Friday, October 8, 2010

Operation Pop Tart: CD's To Aussieland

Interesting opportunities come in all shapes and sizes. Mine came in the shape of a rectangular box of Organic Toaster Pastries, AKA “hippie pop tarts.” The two boxes of blueberry & chocolate frosted Organic Toaster Pastries are sitting on my desk as we speak, waiting to be shipped to Brisbane, Australia where it will be accompanied by 12 CD’s, plus some stickers, from 12 of my favorite SF Bay Area bands.

The opportunity in question is one that, quite possibly, will be talked about for years to come as “One of those EPIC stories that tell of A Great Journey”. For this is a story of a Great Journey for a small parcel, packed lovingly in bubble wrap with dreams and hopes for those who are sending it. It is to be received by a very Special Lady whose name is Astrid Navel Gazer and she is far, far away on the other end of the world in Brisbane, Australia. She loves music and works her little Rock & Roll heart out for her weekly radio show called Zed Poets Society.

Astrid Navel Gazer has been deeply ingrained as part of the Brisbane, Australia music scene for over 10 years, creating a hugely popular radio show in which she plays pretty much every genre of music but focuses on Hard Rock and Harder Metal with her partner in crime, Doomy Hippy. Zed Poets Society, is aired weekly on one of the oldest FM radio stations in the Southern Hemisphere, 4ZZZfm. Ms. Astrid Navel Gazer and I are long-time music junkies both, and within a few brief conversations, we came up with the idea of utilizing my promise of Hippie Pop Tarts to pimp out some Local Bands from the SF Bay Area that I think are amazing in both musicianship and songwriting. Ms. Navel Gazer and I agreed to a bargain that was hard to pass up, a trade of Air Time For My Favorite Bands in exchange for Hippie Pop Tarts and….voila! ”Operation Pop Tart: CD’s to Aussieland” was born.

I put out the call to my local bands and musical friends to send me their music and as I listen to each participating bands’ CD, I feel so lucky to hear my beloved friends’ creations embedded on a 4.5” circle of plastic. It’s a joy to know that their blood, sweat & tears were put into each and every one of these songs.

For starters, we have two representatives from Novato, California, a town that seems to spit out Hard Rock Bands like they do Ranch Homes. There is the incredible album Amnesia from notable rockers flanelhed. Soaring vocals, intelligent lyrics and hard driving guitars, bass & drums make these music men prime for more recognition.  Then FRK brings forth lyrics that bespeak of The Dark Night Of The Soul, crunchy guitars and fast and furious rhythms on their debut disk Phat Lip.

Next, from Fairfax, California,  One Man Emo Band Airport Sexy (Paul Hoss) does up the uber-quirkiness with his self-produced and self-recorded disc Death Rock For The Immortals, which gives us geeky organ and piano plus guitar & lyrics that would give the movie Napoleon Dynamite a new soundtrack should they ever need a sequel. San Francisco rockers Sweet Psychosis came up with Tranquilsizer when they were trying to pull a rabbit out of a tube amp. Instead, just in time for their SXSW gigs last March, they got an amazing debut disc filled with crazy ass sounds, dark lyrics, and hot n’ heavy riffs.

There are also 3 CD’s from my most beloved bands. Marin’s own Honeydust, who’s rocking Southern Americana-tinged album California Sunshine makes me smile and dance. Based out of Mill Valley, The Beautiful Losers, whose combination of sweetly sung vocals and searing guitar on their new CD Four Corners Of A Tiny Planet soothes my weary heart and eases all the bumps and bruises it encounters.  Finally The Hold Outs, from San Rafael, give you the truth of all things love & rock n’ roll with their self-titled debut album, filled with catchy tunes, sweltering guitar and colorful vocal harmonies.

On the softer side of things, I sent along the fabulous, sexy and soulful San Francisco based singer/songwriter Rossana who’s songs give love a kick in the ass that it sorely needs with her album Truth Be Told. Marin/Sonoma band Three At Last’s self titled disc gives my little Nature Spirit that taste of strong folk harmonies and traditional wood & stringed instruments. Lansdale Station drops into the game with their rocking Country flavored disc Lansdale Station Featuring Judge & Lauren Murphy with acoustic six strings, sweet slide guitar work and both vocal and guitar harmonies that will help you get in touch with your inner trucker or put you right there around the campfire.

Lastly, I have been grooving to a couple of new found gems, Points North, a SF Bay Area band that focuses on guitar driven, melodic rock n’ roll. Their self titled, all instrumental disc is most likely going to make you head bang AND smile with its vibrant, soaring guitar licks and tight tunes. Life Love Misery's self titled CD sends me all over the map of music. I am reminded of New Order in its ethereal floating sound, the edgy vocals and instrumentation of Paul Westerberg, Midnight Oil and Alice in Chains.  They skate across quite a spectrum of musical styles.

The CD’s, along with other schwag, such as stickers, band press kits and magnets lie on my living room floor in a messy pile, waiting patiently to join the Hippie Pop Tarts on a journey across the Pacific to be exposed to a whole new, unsuspecting audience of Aussies.  Perhaps this journey will prove to be fruitful in many unforeseen ways.  Who knows? Perhaps there may be a future tour for some of these bands when “Operation Hippie Pop Tart: CD’s to Aussieland” hits the distant shores of the land down under. Either way, those Aussie audiences are guaranteed to be exposed to some local music flavors that they otherwise would not have ever known, and may very well greatly enjoy.  Rock On Australia!  Rock on Operation Hippie Pop Tart!


As we stand amid the closing of the year, I proudly say that 9 of 12 bands' CD's  I sent to Brisbane, Australia a few months back have had airplay on 4ZZZ.FM. Some of them have had multiple spins on Astrid Navel Gazer & Doomy Hippie's radio show. YES!

Congrats and a BIG THANKS! to all of us Operation Pop Tarters: the bands, Astrid and Doomy and myself, plus Australian customs for allowing 12 cd's and 2 boxes of Organic Toaster Pastries into that fine but faraway land....

MOONMAMA wants to Rock Your World!

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