This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Correspond: email@example.com P Box 1616 • Monticello, MN 55362 .O. myspace.com/mandexzine
Cover: Jason Anfinsen www.thejerkalert.com Here: Mark Dawrusk www.markphoto.net
The 1900s The Narrator All Smiles Titles Del Rey The Valley Arena
What do you think are some necessities for touring? Love, patience, drugs, a nurse. Would you consider yourself a driver or navigator? I've never had a license, so I shouldn't be either. Jazz drives, Tim navigates. They like to play the local country radio station and try to sing along, supposedly because the lyrics are very predictable. They also lead the game of 20 Questions that seems quite exciting, although I hide in the back and read or discuss the meaning of life with Andra. Do you give it your all even when you’re playing in front of 5 people opposed to playing in front of 500? I do. I'll ham it up for anybody who'll watch. I hope everyone else does too. Unfortunately, bands don't usually play their best when it's a 'big deal' show. They stiffen up. Or they dorken up. Everybody's better when they're not worried about being good. It seems that thefts are on the rise with touring bands, is it a concern for you while your on tour? It's a concern, but we've never had any problems (wood-knocking). Our last trip to New York involved Charlie & Ed driving around for 3 or 4 hours looking for safe parking. Van problems seem imminent when touring, what problems have you encountered? We have gotten to rent a really nice van when we go out of town, so there haven't been any breakdowns. The problems usually occur amongst the people who inhabit the van. We've encountered a few of those. What's the secret to not strangling your band mates while on the road? I would love to know.
What do you think are some necessities for touring? Money. The more you have of it, the easier things will be. Ask your mom for some tour support. Would you consider yourself a driver or navigator? Navigator. In real life, I like to drive, but I'm not crazy about driving vans. Do you give it your all even when you’re playing in front of 5 people opposed to playing in front of 500? I think it's more about how I'm feeling at that particular moment. If I'm feeling grumpy or just not into it, I think it reflects on the show. Some of our most fun shows have been in front of 5 people (or less). But yeah, it's usually better when there's people there. It seems that thefts are on the rise with touring bands, is it a concern for you while your on tour? For sure. There's only so much you can do, though. Van problems seem imminent when touring, what problems have you encountered? Owning shitty vans, for one. Breaking down, leaking all sorts of liquids. Our current van, which we can't even take on faraway tours, has a fucked-up gas tank, so we get less than 150 miles per fill-up. You also have to roll down the driver side window manually. As in: with your hands. And there's no air-conditioning. It's a real blast. What's the secret to not strangling your band mates while on the road? Punch them instead. Just kidding. I don't know. Drinking. Hangin' out with other bands that you like.
What do you think are some necessities for touring? An atlas. A 2.5 gallon Brita water filtration system. A french press with good coffee by your side. More water. Would you consider yourself a driver or navigator? I've done this a long time I guess. I'm a naviver. Do you give it your all even when you’re playing in front of 5 people opposed to playing in front of 500? Yes It seems that thefts are on the rise with touring bands, is it a concern for you while your on tour? We watched our backs leaving Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia. We had a four van decoy rotation. The thefts seem to happen a lot in Philly. Our dream catcher was missing for a couple days, but we found it in van three. Van problems seem imminent when touring, what problems have you encountered? No air conditioning during an East Coast heatwave. What's the secret to not strangling your band mates while on the road? Keeping your hangover to yourself.
What do you think are some necessities for touring? Books, a magnetic Scrabble board, and headphones. Would you consider yourself a driver or navigator? Every time I drive the van something breaks, so I'm not allowed to drive it anymore. I do much better as a navigator anyway. Do you give it your all even when you’re playing in front of 5 people opposed to playing in front of 500? I think we definitely try to. Sometimes it’s more stressful to play in front of 500 people, though. If you’re going to have a bad night, you’d rather have only 5 people see it, ya know? It seems that thefts are on the rise with touring bands, is it a concern for you while your on tour? I think it’s a concern for any band on tour. You have live photos on your website or myspace page showing all this gear you have, and right next to those photos are your tour dates. It’s like you’re saying “Hey we’re coming to your town soon, and we’re bringing all this awesome gear with us. All you thieves out there, get psyched!” Van problems seem imminent when touring, what problems have you encountered? One time our van’s transmission went and it wouldn’t shift out of first gear. We had to drive 6 hours home in first gear. That was the last time I drove the van. What's the secret to not strangling your band mates while on the road? I think sometimes its unavoidable. You’re around the same people almost 24 hours a day, people are going to get on people’s nerves. Compared to other bands we’ve played with, I think we get along pretty well, though.
