Variety Lights, the new band from former Mercury Rev frontman, David Baker, is sharing a new track in advance of their debut record, Central Flow, due June 12, 2012 via Fire Records. Here is the stream of “Oh Setting Sun”:
As a founding member and vocalist for Mercury Rev, Baker helped to forge the band’s sound on Yerself Is Steam (1991) and Boces (1993). Having left the band in 1993, Baker went on to release a solo album World under the moniker Shady, which featured members of the Boo Radleys, Rollerskate Skinny, Swervedriver and Th’ Faith Healers. Much of Variety Lights’ debut Central Flow was recorded by Baker at his own Over the Trees studio.
Tickets for the Explosions In The Sky June 2012 U.S. tour are now on sale. Zammuto will be supporting them on these shows. If you’re interested in going, please click here after checking out the dates below:
6/17 Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
6/18 Mobile, AL @ Soul Kitchen Music Hall
6/19 Tampa, FL @ The Ritz Ybor
6/20 Miami, FL @ Grand Central
6/21 Athens, GA @ The Georgia Theatre
6/22 Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theater
6/24 Randall’s Island, NY @ Governors Ball Music Festival
6/25 Morgantown, WV @ 123 Pleasant St.
6/26 Chicago, IL @ Chicago Theatre
6/27 Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
ETIS are also about to release the third video from Take Care, Take Care, Take Care. It’s for the song “Postcard From 1952” and it was made by Annie Gunn and Pete Simonite. The video will be premiering on The Huffington Post on Monday, May 7 and it will be available on www.explosionsinthesky.com starting Tuesday, May 8. If you want to watch a little making of/trailer sort of thing go here.
Rapper Adam Yauch, perhaps better known to Beastie Boys fans as MCA, has reportedly passed away at age 47. Here is the press release from the Beastie’s camp:
“It is with great sadness that we confirm that musician, rapper, activist and director Adam “MCA” Yauch, founding member of Beastie Boys and also of the Milarepa Foundation that produced the Tibetan Freedom Concert benefits, and film production and distribution company Oscilloscope Laboratories, passed away in his native New York City this morning after a near-three-year battle with cancer. He was 47 years old.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Yauch taught himself to play bass in high school, forming a band for his 17th birthday party that would later become known the world over as Beastie Boys.
With fellow members Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Adrock” Horovitz, Beastie Boys would go on to sell over 40 million records, release four #1 albums–including the first hip hop album ever to top the Billboard 200, the band’s 1986 debut full length, Licensed To Ill–win three Grammys, and the MTV Video Vanguard Lifetime Achievement award. Last month Beastie Boys were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, with Diamond and Horovitz reading an acceptance speech on behalf of Yauch, who was unable to attend.
In addition to his hand in creating such historic Beastie Boys albums as Paul’s Boutique, Check Your Head, Ill Communication, Hello Nasty and more, Yauch was a founder of the Milarepa Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting awareness and activism regarding the injustices perpetrated on native Tibetans by Chinese occupational government and military forces. In 1996, Milarepa produced the first Tibetan Freedom Concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, which was attended by 100,000 people, making it the biggest benefit concert on U.S. soil since 1985’s Live Aid. The Tibetan Freedom Concert series would continue to stage some of the most significant benefit shows in the world for nearly a decade following in New York City, Washington DC, Tokyo, Sydney, Amsterdam, Taipei and other cities.
In the wake of September 11, 2001, Milarepa organized New Yorkers Against Violence, a benefit headlined by Beastie Boys at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, with net proceeds disbursed to the New York Women’s Foundation Disaster Relief Fund and the New York Association for New Americans (NYANA) September 11th Fund for New Americans–each chosen for their efforts on behalf of 9/11 victims least likely to receive help from other sources.
Under the alias of Nathanial Hörnblowér, Yauch directed iconic Beastie Boys videos including “So Whatcha Want,” “Intergalactic,” “Body Movin” and “Ch-Check It Out.” Under his own name, Yauch directed last year’s Fight For Your Right Revisited, an extended video for “Make Some Noise” from Beastie Boys’ Hot Sauce Committee Part Two, starring Elijah Wood, Danny McBride and Seth Rogen as the 1986 Beastie Boys, making their way through a half hour of cameo-studded misadventures before squaring off against Jack Black, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly as Beastie Boys of the future.
Yauch’s passion and talent for filmmaking led to his founding of Oscilloscope Laboratories, which in 2008 released his directorial film debut, the basketball documentary Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot and has since become a major force in independent video distribution, amassing a catalogue of such acclaimed titles as Kelly Reichardt’s Wendy and Lucy, Oren Moverman’s The Messenger, Banksy’s Exit Through The Gift Shop, Lance Bangs and Spike Jonze’s Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait Of Maurice Sendak, and many more.
Yauch is survived by his wife Dechen and his daughter Tenzin Losel, as well as his parents Frances and Noel Yauch.”
