6.30.2006

The Long Winters - Putting the Days to Bed Review



I recieved a promotional copy of the upcoming album from The Long Winters entitled Putting the Days to Bed (Barsuk) a few weeks ago, and I've just been loving it. MammothPress.com will be running a promotional campaign with the band all through July, where you will be able to stream the entire album off of the site before it comes out on July 25th. The promotion will also feature an interview of MINE with John Roderick, the band's founder and principle song-writer, as well as the following review I wrote for the album. Be warned, this review contains plenty of spoilers:

The Long Winter’s are an interesting band, with an ever evolving line-up and a corresponding sound. On the band’s two previous albums, principle song-writer John Roderick has co-produced, working with some great producers to achieve a truly unique sound. But on Putting the Days to Bed John has finally taken the reigns completely. He produced this album himself in order to achieve a sound that was more loyal to his singular vision. Is anyone reminded of Billy Corgan? Well you shouldn’t be because John’s bandmates are all too happy to follow his vision, and it shows. The result is one of the most cohesive album’s ever produced by a small-label band, and one of my favorite albums of the year.

The album kicks off with "Pushover": a tender examination of the loving dynamic between a man and a woman. Complete with acoustic intro and mid-song guitar solo, it’s a truly revelatory song, and an inspired way to start the album. There are some terrific harmonies in this song, making it one of the more light-hearted songs on Putting the Days to Bed.

Next comes "Fire Island, AK", which is an intensely guitar-driven song. John’s vocals become a bit more biting on this track, expressing a rare range of personality which is totally infused into the song. It’s one of the more "rawking" songs on the album.

"Teaspoon" features a great horn section, which complements the guitar in a way that doesn’t turn the song into anything like Ska, but still adds a lot of fun.

"Hindsight" is a slower, more sweeping song that’s all about just what it seems it would be, a relationship from the tail-end perspective. Something about the slower pace, and the large, built-up atmosphere of the music fit the feeling of the lyrics perfectly.

"The Sky Is Open" opens with a groovy bass line over what sounds to be a drum machine. This track features more electronic elements than any other song on the album, but almost doesn’t sound like it. The great bass line and the angel-chorus-like background vocals keep it far from electro-territory. It may prove to be the most...dare I say..."radio friendly" song on the album in this writer’s opinion.

"Honest" is my favorite song on Putting the Days to Bed, hands down. It opens with a powerful bass line and delicate acoustic strumming, meshing contrasting sounds in true Long Winter’s fashion. From there it goes on to detail a conversation between a daughter who’s in love with a singer in a band and her mother who’s been there before, sixteen years before. It’s difficult for me to tell for sure if the song is inferring that the daughter is the product of her mother’s short-lived love with a singer sixteen years before, but I like to think of it that way. This song boasts one of John Roderick’s best vocal performances.

On "Clouds" the beat plods like a steady train; just one of the ways the song channels an alt-country train ride feeling. This is also noticeable in the echo delay on the electric guitar and the close harmonies on the vocals. It’s a fitting mood for a song about adventure, dreams, lofty goals, and...a relationship.

The biting vocals come back in on "Rich Wife" were the singer addresses a woman who’s in love with a man she "doesn’t like". The unsympathetic singer lays into her for her discontentedness and indiscretions, with harshly delivered lines and a sarcastic sounding chorus that’s carries all the "snarkiness" that John Roderick is unashamedly known for.

"Ultimatum" comes next, but it’s not the arrangement you’ve heard on the Ultimatum EP. No, it’s a much grander arrangement, with more of a start/stop rhythm than the EP version. It really communicates the conflicted feeling the singer has about his love. Is it a better arrangement? That’s hard for me to say, so I listen to them both!

"(It’s A) Departure" is the hardest rocking song on the album, with a punchy beat, and ripping guitars. There’s even a moment where a legion of voices join John’s in a line of lyric that make it sound like a number from a musical being performed in a pub.

"Seven", the final song on the album, is definitely the "prettiest". It’s a song about missing someone, and couldn’t be more sentimental if "Dear John" letters and baby tears rained down on you when you listened to it. It’s a fitting end to the album, leaving the journey open to begin again, like any great album does.

This album is like one of those movies that just screams "sequel", which is not to say that it doesn’t leave you completely satisfied in the performance of the band. It simply leaves you wanting more because it’s so good. But let’s give The Long Winters a rest. If I had just finished an album this personal and amazing I wouldn’t be knocking down the door to get back into the studio right away.

Downloads:
The Long Winters - Ultimatum (EP Version)
The Long Winters - Blue Diamonds
The Long Winters - The Commander Thinks Aloud

+joe

6.28.2006

Under the Covers with YouTube 2



Well, I had really hoped to have my review done for The Long Winter's upcoming album, "Putting the Days to Bed", but I'm not quite done with it yet. So I decided to give this YouTube cover thing another try. I'll tell you what, though. It's dang hard finding people on YouTube that can both sing and play well. Still, I've got a few pretty good ones here, but just for good measure I'll throw in some non-YouTube stuff. If you recall, I posted about the ironically named "The Males" a short while back, and now I've got the song to that video I posted, "Slit Wrist Teen Queen". Definitely check that out. You may also recall that I have posted about and interviewed Marybell Katastrophy of Tiger Tunes fame. Well, the rest of her band mates contacted me about their own band called Beta Satan. Yeah, I don't get it either, but they make some catchy music, so check out "Q's Wasted Dreams".

Downloads:
Gamatasu007 - Yellow (Coldplay cover).mp3
Miyavi - Blew (Nirvana cover).mp3 *
Beta Satan - Q's Wasted Dreams.mp3
The Black Keys - Act Nice and Gentle.mp3
The Males - Slit Wrist Teen Queen.mp3
(awesome brand-new track)


*This guy is an amazing guitarist

So I promise that very soon I will have reviews for the upcoming Long Winter's Album, My Brightest Diamond Album, Now It's Overhead Album, and Junior Boys Album--so stay tuned!

+joe

Ingrid Michaelson, In the Corner of Your Heart




I finally ponied up and bought Ingrid Michaelson's masterpiece "Girls and Boys" instead of wasting away my life on her MySpace page with the built in player. I've been listening to the CD for a while now and I can't express just how amazing it is to hear an entire album of great songs for the first time in so long. I think the last time I was this happy with an album was with Azure Ray's "Hold On Love" which I got a year ago! There is no more perfect album to describe the dynamic between girls and boys than her album "Girls and Boys".