What do you think are some necessities for touring? Well, aside from the obvious stuff, like a band, some songs, shows booked, and a van, the main thing you need is a lot of patience. It's hard to spend hours and hours driving to the next show, only to get to play for 45 minutes. Doing that night after night can wear you down. There's so much waiting around involved -waiting to get there, waiting to load in, waiting for the show to start, waiting for the other bands to play, waiting to get paid, etc. You need to be laid back and have a relaxed attitude about the whole thing. Also, you need a lot of patience when it comes to building an audience on the road. You can have a lot of nights of playing to nobody before people start to take notice. Don't expect shows on the road to be like the ones you play at home at first. Would you consider yourself a driver or navigator? I usually end up doing quite a bit of both, but it's mostly because I'm a control freak. I usually have all the directions MaqQuested out before we leave, but you've gotta be good with the atlas in case you run into traffic or make a wrong turn. Another important part of tour navigation is the ability to follow people at the end of the night, especially when they're not used to caravan-ing with a slow, lumbering van behind them. People tend to be a lot less aware at the end of the evening, and they will always tell you their place is "like 5 minutes away." Whatever mileage/time estimate somebody gives you at the end of the night, multiply it by two... Do you give it your all even when you’re playing in front of 5 people opposed to playing in front of 500? Definitely. Some of our most memorable shows have been in somebody's basement or living room, playing for a handful of people. It's a lot more intimate, and it's easier to relax and just go for it. You don't get as nervous, nobody's hassling you about getting on/off stage quickly, you forget about the money and all that other stuff. As a band, your main concern always has to be the music -- if you focus on that, it'll keep you from being disappointed. On the flip side, we've played shows for huge crowds but been disappointed when we felt like we didn't nail the songs or the set didn't have the right flow. It seems that thefts are on the rise with touring bands, is it a concern for you while you're on tour? Before our first tour we did some serious work on our van to make sure it was secure. We built a loft so the gear is completely inaccessible from the inside, and invisible from the outside. We also had one of those heavy-duty hockey-puck style locks put on the back doors. It's always something to be concerned about, but if you're smart about it, most of the time you'll be OK. Van problems seem imminent when touring, what problems have you encountered? Our van has been pretty solid for the most part. The worst problem we've ever had, besides a flat or running out of gas, was having to get the alternator replaced in the middle of Idaho. We ended up making it to our next show, but we got there $700 lighter. Continued on pg. 11
The Valley Arena
Warren Woodward Mike Nielsen Chris Stevens
What do you think are some necessities for touring? Mike: An open mind, clean socks, and your best friends. Chris: Easy Mac. Warren: Waterless hand sanitizer and vitamins are MVP's. And some way to get on the internet while in the van. The secret enemy of the touring musician is the gas station snack. When you drive 8 hours a day you basically live from one gas station to the next and you're always buying really horrible snacks and drinks at huge markups. I save hundreds of dollars every trip by getting a bunch of healthy-ish groceries and bulk cases of drinking water. Especially summer tours you burn through a lot of water every day. Would you consider yourself a driver or navigator? Chris: Definitely driver. I kinda take control over the driving. I get carsick way easy - and you feel like you accomplished something when you've done a 12 hour drive on your own. I've been guilty of hero driving. Warren is for sure the hero late night driver though. Mike: I'm mostly a navigator but sometimes the b.m.o.c. calls out the thunder and needs me to drive. When I have to drive I put on an epic album that I love from front to back and I soak up the road. If I’m navigating, I’m also playing DJ and keep the music pumping for the rest of the guys. Warren: I'm the late night / wilderness relief driver. I'm normally a horrible driver, but put me on icy mountain roads and I'm a champ. I credit my woodsy upbringing and nocturnal grandmother. Do you give it your all even when you’re playing in front of 5 people opposed to playing in front of 500? Chris: You try to give it your all even when it's just one old man who puts industrial headphones over his ears to block out your music. Sometimes it's hard but you never want to fake it though. Some nights you just aren't feeling it but you still keep your head up and make the best of it. Mike: What's it like playing in front of 500 people? We definitely give it our all for 5 people. Sometimes we get to play in front of 10. On those nights I think we might explode. I think if you are gonna be a touring band you have to give it everything you got every night, otherwise it’s not really worth touring. A small intimate crowd usually ends up being the best. Everybody is happy to be out with friends listening to music. That's how it should be.
Warren: The best advice I could give is just play to each other as a band. Being overly of a crowd (or lack thereof) can bring up all kinds of insecurities.
What's the secret to not strangling your band mates while on the road?? You really have to be friends outside of the band thing to make it work. If your only connection is the band, it makes it a lot harder, because you spend so much time doing things other than playing music when you're on tour. You've also got to make sure that everyone's pulling their weight when it comes to driving duty, load in/out, trying to find a place to stay, etc. If somebody starts slacking, or you're dealing with somebody who's always wandering off and showing up late, talking on the phone all the time, it can make things tough on everybody else. And definitely the money situation has to be straight before you leave. Even with the best of friends, there's always gonna be tension. Sometimes you just have to put on your headphones, tune everybody out, and stare out the window for a while. But if you love your bandmates, and love the music, it'll be fine.
The Valley Arena
It seems that thefts are on the rise with touring bands, is it a concern for you while you’re on tour? Chris: That thought is in the back of our minds every time we park the van. We know a lot of good friends who had gear stolen. It’s somewhere you never want to be. The best thing you can do is find a lighted area that people living there say isn't so bad. That and wish. Maybe a lock of two wont hurt either. Warren: If you can't live without it, don't take it on tour or keep it on your person at all times. It's just a reality that band vans get broken into - we're giant targets. There's insurance too, which I should do but probably won't. Mike: I feel like asking this question is jinxing us. Take it back! Van problems seem imminent when touring, what problems have you encountered? Chris: We've been lucky so far but now I'm worried. Mike: Other than the odd flat tire we haven't had too many problems. Our worst nightmare is to flip the van. That's really your only enemy. Everything else is a fix, you flip that van and your done. Warren: Fortunately most of our problems thus far have come in the form of pinning down the origin of various horrible smells that lurk about the van. What's the secret to not strangling your band mates while on the road? Mike: I guess the best thing you can do is know the people you are with. Get to know their habits and know what pisses them off. Don't feed the fire. If someone is getting pissed leave em be. A quick walk might help too. Sometimes I have to act as the band therapist - every band has one of those. Warren: Choose your battles. Realize that for better or worse your working as a unit and you can't always have exactly what you want. If you really need something or someone is really bothering you, be straight and open about it - but don't nitpick or blow things out of proportion. It's easy for everything to become a big deal when you're stuck in enclosed spaces with people for a long time - no matter how much you love them. Chris: Smoke a pack a day. Seriously though, I love these guys like family. Join a band with friends and you'll be fine.
We are drenched in luck.
