John Mayer - "Love On The Weekend"

John Mayer has been teasing his return to pop music for some time, most notably through his Instagram.[1] Of late, he’s been touring with The Grateful Dead as a member of their band.

It’s a bit of stretch to say that his last two studio records, Born & Raised and Paradise Valley weren’t pop releases. Yet the lurking notion that I’ve had following the guy has been that he’s coming back around to the guitar-driven pop that propelled his career through the early ’00s. The era I’m referring to started with Room For Squares and left off with Battle Studies, the last record he would record before several years of recovery from a granuloma in his throat. This medical setback made touring and recording very difficult for him and drove him to travel extensively until locking himself away in a somewhat secluded state to write the records fans weren’t sure were even coming.

Those records are fantastic peices of work in their own right, meandering tunes meant for long lengths of road travel and relaxed evenings at home before a fire. Still, it’s easy to miss the more straightforward trajectory of his career pre-granuloma. I for one loved Battle Studies for its simplicity and straight-forward pop melodies. A return to this, as I believe Mayer has been teasing, isn’t nescessary for me as a fan, but an interesting after a change of pace in is maturity on and off record.

So came “Love On The Weekend”, a single off of his forthcoming record believed to be titled The Search For Everything.[2] The guitar tones themselves harken back to a time in his discography before the western hats and bolo ties, but not not so much as the lyrcism of the track. As much as I try to follow my gut feeling that this is a progression from Battle Studies—a feeling drawn to comparison by songs such as “Half Of My Heart”—my head tells me this particular track leans more—at least instrumentally—towards Paradise Valley. Truthfully, it splits the difference in a way that Born & Raised didn’t. At it’s core, “Love On The Weekend” meanders while driving home a more youthful story than songs of the latest pairing of records.

“Love On The Weekend” is really quite enjoyable and even on the second listen, I found myself singing along. It’s available on all streaming platforms now as a nice appetizer for a full-length record.

  1. His is a quality follow, as far as celebrity Instagram accounts go.  ↩

  2. It’s worth noting that when first began, John Mayer dropped a note with The Search For Everything as the title with what appears to be lyrics. Is this the title track?  ↩

Bantha Fodder Presents: "Rebellious Landino"

Cover artwork by Jacob Tender

Cover artwork by Jacob Tender

As mentioned previously, my Bantha Fodder cohost Mike Comite and I love audio production. I'd say that our podcast is about 75% about the Star Wars universe and the remaining bit is about trying new things with our format, mixes, and extraneous things to collaborate on. This week, along with our latest episode, Mike and I put together a remix of Childish Gambino's "Freaks & Geeks" from the perspective of Lando Calrissian, a Star Wars character being brought back to the screen by Gambino himself, Donald Glover.

I wrote and performed the song and Mike mixed and mastered it for cohesion and clarity. I think the result is pretty cool and can be found for free on either Soundcloud or Bandcamp.

You might be asking, "So Jake, this song is hot fire. Does this mean you've entered the rap game?" Not really, but don't expect this to be the last song you hear from Bantha Fodder. We've got some ideas.

VBR #21: 'People Don't Talk About Relationships Enough', with guest Dan Cox

My friend Dan Cox and I have followed an eerily similar trail since 2010. We get deep into the weeds of early 2010 leak blogs, music blogs, and Internet social justice. Dan is genuinely a fan of my show and I know that because he won't stop texting me about it. I'm genuinely a fan of Dan and always have been, which makes this one of my favorite shows to date.

For years, Dan Cox cultivated a massive following of passionate fans for his blog, Pup Fresh. Between himself and his partner Willy, Pup Fresh created a spot for themselves in the scene without invitation. They use their following to spread their opinions about controversial topics in the scene. That seemed to wear Dan out to the point that he’s separated himself from the brand for his sake and the blog’s. Now he spends way too much money on vinyl.

Find the show on Twitter and on iTunes. If you'd like to sponsor the show, drop me a line here.

BF #14: Aim Higher, Please!

Mike and I love messing with the format, trying new production techniques, and finding fun things to do with the podcast. I think we really stumbled upon something great this time.

In the fourteenth episode of Bantha Fodder, Mike and Jacob discuss the known castings for the young Han Solo movie that's set for 2019. The two of them struggle over the pronunciation of the lead actor's surname and Rebellious Landino makes his studio debut.

Find the show on Twitter and at

Welcome to Geekdom #007: Star Wars Rebels

I'm back again on Welcome To Geekdom to talk about Star Wars: Rebels, an animated show that started really great and getting better all the time.

