LIVE: Jotto, Squaaks, The Chimeras,Thinking Machines @ Johnny Brenda’s 03.15.08

March 16, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
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While most of the music world was converging on Austin, Texas for the SXSW conference, Philadelphia was still asserting it’s place as a music city to reckoned with last night at Johnny Brenda’s. First up in a preview of next month’s Bag Of Songs night April 20th at The M Room were the Thinking Machines with an amazing set of songs from their brand new cd, A Complete Record Of Urban Archaeology. A guitar oriented rhythmic sound sound I can best describe as sort of like Gang Of Four meets Fugazi. Next up was folk-edelic stylings of The Chimeras playing songs from their new disc, Party Of God, a loosely conceptual rumination on war and religion in the middle east. Baltimore’s Squaaks were next, tearing through a tight set of their blend of high energy rock. Jotto closed the evening with a set of dancey music that fans of current buzz bands Yeasayer or MGMT would love.

MP3: Thinking Machines – Return To The Red Sun
Buy A Complete Record Of Urban Archaeology
MP3: The Chimeras – Good Friday
Buy Party Of God
MP3: Squaaks – Be Dry My Bleeding Heart
Buy Rock Control
MP3: Jotto – Backyard Circus
Buy Jotto EP

Thinking Machines

The Chimeras



5 On A Friday : Talking In Your Sleep

February 8, 2008 by · Leave a Comment
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Have you ever been sound asleep and the phone rings and wakes you up at some absurd time from a totally peaceful slumber?

Do you have friends who should know better but call at the wrong time and wake you up anyway?

Today’s five goes out to you.

1: The Beatles – I’m So Tired
Buy The White Album
2: The Pretenders – I Go To Sleep
Buy Pretenders II
3: Sleep – Nada Surf
Buy High/Low
4: Semisonic – Singing In My Sleep
Buy Feeling Strangely Fine
5: The Squaaks – Asleep In The Sun
Buy Rock Control

20 Facts About Sleep via List Universe

1. The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon. The record holder reported hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory and concentration lapses.

2. It’s impossible to tell if someone is really awake without close medical supervision. People can take cat naps with their eyes open without even being aware of it.

3. Anything less than five minutes to fall asleep at night means you’re sleep deprived. The ideal is between 10 and 15 minutes, meaning you’re still tired enough to sleep deeply, but not so exhausted you feel sleepy by day.

4. Dreams, once thought to occur only during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, also occur (but to a lesser extent) in non-REM sleep phases. It’s possible there may not be a single moment of our sleep when we are actually dreamless.

5. REM dreams are characterised by bizarre plots, but non-REM dreams are repetitive and thought-like, with little imagery – obsessively returning to a suspicion you left your mobile phone somewhere, for example.

6. Certain types of eye movements during REM sleep correspond to specific movements in dreams, suggesting at least part of the dreaming process is analagous to watching a film

7. Elephants sleep standing up during non-REM sleep, but lie down for REM sleep.

8. Some scientists believe we dream to fix experiences in long-term memory, that is, we dream about things worth remembering. Others think we dream about things worth forgetting – to eliminate overlapping memories that would otherwise clog up our brains.

9. Dreams may not serve any purpose at all but be merely a meaningless byproduct of two evolutionary adaptations – sleep and consciousness.

10. Scientists have not been able to explain a 1998 study showing a bright light shone on the backs of human knees can reset the brain’s sleep-wake clock.

11. British Ministry of Defence researchers have been able to reset soldiers’ body clocks so they can go without sleep for up to 36 hrs. Tiny optical fibres embedded in special spectacles project a ring of bright white light (with a spectrum identical to a sunrise) around the edge of soldiers’ retinas, fooling them into thinking they have just woken up. The system was first used on US pilots during the bombing of Kosovo.

12. The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, the Challenger space shuttle disaster and the Chernobyl nuclear accident have all been attributed to human errors in which sleep-deprivation played a role.

13. The “natural alarm clock” which enables some people to wake up more or less when they want to is caused by a burst of the stress hormone adrenocorticotropin. Researchers say this reflects an unconscious anticipation of the stress of waking up.

14. Tiny luminous rays from a digital alarm clock can be enough to disrupt the sleep cycle even if you do not fully wake. The light turns off a “neural switch” in the brain, causing levels of a key sleep chemical to decline within minutes.

15. Humans sleep on average around three hours less than other primates like chimps, rhesus monkeys, squirrel monkeys and baboons, all of whom sleep for 10 hours.

16. Ducks at risk of attack by predators are able to balance the need for sleep and survival, keeping one half of the brain awake while the other slips into sleep mode.

17. Diaries from the pre-electric-light-globe Victorian era show adults slept nine to 10 hours a night with periods of rest changing with the seasons in line with sunrise and sunsets.

18. Most of what we know about sleep we’ve learned in the past 25 years.

19. The extra-hour of sleep received when clocks are put back at the start of daylight in Canada has been found to coincide with a fall in the number of road accidents.

20. Experts say one of the most alluring sleep distractions is the 24-hour accessibility of the internet.

Squaaks – Rock Control

October 11, 2007 by · Leave a Comment
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Although their name may be reminiscient of a sound you’ll hear on the new Radiohead album, Squaaks music is not. Their bio describes their sound as “crunchy guitars, a driving rhythm and catchy melodies” and it’s right on the money. Their new album Rock Control is part sixties garage rock, part eighties post punk with songs that are catchy and often lighthearted. They’re also not afraid to show they have a sense of humor, check out the opening track of the disc, Two Hippies, and you’re sure to crack a smile. Catch ’em this Friday in Philly on the bill with American Princes, The New Motels, and The Sw!ms at The Khyber.

The Baltimore, Maryland based Squaaks are:
Songwriter Virat Shukla on vocals and guitar
Bassist and vocalist Elena Fox
Guitarist and keyboardist Justin Custer
Drummer Charles Cole

MP3: Squaaks – Two Hippies
MP3: Squaaks – Be Dry My Bleeding Heart

Upcoming Shows
Oct 12 2007 8:00P The Khyber Philadelphia, PA
Oct 13 2007 9:00P Lo-Fi Social Club Baltimore, MD
Oct 19 2007 8:00P The Metro Gallery Baltimore, MD
Oct 27 2007 8:00P The Vintage Porter Salisbury, NC

[WEBSITE] [MYSPACE] [PHOTO by C. Arkwright]