8.08.2006

Back to the Beginning: Creep

Today's post is quite lame, actually, because I've just moved back to school, and I'm going through RA training right now, which is incredibly rigorous. If my writing quality has diminished, please forgive me. It should be back to normal when I am more rested.

I was thinking just now how I first got into Radiohead, consistently my favorite band so far. It's funny, cause I was actually looking for a little number by The Stone Temple Pilots called "Creep", and I downloaded all the resulting MP3s. Now, keep in mind, this is before p2p file sharing and such, so there weren't really that many songs to look through. Of course, I wound up downloading Radiohead's "Creep" and I couldn't get over the way Johnny Greenwood rips that guitar leadind into the chorus. It's funny, because I completely abandoned my search for the STP song until much later, since I was distracted by Radiohead's music.

At any rate, STP's song is definitely up there in my favorite's, even though I don't care for all that much of their work. So today I'd like to share their song with you in case you didn't pick up on it back when it was a radio hit. I've also included Damien Rice's version of Radiohead's song. It seems appropriate that he sing it because his debut album O had plenty of songs with the same tone and theme as "Creep".

EDIT: I posted Damien's cover as "Radiohead - Creep (Radiohead Cover).mp3" cause it was late. I don't know what I was thinking. At any rate, it's fixed now.

Download:
Stone Temple Pilots - Creep.mp3
Damien Rice - Creep (Radiohead Cover).mp3

+joe

8.07.2006

An Interview With Ingrid Michaelson

Well, I've posted enough about her, so it's about time I did an interview with the fantastic Ingrid Michaelson. Here it is folks, I hope you enjoy it!

On your second album, "Girls and Boys" you dwell a good deal on a few central themes, including childhood, growing up, relationships, imperfection, trust, heartache, and acceptance. Universality aside,were these some of the central themes of your life while you werewriting the album?

The word "theme" kind of frightens me...I definitley did not write this album with any theme in mind. I named it Girls and Boys because all the songs were about relationships, some mine, some others, some made up. It kind of just ended up that way.

In the song "Die Alone" the premiss is that you've found someone who gives you hope for a future with someone. Have you truly had a struggle with the fear of dying alone, or is that song sung somewhat tongue-in-cheek to over-emphasize the point?

Of course I have had times where I felt that i would not have anyone to grow old with, but doesn't everyone?? I mean, it doesn't consume my days, but I have had moments where I thought my selfish ways would lead me to the life of lonliless, sure!

What thoughts do you have about your career after putting out 2 full albums?

This album (in my opinion) is much better, cleaner, it makes more sense. I feel that I am finally making music that is my own, not whatis expected of me. So I feel that i am starting over in a way. I feel alright about my...um...career. (I don't like that word) I thinkthe record is slowly gaining momentum.

What are some of your musical influences, and do you hear them coming out a bit in some of your songs?

Death Cab for Cutie, Fiona Apple, Regina Spektor to name a few. Yes, I hear aspects of their music in mine. I don't ever want to replicate, I just get inspired to push myself past my comfort zone...and that always makes for better music.

You've expressed a desire to get your album out there into people's hands. What does it mean to you to have someone listening to your music, half a world away, enjoying it?

Yeah!! Myspace (I had to bring it up) is so incredible!! People in Sweden are reviewing my cd!! weird...but so cool. Every time someone says they like my music, it's like the first time all over. It is really surreal to know that people, complete strangers, are listening my voice and words...and that they like it!!!

How accessable do you think your music is from a listener's standpoint?

Pretty accessable. My words are very straight forward and my melodies (I have been told) are "deceptively simple" and catchy...there are some songs where you will listen over and over and still not know what the hell it is about. if you listen to one of my songs once, you'll get it.

How do you describe your music to people when they ask you about it?

I think every one who plays music hates that question. Ummm, indie /pop...Fiona [Apple] meets Death Cab [For Cutie].

What does the song writing process look like for you?

I come up with the chords, then the melody, then the lyrics.usually, i finish a song in under and hour. then there are timeswhere i'll struggle and struggle with a chorus for days, and neverfinish it. the best songs are the ones that come tumbling out!

And now the obligatory interview question: Do you prefer playing live or writing?

