Remember Eduardo Fajardo?  His band was The Executive Lifepopolio was at their debut show back in January which featured guest musician Arthur Yoria.  See the popolio pic-olios for that show here, here, and here.   They also did a pop quiz for us in April here.

Well, alas, The Executive Life is no more.  But, don’t shed too many a tear, Señor Fajardo has teamed up with Señor Yoria and these two Colombianos are now Monoceja.  They have a show next Wednesday right here in downtown ATX’s Beso Cantina.  Click the flyer to go to the so fresh, so clean Monocejo MySpace Page.  

MNCO flyer


Click on the flyer to go to the Official MySpace Page.


Contact:  Freddie Rodriguez

August 10, 2009 hosts One Year Anniversary Mixer
An evening of celebration and networking
with live music, appetizers, and wine


AUSTIN, TX, which sits under the umbrella organization of Dallas-based Mandrake Arts & Media that started with, announces its One Year Anniversary Mixer.  The Austin-based pop music blog,, which debuted on September 15, 2008, features a hodgepodge of local, regional, national, and international content.  The free event takes place on Friday, September 18, 2009, at Phara’s Mediterranean Cuisine at 111 East N. Loop from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The venue is BYOB and, therefore, only those 21 years of age and/or older may attend.  In conjunction, Mandrake Society Radio will be celebrating its Four Year Anniversary the next day in Dallas.  More details will be provided as they become available.

Special Guest, local power pop musician, Phil Dutra, will perform a short acoustic set. Though an open event, guests are asked to RSVP for a headcount.  Appetizers, wine, and cake will be provided.  Guests may order dinner on their own.  A limited amount of goodie boxes including the CDs of Featured Artists and other items will be gifted to first attendees.

The evening is set to be an intimate, low-key, informal networking event not only for fans but for all Austin-area blog and music enthusiasts and creators.  Background music will set the tone, but conversation will take the forefront.  Mostly, guests are asked to help celebrate’s one year existence and anticipate its second year. kicked off last year presenting itself as an online music magazine more than a blog. The blog set itself apart from other pop blogs by dedicating itself to original entertainment content and not gossip and operating on the underground, independent, and mainstream levels.  Creating its own definition for “pop music, ” embraces multiple genres such as Latin, R&B, and hip hop as well as pop.  Its features include online and podcast artist interviews, show pictures, streamed songs, music reviews, and music video countdowns highlighting Austin- and Texas-based content.

SXSW, ¡Pachanga! Latino Music Festival, and, more recently, Premios Texas 2009 Artists have been featured on pop quiz interviews. These artists include Austin and Texas artists David Garza, Vallejo, Maneja Beto, Los Bad Apples, and Bobby Pulido.  On the national level, Grammy Winner Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ posthumous release, Eye Legacy, was featured with a podcast interview with her brother, Ron Lopes, and a MY TOP 10:  Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes Video Countdown.  Maryland-based SXSW Artist and 2009 Grammy Nominee Wayna’s Higher Ground featured with pop quiz and podcast interviews with the artist.  Canadian Jennie Laws and London-based Welsh artist, Bright Light Bright Light (formerly SXSW Artist Rod Thomas) have also been featured.

Singer-Songwriter Phil Dutra was the first artist to be interviewed for the popolio podcast feature at on September 24, 2008, at  According to his MySpace Page and Official Site, “Phil sounds like the love child of REM and Barenaked Ladies on a hit of XTC.”  His song “Let Me Be Your Superman” from his latest EP release, Right Behind the Rain, was chosen “Track of the Day” at the influential web site and “She Walks Away,” another song from the same set, won the National Michael Lloyd Song Contest at the TAXI Road Rally held in Hollywood, California.

For more information or to ask questions please contact Freddie Rodriguez at or 512.945.1376.

About Mandrake Arts & Media
Consists of blogs and

History, poetry, and epiphany about building community.

For more information, visit

I first Just Picked Up Bat For Lashes’ Two Suns here and then I reviewed “Daniel” here and “Pearl’s Dream” here.  Now, I’m reviewing the whole set.


