Rock Radio 2.0

Rock and Roll Report Radio returns March 26, 2007

Just a quick heads up that I will be hosting Rock and Roll Report Radio on the Drastic Plastic Program on Monday, March 26, 2007 from 10:00 – 11:00 PM EST on CKUT FM. I’ll be all over the style map playing stuff from the Dollyrots, the Shake, Three Quarter Stone, the Tender Box and more. I hope you tune in live either over the air or online and if you can’t make it, you can always download the podcast.

See you on the flipside!


Rock Biz

Net Neutrality: Rock The Net

A Message from Noise Pop… Musicians, labels, fans: join us in this fight to preserve an open and equal Internet.

Noise Pop is working with the Future of Music Coalition to raise awareness of and support for an issue that becomes more and more worrisome to artists and labels each passing day: Network Neutrality. You may have never heard of it yet but this is an issue that will fundamentally affect the way you receive information as well as your ability to reach your fans online.

Net Neutrality is the guiding principle that preserves the free and open Internet. It prevents the companies that control the wires from discriminating against content based on who owns it. In other words, it helps to ensure that small blogs can be accessed just as easily as sites owned by large media companies.

It may seem like a fairly abstract concept today, but with the $86 billion (yes, billion) merger of AT&T and Bell South that the FCC approved last month, it becomes more and more of a reality. As a matter of fact, AT&T chairman Ed Whitacre has already stated publicly that he’d like companies to pay for the use of their “pipes.”

As you are well aware, the Internet has given artists the unprecedented ability to communicate with fans on a one-to-one basis. Imagine, all of a sudden, an internet where runs 50 times faster than Pitchfork. Where CD Baby goes out of business because they can no longer afford to compete with the likes of Amazon or Best Buy. Or even worse, corporate giants cutting deals with internet providers so that independent artists, labels, and news sites are completely cut out of the picture.

We are striving to maintain Net Neutrality so that the internet does not go the way of commercial radio: big corporations with deep resources and even deeper pockets working with telecommunications giants to decide what websites get viewed when and how quickly.

So what do we want from you? Our goal is to demonstrate that net neutrality is an issue that the music community is passionate about. We are doing this by compiling a list of artists who are expressing concerned about the issues. OK Go, Death Cab For Cutie, The Donnas, The Wrens, R.E.M., Kathleen Hanna, Ted Leo, Rogue Wave and Calexico already signed on. We hope that you will allow us to add you to the list of supporters. We must band together and show Congress that we understand what is at stake and that we are paying attention.

You can add your name to the growing list of artists in support of Net Neutrality by visiting:

Fans sign the petition here:

If you have any questions or want more information, please email

Thanks, Noise Pop

Rock Biz

Bum Rush the Charts Now!


Rock Biz

Be a part of history tomorrow! Bum rush the charts!

Remember that tomorrow podcasters are trying to make music history by making an indie artist # 1 on iTunes.

Check out to see what you can do to make this happen!

Thanks. Mark

Rock and Roll Reads

Latest Perfect Sound Forever for Dec/Jan has been posted

I just noticed that one of the best webzines on the web, Perfect Sound Forever has just published their December-January edition. Always a good read.


Record Labels Rock Radio 2.0

Yep Roc joins the podcasting revolution

The very cool Yep Roc Records has hopped onto the podcating bandwagon with their brand new monthly Yepcast. According to their announcement:

Yepcast is our new monthly podcast devoted to giving you the heads up, the downlow, the nod, the nudge, the wink – in other words, the first shot at hearing new Yep Roc music, artist news, interviews, the skinny on exclusive tracks and bonuses from the Yep Roc Web Shop – all of that. But don’t worry, it’s not a big commercial. It’s all about the music.

This month they feature an exclusive interview with Radio Birdman’s Deniz Tek, plus music from the new Yeproc releases by Radio Birdman The Sadies, Spencer Dickinson and a sneak preview of Jim Lauderdale’s two new releases. Sounds cool. Look for a new Yepcast on the first Friday of every month and look for my take on the new Yep Roc releases from said Radio Birdman, the Minus 5 and The Sadies coming up soon on The Rock and Roll Report.


