Tag Archive: “Let’s Pretend Records”

Debut albums can sound like a group lucked into a sound they’ll never recapture, or in the case of Middle Children’s Earth Angel, a refined result of shared background and years spent putting in the work. The auteur of Middle Children is Patrick Jennings, who writes, arranges, and records the band from his home in Bloomington, Indiana. His music became known to most initially through his band Hot New Mexicans, and later Purple 7. Jennings left Purple 7, a multi-songwriter group, to play music with childhood friend, Ginger Alford, formerly of the band Good Luck. The team enlisted a handful of musicians to make Earth Angel, include Kyle Houpt, Christopher Butcher, and Matt Tobey.

Earth Angel remains sparse and economical, despite additions of multiple guitars, piano, synth, or upright bass. Jennings’s voice is given plenty of space, allowing the listener to catch the many nuances in his delivery, how each syllable seems to emote, quickly shifting from vulnerable to confident, a whisper to a shout. He brings intensity to otherwise melody-driven songs, catching you off guard. An image of Jennings as the songwriter emerges – a hermit of sorts whose focus and dedication brings others warmly into the fold. Together they bring these songs to life, lest Jennings forever be “echoing in [his] shell”

Today Ghettoblaster has the pleasure of sharing the band’s video for “True,” which was produced by Eric Ayotte and which you can enjoy below.

(Catch the band on tour here:

March 3 Knoxville, TN – Pilot Light*

March 4 Raleigh, NC – Slim’s Downtown* 

March 5 Richmond, VA – Gallery 5* 

March 7 Baltimore, MD – the Windup Space* 

March 8 Philadelphia, PA – house show*

March 9 Brooklyn, NY – Don Pedro*

March 10 New Paulz, NY – Lagusta’s Luscious Commissary* 

*w/ Erin Tobey)

The One Where Luke is a Nasty Woman

On this episode of Best Song Ever: the Dear LaBenne cousins kick things off with their first ever bonus track, DJ Khaled visits the Doom Tomb to give us a labelmate alert, Brian calls Luke a nasty woman several times, finally another episode of Thor Talk premiers with a special new surprise, and much much more!

Every week Ghettoblaster feature writers (and dear cousins!) Brian LaBenne and Luke LaBenne bring you fresh new songs with the hopes of introducing you to some that you may consider to be the best song ever.  Both Brian and Luke have no idea what songs the other has picked, so what you are hearing is their genuine reaction to listening to the songs together.  Also, if you enjoy this episode, head to ITunes to subscribe and rate our podcast with the highest rating available to you.


Songs Played on The One Where Luke is a Nasty Woman

Animal Collective – Kinda Bonkers from Painters EP out this Friday February 17 on Domino

Delicate Steve – Cartoon Rock from This is Steve out now on Anti-

Los Angeles Police Department – Plane 2 from an upcoming album due later this year on Anti-

Fancey – Baby Sunshine from Love Mirage out now on fanceymusic.com

Paul White featuring Danny Brown from Accelerator EP out now on R&S

Temples – Strange or Be Forgotten from Volcano out March 3rd on Fat Possum Records

Middle Children – Fish from Earth Angel out March 3rd on Let’s Pretend

Happyness – Falling Down from Write It Out out April 14th on Moshi Moshi Records

Jesca Hoop – Memories Are Now from Memories Are Now out now on Sub Pop Records

Tweak Bird
Tweak Bird

Tweak Bird’s wonderfully weird and wired third full-length record, Any Ol’ Way, is set to hit the streets May 22 via Let’s Pretend Record. The duo, biological brothers Ashton and Caleb Bird, deliver their most blissful and ambitious record to date. On Any Ol’ Way, the Bird brothers’ deep understanding that psychedelia-infused rock music can be satisfying, otherworldly, cathartic and fun all at once has never been more apparent.

Ghettoblaster recently spoke with Ashton about the forthcoming record, spending youth as an outsider, their Melvins influence, marijuana legalization, and brotherly love.  This is what he told us.

You’ve resided in Los Angeles for quite a while, although you’re originally from Illinois. Do you find that you had more creative freedom and opportunities as a result of the move or do you still have an affinity for the Midwest?

Coming from a small, southern Illinois town, we were constantly outcasts for one reason or another. Home schooled children of pot farming hippie parents. After relocating to Los Angeles I realize kids shouldn’t have to grow up around closed-minded people. However, I don’t think I would be writing the music I’m writing if it hadn’t been for that social oppression.

What were the ideas and catalysts that were most prominently inspiring the new record, Any Ol’ Way? Is there a predominant theme or idea that ties the record together?

The idea behind this record is…we do whatever we want. And sometimes that even makes us happy. Life is short. Have fun and don’t miss it.

When did you begin writing for the album, and how quickly or slowly did it evolve?

This record we went with a new approach, we wrote half the songs over a six month period leading up to recording and the other half in the studio. We’ve never let our songs develop like that. It was really fun for us.

How much of what you guys do is improvised or unplanned?

Live a huge portion of our set is improvised. We never know what’s going to happen.

Who engineered, mixed, mastered, and or produced Any Ol’ Way? Did they do anything that significantly transformed the record from your original concepts for it?

Our dear friend David Allen engineered the record and produced alongside of us. He was really encouraging us to chill out and have fun, to trust the process. It helped us get weirder and more poppy at the same time.

Speaking of weird and poppy, you guys recently played a show with King Buzzo (Buzz Osbourne) of Melvins. Did you guys actually collaborate on a set for that show?

Not exactly, though we’d love to play with Buzz. We kept the actual music part separate.

You guys certainly aren’t strangers having toured with Melvins in the past. Do you keep in regular contact with those dudes?

Yeah definitely, although it’s tough to align our schedules since they’re tour machines. But, I live near Dale Crover, and see him regularly. Those guys are buds.

How influential have Melvins been on Tweak Bird?

Hugely! And not only musically. Since moving to Los Angeles in 2005 those guys have given us loads of insight on the music business and anything else we’d want to know about.

You guys have been described by one particular press outlet as “stoner heroes”. Are you pumped about the changing laws in Colorado and Washington?

Absolutely stoked about it. I can remember talking about legalizing herb with my dad ten years ago. He said, “We thought we were going to do that too, in the ‘70s, then we grew up.” Well look at us now pops!

Although I’m sure you’re sick of this question, when I read that a band includes a pair of brothers I always wonder if it is one of those Oasis or Black Crowes kind of situations. Do you ever have to kick your brother’s ass during a disagreement over band stuff?

Yes. All the time. We are extremely different people, though somehow I think we may even complement each other’s personalities. When we’re not pissed.

Are you planning a pretty aggressive tour schedule in support of the record?  Any summer festival performances planned?

We’ve got lots of touring planned, though I’m not sure what’s confirmed right now. Watch out toward the end of May.

Catch Tweak Bird live here:

Tweak Bird dates
Tweak Bird dates

Tweak Bird, the Los Angeles duo featuring brothers Ashton and Caleb Bird, return with their third full-length album, Any Ol’ Way, on May 20 via Let’s Pretend Records.  The 11-track album was recorded at King Size Sound Labs in Los Angeles and is self-described by the pair as having the feel of “a movie from the nineties, that takes place in the seventies.”

Tweak Bird’s most recent full-length, a 2010 self-titled album, was followed by Undercover Crops, a seven-song EP released in 2012, which Noisey called “heavy yet blissful stoner-psych rock”

Upcoming Tweak Bird tour dates:

Feb. 26  Los Angeles, CA  Scion Rock Show @ The Satellite

Feb. 28  Ventura, CA  Bombay Bar

Additional tour dates will be announced soon.