The Silver Tongue » JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com News, Interviews, Reviews & More Mon, 05 Dec 2011 14:00:01 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Copyright © The Silver Tongue 2011 contactus@thesilvertongueonline.com (The Silver Tongue) contactus@thesilvertongueonline.com (The Silver Tongue) podcast 1440 http://thesilvertongueonline.com/TSTPodcastLogo.png The Silver Tongue http://thesilvertongueonline.com 144 144 News, Interviews, Reviews & More music, entertainment, news, reviews, interviews, movies, television, fashion, new, music, underground, indie The Silver Tongue The Silver Tongue contactus@thesilvertongueonline.com no no FREE Download from Forces of a Street http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/12/free-download-from-forces-of-a-street/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/12/free-download-from-forces-of-a-street/#comments Thu, 01 Dec 2011 21:06:40 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=54328


Columbia, SC post-rockers Forces of a Street announce the release of their new single, “Scope,” today. “Scope” is the first peek at the band’s upcoming full-length release, Pro Icarus, set for release on Valentine’s Day, 02/14/12. Forces of a Street are part of the Post-Echo team, an artists’ collective that serves as a sort of

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Columbia, SC post-rockers Forces of a Street announce the release of their new single, “Scope,” today. “Scope” is the first peek at the band’s upcoming full-length release, Pro Icarus, set for release on Valentine’s Day, 02/14/12.

Forces of a Street are part of the Post-Echo team, an artists’ collective that serves as a sort of ‘new era’ model of label-family and digital distribution that includes such artists as Pan and Devereaux. From the Post-Echo wire: “Thanks to an epic dose of Post-Ambient Space Rock, this new album promises to be one of this winter’s biggest Post-Echo events.”

Check out the new single HERE, and be sure to click the link for a free download of it.

And, in anticipation of the new record, check out this promo video.

Forces of a Street is Justin Schmidt (lead vocals, guitar), Fr. Jones (synth, sound modulator), Nick Homenda (guitar), Nick Fogle (bass) and Kyle Pugh (drums).


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Review: Future Islands @ the EARL http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/12/review-future-islands-the-earl/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/12/review-future-islands-the-earl/#comments Thu, 01 Dec 2011 19:55:15 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=54299


In the crevice of the cool Saturday night air of a windy, post-Thanksgiving weekend, Baltimore trio Future Islands take allotted time for a show at the E.A.R.L. in East Atlanta, not terribly far from where they met and this whole musical thing began [as college friends in Greenville, NC]. Frontman Samuel T. Herring bookends the

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In the crevice of the cool Saturday night air of a windy, post-Thanksgiving weekend, Baltimore trio Future Islands take allotted time for a show at the E.A.R.L. in East Atlanta, not terribly far from where they met and this whole musical thing began [as college friends in Greenville, NC]. Frontman Samuel T. Herring bookends the play with an opening speech, in a voice that reaches out not at all like its singing counterpart. The tone is kind, albeit littered with four letter words beginning with the letter ‘f.’ His demeanor is casual, embracing no sharp elements of indie-rock-stardom or diva or devil.

The trio begins with “The Great Fire,” a selection from this year’s full-length release, On the Water. The packed room of patrons gravitate inward, gathering ‘round the humbled, semi-circled stage. This opening number is mellow, perhaps slower than the recorded version of it. Future Islands commences good impressions. The room of fans gives a welcomed reception when it’s done, as Herring explains that “The Great Fire” is one of the hardest to sing.

“An Apology” follows. The role of the beat isn’t as prevalent on this one (compared to others), but the mood of the music for people less familiar with it seems to loom at light at danceable right off the bat. This song, at the top of the track listing on In Evening Air, is an emotional one. It’s an example of how Future Islands creates within an emotional context, how Herring pours all of himself into that raspy, unique voice of his, and how the band delivers that package live. Herring breathes into and draws air from the mic as he recites lines of love and pain and passion. This behavior – as if he’s completely losing composer onstage – is repeated three-fold later in the set during both “Tin Man” and “Walking Through That Door.” The ‘post-wave’ nature of these remains in tact even though the aesthetic of something purely rockin’ comes through. Herring presents a fury and openness akin to Henry Rollins,’ and the way Rollins performs as he tenses up and veins pop out of his neck. Herring holds the mic in his left hand as his right goes from grasping of heart to raising of fist on “Tin Man” – an image perfectly captured by illustrator Johnnie Cluney at Daytrotter for the release of Future Islands’ four-song session last month.

It was the third song, “Inch of Dust,” that prompted Herring to become animated, thwarting his own personal theatrical stylings. Keyboardist J. Gerrit Welmers and bassist William Cashion take the role of shoegazers on the stage next to him. Their sorted style – or lack thereof – seems sad to some, but fitting overall. How deeply into a band’s clothing selection should others dig if the members are seriously close to being negligently concerned with that facet of their performance themselves? It’s an ongoing cyber debate. Regardless, by the time they play “Inch of Dust,” Future Islands seem to have won the wary ones over. It’s catchy; makes you want to dance at a prom in a John Hughes film, looking down at your Swatch watch to check the time occasionally. The crowd contributes some ‘whoa’s’ over the sonic landscape of melody that is sparse and sweet.

“Balance” is the first track that was released for the new record, and it’s apparent that many in the E.A.R.L. got the memo. Guys dance horribly as girls sing all the words. Welmers pushes out all the hooky melody for this one. Whether he’s playing it or triggering the sequence of it – including the unmistakable ‘elephant’ sound characteristic of the song – it all comes out perfectly. It actually sounds like the recording, with the addition of Herring’s pacing and wailing.

Herring has some accurate depictions of his own songs. “Give Us the Wind” is a ‘good ol’ fashioned slow song,’ he notes, though the ending is dark as hell live (not nearly as subtle as it is on the record). “Vireo’s Eye,” says Herring, is for musicians, about being on the road. It’s a very upbeat moment in the set, with nods to the likes of Berlin.

Songs leading to the end of the pre-encore set seem short or, maybe, concise is the better word. The trio plays some older tunes, too. The set includes a couple of shoutouts to old friends from ACU that are present, including a dedication of “Beach Foam” to them and a notation of having written “Before the Bridge” while in Carboro County (North Carolina).

The 50s-esque, bop ballad tambourine beat of “On the Water” is nailed. A similar beat is purported on “Grease,” which includes a bass line that’s very Cure-like. Some of the keys in “Close to None” come on as a nice throwback to OMD. The picking/delay guitar exists but, as with some layers of Future Islands’ tunes, is more like ambiance live, where it might have been a prominent element on record. The strings on “Grease” come across in the same fashion.

“Old Friend” is an older song that wraps up the set. Herring expresses how much they’ve needed this show, a slow down to a first and lengthy On the Water support tour. Cashion plays something wrong at the beginning of the song, prompting Herring to point out that he ‘always does that’ (or something to that effect). The song is less familiar with the crowd. It comes across, indeed, as an earlier one – less developed, less mature, more upbeat with a lighter atmosphere to it, as opposed to a more emotional, driven song.

Future Islands’ encore is comprised of the two, and only, songs found on their 2009 7” release, Feathers and Hallways. “The Happiness of Being Twice” goes first. Herring comes out for it and crouches in the center of the stage, smoking. He puts his cigarette down to sing the song, and picks it up (still lit) when done. The lyrics of this one are darling; it’s a relatable song, though lesser known. “Pinocchio” follows. It’s more upbeat, with Cashion playing interesting, chorded bass lines in the middle. Welmers, too, shows off, playing a strict eighth note key line at a higher octave with his right hand for the duration of the song. The patch is very much piano, allowing it’s persistent melody to cut through the mix.

It’s interesting that Future Islands chose an encore full of lesser/not known songs. Cultivated in other aspects of this show, as well as other performances and other media of presentation, and their clothes and their kind attitudes, it’s a safe assumption that they played this one for themselves and no one else. Serendipitous, then, I guess, that everyone keeps liking the formula so much.


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Review: Holy Ghost! & Jessica 6 @ Masquerade http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/11/review-holy-ghost-jessica-6-masquerade/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/11/review-holy-ghost-jessica-6-masquerade/#comments Tue, 29 Nov 2011 22:34:51 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=53956


It’s 9:30 pm [last Monday night]. You can weave through the stretched thin crowd to the front without bothering folks, though the front line at the stage is occupied. There is a DJ spinning, and then Jessica 6 begins at 9:45. Nomi Ruiz, Jessica 6’s forward-footed vocalist, is the energetic face of a band infused

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It’s 9:30 pm [last Monday night]. You can weave through the stretched thin crowd to the front without bothering folks, though the front line at the stage is occupied. There is a DJ spinning, and then Jessica 6 begins at 9:45. Nomi Ruiz, Jessica 6’s forward-footed vocalist, is the energetic face of a band infused with Motown spices, ridden deep in hues of Michael Jackson movement, Cher command and mod beat styles that nod to something like Dragonette.

Ruiz is skinny in her skinny jeans, sleek black hair, perfectly manicured nails and leather jacket. Now, I suppose, when her publicists pitch her to me as ‘Brooklyn,’ I can nod in honest belief. The music is supremely danceable and tight. Drummer Jim Orso is spot on and his contributions to this band’s style – simplistic. He’s Holy Ghost!’s touring drummer, too, and it can only logically be assumed that his duality contributes to the congealing of the whole show. Again, here I am in Hell (downstairs of Masquerade), in the Fall, for one of Sweetwood’s two-band bills.

The vocal effects are nice, live, for Jessica 6. But sometimes they’re too loud. It takes the sound from indie rock to diva-ish, and I don’t like it, because Ruiz is so believable in her role. The audience reaction is noticeably related to the degree to which the musicians on stage are getting into it – and by that I mostly mean how deeply into her dancing Ruiz gets. I like the darker songs, and want to see more of them. Wonderful analog toys aside, I like it when keyboardist Morgan Wiley uses his laptop patched to controller to get sounds that can only be translated live in that way. Those sounds are Jessica 6-specific, and his creations, no doubt. Bassist Andrew Raposo adds so much warmth and texture to the mix. This actually makes me consider other NYC bands that opt out for as many live members on their East coast tours in order to stay afloat financially and keep the stage setup concise. Bear in mind, though, that Raposo (and Wiley) are founding members of Jessica 6, and that this is a band, whereas comparison acts or peers often happen to be producer/singer duos.

What I don’t like about Jessica 6’s set is the perfection of it. I mean, all the players are great and so dead-on… but that’s the problem. They come across as session players, with Ruiz taking on all the ‘showmanship’ of the show and them almost shoegazing. That’s not what their music is about, so it gradually becomes more and more of a contradiction. I want more movement, interaction and mistakes, frankly. The band moves into different styles of music during the set. One, in particular, boasts a nice break beat beneath loungy pianos. One has drums with handclaps and other programmed linear sequences, while one is definitively Latin (Brazilian, more precisely) influenced. The mix up is nice, and the ‘showmanship’ issue subsides for the less pop-rock numbers.

When Jessica 6 is done, the show cuts to more DJed club mix. It goes for longer than I’d like, but the timing isn’t unbearable. The crowd gets really into it, and I later learn why. Holy Ghost! is already set up (the two bands have obviously worked out an efficient system for sharing the stage for this tour). Holy Ghost! emerges to vertical light flashes of the table beneath the stand of four to six keyboards, computers, controllers. Their show begins.

Barring the actual title of the first song of the set, it features a double tap snare that is subtle and strikingly unique, and a great, suave guitar solo. The touring construction of the group makes the live sound denser than the record. In addition to Alex Frankel’s front and center position, prominent vocal backups come from Nick Millhiser (Frankel’s co-founder/member), who’s in the back with the bass and the Moog, and guitarist Chris Maher. Erik Tonnesen and Sam Jones (who is actively turning 26) hang out behind the machine of analog and digital devices that comprise the back center key station. Orso (drummer) plays way more now than he did during his performance with Jessica 6. The interjected breaks and would-be pop solos are cheeky and fun. Our own personal dance pit soon develops in the space beside the stage left DJ booth.

“It’s Not Over” is a crowd pleaser. The band comes in to a nice sequence set up by the guys in the back. Frankel and Maher play auxiliary drums. Theirs are really crackly, but thick when played together. The crisp guitar melody of the song shines through clearly, being pushed through a black Stratocaster into what appears to be a vintage Roland amp (112 or 212).

Frankel gives a shoutout to the DJ – Eli Escobar – and it all makes sense. Escobar is part of the touring lineup, probably a primary reason why there’s not another band on the bill, and the cause of all the thick, pro house remixing that’s been ensuing before and between acts.

Those lights under the keyboard station come on for the cherished single, “Hold My Breath.” Its new wave nature is supported by the way Frankel holds his sss’s. The warm guitars and slightly arpeggiated keys mesh well live; it’s wonderful. Three of the guys punch out melody and sound from the key station, where they work as a team with the backdrop of a mixer beast that looks more like a musicians’ switchboard. Except for Orso, everyone on stage moves around a lot, taking turns at different keyboards and controllers. There’s a board for Frankel to the left of the key station, left of Millhiser in the mid-stage right area of the sprawl.

Maher, too, takes his turn at the key wing before returning to guitar for “Hold On.” Frankel takes a smoke break for this very new wave number. Maher backs up the verses, vocally, and adds a funky wah for the guitar-laden bridge. Frankel mentions that this happens to be their 150th show as a live band, and the guys move into “Wait & See.” He (Frankel) takes a camera phone photo of the crowd.

No Holy Ghost! show would be complete without a few moments of crazy low analog synth, and “I Will Come Back” was that token moment in the set. Millhiser shows that the Moog can live up to its name live. Frankel gets up on the stage monitors before joining Orso and Maher on some unison drum beats again. The bridge vocals, lead and backups, alone are enough to make this tune soar live.

