Hightide Hotel Football, etc. Chris Strong Todd Slater Say Hi Tour Landland SIXES FREE
Cover // Here: Monument // Football, etc. Photos: Joanna Moreno // flickr.com/photos/joh_moreno The Pentaverate: Adam Sever Correspond: email@example.com P.O. Box 1616 â€˘ Monticello, MN 55362 mandexzine.com // facebook.com/mandexzine
Feb/March 2011 SIXES: Record Labels Football, etc. Scrnd: Todd Slater Transmissions: Say Hi Monument Hightide Hotel A Sound Design: Landland Chris Strong (Has You Covered) Reviews
06 12 17 22 24 30 34 37 44
R e c or d L a
Evil Weevil * Tiny Engines * Black Numbers Count Your Lucky Stars * Top Shelf * No Sleep
Evil Weevil Bill & Mike
What band or album really turned you on and got you interested in music? Green Day, Dookie. My baby-sitter left it at my house and my mom broke it a few months later when she realized there were cuss words. What motivated you to want to start a record label? Necessity. What do you think is the biggest problem facing independent record labels today? Terrorists. Do you think releasing CDs is still practical or have vinyl and digital releases become more viable? CDs are essentially disposable now. What do you consider before signing a band and releasing their album? Glamour muscles, picking styles, big jumps. I guess somewhere in there is if they are our friends and stuff too. What hurdles have you had to overcome with your label and what did you learn from it? I’m not very athletic. I learned I’m not very athletic.
Tiny Engines Will Miller
What band or album really turned you on and got you interested in music? Well, it might show off my age and sound a bit cliché, but I’d probably have to say Nirvana. I got seriously into music kind of late I guess. Up to the point I heard Nirvana, I enjoyed music but didn’t really try to dig for something more than what was on the radio or MTV. Nirvana was kind of that gateway band that really made me go deep into alternative/ indie/punk music. I can remember coming back from a Church ski trip and listening to a cassette single of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on repeat the whole way. It was just so
different than anything I had ever experienced in my sheltered music listening. And then I can remember delving into my brother’s music collection soon after that. The Smiths, Dinosaur Jr, Bad Religion, Descendents, etc. All that stuff I found so incredibly exciting. I think from that point on, I was changed and music became a huge part of my life. What motivated you to want to start a record label? That’s difficult to pinpoint honestly. I think as I started to get more and more into indie music,I really started to identify with the DIY mind-set of it all. And I also realized I had no musical tendencies myself, so it was really just an idea that grew over time. You know, hypothetically, doing a label sounded fun and would allow me to stay around music. But, it’s certainly not something that happened overnight for any of us. And that’s good. If I would have tried to do this 10 years ago I would have probably failed miserably. We’ve all had a lot of different jobs/experiences that have either directly or indirectly prepared us for this. We’ve been around the block, so I don’t think anything has overwhelmed us. We recognized that it was going to be hard work and it has been. But at the end of the day you are putting out music you love. And what’s more fun than that? What do you think is the biggest problem facing independent record labels today? Hmmm, I guess most people would say illegal downloading, but I get irritated when labels complain about that. Perhaps Tiny Engines hasn’t reached a point where illegal downloading really affects us. I guess the bigger you get the more it should bother you. But, it’s pointless. You have to accept it and move on. Make the best out of it. Use it to your advantage. Hell, even embrace it. Kids have proven they’ll still buy music, so I think the key is to get their attention. I think that’s the biggest issue honestly. With the rise of the internet/digital age you kind of have this blessed/cursed problem. On one hand the internet has changed the rules so little guys like Tiny Engines can not only exist but make a mark. But on the other hand there are so many bands/labels now that it’s tough to get yours heard through all the other noise of the crowd. You have to find ways to get noticed sometimes. But, for me, it’s still pretty simple: release great music and bands you believe in and the rest will take care of itself.
Tiny Engines cont. Do you think releasing CDs is still practical or have vinyl and digital releases become more viable? Tiny Engines is strictly a vinyl/digital label and I think we will probably always be that way. We did toy with the idea of doing small runs of CDs in the beginning, but we just decided to stick to vinyl. CDs are so cheap to make, especially compared to vinyl, so I think they’ll hang around for a while. But, unless you are pushing your music to be bought from the “mainstream”, I see very little point in selling CDs. For us especially, I just don’t see a market for it. What do you consider before signing a band and releasing their album? Well, obviously, first and foremost we have to love the music and be comfortable with the band as people. We’d love the band to be steady tourers but I don’t think that’s a necessity in this age. But, definitely a plus. I think one thing I’ve really appreciated from particular bands that we’ve worked with is just how involved they are. Bands that take initiative are far too rare these days. You can’t always sit around and wait for the label guy or the press guy or the tour guy to do everything for you. I think the main thing for band and label is to just be on the same page with how you want to do things. Aesthetics and promotion, etc. As long as everybody is pulling in the same direction, it will be a good relationship. What hurdles have you had to overcome with your label and what did you learn from it? No specific hurdles really. That doesn’t mean it’s been easy though, we’ve definitely had to learn some things as we go, but I think we’ve done it the right way, at least for us. I think a lot of labels try to do too much out of the gate and that dooms them. We always had the mind-set of taking it slow and treating Tiny Engines more like a fun hobby. It’s definitely grown more than we expected at this point. But, we’re still a baby with only 8 releases on the books, so we’re careful not to get too ahead of ourselves. Sometimes I get caught up in the frenzy of what other labels might be doing and my own confidence/belief in Tiny Engines so I think we should be releasing more stuff. But, I’ve learned it’s best to focus on yourself and to be REAL particular about what you release. So far, so good.
Black Numbers Dave Frenson
What band or album really turned you on and got you interested in music? Above and beyond the normal stuff any kid listens to with their parents, I remember getting a Sam Goody gift card for Christmas when I was in 5th or 6th grade. I got Bad Religion’s Recipe for Hate and a few other CDs. That remains one of my favorite records to this day, and I think that was what really got me into punk rock. What motivated you to want to start a record label? A desire to work with awesome bands, honestly. What do you think is the biggest problem facing independent record labels today? The music industry changes so much from day to day, it’s hard to pinpoint the biggest. I’d say the overall issue is keeping fresh. The Internet is a double edged sword in that it helps push labels/ bands and gives you a worldwide platform. The downside is, everyone else has the same platform, so the key is making your releases stand out. Do you think releasing CDs is still practical or have vinyl and digital releases become more viable? I think all 3 formats are definitely viable. The key is figuring out what a band or label’s fanbase is more keen to. Some of our artists do really well with CDs, and others are much more successful with vinyl. What do you consider before signing a band and releasing their album? First and foremost, the music has to be awesome. We only release records we would listen to. After that, we make sure that the band is willing to work as hard as we are. What hurdles have you had to overcome with your label and what did you learn from it? Lumberjack disbanding was certainly a hurdle. From that, I’d say we learned how to (and how not to) get our records out there even without an exclusive distro.