Ingrid has a latent ability to transport you back to your childhood through her lyrics, which happens to be where a good little bit of her songs take place (mentally, as it were). She uses some of the most effective and unobvious (Can I say that? Is that a word?) images to connect you to her situation and her message. If you're a fan of the stylings of Regina Spektor or Fiona Apple, you'll definitely find a gem in Ingrid Michaelson. She can hold her own with them musically and vocally, and she surpasses them lyrically. She's the type of musician that makes you smack your forehead because you don't live anywhere near her (at least I don't, you lucky bandersnatches in New York!). She's got herself an awesome following in NYC, and is a regular performer at several of the city's music clubs.

If Radiohead's "OK Computer" is a 10 out of 10, and The Spice Girls are somewhere around a 2 out of 10, then Ingrid's album is a 9.5 out of 10.

So here's a couple of downloads that you should all be pouncing on before you promptly head over to her MySpace page or Official Website and buy your own copy of "Girls and Boys" from iTunes or CD Baby:

Downloads:
Ingrid Michaelson - Breakable.mp3 (full song) *
Ingrid Michaelson - Die Alone.mp3 (sample song) *
Ingrid Michaelson - Masochist.mp3 (sample song)
Ingrid Michaelson - The Way I Am.mp3 (sample song)
Ingrid Michaelson - Corner of Your Heart.mp3 (sample song)
*

*personal favorites

And out of respect for Sleater-Kinney (RIP):
Sleater-Kinney - One Song For You.mp3
Sleater-Kinney - Get Up.mp3


+joe

6.26.2006

My Interview With Tapes 'N Tapes



Here's the interview I did for MammothPress.com:

Some bands have all the fun, and Tapes ‘N Tapes is most certainly one such band. Through their incredible grassroots following and plenty of internet-related attention "The Brothers Tapes" have risen up from obscurity to become one of the most blogged about (and subsequently talked about) bands of the year. Connecting to their audiences with their quirky, anthemic songs, Tapes ‘N Tapes has been touring the country and selling out nearly half of their shows on their most recent tour. Stylistically, it’s impossible not to mention Pavement as a clear influence, but these boys have their own characteristics to bring to the table. With the occasional appearance of keyboards and horns, they bring a sound that’s all their own.

I sat down on the phone the other day with Matt Kretzman, the band’s keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist, to discuss the formation of the band, the "hype" that’s encircled them, the backlash to that "hype", their recent signing with XL Recordings, their hometown (Minneapolis), and their most recent tour with the Cold War Kids and Figurines.

Hey Matt. How’re you doing?

Good. How are you, Joe?

Doing alright. Are you guys on the road at the moment?

We’re actually in Seattle. Were just finishing up lunch, having a little sushi here. We’ve got a driving day, a couple days to get to Salt Lake [City]. So we’re enjoying the city a little bit.

You play keyboards, percussion, do some vocals and stuff like that for the band, but you didn’t always do that, right? I mean, you kind of switched around what you’ve played as the band changed its lineup, right?


Yeah. Initially, at the start of the band, Josh and his room mate Steve were both guitar players. I’ve played horn, basically my whole life–trombone, euphonium, and stuff. They were like, ‘Oh...You can play bass.’ So, to start the band we kind of scrounged up a bass, and they taught me how to play bass. I played along with...like Doolittle and stuff like that. That was kind of the initial incarnation of the band. It was us three and a CD player with drum tracks on it that Josh would make. Obviously that wasn’t the...uh [laughs]...the hottest rock line up. Eventually Steve went off to grad school, and we got a real drummer. Then I would kind of do bass and some keyboards. So it was a three piece for a while. Then I took a year and actually lived here in Seattle. Then it kind of made sense...I moved back in the late summer, a few months before the record came out. I always wanted to be there, you know. It was tough for me to move out here, but I just kind of needed a break for other reasons. So it just kind of made sense for me to rejoin the band and play keyboards, cause I was an adequate bass player, but not good, you know? [laughs] It made sense to just play the keys and do this other stuff because it enables us to really reproduce the records in the live setting a lot more faithfully than as a three-piece. In the three-piece we were always scrambling trying to figure out how to flush the songs out right. I think the band just works better as a four-piece for me too because I don’t have the responsibility of playing bass [laughs].

That’s good. I’ve played bass for nine years, and I’m not any better than when I started so I understand. At this point, though, am I right to say that there is only one song in the set that you guys actually need to use a CD player or pre-recorded track for, and that’s "Omaha"?

Yeah. We do it on an iPod now because we would run into problems occasionally with the CD player skipping. It was a really sh*tty little CD player. So we thought, ‘Well, that’s kind of stupid. Why don’t we just put it on the iPod?’ So we put the Omaha sample on the iPod. It kind of works out.

I know you don’t write the lyrics, Josh does, and I know that you guys don’t even know half the time why he writes what does. But I’m talking to you from Omaha so I have to ask, do you have any idea what the song "Omaha" is about?

Yeah. It’s a funny story actually. It was a couple of years ago Josh and the early drummer Carl were at a Yeah Yeah Yeahs show at First Ave. [a venue] in Minneapolis. I think it was an "all ages" show or something like that. There were these couple of kids there talking to each other and they were like, ‘Yeah...’ It was a couple of years ago when Bright Eyes and Saddle Creek were like the hot thing. You know Omaha was like on the map of indie rock, and these kids were like, ‘Oh Yeah Yeah Yeahs are from Omaha, and Bright Eyes...’ and then they basically listed off the entire Saddle Creek roster whether or not the bands were from Omaha or not. Josh and Carl thought it was really funny. So there is kind of an ironic story behind it.

I totally understand. There’s a lot of kids here that are into that. Speaking of which, what kind of audiences do you guys get at your shows? I mean, you’ve been a really big buzz band for a while now, and lot of people who tend to focus on buzz bands are the "cooler than thou" type. Have you encountered quite a lot of fans who are genuinely into your music on the tour?

Definitely. I’m sure there are people who just really read the blogs or something, or maybe there are critics and people who just want to see what its about. But we do genuinely have fans now. Especially like playing here in Seattle on KEXP has been really supportive. They play the record a lot, you know. And we sold out The Crocodile last night. People are into the band. I don’t think it’s a fad. It’s been a great tour. We’ve probably sold out like...half our shows.

Yeah, I’ve noticed!

There’s been no "stinker" in the bunch. It’s definitely something we’re cognizant of. The reason we tour is because we want to put the live show out there, and cultivate fans. You know? I think our live show is like the record and more because we’ve been playing the songs for a year now. A lot of them are way better, I think, now. Some of them were pretty fresh when the recording process was going on. There’s a little bit more to it now. It’s fun.

You guys have been writing some material along the road, maybe in between shows, right? That is...since you’ve cut the record, has there been any writing going on?

