Cover/Here: Dads Photo: Nicole Kibert // elawgrrl.com So, if she calls, tell her Iâ€™m dead: Adam Sever Correspond: email@example.com P.O. Box 1616 â€˘ Monticello, MN 55362 mandexzine.com // facebook.com/mandexzine
Much like the Y2K bug scare of 1999, there has been a lot of hype for the past few years about the Mayan Calendar and the world ending at the end of this year, what do you think will happen on Dec, 21st 2012? Jerry: Well, I’m betting that Zeus, Jesus, Muhammad, Krishna, Buddha, the Queen of Blades, and John Bonham are going to unveil their band called “The Oh My Gods” and cover the song “It’s the End of the World” by R.E.M. that day on MTV and PBS (only if Obama wins) and then sail a boat off the edge of the fucking earth. Right after that, Predators will come down and bring some Aliens with them and trap some people in an underground Antarctican secret temple and have a battle to see who is the most powerful species of all. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say scientists warn the public that an asteroid will hit the Earth 7 days from now, what are you gonna do that last week? Jerry: There was a documentary made in 1998 called Armageddon about how we stopped the first Texas-sized asteroid from hitting the earth and it ended up being a close call to say the least. Pretty compelling documentary film. Either way, if it were to happen again, I bet we wouldn’t be so lucky. It would only be appropriate for Cherry Cola Champions to help plan a big ole’ party here in N.E. Ohio. Let’s say on the Lake Erie coastline in November for some sun and fun, where the host would be Jeff Russel from Signals Midwest for the whole week. Ross Horvath (En Garde) would be making his signature smoothies for everyone, while shit talking the beer selection, Ben Hendricks from Annabel would be the DJ and videographer at the same time, and bartending would be carried out by the one and only Jeremy Provchy (Worship This!) serving Gin only...It’s an Ohio thing, I guess. Lets say you’re on day six with less than 24 hours until the asteroid hits and you’re thinking about your life up to this point, what is one thing you regret doing or not doing? Jerry: Nah. Terry: Nope.
What album would be the last album you’d want to listen to? Jerry: Jimmy Eat World, Static Prevails. Terry: The Classic Struggle, Feel Like Hell, which has themes that are disturbingly appropriate for such circumstances, haha. The time is near and you look up to the sky and see the asteroid coming, what are your last words before impact? Jerry: “So I says to the guy...” Terry: “Where are Bruce and Steven when you need them?” Odds are everything will be OK and we will enter into a new year without any catastrophes, do you have any goals, resolutions, or plans for 2013? Jerry: Our S/T debut record came out in August this year, which we proudly did ourselves on 3 colors here in Cleveland, Ohio. We want to keep playing shows supporting this record in between school and work with a larger tour in the summer. Weekend stints work out great for us because we live relatively close to some amazing cities and punk communities. We can get to Chicago, and NYC in 6 hours each, respectively (and anywhere in between). We are looking to do another 7 inch or full-length this year. Maybe some splits too. I will also be booking the bands again for Weapons of Mass Creation Festival and Brite Winter Festival in 2013 as well.
Much like the Y2K bug scare of 1999, there has been a lot of hype for the past few years about the Mayan Calendar and the world ending at the end of this year, what do you think will happen on Dec, 21st 2012? The Flying Spaghetti Monster will come down from the pasta heavens and puke toxic tomato sauce on all the non-believers.
Hypothetically speaking, let’s say scientists warn the public that an asteroid will hit the Earth 7 days from now, what are you gonna do that last week? We would visit our families, have a dinner, get really wasted, and try to build a rocket so we can travel to Mars. Lets say you’re on day six with less than 24 hours until the asteroid hits and you’re thinking about your life up to this point, what is one thing you regret doing or not doing? Getty a big booty Moe for Will’s birthday.
What album would be the last album you’d want to listen to? My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless and if we had time, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”. The time is near and you look up to the sky and see the asteroid coming, what are your last words before impact? “Truck yeah!” Odds are everything will be OK and we will enter into a new year without any catastrophes, do you have any goals, resolutions, or plans for 2013? Release our new album and have dinner with Oprah Winfrey.
Much like the Y2K bug scare of 1999, there has been a lot of hype for the past few years about the Mayan Calendar and the world ending at the end of this year, what do you think will happen on Dec, 21st 2012? There are lots of theories about this day. Personally, I agree with all of them. In the early dawn, ancient zombie Mayans will rise from the grave and exact their revenge upon the world’s fresh water supply. They will march to both ice caps, torches in hand, and manually melt them. Adios salt-free lakes & reservoirs. Oddly enough, by noontime, an out-offrigen-nowhere black hole will simultaneously eat the moon, and spew out a Canada-sized asteroid on
a collision course with New Jersey. Crap. Then comes a really annoying and wicked bright series of solar flares. Blood-soaked riots break out in Sunglass Huts worldwide. Bummer! At some point, Baby Jesus and The Devil decide to show up way too late to make a difference, have a real underwhelming battle royale, someone wins, but the Earth eats it anyways. Aww, poor humans. 6 o’clock rolls around and we’re all space dust (again). Hypothetically speaking, let’s say scientists warn the public that an asteroid will hit the Earth 7 days from now, what are you gonna do that last week? I will be catching the very next flight to California, and heading straight for Yosemite. Seriously. Ever been there? It’s jaw-droppingly awesome. Bears, goats, cliffs, clouds, transient camping folk. What else do you need? When that idiot rock shows up, I want to be naked in a waterfall with a bar of Irish Spring in hand singing “Born In The U.S.A.” at the top of my lungs. Lets say you’re on day six with less than 24 hours until the asteroid hits and you’re thinking about your life up to this point, what is one thing you regret doing or not doing? It’d be kind of hard to think about regrets when you’re in the buff rocking out to The Boss with all the freshness of Ireland in hand, but for this interview’s sake, I’ll pretend it’s possible. The one sort-of maybe regret that I may have in that moment would be that I’ve never been to space... I mean, technically speaking, within a day of said thought, a pulverized and granulated version of me would blast out into space and all, but I’d really love to get there while in a sentient, fleshy form. I’m assuming that within a few decades from now we’ll all be heading out on Jet Blue there for family vacations, so it’d be a total let-down to get all annihilated before then. What album would be the last album you’d want to listen to? I’m pretty sure that I’ve already decided that Bangarang by Skrillex is the last album I would ever want to listen to… ever. I would hate to stray from that decision just because I’m about to die. Now, if I just wanted some cool tunes to help tune out the Apocalypse, I’d have to go with Descendents, Milo Goes To College, Metallica, Master Of Puppets, and Jethro Tull, Thick As A Brick, all on heavy rotation.
The time is near and you look up to the sky and see the asteroid coming, what are your last words before impact? “Hold on to your butts!” Odds are everything will be OK and we will enter into a new year without any catastrophes, do you have any goals, resolutions, or plans for 2013? Phew! In that case, I would grab life by the balls, and record a new Save Ends full-length. Also, I would start running 6 miles a day. That’s a lie. The full-length, though. That’s on. #YOLTABSDO! (You Only Live Through A Bullshit Doomsday Once!)
Much like the Y2K bug scare of 1999, there has been a lot of hype for the past few years about the Mayan Calendar and the world ending at the end of this year, what do you think will happen on Dec, 21st 2012? Nick: I think that the world most likely won’t end although I’ve always thought that it would be really cool to witness the end of civilization and the world in general. Jesse: Mel Gibson will release a sequel to Apocolytpo. Dustin: I think there’s going to be a whole lot of “end of the world” parties on Dec 21st, after that we’ll continue living our normal lives. Hypothetically speaking, let’s say scientists warn the public that an asteroid will hit the Earth 7 days from now, what are you gonna do that last week? Nick: I’d try to go to Australia or somewhere really far where I have never been before. Jesse: Eat really badly and go to Six Flags. Dustin: I would eat tons of food and hang out with all my friends and family. Lets say you’re on day six with less than 24 hours until the asteroid hits and you’re thinking about your life up to this point, what is one thing you regret doing or not doing? Nick: I’d regret wasting so much time with school instead of making best with time. Jesse: Dieting. Dustin: I would regret not travelling as much.
What album would be the last album you’d want to listen to? Nick: The Pillows, Happy Bivouac. Jesse: Killing the Dream, Fractures. Dustin: Brand New, The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me.
The time is near and you look up to the sky and see the asteroid coming, what are your last words before impact? Nick: “Rock n’ roll.” Jesse: “Romneyyyyy!” Dustin: “This, is the last of earth. I am content.” Odds are everything will be OK and we will enter into a new year without any catastrophes, do you have any goals, resolutions, or plans for 2013? Nick: My only goal is to try to hurry up and get done with school and try to be free to tour more instead of waiting for winter and summer break. Jesse: Win the lottery Dustin: I hope to travel more, play more shows, eat more good food and have a good job.
Much like the Y2K bug scare of 1999, there has been a lot of hype for the past few years about the Mayan Calendar and the world ending at the end of this year, what do you think will happen on Dec, 21st 2012? I believe that the dinosaurs will return from space to repopulate the Earth and enslave all humans.
Hypothetically speaking, let’s say scientists warn the public that an asteroid will hit the Earth 7 days from now, what are you gonna do that last week? Have a week-long pizza party and watch every episode of Cheers in its entirety. Lets say you’re on day six with less than 24 hours until the asteroid hits and you’re thinking about your life up to this point, what is one thing you regret doing or not doing? I regret that there are still foods I haven’t eaten. What album would be the last album you’d want to listen to? Is This It by The Strokes. The time is near and you look up to the sky and see the asteroid coming, what are your last words before impact? “Bang.” Odds are everything will be OK and we will enter into a new year without any catastrophes, do you have any goals, resolutions, or plans for 2013? We’d like to be able to record and release a fulllength album by the end of 2013.
Much like the Y2K bug scare of 1999, there has been a lot of hype for the past few years about the Mayan Calendar and the world ending at the end of this year, what do you think will happen on Dec, 21st 2012? December 21st is a Friday, so regardless of whether or not they think the world is going to end, people are going to party. I, for one, am sure I will end up at an ironically themed end of the world party myself, and a lot of people will probably drunkenly debate about mythology, and superstition, and the existence of God. Maybe some people will loot, or sell off all their old stuff thinking they’re going to die, but then they won’t and be bummed they sold their old crap, but ultimately nothing will happen.
Hypothetically speaking, let’s say scientists warn the public that an asteroid will hit the Earth 7 days from now, what are you gonna do that last week? Probably go home to NJ and say “Hi” and “I love you” to my family and friends and probably not worry so much about homework or finishing Sex and the City. Maybe I’d even try some new things or throw a big party, but probably just do what I usually do without all the filler. Lets say you’re on day six with less than 24 hours until the asteroid hits and you’re thinking about your life up to this point, what is one thing you regret doing or not doing? I’d probably regret fighting with my parents or wasting time doing stuff I didn’t care about, but I am 19 and don’t have a lot of insight or enough experiences where I could really fuck up enough to worry about regret. What album would be the last album you’d want to listen to? Ziggy Stardust by David Bowie, but as loud as I possibly could, both for the apocalyptic theme and because it’s my favorite record and the last song hits really hard and it’d be a pretty sweet way to go out. The time is near and you look up to the sky and see the asteroid coming, what are your last words before impact? “Would you look at that?” Odds are everything will be OK and we will enter into a new year without any catastrophes, do you have any goals, resolutions, or plans for 2013? As an individual, I want to get good grades, and practice playing music maybe once in a while, and start exercising more. Maybe go back to learning ballet, and meet a nice girl who doesn’t listen to the kind of music I play. As a band, doing a winter tour and summer tour, pressing the full-length, a new EP, and maybe a split or two seem like they’re all cool and promising.
Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate)/Rika Split 7”
(Count Your Lucky Stars/Goddamn)
How did you end up with the opportunity to do the artwork for the Empire! Empire!/ Rika Split? Keith and I have crossed paths a lot in the past few years, and last time we met up we talked about me doing some artwork for CYLS and Empire! Empire!. He got in touch with me after that and things got going. Did either band have any input into the artwork? I pretty much got free reign over the drawing, but I took the lyrical content from both bands and incorporated it into the artwork. Was the artwork you did for it specifically done for that project? Yeah, I usually draw things specifically for the project unless the bands ask otherwise. Did you have any other concepts that you were going with prior to choosing the final one? I had a few sketches I ended up not using, but I had a pretty clear idea of how I wanted it to look, so it wasn’t a big process of weeding out ideas.
How does the artwork for the 7” relate to the music on the album? I wanted to work with the clock imagery that Keith’s lyrics were based on, and he was fond of the spires I had been drawing at the time so he asked to have some of those in there. I used the isolated center justified artwork to represent the bleakness of Rika’s side of the split. In addition to doing the artwork for the Empire! Empire!/ Rika Split, you’ve also done album art for CSTVT’s Summer Fences and Stay Ahead of The Weather’s EP. A lot of times you can guess who designed something by the style they have and looking at all three side by side by side, there is a lot of diversity in the artwork there, where does the diversity in your artwork come from. It feels like such a huge amount of time passed between each of those releases, but when I think about it, they were only a year or so apart from each other. I’m always experimenting with new mediums and techniques, and sometimes that experimentation comes across in the album artwork I make. I try to keep a consistent style at the base of everything, but doing the same thing over and over gets stale so it’s good to do things that aren’t characteristic of what I usually do. As far as the inspiration for diversity goes, I spend a lot of time reading comics and looking at art websites and books so I’m constantly digesting all of those ideas.
