Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Interview: Andrew Heath

art by April Monic

In an exclusive interview, Andrew Heath of the Mesa-based band, We Are They, talks about performing in Tempe, fan appreciation, and collective pastimes.

There must be venues in California that appreciate how We Are They delivers metal to the masses.

[andrew heath]
Well, I wouldn't say we deliver much metal, but a lot of places that are sceptical of us at first are won over by the end of the show.

Do you think the touring buzz will ever wear off any time soon?

[andrew heath]
Touring was definitely an experience with the highest of highs and lowest of lows. We're a dysfunctional family, so we can take it. We can't wait to get out there again.

Which venue gives you the biggest headrush?

[andrew heath]
As for the biggest headrush, that usually depends on crowd response. I'd say our favorite shows have to include The Real Bar in Tempe, Arizona in September of 2006 because we packed a bar meant for about 150 people with 200+. The crowd was louder than we were, it was insane. The venue gave us two encore songs, much to the dismay of the promoters due to time constraints, because the crowd wouldn't stop chanting our name. Another show would be The Ridglea Theater's main stage in Fort Worth, Texas from this last tour. We played an open mic there on our first run through Texas and they invited us back to the main stage on our way back. It was incredible. The crowd loved it and we put on a great show. Ryan was so excited he forgot to put shoes on before the show.

Have you performed at any total dives?

[andrew heath]
As for dives, we've played in sushi restaurants and even an abandoned building. Anything for a gig.

The musical style of We Are They is eclectic. Could you help clear up any confusion, by describing the specific sonic ingredients that are combined to make up your music? What special quality or contribution does each member make? What are the main genre additives?

[andrew heath]
Wow. This one's always hard. The band was brought together from try outs, so no one knew each other before it formed. We've all evolved to love many, many different styles of music, so we just play with whatever sounds we like. Tyler will have a cool jam going on an organ and we'll build off of it, or Ryan will make a polka/jazz guitar riff and we'll go with it. Anything that sounds cool or fun to us is what we do. We don't have limitations or a specific kind of formula.

In-between venues, the yellow line can get long. Travelling like sardines on road trips must get monotonous at times. What does the band do to break the monotony of a long distance? Any favorite DVDs? Do you have a favorite collective pastime?

[andrew heath]
We didn't have ANY luxuries on this last tour, so all we had was a deck of cards and Ipods. We played a lot of card games to pass time and whenever we found a place to stay, we'd watch a movie. The whole band is pretty big fans of the show Lost, so we have all of those on DVD, and we found a cheap movie theater in Florida during the tour to see The Dark Knight when it premiered. Andrew wouldn't let us miss it.

Had read on the band blog that We Are They and the band's lead singer parted company; that was announced in September. But it takes more than that to make a band with a heavy concentration of talent to fall apart. Has this event actually caused the band to become more cohesive?

[andrew heath]
Yes, indeed. We're working hard to write new material and search for a singer. Andrew and Ryan are trying to see if they have what it takes to fill the slot if we can't find a replacement, but it's been a hard search so far.

After checking out the We Are They MySpace profile, I get the impression that the band is not taking everything too seriously, and having fun.

[andrew heath]
Oh yeah. We love to convey our sense of humor and fun. We're not trying to be the next group of badasses to come into the music scene and destroy every other band. This is fun for us and we want everyone to know it and to come have fun with us. Even if you hate our music, we'll still hang out with you.

Also noticed that you all seem to have an appreciative attitude toward your fans. Have your fans been reflecting that appreciation back?

[andrew heath]
Our fans have been great. We appreciate them so much. So many musicians will go out and sign autographs for hours and not look a single kid in the eye. I'd love to sit down and have lunch with every fan we have. I'd love to get to know them. We're here for them, and we'll respond to them as much as possible.

What are some of the cools things fans have been saying?

[andrew heath]
We've gotten a lot of comments about how we're fun and unique and that's great. That's what we like to hear.

Another thing I'd like to point out is that our band is completely drug and alcohol free. We're not extremists who'll bash you for taking part in said substances, it's just not for us. We feel like it'd be a factor we don't want or need in our lives.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Let Up

Spokane-based band, The Let Up has continued to tour since the March 2008 release of their latest album Illustrate My Character. In an exclusive interview, singer/songwriter Cory Howard talks about songwriting, the latest album, and touring.

