Archive for April, 2018

Review: Ocean Alley – Chiaroscuro

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Ocean Alley – Chiaroscuro
Track Listing:
1.) Corduroy 
?2.) The Comedown
3.) Happy Sad
4.) Confidence
?5.) Knees
6.) Rage
?7.) She’s Always Right
8.) Frostbite
9.) Overgrown
10.) Bones
11.) Flowers and Booze
12.) Man You Were Looking For

The Pier Album Rating:

Release Date: March 9th, 2018
Official Website: Ocean Alley Website

Artist Background:
Ocean Alley is a 6-piece out of Australia that merges reggae and psychedelic rock. The Sydney-based band typically balances back-and-forth between dreamy, laid-back songs and dark, gloomy jams. Prior to the group’s sophomore release Chiaroscuro, Ocean Alley had racked up well-deserved hype from their debut album Lost Tropics (2016) and two EPs Yellow Mellow (2013) and In Purple (2015). The Aussie band carries their studio success on to the stage, delivering chilling live performances night in and night out. Ocean Alley makes their first trip to North America in spring 2018, performing at California Roots Music Arts Festival, then continuing a headlining tour across the US and Canada.

Album Review:
At first glance Chiaroscuro, the title of Ocean Alley’s sophomore album, may seem like some bizarre, unpronounceable gibberish. Those who actually paid attention in art class, may recognize chiaroscuro as an Italian term that describes the interplay of light and dark, and its ability to create the perception of depth. The title is fitting for an album that swivels back-and-forth between songs of bubbly exuberance and bleak depression. Ocean Alley has an uncanny ability of seesawing between dark and light, often times within the same song.

Ocean Alley originally took their music in a darker direction on their seriously impressive 2015 EP In Purple. However, their debut album Lost Tropics (2016) underwhelmed as an entire collection of music, and proved the band still had room to grow. Chiaroscuro feels exactly the opposite. The 12-track album showcases their breakthrough psych reggae rock sound, honed songwriting skills, and their overall band cohesion.

Chiaroscuro begins with a dark, eerie and enchanting, one-minute guitar intro on “Corduroy.” Entering his hazy conscious, Baden Donegal (lead vocals/rhythm guitar) sings, “Feels like we’re floating…This is just a space town, soon we gotta come down.” Relying on an Ocean Alley signature, the song finishes with a thunderous guitar solo, which leads into the appropriately named song “The Comedown.” The track perfectly encapsulates those hungover, next day blues with its deliberately slack pace. “Happy Sad,” a 5-minute hit from the album, slowly builds itself up, before ending in a passionate outburst.

“Confidence,” one of the lead singles off of Chiaroscuro, is almost comically shallow in its lyricism. “It’s all about confidence baby, she was a confident lady, and I know she’s driving me crazy,” rhymes Donegal. But putting that aside, “Confidence” has an inescapable catchiness. It’s a song you simply can’t avoid coming back to. 

A repetitive theme in Ocean Alley’s lyrics is the idea of finding solitude. On “Knees,” Donegal sings, “Cuz’ I’m only a man, and I think I need some time to breathe.” “Knees” is that track that you underestimate upon first listen, but later come to realize its impassioned beauty. On “Overgrown,” Donegal pleads for his isolation once again, singing, “So please, let me be, on my own, overgrown.”

Chiaroscuro is rounded out by other top tracks like “Frostbite” and “Flowers and Booze.” The former stokes the imagination of a dark, psychedelic winter, while the ladder is a rosy song that marks the most upbeat number on the album. The only track I could never fully get behind was Chiaroscuro’s closer “Man You Were Looking For,” a slow, acoustic ballad lacking the zest that exists throughout the rest of the album.

Chiaroscuro exhibits the group’s superb interplay with one another, and their ability to convey themes of darkness in a genre often riddled with false positivity and canned “good vibes” lyrics. Musically, Ocean Alley has created a winning formula: fiery, heartfelt vocals, riveting guitar fills and solos, reggae-inspired organs, and a top-class rhythm section. Chiaroscuro largely maintains the reggae rock essence that they first came up on if they expand on the formula above, we could be watching the development of one of the next major reggae rock bands around.