You guys signed up with Lujo Records for this release, how’d that come about? How has it been working with Lujo on this release? Well, we just happened to have a friend that had been acquainted with Erik and Jocelyn from LUJO, Ryan Luther. I then realized that my good friend Eric Collin’s band, The Dark Romantics, had started working with LUJO. Next thing you know, Eric had taken us under his wing and made sure that we worked with them too. I suppose Erik and Jocelyn kinda liked us too… It’s been an amazing experience. It’s not too often that you can have weekly conversations with the head of your label. They are very helpful and passionate about what they do. How has the response been for This is Animal Music? Has the response met your expectations? It has been nothing short of bad-a. We are so thankful to have Chuck Daley (Beartrap PR) on our side. We are proud of the music we create, but that really might not mean all that much if no one has heard of Look Mexico. The response has definitely exceeded what we could have hoped for. Look Mexico has been compared to bands like American Football, Minus the Bear and even Explosions in the Sky, do you think that is a close representation of your sound or would you peg your sound as something else? These are all bands that we have been influenced by, for sure, but I feel that a mixture of those with, say, Built to Spill or early Death Cab would be more accurate. Our goal is to to merge our post-emo persuasions into a more pop-minded environment. Proud pop, maybe? You’ve got trumpets and clarinets on the album, are you using those instruments while on tour? What instruments would you like to include on future albums? As far as the road goes, we are a traditional four-piece rock band (for now). We want to introduce more trombone, horn, strings, and piano into future releases. However, we’re not quite ready to liberate ourselves completely from that classic sound overall. We’re still a guitar rock band. Where did the sound clip about Life Path Numbers come from? Why did you decide to use that clip and were there any other clips you considered using? Since you guys aren’t playing the “wrong sound” as mentioned in that sound clip, one would assume that the numbers of Look Mexico’s members are compatible? Actually, I’m not entirely sure where it came from. We have about six hours of sampling that I recorded off an old AM radio. This one struck me as pretty nuts. I mean, this lady is out of it. Besides adding extra ambience to the album, I really wanted to demonstrate that it’s simple to be so serious. In our song “Done and Done.”, I want to get across the fact that it’s P.C. to be lighthearted, but not funny. Maybe it was wrong to feature these clips so much, but I just loved how ridiculous it was. I think I “scored” a 2 in “Life Points” and that turns out being “Business Minded.” So, I guess I’m not too creative, even though I dropped my Business Minor in school and finished my music degree. And according to this woman, the band members really aren’t compatible, but I feel that we tend to work together pretty well.
Our goal is to to merge our post-emo persuasions into a more pop-minded environment. Proud pop, maybe?
The band’s sense of humor can be seen in promo photos and in answers in interviews you’ve given. Why do you think it’s important to not take yourself so seriously in the music business? Haha. See above… I mean, why the hell not? I don’t think we’d even be around if we couldn’t laugh at ourselves. If I really wanted to dress up and go to work, I’d get an office job and scrape myself up that ladder. What’s amazing is that it’s our occupation to express ourselves. I don’t have to do that awesome guitar whip that that one band does or not talk at all or not relate to the crowd because we are so mysterious like that other band does. If you are allowed to have the time of your life while you’re on the clock, then do it. Why not? You’ve praised your PR guy Chuck Daley in a couple of interviews, which not a lot of bands do, so that shows he’s doing a good job. Do you think you’d be where you are right now without Chuck’s help? Again, see above.
Chuck was the first person to approach us and express that he believed in what we were doing and what to support us. We didn’t even know or care about the importance of press at the time, but we have since given up that skepticism. And he’s not just our PR dude, either. We call him frequently just to chat or vent or figure out what our next step is. We often joke with him about when he’s gonna finish writing our next album… Look Mexico is known for pulling pranks on other bands while on tour? What’s the best prank you’ve pulled and the best one that’s been pulled on you? This Winter, we were doing a short stint with Fake Problems throughout Florida and we were all up to a few pranks (as usual). Back and forth, back and forth. After picking up some Taco Bell somewhere around Tampa, Derek Perry (FP’s bassist) dives out of their van, hands a flailing. Smoke was pouring out from under our hood and we assumed that Ray (our van) was telling us he wanted to stay in the TB parking lot for a while. Turns out, it was just a smoke bomb. We had to come back with something. So we filled their van with 200+ crickets that we had purchased for $6 at a local pet shop.
It was our last day of tour together and our vans had built up a good amount of trash in them; moreover, they just thought the smelly food had attracted the infestation. It wasn’t until my bud Casey Wayne Simmons (who we stayed with ALL week) had me text them ‘You can thank us for your new pets,’ that they realized how bad they had been pnk’d. PNK’D. That week was also the time when the theory of “Cheese Fest” was first conceived. Your tour van “Ray” recently puffed his last breath of exhaust, what are you using to tour now? Good ol’ Ray took his last nap right around Syracuse, NY. When we made it to Rochester, we bought an old SHERIFF’s van on the spot. A beautiful ’95 15 Passenger Ford Clubwagon. We thought, “This is it.” So, we named him Huey Lewis.
Then, we put another $3500 into it during this last tour where we had to cancel several shows (due to van troubles). We are drenched in luck. You guys have been touring practically non-stop all summer, why do you think it’s important to tour so much? What are your plans for touring for the rest of 2007? Unless you’re Fall Out Boy or Arcade Fire and you have some other magical way of getting huge, the only way to get people to listen to you is to play in front of them. We plan on playing out and making friends for as long as we need to promote what we have put our lives in to. Also, we don’t even really have homes at the moment, so I guess it’s easier to just live in our van or at other peoples’ places that will have us. We go back out after Thanksgiving, then we write more music and head out again in early 2008 to forever.
I don’t think we’d even be around if we couldn’t laugh at ourselves.
n o n o f ra n m a n B N o r
i sh t h i s g t o fi n e s lo n i e sc e n t o o k so o re / i n d w h y it rd c c y , th e h a ’ s le g a ro u g h u t A M b o g th t a lk s a n d liv in ol g y , a a n th o
a tte r n t i- M A
How does it feel to finally have it done? Extraordinarily satisfying. I certainly can’t say I’m putting out a rushed project, and in the music business, that’s extremely rare. This was like my own personal Chinese Democracy or something. Back when Anti-Matter started, there was hardly an internet, how did people find out about bands on opposite coasts that they’re on? Well, actually, I was just thinking about this the other day. Up until I went on tour for the first time in 1992 with Resurrection and Lifetime, my only knowledge about out-of-town bands came one of two ways: Either those bands would go on tour and play in my town or I read about them in a fanzine. Even then, I don’t think we had the kind of knowledge that’s available now. Like, I remember on that first tour, reading on the itinerary that we were going to play Louisville, Kentucky, and being convinced that the club would be a fucking barn or something. We wound up hanging out in Louisville for like a week, in the middle of a heatwave, meeting the guys in Endpoint and Falling Forward for the first time. They played us Slint’s Spiderland for the first time, and I remember everyone on that tour trying to get cassette copies of it like we’d never be able to hear it again. The kids we met were just like us, but before we actually got there, I thought they’d all be driving up to the show in their pick-up trucks. I literally had never been outside of the tri-state area before that point. I know it sounds crazy, but at the time, that was a revelation. That was part of what I
You originally started this anthology project in 1998, why’d it take so long to complete? Honestly, it was mostly a production issue. We had about five different graphic designers pick the book up, sit on it for a year, and then drop the project altogether. I’m not sure if the book would have ever come out if it weren’t for Dan Rhatigan. I had begun hanging out with him a lot in late 2006, and then it just hit me: He was the only designer involved with this project that had ever actually designed a book before, and on top of that, we shared a similar aesthetic or vision about what a book of fanzines should look like. We literally finished each other’s sentences. Once I realized that, I knew it would get done. Did you ever feel like scraping the whole project altogether? Absolutely. So what made you want to finish it? I think it was the timing. Had we actually gone ahead and published this book in 1998, I’m not sure what it would have achieved aside from being a cool little memento from a zine I published a few years before that. But to sit on it for almost ten years and put it out now — well, that’s more of a time capsule. A real document of perspective. A retrospective. I think all of those things make it more relevant now, and that’s before you count in the amount of influence that many of the bands in the book have wielded over the past decade. For me, re-reading all of the interviews in this collection … It was like watching the future happen.