The songs Shameless, Treasure Map and Serenade Surrender were each dedicated to women. Helen of Troy's face was said to launch a thousand ships. In the future, could a thousand songs be dedicated to a thousand women - written by you? These are not necessarily love songs, but, as with the song titled Still Here, a song that could lift a friend's spirits.

[cory howard]
During the writing process of this album I was focusing a lot on relationships, not necessarily romantic relationships, but relationships with people in general. Some songs are fantasy type songs about wondering what it would be like to be in love with a certain person and others are about losing love. Although I've been focusing a lot on worldly issues, politics, and different views on spirituality since the release of the album I think love will always be the main focus of my writing. A thousand songs dedicated to a thousand women is definitely a possibility.

Could you give me some background on two of your songs? I am referring to the tracks Miss Vanity and Shameless. What are the songs about, and what imagery, emotions, etc. were behind your musical inspiration for writing each of these songs?

[cory howard]
Let me start with Shameless. In the years leading up to our album we saw a lot of trends come and go. We weren't one of those bands that could get popular based on how we look or the style of music we play. I specifically remember playing our first local shows in Washington and getting weird looks from fans of trendy bands while we were setting up our gear because we were just normal looking guys with regular hair. Sometimes people wouldn't even give us a chance. That song is basically speaking to that group of stuck up people who wouldn't even give us a shot based on how we looked. The song is basically saying to keep it real and be shameless about it. There's a little bit of sarcasm in the lyrics. You don't have to try to fit in.

Miss Vanity is very metaphorical. It's about a girl that hides behind her looks and sex to hide the fact that she's a complete mess. The guy in the song is basically using her for the same reason and they use eachother to feel better for one night.

With the way fuel prices skyrocketed this year, I imagine that it takes a nice stack of dollar bills to fill your tour van's tank. And with the San Francisco area being over 800 miles south of Spokane - tack on another 380 miles for L.A. Many bands are just happy to scrape up enough change for gas, beer and food. So, how have you been coping with the gas expense? This increase in the price of fuel probably affects the band in different ways. Do you now tour more locally, or organize tours so that the venues are clumped closer together?

[cory howard]
We have been touring pretty solid since March of this year. On our first tour, we saw fuel prices getting up to $5.00 in certain parts of the west coast. Being our first tour it was definitely an eye opener to exactly how much it takes to make it as a completely DIY band with the economy falling apart. Not only is it hard for the bands but it's hard for the fans to decide if they can spend their last $10 on a CD rather than 2 or 3 gallons of gas. Since we started touring gas has actually dropped by $2.00 or more. We are definitely feeling relieved on this tour compared to the last. This has also been our most successful tour as far as the shows go. We're seeing a lot of familiar faces and we plan to just keep going.

In one of the YouTube vids posted, you covered the Circa Survive track In Fear and Faith. Off of which other bands or albums would you like to do cover songs in the future? What other music do you listen to?

[cory howard]
I plan on doing a cover of Alive with the Glory of Love by Say Anything sometime soon. I also have a cover of an Emery song called Don't Bore Us, Get To The Chorus on YouTube as well as a cover of The Spill Canvas' The Tide. I listen to a very wide variety of music ranging from John Mayer, Maroon 5, and Matchbox 20 to Minus the Bear, Circa Survive, Emery, The Higher, and Flight 409. I grew up on classic rock and jazz when I first started learning how to play music so there will also be a spot on my playlist for some Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and Louis Armstrong.

The Let Up has performed with a long list of indie bands. Out of those bands, or even bands that you have come across in the scene, are there any particular up-and-coming bands that fans should know about? Or bands that stand out most prominently in your mind.

[cory howard]
We are on tour right now with a band called Flight 409 from Fresno, CA. They put on a kick ass live show and I love to watch them play every night. They are definitely coming up and need to be checked out by everyone.

We also had the chance to play with one of my favorite bands, The Higher from Las Vegas, NV.

I can remember every single show we've played this year on tour and the ones that have stood out the most have been made memorable by the crowds. We don't always get the chance to play big shows so if a small crowd can give us back the energy that we give them it makes every show worth it.

The MySpace band profile for The Let Up states that you turned down a music scholarship at the University of Idaho. By this, I imagine you were confident that you could benefit more by focusing on touring with the band, rather than devoting energy and time to a music degree. Are you glad now that you made the decision to pursue songwriting and touring, rather than hitting the books?