Written Reviewed By: Brian Winters

[Editors Note: All reviews are reflective of the album in it’s entirety, from start to finish. These reviews are the honest opinion of each writer/reviewer expressing their feedback as a genuine fan of the music. Each star rating reflects their review of the album, NOT the band. Music is subjective. Regardless of the review or star rating, we encourage you to listen to the music yourself form your own opinion. Spread the awareness of all music in its art contribution]

Watch: Ocean Alley – “The Comedown”

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 17th, 2018 at 5:00 pm and is filed under Album Reviews, Reviews.
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JB’s Boathouse Grill to open at Tan-Tar-A

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From “Becoming Margaritaville: Tan-Tar-A’s Renewed Restaurants To Open For Memorial Day

The Margaritaville look-and-feel launches at Tan-Tar-A this year at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri as the resort undergoes a two-year rejuvenation.

One of the biggest stories of 2017 was the purchase of the historic Tan-Tar-A Resort by Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville resort brand.

This year, visitors to the transitioning resort will feel the casual, nautical Margaritaville vibe beginning to take over, as the resort’s restaurants—now rebranded—welcome guests, and renovated rooms bring a feel-good, breezy style to the iconic Lake of the Ozarks resort.

“In the next couple of months, our guests will see some distinct changes to Tan-Tar-A,” said Ann Walters, Director of Sales for the property. She says guests and the Lake community have been enthusiastic about the changeover, and guests in 2018 will enjoy plenty of improvements.

The new flagship, waterfront restaurant—Landshark Bar Grill—is still in the planning stages, but Walters says the other restaurants will reopen by Memorial Day. The most buzz has been about the former Black Bear Lodge, which is reopening as JB’s Boathouse Grill. “The restaurant has a nautical theme, with bright blues and crisp whites,” Walters said. She added, “JB’s Boathouse Bar will offer 12 beers on tap, featuring LandShark Lager, local brews, and the classic favorites. JB’s Boathouse Grill will be open for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner year-round.”


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Video Diary from Caroline Jones’ tour with Jimmy Buffett

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Caroline Jones has posted a video diary from some of the April shows on tour with Jimmy Buffett. She has a new album called “Bare Feet” that is available at Amazon.

From Billboard: “Caroline Jones Talks Singing With Jimmy Buffett, New Album Bare Feet

Caroline first performed with Jimmy Buffett at the Trying to Reason Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert in Tallahassee FL on November 19, 2017. Their live duet of Buffett’s “Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On” was subsequently released to benefit Singing for Change.


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Jimmy Buffett and The Eagles perform in Orlando

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Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band opened for The Eagles last night at the Camping World Stadium in Orlando FL. Buffett last opened for The Eagles during the The Long Run Tour in 1980.

The set list from the show is now available. Caroline Jones opened the show with her own set. She came back and joined Buffett for “Come Monday” and “Margaritaville”.

The Eagles performed 27 songs with band members Don Henley, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmit, joined by Vince Gill and Deacon Frey filling in for his late father Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey. See the set list for the songs that were performed.


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Huey Lewis cancels 2018 Tour Due to Hearing Loss

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Huey Lewis and The News have cancelled all of their 2018 performances including shows that were scheduled with Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band at Fenway Park in Boston on August 9th and the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas on October 20th.

Announcement from Huey Lewis:
Two and a half months ago, just before a show in Dallas, I lost most of my hearing. Although I can still hear a little, one on one, and on the phone, I can’t hear music well enough to sing. The lower frequencies distort violently making it impossible to find pitch. I’ve been to the House Ear Institute, the Stanford Ear Institute, and the Mayo Clinic, hoping to find an answer. The doctors believe I have Meniere’s disease and have agreed that I can’t perform until I improve. Therefore the only prudent thing to do is to cancel all future shows. Needless to say, I feel horrible about this, and wish to sincerely apologize to all the fans who’ve already bought tickets and were planning to come see us. I’m going to concentrate on getting better, and hope that one day soon I’ll be able to perform again.

Sincerely Huey


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These Creepy Ocean Animals Will Make You Say “Nope”

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We’ve got some news to share: while Friday the 13th only comes around a few times a year, these ocean-dwelling animals exist as their creepy selves all year round. From a crustacean the size of a small cat to a squid with the word ‘vampire’ in its name…you’re in for a frightfully disturbing read if you haven’t seen these creatures before.

Giant Isopod

giant isopod - Expedition to the Deep Slope 2006, NOAA-OEgiant isopod - Expedition to the Deep Slope 2006, NOAA-OE
© NOAA-OE: Expedition to the Deep Slope, 2006

  • Scientific name: Bathynomus giganteus
  • If you get the heebie jeebies from creepy-crawly things…um…don’t look. This enormous crustacean is actually cousins with land organisms like the pillbug (or roly-poly), and over time, it’s thought to have adapted to protect its body from the alarmingly high pressure levels that manifest with the deep sea.

