Armando returns with a sun-bleached second outing to the envy of all the world's dreamers. Meandering sonic twangs and hazy harmonies, how does Heartworms show the progression of a man at the top of his dream game?
For starters, Zamora's production technique has improved. Listening to the transition from SFX to riff on A Grand Blank, the new studio set up shows off the recently relocated Rhode Islander's skills very nicely. Instrumentation has grown - the texture is thicker - the sound is altogether healthier. And the dream continues...
...The Crocodile Lounge (great name for a bar, right?) takes it all to another level, although composed around the same time as the last EP, the style again shows progression. The Bossa nova relax feeling isn't one Zamora pulled off with such crispness before. Here it sounds more compelling...
...as does the importance Zamora places on melody and lyricism. Before I Forget portrays the best sung melody on the EP - here you can probably hear the DeMarco influence. But tracks like Mooneyes and also the beautifully uke strummed Made Of Glass sound so original in a scene saturated with dreamers...
...unique qualities, then. That's the progression Zamora has undergone. Best portrayed with the final track The Floating Bird, Armando has proved an all round progression in terms of production, song writing and perhaps most importantly - mastering of his instrument and style. The interview follows...
You're back, and you've moved to Rhode Island. We called the last EP a "Florida record", what would you call this one? // I see this one as an album that comes straight from myself. I have a dedicated working studio where I spend most of my time, and where I recorded all the songs this time. I was able to be with myself in a different way than in the past, and this allowed the music to have less influence from the world around me. That being said, there was a general excitement in me about being somewhere new and I think it ended up translating to the way I approached recording the songs
"Armando The Dreamer" seems to be living on in the sounds of Heartworms. Was the dream purposeful or did it naturally happen? // I was cautious about being too dreamy to where it gets interpreted as lethargic or detached but I think I'm just naturally very spacey and prone to daydreaming. I write a bunch of songs and try to narrow them down to the ones I like the best and it ends up being the "dreamier" ones. I'm starting to embrace that's who I am musically and that it's valuable to someone out there.
"Less Trump more heartbreak"
It's more jazz, bossa nova. Have you improved since last time? // A lot of the songs here were being worked on around the same time as Reichstag. I wrote Croc right before the last EP came out but decided to stick with it and work on it more and I'm glad I did because the melody changed a lot. I think I've gotten a lot better at thinking about music in terms of texture and harmony. I spent a lot of time revisiting music theory that I had ignored when I was studying music and found myself drawn to making everything as harmonically beautiful as I could.
Who have you been listening to whilst making this EP? // I was listening to a lot of Stereolab. I love how they use two vocalists to create melodies that play with each other and the arrangements they make are truly sublime. Also listening to Mac DeMarco and how he can make really simple songs sound both fun and kind of sad at the same time, though it was hard to not fall into a trap of making the same music as him. I tried to keep my ears open and got into bands like My Bloody Valentine, Harlem, Crumb, Mr. Twin Sister, Boy Pablo...
Finally, how are you coping with Trump now we're nearly a year on? It was a hot topic last time we spoke... I think at this point there's an over saturation of anti-trumpness that's made apathetic about the whole situation, so I'm just avoiding all of it and focusing on my direct experiences and that's come out in the music this time around. Less trump more heartbreak.
Based in Brisbane, Australia, the best way to do this interview with Lying Down was to fire the band some questions via e-mail. Job done, and the way they've answered is pretty damn good. Here they are...
Their first release De Rigueur - out via Hidden Bay Records - sounds like the dark, post-punk cousin of any new wave band from the 80's. The songs force-feed jangle and dissonance, with the occasional glimmer of melody. In a way, it's uninviting and difficult to listen to. Behind the pain lies anger. And this anger is "materialised" into sounds, "melodies", lyrics and eventually songs.
Three tracks stand out - Betty And Barney, Remember and Pure Gravy. They have softer lyrics, melody and a much more impact than the screamers. There's a genuine desperation for originality. They want to surprise you, to make you feel uncomfortable, to make you feel sad; in order to make you feel alive.
Musically, we can't write their release is groundbreaking. Many bands such as Yowl and DiCaprio lean towards the same musical direction. But in all fairness, they have no reason to envy these bands either, they've got their own style. Interview with Siena Hart, Alistair Taylor, Conor Claffey and Lachlan Airey below.
Could you introduce yourself in one sentence?
S: What was it again? “Loud, soft, cowboy, something rather...”
C: Loud, soft, cowboy guitar music tragics.
C: You could also go “music for the morning after”.
L: “Loud soft cowboy guitar music tragics making music for the morning after”.
Tell us about the new record, and what you think is truly standout about it?
C: I think the record comes from a long period of introspective thought, over analysis and it’s refreshingly earnest in what feels like a wave of irony worship that Brisbane falls victim to. It feels difficult to be a serious band sometimes. The music is selfish.
S: Not in a negative sense.
C: No, not at all - but it’s music that wasn’t exactly written for an existing audience.
L: I don’t hear music like ours out at bars, or at least in my musical diet. You hear Dad rockers say the same thing, but I think that’s because that’s been played out. We always aim for a groove, but we’re trying to keep away from established convention, we don’t want you to hear songs like these everywhere.
If we give you a 100$, a packet of cigarettes and a Stone Roses hat, how do you think the night would go?
A: What happens when you put on a Stone Roses hat? Do you just go fucking mental or something?
C: I think we give the cigarettes to Alistair, cause he can’t afford cigarettes and is always asking.
L: Put the hat on eBay.
C: Put the hat on eBay, we’d buy a lot of alcohol and then watch parkour death compilations on YouTube.
L: Buy a lot of booze, and have a cracking night in with some friends.
C: Sing lots of Roy Orbison, and then watch parkour death compilations.
L: No shade on the Stone Roses, we just have no use for that hat.
[*Lying Down then googles what a Stone Roses hat looks like*]
C: I could definitely see Alistair wearing this.
The Return of Airiel
Interview with Jeremy Wrenn
By Corentin Le Denmat
A decade has passed since Airiel’s first album The Battle of Sealand, and it's been 5 years since the Kid Games EP. So nobody expected to see the Chicago based band release something new. Enter Molten Young Lovers.
It's been worth the wait, too. The band have maintained the dreamy, shimmering sonic texture which made them a figure of light in the late 00’s shoegaze scene. From the explosive drum-machine-bass-driven starter for This is Permanent to the languishing Your Lips, My Mouth; Airiel have accomplished what many before them have never been capable of - putting forward a languid, strong and rhythmic long format of shoegaze.
As they say themselves, "it’s loud. It’s pretty. You can dance to it". A few weeks ago we discussed it all with one of the brains behind the album, Jeremy Wrenn.
"For me, personally, it was that I didn’t want Sealand to be the only LP we ever did. I’m disappointed in that record as a whole...I absolutely love Molten Young Lovers and I’m just happy that it’s finally out there"
Molten Young Lovers is your first release in 5 years since the Kid Games EP and your first album in 10 years. What made you want to put out a new record ?
Jeremy Wrenn: For me, personally, it was that I didn’t want Sealand to be the only LP we ever did. I’m disappointed in that record as a whole. The lineup at that time was great and we played so many shows, but I wasn’t happy with all of the songs and I should have been more up front about that. I absolutely love Molten Young Lovers and I’m just happy that it’s finally out there.
The question a lot of people will be asking is what has been keeping you busy besides the band during the past 5 years? // The usual boring stuff – family, work, paying rent etc. We actually recorded this album 3 times since the songs were done. Used different studios, but the simple fact was that the performances on the recordings weren’t good enough or the songs themselves needed a little more time to mature.
Kid Games was basically written and recorded at the same time, which is abnormal for Airiel. The songs on Molten Young Lovers were written before recording and played out live quite a bit.
"People, even those who claim to be fans, want your music to be free. I can’t believe that people still openly ask for MP3s for records on social media"
Airiel formed 20 years ago so 2017 is a milestone for you! How has the consumption of music been evolving over this period? // People, even those who claim to be fans, want your music to be free. I can’t believe that people still openly ask for MP3s for records on social media. This is especially painful in the shoegaze scene because that’s an actual community, and for every person that is supportive financially, there are probably the same amount or more that never buy anything.
Unless you’re from the original scene like Slowdive and still touring today, you’re more than likely an independent outfit, and you need all the financial help you can get. But sadly, the current online playing services pay the artists next to nothing, and then you have people that just listen to YouTube channels where they have uploaded full albums.
Finally, which 5 albums most influenced Molten Young Lovers? // I can’t really say if anything specifically influenced it. We all have very similar music tastes, and to me, this is just “more Airiel”. I suppose the biggest thing we paid attention to was older albums and their recording techniques, such as The Big Express from XTC. Electronic drum sounds and specific reverbs, like that fantastic snare on This World Over.
...with The Chats singer/bassist Eamon Sandwith
Interview by Robin Ecoeur
Written by Steffen Armstrong
"So let me set the scene, it's 2 in the afternoon at 34 degrees. The Queensland harsh summer heat, has me sweating buckets up and down the street. 'Cos there I spy the bloke, perched on top of his milk crate throne. He eyed me up as I approached, then he said...
I'm on Smoko so leave me alone!!!
Fucking inspired, that's all I can say. Eamon Sandwith and his band The Chats pay homage to the most sacred of moments in the working man's day; Smoko. But hidden behind all of the cultural connotations and indeed (so I'm told) former Aussie PM Tony Abbott's battle against the ritual, all we're here to say is that this is one mega tune by one mega fucking original band.
I mean come on, it's a hell-raising-ginger-mullet-sunglasses-parading style icon screaming down the mic (is he in tune (?) he does not care)!! This is youth. This is making music for fun. This is non-conformity. They don't care if it's approaching a million Youtube hits. They'd rather be on Smoko with a packet of Winfield Blue so long as they're not broke.
The Chats are the spirit of Smoko and thus nothing more needs to be said. So I'm not writing anymore. Just take a listen and agree. Oh, and the EP Get This In Ya is pretty good too, in case you were wondering. Listen to that and read the full interview with Eamon Sandwith below. I'm off on Smoko...
3rd: Smoko has been stuck in my head for weeks. How've you managed that?
Eamon Sandwith: Sorry to hear it! That must be shit. I guess it’s the three chord formula and repetitive lyrics that make it catchy. I wasn’t trying to make it catchy when I wrote it.
Smoko is the "most Australian song of all time". Do you agree? // Nah, no way. There are definitely songs that are more Australian than Smoko, like anything by Cold Chisel.