When I first learned that The Avett Brothers would be making a pair of appearances in central and southwestern Ohio this year I was compelled to talk to them. With a decade+ long career that has produced some of the most raw and organic albums coupling bluegrass, folk and rock in modern music, and trips to Austin City Limits and the Grammys to perform with Bob Dylan, The Avetts are a undeniable force to be reckoned with. When seeing the band live, their onstage rapport tells of a group of friends whose comfort and confidence level is high, but it also hints at something stronger…
When I called Avett Brothers bassist Bob Crawford to talk about the band’s upcoming tour and forthcoming album I had no idea that I’d receive answers to questions about the band’s uncanny bond and brotherhood. Here’s what he told me…
Ghettoblaster: The trips to Ohio in May and June won’t be the Avetts first trips to Ohio. You guys played in Dayton at Elbo’s I recall, and you’ve played just south of the border in Newport at the Southgate House. Do you remember those previous trips with any degree of fondness?
Bob Crawford: I remember Elbo’s and Newport and Covington, KY. All those were great shows and we had a lot of good times at those.
Ghettoblaster: When you come here this Summer you’ll be doing a tour that is called “An Evening With The Avetts.” Does that mean that you won’t have support on the road and that you’ll be doing multiple sets?
Bob Crawford: We’ll be doing one long set. I think some of the nights we’ll have support, but I don’t know if we will in Ohio or not. We’re just trying to present more of a show. We’ve lengthened the set by several songs in comparison to our last tour. And we’re just trying to form more of a program.
Ghettoblaster: Do you have a family Bob?
Bob Crawford: I do. I have a wife, a two-year old daughter and a nine-month old son.
Ghettoblaster: Do you bring them on the road with you when you do these lengthy jaunts? I imagine it is tough to do a lengthy tour and to be away from them for an extended period of time…
Bob Crawford: To be honest with you, my daughter has cancer. She’s currently a patient at St. Jude’s Childrens’ Hospital in Tennessee. We discovered that she had a brain tumor on August 28 and right now we’re here in Memphis trying to save her. I haven’t played but four shows since August 28 to be honest with you. So no, my family isn’t coming with me.
It is hard for all the guys and our families. We just try to make sure that we do have some time off to balance family life and professional life. We’ve never been the kind of band that goes on the road for three-months straight, or six months straight. I think the most we do is a few weeks tops. This year we are trying to stretch it out where we’ll play a handful of shows, get a few days off to fly home, and then go back out and play a few more shows.
Ghettoblaster: Can I ask your daughter’s name so that I can pray for her Bob?
Bob Crawford: Yes you can. Her name is Hallie.
Ghettoblaster: I hope that she has a speedy recovery.
Bob Crawford: Thank you.
Ghettoblaster: The Avett Brothers sound has always been indicative of multiple genres – folk, rock, bluegrass, country, pop and punk. Are all those genres legitimate touchstones for you personally and also for the rest of the Avetts?
Bob Crawford: Yeah. I think the word legitimate is the right word. People spend a lot of time trying to put things into categories, which I think is a tricky thing to do because everything is so influenced by everything else. And the media – when I say that I mean books, film, music all that kind of stuff is very accessible. It’s not like the days where jazz or blues was known to emanate from a specific place. Things don’t emanate from one place anymore. A guy can do something today and put something on the internet and I can see what he did tonight and be into it. So when you talk about genres, I think to a large extent they’re breaking down or have been broken down. I think there are new genres, and non genres really. I think that fall into the new and non genre category. And I think everything you said are different touchstones for us in a lot of ways.
Ghettoblaster: You’ve been with the band since the early ‘00s. How did you meet Scott and Seth and how personally satisfying has it been to see the fruits of your labors start to pay off in such big ways?
Bob Crawford: It is really nice to be on stage with somebody that you’ve known and played with for ten years. That feels good. That adds confidence to the performance and comfort to the travel. This is a bond that…I tell you, we don’t need to talk about my situation with my daughter a whole lot, but in going through what my wife and I have been through and the wave of support that has come very personally from the guys in this organization…to have that sort of history with people makes what we do so satisfying.
It was satisfying before the tragedy that we suffered even happened. Scott, Seth and I have built what we do from nothing to where it is today. We had a lot of help along the way. But in the earliest years, the first three or four years, when it was the hardest to justify doing it, when we weren’t making a living, when we were making all those big sacrifices at the time, we were driven to do what we do. Once we began to do it, and were able to survive doing it, we knew that we couldn’t not do it until we couldn’t survive doing it. It has just gotten better from there. So yeah, you’re right, there’s a little satisfaction and comfort and the roots are very deep here. The roots are big and strong with us for sure.
Ghettoblaster: What a great testimony, not just for the love of your craft, but for the brotherly love that you have for each other. I think that is really conveyed on stage and in your recorded output…
Bob Crawford: When you go through something like this there is no roadmap for it. It is really difficult. And the longer it goes on, the more awkward it gets and the more challenging it is for friends and family members. The care and support – and I’m talking being there – that we’ve gotten is a strong testament. It is a strong testament to the honesty and integrity and love that we all share.
Ghettoblaster: You guys had the opportunity to perform at the 53rd Grammy Awards, right?
Bob Crawford: It was great. It was a very surreal occasion. I’m not quite sure that it really happened. But they tell me it did. We couldn’t have had more fun doing it. It couldn’t have come off better when the actual performance came. It couldn’t have been more of an experience for me of being able to enjoy a moment and take it in. And then it was so weird to leave Los Angeles and come back to North Carolina. We got in, we did it, we had a great time doing it and then we came home where we belong. It was a tremendous moment that just kind of loomed there. I’m not sure that it really happened, but people keep telling me it did and I’m reminded of it. It was a wonderful occasion for something that can be so intimidating and stressful. The longer the week went on, the more relaxing it got and the ultimate performance was a lot of fun.
