‘413’ music video causing a stir in Western Massachusetts

Dr. WestchestersonAs many of you have no doubt already heard, there’s been a certain viral video gathering quite a bit of attention in Western Mass. lately.

The title of the video is “413,” and as the name suggests it has more than a little to do with that particular area code. In fact, set to a kinetic beat with a rapper whose flow is filled with references to the region, the video resembles a bona fide tribute of sorts to popular locations throughout the Pioneer Valley including the Basketball Hall of Fame, Six Flags New England, White Hut and many more.

But who’s the mastermind behind this red-hot creation? Well, that’s where matters begin to get tricky. You see, before I begin, I must first ask myself what hasn’t already been written about the now infamous Dr. Westchesterson?

Since the launch of the “413” music video on April 20 (go ahead, guess why that date was picked), the good doctor from Agawam has been square in the spotlight of the public eye thanks to numerous requests from area media outlets for interviews and coverage regarding his viral sensation. And while revealing little about his true self (god knows there’s a story there) or rarely being seen without his trusty pipe, Westchesterson has appeared time and again online, on television and on the radio to tout his brainchild in all its glory.

Watch the official “413” music video featuring Dr. Westchesterson here:

People, it seems, can’t get enough of videos that feature places they know or live near. Still, there have been some complaints that sections of the Berkshires and elsewhere weren’t represented equally enough in the “413” video. But according to a post on his blog, that’s a problem Dr. Westchesterson says is easily solved.

He writes, “When I read comments on my YouTube channel that certain people in Pittsfield and Greenfield and Holyoke were a little disappointed that their particular little corners of W. Mass weren’t represented in the video- it made me want to do one thing and one thing only. Make another video that includes even MORE gems and hidden treasures of the 413. Like the Volleyball Hall of Fame in Holyoke. And the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne. And the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge. And the inside of the womens’ only dorms at each of the seven sister schools.”

Heady goals to be sure. But judging from the media frenzy that has greeted his first hyper-localized effort, it may only be a matter of time before Westchesterson makes good on his promises.

For more information on Dr. Westchesterson please visit his blog at www.drwestchesterson.blogspot.com/ or check out his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/people/Doc-Westchesterson.

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Album review – Dirty Three “Toward the Low Sun” – April 26, 2012

Album review – Dirty Three “Toward the Low Sun” – April 26, 2012

“Behind the Beat: Party People” Benny Lava – April 26, 2012

“Behind the Beat: Party People” Benny Lava – April 26, 2012

Out now: The Dandy Warhols merge science-fiction, goth and grunge on This Machine

DandyWarhols (This Machine)The Dandy Warhols

This Machine

(The End)

Release date: April 24, 1012

“We’ve been told that it’s our gothiest. I thought it was our grungiest. So I’m really hoping it’s a hit with goths who are, um, really outdoorsy?”

Though meant in jest, the above statement by Dandy Warhols frontman Courtney Taylor-Taylor goes a long way toward explaining the appeal of his band’s latest album This Machine. Having long since abandoned their role as props in the corporate side of rock ‘n’ roll, the Dandys are now free to craft any music they wish. And the results, while not always consistent, are frequently the subject of appointment-listening by fans of a variety of genres.

Recorded during 2011 at the band’s studio and entertainment complex in Portland, Ore. the Odditorium, the album is also proclaimed as a return to a more “guitar-centric” sound than the group’s last three records, which featured a more electronic-influenced style. For example, opening cut “Sad Vacation” begins with a bouncing bass line that never lets up as Taylor-Taylor croons over scattered feedback squalls and a persistent beat.

Watch the video for the song “Sad Vacation” from The Dandy Warhols new album here:

Elsewhere, the much-hyped cut “The Autumn Carnival” includes songwriting contributions from David J formerly of the bands Bauhaus and Love and Rockets. Describing an ethereal journey through what sounds like a funhouse from another dimension, the track is a gem whose mystery only deepens when you read the band member bios included on the Dandy Warhols website.

Penned by science-fiction author Richard K. Morgan, each short tale outlines the life and strange disappearance of characters who were “taken by the Autumn Carnival” at various points over the last two centuries. Veering from pulp to mystery and even to country-western, these vignettes beg to be expanded into larger stories. However, in the meantime there’s always the music.

When viewed through the prism of the band’s full-fledged media concept, tracks like “I Am Free” read more like triumphant cries that wouldn’t be out of place playing over the end credits of a This Machine film. And where else can you hear a cover of the classic country track “16 Tons” that sounds both completely reverent and totally tongue-in-cheek?

The cliché has often been cited that we need more bands that think “outside the box.” However, there is no doubt that the Dandy Warhols left their respective cube by the wayside a long time ago, and on This Machine they continue moving forward regardless of musical trends or artistic fads. The only question you should ask yourself is how much popcorn to make beforehand, then sit down, start munching and just enjoy the ride.