The last song before the encore is, fittingly, “Jam for Jerry,” and ode to former drummer Jerry Fuchs, who passed away just two years ago and, ironically, grew up in the Atlanta area. Maher tunes his guitar through the intro, turns off the tuner and starts playing. Frankel screws up the first line, but without criticism from any of us. The electronics, the meat of the tune, come in and, when they do, it all just sounds so right. The super 80s synths define, again, one of those distinctly new wave moments in Holy Ghost!’s set – I’m sorry to all of you electro-pop, LCD Soundsystem, DFA genre fans… moments like this make Holy Ghost!’s a new wave show, and I love it for that. The lyrics ring around the room, “If I could change it all I would… if only I could.” They cut through clearly; they cut. I’m fascinated with all that’s happening, all at once. Orso’s left hand is fixated on the hats as space clears up for the wonderful key bridge. Guitar keeps going. Frankel lights up another ciggy, almost in nervousness, at the end of the song. He ‘seriously’ thanks the crowd. The musicians exit.

The break proves to be very short break. The team returns, thank us again and introduce ‘special guests,’ who turn out to be none other than members of Jessica 6. Frankel asks the ‘best drummer I know’ to do a solo. It’s tight. Raposo begins cranking out smooth bass lines as Frankel sets his drink on his auxiliary drums. The guitar is prominent, even considering the new additions. It sounds like a low, backup vocoder is present, but I don’t see one anywhere. Frankel goes for those drums again, with a cigarette and mic in his right hand and two sticks in his left. People clap on the turn of the song. Wiley plays with one stick in his right hand and a beer in his left. Frankel introduces DJ Escobar again. “He’s gonna end this party,” we’re told. Escobar goes right in, just as Holy Ghost! and friends’ finish notes begin. This one was a show very well rehearsed but equally sincere.

photos by Tim Lampe


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Interview: Pierre Leroux of Housse de Racket http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/11/interview-pierre-leroux-of-housse-de-racket/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/11/interview-pierre-leroux-of-housse-de-racket/#comments Wed, 23 Nov 2011 20:09:37 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=53161


Housse de Racket is a band that you should know. It is the electronic/indie two-piece made up of mostly-guitar (live) Pierre Leroux and mostly-drummer Victor le Masne. And though the band has existed for about five years, it is this one that is seeing their introduction to the international music scene. August saw the worldwide

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Housse de Racket is a band that you should know. It is the electronic/indie two-piece made up of mostly-guitar (live) Pierre Leroux and mostly-drummer Victor le Masne. And though the band has existed for about five years, it is this one that is seeing their introduction to the international music scene. August saw the worldwide release of their second record, Alesia, and December brings a U.S. tour with Yelle.

Today, I had the pleasure of sitting down for a quick chat with Pierre and Victor. We talked about everyday stuff like recording one of the most acclaimed French indie-pop records of the year and being friends with Phoenix. It went something like this:

Pierre: Hello

TST: Hello

Victor [comes on to greet me briefly, even though Pierre ends up doing the interview: Hello. How are you?!

TST: I’m good, thanks. Well, thanks for coming on and chatting with me.

Pierre: Ah, you’re welcome.

TST: I wanted to talk to you about the tour with Yelle and I wanted to talk about your second record, Alesia, and you know, just see how things are going for you guys.

Pierre: Alright. Everything’s going okay, we are very excited to come along to the U.S. Actually, it’s the very first time that we are touring the United States. We played there before with other bands, but it’s the first time that we bring Housse de Racket there. So, yeah, really happy! I’m excited.

TST: Yeah; this is exciting. Have you guys played with Yelle before?

Pierre: Yeah, we opened for them a couple of times in France, and then two times in Paris – maybe two years ago. So they are really good friends of us, and we’re really thankful for the invitation to play with them. So, it’s cool.

TST: Yes, it’s very cool. I’m excited to see the show, and will be checking it out for sure when you’re here. So, tell me about the record. I took a listen this week, and I think it’s a very well-rounded mix of songs. But I want to know what you did differently this time? What was unique about recording this one?

Pierre: Actually, yeah, we released or first record in 2008 in France, U.K. and Japan. We had to keep the formula. Usually we say that it takes 25 [he means two and a half] years to write your first record and it takes two years to write your second record. That’s exactly what happened to us. The first one was more like a huge deal and, I don’t know, a patchwork of all our influences. And for the second one we didn’t have that much time to write it so maybe it was more direct. So that and the fact that we worked with Phillipe Zdar and he’s an amazing producer, you know, so it was really cool to work with him.

TST: Where did you record it?

Pierre: Well, we worked in a house in the south of France, then our own studio for six months in Paris, and we tied the final loose ends at Zdar’s studio in Paris. And it was really cool to record there, in that place. It was a good vibe, so it went really well.

TST: Nice. Now, when you go in, do you guys take all of your instrumentation or do you use other things when you’re in the studio? Do you bring in different instruments? I’m curious as to how you translate your songs on the record to the live performance. Is that a difficult thing, or is it easier to go the other way?

Pierre: Actually there are both things. We are a duo and, of course, sometimes we really wanted to just say, ‘Okay, let’s go and play like a rock band, with a bass player, a keyboard player, a guitar player and a drummer.’ But this is the way the band was born and the way we work, so I guess it’s an advantage. We’re really complimentary on the instruments that we’re playing. Each of the instruments we play, they never compete with each other. It’s really nice. And for the live shows it’s more technical because Victor is on drums and I am on the guitar. We have a few backing loops, but it’s really ‘live’ and, I don’t know, maybe even more rock-y. But it’s very powerful, and that’s why we do it.

TST: So it will just be you two live on this tour, with no accompanying musicians?

Pierre: We had three musicians back in the day. We started to play live like in, maybe, 2005 or 2006. And one day, Phoenix, they invited us to support them and, at the time, the band was, hmm… [pauses]. It was a technical issue; we couldn’t pay them! But we couldn’t refuse this gig that Phoenix gave us, so we decided to just play the show with just the two of us. So that’s how this formula was born, in a way. Yeah, [we’re] very tempted at the temptation to take other guys on stage. But it doesn’t cheat like that. The band is Victor and I and onstage you can see him on the drums and me on guitar.

TST: Interesting. Well, I’m excited to see it; it’ll be my first time, obviously.

Pierre: Cool.

TST: I love two-piece bands though. I write about a lot of them. The dynamics are interesting to me.

Pierre: Yeah, maybe that’s appreciated, or something like that. We know we have to rely on each other and no one else, so.

TST: I think that’s a good thing though.

Pierre [laughing]: Maybe one day we’re going to be 12 on stage… with a cha-cha band and some things like that. You could come.

TST: I will! So let me go back. You said that was the first time you guys played with Phoenix, correct?

Pierre: Yeah. We started with them as a backing band or just a touring act.

TST: Right, just opening. But I mean, how did that come about? Is it a very tight knit community with French pop rock bands? How did you just get to go open for them in the beginning?

Pierre: This was before their previous record, in 2006 – the record was called It’s Never Been Like That – and their keyboard player just had a baby. So I filled in for him on the keyboard and at that time I was just joking with them, like, ‘Hey, maybe if you guys like my band, one of these times you can invite my band to open for Phoenix and we would be amazed by that.’ And they said yes. It was a joke, but then they just booked a few gigs with us and we were really, really happy because we feel very close to them, musically. And now, after we both toured, we have feelings for them. But all of them are really, really good songwriters.

TST: Yeah, definitely. Well, you and Victor are good songwriters, too. I’m really liking the new record, and I’m going to be listening to it more before you come here. Listen, thank you so much for taking some time for this today. I going to keep it short, but I want our readers to get a good introduction to you before you do the U.S. tour. So, thanks for chatting, Pierre; and you two take and we look forward to seeing you in December.

Pierre: Yeah, yeah. Maybe we’ll meet then!

TST: For sure; I’ll come find you.

Pierre: Alright, cool; don’t hesitate!

press photo by Mattia Zoppellaro


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Review: Run Dan Run – “Normal” http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/11/review-run-dan-run-normal/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/11/review-run-dan-run-normal/#comments Mon, 21 Nov 2011 20:24:18 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=52608


What a simple, interesting band name this one has. They really caught me off guard. I remembered the name before I listened to the record, though, and I had no idea what the band’s story was. At the end of the day, after the swamp of all that prestigious Brooklyn experimental innovation that is pulsating

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What a simple, interesting band name this one has. They really caught me off guard. I remembered the name before I listened to the record, though, and I had no idea what the band’s story was. At the end of the day, after the swamp of all that prestigious Brooklyn experimental innovation that is pulsating in the veins of the now-standardized indie rock feeder community, it’s always great to stumble across some band from some small corner of the world that just, simply, is new and fresh and sounds fantastic. That’s the story in this case.

Run Dan Run are from Charleston, SC, a town in which I’ve watched several friends and lots of indie bands try to ‘make it,’ but to not much avail unless they relocated. It’s been a few years since I stopped paying attention to the scarcity of ‘good music’ that was coming out of Charleston. That must be how I missed these guys. Normal is their third record, second LP (see, I did miss a lot). Frankly, I have no inclination to go back to those previous records right now, though I’m sure I will at a later date. Let’s talk about the significance of this one instead.

My fellow assistant editor, Will Donelson, says he doesn’t like it when a band makes noise just for the sake of doing so. Though a fan of white noise, I have to agree with him here. “Intro” seems unnecessary; not really leading into the second track, “Lovesick Animal,” as I had hoped it would. “Lovesick Animal” is one I’ve already heard. It’s the promo or the first single or whatever, and it works really well for that. I remember that song, it’s slushy, driving snare. I don’t like horns in rock, but the ones in this tune work with it, and even help make it memorable for me. Really it’s the repetitive vocal styling and the lazy, relaxed, non-serious nature (not of the lyrics, but of the melody that they create) that they pull out of me that make the song endearing.

“Box-Type Love” is guitar heaven for post-shoegazers. It’s a really sad song, reminding me of Snowden’s nature when Jordan Jeffares isn’t up in arms with subject matter. This is driving like Snowden’s Anti-Anti, and boasts some similarly creative guitar effects but, again, is less serious/more relaxed.

“Gestures & Patterns” holds some more vocal repetition (a good niche), and is dynamically built with the same tactics that An Horse used on their first record. I’m inclined to say that the added female backup vocals help achieve this, but similar dynamics and exercise in slowly building tension with the music alone carry through other songs. It happens on “Spelling Words” and “Finger & Fist” (if the darkness of that one didn’t create tension enough).

Normal holds a good mix of slow and fast paces. “Cut-Outs” sounds like a meld of a couple of songs off Radiohead’s OK Computer. I don’t’ like this but, in Run Dan Run’s defense, the song’s way too modern for it to have been intentional. It’s strange – as different as the tunes on this record are, they fit together okay as a collection. Each holds a different feel, mood, mindset, but the tonal approach, especially for drums and guitars, is consistent and crisp. Sprinkles of electronics add flavor and the more plain/acoustic moments do not take away from the more experimental ones.

 ★★★½☆ 

Free Download: Run Dan Run – “Lovesick Animal”


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Review: Phantogram & Reptar @ Masquerade http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/11/review-phantogram-reptar-masquerade/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/11/review-phantogram-reptar-masquerade/#comments Mon, 14 Nov 2011 20:10:20 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=51926


Covering the Phantogram show last night at the Masquerade wasn’t really my intention. It was Sunday, it was downstairs and, for once, I wanted to go as a regular ol’ fan, maybe even buy a t-shirt. But Phantogram are anything but cookie-cutters, and I should’ve known that they’d pull something fantastic and new out of

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Covering the Phantogram show last night at the Masquerade wasn’t really my intention. It was Sunday, it was downstairs and, for once, I wanted to go as a regular ol’ fan, maybe even buy a t-shirt. But Phantogram are anything but cookie-cutters, and I should’ve known that they’d pull something fantastic and new out of a hat.

There were lots of things about last night that went unanticipated. (A) I didn’t expect there to be tons of people there. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted tons of people to be there, for the band and as props for Sweetwood [aka, Tim Sweetwood, Sweetwood Presents, who books lots of great shows around Atlanta and in other regional cities] – he was bringing Phantogram back to do their own show in the more cozy Hell room (downstairs at Masquerade), and with Athens’ own Reptar, and only Reptar. The mood was right on. Phantogram had played the Masquerade (upstairs, in Heaven) a little over three months ago, but it was in support of The Glitch Mob, which meant that the crowd was stale and didn’t care that the importance of Phantogram’s presentation was getting paled by over-the-top lights and overrated turns of frequency knobs. The Glitch Mob are fine at what they do, but Phantogram needed a place to entertain their own fans, and last night it happened.

(B) I didn’t expect the enthusiasm of Reptar to be so overwhelming. Those kids are on the road to making things happen for themselves and, as a serendipitous farewell to a two-month, show-every-day tour, they really brought a no-holds-barred approach that I haven’t seen threaten the substance of that medium sized stage since Watain, spiritual – I mean genre – differences excluded.

(C) I didn’t expect Phantogram to have almost completely reworked their set over the past three months, much of which has been spent touring. Workaholics?

Initially, I couldn’t tell if the young crowd members were Reptar fans, if they were simply trying to hold their footing for Phantogram, or if they were simply engaged. Probably the latter. It was obvious that the band so close to home were being embraced, but their showmanship overcompensated, demanding some attention. Super fast dance drums laid ridden in bpm’s upwards of 150. A practically headbanging keyboardist and guitarist that somehow managed not to break strings purported happy music that was upbeat, pocketed and appreciated. I missed the first part of the set but, except for a pseudo-jam on the final tune, they seemed to keep things concise.

True, only two bands were on the bill. And it was perfect. Obviously pre-sale tickets were the way to go, since the show saw a day-of sell out. And they were only $13. I guess everybody else, like me, was excited to experience the intimacy and clarity of live music in Hell (the venue room). Phantogram is prequelled by poetry, tales of horses and ash, mood setting a show that supports Nightlife, the EP that they released less than three weeks prior.

