Sep 16,2014: Barcelona and The Young Wild


Seattle melodic rock quartet Barcelona is currently touring in support of their first full length album, Absolutes, which was released to stores nationwide on September 25, 2007. The independent release is licensed and distributed by Curb Appeal Records and the band has an exclusive, worldwide deal with Warner Chappell Publishing.

What began as a solo project two years ago has matured into the four-piece, melodic, indie rock machine of Barcelona.

After recording his solo debut Safety Songs, up-and-coming Seattle singer/songwriter Brian Fennell (vocals, keyboards) joined with his childhood friend Brian Eichelberger (bass, strings) and college friends Chris Bristol (Guitar) and Rhett Stonelake (drums) to form what is now Barcelona.

As the group began to tour in support of Safety Songs, the chemistry clicked, the sound evolved and a loyal fan base began to grow.

Attracting the attention of AR execs, the band did the song and dance of major label showcases but became restless and ultimately returned to Seattle to refocus their attention on songwriting for a debut disc to be released on their own label, NBD Music.

Using “Numb,” “Response,” and “Colors” – three tracks from Fennell’s solo disc Safety Songs – as the anchor, Barcelona crafted a new batch of piano-based melodic songs that would become Absolutes.

During the recording, the band was courted by renowned publishing heavyweight Warner Chappell to an exclusive co-publishing deal that helped secure distribution for the disc through Curb Appeal Records.

Now, with their first full-length album under their belts, Barcelona is hitting the road to showcase the new songs for the fan base they’ve built on the west coast, and beyond.

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Texans roll to 2-0 start, but what does it mean?

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EarthTalk: Ethanol’s Unrealized Promise

Dear EarthTalk: I thought that putting ethanol in our gas tanks was going help fight climate change, but lately I’ve heard reports to the contrary. Can you enlighten?       -- B.B.

Ethanol and similar “biofuels” made from corn and other crops seem like a good idea given their potential for reducing our carbon outputs as well as our reliance on fossil fuels. But recent research has shown that the federal government’s push to up production of corn-derived ethanol as a gasoline additive since 2007 has actually expanded our national carbon footprint and contributed to a range of other problems.

 

U.S. corn producers started ramping up ethanol production in 2007 as a result of President George W. Bush’s Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), which mandated an increase in the volume of renewable fuel to be blended into transportation fuel from nine billion gallons in 2008 to 36 billion by 2022. Ethanol now makes up 10 percent of the gasoline available at filling stations.

 

But environmentalists now say that the promise of ethanol has turned out to be too good to be true. For one, there is the issue of net energy produced. According to CornellUniversity ecologist David Pimentel, growing and processing corn into a gallon of ethanol requires 131,000 BTUs of energy, but the resulting ethanol contains only 77,000 BTUs. And since fossil-fuel-powered equipment is used to plant, harvest, process and distribute ethanol, the numbers only get worse.

 

The non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) warns that continued production of corn ethanol is not only “worse for the climate than gasoline” but also bad for farmers, the land and consumers: “It is now clear that the federal corn ethanol mandate has driven up food prices, strained agricultural markets, increased competition for arable land and promoted conversion of uncultivated land to grow crops.”

 

Additionally, the group reports that previous estimates “dramatically underestimated corn ethanol’s greenhouse gas emissions by failing to account for changes in land use,” citing a 2012 study documenting the conversion of eight million acres of Midwestern grassland and wetlands to corn fields for ethanol between 2008 and 2011. “These land use changes resulted in annual emissions of 85 million to 236 million metric tons of greenhouse gases,” says EWG. “In light of these emissions, many scientists now question the environmental benefit of so-called biofuels produced by converting food crops.”

 

Given the potential negative impacts of so-much corn-based ethanol, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reportedly weighing a proposal to cut the amount currently required by law to be blended into gasoline by 1.39 billion gallons. If the federal government decides to do this, it could lower U.S. carbon emissions by some three million tons—equivalent to taking 580,000 cars off the roads for a year.

 

Meanwhile, researchers are trying to develop greener forms of ethanol, but none are ready for market yet. “The lifecycle emissions of ethanol ‘from seed to tailpipe’ depend on how the ethanol is made and what it is made from,” reports the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The best ethanol, they say, can produce as much as 90 percent fewer lifecycle emissions than gasoline, but the worst can produce much more. So there still may be room for ethanol in our energy future, but not if we keep doing it the way we are now.

 

CONTACTS: Renewable Fuel Standard, www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels; David Pimentel, vivo.cornell.edu/display/individual5774; EWG, www.ewg.org; UCS, www.ucsusa.org.

 

 

EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com.

