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Exclusive Album Stream: The Mama Rags “Hectic Electric”

The Mama Rags formed in the fall of 2013 in Seattle, Washington. Inspired by the great rock bands of the late ’60s and early ’70s heyday, the band seeks to translate the vintage aesthetic of quality rock and roll to a modern-day audience. Combining hard rock with hints of garage, psychedelic, country, and blues, The Mama Rags create a well-rounded and unique sound that leaves you thinking you were born in the wrong era.

Hectic Electric is a debut release that encapsulates the golden-era rock stylings of The Mama Rags. On the one hand, you have “Change You,” a catchy pop tune guaranteed to be stuck in your head all day, that was mixed by Grammy-nominated producer Don Gehman (R.E.M., Stephen Stills, Neil Young, John Mellencamp). On the other hand, a collection of songs recorded in friend Shawn Fleming’s (King Dude) basement over a December weekend which feature dirty riffs reminiscent of Black Sabbath (“Borrowed Time”), the sloppy attitude of the Stones (“Invite Me Over”), and modern garage rock accessibility (“Hectic Electric”).

Hectic Electric sees its release on June 16, 2015 via FunkFarm. The exclusive album stream is above, and the flyer for the band’s record release show (Saturday, June 20, 2015 at Seattle’s Tractor Tavern) is below.

The Mama Rags record release show flyer

Song Premiere: Ben Trickey “Guiding Star”

Ben Trickey, photo by Aaron Barnes

Atlanta’s Ben Trickey is a layman’s existentialist, a dive-bar philosopher both driven and paralyzed by a deep fascination with life’s greatest question. In his songs, he perpetually contemplates his purpose, and with a wounded, wary croon, his dark country-folk struggles for hope in the face of desolation.

Trickey’s latest offering is the fourth and final installment in a seven-inch series he recorded over the past four years, all of which will soon be compiled into a hand-made limited edition box set called The Long Box (out June 9th). The A-side of the new seven-inch, “Alabama,” is quietly devastating, its stark rural imagery contrasted with a nostalgia for unburdened youth. This is followed by a cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Shipwrecked in the ’80s,” and “Guiding Star,” which finds Trickey’s quivering vocals at a heart-wrenching pinnacle.

Clocking in at about a minute-and-a-half, “Guiding Star” a brief but impactful indulgence in loneliness. The premiere of the track can be streamed below.

Photos: Bernie Sanders Announces Presidential Candidacy, Burlington, VT 5/26/15

Bernie For President

On May 26, 2015, Bernie Sanders (I-VT) announced his run for presidency at Burlington, Vermont’s Waterfront Park. The populist independent senator from Vermont will be seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party.

“This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders. It is not about Hillary Clinton. It is not about Jeb Bush or anyone else. This campaign is about the needs of the American people,” said Sanders before a large crowd gathered on the shore of Lake Champlain. His entire speech, outlining the major points of his campaign, can be read here.

Below are more photos taken from the rally, which kicked off at 5 p.m. EST.

The rally begins at Waterfront Park

The rally begins at Waterfront Park

A sizable crowd gathered for the event

A sizable crowd gathers for the event

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry's address the crowd

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s address the crowd

Bernie takes to the podium

Bernie takes to the podium

Bernie Sanders

“The gap between the very rich and everyone else is wider than at any time since the 1920s. The issue of wealth and income inequality is the great moral issue of our time, it is the great economic issue of our time, and it is the great political issue of our time.”

Bernie Sanders rally crowd

“I ask you to join me in this campaign to build a future that works for all of us, and not just the few on top.”

Boaters and kayakers gathered along the shore to listen to Bernie's speech

Boaters and kayakers gather along the shore to listen to Bernie’s speech

The historic Moran Plant looms over the gathering

The historic Moran Plant looms over the gathering

Bernie Sanders shakes the hands of supporters as he leaves the rally in his Jeep

Bernie Sanders shakes the hands of supporters as he leaves the rally in his Jeep Cherokee

Signs in the crowd

Signs in the crowd

The crowd disperses through Waterfront Park

The crowd disperses through Waterfront Park

Again, to read Bernie’s full speech, please visit The Burlington Free Press website.

