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America in 2008 is a far different proposition than in the late '60s.

And I'm not just talking about the country, I'm talking about the harmony-heavy, folk-rock group America that sprang out of England (they were all sons of U.S. servicemen stationed in London) during the height of California's flower-power era and often criticized for being lightweight CSNY wannabes.

America, now made up of just two original members in the form of singer-guitarists Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley after Dan Peek left in the 1977 to become a born-again Christian, got a major credibility boost last year. Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha and Fountains Of Wayne's Adam Schlesinger decide to co-produce the group's first album of original material in nine years, Here And Now, corralling critically acclaimed singer-songwriters Ryan Adams and Ben Kweller as guests.
Though I spot him at Rainbo and Whole Foods now and then, former Smashing Pumpkin James Iha has been a New Yorker for a while now, and even runs a recording studio in Chelsea called Stratosphere Sound.

Iha’s also been dabbling in deejaying lately; he played upstairs at Ohm a few months back. He stepped further into dance remix territory recently, which is kind of interesting considering dance remixer/DJ Tommie Sunshine singled out Iha as an example of the lame ‘celebrity deejaying’ trend in the Village Voice. Iha’s remix of Midnight Movies “Patient Eye” from its album Lion the Girl isn’t going to set any dance floors on fire, as it’s a bit too subtle. It feels like it would work in moodier DJ sets between Broadcast and Ladytron. It’s not totally electronic either, with its “Personal Jesus”-style slide moves. I would venture to guess that the nutty noise guitar that surfaces midway through is Iha’s. In short, it’s a promising taste of things to come, but not much of a summer anthem.

Get a copy of the track here.
1 comment
James Iha: "I haven’t watched this season so I stayed at home and watched Empire Strikes Back and had take out. I wish those Sopranos the best of luck, seems like they have a hit show on their hands!"
Hi everyone, I'd like to thank Lisa for helping out with the site for so long! She did a wonderful job with the site and I hope everyone appreciated her dedication to the project and I wish her all the luck on her new site and her education.

Over the next few months there are going to be some drastic changes to this site to integrate it with and We are also totally revamping Siva right now, so this should all be interesting. :) Thanks for your patience and loyalty to the web site.
Yes, I mean it this time. Rock the Vote!
Start by voting for your favorite band, Vanessa and the O's, (and not the heavy winner The Rolling Stones) at this French site.
I know you think your vote does not count, but every single vote counts in America! As a bonus, Foreign votes count too! So vote today and show your Vanessa pride.
Vote at this site
Please, no rigging the votes.
Check out the latest article on James.
Urchin conveys diverse sound
Scott Iwasaki Deseret Morning News. Deseret News. Salt Lake City, Utah: Oct 7, 2005. pg. W.09

Sound of Urchin lives up to its name.

"We are so diverse that it's hard for people to categorize us," said Tomato, the band's lead singer and drummer. "There are people who try to put us in a little file all the time. But we're not like a lot of bands out there. We have our own style that is a mix of things we like."

Tomato, born Chris Harfenist, said the band started back in 1998. "We were just a bunch of friends coming together to make music," Tomato said by phone from Brooklyn. "We just liked playing music."

Sound of Urchin also includes bassist Doo Doo (Chris Huetz), guitarists B. Ill (Bill Fowler) and Seahag (Robert Mangano), who have toured with Tenacious D, Ween, Mike Watt, Cracker, the Scorpions, Dio and Deep Purple. It seems "diversity" is the band's middle name.

"I grew up listening to a lot of classic-rock stuff," said Tomato. "Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Black Sabbath were my first influences. Then I moved onto punk like the Clash, the Sex Pistols. All through high school, I played in bands that played any style. One month I'd be in a metal band. The next month I'd be in a punk band. Then I'd play in a goth band. It didn't matter. Just as long as I was playing.

"That didn't mean that I was a goth when I played in goth bands or a punk when I was in a punk band. I just wanted to play as much as I could."

While playing in bands in New York City, Tomato hooked up with his friends who would eventually become Sound of Urchin. "The band came together organically. Even though I hate that word 'organic,' it's the way we got together."

After playing and making a name for itself, the band eventually hooked up with Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French, who became the band's co-manager. "We have always done things our own way," said Tomato. "We had a deal with RCA, but things got in the way and we broke ties. It wasn't anything against the record label. They liked us for what we were. It was just other things in the music business."

These days the band is on Hybrid Records, having recently released a new album, "The Diamond," which was produced by Fountains of Wayne founder Adam Schlesinger. "This album (the band's second full-length), was done in a way to capture our live sound," said Tomato. "That's what Adam helped us do. He had us do a lot of pre- production work and we had our songs ready to go. We did them live and then added some small stuff to the mix afterward."

The band was able to get French to do some leads for the song "Jack O' Lantern," and Perfect Circle/Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha came onboard on "Blown Away." "Jay Jay is great," said Tomato. "He wanted to do something, and we, of course, let him. As for James, well, he was the co-owner of the studio we recorded the album in. He was hanging out and had some ideas and we had him do those ideas with a mechanism that made his guitar sound like a bag pipe."

Tomato said that Sound of Urchin is enjoying the recognition it's been getting, "but I'd like the band to get more recognized in the future. We're not looking for a Grammy, but we would like to have more people hear us."

If you go . . .

What: Sound of Urchin

Where: Monk's House of Jazz, 19 E. 200 South

When: Thursday, 8:30 p.m.

How much: $5

Phone: 350-0950


E-mail: [email protected]
You can support Vanessa and the O's starting today!
Begin your rally for the band by voicing your opinions about them and encouraging the station for more airplay on the 103.1 Indie Rock Station blog.
Take the next step by e-mailing your support to DJ Chuck of Dead Air, who first introduced the band to the States. chuckp[@]
We need all your support! Thanks for helping the band. :-)
Our good Russian Pumpkinhead, Michael Esterman, posted in his blogger a photo of James performing with Ayano In-Store.
Check out Michael's Pumpkin flavoured blogger/post.
According to this Japanese site, Ayano Tsuji has a calendar CD/DVD with the track "Shiny Day".
The new album of つじあやの in which it is full of the sense of the season which spells one year and 12 months by 12 music, and a feeling of emotion releases!! The work with which it is full of the variety musicality which appointed each producer (he also includes and they are 12 persons) as each music. The album of the gem of inclusion of a single "a spring breeze", "Shiny Day", "pledge by hooking each other's little finger", "the Christmas of 星降る夜", and "the midsummer of love"!! With [ in which the Ath page single / five music / video clip was mentioned ] DVD.
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