Programming starts the set alone. Keyboardist/vocalist Sarah Barthel comes in from stageside right. Josh Carter holds off on guitar that has emerged seamlessly for Barthel’s super reverbed vocals to commence. Tim Oakley’s drumming comes in with the keys, and the set begins officially. It’s a treat from Nightlife, but I don’t remember the title.

The duo and Oakley keep things fresh by introducing favorites from their debut LP, Eyelid Movies. By even the third song in though, “Bloody Palms,” we realize that something is vastly different than before. The programming is different and, though the vocal melodies ‘seem’ to be the same, the guitar progressions are way more major and bright. The song’s been completely reworked, and it proves to be not the only one. The reworks lend the set to more of a guitar driven feel. The new arrangements – “Bloody Palms” and “Turn It Off” especially – are warmer and more emotional. It’s a fantastic spin on this year’s previous live set.

“Running From the Cops” appears to be the same. Oakley adds rim shots to a near end breakdown that brings the acoustic nature of it up. Downstairs, as opposed to up, the guitars cut through more clearly (it’s just that the room is smaller, and there’s less space in which they can get lost). “Mouthful of Diamonds” is the catalyst for this theory. Carter’s Orange amp is working flawlessly as usual and, for a minute, I wonder if the changes in the set are all just a ‘warmth illusion.’

People are involved in the show. Bodies shout and hang over rails and low monitors and weekend hangovers. “As Far As I Can See” is a crowd pleaser. Slow, vibrato guitar verse movement is great, hovering flanged keys that carry through the turn (or pre-chorus) and then go away again for more sultry verse lyrics and linger. The new songs break through with huge beats and Oakley’s use of the Octopad. Barthel’s keys are quirkier and Carter’s vocals are darker where hers are consistently bright and light. One song turns from fast riffed, high chorded guitars to a stringy, simply versed bridge that’s more of an intermission than anything else. Non-frugal kicks bring things back. Carter’s high vocals don’t soar with as much clarity as needed for the musical effect, but with as much guts as needed for an emotional one.

The high frequency percussion parts on “You Are The Ocean” are really high. Oakley seems to be using the Octopad instead of the snare, which is a change, but it’s a little bit of a frequency toe-step. It overpowers the vocals and guitar somewhat, though it’s consistent enough to break through on some parts, like the double chorus/outro. That programming works fine when all else is quiet.

A highlight of the set for me is “Make A Fist,” a song that I’ve been obsessed with since Phantogram released it on a Daytrotter session last year. The same high frequency overstepping occurs, sneaking up on Barthel’s vocals until the title line comes in. Her pushing of the words seems to overpower the contour of programming and drum frequencies as they approach the back of the room, where I’m standing for this one. The end of the song is crazy noisy; awesome!

“Don’t Move,” another selection from Nightlife, which was my favorite number that they played last time at the Masquerade, follows. I like the light programming and the handclaps and the hooky lyrics. They sandwich “When I’m Small” between this and the new EP’s title track. “When I’m Small” shows some real dynamics, which is what caught our attention at SXSW last year. The subs under the ‘show me love’ part are huge, and the drums bring a wash through which I’m still able to hear the key and vocal melodies clearly. Carter abruptly ends the guitar after ‘to be with you,’ which is almost a perfect live move. Chants ensue, Barthel thanks the crowd and Reptar.

“Nightlife” is a fabulous new tune. It’s so warm that I want to sleep with it, want to light candles when it plays, want to hear it on repeat live. I feel that I’ve been imploding with anticipation to hear it, and it comes through strong. Barthel’s vocals make her a sort of warrior inside of the song, armored in handclaps. It goes more mainstream friendly when Carter chimes in, but I don’t mind that. She plays a single mistake (that I notice) on the outro. They’re human, not Coldplay on national television.

Phantogram’s set ends with “All Dried Up.” It’s a calm down, a wind down. The kick is triggered, but human made. Guitars are safe and humble. They’re real people, people. If you missed it, you missed out!

press photo by Doron Gild


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CSS Release Video for “City Grrrl” http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/11/css-release-video-for-%e2%80%9ccity-grrrl%e2%80%9d/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/11/css-release-video-for-%e2%80%9ccity-grrrl%e2%80%9d/#comments Mon, 14 Nov 2011 19:30:12 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=51772


Just as the ladies of CSS promised from the road, having spent much of the year touring in support of this year’s LP release, La Liberación, the video for “City Grrrl” is out! As told, it does feature Cody Critcheloe from Ssion and, as assumed, it does feature Lovefoxxx dying her hair pink and putting

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Just as the ladies of CSS promised from the road, having spent much of the year touring in support of this year’s LP release, La Liberación, the video for “City Grrrl” is out! As told, it does feature Cody Critcheloe from Ssion and, as assumed, it does feature Lovefoxxx dying her hair pink and putting on lipstick that is, well, blacker than the blackest black times infinity [that was a Metalocalypse reference].

The publicists pitch it as one of Lovefoxxx’s ‘most autobiographical songs to date.’ I guess that’s why none of the other members of CSS appear in it – not really a bother, as much as an observation. The video is more of pep rally for the self, any self. Wonderfully gaudy, colorful, mismatched fashion of definitive Eighties inspiration swims in and out over an NYC backdrop that is generic and, at the same time, a pinpointed snapshot of old, iconic NYC. So, these things all work well together. The video is plain ‘ol fun.

Lovefoxxx, on the video: “I revisited my teenage years while living in the suburbs of my hometown. I’d be on the floor of my bedroom making the most ridiculous clothes and glue fake colored hair or x-ray pictures on clothes. I’d be sporting goth make up at 8am and when I hit the streets people would curse me from their cars in the most aggressive way.  [Calling me] ‘drag queen’, ‘whore.’ The song captures the sentiment of feeling like a true outsider and yearning to escape to a big city to find fellow outcasts.”

In addition to a collaboration with Ssion, La Liberación also features collaborations with Ratatat, Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie and Mike Garson (who played piano on David Bowie’s “Aladdin Sane”).


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Review: Devereaux – “Cacti Pace” http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/11/review-devereaux-cacti-pace/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/11/review-devereaux-cacti-pace/#comments Tue, 08 Nov 2011 23:26:33 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=51124


A friend recently made me aware of Post-Echo, a musical and artistic collaborative which acts more as a digital media outlet in the way that a label and a publicist, if rolled into one being, might. But the artists are independent, and the common thread through the roster, about half of which I’ve listened to,

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A friend recently made me aware of Post-Echo, a musical and artistic collaborative which acts more as a digital media outlet in the way that a label and a publicist, if rolled into one being, might. But the artists are independent, and the common thread through the roster, about half of which I’ve listened to, is that the medium or, more frankly, the mindset, in which these bands and artists are operating seems to lend itself to experiments in sound and approach by default. Devereaux, one of the artists, clearly operates this way. And even if it doesn’t become your favorite thing on the planet, Devereaux’s methods and products definitely deserve the attention of music makers and snobby electronic fans.

Devereaux achieves some sonic elements of big rock with the debut EP, Cacti Pace, but from an experimental cave of wonder, I envisage. The end result appears contrived at first glance, but below the surface there’s some electro rock genius happening here. I’m careful to say that the record teeters a fence between big rock and indie electro, because those two things aren’t really ones separated by a mere fence, and because this endeavor comes across as more of an exercise in blending sounds than choosing between them. I listen to “Perestroika” over and over just to see if I can pick it apart – what is real / what is illusion; how do I feel about that?

I want more vocals, and softer vocals, overall, on Cacti Pace, because the music is ballsy enough alone. But I appreciate what is there, vocally, as a sort of sequel to the groove of bottom-heavy bass and quirky melodic inventions and hand claps. Everything sits in a place that was created for it, which is what happens when competent musicians go it solo. “Capri” is transferring to my ipod dance mix today. “Espejo”: elementally, I want to bottle that guitar melody up and wear it on a rope around my neck. The spacey sounds that haunt the song support it well; the hardcore-ish vocals, not so much.

I’m eager to hear what the next level holds for Devereaux, and am glad that he didn’t debut the project with a remix, like everybody else and their Brooklyn mamas. If you like toy pianos, vocoders and not being genre-tied, spin this record and tell me what you think.


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Jupe Jupe: New Video + Free Downloads http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/11/jupe-jupe-new-video-free-downloads/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/11/jupe-jupe-new-video-free-downloads/#comments Mon, 07 Nov 2011 22:01:36 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=50982


Yesterday Seattle synth rockers, Jupe Jupe, uploaded the new music video for “Piranha,” a cut from their recently released sophomore record, Reduction in Drag. The band describes the track as “a song about a guy in trouble” and the video as “the greatest grindhouse movie never made.” The video was produced by Bunny Mangum and

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Yesterday Seattle synth rockers, Jupe Jupe, uploaded the new music video for “Piranha,” a cut from their recently released sophomore record, Reduction in Drag. The band describes the track as “a song about a guy in trouble” and the video as “the greatest grindhouse movie never made.”

The video was produced by Bunny Mangum and features guest appearances from members of fellow Seattle bands, Black Nite Crash and Rosyvelt. If you’re in Seattle, you can catch Jupe Jupe’s CD release show November 18 at Sunset Tavern.

If the video’s not enough to peak your interest, give these two free downloads a spin. Both are fine slices of the 10-track LP of discussion, Reduction in Drag.


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Interview: Luiza Sá of CSS http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/10/interview-luiza-sa-of-css/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/10/interview-luiza-sa-of-css/#comments Tue, 25 Oct 2011 23:12:07 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=49477


With only four more stops left on the U.S. tour calendar this year, CSS is wrapping things up to head to Europe next, where they’ll continue trekking the globe in support of their third full-length record, La Liberación, which came out just two months ago. Tonally different, that record harnesses elements which are tied to

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With only four more stops left on the U.S. tour calendar this year, CSS is wrapping things up to head to Europe next, where they’ll continue trekking the globe in support of their third full-length record, La Liberación, which came out just two months ago. Tonally different, that record harnesses elements which are tied to CSS’ band style and character – pop-sensical, light, easy listening, though sometimes emotive, sincere, danceable, full of colorful guitars and quirky keys, fresh. The live show, more than any of the records, conveys these. The band was born live, so it seems, having toured more than most since the 2006 release of their first, self-titled record.

As a drive of general intrigue and guitar-minded curiosity, I’ve always harbored a particular interest in what CSS guitarist Luiza Sá contributes, to the band and to the world of sound, and how. And barring minor post-show off-the-cusp Q&A, I’ve been vying for a more extensive conversation. This afternoon I got it.

TST: How’s the tour going?

Luiza: It’s going so well that we’re kind of sad that we only have four more shows. It’s been amazing. The shows themselves… touring with Men and EMA (EMA just joined the tour on the last four shows). But everyone’s so cool, and then we’ve had drag queens opening for us. It’s just been everything we wanted, and I’m kind of sad and bummed it’s ending. I wish we could just go South and go to the West coast again and start it all over.

TST: How many months a year do you guys tour, usually?

Luiza: It really depends, because this year we had a record out and that means a lot of touring. I guess, I’d say, we are touring this year 70% of the time? I don’t know; we’re always touring. [laughs] I think we’re gonna tour again next summer and fall. But we do have time off.

TST: So I met you when you guys were here before…

Luiza: … in Atlanta.

TST: Yep, at Center Stage.

Luiza: Yeah, I really liked that show. The venue was really cool; it was a really beautiful theatre. And this guy gave me a shirt for the Atlanta Gentlemen’s something. We like going to the South… we always feel good here, we love soul food. It’s good for us. And I always dreamed of going to Athens; I know it’s a cliché. But I watched that film, and we’re all big fans of R.E.M.

TST: You know R.E.M. just…

Luiza: I know! They just, like, ended.

TST: What do think about that?

Luiza: Well, we all kind of thought about it, and we all – I think we were listening to R.E.M. at the time. We weren’t touring; we were home, but we talked about it. I think – I mean it’s not terrible because they’ve been together for so long and they did so much that it’s kind of – we’re not gonna be crying over it. They’re so dignified. They could just stop and it would be fine. I don’t know, I think it might be one of those cases where they finish, so now… if they tour it’s gonna be crazy [leaving the idea to linger]. But R.E.M. is seriously one of my favorite bands.

TST: So, I know that you DJ. Are you DJ-ing a lot, or do you just sort of do it on your off time?

Luiza: We actually, when the band started, made a party right away. We always liked to DJ for ourselves. And when we started touring, I started DJ-ing afterparties – just having some fun doing it, not like a real technical DJ spinning songs and stuff. And then everyone in the band started DJ-ing together, more and more. Sometimes we have time off and we’ll DJ wherever we are because we don’t all live in the same city. But this tour we only DJ-ed once, in Mexico City. We might do it more this year. And we love it because we DJ whatever the hell we want. It’s a little funny.

TST: I wanted to ask you how you find out about new bands.

Luiza: Uhhh, the internet. And also from other people, friends. You know, we have a lot of friends who are always trying to find new things. From time to time I’ll have the craving of getting new music, even if it’s old music and I don’t know it. Sometimes I just have to sit down and get some new stuff. And, you know, everyone loves music I guess. So it’s a mixture of that and the internet. Sometimes when I’m home I listen to radios like Pandora, because I can discover things there, too.

TST: Do you go to a lot of shows when you’re not on tour?

Luiza: I actually do go to shows. I have lots of musician friends, and I’ve been living in Berlin since the summer. There’s a lot of musicians there. Sometimes it’s not even for the show, but just for my friends – just to show up, you know? And I think all of us, we still enjoy music. It’s different though, because we tour so much that we can judge a show a different way probably. I mean, we pick up on things that other people don’t, but we’re still very much able to enjoy it. And I think it’s always good to be in the flow of music and creation. Just to be around it helps out.

