Archive for category Post-Punk
At first, Boston-by-way-of-D.C. duo Mike and Cody drew me in with nostalgia. Upon listening to the first few tracks on their self-produced EP Let’s Go!, I immediately flashed back to the synthier-pop days of Hellogoodbye, a mainstay of the musical phase I get all heartsick for every now and then. But I give these guys credit for really impressing me with a song like “Headphones On,” which builds with a low-key guitar melody, some lo-fi vocals and subtle percussion, and then ratchets up just a bit with some catchy drumming and then cuts loose nicely with some echo effects and a little synth-and-guitar bridge. While they lean toward the unabashedly digitized side of electro-pop on a handful of Let’s Go!‘s seven tracks — and still manage to impress — “Headphones On” is the clear-cut example of the pair’s hard work on the short-player and ability to construct a traditional, good old-fashioned rock(ish) song. The whole EP is available for free on their bandcamp page, and you can grab “Headphones On” as well as “Everything You Do” below.
Long story short, I could see many of these songs blowing up on any campus — or commercial for that matter — radio station.
The Ting Tings have tip-toed, then burned their way back onto the scene with a few new tracks and remixes in the past month. I’ll always have a soft spot for their debut album We Started Nothing, which had the awesome funky hits “Great DJ” and “Shut Up And Let Me Go,” and the quirky and memorable “That’s Not My Name.” Katie White and Jules De Martino have are all about packing as much attitude and fun into their music as possible, and what we’ve heard with these new singles is no exception. The latest addition to the handful of new tracks they’ve unveiled is the Bag Raiders Remix of the song “Silence,” which builds up and busts loose like every good remix should. Check out the remix below, and download “Hang It Up” — a loud, clattering dose of the band’s evolving sound — as well.
The first time I ever heard Walk The Moon was at a concert this past January, and I was so taken with their live show that I felt compelled to walk straight over to their merchandise stand, buy the band’s debut record I Want! I Want! and shake the hand of lead singer Nicholas Petricca. Petricca organized Walk The Moon while a student at Kenyon College, albeit before a few lineup changes in the years after. The band calls Cincinnati its hometown, but with how infectious their hook-laden brand of indie-pop is, it’s not hard to see why plenty of dates on their current tour have sold out and why many listeners who have seen them live are instant fans.
This year has seen the band gain plenty of buzz, not mention gigs playing at some of the biggest music festivals around. They were on Spin Magazine’s “25 Must-Hear Artists” for Bonnaroo, and their song “Anna Sun” was named Esquire‘s song of the summer. The band is currently on tour with Fitz & The Tantrums, and will play a sold-out show in Cleveland tonight before playing Columbus on Friday and then two straight nights in Chicago. They’ll headline a few dates at the end of this year and then support Young The Giant starting in February. Plus, their new album on RCA Records will be out sometime soon, we hope. There are big things in the works for these dudes.
The aforementioned lead singer of Walk The Moon, Nicholas Petricca, was kind enough to spend a few minutes talking to The Wounded Jukebox before the band’s show in Pittsburgh on November 7. Questions, answers, and tracks below!
In the last nine or ten months, you guys have played Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and CMJ. What has it been the way for you guys to explode the way you have in that span?
It’s been a pretty wild year, for sure. Explode is definitely a relative term, cause there’s a band like Foster The People — as far as our trajectory goes, they’re a year ahead of us. But they’ve truly exploded over the last nine months with their record kind of going everywhere across the world and number-one singles and everything. But for us, on an independent level, the length that we’ve gone in just this year has been really amazing and more than we could’ve expected. It’s been awesome to play some milestones like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza and then Great Escape, which is sort of like SXSW over in Europe. But it’s been wonderful and we’ve met a lot of great people. We’re building right now the foundations of the fanbase that’s going to hopefully carry us for our whole career.
You guys have been working on a new record. Is it in the same vein as I Want! I Want!, or is it something different? Where are you guys headed?
Since it’s the first record with RCA, and our first record with any label, we’re sort of taking the best of the I Want! I Want! stuff and then… It’s going to be half best of the old stuff and then half the new stuff that everyone’s heard from the live shows and whatnot. So it’s pretty ideal for us. I love I Want! I Want!, but the RCA record is going to be the thing that truly introduces us to the world. I’m happy that songs like “Anna Sun” and “Quesadilla” will be on there, but there’s going to be a lot of new stuff as well.
Talk a little bit about the producers and other people you worked with so far in recording the new album.
Our producer was Ben Allen. He did the Gnarls Barkley stuff, and a lot of Cee-Lo Green’s stuff, and also my favorite Animal Collective album, Merriweather Post Pavilion. He’s done a million other things. But for a long time when we’d sort of talked about ‘Who would be our dream producer?’ he was the name that always came up. So it was a real honor to work with him — we were down in Atlanta with him for a couple months. We also had the help of a legendary recording engineer named Nick DiDia, who was also integral in the recording process.
