All Around Records

Monday, January 20, 2020

Jim Basnight Thing

The Jim Basnight Thing
The Jim Basnight Thing
Precedent Records

On this album of acoustic, almost folk based songs, Basnight expands his sound to include the softer side of pop rock, flavored at times with jazz, blues, or country.

These songs are for adults, about adult relationships, including, on “Happy Birthday,” a difficult relationship with one’s son. The romantic songs have a lot of meaning, with people torn between love and being themselves, such as “No More War.”

It’s a very likable album and rewards repeated listening, revealing more subtlety, nuance, and insight each time.

Andrea Weiss

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Rock, Thrash, and Country: An Interview with Carol Pacey
I first heard of Carol Pacey and the Honey Shakers from Big Stir Singles: The Fourth Wave. "Crumb," their A-Side, is a great original, but their Violent Femme’s cover needs to be heard. I also know Dramarama’s "Anything Anything" well. I’d love to hear a woman sing it.
Ms. Pacey was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

Andrea Weiss: How did the band form?
Carol Pacey: We found each other on the world wide web via Craigslist! I had been a solo artist for a time with a few rotating players, and then by chance I found Andy Borunda online in 2011. Since then we have had several drummers and bass players, but our current drummer, Benno DeLuca, has been with the band since 2012, and our newest member is our bass player, Will Gantry, who has been with us since 2018. And both we found online!

AW: What are your influences?
CP: My influences are singers with strong vocals like Aretha Franklin, Karen Carpenter, Celine Dion, Patsy Cline, Whitney Houston, and on and on with females. Males include Freddie Mercury, Elvis Presley, Sam Cooke, Josh Groban, and on and on too. Often strong vocals are strongly tied with great songs and then it is just win-win!

AW: I like the way the album starts out rocking and then mellows at the end. Is there a particular reason you chose to order the tracks that way?
CP: Thank you. I love to get the listener’s attention right away on our records with early rocking tunes so there is no confusion about what this band can do! This current album was our first with ballads, of sorts, and they flowed beautifully at the end of the album. On our records, I like to end with a song that is upbeat and "Somewhere Beautiful," while mellow, is upbeat in nature and won the ending spot.

AW: How did the Big Stir single come about?
CP: We met California band the Armoires, whose members Christina Bulbenko and Rex Broome own Big Stir Records, through International Pop Overthrow Music Festival several years ago. Then last year our band traveled to Burbank, CA to perform with the Armoires and while we were there, I asked Christina about releasing a single with their record company. She and Rex agreed, and it has been the best experience!

AW: The Violent Femmes cover is amazing, with great feminist and gun control messages. What was the process behind that?
CP: Thank you again! I love, love, love the Violent Femmes and one day at band practice we were trying out new cover songs, seeing which ones worked out best for everybody. "Add It Up" hit the mark! We started playing it at our live shows and fans loved it, so we had to put it on the album. When we added horns by our musical dynamo friend, Danny Torgersen, the song went off the charts in fun! This is our second album with a cover song, with Dramarama’s "Anything Anything (I’ll Give You)" on our second album, Eyes on the Prize.

AW: I like your message of love and peace on some of the songs. Do you have any advice for getting through hard times?
CP: Oh goodness, that’s a tough one as everybody’s struggles are different. I try to be positive, but some days it is just impossible. On those days, I let myself be however I am feeling without punishment. If I can’t move off the couch, I can’t move off the couch. If I want to cry, I cry. I know at some point sooner than later I will pick myself up and move forward again and this usually involves doing things for other people if I am sad and cleaning house or yardwork when I am mad. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish on ill feelings!

AW: I like your and Andy’s guitar playing. Is there ever a switch and you play electric and he plays acoustic?
CP: I am not worthy of playing an electric guitar; I need more skill! I will every now and then pick up Andy’s Les Paul to strum a chord then tease him that someday I’ll be better than him; he just smirks at me. We do play out as an acoustic duo and Andy is just as amazing on an acoustic guitar as he is on electric.

AW: Is there anyone you’d like to work with?
CP: There are quite a few musical acts that I would like our band to open for, particularly Frank Turner. He really inspired what I wanted to do but wasn’t quite there yet. Frank has toured through Arizona several times and almost every time I have asked to open…one of these days!