“This was like my own personal Chinese Democracy or something.”
wanted to bring with Anti-Matter — to be part of a wide-eyed movement that might bring these people’s lives and towns and music to people who didn’t have the chance to tour or travel. With each issue of Anti-Matter growing in circulation, why did you quit doing AntiMatter only after 4 issues? There were personal reasons and practical reasons. On a practical level, I was kind of burnt out. It seemed like all I did was go to shows or listen to records or transcribe interviews or sort out advertising. I even had to hire an intern at one point. Seriously, an intern! I mean, it was kind of crazy how much work it became. I realized that it couldn’t get much bigger without having to start featuring other writers or have other people working for me in some way because, as it was, I was spread far too thin for my own good. So it was a dilemma, because if I were to get other people involved, I didn’t feel like the singular identity I had created for AntiMatter could continue to exist — and that identity, to me, was the whole point. On a personal level, though, I knew that I wanted to start playing music again. I had finally put together a band that I thought worked — the band that would become Texas Is The Reason — and once I started making records with that band, I knew the zine might create a strange conflict. Like, would I be able to give a band an honest review if I knew we were playing with them next month? That kind of thing. I was just too excited about the band and I didn’t want anything to get in its way. But it was a hard decision. Even in the final issue, I wouldn’t commit to actually ending the fanzine even though I think I knew it was over.
What do you think contributed to AntiMatter’s success? Why do you think it was so popular? I think Anti-Matter came out at a time when a lot of hardcore kids were rediscovering ourselves and these kids related to the issues we talked about in the zine.A lot of the guys in the zine — especially a lot of the New York hardcore guys — had been perceived as one way for so long, and I think that when people started reading about Lou Koller taking an HIV test or Porcell smoking pot or Richie Birkenhead going to see a therapist, I think that veil of enigma that we tend to shroud on our icons came a little loose. I’d like to think people came to read AntiMatter for the same reasons I think I did it — to feel a little more empathetic, a little less alone. Do you think a zine like Anti-Matter could exist and still be successful in today? No. But only because so much has happened in the past twelve years. I mean, asking Zack de la Rocha about the last time he cried in 1993 was almost subversive. Hardcore was always about “standing hard” and “being strong,” and there I was, trying to make all these hardcore guys tell me about giving in and being weak. That was interesting then, and it’s interesting now in retrospect. But that line of questioning in 2007, that angle, it would seem almost maudlin in comparison.The hardcore scene has really developed its sensitive side, its more feminine side — at least more so than it had in 1993 — so if Anti-Matter existed today, it would have to be something totally different to be relevant. Part of what makes something special is the culture and era and environment that it sprung from, and it would be hard to extract Anti-Matter from that.
What zines helped influence Anti-Matter? Are there any zines today that you’re interested in? The obvious influence was No Answers. Kent McClard was kind of radical on so many levels, but it seemed that somewhere on the way to personalizing his political life, he was really trying to politicize his personal life. I think that’s where we differed. I thought that the very first radical act was being honest and transparent in your life, and I didn’t think that we should try to entangle our every experience into a political act. I didn’t think every song should be explained in the liner notes. It’s the first rule in writing that I ever grabbed from a book: Show me, don’t tell me. That’s where my fanzine veered from his blueprint, but I absolutely owe a lot to him. I also owe a debt to Al Quint at Suburban Voice, who let me call him and bug him for advice even though he had no idea who I was. He was so gracious and cool to me.
You’ve always been pretty open with your writings and interviews. Has anything you’ve written in the past ever come back and “bitten you in the ass” or is there anything you’d take back saying? Not really. The funny thing is that I’m pretty open about a lot of things that most people are secretive about, so I don’t even notice when I’m being inappropriate or giving too much information. And yet there is so much that I keep to myself.There are so many stories that I’ve never told. Being gay and a person of color, was there ever any discrimination or dislike towards you from the music scene or fans? Was it even an issue in that music scene? Well, I’ve been hanging out in the underground scene since 1987, so a lot has changed over the years. When I first started hanging out in New York, there was a layer of subtle racism that certainly existed. I remember meeting some skinheads and being told by a mutual friend that, if they asked, I should tell them that I was SpanishPortuguese — which he would always follow by adding, “He’s European!” It was kind of fucked up. My ancestry is European, but my parents were South American, and I wasn’t ashamed of that. But I felt like I would be better off in the scene if I was just a European.That’s just how it was back then. Being gay is always a bit more complex because it’s something that you struggle with on the road to self-discovery and it’s also something you can hide. I didn’t really come out until after Texas Is The Reason broke up in 1997, which at 23, was relatively late. But up until that point, I was well aware of the implications of being gay in the hardcore scene. I knew skinheads who went to jail for gay-bashing. Almost everyone I knew made gay jokes at one point or another. This scene, as awesome as it is for at least opening the discussion, still had a lot of prejudice in it. It was not lost on me at all those Youth Crew shows in the ‘80s that I was singing about “breaking down the walls” with a group of almost exclusively heterosexual white men. But at the same time, I guess I always knew that it would be okay in the end. I came to this scene already as an outcast — like most of us, I suppose — and this scene always took me in.
