Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pet Ghost Project; A Sonic Boomerang That Grows Louder With Each Pass

I have been touting the genius of Pet Ghost Project since the inception of this music soapbox. I love Justin Stivers like a brother, and am getting to know his bandmates Justin Gonzalez and Jake More a bit better every day. I consider myself lucky to know them and even luckier at how much faith they placed in myself and Jenn months ago.

What makes Pet Ghost Project so special? A lot, actually. What you get from them is a stunningly honest messages weaved throughout layers of sound that draw on everything from classic jazz, to surf rock, to indie pop. There's a line in what you would call "experimental noise" and "music," and Pet Ghost Project knows exactly where that line is. They push it as far as it can get without ever crossing the boundary. Everything, no matter how crashing and pounding and intense it gets, remains harmonic and melodious. They know when to push, when to pull, when to break. They let you go for a moment or two, then come right back at you with songs that go from thought-provoking to heart-wrenching, but never give you a cushion to land safely on.


I can say with all honesty, that nearly everyone who has sat down and put in a CD from Pet Ghost Project has come away completely transfixed. They create music that is unique and truly special. And we are so proud that Justin had the faith in our passion to to sign on and allow us to promote his creations. We're watching him finally catch on. We watch him get excited by every review, and every bit of deserved praise. And we know it's only a matter of a bit of time before he won't be able to keep up with it all. We've got so much in the hopper for Pet Ghost Project, so look for some big announcements coming soon. Until then, Justin, Justin and Jake were kind enough to put together a smashing cover of Pavement's "Box Elder" to promote the showcase this Saturday at Cameo. Grab it below!

Listen: Box Elder (Pavement Cover)
Listen:
I Throw Away Pennies, from "The Great Satisfactory"
Listen:
Violent Dreams, from "Cheer Up ~ It's Raining"
Listen: The Consequence of Thinking, from "Idiot Brain, Genius Heart"
Listen:
They Built a City in My Country Mind, from "The Wordless Conversation"


MySpace
Facebook
Official Site
On Another Note

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Rest; Watching Colors Dance Through the Air

When you listen to The Rest's "Everyone All At Once," you immediately know you are listening to something very special. It's such a complete and enchanting album, with such a smart, luscious sound, you can't help but be drawn in, and you can't help but lose yourself in it. Let me assure you, nothing is lost in their live performances. I was one of the people lucky enough to catch them on their first trip to New York for an NYC Taper showcase, and after seeing them, I immediately began plotting to get them back to New York, for my sake, theirs, and everyone who had not gotten to see them the first time. So to me, I could not be more thrilled to have them play on Saturday at Cameo. And when you walk away from their performance, you will be asking yourself, "How have I not heard these guys (and gal) before?"

Their 2009 release will more certainly be in my year-end's best, as it will in many others. The reviews of their album are more than likely only eclipsed by The Antlers' "Hospice." So it's not just me sitting here touting them, it's everyone who has heard them. That's how well it's constructed. Listening to it from cover to cover is like watching "Fantasia," without the visuals, and they aren't needed. The music creates them for you.

Adam was my first interview (which seems like ages ago.) And since then, I've watched them rocket to be the best sound coming from Canada (yes, I said 'best.') They bring something to the table that ebbs, flows, works you into a frenzy, relaxes you, charms you, challenges you, digs at you, and ultimately leaves you wanting more. And more. Adam Bentley, Anna Jarvis, Blake Bowma, Dwayne Brydon, Jordan Mitchell, Matty Buzanko, and Steve Jones are a family. They function as one, and when you watch them, you see them feed off each others' energy. And there's a lot of that. They bring it when they have to in a fury, they are subdued when they should be.

It's our extreme pleasure to bring The Rest back to New York for our showcase this Saturday at Cameo. The 150-ish people there when they play are going to be witnessing something incredible.

Listen: Walk On Water (Auspicious Beginnings)
Listen: With Every Heartbeat (Robyn Cover)

MySpace
Facebook
Twitter
Official Site

Photos used with permission: ©2009, Sara Collaton (Official Site)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

'The Hush Now' is Making Some Noise

So many times when I sit down to listen to music, I look at the titles of everything before I even pop in the cd or press play on iTunes. Such was the case with Boston's 'The Hush Now,' and their track listing of songs tickled my emotional buttons before I heard a single note. Then I listened.

What is wonderful about The Hush Now is that their songs ring true to their titles, and what you get is an almost storybook weaving of tales from the tender to the
forlorn sung in the alluring voice of Noel Kelly. They aren't always songs to make you feel good, but they always make you feel. And that, to me, is the best mark I can give. I liken The Hush Now to how I felt when listening to "Cerulean" by the Ocean Blue, that same evocation of emotion. There's a crispness that lulls the listener into a trance, and transports them to a more innocent time, a different place; one that was simpler, less grays, more black and white.

Combing through the endless praise of The Hush Now, you'll see the word "dripping." A lot. There's reason for that. The music is the foundation to The Hush Now, and
off that foundation, the crooned words drip off, leaving a rippling puddle that reverberates with every song. This is what indie pop is supposed to be: a collection of music and lyrics that are relative to everyone who has gone through life, had a heart broken, been torn apart and put back together.

