Hey kids, we'd like to introduce you to a couple things: Booby Trap Brown and the new Wheelie Pop Records website.

Our eclectic indie pop record label, Wheelie Pop Records, will be putting out a new record by Booby Trap Brown. 

Booby Trap Brown is working on their debut release and we can't wait to introduce you this wild new music that sounds like a dinner party with Leonard Cohen, David Bowie, Keith Richards, Curtis Mayfield, Joe Strummer, and Paul McCartney.  Now that's a party.

And here's the new Wheelie Pop website: www.wheeliepop.com.  Visit often!  I hear they may leak some early mixes of Booby Trap Brown....

The rumors are all true.  Yes, Paulie's in Bloomington, Illinois is closing.  Yes, the Spelunkers are going to do a reunion show at Paulie's before they close.  And yes, vonFrickle will be performing a very rare no-mask or costume show.  Eva Hunter is opening the show, starting at 9 pm.  It all happens Friday, September 26.  If you live in central Illinois, this is a show you can't miss.

Francis Dunnery, Tall Blonde Helicopter Last night we (wifey and friends) were lucky to be a part of another fabulous, intimate night of music and storytelling--a house concert featuring the multi-talented Francis Dunnery

Our creative friends Tommy and Breann Neal hosted a similar show a little over a year ago, so we HAD to come back again, because folks, this is one very unique experience. 

Some know Francis through his formative rock star years as the leader of It Bites or maybe you remember him on tour playing guitar with Robert Plant.  But I know Francis best by his mid-90s stellar acoustic-pop solo album, Tall Blonde Helicopter

This is a record Cathy and I have played and played and played--on long vacation drives, on the way to work, on the home stereo, at parties, and even nowadays on the iPod.  And then we hear that Francis is coming once again to Gridley, Illinois (of all places in the world) to do a show featuring Tall Blonde Helicopter, one of our all-time favorite albums???  Sign me up please, and one for my wife too, and Ed, and does Kurt know about it?  How about Steve?  Tony?  Rick?

Before I go any further, I just have to say that you HAVE to try to get him to your neighborhood, and here's how:  Fill out an invitation form

Francis has been doing these shows now for several years, typically for audiences of around 35 people.  He enters the room with only an acoustic guitar, weaving together these wonderful songs, hilarious stories, and provocative lessons about life.  He's an effortless storyteller and comedian, an amazing songwriter, a gifted guitarist, a well-read philosopher and astrologist, a warm and humble soul, and within seconds you are transported to another place. 

One of the great gifts of this particular show was hearing the detailed stories behind all of these songs we know so well.  Getting to hear them from a new perspective added a new depth to the music. 

Only New York Going On took us to an empty New York apartment that Francis moved into after leaving his wife.  The Way Things Are sent us to a Nashville hotel bathroom, peering into a mirror, terrorized at the sight of his newly shaved head, the loss of his long blonde hair--signaling a new, unknown life ahead of him.  Immaculate delivered us to an AA meeting in LA, exchanging mind-expanding books with recovering alcoholics, realizing the freedom of living in the present and the power of bringing about what we think about.  Heavy duty, yes, but isn't life heavy duty a good part of the time? 

And we pretty much laughed through the whole thing because he's so damn funny.  Plus he played our favorite songs, like Too Much Saturn, In My Dreams, and Sunshine. 

In the final stanzas of I Believe I Can Change My World, Francis does a bit of shout-sing mantra: I believe I can change my world!  I believe I can change my world!  I believe I can change my world!  And this is one of the great things I walked away with, and I'm carrying it around with me at this very moment.

Francis is, in fact, changing the world, one house at a time.  Francis, Erica, Tom, Breann, and everyone else that was there, thank you for an incredible evening.

left to right: Tim, Ed, & Matt from Backyard Tire FireLast weekend I had the opportunity to catch a fantastic pre-release show by our Bloomington Illinois friends, Tim Kramp, Ed Anderson, and Matt Anderson from Backyard Tire Fire.  It was an awesomely full day of music for me and the perfect way to cap-off a GREAT summer day.

This hard-working band is at the top of their game, both live and in the studio--with an excellent new record, The Places We Lived, just released last Tuesday on New York's Hyena Records

The sonically adventurous album, produced by Ed Anderson and Tony San Filippo, is full of road-tested performances of well-crafted songs.  You'll find hints of Tom Petty, Wilco, and even Pink Floyd, with songs about time, space, and place--longing for home, saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, trudging through the daily grind, and knowing when to sign on the dotted line. 