As far as zines today go, I have to admit, I don’t see many. I never see anyone selling zines at shows, and the local fanzine shop in New York City, See/Hear, shut down a few years back. But one hardcore kid from Chicago sent me a copy of his fanzine recently — it was called Listen Up. He told me it was loosely based on a feature in Anti-Matter where I gave an unlabeled tape with five songs on it to an artist and had them write their honest opinions of them. He uses songs as a springboard for conversation and storytelling with the artists in the fanzine, and it was absolutely a great read. I loved it.
Do you ever regret the decisions you made early in life, like dropping out of school and venturing out on your own? Never. But, you know, I dropped out because staying in school and living with my parents for another second would have been seriously toxic for me. I equate those decisions with leaving a burning building. I didn’t have a choice, really. Texas is the Reason existed in the 90’s and didn’t get well known until years later. Do you think there are any indie bands that exist today that will be popular in 5-10 years? Well, that’s not exactly true. It’s just that the scale that exists today is insane compared to when Texas was a band. I mean, I remember in 1996, sitting with Seymour Stein, the president of Reprise Records, and he asked me what our 7inch EP had sold. I told him that we had sold about 40,000 of it so far and his jaw just dropped. He was like,“A lot of our bands don’t even sell that!”That was the first time I think I realized that we had become a popular indie band.These days, a quote-unquote popular indie band would have to sell, like, at least 100,000 records or play 1,500-capacity venues, but that’s only because the amount of interest in this music has really surpassed what it was in 1995. A lot of that, I’m sure, has to do with the internet.
I have some personal favorites, though, that I definitely believe are underrated bands that stand the chance of being rediscovered later on — records like Creeper Lagoon’s Ta ke Back The Universe & Give Me Yesterd ay or Wheat’s Hope and Adams. But I still believe that the most underrated band of all time is Ida — hands down.We are going to be talking about this band forever. I really believe that. You’ve been in the middle of some pretty important people and scenes over the years, from growing up on the East Coast and playing in bands like 108 and Shelter and being in Texas is the Reason. How has being around so many great people shaped the way you live and act over the years, and today? I’ve always tried to surround myself with creative and thoughtful people, mostly because those were the kinds of qualities I wanted to inherit. But I don’t think there’s anything particularly important about the people or scenes I ran with. Most of us have access to good people in our lives, and we all need to hang around them as much as we can. Because whether or not people care for my friends or bands or book or whatever they associate with me, in the long run, I just kind of hope that people will show up to my funeral and say,“You know, Norman tried his best and he wasn’t perfect, but he was essentially a good person.” I’ve still got some time to fuck that up, but I’m working on it.
around a camp fire while I tell them about the "good ol' days". Playing in Maritime is a lot more enjoyable for me than in the Promise Ring. I don't know why.
How long did you spend writing and recording Heresy and the Hotel Choir? Well, the writing process for Heresy started when Justin first joined the band, which was January 2006. Two of the songs, however, were started a little before that, with Eric, but for the most part all of the songs started then. We, the Vehicles was released in May of 06 domestically so we had a lot of time dedicated to rehearsing those songs and touring. The bulk of the writing was done in late autumn 06 and winter/spring of 07. We then recorded Heresy at the end of April 2007 for two weeks at a studio in Milwaukee. How was working with Stuart Sikes different than working with Kristian Riley on We, The Vehicles and J. Robbins on Glass Floor? All of the producers we have worked with have been great and they each have their own separate "special something" that they bring to the recording process. J. can get you whatever sounds you need and works super hard to get them right. Kristian is an idea man and has a great ear. Stuart is the culmination of the two. He has a great ear and can get amazing sounds in a short amount of time. Can you explain the title of the album? What kinds of things influenced Heresy and the Hotel Choir?
Heresy and the Hotel Choir was the hardest title to pick of all the records I've been on. It started as "All the Maids in the Hotel Choir" and through the process of elimination and a lot of conversation became what it is. Usually the title of the record comes really early in the process, but for some reason we didn't decide on the name until way late in the game.
With your first two releases, Adios EP and Glass Floor, there wasn't a whole lot of press about them before their releases. Are you surprised by the amount of press Heresy and the Hotel Choir has gotten so far? Sure. I am totally surprised. No one can predict what happens once a record is done and out of your hands. So, it's nice to see and hear people taking an interest in it. I hope this record does well.
With all the labels issues you had with releasing We, the Vehicles, how does it feel to have things go more smoothly with the release of Heresy and the Hotel Choir? It feels incredibly good. We have a really great relationship with the Flameshovel guys. Maritime has gone through a lot in it's short existence from things like label issues, having band mates live far away, which made it hard to tour or practice, and the the joys and responsibilities of becoming parents; was there ever a time where you thought that Maritime wasn't going to work out and you should call it quits? I think that everyday and I am shocked that we are still giving it a go. We have a lot of things stacked against us and we are always in a state of constant flux with all of these new responsibilities we have. All you can do is take things as they come and when one of us cannot handle it, well, we'll stop doing it.
Now that you've been doing Maritime for a few years and built up a following, how does playing in Maritime compare to playing in The Promise Ring in it's heyday? Well, in the Promise Ring's heyday I didn't have to work. Granted I was on tour for huge chunks of time, but when I was home I knew I didn't have to worry about working to get the bills paid. Now, I work full time. Playing in Maritime is a lot more enjoyable for me than in the Promise Ring. I don't know why. There is a lot less pressure with Maritime. In the Promise Ring, we were always looked at as these media darlings and there was a lot of hype for a little bit that I felt that all that attention hurt our live shows. We never played well when we needed to. Maritime is a pretty consistent live band and I am always pleasantly surprised every time we tour with the turn out. Maybe because I am just a pessimist and that I don't believe that lightning will strike twice.
I just had an image flash in my mind of me and my children sitting around a camp fire while I tell them about the "good ol' days".
With any new album of importance these days, it seems that it will eventually be leaked to the internet before the album's release date, which has happened with Heresy and the Hotel Choir. How do you feel about people hearing and sharing your album before it's been released?
This is something you can't control, really. I just hope that all the people who download our record illegally come to one of our shows and buys a t-shirt. You stated in an interview that Vermont's Living Together is the only album that you can stand listening to now. How does Heresy and the Hotel Choir compare musically to previous Vermont and Promise Ring albums? I know it is early yet, but I feel like I could listen to Heresy in the same way I listen to Living Together. The time spent creating it was such a pleasure. The record is a step up from the previous stuff, for sure. If it wasn't I wouldn't want it to get released. Do you think you've grown musically since The Promise Ring days?