What's the story behind the yellow surf rescue T-shirt? // Matisse’s Dad Jason (Matisse filmed and edited the video for Smoko) gave that to me about a year ago. He said he wanted me to wear it at a gig, so I did, but I held onto it. I hope he doesn’t want it back.
What do you smoke on your smokos? Is it possible to go on smoko when we're not smoking? // Usually Choice blue. Maybe Winfield Blue if I’ve gotten a good paycheck. I did smoke a few tar mongrels for the video, but Matisse decided to not use the footage for whatever reason. You can be on Smoko without smoking but it probably wouldn’t have the same effect.
Being from the Sunny Coast, how many jet-skis do you own? // Zero. Is that a Sunny Coast stereotype? I don’t know anybody who owns a jet-ski.
Is it important for you to sing with a thick Aussie accent? // Yeah, I don’t know how to sing, and I don’t plan on learning.
If I was Josh Healy I'd be planning how I could make the Buí 'project' a bigger venture. Eugene is the part anthology of 4 years song writing in which Josh shows a varied approach to music. What do we like about it? The song writing, simple. It's just stories told and emotions shared...
People Don't Think is going to be deemed the 'hit single', it's what got our attention anyway. The Northern Irish twang works wonderfully on the drop beat chorus, and the synth drives hard. But if you thought this was going to be the blueprint, think again. Then you hear Hello Sun and an altogether different prospect arises; introspective, gentle, and closer to the bone.
But wait, I'm Going Somewhere (But I'm Not Sure Where) wants to have it's chance in the limelight too. And again, another change in direction; this time portraying a softer exterior where Josh's performance moves towards the Rock Ballad side of the spectrum. You see the pattern emerging here, right? What can't he do?
There was no goal in sight when the majority of the songs were written. We don’t have too much of a ‘plan’ now either, other than just to see if anyone likes our music and if so, take it from there...
Very little, it turns out. We'd love to tell you that the fragmented approach to this album compilation is a sign that Josh doesn't know what he is. And that's probably true, and likely to do with the 4 year time-span, but it's far from detrimental in terms of the album as a whole. Contrasting songs such as Golden Navy and When The Fun Stops sit nicely side by side. The lack of balance works.
And so to a special heads up for the best track on the album, Somethings Take A Long Time. It's the best example of introspective song writing. The vocal combinations, the accordion, the gentle build up. I can even imagine the impact of this song if it went electric and really rocked out. I wouldn't bet against Josh being able to pull that off too, he's managed everything else on the record.
We had a few questions for Josh, see what he had to say about the Buí 'project', life and Christmas, when Third Outing fired the interview questions.
3rd: Buí are sincerely the first great band (or is it a project?) we've discovered for a long time. What's the story? You introduce yourself as "Josh and friends with no real goal in sight for the large part"! // Josh: Thanks very much! It’s probably more of a project, but there’s definitely a ‘band’ within it. Three of my good friends Adam Sloan, Rónán McQuillan and Eoin Johnson played on most of the tracks with me. I’ve been in bands with them before and they make up the live band for gigs too along with Amy Nolan, our drummer.
I’ve been writing songs for about five years and decided in April to record some of them, because I’d probably stop writing new ones if I didn’t finally get to do anything with these. So there was no goal in sight when the majority of the songs were written. We don’t have too much of a ‘plan’ now either, other than just to see if anyone likes our music and if so, take it from there.
What an introduction the new release Eugene has been. People Don't Think and Hello Sun really fly from start to end. Is this your best work? // We thought they’d be good songs to open the album with, in particular People Don’t Think as it’s upbeat and will hopefully get people to keep listening. It’s probably my favourite song I’ve written too. Hello Sun was the only single we released in our last band Josh The Human before we ended things, but it was much more of a rock version so I much prefer how it sounds now. Both songs are short and sweet, as well as being fairly simple in terms of chord structures and what’s going on, so they work well as an opening.
What comes easier, the reflective acoustic driven tracks like I'm Going Somewhere, or the electric/bass line driven ones like When The Fun Stops? // Well I’m Going Somewhere is the earliest song I wrote that was included on the album, written almost 4 years ago; and When The Fun Stops was the latest, written in June of this year. So it probably better represents where I’m at at the minute in terms of writing. The first version of When The Fun Stops had it as more of a slow, shoegazy song. It wasn’t going to make the cut, but I switched it up and here we are.
There are always a few moments on a record which have that magic spark. We think the drop down chorus in People Don't Think is yours. Do you agree? // Personally I like the fleugelhorn outro at the end of When The Fun Stops because it’s quite chaotic and fun sounding, but the choruses of People Don’t Think probably work better for what you’re talking about. Most people we’ve spoken to say it’s our best song too.
Some Things Take A Long Time is your best track, just saying! // It’s the only song that was written while I was living in The Netherlands that made the album. I only had an acoustic guitar with me, so it’s all fairly simple. It took me almost two years to even get round to recording a demo of it in the house, which is why the title is what it is (as well as being in reference to Daniel Johnston’s lovely song with a similar name). The accordion at the end, which was played by a good friend Fearghal Leyden, was a great addition to the track. As was the fantastic singing by Caoilainn McGarry, a girl who I used to sing with at music events in secondary school.
The songs are written from the point of view of people I know rather than my own. So when people listen they often don’t understand why the lyrics are what they are...
Let's talk accents. The Northern Irish accent comes across beautifully on the record, reminds us of the Scottish on Frightened Rabbit records. Why do you think so many bands choose to disregard accent? // I suppose a lot of people won’t like it too, it’s a bit safer to go with an accent everyone has heard before. Many people we’ve sent tracks to have said that the vocals ruin the song for them, so it can be tough. The Scottish accent does sound great for Frightened Rabbit, but I think it’s a bit of a nicer accent than the one we have here.
It’s impossible to ignore a strong accent in music. As a classically trained singer, I learnt from a young age to sing in a more formal, common sounding voice. But in the last year as I’ve got more into Traditional Irish Folk music, I’ve realised how important it is to sing with your own accent, for better or for worse. Just in time too!
You're clearly a very reflective person, Josh. What's the big life ethos? // I’m not sure I have one, other than just wanting to keep things simple if possible. A lot of the songs are about mental health problems, as it’s a very big issue here in Ireland. Everyone has been either been affected personally, or knows at least one person who has. The songs are written from the point of view of people I know rather than my own. So when people listen they often don’t understand why the lyrics are what they are. None of these songs really sound as serious as the issue they’re talking about, but writing like this is good for reflecting on difficult situations and understanding how people think.
What's the plan for Christmas, Josh? // We have a Christmas gig planned in aid of PIPS, a great local mental health charity, on the 23rd of December in the American Bar, Belfast. We’re all going to play a load of Christmas songs and drink a load of pints, so I’m looking forward to that. Then of course a big turkey dinner with the extended family two days later.
© Photography Sophie Wonfor
On Spill Kid, Canadian musician Harley Alexander uses his song writing skills to bring a difficult subject to light; sexual abuse and the experiences he encountered when he was younger. This is his story.
Like many artist Harley Alexander uses his art to bring to the table a very personal subject. A process that can either bring mental health difficulties, or quite the opposite, help you move forward. For Harley, it was always going to be the second option.
The songs found on Spill Kid weren't meant to be released. It was more a therapeutic practice for Harley to bring them to an art form; a way to deal with trauma. Spill Kid is all about processing this trauma and as you can imagine, it gave birth to a deeply personal record, but one that is definitely worth a listen. Here's why...
"Building up the bravery to acknowledge being raped with more directness was hard but there have been so many people in my life and in social media that have inspired me to be more real and more visible with my story"
This album is not so personal it becomes awkward to listen to. The intimacy can quite often be found within the melodies and the music itself, with Alexander letting his rough ideas become songs the way they were meant to be, channeling the raw and natural emotions without the need to replicate other ones. Continue below for the 3rd interview, which was also something of a therapy for the singer: "thank you for granting me the space to share my thoughts and story here", he writes in an email to us. Let's begin.
Harley, the last time we spoke was back in 2015...// We last spoke a few months after I began to acknowledge my history of sexual abuse and really begin to unpack my trauma in a direct way. There’s been a lot of side quests and whatnot since then but the main thing I’ve been doing the past 2 years is learning how to integrate the parts of myself, my psyche that have been murdered by the assaults that I lived through and continue to learn how to live with pride and integrity as a survivor, be accountable for my actions and behaviours, find harmony within myself and be able to better contribute to the the greater healing process of humanity.
"Making music and being public and direct helps me stabilize my own psychological and spiritual foundation"
Given the theme of this album, how was the whole experience of making this record? // The experience was educational and life-affirming and at times, very, very challenging. Building up the bravery to acknowledge being raped with more directness was hard but there have been so many people in my life and in social media that have inspired me to be more real and more visible with my story. It’s helped me embrace myself with less shame and fear and add my voice to the choir of survivors initiating change and healing.
Did you feel like you had to make this record to, perhaps, move forward? // I subconsciously chose to act out of love a long time ago (so thankful for that) and even though I can get triggered and taken over by victimizer-energy, making music and being public and direct helps me stabilize my own psychological and spiritual foundation and enables me to operate in a more accountable and safe way that is based in the present reality and not out of past trauma.
It makes it easier for me to have more space for others and not get defensive when I screw up and I think this is key in the process towards living harmoniously with others and with ourselves. Making Spill Kid was just one aspect of how I move forward but it’s definitely been an important one for me and hopefully can be helpful for other people too.
Do you think it's easier, especially these days, to talk about sexual abuses? // For me it’s easier. As my own healing process develops and I feel more consistency safe and grounded, the more I’m able to witness all of the powerful, brave people around me leading the way, being vocal, being heard, and making shit happen. Lido Pimienta & Nick Dourado are two phenomenally inspiring people in Canada doing just that: working relentlessly to dismantle the patriarchy and the systematic racism that this country was built upon through colonization.
Fighting for a platform for survivors of every kind and speaking fierce truths, inspiring myself and others beyond measure while also subsequently taking to task those who have not yet dismantled their own conditioned beliefs, behaviours, and actions. They also play amazing music together in the Lido band as well.
Photography by Andy Alvarez ©
Postrich Bear as a sound really excites me. Andy Alvarez is an incredible musician and songwriter. His music reflects as a brush line of sadness in a pool of memories good and bad. And boy does he have an ear for a tune. When you put the combination together it can only make for a great record.
