Opera appeared on “ones to watch” lists for 2010. And 2011. And 2012. They finally released their debut album this past April, and it looks like the Clock Opera machine is now rolling full steam ahead. Early in their career, they got labelled “chop pop” and although frontman Guy Connelly seems uncomfortable with the tag, it’s about the only short description for their unique blend of chopped, remixed, smoothed samples and rather epic lyrics. I’ve been listening since late 2009 when they added to the lineup Dan Armstrong, whom I previously knew from his days with indie band The Rushes. Clock Opera started as the solo project of Guy Connelly, who released both remixes and original tracks under the name. Remixes released from Clock Opera continue to be Guy’s handiwork, and it was his remix of Marina & the Diamonds’ “I am Not a Robot” combined with the release of “Belongings” that really made me sit up and listen.

 

Their debut album, Ways to Forget, was released in both standard and deluxe versions. I have been waiting expectantly for this album for a couple of years now, and I have to say, if I had only gotten the standard version, I would have been disappointed. 6 out of the 10 tracks had previously been released as singles, and I think the versions on the cd suffer from over-production. It’s like they took somewhat disparate songs like the driving, angry Lesson No. 7, the beautiful crescendo of Once and For All, and the pop staccato of Belongings, and decided that they needed to sound more alike. Although CO’s songs tend to be slightly repetitive and formulaic, they are dern catchy and powerful, and the album versions lose that somewhat. Even Move to the Mountains, which people have begging for since it appeared in an episode of Chuck, loses a bit of what was hinted at under those lines of Chuck dialogue.

That said, my love affair with this album starts with track 8, and I think the Lost Buoys, Move to the Mountains, and Fail Better, all previously unreleased, would work for me as a happy ending. Fortunately, however, they decided to also release a deluxe version (at least in the UK). New tracks Ways to Forget (yes, the title track got dropped from the initial album lineup), New Arrivals, Glass Eye and Seven Hours add some diversity to the album, and I am SO glad they added the “under the floorboards” version of Once and For All. This song is truly lovely and the video proves all musicians ought to know how to play the piano:

 

 

Be sure and watch the music video for the original version of Once and For All as well – if that doesn’t make you cry then you have a hard, hard heart. D & I were lucky enough to catch them in Manchester last year and in New York this spring. For a while I had a hard time imagining how they could bring their sound to the live stage, but they put on a really good show, especially once they start breaking out the metal trays & kettles! Sadly, Dan said they don’t often play my favorite newer song, Fail Better, live because it requires a special setup for bassist Andy. I’m very excited, I already have my tickets for their November London show, although it would help if I had plane tickets too…

 

You can find Clock Opera on:

Soundcloud

Facebook

ClockOpera.com

Youtube (If you’re like me and are still a bit confused by the concept of “chop pop”, watch the “making of” videos where they put in context some of the everyday sounds they incorporate)

 Twitter

Happy Labor Day!

Due to a scheduling mishap, I had a rare four day weekend this weekend, and did my best to enjoy it! Here’s a little rundown:

Friday

Had lunch with an old friend who is moving to Chicago next week. Sad, but now I have someone to visit in Chicago ūüôā And Chicago sure seems to host a lot of cons!! (Don’t tell her I said that already) Afterwards I popped in Richmond staple Stories Comics and picked up a few horror magazines. I am prepping for MonsterFest in Chesapeake, but given Saturday’s events that ended up being a bad plan. Listed at least 50 new items on etsy while watching really cheesy television. My shop now has over 200 items in it, and that’s got to be less than 20% of my stock. That means that 1) I need to list more on etsy and 2) if you haven’t checked out my display at a show this summer, you should come by the Costen Floors bazaar in Richmond next weekend or MonsterFest next month if you’re in the Chesapeake area!!