Writing.

How would you describe your voice as a songwriter?

Arg...again with the self describing??? Clear and soft, with a lot of control...all those years of classical training paid off.

Could you name a few musical acts that interest you today?

Well, the three I mentioned earlier, The Magnetic Fields, The Shins, Ben Folds, Bjork, Imogen Heap, Laura Viers, Nada Surf, Weezer.

You're currently (at the time of this interview) a finalist in The Mountain Stage Newsong Festival. How did you come to be involved in that? What else can you tell us about that contest?

Sonicbids baby! Whoever said you don't get gigs from sonicbids didn't know what they were talking about. I really don't know too much except that i get to play at the south street seaport here in NYC!!! woohoo!! Plus, my picture was in the daily news!

What is so beautiful, special, unique about the dynamic between Girls and Boys?

We will never understand eachother, and that is why we want each other so much. the constant struggle feeds us, at least me!!

What is your greatest aspiration as a musician?

To have a loyal fan base and be able to make music and make enough money that I never have to do anything besides music for the rest of my days. And to get my songs on Grey's Anatomy!!Seriously, I am obsessed.

In my experience, some of the people who create music tend to see themselves as primarily singers, musicians (instrumentalists), or songwriters, but rarely as all three. I'm not entirely sure why that is. Does that ring true for you, or do you consider yourself all three?

I think I am a singer/songwriter. i am a decent piano player and ok on the guitar, but I am most comfortable when I am simply singing.

If someone were to ask you to name something you would die for, whatwould be the first thing that came to mind?

At this point, i do not think there is anything I would die for, realistically speaking. I don't know though. You never know the answer to questions like that until you are really faced with a situation that demands an answer.

How do you get inspired to write? Do you seek inspiration? Does it come to you?

Most of the time, it is not my own experiences that inspire me, but other music and musicians. I don't really seek it out though.

You end your album, Girls and Boys, with an uplifting, carefree sounding song. I wonder, was that a conscious decision? How did you select your track order?

I liked that song ("Far Away") but it did not fit in with the rest of the songs, so i made it the hidden track, but not the "last track". The order just came to me...there was no real concious effort except thinking which song would flow into the next. I suppose if you listen to the words, one could draw some conclusion on why we ordered it like that...

What was different in your experience making your second album in comparison to making your first album?

A lot more time and effort was put in this time around. we all loved these songs so much, we wanted the very best for them!!

What plans for the future have you been able to make at this point?

To keep giging, do a college tour, get my music "out there"....just keep on plugging...what else can you do? the battle is half the fun anyway!


+joe

8.02.2006

Summerbirds in the Cellar


Well, I thought I'd let you all know--the rumors...they're TRUE. I'm sorry, but there's another blog in my life. Don't worry baby! You know you're my only true love! This other blog is just a temporary thing. I'm posting for a few days over at Great Body of Water while Alex is out of town.

Earlier today, on GBOW, I posted about an incredible band that I have yet to share with you all, Summerbirds in the Cellar. They're affectionately known as "1/2 of Now It's Overhead. I was handed a copy of this amazing side-project's album, With The Hands Of The Hunter It All Becomes Dead, at the Now It's Overhead concert I last attended (Read the Review), and I've been listening to it quite a bit since then.

It's that perfect blend of dreamrock, pink floyd, and electronic ambience. I would be remiss to try and pinpoint any real influences from listening to the entire album. This is not, however, the typical inoffensive rock side-project that you might be expecting. No, this is quality music. Does is challenge my tastes? No. Does is play right to them? Yes. Do I mind that? Not on your life. The instrumentals are flawless, compelling, and shiny. The vocals are decent on most tracks, and even rise to a level we can call "good" on certain tracks. This is an extremely cohesive album, and you've got to give it a listen. Even if it isn't going to bring the revolution to your backyard, it can still make you tap your toes like the best of them.