Playing in Maritime is a lot more enjoyable for me than in the Promise Ring. I don't know why.
that much since the Promise Ring days. What I have done is become smarter with my musical decisions. I'm certainly not any more talented than I was, but now I know more of what I like.
Were the 12 songs that appear on Heresy and the Hotel Choir the only ones written for the album? Will there be any b-sides released with import versions of the album? Yep. That's it. We did record two cover songs for extra tracks that will go on the Japanese version of our record. One is a Snailhouse cover and the other is a Hot Chip cover. They will be released domestically as a 7" that will come in the vinyl version of Heresy. With the new solidified line-up, are you writing more songs than before and will future releases come at a more frequent pace? We'll see. One thing that will happen is that we will work at a consistent pace. We generally get together once or twice a week to work on new songs, rehearse songs, do interviews, talk tours, hang out, etc. This might generate quicker releases, but who knows?
Musically I don't think I have grown all
What kind of touring do you have planned in support of Heresy and the Hotel Choir? Is it difficult to balance everyone's family schedules to go out on tour? Yes, it is extremely difficult. Now, instead of just working around 4 peoples schedules we have to work around 12. Us, our children, and our significant others. We have agreed on a schedule of not leaving for more than two weeks at a time. The idea of just "hitting the open road" doesn't work for us anymore because the touring that we do end up doing has to be selective, well planned, and ultimately worthwhile. You recently did a second session at the Daytrotter studio. When will that be out? What songs did you record for it? That session will be out sometime near the release. We did “Guns”, “Holes”, “For Science”, and “Pearl”. You've had the songs "I Used to be a Singer" and "Future is Wired" available to download on your website for a while. Are those the final versions of those songs? Do you have any plans to revamp those songs? Funny that you mention that. "I Used.." was the demo for "Protein and Poison". So, that song has already been reworked. “Future is Wired” is the final version. We did that for a UK magazine. It might be fun to rework that one for our live shows with Justin and Dan coming up with completely new parts. Might be worth looking into. Fans who grew up listening to The Promise Ring and Maritime are there or are getting to that age where they will soon be having children, what fatherly advice or tips can you give for soon to be parents?
There isn't anything I could say that would differ from the advice given by their families or friends. But, it is fun talking to fans that have children to swap horror stories, product advice, etc. When your kids get older, there will come a time when they find out that you played in a widely popular indie band that toured the world, and that a lot of people know who you are, how are you going to explain that to them? I never thought about that. I don't know. It's funny; I just had an image flash in my mind of me and my children sitting around a camp fire while I tell them about the "good ol' days". You are an avid photographer and had a photo expo in Europe a few years ago, are there any plans to do any photo expos in the U.S.? I have shown my work at a few places in the US, but I look at it as more of a hobby than anything else. My full time job, that I mentioned before, is a video and sound editor for a Milwaukee design firm, so that fulfills a lot the desire to be creative outside of music. Is there any chance of new Vermont material, another collaboration with Mark Mallman, or solo Davey von Bohlen shows in the future? There is talk of Vermont doing a Daytrotter session. We'll see about that. Vermont probably won't work with Mark again because I would be shocked if we will release another record at all. Davey plays out once in a while.
Has Hopeless been Interview with Da supportive of the ve Kirchgessner band since your las any pressure from t full length Yellow them to release an #5? Was there album sooner? It’s pretty crazy. We ’ve been with Hope less for like ten years a lot of changes an now. Of course we d so have they. In ’ve been through terms of what type to ten years ago, of music they put ou it’s almost a comp t now as opposed letely different lab Sometimes I think the el. They’ve been y don’t know exactly really cool though. what to do with us rest of the stuff the since we’re really dif y put out, but espe ferent than the cially with the new it and are really try record they put qu ing to work with us ite a bit of effort int to get it noticed an o d available to the rig ht kids. They don’t really pu t any pressure on us to release albums career that was impo at a certain time. I rtant, but after 16 ye think earlier in our ars we’re not exactly buzz. I think we’ve this new band with reached the point this new band where we’re now loo third wave ska or wh ked upon as one of atever. Also it’s not the pioneers of like in the 90s, where larity for our genre there is this huge su and we want to ge t an album out befor rge of popue that wave subside s. Why'd it take so lon g to release a new album? As I said, at this po int in our career the re really isn’t any pre we can take our tim ssure to put out so e and make sure ev mething new so erything is really aw I think it also takes esome before we rel longer for us to wr ease anything. ite songs that we’re songs in the past 16 happy with. We’ve years that to come written so many up with one that so lenge. Also we’ve go unds totally fresh to ne through a coup us can be a challe member change us down a bit too. s since the last rec ord, so that slows
From beginning to end, In Black and White is a great alb did you do differen um and the sound tly with this release is so good. What that you didn't do on previous relea ses? I think the main dif ference is having a new bass player player, in the band and drummer. Havin has been a huge as g Rick, our bass set because it’s nic of re-charges us cre e to have another so atively. Plus, I think ngwriter; it kind we keep getting a cianship as time go little better at song es on. Also, Bill Ste writing and musivenson, our produ cer just keeps gettin g better. Why'd you decide not to self-produc e this album? How again? was it working wi th Bill Stevenson To be honest we we ren’t that happy wit h the way the last out. There are some album that we self-p good songs on tha roduced turned t album, Yellow #5, production. but they get a little lost in mediocre Working with Bill ag ain was awesome. This is our 3rd alb really solid working um with him so we relationship and frie already built up a ndship with him. Als had never recorded o, when we first wo ska before, since the rked with him he n he’s recorded ton down now. s of stuff and has rea lly got it nailed
Over time most ska bands change there sound by losing the horns, adding synthesizers, or playing a different style of music altogether. Mustard Plug has changed very little since beginning, was it always your intentions to not waver in your sound? The basic formula for the band was to get together a bunch of punk rockers and play ska music. Colin and I, who started the band, have always had a really sincere love of ska music so we never felt the desire to move on to something else. I think a lot of bands that did move on, were never really that sincere in the first place, so they just ended up jumping on the next bandwagon that came around. Most bands don't last half the time that Mustard Plug has been around, what has kept you making and releasing music? Have you put any time limits as to how long you want to do Mustard Plug? Yeah, I’m completely amazed that we’ve been together this long….since 1991. It all boils down to the fact that we really enjoy what were doing and would have a really hard time giving it up. The only limit we put on ourselves is that when it is no longer fun, that’s the time to quit. Do you think ska will make a mainstream resurgence in the future like it did in the late 90's? No, I don’t really see it getting that big anytime too soon. At that time American mainstream audiences hadn’t really heard ska before, so it was more of a novelty. Now it’s part of the mass consciousness and so it won’t ever have that novelty factor again. Music is less centralized now too since the internet and Ipods and stuff, so I think it’s just going to stick around on subdued level. Although, I’m surprised that there hasn’t been any sort of ska radio hit in the past few years.