TST: That’s an optimistic take. Now, I know you were doing photography before, are you still actively doing it? Obviously, I think it’s very cool if you’re able to document your tours that way, but I don’t know to what extent you have. And do you do it on your downtime?

Luiza: I do it. The thing is, I’ve had so much touring, and have documented so much of the touring, that now I’m kind of over it… just documenting the touring itself. The subject for me – of course, every day, every place there’s something new – but it’s kind of a similar dynamic of getting somewhere, a sound check, a show, another show, the road and the hotel room or whatever. So I think I’m having kind of a crisis over it, because you just want something different and new. But I still do photography and I actually have a lot of work that I’ve done and never shown. So I’m in the process of making some things and maybe selling them.

TST: So, you just finished school, what, last year?

Luiza: Uh huh. I went for fine arts, and my project was in photography. So we had some time last year and I only had a semester left from back when I started touring, in 2006. My Dad was very frustrated that I never finished college. I was like, ‘Okay, it’s only six months (it was actually five months); I’m gonna do it!’ It wasn’t ideal, but I loved going back to school. It really felt like we go to school way too early in our lives to really know – you know, we’re not mature enough to appreciate it. When you’re older it’s, ‘C’mon, this is really expensive. Let’s use every little bit of it!’ So it was good to be around that, and then I graduated.

TST: Well congratulations.

Luiza [laughing]: It took like years and years!

TST: It doesn’t matter. I was just wondering how the hell you had time to go to school!

Luiza: It was kind of insane. I would go to school in the morning, and then I would go have lunch and go to our studio and stay there until night. And up until it was the last month I was just like, ‘Guys… I’m sorry.’ But they were the best. And I graduated and, after that, could just go over to the studio and relax a little.

TST: That’s great that you could do it. Okay, now I want to ask you about the new record.

Luiza: Okay.

TST: Look, you can go read my review on it, and I’m sure everybody’s telling you their opinion of it, but I wonder what was different for you about recording it, specifically guitars. I’m a nut when it comes to tonality…

Luiza: Thank you [in agreement].

TST: …and last time I saw you at Center Stage that’s why I was having to talk to you about guitar recording on Donkey.

Luiza: Right. Well, on Donkey we had an old, beautiful studio with a hundred amps and a hundred guitars, you know. Not a hundred, but it was all vintage and blah, blah. This time around I actually think I called a friend who had some amps, and was DJ-ing, too, and he borrowed me one. And then we went to this really cool, quirky guy that makes amps. He also makes really cool pedals. His name is MG. A lot of people buy his pedals. Billy Corgan bought one.

TST: Interesting.

Luiza: Yeah, well, he had this amazing, vintage amp… like from the war or something. And he let us use that. And then in terms of guitar, for the record – well, not just for the record – I bought this vintage Telecaster. It’s a ’73, all original. It’s a Telecaster, but it has a crunchier sound… a little bit more bassy, more like Keith Richards’ sound.

TST: Are you not playing the Jaguar now?

Luiza: No, that’s going to stay home. Because it’s a vintage guitar, and touring just destroys your stuff. It doesn’t destroooooy your stuff, but it’s hard on the instruments. But I’m playing the Jazzmaster on the tour. I love it. I mean, it’s a little harder to play, because the Telecaster’s so soft.

TST: I play a Tele, so I totally understand.

Luiza: Yeah! I love the Telecaster, but a Telecaster could NEVER make the sound of a Jazzmaster, you know, so that’s the thing. I always play the Tele, and then I want something different. So I bought the Jazzmaster, and it sounds much harsher – you have to have more strength in your fingers – but it sounds amazing. The thing about Donkey – it was good to go for a different sound. For this record we used a Strat, a Tele, what else? That was basically it. But we recorded for so long.

TST: What’s long for CSS?

Luiza: We took a year to make these songs.

TST: Oh wow.

Luiza: We had no rush at all. We were just doing demos, coming back, writing. But what we did, also, was get some new pedals. There was this old echo delay that was tape…

TST: Yeah, like an Echoplex?

Luiza: Yeah! I also got the Memory Man. It’s an amazing pedal.

TST: Oooh yeah, it is.

Luiza: It’s kind of hard to use on stage; I don’t use it on stage. But I love this pedal. It’s awesome because there’s just no way you can get a reverb and something else and put them together to make that. It’s just different.

TST: Memory Mans [Memory Men?] are great; that’s a good depiction. What else?

Luiza: Uhhh, I don’t know. We played around, but we weren’t pushed or anything. Donkey was more of a studio thing, more ‘old school,’ I would say. And this time around it was just more fun, more experimenting and not just experimenting with the expensive stuff. There was even a song that we recorded with a really small amp – like a toy amp – cranking it up. So, yeah!

TST: That’s nice. I like to hear about the experimental stuff. It’s always fun, and I think it’s a great practice. And the songs on La Liberación sound very independent to me, but it still sounds like a record, and I like that a lot.

Luiza: I understand what you’re saying. But I think the first record is kind of like that, too. So I think it’s kind of like [how] we are. It’s weird. It was more of a production of ideas than a collection of sounds. You know, it was more like a theme for us than, ‘Oh, this song sounds like this.’ Donkey’s so much more [about] sound, I think.

TST: Ya know, I have a question for you. When you all record guitars, do you play live the part that you wrote? Or do you decide what works for the song live? How do you do that? How do you orchestrate it, or do you?

Luiza: That’s a fun question. Sometimes, with some songs, we’ve had time to play it and then go back to it – to try it live. Actually, it would be a luxury to get all the songs, tour with them, and then go back and record.

TST: Yeah, I think everybody wants that.

Luiza: That is such a luxury, because you can’t really go out, play a bunch of songs that no one knows, go home, record. Also, to just rehearse, you spend money, you spend time, and so we don’t usually get that luxury. What happened, maybe, was that we were in Australia in the beginning of this year, and we played a few songs [before the record came out]. Then we kind of had a feel for what worked and what didn’t, but live and the recordings are different… I think they should always be different. Donkey is actually played live exactly like it’s recorded because we were touring so much that I think we were just in that mindset. This time [with La Liberación] we put in a lot of elements we knew we couldn’t really reproduce. I mean, we were just like, ‘Fuck it.’ It’s not really realistic. When we’re recording, especially now that we’re five people, getting someone just to play the drums is something else, you know. So I understand what you’re asking but, no, it doesn’t happen. That’s way too slow for us.

TST: I was going to ask you about the drummer. You guys have a touring drummer, right?

Luiza: Yeah, we have someone that we hired.

TST: Is it the same guy as the last tour?

Luiza: Yes, J.R. He is adorable. He’s younger than us – not too much, but about two years.

TST: So then does he party more than you guys?

Luiza: Definitely. He’s always drunk. But he’s such a sweetheart and such a good boy. We call him ‘Meu Bebê,’ which means ‘my baby.’ We really love him.

TST: Nice. I’m going to ask you the cliché question now, which is ‘What bands are you listening to right now?’

Luiza: [sighs] I spent the whole night listening to Beach House. I met her in New York a few years ago and I kind of liked it… and now I’m really listening and it’s amazing. The last PJ Harvey album is, I think, the best album of the year for sure. What else? Oh EMA is really cool; I’m blown away. Their show is a total rock show. I was expecting something more electronic, and it’s a rock show and it’s so different from everything that I’ve been seeing. Uh… let me think. Well, Lykke Li’s latest record is really good as well. I’ve heard a lot of Robyn this year… The Drums. And there’s this woman who lives in Berlin – Janine – and her band is called Planning to Rock…

Luiza goes on to mention other bands that have/will support CSS tours, including Wampire and Strfkr. The conversation takes a lengthy detour to band discoveries mode, when I mention Ladytron’s new record.

Luiza: Oh yeah! I’ve been such a bad friend. I’m really good friends with Danny [Hunt], and he sent me the record before it came out. And then I didn’t put it on my iPod, so I never really got around to hearing it. It’s on my computer.

TST: I like it because it’s really experimental. It’s nice.

Luiza: I’m pretty sure it’s nice. They’re at a point where everything’s going to be nice.

TST: I don’t think they can make a bad record.

Luiza: Yeah, that’s what I mean.

TST: Well, we could rant about music forever. I’m going to see Zola Jesus tonight, do you like her?

Luiza: Oh that’s awesome, yeah! I saw her a long time ago in New York with The XX and Warpaint.

TST: I remember that tour. And she’s so young! She’s doing great for herself.

Luiza: She is the nicest, too; she’s really nice. I don’t know, some people are ‘born ready.’

TST: I guess so. Man. It’s a week of good shows in Atlanta. Austra is playing here just before Halloween, too.

Luiza: Yeah, I met some of them in Berlin. They were playing a festival there that we played called… Berlin Festival, and I had the chance to check them out. It’s funny, there’s this whole sort of new scene that are like the ‘sons of trip-hop’ or something… like the new hip-hop!

It’s an interesting concept, coming from someone with a rounded viewpoint of what’s happening in live music right now. Our interview-turned-conversation winds down. I inquire about ‘Randall’ [see the La Liberación review] on the new record, who turns out to be not Randall at all. Luiza sets things straight. The track “City Grrrl” actually features Cody Critcheloe of the Kansas City pop-punk band, Ssion. She also queues us in – Cody is in the video for “City Grrrl,” which we can expect to be released soon.

We wrap up by discussing the significance of the 40 Watt in Athens, how I dread the trip there tomorrow, but am excited to see them play and how CSS anticipate playing it. I also express my eagerness to see Men live (who I missed just a few months ago), and Luiza tells me how ‘fun’ of a show it promises to be.

Thanks to Luiza for taking the time to chat! For the rest of you, note the remaining U.S. dates, as well as upcoming European dates, which will roll through the end of the year.

U.S. Dates:
10/26 – 40 Watt, Athens, GA
10/28 – House of Blues, Dallas, TX
10/29 – House of Blues, Houston, TX
10/30 – La Zona Rosa, Austin, TX

Euro Dates:
11/17 – Tavastia, Helsinki, FI
11/19 – Debaser Medis, Stockholm, SE
11/20 – Rockefeller, Oslo, NO
11/22 – Stodola, Warsaw, PL
11/23 – Lucerna Music Bar, Prague, CZ
11/24 – Weekender Club, Innsbruck, AT
11/25 – Estragon, Bologna, IT
11/28 – TMN ao Vivo, Lisbon, PT
11/29 – Hard Club, Porto, PT
11/30 – Shoko Club, Madrid, ES
12/01 – Apolo, LA2, Barcelona, ES
12/03 – Gaite Lyrique, Paris, FR
12/04 – Paradiso, Amsterdam, NL
12/05 – Botanique (Orangerie), Brussels, BE
12/07 – Heaven, London, UK
12/08 – Kasbah, Coventry, UK
12/09 – Library, Lancaster, UK


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Video Trailer for New David Lynch Record http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/10/video-trailer-for-new-david-lynch-record/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/10/video-trailer-for-new-david-lynch-record/#comments Wed, 19 Oct 2011 19:45:52 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=48801


As a followup to Sam’s blog, I wanted to share the video trailer for David Lynch’s new record, Crazy Clown Time, which will be released through Sunday Best Recordings on 11/08/11. Aside from his filmmaking notoriety, Lynch has previously solidified his songwriting/recording status (as if he needed to) by working with such artists as Angelo

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As a followup to Sam’s blog, I wanted to share the video trailer for David Lynch’s new record, Crazy Clown Time, which will be released through Sunday Best Recordings on 11/08/11. Aside from his filmmaking notoriety, Lynch has previously solidified his songwriting/recording status (as if he needed to) by working with such artists as Angelo Badalamenti (Twin Peaks), Marek Zebrowski (Inland Empire) and Sparklehorse and Danger Mouse (Dark Night of the Soul). But the new recordings depart from that, Lynch delving into something new and bluesy and dark – as usual.

It’s my personal opinion that Lynch does with film what Brian Eno does with music. In my own curious anticipation of this record, and coming off the cusp of seeing Ladytron last week – and analyzing that – I’ve been reaching backwards. I’m rediscovering, or maybe exploring anew, the world of analog soundscapes, listening to Roxy Music’s first two records. And then I see this, and it all fits together somehow.

I read an interview with Lynch that Adam McKibbin at the The Red Alert did a couple of years back. They talk about the ‘purity of experience,’ and about how people shouldn’t cloud the experience of a film or a song by knowing too much about the filmmaker or the musician beforehand. That’s interesting to me, since non-Lynch fans all over cyberspace and beyond – people that know nothing about him or his films or musical collaborations – are the ones who like to bitch about how nonsensical it all is. Irony: they are, in fact, the perfect candidates to see/hear that work (according to Lynch).

Decide for yourself:

From today’s press release:

Yesterday Lynch has released a video trailer for Crazy Clown Time, featuring in-the-studio footage shot in the director’s unmistakable style. Click HERE to pre-order the album.

Recorded over a year at his own studio with engineer Dean Hurley (who also contributes guitar and drums), Crazy Clown Time unveils a majestic, yet powerfully idiosyncratic vision of “modern blues” that could only be drawn from the mind of David Lynch. Filled with foreboding soundscapes, hypnotic rhythms and enigmatic lyrics, this is music that will resonate not only with fans of Lynch’s films, but also to listeners who appreciate daring, experimental music.

Listeners may have caught the potent one-two punch of “Good Day Today” and “I Know” towards the end of last year, but those tracks only hint at what’s in store on the album, as it twists and turns and detours in all manner of strange and unpredictable directions, taking in tales of doomed romance and dark revenge. For starters, kicking things off in raucous, deliciously twisted fashion is his collaboration with Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the thrumming, pummeling, punk-tinged head trip that is “Pinky’s Dream”, which Lynch himself aptly describes as “the horror and sadness of losing someone to other dimensions”.