[cory howard]
I honestly wasn't confident about turning down the scholarship offer at all. At the time I had no band, no album, no clue how to even go on tour, and huge dreams. All I knew was I loved playing music and I wanted to tour with my own album. It took me four years from that point to get to where I am now. I moved to Spokane and slowly found the right people to build our band. Now I have a family in The Let Up and Scottie and Jeremy are my best friends. We are having the time of our lives on the road and I wouldn't trade my decision to do this for anything. It's been a really hard road getting here and an even longer road ahead of us but I love life right now. I do still plan on going to school someday.

profile @ myspace
profile @ purevolume

video @ youtube (simple lies and neckties - the let up)
video @ youtube (winter's finally over tour blog - the let up)
video @ youtube (illustrate my character webisode 1 - the let up)
video @ youtube (illustrate my character webisode 2 - the let up)
video @ youtube (billie jean live michael jackson cover - the let up)

music marketing @ platform-1

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Heaven Seventies

One of the strengths I hear in The Heaven Seventies is the range of styles in your music. My favorite track is "Devotion", while "Shawty Is a 10 (Remix)" sounds like a track that R&B fans could get hooked on. With that in mind, I can't decide which track might be considered the proverbial A-side, because there are a few strong tracks.

We aren't album artists; albums are no longer the way people experience pop music, for the most part. We release songs a single at a time. When we write, every song is written as an A-side; there are no "B-sides" for us right now.

When you work on a song, are you targeting various styles in order to widen commercial appeal? Wouldn't it be cool to see one track climb one chart, while another track climbs another? I think the band could engineer a couple of crossover hits.

Our music covers a large range of styles because we're interested in a wide variety of music. When I had a rock band, I was always coming up with ideas in all the genres of music I was listening to at the time (soul, modern r&b, uk garage, chart pop, rap, experimental, etc.) and had to set those ideas aside because they didn't work in the context of the unified sound that the band was trying to achieve.

The Heaven Seventies was based on the idea that a group of musicians could be successful without having to tie itself to a specific genre of music. In this case, we're making music for the pop charts, so as long as we're expressing something people identify with and putting a catchy hook in their heads, it doesn't matter whether all of our songs fit on the same chart. I find the idea that we could be on several different charts at once rather exciting.

It's not that we target styles to widen commercial appeal, it's that we consciously try to make each track an "A-side." Since we're trying to write the best pop music we can, it's only natural that we look to crossover influences like hip-hop and R&B, since those artists have proven that today's audiences want a little ass-shakin' with their guitar playing.

I think it's entirely possible to have two Heaven Seventies songs on two different genre specific charts at the same time. Pop artists today are less and less restrained by genre or musical style, and audiences are responding positively. You could argue that genre boundaries are becoming less clear as well, but the boundaries that do remain are being violated more and more frequently. Crossing genre boundaries is a goal of the band, and something that we want to do more and more.

The Heaven Seventies is an indie rock band fully loaded with talent. I count two lyricists, two vocalists, three keyboard players, four guitarists, etc. This concentration of talent is obviously another strength of the band.

The Heaven Seventies are a trio in the studio right now, and there are 5 of us (or 6, perhaps) when we play live. There's sort of an "extended family", people who are members in the back of my mind even though we may not be working with them actively right now. The lineup has changed and it'll keep changing. This isn't the easiest band in the world to be in---we work incredibly hard.

I tend to like people who can "hold their own" in the studio. Of the four people who've worked on our studio output thus far, we all play guitar and keyboards, two of us have played drums for touring bands, and two of us have produced records for other artists, so we have a lot of performing and recording experience. I take the majority of the vocal duties, although occasionally you'll hear somebody else on a track. (My younger sister is a great singer, so we're trying to feature her a bit more.)

During the songwriting process, can there be a barrage of ideas sparking off a few members at the same time?

Our songwriting process has been very collaborative. Often the kernel of a great idea will come from one member, and often that kernel will need to incubate with that one member for some time. As a band I think we're very good at nurturing and embellishing the creative kernels that individual members bring forward.

Songwriting is fundamentally a lonely process -- although we've done it in groups, sometimes the only way to get inspired is to whack away at a guitar alone for a while. Our collaborative strength is really production -- once we seize upon a core idea, we work well together in bringing new textures and layers into the mix. Will once told me he figured we use about 80% of what we come up with together as we work up a song's final mix, which is astounding to me, especially since the three of us all have very different (but overlapping) musical influences and backgrounds.