Count Your Lucky Stars Keith Latinen
What band or album really turned you on and got you interested in music? The first album I can really remember obsessing over was Clumsy by Our Lady Peace. My brother and I would listen to it on the way to high school in the morning. Eventually, I found my way into artists like Knapsack and Mineral, back when you couldn’t just type “Mineral mediafire” into Google. Finding small bands and rare albums was an art, and the chase made the reward that much better. What motivated you to want to start a record label? I think the thought that: a) no other label would want to put out my band’s stuff, and b) there were so many good bands I knew that were going unheard, that I wanted to try and change that. What do you think is the biggest problem facing independent record labels today? Small budgets, limited time and resources, lazy fans, and lazy bands. The Internet is not an end-all people!
Do you think releasing CDs is still practical or have vinyl and digital releases become more viable? Without a doubt, the vinyl and the digital releases are far more viable. Especially in the community of artists and fans our genre attracts. If the release is only available on CD, they are just going to download it. I think I will forever be lugging boxes of CDs from apartment to apartment every time I move. What do you consider before signing a band and releasing their album? Nowadays, we have to be more selective, but a big part of it remains the same as when we stared. The music has to catch us, and they have to be active and tour. I can’t stress that second part enough. Labels want bands who are already working hard; it makes our job 100% easier. Bands, help us help you! What hurdles have you had to overcome with your label and what did you learn from it? I think the biggest thing for me is not over-committing. For anyone who knows me, I like to always help and do all I can. But at some point, if you are doing too much, everything gets at least a little neglected. We are funded out of pocket, and with only so much (or, rather, so little) to spread around, being choosey is a must.
Top Shelf Kevin Duquette
What band or album really turned you on and got you interested in music? I’d say Saves The Day’s Stay What You Are, Braid’s Frame & Canvas and Toe’s The Book About My Idle Plot On A Vague Anxiety all really got me interested in wanting to get involved with music somehow. What motivated you to want to start a record label? Topshelf was first born out of necessity as a means to help promote and release music from bands that we were playing in at the time. The scope grew as we started releasing our friends’ music as well. So, basically, we started this to get our music and that of our friends heard outside of the New England basements it was currently confined to. At the time, other already existing (and now defunct) labels that inspired and motivated us were Connecticut’s Kill Normal Records and Brooklyn’s Said Sew Recordings. What do you think is the biggest problem facing independent record labels today? I really have no idea, haha! You’d think I’d readily be able to answer this with something poignant and insightful, but I’ve got next to nothing. I really think that independent music — and the record labels involved with it — are experiencing a wave of growth right now on the heels of the “digital era” (or whatever) right now. Albums leaking ahead of their release dates is always a bad thing for a record label, but albums being freely shared via Mediafire / What.CD / etc. after an album has been made available helps spread the word about the band, gain them fans, get more people out at shows and sometimes even translates into album sales. It’s a double edged sword for sure, but I think it helps more than it hurts. I think the key to solving this “problem” going forward will be learning how to better leverage freely available digital copies of albums and songs to gain value in return. Do you think releasing CDs is still practical or have vinyl and digital releases become more viable? CD’s are definitely still practical. Well, they aren’t to me, haha, but to the vast majority of people purchasing music, CD is still king. Now, while that might not be true for the niche we cater to (and we’re aware of that), it’s still definitely a viable
format — especially at retail. That said, we prefer to go the vinyl / digital route for most of our smaller or one-off releases and I think people who follow the label and the bands we work with prefer those formats as well. What do you consider before signing a band and releasing their album? A lot of things. Work ethic, talent, ethos and them as people. Almost every band we’ve worked with to this point is either a friend or friend of a friend(s), and while that isn’t necessarily a prerequisite, it makes every aspect of doing this so much more enjoyable. We appreciate, respect and enjoy listening to all of our bands and the day that stops happening, I don’t want to do this anymore. What hurdles have you had to overcome with your label and what did you learn from it? We’ve had a surprisingly easy go of it considering we are still just in our infancy as a label. I think the biggest long term hurdle we’ve had was developing our own unique roles and balancing our strengths and weaknesses to better run the label (Seth and myself, I mean). There aren’t any egos and we both mesh really well at this point, so I feel like that’s something we’ve definitely overcome. In terms of more real-life, tangible examples of hurdles go... This past summer we invested a lot of time and money into a compilation CD project for Warped Tour 2010. The pressing plant we chose to go through botched the project entirely and then closed down without any warning. This left us out on the road and committed to a tour with barely anything to sell. We were losing money most of the summer and had to pay through the roof for rush production and delivery costs through another pressing plant to get our CD’s to us to sell. It was a nightmare. Heh, I think we learned a lot from that though, basically just in terms of time management for projects.
Side With Us Leslie Hampton
What band or album really turned you on and got you interested in music? This is a really tough question. Besides running a label I’m also a musician, designer and photographer. I’m inspired by music, so it has come from many different sources. Blonde Redhead, Hot Snakes, Sonic Youth, Blur, Yo La Tengo, The New Trust and Fugazi are some of my favorite bands not on my label. The band and album that inspired me to start my label, was my first release Worker Bee - Tangler. Great songwriting and love Robert Cheek’s production. What motivated you to want to start a record label? This again could be a very long list, but I’ll try to simplify it. I saw a lot of labels that were taking 50% or more of the sales after production cost and weren’t doing a lot for their artists. I take considerably less than that and I’m very upfront with everyone I work with. There is a lot of people that complain the South Bay in California doesn’t have a good music scene. There’s a great music scene in San Jose, but unfortunately not enough people know about it. I wanted to help boost the San Jose Indie scene and have one place where people can find a lot of the great bands from this area. The location of the bands on my label have extended up to North more, with releases with Seattle’s By Sunlight and The Velvet Teen and Not To Reason Why from the Santa Rosa area. Mainly what I’m trying to achieve with my label is release good music, get bands on bigger Indie label and create a band network. Similar sounding and like-minded bands that can help each other book shows and tour. What do you think is the biggest problem facing independent record labels today? I think the biggest problem is how to promote a band and do that without spending a lot of money. You can easily spend several thousand dollars and a lot of time on promoting a band. If you take very little as I do, then there isn’t a lot of funds to spend on promotion. I can’t afford to put a banner ad on Pitchfork and hire an agency to promote band. I contact a lot of zines, college radio stations, newspapers, blogs and magazines independently. They need content and you need to help promote bands, so a lot of times there’s ways of helping each other out. Do you think releasing CDs is still practical or have vinyl and digital releases become more viable? It depends on the size of the label, how you’re having the CDs made and the what you think the fans of the
artist might want. Some bands have a really tough time selling vinyl. Other bands have really tough time selling CDs because their fans just want a vinyl with a download code. I have my own download code system and CD duplicator/printer. If an artist needs CDs or download codes I can make them on demand. Saves a lot of money and space not having to order 1000 CDs to make it cost effective. A lot of my releases are physical/digital; either vinyl with a download code or a poster with a download code on the back (PostCode). There are bands doing CDs DIY and labels like Parks and Records (parksandrecords. com) doing bulk CD replication and then stamping/ screening their own covers. What do you consider before signing a band and releasing their album? Live show, recording quality, songwriting, longevity, ethics, type of media (vinyl, digitial and/or cd) the band’s fans will buy, the personality of the band and if I think they are in the musical direction I’m going for. You have a general idea what a band might sound like from labels like Dischord and Kill Rock Stars before you even hear them. I like that. Most of the bands I’ve worked with are bands I’ve followed for a while and we’ve become friends. It is harder for me to work with a band that I have never met and/or seen play. I don’t work with bands that pay-to-play or work with dodgy promoters. I help my friend Eric Fanali run shows for Grand Fanali Presents (grandfanali.com) and also few houses that do shows in the area like Texas Toast DIY (texastoastdiy.com). I’m firmly against promoters that ask at the door “Which band are you here to see?” It makes me nauseous. What hurdles have you had to overcome with your label and what did you learn from it? I have been pretty lucky so far. I have had a lot local press support and Mike Park from Asian Man Records has been my mentor. I’ve learned unfortunately you can’t help everyone. It’s hard to tell how serious some bands are or they are going to continue on as a band. Thankfully there’s some releases I didn’t rush into, otherwise I would have lost a lot of money because a band broke up. Digital releases and being able to make small runs of CDs in a cost effective way has helped a lot. Sometimes DIY is the way. I’m a lot more picky with what I release on vinyl because of it.
