Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know About Cancer

Our body is truly amazing. It is comprised of an estimated 3 trillion cells that form tissues and organs and work harmoniously together. A cell is our body’s basic unit of life. And, each cell is the CEO of its own factory with a particular job function—pumping blood, memory, clearing toxins, synthesizing hormones or proteins, and the list goes on. Each cell is also able to grow and produce more cells when needed; for example, when they become old, damaged, or die. Again, truly amazing.

That is why a recent study on the lifetime risk of developing cancer sent shock waves and struck a chord amongst many; it unveiled a weakness in this amazing system we call our body. It is estimated that one in every two people will develop cancer at some point in their lifetime. The statistic is downright staggering and a call to action. Let’s take a closer look at what this means and what can be done to decrease those odds. And, as you read, remember today, there is good news with research, prevention and treatment along with more breakthroughs to stop cancer in its tracks.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know: About Cancer, Symptoms to Watch For, and Prevention

What is cancer?

The term describes when the orderly process of cell growth and division goes awry, or out of control. This happens when a cell’s DNA (genetic material) mutates. The cell does not die when it should and/or new cells form when the body does not need them. The extra cells form a mass of tissue that we call a tumor.

Benign tumors do not spread to other parts of the body, meaning they are not “cancerous.” Examples include fibroids in the uterus or lipomas (fatty tissue growth often found in the neck, back, shoulder, or arm). On the other hand, malignant tumors are considered “cancerous” because they can invade nearby tissue or spread via blood or the lymphatic system to other organs (known as metastasis). As a result, they can interfere with that organ’s function.

What are some symptoms?

One of the most frustrating issues with diagnosing cancer is that the tumor often has to become large enough to cause a problem, or symptom. This conundrum leads to delays in diagnosis and can limit treatment options. As a result, early detection is key.

There are a number of “vague” symptoms that we should be on the lookout for: fatigue, unexplained weight loss, fever, pain, change in appetite, or nausea or vomiting. The reason we call them vague, is because many of these symptoms share characteristics of other, non-cancerous conditions. So, “when in doubt, check it out!”

Experts have also identified “cancer alarm symptoms:” persistent cough or hoarseness; an unexplained lump; persistent change in bowel habits (or blood in the stool); persistent change in bladder habits (or blood in the urine); unexplained bleeding; a sore that doesn’t heal; difficulty swallowing; and a change in the appearance of a mole. Remember the sooner the diagnosis, the better the prognosis!

What is cancer staging?

Doctors and scientists use a system called staging to describe the size, extent or severity of a person’s cancer. Knowing the stage of disease allows for treatment planning, establishing a prognosis, and exchanging information amongst healthcare professionals. Staging is based upon findings from physical exams, imaging procedures, laboratory tests, and pathology and surgical reports.

What are my treatment options?

The primary goal of any cancer treatment is to control the growth of the cancer and relieve its symptoms. This may involve: chemotherapy (medications); surgery; radiation; transplant (e.g. bone marrow for blood cancers); immunotherapy (restoring or enhancing the immune system’s natural ability to fight cancer); and cryosurgery (extreme cold to freeze a tumor).

The commitment of our researchers and doctors, as well as the individuals and organizations that raise money for cancer research has led to amazing advancements. Consequently, this has doubled cancer survival from many years ago. However, a single death is one death too many and there is still more work to do.

What can I do to limit my risk of cancer?

Although we cannot control or change all risk factors when it comes to cancer—genetics, random cell mutations—there are a number we can control. Studies have clearly demonstrated that not smoking, limiting heavy alcohol consumption, eating healthy, maintaining an active lifestyle and healthy weight, and protecting our skin from ultraviolet light, are sure-fire ways to decrease our risk. Prevention is the best form of medicine, so let’s do our part.

What are some cancer screening tests that I should know about?

Research has shown that undergoing certain screening tests regularly has proven results when it comes to decreasing deaths from cancer. Examples include: mammograms to detect breast cancer, colonoscopies to detect colon and rectal cancer; Pap smears to detect cervical cancer; prostate exams and possibly PSA levels to detect prostate cancer; skin exams; and X-Ray or a CT scan of the lungs for heavy smokers to detect lung cancer. Please discuss with your healthcare provider your risk factors and appropriate timing and frequency of these tests.

