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Season 3 "Make It Or Break It" Recap: The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of...Or, Sasha Belov, A Good And Honorable Pugilist?

'Make It or Break It" is back with new challenges, new villains, and a new hunk who can see the light.

Welcome, Rockers - let's get ready to Tummmmbbllllle! The new season of MIOBI has finally started, and we here at “What Duvet Said…” plan on following it closely from start to finish each and every week both here and on the podcast. So let's get started with episode 2011, shall we?

The “New Normal” in Boulder seems a lot like the Old Normal as we find the Rock Girls - dedicated Payson, slippery Lauren, underdog Emily, and princess Kaylie - walking in four abreast to the Rocky Mountain Gymnastics Center for another demanding practice. Barely fifteen seconds into the show and Kaylie is already crossing her arms, pointing out the sacrifices these elite gymnasts need to make to get Olympic gold. But not all is as it seems this dark night, as suddenly the boys reveal themselves to be vampires, taking Payson down first and then taking a bite out of Lauren. Kaylie makes a dash for it, only to be blocked by her towering object of affection, Tucker Carlson - who also turns out to be a vampire, with an equally fanged Emily by his side. Fortunately, Sasha comes screaming up in one of those shiny expensive cars everyone on this show gets to drive, and they're off to be safe; that is, until Kaylie reveals herself to be a red eyed vampire herself!

Fortunately, it's all a dream (And it was all seen on the MIOBI YouTube Channel this past week). Unfortunately, it's not the dream that Kaylie has been living her whole life to fulfill. What makes a dream and what makes reality is the theme that runs through this first episode, as each of the girls have to grapple with their fantasy, idealized lives that seem so out of reach. Kaylie is not back at The Rock at all; she is sequestered away in the Willow Glen Eating Disorder Rehab (the charming stone announcing the locale is featured prominently enough in this episode to lead me to believe we'll be seeing much more of this establishing shot in episodes to come). And she is actually getting good help - if she'd only listen. The leader of her group therapy - rightfully so - points out that in dreams, every other person in the dream is really just an aspect of self. This line of analysis is quickly - and incorrectly - interrupted by Kaylie's new bunkmate, who asks about Kaylie's dream attack on Sasha as if he were a real person. I'm thinking that this girl isn't really paying attention and may not be the best pal for Kaylie.

Drama? What drama?
But we are off to the dream that is Boulder, Colorado, and each aspect of the Team Self that is the individuals, getting out of their respective cars in the exact same way, reminding us of where we left them off last season: Emily, free from her jail stint, now has to report to a probation officer (played by veteran voiceover artist and friend of the “What Duvet Said…” Podcast Marsha Clark); Payson is pouting about her loss of Sasha, as her mother Kim soothes with the soothingest voice on television; and Lauren, who can't forgive her father for letting her mother die, has been living with Summer, where we can only guess she's not knocking boots with Carter. All gaze longingly at the amazingly poor upkeep the grounds crew at the Rock seem to do, as they are quick to raise signs when gymnasts arrive, but can't be bothered to take down reserved parking signs when someone leaves. "Tell you what, boys, let's just lay down some green plastic across the parking spaces and hope no one notices." "Good plan; I've got to get to the Pizza Shack, after all."

There's a new face to the National Gymastics Organization, a sort of caffeine free Don Draper wannabe who wants to keep a sharp eye on Emily to make sure she's - well, I'm not entirely sure; to pass judgement on Mrs. Kmetko, apparently, by showing up at 9pm at the Kmetko residence to shame Chloe for going to work at 9pm. Hey, pot - meet kettle! He may be on to something, though, as part of Emily's probation requires her to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet if she leaves Boulder. I may not be a fashion expert, but in my day, we called those anklets. I'm just saying. Don Draper Lite has got his finger on the pulse of the Kmetkos, since Emily blames her mother for the whole arrest thing anyway. I expect more from a girl who keeps stuffed animals on her bed right there in the living room where anyone can see them. And wouldn't you know it, there's a big exhibition going on in Denver, so Emily is shackled, in full view of the whole gym.

Fresh Max.
So off to Denver we go, where Hunky is what's for dinner. We immediately meet the new “Hot Boy In Town” - since I guess Nick has been unceremoniously thrown out with the trash. This new boy is Max, and is he ever. He's an aspiring shutterbug with just the sexiest amount of Peeping Tom Stalker going on with him. We also see the return of Kelly Parker, who is so much more appealing when she doesn't have her hair up in her devil horn pigtails. Turns out Carter, Kaylie's ex and Lauren's former “meditation roommate”, has left The Rock entirely and is now swinging on Kelly Parker's rings. Guess the girls of the Denver Elite didn't get Summer's abstinence speech.

It's all a ploy, though, as Carter still has the hots for Lauren and she for him, which they express demonstratively by dirty dancing with Kelly and Max, respectively. Turns out Max is a gymnast, too, and he's trying to decide whether to go train in Denver or train in Boulder at The Rock. Anyone taking a look at his digital camera would get a pretty good idea of where his beam is balanced.

