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Jukebox the Ghost: Read It. Interview with New Neighbors Reviews of Bat for Lashes, Junior Boys, Utada and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone

Cake #4


Housekeeping And Such Cover Photo : Shervin Lainez Back Photos : Derek Rogers (From the TEL show)

Editorial

Financier : Derek Rogers Layout: Brad Collins

First of all, let me say a special Title Design : Brad Collins thanks to Caution Children, These Copy Editor: Alex Palombo Electric Lives and all the awesome people that came to our show last Staff Photographer: Taylor McIntyre Saturday. It was a really great show Coloring Crew: Rose Cohen Westbrooke, Danielle and I thank you all. I think that it Hendrickson, Taylor McIntyre was really great to be able to give Assistant Editor : Danielle Hendrickson a free show to our readers. I hope that we can have a show just as Editor In Chief: Ryan Bryant awesome next semester. If any of ya’ll amazing Cake readers have any Advisor: Lauryl Tucker small bands that you’d love to see Special Thanks : Seth, Tommy, Chris, Outer Space drop us a suggestion. We’d love to The opinions expressed within express hear from you. I just filed the work those of the individual writers or interview subjects and not necessarily those of the for us to have an official room next publishers of the magazine as a whole. semester so we hopefully won’t have to meet in my dorm. We’re hoping to make a summer playlist for our last issue, so if you have any awesome songs you want added, let us know. Thanks for reading and if you have any thoughts, questions or want to tell us how much you love manatees email us at cakezine@gmail.com. -Ryan Bryant Cake Editor In Chief

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Must Download 1. 2. 3. 4. 5

“Black Balloon” – The Kills

“Dinosaur” – Everthus The Deadbeats

Delicious Music Video “Lisztomania” – Phoenix

“Percussion Gun” – White Rabbits “Cheerleader” – Grizzly Bear

. “Oklahoma” – Bishop Allen

Courtesy of Loyaute/Glassnote

Artist to Watch: The VLA

When prime

time thrillers needed gritty theme songs to match their dark subject matter, television creators turn to LA-based band The VLA. Formed in 2004 and named after a New Mexico research facility, the band’s raw guitar buzzing sound and dark lyrics gained the band fans, but lost a drummer. After releasing their first EP “Unhand Me ICON!” in early 2008, the song “When I Am Through With You” was chosen as the theme for FX’s Damages. So whether you watch the show or not, keep a watch on the VLA. And if you’re interested in being their drummer, hit them up on Myspace.

-Alex Palombo

Where To Be Saturday April 18th: New Neighbors @ The Chapter House 9:30 PM $5 Sunday April 19th: Habib Koite and Bamada with the Sim Redmond Band @ The State Theater Reserved Seating Available Monday April 20th: Neko Case @ The State Theater 8PM $24.50 Ithaca Underground Presents: Sleepytime Gorilla Museum and Dub Trio @ The Haunt 6PM $12 Presale $15 At Door Friday April 24th: John Brown’s Body with SOJA @ Castways 8PM $15


Jukebox the Ghost

By Ryan Bryant Photographs by Shervin Lainez

Ben Thornewill, Tommy Siegel and Jesse Kristin comprise the D.C. based rock-fecta Jukebox the Ghost. They recently toured with Ben Folds and will soon embark on a tour with Jenny Owen Youngs. The guys dropped their debut LP last year to a warm reception. Tommy shared his thoughts on the bands first incarnation, their name and Ben’s love of Jack Johnson (the boxer). Cake: You guys started off as The Sunday Mail. What would you say is the main difference between that group and your current incarnation? Tommy: The Sunday Mail sucked. That’s the biggest difference. Honestly, a lot of it’s the same. We just had a bunch of new songs in a different style. I guess we used to be a lot more spazzy and showy. We’d have a lot of proggy, prog rock sort of sections and some jam breaks and drum soloing. We sort of mellowed out, but it’s not like we’re mellow. But, we’ve mellowed from where we used to be. Cake: How did the name Jukebox The Ghost come about? Tommy: We were just trying to think trying to think of a new band name because we had so much new music… and hated the name The Sunday Mail. Ben really wanted a band name that had ghosts in it. I really wanted jukebox. Jesse really wanted to be a band that had a “the” in front of it like The Strokes or The Beatles. Obviously we weren’t going to be The Strokes or The Beatles because those were taken. We just put “the” in the middle and it was Jukebox the Ghost. Since then it has taken on meanings, but originally it was just three words put together. Cake: What was it like for you guys when your debut album came out? Tommy: It was good. It was a long time in the making. We actually recorded the album almost a year and a half before it came out. We recorded it in January of 2007. We were just kind of sitting on it for a long time. So, it was a big relief to finally get it out there. Yeah, it’s on The Rebel Group and in some stores. Cake: You guys have some really awesome music videos. Do you have any plans to do any more in the near future? Tommy: Nothing in the immediate future, but we’re hoping to soon. Both of those videos were fun. They weren’t big projects. They were both done for absurdly cheap. Especially the “Victoria” video we love. I mean we love both music videos. Shervin, whose now our tour manager and just a great friend of ours, directed that. Cake: You guys have toured with a lot of people and you have your upcoming tour with Ben [Folds]. How did that come about?