Our songwriting and production process is a well-documented thing; we have written guidelines that we follow when we sit down to write a song. Ideas come from everywhere, and we make improvements and refinements until we have something that feels right and works on as many levels as possible. No idea is considered sacred and anything is fair game for improvement, so most of the time, the final product is unrecognizable from the original idea. The time it takes to make each song varies, but we always spend a lot of energy on the chorus.

I was stockpiling ideas for this band for years before we started it, and every time we sit down to write songs we come up with a bunch more. We have literally hundreds of song ideas sitting around waiting to be used. Some of them are really good, and I think the hope that they'll be heard helps drive us forward.

Something interesting that is offered on the band's Web site are downloadable multitrack bundles of a few songs. Which could be used by fans to create mashups. Is The Heaven Seventies the first band to offer such bundles? Beyond predictable YouTube hosted mashups, what other trends do you think these bundles could lead to? Do you think the multitrack bundles could become a way for various bands to "collaborate" in the future?

I think we're already seeing this -- if Radiohead can make a mint selling "naked" tracks on iTunes, the future is basically here. We might be the first band to think of the bundles as being an integral part of the release, however -- traditionally consumers would get one version of the single and DJs would get another with acapellas and instrumentals. That's all changed now, though -- everyone's a DJ! People don't simply watch or listen to media anymore, they want to use it and interact in all kinds of ways, and there's no reason a band should sit back and pretend that they "own" their music -- as soon as you ask one person to listen to it and make an emotional connection to it, you owe just as much to them as they do it you.

The only other band I can think of who've started giving out multitrack bundles of their music are Nine Inch Nails. I had the idea years ago before it was possible to actually do it, but it's not that original of an idea; any musician who falls in love with a track wishes they could get a hold of the original multitrack tapes and play with them. NIN have amassed quite a large community of online remixers around their multitrack bundles, and I believe they recently put at least one of the "unofficial remixes" on an actual album of theirs. I'm proud of them, because they're one of the very few artists to publically embrace the art form of unauthorized remixing. (Negativland are another, and the rap/r&b "mixtape" community is arguably another, although the arrest of DJ Cannon and DJ Drama is something I find quite unsettling to say the least.)

Friday, April 25, 2008


Below is an exclusive interview conducted in 2008 for the Dreampop/Electronic band Elika, based in Brooklyn.

What is the meaning behind the title of your new EP Trying Got Us Nowhere? Which contains a track titled Nowhere - is there a connection? What particular themes may fans find in your music?

When I wrote the lyric I meant that in life regardless of faith, vision, drive, and good intent - sometimes things simply don’t work out. As far as themes in the music: love, death, guilt, hope, heartbreak and everything in between.

You recently launched the new album in February at The White Rabbit in Plymouth, England, during your UK tour. Britain is known for its support of the performing arts. Did the Brits treat you good? What do you like about touring the UK? Which English venue was your fave?

Yeah, the UK tour was a great time and a non-stop hangover. The people were very supportive of us which heightened the mood of the tour. Favorite venue was probably the launch at White Rabbit, we killed it that night.

I agree about the gig at the White Rabbit being the best. It was like a homecoming. There was a lot of traveling and hijinx throughout the tour and at the end it felt like people really embraced the music.

Ulrich Schnauss noted the shoegaze and electronic elements in your music. On every track of your mini-album, I can hear the balance you achieved between vocal, guitar, percussion and electronic elements. Was there a lot of sonic experimentation going on in the studio? Considering the finished product, do you feel that Elika has taken its sound to the next level?

When we went into the studio with Jason all of the material was written except for Confidence Killed My Spirit and Defeated from the vinyl. We had a clear idea of what we were going to do and how to make our noise. This album is a definite step forward for Elika.

I feel like we are both really confident about the kind of music that we are making now. As far as experimentation, I think that’s happening more during our live set.

A reviewer for thechickenfishspeaks.com commented that Eva's "voice feels forced into the beats", but I can't see how a vocalist who is singing, playing keyboard and percussion at the same time could let the melody loosely drift over the rhythm. In that sense, such a comment seems unfair. On stage, Eva, you are synchronizing percussion instruments with electronic soundscapes. How do you feel about this reviewer's comment?

You know, you just have to do your thing and not everyone is going to like it. I find criticism refreshing as long as it’s constructive.

I’m a fucking NYC public school teacher, there isn’t a negative comment around that could hurt my feelings.

