Performer Magazine: May 2013
featuring The Pine Hollows
T H E M U S I C I A N ’S R E S O U RC E MAY 2013 FREE OLD MAN MARKLEY THE HUSH SOUND PURLING HISS ACT RIGHTS INTERVIEWS HARNESS THE POWER OF TWITTER MUSIC LEGAL TIPS FOR PERFORMING ABROAD TRACKING BANDS LIVE IN THE STUDIO iPADS FOR MUSIC PRODUCTION the INTEGRATING VINTAGE GEAR INTO CONTEMPORARY RECORDINGS PIN HO E LLO W S 10:00 PM Mix it down. Open the Capture file in Studio One Artist and mix it while the band loads out. ® ® 2:05 AM Get it to your fans. Upload the set to the band’s Nimbit Facebook store and go find some after-gig eats. They messed up your eggs…but the band just made its first sale. 2:47 AM 3:50 AM Record it. Two mouse clicks in Capture™ records the band’s hot first set to your laptop. Capture multi-track recording software comes free with StudioLive mixers. Powerful Studio One 2.5 DAW comes free with StudioLive mixers. Your free Nimbit account is included with Studio One 2.5 DAW. Only with StudioLive™. ® ® ©2013 PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc., all rights reserved. StudioLive, Capture and Nimbit are trademarks or registered trademarks of PreSonus Audio Electronics, Inc. Studio One is a registered trademark of PreSonus Software Ltd. iPad and iPhone are registered trademarks of Apple, Inc. PayPal is a registered trademark of PayPal. If you’re reading this footnote, the Mayans were sorely misinterpreted. Record it. Polish it. Upload it. Sell it. All from within the integrated suite of PreSonus software that also includes the most advanced iPad and iPhone control ever. Only StudioLive mixers let you go from Riff to Release™ (to money in your PayPal account) on the night of the gig. ® www.presonus.com THIS IS THE RIGHT MARGIN OF THE AD THIS IS THE RIGHT MARGIN OF THE AD P E R FO R M E R P R E S E N T S Atlanta at The Drunken Unicorn May 28 feat Hands & Iron Jayne Doors at 8 thirty 8 bucks 18 plus Boston at The Middle East May 2 feat Eksi Ekso The Most Americans Spirit Animal & Count Zero Doors at 8 10 bucks 18 plus San Francisco at Great American Music Hall May 21 feat Sea Wolf & Savoir Adore doors at 7 16 bucks all ages Brought to you by As a respected provider of entertainment insurance products for over 60 years, you can purchase coverage from K&K with confidence. Thousands of musicians choose K&K Insurance for affordable coverage, a commitment to service, and reliable claims resolution. Join the crowd and find out what K&K can do for you. Visit our website today for more information. • • • • Competitive rates Quote and buy online No charge for certificates of insurance Coverage available for both individual performers and bands THE SIGNAL OF A NEW ERA FROM 800.FISHMAN • fishman.com • asterope.com TA B L E O F C O N T E N T S VOL.23, ISSUE 5 cover 28 story The Pine Hollows by Benjamin Ricci Copping a retro vibe on contemporary recordings ainâ€™t easy, but The Pine Hollows have found the perfect recipe for integrating vintage gear into the modern studio. Also: pro tips on coaxing new fx from your old wah pedal. Old Man Markley by Alex Lane 16 The Hush Sound by Amber Wade 20 Purling Hiss by Kristin Lockhart 24 Get some useful tips from the punk/ After a five-year hiatus, the veteran group is This Philly fuzz-bomb takes their show on bluegrass machine on utilizing Craigslist back and opens up about their newfound DIY the road courtesy of connections made in the for everything from finding fiddle players to freedom, and making a go of it label-free. local underground scene. scoring cheap tour buses. D E PA R T M E N T S 5 Obituaries 7 Local News 13 Tour Stop: Indianapolis, IN 14 Spotlights: Act Rights; Lake Street Drive 34 Top Picks: The best in new music 46 Get The Most From Twitter Music 47 Legal Pad: Visas for International Touring MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 3 48 My Favorite Axe: John Pardue 49 Recording: Tracking Full Bands pt.2 50 Gear Guide: iPad Essentials for Musicians 52 Studio Diary: Bad Bad Meow 54 Gear Reviews 56 Flashback: Urei 1176LN Compressor Photos: counter-clockwise from top: Jennifer Painter, Rebecca Reed, Eddie Oâ€™Keefe, Tiffany Yoon Cover photo by Jennifer Painter FROM THE TOP Volume 23, Issue 5 I feel the cold hand of death as I sit here and type this month’s letter from the editor, and I’m worried about what type of world I’ve brought my infant daughter into. Normally, I’m full of excitement and ready to spill about all the great things to be found in the pages ahead. But today, my city, my home, was attacked. Boston has been wounded by an act of cowardice, a terrorist action that shook our foundation but did not break our spirits or destroy our faith in our fellow man. In that regard, the terrorists have failed. While they may have hurt us physically, they cannot defeat the will of a city that through it all simply refuses to take shit from anyone – least of all from those who think they can instill fear into our hearts. Our thoughts go out to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, and we can only hope that our unity as a city will get us through this repulsive incident. We also hope that for their sake, the police and FBI -Benjamin Ricci, Editor P.S. – They say death comes in threes, and this month is no exception. Along with the tragic loss of life at the Boston Marathon and the passing of Roger Ebert, another death has occurred. This one comes in the form of local alt-weekly The Boston Phoenix, which has ceased publication after 45 years. We raise a glass in honor of the Phoenix, and in their absence reaffirm our commitment being an advocate, a voice, and a champion of the independent artist. apprehend the person or persons responsible before any Southie residents are able to do so. PUBLISHER On a more personal note, I’ve also felt the heavy loss of a writing icon this week, the late Roger Ebert. I began reading Ebert’s column with great interest as a budding writer, pouring over his criticisms and praise, taking note of his personal, homespun style and encyclopedic knowledge of film history and idioms. More so than any rock journalist, it was Ebert who shaped my own review style, one that is more conversational than confrontational, and one that (hopefully) informs and entertains at the same time. I also greatly admire that even after lengthy and painful cancer treatments, and the literal loss of his voice, Ebert remained steadfast and committed to what he felt was his responsibility as a writer and public servant. Rog, for what it’s worth, your courage gets two thumbs up in my book. I know they’re warming up the projector for you upstairs… William House Phone: 617-627-9200 email@example.com EDITOR Benjamin Ricci - firstname.lastname@example.org DESIGN AND ART DIRECTION Joe LoVasco - email@example.com EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Glenn Skulls firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Adam Barnosky, Alex Lane, Amber Wade, Benjamin Ricci, Brad Hardisty, Brent Godin, Candace McDuffie, Chris Devine, Christopher Petro, Eric Palmquist, Eric Wolff, Gail Fountain, Garrett Frierson, Glenn Skulls, Hannah Lowry, Jillian Dennis-Skillings, Joshua Broughton, Julia DeStefano, Kristin Lockhart, Lesley Daunt, Michael St. James, Miikka Skaffari, Rurik Schtaklef, Shawn M Haney, Tara Lacey, Taylor Haag, Vanessa Bennett, Zac Cataldo CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS performermag.com /performermagazine @performermag ABOUT US Performer Magazine, a nationally distributed musician’s trade publication, focuses on independent musicians, those unsigned and on small labels, and their success in a DIY environment. We’re dedicated to promoting lesser-known talent and being the first to introduce you to artists you should know about. CORRECTIONS Did we make a heinous blunder, factual error or just spell your name wrong? Contact email@example.com and let us know, cuz we’re big enough to say, “Baby, I was wrong.” Brad Hardisty, Bret Zausmer, Candace McDuffie, Chad Hess, Charlie Cruz, Deidre Schoo, DJ Phelps, Eddie O’Keefe, Emily Christianson, Gail Fountain, Jennifer Painter, Kristina Reyes, Kyle Sullivan, Lance Bryant, Matt Wignall, Miikka Skaffari, Rebecca Reed, Tara Lacey, Tiffany Yoon, Tim Hoyt ADVERTISING SALES Kathleen Mackay - firstname.lastname@example.org Deborah Rice - email@example.com PO BOX 348 Somerville, MA 02143 Phone: 617-627-9200 - Fax: 617-627-9930 EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS In the words of our esteemed forefathers at CREEM: “NOBODY WHO WRITES FOR THIS RAG’S GOT ANYTHING YOU AIN’T GOT, at least in the way of credentials. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be sending us your stuff: reviews, features, photos, recording tips, DIY advice or whatever else you have in mind that might be interesting to our readers: independent and DIY musicians. Who else do ya know who’ll publish you? We really will... ask any of our dozens of satisfied customers. Just bop it along to us to firstname.lastname@example.org and see what comes back your way. If you have eyes to be in print, this just might be the place. Whaddya got to lose? Whaddya got?” MUSIC SUBMISSIONS We listen to everything that comes into the office. We prefer physical CDs, cassettes and vinyl over downloads. If you do not have a physical copy, send download links to email@example.com.No attachments, please. Send CDs to: Performer Magazine Attn: Reviews PO BOX 348 Somerville, MA 02143 © 2013 by Performer Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any method whatsoever without the written permission of the publisher. The magazine accepts no responsibility for unsolicited recordings, manuscripts, artwork or photographs and will not return such materials unless requested and accompanied by a SASE. Annual Subscription Rate is $30 in the U.S.; $45 outside the U.S. 4 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE Annette Funicello, 70 Mouseketeer, Teen Singer Annette Joanne Funicello was an American actress and singer. Funicello began her professional career as a child performer at the age of twelve. She rose to prominence as one of the most popular “Mouseketeers” on the original Mickey Mouse Club. As a teenager, she transitioned to a successful career as a singer with the pop singles “O Dio Mio,” “Tall Paul” and “Pineapple Princess,” as well as establishing herself as a film actress, popularizing the successful “Beach Party” genre alongside co-star Frankie Avalon during the mid-1960s. Jimmy Dawkins, 76 Chicago Blues Musician James Henry “Jimmy” Dawkins was an American Chicago blues and electric blues guitarist and singer. He was generally considered a part of the “West Side Sound” of Chicago blues. In 1969, he released his first album Fast Fingers on Delmark Records, winning the “Grand Prix du Disque” from the Hot Club de France. Dawkins went on to tour Europe and Japan in the 1970s and contributed a regular column to the magazine Living Blues later in life. Dawkins died of undisclosed causes on April 10. Chi Cheng, 42 Deftones Bassist Chi Cheng was an American musician, best known as the bassist for the American alternative metal band Deftones. Cheng was seriously injured and entered a long-term coma following an automobile accident in Santa Clara, California, on November 4, 2008. He was traveling with his sister, Mae, when their vehicle flipped three times after hitting another car going 60 mph. After showing signs of improvement over the years, Cheng was unable to move independently or speak in sentences. On April 13, Cheng had died of heart failure due to complications from his injuries. Phil Ramone, 79 Legendary Engineer, Founder of A&R Recording Phil Ramone was a recording engineer, producer, violinist and composer, who in 1958 co-founded A&R Recording, Inc., in New York City. He was described by Billboard as “legendary” and the BBC as a “CD pioneer.” Ramone was also a founding member of META (Music & Engineering Technology Alliance) and introduced optical surround sound for movies. His breakthrough came with the Billy Joel album The Stranger in 1977 and began a fruitful collaboration that would lead to Ramone to produce a string of hit Joel albums throughout the rest of the 1970s and 1980s. Clive Burr, 56 Original Iron Maiden Drummer Clive Burr was an English drummer, best known as a member of Iron Maiden from 1979 to 1982. Previously a member of Samson, Burr joined Iron Maiden in 1979 and played on their first three records: Iron Maiden, Killers and their breakthrough release The Number of the Beast. Burr was fired from the band in 1982. After leaving Iron Maiden, he briefly played in the French group Trust and then with the American band Alcatrazz. Burr died in his sleep on March 12 in London due to complications from multiple sclerosis. Scott Hardkiss, 43 Rave Icon, Electronic Music Producer The San Francisco native, whose real name was Scott Friedel, was credited as the founder of the 1990s electronic-house group Hardkiss Brothers, who found success amongst the rising rave culture in the United States. He later moved to New York City and performed under the moniker God Within, ultimately collaborating with Sir Elton John and the Flaming Lips. His 1997 Essential Mix is considered a classic among house music aficionados. Details of his death have not been disclosed as of press time. Jack Greene, 83 Country Musician Jack Greene was an American country musician. Nicknamed the “Jolly Greene Giant” due to his height and deep voice, Greene was a long time member of the Grand Ole Opry. A three-time Grammy Award nominee, he is best known for his 1966 hit “There Goes My Everything,” which earned the singer “Male Vocalist of the Year,” “Single of the Year,” “Album of the Year” and “Song of the Year” honors from the Country Music Association. Green had a total of five #1 Country hits and Billboard named him one of the Top 100 “Most Played Artists.” Phil Kubicki, 69 Creator of the Factor Bass Pickup manufacturer and guitar-repair wizard Seymour Duncan speaks of his friend, “Hello friends and family...we lost our friend Phil Kubicki yesterday [edit: Monday, the 18th] and sad to hear. We started the K & D Guitar Company in the early ’80s when Phil started making electric guitars in Santa Barbara. He worked for Fender in the ’60s and built George Harrison’s Rosewood Telecaster used on the Let It Be recording and video. Phil was such a great guitar builder and developed the Factor Bass. Sorry to pass the sad news and he will be missed...Seymour” MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 5 OBITUARIES published get WRITE FOR PERFORMER MAGAZINE contact firstname.lastname@example.org take your best shot. seeks CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS contact email@example.com Info on Booking Your Band in 2014 by Tara Lacey photo by Bret Zausmer Pecan Street Spring Festival May 4 The Pecan Street Festival is a FREE, biannual juried arts and crafts festival held on historic 6th Street in Austin. Over 60+ local and national musicians provide entertainment on various stages. Staying ever true to our roots, the Pecan Festival strives to bring to light new talent in the tradition of previous musicians and bands who played on our stages. Come out and listen to the next big name in music! www.oldpecanstreetfestival.com KGSR’s Blues On The Green Free Concert Series Begins first weekend in May, runs through August As Austin’s largest FREE concert series, KGSR’s Blues on the Green is consistently ranked as a top annual entertainment event and has become a staple of the Austin lifestyle and a very casual and comfortable experience. JOIN THE BLUES ON THE GREEN TEXT ALERT CLUB - text “BLUES” to 43981 to be the first to learn about this year’s show line-up at Zilker Park! www.kgsr.com In late April, the Reverberation Appreciation Society and Austin’s favorite neo-psychedelic garage band The Black Angels presented the Sixth Annual Austin Psych Fest. Since 2008, Austin’s newest indie rock festival has grown from a small, underground event to a highly anticipated, full weekend of indie music with camping at Carson Creek Ranch. In the first years the attendance was largely local and tickets were moved by buzz on the street; now the team at Psych Fest are experiencing steady growth that parallels Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest and then some. The festival has developed into an internationally-acclaimed affair that attracts attendees from all over the world, most of whom are interested in its premiere showcase of psychedelic rock. The festival goes unmatched by any other that highlights the genre. In 2013, the lineup included Roky Erickson and Moving Sidewalks, The Raveonettes, and The Black Angels. Austin Psych Fest works to promote and create fertile ground for artistic expression through music and visual art, supporting the ‘keep Austin weird’ mentality of supporting homegrown businesses in the area, while also providing a place for others to appreciate psychedelic sounds they may not find elsewhere. BOOKING INFO INFO If you represent an artist you think Austin Psych Fest would be interested in, please get in touch. If you’d like to share music with the festival, send LINKS (no attachments please) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Producers and curators at The Reverberation Appreciation Society give the final thumbs up to the bands that make the cut. Psych Fest even hosts a teaser festival each year during SXSW – this year’s featured Thee Oh Sees and The Black Lips. The added bonus to bands playing this festival is exposure to the Reverberation record label. More info at www.austinpsychfest.com Kerrville Folk Festival May 23 - June 9 The Kerrville Music Festivals are family oriented events that are held each year on the Quiet Valley Ranch, just nine miles south of the resort town of Kerrville in the heart of the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Our two annual festivals are the Kerrville Folk Festival and the Kerrville Wine & Music Festival. www.kerrville-music.com Perform at Old Settler’s Music Festival Tips on Getting a Slot at the Austin Fest In its 26th year, Old Settler’s Music Festival gravitated a bit from its bluegrass roots and instead offered faithful fans a little reggae infusion by headlining Michael Franti in 2013. The fourday bluegrass and Americana festival takes place each April at the Salt Lick Pavilion and Camp Ben McCulloch, just south of Austin. The 2013 lineup included their surprise reggae twist along side Grammy nominees Carolina Chocolate Drops, soulster James Hunter, festival veteran Fred Eaglesmith, an OSF staple of jammy bluegrass with Leftover Salmon, and classic Americana by Son Volt and Martin Sexton. Not deviating too far from the grassy roots that have kept this festival going strong, OSF welcomed the Del McCoury Band and Jerry Douglas, and the folk-pop of Justin Townes Earle, and Peter Rowan. “It’s exciting to have such an eclectic array of artists on our stages this year,” says festival director Jean Spivey. “From the legendary bluegrass of Del McCoury to the uplifting, funky beats of Michael Franti, one thing all of our artists have in common is that they are really, really good. Texas-friendly, easygoing atmosphere defines Old Settler’s.” by Tara Lacey BOOKING INFO Spivey begins booking Old Settler’s Festival for the following year the minute the festival closes. She often scopes out talent at SXSW, where she’ll begin the lineup that comes after her big acts. If you’re an established musician and you’d like to talk about performing, have your booking agent get in touch. If you’re a new artist looking to play in the festival, here are some guidelines: Have great music that falls within the broad category of Americana or roots. At least one professionally-recorded CD. The ability to demonstrate at least a small following. For the 2014 festival, OSF will book new artists through Sonicbids. You can also send MP3s to info@ oldsettlersmusicfest.org or hardcopy CDs to: Pachanga Fest May 10 & 11 Pachanga is a Latin-themed music, cultural arts and food festival dedicated to showcasing the vibrant blend of Latino-created music and art and the impact it has on American culture today. The festival will be held at Fiesta Gardens in Austin, TX. The Pachanga lineup includes rock, alternative, tejano, mariachi, cumbia, salsa, electronic, funk, hip-hop and indie rock with one singular theme: the sound is brown. www.pachangafest.com For more info on May events in Austin, head to do512.com. Old Settler’s Music Festival Booking Department PO Box 151947 Austin, TX 78715 For more info, visit oldsettlersmusicfest.org. MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 7 LOCAL NEWS TEXAS MAY FESTIVAL CALENDAR AUSTIN Get Weird with the Austin Psych Fest BOSTON LOCAL NEWS Boston Phoenix Ceases Publishing Another Press Outlet Closes for Boston Bands by Glenn Skulls N B E I W T S S NORTHEA ST Queen’s based alternative hip-hop band the Oxymorrons will debut their new music video “Alone” exclusively on MTV’s Buzzworthy Blog. NYC’s Caveman recently released its selftitled sophomore album via Fat Possum Records. Brooklyn noise rock outfit BAMBARA shared the second single off their upcoming DREAMVIOLENCE LP via Noisey, called “Nail Polish.” Toronto quartet Decades have premiered a video for the song “In Sequins” via Interview Magazine off their upcoming self-titled debut album, out April 30 on White Girl Records. Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter Linda Draper recently premiered her Nick Drakeinspired “Hollow” single via American Songwriter. Brooklyn’s Lapland released his self-titled LP last month via Hundred Pockets Records. NYC indie-folk artist Mal Blum recently announced his new album release, titled Tempest in a Teacup. On April 9th, Brooklyn native Alexander Fairchild released a new EP, entitled Where Do You Go. On June 25, Grammy-nominated and award-winning artist Wale will release his highly anticipated new album, The Gifted. Set for release on June 18 on Elm City Music, Blunderstone Rookery will be Stephen Kellogg’s third solo album. The following statement from Phoenix publisher Stephen M. Mindich was circulated to staffers on March 18, the day after the news broke that the venerable alt-weekly would be ceasing its publication effective immediately. The Phoenix had been publishing in its weekly format for over 45 years, reporting on local art, culture, fashion, politics, news and most importantly, the local music scene. New England bands have long found a friend in the paper and its stellar coverage of local events, rising artists and its annual “Best Of” lists. While the Boston paper will no longer be published and the company’s website no longer updated, the Portland and Providence editions will continue on in print and online. The Boston edition had recently undergone a massive design overhaul, even going so far as to move to a glossy format, a departure from the previous four decades of newsprint. The final issue’s cover is reprinted here with permission. “I can state with certainty that this is the single most difficult communication I’ve ever had to deliver and there’s no other way to state it than straightforwardly As of now the Boston Phoenix has ceased publishing and wfnx.com will not continue as it is. As everyone knows, between the economic crisis beginning in 2007 and the simultaneous radical changes in the media business, particularly as it has affected print media advertising, these have been extremely difficult times for our Company and despite the valiant effort by many, many past and current staff to attempt to stabilize and, in fact, reverse our significant financial losses, we have been unable to do so and they are no longer sustainable. Because of their smaller scale of operations and because we believe that they remain meaningful publications to their communities, with some necessary changes to each, it is our intent to keep the Providence and Portland Phoenixes operating and to do so for as long as they remain financially viable. The same is true for Mass Web Printing Co. I cannot find the words to express how sad a moment this is for me, and I know, for you as well, so I won’t try. What I can and will say is I am extremely proud, as all of you should be, of the highest standards of journalism we have set and maintained throughout the decades in all of our areas of coverage and the important role we have played in driving political and socially progressive and responsible agendas; in covering the worlds of arts and entertainment, food and fashion - always with a critical view, while at the same time promoting their enormous importance in maintaining a healthy society; and in advocating for the recognition and acceptance of a wide range of lifestyles that are so valuable for a vibrant society. And finally, at least for this moment, I want to thank all of you - and the literally thousands of women and men before you, for lending your talents to our mission over the past 47 years - as I have always said - our staff has been our soul. And obviously as well, my sincere gratitude to our millions of readers and tens of thousands of advertisers without whom none of what we did accomplish could have been possible or meaningful. So, that’s it. We have had an extraordinary run.” DRUM LESSONS with DEAN JOHNSTON 617.388.5395 email@example.com CALL OR WRITE FOR A FREE EVALUATION BOSTON, MA For archived articles and blogs, visit thephoenix.com. 8 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE RADIO PROMOTION (terrestrial, satellite, internet) Dresden Dolls Bad Plus Girls Guns & Glory String Cheese Incident Esperanza Spalding Medeski Martin & Wood Steve Winwood Gov't Mule 311 Janis Ian Jim's Big Ego Stanley Clarke Umphrey's McGee Gretchen Parlato Miss Tess Mike Stern Soulive Maceo Parker PUBLICITY AND TOUR SUPPORT (print press and viral) call: 800-356-1155 www: powderfingerpromo.com ENTER TO WIN! Our good friends at Audio -Technica are awesome. How awesome, you ask? So awesome they’re giving away a bunch of free gear to our readers over the next few months. Up first is a prize pack consisting of the AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone and ATH - M30 headphones. Suf fice to say, we’ve tested them both out and they’re simply amazing! performermag.com/at-giveaway ENTER HERE DEADLINE May 31, 2013 NASHVILLE LOCAL NEWS Nashville Invades SXSW With No Local Indie Fests, Artists Must Head West article and photo by Brad Hardisty Nashville is that there is no need for one since music publicity and A&R infrastructure is local and they can go and catch a show anytime they choose. The argument could also be made that by courting national acts instead of what used to be a very local festival, the flavor had gone flat. With no local festival, SXSW became the big destination this year for several Nashville songwriters and bands including Brooke Waggoner, Caitlin Rose, Escondido, Rayland Baxter, Nikki Lane, Odessa Rose, Luella and The Sun, Andrew Combs, The Weeks, The Features, Natural Child, Diarrhea Planet (pictured), PUJOL, Birdcloud, Tristen, Promised Land, Fielded, Ranch Ghost, Cy Barkley and The Way Outsiders, Clear Plastic Masks, Bad Cop, Jonny Fritz, Those Darlins, and The Kingston Springs just to name a few. With Nashville building a multi-styled scene over recent years, maybe it’s time to start small like Birmingham’s successful Secret Stages Festival - scheduled for its third year May 10-11. For more, visit facebook.com/secretstages. Get to know Jared Christianson Producer/Engineer, Reverie Digital Productions Nashville has tried to stage a successful independent music festival ever since the beginning days of rival SXSW. Next Big Nashville became the most successful venture with the peak year being 2010, when it was coupled with the Digital Media Conference and featured several up-andcoming bands at more venues. In 2011, the festival became SoundLand and featured fewer local bands and more national acts, and in 2012 was cancelled after ticket sales failed to support the new style and format of the festival. The argument for a festival’s non-success in interview by Brad Hardisty photo b y Emily Christianson 30 Second Bio I started my career in recording with Killer Wave Studios in Salem, VA where I worked as an apprentice for three years. I then trained at Flat 5 recording in Salem for one year as a mixing engineer. They recorded bands such as Dave Matthews Band, The Venus Transit and Madrone. I then moved to Studio 61 in Roanoke, VA as head engineer for two years. Why we should know you I am a producer/engineer for Reverie Digital Productions located in Nashville, TN. I have been involved in projects that range from blues, hip-hop, country, rock, punk, etc. Gear in current studio Pro Tools HD 10, Avalon, Neve, Focusrite and Octane pre’s, Black Lion AD/DA converters, Digi 003 console, Fractal Axe Fx Ultra, mics from Apex, Audio-Technica, Shure, Neumann, AKG. Plug-ins from Waves, SoundToys, Toontrack, Slate Digital, Oxford, URS, Eclipse, etc. Top achievement Recording alongside producer/engineer and Grammy-nominated Brian Bunn. Current favorite local artists JEB Town, Tommy Sawyer, and Macbeth. VENUE PROFILE Two Old Hippies Tom Bedell, owner and designer of Bedell and Breedlove guitars, opened his second “flagship” music lifestyle destination in the Gulch district on the south side of Nashville’s downtown area on September 11, 2011. The 8,000 square foot space includes everything from collector rock memorabilia, rock lifestyle clothing to historic photographs and a plethora of rock and roll items for every aficionado from the meager budget weekender to the fullon rock star. It is an acoustic guitar heaven with not only Breedlove and Bedell lines, but also Weber, Lowden, Martin, Collings, Gallagher, Huss & Dalton, National, Santa Cruz as well as Kala Ukuleles. Two Old Hippies also serves as a performance venue with everything from singer/ songwriters to full bands playing the stage during normal business hours. The stage features a house Hammond B3, Leslie cabinet, Ludwig drum kit and a host of other gear. STAGE STATS Elevated stage with basic PA system and FOH sound for most performances. PAY POLICY Negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Artists are allowed to sell merch. BOOKING INFO Original music is strongly encouraged, but this is also the perfect place for pulling out the Beatles or Doors cover. 401 12th Ave South Nashville, TN 37203 (615) 254-7999 twooldhippies.com firstname.lastname@example.org For more info, visit www.reveriedp.com 10 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE Get to know Dylan Banks Artist, Calm White Noise ATLANTA Submit Your Music to Georgia Tech’s Radio Station The first sounds of Atlanta’s most well-known college radio station hit the airwaves on March 25, 1968 with a paltry ten watts of power, trickling out from a donated tower that was situated on top of one of the electrical engineering buildings on the school’s sprawling campus. It’s come a long way: in 2007, the FCC granted WREK license to broadcast at the maximum power allowed for terrestrial radio:100,000 watts. It now blankets the entire Atlanta metro area and well beyond, even requiring a special directional antenna as to avoid conflict with other distant stations on the same band. WREK is an entirely student managed, operated and engineered radio station that it is mostly known for its extremely eclectic playlists. They’re all chosen by a constantly-rotating, rambunctious bunch of student jocks - even the motto cheekily points out the station’s near-perverse diversity: “music you don’t hear on the radio.” The current lineup features an atmospheric show full of sounds suited to night-time listening, a jazz variety show, a block dedicated to electronic dance music, a little country, a smattering of music from southeast Asia, a myriad of punk rock and hardcore, Celtic and Irish folk, world and Afro-beat, klezmer funk, Jewish reggae…the list is endless. by Joshua Broughton SUBMITTING MUSIC Attn: Music Director WREK 91.1 FM 350 Ferst Drive NW, Suite 2224 Atlanta, GA 30332-0630 From WREK: “Our Music Directors pull CDs and LPs randomly from our bin of submissions. We don’t have “Loud Rock” Music Directors or “RPM” Music Directors, etc., so there’s no need to address any submission to a specific individual unless you’ve made arrangements with that person to review your album ahead of time. Because items are pulled randomly, it sometimes means newer submissions get reviewed before older ones. If you feel like your submission has been waiting for review for an unreasonable amount of time, feel free to call the station and enquire about its status.” CONTACTING THE MUSIC DIRECTORS “Our preferred method of contact is e-mail. Our address is email@example.com. The phone number is 404.894.2468 and the fax number is 404.894.6872.” Tune in: WREK airs in the Atlanta area on FM 91.1 and online at www.wrek.org. interview by Joshua Broughton Calm White Noise is an experimental electroindie rock quintet from Atlanta. They are relatively new to the music scene, born in 2011; CWN has recently released their second EP, Twilight Shift. Dylan Banks handles vocals, keys and electronics for the band. What’s different about Calm White Noise? Each member of the band doesn’t do only one thing. We constantly change responsibilities of who covers which instrument. Not just a guitarist playing just guitar, or drummer just playing drums…we’re all multi-instrumentalists. What’s the goal? We strive to put on a musical experience for a range of emotions. We want people to get into our music and dance and have fun, but also to just kind of absorb us, listening to what we have to offer both ears and soul. Has Atlanta been kind so far? The Atlanta scene has been great to us! It was hard gaining momentum at first, but now we’ve made great connections with local acts and venues. I can honestly say that Atlanta’s music scene is mind-blowing in all genres of music (electronic, rock, jazz, chamber music, hiphop…you name it). Favorite local artists? The bands I love in Atlanta are Qurious, Tikka, and Nobra Noma. They bring some awesome and unique stuff to the table. My favorite DJs are REKchampa and Divine Interface. They’re hitting the scene hard with sets of pure awesome - doing it better than most mainstream DJs. For more info, visit www.facebook.com/calmwhitenoise TEACHER PROFILE Steve Cunningham Deep-fried pickin’ in the South Since 1995, Steve Cunningham has been educating Atlanta’s aspiring guitarists with his distinct, hybrid style of music making. A native of Rochester, New York, Steve began playing at the age of 14; his early influences include Led Zeppelin, Pat Metheny, Yes, and the Brecker Brothers, as well as various classical and bluegrass musicians. Since relocating to Atlanta, he’s incorporated the lap steel guitar into his style. His teaching tends to delve heavily into the world of theory and often incorporates techniques well outside the usual instructor’s repertoire. Cunningham has released five albums, ranging from the jazz-focused Travels to the world music tinged Dubious Tones to an album of traditional hymns called Rustic Spirit, all of which are available on his website. He’s also a top-rated session player, holding a permanent position on the speed dials of many regional studios. As a live musician, he’s shared the stage with everyone from Guthrie Govan to Blondie, playing over 200 dates a year. CONTACT INFO (770) 925-3589 www.stevecunningham.net www.youtube.com/user/ SingingStringsMusic MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 11 STYLES AND TECHNIQUES Rock, jazz, blues, funk, country, chickin’pickin’, hybrid picking, lap steel, slide, classical and more… AS A SESSION PLAYER Coca-Cola, Ford, Chevrolet, MLB, NFL, IBM, Cartoon Network, PBS, Microsoft, CNN, NASCAR, London Symphony Orchestra and many more… LOCAL NEWS Forty-Five Years and a Hundred Thousand Watts INDIANAPOLIS, IN TOUR STOP GEAR/REPAIR THE EMERSON THEATRE 4630 E. 10th St. Indianapolis, IN 46201 (317) 357-0239 www.emersontheater.com Considered the grandfather of Indy’s hardcore scene, The Emerson Theatre has featured a long list of bands ranging from Tsunami Bomb to As I lay Dying. It is an all ages venue with a capacity of 400, hosting original, local artists Friday and Saturday nights, and regionally/nationally touring bands Monday-Friday. UNCLE ALBERT’S 7709 Hague Rd. Indianapolis, IN (317) 845-3037 www.unclealberts.com Uncle Albert’s specializes in vacuum tube electronics repairs, but extends its repair services to keyboards, custom electronics, mixing boards, effects pedals, cabinets, and power amplifiers. INDY PRO AUDIO MUSIC STORE Ste A, 4233 Lafayette Rd. Indianapolis, IN 46254. (317) 291-3608 www.indyproaudio.com Indy Pro sells and rents a wide variety of musical and performance equipment. INDIANAPOLIS STAR www.indystar.com Indiana’s own newspaper, in print and on-line. The Indy Star is a great resource for all necessary information on entertainment. MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 13 THE MIDWEST. America’s heartland. Sure, New York and Los Angeles get all the attention, but it’s the Midwest that really pumps the blood of this country. If you’re planning a coast-to-coast tour, be sure to mark Indianapolis amongst your routing possibilities. The Broad Ripple district has long been a hotbed of musical activity, and downtown Indianapolis is coming to life more and more each year. Indy is also nestled nicely between Cincinnati and Chicago, if you’re interested in convenient scheduling/driving/lodging options while on tour. -Glenn Skulls VENUES SLIPPERY NOODLE INN 372 S. Meridian St. Indianapolis, IN (317) 631-6968 www.slipperynoodle.com Standing strong as Indy’s oldest bar (established in 1850) The Slippery Noodle is dedicated to keeping the blues alive. SNI is open for live blues seven nights a week. RADIO RADIO 1119 E. Prospect St. Indianapolis, IN (317) 955-0995 www.futureshock.net An awesome 21+ venue in Indy’s up-and-coming Fountain Square, Radio Radio offers a great atmosphere to just hang out and enjoy the music. Open five nights a week for original, live performances. BIRDY’S BAR AND GRILL 2131 E. 71st St. Indianapolis, IN (317) 254-8971 www.birdyslive.com Birdy’s claims to be a “nesting ground for live music,” open seven nights a week. Birdy’s is nonexclusive and encourages diversity in genres and acts. PRESS OUTLETS NUVO www.nuvo.net Indy’s best lifestyle publication, a great source to hit up for live performances, great bars and restaurants, local news, and to find out what’s happening in Indy. GENRE: Psychedelic Garage SPOTLIGHTS ACT RIGHTS by Hannah Lowry / photo by Charlie Cruz HOMETOWN: Austin, TX ARTISTIC APPROACH: Building riff-based tunes & treating lyrics like instruments. theactrights.bandcamp.com “WE LEARNED WHAT WE DIDN’T WANT TO PLAY AND WE LEARNED HOW TO BE DIFFERENT.” Straight out of the heart of Texas, Act Rights have been pumping out tunes that are a bit different from your typical rock band. This four-piece group has a killer sound that is unlike anything else you’ve likely heard. “Our sound is influenced by the music we listen to; a lot of my riffs come from bands like Queens of the Stone Age,” Charlie Cruz, the bassist, explains. Ajit Tim D’ Brass, guitarist and vocalist, elaborates further: “I grew up with a lot of blues and jazz, like a lot of Chicago blues. But it’s not necessarily important what you want to sound like; it’s what you don’t want to sound like. After hearing some music around Austin, we learned what we didn’t want to play and we learned how to be different.” The group formed about two years ago. The story goes that Ajit and Colton May [guitars/ vocals] had been friends for a while and just decided to move to Austin. After a few house parties, they picked up a drummer and Cruz came by and asked to join the band. Since then, the drummer has changed, but the band has been writing and recording ever since. They’ve also been playing as many shows as possible and enjoy touring, but they all agree that it’s hard to tour when there are bills, a job and a family waiting for you at home. The band’s writing process also deserves some attention. Cruz explains, “We tend to bring riffs together and build from there. Sometimes we’ll come with a fully completed song, then throw lyrics on at the end.” May agrees: “Lyrics are treated like another instrument, like the icing on the cupcake.” Interestingly enough, and shocking when considering their sound, Ajit says, “Everything is well thought out. We don’t consider ourselves a really ‘jamming’ band. We plan everything.” When they were asked about their gear, they simply reply, “We like vintage gear,” and if they could open for any band, they agreed that they’d want to open for The Roots. 