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C AKE a music zine.

The Avett Brothe


Los Campesinos! We Barbarians SXSW: A DIARY


Table of contents We Barbarians Interview What IC is Listening to Los Campesinos! All Grown Up Real Estate Interview SXSW; Music Diary Avett Brothers. A Family Act Ten Songs to Consider at Your Next Party Peelander Z Evolution of The Recording Artist Album Reviews

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A Note From

The Editor Dear reader, Thanks for picking up a copy of Cake. We’ve been around for a few years now, but we still have a lot to learn and tend to run into some little problems here and there. We’re a resilient bunch, though, and after a bit of a bumpy start this semester, we decided to come out with our first double issue. Here’s a huge thanks to everyone who contributed content and hours of effort to this edition of Cake. I’m stoked—yeah, stoked—to present to you all the awesome interviews we got the opportunity to do so far this semester. We’re debuting what is now going to be a regular feature in Cake, “What’s IC Listening To,” so keep an eye out for it in future issues. I also noticed we got a couple of shout-outs to Bruce Springsteen in here, which I guess is the universe’s way of telling me I should listen to him more. We hope you enjoy reading Cake, and not only as you’re waiting in line at the dining hall. There’s some good shit in here, and that is in no way a biased statement. Stay classy, RAQUEL DALAROSSA

Staff List Editor in Chief, Raquel Dalarossa Layout Manager, Noah Delin Finance Chair, Adam Rudofker Publicity Chair, Emily Gaffney Editors Matthew Tomich Cat Nuwer Kate Wenger Cory Healy Media & Photography Jaimie Fitzgerald Nick Petrella Tommy Geanakos Staff Joseph Naftol Brendan Cleary Peter Quandt Alex Serra Zachary Weg Giuseppina Trapani Justin Billing Dave Cushing


We Barbarians An interview with the Band


credit to Marleigh Dunlap

We Barbarians are an indie rock trio made up of friends David Quon, Nathan Warkentin and Derek VanHeule. We sat down to talk to them about their newest EP, the difficulties of the music industry, and their new location. Cake: So you guys have been promoting your sophomore EP, Headspace … We Barbarians: We just got off a monthlong tour, we’ve been back for two to three weeks and then we had a bunch of shows around New York City so this is kind of like a random one-off show we’re doing.


C: How’d you guys get started? WB: Well we were in another band before this for a long time, and then we just naturally started a new thing. Nate and I [Dave] went to college together, we were friends for a really long time, and then our mutual friend Derek got in. So we’ve known each other for almost 10 years now, the

other band kinda ran its course. We thought maybe we were gonna put music away for a while and we’d all gotten full-time jobs but it was unavoidable that we came back. C: You started in Long Beach, CA and now you’re in Brooklyn, right? WB: Yeah we moved out here seven months ago. It’s cool, we like it a lot, it’s definitely different. One of the reasons why we moved out here was to work a little bit harder. The thing about Cali is its easy to get in the mindset where things are just relaxed and you don’t feel as driven. In New York, there’s a lot going on musically and culturally, everything is fast paced, and I think that’s what we needed. We needed a change. And it’s been good, too, we just released this EP and, since moving, we’ve been writing and demo-ing with a lot. We’re working towards recording a full length, and your surroundings definitely affect the sound, so we’re all excited to see what the East Coast brings to our vibe. C: Where did you guys record Headspace? WB: It was mainly in Eagle Rock in the LA area. We recorded four of the songs there and then moved out to Brooklyn and were mulling over the idea of adding another song there, and we ended up doing “Strange Overtones” [a cover of a song by Brian Eno and David Byrne] and threw it on the EP, and it rounded it out. The bulk of it is still a more California vibe.

us that extra little bit to bring out more life in that EP. He’s also a good friend. C: What are your personal favorites off the EP? WB: The “Strange Overtones” cover turned out really great, we just kinda did it on a whim and ended up loving it. It’s nice when you can cover a song that is obviously already great but you can kinda put a slight twist on it and make it feel like your own. We had been playing around with it at our shows, and sometimes you’ll record a song after playing it live and you’ll be like, “Wow, this is actually shit,” but this one worked. C: What are you doing right now? You mentioned plans for a new album … ? WB: Yeah we definitely have plans, the EP was to try and build more momentum. We’re closer towards moving towards what we want to sound like, so for us it’s definitely important to follow it up with a new album. November and December will be crucial as far as creative stuff. C: You guys have a steady two-year period in between all your releases ...

C: It was produced by Dan Gallucci [of Modest Mouse], how was that? WB: It was cool, he’s awesome. He’s mellow and even-tempered and smart, easy to work with. It helps working with someone that you respect artistically, and he’s super humble but he has great, creative ideas and it felt like he pushed


WB: … It’s too long. We’re not necessarily on our feet yet, we all have regular jobs and stuff and so we’ve been on a very limited budget and time. If we had it our way, we could be putting stuff out way more frequently. It’s funny reflecting on it; all of our releases have been done for almost a year before they came out because we jiggle stuff around. So I think we’re really wanting to change it for this next album. Time is of the essence. C: How would you define your sound as? How do you feel about the term “ambient rock” that some people have ascribed to you? WB: Being in a band you get asked that a lot and, for us, I think it’s tough. At the foundation, we’re a pretty straight-forward rock band, but being a rock band has become such a tainted concept. It can mean so many different things. It’s interesting what people’s interpretations are … I think stylistically we are kind of hard to narrow down, in a good way.


C: Critics have compared you Arcade Fire and The Clash … WB: We play with a lot of Pitchfork style bands but I don’t think we see ourselves as being that. We do try to have some substance and, it sounds cliche, but we’re about more than the music. And there’s still a lot to be found for us as band. People like Bruce Springsteen, The Clash, The National, they’ve stuck around because there’s something to grab onto there. It’s just hard to find your own niche and be able to stick around. The music industry is so fickle. I love the idea of the internet and what it’s done for artists but at the same time it’s created such a consumer mentality. Like fast food music. It’s difficult figuring out how to stick with people … the three of us hope that other people connect with us. Sometimes we feel like we’re the only people connecting.

credit to Matt Wignall

What IC is Listening To. TJ Schaper: Bonnie Tyler - “Total Eclipse of the Heart”

Monifa Brooks: Beyonce - “End of Time”

Ria Hall: Glee Soundtrack - “I Feel Pretty / Unpretty”

Max Gordon: Tyga - “Rack City Remix (Ft. Wale, Fabolous, Young Jeezy, Mac Miller, & T.I.)

