L . A . BANDS ISSUE
THE SWEET HURT/KAWAIIETLY PLEASE/NOBU ALBATROSS/ DIVISADERO/COUSIN KATE
5 Editor’s Letter MUSIC ZEITGEIST 6 The Free Music Debate 8 Indie Record Stores at Risk HYPOSURE 10 Shhh... Kawaiietly Please Needs Your Feedback HEAD 2 HEAD The Sweet Hurt 14 PROFILE 20 Cousin Kate 21 Nobu Albatross 22 Divisadero 24 Blue Judy 26 Last Legs BIBLIOGRAPHY COLOPHON
EDITORâ€™S LETTER 5
PRINT OR ONLINE?
Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Valiant Teja. I was born in Jakarta, Indonesia on 21st June 1986. I am currently attending Otis College of Art and Design, pursuing my BFA degree in Graphic Design. Having an artist as a father, art has been a big part of my life since I was a boy. Design and Music are a big part of my life. This project is a dedication to the two things that makes me who I am today. DemoZine is the second part of my senior project at Otis College of Art and Design. The First Part, DemoHead is a website. This project is aimed to provide unsigned musicians to showcase their talents. Graduating in 2009, I feel that the zeitgeist is that we are experiencing a transition between the digital and the tangible. The Internet seems to be quickly replacing print as a source of information. The growing sustainability movement to cut down the amount of trees cut to make paper will only trigger the demise of print. The same thing has been happening in the music industry where the sales of CD has been going down for quite sometime now. This proves music is turning to the web. Other than providing a platform for unsigned musicians to showcase their talent, this project is also a commentary on how the internet is quickly becoming a dominant source of information.
6 MUSIC ZEITGEIST| The Free Music Debate
Article by BeatCrave
MUSIC ZEITGEIST| The Free Music Debate 7
The ongoing battle over music licensing and revenue sharing has been producing new ideas, business models and even some contradictory statistics. Free music seems to be on the rise, as major labels supported Google’s free music download service in China last week. But PRS for Music, which criticized Google for trying to pay artists unfairly, reported that UK musicians are doing better than ever, and earned $30 million more from licensing and tours in 2008 than the year before. In an attempt to evolve with the times, the Future of Music Coalition (FMC) published an article describing principles for artist compensation in new business models, while EMI.com went ahead and started offering registered users free access to pre-release content. Royalty collectors are asking for more money, but if music is headed towards free access, where will the money come from? Record labels say that in China, instead of earning money from directly from sales, they will share advertising revenue with Google. “The level of online advertising in China is quite mature, so we’re willing to try this out,” said Sandy Monteiro, a senior vice president of Universal Music Group. Google’s free music model is exclusive to China, but it’s reasonable to assume that if it works there, it could work in other countries. Free music, supported by advertising, is the probable outcome of the copyright wars, and EMI Music isn’t falling behind. EMI launched Your Soundcheck, a data collection service which invites users to listen to exclusive pre-releases and give direct feedback to the company. Capitalizing on listener’s suggestions, while giving access to free music, is a smart move.
UK artists earned a total $205 million in 2008, up from $178 million the previous year. Barney Hooper, PRS for Music’s head of PR, explained that “I think we’re (…) getting better at liaising with our equivalent societies around the world for collecting.” However, if online revenue comes from advertising, they are subject to the rules of that business model, not the “pay-per-play” model the royalty collectors wanted. The best effort to assume a new position has been made by the FMC, as its principles include “equal access to new business models”, and represent “indie or unaffiliated musicians.” Labels seem happy with advertising revenue, but the cake might not be big enough for the royalty collectors. That’s probably the reason for so much conflict, especially if artists are feeling shut out of the dealings. However, the reality of free music online has been established, it’s been available since Napster, and Google’s revenue through advertising solution shouldn’t earn so much resistance. Licensing organizations are hurting themselves by delaying the inevitable. The question remains as to whether advertising revenue will be enough to go around. Ultimately, people won’t stop composing, and music will not die. But greedy corporations might.