Downloads:
Summerbirds in the Cellar - Behold the Wolf.mp3
Summerbirds in the Cellar - Beware Of False Prophets.mp3

Links:
Clever Titles Are So Last Summer's Post on the Summerbirds
My Old Kentucky Blog's Post on the Summerbirds

+joe

8.01.2006

The Banjo Consorsium


There comes a time when we have to reach way back to the first few weeks of this blog's existence and mention old loves. One of my favorite instrumental acts, The Banjo Consorsium, has informed the public that he has a new project in the works with the ever talented Savery. The best way to describe TBC is "folktronic". After I first heard this guy back in January, I did some searching for other good "folktronic" acts. There really aren't many. A few you may have heard of are Tunng, The Books, and Caribou. It's almost the sound of industrious nature. It's surprisingly organic sounding. I would almost call it the "soundtrack to growth". On one of Jacques' (TBC) songs, "My. Sugar Melted" from le debut, you can almost picture an ant colony hard at work. On "une soirée kebekoise" I feel as though I'm flashing through vignettes of plants growing. Considering how many electronic noises are involved, it's incredible that it sounds so natural. This is some of the most uplifting and calming music around.

The Banjo Consorium has a new album set to arrive in September with 9 brand new songs! A video for "My.Sugar Melted" from le debut will also be coming out around that time. As if that wasn't enough to keep Jacques busy, he's also preparing a show with 5 other artists that will be on in September. He's promised me a few more details as these projects approach.

Downloads:
The Banjo Consorsium - My.Sugar Melted.mp3
The Banjo Consorsium - Une Soirée Kebekoise.mp3
The Banjo Consorsium - Tuesday Craker.mp3*

(*very highly recommended)

OR Download the entire album, le debut, for free (zip): HERE!

Links:
The Banjo Consorsium on MySpace
Savery on MySpace
Seedsound (TBC's label)

+joe

7.31.2006

A Mish Mash Sort of Day

Today is a mishmash. I've been working on a special project with the Bully of Culture himself, Chris, for a while now, and I just haven't had the time to dig for that next new artist. So I thought I'd resort to something more expected, I suppose. Today I'm serving up a mini-list, with a couple of mind blowing tracks.

Downloads:

Herbie Hancock - Don't Explain (Featuring Damien Rice & Lisa Hannigan).mp3
Starting off, we've got Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan's vocals joining Herbie Hancock's mastery of the ivory keys on "Don't Explain". This track features one of Damien's and Lisa's best performances ever. I don't think I have to tell you that Herbie's on top of him game, too. Do I?

Quentin Grey - Growing Agression.mp3
Here we have an incredible electro-rock song called "Growing Agression" done for an online comic book ("Broken Saints") done by Quentin Grey. It's got an amazing heart pounding chorus. You wont be able to stop playing air guitar after hearing this! It totally belongs in an action movie.

Mice Parade - And Still It Sits In Front of You.mp3
Finally, we have a really nice track by Mice Parade. I haven't been able to get into their music as much as I'd like to, but this song is definitely reason to. I actually came across it playing in the background on someone's blog many months ago. If you're not familiar with Mice Parade you really should be. This song is off their album Obrigado Saudade. If you know MPs music well, I'd love to have some songs reccommended to me!

Well, that's all for today my dear friends!

+joe

7.27.2006

William Fitzsimmons


One of the great things about encountering new musicians is encountering their friends, who are often also great musicians. I can't tell you how many bands I have posted about here that I have come across through links from musicians I was already enjoying. It says a lot to me when a musician that I love gives an endorsement to another musician. Such is the case with the subject of today's post: William Fitzsimmons. His musical friend Ingrid Michaelson has "long" been a favorite of mine (okay, so maybe not as long as I'd like to pretend), and her MySpace page referred me to him.

My bro William is a folk artist of the non-garden variety. If you're already seeing flags because he's another folk musician (I know I'm on a roll), then please bear with me for just one more! William's music definitely has a DIY quality that can be decieving at moments, because an honest listen to any song will show you just how professional he is, all the while making you feel like you must be sitting outside in a cirlce listening to one of your extremely talented friends. Intimate. Though it's a word that others may overuse, I challenge you to find more than one or two instances of me ever using it. I don't use it lightly or flippantly. It's very accessable music, at it's heart, which is very important in the folk genre.

After grabbing the free download below, head over to William's MySpace page to hear 4 more songs you're sure to enjoy just as much. I've thrown in a live track from Sia, singing "Breathe" on KCRW, which is probably the best version of the song you can hope to find, ever! It's been in my head for a while, so I had to share.

