issue 27 An Interview with Dan Schwartz of Good Old War Anatomy of a Takeaway Show Lana Del Rey
STAFF QUOTES: "If you ruin this magazine I will slap your face off of your face." –Emily Cassel (Journalism)
THE TEAM: President Jeff Curry Editor In Chief Emily Cassel Art Director Dave Tschiegg
–Jeff Curry (Behavioral Neuroscience)
Web Director Edwin Morris Marketing Director Caitlin Kullberg
Reviews Editors Leslie Fowle Bill Shaner
Contributors Nick Calvino, Jeff Curry, Jacob Farber, Shea Geyer, Nick Hugon
Photo Director Jenna Ross
Marketing Staff Nathan Goldman, Sachin Mitra, Carisa Tong, Hollen Zimmerman
Video Director Christina Spleen
Web Team Alex Bragagnolo, Justine Lowe, Ali Ukani
Copy Editor Tom Casey Staff Writers Shea Geyer, Nathan Goldman, Sammy Kaufman, Ryan Kehr, Darien Lombardi, Cara McGrath, Erica Moser, Lauren Moquin, Mackenzie Nichols, Dayton O’Connor, Katie Price, Allison Walker, Carolyn Willander, Dinorah Wilson
masthead Features Director Alyssa Mastrocco
"I burned down Gnomon Copy."
–Nick Hugon (International Affairs)
Features Editor Colin Peters
Interviews Coordinator Chris Stoppiello Interviews Editors Nick Hugon Reviews Director Suzie Conway
"I have too much hair on my chest to wear baby oil."
–Dave Tschiegg (Graphic Design)
Art & Design Chris Bowers, Brian Cantrell, Ellen Duff, Abbie Hanright, Anne Latini, Ryan Ma, Casey Price, Wendy Schiller, Carisa Tong, Xue Ao Zhang
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THE COVER: Design by Dave Tschiegg & Brian Cantrell (Graphic Design) Photo courtesy of Bill Silva Entertainment
WHATâ€™S INSIDE: 04 Calendar
12 is the New 30 Female Singers who Sound like Children
15 08 TOC Show Reviews
Battle of the Bands
Sleepover Shows Ostentacious Q&A with the Makers Intimacy
Lana Del Rey
The Internet Has Created A Monster
Q&A with Chad Stokes
The Practical Irony of Big Names in Small Venues
It's the End of the World Breakups and Makeups
Good Old War
An Interview with Dan Schwartz
Take Away Shows Taken Away
Day in the Life Tonight Alive
Matt Pryor Interview
Just a Taste Of
Will Call or Bust
Jam Bands For Dummies
35 Find Biebz!
Mar 2 Tennis w/ Hospitality BMH
3 Doctor Doom Orchestra MED
4 Dirty Dishes w/ Team Spirit & Magic Magic GS
5 Fanfarlo w/ Young Man PA
6 Kaiser Chiefs HOB
7 The Black Keys TDG
8 Atlas Sound w/ White Rainbow & Carnivores PA
9 Anti-Flag w/ White Rainbow BMH
10 John K. Samson & Provincial Band BMH
11 Brit Floyd HOB
12 The Wonder Years w/ Polar Bear Club RY
13 Les Miserables BOH
14 Dropkick Murphys HOB
15 EMA BMH
16 Dropkick Murphys HOB
17 Plushgun w/ Death of the Cool MEU
18 Donovan Frankenreiter w/ Adam Ezra PA
19 Justice HOB
20 The Postelles w/ Fort Lean GS
21 Odd Future HOB
22 Dr. Dog HOB
23 Ben Kweller w/ Sleeper Agent & the Dig PA
24 Jenny Owen Youngs w/ Aunt Martha MEU
25 Dave Days MEU
26 Band of Skulls w/ We Are Augustines PA
27 Delta Spirit w/ Waters PA
28 Andrew W.K. PA
29 Goyte w/ Kimbra HOB
30 The Joy Formidable w/ A Place to Bury Strangers PA
31 WILD FLAG w/ the Labor Pool PA
KOM ENDS check out the latest dates online at tastemakersmag.com/calendar
1 Pat Green HOB
The Black Keys
3/7 @ TD Garden by Alyssa Mastrocco (English) I was raised on Chicago blues, but, unfortunately, many of those artists are long gone. Thankfully, the Black Keys serve as an adequate placeholder. Their new album, El Camino, came out in December, so you're guaranteed a healthy dose of that along with the rest of their catalog.
3/15 @ Brighton Music Hall by Nathan Goldman (Computer Science/Cognitive Psychology) Erika M. Anderson, better known by her initials EMA, is having a terrific year after releasing her debut solo album Past Life Martyred Saints last May to widespread acclaim, and with good reason: not only does her music combine the best parts of everything from folk to noise rock to slowcore, but it's also filled to the brim with intense and sometimes even painful emotion. Come to Brighton Music Hall on the fifteenth and let it all out.
The Pretty Reckless
4/10 @ Paradise Rock Club by Katie Price (Journalism/Music Industry) If seeing Cindy Lou Who/Jenny Humphrey stomp her way around a stage in stripper heels and lingere isn't enough of an incentive, The Pretty Reckless are actually pretty fun to watch too.
Apr 1 Of Montreal w/ Lonely Dear & Kishi Bashi PA
2 Cursive w/ Cymbals Eat Guitars & Conduits MED
3 Nero HOB
4 SBTRKT PA
5 Mastodon & Opeth OR
6 Nada Surf w/ An Horse PA
7 Of Monsters and Men w/ Lay Low BMH
8 Martina Fijak ISGM
9 The Ting Tings w/ MNDR PA
10 The Horrors w/ Small Black PA
11 The Horrors w/ Small Black PA
12 Snow Patrol OR
13 Hot Chelle Rae w/ Electric Touch PA
14 Say Anything, Kevin Devin & Fake Problems HOB
15 The Greater the Risk w/ Car Party & Emerson MEU
16 The Jezebels BMH
17 Local H BMH
18 Trampled by Turtles w/ These United States PA
19 Lucero PA
20 10 ft. Ganga Plant w/ Chadwick Stokes MED
21 fun. HOB
22 Portugal. The Man HOB
23 Rodrigo Y Gabriela w/ C.U.B.A. OR
24 We Were Promised Jetpacks w/ Breton PA
25 Waylon Speed MEU
26 Good Old War w/ The Belle Brigade PA
27 Kina Grannis PA
28 WU LYF BMH
29 Yann Tiersen w/ Felix RY
30 La Dispute w/ Balance & Composure & All Get Out MED
Say Anything, Kevin Devine, Fake Problems
4/14 @ HOB By Katie Price (Journalism/Music Industry)
In all honesty, I couldnâ€™t care less about Say Anything's new material, but the memories of their earliest shows touring on ...Is A Real Boy keep me coming back for more. If there's an opportunity to scream along to "Admit It" or "Woe," you can count me in. Don't miss out on this opportunity to be 16 again!
Key Brighton Music Hall BMH Great Scott GS House of Blues HOB Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum ISGM Middle East Downstairs MED
Middle East Upstairs MEU Orpheum OR Paradise PA Royal RY TD Garden TDG
L O C A L P clockwise from top left: Active Child by Ryan Kehr (English) The Summer Set by Jenna Ross (Music Industry) Manchester Orchestra by Christina Spleen (Comp Sci/Digital Art) The Kooks by Jenna Ross (Music Industry) ---------Snapped a shot worth showing off? Email it to TastemakersPhoto@gmail.com ---------6
P H O T O S
@ Brighton Music Hall, February 2nd Photo and Written by Alyssa Mastrocco (English) Nick Zammuto is a fairly normal-looking guy. He’s not terribly tall, nor particularly young or old. I’m not sure how many people would pick him out in a crowd as being a talented musician. When he took the stage at Brighton Music Hall on February 6th, it was clear that his appearance does him no justice. The show opened with a short film by Emily McMehen called Achantè about Haitian voodoo. Zammuto had scored the film and his musical style was clearly identifiable in the music. Between the film and Zammuto’s set was something weird in an unpleasant way. Lenkadu is a duo whose sound is hard to describe. The female vocalist’s breathy vocals were barely audible over the tracks that were coming out of a number of devices on her set-up. Backing her up was a single other musician who seems to have been found in his mother’s garage, banging away at a drum kit. It was an odd combination and definitely not for me, but the rest of the crowd seemed to enjoy it. After now-defunct folktronica band The Books found their Way Out, as the last album was aptly titled, Nick Zammuto took the sound that he and the rest of The Books had built and morphed it into something more complex. The Brighton Music Hall show was Zammuto’s third public performance as a band, but the chemistry wouldn’t indicate that. Even as a new band, however, the individuals, especially Gene Back who played with the Books, and the Zammuto brothers – Mikey and Nick – were not unfamiliar with each other. Nick Zammuto’s voice is markedly different in this project. He uses more vocal distortion since his delicate, quiet singing style would probably be harder to hear over live drums, which the Books had not played with before. The distortions only added to the depth of the musical compositions, which are of an even higher caliber than what we’ve heard from Zammuto before. The set seemed short, but it wasn’t unpleasantly so. The band played mostly new songs, most notably “Too Late to Topologize” and “F U C3PO” that will appear on their album to be released on April 3rd, with a few classic Books songs like “All You Need is a Wall” and “Classy Penguin” peppered in. Overall, the band seemed comfortable and ready to grow and develop as a new project for all four members.
Nick Zummuto of Zammuto and recently defunct band The Books
@ Wally’s Café Jazz Club, February 7th Check Out more show reviews online at tastemakersmag.com!