8 MUSIC ZEITGEIST| Indie Record Stores at Risk
Indie Record Stores at Risk Independent record stores are declining in numbers. The Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) reports that just 300 indie record stores remain in the entire United Kingdom, down from over 1000 a decade ago. The industry shift to online music consumption has also plagued major retailers, as we reported in January, but stores are trying to fight back with the second annual Record Store Day on April 18, when more than 1000 stores worldwide will offer in-store events and performances. Kim Bayley, director general of the ERA, said that “anyone who believes in British music must fear for the future” of independent record stores. Bob Barnes, chart director at market research firm Millward Brown, said that supermarkets caused the decline by supplying CDs in the 1990s. It has also become increasingly simple to buy music online, and the newer generations of music fans will probably buy fewer records. This is just an
opinion, but it seems that the indie music business too divided. Labels, artists, and stores need to come together to find solutions in the virtual environment. It would make sense for record stores to pair up with digital distributors to stay alive, instead of shutting down for good. If a digital distributors (like Amazon) supported record stores, then maybe we’d all have still have a place to loiter with friends and check out new music. Online music is great, but nothing could ever substitute the CD and vinyl record. Do you still visit your local “mom & pop” record store? Have you noticed indie record stores disappear over the years?
MUSIC ZEITGEIST| Indie Record Stores at Risk 9
Article by BeatCrave
HYPOSURE|Shhh... Kawaiietly Please Needs Your Feedback 11
Kawaiietly Please Needs Your Feedback Inside the living room of a rambling West Adams house, underneath a ledge boasting a massive collection of My Little Pony dolls, Bjorn Littlefield-Palmer stood slightly slouched in thick-soled Mary Jane shoes waiting for the lights to fade. She was dressed in a ruffled pink confection made by her mother, her arms loaded with bright, plastic bracelets and her face painted Kabuki white, marked with hearts to celebrate Valentine's Day and a few fake stitches that lent her bit of the broken doll look called guro Lolita. When the room turned black, she crashed through the crowd, pointing her microphone in every which way as a trail of feedback followed. Then she returned to the mock stage, knelt before her pedals and placed her finger to her lips before uttering the only distinguishable phrase we would hear during the set: â€œKawaiietly Please.â€?
Article by LA Weekly
12 HYPOSURE|Shhh... Kawaiietly Please Needs Your Feedback
. . .w hene v er you’re on s t age, i t ’s al mos t l ike a l oss of t ime, you f eel v ery
detached from yourself.
laying on a Japanese word for cute, Kawaiietly Please is redefining the way that L.A. music fans appreciate noise. Where once the drones and feedback that mark the style were best witnessed while seated and watching a knob-twiddler on stage, Littlefield-Palmer is actively engaging the crowd, using them as a sound source while at the same time compelling the audience to dance in big, mosh-pit waves with the help of drummer Maddie Deutsch’s gabber-fast beats. Littlefield-Palmer’s influences are varied, from the big names of noise like Merzbow and The Boredoms to Nirvana to the glossolalia she heard as a youth in Alaska. These might seem typical for someone whose job is to essentially separate the elements of music and twist them into wall-shaking vibrations, but it’s one unexpected name that helps drive her Kawaiietly Please performances. “I love Malice Mizer,” she said over lunch a few days before the show, her face exploding into a giddy grin at the mention of the nowdefunct Japanese rock band. “I absolutely love Malice Mizer.” In the 1990s, Malice Mizer and its quietly charismatic guitarist Mana became a visual kei phenomenon, and helped to popularize the gothic Lolita look, with symphonic rock and elaborate stage shows. “They visually compose the show,” Littlefield-Palmer explains. “Even when writing guitar parts, they are visually thinking about what the person on the left is playing and what the person on the right is playing and they are in unison. For me, for a live show, that’s amazing, that’s my rule for how it should be approached.”
The concept of “treating the stage as an element” of the music is crucial for Kawaiietly Please. While Littlefield-Palmer typically plays very small, mostly DIY-style venues, she transforms these spaces into a scene of stylized anarchy. On Valentine’s Day, she thrust a cardboard heart filled with plush animals into the crowd. As the package was subsequently mauled by the crowd, huge clumps of stuffing and the shredded, smiling faces of cuddly toys fell on the crowd like a surrealist’s dream of a snow storm. “I feel like I’m being intellectual about it,” she says of the shows, “but when it comes to performing, whenever you’re on stage, it’s almost like a loss of time, you feel very detached from yourself.” In the end, what Littlefield-Palmer does is merge sonic noise with its visual counterpart. At this particular event, her the live performance mashed-up against rave-friendly projections by Rachel Kerry to create flurry of images that contrast the cute and brutal. “I think that maybe that clash between the Lolita aesthetic and the noise, that in itself is noise,” says Littlefield-Palmer. “I’ve had outfits before that were almost completely destroyed in a set. That’s a contrast in itself for a noise artist.”