From then on, the record opens up to include everything from the low-ended, brutal beauty of “Football Game”, to the sparse yet claustrophobic menace of “Speed Roadster” (where Lynch sings, “I guess you’d say that I’m stalkin’ you/ I might be stalkin’ you baby…maybe you’re happy/ but I hope you’re sad”), to the dance-driven, pounding, 7 minute epic that is “Strange and Unproductive Thinking”. The record however, closes on a note of sheer transcendent beauty on the moving “She Rise Up”, with Lynch’s wrenching lyrics of loss and redemption adrift in an amniotic haze of beats and shimmering synths, as if suspended in mid-air. It’s a breathtaking finale, and brings to a thrilling close one of the most singular albums you’re likely to hear all year. The fact that Lynch has somehow managed to seamlessly traverse these different genres on his musical debut, while still sounding, very recognizably, like nobody else, is a testament to his unique and unmistakable vision.

To shed more light on the album, below please find a track by track guide to Crazy Clown Time, from David Lynch himself.

TRACK-BY-TRACK

“Pinky’s Dream”
“The horror and sadness of losing someone to other dimensions.”

“Good Day Today”
“About being sick of negativity.”

“So Glad”
“This kind of feeling comes up from time to time in our lives. It doesn’t always have to do with people…”

“Noah’s Ark”
“About being saved by love.”

“Football Game”
“This sort of story is probably more than a daily occurrence in our world.”

“I Know”
“Facing the reality that comes as a result of our actions.”

“Strange and Unproductive Thinking”
“Speaks for itself”

“The Night Bell With Lightning”
“A blues song…and the title comes a bit from a line in a Kafka story.”

“Stone’s Gone Up”
“Something has happened”

“Crazy Clown Time”
“is a phenomenon of the age in which we live.”

“These are my Friends”
“The ones I see each day”

“Speed Roadster”
“A story of unrequited love near the piney woods”

“Movin’ On”
“The decision was so obvious…”

“She Rise Up”
“A modern story”


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Review: Ladytron @ Masquerade http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/10/review-ladytron-masquerade/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/10/review-ladytron-masquerade/#comments Fri, 14 Oct 2011 20:40:29 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=51807


Ladytron opens with “Soft Power,” and to a world of bright blue centered lights with stems of natural lights bookending the presentation, which wrestles the blackness of the Masquerade stage. Horizontal lights that radiate like heaters emerge in the mix of fantasy color that is more extraordinary because of its placement, and of whom it

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Ladytron opens with “Soft Power,” and to a world of bright blue centered lights with stems of natural lights bookending the presentation, which wrestles the blackness of the Masquerade stage. Horizontal lights that radiate like heaters emerge in the mix of fantasy color that is more extraordinary because of its placement, and of whom it backdrops, than how grand it is.

Those lights backdrop the four that are Ladytron, plus a touring fifth. Daniel Hunt, Reuben Wu and that fifth element are all but washed out by the depths of shadows the lights create, while vocalist/synthesizer players Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo are situated forward, spotlight-ready. Marnie is cloaked in white, with a unique hat that is both period past and present future. More and more yellow streams of light enter the show as the opening number picks up, and into the second.

Like a proper tennis match, Marnie and Aroyo trade places in the stage front area after the first song. In the circling blue lights, Marnie takes her hat off – it’s appropriate, a symbolic shift in lead stance. Aroyo puts a leading foot forward as the band goes into “Mirage,” a popular track off their freshly released full-length, Gravity The Seducer. I had predicted that this song would be the opener, but it’s close to the top, a nice place for the mood of it, especially since the set gets pretty dark towards the end, a couple of songs before the encore. The white light pyramid behind the five musicians appears on this one. I count a few songs that bear its presence, initially all tracks from Gravity The Seducer, but then it stays, in different color forms, for the likes of “Fibua” and “Seventeen,” the end before the encore.

I’m surprised that the new tunes seem more synth heavy live. But the vocals come out across the audience with less effect, less reverb, than I anticipated for the tour in support of the record that has more lush, stargazing vocals on it than any of the previous. The delays (vocal), on the other hand, are long and exaggerated, which balances out nicely with the bouncing sounds of the thick synth instrumentation. I also love the placement of Aroyo taking lead vocals, her Bulgarian influence true and clear, a Ladytron staple element, on tunes like “True Mathematics.”

Lots of the super low basses get flattened live, but the frequency swells and changes are clearly audible (on “White Gold,” particularly). The triage of synth contributions in the encore (“White Elephant,” particularly, but “Destroy Everything You Touch,” too) are larger than life live and, although unwieldy and playful unlike the tightness of both on record, still cohesive and controlled. This is amazing, since the two were released about five years apart.

The encore and, in fact, the entire show, flowing as mentioned above, shows Ladytron’s consistency. The experimentation that they evolve through, including of course the different path that was taken with Gravity The Seducer, are congealed by the live performance. The live drums, even if featuring triggered sounds, add to this a lot. The use of real toms layers something special that clings like glue to those dusty synthesizers – instruments fresh indie bands can only hope to find in the basement of an uncle’s dilapidating home, but won’t. That’s the Ladytron experience. The brains of a well-oiled machine have engineered some innovative tactics that continue to transcribe well live, it seems.


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Review: Zola Jesus – “Conatus” http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/10/review-zola-jesus-conatus/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/10/review-zola-jesus-conatus/#comments Wed, 12 Oct 2011 19:26:35 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=47618


Though my Nika Roza fandom has existed since I first came across her, my Zola Jesus fandom is one that seems to swell incrementally each time a new record is released. The Spoils is a good record, but Stridulum II is a great record. In fact, Stridulum II (2010) is one of those few records

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Though my Nika Roza fandom has existed since I first came across her, my Zola Jesus fandom is one that seems to swell incrementally each time a new record is released. The Spoils is a good record, but Stridulum II is a great record. In fact, Stridulum II (2010) is one of those few records that I’ve lived with the entire year. So, although I anticipated Conatus, which came out last week, I was almost scared to listen – fearing heart pains if it didn’t prove to be as great as its most recent full-length predecessor.

“Swords,” the intro, actually tells me quite a lot about the record in its one-minute span. Electronic samples are brighter and more precise this time, as opposed to blended and lo-fi like before. There’s more playing with the frequency knob this time, drawing sounds close and then pushing them away, as if we were watching the story of this record like a peep show, through a square glass window. But Conatus doesn’t come in a box.

“Avalanche” was the only press tune I’d previously heard. I knew that the lead vocals would be louder and clearer, with the backups dancing around like ghosts, just as Zola Jesus vocals always have. The music is shaped around them better this time. And, though some great technological discoveries seem to make Conatus shine, it’s an oral tale.

I adore the strings on “In Your Nature” and “Hikikomori,” and the atypical beat patterns that eventually flow into something danceable, and then gradually flow out of your hands in the same almost-subtle fashion as they came. Parts run in and out of each other smoother and more subtly on Conatus, in general. “Seekir” boasts more of a traditional indie/electro beat foundation, though it is inverted and altered towards the end of the song, allowing the listener’s memory of it to sit somewhere between experimental and mod electro (intangible vs. graspable, I guess). By the way, the reversed vocals on that song are divine.

The way backups repeat and ring out through ends of certain numbers, like on “Lick the Palm of the Burning Handshake,” which is laden with flowing repetition and consistency, makes them eternal. Vocals on songs like “Ixode” and “Skin” are downright sweet. Again, to compare to the one that I already treasure, I feel that Stridulum II was the ‘aha’ moment – the time when I said, ‘Yes! Now I see who, or what, Nika intends Zola Jesus to be. Conatus, whether I’ll like it more, less or equally, seems to be the manifestation of the intention – Zola Jesus seems realized here.

The love and pains and revelations that come with this record are real and personal. The stories are close, the narration is one-on-one, and the music fully supports that this time. I think, on Stridulum II, the music and the lyrics (not vocals, but the actual words and lines) existed oppositely – they co-existed, but they didn’t work together as well as they do on Conatus, which makes Stridulum II the pained love in your head and Conatus the pained love in your bed, so to speak. It’s not as abstract, and not as much an extension of your own emotions, but it’s physically closer.

Current Tour Dates:
10/12 – Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL
10/13 – The Blind Pig, Ann Arbor, MI
10/14 – The Mod Club, Toronto, ON
10/15 – II Motore, Montreal, QC
10/17 – Brighton Music Hall, Boston, MA
10/18 – Knitting Factory, Brooklyn, NY
10/19 – Le Poisson Rouge, New York, NY
10/20 – First Unitarian Church, Philadelphia, PA
10/21 – Black Cat, Washington, D.C.
10/22 – Ottobar, Baltimore, MD
10/24 – Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC
10/25 – The E.A.R.L., Atlanta, GA
10/26 – Siberia, New Orleans, LA
10/28 – Dan’s Silverleaf, Denton, TX
10/29 – Mohawk, Austin, TX
10/31 – Echoplex, Los Angeles, CA
11/01 – The Independent, San Francisco, CA
11/17 – Stad Garden, Koln (Germany)
11/18 – Karstelbahnhoff, Haideburg (Germany)
11/19 – Orangehouse, Munich (Germany)

 ★★★★☆ 


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Review: Mates of State @ Drunken Unicorn http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/10/review-mates-of-state-drunken-unicorn/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/10/review-mates-of-state-drunken-unicorn/#comments Wed, 12 Oct 2011 18:53:11 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=47570


Because Mates of State’s music is so happy and hip and quirky, I forget that they’ve been at this for a little while. Having existing since 1997, releasing their first full-length in 2000, they’ve got some extensive recording and touring experience under their belts. That becomes instantly obvious live. Their set is as pristine and

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Because Mates of State’s music is so happy and hip and quirky, I forget that they’ve been at this for a little while. Having existing since 1997, releasing their first full-length in 2000, they’ve got some extensive recording and touring experience under their belts. That becomes instantly obvious live. Their set is as pristine and perfect as a Nashville band of session players live. If it weren’t for their playful comments, enthusiastic, engaged body language and ‘light’ onstage experimentation (which is, frankly, difficult to deem planned or impromptu), they’d be as boring, too. Luckily, or should I say ‘fortunately,’ those elements exist.

So Mates of State played the Drunken Unicorn this past Thursday. They rivaled Madi Diaz and her band of Nashville session players [and no, if you’re wondering, they’re anything but boring] as the best sounding thing I’ve ever heard in that venue. I wonder how long the soundcheck must have taken, or if all the foreign D.I. boxes on stage were a proper indication that this band demands more control of their sound from the stage than most.

However long the soundcheck had taken, I know it couldn’t compare to the amount of time Mates of State must have devoted to making the stage pretty. The top corners of the stage space were adorned with two poofy, cotton clouds filled with lights that alternated solos of on and off. And the greenery that’s traveling with the band was thick enough to stretch across the entire front of the stage and down into the first line of fans. On the back wall, lush, fake flowers lined and encompassed the Drunken Unicorn’s usual starred backdrop like rabid kudzu. Illusionally, vines reached and wrapped around every stand and leg of every piece of equipment onstage. It was quite a spectacle. I imagine that it creates a happy zone in which the performers can perform, the joyous tone of their style somewhat foreign to me, though I do consider their uniqueness darling.

The set begins with “Get Better.” It’s appropriate that the two pieces of this two-piece band, keyboardist/pianist/vocalist Kori Gardner and drummer/vocalist (and other instruments on record, just not tonight) Jason Hammel begin together, as their two touring stage mates hang silent for a bit. The tune strikes me as super key heavy, which is indicative of the set entire, and of their sound entire. It’s different to see that live, though, to see all five or so of those keyboards put to use to produce all the different Mates of State key sounds individually and naturally.

Gardner’s stand is set up with three boards – a heavy Roland piano type on bottom, a Juno-G in the middle and a microKorg on top. She goes to the Micro for the outtro of “Get Better,” and Hammel brings in “Maracas” loudly and forcefully, with a maraca in his right hand and a drum stick in his left. Gardner’s right hand is on the Roland, while the left is on the Juno. The super heavy, low keys, mixed with piano backup, ironically make super light music, I realize. This is true of a lot of songs in the set.

On “For The Actor,” I’m a little surprised and stoked that Gardner hits all the high notes and vocal runs at the end with such ease live. She carries this great performance trait – of belting higher ranged, soaring notes over Hammel’s straight, punchy, almost-chanty lines. It gives Mates of State a signature dynamic, sure, but it’s more separated live. This is particularly characteristic of “Unless I’m Led” and “Think Long,” where Gardner toys with the title line. There seems to be more talent shining in her live vocal performance than the records suggest. It’s soulful, I guess, which doesn’t happen on tape often.

The stage left ‘auxillary guy’ fills a lot of empty space in the set. I can’t tell what keyboards he’s using, but they often, as on “Unless I’m Led” fill a space lower than even the microKorg produces. It’s great texture. There’s also a fine turn/interlude on that song (going into the second chorus), where he and Gardner do some key tradeoffs that spin into a little reverb tornado that’s short lived, sliding into “The Re-arranger.” On this one, he uses the trumpet more, as he does with many songs in the bottom of the set, and also brings out a tambourine.

“So we’re called Mates of State,” Hammel informs, as if that went unknown to the mostly young people who had paid to get into the all ages show. This is just before “Think Long,” a tune in which I am finally able to tell what sorts of textures the guitarist behind Gardner is contributing. They’re very mid-range and smooth, and low in the mix.

“You Are Free” sounds very conventionally rock, except for the arpeggiated keys, that is. It comes across as a more serious song, and the vocals are more natural – with Hammel’s cut-through, consistent lines not seeming forced at all and Gardner’s seeming to flow, interwoven, without any restrictions. The band rocks it out before the quiet part of the song, which is sweet and crisp live. The trumpet comes in for the close of it.