Serena Muller: Metric - “Dead Disco”

Caleb Oaks: James Blake “Measurements” Sean Cotty: Coldplay - “Clocks”

Terry Trovato: Sissel - “O Mio Babbino Caro”


! s o n i s e p Los Cam p U n w o r G A ll

credited to Phoebe Eaton




fter three full-length albums, all of which garnered consistently positive reviews from critics at Spin, Pitchfork, NME and Rolling Stone, Los Campesinos! came back with Hello Sadness, an intro to a more grown-up and jaded band. Released last November, Hello Sadness reveals a change in LC!; a maturation. The name of the album alone, when compared to their debut Hold On Now, Youngster... , points to that change, but it’s also discernible in their song titles (“Life is a Long Time”) and lyrics (“You know it starts pretty rough/And ends up even worse”). In fact, Hello Sadness isn’t just sad, it’s downright depressing. Soon enough, the band will be dropping the ! from their name and wearing black eyeliner, but we can worry about that later. For now, enjoy the album and get lead singer’s Gareth Campesinos! take on Hello Sadness.

Cake: This is your fourth full-length, but your first album with new drummer Jason, and you guys have had quite a few changes in your line-up over the course of your career. How has your sound evolved with each change, particularly now with Jason? Gareth: It’s hard to say how changes in band personnel have affected the sound of the band. Tom and I have always been the primary songwriters, so not a lot has changed in that respect. But with the additions of Rob, Kim and Jason we have become much stronger as a band. Rob is a wonderfully talented multi-instrumentalist, and he’s experienced in writing and recording his own songs with his Sparky Deathcap moniker. Kim is a music graduate and equally talented across a variety of instruments, as well as possessing a beautiful and confident voice. And Jason, as you mentioned, Jason is one of the most talented drummers I have ever seen play. His ability has allowed us to try things we’ve been

unable to in the past, and be more ambitious and demanding of ourselves as a result. C: Word on the street is you had already written and rehearsed your songs before going out to Spain to record, but do you think the surroundings and change of scenery affected how the songs came out in the end? G: Not really, no. The surroundings did allow us to concentrate all our energies into the record, though, and that was very useful. The village we recorded in, Figueres, is beautiful and reasonably remote. There were very few distractions (besides the outdoor swimming pool we were lucky enough to have within the studio’s grounds) as the studio is surrounded by only fields and the Pyrenees Mountains. It was totally blissful, and although the surroundings didn’t directly affect the record’s sound (for one, it was beautifully sunny, and I feel this definitely isn’t reflected within the album’s themes)


or 21 years old. We’re now in our mid- to late-20s (for the most part) and that means we’ve had a whole load of living since the release of our first record. We’ve grown into adults, and if we were making the same sort of noise we were in 2006, that would be dishonest of us. C: If you had to pick just one song off the new album for your listeners to hear, which would you pick? G: “Baby I Got The Death Rattle,” I guess. I’m really proud of that set of lyrics, and I think it captures both the hopelessness and hopefulness of Los Campesinos!. it allowed us to be focused and clear in our aims. C: You have definitely matured as a band since Hold On Now, Youngster... Even your album titles seem to imply that. Do you think there have been significant changes in your sound and in yourselves as musicians, or would you say it’s more of a natural development?

C: As for your zine, Heat Rash, where did the idea for that come from? What do you hope to achieve with it?

G: I guess there were a few motivations. We’re lucky to have a following of people that are totally open to the idea of something like this. We have formed a really tight-knit community with people who like our band, where involvement and correspondence are key. Having a creative limb like Heat Rash has opened up a whole other line of G: I don’t think those two options are communication for us to self-indulgently exclusive to each other. We’ve all improved talk about things that we couldn’t necessarily hugely as musicians; we really were just do with songs or by other means. Musically, beginning to learn how to write and even we can try things that would not fit onto an play when we first started recording and album (each issue of the zine comes with releasing, and our musical interests have a 7” including two exclusive songs), and changed. But in turn, we’ve always can act more on the prided ourselves on not being spur of the moment, “It still blows my affected by trends or zeitgeist, and giving songs a home have wanted to remain true to mind that people on without waiting six our ideas and music, rather than the other side of the months for them ever “choosing” what direction to to be released on a world have heard our full-length. I’m not go in. Every step we’ve made has been natural and innocent. I think sure there’s really any music and want to the main factor is that when we for what we’d see us play it live.” goal formed this band we were all 20 like to achieve with


it, we just like the tangibility of it all, y’know? Everything’s .mp3s and .pdfs these days and there’ll be nothing exciting about showing those to your grandchildren in 50 years. C: Are you excited to be going on tour in the U.S.? Where is your favorite place to play? G: Always. Just being in the States makes everything so much more exciting than being at home in the UK. It’s like, “I am brushing my teeth … IN AMERICA,” “I am having a piss … IN AMERICA.” And genuinely, everywhere’s exciting to play. It still blows my mind that people on the other side of the world have heard our music and want to see us play it live. C: If you could go on tour with any band, which would it be? G: I’ve learnt over time that, when touring, the main thing is to be with people you get along with. And over the years we’ve been really lucky to go on tour with good friends, and with bands that have become good friends. But as far as your question, my favorite band is The Beautiful South. They’re broken up now, but it’d be amazing to get to see them play every night for a couple of weeks (except for a couple of inevitable and well-deserved days off). C: Last but not least, what’s your favorite type of cake? G: Ah, I see, ‘cause your zine’s called “Cake.” Clever. Y’know, I’m not actually much into sweet things, but I realize this is a pretty important question, contextually, so I’m giving it some thought …





ou might’ve heard of Real Estate after their debut eponymous album filtered through the indie music blog sphere in 2009, or maybe you caught wind of them last year when their second album, Days, made several “Top Albums of 2011” lists, including Pitchfork’s top 10. If you haven’t heard of Real Estate, then, I gotta tell ya, you aren’t missing out on much. Just kidding. See, that was funny because these guys are that good. Some of their songs embody a beachy languor and nostalgia, while others stay upbeat with playful guitar hooks. So if indeed you haven’t heard them yet, do yourself a favor and start listening. But first, check out our chat with bassist Alex Bleeker about the band’s origins and what they’ve been up to. Cake: So how are you, what have you been up to these days? Alex Bleeker: I’m good, it’s been pretty crazy, a lot of touring and stuff. We just got back from Europe and we’re actually going to Australia soon. And I also just moved into my new apartment in Brooklyn a few days ago, so there’s like boxes everywhere. It’s a pretty wild time, I guess. C: How was Europe? AB: It was fun. We played the Pitchfork Paris Festival and got to do a lot of little videos, like for La Blogotheque. C: Their “Take Away Show” videos are really awesome but they look like they would be kind of awkward to film...