More Than 300 Bands Confirmed for The Fest 14

FEST 14The organizers of The Fest 14 have announced the next batch of bands. The latest additions – which brings the total number of confirmed bands to 331 – include Title Fight, Modern Life Is War, As Friends Rust, Big Wig, Into It. Over It., Smoke or Fire, Pianos Become the Teeth, Loma Prieta, Masked Intruder, Lee Corey Oswald, and more.

These bands join a list of artists that already includes Lagwagon, Desaparecidos, The Menzingers, Mustard Plug, Tim Barry, Off With Their Heads, Teenage Bottlerocket, mewithoutYou, Modern Baseball, The Hotelier, Chumped, The Sidekicks, Elway, and Defiance, Ohio.

The 2015 edition of The Fest will take place in Gainesville, Florida over the course of three days (October 30th and 31st, and November 1st) and will feature more than 350 punk and independent bands.

To see the full list (so far) of bands, go here and here.

Five Pilot Episodes of Popular TV Shows

"Family Guy" pilot

We all have to start somewhere, right? Prior to becoming your favorite way to waste a half-hour, a pilot episode must pave the way for a television show to make it on air. Over time, these relics become forgotten – and in some cases, remain practically unseen. Here are five interesting pilots of shows that have become household names.

The Flintstones

This short cartoon, clocking in at just over a minute and a half, introduced “The Flagstones” as they were originally called. Created in 1959 (a year before The Flintstones debuted on TV), the plot of this demo reel would eventually be incorporated into the episode “The Swimming Pool.”

You may recognize the voice of Wilma, as it is portrayed here by Jean Vander Pyl, who would continue as Wilma in the series. However, in this short, Betty is voiced by the legendary June Foray (known for her work as Rocky the Flying Squirrel, Cindy Lou Who, Magica De Spell, and a million other characters), while Fred and Barney are voiced by Daws Butler (Yogi Bear, Snagglepuss, and Huckleberry Hound).

The show eventually featured Alan Reed as Fred, Bea Benaderet as Betty, and Mel Blanc as Barney — though Daws Butler would step in to play Barney for five episodes in season two while Blanc recuperated from a car accident.

Seinfeld

When the first episode of Seinfeld aired on July 5, 1989, it was known as The Seinfeld Chronicles. The pilot episode, written by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, was well-received by critics — but it was reviled by test audiences, and the network decided to pass. However, thanks to the tenacity of NBC executive Rick Ludwin (who put up some of his own money just to get the deal done), a four-episode first season was ordered — the smallest episode order in history.

More than 25 years later, Seinfeld continues to make history, as Hulu has paid a record $160 million licensing deal to air every episode of the show.

South Park

A large portion of the South Park pilot, “Cartman Gets an Anal Probe,” would air as the first episode (with the same title) on Comedy Central. However, there are some differences here.

First, the original pilot shows the Cartman family with a father and a sister present, rather than just Cartman and his mom. The school nurse — sans conjoined fetus — makes her debut, as does the “6th Grade Leader” kid. Most interestingly, Cartman’s reason for farting fire is explained.

While the entire unaired pilot was created with handmade cutouts, the edited first episode contains some scenes created with computer animation. This was done to fill in the gaps due to the deleted scenes.

Family Guy

The original test pilot of Family Guy may look crudely drawn, but it served its purpose in exhibiting the show’s style of humor, as well as most of its primary characters. In addition to the entire Griffin clan, Quagmire, Cleveland, Mike Tucker, and Diane Simmons are among those who appear. The plot of this short closely resembles that of the first episode, “Death Has a Shadow.”

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

With a camcorder and less than $200, creators Glenn Howerton, Charlie Day, and Rob McElhenney filmed the pilot episode of what was originally titled “It’s Always Sunny on TV,” a show about three struggling actors in Hollywood. Once the show was picked up by FX, its location was changed from LA to Philadelphia, McElhenney’s hometown.