Vampire Squid

vampire squid - mbarivampire squid - mbari

  • Scientific name: Vampyroteuthis infernalis
  • Apparently, the literal translation of this species’ scientific name is “the vampire from hell.” So we included it in this post, for obvious reasons (cue creepy vampire-esque musical accompaniment). You may be shocked to learn that this animal isn’t all that vicious or hellish after all. Its primary source of food is actually tiny drifting particles, called “marine snow.” Other than that, it pretty much floats along slowly and minds its own business.

    Goblin Shark

    Goblin Shark - Nat Geo KidsGoblin Shark - Nat Geo Kids
    © National Geographic KIDS

  • Scientific name: Mitsukurina owstoni
  • With an extremely goblin-like snout that extends far beyond its mouth, this creepy species has an alarming set of chompers. Ligaments attached to the jawline enable it to stretch out and extend its mouth, grabbing its prey quickly and pulling it back into its jaws before it’s able to escape.


Screen Shot 2018-04-13 at 10.42.15 AMScreen Shot 2018-04-13 at 10.42.15 AM
© A. Corbis/Dorling Kindersley DKfindout!

  • Scientific name: Chauliodus sloani
  • With an elongated lower jaw, this fish is a sight to see. Brilliantly frightening, the sides of its body are lined with luminescent organs. Its trademark (much like the angler fish) is a light-producing photophore at the tip of its lengthy spine, which produces light that flashes on and off to attract unsuspecting small prey.

Frilled Shark

frilled shark - Awashima Marine Park:Getty Imagesfrilled shark - Awashima Marine Park:Getty Images
© Awashima Marine Park/Getty Images

  • Scientific name: Chlamydoselachus anguineus
  • If sea monsters exist, they probably look a little something like this. With 25 rows of piercing teeth, this ancient creature also has ‘fluffy’ edges around its gills…but we don’t recommend trying to cuddle it. It’s probably not the best idea, unless you’d like a serrated chomp mark comparable to nothing you’ve seen before. Not to worry, though; these sharks are typically bottom-dwellers, so the likelihood of running into one on the shoreline is slim to none!

Terrible-Claw Lobster

terrible claw lobster - Tin-Yam Chan:National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelungterrible claw lobster - Tin-Yam Chan:National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung
© Tin-Yam Chan/National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung

  • Scientific name: Dinochelus ausubeli
  • Nothing makes you say “nope” quite like a lobster that seems to have a chainsaw for an arm. However, you may be surprised to learn that this creature, in all its 31mm of bodily length, is actually fully blind. So, while it may appear horrifying in photos, the tiny specimen could likely do you no more harm than a typical prawn. Why exactly this species presents with one utterly distinct appendage is still up for debate in the scientific community, but one thing’s for sure: they’re a jaw-droppingly brilliant sight to see!


Chimaera - NOAA Ocean ExplorerChimaera - NOAA Ocean Explorer
© NOAA Ocean Explorer

  • Scientific name: Chimaeriformes
  • While the cartilaginous anatomical makeup of this shark may seem similar to its counterparts within the shark and ray family, its appearance can take many people aback. After all, it’s nicknamed “ghost shark” for a reason…they’re definitely fascinating, but they appear like phantom swimmers, lurking along the sea floor of the deep, dark sea.

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Buffett adds Phoenix AZ to SOASOAS Tour

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Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band are bringing the Son of a Son of a Sailor Tour to the Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix AZ on Saturday, Oct. 13. This is Buffett’s first appearance in Phoenix since 2013.

Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, April 23, at, the venue box office and 800-745-3000.


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A Trashy Way to Go

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On February 27th, 2018, a sperm whale washed ashore on the beach of Cabo de Palos in southern Spain. The whale was young and thin, measuring about 33 feet in length. Beach goers curiously gathered around, considering how the young whale met this fate.

In the weeks since then, experts from the El Valle Wildlife Recovery Center conducted a necropsy of the sperm whale, recently announcing the determined cause of death. The young sperm whale was found to have 64 pounds of plastic inside its stomach; none of these plastics were digestible or passable. The unfortunate result was an infection of the abdomen called peritonitis. Recounted items unearthed from its gut included a plastic bag, a jerry can and derelict fishing gear.