At the very least he should stick with his separated-at-birth friend Tucker, who is the wisest Sage in all gymnasticdom. First he rightfully gives Emily perspective on her panicky pill-stealing crime, shifting the blame on Emily's shoulders instead of her externalizing it to her mother, which she quickly dismisses and storms off; then, when he finally goes to visit Kaylie in her rehab, he sticks to Recovery 101 by saying they cannot have a relationship until she's on the mend. Where did this guy get all his smarts, anyway? I sure hope he and Kaylie get together; he's a good egg. Even better, let Emily drop the Damon fantasy and get her with Tucker, he's way into her. Come on, ABC Family website, where's my poll for that!

Kelly Parker must have spent a good three minutes forgetting she was supposed to be screwing with The Rock Girls' heads so she needles Payson just enough to spill out the information that Sasha is in Denver. Payson instantly runs to get him, though she is soothed by those soothing smooth sounds of mom again. Just in time, too, as Max can find her and start taking even more pictures of her, since obviously the internet video he has instantly available on his cell phone isn't enough for him. By the way, who DID post that video on the internet? Could it be...

Sasha before the bruising...
...Rocky Belov?! There's our boy Sasha, taking his lumps in a boxing ring, supposedly just waiting out his time until his visa comes through. His dreams are shattered, too, like so many Romanian Bella Swans; he didn't expect his girls to end up in an ambulance and in jail. And this is where we leave him - reflected, reversed in a mirror as he says his goodbye to Payson's mother. The dream is over, just like Payson's dream as she walked away without him, just like Emily's dream as she wears the anklet, just like Kaylie's dream is being thwarted locked away in sunny rehab. Lauren, uhhh...she seems to sleep just fine, actually, although she dreams up ways to shift the blame of the leaked Sasha / Payson kiss video.

Finally, though, we arrive to what we always love on MIOBI - a big gymnastics challenge, pitting the scandalous, distracted, emotionally flawed Rock Girls against the overly confident, sparkly shiny Denver Elite, led by the evil Kelly Parker and her horny head, in a sunny Denver courtyard where they're so keen on courting the 2018 Olympics back to America that they've moved Century City all the way to Colorado. Wise Old Tucker has come up with a satisfying plan to conceal Emily's anklet - leg warmers - for all! Which is just the perfect idea until it turns out, oh, leg warmers only work right side up. Emily does a handstand and, caught by the camera eye of Max (who I guess was trying to shoot Payson through Emily's leg), her monitoring device is revealed for all to see. Cut the music!

Cue the music! It's time for Max to drop his camera, his shirt, and his wishy-washiness about where he's going to train, because look at him go! He's out there flipping and jumping and showing the crowd just what a great gym the Rock is, even without a lime green leo. It's enough to get applause, but it's not enough for Emily, who, ever the heroine, and boy do we love our Emily, she takes the mic right out of the emcee's hand mid sentence to declare to the crowd she stole, but she is more of a Jean Valjean kind-of -thief than a James Caan kind-of-Thief. And yeah, she loves her mother. So much so that Lauren thinks she should love her only parent, too.

Something wicked this way comes to Boulder.
A floating camera song montage gives us closure to last season's cliffhangers - Emily, out of jail but not out of the woods, gets her own room now; Lauren moves back in with her father, who has taken over at The Rock and has flip-flopped once again in his weaselly Steve way to be Mr. Sasha Belov supporter; Payson tucks Sasha's medal away in a drawer as she is ready to move on to Maximum Hunkydrive; and Kaylie, beautiful, underfed, misguided Kaylie is ready to get out of rehab and get back to her dreams. Looks like her doe eyed roommate is just the snake to get her out of there. That dastardly runway model has tricked her way out of three rehab facilities already!

Is Kaylie falling further down the rabbit hole? Will she get the help she needs? Doesn't she watch Josie Loren's public service announcements? Is anyone other than Damon going to find out about Emily's mother's cleavage-baring night job? Will Steve hire a new coach? Why not Sasha's father, anyway? Who will get Sasha's old parking space? How long is Emily's probation and will the NGO dismiss her because she doesn't have a big fancy house? Will Lauren get outed as the perpetrator of getting out the Sasha video, and if so, will her dad throw her out of The Rock as threatened? Why is Emily's hair black this season and not that golden brown it was last season? Will Payson finally start paying attention to boys - this one boy, in particular? Will these dreams go on when I close my eyes? What do YOU think? Hit us up, let us know, and tune in next week to find out more! Also listen to our crack analysis on this week's “The Tank” podcast. Rock on, Duvetians!


Ty Segal, Natural Child, & The Strange Boys @ SF's Verdi Club In Pictures As Part Of Burger Boogaloo...