Written by Bill Shaner (Anthropology) There's a hidden gem right around the corner. Wally's Stepchildren, an impossibly stacked funk/ soul/jazz fusion band, has played Wally's Jazz Cafe on the corner of Mass Ave and Columbus every Tuesday night for 15 years now. The band is also known as Wally’s Tuesday Funk, or naturally shortened to WTF. I got the chance to see them last Tuesday, as did the rest of the packed bar, filled with what looked like very regular regulars. The lineup rotates but regularly, but the band often features local all stars. These musicians include the likes of Jeff Lockhart, a Berklee guitar
We love shows as much as you do. Want to review or snap pictures at a concert? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jack’s Mannequin with Jukebox the Ghost, Allen Stone @ House of Blues Boston, February 3rd
Photos and Written by Cara Mcgrath (Graphic Design)
Jack's Mannequin (top) & with Bobby Anderson (bottom)
professor that's played with Soulive and recorded with Beyoncé, local sax impresario James Calendra, and Sam Kininger Band members Amy Bowles on keys and Aaron Bellamy on bass. Upon entering the bar, I was greeted with a cover of James Brown's "Ain't it Funky Now," the whole bar shouting out "Ain't it Funky" after Calendra lead the band through the hook. The next song was "Look-Ka Py Py" by The Meters. This is where I got my first taste of Jeff Lockhart's underrated soloing. He sits at the corner of the stage and plays left-handed with a righty guitar turned upside down. He started a 10 minute solo with a few bars of random plodding, like he was feeling
By the size of the line outside of the House of Blues on February 3, anyone could have guessed that a great show would be underway that evening. Jack’s Mannequin, supported by opening acts Allen Stone and Jukebox the Ghost, drew a sold-out crowd. Allen Stone and his five band mates were the first to perform. An unfamiliar group to most of the crowd, their sound was funky, soulful and original. Although only performing five songs, front man Stone was easily able to psyche up the crowd. Jukebox the Ghost hit the stage next and was very well received by the crowd. The trio kicked off their set with “Schizophrenia,” followed by a pair of new songs from their upcoming album. The chemistry on stage was impeccable throughout the set, and they closed with fanfavorite “Good Day.” For a band that lacks a bassist, they put on a hell of a performance. Excellent keyboardists in the first two acts eased the crowd into the incredible talent and charisma of lead singer/pianist Andrew McMahon of Jack’s Mannequin. They performed a great mix of songs from all three of their LPs, including several tracks from their latest release, People and Things. The band opened up with “Bruised,” a song from their 2005 debut album, Everything in Transit, followed by two new tunes, “People, Running” and “Amelia Jean.” A few other uptempo tracks followed, until McMahon slowed things down with “Hammers and Strings.” The front man gave an emotional, chilling performance
around for the groove before he got started. Then he got started in a big way. He rarely played fast, opting instead for thick, slow licks with an incredibly mature voice. He repeated the licks that felt right over and over, each repetition provoking louder cheers from the crowd until he crescendoed to a halt. The band had to go through the hook twice before the crowd calmed down. Next was Bowles, who went up and down scales with four note chords, making complex patterns look easy. Though less of a crowd pleaser than Lockhart, the head-nodding Berklee students in front suggested she was onto something special.
as the House of Blues disco balls spun, igniting the entire venue. Things picked back up with several more upbeat songs, including “I’m Ready” and “Bloodshot,” followed by the extremely uplifting “Swim.” The band’s piano and guitar technician accompanied them on acoustic guitar for “My Racing Thoughts,” the opening number from the most recent album. Jack’s Mannequin finished strong with “The Resolution” and “The Mixed Tape.” McMahon retook the stage along with guitarist Bobby Anderson and performed a new, slow song, “Restless Dream.” Bobby played the tune beautifully on electric guitar, while Andrew’s haunting lyrics permeated through the venue. The rest of the band rejoined the pair for “Dark Blue,” and finally, “La La Lie,” with McMahon debuting his talent on the harmonica. Before the night was over, McMahon pointed out the significance of this particular show. He explained that this was the largest concert on The People and Things Tour, and that Boston is the biggest Jack’s Mannequin town they have. Andrew was born not far from Boston but never spent much time in the state, so he enjoys coming back to Massachusetts on tour. Andrew McMahon’s outstanding vocal abilities, piano skills, and stage presence continue to impress me every time I see him live. And as McMahon skillfully showed, nothing gets a crowd going like a good stage dive off of a Baldwin baby grand piano.
After a short break, the Stepchildren came back with a minimal thirty-minute cover of "People Make the World Go Round" by the Stylistics, followed by an original song to change the pace. The band often plays covers of more popular alternative rock songs, most notably "Smells Like Teen Spirit," though they stuck to funk that night, which is fine by me. A band that plays this well on a Tuesday night without a cover charge is almost unfair, and it certainly beats the normal Tuesday Netflix-to-Twitter-to-Reddit-to-Facebookand-back routine.
I NTE R V I E W
Photo and written by Suzie Conway (Communications)
esides playing for hundreds of screaming fans or a few unruly bar patrons, musicians passing through Boston have another option to showcase their music. Since 2009, Sleepover Shows has been producing unique takeaway-style performances to showcase the talent, versatility, and creativity of the bands that they love. From somebody’s closet, to an airy rooftop, or a snowy field, any location is fair game for musicians to play sets of their own songs to share with fans. The three orchestrators of this series are Kelly and Rob Ribera and Aviv Rubinstein. And after releasing over 100 shows, they have it down to a science. I sat in on a Sleepover Show with up-and-coming band Larcenist—this one in a motorcycle mechanic’s garage in Somerville.
Tastemakers Magazine (TMM): What was your inspiration starting Sleepover Shows? Aviv Rubenstein (AR): We sort of came at it from all different directions. Rob had sort of been courting David Byrne to do a live video. But it didn’t really work out. I had been letting bands stay at my apartment when they were in town because I am in a band and we got that kind of kindness when we were on tour. So it sort of came together almost at the same time when we got a “no” from David Byrne. So I said, well why not do it all centrally at this old apartment in Brookline? Rob Ribera (RR): Yeah that’s pretty much it. We started filming bands after their shows late at night, before they left. Kelly Ribera (KR): So then we talked about how it would be really easy to film bands when they were there if I were there too. TMM: What do you think makes a good performance space? RR: A good performance space is one where a band is really comfortable. We filmed a band inside of a closet and that turned out really well because the band was totally into it. We just filmed a band out in a snowy field, on, like, a raft (Laughs). We filmed people everywhere, on a rooftop, all over the place. It doesn’t really matter 10
as long as we have enough time with the band so they can be themselves. It doesn’t matter where we are. TMM: So has your relationship with music changed since starting Sleepover Shows? RR: My personal relationship with music has definitely changed. Not that I didn’t listen to music before, but I’m constantly listening to all the new bands that are coming out and coming through town, if only for the reason that I’m the person who makes all the contacts and all that stuff. It becomes very easy to figure out the bands that you like a lot more and it’s easier now to see who’s doing original work. TMM: Have you had a personal favorite show to shoot? AR: I have two sides of that. I mentioned mewithoutyou and they’re one of my favorite bands of all time, so doing that was a really big deal for me. They were so open and so nice, they even delayed the opening of their show so they could finish the set. KR: Plus they also played while we were walking, it was like a moving troubadour group (Laughs). AR: Yeah, on the other hand there were bands I wasn’t super familiar with that I’ve become huge fans of ever since, like Emperor X, Lady Lamb
the Beekeeper and Pearl and the Beard. I knew enough to know I wanted to do a show with them. They’re so amazing and good friends of ours now. RR: Pearl and the Beard, they were one of the first bands that we contacted that we didn’t know beforehand or had a connection with through Aviv touring. We just called them up, after only having done five or six shows at this point, and they were totally into it. TMM: Do you have any future plans for the series? RR: We don’t just want to be the ‘indie rock blog.’ We’re all interested in different styles: classic, blues, jazz. We hope to do a lot more of that. AR: I want a metal band. (Laughs) KR: We should do that! We’ve yet to do a metal band or a rapper, but we’ll have to do that soon.
Sleepover Shows recently released their 100th show with Deer Tick. To watch Sleepover Shows, visit their website sleepovershows. com. Like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @SleepoverShows to stay up to date. New shows are released every Monday and Wednesday.
The Internet Has Created a Monster Written by Leslie Fowle (English/Journalism) Illustration by Wendy Schiller (Digital Art/Animation)
With inflated lips and an inflated reputation, but apparently without much actual talent, hipster goddess Lana Del Rey has successfully duped her intended audience, the “indie” community. It’s a community that prides itself on seeing past the gimmicks of pop stars and chart-toppers, yet it’s doubtful anyone with a worthy moustache would have predicted Del Rey’s utter crash and burn during her recent appearance on Saturday Night Live on January 14th. The performance was nothing short of painfully awkward. Del Ray’s stilted twirls and lurching vocals could not live up to the carefully constructed persona surrounding her; that is, one of a sexy, hip temptress who despite her talents, cannot steer clear of vices like sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. While she received polite applause from the audience in New York, the Internet almost immediately blew up with backlash, even from quasi-celebrities. Actress and part-time singer Juliette Lewis tweeted, “Wow watching this ‘singer’ on SNL is like watching a 12 yearold [sic] in their bedroom when theyre pretending to sing and perform #signofourtimes.” Even Brian Williams joined in on the fun, calling Del Ray’s performance “one of the worst outings in SNL History.” All this coverage from indie media aggregators and blogs like “Brooklyn Vegan,” “The Lefsetz Letter” and “Gawker,” and hardly any stopped to recognize that they were essentially just spitting back what they were all gobbling up just months before. Either that, or they were all too ashamed to admit it. Particularly guilty of this revisionist attitude, of course, was Pitchfork, the notoriously fickle music superblog. Pitchfork’s Ian Cohen had awarded Del Rey’s “Video Games” best new track just four months ago. Del Rey’s latest album, Born
to Die, due January 31, however, recently scored a measly 5.5 on the Pitchfork scale. Pitchfork’s role as a tastemaker inevitably had all it’s minions, and apparently SNL’s Lorne Michaels, believing Lana Del Rey to be the next big thing. And boy, do hipsters resent being wrong. With the release of Born to Die just around the corner, the blogosphere has produced review after review deriding Del Rey for her artifice and clearly corporate-constructed persona, something they claim to have seen all along. What’s most frustrating is the album will probably do well on the ground. For every quibbling music blogger there is the equally irritating layman who will take Born to Die at face value, saying something like, “Oh, but ‘Video Games’ is just so good.” But is a song
good when its goodness comes from everyone but the person who has her moniker on it? This is where Lana Del Rey has found a loophole in the system. She, or her agents, realized that live performance is not where the action is, it’s the Internet. She has already changed her name from Lizzie Grant to the ambiguously Spanish “Lana Del Rey” and erased her old releases under her real name from the web completely. You can be whoever you want to be online. Unfortunately, as long as the Internet is still around, artists (or con-artists) like Lana Del Rey will be too. That being said, there will also always be actual talent. It’s just going to have to be up to the discerning people like us to know the difference.