As Shoegazing's ambient sister, Dream Pop weaves "bittersweet pop melodies into sensual, sonically-ambitious soundscapes" (Wikipedia). And many more comparisons may be applied to Elika. Your influences include Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine and Flying Saucer Attack - which generally represent shoegaze and electronica. What other bands inspire your songwriting? Are there any particular albums that you listen to more often than others?

There was a reason why we chose to record with Jason Martin. I am inspired by his songwriting because he is never trying too hard. I enjoy honesty in music: people talking about their everyday shit, what they know, and the universal truths. There are too many political poser musicians out there; I’d rather hear about someone finding their baby teeth in a drawer or something. That kind of stuff wrecks me in the best way and makes me feel ok to be alive. Built to Spill has always had a way of grounding me like that.

profile @ myspace.com
homepage @ elikamusic.com
record label @ fiercelyindie.co.uk

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Box Social

Named from a Marge Simpson quote, the Madison-based band The Box Social released their full album Get Going in September 2007, which brought their live power-pop rock down to Chicago Recording Company. Songwriter Nick Junkunc decribed the band in a MKE article: "We sound like Nirvana playing Tom Petty."

Box Social's strongest track, Big T, narrates a young man's rock and roll dream - featuring catchy melody, power-pop chorus and heavy-alloy hooks. A track that demonstrate's the four-piece's ability to effectively incorporate the styles of their influences into their music.

Having quickly matured from a few high schoolers who played basement shows for a dozen fans a half-decade ago. This once thriving basement scene is where Box Social cut their chops; where various bands could be heard several nights in a row. Such bands that were turned down by popular Madison and Milwaukee venues, then invaded residential venues. Fans violated fire codes and zones of quiet around the metropolitan areas.

Box Social then toured the US for a couple of years on their 2005 5-track 1000 CD release Blown to Bits.

profile @ myspace

mp3 @ theboxsocial.net (the box social - big t)
mp3 @ theboxsocial.net (the box social - hot damn)

video @ youtube (making of the album - pt 1)
video @ youtube (making of the album - pt 2)

blog aggregator @ boogie4.us
blog aggregator @ hypem.com
blog aggregator @ elbo.ws

discography @ amazon

blog @ carlsandburgvisits.com
blog @ cometstarmoon.blogspot.com
blog @ blogger.xs4all.nl
blog @ thelemurblog.blogspot.com
blog @ thetruthenlightensme.blogspot.com
blog @ youbethemouse.blogspot.com

review @ riverfronttimes.com
review @ shop.mtv.com
review @ postcrescent.com
review @ thedailypage.com
review @ mkeonline.com
review @ splendidezine.com
review @ riverfronttimes.com
review @ shop.mtv.com
review @ postcrescent.com
review @ thedailypage.com
review @ mkeonline.com
review @ splendidezine.com

label @ nokarma.com

images @ flickr.com

encyclopedia @ wikipedia

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Interview: Edith Backlund

As artistic mediums, songwriting and acting are clearly very different. And few singer-songwriters can claim that they had appeared in a movie production. You are listed among the cast of the movie Lilla Jönssonligan och Stjärnkuppen.

There may be a difference between how your creative mind is inspired by music when you sit down to write a song, compared to how acting inspires you when you sit down to absorb a character in a movie script. How do the two artistic mediums inspire you in different ways? Has your work as an actor influenced your songwriting? Have any particular movies inspired you to write music?

[edith backlund]
First off I have to say that I am not a professional actress. I made a choice a few years back between theatre and music and chose the latter. But acting is something I have always been interested in and I was even voted Best Actress at Liberty High School where I spent a year as a foreign exchange student. I guess acting has taught me to feel more comfortable being on stage and interacting with a crowd. It has taught me that forgetting the words isn’t the end of the world, anything can be improvised. I have to say I have never written a song based on a movie. I am more of a news-gal. I find inspiration in watching the news. Sometimes it feels like my whole life is a movie though and I get inspired just by living.

Your MySpace page states that you write songs about women with seduction in their eyes and daggers in their purses. About fallen war-heroes and her fear of dying. To me this imagery is cinematic—it definately pops. What other strong imagery inspires your songwriting? Do you have a dagger in your purse at the moment?