Downloads:
William Fitzsimmons - Shattered.mp3
Sia - Breathe (Live on KCRW).mp3

Links:
Download William's CD, Until We Are Ghosts
William Fitzsimmons' MySpace Page

+joe

7.26.2006

Possible Favorites: The Possible Selves

I don't think I've been shy about the fact that I use MySpace as a vehicle for exploring usigned and small-time bands. Often, these explorations are rewarded, as in the case of my most recent findig: Possible Selves. The Selves are really just Neal Williams, with a backing band, playing Psychedelic Folk/Country music, as it were. Now, 'Psychedelic Folk/Country' music isn't usually my cup of tea, but you gotta make that jump sometimes, you know? At any rate, I've really enjoyed what I've heard of his so far, and what kind of person would I be to keep this a secret from you?

So how does he sound? Well, he sounds like the type of guy who would just as easily write a song about the end of the world as he would about the pattern of your fingerprints. Does that make any sense? There is equal wonder and understanding in his music. It's quietly stirring, and subtley playful, as though Neal were playing on strings of glass, and feared that they might break. Because of this I would say it makes for very good late-evening music, although, honestly it might be just as beautiful on an autumn afternoon. "Welcome Home" reminds me of old school southern folk, with a twist. The plucking banjo on that track, though, makes it my personal favorite of his. Definitely check that mp3 and 2 others in the download section below, then hit up the Possible Selves MySpace page for another download.

Oh, and be sure to watch for an interview with this talented artist in the near future, as well as an interview with a Stage Hymns favorite, Ingrid Michaelson (which will happen just as soon as I get her some decent questions), and a feature on a friend of hers, William Fitzsimmons. Sorry about the infrequency of posts. Trust me, I know it's frustrating. I'm trying to batten down the hatches on 2 websites right now, as well as getting ready to move back to school for RA training. It's all happening very fast.

Downloads:
Possible Selves - Welcome Home.mp3
Possible Selves - Future Plans.mp3

Possible Selves - Three Birds.mp3

Links:
Possible Selves Official Website
Possible Selves on MySpace

+joe

Along Came A Spider: An Interview With Jane Herships


Spider is the best thing to happen to folk music since Joanna Newsom, and maybe even longer than that. Spider is New York singer-songwriter Jane Herships, and whether you've heard of her or not she's been sweeping the internet's music elite with her self-released album, The Way To Bitter Lake. As I've listened to the album, I can't help but ask myself why more music doesn't sound like this. Shouldn't music always be beautiful like this? All I know is that this album is the only thing I've listened to in the past few months that's made me bleary eyed.

Jane Herships isn't exactly sure of everything she does. She's not acting too sure anyway. But that's okay, because that's why I'm here!...to tell you she's a sure thing. As sure as they come. This artist is one of the most tender and gentle souls I've ever spoken with, but she insists she loves "to rock". How charming is that? I've had this interview for a month now, but I kept poor Jane on the phone for over a half an hour, and that makes for one long interview to transcribe. I did it for you, though, folks. I asked every question I could possibly think of, and I think you'll find that by the time you're done reading this interview you will know Jane very well, and you'll see just how well her music echoes of her personality.

If you're unfamiliar with Spider's songs, you'll find 2 juicy downloads at the end of the interview, and a bunch of links to other blog posts about her.

How are you today, Jane?

I’m fine, thanks. Where exactly am I calling to?

You’re calling to Omaha Nebraska...

Oh...nice.

...yeah...

Is it nice there?

Sure...I guess. I’ve lived in Chicago, L.A., and San Francisco as well. I guess it’s small by comparison, but...

Wow.

Yeah. I’ve got some questions here, and you’re going to have to correct me if any of them seem misinformed cause I researched as best I could but...

There’s not a lot of information. It’s ok. I’m looking at these plants in my garden, and there covered with these crazy...things!

Don’t you live in the city [NYC]?

I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. So I have a little back garden.

Gotcha.

It’s like an overgrown mini-jungle.

I would think that would be much better than just having everything look urban and "city-like" all over the place.

Yeah. I prefer it this way. Absolutely.