Hammel works the crowd throughout the set by saying things like, “This is the best show of the tour,” and “Can we play here every night?” The kids eat it up like candy, and stay focused relatively well, considering the length of the set. I do notice, however, that their unfamiliarity with the new songs may be contributing to the fact that they stop screaming and cheering as much during that middle part of the set where more of those tunes are situated. Mates of State cleverly play “Like U Crazy” (a general favorite off of 2006’s Bring It Back) before hitting two new ones – they debate of which to do, but end up performing both back to back.

Both of these two tracks are off this year’s LP, Mountaintops, to which I haven’t really given a full, well deserved listen. Seeing these two songs live made me want to do so. The first comes in with an open hat and quick snare beat, coupled by a doubling, driving bass line. The auxillary man plays 16th key chord notes on it. There are audible vocals coming from the guitarist, and audible guitar that rings out over the beginning of the bridge. There’s an odd minor progression for the first three of four parts of the pre-chorus/turn. “We win; we don’t give up!” they shout. The song’s got some conviction – musically, more than vocally, even.

“At Least I Have You” is next. The guitar turn is loud and driving. There are more consistent beats on the new stuff, like a four-on-the-floor beat with this one. I like the progression of the chorus. It’s not as musically happy or typical. There’s a different major/minor walk to it, ala old MGMT almost. This is my favorite song of the set.

The band plays “True Love Will Find You in the End,” a Daniel Johnston cover that was also featured on 2009’s Crushes (The Covers Mixtape), before leaving for all of two minutes prior to returning for the encore. Gardner begins, preparing the crowd by saying, “It’s going to be bad!” Because I’m not at the front of the crowd, I can’t be sure whether someone requested it or not, but they begin “An Experiment,” a track from 2004’s Team Boo. The melodic, smooth trumpet is nice. But they completely flop on the second half of the song, consoling with, “We’ll play the other part next time.” No one minds.

Gardner and Hammel experiment with something else briefly, and then play “Proofs,” followed by “My Only Offer,” which includes a lot of trumpet, which has now become too staple in the set to make dynamic waves for me. The night, which has brewed a more sincere, if not completely serious, mood during the encore, is ended with “Palomino,” another wonderful number off Mountaintops. It starts sort of dark, then Hammel’s almost-struggled, but honestly wrought ‘whoo hoos’ come in. It’s otherwise a very smooth song – no quirky, sharp edges like the older stuff. The drums are more consistent, driving and danceable, just like everything else I’ve heard from Mountaintops. This seems like a nice evolution for Mates of State. I hope the tour in support of this record makes others as curious to go home and listen to it as it did me.

The set that the band ended up playing didn’t exactly follow the pre-planned one, I later discovered. Nonetheless, here it is:

Get Better
Maracas
For The Actor
Unless I’m Led
The Re-arranger
Think Long
You Are Free
Sway
Goods
Parachutes
Ha Ha
Whiner’s Bio
Like U Crazy
something new
At Least I Have You
Now
True Love Will Find You in the End

ENCORE:
An Experiment (partial)
Proofs
My Only Offer
Palomino


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Interview: Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/10/interview-today-the-moon-tomorrow-the-sun/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/10/interview-today-the-moon-tomorrow-the-sun/#comments Tue, 11 Oct 2011 18:22:17 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=47267


Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun is a rather lengthy band name. Blog folks seem to tag just the first part – it’s easier on FB and Twitter, i.e., and @todaythemoon know that. Around Atlanta they’ve become household enough that most people understand what TTMTTS means or, simply and lazily now, TTM. But the ‘sun’

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Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun is a rather lengthy band name. Blog folks seem to tag just the first part – it’s easier on FB and Twitter, i.e., and @todaythemoon know that. Around Atlanta they’ve become household enough that most people understand what TTMTTS means or, simply and lazily now, TTM. But the ‘sun’ part is important, too. From my perspective, it’s indicative of the determination and general professionalism as a working unit that these four musicians possess – the collective progresses, and that’s the way it goes.

I’ve never inquired about the intention of the name. Why should I? It’s too cliché of an on-record question and too boring for after hours chit chat over PBR or hot fries, especially when that chit chat involves such intricacies as the turn-ons of recording with the Fender IV, or the laughableness of childhood personality self-analyses rediscovered. I’ve had the fortunacy of both, the former of which just occurred last week before TTMTTS’ show with Tapes ‘N Tapes at the E.A.R.L. It gave me the chance to ask official questions about their recent signing to Portland based Greyday Records, the (re)release of Wildfire, and a tour that threatens to take on the Eastern part of the U.S. from now until the end of the year.

Though they are kindred spirits and home friends, objectivity is the only option here. Though Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun is local – they work, dine and catch shows that they like, too, when they’re not on the road – they are also very progressive. So the fact that I had not seen them play for a handful of months had a big impact on my familiarity with the specifics of what they are doing at this moment in time. Also, I had listened to the record, but didn’t know exactly how it was being implemented live. And we hadn’t talked about it too much, so the casual interview that follows was fresh fun for my friend self and an informational treat for my fan self.

TST: Okay, tell me about the tour.

Lauren [vocals, guitars, keys]: So, for the last two years we’ve been touring 15 and 20 days per month. And we do it intermittently. Sometimes it’ll be two, three weeks in a row, and then other times it’s just like four day weekends every week. So for September and October we’ve slowed down just a little bit to try and get stuff ready before the record’s released – like a couple of music videos, paying off some personal debt, stuff like that – and are just trying to be here as much as possible and get those sort of things taken care of. And then, starting mid-October, we’re back into the main routine that we’ve been doing with or without the record label… which is, you know, constant, constant touring. But it’s always intermittent. If we’re going far away, we’re going to be gone nine days or longer. If we’re doing regional stuff, it’s going to be three or four days.

TST: So when did you get signed, exactly?

Lauren: The middle of September? I think it was September 10 actually. No, September 12… yeah, I’m going with that number!

Jeremy [drums, electronics]: ‘Cause it was the Monday after…

Micah [bass, keys, vocals]: September 11.

TST: And had you guys been recording new stuff already?

Lauren: Well they’re just re-releasing…

TST: Wildfire.

Lauren: Yeah, exactly. So we do have a little bit of new material, but we’re not looking to abandon our new record.

TST: New material recorded or… ?

Jeremy: We actually just, this past week, have been demoing a new song. We’re going to play it tonight for the first time in Atlanta.

TST: Nice! I was wondering whether you’re playing new songs yet or not. So, can we say here and there?

Lauren: Yeah.

TST: I know when I first went to find you on Soundcloud you guys were streaming about half of Wildfire. Are you streaming the whole record now? And is it on Soundcloud?

Lauren: Yes, and yes.

TST: Is that something that the label wanted you to do?

Lauren: I’m not sure they know about that.

Jeremy: Yeah, they don’t know about that.

TST: Well, was it more beneficial to do that?

Lauren: I don’t know if it was beneficial. But I feel like, I mean eventually we’ll probably have to take it down because it’s not just us anymore – it doesn’t just affect us anymore. It affects somebody else, and it’s really something we haven’t thought about that much. We put it up there because we want people to listen to the music, first and foremost. That’s the most important part – that people care about that. They can’t care about it unless they listen to it, and a lot of people don’t put monetary value on music anymore, unfortunately. I have no idea if it helps or hurts.

TST: I see a lot of bands doing that right now. One band that I really love is Future Islands, and their record is coming out in maybe a week or so, but they’re streaming the entire thing on Soundcloud. And that struck me as a weird thing because they’re, you know…

Lauren: Yeah, wow, that’s like half the hype. You know, for us, we released the record in May. And it’s the same record that’s being released again in November, so I’m sure it’s going to be coming down within a few days. There’s just no way, now that other people are involved, to keep it up there. But it’s a conversation that we haven’t had with the label yet.

[For the record, the entire stream is still up at the time of this posting.]

TST: Well, will the label be doing marketing for you, or are they just strictly releasing the record?

Lauren: I mean, yeah, PR and radio. I don’t know if it’ll go beyond that. I don’t know if there’ll be ‘advertising dollars’ or anything like that.

TST: Do you anticipate putting out singles over the next year with them?

Jeremy: Well, when we did it ourselves, “We Were Wild” [track #2 on the record] was kind of like our single. And we’re still looking to move forward with “We Were Wild” right now.

Lauren: But are you talking about future releases?

TST: Yeah. What will Greyday’s normal practice be? What can we expect for the future, beyond Wildfire even?

Lauren: The thing that’s really fantastic about Greyday is that they’re really artist supportive. Like, if we wanted to release a full-length in the summertime, I think they’d be fine with that. As long as they had enough time to prepare for it and all the logistics of distribution worked out, they’d be fine. They’re really cool about that kind of stuff. Our friends are on the label and that’s how we know. I mean, they just finished a full-length record – and they’re not sure when they’ll be releasing it yet – but they just, in March, released a [previous, different] full-length.

Jeremy: They’re constantly releasing stuff. They have more songs than… I don’t know.

Lauren: Yeah, they release, release, release records and the label supports that. I mean, they’re a songwriting machine and it’s supported. That’s what we love about the label, and that’s one of the reasons why we were so attracted to them.

TST: How did it happen?

Lauren: Through our friends. They’re in a band called I Was Totally Destroying It out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and we’ve been playing shows with them for about two years now. And, even when we don’t play with them, but we’re in the triangle, we stay at their house and they’ve just become some of our best band friends over the past two years. We respect them, they respect us and we try to play together as much as possible. One night our van broke down and I called John in the middle of the night and said, ‘Hey man, we’re not going to New York now, can we stay with you?’ And he was like, ‘Of course you can!’ And I said, ‘Do you have a mechanic that you guys use?’ And he was like, ‘Of course we do!’ And he said, ‘It’s funny that you called, because I was actually going to call in a couple of days because I want to talk to you about my label. The label manager is very interested in you guys. I’ve been talking about you for a while now, and he’s kind of ready to take on some new stuff.’ So throughout that weekend we just swapped information. We played a show and left, he put us in touch with them and then the ball just kept rolling from there.

TST: Did you play in Chapel Hill then, or do you usually play in Carrboro?

Lauren: We usually play Chapel Hill and Raleigh… and Durham a lot. I don’t think we’ve ever, technically, played Carrboro before. I wish we could play…

Micah: Cat’s Cradle.

Lauren: That place is awesome. Someday.

TST: So let’s talk about this tour more. Are you playing a lot of the same places that you’ve played, or do you have new places on the list now?

Lauren: We have a few new places.

Micah: We usually go up to New York and back. I mean, we’ve done Indiana, Ohio and Illinois a few times, but not as much as the other places, so we’re really trying to integrate that into our whole route so that we can kind of do the full Eastern U.S. circle, you know?

TST: Makes sense. Is the label backing helping you to book?

Lauren: They will be if we need help, but that’s one of the areas that we’re really strong at doing ourselves. So they’ll constantly be looking for booking agencies to book for us. I mean, the goal is to find more people to help. But, for right now, we still control most of that, and we’re with Vulcan Army Booking, so we’ll basically take care of all that. But if we have a last minute date to fill and it’s not happening, they’ll help.

TST: You’re playing with Tapes ‘N Tapes tonight; that’s a good show.

all: Yeah!

TST: So are you headlining your own shows on tour, or are there any other bands that you’re really excited to play with?

Jeremy: A lot of times we headline our own shows, but we do play with a lot of bands that we tour with a lot. We’re doing a CMJ Southeast showcase and we’re with so many great bands for that.

TST: What venue is that?

Micah: Parkside Lounge.

Jeremy: But yeah, there’s Jungol, Moonlight Bride,

Lauren: The Winter Sounds.

TST: Sounds fun; those are all great bands. Let me switch gears here so we can talk about recording a little bit. How was Wildfire different from what you’ve previously recorded? Because, as far as reviews go, it looks like people have different takes on how it was different – I have my own personal opinion, which I won’t share with you right now – but I’d like to know, technically, what was different.

[Cregg (guitars, keys, vocals) walks in and joins us as I’m asking this one.]

Jeremy and Cregg: Live drums.

Jeremy: Yeah, I programmed all the stuff on the other albums.

Lauren: Except for the first record…

Jeremy: Yeah, except for the first record. But there were no live drums except for hihats and cymbals, where this – Wildfire – is full on drums.

TST: And I have to ask bands who have a rock/electro crossover sound this question: Do you spend more time trying to take your live sound to your recording, or do you try to bring what you experiment with, in recording, to your live sound more?

Lauren: We’ve always done the first. We’ve always taken what we do live and tried to put it on our record. But this last record – we wrote a lot of the songs in the studio, and then learned how to translate them live. For once, we want to be like, ‘We don’t care! We just want to write a record that we can be overwhelmingly proud of.’ We just wanted to go for it, to have everything be cohesive and not like ‘oh we wrote this song, and then, this other song we wrote, we’re going to put them together.’ So, we just wrote everything to be a cohesive unit.

Cregg: I think it’s the way that we – well, the way the record flows – is how we would do a show.

Lauren: Yes!

Cregg: Each song goes into the next, and the next, and the next. It’s almost how we would write a set list, to get that live feel. There’s never much dead time, which is how I love doing guitar… just from one song to the next.

TST: Well, here’s another one of those ‘indie band’ questions. Do you think that you’re more influenced – specifically with keys and guitar sounds – by experimenting and becoming more knowledgeable or by bands that you’re listening to?

Cregg: More experimental.

Jeremy: Experimenting, yeah.

[They girls agree with that.]

TST: So, do you guys have a garage of shit that you just experiment with all the time?

Lauren: Yeah, we do. [they’re laughingly all agreeing, but are very serious.]

Cregg: Yeah, you’re welcome to come over anytime. I mean, we have a whole rack that’s just pedals, pedals, pedals.

Micah: We might spend the whole practice trying to find a keyboard sound that inspires us, or manipulating different keyboard sounds. The whole practice could be dedicated to that.