Interview with Lindsay Minton, Mercy Harper, James Vehslage Photos: Joanna Moreno
Previous to Football, etc., Lindsay and Mercy played in the well-liked, but short lived Tin Kitchen. What happened with Tin Kitchen that you didn’t keep going with that band? Lindsay: Mercy and I moved to Texas. Tin Kitchen did have a reunion last February in New Brunswick and New York. We keep in touch with Jacki and are open to getting together again to write and record something. So if we all happened to live in the same city again, I’d bet we’d be playing music together again. What made Lindsay and Mercy want to move to Texas from New Jersey? How long after the move did Football, etc. start? Mercy: If we had stayed in New Brunswick, Tin Kitchen wouldn’t have broken up, and I think Football, etc. is in many ways a continuation of what we did in that band. But after we graduated from Rutgers, Lindsay and I both had work-related things we wanted to do that meant we’d have to leave NJ. Lindsay was applying to Teach for America, and I was applying to graduate school. Houston ended up being the best place for us. We started looking for a drummer pretty soon after we moved down. Lindsay: We moved to Texas a few days after we graduated. I think I had to be down here by the first week of June to begin training to be a teacher. We found our first drummer, Brandon, around January of 2009. We were at a loss for how to find a drummer. Craigslist saved the day. Twice, actually, because that’s how we found James too.
How do the music scenes between Houston and New Brunswick compare? Mercy: I don’t think I fully appreciated the exceptionally good New Brunswick music scene until we left. Homes in Houston usually don’t have basements, and I feel like the lack of that space impacts the DIY scene here. I also didn’t appreciate how much easier it is to book tours when you’re starting in the Northeast. It’s harder in Texas, but there are exciting things happening here too. Had you moved to a state where football wasn’t so huge, would you have considered naming your band “Hockey, etc.”, “Surfing, etc.” or “Shuffleboard, etc.”? Mercy: The name doesn’t mean much; we did the stereotypical thing and flipped through a book to decide on a name. We just wanted a name that didn’t mean anything.
SXSW is coming up in a couple weeks and your band is playing a few shows. What is your opinion of SXSW as a whole? Are there any bands you are particularly looking forward to seeing? James: Since I lived in Austin and started going to SXSW, it has grown from concentrating its efforts on showcasing unsigned bands to what it is today, an international showcase for new music in general. It’s great to see big named bands sharing the bill with bands that, without the festival, may have never come to play in the U.S. Of course with any big event or festival comes annoyances. Crowded streets, long lines, overpriced beer... Honestly, I haven’t had time this year to even consider who I am going to see, but it’s always good to see old friends and local Austin bands like The Black Angels, Ume, Experimental Aircraft, and Trail of Dead. We rarely get a chance to run into so many other sports themed bands. Amongst the listings I found the Baseball Project, Basketball, and a band called Football. Maybe we’ll check some of those out. Mercy: I’ve never been to SXSW. I hope to see Wild Flag while we’re there. Lindsay: I’ve also never been to SXSW. I’m excited to see all of the other bands on our label. I also hope to see some old friends. Your debut full-length, The Draft, comes out in March, how long has the process of writing and recording taken with this album? How are you feeling about having the full-length done? James: It feels great! From the point that I joined the band and we finished recording was less than 7 months. Some of the songs were pretty much finished when I joined, but a lot of the writing came after our tour last summer. The hardest part is waiting for it to come out. What kind of issues or topics are dealt with on The Draft ? Lindsay: I tend to return to issues of family, my job, missing people or home. There are a couple of songs that are about football. And by “about football,” I mean, for example, the song “Mouthguard”. I never thought people would pay attention to my lyrics because for so long I was singing through P.A.s that you could hardly hear me through. Now that we have a recording where the vocals are up front, I guess people might think about it. Where did you record The Draft and how was the experience recording in the studio? James: It was recorded in Norman, OK with Trent Bell who made the process really easy and fun for us. He had a lot studio experience as a musician from his Chainsaw Kitten days, as well as being an accomplished engineer and producer himself. We’d go back to record with Trent again in a second. He also co-produced the album with us, which wasn’t necessarily planned. We just had a lot in common with him and liked every bit of advice he had to offer. It was a bit of a whirlwind recording process having only spent basically 2 days recording and 2 days mixing. Lauren Denitzio, from The Measure (SA), recently spoke out on sexism in the punk scene. From your point of view, do you feel women get unequally treated to men in the indie scene? Mercy: I haven’t, myself, experienced unequal treatment in the punk/indie scene since I was in high school. Middle school and high school can be such an unsupportive environment for girls, and I think that environment discourages a lot of girls from picking up an instrument or starting a band. I think encouraging young people to get involved and feel they are a part of DIY punk through community-oriented projects like Girls Rock Camp will help diversify the scene. I think the best and most positive way to fight sexism, and racism and homophobia, in the scene is to challenge those who hold such beliefs with a diverse community of punk rockers who can keep proving those expectations wrong. I don’t want to kick sexist, racist, and homophobic people out of the scene. I’d rather change their minds, and I think encouraging diversity is the best way to do that.