[A helicopter flies loudly in the background]

Can you hear me okay?

Yeah, I can hear you just fine. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you grew up listening to bands like The Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and other rock bands.

Yeah, total classic rock. I think the first introduction to music I had was some Beatles tapes that my dad gave me when I was about twelve. Beatles 1967-70. I think I listened to it for a year straight because it was the only tape I had.

When did you start listening to this very beautiful, hushed, strummed music that you now play? Cause it’s very different, to an extent, than those bands you listened to growing up.

I should say Joni Mitchell is another musician I’ve listened to, but I was introduced to Indie Rock in college. I’m not a music nerd at all. Actually, I’m probably the opposite. I didn’t listen to music for a very long time. I just listened to things like NPR, and a lot of classical music–though I don’t even know the names of a lot of composers. I like Chopin a lot. I listen to Court and Spark [a Joni Mitchell album].

That’s an amazing album.

Yeah, I listened to that about nine-thousand times cause I got into Belle & Sebastian, (That probably had a big influence on me), Cat Power...You know, your typical, more mainstream Indie Rock.

So you’re not necessarily listening to Iron & Wine, Diane Cluck, and other comparable artists?

I definitely do now. I guess I was thinking back to my more formative years, and what amounted to my first knowledge of music. It was all that classic rock stuff. I didn’t even know about that other stuff, because we didn’t have the internet like we have today, and I was super-young still. So the way to delve into more unknown music was to go to the record store with my friends and find older stuff. Psychedelic Rock and all that stuff. We tried to find things we’d never heard of, so we had to go to the mall.

Okay then. Here’s a hypothetical question that might go more into that. If you were eighteen years old today, moving into your college dorm room, what bands' posters would you hang on the walls?

From today, Joanna Newsom, definitely. She's a big favorite of mine. I do like Iron & Wine. Nico, not Neko Case (I haven't had time to listen to her new album), but the other Nico...um...

...I've got a list here of supposed influences that other people have mentioned. Would you like to hear some of those?

Yeah, sure.

Vashti Bunyan...

Vashti Bunyan? You know I've honestly never heard her before, and I get a lot of comparisons to her.

Diane Cluck...

Um...I've seen her play. I think her music is beautiful. I've definitely listened to her before. I don't know if I'd call her an influence. Maybe, an inspiration. I've only been doing this [playing professionally] for about a year and a half. I saw her perform at a show right around the time when I was beginning to do this. To see a woman stand up and play these quiet songs in front of a really nice, polite, respectful audience was really inspiring. You know, she has a lot of passion when she plays, and that's really great.

You've been playing publicly rather extensively for the past year and a half, correct?

I played my first show ever, by myself, with these songs in December of 2004 at the Sidewalk Cafe in New York. So I'd really never done anything other than playing at a coffee shop in college a few times. Aside from that, years had gone by and I'd never done stuff like that before [December 2004]. One of the reasons I've been playing so much is to get used to it...to learn how to do it.

What did you go to college for? You had a band or two before college, right?

I played in a band in college for three months [laughs]. We had one show. [laughs more] We were called The Irl. Then I began playing with a band about three years ago in New York, called Numb Numbers. We were a practicing band. We practiced and practiced until we got really tight. Then we played out [in public] for about three months, and we broke up. [laughs] Then I had another band, and we did about five shows. It was a girl rock duo called The Burners. It's hard to find time, so we haven't played in a while. That's the extent of my musical history.

You're doing a publicity campaign through email, sending out info to several different people. What made you decide to go that route now, and to "push it" at this point?

I don't really know. I guess I see other people doing this for a living. It seems like a wonderful thing, to be able to do this for a living, be able to do something that you love. I have no idea what it takes to do this, but I know a lot of people have teams of people working with them, all kinds of stuff. [laughs] I'm kind of just pluggin' along blindly, [laughs] going on suggestions of friends. Basically, why not?

Well, you're doing a wonderful job. I bought the album off of iTunes a while ago... [planes fly overhead very loudly]

Wait. There's a plane...there's actually a lot of very loud planes going by. Ok...what was the last thing you said?

I guess I was just saying I bought the album a while ago off of iTunes and it kind of shot up to the top of my "Most Played" list pretty quickly.