For more information on The Dandy Warhols please visit www.dandywarhols.com.

Plus, don’t forget to follow the Northeast Underground on YouTube and Twitter:

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Album review – Perfume Genius “PutYour Back N 2 It” – April 19, 2012

Album review – Perfume Genius “PutYour Back N 2 It” – April 19, 2012

‘Impresario. Raconteur. Rock Legend.’ The Nolan Whyte interview part two

Comeback Road book cover

Comeback Road book cover

As promised, here is part two of my interview with Canadian writer and blogger Nolan Whyte. To catch up on part one, click here.

Underground: I see from your site that you published the series/ novel Comeback Road as an e-book. Have you ever tried publishing any of your other material professionally, and if so, what was that experience like?

Nolan Whyte: I showed Comeback Road around in the traditional print publishing market, but it didn’t garner any interest. I self-published the e-book, but it didn’t sell much because its audience had already read it for free on UG. Pretty much everything I’ve written since then has been done with website publication in mind, so I haven’t pursued print or e-book re-publication. I’m in no hurry for that type of thing. It will come when it comes.

Who are some of your inspirations both musical and literary?

Artists, mostly, from any field. I’m interested in people who had to figure out their own ways of doing things. It’s hard for me to name names, especially with writers, because I usually get into someone’s work, explore them, and then move on. I think Dee Dee Ramone had an interesting life and career, both in the Ramones and then later with his projects in music, writing and art. I like guys who were willing to experiment in a variety of fields, and I appreciate artists who were able to put together long careers. Musically, it’s the same names that I drop in the novels: The Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, Ministry. Many others, always changing.

When did you start writing about hockey, and when did that sport plus the Tamp Bay Lightning become the focus of your blog?

I started the Frozen Sheets Hockey blog simply because I don’t have buddies to talk about hockey with. My wife doesn’t give a shit about hockey. I had stuff I wanted to say, so eventually I decided to just start writing it. It’s more of a hobby than the fiction stuff.

Other than subject area, how does writing about sports differ from your music writing?

The music stuff has mostly been fiction, but hockey blogging is me talking about my experience as a fan. What’s interesting is that I didn’t really read other hockey blogs before I started writing one, and after I started I was exposed to this huge field of well-written, extremely creative material that’s out there, being generated daily. I do it as a goof, but I’ve had some good responses to things I’ve written, and I’ve connected with some really cool, creative people.

What has been the biggest perk you’ve received from writing about a professional hockey team?

Not much. I was invited to join a larger blog network (SBN’s rawcharge.com), which gave my work some exposure to a wider audience. I was able to do a few interviews, including former NHL player Enricco Ciccone, and poet Randall Maggs, who wrote an amazing book of hockey poetry. His book was one thing that inspired me to start the hockey blog in the first place. I like doing interviews, although they aren’t something I would want to do all the time. I’ve mostly tried to just write about my favorite team in my own style and see if anyone pays attention. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.

What can you tell me about your other series End City: A Sci-Fi Satire?

I used to have a personal website where I posted my writing and art, and in 2007 I tried writing a daily fiction blog, called the Page-A-Day. It started out with a lot of short pieces, but pretty soon I started writing a novel, which became End City. It’s sort of a genre mash-up of science fiction and hard-boiled mystery conventions. I call it a satire because it’s so ridiculously over the top, full of ninjas and monsters and sexy killers and a typically clueless protagonist. It was influenced by more transgressive writers like William Burroughs and Hunter Thompson, and also by Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine, which I was reading at the time. It’s very different from the UG stuff. Very loose in structure, very violent, very random. The UG novels tend to be very personal, with a lot of internal conflict, but this was more explosions and fist-fights. It’s also thematically very different from anything else I’ve done. It isn’t political in a left/right sense, but it does show more political awareness than my other work.

Do you have any future projects planned?

Not specifically, but one thing always follows the next. I’m focused on I Sing When You Shut Up at the moment. I’m very invested in that story, because I have it all planned out in my mind and I want to carry it off successfully. I may have the next project in mind before this one is done. Sometimes it works like that, where I’m able to finish one thing and move directly into the next thing, but sometimes I have to make a lot of false starts before really getting going on the next one. I did a huge amount of pre-writing and made several false starts on I Sing before it was ready to go. Hopefully the work pays off for the reader. The next thing will follow organically from there.

For more information on Nolan Whyte please visit his blog at www.frozensheetshockey.blogspot.com. Or, read his work on Ultimate-Guitar.com here http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/Nolan+Whyte/.

Plus, don’t forget to follow the Northeast Underground on YouTube and Twitter:

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“Behind the Beat: Hardcore Vengeance” Revenge – April 19, 2012

“Behind the Beat: Hardcore Vengeance” Revenge – April 19, 2012