Have you experienced or witnessed any sexist, racist or homophobic behavior from others in the indie/punk community? What can the indie community do to better themselves? Lindsay: Look, I’m a firm believer that there are a lot of assholes. I guess I just try to surround myself with positive, like-minded people. I think like Mercy said, people just need to stand up to those who behave that way. And they do, I’m sure. Thankfully, nothing comes to mind as far of my having experienced or witnessed any of this. Not to say it doesn’t happen, because I know it does. I’m just worried that a lot of this behavior is now online and therefore just supposed to be funny. People shouldn’t be able to get away with that either because it makes others think it’s okay to talk like that. You’ve released some solo material, Past is Prelude, do you have any plans to release any more solo material in the future? Lindsay: I recorded that album as soon as Mercy and I decided on moving to Texas. We knew Tin Kitchen was winding down and I had all of this stuff that was intended for the band. I wanted to finish it before I left, because I was worried I wouldn’t have a chance to do something like that when I left New Brunswick. It was definitely a sort of transition for me. I’d love to release more solo material, but I’ve been so busy with work and with Football, etc. So, there are no solid plans at the moment, but I’m sure I will when I find the time. The Draft is being jointly released in the U.S. and in the UK by Count Your Lucky Stars and strictly no capital letters, do you have any plans for touring in the UK? James: For what it’s worth, we plan to try to tour the UK. The idea of it is extremely appealing to us, so if the opportunity came up, I think we would have to do it. Lindsay: I’ve never left the country. It would be a dream come true. I think we all want to, we just haven’t put it as a high priority at this point. But if by some miracle we had the opportunity, I’d be on a plane tomorrow. Do you have any US tours planned in support of The Draft ? James: We’ll definitely be touring the US this summer. For how long and to where is to be determined. This will be our first time going out by ourselves. Lindsay: We’re going to go out again this summer from the end of June to early July. That will be a Midwest / East Coast tour. We want to go to the West Coast as well, but we’ve never been there before. Releasing a full-length is a milestone for many bands, are there any goals that you’ve set with Football, etc. that you have yet to accomplish? James: Touring the UK and Europe would have to go close to the top of that list.
A Texas native, Todd Slater has designed limited edition tour posters for artists such as; Morrissey, The Strokes, Muse, Mars Volta, The Beastie Boys, Modest Mouse, Radiohead and has also designed numerous posters for Dead Weather. More of his art can be found at toddslater.net
The illustration mixes both real and fictional buildings from NYC, Iâ€™ve also included buildings that have been proposed for 2011 and beyond. I really wanted to condense some of the energy of the city into one image. Iâ€™ve only visited the city three times, but things like the noise, lights and crowds have stayed with me. I felt like maybe I could recapture some of that energy drawing this one window at a time.
The idea comes from the lyric: “It’s a terrible love and I’m walking with spiders”. For me, the imagery is about seduction, and being lured in by something beautiful only to find out its beauty is not what it seems. The illustration behind the gemstone spider is three things: a spiderweb, barbed wire and a bed. About a month before I did this print I saw this incredible Fabergé spider brooch on an episode of Pawn Stars. I looked for an image of it online but couldn’t find anything. Ultimately, the spider here is part of my memory from watching that episode. Inspiration can be found anywhere.
This is my bizarro rodeo poster that I’ve wanted to make for a Texas show of theirs since seeing them in 2006. It’s my twist on the stereotypical bucking bronco, with Prince riding into the sunset on a praying mantis. It was kind of a flop commercially but sometimes you just have images that you have to get out of your system ya know? Prince has been a long running theme in my work. He’s like this omnipresent thing in my life.
This imagery came together while listening to the lyrics from “Mr. Moon”, and the comparison to the sister’s being “brilliant like fire flies”. The print is about a new beginnings. The image deals with some of the themes on the new album, both in the band’s personal and professional lives. The central image is a wedding dress created by a swarm of fireflies symbolizing the fragility of marriage and relationships, and that at anytime they could dissipate/change. Their light, and the tree growing behind the dress are symbols of rebirth and growth. Special thanks to my wife, Kristie, for collaborating with me on the imagery. I used a blend (split fountain) on the blues in the background. A blend happens when multiple inks are applied to the top, bottom or middle of the screen and blended together with a squeegee to create a (hopefully) seamless gradient blend. A lot of rock posters from the 70s used rainbow blends but I like really subtle blends with not a lot of variation in color. The blend is also full bleed which has become a little bit of a trademark of mine in recent years.
I haven’t done many prints for shows in NYC and wanted to consider the location more than I usually do for this piece. I was looking at Blue Note record covers and the line quality those illustrations have. The vibe on those covers feels close to the Black Keys aesthetic to me. I thought about places I’ve visited in the city, and how drawing the tenements could represent the band’s beginnings more than the bright lights. The patterning in the fire escapes also gave me something to work with graphically. Line work and line weight are important elements of my work, they’re things I continually fuss over and obsess about.
Where are you right now? We are somewhere, I think we’re at the bottom of Virginia, pretty close to the top of North Carolina and we are headed to Ashville, North Carolina. What do you think has been the high point so far? The New York City show was really amazing, as is normally the case. You know unfortunately it’s a... I don’t know if you’ve ever been on a rock tour before, but it’s a pretty monotonous thing. Especially in a band like ours who doesn’t really indulge in the rock ‘n roll lifestyle very much. It’s literally spending the whole day in the van and showing up and sound-checking, checking our emails, playing the show, going to the hotel to go to sleep, waking up and doing it all over again. It doesn’t actually leave much variation for high points and low points, which may be not helpful to you at all in terms of what you’re gonna be posting. I noticed that you have a show pretty much everyday of the tour, doesn’t seem like it leaves a lot of time for other stuff. I absolutely love what I do for a living, but when I’m on tour, it’s work. I know some bands love to leave extra days off to do a lot of hanging out and/or sight-seeing, but I sort of prefer working everyday and playing a show everyday. Going on tour can be pretty emotionally taxing for me, so I try and bang out all the shows as close together as possible. You’ve lived on both the East Coast and the West Coast. Which coast is easier to start a tour from? Both of them have their advantages. East Coast is much easier to start a tour because all the cities are very close together so you don’t have to deal with the 4 nine hour drives like we do when we’re starting a tour from the West Coast. But logistically the East Coast is so much more difficult to navigate. The streets are narrower, the cities are more populated. My stress levels when playing on the East Coast are definitely a lot higher than when playing on the West Coast.
Interview with Eric Elbogen (3/10) Feb 17 - March 31, 2011 Tour Photo: Jenny Jimenez
You played a solo show in New York just recently, like a small set? Yeah, It wasn’t so much a show it was a little video thing that they were doing for a website called The Wild Honey Pie. It was just four cameras filming me in a little dirty ally in between two apartment buildings. We made it open to the public with very very short notice. It was also hidden from the street, so I think that if people had actually come out to see it, most of them couldn’t find where it was happening. It was only three songs anyway so we were in and out of there. What would you like the rest of the shows to be like, or any hopes or goals for the rest of the tour? Going on tour in a rock band, as musicians you spend the whole tour just trying to make your set and songs better and better with each show and we’ve definitely have been experiencing that, so I hope and we hope that by the time we play the last show in Seattle, it’s just like the perfect sounding, looking and feeling set. Are you guys excited about playing SXSW next week? Yeah we are. We’re in Austin very briefly. We get in just in time to play the Barsuk showcase and then we have to play Dallas on Saturday night. I’m excited, I like that city a lot and it should be a lot warmer than it’s been through the entire tour. We’ve been freezing our butts off everywhere. I’m looking forward to it.