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Tommy: I think it came about through the underworld of managers; whatever backroom backroom, sort of shadow government business they do. Yeah, we’re really excited about it. The list of dates keeps growing. It looks like it’s going to be a little over three weeks. Cake: Do you guys have plans to come out with any new material in 2009? Tommy: We wish. We are working on working on the next record. We’re hoping to have it recorded entirely this summer, but it will probably be out in early 2010. Cake: Any music you’re looking forward to coming out in 2009? Tommy: I heard that there’s a new Wilco coming out which is exciting. Other than that…who else is coming out with albums this year? Oh, Regina Spektor is coming out with a disc. That should be pretty sweet. Ben says Jack Johnson; not the musician, the boxer. He has a box set on the way. [Laughs] Those are the only three I can imagine. Ben says to continue emphasizing that he loves Jack Johnson the boxer, not the musician. Cake: If you guys could have a famous band cover one of your songs, which band would you pick? Tommy: I’d like to hear what Lightning Bolt could do to one of our songs… They’re like super-shredding spazz-hardcore. I would love to hear what they would do with one of our songs. Cake: Any advice for any new bands or artists that are starting? Tommy: Play as many shows as you can. I feel like people come into the whole process expecting a lot. You just need to keep playing shows until your band…has a following and then tour and stuff like that. I feel like people always try and start the other way around, trying to approach the industry-side first. Especially these days, I think that’s totally the wrong way to go about things. Also, bands should expect to suck for a while because we did. Cake: Now look where you are though! Tommy: Now we live in a van and use a lot of Wawas’. [Laughs] Cake: Living the dream. Tommy: Living the dream. Yepp. Cake: Anything you’d like to say to our fantastic readership? Tommy: Stay in school and don’t do too many drugs.


New Neighbors

By Ryan Bryant Photographs by Lexi Lambros

Childhood friends and rockers Chris Frank, Nate Terepka, John Zinder and Dana Billings aka the newly dubbed New Neighbors, have been playing the Ithaca scene for quite some time. The band is about to tour outside the country and release loads of new material. Chris and Nate share about Ithaca, Australia and Madonna. Cake: So can you explain why you changed the name from IY, for those who don’t know? Chris: There’s only one way I know to objectively evaluate the name of a group: did the namers consider their group’s spirit, and come up with a name that they think reflects it? With IY, we started so early, age 12, that we had no sense whatsoever of what we were doing. By the time making music became a conscious process for us, we had already been called IY for something like six years. So, I don’t think we ever got a chance to apply the only criterion I’ve got! We never got to really name ourselves. New Neighbors is, finally, our name. Nate: It’s refreshing to make a certain break from all that music we created at such a young age. Not that we aren’t proud of it, or that we have suddenly arrived at some new pinnacle, but it’s nice to wipe the slate clean and start with a more focused vision. Cake: What has it been like playing in Ithaca for you? What has it been like playing outside of Ithaca? Nate: Developing in Ithaca’s incredibly warm, diverse, and tight-knit music community fostered a certain sense of respect for and camaraderie with musicians of many different ages and styles. I think the music scene in Ithaca is uniquely inclusive and open-minded. Playing outside of Ithaca has exposed me to lots of new ideas. I think you can take something valuable from any kind of music, and likewise you can take something valuable from any music scene. Chris: Also, in the cities we’ve had a chance to play regularly, I’ve found it rewarding to watch crowds grow louder, larger, and more willing to dance. Cake: What are you guys looking forward most to in 2009? Chris: We’re going to make two new records in 2009, and we’re going on a six-week tour of Australia. We’ve made records before, so I have a sense of what that will feel like and how much it will push us. But we’ve never been on tour, and we’ve only played out of the country once. I have absolutely no idea what it’s going to feel like. Perhaps we’ll be miserable. Somehow, I bet not. Nate: And while we’re doing these things we’ll be able to spend more time just being in the same place thinking about music with one another than we have been able to do for some time.