In My Thoughts You Still Smile A Lot is a great record. It's a prolific record with 16 well represented tracks. It's a clever record with provoking melodies and lyricism. It's a thoughtful record with a clear motif of love and loss. To think that this album is a solo project is eye-opening, Alvarez executes it with the precision of a solo artist yet with all of the skill and breadth of a well-oiled group of musicians. How can you have an ear for so many parts? You could say it shows the promise of an up and coming Kevin Parker, Mike Oldfield or Phil Collins.
"The name In My Thoughts You Still Smile A lot comes from me always thinking back on the fond memories I had with certain people even if we no longer talk"
There is a gentle reluctance in Alvarez which comes across in his music though, and it's not just about the lyrics. It's about the detail. It's about what the TV recordings on Brief Encounter mean? What do the foot stomps on C.R.L.I.S.I.M tell us? What drink was the spoon stirring on April 24th 2017? Maybe it's nothing, nevertheless it inspires you to want to make music, get the 8 track out again and put out an anonymous record on Bandcamp to tell the world a story.
News of the upcoming record Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story therefore only intrigues more. Can Alvarez harness his style and release a soundtrack that can rival the emotion of a record 5 years in the making? The strength of In My Thoughts You Still Smile A Lot is not found within how "complete' the record is, but how the picture seem to resonate a little while longer. Listen and read the Andy Alvarez interview below...
Postrich Bear, you're one of the most difficult artists to discover online. Are you a band, project, artist? Well first I went by the name Oso for a long time, but people would come to my shows thinking I was one of the groups “oso oso” or “ososo,” two other bands with similar names. Tired of the confusion, I recently changed my name to Postrich Bear. I would feel bad when people who drove miles to see one of those bands would just find me at a house show.
To better answer your question, Postrich Bear was a solo project I started in order to record and release music I had written over the years that didn’t fit into the bands I was in. It has slowly become something I really enjoy as far as music projects go because I can go at whatever pace I want with recording and writing songs.
Then how would you describe your music to date? // To describe my music to date, I think I would just call it somewhere between Lo-Fi and singer songwriter. Some people in the community of musicians I’m a part of have coined it “basement,” but I think that’s just because I do a lot of recording and shows in basements.
In My Thoughts You Still Smile A Lot, the record is about somebody. // The songs on the album were written over the span of 5 to 6 years, so they are not about one single person but instead friends, family, and lovers of the past and present. The name In My Thoughts You Still Smile A Lot comes from me always thinking back on the fond memories I had with certain people even if we no longer talk. I just try to remember the best in people I guess.
I decided to just bring a bunch of instruments with me when I recorded to create the full band atmosphere.
There are so many incredible songs on the record, having reflected on it which stand out the most for you? For us it's Batty, Hey Bird, Can Not Believe and Football Bros. // For me it’s hard to say because I put so much work into all of them and find it hard to pick some over others, but the ones that seem to resonate the most with others are C.R.L.I.S.I.M, Relief and Football Bros. I will say I Never Liked Pumpkin Pie took the longest to record though, because my fingers were freezing when trying to record it.
The magic in your music is the effortless switch between one man and guitar, to this incredible unifying and honest Lo-Fi band. How do you do it? // Well on the recordings I record everything by myself except for the trumpet parts, which were done by my cousin Matthew. When writing the songs, I would picture some of them being presented in a way that involved just guitar and my voice, so I decided to just bring a bunch of instruments with me when I recorded to create the full band atmosphere. Playing live I usually play really stripped down sets with myself and maybe one or two others. Recently though I’ve been transitioning to playing with a full band. Makes me feel less lonely.
I’m really excited to share it with the world for the reason I feel it’s a more "complete" album than its two predecessors.
Who is the one person you would like to tour with next year, then? // I would really love to go on tour with just my other friends’ bands that make music in the Oregon music scene that I’m a part of. Nothing would be better than touring with those who you admire for their music, personalities, and as just overall character. I don’t think I’ll go on tour though just cause I’m not sure if I have enough people who would come out to shows besides those who live in Oregon. The other honest answer is I just don’t think I could finance a tour.
April 24th 2017 is a stand-alone song you've also released, is that going to be part of something bigger? Yes! I’m currently working on my third release right now titled Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story. I plan on releasing it sometime this winter and doing a small run of cassette tapes like I have for my last two releases. Unlike my last two albums, I plan on playing more shows to support its release as well as actually trying to promote it instead of just putting it online without telling anyone. April 24th 2017 will also make an appearance on the next album as well. I’m really excited to share it with the world for the reason I feel it’s a more “complete” album than its two predecessors.
And finally, we've not asked this in a while, especially to a Postrich Bear, tell us your desert island drink?
Just a classic Margarita, unless I knew I had a zero chance of survival, in which case I would prefer a Black Opal. The reason for that it is if i knew I would die there i’d prefer to at least be at least a bit tipsy, it might make the whole situation a bit of laugh in a really twisted sad way.
In this, the final installment of the world's first ever (we think?) Popty-Ping week, find out how Andy Black joins his Grandfather in the history books. Plus there's a way to get all upcoming releases in the near future...
"This idea evolved over time. I discovered many people started labels, put two records out, realised how hard it was and promptly gave up. So there had to be a target to ensure it didn’t just end as soon as things got hard. Dan’s artwork lends itself to creating a set collection of releases (people seem to buy the latest release, and once they’ve looked at it and played it, they go back and buy the previous ones.
"That’s the target. To find 9 brilliant, different, stand alone records. We might not quite find the next Philip Larkin, but it’s a dream to aim for."
In the last 1950’s, my grandfather wrote a very successful O level English school book on Poetry. It's called Nine Modern Poets, by E.L. Black. It became an education staple text book. It’s been praised and used by all sorts of people, from Andrew Motion to Ken Barlow in Coronation Street and Jarvis Cocker. In announcing a new guest editor position at Faber & Faber, Cocker recently visited his old school to return the copy he’d stolen as a pupil.
"If you release records, the British Library ask to donate copies for the national records and I eventually realised they held a copy of the old boy’s book."
So if we could find and release 9 great records, we could eventually put them on a compilation, call it Nine Modern Poets and get it in the British Library. It’s kind of carrying on his work for a new generation. So that’s the target. To find 9 brilliant, different, stand alone records. We might not quite find the next Philip Larkin, but it’s a dream to aim for. It works pretty neatly as a target, and a challenge and also a standard to uphold. Sales and infamy have increased with each release so hopefully we’ll now pull our fingers out and get them out quicker as more people realise what we’re doing.
So all being well then all 9 releases will be assembled on an LP, add in some unreleased additional tracks and maybe some guest stuff from more well known friends, and make it all together as a great compilation. As for the charity, not sure yet, but certainly one in support of friends and relative who have died I think.
We return with another installment from the world of Popty-Ping and this time, discover how a band should release a record/how a label should manage a band. All is revealed from the eyes of label co-founder Andy Black. Heed his advice, Popty-Ping are starting to roll...
"We always release one-off singles, preferably from a band on their first vinyl release. It's the most rewarding time when people get some exposure for the first occasion. One-off singles because simply, we both have full times jobs and genuinely don’t have the ability or finances to do an LP justice. And finally, the artwork makes them quite collectable. Dan pulled a masterstroke with that concept.
"Something that would make someone pick the needle up and play a song again as soon as it finishes. That’s the big challenge."
Whilst people are more than welcome to send demos in, all the bands have come either from friends giving us a CD, recommendations or accidentally watching a band at a festival. Generally though, there’s some fairly simple criteria to a band who wants to work with us, which are kind of something like the following:
Be genuinely lovely people, everyone we’ve worked with have turned into close friends, near family almost. If we get to 9 bands and if I ever get married, the invite list will be a nightmare, but we’ll be sorted for a wedding band I guess.
Be able write a great song….like…a REALLY great, different song. You need to have come up with a brilliant, 3 and a half minute song that’ll make people turn heads. Something that would make someone pick the needle up and play a song again as soon as it finishes. That’s the big challenge.
"Your Facebook page will not sell 500 records, it’ll sell you 10 if you’ve got great mates."
Be able and willing to gig in support of your release. Want to promote it, gig it and tell everyone it's bloody brilliant. We’ve found loads of bands who love the idea of releasing on vinyl because it looks cool, but putting it on your Facebook page will not sell 500 records, it’ll sell you 10 if you’ve got great mates. Most unsigned bands don’t seem to realise how hard you need to work to flog 500 singles.
Don’t be dickheads. We’re not doing this to get rich. The label was created for exposure, not profit, so the only joy for us is for it to be fun. And that means not working with numpties.
[Picture: the Welsh band Trecco Beis]
How often do you start a record label by accident? Welcome to the wonderful world of Popty-Ping. All this week we share the story of this incredible independent label from the point of view of co-founder Andy Black. Discover how hard-work, a love for music and design, and an incredible family journey makes this recording company one of the best in British music today.
"Unsurprisingly The Popty-Ping Recording Company was a drunken, daft idea. I moved from Leicester to North Wales with my job. In Leicester I’d worked voluntarily for a festival, starting and running their fringe festival. That came to an end in 2010, and up north someone took me to see a Llangollen band called Shy and the Fight. The band turned up out to be ace, and wanted to get a release out.
"Running a record label has proved to be a sure fire way to make some of the best friends, lose money and have a great deal of fun in the process."
After a night with Shy and the Fight in the pub, it somehow resulted in a decision I’d start a record label, and the subsequent pub debate (and several more pints) meant Popty Ping was decided upon. Popty Ping is the North Welsh colloquial name for a microwave oven (it should be microdon) and thus the name was born.
Predictably I had no idea whatsoever how to release a record, so I asked other labels how to and they eventually guided me. A mutual friend in Leicester introduced me to a Welsh graphic designer he knew called Dan Orton. Dan knocked up the logo, and then as I kept asking him for design favours, he kept doing them to the point where we just ended up deciding we’d do the label between us. And it’s been that way ever since pretty much.
"We put the Shy and the Fight 7” out, and somehow managed to get it on the radio, and TV and even the PA during the Olympics. And so the record releasing bug began."
The Shy record eventually kind of recouped, by which point I’d seen Mowbird at Swn in Cardiff. So we did a Mowbird record, which sold better then Shy (as we began to learn what to do!). That led to someone recommending Trecco Beis (who we both instantly fell in love with) and now the Gintis release.
Dan is still in the Midlands but it somehow seems to work (Dan co-runs a guest slot DJ night called Hoo-Ha club night at Leicester’s Cookie with his mates Paul Askew and Kate Jackson). Running a record label has proved to be a sure fire way to make some of the best friends, lose money and have a great deal of fun in the process".
