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With his unique drums-and-guitar setup and already-massive repertoire of lo-fi pop gems (over 400!) 27-year-old Clarke Howell is one of the Western U.S. underground’s best-kept secrets, but with his first proper LP The Well-Rounded Clarke and the Himselfs out, another on the way and two tours with Built to Spill under his belt that ought to change soon.
Gustav Ejstes of Dungen is back in the US after a five year absence, with a new record and a short tour.
The Australian musician continues to step out from the shadow of The Go-Betweens on a new solo set, Songs to Play.
Scott Lucas talks about the new Local H record, then plays a show at Minneapolis’ Triple Rock.
“It’s [spaghetti western soundtracks] just breathtaking music regardless of the context it sits in or the film genre it’s associated with. And for that reason I thought it would be cool to see if I could mold a bit of its essence to something dance-y and opposite”.
Nerding out on music and writing with the Bitch Magnet guitarist and author of the new punk time capsule Your Band Sucks.
We have a conversation with The Pre New’s mastermind, Jamie Fry, and discuss his illustrious past and how it relates to his newest project.
“Sometimes people take what I say too seriously on social media, but I’d like to think this shows another side to Northern Star and the personality and train of thought behind it.”
It’s like Twisted Sister – a “Sister Fister” is a sister who fists. We’re not saying it’s RC, but…
“When I found music it was different, it added an extra “something” that gave me much more excitement and freedom. Before shoegaze, Sonic Youth was the band that introduced me to all this noisy experimentation with guitars, so that was what opened the gates to a flood of shoegaze bands for me.”
We sit down to talk with dream-pop composer Thomas Meluch about his latest album, Sonnet, the process of channeling nature through electronic sound, and the experience related to coming of age during the brief “blog band” phenomenon.
Jimbo – he goes, ‘I looked over at the dance floor, and it was all guys, and there was this black cowboy French kissing a white cowboy.’ And he said, ‘at that moment I knew we were in the wrong place!’
“All the songs have a certain amount of us wishing we were somewhere else in them, I’m sure of that. We’ve always done our own thing and we’ve never been bothered if the people of our home town like it.”
“They sounded so far ahead of their time back in those dark musical days when only the punk and new wave scenes offered any hope for listeners turned off by disco, bad metal, and hair bands.”
“Malmö, Sweden’s Death and Vanilla are a duo with an enchanting and occasionally creepy sound, composed on vintage instruments and drawing on musical influences ranging from Julee Cruise to Broadcast to The United States of America.”
Alvvays make a collaborative playlist on the spot, eat life-threatening hot wings, and tell us the questions they hate being asked. It’s weird, miscellaneous, and wonderful!
I never worried about trends. Magma just flies through time and periods.
“I feel very fortunate at this point in my life that I was able to meet and collaborate with these wonderful people. It would certainly be an experience to play live shows, but recording and releasing music is as much as I can hope for at this point.”
“There won’t be another five year gap between albums. I knocked it down, and now I’m building it back up.”
“I had a spiritual experience in Austin, TX. Long story short, I basically died and was reborn by some dirty old railroad tracks.”
Drawing upon the indie rock of yesteryear, Saskatchewan’s These Estates adds its own distinct voice. Meet the songwriting team behind not one but two of the smartest, most immediate LPs of 2014.
This was in the ‘hood, and you know you’ve got ethnic people; you don’t have “White Riot” on your jacket. They don’t know about The Clash song. You want a white riot? OK!
I think the current constellation of Engineers actually says more about me than any previous members – the other guys in the band both have their own projects but are happy to help realize my ideas and both bring aspects to my songs that I couldn’t achieve.
Back in the early 2000s, Constantines’ emotionally charged, blue-collar rock was a welcome anachronism. As the Canadian five-piece gears up for its first round of U.S. shows in five years, frontman Bry Webb explains why the timing feels right.
“When I found out about bass, D Boon’s mom put me on bass – this is the 70’s. This is where you put the retarded friend, it’s like right field in little league. Punk changed a lot of that shit.”
It’s a classic early 60’s girl group thing to have super snappy/up beat songs with dark lyrics or serious messages. i’m a big fan of that.
The Tesco Vee character I crawl into – if I lived that persona 24/7, I’d either be dead or incarcerated. But it’s like – there’s a certain element of satire and tongue-in-cheek in what I do. I’m going for the throat, I’m going for reaction – I want people to react, if it’s laughter, anger, whatever. I don’t want them to stand there and be bored. That’s where I’ve been coming from my whole career – I want a reaction, thus the song titles like “Crippled Children Suck.” And obviously I don’t think crippled children suck – or as I say on stage, ‘they only suck when they can actually reach my zipper.’
Neil Halstead: I would never write those exact songs at this point in my life. They are songs that come out of being 18 or 19 years old. It’s interesting how they still connect with many younger people. We’ve noticed that when we’ve been doing these shows there are some really young kids that are coming out and really loving the band and the records. We’re aware they are the same age as when we were first recording these tracks.
“I remember the hardships and the frustrations bitterly. I wasn’t mourning Maggie Thatcher’s loss greatly!”
We own all of the rights to our back catalog, so we asked ourselves for permission to use some older tunes, and we generously told ourselves that we would be happy to let ourselves use them (we have a very good relationship with ourselves in that respect)
I love to play with all of these effects pedals and to create sounds. A lot of that stuff is from your country… the whole room flashes like a pinball game.
That’s why a great song, just missing one or two pieces, can lie dormant for a few years before we finally polish it off, complete with icing and a cherry on top.
Daisy House is generous music, and very old school at heart. Who knows? It might even be revolutionary.
You don’t have to go to music school to be a musician and so it’s the same thing. You don’t have to take writing classes to be a writer!
“You always get worried about going too far in one direction, because I don’t want people to think that I only write songs about sleeping around or cheating or being miserable. But those are the moments when I feel compelled to write and are also the moments that I feel compelled to listen to somebody else’s sad song about that shit.”
It’s also very refreshing for us to step out of the hazy gloom and into a different shade of light; it’s still a very melancholy sombre black bulb sort of light.
Negative Degree talks about their favorite Colorado punk bands, their worst night on tour and how it feels to work in the service industry in Colorado.
LOUDsoftLOUD discussion with a master of the form, Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai
“ I’m never happier than when I’m onstage – I just love playing music. I love the chance to exist in the moment. You reinvent it every night – you either do something great or you fall on your face, and you get another chance the next day to do it again.”
The London-based songwriter talks about his excellent new album Abandoned Apartments, his recent movie work, and his L.A. past.
Mark Arm and Steve Turner of Mudhoney talk about growing up grunge, the shitty tour with Blind Melon, and GG Allin’s dick.
I don’t think anybody in the band is interested in just unfreezing the old Red Herring. What made that band really exciting to be a part of was creating together; I get the feeling that we got back together again because we all believe that the best is yet to come. We just had to take a break for a couple of decades to go gather more skills and experiences to throw into the soup.
The audience is there simply to observe. It doesn’t matter whether they applaud every song or at the end or at all. It has nothing to do with the music. We are not on stage for them. We are there to make music in the presence of an Observer. This is all made clear if you have a fundamental understanding of Einsteinian Relativity.
Dave Davies’ lofty position in the pantheon of popular music would be secure even without the existence of a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or the Kinks’ extensive body of work. His upcoming tour will feature songs from new album “I Will Be Me” alongside Kinks favorites. Davies discusses family foundations, sibling rivalry, and inspiration drawn from good times and hard times.