Artwork by William Keihn
There is something truly wonderful and time-honored about all-ages shows held in ethnically distinguished social halls. The clash of kids milling around the entranceway to a space usually reserved for weddings, bingo, and wakes always makes me thankful. It's this re-fashioning of use that makes me crave a buffet to go along with my PBR in a can and in this case, "garage/psyche/RAWK! On Friday night in San Francisco's Mission District the Verdi Club - located on 18th and Mariposa - an Italian-American social club that has been in existence since 1916, hosted a banquet of some of fine music. This might be the first time a band playing there didn't feature an accordion or cover Louis Prima. The deliciously late 70's decor and interior of the hall was the perfect setting for a night of bruising, blistering, and blunt rock and roll as part of Burger Boogaloo's "takeover" of San Francisco. The 300 plus in attendance were treated to a bill headlined by SF's Ty Segall, Nashville's Natural Child, and Austin's The Strange Boys, along with others. What follows is a few pics from that night, minus the cutting of the cake and removing of the garter.
Austin, TX's The Strange Boys light it by RLC
The Strange Boys played a furious garage rock set that was entertaining, albeit a bit one note. They lacked the diversity in their sound of Natural Child and Ty Segall. The Austin trio is clearly a favorite among the other bands and made the long drive out from Texas after playing SXSW. Ty Segall offered $20 to the winner of an impromptu dance competition he decided to sponsor. The Strange Boys were on the road with Natural Child and making the long drive to Portland, OR after the show.
Check the "freak flag" behind the by RLC
One of my favorite bands was up next, Natural Child. This Nashville power-trio (a very popular setup for bands these days) is the perfect combination of having an amazing sound in service of GREAT songs. The dual vocals of Wez Traylor and Seth together hit the perfect note, roughhewn but melodic as HELL! These guys have a lot of different shades to the "green" inspired songs. They are HEAVY but not in a way that excludes but includes the ladies. Their lyrics are odes to a life worth livin', when livin' is done on the cheap and in the back of a van. They pair perfectly with beer in a can and I love them. Look for an upcoming interview with Natural Child here on the "What Duvet Said...About Music" podcast.
If Keith Richards sang with Keith by RLC
Natural Child managed to play their entire set without playing my three favorite songs and moments after arriving from the long drive up from LA. The air was thick inside the Verdi Club with  the KIND "verdi" and the crowd edge closer to the stage with each song. This is a band to NEVER miss live. They will be releasing their first full-length album on Nashville based Infinity Cat Records oddly enough on 4/20. This is NOT a shocker, believe me.
This amp catches by RLC
I had to buy the silkscreened shirts Natural Child were selling because they were simply put, "KOOL AS SHIT!" This is a reminder to anyone seeing touring bands, BUY THE MERCH! It keeps gas in vans, nicotine in lungs, drugs in veins, and might make it easier for you to see them again sooner rather than never again. This has been a public service announcement from your friends at Duvet.
Natural Child in their natural by RLC
Closing the show was this scene's very own "natural child" Ty Segall. Segall is a real treasure and should be seen to be believed. His set is always blistering and a communal event. His show on Friday found "Strange Boy" drummer Mike La Franchi sitting in on bass. But the focus is always on wunderkind guitar hero Segall. Popular all over the country I don't expect him to be playing venues this intimate and low-key for much longer.
RAWK in by RLC
Most of the songs came off his most recent album Melted and faces were indeed MELTED! His cover of Sabbath's "Paranoid" was truly inspired. In fact, it inspired this writer to push is way up front, order another beer he didn't need, and led to a longer night than anticipated. KUDOS Ty! Thanks for the memories I can't remember. But here are a couple I managed to pop-off  inpixulated for posterity.
A picture is worth a 1000 words and will have to by RLC
RAWK is always better viewed in a top hat. It was a classy affair at the Verdi Club. The pic below captures the "pomp" being witnessed from the back of the room, on stage would be the "circumstance". The next time I come back to the Verdi Club I think I'll try the fish but Friday night was definitely steak and potatoes.
Down in front! by RLC


Shilpa Ray And Her Happy Hookers Are The Gut Of RAWK…Never Wrong And Needed To Be Checked Often!

Shilpa Ray makes the harmonium and essential RAWK by RLC 
Brooklyn quartet Shilpa Ray And Her Happy Hookers laid waste to San Francisco’s Bottom of the Hill last Thursday night opening for Japanese psychedelic band Acid Mothers Temple. The room was full when Ray and the Hookers took the stage and unleashed a carnival of blues-soaked, often transcendent rock tunes from their recent release, Teenage & Torture. The band is currently on a tour that takes them across the entirety of the country and they sounded battle-tested throughout the nearly hourlong set. Ray admitted to suffering from the effects of a long night in Los Angeles coinciding with “feminine issues” – which, probably no male writer should dare mention in print – Ray quipped, “No Midol can make this happen.” The diverse audience stood enraptured and offered "weed" to help medicate, to which she replied, “Oh, I forgot this is California.”