The medical community and public are committed to making “Cancer … a word, not a sentence.” –John Diamon. By knowing the facts, risk factors, symptoms, and undergoing appropriate screening tests, we can do our part to marginalize and, hopefully, one day eliminate cancer.

For more news on Dr. Radcliff:

Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrNinaRadcliff
Follow her on Twitter: @DrNinaRadcliff
Visit her official site, http://www.ninaradcliffmd.com

imageNotice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.

Iraq: The Sum of War & Peace

Text by K. Cecchini

It’s been 12 years since the US invasion. “For Iraqis,” Vivian Salama reported last month for the Associated Press, “the various conflicts feel like one long war…”. And, for Americans? Iraq looks like the sum of ISIS, Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction that the United Nations never found.

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Profile of Vivian Salama in Rutgers Magazine (Winter 2015) by Angela Delli Santi

But, Salama believes she is “privileged” with a different point-of-view; “Iraq is such an incredible place, rich with history and culture,” the Baghdad correspondent told our Rutgers alum magazine, “The people are among the kindest and most misunderstood in the world because of a handful of extremists who have cast a negative light on the society”. 

I reached out to Salama for her unique insight on Iraq and its people. For one, she paints a charming picture of the capital’s old quarters; Mutannabbi and Rasheed Streets are “lined with gorgeous old Ottoman-era buildings that truly give visitors a window into another time”.  In the “relatively” safe district, men discuss politics and culture in long-established coffee shops, parents bring children to play on the banks of the Tigris River, and, on Fridays, vendors sell books and freshly-squeezed pomegranate juice at the fair. “It’s truly wonderful.”

However, Iraq’s “one long war” is still ever-present in the “true concrete jungle” that is Baghdad.  To shield its  structures from combat, the streets are lined with expansive concrete walls. Residents “always have to be vigilant”; they factor the ongoing conflicts into every decision and action. Most recently, of course, ISIS’s actions have ricocheted throughout society and citizens are often “horrified at how vulnerable their country was to this threat,” Salama affirms, “and yet not surprised after a decade of war”.

Nonetheless, there are many ways in which Americans can identify with Iraqis, particularly in their vision for life. Most Iraqis desire peace, freedom to move about and worship as they please, and, in the middle of an economic slump, they wish for “the right to earn a living and support their families”.

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Photo of Vivian Salama in Rutgers Magazine (Winter 2015)  by Karim Kadim

Although Iraqis convey nuanced views on the United States, Salama feels they are “extremely warm to foreigners” and like to inquire about people’s lives in their home countries and their perspectives on Iraq.  Still, many Iraqis are “understandably angry with Americans and,” Salama stresses, “verbalize that in a peaceful way.”

So, by Salama’s calculations, what is the sum of lots of hope, 12 years of war and a history that extends back to the first civilizations? An “incredible” people.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Howling Giant

Text by  @KralTunes

Instagram: Kral_Was_Here

Huge THANK YOU to the members of HOWLING GIANT for being good sports about my lack of interviewing skills and playing along anyway.

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“Recorded live in Tom’s bedroom, Howling Giant’s first EP comes crashing into reality!”

With this singular statement on BANDCAMP, HOWLING GIANT exemplifies perfect do-it-yourself music making.  From the old school B-Movie horror album art, to the no nonsense hard rock mentality,  this Nashville Trio with going at it on a smaller scale. Rather than setting the world on fire in grand fashion, they are content with the metaphorical equivalent of lighting a bag of dog poop on your neighbors porch.

The first 2 tracks of their debut E.P. are as straight forward as they come… ‘HUSK‘ and ‘WHALE LORD‘ are hard-hitting, riff-heavy rock ditties that stick to the tried and true regulations of stoner rock.  Fortunately, the second half of the album makes me slightly stand at attention… for it is here where the band begins to showcase some exceptional music chops.  ‘DOUG‘ provides bluesy rock instrumentals, while ‘CAMEL CRUSHER‘ is a slow burning, spoken word affair that has enough gazpacho to fill that bowl (wink, wink…) including oh so irresistible spaghetti western themed lyrics such as:

“Born without purpose, our friend wanders through the desert
Aimless. Brainless. Infection ruining his sentient thoughts
Over the years he’s created his own purpose
A purpose void of reason or understanding
To slay the hunchbacked sand demons
Blight of nature, he’s their only reckoner
The last bastion of desert justice.”