Photography by Nicole Smith ©
Los Angeles Triptides are no ordinary psych rockers. They're American but signed on a French label and their latest record is heavily influenced by Brazilian music. But are the results as exciting as the intriguing proposition sounds?
For all the elderly fans of LSD, weird noisy flutes and 60's revival music (be relieved, it's almost the end for you), then Tripides are the band you're looking for! They have got it all; the Byrds-like style, Rickenbacker guitars and kaleidoscope clothing that are very cliché, but somehow necessary for the whole psychedelic picture of a band playing this genre. You could say Triptides's take you on a musical journey, but then everybody says that, don't they?
Like every journey, it has its ups and downs. The excitement and the prospect of a "journey" alone is quite a starting point. And on closer inspection, yes, there are greats moments on the Afterglow journey. Take Throne of Stars, Invitation. And yes there are some songs where you wish the journey was a little shorter and a bit less predictable, like What For and July. But listen to our number one French writer Monsieur Corentin, who recently caught them live in Berlin, Triptides are a very tight band. Scroll down for a quick interview with the band!
"Frankie And The Witch Fingers is the dirtier, heavier brother of Triptides"
Right, you're back from a big UK/European tour, simple question, how was it? You finally met the french label (Requiem Pour Un Twister) you've worked with for a some years now! It was beyond amazing! We experienced so many new places and met some unforgettable friends. The show that stands out in particular was our last show of tour. It was at Mišmaš Festival in Bojkovice, a small town in east Czech Republic. We played in this old stable that was packed with the most energetic music fans we could have imagined. It was a truly humbling experience.
It was awesome to finally play a show for Alexandre and Etienne after all these years. These guys have trusted and believed in our music for a long time now, and it was a true honour to be able to perform the songs in front of them. Alexandre might have danced harder than anyone else in the audience.
How did you choose the songs on the new record Afterglow? Afterglow and Azur were actually recorded in the same sessions back in Indiana. We realised some of the songs had a more poppy, jangly feel, while the others felt more psychedelic and summery, so we grouped them accordingly. We were listening to a lot of Brazilian music like Caetano Veloso and Os Mutantes at the time.
Chicago, IL, is the new home to the sound of the summer. Dan Rico, the ultimate genre-blender, has recently released a stream of feel-good Pop Rock 'n' Roll tracks which supply plenty of swagger for your step. His record label in the US, Maximum Pelt, describe him as "what it would sound like if Prince produced a T Rex record". We disagree, Rico is the multiple-choice man of music. Here's our idea of Rico's summer sounds and the new EP Nobody Knows with the Third Meets Rico interview following...
We challenged Dan Rico to a good old-fashioned multiple-choice questioning, on accounts of his music being so "multiple-choice". Rico has a sound for everyone, he's accessible. He's Summer, but also solemn. He's Rock 'n' Roll, but he's also easy to listen to. We could continue talking in oxymoron, but in this case Dan Rico just needs a listen.
Nobody Knows is the ultimate nod record towards old-school Rock 'n' Roll favourites. But again, ignore the cover notes. There's no Bowie in there, little New York Dolls. And that's just fine! For us, this is more like an homage to Lou Reed, mixed with a rockabilly heart. There's just so much bounce in this short EP from beginning to end. So what...
Love In Vain will go down as the record's pinnacle. It's catchy, and more importantly, you can dance to it. Yes! A real dance-hall swinger, the electric guitar interludes put a bit of shout back into the twist movement. It sets the precedent. The title track follows suit with an incredibly catchy bass performance, though here we are breaking into the Indie territory which we don't think Rico is. Sounds like The Kooks, for example, which we elude to in the interview...
Seeing us home is Rock-a-bye. Our second favourite on the EP. Rico really stands out as a guitarist here. His songwriting skills are clearly there to see, but here the true Rock 'n' Roller is portrayed. And again, that guitar, man! Rico ends the record with a more downbeat anthem Roxy Goddamn, which once again portrays his versatility. It's a quick flick, but a good listen.
In addition to the Nobody Knows EP, however, Rico has also been prominent with the single releases. Video plays a big part in his releases, and non have stood out more in recent time than Dangerous. In a world where so much seems to be repeated, in terms of music anyway, Rico releases his own sound here. The most important thing is that it's fun. That comes across in abundance. There's also no doubt about who he is, forget the homage to Rockers from the past, this is Dan Rico present and his style is contagious. The sound of summer is Dan Rico, so make sure you check out the video below followed by when Third met Rico the interview...
Singer or guitarist? // What a tough question! I'd have to go with singer. Though both can be equally expressive I think singers tend to make a more direct connection with audiences. Singers have existed through all of human history and when different people sing together its really a beautiful thing.
80's pop or 90's alternative? // I prefer 80's pop. I listened to a ton of 90's alternative growing up but now I find it more remote and I can't identify as hardily with its more downer-y themes. Not only is 80's pop fun, who doesn't just "wanna dance with somebody", it's a fascinating lense into the beginnings modern electronic-pop music that's so prevalent today. Producers and musicians were getting particularly creative with rhythm which I really appreciate, implementing more African and worldly patterns on 4-to the floor pop beats.
"If mediocrity still means I can eat and sleep well, and be with people I care about and write and record songs I'm pretty happy with that"
Cool music video or on stage hero? // Having an awesome music video is a great way to get yourself onto the Internet but aint nothin' like the real thing, a bumpin' live set!
The Black Lips, The Kooks or Vampire Weekend? // The Black Lips. I've never listened to the kooks or vampire weekend. But I've listened to Let it Bloom about 100 times.
In life success with no longevity or eternal fame with life-time mediocrity? // I would like my music to extend beyond my lifetime. I don't know about eternally. If mediocrity still means I can eat and sleep well, and be with people I care about and write and record songs I'm pretty happy with that.
Hailing from Brittany, Soon, She Said make "beautiful noise". You've guessed, it's all about Shoegaze and Dream Pop noise for this lot. The band have just released their début LP and so our second favorite(!) French writer Corentin caught up with the band. If you're an in-depth Shoegazer then this interview is one for you. Soon, She Said...
Reading around, you seem to be huge fans of Cocteau Twins, Slowdive and other Sarah Records artists to name a few. But there's an affiliation to more contemporary bands in the likes of Nothing and Whirr... // Whirr and Nothing are more obvious references since we were listening to them constantly when Soon, She Said started. We can't deny the Slowdive reference. Especially on a song like Blue. The Cocteau Twins reference was not an obvious starting point for us, neither was the Sarah Records one. But it's flattering. There are bands very few people know but that influenced us: Sway and their amazing EPThe Millia Pink And Green which was released in 2003. It's absolutely beautiful.
This first effort is called The First Casuality of Love Is Innocence. Isn't it a reference to teenage crushes and the learning process of love and relationships? // The title is definitely a nod at losing people and getting over with it. There is of course the Shoegaze recurrent themes of innocent love songs. The songs deal with how people meet, love each other, hate each other, break up and get better after. These kind of things start when you're a teenager but they can and do happen when you are older. But I keep being fascinated with relationships and how it can affect us.
"People tend to think that you buy a bunch of cool guitars, the right reverb, the right fuzz and go"!
There's sometimes a criticism about Dream Pop and Shoegazing that it lacks variety and buries itself in a certain cliché of its music. Yet, one of the major strengths of your album is that you find a way to have an alternation between nonchalant tunes and ones with a brisker pace... // You may be right for the cliché about shoegazing. People tend to think that you buy a bunch of cool guitars, the right reverb, the right fuzz and go! Some people do it brilliantly, even in the more recent shoegaze scene. But sometimes you end up with noise and no songs. We tend to still hesitate between heavier and poppier sounds. As we were making the album, the heavier tunes came first and later, the lighter, poppier tunes were written. It may be the reason why even if you clearly hear the references, we tried to do it “with a twist”.
With the resurgence of the Shoegazing movement it seems like the scene is growing in significance. What's your position on it? Pure revivalism or a way for bands to contribute to the building of the house? // You can't deny there's been a solid revivalism for the last 5 years. It started with MBV but they have always been idolized. I'm very happy for Slowdive because everyone picked on them in the 90's and now people are waiting for their new album. Still, I believe that people have always been making great Shoegaze albums ever since the movement appeared in the 1990's. There's certainly nostalgia for people in their late 30's and 40's, but younger people listen to the genre and some of them decide to form a band. For me that's what music is all about. You listen to a record that blows your mind and you want to grab a guitar and write music...
"A lot of Shoegaze and Dream Pop bands make beautiful noise. This constant border between dissonant sounds, swelling effects and simple, naive melodies"
You describe your music as "Beautiful Noise". Explain this to Third Outing readers? // Well the various effects that we use make our music sound noisy, blurry, ghostly. Still we hope that you can find some beauty in these sounds colliding. You're absolutely right about the reference to this Shoegaze documentary which came out a couple of years ago. The title of this documentary sums it up perfectly: a lot of Shoegaze and Dream Pop bands make beautiful noise. This constant border between dissonant sounds, swelling effects and simple, naive melodies.
You have been working with the French record label Monopsone for this LP? How come and how did it go?Someone came to a show we played a year ago in our hometown. They liked the songs and contacted us to see if we were looking for a label. I said of course, but I was not expecting much. A month later we got contacted by the Monopsone crew and we agreed to release an album with them. The people are really passionate and cool guys.
Let's talk quickly about the Nothing collective who are producing some of the more exciting Shoegazing acts, is something likely to happen with them? // We are “part” of the collective. Yann, the guy behind Nothing is busy with his own stuff at the moment. We played at the first edition of the festival in Rennes in 2016 and we also played with The Same Old Band and Soft Blonde in Paris last November. I'm sure there will be some cool news very soon and a new compilation.
Figmennt have finally released their highly anticipated début EP nearly two years after their arrival on the scene. Doing their best to keep the spirit of 80's shoegaze alive, with their sharp ear for synth pop and indie music aside we ask; whatever happened to Figmennt?
Two years ago at Third Outing HQ we were saying; "Figmennt, this band is going to be huge"..."Figmennt, let's set up a label and release these guys first". Then suddenly, radio silence. Nothing was to be heard after their promising debut release She. Figmennt disappeared. The Northern revolution was well and truly finito. So, then imagine our surprise to hear the release of a new Figmennt EP after an almost two year hiatus? We were bewildered. This is how it goes...
