Music I think you should hear, vol. 10

Montgomery, Ala. may not be known for a flourishing music scene (those designations generally go to Birmingham and Atlanta, Ga.), but in my time here, I have witnessed many incredible bands and musicians.

I enjoy hearing that many of the artists I have long respected have teamed up to create new things.

So with that being said, I would like to present a new album by some very talented musicians in my area: The Hard Gospel.

Featuring Brandon Marvin, Zane Tremontana and Robert Taylor (and guest appearances by Jeff McLeod and Shane Gillis), their debut album “The Commandments of Morality” can be heard below or on their Bandcamp page. (The album art is by an amazing artist and musician in Atlanta named Neal Williams. Check out more of his work here.)

 

And speaking of some of the folks above – Marvin, Taylor, McLeod and Gillis – they teamed up with bassist Mark Coleman a couple of years ago under the name Vyathist and released the album “Faceless, Dreamless.” Hear it below on on Bandcamp.

 

And one more related project from McLeod, who is in the band No with Vonda McLeod and Glenn Grant. They have a couple of albums out, the newest being “Scum Commodities.” They will also be playing this year’s Secret Stages festival in Birmingham – this Friday, 7:30 at the Das Haus stage. Hear them below or on Bandcamp.

 

Other news: Last Transgression (featuring Robert Taylor from The Hard Gospel and Vyathist) is playing at Head on the Door in Montgomery Friday night with Avavago. And No is playing at Head on the Door Saturday night with Bonejackal and RGTomb.

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‘Gut Munchers’ is out!

It’s here!

The long-awaited feature film from writer/director Jason Snellgrove (a.k.a. Jiggly J. Slickwood) and Did You Bury It? Productions is officially out on DVD and available from RAD! Vinyl.

If you’re into campy, funny, B-movie style, low-to-no budget, zombie indie films, here you go! (Full disclosure: it’s also my first feature film as an actor… See? I’m that cartoon guy in the black shirt at the top, middle. I’m also told that I look tougher as a cartoon… so… there’s that.)

Along with acting in the film, I also provided some original music for the score, along with an acoustic song that I was asked to write. Slickwood approached me awhile back and asked me to write a really cheesy acoustic song for use in the film, and the song “Zombie Gingivitis” was born.

I’ve got it set as “name your own price (even if $0)” on my Bandcamp page, so listen and download it, even if you’re broke. You can also listen below:

What do people think of you?

…and does it matter?

I often think that I see things very differently from how others see them. I set different standards for myself (if “standards” is the right word) than I do for others.

On multiple occasions, I have wondered what people really thought of me. That, in itself, may not seem as different on the surface, but…

…before getting to that, I want to provide some background. We know that everybody dies at some point. People go through life’s journey, experiencing various levels of bliss and heartache, but when you’re gone, the only non-material thing you leave behind is a name and the reputation attached to that name.

So sometimes I wonder how my name and the attached reputation are perceived by people.

Where I think that my mind sometimes wanders beyond the normal thought patterns is that I have thought on a few occasions of what it would be like to fake my own death – like having to do that to go into witness protection – just to show up at my own funeral incognito and listen, or to check out social media sites and read. (See? Now you think I’m weird…)

If I were gone, what would people say? What emotions would they exhibit? Who would show up to the funeral? Who would speak?

At times, I have wondered whether I have contributed to the betterment of someone, anyone? Who loved me? Who hated me? Whose forgiveness should I have sought?

Would people appreciate my music, writings or art more? Has anyone ever been inspired or gotten some sort of emotion from listening to my music? How long would my artistic endeavors last? How long would the memories of me last? What stories might they remember the most?

What I really think is unfortunate is that we never really know. It’s not something that people really talk about often. Sometimes, you may get that rare bit of personal, honest feedback, but it’s just that – rare.

But I do wonder…

Love is…

I often wonder about balance. When it comes to sharing personal information, how much is too much? As a person who has been regularly described as “guarded,” I’m not one to go deeply personal in a public setting.

This seems contradictory in some ways, due a lot to the lyrical content of my solo music, which is all very personal, yet released publicly.

That seemingly random bit of an introduction leads me to a story. I have not shared this story with many people, at least not in this much detail. It starts with a song: “What Sarah Said” by Death Cab for Cutie.

The lyrics are absolutely brilliant as the song details a hospital ICU waiting room and a mixture of hope and despair, but then it gets to the end where it says, “Love is watching someone die.”

Back in 2006, my cousin, who was a year younger than I am today, was in a crash that put her in the Neuro-ICU at a hospital about three hours from my home, and every time I hear that song, it reminds me of all the time I spent there, hoping for the best.

I remember being with my family. I remember my girlfriend at the time, also a Death Cab for Cutie fan, walking with me in the hospital while both of us sang the lyrics to “What Sarah Said” in unison. I remember it feeling like I was living that song.

I remember the long drives, one of which had me leaving home at midnight. I remember my roommates who woke up to check on me and hug me before I left. I remember being at my worst emotionally, wishing there was something I could do while knowing that there wasn’t.

I began writing, which tends to be what I do in bad situations. I wrote about that experience. I added to what I had written. A year after that, I picked up what I had written previously and added more to it. And while it is not nearly comparative lyrically to any Death Cab for Cutie song, it represents a time in my life where I lost someone that I really cared about. I released the song “Midnight Drives” on my first album Note from the Georgian Hotel.

I don’t normally explain the stories behind my songs in detail; I suppose this is the exception.

As cliché as it may sound, take a moment to tell the people in your life that you love them. I have some very supportive and encouraging friends who have stood by me at my best and at my worst, and I hope they know how much I love and appreciate them.

New Hail the Titans EP, Gut Munchers and more!

Photo by Mary Rhoden of Chasing-Sky.com

This past weekend, Hail the Titans released our newest EP, titled fig.

We’ve released it on limited edition vinyl (250 total) pressed on ‘Coke bottle green’ color at 45 rpm. (Digital download included.)

It’s available at our shows or you can order through RAD! Vinyl.

RAD! Vinyl has two options: Vinyl only or if you’re looking for our first CD, Hymns of Mare Nostrum, you can get both and save a few dollars.

And speaking of new releases, the campy zombie film Gut Munchers will be out very soon. Writer/director Jason Snellgrove posted a photo of the first box of DVDs, and RAD! Vinyl has been taking pre-orders for the movie. (Per the site, pre-order price is good through Thursday.)

This film project began back in 2010, actually. (The first time I can find where I posted anything about it was on Oct. 13, 2010. You can find previous posts searching for “Gutmunchers” and “Gut Munchers.”)

The character I play in the film is “Vince.” (If you see it before I do, tell me how it is.)

And recently, as many of you know, I’ve been working on the film Death to the World, playing the character “Nick.” The film is being produced by the team at Pudding Moment Productions. Along with being an actor and helping with various crew duties, the guys have recently asked me to officially join the Pudding Moment team as Director of Public Relations. So please, make sure to ‘like’ the page on Facebook: Pudding Moment Productions.