Does anybody listen to music anymore?Or do we just kind of pretend to have listened to the latest high-concept journalism-bait records and quote bot-generated thinkpieces about them to impress our friends who have also only pretended to listen to the albums in question. Last year I tried listening to music, and only came up with ten items to fill my listicle’s distended sac. So I gave up on that. Below are six albums I heard about in passing from cool people in 2015 – I hope you get invited to some killer New Year’s parties to quote these reviews at.
6. Black Wing – …Is Doomed
From the ashes of Dan Barrett’s (Have a Nice Life, Giles Corey, Married), failed Drive-inspired synthpop project, Dan Barrett and the Cruisers, comes a bombastic, pop tinged electronic romp through the mind of one of the most exciting musicians working in shoegaze today. The effects driven guitars may be gone from this record, but there is no absence of emotional soundscapes in their wake. Heavily processed synth drum kits scintillate across the soundstage and vocal tracks dip into hyper-compressed clipping collages that can best be described as aural car wrecks. This might not be a strictly shoegaze record, but Barrett’s pedigree still manages to shine through.
Ben Hopkins and Liv Bruce, New York’s dynamic garage glam duo of PWR BTTM chatted with us about the things that matter: gender fluidity, their recent discovery of Bethany Cosentino, and their favorite carbs. If you’re lucky enough to have gotten a ticket in time, we’ll see you at their PhilaMOCA show tonight (they open for the very talented ❤ MITSKI ❤ )
So congrats on your first album, Ugly Cherries, we love it so much!
LIV: Thank you! We had a really good time making it.
Where did you record it?
BEN: We recorded in in New Paltz, New York, which is near Hudson, New York, which is where I was living, with a guy named Chris Daly who made a bunch of great records. He made a record with our friends in Diet Cig and we met him upstate. We didn’t really know if he was a good engineer or not but he was a cool guy that wanted to do our record and he’s like a genius, he’s amazing, he makes like all our merch and stuff, he fixes my guitar, he’s just this incredible, great friend.
LIV: He holds me when I cry. Just kidding, I’ve never cried.
BEN: Liv never cries, he can’t really spare the moisture. But yeah, his wife and I did the album art together.
LIV: PWR BTTM would be dead in the water without him.
So you both went to Bard, did you find a supportive scene there?
LIV: Absolutely, I started playing in the Bard scene in another band. The Bard scene is amazing because there’s two venues that are pretty much entirely run by students and they have the power to book bands outside of the school. So your favorite bands will be coming through the area and they’ll play Bard and you can start a band with your friends and have your first show be opening for a huge band.
BEN: Yeah our second show we opened for Upset and Potty Mouth.
LIV: There was just always people starting bands and doing incredible things. I really miss it actually. Obviously I love the scene here, but sometimes I’ll be on Facebook and see friends who are still there at Bard and seeing what bands they are starting every week and being like, “Ugh I wish I was still able to see those shows!”
What did you study at Bard?
LIV: I, for most of my time at Bard, was a double major in Computer Science and Dance. And then in my last semester after my Computer Science thesis, I had one more class to take and I just didn’t have the room in my schedule, partially because of PWR BTTM, so I ended up dropping the major after finishing my thesis and graduating with a degree just in the Dance Department. Which, it feels weird to say just the dance department because Bard’s dance department is like incredible. I learned so many things just about everything being there.
BEN: (In between bites of blueberry scone) I studied Theater, it was awesome.
We had another question relating to scones: What is your favorite carb?
BEN: Oh my God, the question we love to answer. I’m really, really feeling chocolate croissants right now. I work at a coffee shop and I have to come in to work at 6 AM and the first thing I do is kick that door open and fuck up one of the deliveries.
LIV: I’m really feeling my mom’s spaghetti and meatballs. I saw her yesterday and I was thinking about the stuff that she makes. I like everything she makes, but spaghetti and meatballs specifically.
BEN: Liv’s mom throws down.
Telekinesis, the moniker used by Michael Benjamin Lerner, (also the superpower which allows superheroes to move objects with their minds) has released a new album this September on Merge Records called Ad Infinitum. On tour with Say Hi, he plays Johnny Brenda’s tonight and spoke to us about finding new influences and staying inspired on the road.
On facing writer’s block while working on the new record Lerner said, “I tried to play the guitar but just didn’t want to do it, it was very uninspiring to me at the time. So I just put the guitar away and then tried to learn a bunch of other instruments. I didn’t really understand how drum machines and synthesizers worked before… it sort of came out of boredom in a way.” Continue reading “Telekinesis plays Philly tonight, chases 80’s vibes on new album”
Before their show at Johnny Brenda’s, DJs Kirsten and Shannen caught up with Lucas Skinner (bass) and Eric Moore (drums/manager) of King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard to talk about everything from poisonous spiders and the Melbourne DIY scene to their new album, Paper Maché Dream Balloon (out November 13th).
First question, cup of blood or shot of shit?
If you had to drink one.
Eric: Is it my own or someone else’s?
E: I think definitely blood.
L: I think you’d get more sick if you eat shit.
E: If it was my own, I’d go with blood. I always just drink my own blood anyway, like when I get a cut.
Right, delicious. What are some of your favorite hair products?
E: I used to use Surf Paste in high school. That was a long time ago.
L: I use oils on my beard.
This is the second to last date of your US tour, which city has been your favorite?
L: We’ve done a few places we haven’t been before, New Orleans was one.
E: All the ones up the west coast were cool. Portland was my favorite place. The scenery is so beautiful and the drives are amazing up the coast.
Did you guys do any traveling before KGATLW?
L: We did a tour about three months ago in the states and Europe and most of us went home for a month but Stu and Ambrose and their girlfriends went traveling through Europe and Eric went to LA for a month.
E: Yeah I’ve been away for ages.
L: But before the band we did a US road trip up the east coast starting in Austin and going up to New York. That gave us a good idea of the landscape and how to get around.
What is your favorite thing to do on a date?
L: My girlfriend and I for our first date we went walking our dogs on the beach.
E: Luke is the sweetheart. Mine would just be something lame like going to a bar or a movie. But I haven’t been on a date in a very long time.
L: Eric’s the only one without a girlfriend in the band. Everyone else is kind of settled down. He’s the wild card.
So you work a lot with artist Jason Galea and your shows have such a strong visual component, is he going to be involved in music videos in the future?
E: Yeah Jason’s here on tour with us. He does the visuals and is working on heaps of stuff.
Adam B. from Ultrasound Radio USA is wading through mountains of free promos and forgotten releases collected over a lifetime in journalism, radio, and music retail. Here’s a selection of what he’s found that’s new to him and worth it to you to seek out, including funk and jazz discoveries, squirrelly digital pop, and symphonic industrial…Continue reading “Saved from the Stacks #2”
This past weekend I had an incredibly awesome time at Austin Psych Fest (now called Levitation) on Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, TX. This particular festival has been one I have tried to go to for a while, but funds/time/commitments have gotten in the way. Fortunately, this year worked out perfectly and I hopped on a plane by myself to Texas for this unforgettable festival experience.