The data from this heartbreaking event reinforce what we unfortunately already know all too well. Research published by Ocean Conservancy scientists and colleagues in 2016 revealed that abandoned fishing gear is the deadliest form of debris followed closely by plastic bags. To date, more than 800 species of marine animals have been affected by debris. And with eight million metric tons of plastic entering our ocean annually, fatal encounters like this one in Cabo de Palos will only continue unless we stem the tide of plastic pollution today.

Where does all the plastic go once it enters the ocean? The jury is still out on whether it ends up in the deep sea or on the coastlines, which could bring this particular incident to the spotlight. Sperm whales feed in the deep sea, sometimes reaching 10,000 feet below the surface. They are known to have huge sucker marks from tall-tale battles with the elusive giant squid, which (usually) make up 80% of the sperm whale’s diet. This particular whale’s foe in the deep blue is no mystery to us: man-made plastic is guilty as charged.

Join us in the fight for Trash Free Seas®. There are many small actions you can take to make a tangible difference for our ocean. Whether it be participating in a cleanup, reducing your use of single-use plastics or reaching out to your local representative with your concerns about marine debris—what you do matters. As you head outdoors for the nice weather in these coming months, take a few minutes to pick up any trash you see at your local park or beach. Keeping track of the debris you find with Clean Swell will help inform policy, science and industry solutions. Together, we can turn the tide of plastic pollution for our ocean and the lives that depend on it.

The more you NOAA: NOAA Fisheries is committed to the conservation and management of sperm whales and continues to take many targeted actions to recover their numbers, including responding to entangled or stranded sperm whales.

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Greenhouse Gases, the Queen of England and Narwhals

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Just last month, the International Maritime Organization, the United Nations agency tasked with regulating global shipping, celebrated its 70th anniversary at its headquarters in London, with a ceremony that included a dedication by Her Majesty, the Queen of England.

Here are five things you need to know about the IMO and our work to protect our blue planet:

  1. More than 80% of global trade is carried by the international shipping industry, and the IMO regulates all aspects of global shipping, ranging from ship design to pollution. The IMO has 173 member states and three associate states. The Marine Environment Protection Committee was established in 1973 and is tasked with coordinating global policy on preventing and controlling pollution from ships.
  1. Ocean Conservancy’s Arctic program is working at the IMO and Arctic Council to develop a policy that will ban the use of heavy fuel oil (HFO) by vessels in Arctic waters. A spill of HFO has been identified as one of the largest threats to the Arctic marine environment and emissions from HFO use are high in black carbon, a climate forcing agent that accounts for 7-21% of shipping’s climate warming impact. The IMO has previously banned the use of HFO in Antarctic waters.
  1. Global shipping accounts for nearly 3% of all greenhouse gas emissions but was NOT included in the landmark Paris climate agreement, the most recent component of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Our colleagues at the Clean Shipping Coalition are working at the IMO to ensure adoption of a plan to immediately reduce these emissions, which without further action could grow to become 17% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
  1. Small island nations such as the Marshall Islands are helping to lead the charge at the IMO. Due to sea level rises associated with climate change, the difference between a 1.5 degree global temperature rise and a 2 degree temperature rise may be the key to the ultimate survival of these countries. As such, 44 nations have already signed onto a declaration calling for the IMO to adopt an ‘ambitious’ greenhouse gas strategy in line with limiting global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees.
  1. Ocean Conservancy is currently participating in the IMO negotiations and, along with our conservation and indigenous community partners, is calling for a strategy that ensures shipping regulation is part of tackling climate change and preventing the planet from warming more than the ambitious 1.5 degrees Celsius and remains well below the 2 degree ceiling established in the Paris climate agreement. Furthermore, we believe that any adopted IMO strategy must include immediate and long term measures, including the possibility of full decarbonization by 2050.

As Ocean Conservancy has a history of successful work at the IMO we are cautiously optimistic that this international body will do the right thing. Due to the complexity of regulating greenhouse gas emissions at the global scale, nations should work to implement strategies to achieve short-, mid-, and long-term goals, with an aim of having a complete path to sustainability adopted by 2023.

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Behind the Scenes with NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer

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Today, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer, is setting out to explore corals, shipwrecks and much more on the Gulf of Mexico seafloor, and they’ll be livestreaming their discoveries. To get a behind-the-scenes look at the work NOAA does on these missions, a few of us from Ocean Conservancy toured the Okeanos Explorer while it was docked in Pascagoula, Mississippi.