The plot of the pilot episode would later become the basis of the plot of the show’s fourth episode, “Charlie Has Cancer.”


Click here for Top 10 Most Annoying Cartoon Characters of All Time

Ben E. King, Singer of “Stand By Me” and Member of The Drifters, Has Died at Age 76

Ben E. King, best known for his 1961 song “Stand By Me,” has died at the age of 76. He passed away on Thursday, April 30, 2015. The cause of death has not been announced.

Fellow musician Gary US Bonds wrote on Facebook that King was “one of the sweetest, gentlest and gifted souls that I have had the privilege of knowing and calling my friend for more than 50 years.”

King started his career in the late 1950s with The Drifters, singing on hits including “There Goes My Baby” and “Save The Last Dance For Me.”  After going solo, he hit the US top five with “Stand By Me” in 1961. The song returned to the charts in the 1980s following its use in the film of the same name.

(via BBC)

10 Bizarre Images From Camden Yards: Orioles-White Sox Game in Baltimore With No Fans

Orioles - White Sox at Camden Yards, April 29, 2015

On April 29, 2015, the first-ever game in the nearly 150-year history of Major League Baseball was played in an empty stadium. Due to safety concerns surrounding the protests in Baltimore, the public was not admitted to Orioles Park at Camden Yards for the match between the Chicago White Sox at the O’s. The previous record low attendance for an MLB game was six attendees, for a game that took place in 1882 between clubs in Troy, New York and Worcester, Massachusetts.

Surprisingly, amid the chaos in Baltimore, Orioles COO John Angelos offered an insightful and sobering take on the protests:

“The innocent working families of all backgrounds whose lives and dreams have been cut short by excessive violence, surveillance, and other abuses of the Bill of Rights by government pay the true price, and ultimate price, and one that far exceeds the importance of any kids’ game played tonight, or ever, at Camden Yards. We need to keep in mind people are suffering and dying around the U.S., and while we are thankful no one was injured at Camden Yards, there is a far bigger picture for poor Americans in Baltimore and everywhere who don’t have jobs and are losing economic civil and legal rights, and this makes inconvenience at a ballgame irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans.”

Here are 10 images from the early innings of the game. For more reading, check out articles on Think Progress, Mother Jones, and The Atlantic.

Orioles - White Sox April 29, 2015 at Camden Yards - no fans in attendance




Orioles - White Sox April 29, 2015 at Camden Yards - no fans in attendance




Orioles - White Sox April 29, 2015 at Camden Yards - no fans in attendance




Orioles - White Sox April 29, 2015 at Camden Yards - no fans in attendance




Orioles - White Sox April 29, 2015 at Camden Yards - no fans in attendance




Orioles - White Sox April 29, 2015 at Camden Yards - no fans in attendance




Orioles - White Sox April 29, 2015 at Camden Yards - no fans in attendance




Orioles - White Sox April 29, 2015 at Camden Yards - no fans in attendance




Orioles - White Sox April 29, 2015 at Camden Yards - no fans in attendance




Orioles - White Sox April 29, 2015 at Camden Yards - no fans in attendance

Final Score: Orioles 8, White Sox 2

Watch: All Three “Daily Show” Appearances of New Host Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah and Jon Stewart, "The Daily Show"
By now, you’ve likely heard the news: Trevor Noah has been tabbed to replace Jon Stewart as host of “The Daily Show.” However, you may not have caught Noah on the show just yet — despite the fact he has been a correspondent since late 2014, he has made only three appearances to date.

They were good ones though. If you missed Noah on “The Daily Show,” watch below. Then, if you’re feeling nostalgic, watch Jon Stewart appear on “The Daily Show” when it was still hosted by Craig Kilborn.