Happy Hookers, INDEED! by RLC
I use the term unhinged a lot when trying to describe certain artists. In the case of Shilpa Ray And Her Happy Hookers it is a clear use of the word. But, it’s a channeled chaos funneled through some very well-written and performed songs. I went into this show expecting something more reverential and "arty". I left being fully treated to a RAWK show on par with performance heavyweights like Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Sonic Youth. The band has the ability to navigate between driving rock numbers like “Hookers” and “Heaven in Stereo” and the dynamic nuances inherent in those songs, with the more trance-inducing, raga-inflected vibe of a “Venus Shaver”. The through-line being the bluesy swagger and committed vocal delivery of Ray.
Shilpa by RLC
If the harmonium reached its peak in the early 20th century as a smaller scale pipe organ in churches, this common Indian instrument played by Ray re-constituted the Bottom of the Hill into a different kind of place of worship. The congregation was led through a mass of inventive and purposeful hymns to femininity, disease, and heartbreak. Despite the seemingly dark subject matter, Shilpa Ray And Her happy Hookers are a joyous live experience, a celebration of performance and craftsmanship. Shilpa Ray is like Patti Smith, just as unique, defiant, and powerful but remade for a generation in desperate need of a kick-in-the ass! Like Smith, Ray’s band is a ferocious contingent, particularly guitarist Andrew Bailey, who is the Lenny Kaye to Ray’s Smith. Bassist Nick Hundley provided the pulse and thunder playing off a fill-in drummer who was only playing his second show with the band – literally not missing a beat.
Hooker, Nick Hundley with Shilpa by RLC
The interesting thing to watch was how inspired the young women looked in the audience. In Ray they could find someone whose talent and force of will was on full display, as she owned every inch of the stage. This seemed to be modeled back by the women in the audience, singly along with straightened spines, owning their femininity in the traditionally male world of rock. This band not only deserves attention, they command it – a rarer feat in the too-kool-for-school, ironical landscape of today’s “alternative rock”. I will be sure to re-beat the drum when Shilpa Ray And Her Happy Hookers come back to San Francisco in mid-May to play Bimbo's with Philadelphia’s RAWK circus Man Man. To hear and learn more about Shilpa Ray And Her Happy Hookers listen to this week’s “What Duvet Said…About Music” Issue 24 podcast, which will feature my interview with the band immediately following their show. The podcast can be found here on Wednesday. Below is some video taken LIVE and uneditied with my trusty FlipCam.


If You Are Not At These Shows, Not Only Are You Bummed But You Are Not At These Shows...Or, Go See Shilpa Ray And Her Happy Hookers & Natural Child And Suffer No Pangs Of Guilt...

Happy indeed at NYC's Mercury Lounge! by Gulshan Kirat
There are two shows happening in San Francisco this week that got nary a mention in either weekly and seem to have slipped past other local blogs in San Francisco, still reminiscent and power drunk from attending SXSW. They are as it happens, happening back to back. We strongly urge you to brave the rain for NYC's Shilpa Ray And Her Happy Hookers opening for Acid Mother's Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O at the Bottom of the Hill on Thursday night. On Friday night in the Mission district Verdi Club is hosting Nashville's Natural Child on a bill to support Austin, TX's The Strange Boys and SF's Ty Segall. Both shows feature live shows that are often unhinged and/or cathartic performances by still (with the exception of Segall) relative unknowns to the Bay Area. But in the case of Shilpa Ray, the New York Times, New Yorker, and Spin Magazine have all taken notice along with Nick Cave and Patti Smith.

Shilpa Ray And Her Happy Hookers feature Ray on the most RAWKING use of the least used instrument in rock, the harmonium. The four-piece from New York City have the aggressiveness of early Bad Seeds, the bi-polar qualities of PJ Harvey's first two albums, mixed with a poets heart. Bandleader Shilpa Ray is a force on stage, leaving one feeling like they just witnessed an exorcism. The music gets its inspiration from horror movies, the blues and Beat poetry. The rhythm section pounds and churls, guitars alternate between slashing stabs and lilting arpeggios with the organ qualities of the harmonium taking the whole sound to church. The most arresting instrument is Ray's voice which can range from melodious to soaring vociferate howls, often with in a few bars. This music is theatrical and intense, built for big venues and they should lay waste to the relatively small Bottom of the Hill. If Shilpa Ray And The Happy Hookers were a movie genre they would be a redemptive horror/slasher pic. It's no wonder Nick Cave hand-picked them to open up dates on the recent Grinderman tour - the two are musical kindred spirits. Shilpa Ray And Her Happy Hookers are on tour in support of the January release of their second album Teenage and Torture on Knitting Factory Records. This is a show that will be worth every penny as they are hot on the heels of some white HOTT SXSW shows. Look for a review here on Friday!


