Monday, December 20, 2010

Vending Machine's "What is Nog" featured on BBC 6

Vending Machine Christmas song "Wot is Nog" (with Shelby Bryant) is getting some play on Thomas Ravenscroft BBC6 show. Woo - right after Led Zep!

Listen to the song now and then buy it from Bandcamp:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sing On | Robby Grant unveils his latest Vending Machine creation. | from

Photo credit: Jamie Harmon

[Read the full article at]

Buy the new record "Let the People Sing

Native Memphian and longtime local musician Robby Grant spent most of the 1990s touring with what is still probably his most widely known project, the funky alt-rock band Big Ass Truck. The band toured extensively throughout the U.S. (both as a headliner and an opening act for national acts like 311 and Ben Harper), released five studio albums, and made a brief appearance on MTV (back when that actually meant something) with the video for the song "Theem From."

By the late '90s, however, and despite Big Ass Truck's rigorous work ethic, Grant began to feel the need to stretch and experiment musically on his own.

"In between dates on the road, I started doing a lot of home recordings," Grant says. "Big Ass Truck was very much a democracy, and the music reflected that, which can make for some high and low points. At the time, I was really interested in four-track recording, which we didn't do a lot of in the band."

So Grant began producing what were essentially solo recordings under the name Vending Machine and released his debut album, Chamber From Here to There, using the new pseudonym in 2000. Still, it was originally intended only as a side project — until Big Ass Truck called it quits in 2001.

"We had a great time doing it, but when it ended, it felt like the right time for everyone," Grant says.

With Vending Machine now his main project, Grant cranked out three more full-length, home-recorded albums during the next decade: 2002's 5 Piece Kit, 2004's Kicked and Scratched, and the excellent King Cobras Do from 2007. Along the way, Grant, never short of creative energy, also joined Alicja Trout's noise-pop outfit Mouserocket, contributing his own songs and blistering guitar to both of that group's fine albums.

"I met Robby way back when he and Robert Barnett [Mouserocket drummer] were in Big Ass Truck together," Trout says. "I had asked Robert to play drums on some songs, and then I added Robby and Ron Franklin for the first version of a band ensemble of Mouserocket. The first thing I noticed was that his style contrasted with mine, which complimented the band, and everyone always commented on his solos. They were completely un-indigenous to the Memphis environment, just from outer space, and very jolting and fun too."

This week, Grant unveils his latest Vending Machine creation, a dark and engaging record called Let the People Sing. The album is Grant's second for the emerging Shoulder Tap Records label, which is based out of both Memphis and New York City.

Let the People Sing, as per the Vending Machine norm, was created almost entirely at home over the course of three years by Grant, with a handful of guest artists, including Trout, Barnett, Shelby Bryant, and John Argroves, contributing to a few tracks here and there.

"Bigger studios are great if you go in prepared," Grant says. "In the past, I've preferred to be by myself, because I write songs while I'm recording and that can take awhile. I don't think of myself as a perfectionist when it comes to stuff like that, but maybe I am. At home, getting it right sonically just takes a lot longer. I spend a lot of time listening to the Vending Machine stuff over and over, thinking things like, 'Could the bass be louder?,' followed the next day by 'Is the bass too loud?'"

Grant's children, Five and Sadie, also make appearances on Let the People Sing, and their contributions provide two of its most endearing moments (and welcome counterpoints to the album's otherwise dark tone): Sadie's sweet backing vocals on the playful Bryant/Grant composition "Naked as a Jaybird" and Five's original instrumental song "The Computer Thing," which is tacked onto the album's new-wave-ish title track.

"Playing music with my kids is incredibly meaningful," Grant says. "I want them to have a creative outlet, whether it's drawing, painting, screaming, or yelling. My wife is an artist as well, and we're hoping to give them the basics to get started on their own journey for whatever they want to do."

For this Friday's CD-release show at the Hi-Tone, Grant has assembled a dynamite backing band of local music scene veterans, including drummers Barnett and Argroves, guitar/keyboardist Mark Stuart (of the Pawtuckets and One Four Fives), and his brother, Grayson Grant, on bass.

"I have high hopes to do the next Vending Machine record with the full band," Grant says. "When I have shows coming up and I've got a band together practicing, it feels more like a group. We've been practicing once a week for a while and just started making fun of each other again — that's the first sign of a good live band."

[Read the full article at]

Monday, November 15, 2010

Out Now! Vending Machine - "Let the People Sing"


Some Vending Machine fun facts about the new “Let the People Sing” record:
Listen now:

Please "Share" the record and put it up on your Facebook, Twitter or whatever. Thanks!