Ghettoblaster: Did you do some rehearsing with Bob Dylan then? What was that like?
Bob Crawford: I guess people rent out these big performance spaces, like a storage facility…kind of these outdoor pods or something like that. They were studios, not storage pods, but it reminded me of that. So we go in the gate and there was one and we went in to rehearse. For about an hour it was just us, T Bone Burnett and Mumford and Sons. T Bone Burnett had the ultimate vision of what it was supposed to be. He’s a wonderful guy. He was very comfortable to be around and very child-like in his enthusiasm. A really great guy. I would love to work with him again. He really puts you at ease.
So we were hanging out, everyone was talking. It was great to meet the Mumford and Sons guys finally. We are friends with a few guys from Dylan’s band. One of the guys playing with him was an old friend of ours who had played on several of our albums. So we’re hanging out, we’re all talking and Dylan walks in. And you could hear a pin drop. Everybody just shut up. Then Dylan and his band started working and T Bone got everyone up there and we are all just kind of rehearsing. Dylan was able to see it and hear it and it was apparent that Dylan trusted T Bone a whole lot.
We had that day and we had dress rehearsal day and then we had a blocking at the Forum or wherever they do the Grammy’s…I can’t remember what they call it. Then we had the actual dress rehearsal the day of the show and then we had the show. There were three rehearsals and then we had the performance. It was fun. The thing that first struck me and I think the thing I took away was hearing Dylan’s voice off of a mic. You know? Hearing Dylan’s voice and hearing him talking or something…it wasn’t a recording, it was his actual voice. There it is, it was right there in front of you. And to hear that voice with your own ears and to know who he is, you just never forget it.
It is kind of one of those things…we’re not going to hang our career on it for sure. It was just this thing that came up that we got to do. It was a lot of fun. We were very thankful for it. And then it was here and gone. We’ll never forget it.
Ghettoblaster: Have the Avetts been working on the follow up to I And Love And You then as of late?
Bob Crawford: It is actually done. I was finished recording before all this happened with my daughter. It is completely finished and it should be out by sometime near the end of the Summer.
Ghettoblaster: Will you be playing a lot of music from that new album at the Summer shows?
Bob Crawford: Sure, sure. Absolutely. We’ve been playing some of the songs live for four years. I think some of the songs, to the people who have been there for a while, for a lot of these songs the fans know them as well as we do. Then there is some other stuff that we’ll hold on to. Then as the Summer goes on, and the album gets closer, we’ll play more and more of those.
Ghettoblaster: What kind of producer role did Rick Rubin have in this record? This is the second one he’s produced for you guys, right?
Bob Crawford: He is great. We did this one mostly in North Carolina where we did the other on in California. He was actually physically present for the other one, but this one we’d go in and record for a few days, go and play some shows, have some time off, meanwhile he would get the recordings, go make some notes and then we’d get those back and they’d say Rick says this or that and we’d record some more, change some things. We made a lot of decisions, but Rick helped guide us in a certain direction on some songs.
It was nice for us to record in North Carolina where we were able to do…it was nice not to have to go away. We do really work hard to be home. We work hard at being home and being a part of our families. Even when what happened happened it had always been that way. You need to balance it. We aren’t going to be these guys who don’t know our families in five years. We’re going to do this, do it right, and do it our way. So to be…to go play a few shows, come home and work a couple days, go record for a few days, be home for a few days…it was nice. We did some shows in January, days in February, some days in April, some days in May. It gave us the chance to reflect on what we had done, to change things…this was really nice. It was the most fun I ever had recording a record. It was the most relaxed I’ve ever been and the most enjoyable and laid back. It was really good.
Ghettoblaster: Were you using a local studio or does one of the Avetts have a studio?
Bob Crawford: We were using a local studio.
Ghettoblaster: Did I read that the record is called The Once And Future Carpenter?
Bob Crawford: Um, not that I know of.
Ghettoblaster: Do you know what the title is?
Bob Crawford: Yes.
Ghettoblaster: Can you share that with us?
Bob Crawford: I cannot.
Ghettoblaster: My wife and I saw the Avetts in Orlando in the fall and met a couple from North Carolina. They were telling us about a New Year’s show that the Avetts do each year in Ashville. Is that annual, is it a benefit?
Bob Crawford: No it isn’t. We did two in a row in Asheville, but we had done them in Charlotte. This year it was Greenville. We like to mix it up. It isn’t exclusively Ashville. We did two in a row there so I understand how someone would think that, but it isn’t the case.
Ghettoblaster: When you guys performed on Austin City Limits you we’re coupled with some folks that I know, who are originally from our neck of the woods, Heartless Bastards. Have you done shows with them?
Bob Crawford: We did a few shows with them. They’re great. We really enjoyed spending time with them.
Ghettoblaster: I also noticed that the Avetts have done some benefit work and have supported finding a cure for breast cancer. I imagine that is near and dear to your heart now?