Loads of reverb? Check. A light wash of feedback? Check. Fuzztone guitars? Check. Plip-plop bass, drums like a child bashing a tin of sweets with a stick and production that sounds like it comes from a five grand studio a day? Check, check, check. Here's the deal with Figmennt. You can't really pigeonhole them. Are they C86 revisited or shoegazing with a pop sensibility? Quite possibly both. The band's music is altogether lighter and brighter than their shoeagaze classmates. But it's clearly poppier and still very predictable.
Figmennt have taken their time to make this record. They've binned previous attempts and created new ideas based on their developing relationships and live performances. But for a record which has taken so long to release, the sound is still very 1990's rather than 2017. You ask yourself if this release could really add anything to the current British alternative music scene? We're only half questioning. Figmennt aren't the kind of band who follow trend.
As a whole the EP stands its ground. The wall of noise is well balanced with subtle sounds, and there's a decent effort on the vocals which don't overly overpower the music. But there's work left to do. Take our recent interview with Ulrika Spacek who combine melody with noise perfectly. Figmennt haven't reached this level yet. But then despite the years down the line, let's remember this is only the follow up. And we should all embrace, and brace. Figmennt are back! So, with more than two years under our belts since we last conversed, we got back in touch with the Northern boys from Figmennt to find out about all new things from the EP release to their musical ambitions...
You were one of the first bands to feature on Third Outing two years ago. How has Figmennt evolved in that time? Our sound has changed quite a bit, we’ve ditched some old songs from our set that we feel didn’t really show our sound. We’ve been gigging a lot and we’ve all grown up a bit really. All of our music tastes have changed slightly as well and that probably has a big impact on our song writing. One of the biggest things that has evolved since we first started the band is how close we are now, our first band practice was only about the third time we’d met each other.
Being where you are as a band, do you feel pressure to musically innovate? Definitely, but we suppose that’s what every band wants to do; create a noise that no one has heard before.We have similar music tastes but we also all listen to very different music, so when we write we gather influence from different genres and then combine them. By no means do we think that what we are playing is something never heard before, but we like to think that our sound stands out from the rest of the music you might hear at the moment.
The last time we spoke you said "the EP is coming within' the next months; expect ambient drones and fuzzy guitar". That was two years ago...We’d recorded a few more tracks around the time we recorded She, then we started gigging and writing more and our sound just changed, we didn’t love the music we’d first wrote as much as we thought we did and we started dropping them from our set as we wrote new songs. We felt as though they weren’t good enough to release. We wanted to play songs that created a more intense atmosphere when we were playing them live and get the crowd moving. Today and Fold are the only two tracks on our EP that were written around the time we released She.
"We want more people to listen to our music across the country"
What were your emotions like once the album was finally online? It was a huge relief, we stressed over it a lot and lost a bit of motivation. We’re very pleased about the reception. It’s inspired us to get into the studio again and we’re planning to release more tracks in the summer that we’re very excited for people to hear.
So then what's the new ambition for Figmennt? We want more people to listen to our music across the country, so that we can start thinking about doing a tour and hopefully a few festivals; we’d love to travel with our music. We’ve played a lot around Teesside and really enjoy it, but the furthest we've traveled for a gig is Leeds or Newcastle so we’d really love to broaden our audience.
Flitting between sugar-rush pop-punk, faintly pre-Beatles 50's rock'n'roll and hints of the boomy drama 60's garage, there's a few moment where The Band Ice Cream really have hit the spot. One of the weirdest, but greatest, to make a blast on Third Outing
Really, one of the weirdest. And yet some of their songs are, surprisingly, so melodic and so sweet. The goofy San Francisco-based group The Band Ice Cream have just released their latest record Classically Trained. On first listen you think, "wow, that's all oddly professional", which somewhat deflates the allure of the whole gig being some kind of "wild-abandon-whatever" thing.
What the band do manage to do with the record is infuse their profane three-chord rackets with abundance. Really, so much more personality and imagination than most of the other punksters out there. Take Jerk It Off, Get Rich and Thoughts We Had, The Band Ice Cream clearly are a melting-pot pop band, toying with the genres and the textures. It's a good sound which matches a very good image.
So yes, their music can be characterized by their unpretentious simplicity and the boldness of their attack, and although any in depth analysis of a band like this seems kind of wasted, they do what they do, you probably should just listen to The Band Ice Cream and enjoy. Because after all, it's only music. Here's a weird interview with the band...
The Band Ice Cream in one sentence? Terrible human beings playing terrible music.
What does Classically Trained mean to you? Obedience and discipline towards your lover.
Three songs which have influenced the record? Burndt Jamb by Weezer since it's so beautiful but also gets thick // Beautiful People by Marilyn Manson since it's melodically captivating // It Hurts To Be Alone by The Wailing Wailers because we try to sing like that guy (not Bob Marley) everyday in the van.
Is there a story which epitomises the band's spirit? Let's hold hands and dance and pray. Our prayers are all we have in the aftermath. The van will leave without you and drive itself across the globe. See you on the moon. Meet you back in San Francisco.
What was the most fun part of creating this new record? Yelling "jerk it off" on blast in a tiny recording dungeon in the middle of the tenderloin at 2am.
We think Get Rich is the best track...Get Rich was originally a poem I wrote called Artist Complex. It just sometimes sucks how if you're trying, or do, see yourself as a so called artist you feel some kind of pressure to take the ingredients of your life, sometimes really fucked up shit, and try to make a fucking pie out of it through song or paint or whatever the outlet may be. It's just a song pointing out that pressure and how people who think of themselves in this light almost start to welcome misery.
Ulrika Spacek are about to release their latest record Modern English Decoration via Tough Love, and the new album by the boys from Reading must be described as the prolonged continuation of their impressive début The Album Paranoia. Let's investigate.
Sometimes, it can be hard to feel optimistic about rowdy, new, guitar music. So much sounds grubby and calculated, grabbing at the receding coat-tails of past fads. And then you come across a band like Ulrika Spacek. Everything’s in the red, the guitars sound as if they've wondered what it would sound like if you layered 60's garage rock, a bit of Deerhunter, a spot of shoegaze, some Nirvana, Neil Young's high vocals and the odd fuzzy amp on top of each other.
Yes, Ulrika Spacek manage to combine melody with noise.
Their latest record Modern English Decoration, as a whole, is an unpredictable fulfilment of an unforeseen whim. It's also the continuation of The Album Paranoia, carefully balancing between soaring melodies, heavy repetitive riffs, sprawling sounds and quiet ballads. Indeed, the transition between Everything All The Time and Modern English Decoration showcases the band's wide range of sounds, from the heavy to the soft and intimate. It's like a new and creative take on psych-rock. It captures the essence of a band which simply make the music that they want. And that's clearly not as easy at it sounds.
So we decided to talk to one of the band's many Rhys - of course, two founding members are both called Rhys - to talk about the imagination of a band who can do it all, their spot KEN where they create and shape their songs, and the usual Third Outing topics we like to cover in our interviews! Here's the interview with Rhys from Ulrika Spacek...
"We are just big believers in the notion that the most magic in an idea is when it is first written"
Hello Rhys from Ulrika Spacek! We like that you don't seem to overthink your music. What triggers your imagination and how do you translate it into music and sounds? I think it's the sounds that triggers our imagination, really. We often collect little field recordings of guitar ideas, then in the process of making a song kind of put certain things together like a collage. We certainly try not to overthink and do believe that making decisions quickly and intuitively can be very beneficial. We don't "jam" in our records, most of the textures are quite considered.
You leave space for improvisation and experimentation, though. Was it challenging to choose what to use on the album or did it come more naturally? We are just big believers in the notion that the most magic in an idea is when it is first written. We tried to capture that feeling in our records. If someone is playing something for the first time and hits a wrong note, is it really a "wrong" note. Finding which parts of the record should be more free and which bits more regimented is a challenge, but something we go with via intuition.
Is genre something you think about when making music? No. We are definitely aware of the different genres that we have been labelled with, though. If we are an amalgamation of those then it feels like you are bringing something new to the table. When we talk about our favourites bands we never think about what genre they are, more that we love the little world they make.
Who are your role models for melodic songwriting, then? Neil Young taught me that singing in a higher register and sounding a bit whiney transfers more emotion than just singing in a comfortable register. Yo La Tengo take melodic song writing to another level on various parts of their records, too.
"At the moment we just want to make the best records we can make in the context of it being harder than ever to pay rent."
So can you tell us what KEN is? The shell of a victorian terrace house filled with boxes and things left by past tenants. You never know what you are going to find next. Up until recently, we had a cake in the cupboard with a sell by date of 1997, but strangely no mould! The living room had the floor ripped up and was turned into an art gallery until the guy got thrown out. We've since moved in with our music stuff and record from here.
If we give you a £100, a packet of cigarettes and a Stone Roses hat, how do you think the night would go?
We would definitely spend the money on a good time, smoke the cigarettes and the hat would probably end up somewhere in KEN.
Who would win in a master chef style cooking contest between Ulrike Meinhof and Sissy Spacek. And what would their signature dishes be? Ulrike would win! Hard boiled eggs, toast and spreewald pickles smuggled from the East. That is pretty much our diet at the moment actually.
©Photography by Noémie Le Calvez
Rennes is France's capital city of Indie Rock 'n' Roll, where local Indie outfit Born Idiot have just released their début record Afterschool. We sat down with front man Lucas to discover more from their love of Beach Fossils to having a drink with Mac Demarco...
Hello Lucas of Born Idiot, introduce the band for us? Born Idiot are an indie pop band from France. Most compositions go back to my folk-guitar boredom and chaotic moments, throw in with some jazz chords, pop melodies and an ingenuity omnipresent all over the album. Our four other band mates Tiago, Louis, Camille and Clément also bring a certain colour to each arrangement. Simply give it a listen.
Let's talk about Afterschool. Are we hearing Third's favourite Mac DeMarco there? It's always a difficult one to answer because influences are very fleeting in my opinion. I mean, you listen to a song that you really dig and then you forget it. But that very song will stay with you in a certain way and can possibly resurge as an influence when you will be composing in the future. Mac Demarco, as well as lots of Captured Tracks signatures, are clearly bands which inspire me. But I will say it again, when I create music, I rely only on instinct.
Would you call Afterschool a care free record? Or what feel were you going for? Totally, it’s just unbearable to see bands taking themselves too seriously, though we don't do everything carelessly. The whole theme around Afterschool is pretty simple. It depicts some nostalgia of our roaring teenage years and also that time inevitably runs away. Our main goal is to remain dumb and childish as long as possible, because it's certainly easier to live with!