Yeah, there’s been a little bit. We’ve been so swamped with touring. We were in the UK for two weeks and then we went home for three days. That’s not really any time to go, "Hey let’s go write before we go tour for another three and a half weeks!" I think we’re realistic about it, but there’s definitely stuff we work on. Sometimes with sound checks we have time we can play around and stuff. But mostly I think we’re kind of setting our sights on...You know we’re going to tour, we’re going to have a couple weeks in July to work on some stuff, and hopefully when we go out with the Futureheads, and play some of these festivals later in the summer we’ll have a couple of new ones [songs] to try out. It is fun to test your new material a little bit and play with it a bit before you sit down to record it. It’s hard to write on the road, though. I mean, we tour in a small van, you know, and if anyone wanted to pull out an acoustic guitar [to write] I think they would get shot down pretty fast.

With the sheer amount of touring you guys are doing, like with playing so many shows all together at South by Southwest, do you attribute a lot of your success not so much to hype, but to hard work? Cause you guys are clearly one of the more hard-working bands out there touring right now.

That’s definitely been our philosophy. It’s a job, you know? I mean obviously it’s more than a job, but I mean we take it very seriously. We’re serious about music. With the "hype" thing it’s been kind of funny because up until a few weeks a go when we signed with XL we didn’t have a publicist or anything like that. Every single article or major indie "props" was all them asking us to do stuff, all the way from Rolling Stone all the way down to "x-blog". We’ve gotten a couple reviews lately that have been like, "They’re over-hyped," or whatever, and it’s kind of a weird thing for us [laughs] to get ragged on for, you know?

You don’t contribute to it at all.

All we wanna do is go out and play shows and do our thing.

You seem to take all that rather light-heartedly. Are there days when it’s frustrating to read in like, the New York Sun, that you’re not all your hyped up to be or is it pretty easy to brush off?

Well, it’s just not in our control. I mean, people are going to say whatever they want, and to some extent we expect some sort of backlash because we have gotten so much good press. It happens to any band, unless you’re like Radiohead or Wilco or something like that. [Laughs] Deservingly so they don’t get any bad press, period. Especially for a new band with a lot of good press it’s just going to happen. I’ve kind of stopped trying to read...I mean, we don’t have time to read them anyways. We’re on the road. We don’t scour the internet. It stings a little bit sometimes.

Your humility as a band seems pretty consistent in everything from how you guys write your songs to how you perform to how you guys do interviews and press stuff. Is that something that you guys focus on because you’re aware that you’re coming out as a new band and you’re not going to be all arrogant, or is that just who you guys are naturally?

Yeah, that’s just who we are. I guess we’re just typically Midwestern. Well, Josh is from Oregon, but it’s kind of an ethic. I think we would just be uncomfortable if we started to get fresh haircuts and buy really expensive fancy things...leather jackets, things like that, you know?

Speaking of all that you just described....Has the deal you guys just made with XL enabled you, at least in idea, to move away from having to work normal jobs at home? Or have you already started moving away from that? And I mean, you guys tour so much, has it been hard to keep the jobs you have back home?

Yeah it was hard for many months-many, many months! Actually, I had to resign. It was like a voluntary resignation thing, mutual I guess. I was doing housing development project management stuff for an affordable-housing developer in Minneapolis. Before we went to the UK I was like, "Here’s what the next...indefinitely looks like." They were like, "You should just do that." Cause it just doesn’t work to be gone for long periods of time and come back to just have no idea what’s going on. Josh is keeping his job. He has been at his company for a few years and has a really good relationship, and they’re okay with it. It’s funny when the band stuff is going really well, and they see how well the band is doing, you almost get a "carte blanche"-"This is cool to have someone working here." But when he’s home in between tours I think he’s going to try and get some work done. Eric’s pretty much been doing music almost full time with some part time jobs. Jeremy’s pretty much the same, you know. He’s off of school doing some part time work. That’s what most of us are doing.

What made you guys pick XL? You kind of had a cornucopia of labels you could pick from. What did they offer you guys that sweetened the deal over other labels?

I think it’s total artistic freedom. If you look at their roster, it’s such a diverse roster. Every artist is pretty unique or different from each other. So that was kind of the feeling for us. We knew we weren’t ready for a major label. We just thought, for development, it would be great to go with an indie label. And it’s worked out really well.

Eventually you’ll be done with all this touring, and you’ll get to go home and have a rest for a while before you go in to record. Do you guys have any anxieties about going through the recording process now that you’re signed to XL?

At least right now I don’t think there’s any anxiety about that. We’re just going to hunker down in my basement during the winter and just try to work on new stuff. I don’t know. You know Josh comes up with ideas and structures. Usually it’s pretty loose, and generally writing is a pretty organic process. I have full confidence that we will be able to come up with good stuff. We’re definitely looking forward to it, for sure.

What do you guys listen to in the van when you drive around?

We try to mix it up. It’s usually whatever is n the iPod. Sometimes we do "shuffle" or whatever. We’ll listen to full records on the iPod and try not to repeat things the whole time. I really like that new "Destroyer" record. I think that’s great. I like Animal Collective. They’re not really new, but I like them. We listen to those Wire re-issues that just came out. "Chair Missing", Josh has been a fan of that for a long time, and I’m a fan of "Pink Flag". But I hadn’t heard "Chair Missing" and I was pretty blown away by that. Jeremy will get the iPod and do the whole 80s mix thing. Space Jams, or some [Uncle] Tupelo, or Wilco (obviously we like a lot) and Radiohead. So it’s all over the place.

You’ve just said you tastes are pretty "all over the place", but do you have a lot of artists that you can all agree on?

I think there’s definitely a mutual appreciation of each others taste.

Does everybody in the band like Pavement?

We have a running joke with the iPod, because every article is like, "Pixies or Pavement-esque". So whenever we get into the car we’re like, "Ok, so are we going to listen to Pixies or Pavement right now? Which one? Which one?" [Laughs] We all love those bands. There’s no major dissent I guess.

Well, I could just see if somebody loved rap and country and everybody else hated it.

Jeremy likes "Rush" and Josh hates "Rush". So that’s one. Phil Collins? [Laughs]

Hey! Hey! I’m a big Phil Collins fan.

[Laughs]

It seemed like you guys were saying for a while that Minneapolis wasn’t responding the same way a place like, say, New York would to your music. Has that started to lift at all, or have I misinterpreted that? Obviously there were people that liked you, but haven’t you said it’s not the same as when you went and sold out the Bowery Ballroom [a venue in New York]?

I think it’s just a case of being one of many local bands in a city. I think it’s definitely turning. We’ve got a great right-up from a critic after our last local show at Seventh Street Entry. I guess the true test will be when we’re playing the main room at First Avenue in July with Plastic Consolations. We were actually just talking about this over lunch. It’s like 1600 people. So we’re going to find out what we’re made of in town, [Laughs] you know? But we just haven’t been in town either in the last six months or so. I mean, our CD release party in November was pretty packed. It’s not like people hate us. It’s just kind of like we’re one of many. The other thing is the band has just gotten a lot better. We’ve developed a lot, and we do kind of stand out now.