HYPOSURE|Shhh... Kawaiietly Please Needs Your Feedback 13
HEAD 2 HEAD|The Sweet Hurt 15
The Sweet Hurt The Sweet Hurt is Wendy Wang, a multi-instrumentalist with intimate lush vocals to accompany her many talents. She first began writing and recording her own music in high school and now, Wang has become an essential asset to many local bands in L.A. Yet, as a member of multiple projects, Wang still manages to create her own work. Her latest EP, In The Shade of Dreams, is a surreal work of dreamy folk pop songs that are genuinely endearing as herself. If you havenâ€™t picked it up yet, you are missing out on works that impressively and simultaneously echo Nick Drake, The Weepies, and Jenny Lewis. On December 8th, she will playing a show at Pehrspace along with local bands such as The Karabal Nighlight, The Monolators and more. After arriving back in Los Angeles from NYC with Obi Best, Wang was nice enough to take time and chat with BeatCrave about everything sheâ€™s still involved in as she also begins to write material for her new album. Check out our exclusive interview with the demure Wendy Wang below.
Article by BeatCrave
16 HEAD 2 HEAD|The Sweet Hurt
The name, The Sweet Hurt, is an interesting combination of words. How did you choose this name for yourself?
Along with Correatown, you were—and still are—in many other bands. Isn’t that hard to keep up? How does it work?
A former guitarist in the band helped me name the band. He got it from a Spanish poem. A lot of my songs are about making a seemingly negative thing something to grow from. Actually, I’m not in Correatown anymore. I am playing with Obi Best, I Make This Sound, The Bird & The Bee, and The Californian. It gets tricky sometimes. Scheduling is probably the most difficult since everyone’s got various side projects to balance. We just all compare calendars and try to be as accommodating as possible. I try to be as prepared as I can before I go into rehearsals too. Then when we practice it’s really efficient.
Why do you think so many musicians play in multiple bands?
I’ve found that people in our little scene are truly fans of each other, so they are excited to collaborate and play with each other. Also, a lot of bands have one main songwriter. Then that songwriter gets his or her friends together to back him or her up. So if you’ve got 4 musicians in your band, you’ve also probably got 4 songwriters. And everyone is so supportive it’s easy to find yourself in 4 bands that have essentially the same members! It’s also a lot of fun to play different styles of music.
Aside from being solo, how is The Sweet Hurt’s music different from Correatown?
Well, Correatown is Angela Correa’s project and she fleshes it out with a band. She plays really beautiful solo live shows. That’s how I first became a fan of hers, by seeing her solo shows. I’d say we have some different influences. She’s a lot more well-versed in folk and country music history. I guess I’m more of a pop person and I grew up listening to a lot of guitar wall-of-sound stuff.
Who did the artwork for the album?
The amazingly gifted and generous Josh Cochran.
HEAD 2 HEAD|The Sweet Hurt 17
18 HEAD 2 HEAD|The Sweet Hurt
In the Shade of Dreams has a very soothing yet surreal tone to it. How did the concept for this album come about?
Thanks! That was the goal. I had writer’s block and was searching for sources of inspiration. One of my good friends is an amazing illustrator and I’ve always loved his work. I asked if I could write a song based on one of his illustrations. He graciously gave me permission and that’s how the title track and ultimately the title of the EP “In The Shade Of Dreams” came about. The illustrations are on the front and back of the CD. Also, before I decided what the EP was going to sound like, I recorded “Where Would You Go?” with Dan Long and loved how it was so dreamy and lush it sounded, so I used that as an aural guide.
Are you currently working on a new solo album?
I’m totally working on a new album! I try to constantly write.
How many instruments do you play?
Hmm, well it’s been a while since I’ve played some of them, but including those I’d say about 10? Some instruments are so similar and I wouldn’t say that I’m really great at them. For example, I played clarinet and saxophone when I was in elementary school. If you asked me to play those instruments now, I’d remember the fingerings, but my tone wouldn’t be solid.
Is your family musical?
You mentioned you were in New York with Obi Best. Do you feel a difference between the music scene there (NYC) compared to LA?
We love singing together. My sisters and I all played piano too.