No Future? Or, Just A REALLY, REALLY Odd One: Odd Future Bloody And Then Refuse To Bow At SXSW…

The Future of Hip Hop is Odd Future

Here at “Duvet” we may have stumbled onto a vaguely scientific and useful application of Twitter that goes beyond marketing and self-fucking. Unable to attend this year’s music industry flatulatory exercise in self-promotion – an industry that has grown to include bloggers like myself – Austin, TX’s SXSW but still wanting to remain “in the loop” from the comfort of my couch in view of the NCAA basketball tourney, I turned to Twitter.
Finally someone gives it to the blogosphere straight
This excruciating exercise involved following a carefully “curated” – the most overused word in this early/new millennium - list of musicians, blogs, record labels, and PR professionals against a control group of friends or “civilians” as I chose to think of them. Enlisted or conscripted, each contributing from this annual war of hype and perspective with their “Tweets”. Free of the emotional contagion and binge drinking I tried to divine who was truly making an impact at “South By”. After wading through hundreds of inanities delivered in “140 characters or less” – complete with links to pictures of the back of heads pointed at a form on some faraway and hastily erected stage or sonically overloaded video of hundreds of people engaged in similar acts of citizen journalism meets cinema verite – one name emerged unanimous: Odd Future.

The Los Angeles hip hop collective known as OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All), or shortened to Odd Future, went into SXSW with plenty of “buzz”. They emerged worthy of the hype and deserving of the, “we don’t give a FUCK” aesthetic the ten member, not-underground-for-long contingent has cultivated. A hard group for many to easily classify, but here goes: Think the hardcore in your “faceness” of N.W.A., meshed with the shock and awe of Kool Keith’s Dr. Octogon era “porncore”, bent against some of the best punk rock posturing since Johnny Rotten, all to the minimal grime and dubstep backing pioneered by producers like Dizzee Rascal or Burial. Rapper/Producer Tyler the Creator leads this Wu-ist crew with the intensity of another hard-to-define kindred hip hop splinter sect, South Africa’s Die Antwoord. Like Die Antwoord the beats are raw and the lyrics rawer, celebrating a macabre, often-fantastical teenage experience.

Formed in 2007, members of Odd Future range in age from 17-23. The group’s profile is sure to rise after news-making, bone-breaking performances at SXSW, Tyler the Creator and Hodgy Beats backed by the Roots on Jimmy Fallon and all of Odd Future taking the stage at mtvU’s Woodie Awards (all performances can be seen below). All of the bands releases to date can be downloaded for free from their site, What truly makes Odd Future, well, odd is a visual appeal that conjures skateboards as readily as gats. Not your mother’s rap music, this is something else entirely. In fact rumor has it that member Earl Sweatshirt (age 16 at the time) was sent off to boarding school/boot camp after his mother heard some of his disturbing lyrical content. It will be interesting to see how the notoriously polarizing act handles the wave of critical and popular attention gathering on the horizon. Will they continue to put splinters in ears or splinter entirely; they certainly have potential to be the “Return of the Wu” Redux. 

Album Review: Caitlin Rose Is On Her Own Side Now And It's Impossible Not To Take Her Side...

Own Side Now, out in the states 3/15/11
In the snark infested world of the blogosphere the approach du jour seems to be, build it up in order to tear it down. “What Duvet Said…” has always held as its unstated mission a commitment to championing artists we feel deserving of praise or mention, while leaving the snark and vitriol to other blogs - figuring acts of omission speak just as loudly and take up less blogspace. Okay, maybe the occasional barb or societal jab, but by and large bringing our readers the best and brightest as determined by, well, us. This is not to say some aren’t better and brighter and all matters “art” are of equal value and shouldn’t be dissected with a critical eye. However, we believe Finnish composer Jean Sibelius said it best, “Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic.” So with that as our mantra let’s engage in some criticism!

Caitlin Rose’s first full-length release, Own Side Now, will be out tomorrow March 15th on Theory 8 Records, after already being available in Europe since August of last year. The twenty-three year old Nashville based singer-songwriter has been receiving largely raves for both her album and performances across the pond. Now, she will begin to tackle the more genre obsessed, box-placing American “critirati”. For an artist like Rose, simply classifying her as a “country artist” shortchanges her range as a songwriter and performer. It would be a travesty to label such a phenomenal talent and close her off from audiences that have an aversion to country music. Rose too seems aware of this, when in her song “New York”, she states; “So Tennessee, when I get home/You just better leave me alone/Dont try to claim me as your own/Im not the girl I used to be.” Other reviews often site Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn as musical touchstones or kindred spirits. Sure Own Side Now is steeped in country music’s rich traditions, but like contemporary and fellow Nashvillian Tristen’s recent release Charlatans at the Garden Gate, this is not your mama’s country or even you meemama’s. It’s something unique to this generation of Nashville musicians that have one foot on the Opry stage and the other wherever the hell it feels like stepping!