14 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE LAKE STREET DRIVE by Eric Wolff / photo by Deidre Schoo Lake Street Dive didn’t get to be one of the most unique bands around by resting on their laurels. Since founding the band as jazz students at Boston’s New England Conservatory, the quartet has been continually developing their sound and refining their songwriting. From the ashes of their short-lived initial concept - avant-garde, improvisational country music - grew quirky, charming songs at the halfway point between jazz and indie rock. Though it’s carried them to a wide variety of venues all over the U.S., and a record deal with Signature Sounds, the band refuses to be content with the status quo. Lake Street Dive introduces their latest developments on their new EP, Fun Machine. Drummer Mike Calabrese describes how the band’s sound has changed since their last release: “We began to distance ourselves from the jazz idiom, refine our songwriting a lot, and rely more on pop sensibilities.” Their swanky, slow-grooving rendition of “I Want You Back” is emblematic of the shift toward a more pop-oriented sound, as is the addition of background vocals. Though Rachael Price’s stunning, sultry voice wants for nothing, and singing backgrounds was a new challenge for the instrumentalists, the harmonies add a striking new dimension to the music. “It wasn’t beautiful at first, but it’s highly practical,” Calabrese observes. “We realized people really respond to it, and the band and the music benefit from it and it’s super fun.” Fun Machine also showcases the band’s rhythm duo: Calabrese on drums and Bridget Kearney on bass. The pair creates grooves that are deeply funky, yet highly sophisticated. “She likes greasy playing, and I like greasy playing,” Calabrese says. “We enjoy that slipperiness, being on the edge. Studying jazz, you learn how to hear through the groove and trust that you’re gonna keep it together.” GENRE: Acoustic Indie Pop HOMETOWN: Boston, MA ARTISTIC APPROACH: Constructing pop atop jazz foundations. www.lakestreetdive.com “YOU LEARN HOW TO HEAR THROUGH THE GROOVE AND TRUST THAT YOU’RE GONNA KEEP IT TOGETHER.” MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 15 SPOTLIGHTS OLD MAN MARKLEY by Alexandra Lane photos by Rebecca Reed Punk/Bluegrass Outfit on Using Craigslist to Find a Tour Bus, Home Studio Gear & Their Fiddle Player 16 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE The wholesome, backyard nostalgia of bluegrass intertwined with the rowdy romp of punk. Those two genres usually don’t mix, and when people hear the concept the general consensus is a resounding: ‘huh?’ But finding the happy medium between banjo and badass is exactly what LA based septet Old Man Markley has done. Finding their start in the family room of band members Johnny Carey, Annie DeTemple, and Ryan Markley in 2007, the band has grown, shrunk, evolved and experienced a lot in the past six years. Nowadays, they are bringing the music to audiences around the world. Their sound, which is a fusion of bluegrass roots and punk energy, is a result of the creative backgrounds of their band members. Autoharpist Annie DeTemple, along with fiddler Katie Weed and banjo player John Rosen bring their bluegrass influence. Lead vocalist and guitarist Johnny Carey, bassist Joey Garibaldi, and washboard player Ryan Markley have all been members of successful punk bands and therefore bring that energy and experience to the creative process. Drummer Jeff Fuller has been an Americana musician and fits right into the Old Man Markley lineup with his preformed style. DeTemple says, “Between the members’ backgrounds, it came together perfectly to form this organic mixture of punk and bluegrass.” And she’s right, because their sound is uniquely their own. It is their sound that attracted the attention of Fat Mike Burkett (of NOFX fame) and his label Fat Wreck Chords. Signing the band in 2010, Fat Wreck Chords has provided a number of unique opportunities including production, touring, and exposure. “Working with Fat is amazing. Its one of the most well respected punk labels that you can be affiliated with,” DeTemple says of the experience. DeTemple went on to say, “Working with Fat, we knew that it meant [it] would open the doors for us to be on some really big punk tours” - which it has; touring with NOFX last year, and the Dropkick Murphys this year, Old Man Markley has seen the globe while touring with a number of well-respected groups in both the bluegrass and punk communities. At this point, the band is seemingly seasoned when it comes to touring, but DeTemple says that the vibe on the bus still changes depending on the venue they are playing on a given night. They try to be as prepared as possible, and have even sworn off junk food while touring. She says that band members treat every show as a new experience and try to be organized because “it’s like game day.” Those experiences have had a huge influence on the band and their creative process. Katie Weed explains, “The songs on Down Side Up are the result of touring for two years and waking up together in cities across the world, of discovering new worlds while still missing home, of stories that we’ve wanted to tell for ages, of melodies that permeated our minds and then sound checks, and of ideas that took shape truly as a collaboration between all seven of us.” That collaboration is something that the group takes great pride in, and doesn’t put limitations on. In the songwriting process for Down Side Up, DeTemple says, “It was all-encompassing MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 17 of all the members. Some people that we had worked with in the past…people [who] have been involved with the band but never toured with us are still involved in the songwriting.” She says that this is the way that Old Man Markley operates. Having so many cooks in the kitchen allows for the creativity to flow freely. “There are so many people involved in our band, and I feel like that’s how we are going to make the best music we can. It happens organically, and it involves whoever needs to be involved,” she says. The album’s opener, “Blood on My Hands,” maintains more of a serious tone, while the political message on the spirited “America’s Dreaming” is lyrically thoughtful. The slow-tempo closer “Too Soon for Goodnight” rounds out the album with its softer melody and contrasts well with the rest of the tracks. While the subject of the songs varies, the artistry and anecdotal nature of bluegrass lyrics is evident throughout the record. The creative liberties that Old Man Markley has been allowed to take with their songwriting has been, in large part, because they have invested in their music. For this record, rather than funding and scheduling themselves into a studio, the group decided to take matters into their own hands and create a home studio. “Johnny thought that our money would be better spent if we built a studio. So at the same house where we had band practices and Ryan’s birthday party, where we started as a band, we ended up building a recording studio,” says DeTemple. By scouring Craigslist for deals on equipment, a sound booth, and other essentials, they moved out the laundry machine and moved in a home studio. DeTemple said its nice to have everything in house and that because they aren’t on a studio’s clock, “We really have a nice, relaxed setting. We can work starting as early as we want, and we can work into the evenings. We can take a day off. We can do it at our leisure.” The band enjoys the convenience of the space when they are home from touring, saying, “It’s nice that it is in a familiar environment and it’s ours. We can call it home. It’s the Old Man Markley home studio.” Old Man Markley likes to do things themselves. From their studio to their instruments, they have their hands in every aspect of their music. When they aren’t touring, a few band members are employed by DeTemple Guitars in Sherman Oaks, California. The family business allows a home base for instrument modification and construction. Whether it is creating “the tub” which is the upright bass, building a washboard, or installing bridge pickups on the fiddle, the musicians are able to do it all themselves and really learn their instruments inside and out. “I think that is Old Man Markley Down Side Up Standout Track: “Blood On My Hands” Listen Now performermag.com 18 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE so important for us touring and our stage shows. Being able to know how your instrument works and how to make it sound the best that it can sound,” DeTemple explains. Knowing their instruments in this way allows the band to develop a sound that translates from album to stage extremely well. “We really found a way to play the folk instruments live, electrically, without the use of these huge amps. So we aren’t really changing the sound of the instrument,” DeTemple comments. They do this through the use of direct box pedals for each member. “It’s a direct line, we don’t have to plug it into amps,” she continues. She argues that the lack of big amps allows the group to present the instruments in a pure form, even to larger venues where that quality might be less common. No matter the size of the club, Old Man Markley never fails to deliver. Their first ever show was at a bar in Pasadena to a standing room only audience. The bar ran out of beer, and the band brought down the house. Having that experience as a baseline for the rest of their live performances, the band works to recreate that energy for any size audience. Responsible for bringing the band to their shows is their converted Seattle city bus, which they also found on Craigslist. Keeping with their DIY style, they bought the bus in 2010, gutted and repurposed it as their tour bus. It might not be the most attractive vehicle on the road: “It’s green and yellow, and its got a big black strip across the middle of it. Its quite an eyesore,” says DeTemple. But it serves its purpose. With nine bunks, a generator, a flat screen and a PlayStation, the band has all the requisites for life on the road. DeTemple, who has known bassist Garibaldi since she was 14, and shares the stage with husband Johnny Carey, recognizes how lucky she is: “We are really fortunate to have the group of friends that we have in this band, and that we are able to do this. I can’t express that enough. Its something that I could only have dreamed of.” Being fortunate enough to travel the world with their best friends is just the tip of the iceberg for the group. In mid-March, they were named #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass charts for Down Side Up. They have also signed on for another round with the Dropkick Murphys starting later this month. They are a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. They have a bus and a fiddle player that they found on Craigslist. They fix and modify all their own instruments, and recorded their latest record in their self-made home studio. They make funky, inspired music, and they play it loud. www.oldmanmarkley.com ON BUILDING A HOME STUDIO: “WE CAN WORK STARTING AS EARLY AS WE WANT, AND WE CAN WORK INTO THE EVENINGS. WE CAN TAKE A DAY OFF. WE CAN DO IT AT OUR LEISURE.” MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 19 THE SOUND Label-free and recently off-hiatus, The Hush Sound have done a lot of growing up for their digital 7-inch, Forty Five. We spoke with singer and guitarist Bob Morris in advance of the release about what it was like work on the band’s first release in five years. 20 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE Where are you guys at in the recording I think the music sounds different. It still process? Is there more left to finish? has some of the elements, I’m not exactly sure We finished about a month ago. We did four songs. We still have to tweak one of them, but we’re mainly getting back our third set of mixes now. It sounds really cool. This might be my favorite Hush stuff that we’ve done so far, so I’m definitely excited about it. It’s interesting to kind of see how everybody has grown up and changed since the last time we recorded together. [because] everyone’s different in what they loved about the band, but it still has some of who we were, [even though] we’re very different now. Having all this time to grow up and kind of realize no one is out to get anyone, that’s just part of the growing up thing. We were sort of stuck at arrested development when we were put on tour at such a young [age], in a fragile and strenuous manner. It’s been really cool to go, ‘Man, I really, Has that been a big factor in the music really like hanging out with you guys.’ It’s not that you’re working on, the fact that it’s been I hated them or anything, but it’s exciting to really five years since the band last released admire and want to be around these guys. It made anything? recording painless and fun. Kristina Reyes Making a Fresh Start, Independent and Label-Free by Amber Wade MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 21 Listen Now performermag.com The Hush Sound Forty Five Standout Track: “Not A Stranger” Matt Wignall We also did it with our friend Sam Farrar who we have known for about five years or so, so that made it really comfortable, too. He didn’t want to do anything to a metronome; he just wanted it to be so free. Where did you record the new material? easy to do that. I think a lot of times, when there are multiple songwriters in the band, everybody’s competing to get their songs on the album, but it wasn’t really like that [this time] and I think we don’t want it to ever be like that again. Is there anything in the new music that fans might find surprising or might not expect from the band? We did it with Tom Biller in Burbank, at this place called The Bank. You talked about how much better the band seemed to get along this time around, was there any relearning to work together or did it just click right away? With the band having been on a hiatus previous to this release, were there any feelings of pressure to live up to fan expectations? I think we had got to the point where we knew how to work with each other, even when we were younger, and I think now that everybody’s grown up we still have that understanding. But at the same time, no one was super-sensitive. We just all wanted to make really fun music, and it was really 22 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE As far as fans’ expectations, it’s really tricky to say. It’s a very different time in music. We went through a whole electro thing, and obviously that’s still popular, but you’re seeing a lot of bands like the The Lumineers and all these bands with real instruments [being mainstream.] I don’t know, I’m curious to see how people react to it, but I’m definitely excited to update what we were You had been signed to Fueled By Ramen, and doing before. you’ll be self-releasing this time around? I think the first song we’re going to put out, which will be released before this comes out, is “Not A Stranger.” It’s very different than anything we’ve done; all four songs are really different from each other. We did that purposefully because we had so many different demos. Both Greta [Salpeter, piano/vocals] and I had individual demos, and we made a bunch. We were like, ‘We should just pick a really wide array and see what we’re feeling.’ I’m glad we did because now we have so much variance to figure out what the next thing is. That’s what’s always been fun about the band, is that we’ve never been pigeonholed into sounding a certain way. “THAT’S WHAT’S ALWAYS BEEN FUN ABOUT THE BAND, IS Eddie O’Keefe THAT WE’VE NEVER BEEN PIGEONHOLED INTO SOUNDING A CERTAIN WAY.” singles on this,’ and everybody was like, ‘This isn’t really a singles type of band.’ He was like, ‘Well, we’ll put out the ninth song as a single.’ That’s how ‘Wine Red’ became a single. We were like, ‘Okay, but we put it ninth. Usually you put a single like third, but whatever.’ How has your previous label experience shaped your work this time around? Yeah, I’m not even sure how we’re doing it. It might be an EP, it might be a split 7-inch. Aside from not having the financial backing, were there any obstacles to working without a label? When we were on Fueled By Ramen, I think it was still like a MySpace situation at the time, our Facebook was started after we were already kind of done. Everybody had everything linked to everything, and they had a lot of money from the bands that were doing well on Fueled By Ramen, so it just kind of plugs you right in; we were really fortunate to be in that situation. I think we’re really fortunate now to be on our own, not that we don’t appreciate FBR, but I think it’s kind of a different world we want to live in right now. Are you feeling like you have more creative freedom now? Oh yeah, definitely more creative freedom. Our manger was always like, ‘Alright so Bob, you know the Beatles. You guys love The Beatles. They had the octopus, they had the walrus, but they also had the love me dos.’ That was like his way of saying to write a simple pop song, and we were just kind of like, ‘What the hell are you talking about?’ I think it’s really interesting the way it worked out. I really did not think we were going to come back together just because everybody had all these new things going on and it just kind of worked that way without the old manager and the old label. With our new manager, Emily White, we send her demos and she’s like, ‘These are awesome! I like this song. I like that song,’ and she never really doesn’t like something. So it’s up to us to decide and that’s kind of helpful. [When] we recorded Like Vines and gave it to them, our management was like, ‘There’s no When you’re making a record, it feels like no one’s ever going to hear it. Like I wonder what Fall Out Boy was thinking after being gone for so many years. I definitely have wondered, ‘Are going to be into this?’ Of course I want them to, but I think before everything was live or die by the band, and that’s what caused so much stress. Now I have a much more rich life with a lot of other things going on, and that actually helps my music and creativity. I don’t try to hammer out a song for 14 hours. I go for a walk with my dog and I’ll listen to the track and then boom, the idea happens. I guess you kind of just know how things are done a little better [having been on a label] because they’re trying to squeeze every penny out of people, and with us it’s like we don’t have to squeeze every penny out of people because we’re not getting 17 percent divided by four on every album. We’ll get 100 percent, and we’ll sell a lot less, and that’s totally fine. We just want to ultimately continue to play and continue to grow the band. If we used to sell, I don’t know, 40-50,000 records and we sell 15 now - then we’ll still be in the same place. Do you want to keep going the independent route or are you looking to end up on a label again? I think the plan is to get possibly a Canadian label and a UK label and unless something really cool comes along in the States, we’ll probably continue to do it independently. Our manager is really adept to doing that. We feel comfortable releasing it independently and not really having to be a part of anything we don’t want to be a part of. www.thehushsound.com MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 23 PURLING HISS by Kristin Lockhart photos by Tiffany Yoon From simple one-man recordings to a touring trio opening for buddy Kurt Vile, Purling Hiss takes the show on the road thanks to a blend of heavy yet catchy recordings and the tight-knit underground Philadelphia music scene. Founded in Philadelphia, singer and guitarist Mike Polizze had no intention of forming a band when he began making music under the moniker Purling Hiss, since the idea was simply to record the ideas in his head. “I didn’t really know what it was going to be, I was just recording ideas and just documenting,” explains Polizze. “I didn’t even know the first recording was going to be an album.” What started as simply making art spawned from the ideas he documented started getting buzz, and he released two albums as a solo artist. That all changed when he was invited to tour with fellow fuzzed-out Philly musician Kurt Vile in 2010. The invitation arrived after albums on Permanent Records and Richie Records had already been released. Since at this time it was still a one-man project, Polizze recruited Mike Sneeringer of the bands The Loved Ones and Puerto Rico Flowers as drummer and Kiel Everett of Tin Horses on bass, and they have been a three-piece band ever since. Though the early work didn’t fit with the live shows at that time, the creation of new songs led to an increasingly similar connection between recording and playing live, as their personalities were cohesively carving the music they were playing. “There’s a great feeling to have ideas and then document the recording and see how they turn out,” Polizze says, noting that learning how each person plays his instrument and how they sound collectively gradually caused the live show to better complement the sound when they were recording together, rather than playing what Polizze had created himself. Nowadays “things are better and tighter,” especially on the new album Water on Mars, which is being released by Drag City. Taking a cue from both the fuzzy, heavy riffs from the catalog, Purling Hiss infuses a new melodic garage rock sound reminiscent of Nirvana’s later efforts and Dinosaur Jr., but at the same time keeping the energy of the humble taped recordings that have formed the backbone of the band. Purling Hiss’ transition into a more melodic sound on Water on Mars has been a “natural progression” of Polizze’s songwriting. Even though he clarifies he has ”always had sort of a pop sensibility in me from the beginning,” it hasn’t been until now that he has started to open up both Using Connections in the Underground Scene to Facilitate Touring MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 25 lyrically and musically. Tracks such as “The Harrowing Wind” and the recently premiered single “Mercury Retrograde” showcase the melodic, laid-back vibe Purling Hiss has transitioned into. However, the band still knows how to make a lot of noise, as witnessed by the sprawling seven minutes of “Water on Mars” and heavy but catchy opening track “Lolita.” As a teenager, Polizze’s influences were mainly classic and punk rock behemoths such as Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, and The Rolling Stones. After starting to learn guitar, his interests shifted into bands such as Black Flag and Bad Brains, before developing a curiosity for 1980s college rock such as The Pixies and Hüsker Dü. Basically, anything with loud guitars was a point of interest. That heavy, guitar-oriented sound has been crucial to Purling Hiss’ textured sound, which combines punk rock attitude and abrasive experimentation with classic rock’s emphasis on guitar lines and melodic sensibility. For his own gear, it has been more about modifying the Fender Stratocaster he has had since he was 15 rather than shifting into different guitar builds. Since Polizze has been playing the same Strat for so long, it has been easier to develop a unique sound, and when he bought his beloved Ampeg amplifier almost ten years ago, it was a starting point for creating a seminal combination that he still cites as the key factor in the band’s unique wall of sound. Unlike most digital recording being done on Pro Tools today, Purling Hiss has mainly recorded on four tracks. Although the band does take advantage multi-tracking, the recording setup remains simple. In the beginning, when the music was still a solo project, Polizze had just one mic for all of the instruments, and as he explains, “If I ran out of room on the four track, I would just run the rest on the computer… but that’s the old recordings.” “I DIDN’T REALLY KNOW WHAT IT WAS GOING TO BE, I WAS JUST RECORDING IDEAS AND JUST DOCUMENTING. I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THE FIRST RECORDING WAS GOING TO BE AN ALBUM.” For the new album, the trio finally went to a recording studio for the first time. The result is a more polished sound, and there’s a noticeable difference on the new album’s cleaner approach. The previous record, Lounge Lizards, was a quick and concise punk rock-infused mix of distorted and squealing guitars that sounded exactly as it had been recorded - on a tape machine. Water on Mars provides sonic clarity and varied dynamics not previous heard, and even incorporates ballads 26 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE P into nine fantastic new tracks. The War on Drugs’ frontman Adam Granduciel helped produce Water on Mars. Sessions were at Uniform Recording in Philadelphia with the assistance of Jeff Zeigler, and because everyone knows everyone in this scene, Polizze has been working with The War on Drugs’ on their new material, as well. Considering the emphasis on a sense of community that the Philadelphia scene embodies, it’s no surprise he had an influence on the recording. Polizze comments, “He knows us personally; he understands the music that we’re playing…it definitely had an impact on the recording.” Other than local indie mainstays such as Dr. Dog, The War on Drugs, and Kurt Vile, one of the staples of indie rock in Philadelphia is Richie Records, which Polizze recommends as a starting point for those curious about Philly rock music. Started in 2005 by Richard Charles, the drummer of the raucous disbanded punk group Clockcleaner, Richie Records was founded to shine the spotlight on lesser known acts in the area. Of the label’s prolific roster, Polizze’s go-to bands from the label include Watery Love and Spacin’, and of course, Polizze’s other band, the bluesy Bird of Maya, which emphasizes recording rather than touring. The importance of community is apparent in not only the music, but how the band itself formed and how the idea of touring was sparked. Without Kurt Vile, Purling Hiss may not have ever become a touring band, since Polizze had already established a name for himself in the Philly underground scene, but had not been prompted to start a band until Vile’s suggestion of a tour. Purling Hiss’s trajectory been shaped by not only each individual in the band, but also the Philly scene. Its communal aspect just goes to prove it’s nice to have friends in hard-rocking places. www.facebook.com/PurlingHiss Purling Hiss Water on Mars Standout Track: “Lolita” Listen Now performermag.com MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 27 28 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE the PINE HOLLOWS On Integrating Vintage Vibes into Modern Recordings by Benjamin Ricci / photos by Jennifer Painter Gianni Napolitano is a young songwriter and indie pop bandleader from New York City. His group, The Pine Hollows, recently released their first full-length LP, Something My Heart Understands, embarked on their first tour and dropped their first official music video. All these firsts before his 21st birthday – not bad, eh? We recently spoke with Napolitano about his songcraft, the band’s use of vintage gear and retro studio tricks, and the challenges of being a DIY artist in today’s market (continued on next page). MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 29 ON THE DIFFICULTIES OF BEING DIY: “THOSE LIMITATIONS CAN LEAD YOU TO GOOD THINGS THAT MIGHT NOT HAVE HAPPENED OTHERWISE.” ON THE BENEFITS OF BEING DIY: “YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT, AND…YOU OWN THE ART YOU MAKE AND HAVE THE FINAL WORD ON EVERYTHING.” 30 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE So let’s start with your background in music. I started playing guitar at 11 or 12. My sister got a guitar for Christmas the year before, but she never really picked it up. So I started trying to play it, and took lessons soon after that at the Paul Green School of Rock in Manhattan. That was a really cool experience, going into the city two or three times a week and playing with kids my age; it was really great. And you’re how old now? I’m 20. And you’re actually a student of musicology at NYU, right? Yes, it’s my last full-time semester and I’ll be graduating in the fall. For those who don’t know, can you explain what musicology actually encompasses? Definitely – it’s really a music theory and history-based curriculum. There’s not much performance to it, which is OK because that’s what I do full time outside of school. So with the major, we’re studying whatever part of music history we most enjoy and we delve deep into that with an anthropological focus. And for you, what would that period be? For me, that’s early rock and roll, the late’50s stuff. Do you think what you’ve been studying has informed your own songwriting? Absolutely. It’s sort of funny because in school I got into Buddy Holly; it just happened to be synchronicity. It changed me so much as a musician and a songwriter, because I heard so much of myself in his [material]. It was really cool to hear songs that weren’t very complicated but were still very guitar-oriented. So how did the band come about? It that a real group or more of a solo project? T I think it’s more of a collective, with rotating musicians. It sort of became a pseudonym for me, and it started the summer before I went to school with Ray Belli, our drummer, who’s also the only other constant in the band beside myself, interning at this recording studio. That kind of fell apart, but at that point he was the catalyst for it, and we actually met at the School of Rock – so we’ve known each other for five or six years now… P How do you approach collaboration, then? Is it mostly your ideas and arrangements? It’s pretty much my arrangements, my songs. And it sort of just came to happen that way. With the original lineup we had, I was trying to foster a more collaborative approach, but it wasn’t really happening. And for me, I’m an impatient person, and I got to a place where I said, ‘If I have to do it myself, I will.’ H Can you take us deeper into you songwriting process? I have this little cassette recorder that I use to noodle on the guitar. Originally, when I got into songwriting I was just playing and singing and hoping for the best. Maybe mumble some words and try to figure it out and write something down later. But as time went on, the music and lyrics started to happen at the same time. And now I write when I feel like I need to, which is quite often. It’s usually a way for me to try and figure things out, mentally. One of my favorite writers, Joan Didion, once said, ‘I write to figure out what I’m thinking.’ And I really find that to be true for me, too. As far as the songs go, do the music and lyrics evolve in the studio, or are the arrangements set when you go to record? It depends on the song. On this album, a lot of them were fleshed out before we recorded since we did some demos at NYU first, so we knew what they were going to sound like [already]. We maybe changed a little in the arrangements, and some that really took off in the studio were songs MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 31 The Pine Hollows Something My Heart Understands Standout Track: “Go And Tell Him” Listen Now performermag.com like ‘After Dark,’ which is a chaotic one. But it’s definitely fun, trying to capture all those weird noises on guitar. Will Salwen played double bass on it, and he was doing interesting things with the bow, so we were trying to outdo each other in the studio [laughs]. What were some of the weird sounds you were doing on guitar? I feel like it’s both, as well as my history with the School of Rock. That definitely informs the sound when I’m writing, since we studied and played so much classic rock. And I have a 1966 Fender Pro Reverb amp that I use for pretty much the whole album, as well as an old 1976 Les Paul; so I sort of consciously go for an older sound. Do you plan on hitting the road again? Yeah, definitely. We’re thinking about another tour, but we’re not sure what that’s gonna be yet. We’re definitely gonna play more in New York this summer. One thing I did, which the other guys hadn’t heard before, is something that happens in Pink Floyd’s ‘Echoes,’ where David Gilmour reverses the input and output on his wah-wah pedal. How does touring work for the collective? Are you working with an agency right now or are you booking your own stuff? And what exactly does that do? It makes this screeching…it sounds like a bird, almost. Do you still get a wah effect at all? We just went to Florida and Georgia in January for our first tour. That was seven shows in eight days. So that was pretty crazy – but life on the road was a lot of fun. One of the craziest things that happened, since we’re all so young, is that we had problems getting a car rental. So we almost didn’t have a car, and they gave us this tiny sedan [to tour in]. So we got this car top carrier, and we built the thing in the parking lot of Walmart so we could cram all the suitcases and amps in. It’s all me for now. We have a booking agent that we’re thinking of working with for [an upcoming] tour, but I’m not sure that’ll happen due to funding and [other factors]. What are your thoughts on being a DIY band in today’s market? No, it completely bypasses that and it sounds almost like a synthesizer at times. It’s just a really weird noise. Does your age ever present any problems getting booked at clubs? Speaking of your sounds (and sound), you have this really cool retro, yet contemporary style. Do you think your gear or your songwriting approach plays the biggest role in that? 32 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE I feel like a lot of times the club will ask how old we are when they’re booking, and the few times we played at Rockwood [Music Hall, NYC] they said, ‘Oh, you can stay but you have to leave when the show is over and you’ll need to wait next door until it’s your turn to play.’ Things like that… I think one of the pros is that in a way you can do whatever you want, and that you own the art you make and have the final word on everything. That part I really enjoy. I think the cons are that it’s a real challenge to figure out how you’re gonna do something. But those limitations can lead you to good things that might not have happened otherwise. thepinehollows.bandcamp.com MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 33 NOISE 2013 TOP PICKS LIVE SHOW POP Various Venues â€“ San Francisco, CA February 26 - March 3, 2013 review and photos by Miikka Skaffari 21 YEARS IN, NOISE POP STILL DELIVERS, FILLING THE BAY WITH AN AMAZING MYRIAD OF TALENTED BANDS AND KILLER LIVE ROCK AND ROLL. 34 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE During the 21-year history of Noise Pop, the festival has seen hundreds, if not thousands of bands and each year the organizers manage to keep it fresh and new. This year it circled back to its roots and showcased a lot of actual noise. Opening night set the tone with Body/Head where Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and a fellow noise aficionado Bill Nace summoned a wave of complex and mesmerizing musical assaults. This might not have been expected of Kim but it showcases the courage to experiment and take risks both by the festival and the artists who perform there. Also notable from the first night was the organizers deliberate mixing of styles within the shows. The opening night show features three noise artists and a metal band, an evening with MINI HIG H S LI G HT VENUE: by Rurik Schtaklef VENUE: BRICK & MORTAR SAN FRANCISCO, CA February 26, 2013 Will Sprott Adding soulful f lavor to start out the night, Sprott sang his way through ballads with two backup companions to fill out the sound. PUBLIC WORKS SAN FRANCISCO, CA March 1, 2013 Naytronix They had has such a unique sound, and really wowed everyone with their matching t-shirts. Maus Haus The San Francisco natives were just downright entertaining to watch. Heavy bass, great harmonies and overall loud everything. Jenny O. Jenny O. put on an intimate performance, just her and her guitar. She drew all attention to the stage and punched out a handful of VENUE: catchy folk numbers, RICKSHAW STOP SAN FRANCISCO, CA one after the other. March 2, 2013 Jason Lytle This was the last show Jukebox The Ghost from a tour that Lytle It was hard for folks had completed with not to get up and right-hand man, Rusty dance to Jukebox The Miller. They played Ghost; they have the brand new songs as ability to do that with well as some clas- ease. Plus, there was sic Grandaddy tunes, a white stuffed tiger which put everyone in on stage, and that was pretty awesome. a happy mood. Artists, clockwise from left: Pins of Light , !!! , Head/Body dance punk included a pure noise act, etc. Because of the format of the festival, you may miss more shows than you can attend. The festival is held in half a dozen or so venues spread throughout the city of San Francisco. It also includes physical art, culture workshops, and film on top of the already overwhelming musical offering. The format forces you to research the bands and find something you wouldn’t otherwise see at other festivals. The late afternoon ‘happy-hour’ shows are another cool part of the festival. These shows feature a very early stage, transitional and not established bands and this is where you can find the most raw talent and music. The energy in Benders, a small venue where the ‘happy-hour’ shows were held, was just magical each night. It’s impossible to say what was the best band or experience in the festival, but here are some of my personal highlights. Ramona Falls and San Francisco’s own Social Studies helped everyone over mid-week hump with their upbeat pop-rock. A happy hour show with Owl, The White Barons and Pins of Light was one sweaty night filled with garage punk/rock/metal. The most danceable night was spent with Strfckr and the energetic performance of the year has to be split between The Yellow Dogs and !!!. There’s also bunch of events I wished I saw. Yacht, not only for the music, but even more so for the premise of the act. I would have loved to experience the hypnotic sound of Fresh and Onlys. Then there’s Dirty Ghosts, a post-punk powerhouse that is getting better and better with each listen. Also in the entrepreneurial independent spirit, there were a bunch of bands that booked local venues during Noise Pop even though they were not part of the festival. There were a lot of locals and folks who traveled to San Francisco just for the festival, who were looking for concerts to check out. These are the bands that might very well be featured in the main festival next year. And that guarantees the continued success of Noise Pop - both artistically and financially. www.noisepop.com MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 35 TOP PICKS TOP PICKS Acidic Copper Man Los Angeles, CA (Self-released) Cayucas Bigfoot Cayucas, CA (Secretly Canadian) Dirty Fences Too High to Kross