Category Archives: Pop Culture


Cock Sparrer at Punk Rock Bowling 2017. Photo: Tyson Heder

Punk Rock Bowling: where everyone who attends is decked out in studs, leather and bristles. Here they come to congregate for a weekend of music-inspired debauchery. This festival attracts punk from across the globe, which includes the infamous Turbojugend, street punks, crusties, ageing rock n’ rollers, weekend warriors and everyone in between. Within the confines of the festival itself, paychecks and pocket money are spent at booths catering to all subcultural needs and wants—whether it be records from Tang or Radiation, pins and clothes or radical literature from PM Press or There were also food trucks and drink stalls, where, for an arm and a leg, one can stay drunk, fed or hydrated depending on levels of sobriety and motivation.

Check out my full article on Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival 2017 published by SLUG Magazine!!

Sound & Vision Offers Vinyl Records and Music Expertise

Michael Maccarone of Sound & Vision. Photo by Mike Jones.

Sound & Vision Vinyl, LLC, is the new record store in Salt Lake City. They opened on October 16, 2015. It is owned by Pam Lancaster and managed by Michael Maccarone.

Maccarone has managed record shops for over 30 years. His interest in record collecting began by sampling his father’s rock n’ roll records and then by witnessing The Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964. In the 1970s, Maccarone’s interest in records was further inspired after being introduced to David Bowie records at a record shop. “[The employee] locked me in the store, made me buy The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust—I wasn’t allowed to leave until I bought the album,” he said.

Read the full article, published by Utah Stories.


Cock Sparrer. Photo: Sam Bruce

When it comes to Oi! as a subgenre of punk, Cock Sparrer immediately come to mind. They originally formed in the East End of London in 1972 during the height of the glam rock era. They played glam covers before witnessing the birth of the first wave of English punk. In 1977, they signed on with Decca Records and released their first single, “Runnin Riot.” Unfortunately, the record did not chart well, and they were soon released from Decca. This was in spite of having a whole album’s worth of material already. This self-titled record would only be released in Spain, but later saw a U.K. reissue as True Grit after being picked up by Razer Record in 1987.

After several years on hiatus, Cock Sparrer began attracting attention within the second wave of U.K. punk. With songs about working class life (”Working”) and art-school-punk skepticism (“Where Are They Now”), Cock Sparrer fit right in with the Oi! movment. There, they found themselves among like-minded groups like The Cockney Rejects and Infa Riot. Over the years, Cock Sparrer have taken numerous breaks and released seven studio albums—among other recordings—and the most recent, Forever, came out in April 2017. On May 29, Cock Sparrer will play the Punk Rock Bowling Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. This will be their third time performing the festival. Before venturing down to the city of sin, Colin Mcfaull and Daryl Smith chat about the relevance of punk 40 years on, the history of Oi!, recording Here We Stand and Forever, Brexit and much more.

Check out the full interview with Cock Sparrer published by SLUG Magazine!

Cosmic Wolf Vintage

Kristin Thomas of Cosmic Wolf Vintage. Photo by Steven Vargo.

Cosmic Wolf Vintage is a vintage shop founded by Kristin Thomas in 2011. It’s located on the second floor of Unhinged in Sugar House (2165 Highland Drive). Thomas’ interest in selling vintage clothing is heavily influenced by the music of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

“The biggest thing for me is the music,” says Thomas. “I feel like the music inspired me with the clothing and the clothing inspires me with the music.”

Check out the full article on Cosmic Wolf Vintage published by Utah Stories!


(L–R) Jeremy Devine, Elisar Soueidi, Mikey Blackhurst and Kristin Maloney. Photo:

Out of the ashes of Swamp Ravens are a force to be reckoned with: Brain Bagz. They are Mikey Blackhurst on vox/guitar, Kristin Maloney on bass, Elisar Soueidi also on guitar (formerly on drums) and new member Jeremy Devine on drums. “Swamp Ravens fizzled out, and me and Kristin wanted to start something fresh,” says Blackhurst. Soon after getting together, Max Wilson also joined their ranks on the saxophone, keyboard and guitar. Wilson worked at the same smoke shop as Maloney and Soueidi. He expressed interest in Brain Bagz and asked if he could visit their practice session and make some noise with his saxophone. Wilson soon became a staple in the band. Blackhurst says, “He was just our guy. He could play saxophone, guitar, keyboards—anything else we could have given him, he would have played.”

Dig the full article published by SLUG Magazine!!

Rest in Power: Chuck Berry

The famous ‘duck walk’ from the Tami Show film, December 1964. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Chuck Berry is the father of rock n’roll music. In the post-war world, the kind of refined rhythm and blues music that Berry played would help define a generation that its idols were James Dean from Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Marlon Brando from The Wild One (1953). His songs were easily relatable as they dealt with everyday events such as high school, fast cars, and prom dances. For an upcoming generation of teenagers this was revolutionary. There had never before had there been music that spoke directly to and for the youth. It was also through this revolutionary style, and considerable airplay, that he and many artists helped bridge the gap between white and black music communities. His style would further influence rock’n’roll icons as Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen…..

