Thursday, December 17, 2009

Vending Machine's Favorite Things in 2009

Here's a quick countdown of the stuff (mainly music) I was into this year:

I listened to this mix way past summertime. Basically whenever it rained. Iain Matthews cover of "These Days" is tops. I'm also trying to talk Mouserocket into covering Buchingham & Nicks' "Long Distance Winner". Maybe we'll wear robes or something.

I read somewhere that they assembled this record from practice recordings.

237. Primer
I guess I'm late to the game on this movie (it came out in 2004). Ran across this on Netflix - Watch Instantly. It's one of those movies that's over before you almost figure out what happened.

Another record that came out a long time ago that I just heard for the first time this year. Was lucky enough to go see their final show in Cumberland Caverns (thx Winston) and haven't stopped listening to the record since. My favorite lyric: "my father came in from wherever he'd been and kicked my shit all over the room".

I obsessed over this book - so much so that an unnamed friend and I recorded a song called "Phil's Nickels" - listen here. It's told from Spector's perspective as he is finalizing his divorce from Ronnie Spector. (Don't play this one for the kids)

A great intro to a band I didn't know much about. Me and the kid covered "Anything Could Happen" in July at the Rock N Romp:

233. Eddy Suppression Current Ring and Magic Kids
Lumping these together only because they both have records out on Goner. I couldn't get enough of Eddy Suppression Current Ring's "Which Way to Go" from the second I heard it. I love the guitar playing.

Saw Magic Kids a few times this year. Every show was great.

Video of them playing in the rain:

Backyard party:

232. Dan Deacon at the Hi-Tone
Strangest and most surprising show I saw this year. I really like his last two records as does my oldest kid. I took him up to grab dinner while they were setting up and Dan Deacon graciously gave him a t-shirt and poster.
Five meets Dan Deacon

I went back later for the show and saw this:

231. Story from North America
Just watch it.

230. Sunday's on
Starting at 10am with JB's "Fistful of Records" show, WEVL's lineup is top notch. Other shows throughout the week are really good but the Sunday lineup has solidified over the past year (which coincides with when we can listen at the house). Heard Bob(by) Darin's 1970's record on JB's show. Another one of my favorite things from this year (check out the long pause before he grabs the harmonica):

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Vending Machine Christmas Songs Available for Download

Happy Holidays!

For the month of December we are making our original Holiday songs available for streaming and download. Download them at Bandcamp now (they're free but pay if you can).

Here's a quick rundown of the songs:

christmas magic mistletoe (*new this year*)
The best way to get mistletoe is get a boat and with a shotgun shoot to the top of the trees.

christmas limbs
Blinded by the North Star and then a transformed into a Christmas Tree.

wot is nog - w/Shelby Bryant
Have you ever wondered what is in egg nog? Old jelly rolls? Christmas lights? Find out what else!

santa and the mellow double guitar solo
What happens when santa gets back from delivering all the toys? It's simple, a huge elf party with santa playing a double guitar solo all by himself.

candy powered sled
A kid buys a sled from an electronics store at the North Pole that's got some cheap fuel.

fly on christmas dragon (with the yellow house singers)
Santa needs help. Someone call the Christmas Dragon.

Download from BandCamp!

You can also get "Wot is Nog" via iTunes, Amazon or Emusic.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Vending Machine featured in Starry Nights

Starry Nights starts this Friday in Memphis and will feature the Vending Machine/Shelby Bryant track "Wot is Nog" (buy now at iTunes). Also listen for a couple of vintage Big Angelic Truck (AKA Big Ass Truck) songs.

Check back here soon for yearly Christmas songs (link from 2007) from Vending Machine.

Also - become a Facebook fan for more frequent updates.

Some more info from the Memphis Means Music blog:

For anyone living in Memphis in the years 1994 to 1998 you will remember Starry Nights. It was a marvelous animated light show held every Holiday Season at Shelby Farms Park. It closed after 1998 but now – 10 years later it is coming back – bigger – better and ready to wow kids, of all ages. Starry Nights 2009 opens on Friday, November 27 and runs until January 2 – every night at Shelby Farms Park. It’s $20 a car – so load up the family and come be amazed.