It feels like you made a clear choice with the vocals. "Pure and upfront". Was that a natural choice? That's a good question. There's major development between our first singles and the album. I made the choice to fully assume my voice accepting its drawbacks and other qualities and also singing closer to the microphone. Not to mention pavoiding using loads of effects. We really committed to giving an authentic and live-recording aspect on the record, which kind of breaks away from normal recording methods nowadays.
"We're not doing this by egocentricity, but only
because we need some form of detachment.
That's what surely makes us an indie band"
Do you have a favorite track on the record? I'd go for Teenbox because it gathers all our spirits and influences on a 6 minute track. This tune moves from a melancholic waltz to something more binary, tougher, with touches of psychedelia. We really let ourselves go and we are rather proud of this one.
Rennes' current music scene is flying. There's Totorro, HER... How do you fit into this one? Rennes’ music scene is pretty rich, you're right. But we're not actually trying to identify with any movement or whatever. With Born Idiot we're hitting the road and we just don't care what's happening around. We're not doing this by egocentricity, but only because we need some form of detachment. That's what surely makes us an indie band, right? Besides the fact that our album was completely self-produced.
Which band or artist would you love to play with the most in the near future? Beach Fossils or Mild High Club. It could just be amazing. But there really are just too many bands we wish we could share the stage with.
Bare Pale's upcoming EP Be Where I Am is a dissonant and distorted piece of work, floating between My Bloody Valentine and bedroom Pop
A few years have gone by since the release of If It Is, but Matthew Rickelton has remained faithful to his ethos: churning lo-fi bedroom Pop style gems. He is a purveyors of a melodic, fuzzy and washed-out sounds. The opener You Owe Me buzzes lazily with youthful zest and confused dreams sounding like it was recorded from beneath a blanket. Your Name is a monolithic skewed guitar pop with ethereal vocals. Basically, Be Where I Am is the perfect balance in dynamic, thoughtfully constructed yet loose, mature yet lo-fi record. A brilliantly shoegaze influenced blast.
But why wait any longer? Here's the full EP right here, followed by a quick interview with the mastermind behind Bare Pale Matthew Rickelton...
Hi Matthew, what was your head space like while making this new record? Well these songs, along with a few others were regrettably in limbo for a few years. Stuck in between being recorded and being mixed/finished while I was involved in a few other musical projects as well as working, trying to be a good boyfriend, playing video games etc. I was pretty much ‘doing the finishing touches' for around two years. Pretty ridiculous I know. So I cant exactly say what my headspace was like. No doubt it would have been a mess though.
I know many people are still attached to If It Is, which dates back to 2012. How do you view your work from that era? Yeah sure I still enjoy listening to those songs and playing them live. I'm not completely sickened to my stomach while listening to them yet so I guess that’s a good thing. I kinda see If It Is being part of an anthology of records and EPs from all my favorite London-based contemporaries of that time like Fever Dream, Gum, Honeyslide, Sheen, Whistlejacket. Thinking about it makes me feel all nostalgic and soppy. I have a lot of fond memories from those times.
Best record which came out in 92'? Slanted and Enchanted by Pavement. I remember hearing it for the first time when I was probably like 17 and it blowing my naive little mind. Then after trying to write Pavement-y type songs in that tuning Malkmus used a lot on that record, which I sometimes still used to this day. Interesting Bare Pale fact of the day – that record actually came out the day I was born.
Later last year The Wytches released their highly anticipated second outing All Your Happy Life on Heavenly Recordings. As almost every review from around that time concurred, it was a more than successful, if not "unpolished", come-back for the Peterborough Alt-Rockers. Now embarking on their latest UK and European tour, Third caught up with drummer Gianni Honey to find out more about their live sound and gigs
But first, we can't miss this opportunity to give a quick nod to why we think The Wytches are such an enticing proposition, and why indeed it's a hunt to find other bands of their quality and ilk. The Wytches specialise in something we have long-time admired here at Third Outing; rawness. Look at The Cribs reference in our name, it's based on our own DNA. So when it's said that The Wytches latest release All Your Happy Life is "unpolished" or "rough around the edges", particularly in comparison to the much loved first release Annabel dream Reader, you cannot help but draw these natural comparisons to such music greats.
But the truth is, that to deliver this kind of sound is a very difficult task. As a film making friend of ours always reminds us, "it's difficult to make something look DIY". It takes skill, precision, and a passionate execution. It's exactly the same in music. The rawness as portrayed at times throughout All Your Happy Life is the very same magic that leaves many other bands with less talent asking. The others are trying to be DIY, The Wytches aren't.
As Gianni alludes to in our interview, The Wytches sound is a sparser affair than the packed out sounds many recording studios supply their artists. Sparse. It's a suitable word to describe their music. It almost begs a musically primitive notion that there isn't enough room on the record to "mess around", again as Gianni puts it. But we think it's much simpler than that.
Quite simply, The Wytches just aren't losing focus on what's important, and that's the unique, raw sound that only the four of them, together, can muster. Nothing is in the record without merit. Nothing is added that doesn't need to be. The Wytches aren't hunting for anything to fill the gaps, and that's also specifically the reason why it's a hunt to find other bands of their quality around. Don't say something in ten words when you can say it in two. That's the ethos. Here's what happened when Third spoke to The Wytches' drummer Gianni Honey...
Hello Gianni. Many people are still attached to Annabel Dream Reader. How do you view your work from the era before All Your Happy Life? A very simple time where writing and recording came really easy. We had a lot of fun and took a lot for granted. Ups and downs, highs and lows, blood and tears, the usual.
Your sound could almost universally be described as Lo-Fi or "raw". What do you think that means? I think the majority of people are used to really packed out recording methods where there's a lot going on, and then we do stuff and it's quite sparse. When we record onto tape there just isn't enough room to mess around. That's why we like it.
At this point in the game, is it important to you to create a sound that is new or different from what you have done in the past? We never try to overthink how we write music. We usually just put them into categories of "heavy" or "soft". That's about it. Mark's been nailing the solos lately though. Especially the keyboard solos.
"Our favourite venues are basically anything small and gritty. Where the toilets are overflowing with piss and you
can smoke in the dressing rooms"
You're on a UK and European Tour right now. For the fans, which track is the high-water mark at your gigs?Hmmm. Gravedweller and Ghost House go down good. Holy Tightrope has been in the set for years too. Hopefully will bring back some old ones for this Spring run of shows.
You just said Manchester was the best show of this run so far. Do you have a favourite venue in the UK? Joiners is up there. Lennons was quality too. Shame it shut. Sneaky Pete's was a laugh a few years back too, so small! Basically anything small and gritty. Where the toilets are overflowing with piss and you can smoke in the dressing rooms.
Finally, we caught you last time at Dot to Dot festival a few years back in Nottingham's Chameleon and the show was rauscous. What's the craziest show you've been involved with? Ah The Chameleon. Where the floor felt like it was gonna cave? There's been a few crazy ones over the years. We played Brixton Jamm a few weeks ago and it just went mental straight away and didn't really stop.
This guy's name is Nate Wagner from the experimental pop outfit Lord Bendtner. And today, exclusively on Third Outing, the band are premiering their brand new video for the song Suture & Lattice, directed by Edinburgh filmmaker Jemina Ainesmaa.
Lord Bendtner's latest record is the strange, complex and tender kind of record you rarely come across these days. Because it's tainted by a darkness. More specifically, the sound of someone who is trying to escape the darkness, but is found lingering. You start wondering about the escapism, because throughout the record, the light is close by. So, so close. You ask yourself the question, "am I finally about to get out of this dark world"? You never quite see the end, yet it keeps you on tenterhooks. Above all, this record looks inward and tries to discover the endless possibilities of imagination and introspection. Where structure and the outline are not static, but constantly moving, changing, evolving. Expect deep personal implication, here's Third Outing's interview with Nate Wagner of Lord Bendtner...
"Jemina did a great job capturing the loneliness and confusion; she largely stripped the video of humanity, and it’s eerie to see what the world looks like without people"
Hello Nate of Lord Bendtner, tell us more about the new song and video for Suture & Lattice? The title refers to a surgical procedure I underwent a few years back – plastic mesh lattice and a hot glue suture. Lyrically, and visually in the music video, the song riffs off of the idea of breaking down and rebuilding evoked by the idea of surgery to tell a coming of age story between lovers. Director/editor Jemina Amunet did a great job capturing the loneliness and confusion of that particular process; she largely stripped the video of humanity, and it’s eerie to see what the world looks like without people. Roads, landscapes, sunsets, machines. Since the Lord Bendtner record predates the current four-piece setup, the music video was also a nice opportunity to feature my live band mates Adam (drums), Andrew (bass), and Tyler (guitar) even if it meant breaking with the concept.
How would you describe your music to someone who have never heard it before, then? Certainly, DIIV have carved out a neat little space for themselves in the dream pop and shoegaze revival, but I’ve always felt more of a kinship with some of their more experimental colleagues. Bands like Minks, Violens, and The Depreciation Guild all come to bear in the guitar work, electronic textures, and vocal stylings you hear on the record. I also draw extensively on the 90's mid-west emo tradition: bands like Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral, and The Appleseed Cast all left their mark on me.
How did the recording go for this record given all of the changes? This record is a particularly neat example of what the DIY process can look like, actually. I was living and working in Vienna, Austria, at the time and had no real thought of starting a new record. I couldn’t cut music out of my life so completely, however, so I picked up a cheap parlor guitar at a local music shop. Songs just started to happen, so I recorded them with my trusty little Zoom mic. Vocals, too. When I returned to the States, I worked with a good friend to mix and master the tracks. Helped to cover for some of the fidelity issues inherent in my recording setup, but it was entirely on my terms.
What an experience! Final question. Ray Davies recently became a Lord. What's your favourite Kinks track?
Oh, this is rather timely for me, actually. I’ve been obsessed with German rockers Die Goldenen Zitronen, and they do a superb cover of my favorite: People Take Pictures of Each Other. Only they’ve gone and translated the text into German. Schorsch Kamerun, their singer, truly does justice to the original, carrying over the weariness and frustration of the original into his own political context of 1990's Germany. There, the bourgeois superficiality Davies identifies in 1960's England has become something more akin to a passive, complacent attitude in the face of unchecked outbreaks of nationalist violence across Germany.
Kissing Is A Crime hail from Brooklyn and play electric guitars. But don't let that scare you, say the band. In true East Coast Rock 'n' Roll fashion their début eponymous LP successfully mixes a wide range of styles, and we're loving it!