Rose’s voice is strong and powerful which makes a song like title track, “Own Side Now” sound like a declaration of finally finding inner-strength and not just another empty promise made from an empty bed. The songs on this album are perfectly instrumented, keeping the focus on the essential elements: lyrics and voice. There are some occasional strings and brushed drums match the tempo of windshield wipers on a long drive to or away from a broken love. “For The Rabbits” conjures the 50’s with its staccato guitar and swelling backups on the chorus. When Rose sings, “So fall back into my absent arms/Fall back into routine disaster/Habit's the only place that you call home”, it could very well soon be directed to Rose herself. Soon she will be finding herself the absent one. Constant touring lends itself to habits, rituals, and experiences that are impossible to share with those outside this bubble. Success further insulates you from connecting with the “simpler life” chronicled in many artists’ earlier material. Already, we see the strains of realizing dreams on Own Side Now starting to surface, as opposed to the dreams themselves chronicled on Dead Flowers. It will be interesting to witness this young artist coming to terms with her life through song - which is Rose’s gift - as the foundation for her experiences continues to shift away from the familiar and into more surreal setting of music industry success.

Guitarist Jeremy Fetzer joins Caitlin Rose at 2010 ACL Festival in Austin, TX
The song that most encapsulates Caitlin Rose’s ability to mesh lyrical acuity with hooks that already seem timeless is in “Shanghai Cigarettes”. Unlike many of Music City’s more manufactured superstars, who will remain nameless, Rose comes off as the genuine article and it becomes hard to separate her from the characters in her songs. That is what makes the heartaches more intense and the triumphs more inspirational. When she describes love as “useless” in “Spare Me” we know she doesn’t mean it. The undercurrent of a woman coming into her own and the darkened realizations that go along with that growth permeate Own Side Now. Nowhere on this record is that sentiment better captured than on “Things Change”, where there is a singular pride emerging out of the murk of the orchestral musical backing. There truly is something occurring on this album that goes beyond simply a collection of songs. We witness an artist making a statement about who she is now and who she’d like to be one day. Sometimes the message is masked in bravado, sometimes it’s left bare and exposed but it’s always authentic and compelling. Do yourself a favor and buy Caitlin Rose’s Own Side Now. Go home, put it on, and in the words of Paul Westewrberg, “knock it back with something, sweet and strong.” That’s Caitlin Rose in a nutshell.


LIVE REVIEW: Olin & The Moon May Be From Idaho But They Conquered Utah Last Wednesday Night in San Francisco...

Olin & The Moon at the Hotel by Robert Celli
This past Wednesday night I had the opportunity to see the pride of Sun Valley, Idaho Olin & The Moon live at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco. In an earlier post on this blog I sung the band's praises for their latest recording Footsteps. But the real proof for me has always been what can a band can do free of the studio and placed on a stage. I was not the least bit disappointed, in fact I was blown away by the poise and maturity of a band that clearly has been earning it on the road, one town at a time. Lead singer and songwriter David LaBrel had a natural charisma and confidence that swept through the small but tightly packed club. This is a band that is comfortable playing to whatever room "the road" throws their way. I could imagine their sound being just as dialed in an arena as in a 50 seat cafe. Their songs already seem designed to fill the space between your headphones, or a bedroom late at night, but what about a club?
David LaBrel w/ by Robert Celli
At "the Utah" they played a diverse set of songs that had the girls gently rocking back and forth, while providing enough muscle for the men to grip their Buds and confidently nod their heads. "Terrible Town" - a single off an earlier album of the same name - was a great driving rock tune. The song featured some perfectly orchestrated builds and nice accents, highlighting drummer Marshall Vore's and bassist Kyle Vicioso's understated rhythmic punch. In fact, that "understated" quality is at the core of the band's live sound . Olin & The Moon strike the perfect balance of delivering well-defined parts that are not stiffly executed. There is an "in-the-moment" aspect to this band and the way the songs are approached in the live setting. It could be easy to fall back on road-tested chops but they genuinely seem to be connecting with the songs, crowd and each other, in a way that is natural and organic to THAT performance. Lead guitarist Travis LaBrel plays leads that resonate but are never over-played, reminding me of another restrained but tasty guitar player, Lucero's Brian Venable. He also hits some sweet harmonies with his brother-the kind only brothers can hit - as was evidenced in the song "Jackson".
Brothers by Robert Celli
Another set highlight  for me was "Out of Here" featuring accordion and vocals that were at once strong and aching by David LaBrel. LaBrel has a natural and unaffected instrument that connects well with audiences. "Waking Up" was a fine example of why pedal steel is such a wondrous instrument. Pedal steel player Brian McGinnis has a precocious command over an instrument that it takes many years to master. The hourlong set reminded me of two of my favorite live bands Lucero and Soul Asylum. Like those bands, Olin & The Moon take you on a musical journey that goes by too fast and leaves you wanting a few songs more. Now, I see plenty of bands and this is not the norm. Most times I wish a few minutes would be shaved off of sets but definitely not in this case. When the closer and EPIC "15 Burro Blanco" came to its crashing crescendo, I was patiently waiting for the next tune when I noticed the band was packing up. That is a good sign...believe me for a guy who sees close to 200 shows a year, a very good sign. The band left for gigs in Fresno and Santa Cruz before eventually heading out to Austin, TX for SXSW. Video below of their set closer taken with my trusty FlipCam UNEDITED and extremely LIVE, enjoy.
Up next by Robert Celli