What are some of your band’s favorite Minneapolis bands?

Currently?

Well, currently or of all time. Whichever comes to mind. I’m just thinking, there are several different areas of the country at the moment that have a lot of really decent artists coming out of them, and Minneapolis is one of them.

There’s this band called Duplomacy. Their record should be coming out some time soon. It’s take forever to get it out, but I think they’re going to do really well. I mean, people are going to like it. It’s definitely more mellow, but it’s just great, great pop songs. It’ll go over really well. Of course, Plastic Consolations are a phenomenal live show. I don’t know if you’ve ever had a chance to see them, but they’re amazing.

I haven’t, but I’m writing it down.

Yeah, like ridiculous guitar air-play...I’m trying to think...I’m a little out of touch myself.

It’s okay, don’t worry about it. What are your band’s favorite songs to perform? Are there times when you’re approaching a song on a given night, and suddenly the band is like, "Oh yes! We get to play this song," and everybody kind of loves it? Or is it just kind of all over the place whether somebody is really feeling that song or not at a given moment?

It’s still really fun even though we’ve been playing "The Loon" for quite a while now. It actually still feels like it’s really fresh. So playing it for new people keeps it interesting for us. I don’t know about the other guys. Personally, "Jakov’s" ["Jakov’s Suite"] is always fun to play. We usually play it towards the end of the set, and it’s like an ultimate release song. That one get’s pretty huge live. I would say that one especially.

The current tour you guys are on seems to be doing really well, with Cold War Kids and Figurines. What is this touring experience like? Is it what you were expecting it to be from a certain perspective or does it go beyond your expectations as far as turnout and everything else?

It’s been really awesome. I think it’s the Figurines first major U.S. tour. I think they were at South By Southwest this year, and came up the west coast a little bit. We’ve played with Cold War Kids at a couple shows in L.A. after South by Southwest. So we kind of knew those guys, but it’s been great. We’re all buddies now, and there’s a great mutual respect for each other musically. I think we’re all different enough. The crowds have been really receptive to all the bands, which is kind of all you can ask for, you know.

Who are your audiences? From what you can see up on the stage does there seem to be a certain age range, or a couple that have a strong presence?

I would say it’s probably the 20 to 30 range. Last night was all ages, so there were probably some younger folks there. There’ll be some "silver foxes" in the crowd every now and then. It’s a mix, but it goes above the 20-30 for sure. Primarily, though, it’s 20-30, for sure.

Thanks very much Matt.

You’re welcome.
-----------------------------------
After the interview, I had the pleasure of attending the final show of the Tapes ‘N Tapes/Cold War Kids/Figurines tour here in Omaha, Nebraska. All three bands surpassed my expectations, and Tapes ‘N Tapes proved to this fan that they can live up to the hype. Be sure to catch them, if you can, on their upcoming tour with the Futureheads. Head over to TapesNTapes.com for show dates and locations.


Don't forget the contest we have running here to win a free signed 7" limited edition vinyl of the Tapes 'N Tapes Single "Insistor": click here to check it out.

Unrelated Downloads:
Radiohead vs Coldplay - High & Dry/The Scientist.mp3
Radiohead - How I Made My Millions.mp3
Radiohead - Killer Cars.mp3
Radiohead - How Can You Be Sure?.mp3
Radiohead - Maquiladora.mp3

+joe

6.25.2006

Jim Noir's "Tower of Love" CD Review/Preview




A week or so ago I recieved a copy of Jim Noir's upcoming LP "Tower of Love" from Barsuk in the mail with my promo copy of The Long Winters' highly anticipated upcoming album "Putting the Days to Bed". Needless to say I hadn't given it much of a listen since I dove straight in to The Long Winters' album first thing. When I finally did get around to it I realized what a mistake it was to brush this release off without any thought.

What I found in "Tower of Love" is an imaginative take on 1950s & 1960s British pop-rock. Jim's voice is incredibly beautiful and plaintive, and his music is no different. At times, sounding like the soundtrack to Edward Scissorhands ("Turbulent Weather") and at other times like The White Stripes ("My Patch"). It's hard to describe Jim in any other way than as this incredible blend of sounds. Though I hate to describe one band in terms of others, it just seems appropriate in Jim Noir's case because he really draws from a plethora of distinct sounds and pushes them together. Sometimes it sounds kitschy, but if you give it a good listen you begin to see that Jim is more of a bridge to yesterday than a copycat. As you move through the CD you can almost hear the evolution of pop-rock music from the mid-twentieth century up to today. It's really interesting from that perspective.

It becomes difficult to pull any tracks out as better than the rest since the CD works in that linear fashion, but some of the ones I find myself listening to the most are as follows (with downloads):

Jim Noir - My Patch.mp3
Jim Noir - Computer Song.mp3

Yeah, only two for download, since I really don't want to get in trouble or hurt sales for this guy by spreading too many tracks. Just take my word for it that if the description sounds good it's a sure thing so go buy it when it comes out on August 8th. I expect to see more of these tracks ("Key of C") as background music in more commercials anyway, so you've just got to own it!

EDIT: REPOST>> Sigmatropic & Cat Power - Haiku Ten.mp3

+joe

6.24.2006

Tapes 'N Tapes Contest and Show Review


Hey there! You look sad! Would a signed copy (by all 4 members) of Tapes 'N Tapes single "Insistor" (with "Crazy Eights" on it as well) on limited edition 7" vinyl do the trick? It would!? Wonderful! The Brothers Tapes were kind enough to sign this copy for me, and I have nothing to play vinyl on! Anyway, here's how this contest works. You come up with the most original idea for a cover song you would like to hear Tapes 'N Tapes do at a show and I'll pick the one I like the most to win this awesome record! Pull out all the stops on this one people. I don't want to see stuff like "Freebird" or "Bird on a Wire" or something that gets covered all the time like that. Post your idea in the comments section of this post. I'll pick a winner next Friday night/Saturday morning so have yours in by then. Only one entry per person, so give it some thought. oh, and if you suggest Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" I'll tell you that you've won and get your address and send you a bomb instead of the record, okay? Okay.

EDIT: Please include your contact info. If you've already posted without your contact just shoot me an email (jszczepaniak@gmail.com) with your contact info in it. Thanks!

So the show tonight was amazing. It was the final night of the Cold War Kids/Figurines/Tapes 'N Tapes Summer Tour, and you can be sure that the bands made it worthwhile. Cold War Kids opened up with an amazing set. They move around so much on stage and bump into each other on purpose, so it was a lot of fun to watch. I was surprised at how good their backup vocals (from the guitarist) were. The band was totally on top of their game, and played my favorite two songs during the set: "Hang Me Up To Dry" and "Hospital Beds". They were really stand-up guys when I met them after the show, too. Josh from Tapes 'N Tapes joined them on a song to play the tamborine and cause good-natured trouble on stage. An incredibly electric performance!