There are plenty of rowdy guitars, big bottom bass, and rock-steady drums as you would expect on a Tire Fire record, but also fun studio experimentation, honky tonk pianos, swirly synths, sliding pedal steel, rich strings, and muted trumpet. I love the vibey orchestration (literally with vibraphone in spots), such as on the clever and catchy tongue-twister and maybe my favorite song out-the-gate, 'Shoulda Shut It.' 

Other standouts for me so far are the title track (featuring Brian Choban on trumpet), the hooky 'Time With You', the crowd-pleasing 'Welcome To The Factory', the playful 'Legal Crime', and the wonderfully wistful final track 'Home Today'. 

The guys are about to hit the road for a midwestern tour, starting with a kickoff show at the Metro in Chicago on September 5.  Other stops include Iowa City, Madison, Minneapolis, Columbia MO, Kansas City, St. Louis, Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and more.  Check out their site for specific tour dates. Our friend Fish is joining the band on tour to help with guitars, keys, and backing vocals, and he's meshing perfect with the band, helping to reproduce all those great studio textures.

Go buy the record, be sure to stop and see BTF on this tour, and tell them we said hi!

With 27 songs on iTunes and amazon.com, we now have enough music to pepper your iPod with these playlists for various occasions. 

The best deal (of course) is to buy both albums (wink) and then create your own playlists based on these suggestions, but we also have all of this setup on iTunes so you can just download an entire playlist/iMix as needed.  Explore, enjoy, and even better, create your own!

100 Year Picnic Party
Have a picnic, have a party, and who better to bring along than 100 Year Picnic???  These infectious and eclectic indie pop tunes will add some smirky fun to your party music playlist.

100 Year Love Songs
Snuggle up to this warm and playful set of melodic love songs from indie popsters 100 Year Picnic...

100 Year Art Show
Your art and music-loving friends are invited!  Turn them on to something new...  This delicious set of eclectic indie pop tunes by 100 Year Picnic will mix perfectly with your next cocktail or dinner party. Cheers!

100 Year Workout!
Jump into a great workout with 100 Year Picnic! These songs were specially selected to keep your motor runnin', including the perfect tune to cool down to at the end of your workout. Enjoy!

100 Year Chill
It's been a long day--time to sit back, relax, and chill out to a mellow but melodic set from indie pop songsters, 100 Year Picnic.

Well hope you all are enjoying your summer so far.  Summer always reminds me of this song that I wrote with my daughter when she was 4 1/2.  Now she's 12.  Time flies.  Kids have already taken to the backyard swimming hole and summer is officially in full swing. 

We recently finished mixing a new song, Too Much Love, which is sort of a twin sister of our song Isolation.  This new one features pedal steel, upright bass, brushes, acoustic guitar, Jack 'n' Coke, Ed's guitar, a laugh track, and for the first time, my wife Cathy's backing vocals.  Cut most of it live in the studio.  Turned out real nice.  We plan to post an mp3 once the wheeliepop.com site goes up (add it to the list), but in the meantime, here was the live@home demo version of Too Much Love

We are of course still promoting Tales Of A Modern Splash, slowly and surely, with some very fine reviews.  Making music is always more fun than marketing it, so you wouldn't be surprised that Edwin and I have been very busy with a new alter-ego of a project--a new album with a totally different sound.  Twelve songs are about halfway finished, with Ed singing on most of it this time and some amazing lyrics and music from Ed.  I'm following his lead on this one and it's been fun to tag along.  This will most likely be another Wheelie Pop Records release.  More to come on this...

I've also been doing quite a bit of session work (drums and backing vocals) over at Oxide Lounge for Matt Robinson, a Chicago-based singer-songwriter with a very cool Neil Young/Dylan vibe.  Friend and producer Tony SanFilippo wrote a nice posting on the tape op forum about how we cut backing vocals in the control room without headphones.  Matt's been alot of fun to work with and I'm really looking forward to hearing his finished record. 

Speaking of Tony, his latest project with Backyard Tire Fire will be released this August!  This band continues to improve and mature in their sound and songwriting, and I'm looking forward to this new record too.  To me they should be right up there with bands like My Morning Jacket and Wilco.  I think they are well on their way.  They have a new record deal with NYC-based Hyena Records and you can sample new tracks over at the BTF website.  I believe that's my friend (and 100YP contributor) Brian Choban playing trumpet on the title track.

And speaking of Brian, many of you know I play drums in his jazz band, The Brian Choban Jazz Quintet, and we've been playing quite a bit this summer, with some festivals and whatnot.  Come out and see us if you are here in town!  It's a lot of fun.   

Last but not least, Ed and I are participating in a blues recording project (can you believe it???) with longtime bluesman, Joe Zaklan.  Ed and I are both new to a traditional blues gig, but enjoying the experience.  I will say that it's harder than it looks.  That project will likely culminate in an EP and a festival appearance by the end of the summer as well.

