“If you don’t know K Phillips, you should start now. ”Kyla Fairchild, Publisher – No Depression
Phillips is quickly drawing attention to his Texas spin on southern soul that backs lyrics that range from dark to humorous to plaintive. Though there are some desperate characters, as a writer he doesn’t want to take himself too seriously. “I get a kick out of out of the ridiculous and the lighthearted, and I don’t want to be afraid to be a little weird, a little fragile or a little dirty,” he says. “I got that from Warren Zevon. I always loved how his songs and characters could be absurd or sardonic but at the same time achingly beautiful.”
The Burning of Rome began modestly as Adam Traub’s recording project in a laundry room in Oceanside, CA. It rapidly outgrew the four-track tape recorder on which it was born and demanded his complete devotion, as well as some talented extra musical hands, to bring it to life.
Enter the Romans: Oft barefoot axe wielder Joe Aguilar, whose specialties include scratchy guitar licks and spastic dancing. French bass man Keveen Baudouin, whose metronomic mind produces calculated bass lines with intelligence and fury. Slacker-era siren Aimee Jacobs who belts with operatic force while hammering on her glockenspiel and synthesizers. Zen guru Danny King, shredder behind the kit, who is, quite obviously, the terrestrial answer to the octopus. And Traub, manipulator of keyboard, guitar, light system—the proverbial kitchen sink through an amplifier—all while demonstrating a vocal gradation as yet undocumented elsewhere in nature.
Mix this all together and you have space rockers The Burning of Rome blasting their phonic waves at unsuspecting humanoids in Southern California for the past few years. The quintet has conjured a sonic palate replete with everything from death pop bliss, galactic rock, gypsy punk cabaret, to indie spaghetti western, and are now poised to harken the masses with the release of their forthcoming effort, Year of The Ox.
“We have assimilated,” Traub says of the unit. “We share an unbridled passion to revere music as life rather than hobby.”
The Burning of Rome was welcomed into the sun-kissed arms of San Diego’s independent Surfdog Records who released the group’s strange and sprawling debut With Us in 2012. A regional favorite, which the San Diego Reader described as sounding as “if the Misfits took psychedelics and performed an ABBA tribute,” With Us won the title of “Album of the Year” from the San Diego Music Awards.
Surfdog introduced the band to famed Butthole Surfer and producer Paul Leary (U2, Melvins, Sublime and Meat Puppets), who fell in love with the band, leading him to captain the production duties for Year Of The Ox, alongside co-producer Traub.
The brunt of the thirteen-song collection was tracked at the El Paso, TX pecan orchard and auditory oasis known as Sonic Ranch, which Traub calls a “veritable museum of rock and roll artifacts with some of the rarest recording gear on the planet.” The rest of the album was completed back in Leary’s hometown of Austin, where several guest drummers—Josh Freese (A Perfect Circle/NIN), Dale Crover (Melvins/Nirvana) and Matt Chamberlain (Pearl Jam/Of Montreal) dropped by to beat sticks and blow minds.
Year of the Ox weaves the three concepts of art, rebellion and life into a cascading aural braid. Each song, disguised by infectious pop hooks and provocative allusions to historical lore, elicits an intensely moving account of Traub’s interpretation of the human experience. (RIYL: Mr. Bungle as heard through whatever space-fangled stereo system is installed in the Starship Enterprise’s holodeck.)
The Burning of Rome’s live show is a different beast entirely. It fuses the brashness of punk with the orchestrated drama of a theatrical production, personified by front man Traub stomping carelessly on a crooked timeline between GG Allin and David Bowie. The group is oft (and rightly) regaled as one of the best live bands in Southern California, much to the chagrin of band members’ body parts which are regularly sacrificed to serve their mechanical purposes as mere extensions of their instruments. “It’s inherent,” Traub says. “Our blood beats to perform, travel and create. And damn the torpedoes, we’ll continue to do so as long as this world’s still spinning.”
2013 was a year in motion for the Burning of Rome—opening for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Milwaukee’s Summerfest, a string of east coast dates with alt-supergroup Volto!, tracing the Pacific coast with the iconic Psychedelic Furs, and a jaunt across the pond for an acoustic tour of London.
2014 is poised to supernova with a Mexican tour—including the Mexico City Vive Latino Festival alongside NIN and Arcade Fire, worldwide tour dates, and a brilliant new album.
