Ketamines - You Can’t Serve Two Masters.  These guys and Jay Arner played in town last night and crashed at my place because I am the ILLEST. Great bunch. Go see ‘em.

Album review. Check these guys out at Callahan’s tonight with Jay Arner and Ketamines.


I admit, the first time I heard this album I was confused. Having seen this band live a few times, I thought of them as fairly heavy. They’re younger than me, so my mind placed them in the “*-core” scene. This record isn’t that. (“What are they doing? The sounds are all wrong..?”)….. Now that it’s sunny out and we’ve both had some time, this record makes perfect sense. The guitars are more fuzzy than crunchy, the drums more roomy than gated/compressed, the fi is on the lo end. For me, the whole thing harkens back to the 1990s glory days when indie still meant rock. There’s a breadth of styles here at the point which we’ll call “where ‘punk’ meets ‘alternative.’” Some fast, some slow, some atmospheric darkness, some concise pop-rock writing of exactly the type for which I am a total sucker. A hint of country, a soupçon of surf. Distorted picking, sick shredding, double-kick. What more do you want? Not all of it works, but most of it does. My reference points for this kind of music are all fairly dated (caught myself thinking “Salmonblaster” at one point), but that’s exactly what I love about it. Braid? Husker Du? Starkicker? I’m sure there’s a ton of ‘em I’m missing. It fits so neatly into my mental continuum that I don’t need a comparison. Is there still a market for this stuff? Somebody sign these guys and get it back on Much. I’m begging you.

Listen/purchase: What Have You Been Doing With Yer Time? by Little You, Little Me

Play with your hands, not your shoulders!

Today we’re here to talk about a serious topic, kids: good drum technique. If you’re not a drummer, you are hereby excused.

Something I’ve noticed a bit of lately when watching local bands: drummers using the ‘wrong’ set of muscles to hit their instrument.  Driving everything from the shoulders. I get it. You’re excited and you’re expressing that excitement physically. For many humans, our natural tendency is to move from the core. That’s where movement originates and if you’re really feeling the music, your instrument is an extension of what’s going on inside, right?

The problem with this (besides looking goofy on stage) is in the physical nature of the drums (or really any instrument). You’re using a stick to hit a flat surface. That’s it. Anything you’re doing that is not serving that purpose is probably detracting from it. If you’re using your shoulder muscles to flap your arms at the drums, you are not taking full advantage of the 32+ joints in your arm, particularly those fine motor skills in your hands. Your sound and feel both suffer. There’s an optimal way to hit a drum with a stick, and this is best achieved by using ……………….drum roll……….. the part of your body that is HOLDING the stick.

There are several different main branches of technique to deal with this, but the fundamental one that’s made the biggest difference in my own playing is the free stroke. Click here to see the great teacher Dom Famularo explain it. If you can get a copy, I highly recommend Jojo Mayer’s “Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer” DVD. It describes way more hand technique than you’ll probably ever need, in great detail, breaking down the physics of both the stick movement and the human anatomy.

Or you can just take drum lessons from me and I’ll show you how to do it………

Cellphone video I took of buskers outside the train station in Brighton UK.