Now set to release their second LP in January 2010 (and believe me, it's a gem,) "The Hush Now" are growing their fan base with their signature sound. It’s dream-pop elevated, a brand of music pulled from the past and modernized with their own hook that soothes the soul and teases the heart. The Hush Now most definitely have carved their path in the ears of many, and 'Hoping and Waiting' is already winning over fans and critics alike. We're thrilled to have The Hush Now come down to play on September 26.


Listen: Hoping and Waiting
Listen: Bedtime Stories

MySpace
Twitter
Facebook
Download the Debut LP FREE!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Meeting of Important People; A Steel Curtain of Sound

I held off on this post when I learned that Meeting of Important People was playing a show with Ladybug Transistor at Union Hall. It's one thing to tout an album (which I've done quite frequently with MOIP, as I devoured the album after just one listen) and another to tell you what you you're in for for a live show.

What I (and a nice collection of others) were privy to was a sonic onslaught from a tight trio who brought a high-energy show to New York from their hometown of Pittsburgh. I had high expectations; those were blown away.

Seeing Meeting of Important People live allowed me to hear their influences more clearly, because when they played live, in one song, you could hear Brian Wilson or the Beatles, and the next would project a more raw, witty post-punk feel of say, Dead Milkmen. But it's all streamlined through a powerful indie-pop sound that's as catchy as anything I've heard this year. It was a set that left me wanting more and made me even more excited to have them back to New York for our showcase at Cameo.

Meeting of Important People have carved their niche and know themselves well as seen on their bio on their MySpace: "Haunting melodies over garage pop, mod-folk, even some dancy punk." Perfect. But there's an element to MOIP that's intangible. They have that charisma on- and off-stage that's infectious. It makes you want to know them and their music more.

What can you expect from Meeting of Important People? A lot of "wow." A lot of verve. A lot of reflection of the music they make that translates oh so well onto stage. Expect loud. Expect melodic. Expect to be floored.


Listen: I Know Every Streeet

Look for Meeting of Important People on:
MySpace
Facebook
Twitter
Authentik



Friday, August 21, 2009

Weekender 8/21. A quickie.

Everyone likes a quickie, right?
We've got friends playing all over the place tonight.

Hopefully you didn't miss it last night, but Dinosaur Feathers had their (stellar) EP release party with Shark? and is giving their EP away.
Listen: Dinosaur Feathers - Don't Fear the Vagabonds
Listen: Shark? - Oh My

Moving forward to tonight:
Friday
Pet Ghost Project, and Phil and the Osophers at Shea Stadium
Listen: Pet Ghost Project - They Built a City in my Country Mind
Listen: Phil and the Osophers - We Have All Summer

You Can Be a Wesley at Trash Bar
Listen: You Can Be A Wesley - Feed the Moon, Starve the Sun

The Antlers (Sold Out Re-Release Party for 'Hospice') with Murder Mystery at Mercury Lounge
Listen: The Antlers - Sylvia
Listen: Murder Mystery - Love Astronaut

Saturday
Nine Inch Nails, and The Horrors at Bowery Ballroom
Listen: Nine Inch Nails - Something I Can Never Have
Listen: The Horrors - Primary Colours

My Teenage Stride at Bruar Fallls
Listen: My Teenage Stride - To Live and Die In the Airport Lounge

Sunday
Girl Talk at East River State Park
Listen: Girl Talk - Like This

Bear in Heaven at Pianos
Listen: Bear in Heaven - Werewolf

Monday, August 17, 2009

Swimming in Speakers; Sonic Fluid That Spills from the Soul

Chris Clarke certainly knows a good thing when he hears it, and hearing Meadow Eliz sing for the first time was no exception. The story of these two came to be "Swimming in Speakers" is an adorable tale of happenstance and persistence, and could be a blog entry all it's own.

Over the past few months, I've gotten to know Chris quite a bit after falling quite hard for Swimming in Speakers' music. What catches you off-guard about them, is the underlining innocence beneath their extraordinary talent. If you listen to their EP, you'd never know that most of the tracks were captured in just a couple takes, which speaks volumes about a) how well they work together and b) how talented they are. From the undeniably catchy "Serve them Well" and "In Knowing," to the moody and insightful of "Near My Ear" and "Evergreen," these two have created a sound that is accessible to everyone.

Chris is an incredible multi-instrumentalist and uses Meadow's voice (we'll get into that in a moment) as the lead, often layered, never compromised. He knows exactly how to complement it, when to push other sounds, when to hold back. There's a rich, but delicate aspect to what they create, and I haven't quite figured out how they've achieved that. There's so much depth that it makes your head, well, swim. The effects he adds create a mood, but never take away from the focus of the songs. He and Meadow push each other and are musical siblings.

Meadow's darling voice, at one listen, is a drug. It turning the listener into putty as she bends, lifts, stabs, and caresses with her voice all so effortlessly. To compare her to Harriet Wheeler or Caroline Crawley is not a stretch in the least, and she might be better than both. She has that certain quality that separates her, a tonality that sets her apart from the many talented sirens out there. And, I'm told, she plays a hell of a guitar.

