Man-About-MySpace: Black Gasoline

Black Gasoline is the ultimate MySpace band, summed up in one sentence from the band’s MySpace bio: “With its debut album She Gave Us Magic, Black Gasoline demonstrates exactly why it has long been hailed as one of the most promising bands in Kansas.”

They do have something of a Deep Purple/AC-DC/Grand Funk je ne sais quoi to ‘em–and let’s not forget that, despite those band’s shopworn licks and FM oversaturation, when they came out they were awesome. And some rock fans pine for the days when men were men, rock stars were rock stars, and guitars were loud.

I, for one, give these working boys two thumbs up, and hope you do, too. Here’s a video of their song “Lady Iron Wing” from She Gave Us Magic released last November….rock on!

Man-About-MySpace: Kasim Sulton

The ideas for M-A-MySp flow in from many directions. This week, cruising to 7:30 A.M. Easter Mass in the family road barge, the radio was getting scanned for March Madness knowledge and updates.

The radio locked on “Steppin’Out Radio,” a show that, if you haven’t listened to it, you should give it a try: For people who have ever found value in a 12-step meeting, it will be like chicken soup; for those who haven’t, well it’s a tragicomic object lesson about what can happen to you if you let your own bad habits get out of hand. It’s a good listen, because the host Drew and his interviewees follow no script, and they don’t take themselves too seriously–i.e. they don’t moralize to you, they just explain how and why they messed up and offer encouragement to listeners in the same boat. Man-About-MySpace has never been to a 12-stepper, but he will never diss “Steppin’ Out.”

Easter Sunday must be a big-time soul searching day for people with addictions, as they roll out celebrity guests willing to talk about their history. This week, it was former Utopia, Scandal, Meat Loaf and current New Cars bassist Kasim Sulton, a dude who’s toured with a lot of the “who’s who” of rock. He had one heck of a rock-n-roller-coaster ride, and we’ll leave it at that–listen to the archived broadcast that originally aired last January if you’re really curious.

He plugged his MySpace in the interview, natch. After checking it out, it gets high marks: Excellent tuneage polished to a high production sheen, free downloads, video and extensive international tour schedule. He seems to be the rock equivalent of an interior lineman on an NFL team or that field-general catcher who has stone feet and no pop in his bat on a pro baseball team: No glory or even name recognition among average fans, but he’s a superstar among his peers. That’s a perfect “discovery” for MySpace Music. Here’s a little video slice of his composition “One Sure Thing,” performed live:

Man-About-MySpace: Radioactive Sandwich

This one’s for the club freaks out there, who like their music mixed and remixed, uptempo and downtempo. Radioactive Sandwich, an NYC duo, does the breakbeat-psychedelic thing MySpace style, and even offer tips and tricks for getting their records free on eMusic, a pay site. They make in the Man-About-MySpace space solely on the strength of one of their three album titles, The Earls of Sandwich. How awesome is that?

Radioactive Sandwich—Slice One and Slice Two, their stage names—consider a ton of bands, rappers, and deejays among their influences. In fact, checking out that list on their MySpace profile, it’s easier to name who they don’t (Echo & the Bunnymen and Pat Boone, I think, aren’t on that list and that’s about it). Perhaps no two are startlingly contrasting as Black Sabbath and Crystal Method. Whatever. Check out a pre-prime time video experiment for “Svalbard Vault” (my first MySpace video embedded in the ESD blog…wish me luck):

Man-About-MySpace: Tres Bien

Want to get your head caved in with a serious dose of 1960s-style guitar fuzz and simple-yet-addictive pop cuts that evoke a pre-digital era when the Beatles were king, a group like The Monkees could actually land top-10 hits, and not only could every kid dream he/she could be president one day but also start a garage band and annoy the neighbors?

C’mon, we know you do.

Check out Clearwater, Fla.’s Tres Bien, whose MySpace is loaded with great sample cuts. Best listened to with crappy laptop speakers cranked to “11,” to recreate the effect of hearing this awesome guitar fire and brimstone (and dramatic harmonies/countermelodies) as if it were 1966 and you’re listening to the AM radio on Lover’s Lane in your dad’s ’58 Ford sedan…and bumped the tuning just off a bit while doing what Chuck Berry wanted to do in “No Particular Place To Go” if he hadn’t run into that blasted safety belt issue.

Check out Tres Bien on the Fox reality show “The Next Great American Band.”

Man-About-MySpace: Rockin’ Sista B

There are several ladies on MySpace who go by the moniker Sista B, but only one is a 56-year-old nun who releases records on CDBaby.

Sister Rebecca Shinas, as she’s known in the ‘hood, might not be your average MySpace single or would-be recording star/American Idol contestant trying to get noticed by the system.

But she’s also part of the MySpace culture, and could we possibly be good journalist-bloggers if we skipped over her and served up some hot band that’s being hyped everywhere else in the blogosphere? No way.

We’re not saying she’s the second coming of Posh Spice, Led Zeppelin, the Guess Who, Pavement, or even Soulja Boy. We are saying, however, that she’s definitely one of the more peculiar unsigned artists on MySpace, and deserves a mention. Now give us seven hail Marys and shut the freak up.

(Photo from her San Francisco Chronicle magazine cover shoot.)

Man-About-MySpace: Iggy & the…Martians?

Venerable pre-punk maniac Iggy Pop, who started kicking around Detroit almost exactly 40 years ago right now, is still alive and kicking, so writes Travis Hay of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. New tracks he sang with Northwest retro-garage grungies The Boss Martians will soon be flung up on the band’s MySpace page, so the rumors have it.