a q&a with
Chadwick Stokes of Dispatch & State Radio
Written by Cara McGrath (Graphic Design) Photography by Alexandra Anfuso (Music Industry)
hadwick Stokes is an extremely hardworking musician and social activist. He is currently involved in three bands: State Radio, Dispatch, and The Pintos; and his non-profit organization, Calling All Crows, which he co-founded in 2008 with his wife and tour manager, Sybil Gallagher. Between his musical and philanthropic commitments, the Sherborn, MA native has quite a balancing act on his hands. Within the past year, Chad has been especially hard at work with his music. Dispatch embarked on their first tour in almost a decade, and released the self-titled Dispatch EP, along with the concert/documentary DVD, Dispatch: Live from Red Bull Arena. State Radio spent 2011 dedicated to the rigorous touring that has occupied the band’s schedule for the past few years. A live CD was released this winter, Chadwick Stokes and Friends Live at The Armory, with concert material from the 2009 Calling All Crows Benefit Weekend. But what was most noteworthy for Stokes, music-wise, was the release of his solo album, Simmerkane II, and a subsequent tour with his new backing band, The Pintos. As if this wasn’t enough for one man to juggle over the past several months, Stokes finished 2011 with the Calling All Crows’ 4th Annual Benefit Show on December 10 at Paradise Rock Club. The concert included the stellar lineup of the Parkington Sisters, The White Buffalo, and Chadwick Stokes and The Pintos. After wrapping up sound check, Chad hopped off stage, ran upstairs, and sat down with Tastemakers to discuss Calling All Crows, The Pintos, and Simmerkane II.
Tastemakers Magazine (TMM): So, this is your 4th Annual Calling All Crows show. How has it grown since the first year? Chadwick Stokes (CS): I don’t know, it still feels quite new but the organization has done so much. The shows get a little bit bigger every year, but this year musically we have The Pintos. We have an acoustic album that we’re playing largely from, so whereas the other shows it’s just been me kind of playing whatever from State Radio or Dispatch, now we have this new batch of songs. Organizationally, we’ve done way more service projects this year than the year before, and we do many more hours and more people are involved, so the service projects are much bigger over the course of the years of the four shows.
You can download State Radio’s new single, “Roadway Broken,” online now at www.stateradio.com. Dispatch’s forthcoming album, entitled “Circles Around the Sun,” is the band’s first full-length studio album since 2000 and is coming soon. The 4th Annual Calling All Crows’ Benefit Weekend in Boston was a huge success. Over $28,000 was raised for the Calling All Crows foundation, all of which was donated to two women’s shelters in Afghanistan. To get involved, visit www.callingallcrows.org.
Photo Courtesy of Foundations Artists Management
TMM: What made you want to start Calling All Crows in the first place? CS: I guess it was just a way to harness some of the energy that was at the shows. Because you can see it in peoples eyes, you know they care, and sometimes people just need, as far as service goes, just a little gateway to get involved. TMM: How much of tonight’s proceeds go to charity? CS: All of it. TMM: So you said you’re with The Pintos tonight, your new band for the solo tour. How easy or difficult was it for you to make a whole new band and get them all together? CS: It’s always hard. I’ve been lucky with this one, you know. My brother’s in it, my brother’s ex-girlfriend is in
it, and then my friend’s boyfriend, so it was all friends and that made it a lot easier. Plus there are more of us; for State Radio there are three of us. Everyone’s crucial, but especially in trios you can look forever to fill up that much more of the sound, but if you spread it out there’s less pressure on each person. So that helped. TMM: What made you want to put out a solo CD? CS: I guess I just had a bunch of songs that felt kind of personal and that were a little slower than State Radio. TMM: Rather than State Radio’s rock aspect. CS: Yeah, yeah.
TMM: You mentioned personal experiences; I know you did some train hopping. Is that an old hobby of yours or just something new? CS: Yeah… Well, since high school. I’ve always been kind of obsessed with trains. I had those toy ones as a kid. Lionel I think they’re called. And they were actually my dad’s before that. We grew up loving trains and traveling, so when we got old enough to run fast enough to catch them, we were gone. TMM: One of my favorites off of your new album is “Spider and Gioma.” I was wondering, what inspired you to write that? CS: Well we grew up with bees on the farm. And Spider and Gioma is like a skin thing. My brother, Ben, always had a little red dot underneath his right eye and it was called a
“Spider and Gioma.” So I just started singing it one day and then was like, ‘How can I use that in a song?’ And then I was like, ‘Oh, maybe it could be two characters? And then maybe it could be about bees.’ Because I had just been to a lecture about bees and I had bees on my mind. TMM: So, what can fans expect from State Radio and Dispatch in the near future? CS: A couple albums - an album from each of them. TMM: And you have the Dispatch European tour, right? CS: Yeah. The albums will come out probably a little bit after that. Actually, hopefully State Radio will come out sooner, maybe this spring, and then the Dispatch one in the summer or fall.
F E ATU R E
oogle Elizabeth Butters and what comes up is a picture of a young woman in a peachcolored, grandmotherly dress with a bow in her hair, grasping a rifle and glaring at the camera. This image parallels her vocal style. At the 2011 Philadelphia Folk Festival, Butters came onstage wearing an old-fashioned yellow dress and red heels. Her introduction was soft-spoken and timid. She began singing in a voice that was unusual due to its lack of emotion, vibrato, and overall effort. She sounded like a 12-year-old girl. The experience grew more bizarre when, in the same style, she sang Hot Tuna’s “99 Year Blues,” which opens with, “bring me my pistol and three round balls / I’m gonna shoot everybody I don’t like at all.” Yet without the lyrics, it would simply sound like a cute anti-folk song in the style of Kimya Dawson. She then sang the murder ballad “Rose Connelly,” which describes, “I drew my saber through her / It was a bloody night / I threw her in the river / It was a dreadful sight.” Her performance was like listening to a morbid nursery rhyme (think “Jack and Jill” and “Rock-aBye Baby”) or watching a deranged little girl in a horror movie. Musicians who sing dark lyrics with childlike naivety seem rare, but there is a trend of female performing artists with childlike voices. A prime
Female Singers Who Sound Like Children Written by Erica Moser (Journalism)
example is Joanna Newsom, an American singersongwriter, harpist, and pianist. Her voice sounds like a crossbreed of Lisa Simpson and the Siamese cats from Lady and the Tramp. On “Sadie,” a track on her debut album The Milk-Eyed Mender, her voice alternates between forlorn lamb and broken squeaky toy. While these analogies allude to versatility, none of them sounds much like a compliment. Yet Newsom’s three albums have received largely positive reviews and her music is compositionally sound. The incongruity between the soft harp plucking and bizarre vocal intonation is not jarring, but hauntingly beautiful. Newsom proves that opposites attract. By her third album, Have One on Me, Newsom had damaged her voice, so she acquired a vibrato and evolved to a more mature, softer, and less abrasive style. Her energy is still present, but it is more harnessed. She is an example of an artist who has changed but remained consistently good. There are numerous other performers who have dabbled in the art of childlike singing, for example, the sister duo CocoRosie. On “Lemonade” and “By Your Side,” Sierra “Rosie”
Casady provides high-pitched interludes and background vocals that bring back the cat analogies. “Bloody Twins,” perhaps the creepiest of their tracks, has the tonal effect of a ballerina music box in need of an exorcism. Another such singer is Linda Hagood, who takes the practice of grown women speaking in baby voices to music on tracks like “NeNeNeNeNeNe” and “Push my Button,” which feature childlike noises and squealing. And then there is April March, whose hit “Chick Habit” was featured in the films But I’m a Cheerleader and Death Proof. The song has a nasal quality with strained, unsupported high notes and harsh vowels. With these singers, one senses that they could be “good” singers with proper training – or simply the urge to sing in a different manner – but that they prefer the unconventional route. Those whose voices best suit their music – namely, Newsom – are those who display instrumental prowess to balance it. While such singers’ voices are often described as “scary” and the effect can become grating, there is a certain kind of novelty suitable for an occasional listen.