You recently released a video for the song "Hit Me! Hit Me!", are your going to do videos for any other songs on In Black and White? We’d like to do a cheap, fast video for every song on the album. It makes a lot more sense than spending all your money on one big blockbuster video. We’ll see though, we’re starting to get really busy on the road, hyping up the new album. What made you want to start doing the Ska is Dead tours? At the time it was really hard to be in a ska band. A lot of clubs and promoters and booking agents and the media had basically written off ska. I knew there was still a really solid fan base; it just needed something to prove it was still alive and vital. Have the results of the Ska is Dead tours exceeded your expectations? I don’t know. In some ways it has. I’d still like to see it get bigger. I think it’s been really successful in re-invigorating the ska kids, but I’d still like to see it be more successful in developing new bands. My biggest disappointment in the past few years is that there still aren’t enough up and coming new bands that are breaking out or are ready to headline a tour. Are there any plans for a Ska is Dead 4 tour? I’m going to start working on one again. I tried to put it together for fall of 2007 but the bands I was talking to in couldn’t make it work in the end. The main problem being that most of the bigger headlining bands are getting older and have more adult responsibilities (work, kids, etc.) which makes it harder to for them to go out and do a 6 week tour. I’m going to get working on another one real soon though. After my initial efforts for one this past fall fell apart I really focused on putting out the Ska Is Dead compilation CD and gearing up for the new Mustard Plug album. Working on a Ska Is Dead 4 tour for 2008 is going to be the next thing I tackle.
The 1900s Cold & Kind If you heard this band playing in the background somewhere, you’d swear it was Fleetwood Mac. In reality though, it’s Chicago’s 1900s. They have been compared to bands like Fleetwood Mac and Donovan, two bands that I have no interest for, so if they can make me like them, I’m sure you will like them too. (Parasol Records) The A-Sides Silver Storms I was a little thrown by the stringed instruments at the beginning of the ASides latest release, Silver Storms. Thankfully the album is not 50 minutes of orchestra music and instead 50 minutes of great pop music in the vain of Portastatic, with tons of lush arrangements and beautiful layers. (Vagrant Records)
All Teeth and Knuckles Club Hits to Hit the Clubs With All Teeth and Knuckles, ATAK for short, is Patric Fallon’s (ex The Evaluation) new project where he teams up with synth player Giovanni De La Cruz to create some interesting electronic hiphop under the guises of “Sick Face” and “Gio fo Rio”. It’s hard not to take ATAK seriously with their lyrics and clichéd hip-hop beats. The three tracks “The Real San Francisco”,“Fuck Your Jacket”, “Look So Good” are the definite stand outs on the album, while the two interludes could have been scraped, just like on a real hip-hop album. ATAK’s music may sound fun but they lyrics contain more variances of FUCK than the movie Scarface. (Lujo Records) Avagami Metagami Avagami is a blend of Stylex, Rah Bras, and Get Him Eat Him. If those bands don’t sound familiar, it’s ok, they’re not well known, but it’s the closet thing I can narrow it down to. A largely synth heavy album, with many vocals effects used differently on each song, makes the songs sound different, but there is a slight cohesion throughout the album. If any of the previously mentioned bands sounded familiar, then I suggest checking this album out. (Lens Records) Bear Claw Slow Speed: Deep Owls Bear Claw is a two bass and drums band and their latest release was recorded and mixed by Steve Albini and mastered by Bob Weston. Slow Speed: Deep Owls has gained influence from bands like Unwound and Shellac, but also sounds like Pinebender just not as slow or epic as Pinebender. It’s heavy at parts and slow, but the groove is always noticeable so the listener won’t get lost. (Sickroom Records)
Alexis Gideon Flight of the Liophant I often wonder where record labels find these kinds of artists. Flight of the Liophant is an eclectic blend of abstract hip-hop beats and twangy indie. A strange combination indeed. (Sickroom Records)
Beowulf Westminster & 5th With the opening song titled “NASCAR Fan” and the lyrics about a NASCAR race, my first impression of Beowulf would be as boring as a NASCAR race is on TV. And I wasn’t far off on my impressions. I sure this kind of thrash punk with guitar solos and 3 part harmonies was innovative when the band started in the 80’s but Westminster & 5th is unoriginal and fairly boring. (I Scream Records) Bomb The Music Industry Get Warmer I downloaded this album in it’s entirety and this band couldn’t be happier in my doing so. That’s what this band does. They make wonderful punk and ska influenced gems and puts it up for free for everyone to hear.The nice guys at Asian Man also released this album. So download the album, and then buy a tee shirt when they come to your town. (Asian Man Records) Buck-O-Nine Sustain Sustain is Buck-O-Nine’s first album of new music since 1999’s Libido. From the way it sounds, they picked up right where they left off with Libido and didn’t loose a beat along the way. The first few songs on Sustain are fast ska jams that will have you skankin’ in your office chair. Then they slow things down a bit with a little bit of reggae/dub/two tone style ska, which are just as good as previous Buck-ONine recordings. (Asian Man Records)
The Cops Free Electricity The Cops play a garage punk similar to the Nein, but without the circuit bending. They also have a stripped down sound kind of like the Mannequin Men and the Strokes, which is hook laden and infectious. (The Control Group) The Forms S/T The Forms self-titled sophomore effort was recorded in 50 consecutive days with Steve Albini. It turns out that these guys are perfectionists when it comes to music. I had such high expectations of this album, because of the time spent on it, that if it didn’t completely blow my mind, I’d be disappointed. Well, it didn’t completely blow my mind, but it’s good nonetheless. It has a slight Burning Airlines/Dismemberment Plan feel, but with a fairly original sound. (ThreeSperes)