You’re pretty prolific with the number of drawings and sketches you put on your blog every day, how much time do you spend drawing per day? The past year has been pretty busy as far as art goes. I am involved with things (zines/shows/ freelance work) that require me to produce work on a daily basis, and when I’m not working on final pieces I’m plotting the next thing. It’s not something I have to consciously set aside time for. It’s getting to the point where it’s my daily routine to sit down and draw for a few hours every day.
I think the “Thanks for Nothing” T-shirt with the praying hands is such a great example of an modest design, but has such a strong message, where did the idea for that shirt come from? It was a phrase that was floating around in my head for awhile. It’s sort of addressing people who have been negative towards me, but it’s also for people who don’t give themselves enough credit for hard work that they do. It has some religious undertones as well, but it’s more towards the big business side of things and not so much personal spirituality.
You’ve been a on Tumblr Radar a couple of times and as of October you had reached 5,000 followers, does it ever shock you that so many people have taken an interest in your work? Did any opportunities ever stem from being on Tumblr Radar? Yeah, people being into things I do is always surprising to me. I’m lucky to have friends who like and support what I do and are in positions to promote my work like that. There are a few projects that have started because of the work on Tumblr, but to be honest, most of the work I do is still within the punk community.
You once gave advice to someone on your blog and you simply said “Practice your craft religiously”. Does that statement reflect all aspects of the creative side of your life? As far as drawing goes, yes. Drawing is an important part of my life, and I spend a few hours a day doing it. It’s something I invest myself in, and I get a lot out of the process. I try and apply the same thing with drumming, but it’s difficult to get to my practice space every day.
Besides any self portraits you’ve done, what drawing or sketch best represents you? Anything that represents stress, anxiety, discomfort, and sarcasm is representative of me in some way.
You also drum in Whips/Chains and Black God, did drawing or music come first to you? Drawing and music are both equally important to me. I wouldn’t be playing music if it wasn’t for drawing, and I wouldn’t be where I am artistically if it weren’t for the connections I’ve made playing drums.
What kind of plans do you have post graduation? Would you rather keep on freelancing or work in a printing/design firm? I would really like to continue working with bands and doing personal work. I’m going to take some time to figure out exactly what to do after I graduate, so we’ll see where that takes me. My dream job is to design band merchandise and comic book covers, and it would be nice to find a way to do that.
I know of a number of other drummers that do art like you do, what is it about drummers and being creative? I think it’s common for people in bands to have other creative outlets, it’s not just limited to drummers. What other musician/artists do you follow or are inspired by? Oh man, this list is constantly growing. Paolo Rivera, Juan Gabe, Jacob Van Loon, Francisco Francavilla, David Aja, Emma Rios, Chris Burnham, Bill Sienkiewicz, Mike Mignola, Bruce Timm, Chris Samnee, Mike Allred, Paul Pope, David Cook, Angryblue, Craig Horky, and so many more. You also worked at a print shop, what did you learn at the print shop that made you become a better designer? I interned at a letterpress shop over the summer, and I learned a lot about printing and design as a result. Letterpress printing keeps you on your toes physically and mentally, which is the opposite of the current design environment (sitting behind a computer for hours on end). It’s important to be hands on with design sometimes, and working in the print shop was a great way to not only see the origins of a lot of design elements, but also go through the process of designing, setting type, and printing a piece of work.
One of the biggest accomplishments for a graphic designer/artist, I think, is to be at a point in their skill where people will give you free reign to design whatever you want knowing that whatever you design, they know it will be good and people will like it. You’ve been fortunate enough to have clients give you free reign on designs you’ve done for them, how do you think a designer/artist gets to that point? I honestly can’t say. I am fortunate to have friends who are confident enough in my abilities to hire me and give me full creative control, but I don’t really have a system for getting to that point. I think it’s a combination of having style and content that people enjoy, but in my experience the free reign comes from getting to know the people I’m working for on a personal level.
Interview with: Jordan Welker Photos: Molly Clark
Pswingset originally started in Ohio, quit when you moved to Austin, TX, but then started up again with new and old members. How are the Ohio and Texas versions of this band different and what kind of opportunities does Austin give a band like Pswingset that Akron, Ohio did not? The Ohio version was only a 3-piece, so we were limited as to what we could do with what we WANTED to do. Opportunity wise, both locations offer different things. For one, Akron had tons of house shows and was closer to other cities we had friends in (Chicago, NYC, Philly, etc). Austin offers a lot of things for bands, it being the “Music Capital” and all, but since there are no basements there are also a lot less house shows. There are, in its place, more DIY spots (pizza shops doing shows, all-age community centers, etc). But when it comes down to it, both offer the same thing ultimately - just different paths to get there. Since you’ve played in the band in both locations, do you think geographic location influenced the song writing process at all? Musically, no. Lyrically, yes - a lot of the songs are about separation and leaving things. But nothing cactus or heat related, yet. You said in another interview that with Pswingset you were “really trying to break from where you started 3 years ago”. What were you trying to break away from? I don’t remember what I was trying to say, but I think just trying to do a lot more with it; we always wanted two guitar players but never found anyone who fit well with what we were doing. So once the band reformed and we found Joel to play 2nd guitar, we were able to get a lot more of our ideas out and we weren’t limited to one guitar. Because of that, I really, really give 3-piece bands a lot of credit because, to do it right, everything has to be perfect. You’ve all played in bands in the past, what past bands have you played in that we may of heard of? What experiences have you taken from your past bands and applied them to Pswingset? A lot. Some have just been touring/fill-in positions, though. I was in Adios for a long time (with Matt from Papermoons; Danny’s other band) and Danny was in Little Compass - that’s how we met, we toured a few times with Little Compass and they all became great friends of ours. After both bands broke up, Matt from Adios moved to Texas to start Papermoons with Danny.
Colby was in a band called MANS in Chicago and then Brother/Ghost, here in Austin, Joel currently plays in Junius. Other than that, Danny (at different times) has played with River City High and O’ Pioneers, and I played with Annabel for a bit. Pswingset released All Our False Starts earlier this year via Topshelf, how does it feel to have accomplished that and what has the reception been like for it? It feels really good to have completed that record. At this point in our lives, we’ve done many tours and put out a lot of records and, honestly, it’s nice to be given the opportunity and have people who are into the music to allow us to do this thing.
Is the album title, All Our False Starts a reference to the stops and starts the band had in its early stages? The album title came about when we were in Denver recording; Danny made a reference to it, based on some lyrics from one of the songs, and we sort of discussed it and decided that really fit best. In the song he was referring to, it had to do with me (and a lot of my friends) being stuck in this state of confusion after graduation about what to do with our lives and how to do it. How long did it take to write and record All Our False Starts ? Did you have an idea of the way you wanted the album to sound before recording and did it come out as planned? It took us a little under a year of writing (we put out a three song demo during that time with two of the songs from the record) and a week in Denver, recording with Tim Gerak (of The Six Parts Seven).
We had ideas about how we wanted it to sound, but when it comes down to recording, it’s always just working with what you have and making your own sound. We had big ideas of the record sounding like Superdrag’s In The Valley Of Dying Stars mixed with Hey Mercedes’ S/T EP. When we got there we had some amp issues, etc, etc, and when it came down to it, it just became what we sounded like and what Tim’s style allows. I think it sounds great and we’re very proud of it and it was amazing getting to work with Tim (even though I was sick the entire time and felt like shit for a lot of it). What kind of topics do the songs on All Our False Starts deal with? A lot of the topics deal with separation, distance, anxiety, and things of that nature. I’m not a straightforward writer so a lot of my lyrics are kind of coded. In other words, you wouldn’t necessarily know certain songs’ topics unless you were told and
then you could sort of listen for it and understand. But when it comes to lyrics, I really don’t care for them to be straight forward; I LIKE when I’m not entirely sure what the writer means, because it doesn’t matter. The listener should take what they want from the lyrics and I think writing a bit ambiguous helps with that. When you’re not playing in Pswingset, you have a career in film editing, what role does Pswingset play in your life and do your personal obligations and band obligations ever conflict? I actually don’t do video editing full-time anymore; it became too hard to keep going from job to job, never knowing how long a show would last and I’d have to find another studio to work at (Austin has a lot of film/television activity, but it’s still nothing compared to LA or NYC). Now I work at a small startup dealing with computer servers and I love it. I still do freelance video work, but not like I did when I first moved to Austin. That being said, video/ film still plays a huge role in my life and I think it always will. What kind of advantages does Pswingset have with you having film editing experience? It’s nice to be able to edit a video teaser or short tour doc and not have to outsource it to anyone else. We’re also planning on doing a music video soon, so I’m sure my connections and knowledge will help a little.
Since you’ve done film editing, when you watch a film do you notice the editing more than someone who hasn’t been trained in editing? What are some films do you think are perfectly edited? I’m a huge fan of PT Anderson, The Cohen Brothers, and David Lynch; but I think one of the best editors was Sam O’ Steen (who did, I think, the best editing in The Graduate). He also did Rosemary’s Baby, Cool Hand Luke, and a lot of other really classic 70’s cinema. You’ve all been playing in bands since you were teens and you are nearing or are in your 30’s now, what keeps you playing and wanting to be in a band? Haha, I wish I knew and could turn that part off sometimes. I think we all do. But it’s something we all love and, personally, I couldn’t imagine not making music. None of us care about money, so when it’s time to tour or play shows we’re genuinely doing this band as a hobby and, because of that, I think it’s really pure that way. There’s no bullshit about needing to pay rent using merch money or anything like that; tours are vacations and it’s great.
Even though you guys put out great material, it seems that Pswingset often gets overshadowed by other bands on your label and in your scene, why do you think that is? We definitely are not the most sought after band among our friends and peers. I think mostly that it’s because we’re past the stage in our lives of quitting our jobs and touring full-time. But also, we play a style of music that, historically, was always overshadowed and never really “cool”. How many Tumblr posts do you see about No Knife or Shudder To Think? Very few. I wanted to ask you about the Kling Thing House in Akron. What is the history of the house, what was your involvement in it and how did you go about setting up shows there? I started It’s a Kling Thing after another house I ran, The Furnace House. I started The Furnace House after Adios broke up and I wasn’t touring or playing with any bands and needed an outlet of some sort; I’ve been booking since I was in high school so it was natural. Kling Thing started 2 years after that; I booked all shows, ran sound, etc.
For now the house is still there hosting shows, how do you feel about the legacy that you helped build there? I’m very proud of what’s happened at that house and the fact that more friends could move in when we left and keep it going under the same pretenses. I’m just as proud of that house’s legacy as I am of any band I’ve been in. You’ve also been running the Forget the Radio blog for some time now, but you’ve recently changed it from a blog to more of an online music publication. What brought the change in coverage on Forget the Radio and what are your plans for the site? It initially started as a download-blog for older obscure indie/emo stuff but I found myself constantly finding new bands and new things I wanted to post that didn’t really fit into that. So I switched it to more of a news blog where we post the latest happenings of our scene and other things we’re into. I say ‘we’ because there’s a couple other friends who contribute sometimes. Now that Pswingset has released a full-length, what’s next, more new music, touring, etc...? We’ll be touring after the new year, and of course playing SXSW. We’ll also, hopefully, be writing some new material to have for potential future release(s).
Interviews with: Jordan Welker // Scott Moses Photos: Jonathan Minto, Andrew Wells, David Gottas
What’s the history of the house and the story behind it’s name? Scott: Our friends Jordan, Kevin, and Dave moved into Kling Thing in the summer(ish) of 2007. The name, as the story goes, was named by the three of them. I think it is just a coincidence that it shares such a semblance to the band “It’s A King Thing” Jordan: I ran a house before this, The Furnace House, in Akron but it was a shithole and I didn’t really live with anyone I was friends with (it was a squatting situation, but they let me put on shows). So after that lease ran up, I got out as fast as I could and regrouped with friends. After another year of living in an apartment and having to book at venues, we decided we needed to be in a house and do a house venue how we saw it should be done. The name came from the original roommates (me, Kevin, and Dave) always joking about that bullshit bumper sticker Jeeps always have, “It’s a Jeep Thing”. We just always thought that was such an up-your-own-ass statement and, also, full of shit.
Who are the current residents of the house now and why did you get involved in it? Jordan: After the original 3 moved out, our friends slowly took people’s places. When I moved in 2010, Andee took my spot. When Kevin and Dave moved, Corey and Scotty (from Annabel) moved in and took their spots; of course, they all took over booking duties. Scott: The current residents are myself, Corey and Andee. Andee has lived here the longest and Corey and I moved in summer 2010. We had all been coming to shows here and playing here (Corey and I play in Annabel which is jokingly referred to as the Kling house band, and Andee was in a band called The Kids United) and so once the previous group started to move out we each moved in one by one. We all were interested in keeping the house up and running and I think that was the major reason why we decided to live here. I also am a student at the University of Akron so naturally I wanted to live in a place that allowed me to walk to class. How many shows have been put on there? Jordan: At this point, too many to count. There’s a decent archive of fliers if you check the old Myspace page and the current Facebook page. The house has had shows for 5+ years now, with usually 2 or 3 per month.