AB: Yeah, they’re really meticulous, I think that’s why their videos are so good. It was a lot of fun, but it was also a little stressful because we did it right before we played Pitchfork Paris, and so they were kind of like, “Alright let’s do one more song!” and we had to be like, “No no no, we gotta go, we gotta be on stage in like ten minutes.” They were disappointed. C: So you’ve known Matt Mondanile (guitarist) and Martin Courtney (singer) since childhood, having grown up with them in Ridgewood, NJ. Were you playing music together all through college? AB: Well, whenever we came home for breaks and stuff, we would hang out. Matt actually went to college really close by me so we drove back and forth and visited each other during school. We would get together and jam whenever we could, although we weren’t officially in a band.

C: You guys have talked about your music, especially your first album, as having a sense of “home”, but it also sounds a little West Coast-y... AB: Yeah people say that, I guess because we have a poppy sort of Beach Boys influence. I was actually talking to someone recently about how regionally-based music isn’t galvanizing anymore, because we have internet and we can draw upon influences from any region. If you’re only hearing bands locally, you would obviously be more influenced by that, but nowadays you can be influenced by bands from around the world. C: Do you feel part of the New Jersey community? Most people from NJ seem to be really proud of the fact that they’re from NJ. AB: Yeah we are. We’re no exception to that rule. We have a lot of friends from NJ that we play with a lot, so I definitely would say we’re part of a larger community of musicians from the Jersey Shore. That’s probably how we’re most influenced, by our friends. C: As a New Jersian, how do you feel about Bruce Springsteen? AB: I love Bruce. I’m a huge fan. Huge. C: Now that you’ve all moved to NYC, do you feel that might change the direction of the band?


AB: Where you live is a huge part of your perspective. Our lives have changed and our music will reflect that, and I think it already has a little. Our second album is a bit more grown up and mature, I think. Hopefully the music is coming from an honest place and it’ll be constantly evolving. C: Where are you guys at with your music right now? AB: We’re always writing new songs and doing new things, coming up with stuff while on tour. We’re always trying to keep it fresh, but we’re doing so much tour right now that we’re not in a heavy writing period. We’re definitely thinking about the future, though. We’ll probably start working on new stuff in the fall. I’ve also been working a lot with my other band [Alex Bleeker and the Freaks], which has been a great outlet for everything Real Estate is not. RE has been pretty intense, highly scheduled, and my other band is really loose and laid back. C: So just to wrap up, what’s your favorite kind of cake? AB: I really, really like yellow cake with chocolate icing, and then like, a layer of banana in the middle... C: Banana?! AB: Yeah, yeah. Banana.

BY MATTHEW TOMICH Monday, March 12. South by Southwest is Austin’s yearly city-consuming festival goliath, a ten day event that invites those of the music, technology and film worlds into this peculiar pocket of Texan liberalism every March. It’s been happening since 1987, and it’s become a huge part of Austin’s identity – already the self-proclaimed ‘Live Music Capital of the World’ – featuring a stupidly large number of bands, usually around 2,000, playing nonstop for six days. And So I Watch You From Afar are an instrumental four-piece with ten times the energy and emotion of any vocal performance I’ve ever seen. These guys have their own sound entirely. You know how music writers use that cliché of a guitar squealing? Well, I’m going to use it now, because when all the pedals were stomped, both guitars sounded like a pig being violently gutted, alive. It’s vicious and it’s something to behold. They’re fast as hell, too – no amount of epilepsyinducing strobe lighting could keep up with their ridiculously complex time shifts. Before their set, the evening’s host told us they were recently deemed Northern Ireland’s best live band. Shit, I’m not surprised. Tuesday, March 13. With the music portion of the festival officially underway, East 6th Street came alive like nobody’s business. I began my evening at a small, dingy bar called Headhunters for a showcase of ‘Experimental’ artists (whatever

that means) before jumping across town for Future of the Left at Latitude 30. These guys are a noise rock four-piece from Wales led by Andy Falkous of mclusky fame. Normally they’d dedicate a song to Phil Collins, but given where we were, they honored a different scumbag. “It feels kind of weird dedicating a song to someone in the Republican primary when nobody here votes for those cunts,” he opined, “but this song’s for Rick Santorum. If you vote for him you will die more cold and alone than the rest of us, which is very cold and alone.” The title of the song? ‘You Need Satan More Than He Needs You.’ Wednesday, March 14. House parties make for the best shows. I walked into a backyard of 100 people and the drowning stench of pot on East 2nd St. At 8, El Ten Eleven took the stage – which was really a patch of pavement and grass – and proceeded to blow me away for half an hour straight. I’m usually not a fan of the twopiece format, but when a JFK-lookalike brings out a twin-necked guitar – one a six-string, one a bass – and proceeds to finger-tap on both, at the same time, I pay attention. Again, this stuff falls under the umbrella of postrock, but it’s vastly different from anything else I’ve seen so far – it’d suit the soundtrack of an indie video game or a mumblecore film, but it’s never asinine. Zorch took the stage on the other side of the speakers with an impressive setup


comprised of a massive drum kit, two headset microphones, two laptops, a mixer and three synthesizers. The keyboardist took a second to address the crowd: “I don’t have much to say, except this is awesome, and we’re gonna have a really good time.” Simple, but it captures the feeling of the moment. The music is digital noise, a more layered version of nintendocore, upbeat, fast and chaotic but uplifting, well-produced and densely textured. Nobody has any idea what’s going on, but it’s great fun anyway, and the vibe of this show means that’s all that matters. I realize I should’ve been here all day, and yesterday for that matter. I’m disappointed that I only get to catch two hours of a nine hour house party. It’s at this point that I realize that this is what SXSW is about – hell, this is what youth is about. A carefree gathering of like-minded friends and strangers appreciating the strange sounds of artists from all across the country, and it’s all free and taking place in some guy’s backyard. I started to feel giddy, and came to the conclusion that if this sort of thing was happening every night in every city, there’d be no war, and we’d all reach nirvana at the same time. Thursday, March 15. It’s a beautiful thing, getting to see a band you’ve just fallen in love with. You’re still riding that euphoric high, figuring out what would make your ideal set list, getting hooks stuck in your head. That’s what happened to me with Supreme Dicks, a little known sextet of weirdoes formed in Massachusetts three decades ago. They treated us to 35 minutes of warped, dissonant folk, the kind of music you hear in your nightmares


before the big evil comes for you. Not strictly wordless – there are singing and spoken word passages, but the lyrics are indecipherable, meaning instead conveyed by waves of sonic dissonance. This was their first gig since supporting Dinosaur Jr. five years ago – coincidentally, J Mascis was in the crowd – and they hadn’t rehearsed since. It showed, but in a flattering way; their brand of noise works well when played sloppily. I considered staying for the rest of the night, but decided no other performance was likely to compare that evening. Friday, March 16. Closing out my SXSW was my third encounter with And So I Watch You From Afar. It’s probably stupid to see a band so many times when there are so many acts in Austin for the festival, but I’ve decided these guys are the best live band I have ever seen. For those 40 minutes, I was in another world. I can’t decide if they make me want to play guitar 12 hours a day so I can one day come close to matching their talent on the axe, or if I should just stop altogether because they’re that damn good. There was no better way to end this extravaganza. Just make sure you go see them, and make sure someday, you treat yourself to Austin’s yearly marathon of music and culture. It’s something to behold.

