Some days, it’s a real treat to do radio. Ok, who am I kidding? Any day I can pull up a microphone and start broadcasting, it’s a real treat. But this past Saturday’s show was even treatier than that. I got to interview two really great artists, Steve Almaas and Tamar Berk.
Steve Almaas has had a long and distinguished music career, starting out in the legendary Minneapolis music scene with his punk outfit Suicide Commandos. Later on, a move to New York, and the formation of the critically-acclaimed country-ish rock band Beat Rodeo. (Editor’s note: Beat Rodeo’s “Without You” is one of our own Boris Boden’s all time favorite songs–as in Top 20 of all time.) Steve’s worked with some great musical luminaries over the years–Richard Barone, Mitch Easter, Don Dixon, Richard Gottehrer, and so many more. He’s been single-minded in his pursuit of making music over the decades, and his latest effort, “Everywhere You’ve Been”, is wonderful.
The album features clever songwriting, heartfelt, friendly vocals, and great ensemble playing. Stylistically, it ranges from folk and Americana to more upbeat, midtempo rockers. Let’s talk about that ensemble. Steve put together some of his favorite collaborators, folks he loves playing with, to make this record. It shows, as the overall vibe of the album is easygoing, low key, and charming. And the creativity happened anywhere and anytime. Two of the songs were literally dreamed up during the same airplane trip. I’m calling this the “Songwriter’s Mile High Club”–if you write a song on a plane, welcome to the club!
You’ll want this album. More info at https://www.facebook.com/Steve-Almaas-50639262420/
Later on, we met Tamar Berk. She’s had a long journey, both literally and figuratively. Geographically speaking, she moved from her native Cleveland to Chicago, where she made a name for herself, playing in many different bands (most notably, Starball) during that fertile musical renaissance the city saw in the 1990s. Then on to Portland and more bands, and finally, to San Diego. It was kind of inevitable that she’d wind up in California–it suits her really well.
Along comes 2021, and Tamar’s new album, “The Restless Dreams of Youth”. It immediately resonated with me. Really well written songs. She’s incapable of writing a bad one. Her vocals are deep and rich, and at times, soaring. She’s that rare singer whose vocals completely set the tone and mood of the song. And these songs range from moody and introspective, to gloriously rocking, upbeat, and cathartic. Melodies that stay with you, long after you’re done listening, and the only cure is to listen again. She assembled a great band to help realize her vision–a record that reexamines the past, through the lens of these times. Overall, her sound is somewhere between the best parts of Exile In Guyville-era Liz Phair, and Aimee Mann. Not a bad place to be. You’re going to need this record. More info at https://www.facebook.com/TamarBerkMusic/.
Artist | Title | Album
Felsen | Vultures On Your Bones | Blood Orange Moon
Strontium 90 | Visions Of The Night | Police Academy
Corey Ledet | This Is All I Want | Corey Ledet Zydeco
The Brothers Steve | Carry Me | #1
Gail George | He’s an Exclamation! | Follow Your Bliss
Natalie Cortez & The Ultraviolets | Three Times | Twitch!
Beat Rodeo | Without You | Staying Out Late With… Beat Rodeo!
Steve Almaas interview
Steve Almaas | She Don’t Love You | Everywhere You’ve Been
Steve Almaas | The Way I Treated You | Everywhere You’ve Been
Steve Almaas | Everywhere You_ve Been | Everywhere You’ve Been
Steve Almaas | Cigarettes, Coffee Or You | Everywhere You’ve Been
The Chandler Travis Philharmonic | Sexy Ivan With Bongo | The Ivan Variations
Lisa Mychols & SUPER 8 | Peaceful | LISA MYCHOLS & SUPER 8
The JAC | 6 Days on the Road | Drugs Trucks & Jesus
Pugwash | Everyone Knows That You’re Mine | Silverlake
The Bobbleheads | Do You | Myths And Fables
The Amplifier Heads | Ghost Song | Music For Abandoned Amusement Parks
The Beach Boys | Sloop John B | Pet Sounds
Identical Suns | Common Ground | Identical Suns
Spygenius | If You Go A-Roving | Man On The Sea
Elk City | No Depth | Everybody’s Insecure
The Kariannes | Every Word Means No | This Song Is a Cure (Big Stir Digital Single No. 17)
Eric Peter Schwartz | Roy Batty | Mustard On My Sexy Dress
Sex 66 | Numb | Grew Up Down
Tamar Berk interview
Tamar Berk | heavy & abusive | the restless dreams of youth
Tamar Berk | red ball | the restless dreams of youth
Tamar Berk | skipping the cracks | the restless dreams of youth
R.E.M. | Living Well Is The Best Revenge | Accelerate
John Legend | Save Room | Once Again
Alpha Cat | Snow | Pearl Harbor 2020
Gnarls Barkley | Gone Daddy Gone | St. Elsewhere
Anton Barbeau | Fear Of Flying | Manbird
Lannie Flowers | He’s Got Himself | Home
Rachel Taylor Brown | stagg field | Half Hours With the Lower Creatures
Nolan Voide and His Own Bad Self | Indie Rock Superstar | Single release
Blake Jones & The Trike Shop | Forestiere Gardens | The Underground Garden
Sunshine Boys | The World Turning Round | Work and Love
Hooha and the Peter Guns | Get Up | Single release
The The | Slow Emotion Replay | Dusk
R Stevie Moore | The Winner | Afterlife
Chris Church | Know | Game Dirt
In Deed | Heart Attack | Everest
Elvis Costello | 5ive Gears in Reverse | Get Happy!!