Scott: I’m not exactly sure on the number of shows, but 120+ bands both local and touring have played the basement and many of them have played more than once or twice. What has been your most memorable show there? Jordan: My favorites were the Algernon Cadwallader show, the Comadre show, and any of the shows where Papermoons and/or Gamenight played. Scott: That is an almost unanswerable question. For me, seeing some of my best friends in Joie de Vivre play and hearing so many people sing along to their songs was one of my favorite Kling show memories (people tend to stay surprisingly calm during sets in the basement). Another one that is notable was the time Annabel played right after I left the emergency room. I was having crazy headaches all day and was in the hospital until right before we played and one of our friends named Thomas practically set up all of my gear for me so that when I got there we just started playing. Crazy times. The Kling House has been around for 5 years now, what has contributed to it’s success and longevity? Jordan: When we first started, decent crowds were coming out but it was mostly just our friends for the first year. After that, we really saw an increase
in people we didn’t know showing up, even from out of town, based on fliers and what not. While I was living there, we still did paper fliers along with online and we constantly fliered in record stores, bars, venues, and on campus. Also, being across the street from a college doesn’t hurt. Scott: The Kling has survived throughout the years for a number of reasons. The main one being that people still come to shows. We do have shows that don’t have the best turnouts, but for the most part there is still a very active interest in seeing bands play at Kling. Secondly, our location is perfect for house shows. More on that in the upcoming questions I see. Most house venues that I’ve come across have always been very secretive of their location when they have shows and when they aren’t they get shut down quickly. The Kling Thing house is pretty open about that information, so how has it maintained a presence in the area for so long? Jordan: I think actually being in the “college” neighborhood surrounding the college helps; the cops have better things to do than bust up a show. There are also bars that have dance parties right around the corner, so the noise is never really an issue. Along with a set of house rules, it seemed to help deter any trouble that would’ve come our way.
Scott: We live right off of the University of Akron’s campus, so our neighbors often have parties that get much more wild than our shows. We have a Facebook page as our main way of promoting our shows. We do not really flier the city for shows in an effort to keep unwanted attention away from the house. When you have something like this online, it is easier for people to access, but it is often only people that are trying to get here or see shows here. Our supposed presence is still mostly unknown to much of the city of Akron unless you are part of the specific music community that our house caters to. I think the major reason why so many people outside Akron know about Kling is because our primary focus as a house is to help touring bands and hard working local bands. So after booking shows for touring bands for 5 years, word starts to spread about the existence of a place like this. What makes the house so appealing for bands to play when they tour through Akron? Jordan: We treat the bands like friends and respect the reason they are there; to play to people and have a good time. Many times when you show up to a house show, the people putting it on are no where to be found or would rather be upstairs or outside smoking or drinking with friends than helping the bands set up, watch them play, corral people.
We treated/treat the house like a real venue, there’s a real PA, there’s music being played over the PA while bands setup/tear down, there’s a load in door, there are set times, there are areas for merch. It’s just nice to show up to that kind of environment. Scott: Akron is a hard place to cut your teeth as a musician, and it can be even harder to find a good place to play if you are on tour. That being said, the house provides a place for a touring band to play that can actually pay them a decent amount without having to worry about paying out a sound guy or door guy, etc. All money taken from the door at every show goes to the bands, and that’s just how it will always be. There is also the reputation of the house as being a solid place to book a show, so that brings a lot of interest in playing. You guys are located practically next to the University of Akron Campus, do you think being in a college community has helped keep the Kling Thing House going? Jordan: It’s definitely helped get new people in the door and add a built in community, of sorts. Even if most people at the school don’t give a shit, the campus itself is a great platform to flier and get the word out.
Scott: Being in the campus community has been a big help for the Kling because it means we are pretty much left alone by the authorities. Our landlord lives right across the street from us and knows and supports the stuff that we do. The police have never had a problem with us because we respect our property and our neighborhood. There have been countless times where our neighbors have caused way more trouble than us, so I think that maybe the police are aware that we do shows here, but know that it has been happening for years without a problem so they leave us alone. One time a police officer actually offered up his services if any of our gear came up missing, so that was pretty cool. As far as the neighborhood goes though, we donâ€™t really feed off or need the University I guess. A few straggling freshmen have made their way to the house from their dorms, and those people have since came a long way and become good friends of the roommates, but that has only happened a handful of times. Most of the people that come to shows here see from our online page that we are having a show, etc.
What are some advantages/disadvantages of being so close to the campus? Jordan: Pros: people can walk everywhere, including the house. Con: the shitheads walking home from bars downtown. Scott: Advantages: Noisy neighbors (it truly does help a lot to have normal, college type neighbors), tons of police and security (this may appear to be a bad thing, but if we were to ever get robbed we have hella police patrolling our neighborhood. And they have never bothered us, but that is definitely not the case of the police in every city, so play it by ear). Lots of places to hang out after the show since we are so close to downtown (and by places I mean bars, I think another part of our reputation is being a place where the bands will ALWAYS have a good time). Honestly. Iâ€™ve never felt that there were any disadvantages, but there have been times where some weird college people have came to shows and tried to mosh and be drunk assholes. It doesnâ€™t really bother us though, we just tell them to calm down and be cool to everyone and it works out.
Are most visitors respectful of the House and have you ever had any problems from people stealing, damaging things or causing a ruckus? Jordan: There’s been some broken items, usually the house itself, but nothing too crazy. Some vomit, some spilled beer, the normal things. Scott: There have been a few instances of people getting out of control, but on the whole everyone that comes over for a show is usually very respectful of the place. Sometimes minor gear like cables or something come up missing, but those are usually (hopefully) honest mistakes by the bands themselves. Things have been damaged at our house, but mostly it has been either after a show or on a normal drinking night. Shows are actually some of the calmest times at Kling, believe it or not, but we have had some really great nights of destruction with our local friends. There were some rumors going around for a while that the House could be closing in the future, what’s the current status of the house and how long do you plan on putting on shows there? Jordan: These rumors were around since, I think, the first year of us living there; the college wants to buy up a lot of the houses in the surrounding neighborhoods to build super-complexes of apartments. It’s been going for 5+ years, so that shows you how slow the college works at it.
And even if they did buy it today, it would still take probably 2+ years before the house was actually vacated/demolished/etc. It’s really up to the landlord and, with that kind of money being waived in their faces, I doubt they’d turn it down any longer. Scott: As far as I know, the three of us will not be renewing the lease once July comes around. Originally, our landlord had us sign into a lease last year because there was a lot of talk about some major investors coming in to buy up the entire neighborhood. Since we are on a prime lot right across from campus, he wanted to make sure we would be good to stay for the whole year. Now, months later, we haven’t heard much about any of the said investors. But I think all three of us have some other plans that we want to pursue instead of continuing our stay on at Kling. This is not an official statement by any means, because things can and do change. If investors end up not buying up the block then there is a good possibility that we could find friends that want to continue the process of Kling shows, but the roomies and I have invested a lot of time and energy into keeping the place afloat, oftentimes at the detriment of our personal/working/studying lives, so sometimes it is just best to end things on a final, epic note.
What kind of advice can you give others who want to turn their house into a venue like the Kling Thing House? Jordan: Be honest, be real, and do it because you respect the bands and the music; not because you want to have parties. House shows are, first and foremost, shows. The party only takes place when everything works out and people can enjoy themselves. Scott: Work hard to build the community in your town/city/whatever. If there aren’t people willing to come out to shows, then do as much as possible to change that. Take some time to learn the nuances of your specific neighborhood. I’ve spent enough time on the road to have had the chance to play a lot of different kinds of houses, so there isn’t one particular success formula. Find out what works for your house and stick with it. Some people don’t
allow drinking and some do. Have a nice PA system. We’ve always kind of prided ourselves on having better-than-normal sound for a house, and that’s important because it makes the bands happy. Always collect money. Whether you decide to run off donations or set $5 for shows or whatever, ALWAYS COLLECT MONEY. The reason your house exists is to help bands do what they do, so don’t forget that. If you want to just have a party house and not worry about hounding people for money, then have a party house not a show house (there is a big difference). Other than that, just be patient with it and have a blast. It seems a little weird to actually sit down and do an interview about our house because it puts a more serious spin on it than I ever put into living there. I have had an amazing time being a part of it though.
Interviews with: John Bradley // Scott Scharinger Photos: Nicole Kibert
Dads started out as a side-project from your other bands you were in at the time. How did it evolve into what it is today? John: The other bands we were in weren’t as able to move as quickly as Dads was, even from the beginning. My other main band was only able to work well during the school semester when we all lived together at college, then the second other main band I was in that wasn’t Dads was just super dysfunctional and didn’t really work well ever at all. With Dads it all came natural, even from the beginning first weekeneders. We knew we wanted to play shows and tours and by this point Scott and I had been in so many “lesson learning” bands that we knew how to do it and how to be smart about it. Scott: The summer that John and I started playing together was the summer that the drummer from my old band and I stopped being as close, so that band sort of just fizzled out at the end of that
summer and Dads kept doing stuff. I always originally viewed Dads as just a side band and it’s kind of a shock to me that now we are where we’re at as a band and friends. I remember getting an email from Scott back in April of 2011 about the first Brush Your Teeth EP and in that short time till now it seems like you guys have gained some popularity and quite a following. What would you contribute your success to up to this point? John: We love to tour, we love playing shows and meeting new people, the more you tour the more you are getting your name out there in cities where people might not have ever heard of you before. Also we’re both really internet savvy and are able to use social media to pump out some energy. Scott: Touring is definitely a huge thing that helps. We try to tour as much as we can and since 2012,
the only times we have not been touring is when we purposely took time off to write and record and then while we were waiting for the record to come out all summer. We constantly try to keep stuff happening on our internet sites, which I think helps a lot. We try to be very open and friendly and hopefully people think of us more as “those goofy dudes in Dads that I could drink a beer/soda with” rather than “some band I like that are kind of distant and unapproachable.” Did having the increased popularity put any stress on you when writing and recording American Radass (This Is Important)? John: Honestly, I don’t really register the “Facebook likes” or the amount of followers we have on what social media network or anything like that. I am completely grateful for everyone that supports what we are doing and I can’t thank them all enough, but it hasn’t hit a point yet (and hopefully it won’t) where I’m like “fuck I hope they like this” or “ugh what if this doesn’t fly with the fan base” because these generous people love us for what we’re doing, so if we keep staying true to what we are doing, they will hopefully keep loving it. And at the end of the day we are making music and art that we want to hear and see made, and we are extremely thrilled that people want to be a part of the ride! Scott: Our song writing process is incredibly laid back and easy for us, so we weren’t too concerned with “Oh man, I hope people like this part” or “We need to make sure to have a whatever part here!” We just write what we like and we are extremely grateful that other people like it too! How was your experience in the studio recording American Radass? Were all the songs written before going into the studio or were any written in the studio? John: This was actually my first time ever being in a real studio for recording and I was nervous beforehand that my inexperience would mess stuff up or I’d get too nervous and keep flubbing, but our producer, Ryan Stack, was the nicest, most easy going, laid back person ever. He listened to everything we wanted to do, connected with us as friends and as an extra member of this band and just pushed us everywhere we needed to go without changing anything. It was actually one of the most comfortable things I’ve ever done once the ocean started getting wavey. And all of the songs were written prior to going into the studio. Hopefully
soon we’ll be Paramore status where we can buy out the studio for a month just to write a song. Scott: I think we’re both pretty much on the same page that we’ll only record with Ryan from now on, until Hayley Williams wants to produce us or something. It was an amazing experience and much better than any past studio experience I’ve had. We definitely recommend him to anyone of any genre or style! One of the songs on American Radass that has been getting the most attention is the nearly 7 minute “Shit Twins”. When writing that song, did you ever expect it to as popular as it has become? John: We wanted to make a record that didn’t fall under 30 minutes/feel like a breeze. We started jamming out what would eventually become “Shit Twins” and the intention was to have more of an instrumental/atmospheric track, we talked about throwing down some vocal tracks but it would be a lot of harmonies and not really focusing on actual lyrics, kinda like the beginning of “Dan’s D’Angelo Impersonation”. Then we just kept going with it and I pulled out the beginning lines, which we had been trying to fit into a Dads song for a WHILE now, and I started humming that along, we just kept working it out until we realized we had, for lack of a better Metallica reference, some kind of monster on our hands. I wasn’t entirely sure that it would be the focal point on the album like a lot of the reviews are claiming it, but I’m cool with that! That song is super personal and means a whole lot to me, so it’s cool that people enjoy it! Scott: When we were writing it, we were worried that people may skip this song on the record, but it turned out to be a huge favorite, which is awesome! We’ve gotten a lot of messages to us about how this song really affects them or got them through hard times, it’s really awesome and one of the best things to hear. There’s been quite a few people saying that American Radass has helped them through some tough times. How you do you feel about your music having a positive impact on people and what songs or albums have gotten you through a rough patch in your lives? John: These are songs that we wrote to help us get through a lot of shit, some of the tracks are still helping us currently get through shit, so I’m always amazed when people say that anything I’ve done has helped them through any of their problems. I’m
all in all glad something we did in my parents’ basement with just the two of us pouring our shit out (no pun intended LOL). There have been sooo many records that helped me through major shit, I can’t help but pick Born To Run as the main healer. Scott: Personally speaking, we wrote this record in a majorly rough time of my life. Getting out some of the shitty stuff definitely helped me with stuff and I hope that translates into the record. We have a kind of “write about the present, not the past” mentality and so everything you hear in the lyrics are things that were affecting as us as we wrote them. Bands like Bright Eyes, The Good Life, Voxtrot, Meneguar, and Teenage Cool Kids are bands that I usually turn to when I’m feeling down. American Radass (This Is Important) was released by Flannel Gurl records, what interested you in working with them and were there any other labels you had considered? John: We were communicating with a couple different people about the possibilities of releasing it on their label, but Flannel Gurl seemed like the home for this album, a label that could spend their time treating this like their baby and put it out as soon as possible, instead of throwing it on a calendar where even after it was complete it might sit for months and we’d have to wait even longer for it to be released. Also Jon and Kimmi are both amazing sweethearts that have done nothing but welcome us in with open arms and make us feel entirely comfortable and loved, we couldn’t thank them enough for helping us with all of this. You recorded bass on the record and have had Derek from The World Is... playing bass at some live shows, will anyone be filling in on bass on the upcoming tour you’re going on? John: Nope, it’ll be just the two of us. We tried asking Derrick to fill in as much as possible but I don’t know, he keeps talking about some band he’s in that just has a weird name and all they do is talk about hot dogs and housing structures. Scott: I wish Derrick could come, I miss him already. Would you ever consider bringing in a third member to play bass full-time or are you happy to remain a two-piece? What are the advantages/ disadvantages to being a two-piece? John: As easy as it seems to have someone just learn the bass parts, there is so much more to it.