Though the leap is audibly huge, Kissing Is A Crime's success to date isn't wholly the result of gilded production values and ambition. This band has been able to furnish first-class melodies from the very beginning. But now they've grown along with their resources. Most songs sounds like they have been re-outfitted with a creamier set of synths and guitars, in comparison to the early early days anyway. But there's more to it than texture and production value.
Let's not fall into the trap on describing what the band are, not here. Kissing Is A Crime isn't about scuzz, shoegaze, fuzz, or any pther branch of Indie Pop. But they are twee, and you might even say that their début record drives this point home very clearly. There's a lot with "mental illness, anxieties, and general unease in one's skin" going on here. So if anything, and in other words, you'll most likely dig this record as long as you're a fan of trebled, melancholic pop.
So yeah, we're all agreed they've got the sound figured out, but what ensures that this will be something that'll make it past the point where the Indie cycle of life goes on? E.G. avoid being forgotten. Sadly, only time will say. But at Third Outing, we think that if a few other twee-pop revivalists have arguably pulled off that very same trick, Kissing Is A Crime are definitely likely to appeal to listeners beyond the online name-droppers and Brooklyn scenesters. Success.
Kissing Is A Crime, you're back with a new record. Who are you and what does it mean to you?
We are from Brooklyn and we play electric guitars, but don't let that scare you. Honestly we're not sure. A lot went into making this, so we just hope it means something to someone else.
What was the most fun part of creating this new record? Some of the most fun was when we were getting closer to making this record, and we knew that songs or ideas we were working on would possibly be on it. It gave us a reason to finish ideas that were coalescing, as well as context for what they'd be laying upside against on an album. Walking down the street, singing vocal melodies and lyric ideas for Kids into the phone after a good practice with a light rain misting stands out. You start with this whisp of an idea and in moments you can hear it fully fleshed out and functional as a song. It then unfolds in this natural way, like it had been always living inside us all, we just had to invite it out.
What took so long to release it? It took so long to release because the record we wanted to make was an album in a more traditional way. Something that is released on vinyl, and promoted and toured behind. We didn't have a lineup capable of touring for most of the time we were a band. We wanted this to be a proper studio recording, so it took a while before it felt like spending the money to record a full album was the right thing to do.
What's your favourite track on the new record and why? You Make Me Shatter is a favorite song on the record. So much, we were hesitant about putting it on this record. Wasn't sure if we would be able to get it the way we wanted it. It's a favorite because it captures something we wanted to capture. A bit of writers block for a while...not being super excited by what was being written. The bulk of the song was written in about 20-25 minutes!
What three songs have, somehow, influenced this record and how?
Tori Amos Crucify // It's anthemic and deeply personal at the same time. It's a mission statement for Tori and her album. We strive for our album to achieve something similar. The album its from, Little Eathquakes, is an enormous influence and this song goes to a raw, vulnerable place and tries to tackle it without shame.
Beach Fossils Day Dream // It came out at the perfect time. It had this jangley pep to it, but was kind of raw and punk at the same time. It was inspiring and refreshing to hear someone do a really awesome take on jangle pop and new wave. It felt like it could have been at home on REM's Chronic Town EP, which was fine by us! They were the most exciting new band to come out of New York since Vivian Girls
Bobbie Gentry Mississippi Delta // Bobbie is an all time favorite artist and greatest musical hero. This song kicks off her debut album, which is also an all time favorite album. It influenced our opening track Nervous Conditions, as sort of a mission statement, opening moment, where the album just kicks right in, and says what we do and are going to do. Mississippi Delta reflects mostly on Bobbie's childhood growing up in Chickasaw County, Mississippi, and its a recurring theme on her album. Our album deals a lot with mental illness, anxieties, and general unease in one's skin. Our opening track kind of encapsulates the rest of the themes to come.
© Photography by Hellena Burchard
There's hype right now around Parisian band Dead Sea. We couldn't miss them for two reasons in particular: they've just supported Slowdive at Le Trabendo and they've released their first video for the song 8.50. 3rd's parisian gigster François caught up with the band to talk about influences and the DIY way of making music. Voilà, on y va !
Hi Dead Sea. First off can you introduce the band for the Third Outing readers? We are Dead Sea, we live in Paris and we compose melancholic walls of sound.
You've just supported Slow Dive in Paris. How did you feel a few days before the gig? We were like half stressed and half excited [laughs]!
And you also released a new music video for your first single last month too! After listening a few times we've wondered; how does it feel to write melancholic music for people? We do music as we feel before thinking about what people will think when hearing it. But if one day, our music can somehow change someone’s life, as bands we love have done for us like My Bloody Valentine or Aphex Twin, I think it would be a great achievement.
We saw you in January 2017 during a Le Téléscope night. The audience were really into your songs, do you prefer playing on stage or recording in the studio? We love being on stage, and we do miss it when we’re not playing on a regular basis. But I guess if we really had to pick one, we would say that being in the home studio is probably the most exciting part for us. When we’re lucky enough to be able to spend a few days focused on trying to make music and then suddenly we’ve got something cool; it feels priceless. This is the moment when we all look at each other feeling like we have accomplished something.
"We rarely improvise live but sometimes when we really dig it
we play the songs for a little while longer"
What instruments do you use to create your own "wall of sound" then? We use a lot of synthesizers, drum machines, a bass guitar, a guitar with lots of effects pedals, and samplers. We rarely improvise live but sometimes when we really dig it we play the songs for a little while longer.
What does the term DIY mean to you? DIY obviously stands for ‘do-it-yourself’, but we are not 100% DIY as we mostly do everything on our own, but we also like to work with people we trust and whom we respect the work of. For example, we composed/recorded/mixed our songs at home but the final mix was made in Brooklyn and the mastering was done in London by two great engineers we had come to meet a couple of years ago. It’s the same regarding the video for 8.50. Caro conceptualized it and gave an artistic direction, but then we collaborated with a director and his team to shoot and edit the video. We are very involved with every aspect, but we also like the idea of teaming up with others.
DISCLAIMER! There are now six members of Manchester's new favourite Rock 'n' Roll band The G-O-D, who have recently shot to the top with news of a support slot at The Stone Roses' upcoming Wembley Summer showcase. But for a band who had previously been described as the "holy trinity of punk", the release of their debut EP Grafters OV Denton proves that for these former members of Dub Sex, The Fall and Ian Brown's solo entourage, good things really do come in threes...
My ears are on fire with the sound of pure Rock 'n' Roll with this lot. The G-O-D are Manchester's latest music hope who offer nothing but "new, passionate, real" music of its time. Consisting of former Dub Sex and Rude Club guitarist Chris Bridgett, former The Fall drummer Simon Wolstencroft, plus Riven Seamarks, Stuart Whitehead and "Laura and Dee" on keys, bass and vocals respectively, you could describe The G-O-D as somewhat of a Manchester super group. So, how is it that we say good things come in threes? Simple, let me explain. The G-O-D's debut EP Grafters OV Denton dares to offer only three tracks. Three top quality tracks. Here's our take on Manchester's The G-O-D.
Let's take the Grafters OV Denton record in reverse to make our point. When you listen to the final track There Goes My Baby, you're hit with a wall of sound. Alas, punk is alive! The sounds of former band The Fall are undeniable. But it's a great driving riff, with irresistible guitar licks and an unmistakable Rock 'n' Roll attitude. Just listen to the wise words of Chris Bridgett. "If you wake up in hell then you didn't play Rock 'n' Roll". That's all you really need to know.
So then all the more reason to call the middle track on the EP Just Looking a complete contrast. Forget The Charlatans' 90's name-sake, this is a real throw-back to the era of Brit Pop. There's an unbelievable essence of calm here, and portrays the more gentle side of The G-O-D. Listening to the chorus, again, you can't help but make comparison to previous music projects, this time the influence of The Stone Roses' front man Ian Brown. But this leads us on to our point that good things come in threes. Ready?
The first song on the Grafters OV Denton record is wherein the real magic lies. Drive Away The Rain is the ultimate culmination of every influence and band the members of The G-O-D have been involved with. This is truly the "music of its time" The G-O-D talk about. It's a sound which proves so modern and fresh. You could compare the energy and liveliness to Kasabian's treat and therefore it's the sound Third Outing want to see The G-O-D continue to produce; a sound which we think, will keep them at the forefront of the public's imagination long after the support slot with The Stone Roses at Wembley this summer is over.
There we have it, good things really do come in threes. And sixes, of course! To find out more about Manchester's latest super group, we spoke to Chris Bridgett and Simon Wolstencroft. Read on to see what they had to say below...
The G-O-D are only a few gigs old and you're already set to support The Stone Roses at Wembley this summer! What the heck? You've all been in successful bands in the past, how are you finding this reception?
Chris Bridgett: It’s incredible, a real honour to open for The Stone Roses at Wembley. Personally it’s special for many reasons. My band back then, Dub Sex, did a couple of shows with them in 1989 just before they went stratospheric. I remember watching them from up in the roof at the Queens Hall, Widnes, surrounded by the rigging and trusses. A few days later our band opened for them at the International2, Manchester. If you’d played that venue in my eyes you’d made it. A few years later in 1997 my then band Rude Club did the first two shows with John Squire’s Seahorses, so I’ve been lucky enough to share a stage with them back then and now, guess not many can say that?
Simon Wolstencroft: The reception has been fantastic since the announcement was made, playing Wembley Stadium it's the stuff dreams are made of isn't it? And to be supporting my old classmates Ian and John who were also my first bandmates, just makes it even more special for me. I've had loads of positive messages as you'd expect and can't wait to get back up on 'The Big Stage' again with The G-O-D.
You've previously been billed in the press as the "Holy Trinity of Punk", has that changed? I guess we've got to ask the question, are you going to live up to the expectation? CB: I wasn’t sure what that meant to be honest. The G-O-D are a punk band in attitude and ethos, our sound without doubt is influenced by that. We’re not a three piece anymore so I guess ultimately we can never live up to anything that calls us a “Trinity” // SW: "The Holy Trinity of Punk". I quite like that, though as Chris has already pointed out, we're no longer a trio. The G-O-D has evolved a lot since we came together, however we'll be serving up some punk, as well as a helping of funk.
"I’m not in the 'such and such are doing great we should sound more like them' camp, you do that you’ve already failed"
- Chris Bridgett
Dub Sex, Rude Club, The Fall, Ian Brown. Which of these experiences has the most influence on The G-O-D?