Future of the Left

On The Radar Carly Rae Jepsen, “Call me Maybe” Sorry, but holy shit, this song is the definition of infectious. Its catchiness latches onto your brain (against your will) and leaves you singing “Hey, I just met you!” for three days straight. Listening to a song so bad has never felt so good. One Direction, “What Makes You Beautiful” Just kidding. Beach House, “Myth” Two years after Teen Dream, Beach House sound as good as ever. We can’t wait for Bloom, which comes out May 15. The Flaming Lips with Bon Iver, “Ashes in the Air” At first it sounds like the perfect song for that acid trip playlist you’ve been building, but when Justin Vernon sings “You and me/ We thought we were so smart/We thought we could outrun them/But they had robot dogs” it gets a little scary. We don’t really know what this is but we like it.

On The Watch: April Concerts April 5 Emily Wells with Live Footage at Lot 10 April 13 Marco Benevento & Michael Kammers at The Haunt April 14 Bobby McFerrin at The State Theater & Rhett Miller at The Haunt


The Avett Brothers A FAMILY ACT BY CAT NUWER The Avett Brothers of North Carolina have been playing together for more than a decade – back in high school, brothers Scott and Seth Avett started out in separate bands but by 2001 had moved on to form The Avett Brothers with stand-up bassist Bob Crawford. Since the release of their first album Country Was in 2002, the band has progressed into fame, releasing a number of studio and live albums while continuously touring. With the addition of Joe Kwon on cello and Jacob Edwards on drums, The Avett Brothers went on to release I and Love and You in 2009, earning the #16 spot on the Billboard chart, followed by appearances on late night shows with David Letterman, Craig Ferguson, and Jimmy Fallon. The band went on to appear on the 53rd Grammys in 2011, playing “Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise” and “Maggie’s Farm” with Mumford and Sons and Bob Dylan. Most recently, they’ve been working on a new studio album due in the summer and are set to play at Bonnaroo Music Festival in June. Cake got the chance to chat with upright bassist Bob Crawford about Bonnaroo, the Grammy performance and much more. The Avett Brothers play a sold-out show at the State Theatre of Ithaca on April 21.


Cake: We hear you’re playing at Bonnaroo this summer, are you excited? Bob: Very excited. Bonnaroo is the top of the heap, one of the five best festivals. Playing Bonnaroo is obviously a thrill … it’s a special vibe. C: What was it like to perform at the 53rd Grammys with Mumford and Sons and Bob Dylan? B: It was really surreal. It was something that we never expected to happen. It was kind of thrown out to us as an opportunity. The whole week couldn’t have gone any better, we had a great time. The rehearsals went smoothly and we had fun taping the show, whereas you would think nerves would take over. We were definitely nervous but I just remember it being one of those moments where I was playing, looking at the faces of the crowd, looking around at the guys I’m playing with, not believing that we get to do this. I was able to savor it while it was happening. C: What are you guys currently working on?

I’ve heard rumors that you guys are recording again. B: We’re about finished. We hope to have an album [out] sometime this summer, probably mid- to-late summer. C: You joined the band in 2001 - how would you say the band’s music has changed or progressed since your first full length album Country Was? B: I think everything’s gotten better. The songwriting has gotten better, we’ve gotten more experience with working in a studio, we’re more comfortable on stage. I think everything has evolved, definitely the instrumentation has changed over the years – it was always guitar and upright bass and kick drum/high hat, but now we have piano on stage, we have a cello player, electric guitar, electric bass, a full-time drummer. It’s grown like any small business would grow. We’ve been able to expand, on stage and off stage, in a nice slow steady pace where we can afford to do it and where it makes sense to do it. We’ve had no drastic changes, it’s all been gradual.

in a single goal, like don’t get caught up trying to play Bonnaroo. Start out, try to learn some good songs, and try to write some good songs, and take the time it takes to do that, it doesn’t always come very quickly. For people starting a band with one another, be tolerant of one another, and everybody try to work hard and do their part. C: What has been one of your favorite onstage moments? B: Roanoke, Virginia, a number of years ago. Scott and Seth were setting up to do a song, just the two of them, I put down my upright bass to exit the C: What’s the band’s process like for writing songs? Do you guys write the lyrics or the music first? B: Often they come together. About every different way to have a song written, we’ve pretty much experienced that. It tends to be pretty collaborative.

stage and my cable got wrapped up around my legs, and I slowly fell. I lost my balance and then I went down on one knee and then I went down on the other knee and my hand. It was just so embarrassing, and then Scott, to alleviate my embarrassment came and just threw himself over the bass.

C: I’ve heard people describe you guys as a fusion of bluegrass, country, punk, pop, folk, rock, and ragtime. How would you describe your music? B: I’d like to leave it up to you. Without worrying about describing something, which we never have worried about, we’ve always been focused on the writing and performing. It’s up to critics and writers to describe it. We’re delegating the task here.

C: If you could play a song with any musician, dead or alive, who would it be? B: Bruce Springsteen.

C: What would you recommend to anyone trying to start a band? B: I think it’s a great idea to start a band. What I recommend is for people not to get caught up


C: What’s your favorite kind of cake? B: That’s tough. I’ve had some good red velvet cakes in my day. You know I like the icing more than I like the cake. I like homemade tiramisu, but that’s more of a dessert. If someone made a tiramisu cake, I’d like that a lot.