Brooklyn, NY (Volcom) “High-octane alternative wave of sound” Straight from the get go, Acidic brings forth its frenetic energy and passionate sound in waves of indie alternative delight. “Copper Man” opens up this ten-song album with distortion-glazed guitars, dazzling percussion and bass and high-octane rocket powered vocals. This band from Los Angeles certainly should win over fans with their work, as track two “Satellite” has a momentary feel of Foo Fighters at their best. With more tracks like “Monster” and the Hoobastanklike ballad “Looking Glass” (complete with opening acoustic guitars), one is assured this band has worked hard to get where they are as 2013 unfolds. The production of Copper Man is stellar, with glistening mastering on the drums and guitars, most especially the honey-coated harmony vocals. This band brings the goods, with personality and flair unmatched in many West Coast bands. Touring with Candlebox and Fuel, Acidic must of learned from their mates about the art of composing songs that are appealing and catchy, and full of emotion. John Ryan did a tremendous job as the record’s producer. The guitars and heavy percussion and bass keep coming like a freight train, with haunting vocals that definitely give this band character and depth. Their experience will pay off and those who love alternative music should look forward to their tour this year. Produced by John Ryan, Engineered by Matt Thorne and John Ryan, Mastered by Charlie Watts www.acidicband.com -Shawn M. Haney “Funky indie-pop and energetic chord progressions for a summer day” Cayucas (aka Zach Yudin), hails from a sleepy California surfing town void of propensity and excess. His music is just the same - captivating in a fun and addicting way. Bigfoot is the band’s first album it flows smoothly, channeling hazy summer days and carefree adventures. The composition is simple, which despite some predictability in regard to progression, allows the album to be instantly easy to enjoy. The record is driven by catchy pop-infused hooks and simple songs that create a feel-good environment. Cayucas shies away from overly intricate chord progressions and anthemic-like percussion ballads. Tracks like “High School Lover” and “Cayucos” [editor’s note - their spelling, not ours] are rife with energy and paint a portrait of sunny California beaches and long surf sessions with a 1960s surf rock vibe. The band’s overall sound is clean and polished but maintains a bit of room for experimentation – enter in clicking back beats, bursts of percussion, horn sections and the addition of ambient cafeteria noise. Bigfoot brings back a bygone era of music but with a modern twist. The decisive instrumentation adds layers of sound while the lyrics sum up the everyday troubles of life. The album doesn’t break any musical barriers, but it’s a strong and utterly captivating project that marks the start of summer and a new band to watch. www.cayucas.com -Vanessa Bennett “Condense and catchy no-frills rockers” Once again Brooklyn has spewed forth a band that is riotous and hard-core. Dirty Fences prides itself on its experimental and committed passion for music. Their new album, Too High to Kross, is a 13-track project that showcases the band’s blend of complex layers of sound and multiple genres. From garage rock to blues to classic rock, the group pulls from a plethora of styles to create an album that keeps listeners hooked. The record is a nonstop barrage of guitars, drums, and bass delivered in frenzy. It opens with razor sharp guitar riffs and fast, pounding percussion. This trend is maintained throughout its entirety. Tracks like “Heaven Is Tonight” and “White Lies” have a raucous, no-holds-barred energy and “R.S.C.” channels multiple generations of music simultaneously. The vocals are clean, something unexpected, but they drive home messages of racy encounters and harsh life lessons. Dirty Fences are well-seasoned musicians and it shows. Too High to Kross pulls together the talents of four individuals in a collaborative effort that shows promise and skill. The band’s experimentation with sound and raw style of play collide with strong lyricism to create a solid debut. dirtyfences.bandcamp.com -Vanessa Bennett our PHILOSOPHY ON REVIEWS HELP WANTED Booking Agents and Publicists for busy agency. Simon Says Booking is seeking qualified and experienced agents and publicists to join our team. We are experiencing unprecedented growth and we need more experienced agents in our Orange, MA office. Pay is commensurate with experience. Send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org for review. OUR REVIEW SECTION IS A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT. We don’t use a numbered scale or star system, and we don’t feature music we don’t like. Instead, think of this as our top picks of the month. These are the new releases that we’re really enjoying, and that we recommend you check out. We also mix in a few of our favorite live shows, as well as books and videos from time to time. Listen to the music featured in this issue at performermag.com 36 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE RAEKWON The Middle East – Cambridge, MA March 29, 2013 review and photo by Candace McDuffie LIVE SHOW in Raekwon’s presence: his fleeting bluster was nicely balanced with charming boasts. He couldn’t believe Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) - the album that set the group on fire - was released in 1993. He was also in awe of and humbled by the number of people in attendance just to see him. But most of all, he stood in sheer amazement of how lyrically on point he was (especially since he was pretty drunk). Of course, he came through with the classics: “Ice Cream,” “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta Fuck Wit,” and “Triumph” were executed with the type of fervor that’s contagious; every person in the building couldn’t help but move. We were brought to our knees when he shouted out the legacy of ODB right before performing “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.” “Rainy Dayz,” “Guillotine (Swordz),” and “Heaven and Hell,” displayed his more stoic side: for a man of many talents and as many drinks to match, his precision was almost unbearably enigmatic. In short, Wu-Tang’s reign - which spawned a template on how to turn your art into an empire - is showing no signs of letting up. Raekwon isn’t just a member of Wu-Tang Clan; he is a revered lyricist - or a lyricsmith as he calls it. He is a hip-hop cornerstone whose style has been emulated for the last 20 years by nearly every MC in the game. He is a monstrous performer who can deliver grandeur and depth that only complements his Big Apple arrogance instead of undermining it; the man is simply a legend. So opening his set with the larger than life “C.R.E.A.M.” was the only way to kick the evening off. The crowd, who stood shoulder to shoulder - each member struggling to be a step closer than the person next to them - was engrossed www.raekwonchronicles.com Elephant Stone Self-Titled Montreal, QC (Hidden Pony) “Traditional Indian instruments meet psychedelic Britpop” Several images might come to mind when one hears the genre name Hindi Rock. Just what is it, exactly? Imagine, if you will, a singer/ songwriter by the name of Rishi Dhir sitting crosslegged and strumming a massive stringed instrument – the sitar – and the genre becomes quite clear, though not in the way you might imagine. On their eponymous sophomore release, Elephant Stone refreshingly brings Indian flavors – namely, the sitar, the tabla, and the dilruba - into the mainstream’s psychedelic yet polished pop vein, resulting in a collection of songs that positively shimmer. Think the dreamy Britpop of ’60s-era Beatles with comforting and, at times, otherworldly mantras of hope, peace, and love amid heavy drum beats. The album opens with “Setting Sun,” an upbeat track full of traditional rock elements and complemented by Dhir’s inimitable vocal stylings. From here on, psychedelia abounds – namely with the powerful bass lines of “Heavy Moon,” the power pop riffs of “Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin,” and the unexpected shift into darker territories with “Looking Thru Baby Blue.” Among the aforementioned standouts is “The Sea of Your Mind,” a nine-minute departure from the record’s conciseness, albeit a welcome one, as the track’s richness showcases Dhir’s vision come to life and solidifies Elephant Stone’s place in the “Best New Artist to Watch” category. www.elephantstone.com -Julia R. DeStefano Fox and the Law Scarlet Fever Seattle, WA (Self-released) bleed me dry” (“Unbelievable”) sings the charismatic mouthpiece, Guy Keltner, whose voice nods to the frail swagger and angularity of the legendary Dead Kennedys front-man Jello Biafra. The grandest notes achieved on Scarlet Fever land with the up-tempo swings. “Unbelievable” and “In My Bed” are guitar gauntlets: the former storms the gate with immediate fury, an assault of punchy rhythm and dingy lo-fi vocals while “In My Bed” possesses minimalist Black Keys instrumentation and Keltner’s near-shouting tone. The album’s centerpiece, “Awake,” is a blissful amble, strutting medium-paced with bold, unhurried vocals and bluesy fretwork on a humming bed of rhythm; it’s a seven-minute ovation to the rock and roll legacy. Scarlet Fever leans on a yesteryear bass, drum and guitar framing, while injecting enough personality and timelessness to stand on its own and lay the foundation for burgeoning, yet carefree rock and roll roots. Engineered, Mixed & Mastered by Martin Feveyear Recorded at Jupiter Studios in Seattle, WA www.foxandthelaw.com -Christopher Petro “Sexy, guitar-driven rock fronted by grungy lyrics and devilish rhythms” Seattle’s Fox and the Law’s rugged and quintessential songwriting yields a sturdy LP founded on grandiose hooks and jutting lyrical personality. Scarlet Fever seeks a marriage of punk and garage genres with attention to listenability and a restlessly melodic early-Stones core. “I need you to treat me right / But all you do is continued on 38 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 37 TOP PICKS LEEDZ EDUTAINMENT SHOW OF THE MONTH Gold Fields Black Sun Ballarat, Australia (Astralwerks) “Experimental tracks with funky beats and falsetto vocals” Gold Fields has teleported their audience back to the 1980s in the most modern of ways with their newest LP, Black Sun. Synth sections, strong bass lines and other EDM instruments are used in the best of ways to create tracks that give the band their distinct sound. The songs are a perfect blend of two musical generations that result in one creative work of music. The standout track on the album has to be “Dark Again,” as cool guitar riffs weave inbetween synth sections, creating a fresh sound. Whether intentional or not, the band had to be influenced by the opening synth section of rocker Stevie Nicks’ 1983 hit, “Stand Back.” Does anyone else hear that? Play the two songs and you will see the subtle resemblance. Tracks such as “Ice” are relaxing while still channeling that EDM vibe - think Explosions in the Sky meets Duran Duran. Just when you think you have Gold Fields figured out, they catapult you into a tribal synth party, which seems to be the theme on tracks such as “Treehouse” and “The Woods.” Gold Fields does a fantastic job at creating an ’80s-influenced record while mellowing it out with contemporary sounds. Black Sun is simply the best of both musical worlds. Produced by Mickey Petralia and Scott Horscroft Mastered by Mike Marsh at the Exchange Mastering Studios, London UK www.goldfieldsmusic.com -Jillian Dennis-Skillings and Shawn Mullins, this album takes the acoustic style she is most known for and throws in a classic rock twist. On it, she sings about hanging out with friends, life on the road, love and heartbreak. Songs like “22 Page Story” tell of that point in life everyone reaches when they realize they’ve wasted time on someone and decide it is time to move on. From the funky guitar riffs and commercial pop/rock vocals of the opening song “That’s What She Said” and the bluesy “Church on Friday” to the cow-punk honky-tonk feel of “Watch Out For the Deer,” Hannah Thomas proves she is a force to be reckoned with. Though her voice at times has that twinge of country, the guitars are 100% rock and roll. Songs like “What If” take a more relaxed country/Top 40 turn. The Indigo Girls’ Amy Ray joins Thomas on vocals for the darker sound of “Pacifier.” The album closes out with the amped-up, guitar-jangling title track “Goodbye on Wasted Time.” Recorded by Rob Gal Mixing and Additional Tracking by Jaron Pearlman Mastered at When Will Studios By Will Mitchell www.hannahthomasband.com -Lesley Daunt TOP PICKS Heart Out To Me.” One last cool thing that makes this album so groovy...Tornadoes is also available as a limited edition 12” red vinyl LP. Produced by Kenny Howes Mixed by Ms. Lee Flier at Radio Flier Studios, Atlanta GA Mastered by Glenn Schick at Glenn Schick Mastering, Atlanta, GA www.reverbnation.com/kennyhowes -Lesley Daunt Kenny Roby Memories & Birds Raleigh, NC (Little Criminal Records) “Stellar poetry and vocals by a veteran songsmith” Veteran songsmith Kenny Roby presents to his listeners an eight-song epic of sounds and lyrics from Raleigh, NC – complete with a feel of the greats such as Springsteen, Newman, Cohen and Costello. The instrumentation is delightful, as each arrangement is carefully created and laced. The production really brings out a great vibe in the overall sound. “The Craziest Kid Around” is melancholy and haunting, with fervently rich vocal harmonies, painting a portrait of Americana with tearjerker lyrics. Mature and beautiful, this album is full of wonderful sounds and powerfully orchestrated instrumentation. Passionate and romantic, the chords and arrangements encompassing each tune are stellar and creative, helping the words of a gifted poet shimmer and radiate with vitality. “Memories & Birds” delivers a sound sweet as honey, and “Colorado” helps transport the listener to that gorgeous landscape. A joyful record to listen to when one wishes to really feel, and truly reflect on the harmony and discord of life. It’s a muchneeded addition to the indie listener’s collection. www.kennyroby.net -Shawn M. Haney Kenny Howes Tornadoes Here & Past Atlanta, GA (Yeah! Records) “Atlanta’s power-pop king is back and he brought the ‘70s with him” First thing one notices when listening to Tornadoes is its analog feel; it’s full of 1960s electric guitar tones and combo organ sounds. The album opens with “Cannot Remember,” a track that shows off some great guitar, courtesy of Howes’ 12-string Rickenbacker. Slip into the next song, “Slip On By” (a collaboration with famed Los Angeles music veteran Tony Valenziano) and one is taken back decades to the days of psychedelic pop and layers upon layers of lush harmonies. The driving bass and guitar lines on both “Silence And Camouflage” and “You Don’t Say Anything” make it apparent why Howes is often compared to such acts as Badfinger and The Beatles. The addition of horns and the simplistic lyrics on the songs “Foxy Jackie” and “People Are Doing Stuff” add an almost bizarre marriage between Sgt. Pepper and Madness. Howes switches gears with “Juvenile Sage,” a mellow, melodic standout with additional vocals provided by Pat DiNizio of The Smithereens. This album is just song after song of yummy pop goodness. Other than the familiar team of Howes and Shane and an appearance by DiNizio, guitarist Marty Willson-Piper of The Church contributes lead guitar to the number “Pour Your Hannah Thomas Goodbye on Wasted Time Atlanta, GA (3Quarters Records) Kobo Town Jumbie In The Jukebox Toronto, ON (Stonetree Records) “A 23-year-old girl who was born with music in her soul” Hannah Thomas started writing songs when she was 11-years-old. Now she is 23 and has spent the last year on the road playing her music for anyone who will listen. And lots of people have been listening, many of whom chipped in to help Thomas make her first studio CD in two years. Goodbye on Wasted Time is a true reflection of Thomas’ life. Produced by Rob Gal, who has also worked with fellow Georgia artists Sugarland 38 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE “A Calypso carnival of color” The latest release by the Trinidadian/ Canadian coterie is a delightful dozen of pulsing island sounds with undulations of modern social commentary and uplifting stanzas. The bright call and response vibe and diverse instrucontinued on 43 mentation gleans nicely atop LIVE SHOW THE Smith’s Olde Bar – Atlanta, GA March 2, 2013 by Lesley Daunt / photo by Lance Bryant HIGHER CHOIR HIG HLI GHT A full glass of Southern rock and blues with a folk chaser. The Higher Choir. This band is pure, unadulterated rock and roll. One look around at the full capacity in the room and it was clear just how popular they’ve become. Lead singer Chance Walls describes their music as a full glass of Southern rock and blues with a folk chaser. A very close description, though at times Walls voice has the intriguing dimensions of Richard Ashcroft from The Verve. The band started off their set with “One Eyed Jack,” a song that got the crowd moving from the get-go, than delved into the more Southern rockish “Hard Tack and Whiskey,” showing off extremely tight guitars, reminiscent of The Black Crowes’ Rich Robinson. “Who’s to Say,” with a of country, was another huge crowd pleaser as it once again showcased the talent of guitarists Alan Conner and Grant Mitchell. The band took a break from originals with a mini-set of covers compiled of “Dead Flowers” by The Rolling Stones, “Spoonful” by Howlin’ Wolf and “Still Drunk, Still Crazy, Still Blue” by Scott H. Biram. As far as their original songs, the highlight was “Hole in My Shoe.” This track creeps in like a masked stranger, bringing back memories of old Traffic, 10 Years After and more, then just explodes with psychedelic prowess, ending on a note of euphoria. The set closed out with the Allman Brothers-esque jam of “Cottageville,” leaving one to wonder how the night could get any better. www.thehigherchoir.com MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 39 TOP PICKS T H AO & THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA March 24, 2013 review and photo by Candace McDuffie TOP PICKS LIVE SHOW HIG HLI GHT A night of intimate presence, nuanced performance and female empowerment. Common,” “When We Swam,” and “Age of Ice.” Her presence - despite playing to a sold out crowd - was remarkably intimate. She rounded out her set with “Body,” then brought out Miss Sallie to perform the Ronettes’ 1963 hit “Be My Baby” as a mesmerizing duet. Ending the night like that proved just how bruising it is when talented women stick together. Thao Nguyen is the epitome of what a female musician should be. She is a beautiful girl armed with an even more beautiful acid tongue; she approaches songwriting with a list of substantial grievances. She has evolved from unsure, bittersweet standout to nuanced goddess. Her latest album, We The Common, depicts this evolution quite nicely. The strings are prolific and determined - her songs full of suffering and resolve. And on the stage, she knows exactly who she is. So advocating other women by making one her opener wasn’t just some strategic move: it was wholly empowering. Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside were full of squirrelly melodies, lightly tickled guitar, and timeless textures. Her gawkiness was charming, her scrappiness admirable. After turning out the crowd with her garagerocking frenzy, she was in it signing autographs and answering questions. When Thao took the stage, she played on our excitement with 2009’s “Know Better Learn Faster.” It was a savory tune that dramatically showcased her craftsmanship. She flew through her catalogue, highlighted with “We the www.thaoandthegetdownstaydown.com 40 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE STRANGE review and photo by Gail Fountain Vocalist-guitarist Kenny Brown drew yells from the audience when he announced he had to take his shirt off to show metallic body paint and a new plaid kilt he had worn for St Patrick’s Day. Brown showed his playful side, admitting he was not commando under his kilt and later telling penis jokes. He invited the audience to sing along or dance to nearly every song, including Strange Planet’s wonderfully melodious “Monsters of My Youth,” where his low to high vocal transitions perfectly glided, and The Flaming Lips’ “She Don’t Use Jelly.” While singing, he played rhythm, and when not singing, he played short solos, rocking left and right, really concentrating on the guitar work. The power trio included Troy Wolf on drums and Josey Reinhardt on Rickenbacker bass. Reinhardt’s bass lines grooved with the melody, moving the music along at a mid-tempo pace as he sang along sans mic and rocked and jumped all around stage right. Once, Reinhardt and Brown played back to back. Wolf was physically the most stable of the group, but made himself known by using lots of splash cymbal and snare on “Pretty Lady,” Strange Planet’s next single, and producing steady rock rhythms and fills throughout the set. For the last song, Brown asked the audience up front to sing “Vilena,” a pop song with a pleasant, catchy chorus. The drummer from opener NovaKord joined in a percussion duet with Wolf; Brown played a solo atop a front monitor. At the song’s end, Reinhardt picked the song back up for another chorus. www.reverbnation.com/strangeplanet7 HIG HLI GHT Metallic body paint and kilts on a wild St. Patrick’s Day evening. PLANET MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 41 TOP PICKS North River Tavern - Atlanta, GA March 17, 2013 LIVE SHOW TOP PICKS VINYL MONTH of the Martha Knuckles The Martha Knuckles EP Atlanta, GA & Detroit, MI (Eatin’ Records) marthaknuckles.bandcamp.com “ M otow n / H ot l a n ta co l l a b y i e l d s ba n gi n’ r e s u l t s” Martha Knuckles (aka Dillon & Boog Brown) is a beat-bustin’, bass-thumpin’ hiphop duo from Detroitlanta that brings to mind the jazz-infused tracks of classic Tribe Called Quest LPs. Their current 7-inch begins with a needle drop on “One Two Y’all,” an inventive, hypnotic number that demands headphone listening to fully appreciate all its nuances. The B-Side pumps more mesmerizing bass through your woofers, all underlying the smooth flow and instantly catchy chorus of “Give Me Room.” The new Martha Knuckles EP is a refreshingly bold and imaginative slice of wax that clearly stands out in the sea of recent mundane hip-hop releases. Highly recommended for a chill afternoon subway ride. 42 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE Beats by Anthony Accurate Engineered by John Gowen Artwork by Kenski for Nufsed Format: 7-inch Speed: 45 rpm Color: Black Vinyl Limited Edition: 300 with Gold Jacket review by Benjamin Ricci / photo by Chad Hess nostalgic dancehall oscillations and clean production. Kobo Town The living rhythms of Jumbie (continued) In The Jukebox bounce along cheerfully and in an infectious manner, ebbing and flowing like a mid-day tide. The downbeat, sentimental track of the record, “Diego Martin” is a zesty stroll that features vocalist Drew Gonsalves crooning in an open letter fashion to his homestead. As the lyrics of this standout cut tell of distant memories and the singer’s changing relationship with his place of origin, sleek organ lines and haunting echoed snare hits decorate the song’s pallet as the dynamics grow from a hushed whisper to a passionate holler. Kobo Town’s savviness of blending Western consciousness and the vibrant music of the people creates a cross-cultural Canadian-Caribbean amalgam of lush danceability and pop-fluorescent perfection. Produced by Ivan Duran www.KoboTown.com -Taylor Haag Carnival Nashville, TN (Blue Pig Music) “The could-have-been soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?” After three years of hard work and a few awards along the way, Nora Jane Struthers and her band, The Party Line, have produced a wonderful album called Carnival. For lovers of Alison Krauss or Emmylou Harris, this is an album perfectly geared towards those sunny summer evenings. Carnival is another album produced by the man who works for the Dixie Chicks and Alison Krauss, a man named Brent Truitt, and he is loyal to this bluegrass, Americana and country fusion. Carnival sports a fantastic sound that truly does each of the artists in the band, including Nora Jane herself, justice. The timbre of the vocals and fantastic plucking on each of the tracks is rich and vibrant. You really just want to start two stepping and line dancing to the music. The vocals are particularly noteworthy on this album. In many of the tracks, such as “Mountain Child,” Nora Jane and her band exhibit gorgeous harmonies that fill the speakers beautifully. Carnival is also very emotionally charged and the lyrics carry an immense amount of gravity. The progression of the record only adds to the emotion in the lyrics. Each of the tracks tells a story, and as the songs pass on the album, the narrator matures. Nora Jane takes the listeners on this journey with her, and it’s one worth taking. Produced by Brent Truitt Recorded and Mixed at Unpainted Huffhines in Nashville, TN Mastered by Randy Leroy at Airshow Mastering www.norajanestruthers.com -Hannah Lowry The Nadas Lovejoy Revival Des Moines, IA (Authentic Records) “Like a shot of whiskey with a spoonful of sugar; rock with a bit of love” This acoustic-heavy group is back with another record, and it’s just as good as the others they’ve made so far. Lovejoy Revival features an extremely mellow sound with a few songs thrown in that are bound to make you want to drive around with the top down and your sunglasses on. It’s a perfect mix of energy and charm that has warranted them spots on the same stage as Bon Jovi and many SXSW shows in the past. This group, fronted by rock-oriented Mike Butterworth and Jason Walsmith, a man comfortable in country, has achieved a unique sound that is a great mix of the two once again. You have, on the one hand, some fantastic acoustic work in songs such as “Hard Rain” and “Visitor,” yet on the other you have energy-charged songs like “Honor” and “Beast of Burden.” The diversity of the album is addictive and makes it applicable to almost all walks of life. The mix of energy and emotion keeps the listeners guessing and reflects the wide range of talent shared by the members of the band. Any fans of the older O.A.R material would love this album. Mixed by Todd Pipes, Engineered by Sklyer VanWalbeek, Mastered by Georges Guerin at DES Mastering www.thenadas.com -Hannah Lowry The Orange Peels Sun Moon Sunnyvale, CA (Minty Fresh Records) “Robust, energetic power-pop with throbbing rhythms and innovatively textured vocals” Bay-area power pop trio, the Orange Peels, have released critically praised records since the late-’90s. Attentive to forge quality over quantity, Sun Moon is the band’s fifth full-length release, and much like their previous albums, it too merits abundant praise. “Grey Holiday” will baffle the listener in consideration for how a group can produce such largeness from simple bass, drum and guitar framing. Therein lays the Orange Peels’ ingenuity: innovative singer Allen Clapp does not refrain from nuanced and unconventional vocal treatments; he basks, building a mosaic of multilayered consistency. Often self-harmonizing and stacking vocal-on-vocal verses results a sound echoing that of the Shins, Miracle Fortress and occasionally Brian Wilson (“Your New Heroes”). Clean and sophisticated production carries the supporting instrumentation with thrusting rhythms, bright jangly guitars, dreamlike keyboard injections and the most commanding percussion since the Secret Machines’ Now Here is Nowhere. As great as ever, the Orange Peels maintain their signature power-pop posturing while exploring unique harmonization, thick and pounding rhythms and melodic hooks that glisten with listenability. Keeping with the unexpected underbelly, Sun Moon achieves a striking balance of radio-friendly pop and artful, elegantly crafted melody-driven rock. Produced and Engineered by Allen Clapp Recorded at Mystery Lawn Studio, Sunnyvale, CA; U-dot, Oakland, CA; and Inner Sunset, San Francisco, CA Mastered at Headless Buddha Mastering Lab, Oakland, CA www.theorangepeels.com -Christopher Petro MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 43 TOP PICKS Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line TOP PICKS COHEED AND CAMBRIA House of Blues – Boston, MA March 14, 2013 review and photo by Candace McDuffie The mysticism Coheed and Cambria has cultivated for themselves over the years has been entertaining to say the least: the complex lyrical storylines, the borderline cartoonish vocals, the larger than life instrumentation. They have gone from completely underground underdogs to MTV favorites and back again. And the sold out crowd on this particular evening embraced Coheed’s story from beginning to end. Openers Between The Buried and Me were way more tumultuous than anyone could have ever predicted. Among their collapse and misery were monotonous, lumbering riffs and terrifying delivery - Tommy Rogers’ booming of voice could outscream the brashest of singers. But Coheed frontman Claudio Sanchez wasn’t too concerned about outdoing anyone - including himself. Looking thinner than usual and keeping his signature manic mane to a minimum, he kept his focus strictly on his craft as opening track “Pretelethal” was viable enough to capture the audience’s attention. Coheed and Cambria’s grace has always been in their consistency: frantic guitar-noise scribbling, melodramatic climaxes, and the gleam of pastoral post-rock has never shined so brightly for the New York natives. Trudging through their catalogue - spanning nearly a decade - the boys kept a cohesive balance of old and new. “No World for Tomorrow” was counterattacked by “A Favor House Atlantic.” “Dark Side of Me” was trailed by “Delirium Trigger.” They rounded out the evening with “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” but they hesitated to do their encore because it would mean their time in Boston would be over. “Wake Up” and “Welcome Home” were monstrously executed and by the time Coheed were finally through with us - we’ve never wanted anything more. Frantic guitar-noise scribbling, HIG HL T IGH melodramatic climaxes, and the gleam of pastoral post-rock. www.coheedandcambria.com 44 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE EDITOR’S PICKS No Justice America’s Son Stillwater, OK Genre: Red Dirt/Americana Picture Day Every Day is Picture Day EP St. Louis, MO Genre: Pop Rock The Racer Passengers Monroe, NY Genre: Indie Rock FILM REVIEW Scarred but Smarter (life n times of drivin n cryin) “Documentary of a band who gave up popularity for longevity” Similar to the lyrics for one of their biggest hits, “Honeysuckle Blue,” alternative Southern-punk and folk rock band Drivin’ N Cryin’ were “abandoned by the promised land” of rock success after the album Fly Me Courageous. Island Records dropped the band when the follow-up Smoke didn’t do as well. At the time, alternative and grunge rock station makeovers were happening, and DNC decided they wouldn’t compete for popularity, but would continue as a band, never breaking up, never changing and still going strong today. Scarred but Smarter, the film named after their independent label debut, follows the band for three years, 2009-2012, after rock DJ and the film’s director and producer Eric Von Haessler discovers that The Great American Bubble Factory, the first album from DNC after 12 years, is actually fantastic. That’s when Von Haessler decided the band and its career was a film subject that needed covering. Scarred but Smarter is not a glorified concert film, but much more like Behind The Music, telling the ups and downs that can occur in any band’s career. Singer Kevn Kinney says it best: “Fame and not fame, fortune and not fortune.” For many bands who think they’ll make big money, the film teaches a great financial lesson. Fly Me Courageous was a huge hit, but as Kinney explained at the Q&A session following the film’s premiere, a $100,000 promotional budget was spent to make it seen and heard around the country, and Island Records is still billing the band. Currently, the film is going to make the rounds with the band performing live to accompany the screenings. In the future, it may play on the festival circuit and it is to be determined the thick, syncopated rhythms of dancehall - a tribute that culminates with the appearance of Michael Rose of Black Uhuru on the “Jamrockstyle” anthem “Chatty Mouth.” Lyrically, Wisdom follows his muse with abandon, exploring the possibilities of liberation and spiritual advancement, free from the burden of details. Wisdom dreams of a world where the individual will conquers all, and a rapturous moment of mass spiritual awakening transports humanity to another plane of existence. His flow is a manifestation of mental clarity and focus that demands undivided attention. Break but for a second from the music’s hypnotic grip, you might lose the groove. Stay focused, though, and you might catch a glimpse of the essence of Wisdom in the revolving mantra of beats and concepts that resonate across and through Full Spectrum. Recorded at The Rehab Studio www.reverbnation.com/wisdom -Eric Wolff if it will have a wider theatrical and/or DVD release. Directed by Eric Von Haessler www.facebook.com/scarredbutsmartermovie -Gail Fountain Wisdom Full Spectrum Oakland, CA (Wisdom Creations) “Reggae-infused NorCal hip-hop with a message” With the realization of his latest album, Oakland rapper Wisdom shares the Full Spectrum of spiritual exploration and mysticism with the hip-hop world. Drawing on many sources of inspiration, his music offers equal weight to Hindu, Buddhist and Rastafarian traditions. The words of Wisdom’s spiritual advisor Sai Maa provide a fitting introduction to the rapper’s frequent exaltations of meditation, faith, and love. His grooves incorporate the flavors of reggae, and MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 45 TOP PICKS Twitter Music for Indie Artists SOCIAL MEDIA PART 1 OF 2 Why the Social Media Giant Will Become Your Most Essential Promo Tool ABOUT THE AUTHOR Michael St. James is the founder and creative director of St. James Media, specializing in music licensing, publishing, production and artist development. NEXT MONTH We share more of our interview with Michael Brandvold, as well as a full breakdown of the new Twitter Music rollout. And a quick parting tip: what’s the best day to share music on Twitter? The answer is Tuesday. Performer: Twitter? Are more artists using @MichaelSB: I do believe more bands are realizing the importance of Twitter, but I think they are still battling with how to properly use it. The music marketing game is relatively the same as it has always been: record great music and find the right people to hear it at the right time. Notice that I did not say “find a lot of people to hear it at any time.” I know that’s what a lot of artists think, that if they cast the net wide enough they’ll snag a fish or two. It used to be that radio might accomplish this, maybe even shotgunning your demos out to labels might get a bite - not anymore. Those ways are long gone for most artists (especially indie and DIY acts) and have been replaced by dozens of easier, more effective, better packaged, and FREE solutions. Everyone probably has a favorite platform to post music, whether Facebook, SoundCloud or Bandcamp; I’m not here to quibble with that. But I am telling you that Twitter needs to be part of your mix, and is about to become your most important music tool. Fans, music supervisors, producers, curators, media - they are all on Twitter, all day long, looking for “what’s new,” open to clicking your link. It’s not like any other platform, and it’s about to get bigger and better specifically for music. Twitter is about to unveil their plans for massive music promotion, and you need to be in there. They recently purchased the music-sourcing platform We Are Hunted, updated mobile integration and deep-linking on Twitter Cards (technical, but big), launched the microvideo Vine app, and by the time you read this, may have 46 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE Performer: So, not quite using it right? already launched a new app with mobile integration, called something like “Twitter Music.” In part two of this article, we’re going to go deep into what this means for independent artists and how to best use it. If you haven’t already, go signup today, for free. Some of these terms might be foreign to you, Google them, you’ll get the hang of it. Here’s the skinny. Rule #1: Never mention Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga by name, you’ll thank me later. Do follow back and then feel fine about unfollowing if you don’t like someone’s feed, do not auto-DM, do have a public profile, do post photos every now and then, do not use an auto-post program if you can’t reply, do not flood your TL (timeline), and favorite posts often. Same rules on CAPS, only use ironically. Hashtags to know: #NowPlaying, #NP, #NewMusic #MusicMonday #FF (Follow Friday). And, don’t always use hashtags. Ok, now you have the basics. For some expert advice, I tapped one of the marketing pros that I know on Twitter to give you a short crash course on Twitter for music. Michael Brandvold is Chief Relationship Architect at michaelbrandvold.com (@michaelsb on Twitter). He’s got a bunch of accolades, but most importantly, he’s damn good at helping artists of all sizes master their marketing, so they can make more music. @MichaelSB: Well, when they don’t know how to use Twitter, bands just end up just linking to Facebook. This is wrong, and ineffective. Twitter spam still is too easy for bands to get sucked into and unfortunately, quite a few think it is marketing. Performer: What should artists be sharing on Twitter, and how often? @MichaelSB: Fans don’t want to read just a bunch of posts with show dates and song links. That is boring! I believe in something I call the “80/20” rule. 80% of what you post should be about you, and not about selling. 