(You could ALMOST imagine Clint Eastwood delivering those lines before belting some slugs into Ramón Rojo).

As you could tell, I am becoming a big fans of these guys, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to talk with them and ask about the making of this record, their future plans, and any other irrelevant thoughts that bounced around my head at 2AM.

Kraltunes: Is there a unique origin to the name HOWLING GIANT?

Howling Giant: The name comes from the Four Giants in The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask. Towards the end of the temples in the game, these Lords of the Earth come out and howl a haunting melody. (I never put that together until just now..thats brilliant)!!

KT: One thing I immediately noticed after listening to your EP is the exceptional musicianship.
How long have you three been playing? Has music always been the ‘goal’ for you guys? Is this a part time thing?/ Do you have regular day jobs?  When did you start playing together as a group?  Am I rambling on a bit much here??

HG: We met in college and all played in various other bands, not so much with each other. As our other bands dissolved slowly, we started this band under the name SKLDZR (Skulldozer), as a joke and excuse to jam fat riffs with one another.

We aim to do this full time one day, but in the mean time, we work day jobs just like anyone else. Roger is a substitute teacher, Tom slings BBQ and just got hired at a local brewery, and Zach works at a drum shop.

KT: I’m sure I know the answer to this, but please tell me that you guys are able to grow the epic facial hair so proudly displayed on your facebook page?!

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HG: Thats a highly personal question, you’re making Roger uncomfortable. (Aw, C’mon Roger, we’re all friends around here)

KT: I am a big fan the of track “Doug”, particularly for the jam section on the second half. Which track(s) of yours are your especially proud of? (explain why)

HG: We are proud of every track on the EP, each one has its own character and represents a different sound that we love. Husk is the cruising desert feel with stacked vocal harmonies. Whale Lord gives a little bit of the heavy vibe, with some psychedelic guitar work towards the end. Doug captures our goofy side, while Camel Crusher is purely riff work. We love all of our children, as any respectable parent should.

KT: This Ep was recorded in Tom’s bedroom…care to elaborate on any other ‘band activities’ that take place in Tom’s bedroom???

HG: Aside from building a super-computer that will soon take over the world, nothing really.

KT: This weekend, Furious 7 opens in theaters…will you watch it, and in your opinion, can this film surpass the ridiculous awesomeness of its predecessors without going overboard on the cheesiness?

HG: In order to truly understand this film, you must take a look at Vin Diesel’s previous body of work. For example, Disney’s “The Pacifier.” IMDb says 3 stars, Rotten Tomatoes says 1 star. We say, don’t talk to us about Furious 7 until you understand “The Pacifier.” (Well done)

KT: Time to solve the worlds problems:
This week, the US and Iran reached a tentative deal that would curb nuclear activities in return for relief from sanctions. Is this deal a plus for US foreign policy, or will this agreement create more problems down the road between the US and the Middle East?

HG: What the mainstream media won’t tell you is that we have been granted special access to the proverbial “red-button.” Don’t worry fellow Americans, your lives are in good hands.

KT:  What do a trio of rowdy Tenesseeians do on their down time?

HG: Cribbage, Jenga, fine wines, you name it. Tom’s been upping his Bocci Ball game over the past few months getting ready for the world championships. (Ambitious..I was looking at signing up in the NYC Bocce League, but missed the deadline)

KT: Hailing from Country Music Central, I am (most likely stupidly) assuming that you 3 are members of a hard rock minority in your neck of the woods. Is there a Nashville rock scene that the rest of us are not aware of?

HG: While there isn’t a huge scene currently, Nashville is in the throes of its Hard Rock Renaissance. We are starting to see a lot more bands breaking the country mold in this town. We think that over the next 5-10 years, Nashville will be significantly more diverse musically.