[edith backlund]
Haha! No dagger and not even a purse. Like I said earlier, I find inspiration in watching the news. One strong imagery that inspired me was the combination of newsflashes from when the US invaded Iraq. I had some friends who had enrolled in the US Army and it really made me think about how fragile every life is. And I wrote a lot of songs and lyrics based on those images.

Your lyrical expression also reveals that you are a person who is open and honest about your feelings. And 'Skinny' could be considered painfully honest. Can songwriting, at times, become a musical catharsis for you?

[edith backlund]
Absolutely. That really shines through on my CD from 2006 Merely Daydreams where some of the lyrics where actual diary cut-outs. I was at an emotional low-point at that time and I felt like I had to tell the whole world about it, put it all out there and get the filth out of me. Today I am a much happier person and my songwriting today tends to concern other people and their emotions. Skinny is about my 17-year old me. I had to look through old diaries to find her and that’s what I do when I want to put myself in the emotional state of my old me again. I do that because my old me knew how to write a sad song. And I love sad songs.

All of your latest tracks, including the A-side True Believer, reveal your lyrical talent. In your opinion, how important are lyrics to a song? Have you written lyrics for other artists?

[edith backlund]
I think that a song can't be great with crappy lyrics. The melody can be out of this world but if the lyrics suck, the song sucks. But great words can save a bad melody. I have not yet written any lyrics for other artists. That, however, is something I can definitely see myself doing in the future.

Listening to the band's tracks, I can hear layers of acoustic guitar and piano, orchestral elements, vocal tracks, sound effects, etc. Your band has built a strong baroque-pop sound in the studio. Are there any particular sound engineers or producers who have helped develop your sound? How has your experience in the recording studio helped you develop as a musician?

[edith backlund]
Funny you should say that because the only people playing instruments on the tracks are me and Pär Wiksten. Oh, and of course: Pär’s daughter Elsa helped out with some vicious handclapping and toyclicking! The studio was Pär’s apartment in Stockholm. We didn’t have a huge budget... actually we almost didn’t have a budget, so we couldn’t bring the band into a studio. The result: me and Pär had to do everything ourselves. It took a long time but the result was worth it!

The last I read, your band's latest project Death by Honey was scheduled to be released this month. You co-wrote the album with Pär Wiksten, who has been with the Wannadies since 1988. Regarding potential hit songs, I think the musical chemistry is there between you and Pär. Has he helped you grow as an artist? How do the two songwriting styles compliment eachother?

[edith backlund]
Pär and the Wannadies where the soundtrack of my youth. So it was quite strange to meet him in person. We met as songwriters and clicked as people, had some coffee and wrote True Believer on the first day. Pär has been everywhere and done everything and he still manages to stay grounded while I tend to want to float off. When I do, he brings me back to the ground again. I think that's important if you want to last as an artist, to keep a clear head. In songwriting me and Pär are very much alike. It’s like we have our own musical language.

The A-side on Edith Backlund's latest album, Death by Honey, is easy to resolve, but a potential B-side has more than one possible choice. And compositional diversity has brought this songstress up to the next level through hook injected choruses and thoughtful lyrics.

Beginning with balladic introspection into the apparent force field of vanity emitted by any household mirror, Skinny builds up to a baroque-pop romp accentuated by a powered up instrumental bridge fuelled by the chorus. Such a formula compliments Backlund's style.
mirror, mirror on my wall
ruthless to your victim
suiting you is all I know
a slave to my reflection
Instead of a politician or a journalist, Backlund chose to become a songwriter. As a singer/songwriter I can be as ego-centric as I please, Edith Backlund told Sony/ATV.

In 2006, Backlund played the character Linda in the Swedish movie Lilla Jönssonligan och Stjärnkuppen.

In November 2008, the track Suburban Bliss, from Edith's latest album, was featured on an episode of the TV drama One Tree Hill. Check out the YouTube video below. And, if you like that song, please pump some bucks into PayPal and buy it. While you're at it, might as well grab the cell phone and order a triple-cheese bacon pizza from the local parlour.

Edith Backlund Tour Dates

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Death Ships

Dan Maloney, singer-songwriter for Iowa City-based Death Ships, related a couple of possible interpretations of his band's name. In a Daytrotter interview, he suggested that the band name represented the death of relationships. Also - if one considered a ship as a representation of freedom - the name could symbolize the erosion of freedom that spreads out from Iowa, beyond the boundries of the continental United States of America.