Bob Crawford: That is actually the Vickie S. Honeycutt Foundation. Our tour manager Dane Honeycutt’s mother was a school teacher who died from breast cancer a few years ago. He started that foundation. That foundation gives money to support teachers and their families while they are going through cancer. We did a record this year that had us and a bunch of bands that we’re friends with and proceeds from that went to the Vickie Honeycutt Foundation. And in fact, we met a little boy at St. Jude’s and his mother is from North Carolina and he has the same brain tumor that my daughter has. The Vickie Honeycutt foundation gave them money so that they can focus on their son’s battle against cancer.
We played here at St. Jude’s a couple of weeks ago and donated a nice amount of money this past year to St. Jude’s. We hope to continue that relationship and have it grow with St. Jude’s as the years go on. It is a lifetime thing. There are a number of things we hope to be fortunate enough to be able to capitalize on the fact that people come to see us play, spend money to see us play, and spend money on things that we make. We hope that we can make things that raise money and awareness for cancer, and ofcourse pediatric cancer, which you never hear anything about.
It seems like the breast cancer people have done a good job raising awareness. They’ve done a tremendous job with it. Credit needs to be given to them for the force that breast cancer awareness is. Unfortunately, with pediatric cancer, no one really knows about it. If 3,500 kids died in a bomb blast or some kind of unthinkable, horrible accident people would be horrified. But 3,500 kids each year die from pediatric cancer and no one seems to really know about it. It goes unheralded and know one knows about or focuses on it. No one knows that September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness month, but no one knows about that. Everybody knows about Breast Cancer Awareness. I hope that over the years my wife and I can alert people to some of these things.
My daughter has a tribute page for St. Jude’s. She has raised over $50,000 dollars for St. Jude’s over the past several months. Avett Brothers donated $10,000 of that. But we’re still in the thick of the fight here. Our lives are just a mess with all that we have going on. Someday when the smoke clears and when we can get Hallie to a good place we are going to approach this. I’ve talked to a lot of people going through this and there are things that these people need. St. Jude’s is an amazing place. No one pays a dime. They provide housing and support and there is nothing like St. Jude’s in the world. And I think right now there is no better thing I can do than to give my life to St. Jude’s. They’ve been doing this for 50 years. They brought the survival rates for most forms of pediatric leukemia from 20 percent in the 60s to 80 percent. They did the same thing with brain tumors. It is horrifying what the survival rates are for pediatric brain tumors. I think the most effective thing I can do in the short term is encourage people to donate money to St. Jude’s.
In the long term there are probably some things…I think the Vickie Honeycutt foundation has the right idea in giving money to the families to be able to fight and support them. I’ve been able to be here for the whole experience, which is an amazing help to my wife. We have a nine-month old son so we are fortunate to be able to do that. But there are families here where the mom is here and the dad is away working and is only able to come every couple of weeks or on the weekend. What these people need is money to be able to maintain their bills and homes while they are here fighting cancer. This is just a small thing, but I’ve been living it for the last six months.
Ghettoblaster: Well God bless your family and all the other families there dealing with this. I’ll be praying for you all and the doctors there that they can make the decisions they need to get everyone healed in the best ways they can.
Bob Crawford: Thank you.
Ghettoblaster: I appreciate your time. I didn’t realize you were going through all this when I requested the interview. I feel horrible keeping you from your family…
Bob Crawford: Thank you very much. Dolph asked me a couple weeks ago if I wanted to do interviews and I like doing some. I’ve been doing this for six months. I’ve only played four shows in six months. I’m hoping to play as many shows as I can this year, and be as much of a part of this big year that we’re about to have as I can. My first and most important priority is to my family. But to be able to do a couple interviews and talk to people like you allows me to feel like I’m working a little bit. It feels good. I need that. I need to be able to have a foot-in and to be working a little bit…to be talking about these things to keep my mind off of other things. Thank you for the opportunity to be able to talk about the things that I love.
While in line for food at an over-the-top reception hosted by a defense contractor during a week-long science conference isn’t the place I’d have expected to meet a musician. But Omaha’s Kaitlyn Maria Filippini, a trained violinist who studied at Berklee School of Music before completing a degree in neuroscience at the University of Nebraska Omaha, isn’t your typical science nerd either. When she isn’t rubbing elbows in the science and technology world, she is building a mind-boggling performance resume that includes everyone from Gladys Knight to Michael Buble, Conor Oberst, Tim Kasher, Mannheim Steamroller, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Mary J. Blige, Josh Groban, The Big Deep, and Skypiper. She is completing singles for release later this year.
Ghettoblaster caught up with Filippini to discuss the highlights of her homebase, Omaha, Nebraska. Here’s what she had to say…
1. What’s your town’s nickname? Home-aha
2. What’s your nickname for your town? Home ? Why do you live there? Omaha has a low cost of living, nice people, American Gramaphone Records, talent, and my family. ?
3. Did you grow up there? If not, what brought you there? I didn’t grow up here, but it is the only place that has ever registered as “home” for me. The reason we moved here was because of my sickness as a child. Omaha had the best medical center out of all the cities that my father was offered a job through First Data. Who knew?