Did you guys feel good about the sessions that you had down there?
Absolutely. This is actually the first time with this final lineup that all of us could do it together. It was everything we could hope for. The guys in the band are extremely talented and I think everyone sort of rose to the occasion. When you have a producer like Ben, there’s a lot of decisions where, in the moment you’re like ‘Let’s try this,’ or ‘Let’s go this direction,’ and I’m fortunate to be in a band with a bunch of guys that can do anything you ask of them. We definitely squeezed a lot of new life out of the songs that people know from I Want! I Want! and these recordings are far and beyond what we’ve done with the old stuff.
If you guys have a signature song, it’s definitely “Anna Sun.” Can you talk a little bit about how that song came to be, or what it’s about?
The name was inspired by a professor at Kenyon College, where I went to school. Her name is Anna Sun, and she’s a really inspiring person. The song isn’t really about her, but she has an awesome name (laughs). But it definitely has elements of college and the whole feeling of leaving childhood behind but keeping with you a sense of being a child your whole life and the sort of happiness and sadness that comes with that. There’s a lot of lyrics that are snippets of memories or stories of growing up. That’s sort of the vibe of the song.
I wondered what led to you guys deciding to do the video for “Anna Sun” the way you did?
A friend of ours who ended up being a videographer — his name is Patrick Meier — and his project is called Contrast Productions. He was just a friend of ours who is really talented, and he called me up one night with the idea of the one-shot, one-take sort of journey. It was just sort of a nugget of an idea. We started brainstorming over the course of a couple of months, and knew at some point that we needed to have a ridiculous dance sequence. So we brought on a dance choreographer and a dance team, and it just sort of evolved out of playing around. Actually a lot happened the night of. We had an idea of how it would flow the best, but it really depended on all the people who showed up and brought costumes and props and brought their own personality to it. It wasn’t really a whole lot of anything until the night of when everyone kind of put their own soul into it.
Did you get a lot of compliments on those dance moves?
(Laughs) Yeah, it’s usually the one that happens right in the middle of the dancing where I’m just sort of flailing around — that’s the one people say the most to me about.
You guys are in Cleveland (tonight) and Columbus on (Friday) and then you’re back in Cincinnati on November 25th. What are you looking forward to about coming home, about being back in Ohio?
It’s always great coming home. This is where all this began and that’s where we have the biggest sense of family, and a loyal fanbase. We’ve started to feel that way in a lot of other cities, fortunately, because things have been going really great. We’ve started to kind of take a foothold in places like D.C. and Los Angeles, but there’s something about the Midwest that feels a little different. We’re certainly proud of coming from Cincinnati. There’s a lot of bands that take the initiative to move to really big cities, and we’ve been fortunate enough to build everything out of home. I think people from Cincinnati are proud of having us come from there too. I hope they are.
So at Kenyon College, you majored in something like pop music, right?
At Kenyon, everyone in the music department studies some element of the classics. My degree was specifically in composition and theory, and so I studied a lot of the theoretical and styles of how everything is put together, which I ended up loving. And my senior thesis was applying classical theory to pop and rock music, and so the big idea was you can get the same amount of meaning and reward out of applying theory to rock and pop music.
Is there some kind of wisdom you learned then that you carry along now for songwriting?
I think more often than not the theory is less of a method and more of a language. It’s sort of like ‘Can you speak music?’ I mean, I have my own tendencies as far as verses and choruses and how things are put together. But there’s certainly no hard rules or laws to what we come up with. Somebody told me once — and I liked this — to never distrust the first thing that comes out, to sort of follow it through and so we try see through whatever idea comes to the table.
With “Iscariot,” there’s some really beautiful a cappella-style harmonies. What drove you guys to record that song like that without much instrumentation?
That song was actually one that I wrote for that last project in college. I always wanted to write something that was primarily just voices. At the time the band was all people from a cappella groups in college, and so we had a history with that. I think more than any other instrument, the human voice is the one that can really speak to people and carry you the hardest as a listener. It was just something I always wanted to do, and I thought it added another level of depth to the album.
What’s your favorite snack on the road?
We do mow through a lot of hummus and pita bread. We actually just left Williamsburg, Virginia where our friends have this ice cream and chocolate store called Kilwins. So no we’re just gonna get all kinds cavities and things from eating their chocolates and other goodies and stuff.
You guys do face painting and have a real interesting energy during your live shows. What do you enjoy most about being out in front of those crowds and performing a live show?