Thanks for calling us the biggest band in the WORLD
Battle of the Bands Written by Mackenzie Nichols (journalism/music industry) Illustration by Casey Price (business)
It’s no surprise that the music business is constantly plagued with ridiculous feuds between bands. When they happen, it’s just another way that bands make a name for themselves by entertaining their fans. The lethal mix of long hours in the recording studio and the stressful climb to the top of the charts can bring out an animalistic side in many artists, and thus tensions are bound to arise when an opposing band appears threatening. This notion is not a recent one by any means; the issue of feuding bands dates back to the 1950s when Joe Tex accused James Brown of copying his “stage moves” and later mocked him publicly during a performance. Brown later fought back by firing a gun at him, which, of course, is a totally reasonable reaction. Nowadays, feuds are mostly contained to angst-y social media battles via Twitter or sometimes-aggressive outbursts at awards shows. Thankfully these feuds don’t end on violent terms like the Brown vs. Tex incident. Instead,
they give the public a form of dramatic entertainment that unravels right before its eyes. The most recent feud occurred this fall when Rolling Stone published a cover story article in its January issue about the rise of The Black Keys. Drummer Patrick Carney stated in the article, "Rock & roll is dying because people became O.K. with Nickelback being the biggest band in the world. So they became O.K. with the idea that the biggest rock band in the world is always going to be shit." No doubt, a pretty low blow for Nickelback and a pretty gutsy statement for Carney considering there had been no previous tension between the two bands. Nickelback responded to Carney via Twitter, stating, “Thanks to the drummer in The Black Keys [sic] calling us the Biggest Band in the World in Rolling Stone. Hehe,” a somewhat shocking reaction showing that it’s possible for Nickelback to have a sense of humor. Rap phenomenon Eminem unleashed his sense of humor and, perhaps unintentionally, fired up a feud between himself and late, pop icon Michael Jackson when he released his single “Just Lose It” in 2004. It’s hard to believe that
Eminem didn’t think he would get a hit from Jackson with the lyrics “I've done touched on everything but little boys/ That's not a stab at Michael/ That's just a metaphor...” but he stated to publicists that he had always been in awe of Jackson’s work. Eminem’s video for the single further mocked Jackson and the King of Pop’s response included a request for the video to be banned. However, the joke is on Eminem for this feud; Jackson ended up buying the rights to a stake of the rapper’s catalog. It doesn’t come to much of a shock that most feuds sprout within the heavy metal/rock industry, a side effect of the heavy amount of testosterone, the fast-paced lifestyle and the overall harshness of the music itself. A prime example of hard rock feuds is the one between Guns N’ Roses and Nirvana during the 90s. It started with Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain declining Guns N’ Roses singer Axl Rose’s offer to join them on tour and boiled over at the 1992 MTV Music Video Awards, where the two publicly showed their hatred. It was a reasonable venue to stick out one’s chest and fight to the death in front
of millions of people who would give them the attention they wanted. Cobain stated that Rose was “such an egotistical person that he thinks that the whole world owes him something,” while Rose responded by dragging Cobain’s wife Courtney Love into the mix, ranting about her and the Nirvana front man at a Guns N’ Roses concert. Love reacted at the MTV Music Video Awards by sarcastically suggesting that Rose be the godfather to her daughter, Frances Bean, and Rose responded to Cobain stating “If you don’t shut your woman up, I am going to take her down to the pavement.” Ouch, dude. The list of famous feuds is endless, and perhaps the length of this signals that most bands just need to release their aggression. And when it comes to the arena in which these artists fight, we can all agree that violence is not the answer, but it definitely makes for good entertainment.
Ostentatious Intimacy The Practical Irony of Big Names in Small Places On November 23, 2010, the day after Kanye West released the critically lauded My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, the firebrand rapper announced that he was going to have a show in New York City. This wasn’t very surprising. The strange part was that West’s album release party would take place at the 550-capacity Bowery.
It isn’t too odd these days for massive acts more suited for stadium shows or festival crowds to stage intimate club outings in tribute to humbler beginnings. On the surface, it sounds nice. Once upon a time, almost all bands were cute, little indie things playing on cramped, grubby stages; and most bands – the ones that “made it,” at
Written by Nick Hugon (International Affairs) Illustrations by Brian Cantrell (Graphic Design)
least – are proud of those roots. The venues sure are. I know Boston’s own Paradise Rock Club proudly flaunts the day (December 13, 1980, to be exact) that a little group from Dublin called U2 graced its stage. Somehow, I have a hard time believing Kanye West had sentimentality in mind when he booked the Bowery. Tickets went for $100, and according to Stereogum, sold out in about 40 seconds. Soon afterwards, more were available online on Craigslist, usually for around $1200 a pop. Clearly, West’s outing at the Bowery wasn’t about nostalgia. Why the public stunt, then? Why not just have a highbrow party over at JayZ’s place with rivers of champagne and golden statues of angels? First of all, Kanye West is Kanye West, and public stunts are kind of his thing. But this kind of douchebaggery isn’t limited to Ye-dom. The fact of the matter is that intimacy is unbelievably fashionable. At West’s Beautiful Dark Twisted Bowery, celebrities abounded. Aziz Ansari moshed with the lucky mortals that got in as P. Diddy, ?uestlove and many more enjoyed the performance from the balcony. British alt-rock-gods-in-the-making Radiohead also downsized from their typical venues to play two shows in New York’s iconic Roseland Ballroom on the 28th and 29th of September in 2011 to promote their latest album, The King of Limbs. The two shows hosted a total of nearly 6500 fans, a meager audience for the band’s first two American shows in almost two years. Radiohead charged a fairly high price for tickets as well, totaling $80 after handling fees. According to SeatGeek, resale tickets ranged from just under $1000 at the absolute lowest to an astronomical high of over $5000. The average resale ticket fell somewhere around the bafflingly expensive $2230. Couple a tall price with the rarity of the event itself, and Radiohead had themselves an ultra-exclusive celebrity extravaganza, with Cameron Diaz, Kid Rock, Edward Norton, Olivia Wilde, Coldplay’s Chris Martin and numerous other notable faces in attendance. These rare, intimate and thus supremely fashionable performances inevitably lead to financial catastrophes for fans if not properly
regulated, as in the case of Radiohead. To the band’s credit, they are now staring down a proper North American tour at more realistically sized venues. But the Roseland shows now seem nothing more than a fashion stunt, and regrettably, a bit of a cash grab. In Radiohead’s case, the bumbled regulation of ticket reselling was an indignity to their scores of fans. Radiohead didn’t act apart from a too-littletoo-late will-call implementation that led to some fans being scammed into buying exorbitantly priced tickets that wouldn’t even get them into the show. The same tragic scamming was rampant in the build-up to LCD Soundsystem’s disastrously executed last-show-ever at Madison Square Garden in 2011, where nearly the entire arena was booked by sharks seeking a massive profit by reselling huge quantities of tickets on Stubhub. LCD Soundsystem remained loyal to their fans, however, by bending over backwards to schedule four shows at Terminal 5 leading up to the MSG show with better ticket regulation. As I mentioned, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin attended one of the Radiohead shows in New York, and I have to wonder if he may have been a bit underwhelmed with what Thom Yorke & Co. had to offer. Coldplay kicked off their massive tour supporting new record Mylo Xyloto with an early December show at London’s Dingwalls nightclub; a venue with a meager capacity of 500 that the band had visited in 1998, two years prior to the release of their massively successful debut LP, Parachutes. At the show, Martin joked about some common Coldplay stereotypes, saying, “We had to settle on being a shit Radiohead.” Musicianship aside, Martin is unnecessarily harsh on himself and his band. Radiohead may truly be the best currently active band, as they are often lauded, but Coldplay can pride themselves in doing intimacy the right way, where Radiohead failed. Admittance to the show at Dingwalls was free, and it was a venue with real nostalgic importance to Coldplay. Furthermore, the concert was later aired on the radio and on television in its entirety. So Coldplay did intimacy right. They did enough for their fans. But what does it look like to go above and beyond to ensure a fantastic, intimate experience that isn’t a fashion-driven
celebrity gala that loses sight of the nostalgia associated with an intimate show? LCD Soundsystem is one example. The National is an even better one. The National culminated the tour of their latest record High Violet with six back-to-back shows at New York’s Beacon Theatre, bringing a different supporting act each night. The National weren’t daunted by the prospect of so many consecutive concerts at the end of an international tour that spanned more than a year, and were able to preserve the sanctity of an intimate environment through more exhaustive (but to the fans, completely rewarding) efforts. These shows were a true testament to the band’s devotion to the nearly 18,000 fans that got to see them throughout that week in mid-December. Finally, we recall U2, the ultra-successful, biggest band of the past 30 years. They may not value
the intimacy factor, but they do an unmatched job pleasing fans. For all the shtick they get for being douchebags, and for all of Bono’s regrettable taste in sunglasses and hopeless charades of “philanthropy,” U2 are great, committed musicians. They wrapped up the recordbreaking U2 360 Tour that spanned over two years, comprised of seven legs and a total of 110 shows. 7.2 million people got to see U2. Fewer than seven thousand got to see Radiohead. If intimate shows are about pleasing fans and nostalgic sentiments, I’m convinced that acts like Radiohead and Kanye West are doing it all wrong.
Right on the heels of Odd Future's success was another West Coast representative with highly stylized videos and an in your face style. I'm talking, of course, about Kreayshawn, she of “Gucci Gucci” fame. With one song and video, Kreayshawn made a name for herself and her White Girl Mob (including fellow members Lil Debbie and V-Nasty) by shooting down basic bitches and emphasizing her young, rich, flashy and THC-enhanced lifestyle. Other videos with cameos from members of Odd Future and the Based God himself – Lil B – didn't hurt either. And while Kreayshawn netted a lucrative (read “million dollar”) major label record deal, she also put out the least amount of material in the year. Expect that to change in 2012.
Let's start out with tween terrorizers Odd Future. Anyone with a working wifi connection probably got wiffs of the group and their output near the tail end of 2011. If you were on Hypebeast then you got the first taste of the OFWGKTA crew – ringleader Tyler, the Creator's second mixtape, Bastard, blew up among forum members and provided the foundation for the buzz that started to build around the group. The stylized, no budget, horrific music videos didn't hurt either. I mean, who doesn't want to see a 15-year-old kid whose last name is Sweatshirt blend up a concoction of cough syrup, pills and weed? That’s quality family entertainment, there. The hype came to a head with the release of Tyler's video for “Yonkers,” a clip whose coda featured the Creator climbing a stool and hanging himself, in graphic fashion. Say what you will about Odd Future but they did pave the way for all other blog-hyped rappers who broke later in the year.
2011 is long gone, friends. Whether you had a good year or a bad year, it's all over. All we have left are the memories we shared with our friends and loved ones. Oh, and the buzzed about rappers that broke throughout the year. I mean, seriously, there must have been something in the water.
Written by Dayton O'Connor (Music Industry)
Buffer zone: A brief history of 2011's BLOG – HYPED RAPPERS
So, what has all of this shown us? Well, quite simply, if you want to break into the rap industry in a big way then you should probably have a big crew behind you, a penchant for smoking certain herbs, a directorial eye and the need to say some pretty outlandish things. That was the formula for Internet success in 2011; only time will tell what the formula for success will be for 2012.
Finally, by the end of the year, there was just enough energy in the hip-hop / indie / hipster / tumblr / pitchforkobsessed blogosphere for one more artist to make their voice heard. The foul, c-bomb dropping voice of Azealia Banks, a former theatre kid turned New York City hip-hop acolyte, made a big splash with the black and white treatment for her dirty, dirty song “212.” Even though the young Banks had been kicking around for a while prior, she only broke near the end of the year, making her the most likely independent hip-hop success story for 2012.