KT: MULTIPLE CHOICE:
Kentucky just lost to Wisconsin in the FINAL FOUR…are you:
(A)as shocked as the rest of the world, or
(B) couldn’t care less

HG:Frankly, we’re all a bit shell shocked that Kentucky fell to those filthy cheese eaters. We stay up late every night writing in our dream journals by candle light about the whole debacle.

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KT: What is the last album you listened to before you began reading these questions? For the hell of it, what other bands do you guys listen to?

HG:

Tom: The Melvins, Houdini.
Roger: Pennywise, Reason To Believe
Zach: Trivium, Shogun.

We love Red Fang, ASG, Weedeater, Sleep, Coheed and Cambria, Led Zepplin, Elton John, Mac DeMarco, Erykah Badu, Queens of the Stone Age, Type O Negative, Descendents, Screeching Weasel, and NOFX. 

KT: Aside from celebrating the anniversary of me asking this question, where do you see yourselves n the next 2 years (bonus points if you name the origin of that joke)?

HG: Hopefully touring full time, and making enough money to feast on Taco Bell bi-nightly. Perhaps Mitch Hedberg? (so pumped that you got the reference)

KT:What is the group up to in the near future? (tour dates, recording, etc.).

HG: We’ll play more in Nashville, tour The Great American South on weekends, and work on new jams for our first full-length.

Find HOWLING GIANT here:

OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE

BANDCAMP PAGE  (HELL, IT’S FREE)!!

TWITTER

YOUTUBE

Other Spotlight Artists:

Monocle Stache

ZAC BROWN BAND, AND THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF COUNTRY MUSIC

Text by @KralTunes

I am not a fan of contemporary country music.  The twang, the “country rebels” that look like they just walked off of an Ambercrombie photo shoot, and the fact that 99% of male country singers sound EXACTLY alike…are kind of a turn off.  Not to mention, I defy you to find one country song that does not adhere to what I have dubbed the 10 Commandments of Country.

I. Trucks                                              VI. Lovin’ the troops

II. Beer/Whiskey                                  VII. Your hometown (which is small)

III. Hot country girls in summer            VIII. Partying it up in paradise (identified as the ‘Jimmy Buffett Syndrome’)

IV. The love of a good woman              IX. Some dive bar that everybody loves

V. ‘MERICA                                          X. and, of course, God/religion

(Disclaimer…This list is geared more towards the male country singer, whereas the female country singer {while they do stray into this territory from time to time} focus more heavily on southern-tinged lovey-dovey nonsense).

thSo why is the ZAC BROWN BAND (ZBB) my one hillbilly guilty pleasure? They are faithful to the Commandments, but they are also not afraid to veer off into unfamiliar territory and pull out an incredible 10-minute-mud-stomping-jam.  Their aptly titled release JEKYLL + HYDE’s new pile of songs will appease the fair-weather pop fans with the standard singles that everyone expects (the ‘LOVING YOU’-‘HOMEGROWN’ run is pleasant enough, and hits on commandments 2,4,7, and 10, to boot), but they will throw those occasional curves that real fans will love.  One minute,  ZBB’s got you sitting on the front porch of your little secluded acre of paradise, the next you’re chain smoking, sipping whiskey and be-bopping down the boulevard with the Rat Pack on ‘MANGO STREET’ (a pleasant surprise).  ‘HEAVY IS THE HEAD’ is a balls to the wall southern rocker featuring Chris Cornell, and now the album is starting to pick up some steam (at least I thought).

Unfortunately, the band reverts back to their successful formula too often with tracks like ‘CASTAWAY‘ (commandment no. 8), ‘ONE DAY‘ (no. 4), and ‘DRESS BLUE’ (no. 6).  Each of these tracks are constructed and performed quite well, but they offer nothing new.

The reincarnation of ‘JUKYARD’ is a welcomed, good ole’ fashion hootenanny (or is it hoedown?), and really showcases their fantastic musicianship.  Additionally, ‘I’LL BE YOUR MAN’ is a touching love letter to a daughter, and I guarantee it will chalk up countless plays for years to come at wedding receptions.