Artists and Bands

Kofi Baker: Following in Dad’s Foot Pedals

Kofi Baker is an L.A./Orange County based drummer who also teaches from his Orange, California drum school. Now 37, he’s played professionally since age 14 and has played or recorded with the likes of Jack Bruce (Cream), Jonas Hellborg and Chris Poland (Megadeth). Oh yeah, he’s also toured playing duets with his dad, the legendary Ginger Baker of Cream/Blind Faith fame.

As with anyone who follows in a famous parent’s footsteps, people are inclined to make comparisons. So how does he compare? He’s as good and probably better. Though initially trained by his father, Kofi takes the art of drumming to another level and surpasses dear-old-dad in technique. That’s hard to imagine without the use of audio-visual aids, but Kofi is a perfectionist at his craft and yet approaches drumming with the need to enjoy his work, almost to a fault. He could be playing with any rock band or playing huge tour venues, but instead plays what he’s passionate about: jazz fusion. Unfortunately, is a genre that doesn’t exactly see cd’s fly off the retail shelves, or


would be selling the Kofi Baker stick bag instead of the Travis Barker stick bag. Jazz fusion however, might be the only type of music that appreciates the speed and complexity of his style. When he does play classic rock drums its almost super-human and it’ll leave your head spinning. (He should have a yellow road sign posted for bass players: “Warning, poly rhythms ahead-Follow the hi-hats”) So, while most other drummers are set up downstage and provide the backbeat to what everyone else is doing, Baker is often center stage because his style commands audiences to pay attention when he’s playing. Like his dad, Kofi uses the double bass drum set up and uses it effectively without going over the top, grabbing you attention with Jo Bonham style flutters. Another similarity to dad: solos, looooong solos. On a recent tour in

, he was regularly timed doing 12-15 minutes solos. That’s about where the similarities end, as the younger Baker has developed his own distinct sound. So what’s the main difference between the two Bakers? Kofi says “I still work at it.” and he does, often practicing several hours a day to make “perfect” even better.

Until recently Baker had been playing regularly with Ohm (Chris Poland of Megadeath on guitar and Rob Pagliari on bass) but lately has been playing more with his other projects, the jazz fusion based Kofi Baker Band, Kofi and Cream, which features justly covered Cream selections as well as his own original material, and the Kofi Baker Bluesion Band. He also occasionally does some session work.

Recently, I was also lucky enough to be an audience of one at a jam session in his 8 X 15 drum studio with master guitar coach to the stars, Fran Banish, easily L.A. best blues/rock guitarist ( the list of names posted on his website of who he’s taught/coached is amazing including Bob Dylan, yes, that Bob Dylan, Keb’ Mo, Jackson Browne and more) and Dale Jennings on bass. I made my exit after a phenomenal version of “Dazed and Confused” because, ironically, that’s how I felt after trying to follow the trio’s solidly improvised playing through the 15 minute song (and because I was starting to loose my hearing in the tiny space). With any luck this grouping will play live, someday somewhere or better yet, see its way into a studio and record.

Until then you can hear Kofi on Ohm’s Amino Acid Flashback or on Tapestry on which he plays with Brett Garsed and bassist Ric Fierabracci under the band name Mojo. You can also find Kofi playing in one of his projects around L..A. or teaching at his studio.

For more information or shows check out

Reviews and Suggestions

Rachael Yamagata: A Review

Rachael YamagataHappenstance (RCA)

Perhaps it really was part Happenstance that brought Rachael Yamagata to where she is today, but my bet is it actually has a lot more to do with talent. With a sound reminiscent of Fiona Apple minus the drama, or Norah Jones with more angst, Yamagata manages to do the damn near impossible by carving out a niche all her own.

This twenty-six year old’s debut is literally overflowing with what is bound to become a signature blend of smoky vocals and heart on her sleeve lyrics. On songs like “Be Be Your Love, “Even So” and “Quiet”, Yamagata successfully marries a late night jazz club with an underlying pop presence. “Letter Read’s” fast-paced, interrogation style grabs you from the get go. “Worn Me Down” has mainstream success written all over it, while “Paper Doll” teeters towards folk or even country.

“I Want You” takes things in a different direction once again by introducing a dance hall feel that would fit in perfectly in an old-fashioned musical. It is, in fact, the little nuances such as these that Yamagata possesses and exudes that set her apart from the pack. A Lilth Fair lady that arrived on the scene ten years too late, she still has a good chance of standing, and sticking, it out.