Jacob Tender returns to talk all about Star Wars Rebels.

I don't advertise it much, but I do have a feed for all of my podcast appearances outside of my own shows. Vain? Probably. Subscribe to Deanna's new show on iTunes or Overcast.

VBR #20: 'On My Bus, Nobody Goes To Sleep', with guest Danny Samet

Danny is the NICEST guy! He's also well traveled, committed, and hardworking. Ladies?

Danny Samet has toured with bands like Say Anything, Two Door Cinema Club, Moton City Soundtrack, Thrice, The Academy Is, and so many more. In just 5 years he's made a name for himself as a professional crew member and a great person to have on the road for weeks at a time.

Find the show on Twitter and on iTunes. If you'd like to sponsor the show, drop me a line here.

BF #13: I Have A Bad Feeling About This

Increase the auxillary thrusters and divert forward sheild power to the hyperdrive, we're podcasting with a higher frequency! No promises, of course, but this is one of two episode we recorded last week to make up for our long gap. Here we investigate one of the saga's most beloved phrases and conteplate the idea that Peter Cushing could be 2Pac'd for Rogue One.

In the twelfth episode of Bantha Fodder, Mike and Jacob follow-up the last episode with some (old) news regarding the possibility of Peter Cushing's likeness returning to the screen as Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin in Rogue One. Then they talk about the phrase that's on everyone's mind when things go terribly wrong.

Find the show on Twitter and at

VBR #19: 'Self-Hatred and Logistics', with guest Benjamin Liebsch

This has been a long time coming. Ben and I met at my dad's place where he and the rest of the guys on his tour stayed teh night before taking me on the road with them. We didn't get to talk too much on that trip. Honestly, I was a bit intimidated by him. His lyricism made the idea of him daunting to engage with. The sheer verbosity that his songs contain has always been a wonder to me. How nice it is now to talk to him about that, and so much more, in the longest episode of the show yet.

You, Me, And Everyone We Know called it quits for good this year. Ben, the frontman and songwriter for the project has since been hiding out amongst the rest of us normals while slowly working on something new. We discuss the end, the present, and the future of Ben's career, the American economy, and planet earth itself. Also, we tried really hard to talk about Westworld.

Find the show on Twitter and on iTunes. If you'd like to sponsor the show, drop me a line here.

Robbins Crossing Sessions, vol. 1

When I attended Hocking College for music industry management and production, my classmates and I worked collaboratively on a project that encompassed all of the skills taught to us over the past two years. Together, we booked a number of audio/visual sessions set in historic log cabins found on our campus in southern Ohio. We named the sessions after the village we filmed them in, Robbins Crossing. These are the complete recordings of those sessions that were never properly released in audio format.

Personally, I booked 3 of the 5 acts. Squid The Whale, Envoi, and Jane Smith came from all over the midwest to do this thing and I'm still super proud of pulling all of these artists together for remain unique performances, recorded for all of time. I also produced the artwork and branding for the project and conducted the interviews that occurred between sets for the video portion. Those are not included in this audio release.

It's interesting looking back at the project now, almost 5 years removed. In a lot of ways, what we were doing then is much like what Audiotree and Little Elephant are doing now. Granted, the production of Robbins Crossing was only somewhere between amature and professional and wasn't fully planned to perfection like most modern session-based projects, but I don't think it came out too poorly.

Fun facts surrounding Robins Crossing:

  • We recorded these sessions in late 2012. It was very cold so we brought electric heaters into the cabins to warm them up. This honestly didn't work too well and in the videos (namely Squid's), you can occasionally see the artist's breath. If not for subjecting our artists to frigid tempuratures for our enjoyment and personal gain, it would have been a miserable time. To be fair, there was pizza, hot chocolate, coffee, and a decent guarantee for the band to cash in at the bank.
  • This was Jane Smith's first ever solo performance with her solo material. I followed her after Belle Histoire disbanded and knew we had to be involved in the next step of her career. She was the first recorded and she was very nervous. Her session is my favorite.
  • Each session was recorded in a different cabin. In retrospect, this was a bad idea because the acoustics of each were drastically different. That's why Envoi's session has so much echo while Adam and Jane's came out much more even.
  • Evan Wenner was a student in our class who volunteered to soundcheck at least one session for us. We recorded "Sailboats" as a bonus track.

I've often considered remastering the sessions, but the wait to publish these sessions has been long enough. I hope you enjoy these tunes as much as we all did working on them.