 LTR (Long Term Review)
Full Release Review

all over the place

carries a tune


part of the chorus


featured soloist


conducting the choir


Bat For Lashes Two Suns
Released:  April 6, 2009

“Indie pop” sounds  like an oxymoron, but Bat For Lashes weaves a magical musical tapestry that defies any other description.  Not only is Two Suns indie pop, it’s a concept album that works in layers more than as a literal translation of  a linear story from track to track.  Though I’m calling it pop, it’s pregnant with  lush instrumentation that brings the songs to life.  

Exploring dualities in fable-song form, she presents an alter ego in the form of Pearl, who plays foil to her Bat For Lashes persona.  Two Suns takes you to a world of princesses and dragons and castles and large bodies of water between warring kingdoms.  You feel like one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men stopping in the forest to take in the Folk Fairie’s rave.

“Daniel”  hauntingly calls out to a soulmate-lover-savior and harkens back to the ’80s.  It’s a synth ice-cream-dream with a juxtaposition of beats in foreground and background that commingle flawlessly.  “Pearl’s Dream” is a mesmerizing ode with a funky beat.  It’s simple yet clever sing-song double-meaning lyrics make the song that much richer.  With synth and drum programming to die for, I picture gypsies with layers of kerchiefs flowing in the wind as they belly dance the night away next to tents on a beach lit by a bounty of bonfires.  And, just wait for that beat breakdown near the end.

Drums run through the tracks so much so that the songs could be interpreted by a drum circle from beginning to end.  New wave flourishes add a unique flavor.  Allusions to renaissance fairs and medieval reenactments aside,  Two Suns, is chic fairytale fare and not geek at all.  A masterful pop-parable that delivers. ♫♫

 Standout Track:  “Pearl’s Dream”
Check Out:  “Glass,” “Daniel,” and “Siren Song”

I attended the ¡Pachanga! Latino Music Festival last month and took pics of the three acts we featured in pop quizzes as a mini-countdown to the event.  This David Garza show pic-olio is 2 of 3.  (Part 1 Maneja Beto here or scroll down for it.)  Charanga Cakewalk will follow Friday.  Check out the David Garza popolio pop quiz here, enjoy the pic-olio, and stay tuned for part 3.






dg6 dg7


Rod Thomas was one of  the SXSW Artists that we featured in a popolio pop quiz here and sxsw show pic-olio here.  Last month he announced a name change from Rod Thomas to Bright Light Bright Light.

Get a taste of the BLBL sound with “A New Word To Say” before reading our 10Q interview with the Artist Formerly Known as Rod Thomas about his new status quo.

* * *

1. So, why the change of name from Rod Thomas to Bright Light Bright Light? The last year or so I’ve been working hard on my production skills and live set and it’s much more layered and textured, with some shimmering synth parts weaving between more organic sounds.  I DJ and remix a lot, too, so the name change reflects the more rounded nature I guess. 

I think if you have a “firstname” “surname” identity, people often presume you’re an acoustic act, which is not what I am.  Also having a pseudonym means you can have a bit more fun, too, with the detachment from your own personal life I think.

2.  Does this mean we have to refer to you as the Artist Formerly Known as Rod Thomas? YES.   (haha, no not at all!)

3. Is this partly because there’s already a Rob Thomas out there? For publishers/labels I suppose yes.  Especially stateside.  Everyone was aware of him in the UK, but in the US he’s a multi-million selling artist, so that’s a bit of a problem.  That’s not the reason for it, but it sidesteps it.

4. Since the name is a Gremlins reference, what other 80s movies do you love and why? I absolutely love Mannequin, Gremlins 1 & 2, Splash, The Breakfast Club, Back To The Future … God there are SO MANY amazingly nostalgic/well-soundtracked films from the 80s!  Such an era for an equal number of duds and TOTAL classics.