Ten Songs to Consider For Your Next Party (Hey you kids, turn off that Skrillex!) Friendly Fires, “Jump In The Pool” Justice, “D.a.n.c.e.” Keke Palmer, “Bottom’s Up” Neon Indian, “Polish Girl” Wiz Khalifa, “The Thrill” Young MC, “Bust a Move” Kurupt, Nate Dogg & Shade Sheist, “Where I Wanna Be” Mike Posner, “Please Don’t Go” Azealia Banks, “212” Kool and The Gang, “Hollywood Swinging”



Peelander- Z spaces out at the haunt BY CORY HEALY


he Japanese art-punk band from outer space known as Peelander-Z made their second appearance in Ithaca at the Haunt. If you don’t know, Peelander-Z travels from planet Peelander to Earth to play for us in order to feed off smiles. Each of the members are color coordinated, Peelander Red, Peelander Yellow—it’s their Peelander skin, mind you! Experiencing a Peelander-Z show is a lot like getting sucked into a strange, zany video game with jump-roping Giant Squids, pro-wrestling elements, and “Human Bowling.” At the Haunt, audience participation was a must; people were given out drumsticks and bowls to bang along to “Mad Tiger,” with a game of limbo in between mosh pits. People were even invited to play on the band members’ guitars, keyboards and drums to finish out songs or add their own flourishes. Before the show, I got to sit down with Peelander Yellow, the leader of the group, for a fine evening chat:


C: Greetings Mr. Yellow! First of all I want to say ‘Welcome back to Ithaca!’ PY: YEAHHH! Last time we were here we played at Castaways, they all came out and now they come out to the Haunt too. Every crowd has their water, and we are the fisher. C: How did you guys meet up? PY: I mean, do you know the story of Peelander-Z? We are no human being, we are from the planet Peelander to see youuu. We need a smile cause we ate smiles. Weeee really want to eat barbeque but we ate smile. We make you smile, and then we eat smile. C: Tell me more about Planet Peelander. Are you trying to get everybody into the Peelander state of mind? PY: It’s rather difficult to explain, don’t worry about it. Just… if you wanna have fun, have a beautiful night, come check yourself so we can open you a new world and make a happy night for you! Even if you don’t like punk rock or heavy music, come here. Don’t worry about the music, we are not musician, we are performer – happy performer! C: You guys have a thing called “human bowling” I understand? PY: OH YEAH! That is simply because we’re not a regular band. Music is like 10%, and the other 90% we do the human bowling, the jumping rope, the wrestling. And we – I – might give my guitar out to somebody. We jump into the front for a while and dance with everybody. C: You guys are very involved with the crowd. Are there ever any precautions or are you like “whatever happens, happens”? PY: We don’t know how to play, but we know how to control people, so I am kind of teacher,

and everybody has to be my kids! Like “Hey everybody dance with me like this, wah wah wah!” So... fun time. C: What are some influences you have for performances or music in general? PY: We’re into 80s wrestling, so like old style – WWF style. I watch when I was kids. And also, the Power Rangers came from Japan, so we grew up with the old, old, old Power Ranger. I wanted to be, like, a superstar. So wrestling, Power Ranger, and Japanese Anime; everything mixes on the stage – the music a little bit. It blends [into] all kind of hero show, hero Power Man. You will see that. Tonight we have a new costume for you! We’re going to be more spacey… C: Is this related to your new CD coming out? PY: April 10, we are going to release our new CD, Space Vacation. C: Awesome! So we just have one more question for our magazine: What’s your favorite kind of cake? Is there a special Peelander Cake? PY: I wanna make a big cheesecake and then you have to throw it to me! Happy cake!

The Evolution of The Recording Artist BY ADAM RUDOFKER You hear it all the time. The music industry is an ever changing one. And instead of resisting change, as the major recording labels have done, we should be more willing to evolve and accept the various changes. For a decade now, analysts have been fretting over the demise of the music industry. Newsflash, people: music isn’t going anywhere. We’re just moving out of the brief period when an artist was able to make a living selling records alone. For roughly 50 years, from the end of World War II until about 10 years ago, the recording industry had a very simplistic way to make money: sell as many records as possible. The industry put an emphasis on the records. Records not only made it possible for musicians to connect with listeners anywhere at any time, but offered a discrete package for commoditization. It was the perfect bottling of lightning: a powerful experience could be packaged in plastic and then bought and sold like any other commercial product. There has been one invention that is currently and will forever change the music industry: the internet. In less than a decade, the internet made selling records and profiting from it more obsolete than using a VCR in 2002. With uncontrollable and infinite duplication and distribution of recordings, selling records suddenly became a lot like selling apples to people who live in orchards.


According to a Wall Street Journal article from last year, in 1999, global record sales totaled $26.9 billion; in 2009, that number dropped to $17 billion. For eight of the last 10 years, the decline in revenue from record sales has gotten steeper, which is to say the business has been imploding. Music is getting harder to define again. It’s becoming more of an experience and less of an object. Now look at Georgia singer/ songwriter Corey Smith. He has never had a traditional record contract. But in 2008, he grossed nearly $4 million from touring, merchandise and other miscellaneous revenue. He yielded roughly a $2 million profit which was re-invested in the singer’s business, according to his band manager. More and more artists are starting to experiment with giving away their intellectual property at no cost online,

something Smith with investments from “And instead of resisting labels harder to come by, has done in the change, as the major past. When asked attitudes towards outside about giving away corporate deals have recording labels have his music for free, demonstrated, we should changed. Smith said, “We be more willing to evolve don’t look at it as These days, money and accept the various ‘free’.” Smith goes coming from a record changes.” on to point out the label often comes with value in giving his more embedded creative fans easy access, “When people come restrictions than the marketing dollars to the website and download the music, of other industries. A record label they’re giving us their time, their most typically measures success in number of valuable commodity.” records sold—a number that is starting to become obsolete. Outside sponsors, If musicians aren’t feeding by contrast, tend to take a broader view themselves off selling records, how do of success. The measuring stick could they make a living? One would think be mentions in the press, traffic to a touring but that hasn’t been the case. website, email addresses collected or Live performance, once seen as the last views of online videos, much like how great hope of the music industry, now YouTube videos are ranked. Artists have looks like anything but. Live Nation, meaningful and emotional access to their the largest concert promoter in the U.S., fans, and at a time when capturing the recently stated that concert revenue has public’s attention is increasingly difficult been down 14.5% since last year. If not for competing marketers, that access is a touring, then how do bands get paid? huge asset. Well for moderately well established artists, the answer is increasingly This is where the music industry corporate sponsorship and licensing. is headed, whether you like it or not. In the ‘90s, it was rare for musicians to Listen up, government. You’re not going partner with corporations; it was actually to win the war against internet pirates. considered as the ultimate sell-out. But The internet is bigger than Reuben Studdard before he went vegan. With the technology we have, people can always find a way to listen to the music they want for free. Instead, the industry is being revolutionized. Music alone is no longer a product that can be easily monetized. The best strategy now is to work with the internet, not against it; to market musicians and draw people in not just as listeners, but as consumers.