Read the full Chuck Berry obituary published at Heatwave Magazine!!

Salt Lake City Painter Combines Art and History to Make a Living

Photos by Mike Jones

Anthony Ithurralde is a Salt Lake City-based artist best known for his historical illustrations that depict styles influenced by the 1920’s through the 1960’s. His art captures a certain essence of each decade and reflects a mix of Max Fleischer cartoons with vintage hand painted advertisements.

Ithurralde’s love for painting is intertwined with a love for history. “I’ve always liked history and research. Eventually they just came together,” says Ithurralde. “When I was a kid I was always painting in school. I was painting at home—drawing. I felt like I just kept it up.”

Dig the full article published at Utah Stories!!

Deep Into the Grooves – Vinyl Records

Photos by Steven Vargo

Photos by Steven Vargo

When you drop a needle onto a vinyl record, you bear witness to an experience that requires a conscious participation. Record collecting is a culture that invites people from all walks of life to enjoy music on a readily reliable format. It is for the casual listener, and of course for those who actively seek out deep and obscure cuts of music.

Records have seen a renewed popularity since about 2005, and as a result, are available almost everywhere. They can be found at chain stores, boutiques, and of course, shops like Diabolical Records, Randy’s Record Shop or Raunch Records. For the purists who frequent these stores, record collecting never went out of style. However, in the last few years it has become relatively trendy and mainstream.

Dig the full article published by Utah Stories!



Randy Michael (left) and Jonah Swilley (right)

InCrowd is the sensational new Atlanta, Georgia record label invoked from  masterminds Randy Michael and Jonah Swilley. Michael and Swilley met in 2014 while playing for Curtis Harding and soon after started the rock ‘ roll group Black Linen.  InCrowd was established in June of 2015 and in a short time began to  boast an impressive array of artists such as Matteil Brown and Ivory Williams—the latter of who just released her new Don’t Have To Worry single. To Find out more about this new and up and coming record label Michael and Swilley agreed to divulge their diabolical ambitions.

NixBeat: For the soon to be initiated, can you give me some background on Randy Michaels and Jonah Swilley’s musical history?
Swilley: Randy has played guitar and written for loads of acclaimed artists and bands. Jonah has been producing and performing music for the better part of his life. He’s licensed music works for companies and commercials. Jonah plays drums for Curtis Harding, is in the Gartrells, and Black Linen.
Michael: I started playing guitar in April of 1996 after seeing the movie “La Bamba.” From there I learned every bit of 50’s and 60’s music I could get my hands on. When I was 16, I joined Public Enemy for the Revolverlution album, where I played bass and toured with them that summer before returning to high school. Two years later, on the very day that I was kicked out of school I landed the job that changed my life. I got call from a friend who said Butch Walker needed a bass player and from then on I was working, touring musician. I spent 5 years with Butch. While with him, I started The Booze with Brian Roberts and Shane Human. I would work on the road with Butch, come home and make Booze records.
I left Butch in 2009 for London and the band of my dreams Joe Lean and The Jing Jong. Spent a year with them, then back to states to join Travie McCoy and Bruno Mars for the “Billionaire” tour. From there I went on to write songs with Curtis Harding, Tuk Smith of the Biters, who I’d made some records with for his bands Posion Arrows and Heart Attacks. In 2013 I moved to LA to play guitar in The Living Things and Pyyramids. I also played drums in a few David Bowie music videos.
I moved back to Atlanta in 2014 and met Jonah Swilley while we were both doing sxsw with Curtis Harding. I told him about my Black Linen idea and he played me a few songs. We were instant friends, just add water and stir.

NixBeat: How did Michael and Swilley come to work together and what prompted the launching of the InCrowd record label?
Michael: The InCrowd came together whilst we were on tour with Curtis. We were ending the Jack White tour and trying to figure out our next move, when Mattiel emailed me. I knew Mattiel, because she designed The Sharp Dressed Lads EP sleeve. She said something like, “I heard you have a studio, can I come by and sing.” She came over in the middle of the night and sang a Donavan song. I called Jonah up and we wrote “Send it on over” on a Hammond organ in the dark with one red light. That was it, we’ve been working everyday ever since.

NixBeat: What kind of sound are you hoping to get out of InCrowd and why?
Michael: Well, the sound is particularly up to the artist. I have a musical mental notebook of everything from Duke Ellington to the Gin Blossoms. So we can record any artist in that spectrum. We just want to make great records, great players, great lyricist and great songs. No edits, just humans conveying real emotions.

Does InCrowd have any crossover with Michael and Swilley’s group, Black Linen?
Swilley: Black Linen is under InCrowd Songs. Black Linen is like a proof of concept for InCrowd.

