Ben Allen

Our music editor Ben Allen was born one stormy evening in a quaint Northern California coastal village. Upon birth he was immediately exposed to the soothing analog sounds of artists such as Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles, Paul Simon, Captain Beefheart and Santana. As the lad grew, so did his appreciation for an assortment of abrasive hard rock. A pubescent flirtation with butt metal was shattered in the early 1990’s by exposure to Nirvana and other so-called “Alternative” bands. While in college, our protagonist became a DJ on a local station, and began work as a freelance music journalist. During this period he became entranced with artists such as Tortoise, Slint, Modest Mouse, Guided By Voices and Pavement. Currently Allen resides in Arcata, CA where he continues to obsess and salivate over new recordings by his favorite artists. He works with music industry people to ensure that Savage Henry’s contributors receive music and other promotional materials. He also writes a silly monthly list titled “Ben’s 10.”

Ben’s 10 Volume LXVII: Gambling Commercially and Artistically on Albums

Lou Reed – Metal Machine Music (1975) A double album of layered guitar feedback and noise which came out at the height of The Velvet Underground leader’s commercial success. Stevie Wonder – Stevie Wonder’s Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants (1979) Arguably the greatest two-disc concept album about photosynthesis. Neil Young – Trans (1983) Young thoroughly pissed off his …

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Ben’s 10 Volume XCVI: Throwing Bags of Grass at Musicians

If you’re Snoop Lion, Willie Nelson or Tom Petty, chances are all sorts of ganja is coming your way when you’re performing live. Well known musician/stoners receive an abundance of smoking supplies tossed in their direction as a sign of appreciation from their adoring fans. However, I’m more interested in artists who should have bags of grass thrown at them. …

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Ben’s 10 Volume LXIII: Songs For Wild Animals

I recently spent a month traveling to exotic locations throughout the world to meet and interview some wild animals about what’s been on heavy rotation on their iPods. Harriet Halibut The Beatles “Octopus’ Garden” “I like Ringo’s melody. Every time I end up in an Octopus’ garden I regret it. Those things are weird looking and freak me the fuck …

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Arcata Halloween with Teach Me Equals and Stand Still

Ben Allen, music editor Celebrate Halloween in downtown Arcata with two incredibly talented indie rock bands performing at The Jambalaya. A duo consisting of Greg Bortnichak and Erin Murphy, Teach Me Equals sound is created with cello, guitar, violin and vocals accompanied by numerous samples and electronic percussion. They have been described as “symphonic indie pop.” The band creates music …

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George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic Halloween

Ben Allen, music editor This Halloween George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic bring their brand of infectious funk to the Sapphire Palace at the Blue Lake Casino Hotel. Clinton’s musical career began in the early sixties with his doo wop group The Parliaments, before becoming a staff songwriter for Motown. The Parliaments went on to find enormous commercial and critical success throughout …

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Ben’s 10 Volume LXIII: Top Songs the Week My Senior Yearbook Came Out

The Billboard pop charts have sucked ass for years. The following are the top 10 songs in the country for the week of June 8, 1996. Mixed in with the Toni Braxton and Mariah Carey is an awful track by Metallica from arguably their worst album, Load. Also, who the hell is Tony Rich? Bone Thugs-N-Harmony “Crossroads” Mariah Carey “Always …

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Ben’s 10 Volume LXI: The Best Songs of 2015

I can hear it now. “Hey! It’s only May, why are you doing a year-end list already, you asshole?” It’s a very valid question, but one that can be answered with “there’s already been an abundance of great music come out this year, you dipshit!” Howlin Rain “The New Age” For some reason, Howlin Rain leader Ethan Miller has invited …

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Ben’s 10 Volume LIX: Great Albums For a Leisurely Breakfast

Cat Stevens – Tea for the Tillerman Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days Elliot Smith – Elliot Smith Fleet Foxes – Sun Giant Fleetwood Mac – Future Games Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back Miles Davis – Kind of Blue Neil Young – Harvest Tortoise – TNT Bob Dylan – Highway …

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Ben’s 10 Volume LVIII: Broke-Ass Rockstars

Sly Stone Years of bad financial planning and excess left the former 70s star practically homeless. In 2010 he was living in a van in Crenshaw, smoking PCP, and continually rambling incoherently. Courtney Love Love has claimed that somehow $530 million of her fortune from Kurt Cobain’s estate has been stolen. A more likely explanation would suggest she took the …

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Howlin’ Rain – Mansion Songs (ALBUM OF THE MONTH)

We last heard from Howlin’ Rain on 2012’s sprawling The Russian Wilds. It was an album written, arranged, and meticulously recorded over five years and executive-produced by industry icon Rick Rubin. While it lacked the copious amounts of cocaine and relationship turmoil, the record was equivalent to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours in its scope and ambition. Most songs stretched over the …

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