Guided by Voices, Let’s Go Eat the Factory (Guided By Voices Inc.) January 24, 2012



In 2004, Robert Pollard disbanded Guided by Voices to pursue a solo career, despite being the only remaining member of his band’s original line up. Pollard had been putting out a steady stream of records with the second incarnation of GBV following the original lineup’s break-up in 1996. GBV 2.0 departed from the lo-fi production that had originally been a trademark of the band, embraced a more commercially acceptable sound, and still, to their songwriter Pollard’s credit, continued to put out some impressive material all the way up to their final release Half Smiles of the Decomposed. But in the summer of 2010 something remarkable happened: the “legendary line-up” that spawned such ‘90s classics as Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes announced that they were reuniting for Matador Record’s 21st Anniversary and would be embarking on a 2010 reunion tour. The news sent shock waves through the underground music world. Everyone wanted to know if the nerd rockers from Dayton, Ohio were going to put out another album. Surely enough, last September the band divulged that the release of Let’s Go Eat the Factory was set for Jan 1, 2012 With Let’s Go Eat the Factory, the band mates (now in their mid-50s) prove that their gray hair doesn’t mean shit. The album is one that encompasses a vast musical range, ebbing from moments of raucous, dissonant experimentalism (“Spiderfighter”) to those of serene pastoral beauty (“The Room Taking Shape”). The band has matured sonically, abandoning their four track recorder while still remaining true to their less-is-more attitude. As with most GBV records, the majority of the songs max out at around the two-minute mark. The briefness is not an attempt to be merciful, but instead a decision that adds to the potency and forward motion of the album as a whole. Pollard has a talent for playful, inscrutable lyricism. While sometimes goofy and nonsensical, these songs are chock full of poignant and classic one-liners, placing him in the league of other confusing and ingenious ‘90s cohorts like Steven Malkmus. Fans should revel in the absurdity of songs like “Cyclone Utilities (Remember Your Birthday),” where Pollard sounds more like a robotic motivational speaker than a poetic songwriter: “Get to the point, pass information, don’t be afraid, arrow to the bulls-eye.” Another gem of clownish quirkiness is “Doughnut for the Snowman,” a tale of an enchanting little girl and her love for Krispy Kreme doughnuts. The song’s endearing levity and flute intro—“as sweet as life can get”—make it an essential listen. Lead guitarist Tobin Sprout’s tunes also find their way on the album with the hope-filled album highlight “God Loves Us” and with the trippy love lullaby “Old Bones,” a song that sounds like the drug-induced combination of “Auld Lang Syne” and “The Little Drummer Boy.” But what truly stands out on this album is heard when the band decides to turn the amps up. The pop anthem “The Unsinkable Fats Domino” is a worthy tribute to the great New Orleans piano player. The band smashes through the flood gates, merging a galloping drum beat, crunchy guitar lines, and the voice of Pollard singing one of the most captivating choruses on the entire album. “Either Nelson” attacks the senses with pounding guitar riffs and a blaring upright piano that hops in and out of tonality. GBV challenges the listener “to rock” and “to drink,” a hefty challenge from a band who is notorious for doing both at their never-ending live performances. Let’s Go Eat the Factory is the best thing Guided By Voices has put out since, well, 1996.


Lana Del Ray, Born To Die (Interscope) January 27, 2012

c BY KATIE COX It’s the album music bloggers anticipated for months: Lana Del Rey’s sophomore album, Born To Die, is unlike anything in the scene today. Upon first listen of the album, it seems difficult to get past the repetitive trip-hop beats and Del Rey’s uniquely sultry voice, but something about it keeps you wanting more. The self-proclaimed “gangster Nancy Sinatra” croons through the title track, “Cause you and I, we were born to die.” Her lyrics are an unexpected addiction; who would have thought that a line such as “Hit me and tell me you’re mine/I don’t know why but I like it/ scary, my god, you’re divine” would reel in the listeners? In all honesty, the first time I heard some of her lyrics, I thought they were a joke, but it sure isn’t a joke when you find yourself singing along and enjoying it. The lush, cinematic vibe Del Rey brings to the table is a fitting soundtrack to any teenage girl’s life it seems, as she purrs over a tale of tragic love and bad boys. Even if you think Lana Del Rey isn’t your cup of tea, I guarantee the tunes of an all-American girl-gone-bad will find their way into your head.

Leanord Cohen, Old Ideas (Columbia) January 31, 2012

B BY ZACHARY WEG On Old Ideas, Leonard Cohen is a man seeking forgiveness and reflecting, in his low, growling voice, on such themes as love, longing, and sadness. This latest album by the 77-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter isn’t for everyone, as Mr. Cohen’s voice itself is rather strange and almost scary and there aren’t many hooks or beats. Upon a few listens, however, one may find that the album is a thing of beauty. Like Cohen’s great, hypnotic, almost majestic late ‘60s efforts, his debut, Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967) and the follow-up, Songs from a Room (1969), Old Ideas plays along extremely fluidly and seamlessly, like a blue-night, empty-highway car ride past fields and fields of slightly yellowed grass. This newest album of the novelist/poet-turned-songwriter, like his older albums, is undeniably gorgeous yet has a slight sense of unease about it. On the opening track, for instance, “Going Home,” co-written by Patrick Leonard who has worked with such artists as Madonna and Bryan Ferry, Cohen calls himself a “lazy bastard” while his back-up singers complement his gruff, deep timbre with a daughter-like docility. And on “Come Healing,”


one of the closing tracks of the album, the almost angelic voices of Mr. Cohen’s back-up singers give way to the singer-songwriter’s almost anguished plea for “healing” of not just his own pain but that of all those around him. The effect is startling and remarkable as, at once, the listener is a bit intimidated by Mr. Cohen’s godly timbre yet comforted by its wisdom and consolation. The instrumentation on Old Ideas plays no small part in creating this effect. Produced by Ed Sanders, one of the founding members and lead vocalist of the mid-60s Greenwich Village-based band The Fugs, the album is filled with violins, the occasional trumpet, and a thick, slow-thumping guitar. Add the background keyboard to the album’s closing track, “Different Sides,” and the listener is left with both a playful, almost sexy end to an album that alternates between pain and joy. First-timers to Cohen would do best to start with his early work, but this is an album by a man who writes with such passion and reflection that even a first-timer can be left only in awe.