5. And if the reference is lost on folks is that okay?  Yeah of course.  It just came into my head straight away.   It’s not DELIBERATELY a reference of Gremlins as in that I wanted to connect my music to it, so there’s no requirement for people to notice it.

6. Does this mean there will be an 80s vibe to your [new] work? For certain songs maybe.  Like I worked on “A New Word To Say” and “Disco Moment” with Boom Bip who’s famed for 80s project Neon Neon, so there’s obviously some 80s references.  But, it spans 90s references.  There are some real campfire folk influences in the album and some disco/Motown strands weaved in, too.  But, I guess, yes, there are 80s vibes in terms of strong melodies/big beats.

7. Sonically, how is Bright Light Bright Light different from Rod Thomas?  In other ways?  I don’t think Bright Light Bright Light is intended as a severing point, but it’s definitely less soft than Rod Thomas, mainly for the reasons above. 

It allows me to be seen less as a vulnerable man on his own with his songs and more as a body of music, I guess.  A collection of sounds and ideas.  I guess “he’s” shinier, more intertextual, maybe more experimental.  Even though Rod Thomas was doing that, just nobody really paid attention 😉

8. Are there any remnants of Rod Thomas left?  Some people liked him and his sound.  He did have fans, you know.  Yes, a lot is left.  The live set incorporated a lot of Bright Light Bright Light. The name stems from the sounds I create live.  Plus material-wise, I still use “Your Love Is A Tease,” “You Get Goodbyes,” and “Debris” from the Rod Thomas catalogue.   I’m glad he had fans, I’ll let him know!

9. Well, the level of success of name changes in the music industry is debatable.  Please share your thoughts on the following —

 • Prince to The Artist/The Artist Formerly Known as Prince/that Symbol and back to Prince again Kind of ridiculous, but also very interesting.  The idea of not having a recognisable name is really something quite bizarre, but intriguing.  Especially as it suggests hearing the music without attributing it to a personalit while also suggesting a personality so large it doesn’t require a specific name.

• Puff Daddy to P. Diddy to Diddy Totally pointless.

10. What shiny and new things (couldn’t resist) can fans look forward to in the future? The future brings lots of exciting stuff.  I worked with Boom Bip on two tracks I’m so very happy with and I worked with a guy called Andy Chatterley (KanYe West/Pussycat Dolls/Underworld/Unkle) on a track.  I’ve been re-working the live set for a band and have 2 weeks in New York at the end of July/beginning of August.  I’ll be writing with my friend James Yuill, and gigging a lot as well as releasing the first bit of BLBL material, too.  So, very busy, but hopefully very fun!

(creative, yet self- explanatory name), Austin all-girl indie pop band, play the Summer Sizzle fashion show TONIGHT at Antone’s.  More info on Summer Sizzle here.

Get to know them a little bit in our 5 Questions for before getting to see them live tonight.   

Listen to “My Guest List” to get a taste of Tribella and check out their MySpace Page for more. 

* * *
1.  How did you get tapped for Summer Sizzle? We imagine that someone, somewhere, thought it would be a good idea.  We are really looking forward to playing during the Sizzle.

2. Have you played a fashion show before?  If so, how is the energy different from a regular show?  If not, how do you anticipate the energy will be different? This will be Tribella’s first fashion show.  We expect that because people will be exposed to different art forms, it will elicit a broader interpretation of art and a more universal energy.

 3.  Why do you think that historically there’s such synergy between music and fashion? One aspect of music is the live performance and performers have frequently been given more leeway by society to push the envelope when it comes to clothing, hair, behavior, etc. 

Musicians have to create their own brand based on their music, a particular fashion style, and an attitude.  Music and fashion go hand-in-hand.

4. How would you describe Tribella’s personal style? Sexy/Urban/Femme/Quirky.  Rock ‘N’ Roll with a friendly edge.
5. What will your particular brand of music bring to Summer Sizzle in
 terms of atmosphere, tone, and mood? Our music should provide a fun, energetic, intense, and sincere endcap to the evening.