Saturday

Drove with R & D down to Virginia Beach to see Carbon Leaf again. I’m really not sure why I keep heading to the waterfront resort areas in peak tourist traffic, but whatever. We planned our route around 2 comic book stores. The first was Bender’s Books & Cards in Hampton. D & I first heard about this place when we had a table at the Virginia Beach Memorial Day Sci Fi yard sale when I made a deal with the owner for some of my Doctor Who books & collectibles. On the way home from that trip, we stopped by the store. It is a treasure trove of vintage comics, magazines, and, well, pretty much anything collectible. Make sure you bring your hand sanitizer because you will get dirty, but seriously, this place has everything. Piles and stacks and shelves of it. I came away with a big stack of monster books, magazines, and comics, as well as some Doctor Who magazines. They have a bigger Doctor Who display than I ever thought I’d find in Hampton, as well as a TON of Star Trek stuff (probably because of the annual sci fi yard sale).

Next we headed towards Zeno’s Books in Chesapeake. This is another store we heard about at the Sci Fi yard sale. They actually had the booth next to us and we kept each other entertained all day – apparently I was the first customer they’d ever had who bought comics based on what was on the BACK covers, which amused them. I also spoke to them at FantaSci and the July VA Comic Con, so even before I’d set foot in the store this was pretty much my favorite comic store. The owner had set aside the merch we were looking for which was really nice, and I also picked up some more magazines and comics to use for MonsterFest items. I’m getting really excited about this event!! Although a much smaller store than Stories or Benders, the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff is a huge plus and they still have a very impressive inventory for the space. I got some great deals, and one or two items that I might not be able to bring myself to cut up.

Finally, much to R’s relief, we eventually headed towards Virginia Beach. Carbon Leaf was playing for free as part of the Verizon Wireless American Music Festival. We got there just in time to catch most of the opening act, A Silent Film, a band out of Oxford/London. I had never heard of them before but we all enjoyed their set and I intend to check out their albums.

Carbon Leaf were amazing as usual, although they seemed to have some technical issues throughout the night and I’m pretty sure Barry wasn’t feeling so great although he did borrow a punter’s hula hoop and hula hooped on stage and they still played at least 2 hours. They played a new song which Barry identified as¬†Bloody Good Bar Fight Song/ Donnybrook Affair, and there were 2 songs in the encore that were either so old or so new that I didn’t know them. All three showed a lot more of the celtic influence that they used to have, which I appreciate. I think this is probably connected to them dropping their major label and going back to their indie roots.

Sunday

I caught up on Doctor Who. Can you believe I missed the Doctor Who premiere for real life fun? Yeah, me neither…

Monday

Spent the day rearranging my workspace. Now that all the magazines and comic books and books are in one place and sorted, I’m a bit overwhelmed. No more comic book stores for me for a while!!! Time to do some more cutting up & etsying!

Have a Heart Fall Bazaar 9/8

The fall Have a Heart Bazaar is only two weeks away! We still have vendor spaces available for this event, which will be Saturday, 9/8, from 8-1, hosted by Costen Floors in Henrico. We’ve been hosting vendor events to raise money for the American Heart Association since 2009 and now have fall and spring events open to second hand, craft, and catalog vendors. If you’re interested in vending in our fall event please email me at mail@rippingitdown.com¬†or you can signup for our email list¬†to be notified about future vendor events!

If you’re not a vendor but you’re in the Richmond area, stop by and check out all the goodies on offer and help us support the American Heart Association. Be sure to follow Costen Floors on facebook and join the event for updates on all the great vendors registered!

 

Confirmed vendors include:

Food truck – www.streetdelirva.com
Thirty One – www.mythirtyone.com/blb
Park Lane Jewelery
We Be Crafting Initials Inc –¬† www.myinitials-inc.com/14106/
Scriptures Gifts & Xaviera LLC Finders Keeprs – www.finderskeeprs.com
www.twosistersartconcepts.com
Scentsy – www.sarahssignaturescents.scentsy.us
Grateful Gypsy – gratefulgypsy.etsy.com
NailLand nail salon – nailland.tumblr.com
Jewel Kade – www.jewelkade.com/jstack
Ripping It Down – rippingitdown.etsy.com
Thirteen O’Clock – thirteenoclock.etsy.com
Arbonne