Bombay Bicycle Club, A Different Kind of Fix (Island Records) January 17, 2012

c BY PETER QUANDT One cannot simply slap a label on Bombay Bicycle Club’s new album, A Different Kind Of Fix. The London-based indie group’s third studio album has proven to be their most versatile thus far. All 12 tracks seem to take a different path, each utilizing the skills of the talented quartet differently. The opening track, “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep,” opens with a melodic and repetitive vocal line accompanied by bright guitar picking. The song swells and builds beautifully, and serves as a perfect introduction. From here the album takes a dusky turn, with two stereotypically indie rock, Radioheadesque songs; “Bad Timing” and “Your Eyes.” The latter is the more upbeat of the two, which climaxes in its final minute and then transitions well into the next song, “Lights Out, Words Gone,” which is a true standout on the album. Two tracks later the band introduces “Shuffle,” which is by far the most pop-infused and, not surprisingly, successful song on the record. The song pits a lively and recurring piano line against the ambient voice of lead man Jack Steadman. “Shuffle” hits the listener with a quick pace and then abruptly drops as Steadman’s voice swoons and builds towards a rapid finish. The album then bottoms out with five enjoyable but unexciting tracks. “Beggars” shines the most amongst the underwhelming group with beautiful harmonies and folksy guitar picking, reminiscent of the Fleet Foxes. The album finishes anticlimactically with “Still,” an eerie and depressing final track. A Different Kind of Fix is well put-together and enjoyable, and successfully showcases this young group’s flexible talents. However, their ideas ran rampant in this album. There were some excellent songs and sounds that should have been given more attention, and a few that the album could have done without. The album paves the way for the band to continue to grow and improve.



Sleigh Bells, Reign of Terror (Mom + Pop Records) February 21, 2012 BY ALEX SERRA


Historically, the Reign of Terror saw the demise of thousands of protestors during the French Revolution in the late 1700s. This Reign of Terror may be equivalent in knocking out thousands of eardrums when New York’s Sleigh Bells tour this summer. Guitarist Derek Miller and vocalist Alexis Krauss began writing material for their sophomore album while still playing sets for their debut, 2010’s Treats. It featured guitar heavy, distorted riffs, and introduced the world to noise pop, a genre epitomized by Sleigh Bells’ cool vocals and loud melodies. This time, Krauss’s strong pop background is asserted alongside Miller’s rock guitar. Now, instead of continuous riffs overriding her chants, Krauss dominates the song structure, adding bridges, pre-choruses and other traditional pop elements. As one of the most critically anticipated albums of 2012, Reign of Terror doesn’t disappoint. Their new album, which is less avant-garde and more techno-rock-pop, aims to bring in a wider audience. Bells proved in their live performance on Saturday Night Live, a few weeks ago, that they are true to their recorded sound, despite what critics of produced music might have thought. Miller, with some additional help on guitar, brought the train station set down beside Krauss’ angelic voice. Being on national television so early in their short existence is an excellent predictor of how far the band’s career could jump this year. Reign of Terror opens up with high expectations for itself as a roaring crowd greets Krauss’ “get up and move” demands. Track one, “True Shred Guitar,” sets the tone with Miller’s experimental guitar, like stepping into a Pixies concert that exploded into a futuristic Super Bowl halftime show. Unlike Treats, Bells’ new album sounds deeper and darker. “Born to Lose” represents some dark matter for the band, lyrically speaking. The slow, steady power chords shift Miller’s power from speed to volume while Krauss heavenly serenades. She coaxes the tune with suicidal, depressing lines like “Just get on with it / You were born to lose.” The intermittent double bass beat shakes between the ears, livening up the band’s sound and juxtaposing the lyrics. Not all their fresh tracks are as sad, of course. For the single listeners there’s “Crush,” which includes an acoustic recording of the band’s friends stomping on high school bleachers. Krauss returns to her eponymous chanting vocals while Miller taps the high notes in response. The recently single may prefer “End of the Line,” a more somber attempt, in which Krauss’ voice is spread wide with soothing reverb. Everyone gets a second chance when the album’s first single, “Comeback Kid,” blasts with a repetitive keyboard chord supporting Miller’s driving guitar. This is the greatest example of Sleigh Bells’ mature transition to pop-rock as Miller sets up Krauss’ spacious chorus, then lowers his focus to the strength of his riffs. Krauss’s voice is beautiful even when her lyrics are indecipherable. Her notes, strung together, build a continuous, celestial resonation, then pull a one-eighty and chant in a sexy, yet aggressive, way. Coupled with the lyrics like “Burn the orphanage / You’re gonna pay for it,” Sleigh Bells is aware of their party essence. Miller bridges the electronic beats and pop vocals with his touch-of-classic-rock struts, and his sound falls somewhere between Bryan Adams and Def Leppard. With their high intensity leveled off by their charged ballads, Sleigh Bells could be looking at success in three genres.


The Cranberries, Roses (Downtown Records) February 28th, 2012

B BY ZACHARY WEG Alternative rock band, The Cranberries, are out with a new album, Roses, after an almost nine-year hiatus during which its members pursued their own projects. Not a mindblower, this latest effort by the beloved Irish rockers nonetheless has some very exciting—and definitely moving—moments. For instance, on the album’s opening track, “Conduct,” singer Dolores O’Riordan’s first sleepy sighs lead the listener into a slow-building soundscape of frenetic drums, rising guitars, and a violin that drenches the otherwise upbeat song in a plaintive sadness. From here, “Tomorrow” and “Fire and Soul” offset their decidedly poignant lyrics of infidelity and longing with O’Riordan’s initial hoots in the former and drummer Fergal Lawler’s fast drumming in the latter. Roses captures a unique sound. As O’Riardon sings of painful themes like longing and love beneath her bandmates’ thrilling sounds, her voice comforts the listener. O’Riardon is whispering into our listening ears, showing us that we are not alone in our experiences. Perhaps it is not an album that you’ll constantly play, but you’ll find that this work by the Cranberries is perfect in certain contexts—a solitary spring walk, a rainy night—and it will have the effect of easing your mind.

Band Of Skulls, Sweet Sour (Vagrant) February 14, 2012

B BY ALEX SERRA If a ‘70s garage band fell into a coma and woke up in today’s indie scene, they wouldn’t sound too far from Sweet Sour. Slightly matured from their debut album, Band of Skulls looks to avoid the sophomore slump with even more punch to their classic rock sound. The same driving riffs and beats from their first big hit two years ago (“I Know What I Am”) return polished for the album’s opening track “Sweet Sour”. The tune cranks up like the opening of an AC/DC show, slowly building in distorted pace to reintroduce the duo vocals of guitarist Russell Marsden and bassist Emma Richardson. Their harmonized singing acts as the glue along with Matt Hayward’s


no-funny-business pulsating drums. Track two, “Bruises,” has the most fun with this dynamic, creating a loud-soft-loud roller coaster between relaxed vocals and a crowd clapping beat. The rhythmic see-saw of guitar and drums grabs the listener, giving the song a live feel. One of the most surprising tracks is “Wanderluster,” where an offbeat bass and guitar line experiment with uncommon time signatures and bluesy solos while the drums suddenly expand into a realm away from their typical stomp beat. But the second half of the album devotes itself to their calmer songs like the breaks for slow dance at prom. “Lay My Head Down” features a beautifully constructed acoustic line underpinning an echoing duet. It’s an entertaining experience witnessing the vocalists’ skill range from power trio wailing to calm ballads. The album leaves as quickly as it comes, closing tranquilly with the tambourine-laden “Close to Nowhere.” Band of Skulls show some evolution in their sound that will likely appeal to fans of new music that sounds like old music. They combine snippets from rock history, including garage rock, blues, and punk within their range of guitar riffing, while at the same time not shying away from their indie acoustic essence. Although it may not meet the Grammy standards of Bon Iver, Sweet Sour will certainly rattle the flowers out of the ground this spring.