Both Chris and Meadow have a theater background. Both have a very distinct personality, even from each other. But they work frighteningly well together, and I hold great hope for a good career from them. Even more so, I cannot wait to see what they do live.

Listen: Swimming in Speakers - In Knowing

Swimming in Speakers on MySpace

Label Launch Showcase Event - Reasons for My Absence

I've been busy. Life has taken some interesting turns over the past eight months, and it's come to a head. I'm happy to announce our label launch showcase at Cameo Gallery on Saturday, September 26.

Over the next few weeks, in addition to some interviews (O+S, Ume, A Million Years, and some others) I'm going to post a short write-up of the bands that will be playing at the show. Hope to see you there! This is the first of a few showcases we have over the next six months!

To do one a week, I had better start promoting the bands playing, beginning with internet phenom Swimming in Speakers, who is leaving the confines of upstate New York and playing their first live set together...


Pet Ghost Project
The Rest
The Hush Now
Meeting Of Important People
Swimming in Speakers

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Weekender Concert Calendar, 8/6

Hello, New York. I'm hoping you've had a bit of recovery time from APW last weekend (at least the first two days) because you have more shows to attend to this weekend. These are just a few of the many great artists to see around the city over the weekend.

As always, if you're playing a gig in New York and I haven't mentioned it, feel free to drop me an email. I hate to exclude anyone.


Thursday
Cursive, and The Love Language at Maxwell's (Hoboken)
Listen: Cursive - From the Hips
Listen: The Love Language - Lalita

Mark Kozelek at Music Hall of Williamsburg
Listen: Mark Kozelek - New Partner (Palace Music Cover)

Bad Veins, The Boxer Rebellion, and Now Now Every Children at Mercury Lounge
Listen: Bad Veins - Gold and Warm
Listen: The Boxer Rebellion - Misplaced
Listen: Now, Now Every Children - Sleep Through Summer

Friday
Finding Fiction at Cameo
Listen: Finding Fiction - I'll Buy

The Pernice Brothers at Bowery Ballroom
Listen: The Pernice Brothers - My So-Called Celibate Life

Deer Tick, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at Prospect Park Bandshell
Listen: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals - Paint it Black (Daytrotter Session)
Listen: Deer Tick - Hell on Earth

Free Energy at Mercury Lounge
Listen: Free Energy - Dream City

Saturday
Harvey Danger at The Bell House
Listen: Harvey Danger - Save it for Later (English Beat cover)

Sunday
Simian Mobile Disco, The Fiery Furnaces, and Dark Meat at Beacon Theater
Listen: Simian Mobile Disco - Sleep Deprivation
Listen: The Fiery Furnaces - The End is Near
Listen: Dark Meat - Well, Fuck You Then

Pet Ghost Project at Cameo
Listen: Pet Ghost Project - They Built a City in My Country Mind

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Photons Rock

Tonight, a fellow blipper (blip.fm) remarked to me "(Photons) sound like they have a lot of fun making music." They do. One listen will tell you that. Seeing all seven (sometimes eight "when they're lucky") of them live performing confirms that. From the pre-show huddle-up that looks like something between a group hug and a rugby scrum, to the interaction on-stage with each other, and with the audience, they love what they do. You hear it, you see it, you feel it. They (Calvin, Mary, James, Erica, Ben, Casey and Elysha; and yes, I did that from memory. Sarah, I hope your arm is better) are truly some of the most endearing, personable people I have met in this business. But underneath their fun-filled exterior, they're serious about the music they make.

In the one year they have been together, this band of San Franciscans have self-released two EPs and are working hard towards their first LP. That's not saturation, that's lucky for us. Their brand of indie pop is something of an experience. It's light and rich all at once. It captures the heart and puts a smile on your face. And there's one thing I noticed whether seeing them live or listening to their EPs, when it's over, I think to myself, "That's it?" To me, that's the simplified mark of a great act, the one that leaves you wanting more.

What are you asking for? A group from various walks of life (one member played with The Dodos back in the day, another's favorite band is Isis,) different parts of the country, a lot of personality that comes through in seven (sometimes eight) different ways: a bassoon, a glockenspiel, a clarinet, keys, two guitars, a bass, and drums. And, a lot of chorusing a la The Go! Team. Sound a bit overwhelming? It's won't when you listen. Because Photons make it sound all so seamless. The comparison I keep coming back to for them is an American, west-coast "James." Music that feels like whipped cream, and tastes like crème brûlée. These guys and gals have a formula that more than works; it thrives. It's more than refreshing; it's a great exhale of relief. For all the genre's and formulas and catches you hear in much of today's music, there's a great comfort to have an eclectic sound that hooks you in its sincerity, then reassures you in its quality.

Music from Photons
Listen: Where Were You Last Night, from "Glory!" EP
Listen: Something Left to Live For, from "Photons" EP

Photons Links:
Official Site and Links to Purchase
MySpace
Facebook
Twitter

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Weekender Concert Calendar, 7/23

With All Points West lurking around the corner, this weekend is a little light on acts that readers might want to see, but there's a couple shows of note to tell you about. And fair warning, for next week, here's your weekend concert calendar.