Conor Grebel's Master Sky concept

Conor Grebel/Bedtimes || Master Sky

Conor Grebel/Bedtimes || Master Sky

As I've been reading through the Star Wars: Ralph McQuarrie archives these past few weeks, I feel as if I've been sucked back in to the space concept art black hole that consumed much of my young life. Conor Grebel is a photographer, illustrator, and animator known simply as Bedtimes. One of their more recent works is Master Sky, a study in space that captures the 60s and 70s retro-futuristic feel that I really appreciate.


Master sky is the space that exceeds our earthly atmosphere, the endless black that we gaze up at for a sense of perspective, humility, and creatively challenging thought. These frames are an expression of my mind pointing upwards, imagining the countless sights our race will never see, and happily chasing the answers that I will never know.

Check out Master Sky and more of Grebel's personal projects on their website.

The Shakermaker Podcast 7: "Bring It On Down" with guest Jacob Tender

Patrick Haynes had me on The Shakermaker Podcast to discuss a song from the first Oasis album. It was a lot of fun. The guy is a HUGE Oasis dork who does his research. If you love Oasis even half as much as he does, you'll love his show.

Jacob Tender guests on the seventh episode of The Shakermaker Podcast to discuss "Bring It On Down," the seventh track off of Oasis' debut, Definitely Maybe.

I don't advertise it much, but I do have a feed for all of my podcast appearances outside of my own shows. Vain? Probably. Subscribe to Patricks's show on iTunes or Overcast.

VBR #18: 'They Were Playing Second Of Four', with guest Johnny Minardi

Johnny Minardi is something of a legend in the alternative scene. He launched the careers of some scene favorites and aided in the release of countless more. He has scores of stories regarding the glory days of Fueled By Ramen as well as anecdotes from his various other positions throughout the music world. Listen to Johnny tell his tales as I work through a scratchy throat with gallons of ice water, I promise I don't speak much.

Johnny Minardi drops knowledge on the early years on Fueled By Ramen as well as his endeavors as a professional A&R. Hear more about how he launched the careers of bands like Gatsby's American Dream, Hidden In Plain View, The Academy Is...

Find the show on Twitter and on iTunes. If you'd like to sponsor the show, drop me a line here.

VBR #17: 'Dude, Not Ballin', with guest Mike "Gunz" Gunzelman

It took a while, but I finally got Gunz on the show. After a few weeks of rain delays and train crashes, the Idobi posterboy gives us the dish on his career in broadcast journalism.

Mike Gunzelman aka Gunz is a media personality and host of The Gunz Show on Idobi Radio. Having grown up in the industry by way of Blink 182, Geffen Records, Drive-Thru Records, and other early starters of the scene, Gunz made a name for himself early and continues to be successful with over 120,000 listeners every week. When off the air, you can find him on FOX, NBC, ABC, and more as a correspondent or studio guest on a variety of panels. We talk about how Gunz built his brand and what makes his show so entertaining.

Find the show on Twitter and on iTunes. If you'd like to sponsor the show, drop me a line here.

Donald Glover cast as Lando Calrissian in Han Solo stand-alone film

Donald Glover (Community, Atlanta, the rap game) has been officially cast as Lando Calrissian in the Phil Lord and Christopher Miller directed Han Solo stand-alone film set for 2018, a role long rumored and greatly anticipated.

The role of Han Solo himself was cast in May of this year with Alden Ehrenreich taking the part. While the film community celebrated this decision, I think it's safe to say that it's Glover that made the bigger wave among the popular crowd.

Lord and Miller via

We’re so lucky to have an artist as talented as Donald join us. These are big shoes to fill, and an even bigger cape, and this one fits him perfectly, which will save us money on alterations. Also, we’d like to publicly apologize to Donald for ruining Comic-Con for him forever.

The film still has no title, but will be the second stand-alone film in the franchise following Rogue One this December. Due to the newness of the stand-alone concept in the Star Wars universe, the success of Rogue One will surely determine the tone and budget for the next feature. It's my hope that the grittier tone of the first will allow for growth in the second. The idea of a prequel for an iconic character such as Han Solo makes me nervous, but it's a solid financial play. With the fate of Han Solo decided, it's only natural to give the audience a taste of his beginning.

For instance, the Millennium Falcon wasn't always Han's. He won it gambling with his "old pal Lando." If there is a God, there will be some footage of Donald Glover behind the controls before he has to hand it over to the smuggler. Seeing Gambino with the Calrissian signature moustache and cape will forever be a great moment.