4. What’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you there? Let’s just say that there is a lot of fun to be had in Omaha, and what happens in Omaha…will likely end up on Facebook. One of the weirdest things that has every happened to me was that I managed to crash the huge New Years Eve GOO dance party at the Slowdown last year (2011). Through just a few contacts, I ended up getting past the bouncers with my violin case, meeting the DJs for the first time, plugging into their mixer, and jamming out all night. It is probably my most favorite memory of playing with DJs, since their DJ collective was the original reason why I wanted to get into the scene.
5. What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)? I love the Old Market. It’s a section of downtown Omaha that has brick streets, horse drawn carriages, great food, and great music. There are usually musicians playing on the sidewalk, and around Thanksgiving time there are Christmas lights everywhere. I’m a sucker for Christmas lights. ?
6. What is your favorite local event or festival? Absolutely the Winter lights festival. There are white Christmas lights everywhere downtown and all over the Gene Leahy mall. I know it’s probably a wasteful use of electricity, but it’s my most favorite thing in town.
7. What is the best time of year to be there? Either the time period between Thanksgiving – New Years for the Winter Lights Festival, or during the College World Series games (baseball). We just got a new stadium for the College World Series downtown, so that should be especially great this year.
8. Who is your favorite local celebrity? Warren Buffett. I’ve played a few gigs with/for him, and he can play a mean Ukelele.
9. Where is the best place to drink and what is their specialty or happy Hour? I am allergic to alcohol, but I always hear that Krug Park is where it is at. It’s a new bar that was just owned by the owners of The Waiting Room. They specialize in craft beers and specialty drinks. Fun fact: I’ve performed with Conor Oberst there. ?
10. Who has the best jukebox (and what’s in it)? The Sidney has a jukebox! It’s electronic, so everything and anything.Usually that means that you’re going to hear new club hits as well as hits from the 90s.
11.Do you play music there? If so, where is your favorite place to play? Honestly, I’ll play music anywhere. My favorite venues are The Slowdown, The Waiting Room, The CenturyLink Center, and House of Loom. I also frequently play at places that don’t normally have live music such as Sushi Blue, Rehab, and Capitol.
12. Does where you live influence your music? Of course! There are so many talented people here that I feel that my music has become a sort of melting pot. I grew up listening to Mannheim Steamroller and movie scores, but in my twenties I have gotten more into progressive rock and the DJ scene. My music is a mesh of all these things. I blame my synesthesia.
13. What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your favorite show there? My favorite place to see live music is The Slowdown. Hands down, my favorite show there is when a local DJ collective (GOO) throws it down on their annual New Years party. It was one of their New Years shows that inspired me to want to perform with DJs, and completely changed my life (musically, and personally).
14. What is your favorite local band? I really have a hard time with this question because there are so many talented people. I’ve been fortunate to have been able to perform with every single one of them:
Singer/song writers: Conor Oberst and All Young Girls Are Machine Guns
Bands: Skypiper, The Big Deep, Filter Kings.
15. What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish? O Dining. I frequent their curry and dumplings , but they have so many amazing dishes that it is hard to pick just one. I also enjoy this restaurant because you can get both great drinks and great espresso. I can’t drink alcohol, so this is one of the few legitimate bars that I can sit down and have a drink with friends. Their staff is like a family, and I enjoy performing there frequently.
16. What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there?
Drastic Plastic is the local record store in town that most everyone frequents. My best find there was not music, but I’ve found several friends there. That’s kind of normal for Omaha.
17. What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly, zine, website or blog)? The Reader.They cover all the creative news going around Omaha. They are a huge supporter of the music scene, and I enjoy their reviews.
18. What is your favorite local shop? Caffeine Dreams! It seems to be the hub for the creative scene in Omaha. Every day you will find musicians, artists, web developers, designers, and whatnot just hanging out. Also, it is a “go to” spot for first dates. There is art from local artists all over the walls, so I suppose you have something to talk about no matter what.
19. If you could live anywhere else, where would that be? I’d have a house in L.A and an apartment in NYC that I would use for business trips, but I think I’d always want to have our home base in Omaha. It’s a great place to raise a family, and I plan on doing so some day. You can’t beat it.
In March, Load Records released Ed Schrader’s Music Beat’s Jazz Mind, a wild and chaotic post-punk offering that recalls Swans and Joy Division, showing former Wham City member Ed Schrader’s fruitful collaboration with bassist Devlin Rice. Though the Baltimore-based duo is packing for an East Coast trek with Future Islands later this month, Ed Schrader took some time to answer our questions about his stomping grounds. Here’s what he had to say about Baltimore:
1. What’s your town’s nickname? Charm City
2. What’s your nickname for your town? Baltimore, I honestly just call it that.
3. Why do you live there? I visited in 2006 and fell in love. There were 10 people at a dance party way dorkier than me and they were unabashedly cutting loose and just being themselves without the cold restraint that I found in the hard core and indie rock scene, this was Wham City!
4. Did you grow up there? If not, what brought you there? No, essentially the cheap rent and wonderful music scene filled with folks who actually wanted to see you get ahead were what brought me. Wham City was the key stone in that though, I wanted so bad to be in Wham City, I thought these guys have really tapped into something, and their energy and enthusiasm was infectious, it is a family that I am honored to be part of, they saved my life!
5. What’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you there? A man once yelled “hey!!” I responded “What?” and he said “You want your dick sucked.” I said “no thanks” then he said exasperated “for free!!?” I repeated “no thanks, I’m flattered but no thanks” to which he replied angrily “FUCK YOU!!!” I ran home, it was raining.