Figurines were the "tightest" band (in an instrumental sense) all night, but their singer was a bit tired looking, and was a bit flat most of the time despite having some really smooth pipes. They got a pretty poor response from the audience, which was not deserved, but, oh well.

Tapes 'N Tapes were everything they said they would be. They pulled out all the stops and went nuts on stage. The do an amazing job of translating their songs for the stage. They played a good many songs including "Manitoba", "Omaha" (my favorite), "In Houston", "Insistor", "Cowbell", "Crazy Eights" and others. I can't remember if they ran through the entire CD or not, but they must've gotten close. They finished off by having nearly every member of the other two bands come up for their last song. There were 4 percussionists, 4 guitarists, 1 bassist, and Matt on keys and tamborine. It was amazing! Tapes came out for an encore as well, and played 2 songs which makes me think they must've played the whole CD. Again, though, I can't remember.

All in all, it was a great show. Was it the most amazing experience of my life? No. Was it the best experience of my summer so far? Definitely. Make sure you head over to their official site and see if they're coming anywhere near you on their coming tour with The Futureheads.

Downloads:
Tapes 'N Tapes - Frankfurt (Awesome Remix).mp3
Tapes 'N Tapes - 50s Parking.mp3
Tapes 'N Tapes - Crazy Eights.mp3

Cold War Kids - Hang Me Out to Dry.mp3

Links:
Tapes 'N Tapes' Official Website
Cold War Kids' Official Website
Figurines' Official Website

+joe

6.21.2006

Go on...Take One For the Team!


One of the principle reasons that I stay away from most "powerpop" bands is because they have a tendency to make mundane things sound epic. In general, I like my coffee black, and I like my mundane to be mudane and my epic to be epic. One For the Team, a Minneapolis powerpop sextet, has stolen my heart, alas. They make epic songs sound even more epic and dramatic. I'm not sure how anyone else came across them, but I found them surfing MySpace looking for upcoming gigs in Omaha. These guys will apparently be playing at the Manhattan Club on Aug 17 at 8pm! If you like good rock and roll, good pop, or ride the fence a bit like me--there's a pretty good chance you're going to enjoy these good folks. They've got 4 songs on their MySpace you can listen to, but I have found it can be much easier to just buy the album and quit kidding yourself. You can buy the album, "Good Boys Don't Make Noise", from a link on their MySpace page or from their record company, Afternoon Records.

The whole album is pretty awesome, but the song that impressed me most was "Tame the Beast". At 2 minutes and 13 seconds into the song begins some of the most solid yet simple guitar work I've heard in a while, and you can really begin to bang you head a bit at that point. So here it is for your downloading pleasure:

Download:
One For the Team - Tame the Beast.mp3

Go on, it wont bite...hard!


+joe

Maria Taylor Performs Xanax Video



Maria Taylor is one of the most talented voices in the music industry today, and her songwriting is incredible on top of that. Her song "Xanax" was the first song to ever shoot to the top of my most played list. Usually I vary it up a but, but when I first got Xanax I didn't stop listening for 68 hours straight. It's still one of my favorites, and so I had to share this with you all. ScheduleTwo.com is a website that features high-quality videos and MP3s from some of the best independent artists around (Voxtrot, Akron/Family, Maria Taylor, Tapes 'N Tapes, Mates of State coming soon, and more). S.T. has 3 other videos (4 total) of Maria Taylor's set from the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, MN on April 5th 2006. I'm a huge fan of Maria's, whether she's performing solo or with the wonderful Orenda Fink in Azure Ray (or even in Now It's Overhead). If you're a fan at all you'll be missing out if you don't go check these videos out. While you're there look around the site for a while. It's an awesome place!


Now, I know it's a re-post, but that was long ago, so here's an MP3 of the album version:
Download>>Maria Taylor - Xanax.mp3

Links:
ScheduleTwo.com
Saddle Creek Records
Azure Ray's Official Website



+joe

6.19.2006

MP3s of My Favorite Cover Songs from YouTube.com



Most everyone these days knows what YouTube is. And most everyone knows that people like to post videos of themselves playing their favorite songs, and singing along. More than not, these performances are "lackluster" to say the least. However, there are a number of performers that do decent service to the artists they are covering. There are some people who've just got the talent. I scoured aroudn today looking for the best covers of some of my favorite songs and made MP3 versions of the songs for your listening enjoyment:

From a user named Cougarman7:
*Doron Diamond - For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti (Sufjan Stevens cover).mp3
*Doron Diamond & Sarah Dyer- For the Widows in Paradise, For the Fatherless in Ypsilanti (duet Sufjan Stevens cover).mp3

From a user named moremidnight:
*Paul (moremidnight) - First Day of My Life (Bright Eyes cover).mp3

From a user named Flash06:
*Flash06 - Delicate (Damien Rice cover).mp3
*Flash06 - Amie (Damien Rice cover).mp3

Enjoy those folks. Hopefully I'll be able to make a post once a week featuring the best of YouTube covers, but it remains to be seen if there is enough good material out there.

+joe

A Groovy Entry in the Pom Pom Diary



Allow me to introduce you to Pom Pom Diary, an awesome Indie New Wave/Electronica band hailing from California. The duo is comprised of Paul Finch, a talented DJ, and Paul Fontanas, an experienced rock musician. As if yet the band is unsigned, and I'm currently trying to convince them to sign with Saddle Creek Records (which is located here in my hometown--Omaha, Nebraska). If you like 80s retro-synth and catchy hooks you'll have fun letting loose to these guys. They remind me of The Faint and Ladytron. Head over to their MySpace page or their official website to hear some of their awesome tracks. Below is the music video for their song "Thursday", which you should enjoy promptly!



Thursday
By Pom Pom Diary

BestVideoCodes.com

EDIT* Just a note, Stage Hymns favorite Kid Harpoon will be releasing his single "Riverside" next week, June 26th. You can pre-order the single now from the following two websites on both 7" Vinyl & Enhanced CD:

www.hmv.co.uk
www.puregroove.co.uk

+joe

6.17.2006

Bright Eyes plays a free hometown show



I will be the first to admit that I've always had a conflicted opinion of Conor Oberst's music. I've got the entire "Bright Eyes" music catalogue, but I am known to question his opinion of his hometown, and his political views. Tonight he played a free show here in Omaha, Nebraska. I knew it was going to be interesting to see him come play in his hometown for all these people that he's written songs about.