AW: Any advice for those just starting?
CP: Yes, just do it! Don’t get overwhelmed with what you don’t know, but rather focus on what you do know. Over time, with emphasis on time, you’ll figure it out!

Andrea Weiss

Monday, January 13, 2020

Top ten

Your Heart Breaks - Drone Butch Blues

The New Porngraphers In the Morse Code of Brake lights/3X4  (Classic Paisley Underground bands cover each other's songs)

Big Stir singles comps vol 3&4 (tided)

Jim Basnight Not Changing 

Muffs No Holiday 

The Armoires Zibaldone

Mark Lanegan Band Somebody’s Knocking

Carol Pacey and the Honeyshakers Bliss

Mavis Staples We get By/Josh Ritter Fever breaks (tied)

Jade Bird S/T

Andrea Weiss

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

BS 3

Big Stir Single Series, Vol 3
Big Stir Records

The third volume of this series, released earlier this year, showcases pop/rock in all its forms: punk, psych, pop, and rock. All the songs are excellent, a reminder that there is some very good music out there, if one is willing to look for it.

But it’s the emotions of these songs that make this comp stand out--not just good times and bad times, but why they’re good or bad, happy or sad, all without emo-style overwrought lyrics. These are adult emotions, in all their complexity, with happiness, and joy the most prominent.

For examples, Paula Carino’s single, A and B Sides, “Flying Dream/Greenwood,” describes difficult situations, with hope and certainty that things will work out. The Librarians With Hickeys bring comfort in “Black Velvet Dress,” and the comp’s saddest song, “Alex.” One wonders what Alex did to make the narrator so upset. Blow Up bring pure and happy punk for A Side “Reckless Hearts,” and a great Velvet Underground cover of “What Goes On” for the B.

I will be hearing volumes 1&2 early next year. If they are anything like volumes 3&4, they will be some of the best singles comps I’ve ever heard, a reminder that hits don’t have to be Top 40 to be great.

Andrea Weiss

Sunday, December 29, 2019


Carol Pacey & The Honey Shakers

I first heard of this Tempe band from Big Stir Records' singles comp, Vol. 4 and really liked what I heard.

Bliss, their third album, reminds me a bit of Neko Case’s debut, The Virginian, but I like it a lot better, as this band’s Americana thrash is much livelier and not trad, and Pacey’s soulful singing is more forthcoming emotionally and lyrically. I also like the way she takes no guff and isn't mournful about it. The rest of the band, Andy Borunda on electric guitar, Benno DeLuca on drums, and Dante Fiorenza on bass sound great. Pacey’s acoustic guitar playing adds texture and detail.

If you want something different, not run of the mill country or Americana, I think you will really enjoy this album.

Andrea Weiss

Sunday, December 22, 2019


The Jim Basnight Thing
Pop Top
Precedent Records

The pop on this album has a punky rawness to it, making this college rock really powerful. They take Midnight Oil at their best as a starting point. It’s very good, all the more so for including some blues, like “Opportunity Knocks” and “Blue Moon Heart.

“Hello Mary Jane” and “Stop The Words” are straightforward punk, making for even more variety. Another great album from this band, and one that has staying power. People will remember them long after the album has ended.

Andrea Weiss

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Big Stir

Big Stir Singles: The Fourth Wave
Big Stir Records

The fourth volume of virtual A- and B-sides is some of the best pop/rock today. Some tracks are more punk rock, some more folk rock, some psychedelic, and some pure pop. All are melodic.

Everything is here: good times, like Dolph Chaney's “I’m OK;” bad times in The Vapour Trails' "Drowning As I Fall In;" love in all its forms; and sex, like Carol Pacey & The Honey Shakers' amazing, feminist cover of the Violent Femmes' "Add it Up," which also includes a great gun control message. The equally amazing sparkle jets* U.K. do Big Star covers with Jody Stevens himself on drums.

Five dollars from every comp sold goes to the Ed Asner Family Center, which works with special needs people of all ages and their families to give them dignity, confidence, self-respect, and a chance to be whatever they want to be. As someone who is learning disabled, I can’t think of a finer cause to support. I’ve heard of the center and know they do good work.

For this reason I urge you to buy this, but also because it's great music, truly and unjustly outside the mainstream. It is so versatile, so rocking, so smart, so fun, and so everything everyone needs, what more could you want.

Andrea Weiss


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