The recording of Goes Canoeing took a while to complete, what was the cause of it taking so long to finish? Anton: We self-recorded the 7” and we’ve basically self-recorded/mixed most all of our projects in the past. We decided this time around to try recording at a studio, but we also wanted to have a good atmosphere for recording and work with someone we knew and trusted, so we decided to go with Joe at The Headroom in Philadelphia. The downside to that was given Joe’s and our busy schedules, it was hard to find weekends for us to go up to Philadelphia to record. After we had done the major tracking there, we had decided to finish the auxiliary recording at our home studio in DC, but there was some downtime between transferring the recordings in Philadelphia from tape to digital. Long story short, there was lots of back and forth and scheduling difficulties between 6 (Joe, Monument, and Kyle who shares the studio with Joe) people to get things finished. Worth it though. Did you have all the writing for the album done previous to recording or did you do some writing in the middle of recording? Anton: We had most of the stuff written ahead of time, but we did do some minor bits and pieces, like the Rhodes piano at the end of “This is 113”, at the studio. We really didn’t want to spend time in the studio writing since we all had major time constraints, but you can never help wanting to jam on stuff when you’re there.
UMENT Interview with Anton Kropp and Dan Doggett // Photos: Joanna Moreno
How was the experience of recording Goes Canoeing at The Headroom with Joe Reinhart? Anton: Joe is fucking Boner Stabone! He’s awesome to work with and takes his work seriously without passing those stresses onto you. Not to mention we always jump at the chance to hang out at Big Mama’s Warehouse with all our Philadelphia friends. Personally my favorite couple moments were watching DVDs of The Adventures of Pete and Pete and shotgunning beers with Brandon while Dan and Gabe were recording. You’ve mostly self-released albums from bands previous to Monument, how does it feel to be working with Tiny Engines on the Goes Canoeing release? Anton: It’s flattering beyond belief. Never did I ever expect to be on such an awesome label. Not only are Chuck, Will and Jeff great people to work with, but the bands they’ve released and represent are all bands we listen to and totally rule. Is there any meaning behind the title of the album Goes Canoeing ? Anton: Canoe = poop. At least I think that’s what the meaning is.
You’re releasing a CD and a vinyl version of Goes Canoeing. What format do you prefer more and what do you think is the importance of releasing albums on vinyl? Dan: Vinyl is definitely the ultimate format, there’s no argument there. I started collecting records a few years ago when I realized the only time I listened to music was in my car or while I was occupied with something else. Listening to vinyl actually puts the music as the main focus.
A few of you worked at University of Maryland’s (College Park) college radio station WMUC, what did you gain in experience or learn from working there? Anton: I think the biggest thing I learned at WMUC in my 5 years of working there was to have a better appreciation for music. It sounds cheesy, but I learned to appreciate music as a whole, to understand that it’s a sequence of sounds and it’s how you interpret the music that really matters. Like it’s possible to appreciate just listening to the street, or your refrigerator hum. There’s music everywhere and I think I realized this listening to all sorts of different records and talking to different people who were really passionate about all sorts of different genres. On top of that, I learned a lot about recording since there is a pretty good studio setup at WMUC that is free to use if you work there. I spent lots of late nights playing in that studio. You’ve all been involved in or are involved in other bands outside of Monument. How do you divide your time between Monument and other musical projects and Monument and non-band stuff? Anton: It’s hard that’s for sure, but somehow we all find time to devote at least a couple hours a week to Monument. We tend to pack our weekends full of recording and mixing and practicing. We’ll do weekday practices too, but those are difficult given everyone works different hours and it’s not as productive as when we can relax and have fun with it. As far as other bands, right now there is Shat Shorts, which is Gabe, Brandon, Myself, and two other guys. We follow the same kind of routine as Monument does. We don’t really give much thought to which band gets more time, they’re both independent projects that get the same amount of effort. It’s sort of always been like that. We try not to bite off more than we can chew, but that never works and we always end up with a mouthful of projects. Brandon has done some offshoot drumming work, Dan sometimes records a solo project, Gabe is working on a solo project, and I’m about to release my fifth album as For The Agenda, my own solo project. I’ve heard that Brandon works as a paralegal, what kind of environments do the other members of Monument work in? Anton: Gabe just finished recording engineering school and is looking to get started in that field. Dan is an elementary school band teacher. Brandon is a paralegal, and I’m an engineer at a medical simulations software company.
Do day jobs ever get in the way of things like touring and recording? Anton: They kind of do, but you can’t get away from a day job. That’s what affords us the means to play music and pay rent and all that stuff. We don’t get to tour much, but we make serious efforts to play out of town shows when we can and we’re always trying to write and record as much as possible. We’re planning on releasing a tape EP this summer that we’re just going to home record at my studio just outside of DC. It’s no Headroom Studios, but it’ll do for now. Of the many bands you guys have played in, where does Monument rank? Anton: Last. Dead last. Dan has mentioned that he’s a big fan of The Dismemberment Plan, how are you feeling about their reunion? Dan: How does anyone feel about their favorite band reuniting? The last time the Plan reunited, they said that they would probably do this every once in a while and I’m totally fine with that. They totally killed it. A lot of great and influential bands have come out of the DC area in the past. What is the scene in DC like now and what are some bands worth checking out? Dan: The Fordists are a great band that started around the same time as us. They are currently writing a fulllength and it’s going to be pretty bananas. The vinyl version of Goes Canoeing comes out in a couple weeks, do you have any tours planned in support of it? Dan: We do have plans to tour the East Coast and a bit of the Midwest in July, but nothing is booked as of yet.
Hightide Hotel INterview with ben schmidt // Photos: David Mallozzi
I’ve done a few searches on Hightide Hotel but there isn’t a lot out there about you guys. Take us back to the beginning and tell us how Hightide Hotel started? We all are from the Lehigh Valley originally, so we knew each other before coming to Philly. Nate was in Street Smart Cyclist and started playing drums, Dave had been writing in a band called Western Survival (where Weekends and Shuttle both come from). In the Valley, Street Smart was going pretty strong and Algernon had come through many times, so there was a sound I think that appealed to a lot of people, and Hightide sort of came out of that environment. Did the early line-up changes on drums have any affect on how the band sounded? As the drummer I’m a little biased. Things got a little faster, I would say. Our new stuff is, I think, very reactive to that, because it’s much slower and more mid-tempo. I don’t think the writing process changed drastically, though. I came into the band very aware of why it worked, so I didn’t try and distinguish myself so much as just keep doing what worked for the band.