It also looks like there’s photographic evidence of the Iggster on The Boss Martians’ page, but the guy pictured could also be Neil Young after going through a simlutaneous hunger strike, electrocution, and colonoscopy.

Wait a second. The Neil young scenario is highly unlikely. That’s gotta be Iggy Pop in them thar pictures.

Iggy was insane on stage back in the day, with the Stooges, screaming, sneering, cutting himself, preening, writhing, and in general being what Perry Farrell wished he could be in his prime. Here’s a shot of “TV Eye” live in 1970—the best part of which is the play-by-play announcer trying to make sense of what was going on onstage. Give Iggy props for being, as high tech people like to call it, an “early adopter” of crowd surfing. This is unbelieveable stuff, when you consider it was filmed in 1970.

Man-About-MySpace: Professor Longhair

Few musicians the United States produced have had the multi-generational impact—yet are as little-known—as Professor Longhair. Pound for pound one of the most singularly ingenious and original jazz-blues-R&B piano players ever heard, ‘Fess inspired a gaggle of followers who evolved into titans themselves, players like Art Neville, James Booker, Dr. John, and Henry Butler.

He didn’t like leaving New Orleans; in fact legend has it when he was “discovered” on a national scale and was offered a cushy ride on a big coming-out tour from sea to shining sea, he declined, saying something to the effect of “If they like me so much they can come to N’Awlins and see me at the club.” Baton Rouge was about as far as he normally traveled to play out.

But why you bringin’ up this crusty old stuff today, Mojo, you ask? Lily Allen, man. You can’t get away from Professor Longhair. “Knock ‘Em Out” not only samples Longhair’s electrically charged riff from “Big Chief,” it makes it the cornerstone of the song. ‘Fess be universal, and a stunning fan MySpace celebrates his legacy with a quarter-cup of proper voodoo mysticism, which you can’t skip or logically ignore.

Play his cuts, read the books, celebrate the music. Get edumacated. Before you head on over there to MySpace, though, here’s a priceless vintage clip of ‘Fess on the piano jamming out to “Big Chief” with Art Neville on B3, Dr. John on Rhodes and a gaggle of other New Orleans musical legends like Earl King.

Man-about-MySpace: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

If we did Thee Almighty Handclaps last week, why not stick with the same theme this week? Straight outta Brooklyn is Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, some sort of trainwreck between Pavement, Sebadoh, and a truckload of electronic effects.

In this postmodern, post-Pavement, post-New Order new world order, guitars and melody are making a comeback. It’s how we rebel against the Soulja Boys of the pop charts and their annoying Fergalicious humpty humps in tow.

Enter these guys, who shovel lots of great tracks to their MySpace, some of which have been played to death and others that are little treats for MySpacers who happen by. Not every band customizes content for MySpace; so many pages are little more than the same advertising for the latest release you can get anywhere on the web.

Having built its popularity on the web before getting hyped by the likes of Rolling Stone, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah seems to work at making its MySpace a cool little club where people can hear new, cool, as-yet-unreleased music and video.

Here’s a video of them on Letterman:

Man-About-MySpace: Thee Almighty Handclaps

Few things warm the cockles of a garage-rock fan’s heart than discovering a current band that shares the lo-fi ethos of the crappy-sounding 1960s pop bands that recorded their best work on used-too-many-times Ampex reel-to-reel tape, accented with far too much staticky analog fuzz and reverb to comprehend the lyrics.

You know the sound, as if it were filtered through an aluminum garbage can. Or four. Back in the 1960s, it was hard to make a good sounding record on a shoestring budget. Today, it’s hard to make one that sounds like crap, because digital technology’s so good and so cheap. You gotta deliberately make your albums sound absolutely horrible.

That’s exactly what Iowa City’s Thee Mighty Handclaps do, and quite well, actually. Their MySpace has a couple unreleased tracks (perfect!) that pretty much tell you everything you need to know about the band and their outlook. Needless to say, their next record won’t be released on some namby-pamby audiophile label for the benefit of the $20,000-a-pair B&W loudspeakers crowd.

Only on MySpace can this band live…but not for long. They’re so cool, they can’t stay unsigned for too long, can they? Don’t forget, you read about them here first–now go out and up the pathetically low play count on those sample tracks, would you?

Man-About-MySpace: A New Dawn

Oh my gosh.

So, just poking around for new angles on MySpace Music led to a Digg article on Band Jammer spyware developed by devious hackers who, apparently, feel that there’s money to be made by busting into bad Dutch metal bands’ MySpaces.

The Digg piece linked to this great FaceTime Security Labs breakdown of how Band Jammer preyed on MySpace Music pages, and who was the first victim they used in their example? Heh, heh. Why, none other than your Man-About-MySpace group of the week: A New Dawn, the Netherlands’ finest crap-metal band, which has apparently been unjammed, because there’s no evidence of spyware there anymore, at least as I write this tonight. Clearly the class of Europe, A New Dawn is loaded with babes on stage, including this beauty worthy of Bullz-Eye:

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The music–a very 1990s beyond-Metallica hardcore sound, with very serious, solemn female vocals floating atop the familiar barking, growling thrash-guitar dude–probably isn’t many people’s cup of tea. But someone likes them, as A New Dawn’s racked up nearly 20,000 friends, and–like Motley Crue’s never seen a state-fair shed it wouldn’t play–appears to hit every single metalfest The Continent has to offer. But don’t take our word for it, check out this riveting performance of their composition “Veil of Charity” and judge for yourself :

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