The challenge with singer/songwriter’s like Yamagata, lies in the burden of comparing her to others without taking anything away from her own, unique approach to songwriting. Sure she has a sound that was might have been “marked” by those that have come before her, but does that mean she still can’t do it better?

Yamagata’s poetry is rooted in the belief that everything happens for a reason. It wasn’t chance that brought Yamagata here, but Happenstance is definitely a collection worthy of taking a chance on.

Janet Branagan

Reviews and Suggestions

Ballentine: A Review


Ballentine4U (Original Man Entertainment)

Ever wonder what happened to the late ‘90’s pop music movement fronted by girl bands with attitude? Well, Ballentine wants you to know the genre is alive and well with their debut release.

Garnering publicity is hard for any new band, especially without a big time label backing you up. So, in this day and age, how do you get people to sit up and take notice? By going on a reality show of course!

Sexy girl next door/lead singer, Heather Ballentine and bassist Frank Primorac took a chance on each other two years ago by mixing both business and pleasure. Fast-forward two years and the band was finally falling into place, the relationship, however, was bordering on breakup tune territory. So, the lovebirds did what any fame seeking, yet romantically challenged couple would do and signed up for ABC’s Ultimate Love Test.

Genius career move or an epic love story? I’ll leave that one for you to decide. After surviving (and winning) the ULT, one thing was certain, the real test of whether their talent could take them all the way, had yet to come.

From the appropriately titled “Starting To Move” it’s obvious that pop hooks are not a problem. In fact, Warren Huart, who worked with The Bangles, is a good choice here as producer. With a nostalgic image to match their equally nostalgic tunes, all the pieces for success seem to be falling into place.

But then one thinks of bands like Save Ferris or the late, great Letters To Cleo. Acts that aspired to ride the wave of Gwen Stefani’s svengali, with only moderate success. The problem was the world already had their Stefani. The burning question being, do we really need another?

There are highlights which prove Ballentine has some chops including “Tired Of You” and “Anything But Perfect”, and it’s obvious they’ve got a pop rock groove down pat. Still, it’s clear Ballentine would benefit from more variety and doing so would help them emerge from their carefully concocted cocoon of well-crafted songs that need a little more diversity and a little less reality TV.

Janet Branagan

Reviews and Suggestions

Sarah Hudson: A Review


Sarah HudsonNaked Truth (EMI)
Sarah Hudson has a lot to be thankful for and apparently, a lot to live up to. Although only a mere twenty-three years old, this in-your-face ingénue is different. She already has your attention and she doesn’t have to fight to get noticed. Instead she has the opposite problem, all eyes are on her. In fact, with her father, formerly one half of a successful 70’s pop duo, The Hudson Brothers, and her cousin being on-screen darling Kate Hudson, it’s hard to see what machine this self-proclaimed pop rock rebel is really raging against.

We’ve heard it all before. Bijou Phillips wailed about not being wanted on “When I Hated Him (Don’t Tell Me)” and even Chastity Bono threw her ‘woe-is-me, famous but twice removed’ hat into the ring with her now defunct band, Ceremony. So what makes Sarah Hudson’s attempt at individuality all that special? From one listen of the Naked Truth it seems, not much.

The title track is a fun, yet serious tune in the vein of a Jill Sobule or Melissa Lefton; two other quirky pop princesses that never fully found a foothold in the pop industry. “Girl On The Verge” meanwhile, belongs in a Lindsay Lohan driven vehicle or perhaps Clueless ten years past or even further removed, the Go Go’s two decades too late. Most of the songs on Naked Truth at least remain true to the title; serving up a raw approach to sad, real life topics with a surprisingly off-putting, upbeat delivery.

But before, long the whole ‘red headed stepchild, feel bad for me’ vibe starts to wear thin. By the time we get to “Strange” things downshift from self-deprecating to downright embarrassing, fast. “I’m a little bit strange, but here’s the twist. I might even get stranger than this,” coos Hudson.

The standout track crown is still awarded, however, to “I Know”, a timeless tune that at moments is part Madonna with the spirit of rock sisters Heart mixed in. This song might’ve even had a home with Britney, but on Hudson’s otherwise quirky collection, it somehow seems out of place. On “I Know” Hudson steps out of the peculiar girl gone wrong box and succeeds.

Now if only Naked Truth contained a little more meat and a little less monotone, we’d all be singing a different tune.

Janet Branagan