Veil of Maya, Eclipse (Sumerian Records) February 28, 2012

C BY DAVID CUSHING Veil of Maya, classified as “deathcore,” play an exhausting, but exhilarating brand of heavy metal which makes no promises of subtlety. That’s not to say, however, that Eclipse is a boring or monotonous listen. On the contrary, Eclipse manages to stay interesting all the way through—the brief, 28-minute run time helps—despite the fact that, but for tiny pockets of melodic flourishes and quieter moments, it’s an absolutely unrelenting record. One thing that becomes immediately apparent about Eclipse is how choppy it is, in many senses of the word. To begin with, rhythmically speaking, Veil of Maya are hardly ever content to “keep on chugging.” On nearly every track they favor ceaselessly changing, disjoined, almost glitch-sounding guitar riffs above a more unified, punk-esque attack. But Eclipse is also compositionally choppy. Where Veil of Maya aren’t busy constructing suffocating, machinelike grooves, they’re throwing in quick (i.e. a matter of seconds) guitar/piano/who-knows-what interludes which nearly always have a Pan’s Labyrinth kind of whimsical eeriness to them (sort of like the album’s cover art). The more experimental moments of Eclipse have me divided in opinion. On the one hand, I commend the band for wanting to put a unique stamp on a familiar metal sound—blistering drums, deep guitar riffs, and vocal growls—but on the other hand, the “left-field” moments of the album often seem like they were shoved in after each song was written. It’s hard to pull off two seconds of a mallet-percussion scale pattern (see “Vicious Circles” at time 1:16) when your whole shtick is sounding brutal and machine-like; it just seems unnecessary. But then again, maybe those


little moments of “Well, that didn’t sound very metal…” are what keep the album from being an indistinct blur of one headbang-able riff after another. Either way, it’s an inescapable fact that Eclipse strikes with manic intensity and typical death-metal urgency. It’s best suited for fans of heavy music that doesn’t waste time in getting to the point and doesn’t get sidetracked meandering around.

Fanfarlo, Rooms Filled With Light (Canvasback Music) February 28, 2012

B BY PETER QUANDT Fanfarlo released their second studio album, Rooms Filled With Light, this February, following their first album, Reservoir, which was released in 2009 to critical acclaim. While recording their second album the group has decided to take their sound in a different direction by dropping their former producer, Peter Kaits, for electronic extraordinaire Ben Allen. Allen, who has worked with Animal Collective and Gnarls Barkley, steered the London-based group away from their former indie folk roots, adding strong electro-experimental elements to the quintet’s sound. Allen’s influences are clearly evident throughout the tracks. The album opens with “Replicate,” an exciting starter, which leans in with pulsing strings and creates a beautiful, essential introduction. From here the album transitions into “Deconstruction,” a more upbeat and poppy song. The tune is sung as a duet between lead man Amos Memon and backup vocalist Cathy Lucas. The two voices slide over the different textures of the tune and eventually give way to a synth-backed piano exit. The duet is reminiscent of Arcade Fire’s male/female lead duo comprised of Win Butler and Rengine Chassagne. Over the next few songs the band shows off their newly found experimental, 80s-style electronic life in the songs “Lenslife,” “Shiny Things,” and “Tunguska,” which is my favorite track on the album. It features a quirky strings and horns matchup with another dreamy duet between Memon and Lucas. The track showcases the bands truly unique skill set. As “Tunguska” fades out, “Everything Turns” fades in. It’s a piano based transition, at which point, as the name suggests, the album turns in a different direction. Six solid tracks round out the album, with “Bones” standing out amongst the group. The band once again shows their versatility, adding new string and electric percussion elements reminiscent of Vampire Weekend’s “Contra.” In Rooms Filled With Light, I saw Fanfarlo experimenting with their sound and searching for their identity. The sound they created with this album isn’t my favorite, as I preferred the indie folk features of Reservoir. However, I respect Fanfarlo and I applaud them for evolving and exploring new ideas. They are proving themselves to be a very talented and capable band.


Kaiser Chiefs, Start The Revolution Without Me (B-Unique) March 6th, 2012

D BY JUSTIN BILLING In 2005, the world first became privy to the blend of New Wave, Britpop, and old-school punk that was Kaiser Chiefs following the release of Employment. While not a fabulous effort, it was interesting enough to turn the world’s eye in the band’s direction. Since their debut, Kaiser Chiefs have strived to replicate the energy and vivacity that appeared on their first album to little success. Fast forwarding to 2011, the Kaiser Chiefs have just come out of a 3-year hiatus with the idea that what fans they still have can create their own version of their latest release, The Future is Medieval. By listening to one-minute previews of the 20 songs that the band recorded, they could assemble their 10 favorites into a “personalized” version of the album. Unfortunately, out of the 20 songs the Chiefs recorded, about 15 of them were musically and lyrically boring—impossible to recall even minutes after the songs ended. The band released a 13-track CD version of the album exclusive to the UK and to generally negative reviews. Why, then, should you be interested in the version of the album that they’ve released in the U.S. a year later? The only songs on Start the Revolution Without Me that weren’t released on the online version of the album are singles “On the Run” and “Kinda Girl You Are.” “On the Run” hearkens back to the glory days of the band, when singer Ricky Wilson sounded like he cared about what he was singing, and the guitar riffs of Andrew White were strong and distinct, working in unison with the driving bass and dreamy keyboards, rather than being overwhelmed by them. “Kinda Girl You Are,” on the other hand, combines the danceable qualities of the Arctic Monkeys and early Beatles albums in a fun romp that, like the band’s earlier work, doesn’t take itself too seriously. Hidden between dull, derivative songs are indications that the Kaiser Chiefs can still record a good pop album, and Start the Revolution Without Me is the definitive version of the band’s 2011 efforts. In the end, the monotonous lyrics, “It starts with nothing / and it ends in nothing. / You arrive with nothing / and you leave with nothing,” describe the album perfectly.





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Issue 18  

Real Estate & The Avett Brothers

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