We need someone who gets our aesthetic, who enhances our live shows, who we can trust entirely with everything. Scott and I do a lot of goofing off during the sets, in and out of songs, and we need someone who can hang with us on that and not get lost at all. Derrick has been so far the only person we can imagine playing bass for us and still bringing extra stuff to the table. Advantages of being a two-piece are that it’s easier to tour (less people you have to worry about eating and sleeping, smaller van needed) and we can each handle half of the work load of being in this band, so there isn’t one person who just plain isn’t working or one person who is working way harder than the other. Disadvantages are little things like it’s hard to get one of us to run straight to selling merch after our set cause we have to move all the gear, and when you’re walking into a truck stop as just a two-piece band, the locals don’t get “oh yeah, they’re just young dudes, probably in a band” instead they just see two tattooed shaggy haired dudes that dress similarly and then everyone gives us weird looks. Scott: John and I also just get along together so easily where if it’s just the two of us, it’s very easy to tour for long periods of time. It’s also more weird when we roll up to shows as just us, rather than in a big group of people. One of the cool things I read about you guys was the closeness you maintain while on tour. While other bands with more members may hide out under their headphones on the road, you two are usually interacting in someway or another while driving between shows. Besides playing in the band together, you also live together outside of the band, what makes it easy for you two to work and live together? John: We just “get” each other and are constantly on the same page. We know how we both work, we know if we need alone time, we know if we need to hang, we just luckily connect entirely. Scott: Being on tour in a van for 2-8 hours a day for days on end is way to become ridiculously close with someone. When you isolate yourself with headphones or something, you lose that intimacy of listening to R. Kelly for 4 hours straight with your best friend/s.
The “Bakefest at Piffanys” contest you held where people submitted videos of themselves downing as much beer/soda as they could while the song played was a hilarious idea. How many entries did you end up with and what percentage of entrants puked? How does it feel to have people puking to your songs? John: I wanna say we got like 15-20 or so maybe? A good portion of the people puked, which was kind of cool because a lot of people were trying to be overly macho and act like we were wussies for what we got down, but then they saw it wasn’t easy. Scott: I think there was maybe 2 or 3 people who were actually able to drink more than us, which was funny to see. Not many people in bands can say people voluntarily drank until they threw up to their music and filmed it. I’ve had a hard time describing your music to others, besides going to the standby term of “Twinkly”. Is there a better term to describe you music other than “Twinkly”? John: You can just call us PRETTY GOOD. Scott: I tell people we’re just emo/punk and tell normal weirdos who wouldn’t “get it” that we’re somewhere in between indie and punk. The scene you’re currently in is constantly growing with tons of great bands contributing to it. What can be done to keep the scene growing and what bands are some of your favorites? John: Keep everyone friendly and nice. Scott: If you run shows, you rule. Keep it going,
keep booking awesome bands, make sure people are respectful to the space and bands, make sure people are donating and buying merch from the touring bands. Keep hate speech and stupid actions out of “punk”, there’s no place for that anymore, but especially not in our music scene. Don’t treat lead singers of emo bands like some sort of golden god, they’re just regular ass people like everyone else! We’re really fortunate that most of our favorite current bands, we’re really great friends with them! Bands like: The World Is A Beautiful Place, Dikembe, Wavelets, You Blew It, Osier Bed, Send Away Stranger, Empire! Empire!, Souvenirs, Slingshot Dakota, The Reptilian, Glocca Morra, Monument, and tons more. I’m probably forgetting a ton of great bands, sorry y’all! Scott, you said something in an another interview about if you could change the industry, you would eliminate Kickstarter from ever existing. Can you expand on your opinion of the service and how do you feel about those bands that have made hundreds of thousands of dollars from it? Scott: Before I say anything, let me just say that my feelings on Kickstarter have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with the bands who have used them before. In fact, I’ve seen good positive uses of Kickstarter, although none of them have been musical. Before 2011, every other band in the world who had put out music, recorded, toured, bought a van, or paid for merch somehow did it. They put in more hours at their job or got a second job, sold stuff, saved up, whatever. Asking for your fans to put up the initial
money makes it seem like you’re not confident enough in what you’re doing to actually put up the work ahead of time. If you’re not willing to put up the money and work for your project, why should anyone else? I also feel terrible for people who donate money to bands to go on tour and then the bands break up right after. I understand that the supporters get their money back, but it just seems really shitty for the band to not follow through. Once again, I am not talking bad about any bands personally or in particular or at all, just things I’ve noticed that have happened. It’s all ridiculous to me when I see self-proclaimed DIY bands who use Kickstarter. We’ve been lucky enough that the more we play shows and tour, the more we’re able to play shows and tour. That’s how we “fundraise” for what we want to do. If music/your art is something you really want to do, you may have to make sacrifices and put up some of your personal money up front to get what you want in the end. John, your the drummer but also sing many of the songs, who would you say had a bigger influence on your drumming/singing abilities Phil Collins (Genesis) or Bob Nanna (Friction)? John: Honestly, Dads is the first band I’ve played drums in. I’ve been playing drums for years but never as a drummer. When we first started this band we wanted everyone to get a chance at singing, so it just so happened that in Dads I was drumming and singing, but I never (unfortunately for this question) grew up looking at drummers that sang and trying to become them. If anything, I think the first time
I noticed drummers doing a lot of the singing was back in my Ferret metalcore days when the drummers (like From Autumn To Ashes and Atreyu) were the ones doing all of the softer singing while also drumming. You’re about to start a 2.5 month tour in a few days, what preparations have you made for the long journey and what kind of expectations do you have for the tour? John: We are more or less leaving everything behind and touring for the rest of 2012 which is 20% nerve racking and 80% fuck off this is what I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid so now I’m doing it. If I can quote a poet to explain where I’d like this tour to take us, “this ain’t the life that I’m used to, reintroduced to people I’ve been introduced to, did you forget me? Or are you too scared to tell me that you met me and fear that I won’t remember, I wish you could still accept me for me.” (Looking back on that, it doesn’t really explain what I was hoping it would, I thought the line was “this IS the life that I’m used to, but alas, I was wrong.) Scott: My preparations so far have been listening to a lot of Conor Oberst bands and not packing up everything in my room like I need to, since our lease is up for our apartment the day before tour. It’s working out pretty well! We’re both extremely excited and I expect to be sick, drunk, hungover, sleep deprived, miserable, and have the best time of my life with my best friend doing what I love doing. Thanks for reading everyone!
Everyone Everywhere Euro Tour Aug-Sept 2012 with Chalk Talk
Words: Brendan McHugh Live Photos: Michael Lambert
How did this Euro tour with Chalk Talk come about? Guillaume, who runs Back From Outer Space Bookings, sent us an email somewhat out of the blue sometime around September of 2011, I believe. He asked if we wanted to tour Europe in March of 2012 and we said “Sounds great, sure, thanks for asking, maybe later in the year?” We ended up going back and forth for a long time about when it could happen, trying to coordinate our work schedules so we could all get time off from work to actually do the tour. Eventually we settled on August, which Guillaume was less than thrilled about, as most of Europe is on holiday in August, but he managed to book an excellent tour regardless. How did you prepare for the month long European Tour? We all ordered matching travel sleeping bags from Amazon.com and ordered appropriate adapters to be able to charge our cell phones. We don’t tour often in the States, even, so it was a bit of a process trying to prepare for the tour. We stocked up on strings and drum sticks, and we scrambled at the last minute to get some merch made for when we got to Europe.
Did you bring any instruments with you or was everything backlined? We brought our guitars with us, and we brought a snare drum and cymbals. You played a few shows in some countries that don’t often get toured like Ukraine and Hungary, what was it like playing in those countries and how were the shows? We actually didn’t end up playing at any shows in Ukraine, which is sort of a long story. We had two shows scheduled there, and our first show in L’viv was a bit of a disaster. We got held up at the border to Ukraine for about 5 hours, and shortly after crossing the border we were pulled over by the police for no particular reason. We arrived a bit late to the show. There were hardly any people there for the show, and the promoter told us that because we were late, the show was canceled (we arrived only 10 minutes after the time Chalk Talk was scheduled to play), then they told us only Chalk Talk could play because there wasn’t enough time. After the show things got weirder, nothing ever seemed right, the accommodations sort of freaked us all out. Additionally it seemed we weren’t going to be getting any of the money we were supposed to get for the show. The promoter repeatedly tried to placate us with the prospect of young women and drugs, which backfired and served only to further unsettle us. We ended up leaving Ukraine early,
driving through the night to get to Budapest the next day, where we were greeted with open arms by a friend of the promoterâ€™s in Budapest. We were all happy to have had a full day and a half to be tourists in Budapest, which, after seeing something like 30 different cities in Europe, still ranks as one of my favorite European cities. Hungary was a fantastic time and the show in Budapest was great, the crowd was energetic and the venue was a lot of fun. Overall, how did the shows go in all the countries? Weâ€™re they well attended and were the crowds receptive? The shows were really good for the most part. Neither us nor Chalk Talk had ever been to Europe before, so for a first European tour for both bands it was pretty successful. Some were obviously better than others. We had great shows and terrible shows, but our expectations were relatively low going into every show, so any response or turnout was gratifying. Looking at the tour schedule, in some cases you were in a different country every other day, how did you get around from show to show and how does it compare to touring in the US? We had a driver in Europe, which was really nice. Our driver, Rafael, became a good friend. He was a skilled driver tour guide, which was invaluable when doing so much movement between countries and regions. Most of the border crossings were completely open, so going from Hungary to Italy to France is not much different than going from Pennsylvania to New York to Massachusetts, though there are no language changes in the States.
With such a tight schedule, did you have anytime to do any sightseeing or touristy stuff? If so, what were some places you visited to sight-see? We tried to sightsee whenever possible. It was always a challenge as the drives were long and playing shows actually takes up like, 8 hours of your day when you factor in load-in, sound check, and load out. Some of us went for walks after sound check if we didn’t get to the city early enough to wander around before load-in. We had a good amount of time to sightsee in Paris, Budapest, Prague, and London. We detoured by about 40 minutes to see the Coliseum in Rome, we saw the Eiffel Tower, we detoured to Stonehenge while in the UK, we got to swim in the Mediterranean in Sant Feliu. Lots of silly tourist stuff that ended up being really easy, brainless activity that worked as a perfect distraction from non-stop tour stuff. Was it exhausting at all to play so many shows, in so many different places in that short amount of time? Yes. It was somewhat exhausting. We’re not used to touring. The schedule was hectic, and the actual process of playing a show is so long and annoying, it definitely wears on you. You get to enjoy yourself thoroughly for the 30-45 minutes you play each night, and it makes the ordeal worthwhile, but there is a major element of fatigue. What were some of the highlights of the tour for you and alternatively what were some of the low points? Days off sightseeing in Budapest, London, and Paris were great. Hanging out on the beach with Chalk Talk after our show in Sant Feliu was a lot of fun. Low points were frankly few and far between, as anything that was a true low point just became an experience the nine of us in the van all bonded over after we had gotten over it. The Ukraine experience was unfortunately a low point, no knock on Ukraine, I think the promoter was just a little wacky. At the same time as your tour, Evan from Into It. Over It. was touring the same area. What’s it like being so far away from home and running into people you know? That was great! We’ve known Evan for like, 8 or 9 years now, playing shows in the suburbs of Philadelphia when we were all teenagers. It was a really great surprise crossing paths with him on the tour, and we ended up playing back to back sets at a festival in Bristol. That’s the only time that happened, I think, but it was really cool. If given the chance to do another Euro tour, what countries would you want to tour that you didn’t tour this time around? We missed Switzerland, Austria, and the Netherlands. I’d love to see all of them. We didn’t get to West Germany, which is a bummer. Portugal is a must-visit for our next trip to Europe. Maybe before Portugal we can take a ferry to Morocco and play a show there. It could be a while before we get to do another European tour, so we will plan it out very strategically next time. Hopefully we’re able to simultaneously get time off work again so we can visit again soon.
Erik posted something last December about “starting a new band with my buddies” called Kittyhawk, what happened in the last year that brought you to this point? Erik: Well, Kittyhawk started back in December 2011 with Mark, Evan, and myself in the Gnarnia garage after a Christmas party at Hipster House in Rockford, IL (#RIP). Mark, Delia (Dowsing), and I were discussing how cool it would be to start a Rainer Maria worship band. Sorry Delia, we asked Kate. Mark mentioned in another interview that this band happened by happenstance, briefly explain the formation of Kittyhawk? Mark: That was the happenstance. Erik sucks. We took a really really really long to record demos. I thought the band was never going to be a band. #erikstillsucks Combined you all play in numerous bands, how is Kittyhawk different from your other bands? How do you juggle all the musical projects you’re in? Erik: This is honestly my most collaborative band. We all need to quit at least one band (especially Kate).