If you're playing in the NYC area and I have stupidly neglected your show, feel free to drop me an email and let me know when and where you'll be playing.


Thursday
Finding Fiction at Trash Bar
Listen: Finding Fiction - I'll Buy

Suckers at Pianos
Listen: Suckers - It Gets Your Body Movin'

Ted Leo at Pier 54
Listen: Ted Leo - The Sons of Cain

Friday
Deer Tick, and These United States at Bowery Ballroom
Listen: Deer Tick - That Ghost
Listen: These United States - The Business

Black Moth Super Rainbow, and Dan Friel at South Street Seaport
Listen: Black Moth Super Rainbow - Twin of Myself
Listen: Dand Friel - Desert Song

Saturday
John Wesley Harding at Bell House
Listen: John Wesley Harding - Love or Nothing

Joan as Policewoman at 92Y Tribeca
Listen: Joan as Policewoman - To Be Loved

Sunday
Coyote Eyes at Cameo
Listen: Coyote Eyes - Out of Mind

Get out and see a show!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Weekender Concert Calendar - The Siren Festival

There are a ton of great shows this weekend, but the primary focus will the the Siren Festival, complete with afterhours party.

The good folks over at Knox Road have put together a very well-done preview of what the festival is and the artists who will be there. So I'm going to cheat my way out of this weekender by directing you there to get their take on things and get some samples from who's going to be there as a bit of enticement. Here's a few hints of my own:

Listen: Frightened Rabbit - Fast Blood (Live)
Listen: Micachu & The Shapes - Curly Teeth
Listen: Tiny Masters of Today - La-La Land
Listen: Built to Spill - The Plan (Live)
Listen: Japandroids - Young Hearts Spark Fire

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Heard Like They Are, A Chat With Saara from "You Can Be A Wesley"

Having left more than a bit of myself in Boston, the music scene there is of keen interest to me. I look into who is making waves weekly, who is playing where, what the new sounds of the city are. A few months ago, I started seeing ‘You Can Be a Wesley’s” name springing up everywhere in the local press, in the venues and showcases, and on the Boston indie music blogs I tend to favor. After one listen, and learning a bit more about them, I devoured them.

Their promotional style and personalities are audaciously delicious. They’re confident, in-your-face, and fearless (there’s a promo shot of them covering their bits with nothing but their hands.) They’re funny as all hell, and can laugh at themselves with confidence, they are brutally honest, they don’t pull punches and there is an amazing sense of adventure that surrounds them “off the court.”

“On the court,” however, it’s a different story. There isn’t anything fancy about them, in the sense of pushing the barriers that they do with their promotion. But what people get in return is a captivating onslaught of sonic pleasure. It’s moody without being melodramatic. It’s simple without being over-simplified. They play their guitars, keys, bass, and percussion somewhere between a lullaby and rock-n-roll. Or is it somewhere between dream pop and shoegaze.

Whatever the case may be, it’s catchy as all hell. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve personally played “Feed the Moon, Starve the Sun,” a track that introduces itself as a fantasy with delicate picks of layered guitar, but somewhere (I get so lost in it that I can’t pinpoint where) builds itself into crescendo of riffs, a perfect see-saw to Saara’s voice, which would bring most men to their knees, then subtly backs off before building again, causing this listener to hit repeat again, and again, and again. Winston, Nick and Dan pluck, strum, pound and tinker away in perfect harmony, never taking away from Saara’s siren-esque voice, or Winston’s backing vocals, but are never downplayed. This Boston Univesity quartet is a class act, and I’ve wanted to get to know them, and introduce you to them for a while now. And Saara has been more than accommodating with her time, considering they are releasing their first full-length album, “Heard Like Us,” is available now on Amazon.com.

OAN: I’ve read several stories, tales, recollections about the origin of the name from the straight-forward to the fantastic. Would you care to share how the name “You Can Be a Wesley” came to be, and how the four of you came together?

Saara: It’s funny we get asked this name question almost every interview. I guess with an obscure name we have to come to accept that. We started playing together freshman year of college (spring of 2006). I met Nick through a mutual friend and we both were playing guitar. Nick knew Dan and he came over for a jam with a micro-korg. I met Winston with Nick and Dan at the Islands show in Cambridge and we all started talking about playing. Winston played guitar and Dan played drums and we figured we didn’t need 3 guitars so we told Nick he should play bass. He borrowed his friends bass the next time we jammed and started writing songs.


The name came about when we were in the market for a band name after writing a few songs. We would text each other ideas, most of them bad, and most of them getting a simple response of “No.” One night we were all sitting around the dining hall with some friends and one of our friends told Nick “You can be a Wesley” referencing both the Princess Bride and Nick’s look and the name. We all liked it so we used it.

OAN: The album has been awhile coming, and you’ve run into some roadblocks and hit a few bumps in the road, one of them being that nasty little thing called ‘education.’ Can you shed some light on some of the others, now that they are a thing of the past and the album (praise [insert deity here]) has been completed.