6. What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)? I really love Camden Yards, it is truly one of the most beautiful baseball fields in America, and for $8 you can pretend to go to the picnic area and then actually sneak into the $150 box seats, and security doesn’t care. Seriously do it!
7. What is your favorite local event or festival? Whartscape baby!
8. What is the best time of year to be there? I’ll tell ya The Spring is fricken gorgeous here, lots of those pink flower trees, and Mount Vernon with her miniature parks and beautiful cobble stone roads along the Washington Statue is about as good as it gets!
9. Who is your favorite local celebrity? The folks at Boone Street Farms, Brian Eliza, and my girlfriend Cheryl. With little to no budget they set up a flourishing community garden working hands on with the kids and folks in the area to put together something really special that has had a very positive impact in an area void of healthy food options (i.e. food desert). It is really amazing to watch people do something that monumental in a completely anonymous way/opposite of me (a big show boat ha ha). That to me is a real local celebrity.
10. Where is the best place to drink and what’s their specialty or happy hour? Java Moon Cafe, in Penn Station, between 5 and 8 there are $1.50 Millers, and $1 mini Pizzas.
11. Who has the best jukebox (and what’s in it)? I’d say The Club Charles by far, between The Clash, Wire, Future Islands, Dan Deacon, Patsy Cline, and The Santa Dads, you can hear it all!
12. Do you play music there? If so, where is your favorite place to play? No, hands down Floristree!
13. Does where you live influence your music? My room influences me to drink my town influences me to rage against the dying of the light!
14. What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your favorite show there? Floristree, when I saw Doomsday Student , it was EPIC.
15. What is your favorite local band? The Ram Ones
16. What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish? Mount Vernon Stable: The Twiced Baked Potato!
17. What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there? The True Vine : REM’s first EP Chronic Town.
18. What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly, zine, website or blog)? The City Paper, well since I stopped writing for them it’s gotten so much better, all joke on the side after touring the country and reading many alt weeklies, I honestly have to say we got a real gem here. Bret McCabe is one of my favorite writers, and I had the pleasure of working with him when I did book and music reviews (don’t laugh), though he does not work there any more he really established a level of integrity and quality that is unsurpassed by any other alt weekly in America . The political reporting is also in depth and pretty damn edgy for a little scrappy weekly , seriously give it a gander.
19. What is your favorite local shop?| Calvin’s baby! It’s across the street from my house! Bacon, beer and batteries.
20. If you could live anywhere else, where would that be? The apartment building in Brooklyn New York that has (no joke) DJ Dog Dick for a super! How rad is that? He’s also an electrician! And rumor has it he sports an orange jump suit when he collects the rent! Pumped to hear his new album!
It is impossible to listen to Xerxes’ Our Home Is A Deathbed and not recognize the inspiration the post hardcore quintet has taken from their hometown, Louisville, Kentucky, a locale with a rich legacy of powerhouse hardcore and emo bands. Having enlisted Kevin Ratterman (Young Widows, Coliseum) for the outing, the record is an intense and haunting collection of songs that are every bit as melodic as they are angry.
Ghettoblaster caught up with bassist Will Allard between the band’s aggressive tour schedule to talk about the record, their hometown, and their new label home at No Sleep. Here’s what he had to say…
Ghettoblaster: Louisville has quite a legacy related to hardcore, punk and emo. Did you all grow up there? How has being in that environment influenced you as people, as a band, and your outlook on how to pursue music?
Will Allard: We all grew up in Louisville listening to bands like Kodan Armada, Elliott, By The Grace of God, Coliseum, Young Widows, Black Cross, Mountain Asleep, Lords, etc. Louisville doesn’t really have a sound like the coasts do. It’s kind of just a melting pot of sounds and influences. You are constantly being hit with a little bit of everything from all different directions. Trends come and go and there really aren’t a lot of bands playing the same stuff in town. If you were to go to a show in Louisville you could very easily see a hardcore band playing with an electronic space band. There are not a lot of bands and it’s a lot of the same people but with just different combinations of members. Bands playing to other bands, etc. It sucks sometimes and it’s easy to get down on your town, but Louisville is my favorite city and I love pretty much everything about it.
Ghettoblaster: I have to say that recording Our Home Is A Deathbed with Kevin Ratterman who has experience with Coliseum and My Morning Jacket seems like it was an incredibly smart move for Xerxes. Because while some of your output relies on speed and ferocity, other songs are slow builds with deliberate attention to dynamics. How did teaming with him challenge or change the songs that you took to the studio?
Will Allard: Kevin was good to work with. He has a beautiful studio and knows a fuck load. He just let us do our thing and pressed some buttons.
Ghettoblaster: I also read that Evan used a violin bow on his cymbals for parts on the record. Is experimenting with instruments and sound that way a modus operandi that is typical to Xerxes?
Will Allard: Me and Evan went to a nerd youth performing arts high school and that was one of the things we picked up while we were there. We like the sound and we wanted to put it on the record. We’re not the most experimental of bands, but every once in a while we like to step out of our comfort level and try something new.
Ghettoblaster: You are recently finished a run with Pianos Become The Teeth, which seemed like a natural pairing. How were those guys? Are you tight bros now?