The east coast hip-hop scene didn't have an internet-hyped representative for the first few months of the year. But, as the summer moved into autumn, there was a change in the air. A very smoky, purply change. Harlem's A$AP Rocky, who began to get noticed for his high quality, low budget videos, was known for his penchant for smoking weed and saying “swag” in his raps and introduced his “mob,” the A$AP crew, to the world. Doesn't this all sound a little... familiar? Still, nobody else that broke in 2011 got to open for Drake as soon as his or her mixtape dropped. Also, A$AP's output throughout the year remained untamed despite his oft-mentioned major label backing.
While Odd Future and Kreayshawn were taking message boards by storm and making a fan or hater out of every listener they came across, one more young rapper was (relatively) quietly making his name with a crew of his own. Knowing some of his origin and background – an 18 year old MC coming out of Compton with some tenuous major label ties – brings to mind some of the gangster rappers of yesteryear. That being said, Kendrick Lamar defies a lot of expectations. Creating a critical stir with the release of his debut record /Section.80/, Kendrick might not have rode the hipster swag rap wave but he will certainly be there once it crests.
By around the summer time, some Tumblr and Twitter kids were a bit turned off by all the negativity. Who would represent those who are just looking for a good time, those who are just interested in hanging out on the playground at dark and smoking a lot of marijuana? Enter Mac Miller, a Pittsburgh native who received a big boost to his career with an early co-sign from rapper Wiz Khalifa and from entrepreneur Donald Trump. Despite being a much more relaxed and positive personality than anybody in either the White Girl Mob or Odd Future, Miller was just as divisive if not more so. Whatever hate was thrown his way didn't seem to have an effect on the trajectory of the young MC; his debut album, Blue Slide Park, was the first independently distributed album to top the Billboard Top 200 in over a decade. Swag.
F E ATU R E
e h t s ' t I The f o d World n E Break Ups and Make Ups
Written by Shea Geyer (Pharmacy) Illustration by Brian Cantrell (Graphic Design)
It’s 2012, the last year of life, as we know it. With the end of the world drawing near, bands seem to be breaking up faster than the ice in the Arctic. Last year, many notable bands decided to call it quits before 2012 ended their existence.
The Academy Is... Over
Don’t deny it, you used to listen to The Academy Is… back when you were going through your emo phase and you loved every band on the Fueled By Ramen label. The Academy Is… got together in 2003, got signed to the label in 2004 and released Almost Here in 2005. Their debut album contains the anthem “The Phrase That Pays” and the fan favorite “Slow Down.” They released Santi in 2007 and Fast Times At Barrington High in 2008. Subsequently, they fell off the face of the earth for three years. However, October broke the silence when the band announced that they were going their separate ways.
The White Stripes have faded to black
In February, The White Stripes announced that they were no more. Meg and Jack White formed the band in 1997 and released six full-length albums together. They had us confused as to whether they were actually brother and sister for the longest time. Thankfully that was all cleared up, or so we believe. The White Stripes showed us that it is possible to have bluesy, punk, garage rock, and that you can make a music video using only five different colors of Legos. It seems The White Stripes wasn’t enough for Jack, so we also got The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. We will miss the band that a “Seven Nation Army” couldn’t hold down, but it seems that 2012 can’t deter Jack White as he has finally decided to drop a solo album, which will be released in April.
LCD Soundsystem gave us many hits and called it quits
Hailing from The City That Never Sleeps, James Murphy, the all-in-one musician of LCD Soundsystem, kept the party going day and night for ten years with his dance-punk genre. LCD Soundsystem’s first single, “Losing My Edge,” ignited an underground club craze due to its infectious beat. Still, it wasn’t until 2005 that LCD Soundsystem released a full-length album, featuring “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House.” From there, the band took off, remixing songs for various artists and releasing two more critically acclaimed albums: Sound of Silver and This Is Happening. Unfortunately, more hearts were broken in February when LCD Soundsystem announced they would be playing their final show in April at Madison Square Garden. Their final show was nearly a four-hour long dance party, which was streamed live on Pitchfork for everyone not at the concert to join in on the farewell celebration.
Thursday is no longer thirsty
Everyone shits on New Jersey, but you can’t deny that many great bands have emerged from the state. Post-hardcore, screamo favorite Thursday formed in 1997, but didn’t gain major attention until the release of their second album, Full Collapse, on Victory Records in 2001. “Cross Out the Eyes” and “Understanding in a Car Crash” skyrocketed the band to popularity and moved them to the major label Island Records, through which they released 2003’s War All The Time. Tension and personal issues marred the band during their touring for War All the Time and the band was on the brinks of calling it quits. After taking a breather, they recorded A City By The Light Divided, featuring the addicting “Counting 5-4-3-21.” Thursday departed from Island Records in 2007 and released two more albums, their most recent being in April. Near the end of November, Thursday delivered news that basically said that they were done. They didn’t explicitly state that they were taking an indefinite hiatus or breaking up for good. We may never know for sure, but we do know that they dropped the news on the wrong day of the week: Tuesday.
R.E.M. is switching to an indefinite deep sleep
Everyone has heard at least one R.E.M. song, even if they didn’t know it was R.E.M. playing. R.E.M. formed in 1980, a time when punk and hardcore was viral across the country. They didn’t follow suit though, giving us the beginnings of alternative rock with their first single “Radio Free Europe.” Accruing a cult following and releasing an album every year, it wasn’t until 1987 that R.E.M. finally reached the masses with “The One I Love” off of Document. The late ‘80s and early ‘90s were full of success for the band. They had numerous hits including, “Losing My Religion,” “Shiny Happy People” and “Everybody Hurts.” During that time, they influenced major artists of the grunge era, like Nirvana and Pavement. R.E.M. continued to compose new songs and release albums up until their last release in March. In September, R.E.M. decided that the band had run its course after being together for 31 years. Too bad they couldn’t wait another year to make the decision so that they could end their last show with “It’s the End of the World as We Know It.” It would have been fitting, especially if their last show happened to be on December 21, 2012.
In honor of 2012, bands who we thought were done for good are reuniting. It’s the perfect time for disassembled bands to get back out on the road and make some new music. With less than 365 days until the end of the world, devoted fans may get one last chance to catch their favorite acts.
Refused refuses to remain silent
Hardcore punk band Refused has resurfaced from Sweden. Forming in 1991, the band released five EPs and three albums, which were anti-establishment in nature. Discontent amongst the band members led to their split in 1998. Fourteen years later, the band has decided to get back together and will be performing at the Coachella, Way Out West and Groezrock festivals.
The Early November’s studio isn’t too cold anymore
One of New Jersey’s finest pop punk bands, The Early November broke into the music scene with their For All Of This EP in 2002. Their first full-length album, The Room’s Too Cold, showcased the exceptional vocals of Ace Enders and soon after, Enders released his solo album under the name I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business. In 2006, The Early November dropped The Mother, the Mechanic, and the Path, a conceptual triple album in which each disc has its own distinct sound. The following year, The Early November went on an indefinite hiatus and Enders returned to his solo projects. There were whispers of The Early November getting back together in 2009, but it wasn’t until this past summer that it was confirmed that The Early November were going to be playing shows as a band again. Now that the band is back together in 2012, a new album will be released in the spring, which leaves just enough time to get in a tour in honor of their new music.
At The Drive-In is a happening place again
Perhaps the biggest (and most unexpected) reunion announcement of 2012 thus far is that of At The Drive-In. The band has been an influential post-hardcore band, having been together since 1994 until the announcement of their indefinite hiatus in 2001. After the split, the band members went on to form The Mars Volta and Sparta, both successful in the music scene, which deflated any hope of the resurrection of At The Drive-In. The beginning of January shocked everybody when the artist list for Coachella showed that At The Drive-In would be playing as a band again. Hopefully At The Drive-In will play more shows this year and give us all the opportunity to experience their energetic live performance.
Now that the end of the world is creeping closer, we say goodbye to bands we lost before 2012 arrived and thank the bands who decided that now is a better time than ever to get back together and play for us. If December 21, 2012 means that more bands will get back together this year, then bring on the reunions.
Interview by Alyssa Mastrocco (English) Photos by Ryan Kehr (English)
Dan Schwartz, guitarist and vocalist for Good Old War, greeted me saying “So did you bring the clothes or are we supposed to wear our own for the photoshoot?” He had clearly mistaken me for another interview the band had scheduled before their Brighton Music Hall show this past December. Once everyone’s confusion subsided, he sat down with Tastemakers to talk about the new album Come Back as Rain due out March 6th, recording in Nebraska and the apocalypse. Tastemakers (TMM): What have you guys been doing since you finished recording the new album? Anything interesting? Dan Schwartz (DS): First Keith had a baby, so we were home and having some family time for a little while and then we did a west coast tour last month and that was really awesome, and now we’re in the middle of an east coast tour that’s going really well, so we’re really just getting ready for the new record to come out. It’s a lot of preparation and stuff like that. TMM: It’s coming out in March, right? DS: March 6th, yes, and it’s called Come Back as Rain. TMM: Are you excited to play NYE in Philly? I know you guys are from there. DS: Oh yeah, it’s a huge deal for us because it’s a venue that, you know, we loved going to see shows and now we’re getting to be the New Year’s attraction so it’s definitely like an amazing, I don’t know, just an amazing turn of events for us to be able to have like grown to that point. TMM: How did you guys end up recording in Nebraska? DS: That’s a good question. Um, well, a friend of Jason, who is our producer, Jason Cupp… I guess Jason, our producer, had produced another record that ended up getting mixed by Mike Mogis from
photo courtesy of Bill Silva Entertainment Bright Eyes and he loved the way it sounded and got in touch with Jason about like “Hey if you ever want to bring any bands to my house I have an awesome studio. You can do it for a good price, and you can live there, there’s a house there too.” So he thought about it and we went and we checked it out and it was the most awesome studio we’d been to. And for the price he gave us like a really good deal and let us live in his house for a month and a half to make the record. It was really cool.
around the country that has all the amenities of a normal bustling metropolis.
TMM: So will we hear the sounds of the corn rustling in the wind on the album? DS: No you’d be surprised. Omaha is definitely not a backwoods town. It’s just like any other town
TMM: If you had to describe the album, what fans can expect, in three words, what would they be? DS: Three words, huh?