Here's a small sampling of the other songs on the soundtrack. Some are from the 94-98 era and a few are newer:

Do You Hear What I Hear? - Big Angelic Truck (Big Ass Truck)
Holly Jolly Christmas - Big Angelic Truck (Big Ass Truck)
Feliz Navidad - Mariachi Guadalajara
Silent Night - Charles Billings
Rise Up Shepherd and Follow - Kallen Esperian
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer - Jason D. Williams
Little Drummer - Billy Gibson & Charlie Wood
Frosty the Snowman - The Bar-Kays
Away in a Manger - John Kilzer
Silent Night - Lily Afshar
Oh Holy Night - J.D. Reager
Deck the Halls - Jeff Hullett
Light One Candle - Cantor John & Linda Kaplan
Run Run Rudolph - Greg Hisky w/Jim Dickinson on Piano

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mouserocket playing the Goner Alley Party - Wednesday November 4th, 2009

Music at 6pm! Barboro Alley (behind Parking Can Be Fun downtown)
- Harlan T Bobo
- Mouserocket
- Magic Kids

Magic Kids

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Mouserocket, Two Way Radio and The Young Republic- Thursday Oct 1 @ Nocturnal Thursday Oct 1 @ Nocturnal

Come out tonight to Nocturnal.

Also - listen Thursday at 5:40pm to 730AM in Memphis. JD Reager and Robby Grant will be on the Chris Vernon Show.

Start Time: Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 10:00pm
End Time: Friday, October 2, 2009 at 1:00am
Location: Nocturnal
Street: 1588 Madison
City/Town: Memphis, TN

10 pm - the Young Republic
11 pm - Mouserocket
12 midnight - Two Way Radio

More info:

Kate Crowder of Two Way Radio on $5 Cover:

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Benefit for Shirley at the Lamplighter / Saturday September 18th and 19th

I'll be doing a one (or possibly two) man band show for this.

For the Love of Shirley
September 18th – 19th at the Hi-Tone Café

With Jack O and the Tennessee Tearjerkers
Snowglobe – Jeffrey James & the Haul
Greg Cartwright – Bullet Proof Vests
Impala – John Paul Keith & the One, Four, Fives
Vending Machine – The Angel Sluts

For the last 33 years, Miss Shirley Williams has worked as a bartender at Midtown’s Lamplighter Lounge (1702 Madison Ave.), serving pitchers of Pabst Blue Ribbon, her famous Shirley Burgers and hand-cut fries.

Five nights a week, for three decades, she’s also served as mother, sister, friend and confidante to thousands of customers, who have ventured in for a cold beer and a kind word.

Along the way, Williams has developed a clientele that includes musicians Alex Chilton and Jack White, authors Robert Gordon and Ace Atkins, filmmaker Craig Brewer, and the late Memphis painter Charlie Miller. The Lamplighter has appeared in numerous film projects, including music videos for Cat Power and the Country Rockers, and, most recently, in documentary films about Jack Oblivian and Jay Reatard.

The resolutely honest Williams has a tough side as well – she’s occasionally wielded a club at rowdy drunks, and, in a legendary incident that made the pages of New York Magazine, she banned photographer William Eggleston from the Lamplighter for years after he tossed one of her just-made cheeseburgers at her head.

Eggleston has a precarious relationship with the Lamp, one of his favorite haunts. In fact, he’s barred from entering. “I got really drunk one time,” he admits, “and I threw a hamburger at Shirley, who had just made it. But we’re still friends.”
Shirley concurs. “He calls me up every now and then, asks how I’m doing, and I say, ‘Good,’” she says, fond but firm. She is pleased to own an Eggleston photograph at home and proud of his success, but, like the Lamp’s regulars, her feelings for her famous neighbor are complicated. “I like Bill, but he can’t come in here. Will you be sure and tell him I said hello?”

– from New York Magazine, November 2, 2008.

Now Miss Shirley needs our help.

Faced with health problems in early August, Williams has been unable to make many of her shifts at the Lamplighter. Although she has some health insurance, she is faced with mounting medical expenses; simultaneously, her income is disappearing along with her connections to her work family.

That’s why some of Williams’ biggest fans have organized “For the Love of Shirley,” a two-night benefit at the Hi-Tone Café featuring many of Memphis’ finest musicians and the Lamplighter’s best customers, who will be performing gratis.

The $10 per night cover charge (with additional donations welcomed and appreciated) will go directly to Miss Shirley. Photographer Don Perry will be hosting a “Prom Picture Photo Booth” at the Hi-Tone as an additional fundraiser. The Hi-Tone will also be donating ten percent of all bar sales that evening, so be sure to lift many glasses to our favorite bartender.