20% of what you post can be about a new CD, a live date, a new t-shirt, etc. Fans want to buy “you” before they buy your product. So if you only make 10 posts in a week, you should only post twice about your product. Performer: Everyone hates song spam, so what are your guidelines for sharing media (songs and videos)? @MichaelSB: First rule: NEVER send your song or video blindly to someone (by using their Twitter ID) whom you have never chatted with, or someone who is not following you. NEVER. I believe in sharing media in the context of a post that is entertaining. Example: “Did you know that when we recorded our new single we had to stop for 2 hours while a fire alarm went off? <link to song>” Tell a story rather than just hard selling. New to a Foreign Land? ABOUT THE AUTHOR Adam Barnosky is a Boston-based attorney and writer. For industry trends, legal updates, or to request an upcoming Legal Pad topic, find him on Twitter at @adambarnosky. DISCLAIMER The information contained in this column is general legal information only and should not be taken as a comprehensive guide to copyright law. Consult your attorney for all specific considerations. No matter what side of the spectrum you are on, touring in a foreign land can be complicated. If you’re considering your first tour or festival overseas, here are some things to keep in mind: Foreign Artists Touring the United States: Obtaining a work visa in the United States is not easy. Couple that difficulty with a minimal (or non-existent) payday, and the prospects can seem even more daunting. This has been a hot-button issue for bands trying to get to the States for popular festivals. British newspaper The Guardian discussed the red tape prohibiting some UK bands from performing at SXSW, stating: “Artist manager Peter White, of Fear and Records, says the process of getting visas to play events such as SXSW and CMJ) can be quite confusing. Simply having an invitation to play does not guarantee you a visa; you also have to prove that you’re a professional band, serious about its career. According to White, there doesn’t seem to be a set formula for demonstrating this. He says one UK band that has had quite considerable success was recently denied US visas after they were deemed insufficie ntly famous. Meanwhile, American bands playing events such as Brighton’s The Great Escape have no problem getting visas, unless they have criminal convictions.” So what can you do to make it to next year’s festival in the States? All international acts performing for a paying public audience are required to obtain a work visa regardless of compensation. To do that, you need to go through a few steps (below are the basics - for specifics, you’ll want to go visit your country’s checklist at the Department of State www.usembassy.gov) Visa Type: You’ll be coming to the US as a nonimmigrant, temporary worker, and required to get a Category P-1 or P-2 visa type, which is designated for individual or group artists and entertainers. Pre-Requisites: Before you can get a visa, you’ll need the Department of Homeland Security and Citizen and Immigration Services to approve an application form I-129. File Online: You can complete the visa application form DS-160 online at the U.S. Department of State. Make sure to have a current picture (within the past six months) ready to upload. Schedule & Attend an Interview: You must schedule an appointment for your visa interview, generally, at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you live. During your interview, a consular officer will determine whether you are qualified to receive a visa. You will need to establish that you meet the requirements under U.S. law to receive the category of visa for which you are applying. Make sure you have all required documents: This will include: (1) Passport valid for travel to the U.S. (must be valid for at least six months beyond your period of stay). (2) Nonimmigrant Visa Application Form DS-160 confirmation page. (3) Application fee payment receipt. (4) Receipt Number for your approved petition as it appears on your Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, Form I-129, or Notice of Action, Form I-797, from USCIS. From there, after processing, you will receive confirmation of visa approval or a denial letter. Under some circumstances, you may be able to travel to the U.S. without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program. For more information on this program visit travel.state.gov/visa/temp/ without/without_1990.html. Here are some other helpful links to get you on your way: US Citizen & Immigration Services: www. uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis US Department of State FAQ: travel.state. gov/visa/questions/questions_1253.html US Citizens Touring Abroad: For acts from the States, touring abroad can be more straightforward, but not without its complications. The most popular destination for American bands abroad is the United Kingdom. Here are the basics if you plan to tour there. Get a valid passport: New passports or renewals can be obtained online through the U.S. Department of State’s website: travel.state.gov. The cost varies between $55 and $165 depending on if you’re a first time applicant, renewing, or obtaining a passport book or card. Check out iafdb.travel.state.gov to view the passport facilities nearest you and apply at least two months in advance of your trip. In order for your group to perform in the UK, you need the requisite permits or visas. Here are the most popular options: Work Permit: If you are planning a traditional tour, you’ll need a work permit, regardless of the duration of your stay or how many gigs you’ve lined up. Your work permit will be applied for by your employer – most likely your promoter or, in rarer circumstances, the club/booking agent. You’ll need a strict itinerary locked in prior to your employer applying for permits. If your band is less than 19 people, you’ll need a work permit for each member. Your UK-based employer can find applications for work permits for musicians specifically under the Sportspeople and Entertainers work permit category. There is a fairly short turnaround for the work permit application process, generally around two weeks. Entertainment Visa: An entertainment visa is the way to go if your band is (a) heading to the UK to perform in a music competition; (b) taking part in a cultural event sponsored by the government, or (c) taking part in a charity concert. These are generally good for six months and afford you the luxury of staying abroad without the same restrictions you’ll encounter with a work permit. Of course, an entertainment visa is essentially predicated on the basis that you (i) are not paid for performing; and (ii) can include proof that you can support yourself during your time in the country. MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 47 LEGAL PAD Legal Aspects to Touring in the States and Beyond SPOTLIGHTS GEAR BACKGROUND Honeychile is a ’70s inspired funky rock band from the Chapel Hill/Carrboro area of North Carolina. MAKE & MODEL Got a favorite instrument you’d like to share? Email us at editorial@ performermag.com. 1974 Fender Stratocaster WHY IT’S SPECIAL I actually prefer to play Les Pauls, but I found this guitar online and hadn’t had a Strat for a while, so I wanted to give them another try. I really liked how it played and felt so I added it to my meager collection. WHAT IT SOUNDS LIKE It’s got a really fat, late-’60s type Strat sound. Heavy in the mids, but not overwhelming in the highs like some Strats can be. SPECIAL FEATURES It’s pretty much stock. At some point, someone has enlarged the pickup route at the bridge to accommodate a humbucker, and it may have had active electronics installed at one time - I can’t quite tell. It has a brass nut, which was really popular in the ’70s. I originally thought that it was aftermarket, but have seen several other [factory] Strats from that era with brass nuts. CUSTOM MODS I changed the plastic from black to white, put Van Zandt pickups in it and then got a little crazy with paint markers and rhinestones. LISTEN NOW at honeychile1.bandcamp.com. my FAVORITE AXE with JOHN PARDUE OF HONEYCHILE photo courtesy of Front Row Luv/DJ Phelps 48 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE ABOUT THE AUTHORS Zac Cataldo is a musician and owner/ producer at Night Train Studios, a recording studio in Westford, MA. He is also co-owner of Black Cloud Productions, a music publishing company. Reach him at email@example.com. Brent Godin is a bassist/guitarist and engineer/producer at Night Train Studios. He is also a talent scout at Black Cloud Productions. Reach him at brent@ blackcloudproductions.com. a One fundamental question we get asked frequently in the studio is whether to record a band live or to record each instrument separately. Tracking one instrument at a time allows for perfect isolation and the ability to focus everyone’s attention on getting that part recorded perfectly. So why not build every song this way? Why not have the drummer play to a click track, then lay each instrument over that separately until you’re done? Well, hang on – we kinda do that in the studio, but not exactly. We strongly recommend in a typical band situation (drums, bass, guitar, keys and vocals), that the rhythm section record live together - including a scratch vocal take from the singer. We do it this way because bands are used to performing together and we aim to capture great performances. [Editor’s note – read Part 1 in last month’s issue and online at performermag.com] OVERDUBS: HARMONIES A similar situation can happen when you are recording multiple vocal harmonies as when you’re recording horns. Sometimes one singer will do multiple parts, in which case you have no choice but to record each part separately. But if you have two or more harmony singers, you have two or more options. Can your singers record separately or do they need to sing live with one another? If they need to sing together live, you can again try setting them up in the same room with the same mic (a ribbon mic is a nice choice here because the figure 8 pattern allows the singers to face each other). If one of them is louder than the other you can position Mr. Loudy further away from the mic. But what if one of them has a slight pitch problem? Again, you’ll want to mic them up in separate rooms and have them perform live and record to separate tracks so that you can tweak their parts individually. So whenever you are in doubt about what you should do, mic separately! OVERDUBS: PERCUSSION Adding some percussion instruments to your mix can really round out the overall sound of a song and make a track feel more dynamic. Unlike some the other overdubs, though, we would not recommend recording multiple percussion instruments on one mic. There are numerous percussion instruments including tambourine, wood block and maracas, all of which vary widely in dynamic range. So trying to capture a recording of two or more of these instruments on the same mic is more problematic than it is worth. Most of the time we track percussion instruments individually so that we monitor the performances more closely - since similarly to the drums, tightness is key. But if you find yourself working with a band that has multiple percussionists who want to track their parts simultaneously, the best way to capture the performances is to place your percussionists in separate iso rooms with their own headphones mixes, often times with a click track. As we mentioned in other sections of this article, this gives us the best flexibility for later editing/mixing. SINGER/SONGWRITERS Acoustic guitarists/singers often pose a unique problem in the recording studio. Because they are creating two distinct performances simultaneously, it is very hard to isolate the tracks after they are recorded. Many performers simply cannot perform the guitar part of the song without also singing out loud and still be happy with the performance. Our first choice (usually) is to use the acoustic guitar’s pickup (if it has one) instead of miking it. This gives you a clean guitar track with no vocal bleed. Unfortunately you will still have guitar bleeding onto the vocal track, so you will need to re-track the vocal. But this can be a good thing because now the singer can focus on delivering a strong vocal performance. But what if the guitar doesn’t have a pickup or you are unhappy with it sonically once it’s recorded? You can mic the acoustic guitar and try having them “sing” only in their head to capture a clean guitar track. If the musician has practiced doing this in the past then it usually works, but if they’ve never tried it before, it’s usually a waste of time. Your final choice may be to record both simultaneously and do your best to position microphones so as to minimize bleed (which you won’t be able to do completely, no matter how hard you try). You’ll only have minimal control later over volume, panning, EQ and effects because of all the cross bleed, and fixes are nearly impossible. IN CONCLUSION And the winner of recording all instruments at the same time vs. recording them individually is… well, truthfully there is no winner here. We personally find that a combination of the two techniques work best, using live performances for our basic rhythm instruments and recording our lead parts through individual overdubs. By doing this, we preserve the raw energy and chemistry of a live band performing together, while also being able to perfect our leads without having the pressure of doing it live. Thus is the Ying and Yang of recording! MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 49 photo by Tim Hoyt RECORDING Full Band Takes vs. Individual Tracking Part 2 of 2 GEAR GUIDE iPad Essentials for Musicians Performer’s Quick Guide to Maximizing Your Tablet by Benjamin Ricci with Glenn Skulls Tablet schmablet. You can have the fanciest lookin’ device on the planet, but if there are no killer apps for it, it’s just a useless hunk-o-junk. So now that you’ve got that shiny new iPad, how are you gonna make the most of it? Well, we recommend a few products and apps that will help GEAR Apogee JAM Price: $99 Web: apogeedigital.com WHAT THE MANUFACTURER SAYS: “JAM brings the legendary sound quality of Apogee to iPad, iPhone and Mac for just $99. Now guitarists can have a pocket-sized, plug in and play interface at an unprecedented price and experience ultimate tone with the guitar amps and effects in Apple’s GarageBand software or other compatible applications. JAM is a premium digital converter and instrument preamp featuring Apogee’s PureDIGITAL technology. PureDIGITAL means no noise just great guitar tone. You will notice the sonic difference between JAM and other similar products immediately. JAM features an input gain control knob. This rotary style wheel is conveniently located on the side of JAM for easy thumb access and allows you to dial in the level of your guitar without accessing software.” WHY WE DIG IT: JAM is super easy to use, and that’s key in the tablet market. We’ve seen some clunky devices that are so difficult to figure out, they’re not even worth the effort. The LED indicators give clear signals when the unit’s ready to use, and we like that it’s not trying to do so many things at once that it doesn’t do anything well. It’s designed for bass and guitar, and handles active and passive pickups equally well. The input/output options are mind-numbingly simple, and the low-noise levels really impressed us. If you’re looking for a headache-free device to plug your axe into your iPad, the JAM is incredibly attractive and fairly inexpensive, too. 50 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE Focusrite iTrack Solo Price: $159 Web: us.focusrite.com WHAT THE MANUFACTURER SAYS: “iTrack Solo provides the best solution for recording your instruments and vocals using an iPad. Featuring a Focusrite microphone pre-amplifier and an input to record directly from electric and bass guitars, iTrack Solo is the perfect way to expand the audio capabilities of your iPad using Garageband or any other music-making app. Although it is an Apple certified ‘Made for iPad’ device, iTrack Solo is also fully compatible with your PC or Mac computer and comes with a host of free music making software including Ableton Live Lite and the Focusrite Scarlett Plug-in Suite. Just connect your iTrack Solo to a power supply and an iPad and you’re ready to go! With the very best in digital audio technology encased by a rugged aluminum unibody chassis, iTrack Solo will capture and playback your sound with pristine quality.” WHY WE DIG IT: We love Apogee’s JAM, but this brings just a little more to the game if you need it. You get the added benefit of direct headphone monitoring with level controls, and the bonus of an XLR input for vocal mics or for recording instrument cabs. What we really dig is the front-facing gain controls, which have a neat green halo when your levels are OK, but then turn red when you start to overload or risk clipping. A nice touch, and handy to have in such a visually-intuitive feature. Along with standard digital outs, you also have a pair of RCA connections that allow you to plug into a stereo for real-world listening to your tracks. Mackie DL1608 Digital Mixer Price: $999 Web: mackie.com WHAT THE MANUFACTURER SAYS: “Mackie’s DL1608 16-Channel Digital Live Sound Mixer re-deﬁnes live mixing by combining the proven power of a full-featured digital mixer with the unmatched ease and mobility of iPad. With 16 boutique-quality Onyx mic preamps and the performance of 24-bit Cirrus Logic AD/ DA converters, the DL1608 delivers unparalleled sound quality. Seamless wired to wireless iPad control allows a user to mix from anywhere in the venue, providing the mobile freedom to control not only the mix, but also powerful plug-ins like EQ, dynamics, effects and more. ” WHY WE DIG IT: Mackie’s new DL1608 live mixer is the killer app for the touring band that wants great sound, and the ability to control and shape that sound, onstage, in any live setting. Featuring 16 Onyx preamps (plenty for most live acts), sound quality was exceptional at volumes across the board. At first, we were a bit wary of how well the iPad would integrate with the mixer, but once we fired up the Master Fader app and paired the units, usability was seamless and incredibly easy. The big selling point of the DL1608, though, is its wireless mixing capabilities. We ran a number of tests, including one where (with even a weak WiFi signal), we were able to mix a 4-piece band using the iPad clipped to one of the group’s mic stands. They performed several songs and were able to, on-the-fly, control the mixer through the iPad’s touch interface. Our top recommendation for your iPad arsenal. you maximize your iPad; some of these tools will help you make music, and some of them will provide more educational benefits. And yes, you can still play Fruit Ninja while you’re supposed to be working - we won’t tell. APPS Moog’s Animoog Price: $29 Web: moog.com WHAT THE MANUFACTURER SAYS: “Animoog, powered by Moog’s new Anisotropic Synth Engine (ASE), is the first professional polyphonic synthesizer designed for the iPad. ASE allows you to dynamically move through an X/Y space of unique timbres to create a constantly evolving and expressive soundscape. Animoog captures the vast sonic vocabulary of Moog synthesizers and applies it to the modern touch surface paradigm, enabling you to quickly sculpt incredibly fluid and dynamic sounds that live, breathe, and evolve as you play them.” WHY WE DIG IT: If you’re gonna have a synth in your pocket, why not go to the folks who know synths best? We’ve tested out other synthesizers on the iPad, and generally speaking, they were terrible. Sound quality and programmability was lacking, and the controls could hardly be described as intuitive. Animoog changes all that, and delivers pure Moog feeling at under 30 bucks. We’re also impressed at the MIDI capabilities of Animoog, essentially turning it into a control surface for your plug-ins or external hardware. Cool, huh? PreSonus StudioLive Remote App Price: FREE Web: presonus.com WHAT THE MANUFACTURER SAYS: “StudioLive Remote for iPad, available free from the Apple App Store, provides direct wireless control over the PreSonus Virtual StudioLive software for Mac and Windows, which in turn controls any StudioLive-series digital mixer. As long as you have a wireless connection between your iPad and computer, you are in control of the console. The Overview displays the parameters for multiple channels at once. Tap for a close-up view of Fat Channel processing, and navigate between the gate, compressor, EQ, and so on with the flick of a fingertip. The Aux view shows the levels, panning, and Fat Channel processing for the Aux sends and internal FX buses, while the GEQ view lets you adjust the graphic EQ. Hold the iPad in Portrait position to see every parameter for a single channel. SL Remote can control any StudioLive mixer on the wireless network, and multiple iPads can control the same StudioLive.” WHY WE DIG IT: We’ll keep this short - what’s not to dig? First of all, it’s FREE, so you’ve got us hooked right there. And second, we’re big fans of StudioLive anyway, so anything that’s going to allow us to enhance our SL experience gets a big check mark in the PRO column. The remote itself is easy to use, and we love the fact that SL can be controlled from multiple iPads. PreSonus