Cregg: You know, a lot of Lauren’s sounds on this record… like, used to we would play with whatever keyboard sounds we found on the keyboard – a lot of her sounds she’s made. She’s taken this or that and we just saved it in the bank, which was really different from what we’ve done before.

Lauren: It’s just… it’s really useful. It’s just like pedal playing or anything else, you know. Manipulating a sound instantly inspires a song. It’s instantaneously. When you’re writing straight from an acoustic guitar – which is amazing, too, and I totally love that as well – but when you’re doing that, you’ve got to sit there and hammer out things, or else you’re just playing the same thing that a million, billion other people are playing. There are only so many different chord progressions and rhythmic stuff that you can do. But the second you start playing with sonically changing a sound, the soundscape sort of appears out of your electronic piece of equipment that makes itself right for you. And that’s the coolest thing ever.

TST: Forgive me, Jeremy, but are you playing trigger pads live now?

Jeremy: I have a normal kit that’s miced up, and then I use electronic pads around me. I also have triggers on my drums, too. But it’s just to put distortion on the house monitors.

Cregg: Yeah, a lot of times when we’re on the road people are like, ‘What program do you use to program all your beats?’ And we’re like… ‘Everything is done live.’

Jeremy: We don’t play with backing tracks.

Cregg: There’s no click track, which most people can probably tell.

Jeremy [lauging]: Yeah, I speed everything up.

Cregg: But that’s the raw feeling that you get from our shows, you know, it’s not having that click. You don’t have to be a slave to the click. And we like that raw feeling.

Jeremy: And there’s only one or two parts on the album that I can’t pull off live. All the drum work – it’s really adaptable from the album to the live show. There are a few things, like overdubbed parts when there are two things going on at one time, because I don’t have 20 arms. But, for the most part, we’re able to adapt everything. A lot of times, Micah even plays auxiliary drums and stuff like that. She even plays on the album. On the song “Monster,” the main drum part in that song came from the drum parts that she made up. And she plays it live, so I’m able to do other things like make noises.

TST: That’s really cool. So when is the record going to be released?

Lauren: November 22.

Micah: 1-1-2-2-1-1.

TST: And it’s going to be a digital release, I assume, so people can go find it on Amazon and iTunes?

Lauren: Yep, digital. And I believe it’s going to be released in certain record stores as well.

TST: Okay, well this all sounds great. I’m going to post your tour calendar up and, if you could, shoot me an email as you add dates.

Lauren: Okay, very cool, thank you! [This is followed by enthusiastic thank you’s from the others.]

The ladies and gents of TTMTTS pulled off a fantastic set that night. “With My Good Eye,” a driving selection from Wildfire, laden with a guitar noise and cymbal heavy hook, opened the set. Fittingly, with akin tonal derivatives coming from Cregg’s guitar and corner of the stage, the new song was the closer. I enjoyed its raunchy rawness, which brought to me faint ghosts of ear-bleeder, 90s shoegazing that offset the incredibly dancey components of this band quite tastefully.

Barring a full review, there are a few elements of the Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun set worth pointing out. Micah’s fuzzed out high-mid bass notes, something that struck me probably the first time I watched her play, something that’s rightfully remained important, had prominent, explicit queues throughout the set. Lauren’s confidence on the microphone and a consistent guitar sound that counters Cregg’s thick layers of experimentation – and the fact that she’s not shy with what she’s playing on it – are always comforts in the live performance. Admittedly, the E.A.R.L. is a better venue for actually hearing all of this, compared to places like Star Bar, where the shows are always awesome, vibe-wise, but the layers get flattened.

“Oh Black Gold,” which is ushered in by some hanging guitar noise that flows into the smooth synthy nature of it, was probably the most dynamically attractive tune that night. Lauren’s naked vocal confidence on intro is strengthened when coupled by Micah’s, and the ebb and flow of Cregg’s all-or-nothing chords, woven with Jeremy’s carefully selected slaps at the floor tom, are a sweet sadist because of how they go away and when.

Given Jeremy’s notes about “Old Monster,” I pay particular attention to it, and how Micah uses her own trigger pad to trade off sounds with him. It makes me want more of that, the way I wanted more Lauren/Micah synth tradeoffs two+ years ago. But TTMTTS are clever. They seem to have a knack for figuring out what works best live and what doesn’t. Maybe the touring has helped… maybe they have a secret critic, or maybe they’re just good at it. All I can think now is how adept they’ve gotten at trimming the fat and creating sets that are interesting from cover to cover. And while I consider Wildfire a general success story, it’s just peas and carrots compared to the in-person experience.

Tour Dates
10/14 – Chicora Alley, Greenville, SC
10/19 – Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC
10/20 – Asbury Lanes, Asbury Park, NJ
10/21 – Parkside Lounge, New York, NY
10/22 – The Jewish Mother, Norfolk, VA
10/23 – Snug Harbor, Charlotte, NC
10/27 – Star Bar, Atlanta, GA
10/28 – Alabama Music Box, Mobile, AL
10/29 – Eighty-Five, Columbus, GA
10/30 – JJ’s Bohemia, Chattanooga, TN
11/04 – Preservation Pub/Speakeasy, Knoxville, TN
11/05 – The Basement, Knoxville, TN
11/09 – Zanzabar, Louisville, KY
11/10 – Blind Bob’s, Dayton, OH
11/11 – Kobo Live (Alert New London’s CD Release Party), Columbus, OH
11/12 – Southgate House, Newport, KY
11/16 – Vinyl, Atlanta, GA
11/25 – 529, Atlanta, GA
12/02 – The Atlantic, Gainesville, FL
12/03 – New World Brewery, Tampa, FL
12/04 – Word of Mouth Café, Sarasota, FL
12/05 – Will’s Pub (FREE SHOW!), Orlando, FL
12/06 – Burro Bar (w/Sleepy Vikings), Jacksonville, FL
12/07 – The Jinx, Savannah, GA
12/09 – The Basement, Atlanta, GA
12/10 – WPBR Radio Room, Greenville, SC
02/04 – Art Bar, Columbia, SC


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VHS or Beta – new record today, live chat tomorrow http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/09/vhs-or-beta-new-record-today-live-chat-tomorrow/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/09/vhs-or-beta-new-record-today-live-chat-tomorrow/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2011 22:08:13 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=45809


VHS or Beta’s new album, Diamonds and Death, is out today on Krian Music Group/Chromosome Records. The album is a journey full of thrilling moments and unexpected turns. The album’s electronic foundation is a byproduct of the many nights VHS or Beta DJs have manned the decks and remixes they have done in the last few

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VHS or Beta’s new album, Diamonds and Death, is out today on Krian Music Group/Chromosome Records. The album is a journey full of thrilling moments and unexpected turns. The album’s electronic foundation is a byproduct of the many nights VHS or Beta DJs have manned the decks and remixes they have done in the last few years.
In celebration of Diamonds and Death being released this month, VHS or Beta have been inviting fans to join them in a Turntable.FM room called “VHS or Beta” from 9-10 pm EST every Wednesday in September. Tomorrow will be the final session in celebration of the release. The band will kick things off with a special DJ set and then invite fans to jump on deck to DJ while they answer questions.
You can stream the entire record at Paste. And for FREE – RCRD LBL has a download of the Cosmic Kids’ remix of “Breaking Bones,” and Spinnerhas a download of the single, “I Found a Reason.”The two main creative engines behind VHS or Beta’s decade-long career, Craig Pfunder and Mark Palgy, relocated to Brooklyn from Louisville over the last two years. Be sure to catch VHS or Beta live on a national tour with Ladytron this Fall!

www.vhsorbeta.com

VHS or Beta Tour Dates:
10/4: Chicago, IL @ The Vic *
10/5: Toronto, ON @ Phoenix *
10/6: Montreal, QC @ Telus *
10/7: Boston, MA @ Paradise *
10/8: New York, NY @ Terminal 5 *
10/9: Philadelphia, PA @ TLA *
10/11: Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club *
10/13: Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade *
10/14: Orlando, FL @ Will’s Pub
10/15: Miami, FL @ Grand Central *

* = with Ladytron


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Review: Dum Dum Girls – “Only in Dreams” http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/09/review-dum-dum-girls-only-in-dreams/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/09/review-dum-dum-girls-only-in-dreams/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2011 20:08:33 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=45646


Oh my, the new Dum Dum Girls record is totally not what I was expecting! I guess I sort of holed up with I Will Be, their 2010 debut LP that made a lot of noise in cyberspace and was, well, noisy. Dee Dee’s lo-fi vocals were so uncouth and cool that they influenced my

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Oh my, the new Dum Dum Girls record is totally not what I was expecting! I guess I sort of holed up with I Will Be, their 2010 debut LP that made a lot of noise in cyberspace and was, well, noisy. Dee Dee’s lo-fi vocals were so uncouth and cool that they influenced my own approach to filtering vocals. But the smooth craftiness of them, their hooky, ‘in the pocket’ nature, made it all okay, I think. That’s an element that shines through again on Only in Dreams, which came out today. But, I have to tell you, Dum Dum Girls have cleaned up their act!

Meg White has always given something so raw and truthful to the White Stripes’ live show that all of their records have failed to capture. The Dum Dum Girls do that, too, but their records, now the two, stand alone just fine as artistic recordings, extensions of what the band does.

The opening track is “Always Looking.” About 20 seconds in it began reminding me of Grand Ole Party (specifically “Fire In My Head,” my favorite Grand Ole Party tune… my favorite Kristin Gundred tune, in fact, which would be followed closely by some early Dum Dum Girls stuff, if you care to know that). And then, enter backup vocal soft-shouts, ala Le Tigre, and a swooping song ending that is surf guitar fizzling out very ‘springily’, like The Raveonettes’ guitars always do. “Bedroom Eyes” follows. The chorus is smooth and features a wonderful 3-step progression that is supported by lush, warm backup vocals, the likes of which repeat on “Caught in One.” All of a sudden, with Only in Dreams, I feel that the Dum Dum Girls are making a visual statement – one that’s more streamlined and polished than before (though I don’t think they were really shooting for visual before at all).

A few of the songs get too bee-bop for my taste buds, but those vintage, Rickenbacker (or so it seems) tones are so craftily recorded that I can’t skip through. “In My Head” is very progressively and percussively akin to something from Best Coast. And all of a sudden I wonder if Dum Dum Girls’ transition from record #1 to record #2 is indicative of a current trend that Best Coast will also follow with their #2?

“Coming Down” is a different approach for Dum Dum Girls, and one I’m quite fond of. Simplistic as usual, it’s got some very heartfelt lyrics/vocals happening, ones that are interjected with short instrumental rises. The whole thing reminds me of a Mazzy Star style. Just when I think the song is wearing itself out, it picks itself back up with some gorgeous single note layering on one of those instrumental rises, and it’s duly long enough, unlike the frustrating antithesis of some tunes off the first Dum Dum Girls record.

“Wasted Away” holds the lyrics for the album’s title, wrapped inside the line, “I’d rather waste away than see you only in dreams.” It brings back some of the band’s trademark tongue-in-cheek accolades. “Teardrops on My Pillow” back it up, with a verse cadence and rhyme scheme that are closely related to I Will Be’s “Jail La La.”

To conclude, Only in Dreams is a pretty short LP with some definite high points and a few tunes that fall into the pool of ‘eh’ Fifties retro rock again. It probably won’t make as much of an impact as I Will Be did, but few do. Comparatively, this record is less haunting and dark (con) but more emotional and concrete and intimate (pro). I’d like to know if this was the sound Dee Dee was initially seeking, or if this is an evolution of the band, having toured extensively over the past couple of years.

You be the judge of Only in Dreams: stream the entire record HERE. And check out the new video for “Bedroom Eyes” HERE. Upcoming tour dates are below.

US Tour Dates:
Fri, Sep 30, San Diego, CA Casbah
Sat, Oct 01, San Diego, CA Casbah
Sun, Oct 02, Costa Mesa, CA Detroit Bar
Mon, Oct 03, Los Angeles, CA Troubadour
Tue, Oct 04, San Francisco, CA Great American Music Hall
Fri, Oct 07 Portland, OR Doug Fir
Sat, Oct 08, Vancouver, BC Electric Owl
Sun, Oct 09, Seattle, WA Neumo’s
Wed, Oct 12, St. Paul, MN Turf Club
Thu, Oct 13, Madison, WI High Noon
Fri, Oct 14, Chicago, IL Empty Bottle
Sat, Oct 15, Detroit, MI Magic Stick
Sun, Oct 16, Toronto, ONT Lee’s Palace
Mon, Oct 17, Montreal, QU Il Motore
Wed, Oct 19, Boston, MA Paradise
Fri, Oct 21, New York, NY Bowery Ballroom
Sat, Oct 22, Washington, DC Black Cat
Sun, Oct 23, Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer
Mon, Oct 24, Hoboken, NJ Maxwell’s

Europe Dates:
Thu, Nov 03, Berlin, Germany Festsaal Kreuzberg
Fri, Nov 04, Cologne, Germany MTC
Sat, Nov 05, Lyon, France Big Tinnitus Festival at Clacson
Tue, Nov 08, Nantes, France Stereolux
Wed, Nov 09, Roubaix, France Le Cave aux Poetes
Thu, Nov 10, Brussels, Belgium Rotande Botanique
Fri, Nov 11, Amsterdam, Netherlands London Calling Festival
Sun, Nov 13, Manchester, UK FAC 251
Mon, Nov 14, Newcastle, UK The Cluny
Tue, Nov 15, Leeds, UK Brudenell Social Club
Wed, Nov 16, Wrexham, UK Central Station
Thu, Nov 17, London, UK ULU


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Review: Atari Teenage Riot @ Masquerade http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/09/review-atari-teenage-riot-masquerade-2/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/09/review-atari-teenage-riot-masquerade-2/#comments Thu, 22 Sep 2011 20:39:45 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=45198


I hadn’t listened to Atari Teenage Riot in a while when I got my little digital hands on a press copy of their new record, Is This Hyperreal? As with a lot of Dim Mak artists, there are things I liked and loathed about the record.The music was intense, and experimental in modern, new ways.