After playing at Bonnaroo just yesterday, I assume he flew in to play today. That's a pretty busy weekend, no? Opening for Oberst were Neva Dinova and Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals. We missed Neva, and we came in just in time to see Gruff Rhys. The park was full of people when we got there (yes, I took the lady along). Gruff was hysterical! He was so self-effacing and witty. If you ever get the chance you must go see him play. He'd say things like, "That song was about snakes...and sh*t...yeah." or "This next song is actually exactly like the last song." and "This song was inspired by a visit to a pirate ship...in a mall...in Canada. Yeaaarrrrr. It's about pirates!" At one point he hit the "demo" button on a cheap kids synthesizer and smoked a cigarette for a while. Riotous!

So, anyway it started to rain just as Bright Eyes was getting ready. It only drizzled for the first few songs. Me an my girlfriend tried to stay. We hid under a tree just out of view of the stage for about 15 minutes. I actually stood there with the lawnchair folded up over her head to keep her dry the whole time, and was consequently soaking wet. We left after about 7 songs just as "Lover I Don't Have to Love" came on. I was so miffed that we were leaving as soon as I heard the intro. But you don't want to hear about me! You want to hear about Conor!!

So he plays a pretty darn good show. Even though he acknowledged that the city mayor was in the crowd he still swore and cursed as loud as he could when the song called for it. The band was in fine form, as well. It's nice how well the recordings translated to a live performance. His voice is really getting better. It's much stronger now. Our little indie-rock-boy is becoming a man! He still seems so lonely, though! Since it was raining he played a lot of songs that mentioned rain, appropriately. Highlights included "Lover I Don't Have to Love", "Poison Oak", "Ship in a Bottle", "Bowl of Oranges", and "First Day of My Life". So here they are for your downloading pleasure:

Download:
Bright Eyes - First Day of My Life.mp3
Bright Eyes - Lover I Don't Have to Love.mp3
Bright Eyes - Poison Oak.mp3
Bright Eyes - Ship in a Bottle.mp3
Bright Eyes - Bowl of Oranges.mp3

Links:
Bright Eyes on Myspace
Bright Eyes on Saddle Creek's Website

+joe

6.16.2006

7 Beck B-Sides & Obscurities



Well, Bright Eyes will be in town today (Saturday), playing for free just a few miles from my house in Memorial Park. I really have to wonder what type of crowd there will be, though. We've got a lot of "Emo" kids here in Omaha, but also plenty of people who go to anything free, especially adults. I can just see Connor performing "Lover I don't Have To Love" or "The City Has Sex" in front of 200 families with their children...yikes! I mean, how "indie" can it be when the city Mayor personally invites you to play a free show in a park? I don't know. Anyway, so maybe some Bright Eyes songs will be up in the next post, but this one's all about Beck. Why? Because I love him, and because I love you, and because you love him. So I went digging for some b-sides and stuff from his more obscure albums. Enjoy:

Downloads:
Beck - Halo of Gold.mp3 (an old favorite--Beck belches at 3:06 in the song)
Beck - Brother.mp3
Beck - Feather in Your Cap.mp3
Beck - O Maria.mp3 (another favorite, you must download this one)
Beck - Mixed Business (Cornelius Remix).mp3
Beck - Nobody's Fault but My Own.mp3
Beck - Mango (Vader Rocks!).mp3

Now, be afraid...be very afraid!

+joe

6.15.2006

Don't miss the Boat! New CD and Tour Info!!


Boat is a whimsical trio that's just waiting for you to pick them up and hold them. We've all heard some quirky indie rock, and we've all heard some light-hearted indie rock. While bands of this sort abound, it can be rather difficult to find talent among their ranks, since most such bands seem to be composed of people who aren't very serious at all about music. If I had to describe their sound in terms of other bands I would say that they tend to sound somewhat like The Shins with more background vocals all played through that distortion filter the Snow Patrol guy uses on his voice for all his songs...Oh, and with a bit extra reverb.

Well, if you haven't heard of Boat, they are a quirky band, and their sound is undoubtedly light-hearted, but they definitely know how to make serious music. Strange for a band that has the sillyness to name Diet Pepsi as their official drink. Boat's whimical nature doesn't end there, though. They've got an EP with full album art of which there are only 7 copies in existence! Several of their album covers and bindings appear to be entirely hand-made. That really should give you some idea of what this band is like. They work very hard, and have a lot of fun.

If I'm not mistaken they have 2 EPs and 3 LPs (or 3 EPs and 2 LPs?) out right now, with a fourth(?) LP about to drop August 5th on Magic Marker Records. They have some tour dates from July 5th to August 5th to support their album release. The dates are listed below. If you head over to their site you can download a CD's worth of songs for free, but I highly recommend the following tracks:

Downloads:
Boat - Holding All The Globes.mp3 (my personal favorite)
Boat - Return of the Rainbow Shoelace.mp3
Boat - Lanterns and Laughing Ladies.mp3

Boat - The Bar is to Low to Fail.mp3

Links:
Official Boat Website
Boat on MySpace
Boat on PureVolume
Magic Marker Records

Tour Dates:
Jul 05 2006 - 8:00P - The Green Monkey Room, Bellingham, WA
Jul 06 2006 - 9:00P -
The Towne Lounge, Portland, OR
Jul 07 2006 - 9:00P -
The Hideout, Redding, CA
Jul 08 2006 - 9:00P -
The Owl Club, Roseville, CA
Jul 10 2006 - 9:00P -
Club Pow/The Press Club, Sacramento, CA
Jul 11 2006 - 6:00P -
Buffalo Records (In-store), Ventura, CA
Jul 11 2006 - 8:00P -
The Hard To Find Showspace, Goleta, CA
Jul 12 2006 - 8:00P -
The Rickshaw Stop, San Francisco, CA
Jul 13 2006 - 9:00P -
TBA, Chico, CA
Jul 14 2006 - 9:00P -
House Show TBA, Portland, OR
Aug 5 2006 - 9:00P -
The Sunset Tavern (Record Release), Seattle, WA

+joe

The Second Post of The Day

So, I've already made a post with some downloadable-comestibles or "downlestibles", but I need to make mention of something else. So when you're done reading this scroll down a few inches and read the regular post. Anyway, ThisCityRocks.com has just released Episode 2 of their awesome show. This week they feature a spacey-sounding band from the Vancouver area called Windows '78. If you're a fan of the stylings of OK Comp-era Radiohead, The Flaming Lips, Pink Floyd, or any other quirky semi-electro-minded bands you'll probably dig them. So get over there and let the beautiful Megan Cole introduce you to Windows '78.

"Elsewhere:"
What the heck is wrong with you people? What's so enthralling about kicking a ball with people from a different country? I'll never understand why a music blog, even ones that I love, would switch from music coverage to soccer coverage. It's just one of those things where you seem to be the only sane person, so you know you must actually be the only insane person.