I don’t know too much about the scene in NYC. I always feel like there are a lot more experimental bands out there and that the LA bands are more into harmony and melody and making music in a more traditional way. I’d probably have to spend more time there to give a better answer.
HEAD 2 HEAD|The Sweet Hurt 19
20 PROFILE|Cousin Kate
COUSIN KATE are the complimenting voices of the twin sisters Corinna and Isabelle Cott. Their music genre is generally known as pop music with uplifting lyrics, meant to generate a positive feeling to the listener. Corinna and Isabelle are originally from Germany. Both their parents were singers and according to their mother, they were able to sing songs long before they could speak properly. By the age of 8 they were performing in front of audiences. Corinna and Isabelle spent ten years apart, both always involved with music. While Isabelle signed with the German record label 'Polydor', recording under the name 'Sunrise', Corinna met Brian Florian, with whom she formed a songwriting partnership, recording under the name 'Florian Cott'. When Isabelle joined the duo, COUSIN KATE began. Their song "Through The Air" is used in a TV show made for HBO that is airing internationally. Their songs 'Life Without Fear' and 'Up To You' are being used in an inspirational video from Stevie Zee, a young man who is suffering from cerebral palsy. Cousin Kate has written over 90 original songs and can be seen in and around the Los Angeles area. Contact Cousin Kate via email@example.com or listen to their music at www.myspace.com/cousinkate.
Profile|Nobu Albatross 21
In 1985, Nobu Albatross, a.k.a. Nobuhito Kawamura was born in a city calld Fukuoka In Japan. He found a guitar in his brother’s closet when he was 15 and started learning it. Formerly known as Nobu Yellow Blues Band, they changed name to Nobu Albatross. They are a hard striving Rock’n Roll band, trying to create a new style of music. They reside in the Los Angeles area. Their influences are blues, Classical Music, Flamenco, classic rock, 60’s, 70’s, R&B, Funk, Soul, Folk,Country. They have played venues such as Crash Mansion, Blue Cafe, The Jumping Turtle, San Jose Convention Center, Zen Sushi, Cat Club, Kelly’s pub, Babe’s and Ricky’s. Contact Nobu via firstname.lastname@example.org or listen to their music at www.myspace.com/nobuyellowbluesband and nobualbatross.webs.com/
t is just before twilight. You wait in anticipation for the first glow of the sun to appear over distant hills. Vast, dark plains stretch out on all sides. Empty desert roads wind for miles in all directions to who-the-hell-knows-where. The rhythm of the engine and a misaligned tire thump in time; they threaten to overpower the lonesome AM signal creeping through your stereo. This is the place where reality, daydreams, hallucinations, and memory collide. Civilization breaks down at the edges and superstition creeps in. The place between place. Between here and there. Between sleep and awake. This is the place Los Angeles-based 5-piece Divisadero wants
to transport you to when you hear their music. Under that open desert canopy Marco Monteclaros strums his guitar as he croons dreamy, melancholy songs that contain as much hope as they do loss. Below, Brian Cosgrove’s driving bass guitar, flourishes of glockenspiel, organ and spoons locks in step with Mike Mitchell’s dynamic drums and percussion. Above, Pauline Lay’s soaring string arrangements and Josh McCool’s gazy feedback-laden guitar and weeping musical saw rain down on Divisadero’s canvas of sonic soundscapes that LA Citybeat’s Ron Garmon describes as “dream rock
with suture wounds that show what they’re holding back.” Formed in late 2006 as minimalist guitarbased trio, the band rapidly expanded in members and instrumentation when it was clear that their compositions were too ambitious for the small ensemble. After proving themselves on stage in both Los Angeles and San Francisco including The Viper Room, The Knitting Factory, Spaceland, Safari Sam’s, Pehrspace, and the Eagle Rock Music Festival, Divisadero recorded their debut album “Lefty”, a concept album about a boxer facing his biggest opponent: his own family. Both a tale of one man’s fall from grace and the breakdown of the American family, the album’s story was constructed from artifacts and public records of the boxer’s life. Self-recorded and self-produced between the summers of 2007 & 2008 in rehearsal spaces, in living rooms and hallways and an art gallery, the conceptual integration in Divisadero’s “Lefty” goes beyond the story interlaced throughout the lyrics. In “The Boxer’s Daughter” the listener experiences the domestic dispute between father