Duvet Commits Music Blog Suicide! Or, Hear What Two Grown Men Have No Business Having An Opinion On But Opine They Do! Or, STILL, Shameless Pandering To A Demographic We Have No Business Pandering To! Or, BETTER STILL, WE LIKE ABC FAMILY'S "MAKE IT OR BREAK IT", So Sue US!

We give you the RAWK GIRLS!!
            If music is "What Duvet Said's" bread and butter, then TV is our croissant and Nutella! As some of you may or may not know WDS is not only a rich source of music bric-a-brac but also a thriving podcasting epicenter. In addition to "What Duvet Said...About Music", we also have "The Tank", a weekly podcast devoted to the random musings of two deeply disturbed, disgruntled, and diatribic Pop Culture junkies. As is the way with most drugs, you can't always predict which ones you'll become addicted to, so you simply must try them all! Well, Jason and Rob have drunk the "Kool-Aid" on a relatively under the radar TV show. I give you this post on ABC Family's "Make It Or Break It". With the new season rapidly approaching (premiering Monday March 28th) and my almost being caught up on the previous two seasons on Hulu, I felt compelled to cleanse the musical palette of this blog with the guiltiest of pleasures. That's RIGHT a show about teenage girls pursuing their dream to become Olympic gymnasts! But "Make It Or Break It" is about so much more than sport, as you will understand by reading the list below...Click on the title link or here to take you to their YouTube channel for previews of episodes and then tell me we've got a screw loose!


"What Duvet Said...About Music" Supplement to the LATEST Podcast Featuring Daniel Pujol...

Ani't no party like a Nashville party...Daniel Pujol caged in.
Like a cat to cat nip Robert "Bob" Duvet can't stay away from Nashville, TN especially when the bands playing on Music City's periphery are this talented and FUN! The "What Duvet Said...About Music" podcast features an interview with Nashville's Daniel Pujol and his band Pujol is like a shot of adrenaline right to the heart. Hear an interview filled with insights into what it means to be a human being and how records made of wax are still very necessary! If that won't snap you out of roboting through your day then up your dose with Natural Child, D. Watusi, JEFF the Brotherhood and So Jazzy! I've said it before and I'll say it again-right now in fact-Nashville's Dead is one of the best blogs in the country and reading it will improve your muscle mass and might have the same impact on your brain as eating fish (totally unverifiable)! So if you think this city is a musical one trick pony, then you've never been around horses-or the track for that matter. Because Robert "Bob" Duvet is a betting man at heart and his heart is telling him to continue to evangelize about these amazing, committed, and earnest musicians. This city cranks out bands that RAWK and are sure to be ROLLING off your tongues in the near future! Below is some Eye Candy for the sweet toothed and remember who loves ya baby!

Some links worth checking into:

Battletapes Recording Studio in Nashville. Tristen's Charlatans at the Garden Gate was recorded there and you know how much we love that one! Look for a release for Pujol recorded there in the near future.

Nashville Cream and We Own This Town are two more great blogs from and about Nashville.


Duvet Says See This! Olin and the Moon Play SF's Hotel Utah Before Becoming HUGE! You Heard It Here First...

The Hotel Utah won't be big enough for Olin and the Moon in a month
A lot of music comes my way and quite frankly, lately, it has all sounded pretty decent. But here at "What Duvet Said..." decent won't cut it! We want brilliant or some potential for brilliance. When you get that in a band and album, well that's WINNING! So enough suspense, I give you Sun Valley, Idaho's Olin and the Moon! Pitched to me as Wilco meets Big Star with a pinch of Ryan Adams (in fact drummer Marshall Vore also plays with Ryan Adams), I was initially skeptical. That's a tall order I thought but singer-songwriter David LaBrel is up to the task. Being labeled as alt-country doesn't do Olin and the Moon justice. Too often we are obsessed with genre and the subsequent limitations these labels put on people's thoughts and experiences of music. Rootsy? Sure. Americana? Okay. Alt-Country? Whatever that means now-a-days, I can see it. But what the songs on Olin and the Moon's latest, Footsteps, really represent are feelings expressed with nuance, economy, proficiency, and joy. LaBrel and lead guitarist, brother Travis, along with fellow members Vore, Brian McGinnis, and Kyle Vicioso make music that sounds as natural in the backroom of a honky tonk as coming out of a car stereo on a long, lonely drive across desert expanse, or as it would if you were laying on your back in a field somewhere staring up at the stars.
Their latest album Footsteps
That is to say, this music is about feeling things and being transported by those feelings to places only you can go to. There is a bit of Soul Asylum and The Jayhawk's gift for being both earnest and confident without to much polish. Songs like "Repeat" and "15 Burro Blanco" drive and sting. "Not in Love" and "Last Song" are as pretty as pictures of your first love or worse, "the one that got away". This is yearning music. It makes you want to go places, kiss those boys or girls and smoke that last cigarette, preferably alone at sunrise. That's not to say these guys can't burn a barn or two. There are some very fiery leads to go along with the plaintive wail of a pedal steel. I couldn't help but think of another artist that I felt similarly about when I first heard him, Ryan Bingham. I'm seldom wrong about these things, I wasn't about Bingham and I'm not about Olin and the Moon. If any of this strikes a chord with you, GOOD! Olin and the Moon will be playing San Francisco's Hotel Utah this Wednesday night March 9th opening for The Horde and the Harem at 9pm. I urge you to see this band NOW in an intimate environment before they head of to Austin, TX for SXSW and come through playing venues three times this size. Duvet says, "DO IT!"