Oh, thank you.

Yes it's wonderful. Would you be offended to hear that your album is really to listen to while doing lots of different things, as ambient music for unwinding...to listen to or just to play in the background to set a nice mood? Because it's very somber. Is that something you're okay hearing?

Absolutely. I set out to write songs that definitely mean something to me, to write evocative music, but I equally wanted to write accessable music. I want to write interesting music that people will respect, and hopefully I've pulled that off. I always wanted to write satisfying songs.

Where does the moniker 'Spider' come from exactly?

A friend of mine, who I was playing with and had approached with the songs I had already written (his name is Steven, and he's played drums on a couple of songs on my record) had suggested it as a name for his dog. Or, if he had a son, he would name him Spider. We'd really been changing the name, playing out a lot, changing the band's name. This was last spring. We'd been changing the band's name every week or so. So it seems like as good a name as any, and it's kinda stuck. I actually had a horrible phobia of spiders. So when it became the name it began to mean something to me because I think I had a horrible phobia of playing music for a really long time. I don't know if I should go deep about it, but we thought it was a cool name, and we were starting to play some rock songs.

If there's something so deep about that you don't want to say, that's fine...

No, it's actually simple. It's a "facing your fears" thing. After a while it took on the meaning for me that you can't be afraid of things. I think for a long time I was really afraid to play music, even though it was something that I’d really always loved. I kind of shied away from it for a really long time. It’s not like I love spiders now, or anything., [laughs] but I’ve actually gotten over my fear of spiders a lot.

It would be lazy of me to categorize your music with terms that might get thrown around (especially in New York) like ‘Anti-Folk’ or ‘New Weird America’ unless I knew that you identified with terms like that. But do you ascribe any genre or subgenre name with your music? Are you comfortable doing that?

I have no idea. The guy I used to play with in Numb Numbers said we played ‘Modern Rock’. Maybe ‘Soft Rock’? [laughs] I listen to Lite FM [a NYC radio station] a lot, though. I usually just tell people it’s ‘Indie Folk’ for lack of a better genre.

[At this point, my recorder was running out of room, so I asked to stop it for a second so I could delete some files from it before we continued through the questions. Unfortunately I forgot to hit ‘record’ again until a few minutes later. So I don’t have the exact transcript of those few moments, but I believe I asked Jane who she would want to have a tea party with if she could pick anyone alive or dead. She answered Eleanor Roosevelt, which is where we pick up…]

…you know, there’s something very honest about her.

You released ‘The Way To Bitter Lake’ independently, right?

Oh Yeah!

What made you decide to release it independently? And are you looking into any labels at the moment?

Well…I don’t even know how to begin a conversation with a label. I think for my next album, which I’ll start to record soon, there are some labels I’d like to contact. It would be wonderful to have a label and tour, have tour support and everything. I think that would be a great help and opportunity. But I kind of had this thing [the album], and when I was done with it I wanted to…[laughs] I think with the internet and the way things are today it just seemed so feasible.

I see. So do you have any offline distribution set up at the moment? Can people buy your music at a certain store?

I am selling at about ten independent record stores right now, but it’s been growing. When I go to cities I try to visit record shops, definitely. I’ll probably be doing more of that soon.

Towards the end of ‘Maggie’s Song For Alice’ you have this ‘Melt-your-face-off’ guitar solo come in, which is in total striking contrast to the rest of the album (albeit a wonderful and, possibly vital contrast). What made you decide to change things up in that way, at that point on the album?

Well, it just kind of came out that way. In the band I had played with, Numb Numbers, I was the lead guitar player. I didn’t sing, and I didn’t really write the songs, but I got to shred. And with the other band, The Burners, it was totally a girl rock-duo. Actually on the next album there’s going to be a couple of rock songs on it. I love…to…rock! [laughs] I know that sounds silly. The latter songs didn’t really fit in on that last record, except in that one element.

What was it like for you to play at this years South by Southwest Festival? How did that opportunity come your way? What were some memorable experiences from that?

That was a blast. I had never been before, but I heard it was different from previous years. Now it seems that everyone and their mother who has a garage can have a party. Basically some friends of mine were having some parties, and Peter and the Wolf (with Whiskey & Apple Records)…um, I got to play on his bill with another amazing artist, St. Vincent. I am really glad I got to see her.