+joe

Cover Songs: Radiohead, R.E.M., Leonard Cohen, The Guess Who

Ok, folks. This is gonna be short and sweet. You, me, and four cover songs. Can you handle it?

Downloads:
Treas in Season - Street Spirit (Radiohead Cover).mp3
Butthole Surfers - The One I Love (R.E.M. Cover).mp3
Butthole Surfers - American Woman (The Guess Who Cover).mp3
Rogue Wave - Bird on a Wire (Leonard Cohen Cover).mp3

+joe

6.14.2006

Two New Videos and a Download


Okay folks, I've got two videos and a download for you today, so forgive me if I don't seem focused right now.

Kid Harpoon, my favorite swashbuckling englishman, has just released a video for his recent single "Riverside". The video is awesome, and you can watch it right here! If you like what he's doing you definitely should go buy the single and support an awesome musician.




I'm not sure where I found this next video, suffice to say it was one of the many blogs I read everyday. Let me introduce you to The Males, an all-girl British pseudo-glam-punk band. They're not big yet, but with an awesome song like this and the accompanying video they sure will be at some point. The video is poor quality, so forgive me, but the sound is good. Also, I can't find them on the internet, so help me out if you know their website/myspace page. Oh, and I'm sorry to say, but the sound is not quite lined up with the video. I don't know what happened there.




And finally, I've got a download for you-straight from Tegan and Sara. It's a remix of their song "Walking with a Ghost" done by The Rentals. It doesn't sound all that different from the original ar first, but if you pay attention you'll notice that they have added in a repeating sample from another part of the song (or so it sounds) that goes all throughout. This version has a lot more sonic depth to it than the original.

Download: Tegan and Sara - Walking With a Ghost (The Rentals Remix).mp3

+joe

6.12.2006

An Interview with Triggerbox


A while back I came across a UK-based band on MySpace called Triggerbox (F-Slip Records). They make incredibly catchy, sample-infused music. They have a rather unique sound, sounding at times like many distinct bands arranged together in some highly effective manner.. So I asked them to answer some questions, and they told me that they'd oblige. Well...things happened and they got busy, but eventually they sent me the answers, which was wonderful of them. It's a great little interview, with lots of good information from the band. The only problem is that my questions were so basic. Just keep in mind that the questions I asked were so basic because I was just getting started with this whole thing.

Now, without further ado, may I present the interview (with a couple of downloads at the end):

What does it take to "go back to your roots"?

Well.. we all started out loving loads of rock bands and all played in bands from really early on. JQ and Jake got into Jazz though and actually spent about 5 years diggin into that stuff, bebop, 4 years at Royal Academy, blah, blah. Then [we] realized the jazz life/form wasn't for us and soon found ourselves reunited with our original music roots, albeit from a different perspective.

How do you guys write music? Does everyone contribute to the writing?

The songs are written by JQ, but arranged by way of heated democracy.

What makes your songs so catchy? Does that happen naturally for you, or do you really work to refine songs into something catchy?

What makes our songs so catchy? You tell us :) No seriously, at the end of the day, even though we are a very loud band and like to rock out, some of our influences are quite poppy. Our melodies and such usually come quite naturally, it's more the actual arrangements that can take time.. but the aim of arranging is not necessarily to make it as catchy as poss [possible], going somewhere cool sonically is more exciting really..

How have you guys grown since being a 2-piece band? Initially you liked being a 2-piece band awhile ago, so why the change?

We did actually start as a 4-piece, then decided on quality over quantity and cut it to a 2-piece. We then got some free studio time with a production team and they suggested that we try out the songs with a bass player... hmf!! Basically, although it was really good fun playing as a 2-piece (we've known each other for a very long time), the type of music we make kinda does want a bigger band, harmonies, loads of vocals going on etc.. and yeah, we basically bumped into the best rock bass player we'd ever heard around that same time (Mitts), got tight with him and then decided to go all the way and invited Si onboard too..

How do the members of the band differ with their musical backgrounds? After all, two of you went to music academy, but not all of you...

Well, yeah it's nice to know that should we ever need a string arrangement or a choir or whatever, we can make it ourselves he he.. but at the end of the day, we're just 4 guys getting together to make music that we all like playing, and though we've all got quite a lot of experience already, one's gotta always be open for the real fun to happen...

Where do you guys see your band in 6 months, how about a year from now?

This time next year we're def [definitely] hoping to have our first full-length album out. And we'd REALLY like to be doing some more festivals next summer. WE LOVE PLAYIN LIVE!!!!


What's the most important thing about music to your band?

That it [music] matters to ourselves and other people

How do you guys translate your "sample-infused" songs for live stage performances? Do you hope to do it differently in the future?

Not much difference between recording and live versions really, we've always insisted on playing our samples live on this little Octapad, which we actually call the Triggerbox. (To the confusion of many a sound engineer, thinking 'what do you MEAN, 'turn up the triggerbox?'').. we'd like to get more samplers to play with at some point, but are pretty happy with how it's being done now I guess..

What is the strangest gig you guys have ever played, and what made it so strange?

Amongst us, we've played some proper crazy shows!!! But the one that springs to mind is def [definitely] our first show at some private party in Bethnal Green in this crappy, super moist music studio, with a really low ceiling that meant that if you were taller than 5ft 8in you were gonna bang your head into things...constantly. 'Twas mad, no stage, loads of people, moist drippin' all over the place, Mitts played the whole gig on his knees (!!!), tired from involuntary headbangin'. But the ladies loved it and we had an awesome night :)

Downloads:
Triggerbox - Technoboy.mp3
Triggerbox - New Mind.mp3
Triggerbox - Morning After.mp3

Links:
Triggerbox's Official Website
Triggerbox on MySpace

+joe

Rose Polenzani: An Interview Face to Face


Well, it finally happened. I was able to sit down and have a face-to-face interview with artist Rose Polenzani and her awesome guitarist Austin Nevins. before and during a recent show of hers here in Omaha, Nebraska. I recorded the entire interview, and had to listen to it in order to make this transcript. After hearing myself I have to wonder how they didn't laugh me out of the venue. I was so nervous, though, so I just said the stupidest things I think I've ever said in my life. You know how it is when you meet someone with so many expectations and they really seem to go above and beyond all of them? Anyway, here is the interview, and a couple more downloads of her songs at the end of the post.

She played an amazing set, with some of my favorites of hers. She played a few cover songs, including her amazing versions of DCFC's "Soul Meets Body" and Leonard Cohen's "Bird on the Wire". Unfortunately I had to miss her second set, but what I did see (and heard) was beautiful. I couldn't believe we were in some bar in Nebraska listening to this amazing music being made.

You guys seem a little wiped. In general, has the tour been a draining experience?