Shows start at 9:00 PM both nights.

For more information, contact Scott Rogers at (901) 485-2851 or, Dan Holloway (901) 278-8663 or, or Andria Lisle at (901) 274-3186 or

Friday night Sept. 18th
Jack O. and the Tennessee Tearjerkers
Angel Sluts
John Paul Keith & the One Four Fives
Bullet Proof Vests

Saturday night Sept. 19th
Greg Cartwright
Vending Machine
Jeffery James & the Haul

If you aren't able to come to the shows, but you want to contribute anyway, just go to and buy a ticket. All proceeds go directly to Miss Shirley. Feel free to buy more than one.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mouserocket's "Fall Down South" on HBO's Hung this week

Listen for Mouserocket's version of "Fall Down South" on the new HBO series "Hung" this week. Episode 7 specifically. Our version is a cover originally done by Steven Calhoun.

Buy the song on iTunes!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Live from Memphis: Balancing Music and Life: A Survey

Live from Memphis has a new blog post about balancing music and life. Here are my answers to the survey. Read the whole post at Live from Memphis.

1. What do you find difficult about balancing your passion for making music and spending time with your significant other?

The fact that music isn't always pretty.

2. What are the upsides of being in a relationship as it pertains to making music?

Always something to sing about.

3. Do you ever feel that your art is relegated to being a "hobby"? Why?

No. If you define it as a "hobby" then you'd rather be watching a DVD.

4. Do you have any type of scheduled creative time where you are not to be bothered?

Right when I get up.

5. If you travel, how does your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend feel about you leaving town for gigs?

Webcams are cheap now.

6. Has your significant other ever found themselves in your music? How much do you write about him/her? What about your kids (if you have them)?

Yes. I name check them so it'd be hard to miss.

7. What are some of the difficulties you have found balancing your day job with making music?

Day job can follow you home.

8. Has a boss or coworker ever commented (negatively or otherwise) on your music or art?

Yes, but negative is the new positive.

9. Have your goals/ambitions/priorities changed as you have gotten older? In what way?

Don't care about fame. Just want to create what I want and for people that hear it to either really like it or really hate it.

Read all the responses at Live from Memphis.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Vending Machine performing at the Levitt Shell

Here's a clip of us playing last month at the Shell. Thanks to John Markham for the filming. We will be putting the rest of the clips up over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out.


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Videos from Live at 9

Check out the videos from our Live at 9 performance on Tuesday. See you Saturday.

* thanks to Schepo for transferring them from his DVR

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Rock n Romp / This Saturday July 11th, 2009

Come check out Vending Machine/Robby Grant this Saturday at the new, fantastic Levitt Shell in Overton Park.

We'll have sprinklers, baby pools, tents, beer, and water to keep you cool! Bring a blanket/chair and a snack to share. Please remember to stop by the registration table and make your $5 donation!

Monday, July 06, 2009

Vending Machine/Robby Grant on Live at 9 Tomorrow Morning

Tune into Channel 3 (WREG) in Memphis tomorrow and see Vending Machine perform a song in preparation for the Rock n Romp this Saturday.

You might be able to watch online here, but I can't guarantee it will work.

Here are some pics from practice tonight:


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vending Machine Solo | July 11th, 2009 at the Levitt Shell

I will be doing a solo-electric show at the next Memphis Rock n Romp at the Levitt Shell on July 11th. I think I'm playing first around 4pm. Come one, come all.

Look for a surprise guest on a few songs. More details on that in the next week or so.

Link for more info

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Some pics from recording

Working on the new record. Here are some phone pics from recording.

Robert drummin' it.

Quinn strummin' it.

Markham hummin' it.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A 'whoa' post on Live From Memphis

Below is a really nice blog post from the Thief in the Night blog on Should we be scared?

Check out the entire article at

Turns Out It Was Peach Cobbler

It’s no secret that I am a Robby Grant super-fan. I have all the Big Ass Truck action figures. I have a Vending Machine vending machine in my garage that is chock full of Mouserockets. I even have his rookie card from Fester. As a matter of fact I am sitting in a lawn chair across from the street from his house right now. It looks like his family is sitting down to eat. It’s hard to tell. These binoculars are foggy.