TMM: Did you find any inspiration there? Or was the album mostly all written by then? DS: You know, when you’re recording you don’t really go anywhere, and you know, you just kind of live in a house. I mean, I’m sure there was a little bit but we were so prepared with the writing we could have recorded it anywhere. We could have been in Times Square and not known it.
TMM: I was going to ask for one… DS: Let’s see. How about two? Dance jams. TMM: Dance jams, perfect. DS: Lots of dance jams. This is like the most upbeat, by far the most upbeat record we’ve made. And not only is it the most upbeat record but its definitely just like the best, most concise, clear – it’s a huge step up for us in every way. Way better than anything we’ve ever done. TMM: As my final question, I would like to know how you’re preparing for the apocalypse. DS: I am not because I don’t believe it’s coming, but Tim is. Tim has himself a bunch of things. I mean, Tim has been training himself for the apocalypse. I personally don’t want to live through it if it happens but Tim has all sorts of weapons and machinery and canned goods stored away, as well. TMM: That’s interesting. Is he sharing or is it all for him? DS: No, he doesn’t give a fuck. It’s all for him.
TAKEN AWAY Written by Ryan Kehr (English) Illustration by Steven Olimpio (Graphic Design)
ONCE UPON A TIME IN FRANCE a man by the name of Vincent Moon was given a camera. He then set out with a simple goal: film a few local musicians in Paris. Now, seven years later, “a few local musicians” has evolved into more than 175 videos of bands spanning the globe and encompassing several genres. Moon has become an underground legend of the music video scene and you can find his aptly titled “Take Away Shows” showcasing bands such as Vampire Weekend, Bon Iver and The Shins. So why are these mad Frenchman’s videos so popular you might ask? Read on to discover exactly what makes these ‘Take Away Shows’ tick.
LOCATION. LOCATION? LOCATION! The locales of Take Away Shows aren’t exactly your typical venues. Bustling subways, vacant buildings and public pools have all been backdrops for the performers. These curious choices in location do more than just add atmosphere, they contribute to the performance itself. From Iron & Wine finger picking underneath some rickety stairs to Phoenix rockin’ out in front of the Eiffel Tower, each environment plays to the artist’s strengths. Onlookers and pedestrians also have their own role to play. Halfway through Noah & the Whale’s Take Away Show, an older homeless man starts to sing along with the band. He goes so far as to follow them for a block or so as they stroll along the streets of Paris. It’s stuff like that that a concert hall can’t exactly get you.
THE INSTRUMENTS Leave your cords at home, kids. Nearly every Take Away Show is unplugged. Acoustic guitars, spontaneous percussion and quirky choices in instrumentation are a trademark of Take Away Shows. Due to the unpredictable nature of the performances, musicians need to be able to take whatever they’re playing on the go. When Vincent Moon filmed Real Estate playing on some abandoned train tracks, do you think they had time to lug a drum set along? Of course not! The drummer just banged some rocks on the metal tracks and it sounded delightful. Rather than carrying a piano or organ (both of these instruments tend to be quite large), a band is more apt to try out some more peculiar instrumentation. For instance, the more portable melodica — which is the love affair of a harmonica and a plastic keyboard — is seen in numerous videos, as is the oldschool harmonium (an easier to play, and cooler looking accordion). The variety in what is being played shakes things up not only for the viewers, but also for the musicians.
THE FACIAL HAIR & RAYBANS CLAUSE
TALK THE TALK Another staple of Take Away Shows are the conversations that frame the music. Unlike most music videos, the moments before and after a song are not cut out. While filming New York Singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten, Moon turned the camera on during the car ride up and filmed the city as it passed by. While a car ride is generally not what most of you want to watch when you’re trying to hear some music, it’s easy to be captivated as Sharon begins to quietly talk about her some of her experiences, the Brooklyn music scene and her favorite hidden spots in the city. Suddenly, instead of just hearing a song, you’re sharing an intimate moment with not only Sharon Van Etten, the artist, but also Sharon Van Etten, the person. GUERILLA FILMMAKING? These shows aren’t just about the music. They’re about capturing a moment in time. For a few short minutes your thrown onto some street corner to watch a snippet of some musician’s life. You’re not intruding and they’re happy to be playing for you. Vincent Moon achieves this through a style he has called “Guerilla Filmmaking.” His videos are all shot in just one take, regardless of any mistakes made. The camera wanders across the scene and zooms in and out seemingly at random; and he rarely cuts the footage. The result is a unique and organic film that feels, if nothing else, real. However, there are moments when the artist is pouring his or her heart and soul out through the timeless medium of song and the camera is zoomed into… well… a wall. But hey, that’s art!
There is one golden rule to keep in mind while your watching Take Away Shows: In any randomly selected show, there is a 99.08% chance you’ll see either copious amount of facial hair or some fashionable glasses being worn ironically. In the remaining .92% of videos, both of these events are occurring. THE MAN BEHIND THE CAMERA So who is this mysterious man from France I keep mentioning? Vincent Moon is an interesting character. Starting with his name, which is, indeed, fake. His real name is Mathieu Saura. He was born and raised in France and he’s something in the ballpark of 30 years old. Once out of school, his career slowly started out with a few small film projects around Paris. Unfortunately, he had trouble finding the cash to continue his work. Then, in late 2005 to early 2006, Mathieu was approached by a popular French music blog known as La Blogotheque, which is a made up French word using “blog” and “discotheque” meaning nightclub. Chryde, founder of the blog, was sick of covering music the same old way and wanted a fresh take on live performances. Chryde had noticed Mathieu’s style of filming and thought he might be just what he was looking for. A new name and a few videos later and Vincent Moon was born. Since 2009 Moon has been living on the road, moving from place to place to film music around the world. SO TO WRAP THINGS UP... If you’re into the indie, folk, or singsongwriter genres, you’ve probably stumbled upon a Take Away Show at some point. But if not, check ‘em out. They’re a great way to listen to music and see what artists are like when you strip away all the glitter and lights. You can head straight to La Blogotheque at en.blogotheque. net or just type ‘Take Away Show’ into a search browser of your preference. Happy listening!
Will Call OR
Written by Lauren Moquin (Journalism)
here’s a shoebox in my bedroom labeled “The Awesome Box” that holds its respectable place next to my bed. Although the piece of duct tape used to label the box does not give it much credit, “The Awesome Box” holds the tickets for just about every show that I have ever attended. Stacks of memories, both disappointed and blown away, lie there in piles. I might have lost that Justin Timberlake ticket in the wash in eighth grade, but I think that box has it covered from there. Right here, I can admit that I empathize with fans of physical tickets. The
satisfaction of flipping through some of the best nights of my life is something like no other, but the idea of an all will call, paperless show has been in my thoughts recently. This past December, Band of Horses had a sold out show at the Paradise. The hundreds of fans waited as each person was given their ticket at the door. This was made a will call only show and when an employee was asked why, she simply answered, “The band felt that it was only fair to their fans”. After walking into the venue with my ticket in hand, I realized just how much more special that night had become. When the band cares enough to save fans from being deceived in their name, you know what really matters. I feel as though every show should be held as special. If a night can be prevented
from being tainted with an awful experience, why not strive to keep the fans in a positive mindset? When the music industry is shifting so much these days, why not change around the ticket process a bit. A will call only show only makes for a better show experience. It only ensures that people will have a better chance of being satisfied with their concert experience. The moment this idea settled with me, I even cozied up to the idea of paperless concerts. If you step back for a second and relieve yourself of that sentimental attachment to a physical ticket, a will call only, paperless show will turn in your benefit. After all of the service charges involved with purchasing a physical ticket, you could buy
band merchandise or simply save money. All of the money used to print and send all of those tickets you purchase, could add up to a ton of other concert experiences. A three-dollar service charge accumulates to drain more of our bank accounts than we might notice. Sometimes, we have to give up some little comforts. Personally, I will probably never give up on physical forms of music, but when it comes to tickets I think it is not unreasonable to think about shaking up the system. If we want to expect to receive everything that we can from live music, we should take action against anything that would make it otherwise.
