Jammerzine’s The Week in #Indie for the week of September 23rd, 2019 includes exclusive interviews with Holy Wars frontwoman Kat Leon, 50FOOTWAVE and Kristin Hersh drummer Rob Ahlers, musician, Ragdoll guitarist, and YouTuber Leon Todd, Dalton Dexchain from Dalton Deschain & the Traveling Show, and Diamond Shake. Also are premieres from Cellista, Nigel Thomas, Tony Volker, and Sebastian Straw.
Holy Wars is a band that is as diverse as it is determined. That is ever more evident in this exclusive interview with Holy Wars’ frontwoman Kat Leon. Kat survives by thriving from her life and putting into her craft. That is a talent I wish everyone had. We would be in a much better world, I think.
And what we learn in this interview is how the music of Holy Wars, as well as Kat’s solo work, are part of an anthology of life. Some of it is dark, some of it light, but all of it real. And what we get in the end is a life in progress. We are all in our own personal holy war, whatever that may be, and what we get through Kat’s voice and the music of her and collaborator Nicolas Perez is a reflection of progression through originality and creativity. This is the very definition of what music is, or at least what it is at its best.
Currently, on tour as part of Kristin Hersh’s Electric Trio, we got a rare glimpse of 50FOOTWAVE drummer Rob Ahlers, who actually talked with us from the road. In the middle of the current tour featuring himself, Kristin, and multi-instrumentalist Fred Abong, Rob was gracious enough to call us and give us the latest information on the current tour with Kristin, his beginnings in the music industry, and how he manages to juggle the life of a touring musician as well as husband and father. Consider this interview a life lesson and guide for all of you musicians out there thinking of making the transition into fulltime.
Leon Todd is more than a musician in my opinion. He’s a mentor, a tutor, a reviewer, and a magician of sorts. Also, he’s a Youtuber. And a pretty stellar one at that. He has taken his passion for music and found roughly 5,610,970 (as of 9/12/2019) views from people looking to better their guitar playing or looking for new gear to better their sound. And among those 5 million+ is me. He has introduced me to so many different types of gear and, not just that, ways to experiment with my tone and setup as to make me sound better. To me, this is the very essence of Youtube. To all of you who think it’s a website to find all the funny little things that cats do can go over to Instagram and see what everyone’s having for lunch.
Leon is a full time working musician with his band Ragdoll as well as a teacher of music who has literally taken the career he loves and has made a Youtube channel dedicated to helping those guitarists out there who wish to better their tone and playing. And he does this in such an entertaining way as to not only NOT make you feel stupid (believe me I have felt stupid enough in this life 😉 ) but in a way that makes it entertaining. All good teachers teach their students in a way that is best for them and that way usually is done with a combination of information, determination, and with interest and enthusiasm.
Dalton Deschain is someone who I hold in high regard when it comes to #indie music. And now, after discovering said music in 2015, I finally get to speak with him. He is a very unique multi-talent, to say the least. In addition to his band, Dalton Deschain & the Traveling Show, he also has a comic book series titled MONOCUL, which has a unique and dark blend of pulp stylings in Dalton’s now-signature appearance.
Dalton and his band also bring that blend and influence, which they describe as ‘pulp-punk’. That style is never more evident in their new single titled ‘Man/Thing’ above. In this interview, we talk about the new single as well as the upcoming album titled ‘Casey’ and the connection between their previous EPs, ‘Casey’, and their future album slated for release. With Dalton and the band, you get a continuation within the music, as you will learn in this interview, which can create a lasting relationship between band and fans.
In this Jammerzine Exclusive is about survival. Not only survival but coming out the other side a better person. That person is Diamond Shake, aka Matthew Hitchens. Matthew has that enviable ability to take the bad aspects of life and make them work for you. You will hear about that in this interview, and it is something you want to listen to because Matthew is sharing his life lesson. And the result is his project Diamond Shake.
His new album titled ‘From Method to Madness ‘ drops November 15 and his new single/video ‘Let it Die’ drops tomorrow. That being said, this is a perfect time to get to know the wizard behind the curtain and learn about him as a person as well as a musician. After that listen, you will be a new fan of both Diamond Shake and Matthew Hitchens.
Cellista brings the listener into her dark, almost cinematic musical universe with her new single titled ‘Confessions’. Starting almost like somewhat of a proclamation, Cellista brings forth her lyrically lucid, musically ethereal and haunting score with a poetically dissonant yet beautiful musical piece that says as much with the music as it does with the words. ‘Confessions’ may be indescribably dark, but the more you listen to it, you begin to see a faint light, and that light brings new meaning to the lyrics, which can be a revelation in the form of a confession.
The album, ‘Transfigurations’, is available now on limited edition CD and at shows and comes with a full-length book and download code. It can be found everywhere digitally, including Bandcamp, where the book is downloadable as a PDF for anyone purchasing the album there. The book is also being released separately via online retail sites like Amazon.
Nigel Thomas is back and better than ever with his new album titled ‘Well Well’. Ever since our interview with him back in 2015 I’ve thought that Nigel is one of those rare talents that not only continuously grow musically, but is not afraid to grow. That is actually not all that common in the music industry. An artist might have some major success with a single or an album and finds it difficult to move forward stylistically because of fear of losing that audience. But Nigel embraces the change with 10 tracks of hook-filled original tracks that are as diverse within the album as the album is diverse within Nigel’s catalog.
One constant that I found in ‘Well Well’ is the ‘go left when I thought it would go right’ twists and turns musically that I found pleasantly unexpecting. Right down to the chord changes there are bits and pieces that I would have never expected but they are there and they fit perfectly. Not only outside of the box but, at times, all around it.
Tony Volker gives another stellar performance with his new album titled ‘Where The Light Gets In’. His stylings have always been a bit eclectic, which is something I love, but his pop and hook writing skills really shine on this latest outing. I compare him somewhat to Michael Penn because of that unique blend of endearing quirkiness, originality, and use of instruments from, not only different stylings but different cultures. And they blend so well.
‘Where The Light Gets In’ is out now on all digital platforms.
Sebastian Straw proves that he is a consummate songwriter with his new video for the track titled ‘My Friend’. The song starts off with a brilliant hook that captivates with its beautiful acoustic guitar and vocal melody but then reality kicks in with an out-of-left-field chorus in the style of Radiohead that really takes the song to a different level than expected. Added brilliance with the cello accompaniment and the walking bassline that chugs along and keeps the song anchored.
The album ‘Welcome Yesterday’ will be released on October 18 and will be available across digital stores and streaming platforms.
Poster photo by Heather Koepp Photography.
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