When you're as awesome as Robby Grant, you can expect to have LFM bloggers stalking you. (photo by Don Perry)

Everyone is looking for the genuine article, a song or a sound that defies all categorization and genre, free of influence and uncolored by convention. But this can cause problems. In an uncomfortable exchange that I had with a presumptuous, albeit very talented producer, I was unsuccessfully trying verbalize the sound of an airy, washed-out cymbal. When I asked him if he had ever heard a particular song by Jesus & Mary Chain, he tossed aside his computer mouse and replied, “Um, I am pretty anti-reference.”

While I got what he was getting at, the noble inflection got me thinking he was misguided at best and grossly naïve at worst. The thing is, there is no such thing as original music. Everything comes from something. The best painters, sculptors, scarf knitters are not always the ones that shun their predecessors. Christopher O’Riley is a classical pianist who recently released an album of Radiohead songs reinterpreted for solo piano. In an NPR interview with Terry Gross, he was asked what makes such a band, as songwriters, worthy of such attention and reworking. His reply was great. “The best musicians, period, are those that assimilate, refine, and regurgitate in a creative way everything they hear…so you have a musician, who is writing music that could not have been written at any other time in history and yet takes into account all that has come before it.” That is the thing that makes Robby Grant’s discography noteworthy. Grant embodies what O’Riley said about truly great artists. The best musicians are not reference-free. The good ones are the in-betweeners—the ones who recontextualize the familiar without being confined by it. You can hear the Beach Boys, the Beastie Boys, the Dead Boys, and any number of other boys in his music. It all comes from something. I’m not holding out for a reinvention of the wheel, I just want to see someone put a dope-ass rim on it.

Speaking of references, Grant, in all of his incarnations, is a virtual Cliffs Notes to Memphis’s musical past and present, from Alex Chilton’s hooky garage pop to The Grifter’s disjointed slack rock, from Steve Cropper’s single-string guitar stabs to Isaac Hayes’s lush textural funk, from Ross Johnson’s lyrical oddity to Amy LaVere’s whispery ballads, from Early 8-Ball & MJG's creeping bounce to Greg Cartwright’s spastic rock n’ roll, not to mention every Memphis teen’s homebrew four-track self-indulgence. He has even modeled some of Elvis’s mutton-chops at times. But don’t get me wrong, he is not simply a conglomeration of these people. While reflecting these artists, Grant has avoided the 800-pound honor badge of nostalgia that has kept this city anchored to its own out-dated identity.

I am not one to blow sunshine up a whole region’s ass and praise all that hails from it. Memphis has certainly contributed to the collective pile of shit-music out there. I’ve stacked a few turds myself. But we do have a strong handful of those artists who reflect and reinterpret with honesty and quirk with an exposition of one’s own abilities and identity without the bullshit posturing. Grant is one of them. You are never forced to consider his motives; the music is simply enjoyable, like the funny-looking kid with the harelip you knew from grade school—offbeat, unassuming, and ultimately endearing.

Until his next release, I am resigned to sit and wait, stroking the lock of hair I just dug out of his trash. It looks like the family is on to dessert. Apple crumb pie, I think. I’ve got a ladder. I’m going in for a closer look.

Check out the entire article at

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Mouserocket at Minglewood Hall with Obi Best

Mouserocket will be playing the first $7 show at the new Minglewood Hall. Come check us and it out.

Wednesday Feb 25, 2009 8:00 PM - All Ages Show -

With Obi Best -

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Best Live Review of a Vending Machine Show Ever

Via our friends at Live From Memphis. Written by Sloganeerist.

Reflections on a Recent Recital by The Vending Machine

By E. H. "Boss" Crump

[Cable Dispatch exclusive to Live from Memphis]

On a fine Saturday evening of late, I was fortunate to make good on a long-standing promise to accompany my friend, Dr. Francis Arthur James Clement of Mid-Town, on an outing to the Hi Tone Café. Our plan, should God will it: to enjoy a scheduled recital by popular musical ensemble, The Vending Machine.

This was to be my first of the group in the flesh, but not my first exposure to its music. On the contrary, their latest recording, King Cobras Do, has rattled the stylus of my parlor Gramophone for some months. Those readers who like-wise find themselves in possession of this pressing need not be reminded that, embedded in its grooved troughs, there exist one-dozen compositions of unwavering melodic beauty; no small feat for a group counting nary a single clarinetist in its employ.