Kate: COME ON (I do part-time vocals with Into it. Over it. PART TIME)! Mark: No, but really...Kate needs to quit a band too. We have a lot of bands that take up various amounts of time. Luckily, we haven’t had many touring / recording / whatever problems, and hopefully it’ll remain that way! The name of the band comes from Kitty Hawk, NC, the site frequently cited as the location of the Wright brothers’ first controlled, powered airplane flights, but the flights actually occurred in Kill Devil Hills, NC. Any chance you’d change your name to Kill Devil Hills? Kate: When we decided on the name, we were drawn to the theme of aviation and happened to like the way “Kittyhawk” sounds. We toyed with “Kittyhawk, NC” for a minute. There are a couple of other Kittyhawks though. The 70’s prog band, a “spazz rock” band from New Zealand (Hobbit worshipers for sure). In time they will be eliminated. Evan: Yahtzee! Erik: What about “The Devil Dawgzzz”? I would love to be called The Devil Dawgzzz. Mark: Honestly, me too.
You released your EP for free via Bandcamp last month, were you surprised by how many people downloaded the EP in such a short amount of time and by how well it was received? Kate: We’re so stoked about it! Big up’s to everyone who has said such friendly things. We wanna get in a big snuggle pile with everyone and eat burritos together. Erik: The internet is too kind. You started writing the songs for this EP soon after the band started a while ago, how does it feel to finally have them finished and released? Erik: It feels awesome. I know that Mark and I had some of these songs cooped up in us for a bit, but didn’t have the right band to work them out with. We’ve been writing a ton recently and are super excited about the next few months. Kate: Some of us have also been finishing up school, which is its own battle. It was a little bit of a struggle getting together for the first couple months, but once we got rolling, we really picked up momentum pretty quickly. I know this is a pretty generic question, but with everyone being busy in other bands, how does the songwriting come together in Kittyhawk? Do certain people handle the music while others handle the lyrics? Erik: Mark and I generally meet up once or twice a week to drink beers and write songs...mostly we drink beers. Lately, we’ve written for an LP and a split that will be announced soon. Mark and I usually write the song structures, while Kate holds down the lyrical content. Mark: Evan has also helped before with figuring out the right chords for certain songs. He helped me out with “The First One” in the early stages of writing and he is literally the best dude I know for writing vocal harmonies. The dude is all over the place.
One of the most interesting songs on the EP is the “instrumental” song “Science Fiction”, what’s the story behind the sound sample of the girl and her dad in that song? Kate: That’s my dad and me! I’ve always wanted to use those recordings for something. We made tons of those tapes when I was small with this little Sony tape recorder. It was the only way to get me to sit down. Best dad. You’ve got the EP coming out on cassette via Skeletal Lightning soon, why did you decide to release it on cassette and are there any plans for a vinyl version? Mark: Sean, of Skeletal Lightning fame, came to us and asked if we had any plans to put the EP out. We were really excited to have a physical release and with Tawny Peaks already in tow, we thought it’d be great to work with SL. Personally, I think cassettes have a quaint appeal to them. A lot of my friends are driving their parents cars that have those old cassette decks, and if you have a nice supply of tapes, why not use those? We are super excited for how the cassette designs came out as well! As far as vinyl...you’ll have to wait. There are plans, but we’re gonna hold off on talking about it for the time being. Evan: Yahtzee! You mentioned that you’re currently working on your full-length, how is it coming together so far and do you have any release dates set or any labels interested in releasing it? Erik: Right now it looks like we have a split coming out in the spring and an LP coming out in the fall. There is a label, but we can’t disclose that information just yet. We are pumped though! We have about ten new songs in various stages at the moment. Since Kate is a costume designer, have you ever thought of having her make some sweet costumes for shows? Kate: Ha! I wish. Maybe each show can be a different theme. We’ve been calling Evan “E-lor,” so I think there’s some room to play with that. And E-lor can be anything really. Mark: I just wanna look like KISS.
Daniel Hawkins Austin, TX
My name is Daniel Hawkins and I am a musician and graphic designer living in Austin, TX. Playing in several bands allows me the opportunity to center much of my work around music. Designing show posters and album artwork / layouts is one of my favorite things, whether it be for my own bands (Pswingset or Papermoons) or for other friends bands. It’s a fun juxtaposition to my day job which is working as a visual designer at an advertising agency here in town. Two totally different worlds, but it’s all the same really; we’re all trying to sell something: a T-shirt, a record, getting people to come to a show or perhaps even just a bag of cat food. So with my poster work, what I always attempt to do is to create a poster that I think does 2 things. First off, it has to catch the attention of people Immediately. With posters, you have like 5 seconds to grab someone’s attention before they walk past it or notice the one next to it instead. Secondly, it’s important that my posters reach out to the folks who I think are interested in the bands playing, or the general type of music that is being advertised. A shitty show poster to me says “don’t come to this show, it’s going to suck and the bands playing don’t care enough to have a good poster that truly represents their music and art” This being said, let me walk you through my design process for these posters. I still have some prints of most of these posters, if anyone is interested just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.danielpaulhawkins.com
Native So this poster is obviously for the band NATIVE, for one of their many stops here in Austin. Anyone who knows their music and their band knows they are gear dudes. (I believe Dan, even makes custom speaker cabinets that look amazing.) They sound killer live and have very unique gear. Most kids who are into NATIVE, are also gear heads. So I thought what better illustration to put on a poster for them, then to more or less graphically re-create their back line. Any person who has seen them play, would immediately recognize it. Just a fun and simple way to reach out to the people who are fans of the band. Due to the colors and textures used in this design, I don’t think the poster would have worked well as a screen printed piece. Or I should say it would have required more then a handful of colors and just wouldn’t have been cost effective. So these exist as high-quality digital prints on heavy matt finish stock.
Murder By Death Whenever I think of Murder By Death, images of otherworldly, vaudevillian Edgar Allen Poe characters come to mind. So I wanted to create a simple illustration of one of these creatures or characters that for some reason I see existing in this world where Murder By Death’s music is the soundtrack. This paired with some simple but classy type treatment really worked out well and made for a fun poster. These were printed on a cardboard stock with two colors.
The Jealous Sound One of my favorite bands and buddies of mine. I didn’t have much time to work on this, as Pswingset had just returned from a trip to record in Denver less then a month before this show. So I took a few lines from two of my favorite songs on Kill Them With Kindness and used these to illustrate the poster. Lyrics from “Anxious Arms” and “Above The Waves” provided some strong imagery that most people who listen to The Jealous Sound would recognize or at least be struck by. The majority of that album deals with drug abuse and is at points emotionally overwhelming lyrically. I hope I did this justice in my design.
The Felix Culpa Former Thieves So this poster was for a great party during SXSW in 2011, and by the day of the show actually ended up featuring Into It. Over It. as well. It’s hard for me to design posters with more then a few bands and especially of such varying genres, so I decided to just make something fun and weird. When we printed these, I had to get creative with our stock and color choices, to keep the colors to a minimum, so we ended up printing them on a light brown recycled stock and then interchanging the background colors, so we did about 25 with a light orange and 30 with a light blue. The black pieces we ended up creating a deep dark metallic gray color that sort of shimmered when light cast on it, they came out really well I think.
Pswingset This poster was for a summer tour we went on with our great buddies, Football, etc. Who are a great band and wonderful group of people. Anyone who has been on a DIY tour knows that it’s always a journey into the unknown when you’re playing in basements and barns and living rooms. You just don’t know what’s going to happen and these are things and experiences that really make bands who they are and really make this music scene that we’re all apart of something special. So thinking about bands growing throughout these experiences, (specifically Pswingset, which began in a basement in Akron, Ohio two years before I joined) really informed the design for this poster. I wanted to create something that told a little story about what was going on, and hopefully the kids who came out to those shows and grabbed a poster or a record felt apart of that and can see that in this poster. These were printed in two colors on a heavy bright-white stock. Our guitarist Joel, his girlfriend Cary has helped me with most all of my printing, she is an excellent printmaker here in Austin and her work can be found at www.carolynhulbert.com
This icon denotes an album that has been made available by the band free of charge or for a donation. Links are on page 74.
Accents Growth and Squalor Helmed by singer/songwriter TJ Foster, Accents is a indie-rock group that ranges from Hanalei like singing to Matt Nathanson like anthems. The standout track, “The Fog”, could easily find its way onto FM radio or in the background of network television with its memorable hook and catchy melody. Growth and Squalor might be too commercial sounding for teens in the indie rock crowd, but just commercial enough to gain a following with their parents. (Deep Elm Records) The Album Leaf Forward/Return The latest EP from Jimmy LaValle as The Album Leaf is as interesting as anything else he’s done if not better. LaValle is truly a master at this craft, as evidenced by his music being used in many TV shows and films. Forward/Return sets a mood with each song and takes the listener on a small journey 5 minutes at a time. Any fan of LaValles other bands or instrumental music will surely enjoy this release. (Self-Released) The Ambulars Dreamers Asleep at the Wheel Right out the gate, Dreamers Asleep at the Wheel knocks you on your ass with their perfect power pop/indie rock hybrid. Every song on this album is catchy as hell and just makes you feel good. I’m a sucker for bands with alternating/intermixing male/ female vocals and The Ambulars utilize this well by not having the vocals step on each others toes. (Salinas Records)
Anchors Lost At The Bottom Of The World This Melbourne, Australia band has been taking cues from East Coast punk bands like Strike Anywhere, The Loved Ones and the like. Lost At The Bottom Of The World is quite good and reinvigorates my interest in punk rock, something that has been waning the last few years. The more I listen to this album, the more impressed I am with it. (Creator-Destructor Records) Annabel Youth in Youth Not since Weezer’s “Only In Dreams” has a band ended an album so perfectly. Ending with “Our Days Were Numbered” from their latest album, Youth In Youth, Annabel has easily one upped “Only In Dreams” melancholy, and did so with three minutes to spare. It is truly an amazing song and that alone is reason enough to buy this album. Fortunately, you get ten more nearly as amazing songs with it. Youth In Youth is Weezer’s Blue album for the current generation of awkward teens and wallflower college kids. (Count Your Lucky Stars) Arrows/Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) Split 7” This being my first introduction to Australia’s Arrows, I was quite impressed with their contribution to this split. It had a slow opening with a buildup and explosion of guitars towards the end. Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) contribute 2 songs to this split and like the many other shorter songs they’ve been releasing lately, they rule. You can definitely tell their songwriting has been honed with all these onesie twosie splits they’ve been doing. (Count Your Lucky Stars)
Athletics Stop Torturing Yourself Stop Torturing Yourself features 4 tracks off of Athletics’ Why Aren’t I Home? reworked as piano ballads. This might sound like a total bore, but the all piano and voice tracks are actually done really well and really convey the despair of the songs that wasn’t fully achieved on the original versions. (Deep Elm) Autumn Owls Between Buildings, Toward The Sea Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, Between Buildings, Toward The Sea is Autumn Owls’s first full-length. They have already garnered some attention in the U.S. and overseas with a couple of EPs and shows at SXSW and CMJ. They walk towards the line of post-rock and math-rock but venture off with dark indie melodies. They definitely know how to hold the listener’s attention. The songs kind of weave around these bends and around every turn something pops out at you, something new to hear, and you just let the music take you for a ride until it ends. (Epitonic) Basement Colourmeinkindness As this album being Basement’s swan song, they really let loose with Colourmeinkindess. Having not paid much attention to this band in the past, I’m hopping on the bandwagon for a stint to let you know that there is still room. I sort of feel like a dolt for not exploring their music sooner, because I’m already hooked and the second song on the album hasn’t even finished yet. The last time I fell this hard for a band from the UK, it was 1996 and Bush had just released Razorblade Suitcase. Had Colourmeinkindness been released in the 90’s, I’m sure it would’ve topped Bush on the charts for sure. (Run For Cover Records)