Music Monday: Bella Morte

By now, you should be able to tell that I actually cannot write or talk about music. I can tell you what I enjoy, it’s up to you to check it out and define/label/judge it for yourself. This is supposed to be a craft blog anyways! Hah. Last night, I finally caught Bella Morte in Richmond. I first encountered Bella & Brighter Fires¬†this spring at Raven Con. At the time, I had only listened to one or two tracks and since I wasn’t staying at the con hotel, I didn’t hang around for their midnight show. Shame on me! The gang was very friendly, and I intended to give them another listen, but didn’t do so before Blood on the Beach, where I passed up the chance to see them again! It wasn’t until June that I gave Bella Morte, and co-founders Andy Deane & Gopal Metro’s new project Brighter Fires, a closer listen. Typically, this would be where I say that the band(s) then broke up and I failed to ever see them again. Fortunately, both acts seem to be going strong!

According to their official bio, “Bella Morte sings songs of love and loss, hope and despair.¬† By combining electronics, graveyard ballads, emotive storytelling and unique guitar riffs, Bella Morte have developed a style that is solely their own…. [T]hey remain eternally thankful to have been able to make a living doing what they love: singing songs about the dead and winning over the hearts of the living along the way.” Listen to a few of their tracks on reverbnation¬†and if nothing else, you have to watch my favorite music video, for a ridiculous cover (read: AWESOME):

 

Since their discography is a bit overwhelming, here’s the tracklist for the mix I made which has become my early morning/late night driving mix of choice:

1. Flatlined
2. One Thousand Days (below – one of my faves)
3. Earth Angel
4. Falling Star (my favorite track so far)
5. As the Storm Unfolds
6. Can’t Let This Die
7. The Morning Sun
8. Living Dead
9. Lights in the Sky
10. Angels & Faith
11. Black Seas Collide
12 . On the Edge
13. Here with Me
14. Haunted
15. Find Forever Gone
16. Another Way
17. In the Dirt
18. My Heart Will Go On (yes, I said that)
19. Skin

 

You can find Bella Morte on:

BellaMorte.com

Facebook

Youtube

Twitter

Amazon

Music Monday: Synthetic Divison

Synthetic Division is the synth pop project of Shawn Decker and Josh d’Elia. Shawn was born with hemophilia and diagnosed with HIV in middle school,¬†and after years¬†of denial, he¬†is an AIDS and sex ed spokesman and advocate. Courtesy of the Make a Wish Foundation, in high school he¬†met Depeche Mode, who¬†he credits¬†with making a huge impact on his life. ¬†All of this influences Synthetic Division’s sound and lyrics.

On July 5th I drove up to Charlottesville for the Synthetic Division Numb to the Numbers album release party. The relatively new venue, the Black Market Moto Saloon, was a very interesting space (but was shortly after blocked from hosting live music events due to zoning restrictions). Show openers Lauren Hoffman and Tony Lechmanski played a surprisingly mellow and melodic country set, and DC’s Lenorable picked things up a bit. You can check out my photos from the night on flickr.

IMAG2580

Shawn & Josh did a great job, but unfortunately I didn’t have a chance to let them know as I had to¬†speed home to take a friend to the airport early the next morning. Fortunately, the next time I went up to Charlottesville, a solo¬†Synthetic Division performance from Shawn ended up being a last minute opener for Brighter Fires at the Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar (they had to change venues after the Black Market was cut off, and their original openers hERETICS iN tHE lAB drove all the way up from VA Beach only to discover that their instruments were too numerous for the new venue’s small stage – they had “too much rock”, trufax). It was lovely to meet Shawn and Gwenn , who were so friendly!

You can check out a lot of tracks from Synthetic Division on bandcamp. While it’s not the most lyrically sophisticated of his songs, this track always make me laugh (and is ridiculously catchy & geeky to boot):

 

I also have to throw in a recommendation for Shawn’s autobiography, My Pet Virus: The True Story of a Rebel Without a Cure . At the album release he described it as “the funniest book about AIDS that you’ll ever read”, and¬†I can’t say I’ve read a funnier one. I started reading it while walking around the block. I was only planning on doing 3 laps (about 1 mile), but I definitely went at least 9 because I couldn’t put the book down!

You can find Synthetic Division on:

Bandcamp

Facebook

Youtube (Shawn)

Amazon