Saara: The album was fully recorded and ready to be mixed by the middle of August 2008, but Winston was going to Ecuador for a semester and Nick and I were going to Sydney (poor Dan was left in Boston) so there was a four month hiatus where we were all spread across the world and our reels of tape were sitting in Jeremy from Pretty & Nice’s basement. Once we got back the issue was more about money considering we spent most of our savings abroad. Finances have definitely been the biggest road block and the reason it has taken a little longer than we first thought. It’s hard when you don’t have someone financially supporting you and putting the album out for you but it’s also nice to have free reign over what we do and how we want to do it.

OAN: So let’s talk about the upcoming LP “Heard Like Us.’ From a music perspective, what differences should people expect from the EP “Feed the Moon, Starve the Sun?” Is this LP a true labor of love in the sense of getting it made? Did the material come together fairly easy from the four of you?

Saara: It’s a completely different piece of work than “Feed the Moon” (although one song carries over, “Rearrange The Sea” is a different version on Heard Like Us than on FTMSTS). For one we had been playing some of the songs on Heard Like Us for a while so we knew how we wanted them to sound and what we wanted to do with them. However, there are also songs from HLU that we finished in the middle of recording. But overall, we had a better idea sonically of how we wanted the record to sound. It also helped having J Mendicino of P&N behind the controls because he is a musical genius. For real. Most of the time our material comes together pretty organically I think. It definitely grows and changes the more we play it, taking out parts we don’t like, things that are unnecessary and adding bits and pieces to make it more interesting. If there is a song we are fully stuck on we usually leave it for a while and work on something else or we just trash it and forget about it. A lot of love went into this album in basements and practice spaces and late night bedroom sessions.

OAN: Speaking of creating material, how do you all do it? What’s your process as far as writing lyrics and music? Does everyone contribute or is YCBAW more a brainchild of one or two of you?

Saara: As far as the music goes its really a collaborative work. We get together to “jam” and see what we come up with. Whether it’s a bass line first or guitar riff we work best when we build and mold the song together as a group. Other times one person will come in with a specific idea and we try to fit pieces into what they have and build on that Then I usually come up with a melody of nonsensical sounds and I go home with that and write lyrics on my own. I like to think a lot about what I want the song to be about and what I want to say while simultaneously making it interesting and aurally pleasing.

OAN: I mentioned your marketing in the intro to the interview because you do take bold, refreshing steps. There’s so much personality behind how and what you do and I am going to assume that you do most if not all of it yourself. Do you just go with your gut feelings? Do you think it’s helped contribute to your exponentially growing fan base?

Saara: Most of our art direction is the brain-child of graphic designer and close friend Nick Zegel (zeegisbreathing.com). He’s the one that does our art work and web design and recently directed and edited our music video for “Creatures”. We owe a lot to him and pretty much consider him part of the band. He is just a super talented, inspiring person to be around and it gets us going. We also want YCBW to not just be music but a community, or a collective of inspiring individuals who Do Things. Makers and Do’ers. We came out with a couple of ‘zines (homemade mini magazines) with contributions from friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family that we give out at shows. On tour last summer we made stuffed animal “Wesley’s” that we hand sewed with button eyes to sell on the road. It’s nice to do things a little differently than the norm and people appreciate it and get psyched on it so that makes us want to do it even more. And it’s just fun.

OAN: Which leads me to this: your fan base is growing rapidly, but it all started in Boston. Talk about the music-scape of Boston today, if it influenced you, encouraged you, and / or supported you. Is it a tight-knit group of musicians? I guess I want to give readers a feel of what a great music town Boston is, from both a musician standpoint and how the fans respond.

Saara: There is so much good music coming out of Boston right now and it’s refressing because there is no specific “Boston sound” like there is in New York or Portland. There are so many different types of music and people seem to really support the local music that comes out of Boston. We are totally inspired by bands we play with around town and there is a nice tight-knit of really talented bands we have become friends with through the scene i.e. Magic Magic, Mean Creek, Hooray For Earth, Ketman, and so many more. It’s nice to go to pretty much any show in Boston and see people from other bands that you know out there supporting other local acts. I felt like for a while that I knew every band in Boston but the reality of it is there is so much music coming out of this town I don’t even know 1/3 of it. I guess once you get into a scene and keep seeing the same faces it just feels smaller. And that’s a nice feeling.

OAN: I mentioned an off-the-court personality because you definitely like to have fun and seem to be quite the daredevil. Take us through some of your favorite extracurricular activities. And, are there other creative outlets that you explore to balance how much time you put into the music?

Saara: Music is an enormous part of my life. It’s my passion and my escape and there are few other things in this world that do that for me but I do have a few. Snowboarding and surfing are my drugs next to music. I get the same kind of escape from those sports and I do music and they have been in my life almost as long ( music for a bit longer). I started surfing when I was 11 and started snowboarding around the same time. It’s just a way for me to be able to turn off my brain and only focus on exactly what I am doing at that moment and nothing else. There’s a rush involved too, a natural “high” that happens. That moment when you get the chills; I’m hooked on it. I find surfing and snowboarding to be highly creative. You have to be able to see something that isn’t there and make it happen that way you want to and the way that only you can.