Lately, Glover has been at work on his FX television series Atlanta and preparing to release his next Childish Gambino album Pharos. He is also slated to appear in the reboot of Spiderman in a role unknown to the general public.

BF #12: Comic Books Have Crawls

It's been a few weeks, but here we are, waxing poetic about the greatest science fiction saga of all time yet again.

In the 12th episode of Bantha Fodder, Mike and Jacob talk about traditions. Specifically "the crawl" and time jumps between the episodic films.

Find the show on Twitter and at

Substream’s 31 Days Of Halloween: ‘Halloweentown’

UTG's longstanding tradition of Halloween adoration and criticism continues at Substream this year with another round of 31 Days Of Halloween. This year, I contributed a piece on Halloweentown, a secretly and truly depressing Disney Channel Original movie. My thank you to Brian for letting me take part.

Read more: UTG's 31 Days Of Halloween: 'Alien'

Borrowed Time: a depressing short by Pixar animators

Through Pixar's Co-op program, animators Lou Hamou-Lhadj and Andrew Coats spent bits of spare time over the course of 5 years to create a six minute short telling the tale of an aged and depressed old-western sheriff.

Hamou-Lhadj from the making-of featurette:

A goal for us was to make something that kind of contested the notion of animation being a genre, and one for children specifically. We really wanted to make something that was a little bit more adult in the thematic choices, and show that animation could be a medium to tell any sort of story.

Although Pixar certainly doesn't shy from difficult themes of growing up, never before has a feature by their team reached such graphic proportions. Borrowed Time isn't a Pixar story, but it shares the level of animated excellence to compare to the best of them.

Coats to Cartoon Brew:

There were a lot of technical hurdles. There’s a team of people who are usually on one of our movies that we really didn’t have available to help on our team. So we had to build everything.

Of course through the Co-op program, they had access to the same resources they would have for a Pixar feature film: Something many independent animators would give plenty to have. I think it's wonderful that Pixar is so open to allow for more mature stories to be told and tied so closet with their kid-friendly reputation.

Rogue One Trailer #2

The second and final trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has arrived.

A few observations:

  • Mads Mikkelsen's role is much bigger than we previously anticipated.
  • As is Forest Whitaker's hair.
  • Jyn is likely imprisoned on Eadu, a new planet (likely cold in nature).
  • Scarif appears to be the sandy Asian-Pacific looking planet that appears on the posters.
  • Vader will have some interactions with key characters.
  • The tone doesn't seem to be as dour as the previous trailer. It's possible reshoots truly changed the vibe, but it's still a grittier Star Wars than I think we've seen yet.

Note that the new onesheet for Rogue One isn't far off from Phil Noto's concept back in April. Then again, how many ways can you go about a Star Wars poster?

Rogue One opens in theaters December 16.

VBR #16: 'I Would Just Like Band Pages', with guest Tyler Sharp

I almost took a job at AltPress out of high school, there have been times I regretted going a different route, but knowing what I know now, I'm glad I didn't make the move to Cleveland.

I love Alternative Press. I don't always agree with their cover stars, but I also don't know as much as I think I do about a lot of people in this industry. More than the content of the magazine itself, I love the people I've had the opportunity to befriend and work with there. Mike Shea was a strong influence on me coming into this world and Jason Pettigrew is someone I admire and argue the value of 00s soft rock with frequently. Tyler Sharp was one of the lastest to join their team that I've had the pleasure of meeting and working with on PR projects. Only this week did I find out just how much we have in common.

Tyler Sharp left his dream job at Alternative Press and I've been dying to know why. We talk about what it is that makes midwest kids blog so much, how he was able to write 8,000 news stories, canceled NBC program Heroes, and what Tyler plans to do now.

Find the show on Twitter and on iTunes. If you'd like to sponsor the show, drop me a line here.

Welcome to Geekdom #01: We Watch A Lot of TV

I was asked to be the pilot guest on Deanna Chapman's new show Welcome To Geekdom. We talked about TV and how we watch it in a cable cutter's world. Personally, I use Plex for most of my shows so I went into how that's helped me organize and stay up-to-date on my favorites. Of course we got into the weeds about shows we like what's on Netflix too.

In the first episode of Welcome to Geekdom, Jacob Tender joins to discuss how we consume TV. We cover Netflix, cable, and more.

I don't advertise it much, but I do have a feed for all of my podcast appearances outside of my own shows. Vain? Probably. Subscribe to Deanna's new show on iTunes or Overcast.