Overall, the boys put forth a good solid effort on JEKYLL + HYDE; it will certainly please their legions of fans on tour this summer. But to this fan, “HEAVY..’ was a tease and a few songs should have been left on the cutting floor (the American Idol auto-tune sounding  ‘BEAUTIFUL DRUG’ is something I never need to hear again).  Though ZBB continues to explore different sounds, they still keep everything grounded in the Good Book.

And with that, we conclude today’s sermon.  Go in peace…

Allah is God is Yahweh

Text and Photo by K. Cecchini

The big 3 Western faiths are a trilogy; they worship different interpretations of the same god and prophets. Ultimately, Allah is God is Yahweh. Depending on perspective, Jesus is a Jew, the Christian son of God or a predecessor to Islam’s Muhammed.

But many Americans prefer to disown Islam.
CBS conducted 3 surveys over the previous decade for impressions on Western religions. Of all them, Christian sects and Judaism were viewed in the most favorable light. Islam? With a favorability rating of 20%, it was wedged between two minor religions that are often flippantly dismissed or demonized as part of America’s pop culture, Mormonism and Scientology.
Even more telling is the near symmetry between the unfavorable views of Islam held by just under half the respondents and the same number who declared Islam encourages “more” violence than the other faiths.
People are typically fearful of the unknown and many Americans have little understanding of Islam. In addition, what people do know about Muslims is that they are frequently linked to extremism in our media and therefore many respondents are likely to be speaking from an emotionally charged framework. There are “…a lot of Americans who don’t or who are unwilling to differentiate or don’t know how to differentiate,” Terry Gross asserted on NPR’s Fresh Air, “between the radical Islam that was behind 9-11 and the rest of the world’s Muslims.”.
While Judeo-Christian Americans are not likely to swap God or Yahweh for Allah, with a more nuanced understanding of Islam perhaps more would develop a greater tolerance for a sister faith.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: WHORES.

In an attempt to reach new audiences with TONIGHT AT DAWN, we are beginning what will hopefully be an ongoing music interview segment.  Several artists have expressed interest in participating, and hopefully that enthusiasm will continue.  Our hope is to offer the reader and fans a different style of music interview.  Some discussions will be straightforward, while others will have a more humorous take (whatever KralTunes finds humorous, that is).

Any comments, questions, and critiques, please direct them to @KralTunes on Twitter.  This was my first attempt, so please be gentle with the criticisms.

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WHORES is an American rock band hailing from Atlanta, GA.  I recently talked via email to lead vocalist Christian Lembach about their music:

KralTunes:  The term WHORES stirs up a slew of connotations for people. Was the potential divisiveness that comes with such a title something the band thought about in the beginning? How did the group come to decide to name itself Whores.?

Christian Lembach: We certainly considered the implications of using such a loaded word; it’s a serious thing. We also thought hard about the fact that some people would misinterpret the name. I feel obligated to state this plainly every time we are asked this question, which is often: There is not an ounce of misogyny in the people in this band, and our name is in no way meant to denigrate women or sex workers.

We intend the name to be more of a statement regarding the nature of capitalism and a commentary on how people are forced to sell out any realness and decency in order to succeed. Look at the words for any one of our songs as evidence. Pick one. We, as a people, have been beaten into submission, and we’re supposed to be happy about it as long as there is still a standing McDonalds within striking distance of our homes. We’re told we can be anything we want when we are children. It’s the biggest hustle of all time. In order to have a life that’s not completely devoid of comfort, you have to “sell out” to some extent.

It’s a bummer of a situation that it’s mostly people from the underground who give us grief or otherwise misinterpret our name. I consider these people allies, so it’s especially disappointing when it gets weird. I expect people outside of mainstream culture to not respond in such a knee-jerk fashion, but it seems there is a rise in what I’ve heard called the conservative left. It’s pretty gross.