Maloney clearly did not tailor a band name to fit his particular sound, deciding instead to stick to his guns, and defy any critics. Considering how the moniker Death Ships could be suitable for a death metal group as well. And the title of the latest self-release - Seeds of Devastation - could be the title of a pounding punk rock anthem.

The lead vocal style and bouncy synth at the beginning of Symmetrical Smiles might remind the listener of Steely Dan. And Great American begins with a finger picked acoustic guitar rhythm, and subtle tremolo synth.

I tend to write sporadically in bursts of inspiration. - Dan Maloney
Maloney has worked as a record store clerk at Record Collector for six years.

profile @ myspace.com

mp3 @ deathships.com (great american - death ships)
mp3 @ deathships.com (it remains to be seen - death ships)
mp3 @ deathships.com (symmetrical smiles - death ships)
mp3 @ deathships.com (the city never sleeps - death ships)

video @ youtube (big one coming - death ships)
video @ youtube (echo children - death ships)
video @ youtube (little mystery - death ships)
video @ youtube (record release party)

blog aggregator @ elbo.ws
blog aggregator @ hypem.com

discography @ mp3audioz.com

interview @ daytrotter.com

review @ cokemachineglow.com
review @ dailyiowan.com
review @ indieuprising.net
review @ muzzleofbees.com
review @ newcitychicago.com
review @ popmatters.com
review @ rcreader.com
review @ smother.net
review @ sxsw.com
review @ thetripwire.com

home page @ deathships.com

images @ flickr.com

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Aberdeen City

In 2006, the Boston-based indie-rock band Aberdeen City rereleased their 2005 debut LP, The Freezing Atlantic. The third track, Going to Get Sick of Me, was produced by Steve Lillywhite, known for his work with U2.

The bandmembers all met in 2001 during break at a lecture titled Young Hopes, Dead Dreams. Later they moved into a house rental, and set up equipment in the basement, where they conducted sonic experiments with indie-rock hooks. In time, results were labeled with various comparisons - one of such tags reads U2. Their songs are lyrically intuitive and obscure. Driving drum beats can present differing patterns as percussive enhancement between changes.

Since releasing The Freezing Atlantic, the band has been collaborating with singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer, lead singer for The Dresden Dolls.

The intro of the fourth track, Sixty Lives, teases eardrums through headphones with droning guitar, then builds up to a shoegaze riff.

profile @ myspace

mp3 @ aberdeenmusic.com (final bout - aberdeen city)
mp3 @ aberdeenmusic.com (incredible story - aberdeen city)
mp3 @ aberdeenmusic.com (is going to get sick of me - aberdeen city)
mp3 @ aberdeenmusic.com (popular music - aberdeen city)
mp3 @ aberdeenmusic.com (sixty lives - aberdeen city)
mp3 @ aberdeenmusic.com (this is our problem - aberdeen city)
mp3 @ underratedmagazine.com (in combat - aberdeen city)

video @ youtube (going to get sick of me - aberdeen city)
video @ youtube (pretty pet - aberdeen city)

podcast @ podnova.com

feed @ hypem.com

discography @ amazon

interview @ blogcritics.org
interview @ dcist.com
interview @ miss604.com
interview @ modernfix.com
interview @ youtube.com
interview @ youtube.com
interview @ acedmagazine.com

review @ acedmagazine.com
review @ allmusic.com
review @ blogcritics.org
review @ boston.com
review @ cavalierdaily.com
review @ destramusic.com
review @ eachnotesecure.com
review @ indieworkshop.com
review @ lunchboxbrain.blogspot.com
review @ msnbc.msn.com
review @ mtv.com
review @ musicremedy.com
review @ popmatters.com
review @ purevolume.com
review @ spin.com
review @ thebmrant.com
review @ thecelebritycafe.com
review @ thisnext.com

home page @ aberdeenmusic.com

lyrics @ alphalyrics.com

images @ flickr.com

encyclopedia @ wikipedia

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Dandelions

Stockholm-based band, The Dandelions, has been compared to The Rolling Stones, The Who and The Stooges, but you may also hear elements that remind you of The Clash and The Kinks.

The band's raw style represents garage rock. A genre that gained popularity in the early 1960s - with regional roots reaching to the late 50s - which then evolved into 1970s punk. But the garage-rock tag itself did not appear until the late 1970s, so that it could be individuated from music that became known as punk rock - popularized by Sex Pistols and The Clash. And garage rock is synonymous with 60s punk.