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Chris: Yes. It sucks that we spend so much time scattered across the state. Also, we’ll be making the records after we tour, so maybe everything I think I see coming about the recording process is entirely wrong. That would be excellent.


Cake: What inspires you guys most? Nate: All different things. Collectively, there are some evenings when we are rehearsing and for whatever combination of elusive reasons things just work, and at those times it is the exchange of ideas and dynamics between us that inspires. For me, I am one of those people that gets inspired hard and unexpectedly, and tend to do my best work when I work fast enough that I can’t really reflect on what I’m doing. I just wish that would happen more often. Chris: I no longer believe in inspiration. I don’t see something and think “I have to write a song about that!” or hear someone else’s song and think, “Whoa! We have to play something like this!” I try to just pay attention and work. I go about my business, I listen to lots of music, and I try to pay attention to both. How does the music work? How does my everyday life work? Then, whenever I free up more than a few hours, I sit down and go to work. Songwriting is a job, and I’m at work. The work is informed by everything, of course, but “inspired” isn’t the right word for the way I’ve been working lately. Cake: If you had to have a famous band cover one of your songs, which band would it be? Chris: I’d have Madonna cover “Stay Awake” live. That’s such a spare, serious recording, and I think her version would be neither of those things. Well, it might be serious. But it would be so serious, so epic, that it would be impossible to take seriously. She would probably have dancers. Really good dancers, and lasers, and smoke machines. It would be something to behold and laugh with. Nate: For all the bands I’m thinking of, I’d rather here them just play their own stuff. Maybe something that would offer a completely different perspective. I’d like to hear Minor Threat cover “Lines”. Chris: Who are Minor Threat? Would I like to hear them cover “Lines”? Nate: A classic raw-ass punk band. It would be hilarious. Chris: Excellent. What do you think about Madonna and “Stay Awake”? Nate: It would also be hilarious. Chris: Yes, but I think there would still be the core of a really sad song. It would be hilarious and complicated. Cake: If New Neighbors could be the color of a crayon, like Macaroni and Cheese or Robin’s Egg Blue, what color would it be? Nate: I think that question would be better answered by somebody else. I associate New Neighbors with every color in my life. Chris: Cyan? Magenta? Cake: Any advice for Ithacans who want to start a band? Nate: Have fun. Spend more time thinking about and crafting your music than trying to promote it. Chris: What he said. Also, make music that you want to listen to. I used to cripple myself midway through writing, or even at the very beginning, by asking “Is it good enough?” Good enough for what? The better question is, “Would I like listening to this?” There are only two possible answers to that one, and neither is crippling. If “yes”, then the song is finished. If “not yet,” then I’ve got more work to do. Cake: Any last words? Chris: Thanks for the questions, and congratulations on the new magazine. We wish you the best. If print dies someday soon, please keep making Cake somewhere. We need more people thinking and writing about music.


REVIEWS Vs. Children - Casiotone For the Painfully Alone

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ust over a month after releasing “Advance Base Battery Life,” a collection of rarities and covers, Casiotone For the Painfully Alone (Owen Ashworth) releases his fifth album, “Vs. Children.” It’s clear that Ashworth is a proponent of the classic adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” as “Vs. Children” seems to go out of its way to cover familiar ground. Any listener of Ashworth’s work will immediately feel at home with the new album: soulful vocals, subtle lyrics, and striped-down production are key. Continuing the trend of working with a more organic soundscape from album to album, “Vs. Children” almost completely does away with the trademark Casiotone sound Courtesy of Tomlab the band is named after. Instead, pianos and live percussion seem to take center stage. That isn’t to say that synth chords and sampled drums aren’t present, it’s just obvious that Ashworth is doing his best to shy away from his strictly lo-fi roots. While the soundscape has progressed, however, the song writing and chord progressions has not. Besides the more gospel feel of “Vs. Children,” the Castione experience has seen very little change, leaving absolutely no surprises to be found on the album. “Vs. Children” seems to rely exclusively on the intricate stories woven by Ashworth, which is too bad considering roughly half the songs fall flat in this area. Vs. Children won’t win any new fans. If you didn’t enjoy Ashworth’s slow, idiosyncratic vocals before, his newest work will do nothing to sway your opinion. Tracks like “Northfield, NM”, “Killers”, and “Tom Justice, The Choir Boy Robber, Apprehended at Ace Hardware in Libertyville, IL” are filled with enough subtle, cryptic, and emotional lyrics to make the album worth a listen, but only to those already acquainted to Ashworth’s work. For everyone else, last month’s superior Advance Base Battery Life might be a better place to start.