Will Allard: That is one of our favorite bands right now. They put out my favorite record of 2011 and it was such an experience getting to see them every night. They are also extremely nice people. Great music / great people. Love them.
Ghettoblaster: Your work with No Sleep and access to larger tours has likely benefited the band financially, at least enough that you can realistically pay your bills and continue to be on the road, correct? How important is that aspect to Xerxes longevity?
Will Allard: There is no money in music. Doesn’t matter what label you’re on or how big you are. We are a small punk band from Kentucky. Every day is a struggle, but this is our favorite thing to do. We sacrifice our personal lives, our futures, and our financial means to be in this band. If it were about money, we would have been out a long time ago. We just love getting in the van and doing what we do.
Ghettoblaster: How long will you continue this tour cycle before returning home and starting to write again?
Will Allard: We plan on being out the rest of 2012. We will get home around the holidays and start working on our next LP in January and hopefully be recording it by the spring. We already started tossing around a few ideas.
Ghettoblaster: What are your current tour plans looking like?
Will Allard: We will be gone the rest of the year. A Midwest/south tour, an east coast run, a full US, a full Canada, Europe, and more.
Ghettoblaster: Are Xerxes politically active at all? What causes are nearest and dearest to your hearts?
Will Allard: We each have our own thoughts. We keep them out of the band. We are not a political band.
Ghettoblaster: Have you had interactions with people while on tour that have challenged or inspired the way you see music or the world around you?
Will Allard: One of the best parts about touring is meeting all the people in each city and seeing how they live. There are so many wonderful people out there.
Ghettoblaster: I actually have a couple acquaintances/friends in Louisville too. Do you know Sean Cannon or Mark Kramer?
Will Allard: Mark Kramer used to work at Ear X-tacy and we have a couple mutual friends, but I don’t really know him that well and I do not know Sean Cannon.
Mike Watt painted the name of his hometown on his bass and everybody started calling him “Pedro.” It is apparent when talking to Toys That Kill singer/guitarist and Recess Records founder Todd Congelliere that he carries the same sense of pride in his San Pedro, California roots. The California punk heroes will depart from Pedro later this month when they begin a series of live dates in support of their forthcoming record, Fambly 42, which drops via Recess Records on May 15. Check out what Congelliere had to say about the town before perusing upcoming live dates below:
1. What’s your town’s nickname?
2.What’s your nickname for your town?
Pedro (pronounced Peeeeee-Dro).
3. Why do you live there?
Because it’s the ghetto by the sea
4. Did you grow up there? If not, what brought you there?
I grew up in Torrance. Chachi was born and raised here. Me and Sean have been here for almost 20 years. I opened a record store here and ended up having to move into it, sleeping in the back room. Pedro mornings were soooo nice I had to stay for good.
5. What’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you there?
Something weird happens to me every day here.
6. What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)?
Sunken City. It’s where a portion of the city fell into the Pacific Ocean. We take out of towners there. Broken up sidewalks right on the beach.
7. What is your favorite local event or festival?
Wailing of a Town-Craig Ibarra’s fest.
8. What is the best time of year to be there?
It’s Southern California. Always. I like winters though. Cos I like jackets a lot. I have five of them. Ok maybe 15.
9. Who is your favorite local celebrity?
10. Where is the best place to drink and what’s their specialty or happy hour?
My living room. $1.78 Guinness.
11. Who has the best jukebox (and what’s in it)?
For me to say there is a “best” jukebox in Pedro, or even a decent one for that matter, would be criminal. I “almost” convinced Reagan over at Godmother’s Bar to let me redecorate their jukebox, but they we’re too attached to that one Indigo Girls song.
12. Do you play music there? If so, where is your favorite place to play?
Yes. Cali Mucho.
13. Does where you live influence your music?
Totally! Pedro inspires creativity. We have a close knit of friends always creating stuff. Whether it’s art, music, crafts, skateboards there’s always inspiration from friends.
14. What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your favorite show there?
Babe’s Warehouse. Just on the outskirts and closed but by far the best place to play and see bands.
15. What is your favorite local band?
Cabrillo Beach Boys
16. What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish?
Rex’s Cafe. Eggs Cabrillo (English muffin, Eggs, Avocado and special sauce-named after Cabrillo Beach)
17. What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there?
Williams Book store. SSDecontrol Get It Away.
18. What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly, zine, website or blog)?
Rise and Fall (of the Harbor Area)
19. What is your favorite local shop?
Sunken City Skates, Union War Surplus, Mcthrift but they all closed!! Hey consumers!! Get with it!!
20.If you could live anywhere else, where would that be?
Pt. Fermin (South Pedro)
(Catch Toys That Kill live at one of these upcoming shows:
May 25th Oakland,CA at the New Parish (1234go Records Fest)
May 26th Sacramento,CA at Luigi’s Fun Garden +
May 28th Las Vegas,NV at Punk Rock Bowling
May 29th Albuquerque,NM at the Gasworks
May 30th Denton,TX at Rubber Gloves
May 31st Austin,TX Chaos in Tejas at the Parish $
June 1st Austin,TX day off at Chaos in Tejas
June 2nd Las Cruces,NM at the Trainyard
June 3rd Phoenix,AZ at the Meat Market
July 15th Los Angeles, CA at The Fonda *
July 26th-29th Hawaii (TBA)
October 26th – 28th Gainesville, FL at The Fest
+ = w/ the Bananas, Ennui Trust and RAD
$ = w/ Pierced Arrows,Tenement,Gun Outfit,Teenage Cool Kids and more!