I am so far left that I basically see things in a Marxist way, and democratic socialism seems to be the best system to me. I also grew up listen to music, watching movies, reading books and checking out art that was termed “outsider” at the time. It wasn’t socially acceptable to be into punk rock and skateboarding or whatever like it is now. Things have really changed with the erstwhile cheerleaders rocking the satanic, witchy pose, and I think a lot of people who are secretly into Radio Disney-type bullshit music think they have a voice in the underground. They don’t. They’re tourists, and they can fuck right off. It’s utterly bizarre to me that you see these people covered in tattoos and faking a counter culture pose who are really conservative people. It’s baffling.

I was recently talking to Thomas Hazelmyer from Amphetamine Reptile records when we were in Minneapolis on our last tour with Retox. We were talking about the gentrification that happens in every major city, and the parallels to the underground being co-opted.

The majority of the songs I write have an “us-vs-them” element. It seemed like an appropriate name, considering the subject matter of our songs and how I feel on a day-to-day basis. But the dialog surrounding our name never ends, and we’ve taken it on the chin several times in terms of lost opportunities because of the name. 

KralTunes: A question I have always wondered… As a singer that does an awful lot of screaming on many tracks, does the strain on your vocals ever concern you about the future of your career?

Christian Lembach: Dude. I think about that all of the time. It usually takes me a few shows to blow it out, then I’m in the pocket for the duration of whatever tour we’re on. It’s painful at times, but I don’t really know how else to sing. I’d love to take some lessons or see a coach or something, but I can’t afford something like that right now. We had like 30 shows on the tour we just wrapped. I have to take care of it – lots of water, lots of sleep and no dairy. I’d love to write some more somber, laid-back songs, but my focus is on Whores right now.

KralTunes: I recently read on your facebook that your studio location is about to be no more (What, the owners don’t realize they are housing the seeds of musical genius within their walls)!! Is this demolition a done deal, or can it somehow be prevented? If not, what are your plans for future practice areas?

Christian Lembach: Yeah, it’s a done deal. We have to be out before May 10th. Tons (like, literally hundreds) of ATL bands are being put out. It’s insane. There are no other spots to practice in ATL that aren’t already full and with a long waiting list. The place where we were practicing was the central spot in ATL where all of the bands practiced. It’s a huge blow to the scene. I’m sure something else will pop up eventually, but we’re furiously writing a new record, and this is a pretty big hiccup. In the immediate future, we’ll be packing all of our stuff up and moving it to a storage space outside of ATL.

KralTunes: Having just watched a youtube clip of one of you sets (Saint Vitus Bar, 2014), you guys put a ton of energy into your performance…I can only imagine that a standard show is pretty brutal on the three of you. Is this the case? What is the recovery time like after or between shows? Do you have any pre/post show rituals that you stick to?

Christian Lembach: Yeah we push super hard every time. We’re in that sweet spot where we’re firing on all cylinders, but we’re also playing to a bunch of new people every night. So I honestly feel obligated to just blast the shit out of every song. I want people who are seeing us for the first time to stop in their tracks. I want us to be your favorite new band. Anybody can make a cool sounding record. Playing a show that takes peoples’ heads off is the important part. As far as recovery time and pre/post show rituals, I try to warm up my voice before we play, and I try not to talk for a good 30 minutes after. We’re not doing a whole lot of local shows, so it’s mostly show after show on tour. You kind of just have to make it happen.

KralTunes: You three seem to be having an amazing time up on stage. Is playing the part of musicians what you always envisioned yourself doing with your lives? Wikipedia has the band starting in 2010. Have you three known each other prior to that date? How did you get together?

Christian Lembach: I’ve tried to do other things, but it seems that music is really the only life for me. It’s taken a pretty hefty toll on my personal life and financial stability at times, but I really can’t legitimately pursue anything else that I would be this passionate about.

We’ve all sort of known each other from other bands that we’ve played in the past. I was a huge fan of our drummer’s old band, and actually learned a few songs on their record with the intention of trying out as their second guitar player back in the day.

Things sort of fell into place one by one for this band. Jake, our bass player, was initially interested in acting in sort of a managerial capacity with the band. An opportunity came up for him to fill in for a show, and after we got off stage he said he wanted to join the band. He was in a pretty active and successful band at the time, so I was a little skeptical as to how it would work, schedule-wise. We’re not well known enough yet to be taking breaks and turning down opportunities. Jake ended up leaving his other band, joining us full time, and that was that.

