The Valley of Rising Stars
Seth Powell knew exactly what sound he wanted on the sophomore album, A Break in the Weather, from his band the Charlie Watts Riots: “A big, heavy rock sound with pop sensibility, ala Superdrag In the Valley of Dying Stars, Foo Fighters, John Davis solo stuff . . .” Yet the guy who was mixing the record in Boston didn’t seem to get it. So he went out on a limb and contacted Nashville producer Nick Raskulinecz, the man behind the sound of the records he admired, and sent a couple tracks.
To Powell’s surprise, Raskulinecz loved the material and decided to put the finishing touches on the record himself. “He gets it,” Powell says. “He really made it sound huge.” Raskulinecz has more than a little cred to his name, having been nominated for 16 Grammys for his work with the Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stone Age, Rush, Superdrag, Alice in Chains, the Deftones and Norah Jones. What’s more, Raskulinecz picked up the record for a September release on MCDMAN, his boutique Los Angeles label and management company, and has agreed to record the Charlie Watts Riots’ follow up next year. “He wants to produce the next album from the ground up, which is awesome,” Powell says. “He really lives the stuff.”
The album’s first single, “Bottom,” will be released on Monday (July 15).
For the past few years, St. Joseph’s Church in Albany’s historic Ten Broeck neighborhood has been host to one of the largest annual gatherings of Capital Region music talent, the Restoration Festival, organized by local collective B3nson Records. If you’ve been following the news, you know that St. Joe’s, which was previously under restoration by the Historic Albany Foundation, has been returned to the city after neighbors blocked a bid by the now-Cohoes-based Raven’s Head Brewery to buy the place.
Without access to their usual venue, B3nson expanded the scope of their restoration-based efforts for this year’s festival to the greater Capital Region and found a home at CAC Woodside, an equally impressive old stone church on Mill Street in Troy, already in the process of architectural rehab and a nonprofit venue for artist residencies. The performance and exhibition space at Woodside isn’t slated to officially open until May 2014, so this year’s Rest Fest (Sept. 6-7) will be just a taste of what’s in store for the venue down the road. In keeping with B3nson’s mission, 25 percent of the event’s proceeds will go toward finishing the building’s restoration.
The past couple Rest Fests have seen an increase in national acts headlining the roster of local bands, and it looks like the event is primed to grow even further. This year, organizers have opened the event to band submissions to satisfy interest from both inside and outside the region. The deadline for submitting is July 31 and requires little more than some contact info and an uploaded mp3. The form is available at restfest.net/band-submissions. Keep an eye on the site as bands get selected and the lineup is announced sometime later this summer.
The Next Chapter
This Rough Mix column has been full of Kickstarter announcements these last couple years as more and more bands turn to the crowd-sourcing platform as a means to fund recording ventures and more deeply interact with their fanbase. Albany jazz/soul/hip-hop sextet the Chronicles are the latest to go this route.
For their sophomore album, the band have hired Soulive drummer and general badass Alan Evans to take on production duties—which sounds to these ears like a perfect creative fit. They’ll be recording at Albany’s White Lake Studios and plan to press the record straight to vinyl. Needless to say, this is a pricey undertaking, so the band are hoping to raise $7,500 by July 19, and you’ve got a week to help them out. The top pledge of $1,000 will hire the band to an event of your choosing, which is close to the band’s booking fee anyway, so it’s a pretty true value.
For more info on the band and the project, check out chroniclesband.wordpress.com.