Overcome with anticipation, my colleague and I set forth to arrive in time for the concert’s ten o’clock curtain, but were shocked to discover the establishment closed for business! On further inspection, a colorful window advertise-ment revealed the nature of our folly: We’d arrived a full twelve hours early! We had a good laugh, and ferried home to our respective dens for naps and tobacco, vowing to revisit our engagement later that evening.

Returning long after sundown, we encountered a scene of stark contrast to the one we’d witnessed that morning. The small venue was now chock-a-block with merry youngsters abuzz with irrepressible gusto, thirstily imbibing bottle upon bottle of the tavern’s selection of cold-served malts. Never the kind to turn our noses at the will of the common majority, the good Doctor and I bade the bar-tender fetch us two Pabst Blue Ribbons at once! He obeyed, and spirits in hand, we pushed forth through the exuberant hordes and secured quarter near the stage.

For my companion, Dr. Clement (himself an accomplished trombonist), music is both a passion and a pursuit. He is a follower and great admirer of Vending Machine’s focal artiste and song-writer, a Mister Robby Grant, late of Mid-Town. It is an admiration not without due cause. Mr. Grant (former, I am told, to the vulgarly named ensemble Big Ass Truck) is a gifted musician whose effusive, unconventional brilliance as a composer is matched only by his astoundingly effortless abilities as an instrumentalist. And make no mistake; I am not one to cavalierly bandy about flowery adjectives.

As the players took the stage and their leader conducted them into their first number (the marvelously agitated “Babies”) I was struck by the notion that Mr. Grant is a man who very much resembles the music he creates. His facial contortions, forceful squint and rapid cranial undulations serve to accentuate the delicate balance between order and chaos that his music so perfectly achieves. The next song, the peculiar and heart-raising “44 Times,” revealed a theme that would be under-scored repeatedly throughout the evening: that The Vending Machine is, first and foremost, an agglomeration of awe-some musical prowess. [... continued here...]

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Vending Machine (solo) and The New Mary Janes - Friday Jan. 23rd at the Buccaneer

I will be doing a short solo set at the Buccaneer this Friday night. I will probably start around 10p or so. The New Mary Jane consist of Vending Machine drummer (one of 'em) John Argroves and Dave and Scott from The Grifters (and other great bands).

Mouserocket played with them a year and a half ago and they were incredible. They even played a couple of old Grifters songs. Here's a video they did during Grifter days back for Banjo (one of my favorites that they also played that night):

Friday, January 02, 2009

Mouserocket on year end lists

The Mouserocket record, Pretty Loud, made a few year end lists:

Commercial Appeal:
"More an idea than a working band for much of their seven-year run, this local supergroup -- featuring members of Vending Machine, River City Tanlines, and Harlan T. Bobo's backing outfit -- finally put the finishing touches to their second full-length. Led by singer-songwriters Alicja Trout and Robby Grant, the band creates a twisting, dissonant merger of art rock and chamber pop, that's often willfully weird, but always engaging." - Bob Mehr
"The art rock quintet MouseRocket emerged in 2008 as something more than the esoteric side project it has been for most of its seven years. From the get-go the band has been a musical marriage between two of the city's most talented frontpeople -- Alicja Trout, known for rocking out with the Lost Sounds and the River City Tanlines, and former Big Ass TruckThe Mouserocket record, Pretty Loud, made a few year end lists:

Memphis Flyer:

"Alone or together, Robby Grant and Alicja Trout are two of Memphis' finest music makers. In their "other bands" (Vending Machine and River City Tanlines, respectively), Grant specializes in gentle, melodic homemade pop, and Trout plays guitar-god bandleader. Joining forces in Mouse Rocket, they meet halfway (the album title is truth in advertising), and it suits them both. The best local album of 2008 without a strong national profile." - Chris Herrington

"A local musician acquaintance recommended this album to me with the following caveat: "I don't normally like indie-rock-type stuff, but this album rocks." Well, I'm here to tell you that I do generally like indie-rock-type stuff and that this album is pretty spectacular. Pretty Loud is the finest collection of straight-ahead rock songs by co-bandleaders Alicja Trout and Robby Grant to date." - J.D. Reager

Mentions for Goner, Conaminated and Tic Tac Totally

Ratings and Recommendations by outbrain