Rose: I think any tour would be up and down. You know, there have been days on the tour so far I kind of buoyed, and other days when I was like, "I can't believe this is going on." But I feel like... driving hasn't actually been that bad. I haven't ever arrived in a town yet, and been like, "Oh, my god! I can't believe I have to play." I mean, we may have seemed tired.

Austin: I think, like, [it's been] rough sleep for me, I don't know about you [looks at Rose].

Rose: Every night in a different bed...

Austin: It's pretty rare that I get a full night of sleep, which I would normally get at home, but we've had plety of time to do things, so it's our own fault.

Rose: Being on the road is mostly great cause you meet new people all the time, and that's really inspiring. It's a boost.

Austin: It's easy to get lulled into the situation we have back at home where it's a great music community, and we have all our friends that we play with. We're pretty isolated up there, and so this sort of makes us realize that there's a whole world outside of our community.

At home, do you have more of what you might call a following?

Rose: Yeah, and actually, there are other towns that we've gone to more often than Omaha. And we have a good following on the east coast. To some extent we have a good following in the Midwest, like in Chicago, and in Madison...I'd say my following in Chicago and Madison is comparable to my following in Boston. If I could describe it without sounding really full of myself, it would be ardent but modest. They're really good fans, but it's not a huge crowd.

What do you guys listen to in the car, and have you gotten sick of it?

Rose: What I'm sick of is myself. We've been listening mostly to other things, but we'll get some CDs from live shows, and I'll put them in, and within two songs I'm like, "I'm taking it out." But we do have some things we're dying over in the car. Right now I think, Neko Case, the new CD we just got in Austin, but we've listened to it everyday. I'm crazy about Ron Sexsmith, and I have a "Best of" that I made which we listen to a lot. I'm also crazy about Ana Egge, who we just played with...

Austin: We'd like some books on tape, but we don't have any of those.

Rose: We forgot to bring any. NPR just fades out so fast, you know, they have weak signals. We heard some nice NPR today in Iowa.

Austin: This might be in answer to the previous question, when we were talking about fans. Rose has one particular fan that did something to himself. [looking at Rose] I don't know if you want to share that...

Rose: In Atlanta, there's a guy named Mikey R--, and I met him when he was living in Pittsburgh. He came to a show, and after the show he asked me to sign a CD, and then he said, "I have this other question. Would you mind signing my a**?" And I was like, "Sure." Cause how often does that happen...So I signed it, and then I left town. And the next time I came to town he came up to me, and he said, "I hope you're not going to be mad, but the next day I went and I had it [the signature] tattooed."

I have to ask..You see, I am in love with steak. I have a love affair with beef. But I don't think that people who are vegetarian are crazy or anything, I can really appreciate it...I was just going to ask why are you guys vegetarian?

Rose: My vegetarianism has changed so much over the years, as what I eat and what I don't eat, and I'm not vegetarian anymore. I eat vegan at home, but when I'm out I'll eat fish, when I'm at somebody's house and they serve me chicken I'll eat chicken. I never eat dairy, cause I've found out that I'm allergic to it. But when I first started to be a vegetarian it was because of River Phoenix, because I was obsessed with him, and he was vegetarian. He was vegan...I researched it a little bit, but not much. So then I was a vegetarian for a couple of years, and then I became a vegan when I was eighteen. A week later I had so much energy, and I realized that I must've been allergic to something, and through process of elimination--I brought eggs back into my diet, and then fish, and the only thing that was left was dairy.

Austin: I remember when I was sixteen and it was Thanksgiving, and I thought it was kind of strange that in celebration of this holiday that all these Turkey's are dying. That was the thought when I was sixteen. So I think I became vegetarian the next day. Of course I ate turkey that day. It's easy to be vegetarian now cause there's a lot of different options. I would kill the animal if I needed to, and so the biggest problem that I have is the disconnect for people who just go into the store, and just grab a package of meat, and the don't really see where that came from. If I was raised, maybe as a Native American where they use everything, I could see doing it, but since where we are it's so easy to be a vegetarian I went down that path.

Rose:...we were thinking of opening one [a vegetarian restaurant] since I love to cook and Austin loves to...

Austin: I love to eat!

I read somewhere that you've recorded with a four-track that you got from someone in your family, and you just taught yourself to use it. Have you had any training musically, or have you taught yourself to sing and play like you did with the recording process?

Rose: I've never had any training in an instrument except for piano, which I barely ever use.

Austin: I went to Berkeley College of Music out of High School. I sort of graduated as fast as could. I feel like that's not really where we all [referring to their circle of musician friends in Boston] learned to play, but I met great people there. It was a great experience, but I think you don't really learn to play there, necessarily, but I still have friends that I met there. In Boston you don't actually want to say that you went to Berkeley, yet everyone at one point has, save for Rose, but most people there [in Boston] have. There's a negative connotation that if you've gone to music school then you're going to play a certain way, but it's just information and people are going to do different things with it.

What hopes do you guys have for the music industry? What do you want to see happen in it?

Rose: We have one idea that we just came up with today. Should we lay it on him?

Austin: I'm blanking on what it is, but yeah...

Rose: It's so silly, but I think on our next record we're going to start a trend...You know when the record ends in the car, it starts again, then we hit eject. It almost feels like the first song came on during the credits. Wouldn't be cool on this next record if the first song came on again, but softer, and a voice would come on and say, "On track one, this person played this, and this person played that." Since everything is going digital now, you don't get to see the credits on the record.

Austin: That's very specific, Rose...I think he's looking for a more general idea.

Rose: I know, I know. What I always say is that I just can't wait to see what will happen. It's going to be so different, and I feel like independent labels are so much more important than they ever were before. Major labels are so much less important than they ever were before, and they're losing money like crazy. They're starting to make ridiculous deals with people with all kinds of ways to make money off of people. And it's becoming so funny.

Austin: And everyone can record at home and it sounds beautiful, so the need for the record companies is becoming much less.

Rose: What I want to see is more grants being given to the arts.

Austin: We want to be Canada!

Rose: We want to be Canada. I feel the biggest thing that's lacking for us right now is tour support. I think grants would fill in that hole.

So what comes after the tour for both of you? What will you guys do next?

Rose: Well, I've got a couple of projects that have to do with my music. I'm finishing a record that I collaborated with a band called Session Americana on, all live in the studio. They're starting to branch out. Then I want to make my solo record. I think I'm leaning towards doing that again, and recording alone.

Austin: I am probably just going to go back home and be finishing an album that I'm recording. I'm working on a few other albums coming up. That's about it. I teach guitar as well...Nothing too, extraordinary. That's all. Probably be sleeping well, for once in my life.

Downloads:
Rose Polenzani - How Shall I Love Thee?
Rose Polenzani - This Bitter Heart

Be her friend on MySpace!

+joe