All of us enjoy making things and I think that is what keeps our music inspired. Winston builds bikes, Nick writes, and Dan works with computer programming and designing. There’s a great satisfaction in creating something that didn’t exist before you got your hands on it.

OAN: Have you gone through any “be careful what you wish for?” Or are you exactly where you want to be as far as the venues you’re playing, the material you’re creating, etc. And what can we expect in the future from YCBAW?

Saara: There haven’t been any careful what you wish for moments yet. Maybe we’re just being careful with our wishes. It’s awesome to be in a band of best friends. We all love each other like family and see each other all the time. We are actually moving in together next year along with two other friends in a big house in Brighton, so that should make for some late night song writing and good times and probably a few careful what you wish for moments. I think we are in a good place as of now.

We would all like to do bigger tours, a national gig, play with some national and international acts that we look up to, etc. As far as the material we’re creating now, we are all really excited we are trying some new things but keeping the old formula that seems to be working for us. We all feel like it keeps getting better so hopefully listeners will too. In the future expect a bunch more albums, a bunch more shows, tours, videos, zines, dancing, smiling and fun!

OAN: OK, Saara, this is an open question. Say whatever comes to mind, pimp, promote, BS, joke, tell a funny story about a gig or the band. Whatever you’d like.

Saara: Our album release show is July 20th at Middle East Upstairs so come check that out! Add us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, get on that social networking game and find us! [OAN note: I added the links to make it easy to find them.]

If you want to contribute anything for a zine, send your pictures, drawings, stories, comics, dreams, poems, and anything else you can think of to our email!

OAN: Get on it, kids! And Saara, thanks you so very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule with all all you have going on. I very much look forward to a gig or two down here in New York. Maybe I’ll sneak up to Boston as well.

Songs from Heard Like Us, the full-length debut from "You Can Be a Wesley:"
Listen: Creatures
Listen: Stuck in a Battle
Listen: Wildlife

What's Playing on Saara's iPod:
Listen: Andrew Bird - Masterswarm
Listen: A.C. Newman - The Palace at 4 A.M.
Listen: Metric - Combat Baby
Listen: School of Seven Bells - Half Asleep
Listen: Yo La Tengo - Sugarcube
Listen: M83 - Kim & Jessie
Listen: Deerhunter - Little Kids
Listen: XTC - 1000 Umbrellas
Listen: The Wrens - Boys You Won't Remember
Listen: Ogre You Asshole

Links:
Purchase Heard Like Us from Amazon
MySpace

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Quick Weekend Calendar

I've been busy, so apologies to you all for neglecting the weekender that I know a few of you have written and thanked me for.

I'm actually out of town, going to check out and chat with:


Photons at The Lounge Underground in Monterey, California on Saturday.

They'll be celebrating their first birthday. How time flies.
Listen: Photons - Where Were You Last Night

For those I leave behind in New York, here are a couple shows for you to hit tonight (Friday) and tomorrow.

Friday
Japandriods at Cameo
Listen: Japandroids - Rockers East Vancouver

The Brunettes at Bell House
Listen: The Brunettes - Small Town Crew

mewithoutYou at Bowery Ballroom
Listen: mewithoutYou - Timothy Hay

Robbers on High Street at Mercury Lounge
Listen: Robbers on High Street - Love Underground

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (free, I believe) at South Seaport
Listen: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Orchard of My Eye

Saturday
Jason Lytle at Bowery
Listen: Jason Lytle - Yours Truly, The Commuter

Hip Like [Blank] at Crash Mansion
Listen: Hip Like [Blank] - Can I Get A Sick Day

Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Broken Records" Parts the Earth

As any music geek will tell you, the tradition of music from grand old Scotland is invariably strong with names like Simple Minds, Teenage Fanclub, Trashcan Sinatras, Travis, and Belle and Sebastian (I could do this for hours,) who paved the way for the recent onslaught of acts like Frightened Rabbit, We Were Promised Jetpacks, and The Twilight Sad; all croon as the soul of Scotland, each in their own way, but all tied together in some mystical way.

There is now, however, a new voice and sound (and considering my love for the company they are in, that is saying a lot) that may just out-do everyone, a seven-piece act out of Edinburgh called Broken Records.

I was first introduced to Broken Records late last year via Matt at 'Song by Toad', and to say that the few mastered tracks and demos I listened to were a tease is putting it very lightly. I almost would’ve rather not heard it at all, than to hear just a smidgeon. That’s how wonderful it was. Thankfully, we now have a full-length LP (which I’ve had on repeat for at least 4 straight hours) aptly entitled “Until the Earth Begins to Part.”

These seven artists have composed some of the most moving, lush, and dare I say, glorious, music I’ve heard in a long time. It’s a collection of songs that anyone who has had a sonic brush with them has been waiting for, since their self-titled EP. And let me revise: “Until the Earth Begins to Part,” is more than just a collection of songs, it’s versed poetry put to music, each track a passage of angst, apathy, distress, and resolve.