Beware of Darkness Howl Beware of Darkness has a bluesy classic sound that seems manufactured for the limelight. Big guitars and an anthemic sound lay the foundation for each of this EPs four songs, while the vocals wail up and down. (Bright Antenna Records) Big Awesome Birdfeeder The first two songs on Birdfeeder are like a mash up of Grown Ups and Algernon Cadwallader with some Cap’n Jazz influences sprinkled on top. The last two songs have a more punk feel similar to The Menzingers. With Birdfeeder, Big Awesome has stepped out with a top-notch EP that’s gonna be hard to top. (Self-Released) Billy Wallace And The Virginia Blues Tucumcari, New Mexico and Other Songs Tucumcari, New Mexico and Other Songs is the sound of miles of travels, hundreds of shared experiences and a shit ton of laughs. Billy Wallace is a rare breed of musician/story teller who perfectly illustrates his experiences through song. This album even sounds as if it’s its own event happening as the music plays. Gang vocals come and go at the right time, horns blare here and there, and the music will implore you to make your own adventures. (Mind Over Matter Records) Branden Daniel and The Chics Keep ‘Em Flying Seattle’s knights of R&B infused rock ‘n roll, Brendan Daniel and The Chics are a raucous trio that put some swagger into a classic rock sound. You may have heard their music on a few TV shows this year as the songs “All Things Chic” and “Mor Yay” were featured on episodes of Beavis and Butthead and Jersey Shore as well as Heart of Dixie and Mob
Wives. Odds are though, anyone watching those shows probably doesn’t care about music. (Self-Released) Cari Clara Midnight March Much like their label-mates, Accents, Cari Clara are purveyors of indie pop and rock, but they take a more orchestral approach to it. Midnight March is as anthemic as Arcade Fire, but still intimate as Bon Ivor. The sound on some of the songs is huge, like Polyphonic Spree huge, and evoke the feeling of standing front and center at their live show. (Deep Elm) The Casket Lottery Real Fear I was never a huge fan of The Casket Lottery before they broke up, but upon listening to their latest album, Real Fear, I get what all the talk was about. With Real Fear, The Casket Lottery prove that they haven’t lost anything in their time away. This album will be swallowed up by current fans and will help the band gain some new ones in the process. (No Sleep Records) Ceremony Zoo I missed out on all the buzz around Ceremony’s last album Rohnert Park, so I went into this album with a fresh perspective and I came away a fan. Zoo is some near perfect garage rock/punk that is nearly the definition of garage rock; loud, dirty, raw. (Matador Records)
Certain People I Know Certain People I Know To be honest, when Certain People I Know released the demos from this album a while back, I wasn’t really impressed with them. I’m a huge Bob Nanna fan, and it was a little weird that I didn’t immediately like something he’s put out. Luckily, the good people at Count Your Lucky Stars coerced Nanna into releasing all 9 songs. While not much, if anything has changed from the demos to full-length, the songs now resonate with me. The music on this self-titled LP is near what Nanna and Damon Atkinson did in Hey Mercedes and while still not my favorite thing Nanna has released, it’s still quite good. Also want to mention that Lauren LoPiccolo’s vocals are great on this and add a nice contrast to Bob Nanna’s. (Count Your Lucky Stars) Cheap Girls Giant Orange Cheap Girls remind me a lot of 90s era punk and there is nothing wrong with that. Giant Orange is a no-filler record and I dare you to find a song to skip over. Cheap Girls know how to craft these little punk gems with insightful lyrics and catchy hooks. (Rise Records) Cherry Cola Champions Cherry Cola Champions Ohio is producing so many great bands right now and Kent’s Cherry Cola Champions are one of the many that are killing it. You can really tell that this album was written with such preciseness so that the music hits when the vocals need it to and vice versa. There is a lot of variety in the songs and a little something for everyone on this self-titled album. Crank it up to 11, grab your favorite cola, and sit back and enjoy it. (Self-Released)
CityCop. Seasons CityCop. play a blend of folk and hardcore, “Acoustic-core” if you will, two genres that you wouldn’t think go together, but CityCop. pulls it off quite well. There are touches of La Dispute and Thursday on Seasons and CityCop. flows seamlessly between the two, going from heavy to light in an instant. Seasons is definitely original and something to check out if you like the aforementioned bands. (Flannel Gurl Records) Classics Of Love S/T All hail Jesse Michaels! Everybody has been waiting for more material from the former Operation Ivy/ Common Rider member and Michaels delivers on this self-titled album. This is the closest anyone will get to new Op Ivy like songs, short of an Op Ivy reunion. This album is truly great and very welcomed. (Asian Man Records) Clinic Free Reign A few weeks ago I was driving home and listening to the local college radio station and I turned it on just as they were talking about the new Clinic album and proceeded to play “King Kong” from it. I’ve heard of Clinic for ages but never really took the time to listen to them until I was the car that day and kind of forced to listen to them. Fast-forward a few weeks and here I am listening to Free Reign and “King Kong” comes on again. It’s enthralling and inventive. There’s a part of the song that makes you think your CD or player has started skipping, but then it resumes its recognizable beat. I’ve gone from a naysayer of Clinic to a downright fan in the matter of a few songs. Such is the power of Free Reign. (Domino Records)
Cloud Nothings Attack On Memory Attack On Memory is the first release to include Dylan Baldi’s live band as full-time members and co-writers. The song “Fall In” has a Tokyo Police Club vibe to it and sounds like it could be used in a car commercial. Engineered by Steve Albini, Attack on Memory isn’t one of those albums where you think Albini engineered it. There have been other albums that Albini has done that are obvious, but this one feels like it could’ve been done by anyone. Having heard very little of this band, Attack On Memory was quite a surprise. (Carpark Records) Crypts Crypts Crypts is Steve Snere’s, past singer of Killsadie and These Arms Are Snakes newest project. Crypts is dark electro pop with distorted vocals like Snere often did in These Arms Are Snakes. It’s nice to see Snere branching out from his past band’s music and I think fans of TAAS’s darker material will enjoy this. (Sargent House) Dads American Radass (This Is Important) The first time I saw and listened to the “Bakefast at Piffanys” video, I knew that American Radass (This Is Important) would be an amazing album. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to this album, it’s in the hundreds for sure, and it still holds up. I don’t think anyone could’ve guessed how good this album is. The album slows things down in the middle for the 7-minute “Shit Twins”, a song that has quickly become a fan requested favorite. The lyrics on American Radass (This Is Important) are honest and relatable and the music is bouncy and upbeat. Easily #1 album of the year. (Flannel Gurl Records)
Daemon Familiar Brontosaurus Rex Daemon Familiar is a power pop band from Chicago and Brontosaurus Rex is a definite improvement from what I remember their last album sounding like. Everything from the lyrics to the production sound better on this album. If they keep improving like this, they should have no problem finding an adoring audience. (Self-Released) Dan Deacon America Whether you’re a fan of Dan Deacon’s music or not, you’ve surely heard the name before. Deacon is a composer and electronic musician that has released 8 albums since 2003 and America is his latest. America is a frenetic and danceable album, in an electronic indie sort of way, and will win over a person with little interest in electronic music. (Domino) Dark Pony Suburban Serenade Vol. 1 Suburban Serenade Vol. 1 is an eclectic mix of pop, rock, and soul. Each song has a bit of a different feel to it and stands on its own. The song “Turnaround” is the stand out track on the album and I could really see this song being the song to break Jon Herchert into the mainstream. (Self-Released) Deerhoof Breakup Song Deerhoof is another one of those bands that I’ve come across in publications and never paid any attention to. I had an idea what they sounded like, but it was a skewed idea based on whatever I had read about them. Breakup Song is a perfect album to break up the monotony of straight-forward music you might listen to. Kind of like a kick to the ear drums to say, “HEY WAKE UP! THE DANCE PARTY IS HERE!” (Polyvinyl Records)
Departures Still and Moving Lines Not to be confused with Departures from the UK, this Canadian version of Departures blends indie rock with a slight post-punk attitude. At times they kind of remind me of The American Analog Set, but with more pop sensibilities. While Still and Moving Lines is not something I’d probably listen to often, I definitely wouldn’t be bothered if it came up on the radio. (Borana Records) Dikembe Broad Shoulders You’ll probably recognize Dikembe because they share members with label-mates Wavelets, but don’t sound too similar. Broad Shoulders, like Dads’ American Radass, is an album that is helping define the genre in a good way. In 10 years when people look back at the emo or twinkly or whatever you want to call it scene, Broad Shoulders will be one of those albums that is brought up constantly because of its depth and listenability. (Tiny Engines) Dowsing It’s Still Pretty Terrible Dowsing’s latest release, It’s Still Pretty Terrible is like spending the day with your lady (or guy). Songs like “Midwest Living”, “Gengar! Gengar! Gengar!”, and “What Did You Ever Do?” will be the soundtrack to waking up and spending the day outside together doing couple things like pushing each other on swings and feeding each other small bites of desserts at the corner cafe. Later that night, the two of you can play big spoon, little spoon and talk about growing old together while songs like “Somerset”, “Littoral”, and “Get Dead” usher you into a sleepy embrace. (Count Your Lucky Stars)
The Eeries Home Alone The 60’s garage rock scene is alive and well on Home Alone, the latest from The Eeries. Play Home Alone for your parents and watch them stumble back down memory lane and tell you about the days when music was good. Better yet, keep this to yourself and enjoy it. (Evil Weevil Records)
Eux Autres Sun is Sunk Originally a brother/sister duo, Eux Autres is now a trio and Sun is Sunk is their latest and best release. The songs on Sun is Sunk are much more realized than their previous stuff. With some European flair, this San Francisco band have really nailed down the garage pop sound. (Self-Released)
Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate)/Rika Split 7” With the amount of splits Empire! Empire! have been out lately, they easily could’ve put out a new LP. I’m not complaining, they know this too. The two songs by Empire! Empire! are what you would expect from them, great stuff to say the least. Austria’s Rika, who are new to me, have a really nice nearly 7-minute song that is similar to their counterpart on this split, but is unique in its own way. Definitely a band I will have to check out more. (Count Your Lucky Stars/ Goddamn Records)
Evans The Death Evans The Death Sometimes when I go through my albums to review list, I’ll come across an album that I have no clue how it got there or where it came from. This selftitled debut from UK’s Evans The Death is one of those albums. Upon listening to it, I was pleasantly surprised by this young band’s fun pop sound. They are sure to turn heads with their familiar female vocals and penchant for writing pop songs. (Slumberland)
Empire! Empire!/Mountains for Clouds/Two Knights/Driving on City Sidewalks 4 Way Split These 4-way splits are the 90’s equivalent to the Punk-O-Rama compilations. They are a great way for established bands to release new music and for newer bands to get some visibility. The Empire! Empire! song is obviously good; Mountains for Clouds are definitely getting better; Two Knights have an early Maps and Atlases thing going on with screamier vocals; and Driving on City Sidewalks is still one of the most underrated bands in the scene. (Count Your Lucky Stars)
Everyone Everywhere Everyone Everywhere (2012) Choosing to self-release their latest self-titled album, Everyone Everywhere accomplished a lot with this great album. Labels everywhere should be kicking themselves for not trying harder to sign these boys. If you were on the fence about this band before, this self-titled album is the push you need to love this band. Great songwriting combined with interesting melodies make this album a must own. (Self-Released)
Ex Cops True Hallucinations Featuring ex-members of Hymns and Minks, New York’s Ex Cops started out as a two piece, but grew into a five piece band before going in to record True Hallucinations. True Hallucinations is lo-fi pop at its best. It’s got a bit of beach sand and ocean waves thrown in to give it some chill. (Other Music Recording Co.) The Fake Boys Pig Factory The Fake Boys are like a harder edge Weezer with a Billy Corgan like frontman, steeped in 90s alternative and pop punk. Pig Factory could easily find a place on a mixtape with those aforementioned bands and nobody would second guess it. (Animal Style Records) Family Room Rake I’m not really a fan of county or folk music, but Evan Jewett’s Family Room held my attention all the way through his latest album, Rake. The songs here are ornate, pleasant and are more straight-forward than Jewett’s other music he’s released with Worker Bee. All in all, Rake is an album worth checking out for the track “Shape Shifting” alone. (Self-Released) Fang Island Major Brooklyn’s Fang Island kind of remind me of a mixture of Ratatat’s guitar work and some classic rock vocals. Major is a hoot to listen to and will put a smile on your face. The songs are infectious and catchy without being overly upbeat. It’s like a party coming out of your speakers with every listen. (Sargent House)
The Farewell Circuit In Our Bones The Farewell Circuit are one of Minnesota’s hidden gems. In Our Bones is a well-crafted dreamy indie rock album that does not disappoint. This is a must for fans of early Copeland or Death Cab For Cutie. There is a lot of variety on In Our Bones, from piano ballad, “Oh My God”, to rock song ‘Run For The Hills”. It’s an album that almost anyone could find a favorite song on. (Princess Records) Field Music Field Music Play... Field Music is back with their second release this year and it’s an album of cover songs. It includes covers of songs by Barrett, Robert Wyatt, Pet Shop Boys, Roxy Music, Leonard Cohen, John Cale and The Beatles. The covers are pretty good and are done in typical Field Music fashion. It’s a fun little album that fits in well with the rest of their catalog. (Memphis Industries) Heat Dust Self-Titled Heat Dust is a New Orleans trio of garage pop rockers with fuzzed out guitars and a knack for writing catchy tunes. The five songs on this self-titled EP span a nation of influences from Seattle’s early grunge to New York’s art punk. (Texas Is Funny Records) Hold Tight Blizzard of “96 Fourteen blazing punk songs in the vein of Lifetime and New Found Glory in just under 27 minutes. Hold Tight are carrying the torch of pop punk and are doing an awesome job of it. Easily one of those classic albums that will stand the test of time. (Animal Style Records)