What bands had you played in previous to Hightide Hotel? Chris and I were in a terrible powerviolence band called Crawl. It was sort of known for the way our live sets fell apart, but our first show was actually pretty great. Dave was in Foul Mouth and Western Survival, Chris was also in Vegan Potluck, Everymonstertruckever, and Hollows. A lot of Lehigh Valley-centered bands, with the exception of Hollows and Chris’ foray in Philly hardcore (dude loves Cold World, what can I say?). Were there any specific goals you wanted to accomplish with this band? I think, lyrically as well as musically, Hightide has always been a little more self-reflective. Or at least it seems to have taken that on. Dave’s lyrics are very mindful of the thought process. Goals and intentions are always strange with music. I think the goal is writing songs that people relate to and see themselves in. There are blog posts dating back to August 2009 about starting to record the full-length. How long was the entire recording process of Nothing Was Missing, Except Me? We started in August of ‘09 and put it up for download in December of ‘10. So, that long, about. Those blog posts are funny because you get a sense of optimism in that first one, then after a while the tone becomes really dejected. Making a full-length record will do that to you.
Why did it take so long to finish and what kind of problems did you encounter while recording it? The famous story is that our songs caught on fire. There was a small fire that caused a lot of smoke damage and I think a few things were lost in that. There were a lot of small little things that got the process delayed. We ran out of money at one point, and didn’t have any label support at the time to help us out. We straight up did a song over again, then decided to add another one halfway through. Joe would tour for a little. It was just a lot of little things that ended up taking a while. Overall, how was the recording process with Joe Reinhart at The Headroom? Joe is a sweetheart. Recording there is sort of like just hanging out, but there’s a lot of nice equipment around. But he made the process very comfortable and even a little goofy at some points. He didn’t seem to ever wear shoes when we recorded, so there’s that too. After such a long process of writing and recording Nothing Was Missing, Except Me, how did it feel to finally have it finished? It feels really great, especially when you work on something for this long. You get to a point where you’ve heard the songs so many times, and at so many stages of production, that you begin to feel like no one will ever hear them. Some people were waiting a while for it so it feels good to have something to show them. In addition to releasing the vinyl version of Nothing Was Missing, Except Me, you released it on Bandcamp using the “Name Your Price” option. It terms of sales and downloads, did the Bandcamp route work better or worse than you expected? I think the internet is something you just have to work with these days. We’re only doing vinyl for this release, and I honestly believe that if people want to buy a record, they will buy it. It will be up for free somewhere, so you might as well make it free on your own terms so people can still have the option of buying something. I don’t know if that will hurt us in the end, but I think getting the word out is the most financially advantageous thing you can do. The way we did it, people could download it and if they gave above a certain amount, it was considered a pre-order. A lot of people donated below that mark too, so I think it worked. When will the vinyl version of the album be out? Hopefully whenever you’re reading this it will be out. Philadelphia’s (and surrounding area) music scene has been exploding with great music the past couple years. How does it feel to be apart of this scene and what bands do you enjoy playing with and seeing most? Yeah it’s very cool. There’s definitely a community aspect to it that feels more productive and welcoming. Just playing shows on random bills feels weird now. I think we just prefer playing with people we know at places we know. It seems to be gaining traction so that is nice. As far as bands we play with...Well, Everyone Everywhere for the A+ stage banter, Spraynard for lending us equipment all of the time, and Snowing because John has quality stage antics. You’ve hinted at a Secret Somethings Volume 2, can you give some details about it? Yeah it should be out soon. It’s sort of a continuation of the first one, but it’s also totally different. We’re not trying to spill the beans on it entirely, but we hope people will be pleasantly surprised. It, hopefully, marks a drastic change for Hightide overall. You went on a small tour this past January, will you be heading back out on the road any time soon? Yeah that tour was a lot of fun. We’re trying to do a longer tour this summer, preferably with another band. We’ll have the LP with us on this one, so it feels inevitable to do a longer tour to support it.
Dan Black // Landland
Signal To Trust Golden Armour Did you have any ideas for this packaging before choosing the current one? I know there were a few other options that we’d talked about, but I really don’t remember at this point. I think the other ideas had a little bit more to do with the graphic novel themes that run throughout the album, or making the CD sleeve look like a different kind of package other than a CD. The very first thing we’d talked about was an idea Brian had of making the sleeve out of felt, but that ended up not happening for a number of reasons. How did the idea of making it into a diorama come about? I think it had something to do with wanting people to feel like they’d need to destroy the thing to get the most use out of it. We had a list of nouns that we wanted to put somewhere in the artwork, and from there, it just sort of made sense that we’d suggest that people cut them out and arrange them. Did the band members have any input into the design and packaging? Yeah, Brian Severns and I talked a lot about it, and he ran a lot of what we were talking about by the other guys...He had some ideas from the beginning about what he wanted it to be like. I think I just took those and pushed it into something else. Does the artwork reflect the band’s music on that album? Their music is like a giant bear...so yes, it does. Seriously though, I don’t really know anymore. I think that what they had going on was a lot more complicated than what I was probably capable of at the time. I remember at the time being sort of freaked out that I was going to ruin this epic album by making it look dumb. How long did it take to draw all the elements and hand write all of the lyrics? Oh god. I don’t even know anymore...I drew everything at twice the size it is on the CD, which was really helpful when we blew it up for the double LP, so it took even longer than it probably seems. I also edited out a ton of drawings that I just couldn’t fit on there...the list we made (Brian and the band and I) was pretty long
and ridiculous...I tried to hit pretty much everything. Handwriting the lyrics took forever, I remember that. I wanted the whole thing to look really analog. We were printing and assembling them by hand, and the idea of the diorama felt less schticky to me if the whole thing was handdrawn and kind of rougher, so I was really set on writing out all the lyrics. Using one of those ugly typefaces that look like handwriting was never even remotely up for discussion. Did you encounter any problems with screen printing the CD and LP packaging? 1000 is a LOT. That’s the thing I learned. And we were printing everything by hand, with small screens, so we couldn’t gang them up. Usually with this sort of thing, people fit a few of them on one sheet to save time. I was all about taking as long as I could with them. In fact, I’m pretty sure I still owe Modern Radio a handful of the CD sleeves. I guess that would probably fall in the problem category... How long did it take to assemble all the CD packages? We had a pretty streamlined process. Because we were putting them together by hand, and without any fancy die-cutting or anything like that, I built it so that it was essentially just a bunch of rectangles that fold over each other, no tabs or anything like that. So we cut the whole thing on a big hydraulic guillotine, and scored them over at my old college. Pete Mielech and I did a lot of the hand-assembly in the days leading up the release show, while listening to music and talking about girls. Looking back on it, is there anything you would change about the design or screen printing process of it? Yeah, mostly in how the thing is built. Assembling all that stuff by hand seemed like a good idea at the time, or manageable, and it really wasn’t. I think I have a much better handle on that now, though I guess my studiomate would probably disagree. As far as what it looks like, I don’t know...I always want to change everything the second that I can’t anymore, so yeah, probably. Do you think the design of the packaging has help up since it’s release? Maybe? I still like seeing it on the Modern Radio website, so I guess there’s that. I certainly don’t feel ashamed of it...I’m pretty excited when someone brings it up. It was a pretty big deal to me to work on that thing, so I’d like to think that it’s still doing what it needs to.
Check out Landland.net for more images of this packaging and to see other album packaging and posters Dan Black and Landland have created.