 

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Sep 15,2014: Goatwhore


Goatwhore guitarist Sammy Duet (formerly of Acid Bath and Crowbar) is fucking stoked…not only because his cats have apparently developed fine tastes in brutalic black metal (“My cats freak out when I play Fog, Through The Eyes Of Night! They’ll sit in front of the goddamn speakers and chill out!”), but because the notorious six-stringer has quite triumphantly survived another Goatwhore outing. Fittingly titled A Haunting Curse – an idea Duet’s been toying with since the band recorded 2003′s Funeral Dirge For The Rotting Sun at the allegedly haunted Noise Lab Studios, in addition to over two years of various band trials and tribulations – the disc serves as the band’s third installment of their signature brand of blackened pummel, coming at you for the first time via the legendary Metal Blade Records.

But for Goatwhore, no studio effort comes without its share of catastrophes. Where Funeral Dirge followed a near-fatal van crash that left Goatwhore/Soilent Green frontman Ben Falgoust temporarily confined to a wheelchair and the very future of the band uncertain, the creation of A Haunting Curse saw the New Orleans four-piece – Duet, Falgoust, drummer Zack Simmons and bassist Nathan Bergeron – fleeing the flood waters of 2005′s harrowing Hurricane Katrina. If there is indeed a God, she’s certainly no fan of the ‘Whore. But the say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. In the case of Goatwhore, they’re stronger, harder, meaner and pissed the fuck off. Goatwhore are back with a magnified vengeance! But perhaps we should rewind a bit…

Allegedly named after a mysterious encounter with a rather uninviting stripper, New Orleans’ Goatwhore formed in ’97. A slew of local gigs and word-of-mouth interest earned the band a nation-wide cult following (their many legions seen sporting the band’s simple yet crafty merch design – a parody of the Jägermeister emblem replete with a mighty inverted cross – at death metal and black metal shows coast to coast with pride). By 2000 the band unleashed the mighty The Eclipse Of Ages Into Black under the Rotten Records banner to ready and willing ears. For the next two years, the band toured incessantly. Those who weren’t immediately pulled into the band’s jagged ferocity on record were helplessly battered by the band’s live intensity. Indeed, the Goats are the quintessence of road warriors captivating ‘heads across the land with their manic buzzsawing rhythms, dueling throat chaos and evil ambience. Forever hostile, forever dark, forever evil…Amen.

2003 saw the release of Funeral Dirge For The Rotting Sun. A slightly slower, brooding record steeped in Satan, death and serpent references, the disc was a direct reflection of the injuries Falgoust sustained after a vehicular collision in 2002 (on the final night of the Soilent Green tour). Falgoust miraculously recovered and the band jumped right back into the touring circuit to riotous approval.

2006: It’s 75 degrees and sunny in St. Petersburg, FL but within the pleasant confines of producer Erik Rutan’s increasingly popular Mana Studios come the sounds of the apocalypse; tones of the rhythmically sinister and fist-clenchingly METAL variety. It is the audible battery of Goatwhore’s Metal Blade debut A Haunting Curse. More molten than its gloomier predecessor, the disc stays true to the band’s original irreverent Bathory-meets-Baal (the god of thunder) in a bullpen sensibility with punkish resolve and those inimitable Louisiana grooves for which the band has become known. Songs like über oldschool “Bloodletting upon the Cloven Hoof,” the opening “Wear These Scars Of Testimony” and “Silence Marked By The Breaking Of Bone” are fast, dark and antagonistic, Falgoust’s commanding voice and challenging lyrics adding knee-buckling severity to their collective instrumental agility. Rhythms collide with stop-on-a-dime accuracy and Duet’s vexing riffs give things a torrential horns-to-the-sky exigency. A Haunting Curse is here to devour. You have been warned.

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It’s best to think of Vertskebap as a fast-food spot that serves quality beer

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Sep 13,2014: Reggie Jamz

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Celebrity Houston lawyer represents famed NFL running back in Houston child abuse allegations

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Sep 12,2014: Obsolete August


Obsolete August’s key members are Kevin Holmes and Danny Lopez. Though the name “Obsolete August” has been around since 2000, Kevin Holmes is the only original member. Through the years many other artists have been a part of this group, and some occasionally still share the stage with Danny and Kevin. Among these are Justin Roelant, David Grace, Rick Williams, Erik Garza, Jared Waggoner, and Rusty Standridge.

Kevin Holmes began playing and writing music at the age of 12. After many years of pissing off his parents, he began playing clubs at 17. In 2004 Kevin started Still Standin’ Band. From 2004-2007 they released 2 cd’s with radio play across Texas. In May 2007, Still Standin’ Band’s success came to a stop when their merchandise and equipment trailer was stolen. Kevin went on playing acoustic shows only to join up with Danny Lopez in 2009.