Abe Vigoda & Wild Nothing Play SF's Popscene, Which Was Quite The Scene Indeed! Or, A New Sauna Opens In San Francisco Featuring Live Music...

Abe Vigoda live, these guys are definitely not by Robert Celli

This past Thursday perennial indie party Popscene turned San Francisco’s Rickshaw Stop into a sauna. That’s right, complete with steam coming off the walls, shvitzing hipsters, and RAWK so good it cleaned your pores! The night featured two decidedly different bands with different sounds and approaches who shared one member. Los Angeles’ Abe Vigoda kicked things off, delivering a tight and pounding set of their unique blend of indie cum world beat tunes. Live, Abe Vigoda comes off a lot more aggressive and bare boned. The afro-calypso elements are still inherent in their sound but stripped of some the recorded production that I associated with them. What they do extremely well is staying rooted to the underground scene that produced them. By avoiding fay indulgence in the same influences a band like Vampire Weekend co-opts and markets as “indie-world music”, Abe Vigoda are more art school cool than Ivy League elite. Their set was a lot more groove-based than I was expecting and contained that hard to define element of “punkness”. One of a handful of the early bands to emerge out of LA’s art collective The Smell (along with other notables No Age, Wavves and Best Coast), Abe Vigoda may have the most original and uncompromised sounds.
Juan Velazquez of Abe by Robert Celli
Singer-guitarist Juan Velazquez leads the band whose sound is sonically akin to a tropical downpour of shimmering guitars, which clear to reveal the first rays of sunlight through a cloud-filled sky. That blend of percussive thump, hazy vocals and guitars that sound like steel drums are the heart and soul of Abe Vigoda. There is an infectious energy that makes you feel like you just washed up on an island made entirely of concrete after a rough night lost at sea.

Between bands the Popscene DJs mixed yesteryear’s inducers of lock-kneed sway and oscillating dance like the Psychedelic Furs and The Smiths with more current reproducers of the late 80’s-early 90’s music that is currently in vogue. The crowded, slightly affected smart phone tapping attendees responded to both generations of music with equal vigor. I found this slightly bemusing given the supposed penchant the iGeneration has for ironical detachment. But, HEY, a good song is a good song! We are nothing if not our own cultivated pastiche.

Wild Nothing from the side at the by Robert Celli

Up next was Virginia’s Wild Nothing who was no doubt responsible for the line that stretched around the block outside the club. Last year’s release Gemini was a fixture on critics’ top ten lists. Indebted to Robert Smith and The Cure but devoid of the over-emotive vocal drama Smith is known for, Wild Nothing’s frontman Jack Tatum writes incredibly catchy hooks built around cascading guitars and pulsing bass lines. The young girls and much to my surprise men in the crowd, to borrow the Morrisey lyric, “oscillated wildly” from the opening notes. Wild Nothing’s sound is built on the effect-laden guitar interplay between Tatum and guitarist Nathan Goodman. Drummer Michael Skattum employs some electronic triggers but this is a decidedly straight ahead rock band live. The night’s MVP was Abe Vigoda drummer Dane Chadwick who filled in on bass and played a seemingly flawless show for both bands.
Jack Tatum by Robert Celli
For a band (truly, this is Jack Tatum’s project) that garnered so much attention for “playing” the recording studio, they were well-suited to a live setting. Guitars shimmered, while voices hung in the air like smoke rings over the blissful ongoing shimmy in the audience. Songs like “Summer Holiday” and “Golden Haze” are lovely swirls of melodies with just enough muscle to them to not sound wimpy. Their sound is a bit one-dimensional but it is one helluva a dimension. Judging by the reaction they were receiving this was right hybrid of shoegaze, indie pop and just enough retro-New Wave flourishes. There is nothing wrong with giving the people what they want.

Blurred vision of Wild by Robert Celli
Sometimes it is black and by Robert Celli