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I hadn’t listened to Atari Teenage Riot in a while when I got my little digital hands on a press copy of their new record, Is This Hyperreal? As with a lot of Dim Mak artists, there are things I liked and loathed about the record.The music was intense, and experimental in modern, new ways. The lyrics are heavily political, as always, though maybe less offensively than Alec Empire’s earlier stuff. The lyrics got cliché to me after a while, but something kept peaking my interest in it, and in the newly re-formed live lineup. So I had to go down to the Masquerade last Thursday to check it out.

I got there just before the second act went on. I had no idea who he was, but went up close before the set began so as to give it an objective review. The first song sounded like pigs interwoven with screams and, as the song progressed, more barnyard animals. This one-man show was decked out in a black and gold luchador outfit, and his microphone input was dressed to the nines in effects and deconstructive processors. Song two began with a sample that boasted ‘sexual possession,’ which rolled into a beat heavy number during which I tried to figure out whether or not I was clearly catching distinctions between songs. Clarification came as the set continued, and as the crowd of may-or-may-not-be Atari Teenage Riot fans became slowly more accustomed to the sounds and practices of Otto von Schirach live.

That’s right, Otto von Schirach. From Miami, he’s worked with the likes of Skinny Puppy and Modeselektor. The guy has street cred, and I didn’t do my homework on him. I respected the second half of songs that began with film sound bites, conveying ideas such as ‘you are now inside a flying saucer’ and ‘when dinosaurs ruled the earth.’ About halfway through the set the Darth voice broke through, and Schirach spoke to the crowd in it, though I have no idea what he was talking about. He even came out of the far stage right corner to converse with a front row patron through the mic. Again, I have no idea what that brief conversation entailed.

Schirach, on a less artistic kick in the set, mixes some hip-hop undertones with break beats and video sounds ala losing a life on Super Mario Bros. I like this part a lot; it’s like Crystal Castles’ accidental song, minus the dark pacing of Alice Glass. Schirach goes on to announce the next song, “Don’t Take a Shit on Yourself Past 2pm,” and people start smiling. It goes, ‘I am a unicorn, I am a unicorn,’ and the music behind this one is consistent like the previous.

Though Schirach didn’t put on a bad set, it was certainly the case that the performance was stifled because of the crowd, or lack thereof. His experimentalism was, perhaps, too artistic for the wandering few who trickled in and out. The younger portion of the Masquerade’s nomads that night didn’t seem to understand the genre – like they had bypassed the whole noise boom of the late 90s as if it never existed. It’s best that they stayed outside smoking cigarettes during his set, I think.

When it came to Atari Teenage Riot’s (ATR) performance, a couple of things happening that I hadn’t anticipated. First of all, I adored it. The set was well mixed with mostly highs, but some lows, stage movement was great and the sound was, though extremely loud, very well mixed. I enjoyed the live performance more than I enjoyed the new record. Secondly, the crowd was unusually small for ATR, and unusually small for a Thursday at the Masquerade. Those absent ones really missed a treat.

ATR’s Alec Empire comes out early and presses play on a crowd warmer – two tunes to get the mood going. When those are done, the three members come out, grab microphones and immediately begin with ‘How are you’s,’ which I find a little odd, but humble and polite. They play some tracks from Is This Hyperreal right off the bat, with Empire mostly behind the controls at first, directing some crowd-participation clapping every once in a while.

Nic Endo is out in front and center screaming for much of the first part of the set, her voice amazingly louder and clearer live than I have imagined. CX Kidtronik, a welcomed addition to the lineup, has a voice that is deep and articulate, a great counter to hers. Fun fact: Kidtronik played with a group from Atlanta called K.I.N. in the earlier part of the 90s. He recently described his work with ATR as ‘by far the most similar’ to K.I.N., and that fit comes across as an obvious match live. He paces the front row of monitors like a tightrope, threatening to fall a couple of times during the set.

I don’t realize how alarmingly loud the ATR show is until the harsh noises go away at about five songs in, and the low synths rise with the crowd’s applause. There’s a soft song ending moment when they play “Shadow Identity,” and it’s one of my favorite moments of the show. Endo sings that line that is so wonderful on the record, ‘Who do you want to be and why?’ It very strangely reminds me of Metric for a moment (lyrically, and ending in that way). It closes, there’s a pause and then the crew break back into a 200+ bpm frenzy. This one is stronger, vocally, with Kidtronik and Empire out in stage front and Endo at the wheel, coupling backup lines and then spitting short rants while controlling the sounds. They each take turns with the machines, which keeps the show intriguing.

The mood in me and in the crowd is attuned to the three on stage by the time they crank out “Midijunkies,” which ends with snare rolls that are so classic of ATR’s sound, so piercing and so loud (I cannot emphasize that enough). Then we go from most anthemic to faster and heavier. I hate that all the guitars are programmed, but they transcribe nicely, considering. The three members layer the heaviness by all chanting together, more and more so towards the bottom of the set. They like to count songs in a lot, too, shouting intro to the tune of “1, 2, 3, 4!!!” at least four or five times.

For “Too Dead for Me” both Kidtronik and Empire are on the controls. At this point, only half of the Hell room floor is filled with people. They’re all pushing forward, but not as to offend each other. It’s not really pushing, actually, but the gravitation of a ball of beings toward that stage. Empire and Kidtronik keep sharing the board for “Into The Death,” which is beefy with the distorted guitar sounds and crazy bass hits. The sound dissipates like coming-and-going, phaser styled digital reverb that’s broken on purpose. Empire finally breaks out the cans in a moment that finds Endo on the stage floor, seemingly screaming at the stage floor, in her black jeans, wife beater and sneakers. She’s belting out ‘The time is right to fight’ over and over again, lyrical styling for a tune called “Deutschland Has Gotta Die!” It’s pieces like this that have gotten Empire’s vision in tangled messes with the German government on more than one occasion in the past.

The sound goes into more of a smooth, groovy industrial beat. Kidtronik is stage front alone, and the little crowd is just as loud with their raw, ensembled shouting as he is with the microphone. We move from chants of ‘They’ll fuck you up!’ to a transition steeped in frequency play. Kidtronik asks, ‘Is ATR still necessary? With Barack Obama in office, there are more black men in prison now than in 1850.” ATR then play “Blood in my Eyes,” which breaks apart to some extended sub sounds and a wash of white noise. They leave for a handful of minutes. I go to the bathroom and find them on their way back to the stage. The encore begins with “The Western Decay,” then goes into a tune that begins like a metronome, with Endo singing, not shouting. It’s a heavy dance number, something anyone can find with their feet. There’s a lot of sing-a-long participation on this one, especially with the ‘oh ohs.’ Then Empire encourages it, as Endo finishes her part and leaves the stage. Empire turns frequency knobs and Kidtronik plays trigger pad drums with this hand. Eventually Empire puts a somber melody on over the super heavy sub sounds while Kidtronik stands with his black leather jacket draped over his head. Empire waves goodbye, shakes hands and they exit.

 


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Win Tickets to Madi Diaz in Atlanta http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/09/win-tickets-to-madi-diaz-in-atlanta/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/09/win-tickets-to-madi-diaz-in-atlanta/#comments Mon, 19 Sep 2011 22:56:20 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=44731


Nashville songwriter, Madi Diaz, has a new EP coming out tomorrow. It’s called Far From Things That We Know, and word of it started leaking through to me a couple of months ago when I checked out the single, “Let’s Go,” on Soundcloud. Recently signed to tinyOGRE Entertainment, the EP is a prequel to a

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Nashville songwriter, Madi Diaz, has a new EP coming out tomorrow. It’s called Far From Things That We Know, and word of it started leaking through to me a couple of months ago when I checked out the single, “Let’s Go,” on Soundcloud. Recently signed to tinyOGRE Entertainment, the EP is a prequel to a full-length that’s slated for release sometime in early 2012.

Songs for the new EP and future record were recorded in Los Angeles and Charlottesville, VA with producer John Alagia, who is known internationally for his work with artists like John Mayer and The Dave Matthews Band. Though Diaz’ new sound is polished and pristine, it’s pretty far from both aforementioned artists, which is a welcomed thing for anyone looking for good indie-pop – something hooky and happy, but that’s rooted outside the mundane mainstream radio world.

Diaz’ new records feature Kyle Ryan, her long-time collaborator. The two are currently on tour with Keegan Dewitt, also from Nashville, who is an Independent Spirit Award-nominated film composer touring in support of recently released Thunder Clatter, an exclusive single for the Daytrotter Barnstormer tour.

Diaz has toured alongside The Civil Wars and Landon Pigg as well as part of the Ten Out of Tenn collective. Also, Diaz recently collaborated with acclaimed musician Joseph Arthur, providing backing vocals on four tracks from his new album, The Graduation Ceremony.

To help kickstart the tour, we’re giving away a pair of tickets to the Madi Diaz / Keegan Dewitt show in Atlanta on Thursday, 9/22 at the Drunken Unicorn. The winner will also receive a copy of the new EP. To enter, LIKE us on Facebook and send an email to janey[at]thesilvertongueonline[dot]com telling me why you should win.

All tour dates:

09/21   The WorkPlay Theatre, Birmingham, AL
09/22   Drunken Unicorn, Atlanta, GA
09/23   SoundLand – Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN
09/24   Local 506, Chapel Hill, NC
09/25   Nightcat, Easton, MD
09/27   Tin Angel, Philadelphia, PA
09/28   Café 939, Boston, MA
09/30   Maxwell’s, Hoboken, NJ
10/03   Mercury Lounge, New York, NY
10/06   DC9, Washington, DC
10/07   Martin’s Downtown, Roanoke, VA
10/09   The Soapbox, Wilmington, NC
10/10   The Casbah @ Tremont Music Hall, Charlotte, NC


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Review: Twin Shadow @ the E.A.R.L. http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/09/44315/ http://thesilvertongueonline.com/2011/09/44315/#comments Mon, 12 Sep 2011 23:38:56 +0000 JCriss http://thesilvertongueonline.com/?p=44315


The miracle of the live Twin Shadow experience isn’t really miraculous at all. If anything, simply put, it’s a culmination of vocal ability, technological knowledge and, well, the simplistic nature of the music in the first place. There are many other factors in getting to those moments, I do realize, but as a live experience,

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The miracle of the live Twin Shadow experience isn’t really miraculous at all. If anything, simply put, it’s a culmination of vocal ability, technological knowledge and, well, the simplistic nature of the music in the first place. There are many other factors in getting to those moments, I do realize, but as a live experience, I think these three factors are the gluey magic that makes watching a Twin Shadow show like innocently stargazing.

George Lewis, Jr. and his darling, super pro band of players and his humble attitude stopped in Atlanta this past Saturday to serenade us all at the E.A.R.L., a perfect venue for the foursome. The show sold out sometime between Friday and Saturday, despite the fact that there were three or four other awesome, review-worthy musical events competing around town for patrons. I contended all week, and much more in retrospect, that this one was the place to be.

Now, I hate to talk about crowds in a review, but this time I must. I’ve never felt such compassionate love at the E.A.R.L.; let’s be honest, Twin Shadow fans are the best. They smile, they smell nice, they make space for you up front if you have a camera, they hand you limes for your V/T when the bartender is slammed and paper towels when the bathroom is packed. It was wonderful; I left feeling that I’d made friends with everyone. Even the ‘shouting guy’ in the front was respectful, sharing lines like, “You guys are good!” and “You guys should be on TV,” which made everybody, including the band, laugh in unison, like a classroom full of behaving kindergarteners, during the quiet room moments between songs.

It’s no wonder that Twin Shadow fans are warm and fuzzy, I guess, mere conduits of the music. Lewis’ voice is the first tower of confrontation on record, portraying crystal clear snapshots of life and situational instances and abstract sweets made real in dream worlds. The live experience was similar, if less prominent in the mix. Don’t mistake, Lewis’ voice was heard clearly, but not super loudly, sitting somewhere low when touring keyboardist Wynne Bennett was hitting high and low synths at once, and especially when the bassist was getting in on the midi action. Still, when the songs were ringing thinly and dramatically behind quiet vocals (i.e. the verses of “Tyrant Destroyed” or “Forget”), Lewis seemed to step forward on the E.A.R.L. semi-circled, intimate stage and deliver those words directly to his fan friends. That direct honesty defined key moments in the live show.

The other factoid that defined the live show were those warm, wide synths, especially when they were cheerleading sharper melodies being brought to life in dated patches; “I Can’t Wait” is a perfect example of this. And, yes, Bennett delivered them to us like Grandmothers’ dust covered trinkets – invaluable and timeless. There’s a short YouTube interview that she did with Nord, which I discovered a month or two ago, where she talks about how the band uses the Nord Wave to, quite literally, take the synths from the record with them on the road. I was curious to see how that sounded live and, I can tell you now, it made a world of wonderful difference. If they’d taken a line like the infamous synth bass of “Castles in the Snow” and tried to recreate an even boldly similar match-patch, it would’ve been a fail. But they didn’t, hence streaming success. Also, thank you 4AD Sessions for the heads up, I like Bennett’s backup vocals, particularly on “Castles in the Snow” better than the way Lewis backs himself up on the record. It’s an added dynamic that’s subtle but present.

No doubt, from the clamps of the super tightly pocketed drums and Joy Division nodding likes of the live bass sound, the metallic but reverby warm guitar tones and key melodies built up a cushioned platform in between for Lewis’ storytelling and intimate onstage vibe. From the piling blogger acclaim of the Clean Cuts tour thus far, coupled with ticket sales, I sadly doubt we’ll get to experience such intimacy with this band again in the near future. But I’ll keep my fingers crossed!


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