Whether the Burning of Rome leaves you mesmerized, bloodied, confused, ecstatic or bewildered, or whether you can’t figure out if you’re witnessing a punk show, carnival, dance party or performance art piece, one thing is certain—the Year of the Ox is upon us
“The perfect mix of goth and dance influences to accompany an Edwardian Ball, with enough organs and dark vocals to satisfy Castlevania fans.”
– San Diego City Beat Magazine
“Their musical horizons stretch far beyond the threshold of modern rock. The Burning of Rome is a post-apocolypitic mash-up of meticulous orchestration, electronic manipulation and eccentric experimentation. If Danzig constructed a carnival ride, it’d look something like this.”
– 944 Magazine
“The kind of songs that Danny Elfman would assemble as a soundtrack for the Technicolor birth of the spawn of Satan”
– San Diego City Beat Magazine
“The Burning of Rome’s style can not be forced into any known genre without taking shortcuts and over looking its originality. Its dark tones and circus like melodies intermingle into one spontaneous, yet entertaining work of musicianship.”
As a 20 year veteran of the Austin music scene, Kevin Sekhani has done it all. From blazing rock-n-roll to Holy Ghost Honkytonk, for years Sekhani has entertained crowds with heartfelt enthusiasm and poignant lyrics. In Austin, Sekhani spent his time working with Michael Ramos (John Mellencamp, Patty Griffin), Andrew Duplantis (Son Volt), and Austin Chronicle’s three-time String Player of the Year winner Warren Hood. In 2010, Sekhani moved back to his home town of Lafayette, Louisiana to front The Mercy Brothers, a Gospel group walking the fine line of sinners and saints. Since the prodigal son’s return home, he has won over the hearts of Jazz Fest and Festival International audiences, landed a top 10 spot on the Americana charts in Europe, toured Sweden, and signed his Gospel group to Louisiana Red Hot Records.
Kevin Sekhani’s veracious songwriting extends beyond Gospel into secular territory with his debut solo album Sumner Street. No Depression praises the album saying, “With a voice slightly reminiscent of a young Steve Earle, solid songwriting, and musicians that include a member of Son Volt and veterans of the backing bands of Patty Griffin and John Mellencamp, Kevin Sekhani’s Sumner Street is one of the best debut albums I have heard in years”. Sumner Street is layered with Americana staple instrumentation, taking the earthy tones of violin, mandolin, banjo and acoustic guitars to give the feel of a back porch jam on a Louisiana Saturday night. The album’s track “Oilfield Tan” has found its way into regular rotation on local Louisiana and Texas radio stations, resonating amongst an area all too familiar with the demanding industry of oilfield work.
Kevin Sekhani celebrates his Louisiana roots bringing in a rotating cast of local musicians from Gary Newman, Andrew Duplantis, Will Payne Harrison, Fawn Larson, Jim McGee, Jonathan Herron and even the occasional Mercy Brother. With stops at 2014’s South by Southwest music festival, Sekhani has already began to garner an excitement for his solo career. You may catch Kevin Sekhani at a large festival or even on a small front porch, but wherever it is, it is guaranteed to be one hell of a performance.
The Burning of Rome have been described as “merging the pop sensibility of The Flaming Lips, the atmosphere of Brian Eno, and rock edge of Muse with poetic lyrics that recall the curiosity of Carl Sagan.” They put on an eerie and electrifying live show full of anthemic choruses, searing guitars and a driving rhythm section–all with a tinge of the macabre.
“The Dawls opened for Jack White when he stopped by Memphis this March, and he liked them so much he invited them to tour with him on a few other dates afterward. Can’t blame him for being entranced, though; the Dawls’ romantic harmonies and gothic storytelling tend to get under your skin.” – Lane Billings – Paste Magazine
Holly Cole, Jana Misener & Krista Wroten began creating music together in high school. Although the surroundings were less than romantic, their sound was powerful even then. The three rejoined after roaming the country for college and other bands. The girls took some ques from artists like Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt. Folk and classic country provide a foundation while the heavy string laden R&B songs from Otis Redding to Minnie Riperton make up the walls and roof. Including Jonathan McLaren on vibraphone and drums and Nahshon Benford on trumpet and euphonium allowed the band to explore more territory. A typical show can take a listener from a warm morning in the arms of a lover to a cold night alone lost in a desert and, thankfully, back again.