Each time, it feels as though Jamie Sutherland is singing to only you, each time the instrumental melodies live in perfect symbiotic harmony with his voice. From delicate strings and keys, to pounding percussion and blaring horns, Broken Records is an indie music symphony, the next evolution of Beruit or DeVotchKa. You will inevitably read comparisons to Arcade Fire as every band who has more than 3-5 pieces will get; put those aside. There are indeed similar elements, but Broken Records is more impassioned, more spiritual, more ethereal, and from the first alluring 1:40 of “Nearly Home” to the last crashing minute of “Slow Parade,” the listener will be nearly paralyzed in a sonic dream-state. As the music world begins to catch on to “Until the Earth Begins to Part,” it would not surprise me if the seas began to part for these gentlemen as well.

Listen: Nearly Home

MySpace
4AD
Purchase "Until the Earth Begins to Part" from AmieStreet.com

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Talking While on Tour - Peter Silberman of the Antlers (and a Special Guest)

Peter Silberman, Darby Cicci and Michael Lerner have had quite a few months as of late; a signing with Frenchkiss, a national tour with Au Revoir Simone, a second leg up the east coast, and their schedule is only getting tighter. They have an upcoming 5-show stint with Frightened Rabbit that takes them to play at Pitchfork Festival, then continuing the tour through the country and on to the Monolith Festival at Red Rocks. So if you take nothing else away from this, know that Peter Silberman is one of the kindest, most genuine people you'll meet. And his taking the time to do this little interview with everything else he had going on, well, that should demonstrate how giving of his time he is.

If you know me at all, you know what a fan of The Antlers I am. “Hospice” came into my life at the exact right time and I struggle to think of an
album I can relate to as much as Peter Silberman's latest release. Anytime I write about what he has created, I become a little more fired up, a little more impassioned, a little more introspective. Which actually made this interview a little more difficult to construct.

I'm a lucky person to have the relationships I do with the people I do, and tucking away all the passion I have for what they create isn't always the easiest thing for me when I write about them in a journalistic manner. So let’s get that out of the way before we get to the man who created it. If any of you read you read my review of 'Hospice,' then you know how I feel about it. It’s a fluid symphony of sound and words, one song delicately bounding into the next, bravely leading the listener through a tumultuous time in one man’s life. If you haven't, now's your chance before we get to the questions.

Time's up.

OAN: Peter thanks for taking time out of your obscenely busy schedule. And it’s certainly been an interesting and exciting few months for you. The response to “Hospice” has been, to put it plainly, overwhelmingly fantastic. That said, you didn’t create the album for ratings or reviews, you created it for yourself, friends and family. You’re a humble guy, so how are you doing with all praise and attention? I suppose the better, more suitable question would be, talk about the release and everything that has happened since.

Peter: It's been sort of insane, but in a really amazing way. There's been a much bigger response than I ever could have hoped for, and a very personal response. People have been reaching out and writing letters about the way the record's affected them. That's sort of an unbelievable feeling, that kind of connection. But to be honest, it's been completely fucking terrifying having this many people listen to this record. I haven't quite adjusted yet to private becoming public.

OAN: Can we discuss that time when you were crafting "Hospice?" The album certainly explains everything that led up to its creation, but what about the time during. Would you like to talk about the experience of making the album?

Peter: It was strange. It was both isolated and social. I was bouncing back and forth between those two modes of living, and those two modes of recording. Sometimes I would stay up all night working on bits of detail exhaustively, other times Darby or Michael would come over and we'd set up instruments and see what happened. There were huge roadblocks, and months here and there where absolutely nothing got done. I didn't think the record was going to make sense, lyrically or sonically, until the day it was done. Vocals were recorded last, within a weekend upstate in an empty house, and while recording them, I remember feeling like everything was sounding terrible.

OAN: You crafted every sound and word from a very personal time in your life , then took it into studio with talent like
Michael Lerner, Darby Cicci and Justin Stivers (who has since gone on to pick back up on Pet Ghost Project.) Talk about your relationship with these guys and what it’s been like to play surrounded people just as passionate about the work as you are.

Peter: The band was a very different animal while the record was being recording than it is now. We were still getting used to one another, trying to figure out our roles and what we wanted out of this. The record was started while The Antlers was just me, and expanded as the recording went on. Immediately after the record was finished, it became Darby, Michael & me. Since then, it's felt like a more stable entity, like a real band and not some strange collective-type thing. At this point, Darby, Michael & I have a weird, intuitive way of playing with one another. We don't really have to say much as far as guiding one another, we just sort of know how we want things to sound. It's kind of an unspoken thing.

OAN: How about the tour? You’ve had an unbelievable response from New York and you’ve played SxSW and a nice lounge session with the good people at WOXY, but this is your first big national tour, correct? The Antlers hype has been building for some time now, so talk about getting out there and playing before your ever-expanding fan base. And how did you end up with Au Revoir Simone?