Hostage Calm Please Remain Calm I don’t think anyone else in the indie music scene is doing music the way Hostage Calm is doing it, and if they are, they certainly aren’t doing it as well as Hostage Calm. I don’t even have a genre or a way to describe the music they play, it’s just positive, intelligent and fun. Hostage Calm has continually progressed from album to album and they’ve hit a new peak with Please Remain Calm. To get off track for a moment, when I listen to this album, I can imagine this band doing a really awesome Christmas album, and everyone would love it. Back on track now, Please Remain Calm is an excellent album that everyone should hear. (Run For Cover Records) The Hullmen No Return The Hullmen play a pretty basic rock style with distorted guitars with repetitive rhythms. The guitar, bass and drums all sound pretty good on their own, but as a whole, it’s nothing really exciting. (Self-Released) I Call Fives I Call Fives Like Hold Tight’s latest, I Call Fives is another torchbearer of really good pop punk. Their sound is closer in tune with New Found Glory, and will turn even the most fierce pop punk rejectors into fans. (Pure Noise Records) Joan of Arc Presents Joan of Arc The ever evolving and always surprising Joan of Arc are back with the first of many releases this year and what is probably their most ambitious. Joan of Arc Presents... is an epic 82 minute instrumental soundtrack to the classic silent 1928 silent film
The Passion of Joan of Arc. This soundtrack must be watched along with the film to fully grasp the complexity of such a project. Luckily some hardcore JOA fans synced up this soundtrack to the film on YouTube for your viewing pleasure. This film is a classic in its own right, but this soundtrack makes it 10x more enjoyable because it creates all these other emotions though hearing the music. (Joyful Noise Recordings) Joan of Arc Pine Cone Pine Cone is one of the many releases Tim Kinsella and Joan of Arc have coming out this year. Pine Cone consists of two mostly instrumental 19-minute sides that go back and forth between standard indie/rock songs and electronic noises and samples. They save the last two minutes of the album for a quick song sung solo by Tim and his guitar. You never know what to expect with Joan of Arc, but it’s always refreshing trying to wrap your brain around their latest releases. Never the norm with this band and that’s one of the things that make them great. It should also be noted that there is some amazing artwork/packaging done for this by Landland. (Landland is not a Record Label/Joyful Noise) Joan of Arc Joan of Arc (Charlie Chaplin and The Elephant Man) The final album of Joan of Arc’s trilogy of albums this year features some of the most minimalist song work we’ve seen from Tim Kinsella and company in a while. The first side features six songs, five of them being folk songs with just Tim and his guitar singing songs inspired by things like slapstick Dutch conceptual artists and the Elephant Man. With so much varying material that Tim has put out in the past, it’s easy to forget that he can hold his own when it is just him solo with a guitar. The second side of the album is a single 15 minute
instrumental piece with a long detailed description that I will spare you. I will say though that the process in which the song was made is quite interesting and has a dreamlike quality to it. (Joyful Noise Recordings) Joie De Vivre We’re All Better Than This Those sneaky kids in Joie De Vivre were playing possum (for a peek) when they broke up. I bet the whole time they were “broken up” they were hard at work making the best album of their lives, so far. We’re All Better Than This is titled like a comeback album, like they finally realized that being “broken up” was a stupid idea and they should get back to what they do best, mending the emo hearts of the young through music. (Count Your Lucky Stars) Jowls Cursed Fans of Refused and Botch are gonna love this new EP from Jowls. It oozes with Refused like urgency but with Midwestern roots. Kind of like Song of Zarathustra with out the keyboards. Cursed is perfect at six songs. It’s just long enough to be satisfying without getting stale. (Tiny Engines) The Keystone Kids Things Get Shaky One of the many musical outputs of Slingshot Dakota’s Carly Comando, The Keystone Kids is a collaboration between her and Ryan O’Donnell. The first song sounds like it could be off of a Slingshot album and the rest off the songs have a Postal Service like vibe with the vocals being shared between Carly and Ryan. Things Get Shaky is quite good and would please any Slingshot Dakota fan. (Deep Elm Records)
Kid Brother Collective Highway Miles Recently re-released on vinyl, 2003’s Highway Miles from the influential Flint, MI indie/emo band Kid Brother Collective is a must have for fans of early Jimmy Eat World and Mineral. It’s nice to see a label re-release something local to them and something this good that many may have missed when it originally came out. (County Your Lucky Stars) Kite Party Baseball Season Freshly reissued on vinyl by Animal Style Records, Baseball Season rocks like Restorations and is a testament to great songwriting. After listening to this album, I now see what all the praise was about. It’s just that damn good. (Animal Style Records) Kittyhawk Kittyhawk EP It’s been a long time since an EP has enamored me so much. Featuring Kate Grube of Into It. Over It.’s live band and members of Dowsing, this EP is simply amazing. The back and forth female and male vocals are chill inducing and the music is catchy and intricate. The song that really sticks out the most is the middle song of the EP, “Science Fiction”. It starts out with the voice of a little girl speaking into a recording device with her father in the background. The music builds up as she talks into the microphone and the part that gets me every time is the part where the dad says “What in the world are you doing? You’re a wild animal!” The way the dad says it, in a playful tone, and the giggling from the girl, is just perfect. It puts every other sampled sound in any indie song to shame. The members of this band have stumbled onto something great and I hope they continue on with it. (Self-Released)
La Armada La Armada Transplanted Dominicans and current Chicago residents, La Armada play some of the most brutal Spanish language thrash this side of the border. Sticking to their ideals by singing only in their native tongue, La Armada are influential to many young Latina/o bands as well as non Latina/o bands. (Fat Sandwich Records)
Lorelei Enterprising Sidewalks Enterprising Sidewalks is Lorelei’s first album since 1994’s Everyone Must Touch The Stove. This legendary DC band hasn’t lost a step over the years and this album proves it. While they may not attract the attention they once did, Enterprising Sidewalks is a great album that encompasses everything about music from the DC area. (Slumberland)
Like Bats Midwest Nothing Looking for a Lawrence Arms fix to hold you over until their next album, then check out Midwest Nothing from Illinois’s Like Bats. They combine the song craft of Lawrence Arms and the speed and punk stylings of Banner Pilot into an insanely catchy album. (John Wilkes Booth Records)
Lungfish A.C.R. 1999 Session Six of these songs on this release were re-recorded and eventually ended up on Lungfish’s 2000 album Necrophones, the remaining four were previously unreleased. The great things about this release is that shows the creative process in which Lungfish worked, and how the six songs changed before being rerecorded for Necrophones. The unreleased songs are quite good on this release and would please any Lungfish fan. (Dischord)
Like Pioneers Oh, Magic Breaking farther away from their days as Bound Stems, Oh, Magic shows a band that refuses to quit while still getting better at songwriting. Oh, Magic is a lyrical and musical progression from their previous, Piecemeal. While their is very little filler on this album, some key tracks on this album include, “Champion”, “Tell Em’ Ghost”, and “On The Morning Of His Farewell”. (Abandoned Love) Lipona Networks After a string of self-released releases, Lipona has inked up with a label for their latest release, Networks. Networks shows the band at their strongest, like all this time they’ve been building up to this moment. If you’re familiar with Lipona’s previous releases, you know how much work goes into these albums. There’s no fucking around with Lipona, they just do what they do and it comes out great each time. (Disconnect Disconnect Records)
Make Do and Mend Everything You Ever Loved Everything You Ever Loved reminds me a lot of Separation from Balance and Composure. I’m still on the fence on the B&C album and the latest from Make Do and Mend hasn’t really won me over either. Even though a lot of the songs on Everything You Ever Loved are quite good, they just don’t grab me enough to want to give this repeated listens, just an occasional one here and there. (Rise Records)
Maps & Atlases Beware and Be Grateful It took me a little to get into the latest Maps and Atlases album, Beware and Be Grateful. I’ve followed this band since their early days and it’s been fun watching their music grow. Growth just doesn’t always mean you’re going to like it though. They’ve definitely adopted more of a pop sound and mostly dropped the heavy guitar noodling that they were known for, save for a few songs at the end of the album. (Barsuk Records) The Marine Electric Restrained Joy There is something familiar about The Marine Electric. Whatever it is, it’s nice. It’s quite easy to like this album. They have a Signals Midwest quality to them that stands out the most. Restrained Joy is a pretty good album that takes a fresh run at the genre and scores near the top. (Insrgnt / Unbuckled) Matt and Kim Lightning Matt and Kim’s latest album, Lightning, marks a return to their roots that were planted by their selftitled album and follow-up, Grand. Their last album, Sidewalks, showed them venturing a bit with their sound and was kind of a let down, but Lightning is a playful jaunt that is Matt and Kim’s trademark. Lightning is a party on wax that will brighten anybody’s mood. (Fader) Meridian Aging Truths You may know the voice of Meridian as Max Stern from Signals Midwest. Meridian is a project Max shares with his brother and it’s like a stripped down folksy version of his main band. Max has a knack for songwriting and it conveys into any
musical genre. Aging Truths is like the after party to Signals Midwest all out rager. It’s calm, relaxed and intimate. (Self-Released) Mixtapes Even on the Worst Nights If there ever was an award for most consistent band, it would go to Mixtapes. Their formula really hasn’t changed since their inception, they just write honest little playful pop-punk songs. That’s also the problem though. While they still write good songs, their sound has become somewhat predictable and unvarying. Even on the Worst Nights will win new fans over, and the diehard fans will be just be accepting of it. (No Sleep Records) Nude Beach II NYC’s Nude Beach perfectly mix southern garage rock with a New York swagger on II. II is just a fun record to listen to, one that puts a little smile on your face when it comes on, and good enough to listen to again and again. (Other Music Recording Co.) Observer Drift Corridors Much like how Owl City got his start, Collin Ward as Observer Drift masters his craft from the basement of his parent’s Minnesota home. While Owl City is a little more pop oriented, Observer Drift is more chill with hushed vocals. For such a young project, the music is really well-crafted and well-done. Ward really took his time recording each instrument himself to get it all proper and it really shows. (Self-Released)
Old Flings Spite Re-harvesting 90’s alternative rock, North Carolina’s Old Flings really succeeds with Spite. Honest lyrics with a no bullshit attitude, Spite is just an overall great album from front to back. (Bitter Melody/Self Aware) Olive Drab Girl EP Featuring current and ex-members of Hightide Hotel, Snowing, and Pirouette, this short four song EP really shines. It’s got a sad lo-fi emo garage rock feel to it that is not like their previous bands. Whether this is their only release or not, it’s cool to see a bunch of talented musicians put something out for fun. (Self-Released) Palette Town Life, Love, & Laser Guns There is quite the growth shown on Life, Love, and Laser Guns, the second EP from Miami’s Palette Town. Having only released 7 songs and 2 remixes so far, this young band has proven that they have what it takes to write great music and still have fun. Their brand of jangly indie pop is bouncy and addicting. Kind of like a younger and more fun Minus the Bear. (Self-Released) Parlour Tricks Parlour Tricks Judging by the cover art for this self-titled release, you would’ve thought Parlour Tricks was a songstress with a sultry voice. Guess that old saying about judging things by their cover was right. South Carolina’s Parlour Tricks are in fact 3 guys who play new wavey post punk and this debut album of theirs is a nice break from more standard music and popular genres. (Self-Released)
Paul Buchanan Mid Air You may know Paul Buchanan from the legendary 80’s underground Glaswegian group, The Blue Nile. While The Blue Nile’s early music used synthesizers, electronic instrumentation and percussion, Mid Air is mostly Paul’s rich weathered voice and a piano. The album is gorgeously minimalistic, stark and intimate. The only thing that could make this better is if there was an orchestra backing him up. (Newsroom Records) Pebaluna Carny Life Featuring Matt Embree previously of Rx Bandits, Pebaluna’s real star here is vocalist Lauren Coleman. Her voice is strong, sultry and could probably out sing any number of current popular female singers. (MDB Records) Phil Barry Between the Carolinas Phil Barry’s quite soft voice carries Between The Carolinas quite well. The music is laid back and easy to get down with and the lyrics are heartfelt and honest. What more can you ask for? (Princess Records) Pinback Information Retrieved Pinback could write about the most mundane topics and still make the music sound intriguing. Just like most Pinback albums, there are a couple of songs that are just pop music gems. “Fortress” from Summer of Abaddon and “Good to Sea” from Autumn of the Seraphs come to mind and on Information Retrieved that pop gem is the opener “Proceed to Memory”. After a 5 year gap between albums, it’s the perfect choice to let listeners know that Pinback is back and still got it. (Temporary Residence)
Pomegranates Heaven Pomegranates have come a long way since their debut album in 2008. Having released 3 more albums including their latest, Heaven, since then, they have grown and experimented with each release. I wasn’t thrilled with their last album, One of Us, and was hoping for a return to form on Heaven. They’ve taking some of their roots and mixed them up with a faster tempo and a groovier beat and for the most part it works. Heaven is a step in the right direction for the band and hope they continue experimenting like this. (Modern Outsider) Pswingset All Our False Starts In a scene of indie and emo revival bands, Pswingset makes an album that is a challenge to get into and is devoid of expectations. I applaud them greatly for it. They could’ve taken the easy route and recorded something that people would’ve loved immediately, but instead they put out something that requires the listener to be engaged and actively listening to it while it plays. All Our False Starts is not an album for people with short attention spans, it’s an album for people who truly love music. (Topshelf Records) Red Collar Welcome Home It took me a while to get into this album as it’s one of the genres I frequent least, but after a few repeated listens, it finally started sticking. Their brand of American rock is unflappable. You can really feel the passion for music and performing in frontman Jason Kutchma’s voice. If this album is any indication of the way music is moving, I’ve got no qualms with that. (Tiny Engines) Redgrave National Act There isn’t much difference between this EP and their previous one except that they have definitely gotten better. The vocals are louder and more direct, and the drums hit harder than ever. If you enjoyed their last EP, you’re gonna love this one too. (Lovitt Records)