The best part is always going to be the audience and how connected we feel to them on a particular night. The face paint is one of those added small things where it’s more than just performing, it’s like having an experience with all those people and sort of sharing and creating together. That’s kind of a cheesy way to say it, but I love on a night where we’re doing the facepaint we’ll go out into the crowd and pass it along to people, and then you have complete strangers painting each other’s faces. There’s a sense of camaraderie that comes with that, and the whole point is just to have fun and be a kid.
“Call It What You Want” was my favorite track from Foster The People’s debut LP Torches from the get-go, even when “Pumped Up Kicks” continued to get all gussied up and get asked out by all those desirable eyes and ears. So I was pretty excited when I learned that my personal favorite was the next to get the visual treatment. After watching the video for “Call It What You Want” a bunch of times, I am no closer to understanding what it’s supposed to represent, what it’s supposed to communicate, or how I’m supposed to react. It seems like perhaps the inner-workings of a serial killer’s mind. But I think that’s probably perfect for a song about cutting loose from labels, preconceptions, or any other form of restraint. So you can pretty much call this video whatever you want to.
I know we already included Mr. McGuinness on the tippy top of a recent Moving Pictures, and we have his video for “Lion” over on our VodPod woogiewahoozit on the side, but I’m STILL obsessing like a little school boy over the song, the choreography, and the attitude in the Will Lovelace and Dylan Southern (The Fall, Elbow, Arctic Monkeys, Blur) directed flick. We’ve never seen the Essex native look so dapper, and with his new persona, McGuinness takes a savage bite out of the recent English (and some “Sex On Fire” American’s) trend of passive, apathetic attitudes in seen in some of today’s artists. The lyrics are basically a huge fleet of fingers jabbed into the chests of the selfish and the exploitative.
“I really don’t know what to say about this one. It’s [‘Lion’] just meant to be the biggest ‘fuck off’ my soul could muster.”
But while some of his past videos have been playful and even psychodelic, the stark setting and atmosphere in the dirgey warehouse gives McGuinness’ 2011 clip a campy, far-off feel. So much style with just some blue paint and red chairs. But what really, REALLY has me coming back for about 34 times so far, are the dance troupe Libby Hall choreographed by Supple. The style is so effortlessly lion-esque and bizarrely unusual (why isn’t ALL dance like this?), it can’t help but please your eyes in all sorts of ways. So much so, it caused me to go out and learn how to make gif images, and use bunches of hours making my very first one.
Her name is Madleen Teetsov, and she’s absolutely the best red in the whole video and so very saxy and I’m in big types of ridiculous love with her.
Enough of that. “Lion” is the very first track off of Eugene McGuinness’ next release all set for early 2012. It’s available for download below and (for an email) at his website. And coming out December 5th, it will be available as part of a digital bundle with a song entitled “Frosty”.
The official start of Fall in the United States and Canada is September 23. So if you’ve got a few things left to accomplish on your Summer To-Do List, take heart — you’ve got just more than a week left. The following collection of songs admittedly has little rhyme or reason, other than they are tunes I discovered or grew to love while the sunny days and Summer storms rolled through Ohio. You might be able to tell which ones popped up near the end, as they’ll have a bit more of that Autumn swoon.
All of the tracks can be downloaded below. You can also find them all on our Soundcloud page, along with more than 100 other songs. So as the air gets crisp and chilly, soak up a final few rays with these tunes. Go ahead, get nostalgic. It’s a Summer tradition, after all
BONUS MATERIAL!!! Videos for tracks 4 and 5 of this mix, and another mp3 goodie!
This is Carter Tanton of Tulsa and Lower Dens fame, with a solo track! Tanton will spend his Fall touring with The War On Drugs.
I can only imagine how much fun it is to hear this new White Arrows track live. With its groovy lo-fi synthy backbeat, twinkling keyboards, lovely guitar licks and handclaps-a-go-go , it is built to make people dance out their troubles. The L.A. quintet recently wrapped up a stint with Those Darlins, has toured with Cults, White Denim and Portugal The Man, and will get to unleash its irresistible brand of electro-pop on some new audiences this October, when they begin a jaunt with New Zealanders The Naked and Famous.
At the heart of White Arrows are two brothers, Mickey and Henry Church. Mickey was legally blind until the age of 11, when he miraculously regained his sight. He studied ritualistic shamanism at New York University, then came home and began White Arrows with brother Henry. Also in that original mix was J.P. Caballero, who the brothers Schiff found out was in fact a brother-from-another-mother, quite literally. The Churches’ father donated sperm to help friends conceive years ago, and Caballero was that child. That’s a pretty unbelievable backstory if I’ve ever heard one. Awesome.
White Arrows’ self-titled debut EP is available now stateside, and “Get Gone” — which is the definition of accessible indie-pop — was produced by remix extraordinaire RAC. So if you don’t judge the group by its infectious sound, feel free to do so by the respectable company they keep. This song is on my list for favorites from 2011’s second half. Enjoy!