Annie: Hi there! This is Annie from Au Revoir Simone. We dragged Peter in the van with us for a little bit of our tour driving from El Paso to Tucson and we were both doing interview questions so we decided to trade interviews for a little bit so I thought I could take over this part of his. We found out about the Antlers because their booking agent emailed us and asked us to consider bringing then on tour as support. We fell in love with their music and then they made an appearance at our Brooklyn Vegan showcase at South By Southwest and were so sweet and nice that we wanted to have them around. And their live concerts have been amazing! Every night they have a lush, beautiful set that always sounds spectacular, despite the fact we always take so long for sound check that they barely get enough time to do any sound checking at all. But it always sounds good. So if any of you reading this have a chance to see them live, you definitely should!

OAN: With “Hospice,” you toyed around with signing with someone, then ultimately decided to self-produce and release. What are the biggest advantages and disadvantages to having total creative control that you’ve experienced?

Peter: Well, I think we're all feeling that we like being control-freaks and want to continue producing and recording our own records. I won't say we'll NEVER go in a studio or use a producer, but it's not what we want right now. Recording is as much a creative thing as writing, and either way, we refuse to be on a clock or subject to someone else's will. As far as releasing records, it was an amazing learning experience to release the record ourselves. I'm glad we did it that way and have done it that way for a couple years. But the time came to hand that job over to someone more experienced, and Frenchkiss has been wonderful to work with.

OAN: This is an awful question, because I know you are just getting settled into everything, kicking off the tour, and trying to enjoy the moment, but what are the next steps for the Antlers? Do you think you may do another concept album? Have you started writing anything new?

Peter: It's all hush-hush right now... but we're writing something new.

OAN: Something I like to ask, because I always find the answers fascinating, what are your favorite extracurricular activities, because, surely, there is more to Peter Silberman than just music. Other creative outlets, perhaps?

Peter: Since I came home from the Au Revoir Simone tour, I've started writing, but not songs (I'm writing songs too, but that's not what I'm talking about). Short stories, sort of. Non-fiction. I haven't done that in a long time, if ever, but I'm really into it right now. I've been reading more as well, and getting back into photography. I always love really long walks. That sounds sort of lame, but I do. I walk a lot.

OAN: Say something you never thought you’d say in an interview.

Peter: I recently discovered that my favorite movie might be The Endless Summer.

OAN: Peter, thank you so much for your time. I know you’re swimming in the busy right now. It was great to see you out west with ARS, and I'm sure I'll see you soon. Annie, don't be surprised if I come knocking on your door for one of these.

The Antlers will be having a "Hospice" re-release party at Mercury Lounge on 8/21.

Music courtesy of "The Antlers"

Listen: "Kettering," from Hospice
Listen: "Sylvia," from Hospice
Listen: Tears are in Your Eyes (Yo La Tengo Cover), from New York Hospitals

What's playing on Peter’s iPod:

Listen: Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Storm
Listen: Massive Attack - Risingson
Listen: Yo La Tengo - Damage
Listen: Talk Talk - New Grass
Listen: Smog - Teenage Spaceship
Listen: Okkervil River - So Come Back, I Am Waiting

Links:
MySpace
Facebook
Frenchkiss
Purchase Music from 'The Antlers'

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Weekender - Indie-pendence Day Celebration

Well after a week away, I'm back with more on my plate than ever. My little project is taking off, the kids are gaining a lot of steam, and I'm going through a lot of "be careful for what you wish for." But, I'm fairly pleased at all the good that's come my way so far.

Here's a trio of groups for you to join on Facebook if you haven't already:
On Another Note
Pet Ghost Project
Swimming in Speakers

And just a little FYI, I have three interviews I'll be posting over the next few weeks I think you'll enjoy, and a couple more I am writing now. Let's get to the weekender! It's a holiday, so there's not as much going on, but plenty still to do, including another smashing performance by Julie Peel at Bar 4 on July 3, and Pet Ghost Project at Cake Shop on Independence Day. Quite a bit different than my July 4th last year.

Tonight!
Harlem Shakes, and Motel Motel at Bowery Ballroom
Listen: Harlem Shakes - Strictly Game
Listen: Motel Motel - Coffee

Thursday
The Feelies at Maxwell's (Hoboken)
Listen: The Feelies - Sooner or Later

Jay Reatard at Music Hall of Williamsburg
Listen: Jay Reatard - It Ain't Gonna Save Me

Friday
Julie Peel at Bar 4
Listen: Julie Peel - Unfold

Real Estate at Bruar Falls
Listen: Real Estate - Beach Comber

Casiotone for the Painfully Alone at Market Hotel
Listen: Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - Bobby Malone Moves Home

Papercranes at Le Poisson Rouge
Listen: Papercranes - Treasure

Sonic Youth at United Palace Theater
Listen: Sonic Youth - Sacred Trickster

Here We Go Magic, and Bachelorette at South Street Seaport
Listen: Here We Go Magic - Tunnelvision
Listen: Bachelorette - Mindwarp

Saturday, Independence Day
Pet Ghost Project, El Jezel, Mixtape and Quiet Loudly at Cake Shop!
Listen: Pet Ghost Project - Age of Automatics
Listen: El Jezel - Do You Love Me Now
Listen: Quiet Loudly - Over the Balcony

Conor Oberst, and Jenny Lewis at Battery Park
Listen: Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band - Slowly (Oh So Slowly)
Listen: Jenny Lewis - Pretty Bird