Spot the Africa – 12/4/14

Boko Haram in Nigeria – 1/22/15

Chess News Roundup – 3/15/15



Click here to watch Craig Kilborn interview Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” before Stewart became host

10 Bands We Are Bummed We Missed at SXSW 2015

words by Cassie Purtlebaugh and Chad Elder

Chad Elder and Cassie Purtlebaugh covered a huge amount of bands at SXSW 2015 for VerbicideMagazine.com. But still, even after catching no less than 40 bands over a week’s time, the duo left Austin regretting the missed opportunity to take in a few more performances.

You’ve seen who they captured on film — now check out who they missed.

CASSIE’S LIST

1. Tove Lo

Tove Lo | photo courtesy The Windish Agency

I’ve been playing her album for eternity now. We made the hike to the West Side of Austin, but the Rolling Stone Showcase wasn’t an official SXSW party. Therefore, they had the luxury of being a bit fascist about their no-camera policy. LISTEN

2. Snow Tha Product

Snow Tha Product | photo courtesy Atlantic Records

I’m a longtime fan of this female Hispanic rapper from the Bay Area, but have never seen her. Since the venue was running late in starting the show, we left for 30 minutes to catch another act. I deeply regret this, because upon return we were barred entrance. Part of me died as I heard her spit mad flow from outside the performance space. LISTEN

3. James Davis

James Davis

I stumbled across sibling trio James Davis while scanning the SXSW list — I loved the song “Co-Pilot.” I tried to make it to the Spotify House for their performance, but wasn’t able to pull it off. Luckily for me, James Davis is based out of LA, so I’ll make it up to myself. LISTEN

4. SZA

SZA

A laid back artist I’ve been listening to a lot lately — again, I was gunning for her early set at the Spotify House, but couldn’t make it. LISTEN

5. Rae Sremmurd

Rae Sremmurd

My desire to see this hip-hop duo was based largely on curiosity and the current hype surrounding them. But every time they played, I encountered a long trek and longer lines — there was simply not enough incentive to weather the challenges, but I’m still bummed. LISTEN

CHAD’S LIST

1. Ho99o9

Ho99o9 | photo courtesy Biz3

Ho99o9 seemed to be on our list of bands to see every day, something always kept it from happening. Also, misinterpreting the schedule and showing up for a Ho99o9 show on the wrong day at the wrong time didn’t help. My bad. LISTEN

2. Torres

Torres

Torres was on my to-see list, and I really enjoyed the published photos I saw of her, so I feel I missed out. LISTEN

3. Wild Party

Wild Party

Sometimes bands lose out because I have recently seen them, and am so stoked on their next tour that I expect to see them again very soon. LISTEN

4. Dear Boy

Dear Boy | photo courtesy of the band's Facebook page

I am sorry, Dear Boy and Buzz Bands LA. Instead of getting the address for the 2015 Buzz Bands LA Showcase, Google showed me the address for the 2012 Showcase. We were at the wrong address at the right time, miles from where Dear Boy was actually playing. LISTEN

5. Kim and the Created

Kim and the Created | photo courtesy of the band's Bandcamp page

Super energy I could have used at 1 a.m. some night. LISTEN

Top 10 Female Vocalists at SXSW 2015

words by Chad Elder and Cassie Purtlebaugh | photos by Chad Elder

It’s no secret that Chad Elder loves female vocalists — and during our week at SXSW 2015, we caught a lot of amazing women singers. Here are our top 10. -Cassie Purtlebaugh

1. Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice

Wolf Alice | photo by Chad Elder

“I walked into this show with no prior knowledge and expected absolutely nothing…and I enjoyed every moment of it.” -Cassie

Click here to see more photos of Wolf Alice at SXSW 2015

2. Courtney Barnett

Courtney Barnett | photo by Chad Elder

“Great energy and a great smile while the whole crowd got drenched. I have wanted to see her for awhile.” -Chad

Click here to see more photos of Courtney Barnett at SXSW 2015

3. Alex Winston

Alex Winston | photo by Chad Elder

“‘Oh, no big deal I’m just super sick but you can’t tell when I sing. P.S. I’m classically trained’” -Cassie