KralTunes: After reading the lyrics to several songs, many images spring to mind (very little sunshine and unicorn imagery to be found). What are the inspirations for the lyrical content of your songs?

Christian Lembach: Well I don’t want to get too specific and melodramatic, but I have had a few pretty terrible things happen in my life. I just try to tap into a real emotion, and that’s often a fairly ugly one. That’s all I’m really comfortable saying.

KralTunes: I’m always looking for something new to listen to. What music’s got your ears right now?

Christian Lembach: New Metz record, new Fight Amp record, new Retox record, two Athens bands, The Powder Room and Motherfucker, are just wrecking shit right now. Of course I love all of the 90s noise rock stuff, but I’m also heavy into 80s goth/eurotrash type bands as well. I listen to The Birthday Party a ton. I also love a lot of early 90s hip hop. I’m not kidding. I torture my band mates with it. The repetitive nature really appeals to me.

KralTunes: On the current events front, does the officer in the Walter Scott shooting have a prayer in being acquitted of these charges against him??

Christian Lembach: I certainly hope not, but things are so fucked-up right now that it wouldn’t surprise me. There seems to be a certain type of person that is attracted to a job like that in the first place. So as sad and terrible as this is, it’s nothing new. The only good I can see is that technology is making it harder for creeps like this to hide.

KralTunes: What does the next year hold for the band?

Christian Lembach: We’re writing our next record right now. We hope to have it released late this year, or early next year at the latest. After that we’ll be doing support tours worldwide, as well as a few headlining U.S. tours. We’re constantly (and currently) submitting for support tours, so we really never know when the next one is until it’s imminent. The soonest we’ll be back on the road is late summer, unless something really amazing comes up. We’re talking to a few different labels right now to see who the best fit will be. We plan on hitting super hard with this next one, so we’re trying to take our time. We don’t want to let people down.

Official Facebook

BANDCAMP page

TWITTER

Other Spotlight Artists:

Monocle Stache

Howling Giant

 

ALABAMA SHAKES: SOUND AND COLOR

@KralTunes

Let the revival rage on! ALABAMA SHAKES’ newest album, Sound And Color, expands on the 60’s/70’s soul/rock hybrid of their debut album and brings plenty of da funk (but not too much funk…excess funk can lead to all kinds of trouble). To keep things fresh, Alabama Shakes introduce several new wrinkles into the mix.

Sound and Color starts with a lovely hymn-like title track, but ‘Don’t Wanna Fight’ really kicks the album off with its funky soulful guitar and glass shattering falsettos. Howard is painfully convincing as she pleads for peace and understanding,

“Attacking, defending

Until there’s nothing left worth winning,

Your pride and my pride,

Don’t waste my time.”

“Future People” is another highlight; classic rhythym and blues plus herky- jerky guitar multiplied by distorted vocals equates to a memorable anomaly. Then “Gimme All Your Love” gives a contemporary spin to the blues ballad with a beautiful organ-highlighted guitar solo.

Within the mid-album lull sits a couple of fairly graceful tunes before Alabama Shakes cranks it up with “The Greatest” when the spirit of Otis Day and the Knights suddenly take the helm. This garage band-style colossus is a fantastic lo-fi highlight.  Its one of those ‘I DEFY you not to bounce to this’ type of songs.

Side 2 of the vinyl is a more atmospheric kind of beast.  It may not shine like Side A, but Howard and the crew stay bold on the flip side. The airy ‘GEMINI’  provides a near 7 minute sonic groin punch, as Howard’s vocals are disguised beneath a shroud of moody production. ‘Over My Head’ closes up shop on a satisfying jazzy-jam note.

Vocally, Brittany Howard makes you feel the heartache of missing Mickey Mouse tattoos and Honda Accords (re: lyrics).  Rather than playing the part of a 3rd rate Janis Joplin, Howard is shaping her own signature voice and it shines through the studio distortions.

Sound And Color sounds like a band comfortable enough in their skin to explore strange new frontiers: they are an act in full artistic bloom. And, with that, ALABAMA SHAKES  avoids the dreaded sophomore slump.