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From the power of music to murder in the Florentine countryside...

BC Radio Live: The Classic Crime, Bag of Toys, and Author Douglas Preston

BC Radio Live is the flagship program of the BC Magazine station on BlogTalkRadio. It's hosted by Phillip Winn, Eric Olsen, and Lisa McKay and airs weekly on Wednesday evenings at 9:00 p.m. Eastern. Shows are archived and available for streaming or download after the live broadcast. Our guests on July 16 were representatives from the bands The Classic Crime and Bag of Toys, and author Douglas Preston.

The Classic Crime is a five-piece band that hails from Seattle, Washington. Vocalist Matt MacDonald stopped by BC Radio to talk about the band's history and to let us know about their newest album on Tooth & Nail Records, The Silver Cord, which released today, July 22.

The band members have been together for about five years, with at least two of them having met in high school. The Silver Cord is their second full-length album (following Albatross and an EP entitled Seattle Sessions). Matt shared with BC Radio that The Classic Crime is grateful for the opportunity to create the music they want and perform it live for their fans. They're not in it for fame and fortune but rather subscribe to the philosophy that music has the power to change lives. “We have been given a talent to write and play music and it is my hope to give that to other people. [We want] to inspire hope in other people,” says Matt on the band's website.

He feels that The Silver Cord represents a new level of songwriting for the band and talked about the album's title, which is a literary metaphor for something that connects your physical life to your soul. Tune in to the archived show for some interesting conversation. The Classic Crime is spending the remainder of the summer on the Warped Tour and you can check their MySpace page for tour dates, more info on the band, and songs.

Bag of Toys is a four-piece band based in San Francisco, and BC Radio greeted lead guitarist Steve Cowgill, who joined us to talk about the band's most recent full-length album, Afternooner (which released on July 1). The band describes their sound as "acoustic surf-rock that doesn't suck." Steve talked about Afternooner and the songwriting process with BC Radio, saying that it's not a concept album with a heavy message, but rather is the outcome of the band's desire to write the kind of music they'd want to listen to at a backyard barbecue with friends.

This is good-time music for people who enjoy deft lyricism combined with an easy, toe-tapping sound. The band met through Craigslist, coming together in the summer of 2004, when they began to solidify their sound. Although their sound is more SoCal than San Francisco, Steve said they have no immediate plans to relocate. Fans will find them touring throughout the state and can check dates and listen to some tunes on the band's MySpace page.

Imagine fulfilling a lifelong dream of moving into a villa in Florence, Italy, only to find out that a horrific crime had been committed in the adjacent olive grove. This is exactly what happened to Douglas Preston, author of The Monster of Florence, a true life crime tale that is all the more compelling because of the author's personal connection to the murder investigation.

The titular Monster is the perpetrator of fourteen "lovers' lane" slayings in which young couples were dispatched in grisly, ritualistic fashion. Because it's difficult for young adults to find privacy in the typical Italian household, it's not uncommon for couples to go parking, and it was in this setting that the killer stalked his victims. The killer has never been caught, and Preston had a good deal to share with BC Radio about the efficacy of the Italian police force that investigated the crimes. Preston and his friend and co-writer, Italian journalist Mario Spezi, found themselves caught in a web of suspicion themselves, which resulted in Preston's expulsion from the country and Spezi's imprisonment. BC Radio was careful not to divulge any spoilers, and this conversation is likely to whet your appetite for the book.

About Lisa McKay

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