Click here to see more photos of Alex Winston at SXSW 2015

4. Ryn Weaver

Ryn Weaver | photo by Chad Elder

“Pop with enough rockin’ and attitude.” -Chad

Click here to see more photos of Ryn Weaver at SXSW 2015

5. Zella Day

Zella Day | photo by Chad Elder

“Despite playing one of the most awkward setups I’ve ever seen in my life, she was fantastic.” -Cassie

Click here to see more photos of Zella Day at SXSW 2015

6. Elliphant

Elliphant | photo by Chad Elder

“Her raspy voice, eclectic attire, and infectious energy on top of the fact that I already love her songs? Sold.” -Cassie

Click here to see more photos of Elliphant at SXSW 2015

7. Chelsea Tyler of Kaneholler

Kaneholler | photo by Chad Elder

“Love the soul!” -Chad

Click here to see more photos of Kaneholler at SXSW 2015

8. SOAK

SOAK | photo by Chad Elder

“This was a special guest that caught me off-guard. I had heard about her in the past and was thankful to have witnessed her sweet voice and lyrics.” -Cassie

Click here to see more photos of SOAK at SXSW 2015

9. Marina & the Diamonds

Marina and the Diamonds | photo by Chad Elder

“One hour late for a 12:30 a.m. show while standing in the mud and rain, better be fantastic…and she was.” -Chad

Click here to see more photos of Marina & the Diamonds at SXSW 2015

10. Leanne Macomber of Young Ejecta

Young Ejecta | photo by Chad Elder

“The show I was at when my camera took a shower…she might be higher on the list if I hand’t been so distraught.” -Chad

Click here to see more photos of Young Ejecta at SXSW 2015

The Rebel Spell Frontman “Todd Serious” Jenkins Dies in Climbing Accident

The Rebel Spell, photo courtesy G7 Welcoming Committee

Sadly,  Todd Jenkins (aka “Todd Serious”), vocalist of The Rebel Spell, died on March 7, 2015 in a climbing accident. The surviving members of the East Vancouver band made a post on Facebook and on their official website on March 9th:

It is our deepest regret to inform you all that on Saturday, March 7th, we lost our good friend and lead singer Todd Serious, also known as Todd Jenkins, in a tragic rock climbing accident. Todd influenced our lives in a way that is beyond comprehension. This is completely sudden and unexpected and we’re still processing what has happened. We’re taking a few days to figure it all out. This is pretty heavy for all of us, and a lot of people are still finding out so if you’re letting others know, please be respectful.

Further details are not yet known.

Netflix to Reboot “Inspector Gadget” and “Danger Mouse”

Inspector Gadget

Disney has announced that it is rebooting “Duck Tales” and Netflix recently announced a new Pee-wee Herman movie. Next up on the wave of ’80s nostalgia? Not one, but two offerings from Netflix: “Inspector Gadget” and “Danger Mouse” reboots.

“Inspector Gadget” is set to launch in March, with 26 episodes of the reboot in all, produced by DHX Media. The show will premiere first in the US, followed by other markets, including Latin America, the UK, Ireland, and France.

“Danger Mouse,” set to become available in Spring 2016, will follow the super-spy rodent and his adventuresalongside his hamster pal Penfold. Stephen Fry will provide the voice for Colonel K.

(via Digital Trends)

New “DuckTales” Cartoon Coming in 2017

DuckTales

According to an official Disney statement, a new “DuckTales” cartoon is coming in 2017, and it will feature the same cast of characters from the original late ’80s cartoon series:

The new series will star the same beloved characters as the old: Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey, Louie, Launchpad McQuack, Donald Duck, Duckworth, Gyro Gearloose, Flintheart Glomgold, Magica DeSpell, Poe, Ma Beagle, the Beagle Boys, Mrs. Beakley, and Webbigail Vanderquack.

 The original “DuckTales” series, inspired by comics artist Carl Barks, ran from 1987 through 1990.

(via Kotaku)