On the 54, from their self-titled debut EP, was included in the soundtrack for an episode of the television series One Tree Hill and Veronica Mars.

The Dandelions are sonic kindred spirits with The Hives.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Golden Death Music [Ephemera Blues]

Columbus-based Golden Death Music is the musical pseudonym of singer-songwriter Michael Ramey. The rich, stylistic variety actualized on his latest release titled Ephemera Blues disguises the fact that he had everything to do with the album. And Ramey has a large collection of music that he often returns to - it serves as a reservoir of influences.

A melancholic fog overspreads Ephemera Blues. The closing track, Into the Ocean, captures a mysterious vibe that Pink Floyd was well-known for.

Throw yourself into the water
Feel the changed and tainted ocean
Let the damaged waves caress you
Feel the change...

In an interview with The English Assassin, Ramey described a esoteric factor that affects his songwriting:

There’s an emotional state I’ve been able to attain sometimes when I’m playing or listening to music that is characterized by a pure, thoughtless feeling of energy.

Not only does his music represent the pursuit of such a feeling, but his desire to share it with listeners.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Bela Karoli

The all-woman trio Bela Karoli released the 2007 album titled Furnished Rooms, which embodies refined baroque pop that blends electronic percussion elements seamlessly with vocals, stringed instruments and accordion. All through the album, the band's method remains true to the consistency of their unique style.

Primary-songwriter, Julie Davis, plucks jazzy double bass rhythms, and shares vocal duties with Brigid McAuliffe, who compresses accordion bellows. Carrie Beeder runs her bow across violin and cello strings.

Preludes 2 puts the words of T.S. Eliot to music. Davis' jerky melody captures the sense of spiritual exhaustion expressed by the poem.

The morning comes to consciousness
Of faint stale smells of beer
From the sawdust-trampled street
With all its muddy feet that press
To early coffee-stands.

With the other masquerades
That times resumes,
One thinks of all the hands
That are raising dingy shades
In a thousand furnished rooms.
Bela Karoli put extra time into arranging and polishing their sound in the studio.
Recording brought out the awkward situation of trying to figure out what we'd evolved into. Both the process of recording and hearing the songs made us ask a lot of questions. - Carrie Beeder

profile @ myspace

mp3 @ denverpost.com (string of lights, bela karoli)

discography @ amazon

interview @ denverpost.com

review @ brainwashed.com
review @ kaffeinebuzz.com
review @ kvchno.com
review @ npr.org
review @ the taos news
review @ tinymixtapes.com
review @ waywardpanties.com
review @ westword
review included @ baseballtoaster.com

home page @ belakaroli.com

label @ helmetroom.com

images @ flickr.com (julie davis)
images @ flickr.com (brigid mcauliffe)

Friday, January 4, 2008

Jane Vain & the Dark Matter

Jamie Fooks - singer-songwriter for Jane Vain & the Dark Matter - wrote Ships Bound to Sink for her latest album Love Is Where the Smoke Is. In the song, her voice resonates with the same velvety tone as Chan Marshall. Who is probably one of the biggest influences, revealed Fooks in a ChartAttack interview.

Don't Mind Us seeped out of feelings of isolation while Fooks lived alone in a basement apartment in an industrial area.

I'm So Afraid is an emotional appeal to the invisible audience she once endeavored to impress, having since learned how to impress tangible audiences.
"I used to apologize all the time for being nervous onstage....but I was being told I shouldn’t do it – that it draws attention to the fact that I am nervous." - Jamie Fooks, Fast Forward Weekly
Her musical catharsis has gained an attentive following as her fan base continues to grow.

Fooks informed Calgary Herald that Ships Bound To Sink is about dealing with someone who thought they were better than me, but were also romantically interested in me. I didn't want anything to do with them. It's hard telling someone who thinks they're better than you that they're not good enough for you.

profile @ myspace

mp3 @ box.net (c'mon baby say bang bang - jane vain & the dark matter)

video @ youtube
video @ youtube (oh captain - jane vain & the dark matter)

stream @ cbcradio3.com

blog aggregator @ elbo.ws
blog aggregator @ hypem.com

interview @ canada.com
interview @ chartattack.com

review @ beatroute.ca
review @ belletristicimpressions.blogspot.com
review @ ffwdweekly.com
review @ glossmag.ca
review @ mog.com
review @ urbanmixer.com

label @ rectanglerecords.com

images @ flickr.com
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