Danny Lopez starting playing drums when he is was in the sixth grade. Being a percussionist took him everywhere from concert and marching band, to high school musicals and Scottish bagpipe drumming. After high school he decided to form a band with his best friend (also a drummer) and a few other friends he grew up with. At age 19 he became a lead singer by default, because none of his band mates could sing and play simultaneously. They called themselves Blue Corner. The band recorded and toured consistently from 1995 – 2006. After the group dissolved, he began playing around town with several other bands and acoustic acts. Having known Kevin for about 8 years through the Houston music scene, they had immediate chemistry, and within a few short months were playing together full time.

Since playing together in 2009, Kevin and Danny have become Houston’s #1 acoustic show: a two-piece with the energy of a full band, flexibility to play any genre, the sound quality of a national act, and the chops to back it all up.

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El Nino Watch Increases the Risk of Mold Damage to Houston Properties

Houston, TX – Heavy rainfall this winter may cause dangerous levels of mold to develop in houses vulnerable to water damage. Getting a residential mold inspection performed by a certified professional lets Houston residents take care of mold formation before it develops into a serious problem.

An El Nino occurs when an upwelling of cold water off the coast of South America pushes warmer water into the western basin of the Pacific Ocean. These warm waters cause a shift in the weather pattern that brings heavy precipitation to parts of North America. The National Weather Service reports that there is a 65 percent chance that El Nino weather will dominate this winter, bringing more rain and potential flood conditions to Houston and the surrounding areas.

While the Panhandle and parts of West and Central Texas hope for much-needed rain to break a record drought, Houston faces a less desirable consequence of heavy rainfall – mold exposure.

Wet weather, particularly prolonged or repeated rainfall, can seep into parts of a home that are routinely exposed to the elements or that don’t have adequate vapor barriers in place, such as basements, outside walls, or attic crawl spaces. The force of heavy rain can cause damage to roofing materials, and persistent rain after the spell of “abnormal dryness” Houston has experienced may lead to foundation settlement and allow water another point of entry to the structure of the home. When an area is exposed to moisture and high humidity over time, the growth of mold typically follows.

Christopher Felan, the president of Mold Inspections of Houston, explains that mold testing and proper assessment can identify whether there is a problem requiring removal or remediation services. A 3-phased approach by a certified mold inspector that includes visual inspection, air sampling, and surface sampling removes any doubt as to whether there is a threat of mold infiltration due to a leaking roof, damaged siding, or foundation settlement.

Heavy rains also lead to flooding, one of the leading causes of water damage in the Houston area. Floods leave homes particularly susceptible to the development of mold, as flood waters can seep under baseboards and penetrate drywall, creating an unseen habitat for mold spores.

Felan observes that mold can form in as little as 1-2 days. Even if homeowners feel that they have remedied the problem by removing water damaged objects and performing a thorough cleaning of exposed surfaces, he says, “A professional mold inspector can identify any areas where mold may still be growing after the restoration process.”

Unfortunately, without mold testing, the accelerated growth of mold due to El Nino conditions is bound to put some Houston residents’ health at risk. How much risk? According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), indoor exposure to mold causes upper respiratory symptoms in otherwise healthy people and aggravates allergies and asthma in people with these conditions. Of particular concern is the effect of mold on children, who may develop respiratory conditions just from being exposed to mold at an early age. Serious complications due to mold exposure, although rare, can be life-threatening.

According to Felan, using one of those cheap, do-it-yourself mold test kits ”won’t get the job done.” Mold Inspections of Houston uses licensed mold inspectors who have a graduate degree in Environmental Toxicology and several years of field experience. This experience allows the mold inspector to be able to identify problem areas that the average homeowner might overlook. Using the latest technology, they are able to pinpoint the scope of the problem with a great degree of accuracy.

Although water infiltration over time is a cause for concern, not every mold inspection Houston residents request will end with the discovery of a problem. Mold Inspections of Houston is neither a remediation nor removal service, so unlike other service providers, Felan notes, the company has no incentive to give a false diagnosis. When a homeowner suspects that water damage has caused the development of mold, Mold Inspections of Houston is able to give an unbiased and accurate assessment of the situation.

If a trained mold inspector does find mold, the company provides trusted referrals to service providers who can perform immediate mold removal and remediation. Once people begin experiencing the symptoms of mold exposure – coughing, wheezing, headaches, and watery eyes – it is best to act fast and remove the source as soon as possible.

As the saying goes, “Into every life, a little rain must fall.” Across the state of Texas, cities and towns are hoping for an El Nino winter that brings continuous downpours. The professionals at Mold Inspections of Houston will be on the job to make sure that a cause of relief for many doesn’t end up leading to property damage and health problems for the unlucky few.

For more information call Christopher Felan, 713-466-9737.

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Sep 11,2014: Archnemesis and ONE4ALL

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