CB: I bring everything I do and have done to the table for The G-O-D it’s all there to see // SW: Chris and I have used all our experience with the above acts but we're looking forward not back and are still developing our sound.
On the Grafters OV Denton EP we think each song portrays a different style. Drive Away and Just Lookin are both proper tunes in their own right, but very contrasting. Which direction will the next release more likely go?
CB: I write songs first and foremost and don’t really think of directions. We’ve added keyboards and BVOX over the last couple of months, but the songs asked for that, I didn’t. I’m not in the “such and such are doing great we should sound more like them” camp, you do that you’ve already failed // SW: Now backing singers Laura and IAMDDB have joined the flock, expect Glam anthems tinged with Urban Soul.
Final few questions then. What do you think The G-O-D will be remembered for in the coming years? CB: Most kids don’t know who Elvis is, so we have no chance. I expect we’ll end up as failing memories our lives played out as half remembered shenanigans in a hand full of aged minds in a shitty care home somewhere near Stockport // SW: The Scissor Sisters of Punk.
The Chair In James' Lounge 2017 ©
Today at Third Outing we order our very first musical decree. Thou shalt not reference the name Mac DeMarco ever again. Just for comparisons sake, like. Yeah we get it, the guy is very influential. His dreamy, twanging, summer haze vibe has appealed to all those who listened over the last good few years. But it's time to move on, alright? Right!
So when you first give Dazy Crown a go, that's naturally where your head will go. DeMarco. Damn! he's won again! In fact, front-man Thomas Little even dares to decry the Third Outing DeMarco decree below. But truth is, there's a lot more going on for bands like the Norwich based guitar-pop quartet Dazy Crown than the words "Mac DeMarco" could ever stand for. With a little help from their new track Peanut Butter Dreaming, we're going to try and prove a point.
"I try to channel my inner DeMarco every time
I sit down to write a pop banger"
"Jazzy chords, steady rhythms and delicate, reverb-soaked vocals" is how Hazy Dog Records would have you talking about Thomas Little's latest efforts under the guise of Dazy Crown. We reviewed him last year for another project, Lejon Brames, and found his guitar twang wholly refreshing. It had a kind of antagonistic purpose between voice and rhythm which Mac DeMarco doesn't tend to pursue. On first reflection it seems that Dazy Crown successfully continue this good work too, but with a much greater psychedelic feel to it.
It's a relaxing affair, this one. But unlike DeMarco it doesn't feel so sun-blushed. It's an altogether more Lo-Fi approach befitting of British contemporaries such as The Vryll Society. You know, the kind of music that makes your legs feel lazy and your brain turn off. Perhaps that's what Peanut Butter Dreaming is really a metaphor for. That sad and introspective thought pattern which sometimes reoccurs. Or just getting lost...
One thing we are certain of, though, is that DeMarco doesn't hold the monopoly on this style. At least not anymore. There's more going on across the scene and of which Hazy Dog seems to be cherry-picking some of the best. Let's now pass on to front man Thomas Little and bassist Thomas Rees for dazy Crown's first Third Outing interview. And remember, thou shalt not reference the name Mac DeMarco ever again...
Hello Dazy Crown, introduce yourself in one sentence…
TL: A group of weird dudes from Norwich making wavy guitar music // TR: Sharp-suited synth pop act waiting to happen, might be waiting a while // TL: Definitely gonna be waiting a while...
What does the song Peanut Butter Dreaming mean to you?
TR: For me it's about that compromise between the extra effort you have to put in to spread crunchy peanut butter and the reward of it being far better than smooth // TL: For real, it represents the month I spent in Canada during the summer just gone, and how, mentally, I was totally not with it. I tried a bunch of weird things to try and get me back on track, and this tune is really just a recollection of them. I watched Bob Ross paint for like hours on end just to try and calm me down. It was weird, but now I’m one of his biggest fans. What a guy. Shame he’s gone. This one’s for you Bobby.
Thomas, you previously told us that the music you wanted to write "didn't quite fit in with the Dazy Crown vibe"...that you wanted to have the "complete creative freedom to write a song and not think twice about it".
TL: Maybe it’s just some idea I’ve built up in my head on what Dazy Crown actually is? I guess I just take it more seriously than I do with my other musical projects. With LeJon Brames, I kinda just threw all the tunes together, didn’t think much about mixing it properly, and sent it off in the world. With the Crown I feel like we’ve really got something cool going, so I try to tread lightly and only release the best of the best.
"I’ve been making up a bunch of random lyrics every time we play a show,
I think it’s time to write something better than the weird stuff that pops into my head while on stage and mid-song"
Forgetting the side projects then, what's coming up next for Dazy Crown then?
TL: We’re planning on releasing a new EP around May, but haven’t totally decided yet. I actually still need to write all of the lyrics. I’ve just been making up a bunch of random lyrics every time we play a show, so now that we’re actually laying these tracks down, I think it’s time to write something better than the weird stuff that pops into my head while on stage and mid-song. I should really stop doing that // TR: One day we might even have some merch if any of us can get our act together // TL: Oh hell yeah. We want some real funky merch. Like dog collars or something.
Is there a story which epitomises this band's spirit? It can be about the merch...!
TR: I once hatched a Zubat in Pokemon Go when we were prepping to go on tour last summer. It remains the proudest moment any of us have experienced whilst with the band, we strive to achieve something as groundbreaking with our music // TL: Yeah, he’s right. Definitely a highlight. We’ve even got it on video.
Give us three quick-fire songs which have somehow influenced the band?
TL: Mac DeMarco’s Cooking Up Something Good. The rhythms, the melodies, and the simplicity of the tune itself is something that I really respect in pop music. I try to channel my inner DeMarco every time I sit down to write a pop banger. Lyrically, I’d go with anything by Courtney Barnett or Frankie Cosmos. I just love the mundane and witty nature of their lyrics, it’s so good // TR: The ever-shifting and melodic basslines in LA Priest's Party Zute/Learning To Love are pretty much the gold standard of what I'd like to aim for in Dazy Crown. Especially live, I like to sometimes channel the sort of energy of Drenge's We Can Do What We Want and just hammer away at my bass, though such intensity has to be used sparingly lest I dilute its power, or get too sweaty.
©Photography by Julia Callis
There's hype right now around Detroit based band Bonny Doon. "Hazy pop gems with sharp lyrics"..."sweet new video"..."classic feeling guitar warmth". They're getting all the reviews. But the truth is, they don't give a fuck. It's all about the good tunes from Bonny Doon, and little more...
A band who are fairly confident with what and why they are, we don't need to give Bonny Doon the usual 7/10 schmoozing. We don't even need to make comment on their upcoming self-titled debut record; which is already reported to be one of the best sounds of the year. Bonny Doon are laid-back and happy with what they are doing, no more to it. What is interesting, is how they grew the knack for the good tunes.
When listening to their new record you can hear development from the band who were at one point considered "punk". We first came across Bonny Doon when we heard their self-titled debut EP, and like a scout who watches the young prospect grow to be MVP, it's comforting to see how those few tracks, rough around the edges with little thought gone into recording, have ultimately shaped where the band are now.
The promise was all there. In one track especially, Blood In The Bathtub. There's fewer riffs which have sounded so cool in the world of music. The new direction remind us much of that first track; maintaining originality but striving to develop the sound into something bigger. There's an unmistakably David Berman/Silver Jews edge to the Bonny Doon, in so much that they are American, strum up and down, riff heavy and sing (at times) rather slowly. I See You is an example, but that's your lot for comparison, really.
That's enough from us. Bonny Doon are better describing it in their own words, they know something is about to happen here. But with the release of the self-titled record on March 10th via Salinas Records, all we'll say is that we're looking forward to hearing more good tunes from the boys in Bonny Doon. Here's the Third Outing interview with band members Josh, Bill and Bobby...
Hello Josh, Bill and Bobby AKA Bonny Doon! Which one of you came up with the band name?
Josh: That would be Bill. He saw the name on a wine bottle and really liked the sound of it. We’re all from Detroit and are really tired of imagery associated with the national identity of the city. Borrowing the sand and surf of California seemed both honest, longing and amusingly absurd. The band is a sort of sacred construction to us, so we like the idea that it resides in a perpetually sunny place.
Coming from a punk scene have the goals for Bonny Doon evolved as the fan-base has grown?
Josh: Our goals haven't changed. I'm not interested in being a band in the conventional way. There are enough bands out there that play rock music, have four white dudes in them, tour the club circuits and are trying to make it. To me, that way of approaching a band misses key elements that allow for growth and longevity. We are very intentional in all aspects of the band, down to where we play and who we play with. Being the cool new band in town isn't our goal, it's to create a sustainable art project that will continue to inspire and nurture us as we grow in our lives as a band, as friends and people.
Where was your head at whilst writing and recording this new record?
Bill: Our previous release Classical Days and Jazzy Nights was made in a more spontaneous way and had a very DIY feel because we recorded it ourselves on a four track. This album was made more intentionally with everything pretty much laid out the way we wanted it. We tracked everything in a week and Bobby mixed it. It's the culmination of our band up to the point that it was recorded.
"We guide the band by the principle that feeling wins over logic,
and mistakes often find their way onto the final product as a result,
but I wouldn't want it any other way"
We're hearing everything from Bob Dylan, to Parquet Courts and Silver Jews. Who were the major influences and how have they impacted on you? Bill: It’s hard to say directly what our major influences were when making this record. I think Bobby and I definitely influenced each other a lot when writing this album. I think we take a lot from the music we listen to day to day like Neil Young and The Velvet Underground. We definitely were in a Kraut Rock phase around the time we recorded this, there a quite a few extended jams for some of these songs that didn’t make the final cut.
But the record also allows more space for lyrics and stories. Did you try to stick with a theme?
Bobby: We don’t think about themes, we don’t really aim for any specific topical realms. Our songs tend to look inward, and are mostly all about relationship to self, relationship to others, or relationship to place. But what songs aren’t I guess. I think Bill and I think and talk a lot more about voice, and how what we write feels to us to sing and hear.
There's got to be a story which eptomises the band's spirit, right? Josh: When we recorded the Classical Days and Jazzy Nights tape we did so at a friend’s property on Lake Michigan. In Northern Michigan in the winter, it snows - a lot - and that weekend turned out to be a blizzard. Both cars got stuck in the snow about half a mile from the house and we had to carry the gear in through a foot of snow. Nevertheless we set up in the middle of this place with the intention of just writing and refining some new material.