This Is The One - Utada

Utada drops her second major label

English album with “This Is The One.” The album is her second attempt at making it big in the United States. Already a star in Japan, Utada’s second attempt is her most pop album to date. While her title demands that this is her time to shine in the US, the album proves otherwise. The album opens with the first single “Come Back To Me”, a hip-hop ballad about a woman who desires the man she cheated on. The lyrics seem to reflect the majority of the album. With references to jpegs, Photoshop and 808’s, the album crosses the line in terms of good lyricism.

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- Derek Rogers

4/10

Utada’s previous efforts have always walked a good line between sexy and smooth. Tracks like “Dirty Desire” and “Poppin’” seem to cross that line. Even though the beats are some of the most danceable she’s ever made, the lyrics are often a turnoff. While the album doesn’t bring anything new to the table, the beats are sometimes really catchy. Songs like “On and On” and “Apple and Cinnamon” can easily get stuck in your head. While “This Is The One” will assuredly bring in new listeners, it’s sad that Utada holds back on her songwriting talent to craft a saccharine club album.

Courtesy of The Island Def Jam

-Ryan Bryant

5/10


Two Suns - Bat For Lashes

Begone Dull Care - Junior Boys

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“ wo Suns”, the second release from British songstress, Bat For Lashes, is a dreamy whirlwind of soft beats and angelic Courtesy of The Echo Label LTD vocals. Bat For Lashes, otherwise known as Natasha Khan, has delivered the perfect chill-out album for those of us lost in love. However beautiful her arrangements are, the album only seems to kick in during the fourth track, also the first single, “Daniel.” Her breathy vocals swim over a mild ‘80s synth beat that has a comforting edge to it. After that the album dips back into a luscious breed of crisp electric guitars under the sweet crooning of her voice. There’s not too much diversity on this record, but she sticks with what she knows works. Her voice carries us through the journey, which is more of a visceral experience in melody than discord. “Pearl’s Dream” and “Two Planets” are two other standout tracks that get listeners lost in translucent cadences and whisked away to a dream world. They have upbeat percussion that sucks your ear in and soon has your body moving along to it. “Two Suns” is a romantic sophomore effort that will be enjoyed for years to come.

-Danielle Hendrickson

6/10

Junior Boys

return with an album that sounds familiar. Their new release, “Begone Dull Care,” maintains the same sonic tricks, without pulling out anything new or Courtesy of Domino Recording Co. LTD revolutionary. The Canadian duo show a mastery of their own sound, but fail to expand much on their previous work. The album begins with a hissing sound that quickly fades into the hushed regions Junior Boys are so familiar with. The beats pulse, the synths loop and repeat. Junior Boys are right at home from the start of the album, and they’re content not to explore much else. The vocals never become more than an amplified whisper, while the music shifts and morphs smoothly around them. The album is sonically gorgeous. The depth and range of sounds in each song can sometimes be overwhelming. Junior Boys build texture using every tiny sound they can squeeze into each song. This technique works best and worst on standout track “Bits & Pieces,” which comes closest to being a true dance track. The added sounds add depth at moments, while detracting at others. The density of the sound also wears quickly on the listener. With no track clocking in at less than four minutes, and most of them exceeding six, it’s easy to lose focus on the music. The whispering vocals also contribute to the exhaustion, sometimes putting the listener into a near sleep state. Overall, Junior Boys build on their previous work without exploring much new ground. “Begone Dull Care” is the follow-up album you would expect. They continue to show promise and a level of expertise, but lack an exploration that would push the album to be something special.

-TJ Gunther

7/10


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Cake: A Music Zine, Issue 4  

Our fourth issue