Enjoy the sunshine, summer heat, summer BBQs, and summer beer, and if you are so moved, you can honor good 'ole Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (and his Uncle Alex) and declare "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."

Once again, we are happy to share another excellent review of Tales Of A Modern Splash, this one from writer Eric Anderson in Northern Colorado.  Think Rocky Mountains and Fat Tire beer. 

Here are a few highlights:

"The reflective songs leisurely unspool over a variety of catchy rock music, each a completely realized story..."

"Tales of a Modern Splash" is an eclectic mix of alt-pop songs about the journey from post-college adulthood into early middle age family life. Maybe that's just the 40-something, father-of-teens in me talking, but these are pop songs I can identify with..."

"Like super heroes with secret identities, the two guys behind 100 Year Picnic are in fact Jeff Greeneberg and Edwin Pierce: self-described dads, husbands and next door neighbors with a basement full of instruments and enough tech skills to run their own recording studio and website..."

"If their first album reminded me of a cornfield-based Fountains of Wayne, this wide-ranging new album sounds a little like a lot of all our favorite music but it reminds me of nobody except themselves. 100 Year Picnic has a grown-up pop sound all their own."

Read the full review by Eric Anderson, Colorado. 

Waitingroom1_2 Now what kind of fun is it to buy your new music from the big box retailers like Best Buy, Circuit City, or worse yet, Wal-Mart?  It's really no secret that most of their CD sales are loss leaders to get you in the door to buy something bigger like a new plasma, laptop, or car stereo. 

Meanwhile, downtown you can grab yourself a latte and slip into a good ole fashioned independent record store to discover the latest and greatest music of today.  My personal favorite here in town is Waiting Room Records, owned and run by Jared Alcorn. 

Here are a few great reasons to stop in to see Jared, or any independent record store for that matter:

  1. Try before you buy.  Waiting Room (and plenty of other indie stores) have promo copies of new music that you can often listen to before you drop your hard-earned $14.99 for a new CD.
  2. Discover new music. These guys listen to music all day long.  They just might have a few ideas for you...   Get to know them, and they'll get to know what you like and what to recommend for you personally.  Waiting Room even distributes a free music CD sampler with their top picks of new releases each month.  Our song "Looks Are For Free" was on last month's sampler.
  3. Overload the senses.  A great record store can be a sensory explosion, with funky vinyl spinning on the turntable, music posters plastered all over the walls, new release displays, and of course bins and bins of old records and new CDs to flip through.  Waiting Room even sells vintage clothing.
  4. Talk music. Meet the owner, meet some other like-minded music lovers, find out who's playing where...
  5. Buy music! Support independent record stores, support independent music, and improve the quality of your life!

And yes, you can of course get Tales Of A Modern Splash at Waiting Room Records, 113 W North Street, uptown Normal, Illinois.  Stop in and give Jared a shout, or visit your own local independent record store. 

Hi kids, more fun to report.  First off, our song "Greener Than The Trees" was recently featured on four awesome music blogs:

Largehearted Boy

We are also excited to share with you another excellent record review, this one from James in Utah, a music blogger and podcaster.

Checkout what James has to say about Tales Of A Modern Splash:

"100 Year Picnic, one of my favorite independent bands has released their newest full length release, Tales of a Modern Splash. The album is full of great songs; multi-layered and perfectly textured, each song has it’s own story to tell."

"One of my favorite songs on the new album is Looks Are for Free. It, like a few other songs on the album has properties that remind me of the Beatles, though to call Jeff Greeneberg and Edwin Pierce another John and George would be to misunderstand their motives. 100 Year Picnic’s music is mostly based around their families that they both love and tolerate, and this can be seen in their songs."

Read the full review by James.

Also, the local magazine TCStyle just hit the newstands, and here's what they had to say:

"This is rock 'n' roll evolved; it's pop music for grown-ups."

"The influences are both obvious and welcome. "Looks Are For Free" sounds like Rubber Soul era Beatles with a touch of David Bowie. That song is followed by "Another Phase," which blends vintage '80s synth (when did the '80s become vintage?) with the alterna-pop-bounce of XTC. Fans of Tears For Fears' post- "Big Chair" material will enjoy both the lush "Greener Than The Trees" and the fantastically layered "Everything's Perfect."

"There are plenty of more contemporary influences to be found as well. "We Were Not The Same" could pass for a lost Ben Folds Five track, and "Slow Down" would not sound at all out of place on a Chris Cornell album.

Read the full review by Kyle Schiebel.