* = w/ Screeching Weasel and The Queers)
Ohio lost a huge asset to the heavy music scene here when Jeff Lohrber, formerly of Harlots, Trap Them, Shai Hulud and a buttload of other bands, packed his bags and relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Thankfully, the band’s upcoming tour, during which they’ll preview material from forthcoming album All Hail The Void (for Southern Lord), brings them back to the heart-shaped state for a handful of dates.
Ghettoblaster caught up with the guitarist of the punk/grind/hardcore quartet recently to ask him a handful of questions about Brew City. Here’s what he said.
1. What’s your nickname for your town?
I don’t really have one, but Brew City is the popular one. Milwaukee love’s beer.
2. Why do you live there?
I came up here to play drums in a band about five years ago, said band broke up, and I moved back to Ohio. I came up to play a last show with them a few months later and decided to not go back to Ohio.
3. Did you grow up there? If not, what brought you there?
I grew up in Greenville Ohio. The main thing that made me stay in Milwaukee is my current girlfriend and also bassist of Enabler Amanda Daniels. She’s rad.
4. What’s the weirdest thing that has ever happened to you there?
Watching my friend sleepwalk into his living room and piss all over his TV and movies on the 4th of July.
5. What is your favorite local attraction (monument, park, etc)?
I do love living next to Lake Michigan, and Reservoir Park is pretty cool, it’s the highest point in Milwaukee and has an awesome view of the skyline.
6. What is your favorite local event or festival?
Robot Mosh Fest was sick, unfortunately it hasn’t gone on for 4 years and I dearly miss it.
7. What is the best time of year to be there?
Summer and Fall are awesome. The lake is beautiful around those times of the year. Spring however is usually miserable here.
8. Who is your favorite local celebrity?
Andy Hurley, haha.
9. Where is the best place to drink and what’s their specialty or happy hour?
My house. My specialty is a bottle of cheap wine and I get to pick what I listen to and what volume it should be played at. I hate going to bars…
10. Who has the best jukebox (and what’s in it)?
Last jukebox I looked at was at Riverhorse and I remember there being Dead Kennedys and Black Flag records in there.
11. Do you play music there? If so, where is your favorite place to play?
The place we play most frequently is The Borg Ward, which is a pretty cool D.I.Y. spot. I really loved playing shows at The Eagle’s Nest while it lasted, and for bigger shows I love playing at Miramar Theatre. Another honorable mention is Cactus Club, perfect sound every time we play.
12. Does where you live influence your music?
Most definitely. While living in Ohio, the Mouth of the Architect guys and pretty much every band they were in previously (Twelve Tribes, Rune, Dead Blue Sky) made a huge impact on me growing up. In Milwaukee, it’s a little different. Punk and DIY elitism have been at an all time high, and a lot of what I have to say is a definite fuck you to their mentality. Music is for everyone, not just a select few.
13. What is your favorite place to see live music and what was your favorite show there?
My favorite show I’ve seen in Milwaukee was Slang (from Japan) at The Outhouse. I had never heard the band before, and they looked like they would be a Japanese street punk band, but when they started it was some of the best hardcore I had heard in years. Close runners up are Today is the Day / Keelhaul / Sweet Cobra show at Cactus Club, The Killer at The Eagle’s Nest, Torche at The Borg Ward, and Wormrot at Mad Planet. They were all so fucking good!
14. What is your favorite local band?
Northless and Protestant. I love both bands equally. Get Rad is a close runner up.
15. What is your favorite diner or restaurant and what is their best dish?
Riverwest Co-Op. BBQ Tofu or Seitan Philly is the jam, with the Chikn fried Tofu as a close runner up, just depends on what I’m in the mood for.
16. What is your favorite record store and what was your best find there?
Halo of Flies Records distro. It’s obviously not a record store and he only puts up shop at select shows. It’s a toss up on best find. Martyrdod “Sekt” LP (awesome Swedish crust), Integrity “To Die For” 10?, Propagandhi / Sacrifice split 7?.
17. What is your favorite local publication (alternative weekly, zine, website or blog)?
Shepherd Express is the only one I really see on a regular basis. Didn’t That Hurt was an awesome site for years, but things have kind of died down with it in the past few years. Zines pop up here and there, but nothing consistent.
18. What is your favorite local shop?
Again, Riverwest Co-Op. They meet all my needs as a vegan.
(Here is the full-list of Enabler’s upcoming tour dates:
5/6 St. Louis, MO @ The Foxhole w/ Neon Warship
5/7 Denver, CO @ Blast-o-mat
5/8 Albuquerque, NM @ Gasworks
5/9 Phoenix, AZ @ Wallstreet
5/10 San Deigo, CA @ Bar 11 w/ Griever
5/11 Los Angeles, CA @ The Joint w/ Wizard Rifle
5/12 San Jose, CA @ House of the Dead Rat w/ At Our Heels
5/13 San Francisco, CA @ The Hemlock Tavern w/ At Our Heels