NixBeat: How did InCrowd come across Ivory Williams and Mattiel Brown?
Swilley: Mattiel approached Randy in 2014 to record her singing. The second time they connected, Randy called me to sit in on the session and we wrote her first single, “Send It On Over”. We’ve just recently connected with Ivory. We saw her performing locally and inquired about writing some music with her. Our working relationship has been about a month, but we’ve almost finished up recording her project.
Michael: We met Ivory at a day gig. We were going to see our mate and InCrowd guitarist Sean Thompson, and she was on stage playing guitar and singing. We told her what we did and if she’d be interested in writing songs or making a record with us. That was a month ago. Now we see her everyday. She’s one of the most talented people I’ve ever known. She writes these early 60’s Carole King type songs. Blows me away every tune.

NixBeat: The Top of The Pop’s styled music program Now Dig This was revived with Mattiel being featured on the first episode on May 28 2016. How is InCrowd involved with the revival of Now Dig This?
Michael: I created “Now Dig This” while still in London. My visa was going to run out and I would have to return to the states. So my last two weeks there, I was on the phone with Tuk Smith about doing this show. I knew he could get folks organized and excited about it, that way all I had to do was land and get with him and we were solid. We did one episode with some great bands!
We brought it back as an InCrowd video showcase. Mattiel debut it, we’re gonna make one with Ivory in a few weeks and keep them going. It’s now an extension of what we do in the studio. All live, and under 3 hours. We’re gonna start doing proper jazz records as well.

NixBeat: What other artists have you worked with or are looking to get involved with?
Michael: We’ve worked with Julia Kugel of the Coathangers, Gartrells and James The Voice Fly. I really want to make records with Leon Bridges, Lana Del Ray and Bloodshot Bill. Fingers crossed.
Swilley: We’ve worked with The Gartrells, James the Voice Fly, The Dayze, Ruby Woo, Chelsea Shagg, and a few other local artists in Atlanta.

NixBeat: In a previous conversation, Michael’s mentioned that the Swilley and him write and produce out of Michael’s living room? What is that process like and who else is involved?
Michael: The Michael and Swilley recording process: Say we’re producing a song for Ivory Williams. She usually comes in on a Tuesday with the song written. I’ll play piano while she’s singing to get the arrangement. Come Wednesday I call up the InCrowd to see who’s available to come down for the session. Depending on who’s free – then that’s the instrumentation. Jonah and I arrange a lead sheet on the wall, the guys come in fill in the skeleton, we rehearse a few times and roll tape. We usually do 3 takes never more than 4. By the 4th take you’ve lost it. We try to document the process with our InCrowd videos. Everything is done under 3 hours. No fixing, everything’s being mixed while they record. A big commitment.
Swilley: Either Randy or I will come up with a scratch idea that we build off of before running a session. Sometimes it will be a full song that one of us brings into a session, other times it will be a chorus and verse idea that turns into a full record.

NixBeat: InCrowd is planning on releasing a series of singles soon. What’s going on there?
Michael: We’ve been trying to find distribution for ages. It’s very difficult. Folks don’t understand what’s going on here. Most of them think that these are side projects for Jonah and myself. But we’re directing little records for talented artist. By next year we’ll have our own lathe machine, to cut our own records.
Swilley: We have a cut songs with several different artists and entities that all fit with the overall vibe (for lack of a better term) of what InCrowd is to us. With those, we want to have releases that showcase what we can do and what we think is cool.

NixBeat: Do you have a favorite recording that you’ve worked on?
Michael: My favorite recording so far is a song called “My Sweet Companion” because we actually had a string section. I grew up on The Drifters and (Jerry) Leiber and (Mike) Stoller records, and anything they did with the Drifters had a lush string sound. I’m very proud of that record.
Swilley: Recording the first few Mattiel records we cut we’re fun for me specifically because they were done so raw. We would do 90% of the songs live and then lay select ideas after the fact. Mattiel would sing as Randy and I would play in the same room.

NixBeat: What qualities does InCrowd look for before getting involved with an artist?
Michael: Talent and Passion. Hopefully work ethic also falls under passion.
Swilley: An open mind, not being afraid of making mistakes, and being open to creating something cool.

NixBeat: What’s next for InCrowd?
Michael: What’s next ? We’re going to start doing InCrowd revues. Like the old Motown and Stax revues. The next one is November 11th at Towne Cinema Theatre.

NixBeat: Where would you like to see InCrowd in 10 years?
Michael: In 10 years, we will have pressed and released a massive catalog of music, like Blue Note. And if we can get featured in a few Tarantino films – that’s the icing on the cake. I’m already proud of the catalog thus far, I know I’ll be even more so in 10 years.

For more on InCrowd, check out their Facebook and Website!! 

Guitar Wolf Interview

Although 2016 has taken its toll on the pop-culture world, it has been a promising year for Japan’s legendary Jet Rock n’ Roller trio, Guitar Wolf. In May, they released their 12th studio album, T-Rex from a Tiny Space Yojouhan, through Ki/oon Records.
In late summer they embarked on a huge North American Tour that took them across the States and into Canada. Now Guitar Wolf has set their sights on Europe and will be blessing us with the Yojouhan Strikes Back Tour 2016 tour that has the trio ripping across the continent and over the channel through cities…

Dig the full Guitar Wolf interview published @Heatwave Magazine!