Available on iTunes, eMusic, Mog and more in the next week or so!



Tuesday, November 09, 2010

New Vending Machine record available next week!

It's here! The Let the People Sing cover:!!::::!!.

Designed by artist extraordinaire, Tom Martin.

The first batch of CDs will include a poster you can color:


Monday, November 01, 2010

Vending Machine with Rock & Roll Recovery | Night after Thanksgiving at the Hi-Tone

Come see us the night after Thanksgiving (11/26/2010) at the Hi-Tone. We'll be playing a bunch of new and old stuff. I think we may have the new record for sale as well. Come get one for that special someone.

Opening will be Rock & Roll Recovery featuring force-of-nature, Adam Woodard backed by most of Star & Micey.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Download unreleased Vending Machine Track: "Pink Alligator, Blue Alligator, Red Alligator"

The new Vending Machine record ("Let the People Sing") is done. We're just working on some last minutes details before releasing it out into the wild.

In the meantime we will be sharing a few songs that did not make the final album for one reason or another.

The first one is called "Pink Alligator, Blue Alligator, Red Alligator". The song started out as a story my 4 year old daughter made up. The recording also features video-man extraordinaire, John Markham on harmonica. It was initially written using the SP-404 sampler and was mainly performed live. Check it:

Pink Alligator, Blue Alligator, Red Alligator by Vending Machine

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Who are the Chinese Lanterns and why are they playing Rock for Love 4?

Chinese Lanterns is the name we were going to use for the new 3 piece band featuring me, Alicja T and Five G. We had something come up earlier this month so we won't be able to do it exactly as planned. Five and I will be playing some new and old Vending Machine songs.

We did do a band pic though:

It will kinda be like this:

Check us out at Shangri-la on Saturday August 21st at 1230pm.

Here's the full Rock for Love lineup for that afternoon:

12:30 – 1:00 Chinese Lanterns
1:15 – 2:00 Burning Sands
2:15 – 3:00 The Near Reaches
3:15 – 4:00 Oracle and the Mountain
4:15 Amy LaVere

Great poster by Sasha Barr:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

"Naked as a Jaybird" video by Hotel Memphis and quick update on new record

Earlier this month Hotel Memphis (Mike Brown / Alan Spearman) asked Vending Machine to be part of their Hotel Memphis video series. We shot 2 concepts in one day. The first was John Argoves pedaling me around on a tandem bike (thx J. Markham). Although we got some good footage (a neighbor bike riding with his dog and another dude popping a wheelie for 30 seconds) the second concept won. See if you can guess where we shot this:

Check some of the other Hotel Memphis videos:
Harlan T. Bobo
The Warble
Brad Postlethwaite
Blair Combast

Also - the new record is pretty much done and mastered (one small tweak left). We're working on the art work in the next few weeks. Soon!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Vote for the Vending Machine Illustration by Kong Wee Pang. It's part of the Memphis Brooks Museum "Memphis Scene" Exhibition.

Vote for the Vending Machine illustration by Kong Wee. It's part of the "Memphis Scene" exhibition at the Brooks. More info:

Voting Instructions
1. Sign up for an account with Flickr
2. Login to Flickr
3. Visit our Flickr "Who Shot Rock" group
4. Explore our contestants
5. Click "Add to Faves" (top left corner of photo) to select the photo
6. You can vote for as many photos as you like - but the artwork with the most 'favorites' will be featured in the Memphis Scene at the Brooks!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Vending Machine live on WEVL from the "Sounds Like Memphis" series

Vending Machine live in the WEVL studio on the February 23, 2010 Memphis Beat program, playing a lot of songs from the upcoming Spring 2010 release "Let the People Sing." Part 3 of WEVL's "Sounds Like Memphis" series.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mouserocket live April 28th, 2010 after The Dead Weather at Minglewood Hall

Mouserocket is on directly following The Dead Weather in the 1884 Lounge at Minglewood. Probably around 11pm.

Check out this great "short film" featuring some suburbs and guns:

Friday, April 09, 2010

Regatta Show - Saturday April 17th 3pm

Alicja Trout and Robby Grant of Mouserocket will be playing the 7th Annual Maria Montessori School Regatta Concerts on Saturday April 17th. It is open to the public, BYOB and in the beautiful MMS amphitheater. 