Odds are, if you went and looked at your record collection right now, you’d find at least one album with a cover shot by Chris Strong. A resident of Chicago, Strong has shot photos for some of the cities’ most influential albums and every photo matches up perfectly with the music on those albums. Can you imagine American Football’s LP with a different cover photo? If being an accomplished photographer wasn’t enough, Chris is also a skilled graphic designer, often designing the albums he shoots covers for, and he is a frequent collaborator with Tim Kinsella, whom he worked with on the film Orchard Vale and numerous Joan of Arc albums. The following pages only show a portion of the albums Chris has shot photos for. To view more album covers that Chris has done, go to mandexzine.com/chrisstrong
This icon denotes an album that has been made available by the band free of charge or for a donation. Links are on page 48.
Archives On Histories of Childhood Hailing from the University of Northampton, in England, Archives three song EP is a surprising mix of Cap’n Jazz, Algernon Cadwallader, At The Drive-in and Tokyo Police Club. Kind of like all those bands from Philadelphia, but with English accents. These are some of the best three songs I’ve heard from this genre in quite a while and I’m hoping this band sticks around long enough to release a full-length. (Self-Released) Bandname Breakfast Bandname is a trio from Philly that play punk tinged garage rock or garage rock tinged punk. Either way you look at it Breakfast is a catchy album full of memorable hooks that, like the Tremendous Twelve™ at Perkins, will leave you full and satisfied. (Self Aware Records) Betterment Defined I recently came across Betterment on Bandcamp and was drawn in by their sound. For only being a band for a couple months before their first release, they are quite tight and mature sounding. They walk the line between hardcore punk, with the screamed/ shouted dual vocals, and emo, with the quiet parts of their songs. They kind of remind me a bit of lighter/emo-y version Balance and Composure. (Self-Released)
Brave Bird Ready or Not Roughly in the same vein of Algernon Cadwallader and Snowing, Brave Bird doesn’t copy it’s peers, but uses their own unique vocals and guitar play to sound more original. Ready or Not is a good EP and hints at more to come from this band. (Self-Released) Campaign Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Sounding like an east coast version of The Brokedowns, Campaign is steadily killing it with these EPs they’ve been releasing. Their latest EP has them sounding better than ever and I really enjoy the direction they’re headed with their music. (Self-Released) Cattle Drums The Boy Kisser Sessions + 3 This version of The Boy Kisser Sessions, from Tiny Engines, features three extra songs not found on the original. I don’t see how I missed this the first time it was released. It’s spastic and unhinged, yet tight and mellow at the same time and the vocals and music work well against each other. Real good music throughout. (Tiny Engines) Communipaw Big Blue Communipaw is the best background music. Their music is not too heavy and for the most part is pretty mellow. Their latest album, Big Blue, is the same Communipaw that you’ve come to love and never tire of. Big Blue is one of those albums you’ll put on when you can’t decide what else to listen to, because you know it’s good every time. (Self-Released)
Des Ark Don’t Rock The Boat, Sink The Fucker On 2005’s Loose Lips Sink Ships, Des Ark, then a duo, lit a fire under everyone’s feet with some blazing rock ‘n roll. With Don’t Rock The Boat, Sink The Fucker, we now see Amiee Argote striking out on her own with a backing band, but the intensity hasn’t been lost in the time between the two albums. Don’t Rock The Boat, Sink The Fucker is an honest and stellar album that never gets old. (Lovitt Records)
Ghost Heart The Tunnel Ghost Heart put a lot of effort forth into the vocals and harmonies on The Tunnel. A lot of the vocals are one main vocalist, singing repetitive somewhat chant-like verses, while the two background vocalists provide harmonies over what the first vocalist is singing. At times this is kind of cool, but it gets tiring about halfway through the album. I’m sure fans of Panda Bear and the like would enjoy this album immensely. (Friction Records)
Easter Island Better Things Easter Island, from Athens, GA, play dreamy indie rock that plods along for nearly 28 minutes. At that length, this EP tip-toes the line into LP territory. Better Things gives a pretty good taste of the band’s style, with the shoegaze-y indie to a piano ballad that sounds like a Ben Folds slow jam. (Self-Released)
Ghost Robot Ninja Bear Ghost Robot Ninja Bear Ghost Robot Ninja Bear is the newest musical outlet from former Nakatomi Plaza frontman Oscar Albis Rodriguez. GRNB sounds similar to his past band and during the heavier songs, a bit like Foo Fighters. I’ve always partially enjoyed his singing, but always get turned off when he breaks out the screams like on “Pilots”. Thankfully much of this self-titled album is what he does best, slow to mid heavy rock songs. (Self-Released)
Football, etc. The Draft You better pad up for the latest release from Football, etc. because The Draft will tackle you with its female fronted emo goodness. Everything that you liked about their past 7”s has been hail-mary(ed) onto this release and each song is a spectacular touchdown. I can hear a lot of 30° Everywhere on this and I like that, a lot. One of many standouts for me is “Sideline”. It’s got a great build up throughout the song and the tickity-tack of the drums and bass lines make it special. There are no yellow flags thrown on The Draft. Now drop down and give me 20! (Count Your Lucky Stars / strictly no capital letters)
Goldenboy Sleepwalker Goldenboy frontman Shon Sullivan has a rich history with Elliot Smith, often playing and collaborating with the late artist. Sleepwalker is an album full of retro sounding indie pop. The piano plays a big part in the songs and works well by adding a little extra to the songs. Sleepwalker won’t knock your socks off, but it will keep you humming the tunes long after you’ve listened to it. (Eenie Meenie) Hands and Knees Wholesome Sounding like a under-produced Shins band, Hands and Knees are much more than that. There is a certain charm to the songs that is influenced by the
male/female vocals and the swagger put forth on some of the songs. There is plenty for everyone on Wholesome and it would not be hard for two people to find a shared experience on this album. (Midriff) Joan of Arc Oh Brother Oh Brother is a collection of unfinished albums that Tim Kinsella finally puts the finishing touches on. It is a collaboration with 14 musicians, broken into 4 bands. Friend/Enemy, Tim Kinsella with Jazz drummer Frank Rosaly, Tim Kinsella with Rob Lowe, and Mineral Totem. Each part is 20 minutes long and of varying degrees of enjoyment. For the most part, the music is ambient and drawn out, and some parts have an industrial feel. If you’re into Joan of Arc’s more improvised music, Oh Brother is for you. Fans of JOA’s more straight-forward music may have a hard time with this. (Joyful Noise Recordings) King Creosote Thrawn Kenny Anderson aka King Creosote is an independent artist from Scotland and has released over 40 albums. Thrawn is a collection of his past six albums from 2003 to the present. It’s hard to understand how King Creosote is not a household name. The songs are really great and appealing. The sound quality is top notch and is on par with the Top 40 songs of today. Hopefully this collection will reach more listeners on the U.S. side. (Domino) Lights at Sea Palace Walls Michigan’s Lights at Sea are an instrumental band and sound like a faster version of Explosions in the Sky and a less heavy version of Russian Circles. Palace Walls isn’t breaking down any walls of the instrumental genre, but it’s still a good listen. (Barrett Records)