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Written by Carolyn Willander (Communication Studies) As a writer for Tastemakers, I obviously love music. In fact, when I meet someone new, I usually make music the topic of our initial conversations. Its my safety net - I can speak for hours about the range of artists I listen to, and almost always find common ground with someone. Lately, however, music has been failing me in this sense. Certainly my knowledge has not diminished, but rather, my musical attention has been focused on a surprisingly unfamiliar musical style; the jam band. In all honesty, I knew very little about jam bands before arriving at Northeastern. However, it seems I came upon the scene at the perfect time, emerging from a period of obsession with folk music and entering one with chillwave - a lesser known genre, employing synthesizers and sampling. At this crossroads between a love for instrumentals and a fascination with electronica, I was introduced to jam bands. Sitting one night with my new friends, I was enjoying the music that played in the background at just the right volume - loud enough to make me want to dance, but not too loud to stifle conversation. “Who is playing?” I asked my friend. His response - Phish. I was shocked. Phish? I think my uncle listens to Phish. So what were we, young and hip as we are (or like to consider ourselves), doing listening to a band first formed in the 80s? Of course, I
occasionally went weeks where I played the Beatles on repeat, or listened to a little too much Elvis Costello. Musical nostalgia and respect for classic rock are nothing to be ashamed of. On a night like this, though, shouldn’t I hear some Fleet Foxes or Neon Indian in the background? There was no convincing my friend to change it though, and why would I try to? What we were listening to was, well...groovy! Some songs showcased incredible musicality, while others were entrancing with their effects. Over the course of the night, we listened to an entire 1998 performance in Worcestor, MA. I may have been sitting in a dorm room, but I could faintly hear the audience enjoying the music as much as I was, and it was only intriguing me more. So began my introduction to the world of jam bands, and my rapid transformation from hipster to hippie. Don’t get me wrong, my tastes haven’t changed THAT much - I still listen to Bon Iver on a regular basis, and I recently purchased tickets to upcoming performances by First Aid Kit and Youth lagoon. I have, however, incorporated more than a dozen jam bands into my repertoire. So what is a jam band? This category of music is characterized by long periods of improvisation, known as jams, which stretch a studio-recorded song from somewhere like eight minutes to upwards of twenty, or even as long
as three times that. With jams so long and songs frequently segueing into others, there are rarely opening acts, and sets can last for hours. Although a jam band may fall into a particular genre, in most cases, they resist classification. Rather, their jams often incorporate many genres, from rock to bluegrass to funk to electronica. This does not prevent particular bands to develop a unique jamming style. The Grateful Dead have been called spacey, and The String Cheese Incident lighter compared to moe. and Umphrey’s McGee, who demonstrate a heavier rock influence in their jams. Jam bands rarely produce studio recordings. The improvisational nature of the jam band makes every performance a unique experience, so unlike artists in other genres, jam bands allow fans to tape their shows. Countless professional and amateur recordings circulate for any given band, some rarer and more valuable than others. In this way, fans can build a library of recordings, compare setlists and versions of songs, and pick their favorites. This practice also allows fans to tally how often songs are played, maximizing the effect of certain songs. For example, Phish has played over 1500 shows, but their song “Meatstick” only 33 times. Now that you have an idea of what a jam band is, you’re probably wondering who falls into this category besides the Grateful Dead and Phish. You’ll be surprised to know that you have probably
heard of and listened to a few jam bands–Dispatch, Dave Matthews Band, and the Black Crowes all jam (although they aren’t necessarily the most evocative of the music scene). Here in Boston, we are lucky to have a strong enough music scene that the most popular jam bands stop here on their tours. Highlights this fall included Dark Star Orchestra at the Wilbur Theatre, as well as Furthur and the String Cheese Incident at the Orpheum. So there you have it: your first “taste” of the jam band scene. Right now, though, all you have is knowledge - no experience. So here’s some advice, from me to you, the hipster turned hippie to all you potential deadheads out there: take a listen to a jam band. Pick one, any one! It doesn’t have to be the Grateful Dead. For those of you more inclined to electronic sounds than heavy instrumentals, check out Sound Tribe Sector 9 or Disco Biscuits. When you find one you like (and you will), go to a show! These bands exist to tour, and will be coming through large and small venues in Boston this spring. For me, all it took was seeing Lotus at the Paradise Rock Club to finalize my transformation. That, however, is a story for another article.
TONIGHTALIVE Photos and writing by Jenna Ross (Music Industry) On November 27, 2011, I headed out to The Palladium Upstairs in Worcester, MA for the Fearless Records, Fearless Friends Tour. I was on a mission to dive deeper into the lives of Tonight Alive, a female-fronted five piece from Sydney, Australia. Lead singer Jenna McDougall, bassist Cameron Adler, drummer Matt Best, and guitarists Whakaio Taahi and Jake Hardy welcomed me with open arms as I shadowed them with my camera for the day!
4:06 PM Guitarist Whakaio Taahi plays some Frisbee before the show
6:18 PM Tonight Alive pose for the Fearless Records Christmas photo
5:18 PM Tech Zack and bassist Cam grab a bite to eat at Unoâ€™s before the show
4:10 PM Jake and Cameron load their gear into the venue 28
6:50 PM The band walks backstage to warm up and prepare for their set
7:11 PM Cameron Adler sound checks his bass
7:23 PM Drummer Matt Best enjoying the set 10:04 PM Jenna signs a copy of their EP Consider This
6:27 PM Lead vocalist Jenna McDougall sits down for an interview
I NTE R V I E W
Matt Pryor of the Get Up Kids
Written by Bill Shaner (Anthropology) Photo by Jenna Ross (Music Industry)
You probably remember Matt Pryor from a three-hour car ride you took in high school because there was nothing else to do that night, or maybe the "it's like you fall in love while I just fall apart" Facebook statuses, or that time he was there for you when that awesome girl mercilessly "friend zoned" you (what, just me?). Whatever the story, Matt Pryor's catchy, subtly literary lyrics and the Get Up Kids brand of tuned-down pop punk provided the sound track to many a night of teenage angst. Two other projects and solo albums later, Matt Pryor is still kicking it, just in a more folky, less teenage-angsty sort of way. We caught up with him before his December 1st show with Brian Fallon at AfterHours to ask about his new solo album, "living room" tours, and of course, The Get Up Kids.
Tastemakers Magazine(TMM): Projects like New Amsterdam and your solo stuff take a softer, singer-songwriter feel than the Get Up Kids. Why the change of heart? Matt Pryor (MP): Well, the Get Up Kids are really loud. I started doing New Amsterdam in - I guess it was 2001. And because the Get Up Kids are really loud I wanted to do something else. I like a lot of different kinds of stuff so… TMM: So what are some of the influences for this new material? MP: I have a bunch of solo stuff coming out in January. I like to call this new stuff angst folk. It's a lot of me being very frustrated and venting and being pissed off and venting. But since it's just me it seems like playing guitar is an appropriate medium for it. I'm not a very good piano player. Maybe piano would be better suited, or get a bigger sound, but I'm just not that good. I'm more like a monkey when I play the piano. I'm a better guitar player.
TMM: So what kind of songs should we expect from May Day? MP: It's angst folk music [laughs]. It's a lot like my first solo record, Confidence Man, but a more uplifting love song kind of vibe. This one is very much in the same musical direction, but - I really don't want to say "angst" again - but I was really just in a bad mood when I wrote a lot. I was really just sick of everything, I really just wasn't happy. But I feel a lot better now that I got it all out. TMM: So how's your tour going? MP: Good, I'm friends with a guy Rocky Votolato; he was singing the praises of these house shows. I tried them once before and honestly they were a little weird, but it's kind of where I got my start. TMM: So you may not know this but we're actually standing in a space that you could actually term Northeastern's living room. So is it coincidence or is it fate that you're playing a living room show ? MP: A little of both…. But every time I play in somebody's house I require 30 girls all dressed in white to stand behind me. It's in the contract. [There was a sorority induction going on behind us].
TMM: Do you think you're going to try and compete with Brian Fallon's tattoos? MP: Does he have a lot of tattoos? TMM: On his knuckles and stuff… MP: Eh, I started getting tattoos before I started having kids and since then I haven't gotten one. I actually have a few that haven't been finished. I have some hops and wheat here for beer making that are just outlines and haven't been finished for like ten years. So once Brian starts having kids maybe he'll slow down.
Pryor's new record, May Day, came out on January 24, 2012. You can buy it on iTunes and follow Pryor on Twitter (@mattpryorsongs) as he wraps up his tour.
[cd] Enter Shikari A Flash Flood of Colour Rlease Date: January 16, 2012 Label: Hopeless Records Genre: Post-hardcore Tasty Tracks: Search Party, Stalemate, Pack of Thieves There are a lot of bad things to be said about A Flash Flood of Colour, Enter Shikari's "third debut" studio album. Look, there's absolutely nothing wrong with recreating a band's sound in between each LP release. Some bands have garnered a "best in the world" status off of this
technique, but only when they remember to correct all of the mistakes made on their previous releases – not use them to found new ideas. So, yeah, Enter Shikari threw a horribly lame synth hook on top of the exact same opening chords they used on Common Dreads. Yeah, the political tone of the album's lyrics (which didn't work last time, mind you) is so criminally overwhelming it's as if the band members are all loose-cannon bishops of Parliament. Yeah, the breakdowns have become even more corny. Yeah, Rob Rolfe's drumming has actually gotten worse. But nothing is more frustrating about A Flash Flood of Colour than how good – even great – ideas are mutilated by predictable electronic hooks derivative of the absolute worst elements of today's popular music. It's not even that the album is heavily influenced by dubstep, a genre that ES has dabbled with before, or that all forms of commercial dubstep are inherently bad. Even Skrillex has his place in society, but Enter Shikari's take on dubstep is more akin to that of a deaf 17-year old with a FL Studio 30-day trial. On top of the cheesy hooks, the lyrics have also hit an all time low. The album's poorest moment is by far "Gandhi Mate, Gandhi" which combines the worst of both worlds: a ridiculously political opening monologue with a drop built around the most horrendous, dreadful sound a synthesizer could ever be forced to make. While I originally had the intention of making this review as negative as possible, it is important to note that not every song on this album is ruined by a stale hook or corny lyrics. A few songs are actually some of Enter Shikari's best work yet, including "Stalemate," a fantastic slow ballad reminiscent of Take to the Skies' "Adieu." "Search Party" and "Pack of Thieves" also rank highly as two of the catchiest ES songs to date. There are a few other strong
moments on this record, but they all fall through the cracks when surrounded by some of the worst song sections in Enter Shikari history. With the majority of the lyrics on A Flash Flood of Colour being about political corruption and anarchy, it's obvious that vocalist Rou Reynolds wants to be at the forefront of an impending revolution, but perhaps he should direct his attention towards something that the band knows a bit better; perhaps recycling? Even though the album is supposed to be completely different than anything Enter Shikari have ever done before, it still comes out feeling secondhand. The reused introduction really doesn't help their case, either. Between the horrendously unimaginative drops and maladroit breakdowns, a flash flood of colour is the last thing you'll find on this record. Written by Jeff Curry (Behavioral Neuroscience)
If you would like to submit a review to be considered for publishing in print or online, e-mail: email@example.com
Guided by Voices sound, but is careful not to date itself. Against its powerful guitar lines which will hook even the casual listener, Pollard seems to contemplate his age and place in music. He asks “how’s your life recycle compared to your next rival?” Is he simply repeating what has already been done? Given that the song’s imagery makes reference to how the aging Fats Domino was rescued from his New Orleans home during the floods of Hurricane Katrina, it may be the fitting way to present the question. Let’s Go Eat the Factory delivers what any Guided by Voices album should. The songs are either catchy or strange and Pollard’s lyrics never cease to amaze. As an album, it may very well not stand out as those of the messy-yet-coherent past. That initial listen will show you which tracks you’ll keep on repeat and which you’ll come back to eventually.