fans, you owe it to yourselves to download this one right now. Sennheiser Blue Stage App Price: FREE Web: sennheiser.com WHAT THE MANUFACTURER SAYS: “A magazine app for the iPad, Blue Stage offers you all colors of sound wrapped in one arrestingly new interface design. From out-of-studio recording to capturing the sound of supercars, from the changing face of DJ culture to the constant appeal of musical icons such as P!NK – we unfold the fascinating world of sound for you for free! It’s not about the looks, it’s about the songs - the emerging bands issue tackles the tricks of the trade for upcoming musicians. Learn from the experience of Canadian top act Simple Plan, and hear how budding talent from China or Switzerland are making a name for themselves already in their teens.” WHY WE DIG IT: For starters, they’ve clearly invested a lot of time and money making Blue Stage right. This isn’t some Joe Shmoe blogger putting together some lame-o app. Look, the bottom line is this – it’s free, it covers tons of great topics for recording enthusiasts, it’s easy to navigate and best of all, it focuses on our core audience: the DIY artist. So fire up that tablet, go to the app store and start reading – you might just learn something today that you can apply to the studio tonight. MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 51 GEAR GUIDE In The Studio with BAD BAD MEOW’s Alen Khan STUDIO DIARY The Challenges of Recording After Your Studio Sells Their Console interview by Benjamin Ricci photos by Kyle Sullivan Band Name: Bad Bad Meow album info Release Date: January 1, 2013 for RTM EP; TBA for the D&R EP Produced & Engineered by: Mike Novak Mastered by: Hans DeKline (Sound Bites Dog) Artwork by: Tika Lynn Album: Run Through the Middle EP & Drink and Regret EP Recording Studio: Engine Studios Record Label: Unsigned key gear PRE-PRODUCTION What was your pre-production like on this project? Studios until our then bassist encouraged us to check it out. Turns out a good friend of his and fan of the band had been working there as an engineer for the past year and a half. After seeing the gold records on the wall from Iron and Wine and Modest Mouse, I quickly became intimidated and excited. I knew right then this was a once-in–a-lifetime opportunity for humble garage rock band to record a huge sounding album that might get some attention. The studio was set to relocate in a couple months so we actually snagged some of the last available studio time. A whole slew of some of the finest recording gear available. Highlights include: -Sphere Eclipse C console -Trident 80B console -Vintage Neumann tube mics including: m49, u64, m367 -RCA KU-3A directional ribbon mic -EMT 140 and 240 “gold foil” plate reverbs -Electronaut M63 hand built tube mic preamp -Fender Rhodes, Hammond M3 organ, Hohner Clavinet We have had these songs for a while, and played out regularly. The songs were well rehearsed; it was just a matter of finding the right time and place [to record them]. We knew we wanted a different approach from the lo-fi home recordings we’ve done in the past. When we found out about Engine Studios and that there was open time available, we just jumped on it. It was really a happy coincidence. Why did you record at Engine Studios? To be honest, I hadn’t heard of Engine 52 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE PRODUCTION What kind of sound were you looking for and how did you achieve it? The Sphere Eclipse C console is extremely rare, one of only 15 or so. It was great to have access to that – doesn’t hurt that it sounded phenomenal as well. Outside of all the other really great equipment listed above, we mainly stuck with simple and effective recording techniques. The focus was on getting the best and most natural sounds from the source so we didn’t have to spend a lot of time messing with things in the mixing phase. acoustic guitar, piano, additional percussion, flute and the main vocal tracks. Some things just work better as an overdub. We wanted an album that was super clean, clever and interesting sounding. We wanted to throw everything we had at this album by getting some of our talented friends to add some amazing things to it. Any special guests? How does it compare to your last release in terms of style and the creative process? We actually re-recorded a couple of songs because previous recordings just didn’t do the songs justice. We didn’t have access to all the tools and equipment necessary to capture the songs in a way we were happy with. What was your philosophy on live, fullband takes versus individual tracking? Will Huelsman from Teenage Rage on keys and vocals. Natalie Grace from the The Boombox Face played organ and clavinet. Liliana Carriz added flute and accordion. Outside of engineering, Mike [Novak] also laid down some percussion tracks and über-feedback electric guitar parts. Did you use any special gear or recording techniques on this one? It really depends on what the situation calls for. The live element is definitely important for the sound of this band, and the energy is much better with everyone playing together in the room at the same time. We tracked drums, bass, keys, and guitars live for this one. Later on we overdubbed What did you try to accomplish in the studio that you’re not able to do live? I have always been told that we were much better as a live band. I wanted to prove to everyone that we could make a quality studio recording, as well. Doubled vocals and guitars, multiple piano tracks, and auxiliary percussion are things we can’t really do live, but go a long way in the studio. THE FOCUS WAS ON GETTING THE BEST AND MOST What were the toughest challenges you faced? “ NATURAL SOUNDS FROM THE SOURCE SO WE DIDN’T HAVE TO SPEND A LOT OF TIME MESSING WITH THINGS IN THE MIXING PHASE. Since the studio was relocating, they actually sold the console we started on. This worked out well because we got upgraded to the Sphere in the A room, but there were definitely a couple late nights. Mike [Novak] ended up mixing the entire record in his apartment. Also, getting all the people involved on the same schedule is always a difficult task. Any funny stories from the session that you’ll be telling for a while? The song “Two Fools in Love” is a vocal duet between Will and myself. We used one mic and sang together in the live room with all the lights out. I think we did about nine takes, each more ridiculous than the last. Mike and Max [Brink, bass] were literally crying from laughter in the control room. POST-PRODUCTION How did you handle final mixing and mastering? Mike had to do all the mixing at home since the studio was no more. Once it came time to mix the record, we kind of anticipated this and made sure to get the best tones possible on the way in. My old friend [Hans DeKline] from the late-’90s band Maypole in L.A. took care of the mastering at his mastering house Sound Bites Dog. What are your release plans? Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify and anywhere digital music is sold. HAVE A UNIQUE STUDIO STORY TO SHARE? EMAIL EDITORIAL@PERFORMERMAG.COM badbadmeow.bandcamp.com MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 53 STUDIO DIARY GEAR REVIEWS MACKIE DLM Powered Loudspeakers - $850-999/pair A lot of artists don’t put enough thought into their stage gear beyond their amps, mics and pedals. One of the most criminally overlooked aspects of your gig is what your audience is actually hearing, and that’s where powerful, clear speakers are your best friends. Meet your newest besties, the DLM series from Mackie. We tested out the DLM12 and the DLM12s sub, and they come with our highest recommendation. 2,000 watts of clean power at your fingertips, are you kidding me? In action, the 12-inch model and sub we tested quite nearly (literally) blew us away. And the best part? You’re not just booming out volume at the cost of clean audio. All those watts ensure that no matter what the venue, you can crank the speakers to 11 and still get undistorted, pure sound from your stage mix. More watts mean more clean headroom, and that’s a great thing. The speakers themselves are surprisingly lightweight considering all the technology that’s packed in there, which can save you quite a few trips to the chiropractor down the road. We especially dig the integrated digital mixer built right in, which features some handy on-board fx, EQ, delay and feedback-destroying settings. The bright OLED screen is easy-to-read even in darker venues, and the memory settings may come in super-handy when returning to problematic venues in the future. Just dial in your settings, save, and call them up any time. So they sound amazing, you’re not sacrificing quality for volume, and there are even built-in system controls via an on-board screen. Are there any downsides? Well, as amazing as the DLM system is, and as killer as it becomes when you add the DL1608 iPad-controlled mixer, for some bands it might just be overkill, especially considering piecing together an entire system can set you back a few bucks. We’re recommending this for working touring bands or artists that need to provide their own sound setups at non-traditional venues, or even as an installation upgrade for venues, churches and other institutional settings. Touring bands will get great use out of the system, just be sure to make room in the bus. -Benjamin Ricci AKG D12VR Cardioid Dynamic Kick Drum Mic - $499 One thing that always separates a good studio from a great studio is the selection of microphones for drums - kick drums, specifically. They lay down the beat, and with a bad mic, even “fixing it in the mix” is tough. AKG’s D12VR Cardioid Dynamic Kick Drum Mic is the perfect solution for bad kick drum sounds. It looks like a typical drum mic, but on the edge is a 3-way selector, allowing for the option of three different active filters. Knowing which one is selected is easy: a color-coded LED light indicates the mode. Green is a low-end boost filter. Red is a mid-boost filter, and blue sports an increase in the high end, while still maintaining the tight low end necessary for the kick. Phantom power is required to use the selectable filters, but without phantom power it still works, just using its own natural sound. Some quick experimenting with the three different EQ selections, depending on the type of music being recorded, might be needed. They each all have their unique tone on their own. Starting with that, it’s one of those “hard to get a bad sound” items. When being used in an actual mix with compression and EQ, the mic expertly makes the bass drum come alive without sounding muddy or boomy. Your mileage may vary, depending on the sound that’s desired, but when you start with a microphone with a good “naked” sound, it’s hard to go wrong. Because it’s designed for low-end frequencies, it also works well on bass cabinets, and can provide extra low end thump to guitar cabs as well. A great sounding studio needs a great sounding kick drum mic, and the AKG is a great place to start. At a $499 street price, it might be a little expensive for some, but after giving it a good listen, it’s tough to not give the D12VR some serious consideration. -Chris Devine PROS Tight bass drum response, solid EQ selection. CONS May be pricey to some. PROS Great sound, light weight, intuitive controls. CONS Might be too much for the average band. Type: dynamic pressure gradient transducer Polar pattern: cardioid Power: 2,000W via ultra-efficient Class-D amplification F E AT U R E S Controls: DL2 Integrated Digital Mixer Screen: OLED Inputs: Two channels with FX Addt’l Controls: 3-band EQ and FX control FX: Include reverb, chorus and delay Other: Smart Protect DSP dynamically protects amp/driver F E AT U R E S Driver: Mackie designed, vertically-aligned, common-magnet TruSource Max. SPL: 164 dB SPL (for 0,5 % THD) Impedance: <200 ohms (at 1000 Hz) Recommended load impedance: >1000 ohms Connector: three-pin male standard XLR Finish front grille: glossy galvanized nickel matte Dimensions: 125 mm x 101 mm x 66 mm Net weight: 500 g 54 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE Analogue Renaissance www.doepfer.de/home_e.htm [English version] PROS Amazing sound, stereo imaging and technology. CONS Price. Monitors are the one place a studio can’t skimp, and making the jump from home studio to professional grade just got better with a pair of KEF’s flagship LS50s. They’re quite simple and elegant, no switches for any audio altering choices, just a set of posts for cable connections. They’re un-powered, meaning a separate power amp is needed. Behind the copper colored speaker cone hides the driver and tweeter, stacked one on top of the other; it’s an interesting design concept. It also combines standard magnets in the driver, but a Neodymium one in the tweeter. Aluminum speaker cones rounds things out. On the back, there are two air ports. There are no mounts for speaker stands, but on a console or Pro Tools desktop, they work just fine. The sound quality is excellent, and with a street price of $1499 a pair, it should be. This is audiophile money and audiophile sound. Plenty of great musical frequency responses abound, regardless of the type of music, however they seem to favor “natural” sounding mixes, ones without a lot of processing. There is plenty of low end as well, and overall it sounds less like a standard monitor and straddles the line between neutral studio mixing and pure hi-fi enjoyment. There is plenty of tonal depth and character to the individual instruments, regardless of playback volume. These would sound great in any studio, and would be just as at home as the heart of a great home stereo system. -Chris Devine Doepfer is a German audio hardware manufacturer specializing in synthesizers and MIDI controllers. Dieter Döpfer began the company in 1979 and it has since grown into one of the most respected electronics makers in the world. In 1995, Doepfer released the A-100 modular system, a format allowing musicians to connect small, inexpensive modules in whatever way they want to create a unique synthesis system. Doepfer’s original module format caught on with other designers and has led to a renaissance of modular synthesis among many electronic musicians. The format, now commonly known as the ‘Eurorack system’, has become the industry standard and has spawned a multitude of companies designing compatible modules. Doepfer has been at the forefront of new analog systems that create sounds still unmatched by their software counterparts, while still being able to interact with computer interfaces via MIDI and USB. All products are manufactured in Germany. Dark Energy II - $625 Doepfer’s Dark Energy II is an all analogue, monophonic stand-alone synthesizer. Beloved for its rich sound and sonic range, the Dark Energy II specializes warm, round bass, blippy leads, and bouncy rhythmic lines. This synthesizer is great for sonic exploration with FM, AM, and PWM control; two routable LFOs and an ADSR envelope; 12 dB multimode filter (lowpass, notch, highpass, and bandpass); and patch inputs for CV use. Controllable via USB or MIDI, it is easy to get started with but infinitely deep to dig into. The Dark Energy II is made with high-quality potentiometers and is built into a sturdy black metal case with retroinspired wooden side plates. -Garrett Frierson Design: Two-way bass reflex Frequency range: (-6dB) 47Hz - 45kHz F E AT U R E S Frequency response: (±3dB) 79Hz - 28kHz Crossover frequency: 2.2kHz Amplifier requirements: 25 - 100 W Sensitivity (2.83V/1m): 85dB Maximum output: 106dB Weight: 7.2kg Dimensions: 302 x 200 x 278 mm MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE 55 GEAR REVIEWS KEF LS50 Anniversary Monitors - $1499/pair Builder Profile Doepfer Musikelektronik FLASHBACK “Used to Add Sweet Saturation to Bass Grooves” Mid-’70s Urei 1176LN Compressor BACKGROUND The original 1176 was designed by the legendary Bill Putnam in 1968, and it’s one of the most famous compressors of all time. It has undergone many revisions, many of which are cosmetic or had to do with circuitry that didn’t involve the audio path. They are known for their ability to give a gentle brightness to tracks and when pushed give the material an aggressive edge. It compresses with ease and great flexibility. HOW IT WAS USED The 1176 gets used on most everything that comes through the doors here at Palmquist Studios, In fact, they get used on most everything that comes through most studio doors. Many times it’s a star in my vocal chain. The presence that it brings is desirable and helps place it just so in the mix. On snare it can help with adding the right amount of “crack,” but watch out for the high-hat. Really, it’s like a well-seasoned frying pan, just having the burger cook in it brings out the flavor you were looking for. 56 MAY 2013 PERFORMER MAGAZINE INTERESTING FEATURES With a unit this flexible, engineers and producers have developed many tricks over the years. One that I like utilizes the distortion capabilities of the electronics. When the attack knob is turned all the way counter clock-wise, the compression circuit is turned off. Then the input can be brought up to reach the desired amount of sweet, sweet distortion. The way it feels on bass can be a game changer. MODERN EQUIVALENT Universal Audio continues to make the classic 1176 and its popularity has not dwindled. Every plug-in manufacturer has made multiple emulations of the box. There are also several clones and spin-offs by other hardware manufactures. LESSONS LEARNED An 1176 is how I first really understood compression back when I was an intern at Orange Whip Recording in Santa Barbara. It’s very responsive; anyone who spends a few hours running different material though it, twisting the knobs and pressing the buttons, will have a greater understanding of its many uses and of compression in general. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Eric Palmquist is the owner and Principal Engineer of Palmquist Studios (at Infrasonic Sound). Formerly known as Infrasonic Sound, Palmquist acquired the East L.A. recording studio earlier this year, transitioning from studio manager to studio owner. His discography reads as a “who’s who” of indie rock, including the critically acclaimed album Leave No Trace from Fool’s Gold, 119 - Trash Talk’s 2012 release via Odd Future Recordings and Life Sux by Wavves (one of Rolling Stone’s Top 50 Albums of 2011). Palmquist is always eager to work with new bands as both a producer and engineer. www.infrasonicsound.com Make Your Gear Work For You! MAKE MONEY •Rent out gear when you're not using it •Sell your recording services •Expand your network and client base SAVE MONEY •Book studio time •Rent gear from members •Hire studio musicians Try audio.StudioShare.org for FREE! Use Coupon Code: PERFORMER audio.StudioShare.org is an online business platform where musicians and audio professionals can exchange equipment and services to fully utilize their own resources and those owned by other members. It allows you to schedule studio sessions and gigs, automatically bills for services and equipment rentals, and delivers a check to you each month. What is audio.studioshare.org? StudioShare Online, LLC | Toll Free (888) 321-6974 | http://audio.StudioShare.org New ZLX portable powered loudspeakers stand apart with the most complete, innovative, and user-friendly package of features in their class, giving you more control over your sound to ensure your audience connects with your creative moment, whatever your gig. www.electrovoice.com/zlx PRECISION – DSP with LCD and application/location presets POWER – Custom-built 1000 W Class-D ampliﬁer VISUAL CONTROL & MONITORING ZLX is available in 12" and 15" versions. Passive models also available. PERFORMANCE – EV-engineered components for superior sound PORTABILITY – Unique hi/lo grip handles and lightweight construction PRESENCE – Stunning enclosure design ©2013 Bosch Security Systems, Inc.