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Apart from the teetering stacks of back issues of the City Paper in the closet down the hall from my cluttered desk, one of the best sources for local band scene information and action for this returning Charlestonian has been the Chord & Pedal website at www.chordandpedal.com. Founded and maintained by local musician/artist Kevin Hanley, the site's small archive of pictures, sounds, links, and event listings served me well at the top of year as I took my first stab at figuring out who's who and what's where.

"It's been around now for six years and no one, including myself, knows exactly what the hell it is," Hanley says of the site. "The site gets a million hits plus a year. I'd love to get the word out that I'm in the market for advertisers ... conflict of interest anyone?"

Hanley's experience this year as executive director at Redux Contemporary Art center and direct association with a number of local bands (The Specs, Mount St. Stereo, and others) has been celebrated, written about, debated, and further celebrated. His knowledge of what's really happening just below and above the radar is reflected in the manner with which he presents information on the main pages and his comments as moderator on the popular message board. No one may know exactly what it is, but I know it's been helpful and amusing.

Earlier this month, Chordandpedal.com unofficially re-launched with a newly-designed and expanded home page and a cleaner, spam-free message board ... well, cleaner than it used to be, as some of the posts include as many juvenile inside cracks, cheap shots, and bad jokes as ever.

"The board was 'in hiding' because of the spam," says Hanley. "It was getting way out of control, but now it is 100 percent spam-free. There will soon be a lot more features added as well."

Currently, Chordandpedal.com's home page includes a link to a new, independently-produced music video for the songs "Under the Gun" by The Ex-Lovers (featuring former Charleston rock dude Hart Littlejohn), an announcement on a new downtown art display from Philip Estes (of Genrevolta and Death Cheetah), a mix of news on the recent Sawaguzo! Festival, a link to the newly-christened Slowrunner (former the Michael Flynn Band), and a few choice show previews.

There's also news on the much-anticipated "3rd Annual Chord & Pedal Holiday Pageant" to be held on Sat. Dec. 17 at the newly-opened Map Room in West Ashley featuring live performances by a slew of original local acts, including The Defilers, Philip Estes, Cary Ann Hearst, Bill Carson, Explorers Club, L. Brown Odyssey, White Boy Crazy (or as 96 Wave calls them, "Crazy White Boy"), Leslie, The Specs, The Dellortos, Eleazar Cruz, Clint 4, New Music Collective, The Biv, The Green & Bold, Maniquinn, and Hart Littlejohn, among others -- many of whom previously participated clad in full seasonal attire and costumes. It's a long list, but it's only a slice of the local scene; hippie collectives, frat-strummers, cheesy cover bands, and groove-oriented noodler groups are all seemingly disqualified ... unless they get in on that new advertising opportunity.


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