They all take inspiration from outside influences: Cole with a degree in sculpture and Misener and Wroten involvement with several film soundtracks. The band continues to play across the country and their sound continues to grow bigger and more graceful than it’s humble beginnings.
Colony House, a trio from Nashville, TN will release their first full-length album When I Was Younger via Descendant Records (The Lone Bellow) on July 22, 2014. Lead singer, guitarist and principal songwriter Caleb Chapman writes effortlessly infectious tunes that resonate with personal experience and emotional depth. The songs’ messages of hope and perseverance are matched by the organic musical rapport of Caleb and his bandmates, brother Will Chapman on drums and Scott Mills on lead guitar and harmony vocals. The openhearted attitude reflected throughout When I Was Younger can be seen in both Caleb’s expressive vocals and in the band’s vivid performances of such personally-charged tunes as “Silhouettes,” “Second Guessing Games,” “Keep On Keeping On,” “Waiting for My Time to Come” and “Won’t Give Up.” Colony House delivers the material with a balance of craft and immediacy that deliver a rich, gritty rock edge with heavy guitars and textual layers.
Dubbed “Houston’s fire-breathing dragon” by the Blueshound from 90.1 KPFT radio, Steve Krase (rhymes with ACE) plays live in the Greater Houston area venues.
His new CD “Some Day” was put together with award winning talent, such as James Henry, “Spare Time” Murray, and guest appearances by Tommie Lee Bradley on vocals and Eric Demmer on saxophone.
CD features hard hitting lyrics with a twist, with influences by The J Geils Band, Wilko Johnson, and the antics of Pub Rockers “Dr. Feelgood.”
Steve was born in Brooklyn NY and has spent time in Ohio, California and Louisiana. Now almost 20 years in Houston, Steve has blended his high energy style with the soulful vibe that runs through the great city of Houston.
Steve spent 10 years as the harp man for the legendary Houston band Jerry Lightfoot and The Essentials. After the Essentials broke up Steve spent a few years as a sideman with Matt Leddy & The Meatcutters before forming Steve Krase & The In Crowd. Steve Krase & The In Crowd were winners of the 2004 and 2005 International Blues Challenge, moving on to the finals in Memphis both years.
Infamous “low-tech” print masters, Texas-born The Amazing Hancock Brothers look to shock as much as inform. Their bold, unabashed style combines screen printing, woodcuts, and acrylic into mixed-use pieces that resemble part Circus Freak posters, part insane patterns, and all crazy, in-your-face attitude. Brothers Charles and John often chuck all sense of propriety out the window, then rip down the curtains, screen clowns or skulls or grotesque portraits on them, and then chuck that out the window, too. As members of Dirty Printmakers of America, they are able to use their ferocious, fearless talent to push the awareness and accessibility of printmaking to the huddled masses, democratizing art and technique.
Rich Hopkins is in a heroic struggle against mediocrity and complacency. A prolific writer, singer, guitarist, producer and humanitarian, Hopkins is concerned for the well-being of his fellow man and wonders about the events that have shaped us as a nation and a race. Letting him into your life with his music and stories on “Tombstone,” just might help you make sense of it all in some small way.
Hopkins, who has been a part of the American music scene since 1985, is, amazingly, still an undiscovered talent to some. Founding the Tucson, Ariz. based Sidewinders(RCA 1989-91)/ Sand Rubies (Polygram 1993), Hopkins toured the U.S. and celebrated success with college/indie rock classics “Witchdoctor” and “We Don’t Do That Anymore” (both went to #5 on the CMJ charts). In 1991, Hopkins formed Rich Hopkins and The Luminarios as a side project; it soon became his full time band when the Sand Rubies stopped touring. He has consistently cranked out new records (26 in all) and tours yearly in Germany/Europe (25 tours) where, in 1996, he was one of the first artists signed to Germany’s Blue Rose Records.
A new member of the Tucson Musicians Museum (Class of 2013), Hopkins enters music history as the quintessential desert rocker, a constant in the bedrock of alternative music. Showcasing an ability to create unmistakable guitar tones that drive a hallmark sound, as the years pass, Hopkins continues to reinvent and motivate himself for yet another album and tour as evidenced on “Tombstone,” the latest release from Rich Hopkins & The Luminarios.