South By Southwest has really opened up some opportunities for non-label people and independent artists. The amazing thing is that you pretty much just go to shows all week, and everywhere you go there are people there. Even if it was in the smallest "Tacoria" [taco joint].

Did you get a pretty good response from the people that heard you play?

Yeah, I had a really nice response. Everyone was really warm, and the parties themselves were just great. I got to play with Brightback Morning Light, which was really wonderful. That was just a completely outside party that they were nice enough to come to. You know, they had just come from playing to open for Belle and Sebastian, earlier that day. [laughs] Then there in some, you know, random girl’s back yard.

Almost every major music blog that I can think of has posted about you recently. None of them seem to have said anything that wasn’t really good about you. Have you noticed any recent surge in publicity? Do you get more emails from people visiting the site recently because of that?

I’ve definitely noticed a small, steady climb in all that. Yes.

A year from now, where would you like to be professionally?

I would just like to always be playing music. I would love to have a band. I would actually really love to collaborate with other people. I’ve been working on my own project now for about a year and a half, and I really miss playing in somebody else’s band. [laughs]

Do you enjoy writing as much as you enjoy playing?

Absolutely, yes.

So, in the future, with these collaborations you'd like to have a hand in the writing aspect?

Yeah. I think that comes naturally, but I guess what I miss about playingwith somebody else is...and maybe it's just the mood of what I've been writing, but I feel like I've been focusing on the guitar. Acting as a guitar player with someone else is really interesting. I really never thought of myself as a guitar player. I thought of myself as somebody who knew how to play guitar and liked to sing. Being in a band where we practiced three times a week, and having never used a guitar pedal before--using pedals for all sorts of things--I really grew as a musician. I remember one day I realized, "I'm a guitar player!" [laughs] It's a really good feeling. You know, I really like that.

Am I correct in thinking that you picked up guitar at the age of fourteen, after going to band camp? Is that right?

No, I went to a YMCA camp in the Poconos [laughs]. My best friend at the time was going there, and there were always cute boys playing guitar while sitting around the fire. [laughs]

[laughs] Well, that's perfectly understandable. It's surprising though, because there are many girls who own acoustic guitars because they know boys who can play them, but they don't necessarily know how to play them. So it's interesting that you could start that way and wind up being an awesome guitar player.

It was a struggle. It was hard because I came home from camp, and I was like, "Mom! Dad! I want a guitar!" And they said, "...no." We had already tried with piano and violin, and band class, and everything else. And they were not into it. It wasn't until about six months later, when one of my mom's friends said, "Hey, we have an old guitar in the basement, and Jane can use that one." I got myself one of those little books, The Beatles: Learn to Play Guitar. Then I worked at it.

What is the name of the album, The Way To Bitter Lake, about?

Well, I had bought my friend a preasent. I had gone to a kind of 'junk shop' up in New Hampshire, and I bought her an old journal because she loves old books. Written in the back of it, probably one-hundred years old, was, "What is the way to Bitter Lake?" or something like that. It just really struck me as a beautifully suggestive place. It seems to fit with a lot of my songs. There not all about actual people-- a lot of the ideas have happened to me--but there a little bit more ethereal now, I guess.

So what does the writing process look like for you?

I usually play into a little tape recorder that I have, and then I listen to it play back. Sometimes I'm walking around the city and some little melody will strike me. I write in a journal, separately.

And final announcements, words?

I'm going to be recording soon. I'll record over the summer and hopefully have some things for late fall.

Awesome! Thanks very much.

Downloads (MP3s):
Spider - The Bitter One.mp3
Spider - Maggie's Song For Alice.mp3

Links:
The Official Spider Site
Spider on MySpace
GorillaVsBear's Post on Spider
*Sixeyes's Post on Spider
Cable and Tweed's Post on Spider
Yeti Don't Dance's Post on Spider
Rbally's Post on Spider

Palebare's Post on Spider
CYSTSFTS's Post on Spider
Sweetheart of the Radio's Post on Spider
Village Indian's Post on Spider
A Robot Commeth's Post on Spider

+joe