Reel Big Fish Candy Coated Fury Still clinging onto that 3rd Wave of Ska, Reel Big Fish is back with the best release in years. It’s not hard calling it their best when their last few albums were pretty bad. Even though it’s their best album, I’ve gone back and forth on this album a lot. On one side I really like the music and it’s the closest they’ve come to Turn Off The Radio. On the other side though, it’s the same lyrical content they’ve always done. It’s the same you suck, my girlfriend sucks, everything sucks content that made them popular. They’ve got the instrument parts figured out properly, it’s just time they matured with the lyrics and got out of middle school. (Rock Ridge Music) Restorations A/B Continuing on their path to world music domination and becoming the first band to play the International Space Station (wait for it), Restorations are back with a little slice of rock ‘n’ roll pie. And of course this pie is delicious with it’s whipped cream topping and Oreo crumb crust; Restorations wouldn’t screw you by giving you Peach Cobbler or Strawberry Rhubarb, this shit is the real deal. Rainbow sprinkles, check! Peanut Butter Cups, check! Total guitar shreddage, fuck yes! It’s a fact that the song names on this 7” are abbreviations for “A” AWESOME and “B” BAD-ASS. Pack your bags fellas, NASA is calling. (Tiny Engines) Run, Forever Settling I was really impressed with Run, Forever’s last album, The Devil, And Death, And Me., and came into Settling with high expectations. All those expectations and more were exceedingly met. They’ve definitely gotten better at what they do and this album has seamlessly turned into on of my recent favorites. (Tiny Engines)
Save Ends Strength Vs. Will The only thing that would make this EP better is if it were longer. The five songs that are one Strength Vs. Will are reminiscent of early The Get Up Kids and The Anniversary. It’s extremely pleasing to the ear and just all around awesome music. (Self-Released) The Scutches Ten Songs, Ten Years There will always be a place in my heart for short pop punk songs. The Scutches deliver that and a little bit more on Ten Songs, Ten Years. The lyrics cover standard topics of pop punk, love and relationships, but I’ll give them a pass this time because the music is too catchy. (Bright & Barrow) Sharks Come Crusin’ Hardtack EP Packaged in a decorative tin with hardtrack biscuit, it’s nice to see a band really make an effort with their packaging to make something original. Featured on this EP are 4 sea shanties that will have your booty swaying like a pirate ship on the high seas! There is a lot of exuberance displayed on this EP that is addicting and I can imagine their live shows being one hell of a party. (Self-Released) Silian Rail Each/other I’ve listened this album numerous time and never once would’ve guessed that this Bay Area instrumental band was a two-piece. There is just so much going on sonically. Unfortunately, this band is taking a break for the foreseeable future, which is a shame because any one who writes a song as good as “Glass House” should really keep going. (Side With Us)
Sleeping Bag Women Of Your Life I got hooked on Sleeping Bag when I heard their self-titled album last year. It was full of these great little pop songs that were pretty basic, but also clever and inventive. Their latest album, Women Of Your Life, contains the same charm as their previous album, but shows the band trying some new things with infectious melodies and jangling guitars. It’s a shame that this album was put out around the time everyone was submitted their year end lists. Had this album been release earlier in the year, it would surely be near the top. (Joyful Noise Recordings) Sleeping People NOTRUF EP Their latest release since their double-album, Growing in 2007, Sleeping People is back with a two-song 12” that is a mixture of early Dianogah and Turing Machine with a lot of start/stop dynamics and really cool guitar interplay. (Temporary Residence) Sleepyhead 2012 Demo Hailing from the Twin Cities, Sleepyhead takes influences from other bigger local bands like Banner Pilot and Off With There Heads and some older local bands like The Crush. This being a demo, the songs aren’t quite polished as they could be, but it definitely shows a lot of promise for this young band. (Self-Released) Slingshot Dakota Dark Hearts Oh man, what an album! I was quite surprised by the maturity displayed on Slingshot Dakota’s latest album Dark Hearts. At first I thought that they had lost some of their fun/poppiness of their previous album Their Dreams Are Dead, But Ours Is The Golden Ghost, but the more I listened to Dark Hearts, more layers began to be noticed and appreciated. Dark Hearts is a top-notch album. (Topshelf Records)
Stagnant Pools Temporary Room What I take away from Stagnant Pools Temporary Room is a lot of noise. The music is good, but the slow lackadaisical vocals are buried so far behind the music it’s hard to hear them. Temporary Room has a new wavey rock vibe to it and I really wanted to like it, but I just couldn’t get past the loud fuzz of the music enough to enjoy the vocals. (Polyvinyl Records) State Lines S/T 7” It’s kind of rare for a band to come along and knock your tube socks off twice, especially when you wear sock suspenders, but State Lines has done just that with their latest self-titled 7”. I should mention that I was wearing shoes at the time of knocking off and they were tied tight. That’s just the power of a band like State Lines. Their songs are earnest and make you feel feelings and junk. Insist your friends listen to State Lines, but warn them about potential sock knockage beforehand. It could get real messy if a bunch of them have their socks knocked off at the same time. (Tiny Engines) The Stereo State Crossing Canyons Immediately this band reminded me of a American version of Sweden’s Millencolin with the slightly gruff vocals and the mature punk sound being indicators. Crossing Canyons is a pretty great EP and is recommended for fans of The Loved Ones and Red Collar. (Creator-Destructor Records) Sundials When I Couldn’t Breathe Good bands like Sundials are few and far between. They perfectly blend pop punk with rocking melodies and catchy hooks. They have a sound like Weezer, had Weezer ended after Pinkerton and not released a slew of subpar albums. When I Couldn’t Breathe is an excellent album and I could easily see this band being huge. (Asian Man Records)
Tawny Peaks Tawny Peaks Tawny Peaks is another one of those bands that I found by searching through Bandcamp an seeing what piques my interest. They have alternating male/female vocals happening at times and it’s always done in good taste and not forced. This self-titled EP is an interesting take on the emo/math rock genre, kind of like The Anniversary at times, but more emo, and I think that once enough people hear this, labels will be offering their services. The band would fit perfect on Count Your Lucky Stars or Flannel Gurl Records. (Self-Released) Toe The Future Is Now I’ve been hearing things about Japan’s Toe for years and every good thing I’ve heard about them is true. They are like a Japanese version of Pele and even released a split with them years ago. If you’re a fan of instrumental math rock/post rock, The Future Is Now is for you. (Topshelf Records) Trebuchet Trebuchet Three of the four members of Trebuchet make up the excellent instrumental outfit Not To Reason Why, but you wouldn’t guess it by Trebuchet’s lush female/male vocals and folksy leanings. The vocals are the main point on this self-titled release. They are warm, intimate and comforting. If you’re looking for some music that is relaxing, then look no further than this release. (Side With Us) Tyler Daniel Bean Longing Here I thought I was getting into some singer/songwriter Oberst wannabe before I listened to Longing. Upon listening, what flowed out of my speakers was a nearly full fleshed band playing some rocking tunes that are in the Oberst spectrum, but maybe a little closer to contemporaries Run, Forever. Give Longing a listen and see how it affects you. (Kat Kat Records)
Undesirable People Eugenics As the first song blares out immediately as the play button is pushed, Undesirable People get your attention quickly and don’t let go. This short 6-song EP is nearly enough to make you a fan of their familiar sound and while it may not be genre-defying, it is at least well-done and better than most. (South Division Records) We Were Skeletons Blame and Aging I don’t know what happened in the time between their last full length and this one, but We Were Skeletons got unfuckingstoppable. They were good before, but these new songs are fantastic. This album is like Slint on steroids. Just listen to the song “End All Suffering” for confirmation. (Topshelf Records) Wolves At Bay Only A Mirror Raw and gritty aren’t two things when you think of a city like Hamden, CT. But those two words can accurately describe Hamden’s Wolves At Bay. Only a Mirror is a pretty good album. The song that first jumps out at me is “Breaking In Two” which features James Carroll of Make Do and Mend, due to the two band’s singers having opposing vocals that mesh well together. Only A Mirror is definitely an album that will surprise you with how good it is, it just might take a few listens to get there. (Animal Style Records)
You’ll Live Above The Weather Above The Weather from South Florida’s You’ll Live takes me back to when I was first getting into music and going to small, packed hardcore shows with bands that are long forgotten. You’ll Live carries that same genuine spirit and angst in their music that those bands did way back when. Above The Weather was a great find and is one of my favorites this year. (Self-Released) Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson Small Changes We Hardly Notice Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson is a Norwegian post rock band that has a Death Cab For Cutie vibe to them, but with roots in post rock and emo. This EP is practically a full-length with four songs clocking in at nearly 22 minutes and every song is good. I passed over their previous full-length a couple years ago when everyone was talking about them, but with as strong as a release that Small Changes We Hardly Notice is, I’m going to pillage their back catalog to find some more tunes to enjoy. (Count Your Lucky Stars)
Take Manual Dexterity Music Zine everywhere you go! Next time you’re waiting in line at the DMV, head over to issuu.com/mandexzine (bookmark that shit, yo!) on your mobile device and bask in the glory of the printed word…on the internet! 73
The Ambulars // Dreamers Asleep at the Wheel // theambulars.bandcamp.com Big Awesome // Birdfeeder // bigawesome.bandcamp.com Cherry Cola Champions // Cherry Cola Champions // cherrycolachampions.bandcamp.com CityCop. // Seasons // citycop.bandcamp.com Dads// American Radass (this is important) // dadsnj.bandcamp.com Hold Tight // Blizzard of “96 // holdtight.bandcamp.com Kittyhawk // Kittyhawk EP // kittyhawkisaband.bandcamp.com Like Bats // Midwest Nothing // likebats.bandcamp.com Meridian // Aging Truths // meridianohio.bandcamp.com Observer Drift // Corridors // observerdrift.bandcamp.com Olive Drab // Girl EP // olivedrab.bandcamp.com Palette Town // Life, Love, & Laser Guns // palettetown.bandcamp.com Save Ends // Strength Vs. Will // saveends.bandcamp.com Sleepyhead // 2012 Demo // sleepyheadpunx.bandcamp.com Sundials // When I Couldn’t Breathe // sundials.bandcamp.com Tawny Peaks // Tawny Peaks // tawnypeaks.bandcamp.com Tyler Daniel Bean // Longing // tylerdanielbean.bandcamp.com You’ll Live // Above The Weather // youlllive.bandcamp.com
COVER, Pg 4-5: Nicole Kibert // elawgrrl.com Pg 22-27: Molly Clark // joonphotography.com Pg 28-29: Jonathan Minto // neveramounttoanything.tumblr.com Pg 30: Andrew Wells // andeewells.com Pg 31-34: David Gottas // flickr.com/photos/myonedude Pg 35-37: Andrew Wells // andeewells.com Pg 38-45: Nicole Kibert // elawgrrl.com Pg 47-48: Michael Lambert // michaellambert.co.uk Pg 46-49: “Polaroid” photos provided by Everyone Everywhere Pg 50-53: Kati Murphy
Bands: Dads // dads420.tumblr.com Pswingset // pswingset.com Kittyhawk // facebook.com/kittyhawkchicago Everyone Everywhere // everyoneeverywheremusic.com Cherry Cola Champions // cherrycolachampions.tumblr.com Tawny Peaks // tawnypeaksnj.tumblr.com Save Ends // saveends.com Flashlights // flashlightsmusic.bandcamp.com You’ll Live // youlllive.tumblr.com Palette Town // facebook.com/PaletteTown.Music People/Places: Ben Sears // bensears.tumblr.com Daniel Hawkins // danielpaulhawkins.com It’s a Kling Thing // facebook.com/klingthing Ads: Young Hope // younghoperecords.com Skeletal Lightning // skeletallightning.net Better Days Will Haunt You // betterdayswillhauntyou.com Flannel Gurl Records // flannelgurl.com Topshelf Records // topshelfrecords.org
Labels: Abandonded Love // abandonedloverecords.com Animal Style Records // animalstylerecords.com Asian Man // asianmanrecords.com Barsuk // barsuk.com Bitter Melody // bittermelodyrecords.com Bright Antenna Records // brightantenna.com Bright and Barrow // brightandbarrow.com Borana Records // boranarecords.com Carpark Records // carparkrecords.com Count Your Lucky Stars // cylsrecords.com Creator-Destructor // creator-destructor.com Deep Elm Records // deepelm.com Dischord // Dischord.com Disconnect Disconnect Records // disconnectdisconnectrecords.bandcamp.com Domino // dominorecordco.com Epitonic // epitonic.com Evil Weevil Records // evilweevil.tumblr.com Fader // faderlabel.com Fat Sandwich Records // fatsandwichrecords.com Flannel Gurl Records // flannelgurl.com John Wilkes Booth Records // johnwilkesboothrecords.com Joyful Noise // joyfulnoiserecordings.com Kat Kat Records // katkatrecords.com Landland Is Not A Record Label // landland.net Lovitt Records // lovitt.com Matador Records // matadorrecords.com MDB Records // mdbcollective.com Memphis Industries // memphis-industries.com Mind Over Matter // mindovermatterrecords.com Modern Outsider // modernoutsider.com Newsroom // facebook.com/newroomreords No Sleep Records // nosleeprecs.com Other Music Recording Co. // othermusicrecordingco.com Polyvinyl Records // polyvinylrecords.com Princess Records // facebook.com/PrincessRecords Pure Noise Records // purenoise.net Rise Records // riserecords.com Rock Ridge Records // rockridgemusic.com Run For Cover // runforcoverrecords.com Salinas Records // salinasrecords.com Sargent House // sargenthouse.com Self Aware // selfawarerecords.com Side With Us // sidewithus.com South Division // southdivisionrecords.com Slumberland // slumberlandrecords.com Temporary Residence // temporaryresidence.com Texas is Funny Records // texasisfunny.com Tiny Engines // tinyengines.net Topshelf Records // topshelfrecords.org