Literature Cincinnati 7” Literature is a power-pop band from Austin with garage rock chops and a jangly sound. This three song 7” is damn catchy and a fun listen. (Square of Opposition) Manitoba Lights Flavor Country You wouldn’t think of Eugene, OR for their ska scene, but Manitoba Lights is out to change that. Their debut release, Flavor County, mixes the intensity of the Suicide Machines with the horn section of any number of 3rd wave ska bands. Considering it’s their first, Flavor Country is a pretty impressive release and I can only expect even better material on future releases. (Self-Released) One Hundred Flowers Mechanical Bride This Austin, TX band known as One Hundred Flowers have released Mechanical Bride, their debut album. They are an up-and-coming band that have the musical fortitude, as witnessed on Mechanical Bride, to make it to the big time. Mechanical Bride is Shins-esque, but with more harmonies. The music is catchy, memorable and has a sing-a-long quality to it. (Stem & Leaf Records) One Win Choice Conveyor When it comes to One Win Choice, you don’t even have to doubt that it’ll be good, because it always is. Their latest full-length, Conveyor, is much of the same that you’ve heard from them in the past. They’ve got a standard formula that works awesome for them and never lets you down. (Jump Start Records)
Phineas and The Lonely Leaves The Kids We Used To Be Starting the album off with a little piano tapping that leads into a full-fledged indie pop song, the music has a very familiar feeling that is warming and friendly. This reminds me greatly of another band that I can’t for the life of me remember, but I’m enjoying it greatly. (Self-Released) The Prizefighters Follow My Sound Minneapolis’s The Prizefighters have been steady rock-steadying for a few years and have finally released their debut album. Follow My Sound is a great representation of their live shows. The whole album is filled with classic head bobbin’ ska, the kind the British and Jamaicans play. MN has a great, but not often heard, ska scene and The Prizefighters are leading the charge. (Self-Released) Restorations Restorations Those dudes in Restorations really fucked themselves with their debut full-length. Seriously. They went out and made this amazing album that for sure will never be topped. Billion dollar record contracts are gonna start pouring in, then sold out arena tours with groupies throwing their panties on stage, then comes the sex, the booze and the coke, then the explosive break-up and finally a cross-over episode of Intervention and The Biggest Loser will finally bring them back together. Come on guys, you’re supposed to save your best work until your 5th or 6th release, milk that success for a few more releases, then hang it up and start a label. (Tiny Engines) Run, Forever The Devil, and Death, and Me At first listen, I thought the vocals seemed kind of wonky and miss-matched with the music. As the album went on, those feelings subsided and I grew to really like this album. The songs are honest and righteous sounding that have a Bright Eyes quality to them. (Solidarity Recordings)
The Sound of Growing Up Drifting Drifting is a pretty happy record. Lots of upbeat tempos and blaring horns. Drifting is a few breakdowns short of a pop-punk album in a very All-American Rejects kind of way. That said, these five songs are really quite good and will see plenty of listens until a follow-up is released. (Self-Released) These Branches This One’s For You New Jersey punk purveyors These Branches recently released their latest album, This One’s For You and if you have a brain, you will pick this up. The music is top notch and the songs evoke the music of Lifetime and Avail. The vocals are the only rough spot on the album. It’s not that they are bad, but if they could just use a bit more experience and training, then this album would be incredible. (Self-Released) Third Place Victory Bedroom Stories Third Place Victory is a melodic hardcore band from the East Coast of England. Bedroom Stories doesn’t reinvent the hardcore wheel, but what they are doing is really good. The female vocals and orchestra strings on “El Capitan” are a nice change of pace and the closing song has an epic ending with large group vocals. (Self-Released) Tin Horn Player Get Busy Dying Featuring ex-members of The Blackout Pact, Only Thunder, Ghost Buffalo, Love Me Destroyer, and Pinhead Circus, Tin Horn Player is most similar to The Blackout Pact, but influenced by folk, Americana and whiskey. Get Busy Dying is a booze soaked jamboree of backwoods country, stained with punk’s roots. (Bermuda Mohawk)
DOWNLOADS: Archives On Histories of Childhood // archives.bandcamp.com Betterment Defined // betterment.bandcamp.com Brave Bird Ready or Not // bravebird.bandcamp.com Campaign Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice! // ifyoumakeit.com/album/campaign/beetlejuice-beetlejuice-beetlejuice Ghost Robot Ninja Bear Ghost Robot Ninja Bear // ghostrobotninjabear.bandcamp.com Literature Cincinnati 7â€? // literature.bandcamp.com Manitoba Lights Flavor Country // manitobalights.bandcamp.com These Branches This Oneâ€™s For You // thesebranches.bandcamp.com The Sound of Growing Up Drifting // thesoundofgrowingup.bandcamp.com Third Place Victory Bedroom Stories // thirdplacevictory.bandcamp.com
PHOTO CREDITS COVER, Pg 4-5, 12-16, 25-29: Joanna Moreno // flickr.com/photos/joh_moreno Pg 22-23: Jenny Jimenez Pg 24: Washington Monument c.1860 // Mathew Brady, Levin Corbin Handy Pg 30-32: David Mallozzi // flickr.com/photos/dwof Pg 36: Diorama // Greg Schall // flickr.com/photos/gregschaal
SUPPORT: Bands: Football, etc. // footballetc.wordpress.com Monument // monumentdc.bandcamp.com Hightide Hotel // hightidehotel.bandcamp.com Record Labels: Evil Weevil // evilweevil.bigcartel.com Tiny Engines // tinyengines.net Black Numbers // theblacknumbers.com Count Your Lucky Stars // cylsrecords.com Top Shelf Records // topshelfrecords.org Side With Us // sidewithus.com/records People: Eric Elbogen (Say Hi) // sayhitoyourmom.com Chris Strong // chrisstrong.com Posters: Todd Slater // toddslater.net Ads: Count Your Lucky Stars // cylsrecords.com Modern-Radio // modern-radio.com Lovitt Records // lovitt.com Saddle Creek // saddlecreek.com Black Numbers // theblacknumbers.com Side With Us // sidewithus.com Tiny Engines // tinyengines.net Asian Man Records // asianmanrecords.com 10xyourcity // 10xyourcity.com
Labels: Barrett Records // barrettrecords.net Bermuda Mowhawk // bermudamohawkproductions.com Count Your Lucky Stars // cylsrecords.com Death to False Hope // deathtofalsehoperecords.com Domino // dominorecordco.com Eenie Meenie Records // eeniemeenie.com Friction Records // frictionrecords.net Joyful Noise Recordings // joyfulnoiserecordings.com Jump Start Records // jumpstartrecords.com Lovitt Records // lovitt.com Midriff Records // midriffrecords.com Self Aware Records // selfawarerecords.com Stem & Leaf Records // myspace.com/stemandleafrecords strictly no capital letters // sncl.collective-zine.co.uk Solidarity Recordings // solidarityrecordings.com Square of Opposition // squareofopposition.com Tiny Engines // tinyengines.net