The full lineup:

3pm: Alicja Trout and Robby Grant

Check out JPK and the 145s performance on WEVL from January:

There's a lot more going on at the Regatta. Check out the full list of events here. 


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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Album Coming Soon and a Free Download

The new Vending Machine record is close (very close) to done. We've been adding synth harps, singing backup vocals and doing some general prayer over the tracks. Hopefully it will be finished and ready for listening by the end of next month.

One song that didn't quite fit the record is "Misty Vapors". It's a collaboration with Shelby Bryant - he had a crazy loopy drum loop with keyboards and we added the vocals.  Enjoy:



everyone was in favor x2
of sending albert out to find out bout the misty vapors
have you read the paper?
said he'd be back sooner than later
and let us know about the misty vapors

albert come back home
and let it be known
that where we are will go
you will only know
and now you are the
misty vapors

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Now Hear This! Robby Grant

Link to this article on the Commercial Appeal

Now Hear This! Robby Grant

By Bob Mehr

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What Memphis movers and shakers are watching, reading and listening to:

Since emerging in the early-’90s, Robby Grant has proven to be one of Memphis’ more interesting songsmiths. A member of local orchestral-rock “supergroup” Mouserocket and the leader of his own avant-pop project Vending Machine, Grant has spent much of the past few months completing work on new albums for both groups. Vending Machine’s Let the People Sing and the still-untitled Mouserocket disc are both due later this year.

In the meantime, Mouserocket will be among the bands performing as part of the annual WEVL spring benefit concert Saturday at the Hi-Tone Café.

Grant took time to tell us about what’s been keeping him entertained and how he’s passing on some of his childhood favorites to his kids.

What are you listening to?

This group called Happy End. It’s a Japanese band from the ’70s. They were on the “Lost in Translation” movie soundtrack. I found one of their records and have been listening to that a lot. To me it’s kinda like ’70s California country-rock — but with all Japanese lyrics. The songs are great even though I can’t understand a word they’re saying. (laughs)

Also, I listen to (online radio station) a lot, and there’s this mix on there that has some ’70s singer-songwriter stuff. And there’s this one tune by (Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks’ pre-Fleetwood Mac outfit) Buckingham-Nicks called “Long Distance Winter,” which I’ve kind of been obsessed with. I’ve been trying to get Mouserocket to cover it but I don’t think they think it’s that cool. (laughs)

What are you reading?

A little while back I attended that presentation on (Kevin Ryan and Brian Kehew’s)“Recording the Beatles” book that the local Grammy chapter put on. I finally got the book last week, so I’ve just been poring over that and it’s incredible. I’ve been plowing through the technical side. People talk about gear all the time and I don’t know understand a lot of it. But when put in context of a Beatles song — since I know pretty much all their music — it’s kind of opened up a whole new world.

Also, through my kids’ school, they tell us about all the books they read in class and there’s a book called “A Short History of Nearly Everything” by Bill Bryson. That’s been on my bedside table for the last few months and I’ve been reading it.

What are you watching?

We’ve been watching “Big Love.” I definitely think it’s Bill Paxton’s best role since “Weird Science.” (laughs) We also watched the DVD of the Richard Donner cut of“Superman II” recently. That was one of my favorite movies growing up, and I was showing that to my kids. It’s definitely different, but it’s the same story.

And I went to the movies and saw the Terry Gilliam’s movie, “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus.” I have a love/hate relationship with his movies. Whenever I rent them I always fall asleep. But at the theatre, I stayed awake and I thought it was great.

Mouserocket performs Saturday at 9 p.m. as part of the WEVL Spring Concert, along with Jack O. and the Tennessee Tearjerkers and The New Mary Jane. Cover is $10. For more information call, 278-8663.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Vending Machine Matinee Show / Sunday February 28th 4pm at the Hi-Tone

Come out early on Sunday for a Matinee show at the Hi-Tone. All ages and only $3. We'll start at 4pm.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vending Machine on Sounds Like Memphis | February 23rd, 2010 at 1pm CST

Don't miss Vending Machine performing live on WEVL's Memphis Beat Tuesday, February 23rd at 1:00 pm CST. It's the final installment of the station's Sounds Like Memphis series, featuring live performances on air with videos of each show to follow on YouTube.

Listen at 89.9 FM or

Video of the performance to follow.

Parts 1 and 2 featured Harlan T. Bobo and John Paul Keith & The One Four Fives.

2 videos below - one of Harlan's performance in December and JPK's in January.

This project is funded in part under an agreement with the Tennessee Arts Commission and ArtsMemphis.

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