Just a day away from embarking on their 23-day-long expedition in the Gulf of Mexico, the vessel was alive with movement. We watched people weave in and out of the ship’s narrow hallways, and quickly climb up flights of stairs before darting out of view. Chatter echoed around us against the backdrop of wind and waves and seagull calls. After getting a peek into mission control, and an up-close look of the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Deep Discoverer, we had a chance to talk to Brian Kennedy, the expedition coordinator, about his role aboard Okeanos Explorer, his hopes for the upcoming expedition, and the importance of NOAA’s deep ocean exploration mission.

Photo Mar 22, 2 58 33 PMPhoto Mar 22, 2 58 33 PM
© Rafeed Hussain

Rachel Guillory: So, yall are gearing up to start your mission today. What does coordinating this kind of a mission involve?

Brian Kennedy: Well, usually NOAA has identified an area of the sea floor that is underexplored or maybe other federal agencies need more information about an area to make informed management decisions.

Then we open it up to a community cruise planning process. People suggest dive sites, and I’ll figure out all the logistics. Then I get to sail with the crews and execute the plan we came up with, barring weather delays, mechanical problems and other things that we didn’t plan for, but inevitably occur.

Guillory: Is there anything in particular that you are excited about seeing during this upcoming mission?

Kennedy: The cool thing about the ship is that we’re always going somewhere new. Almost every time we put the ROV down, it’s to visit an area of seafloor that no human has ever seen before. There is always that thrill of discovery, that expectation of, “what are we going to see today?” We routinely see species that might be new!

Guillory: What was your favorite highlight of the December mission in the Gulf of Mexico?

Kennedy: Well, we found a whole lot of chemosynthetic habitat. These are natural areas where, in cold seeps, methane bubbles out of the seafloor and you get these vibrant chemosynthetic communities. Those are always exciting because you’re seeing this little oasis of life interspersed in long stretches of mud or silt. Every time we discover one of those, we’ve found a whole new ecosystem that no one’s ever seen before.

Photo Mar 22, 1 34 34 PMPhoto Mar 22, 1 34 34 PM
© Rafeed Hussain

Guillory: You’re the first pair of eyes on certain parts of the seafloor.

Kennedy: Absolutely. That’s really the goal of the ship: we’re a hypothesis-generating ship, not hypothesis-testing ship. So we don’t go out there with a specific research objective. We go out there to collect as much data as we can and disseminate it as widely and as quickly as possible to help spark ideas for researchers. At the same time, this first look at unexplored areas often provides critical information for ocean resource managers.

Guillory: My favorite thing about the Okeanos Explorer is hearing the excitement and enthusiasm from some of the scientist narrators during the livestream.

Kennedy: One of the great things about this vessel is the education outreach component. Everything we do is livestreamed so people can really share that moment of discovery with us as we’re exploring. It really is an amazing thing to see something come across the screen and know that it’s very potentially a new species or that no one’s ever seen that organism before in that location.

Guillory: It’s really a privilege to visit a NOAA research ship– not something everyone gets to do. What role does NOAA play in our daily lives?

Kennedy: NOAA is so integrated in so many things; we’re always working with different agencies and partners! NOAA in a lot of ways is that silent partner that most people don’t hear about because we’re not doing flashy work necessarily, but focusing on a steady, daily grind. When you think about the harmful algal blooms predictions, NOAA does that. NOAA is even responsible for space weather prediction, which most people don’t know about! When people first wake up, they check the weather. Even if you’re looking at the Weather Channel or Weather Underground or Accu Weather, much of the raw data and all the weather satellites are all maintained by NOAA. From the sea to space, NOAA affects people’s daily lives.

Photo Mar 22, 1 45 57 PM (1)Photo Mar 22, 1 45 57 PM (1)
© Rafeed Hussain

As NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer gets ready for its next expedition, the conversation with Brian not only highlighted just how much there is to explore in the open ocean but also why NOAA is so critical to understanding our oceans.

April 20th marks eight years since the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster began. The aftermath of such a terrible tragedy revealed to us how little we actually know about the Gulf ecosystem. Without a baseline understanding of the Gulf’s marine life prior to the disaster, it is challenging to fully measure injury, restore those species and gauge whether or not they are recovering. One of the best ways to restore the Gulf beyond the shore is through exploring those unknowns, through expeditions like NOAA’s Okeanos Explorer, which focus on research, education, and above all, the pursuit of knowledge.

Join us all month long as we follow the Okeanos Explorer mission in the Gulf of Mexico on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, and visit their website.

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