and daughter as the song gives way to rough and tumble guitar noise. This is followed by “Lefty Goes Soft”, where the boxer’s remorse can be felt in the swells of the bittersweet string arrangements. In “The Fight”, the sounds distant siren vocals envelope the dazed boxer as he goes down during a big fight in the ring. The final track “I Dreamt Of The Apocalypse” describes Lefty having dreams of the apocalypse as swirling ambient noises and backwards harmonica make the listener feel like they might also be somewhere “between sleep and awake”. Since the completion of the album, Divisadero has been performing consistently and promoting “Lefty” as well as looking to the future. “We’d like to compose a film score some day,” says Marco Montesclaros, “our sound lends itself to something like that.” Contact Divisadero and listen to their music at www.myspace.com/soundsofdivisadero or http://www.soundsofdivisadero.com
24 PROFILE|Blue Judy
BLUE JUDY Blue Judy is a four-piece indie rock band from Los Angeles that features intense vocals and dual guitars over hard-hitting and often danceable arrangements. The band is currently working to finish their upcoming EP, “The Long Goodbye and The Great Unknown” which was recorded at various recording studios throughout the Los Angeles area over the past few months. The album will include the tracks, “Shake It,” “It's Easy,” “Leaving For The West,” “Tambourine” and a new acoustic track, “Out of the Day.” The EP is in its final mixing and polishing stages and will be available in late February or March. Currently Blue Judy has enjoyed several TV placements of a single they recorded in 2007, called “All The Things You Know.” It was most recently featured on the CW's One Tree Hill and 90210. Contact Blue Judy and listen to their music at email@example.com, http://www.myspace.com/ bluejudy and http://www.bluejudy.com/info/.
PROFILE|Blue Judy 25
26 PROFILE|Last Legs
PROFILE|Last Legs 27
For this Issue, we have an exclusive on Maria Lopez, one of the members of Last Legs. She will share with us about her music journey so far. Deirdre and I have been playing together for many years and for a while we parted, Deirdre was in a far away country and I was off having adventures. I then met some friends in college and started playing in a band called “Loving the Monster.” This is how I met Andrew. He was our guitarist in “Loving the Monster.” This band only lasted one show, so once Deirdre got back we started to make music in a band called “Please Don’t Throw Rocks At Us!” I was the keyboardist/ bassist and Deirdre was our drummer, we learned on the spot how to play the keyboards and drums. Time went by and we had gone through a couple of band mates. We had lost a singer and a bassist. We asked Andrew if he wanted to play our bass parts. He said ‘yes’ and it was fun. Since our old bassist and I wrote the songs, it was hard to keep the style going, Andrew was playing our old bassist’s parts and we couldn’t force that synth-poppunk style any longer. At times, Andrew and I would jam on the side. The sound was different but I loved it. I thought there might be something there. I jammed with other people here and there and realized how much I was hankering to play the bass. We only played every couple of months or so in “Please Don’t Throw Rocks At Us” so I called it quits. Then we started a new band called “Last Legs.” We wanted to keep Deirdre as our drummer because we loved her musical style, she accepted and we started making all sorts of good noise. I took up the bass/vocals. Andrew took up the guitar/vocals. He is the deadliest rhythm guitarist I know and has a technicality and drive that amazes Deirdre and I. Deirdre’s creativity goes beyond just the drums and she is the most positive person we know. Being in a band is like being in a relationship, you have to be trusting, honest, creative, hardworking and love what your doing. We all have fun writing songs together and this band never feels like work. By Maria Lopez
bibliography Ten Men Magazine (Autumn 2008) –“The Death of Indie (Style and Music)” by Bethan Cole. http://cnn.com (Dec 16, 2006) — “‘You’ are the Person of the Year” http://www.flickr.com/ http://www.myspace.com/ http://blogs.laweekly.com (Feb 15, 2009) — “Shhh... Kawaiietly Please Needs Your Feedback” by Liz Ohanesian.” http://loudvine.com/ http://beatcrave.com/ (April 6, 2009)– “The Free Music Debate” by Morelli
colophon Design by Valiant Teja Otis College of Art + Design Senior Project - DEMOHEAD Typefaces: Andale Mono, Social Gothic, Bitstream Vera, Abadi MT. Special thanks to: All the talented musicians supporting this project. I could not have done it without you. Keep up the good work!
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