Guided by Voices Let's Go Eat the Factory
Written by Nick Calvino (Environmental Studies)
Rlease Date: January 24, 2012 Label: Fire Records Genre: Indie rock Tasty Tracks: The Unsinkable Fats Domino, How I Met My Mother, Laundry and Lasers, Waves Let’s Go Eat the Factory is Guided by Voices’ latest album in a number of ways. Not only is it the band’s first release since their 2004 farewell, but it also marks the return of the aptly-named “Classic ’93-‘96” lineup. This being the same lineup that brought about the acclaimed Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, expectations are a bit high. But like anything Guided by Voices does, it forces you to shake off expectations and embrace a left-of-center approach. This album is disjointed in a more unsettling way than the lineup’s previous material. Even if their older albums were varied and changed directions every minute or two, there was still the uniting hiss of old four-track recorders and the bang/crash of cheap instruments. Let’s Go Eat the Factory’s production value and song structures are much more jumbled and disorderly, ranging from the slick to the shit. “The Unsinkable Fats Domino” is the album’s standout track. It’s the closest to the classic
Written by Shea Geyer (Pharmacy)
Ingrid Michaelson Human Again Rlease Date: January 29, 2012 Label: Cabin 24 Genre: Indie pop Tasty Tracks: Ghost, Fire, In the Sea If there’s one thing that Ingrid Michaelson excels at, it would be evolving musically from album to album. On her fifth studio release, Human Again, Michaelson turns up the intensity with the addition of orchestral instruments to her traditional piano and ukulele combination. The
result is a more powerful punch to her heartfelt lyrics. Human Again is about heartbreak, and lots of it. Michaelson’s lyrics grapple with the loss of the one who took her heart and coming to terms with moving on. “Ghost,” which is the strongest song on the album, oozes with pain and the loss of direction that Michaelson is experiencing. The lyrics are her most personal— conveying her broken-heartedness as she cries “It’s like living in a bad dream/I keep trying to scream/but my tongue has finally lost its sound.” The subtle string instrumentation truly enhances the melancholy of the song. The album opener, “Fire,” and “Do It Now” epitomize the creative musical evolution Michaelson underwent. The orchestral instruments and the prevalent drums transform the songs from a sit-and-listen to a dance-aroundyour-room. “Fire” could be considered the anthem of Human Again because the instrumentation is so potent. Although Michaelson has evolved as an artist, she still maintains the sincerity that she started with on her early albums in the song “I’m Through.” The focus on her vocals and the simplicity of the piano in the song showcase Michaelson’s raw talent that has captured many listeners’ ears over the years. The only minor flaw is the addition of the string instruments; the song should just be Michaelson and her piano cooing to you. Overall, Human Again is another beautiful album from Michaelson. However, it is overproduced, losing the raw edge that was on her previous albums. That’s the cost of evolving though: something has to be sacrificed.
Little Comets In Search of Elusive Little Comets
becoming more sustained and slower, leaving room for Robbie Coles' vocals and brother Michael Coles' guitar to take the lead, each echoing and building off of the other. Robbie's unique, though sometimes unintelligible, high pitched yelps wonderfully capture the passion of the lyrics in songs like “Her Black Eyes.” It’s hard to call any track on In Search filler. The songs were written with amazing craft, the lyrics are powerful, and the Coles brothers bring energy to every song. It’s impossible not to find something worth loving in each one. But despite the genius of this debut album, Little Comets hasn't quite achieved the popularity of similar acts like The Wombats, The Maccabees or Mystery Jets. But with more material like In Search – and maybe a little extra press attention – Little Comets could soon find their way to larger venues, longer tours, and earn a spot as one of the great indie rockers of the decade. Written by Jacob Farber (Music Technology)
Rlease Date: January 31, 2012 Label: Dirty hit Genre: Indie rock Tasty Tracks: One Night in October, Adultery, Her Black Eyes Hailing from Great Britain, self-described 'kitchen sink indie' rockers Little Comets got their start playing small, unconventional venues but are slowly gaining steam. Their semi-eponymous debut In Search of Elusive Little Comets falls somewhere between the catchy confidence of The Fratellis and the creativity of Vampire Weekend, resulting in a beautiful mix of unique rhythms and passionate melodies set to a driving, danceable beat. The record starts with a perfect sample of what Little Comets has to offer in “Adultery” and “One Night in October.” Syncopated beats and staccato melodies drive these fun openers along and you can't help tapping your foot. But these tracks have many harmonic and rhythmic subtleties that give the tracks more depth than the average crowd pleasing single. Quiet guitar scratches, creative harmonies, and rhythmic variety place them far beyond the repertoire of the average band. Comets show some variety in songs such as “Joanna,” and “Isles.” This middle section of the album is more subdued, the rhythms
Of Montreal Paralytic Stalks Rlease Date: February 7, 2012 Label: Polyvinyl Genre: Psychedelic pop Tasty Tracks: We Will Commit Wolf Murder, Ye, Renew the Plaintiff, Wintered Debts, Authentic Pyrrhic Remission
a production style that is as flamboyant as it is sonically obtrusive. This is an inconsistent Of Montreal record, occasionally tedious and at times excellent, but it suffers when measured against Barnes’ superlative back-catalogue. The album begins disappointingly with “Gelid Ascent.” The nervous entrance features overdistorted vocals often unmasked by the absence of substantial instrumentals. From the second track to the end, Paralytic Stalks is enjoyable, but the slow start is a huge handicap to the album. It muzzles the effect of the subsequent two tracks – tracks that are actually quite solid without being clear standouts. The absence of a hard-hitting opener like “Suffer for Fashion” on the band's eighth release, Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?, leaves “Spiteful Intervention” and “Dour Percentage” quite vulnerable. Paralytic Stalks is loaded with the kind of wacky instrumental jams that you might find on Sgt. Pepper’s, but perhaps amidst a bit too much noise. I concede that holding “noisiness” against Of Montreal is like accusing Red Hot Chili Peppers of saying “California” too much; these are gripes we all just have to get over. But the point remains that Paralytic Stalks has numerous instances of layering that remorsefully lack the grace typical of Barnes’ past work. On the fourth track, “We Will Commit Wolf Murder,” however, Barnes finally executes the kind of agile bass-lines and hooky vocal toying that typified the massive success that met Of Montreal in the indie-pop sphere. From "Wolf Murder" on, Paralytic Stalks is largely smooth sailing. “Ye, Renew the Plaintiff” is a masterpiece of deliberate complexity and consistently inviting vocals, directly engaging Barnes’ troubled marriage. The track is followed by the near equally enjoyable “Wintered Debts.” Paralytic Stalks succeeds, in the end, in yielding memorable moments, but does so after a tremulous beginning and seems to stagger through Barnes’ potent lyrical content. The result is a record that blends demurely into Of Montreal’s long discography, remarkable only intermittently. Written by Nick Hugon (International Affairs)
Listening to a new Of Montreal record is inevitably tricky. Kevin Barnes is a magician at masking somewhat conventional chord progressions in
Camden Written by Kyle Risley (Marketing)
or a university with so many undergraduate DJs, producers, rappers, songwriters, and rock bands, it’s encouraging to see a group of graduates carry on after the caps hit the ground and the loan collections begin. While their 2010 Vale EP fused warm electronic textures with fuzzy, intimate lyrics and loping drum loops, their 2011 output has been more urgent and energetic. The youthful frenzy of “Mustangs,” off of their Totally Fine/ EP, caught the keen eye of The Phoenix, earning Camden a spot on their list of “Boston’s 12 Best New Bands” for 2012. The release of their “Getting Around” single in 2012 helped steady their direction away from Vale and towards a sunnier, sweatier destination. Catch them soon at a basement party near you.
(TMM): Your earlier releases were dreamy pop tunes anchored by synthesizers, while your last two releases are much leaner and guitar oriented. Do those changes come about naturally? Are you still trying to define the Camden sound? (C): To answer your first question, those changes did come naturally. We all got tired of people doing things like what we were doing (using samples, playing live with computers, etc). Referring to the second question, no. We do not believe that we are still trying to define our sound. Our sound is just as malleable as to the scene that we’re working within. We only believe in making records that we personally want to make, whether or not we have an audience for it.
Cash To Mouth Records with the hope of signing bands and artists that are willing to work in a creative environment. Second, the people that want vinyl respect it and are willing to purchase physical music. We offer everything digitally obviously (Bandcamp, Itunes, Spotify), but we make an extra effort to present the recordings in a physically appealing form.
Tastemakers Magazine (TMM): Aside from being named Tastemakers’ buzzworthy band of 2011, what was your favorite accomplishment of last year? Camden (C):We wrote and recorded two records, “Totally Fine” and “Getting Around” and put them out via Cash To Mouth Records.
(TMM): Do you think your newer material translates better in the live setting? (C): Yes.
(TMM): What is your favorite musical guilty pleasure at the moment? (C): Ha.
(TMM): Your last two releases have been pressed on vinyl. Is that difficult to do for a band with limited resources? Have people responded well to buying physical music? (C): First, we would not consider ourselves a band with limited resources. We started
(TMM): What’s on tap for Camden in 2012? (C): Recording more music for various releases and playing shows.
(TMM):How did you guys meet one another? (C): Timmy and Jason Sibilia had classes together in the music department at Northeastern. We all met through mutual friends and have known each other in some form since freshman year. 34
(TMM): Where are your favorite places to play? (Inside or outside of Boston) (C): We all like playing Great Scott and we’ve always had a good time playing there. We always enjoy any chance to play live for people, whether its a basement or a club.
name the video
Can you name these two music videos by looking at the screen shot?
Can you tell which four album covers we've zoomed in on here?
find bieber We've hidden Justin Bieber somewhere in this issue. Find him and maybe something cool with happen...
Top: Gotye Somebody I Used to Know, Ben Kweller Wasted and Ready 1
From top to bottom: A Tribe Called Quest The Low End Theory, Rolling Stones Let it Bleed, No Doubt Rock Steady, The Police Ghost in the Machine
1. Lauren Moquin's shoebox 3. 90's garage rock 4. The Man Behind the Camera 8. Venue for Kanye
West's small show
9. Jam band 12. Phoenix take away show 13. Two words describing
Come Back as Rain 5
2. Abel Tesfaye 3. Stokes' background band 5. Member of the White Girl Mob 6. "Push my Button" singer 7. Twelve is the new ____ 9. Lizzie Grant 10. 2012 reunited band 11. Brown vs. ____ 6
Tastemakers Magazine Issue 27