Georgie James Place Former Q and Not U drummer, John Davis and ex solo artist Laura Burhenn got together and formed this duo that make precious ditties influenced by 50s/60s pop music, and it’s damn good too. (Saddle Creek) The Good Life Help Wanted Nights I’m glad Tim Kashner is a musician. With every release, he brings you something different, but not to different that you won’t like it. Help Wanted Nights is a good example. It sounds like
the Good Life’s previous, Album of the Year, but has a completely different feeling. Some parts are more upbeat and less personal while others are slow and more personal. A welcome addition to anyone's collection. (Saddle Creek)
House & Parish One, One Thousand I bet some indie hipsters spilled their $9 foreign beers when they heard about this indie super group consisting of ex-members of The Promise Ring, Texas is the Reason, and the Gloria Record. The music is a bit different than any of the members’ previous bands. I would consider this adult contemporary for the indie crowd. It’s easy on the ears. It feels like they are trying to find their groove with this release and hopefully they realize their sound for their full length. (Arena Rock)
The Good Life
Haram Drescher I’ve been waiting for their follow-up to their stunning self-titled full length for what seems like forever and I’m happy to say they are even better this time around. They’ve added some members and Drescher shows the softer, mellower side of Haram while still being heavy in all the right places. (Lovitt Records) The Hot Toddies Smell The Mitten The Hot Toddies are like an all female version of The Wonders from the movie, That Thing You Do, but with naughtier lyrics. Not naughty like perversive, but the kind of naughty that make you blush, gasp and giggle a little bit. Lyrics like “I miss my boy when I'm in Seattle, I like to ride him like a horse without a saddle, I like to spank him with a big wooden paddle, I get so horny when I'm in Seattle” from the track “Seattle” or the song “HTML” that reads like an episode of Dateline’s “To Catch a Predator”. I’d say that most of the lyrics are tongue and cheek and not to be taken too seriously.The music has an innocent Doo Wop feel which works well against the lyrics. (Asian Man Records)
House and Parish
The Jaguar Club Ceci N'est Pas Le Club De Jaguar The first time I listened to this, I turned it off before the six tracks were through. The music is good, but the singer is trying way too hard to be Morrisey. It’s like a dancey version of the Smiths without the talent that the Smiths had. If you can get past the vocals, then you might be on to something. (Self-Released)
Jet Lag Gemini Fire The Cannons JLG's debut EP showed a band with a lot of musical talent and promise.Their first full length follows the same formula as their EP, with showing slight growth in their sound. I was a little disappointed because Fire the Cannons doesn't show anything new from the band, and if your familiar with their EP, this album seems more of an extension of the EP than a different album. (Doghouse) Josh Small Tall by Josh Small Josh Small is a member of Tim Barry's touring band, and Tall by Josh Small is his first solo album.This album has the same sincerity and lyricism as any album by Portastatic, it's just stripped down to banjos and slide guitars with the occasional piano and organ in the background. This would be perfect music for a coffee shop or a bookstore or just relaxing on a warm summer Sunday afternoon. (Suburban Home)
the synth/beat machine. Guest artists on this album include Say Anything’s Max Bemis, The Get Up Kids’ Matt Pryor along with Justin Johnson from Philly area band The Danger O's and Neil Sabatino from Jersey-based band Fairmont. There is a certain charm to this band, but when a 6-year-old girl asks if the song is on repeat then you've got a problem. I listened to this album while I was working in the garage and had the album looping because its just over 35 minutes long. I probably listened to it 5 times and the only thing I remember is the chorus on the title track "Regional Community Theater". Not a whole lot stood out on this album, but it's worth a listen. If the names and bands of the guest artists can't draw people to listen to it, then I don't know what can. (Creep Records) Ladyslipper The Time, Not the Weather Ladyslipper is a 3 piece from Minneapolis, MN and they have an energizing sound that has been compared to Fugazi and Mission of Burma. There isn’t one track on this album that disappoints. Standouts on the album are “Tinnitus” and “Chicago” and “Ladycop”. (Say Rah Records) Look Mexico This is Animal Music A lot of people say that Look Mexico sounds like American Football, and it’s true. But Look Mexico blends a few different styles together and they do it effortlessly, as too not copy any one else's sound. (Lujo Records) Mannequin Men Fresh Rot Chicago's Mannequin Men have a familiar sound, but an original take on it. They sound like a 60's garage rock band more so than the Deathray Davies ever did. The opening track "Private School" is nearly over when the chorus finally kicks in at the 3-minute mark of the four and a half minute song. The
Ladybirds Regional Community Theater Ladybirds features former rock publicist/ Virgin Records A&R Teeter Sperber on vocals and a gaggle of emo all-stars behind the scenes or singing duets. The main man behind this project is Gym Class Heroes’ Tyler Pursel, who controls the knob twiddling on
rest of the songs stick to a pretty standard format.This album would fit right in next to your Kinks collection. (Flameshovel)
The Menzingers A Lesson in the Abuse of Information Technology The Menzingers have the political prowess like Anti-Flag, the musician ship like the Lawrence Arms, and sort of sound like a heavy Saves the Day.The opening track “Alpha Kappa Fall Off a Balcony” is probably the fastest and the best on the album.The rest of the songs are just as good, but some show a softer side of the Menzingers.This is probably one of the best independently released punk albums of 2007. (Go Kart Records) Minus the Bear Planet of Ice I’ve said it before but I have a love/hate relationship with Minus the Bear. I think they write great songs in an interesting style and Planet of Ice is no exception. It’s just that I never feel in the mood to listen to it and when I do, I rarely get through a whole album. Planet of Ice is the exception though to that second statement.As with their last release, Planet of Ice, shows the band growing in their sound, trying new things, and throwing in new elements along the way. Maybe a few albums from now, I will have a love/love relationship with this band. (Suicide Squeeze) Mt. St. Helens Of Others At first listen, Mt. St. Helens vocalist had a Billy Corgan/Steven Brodsky sound, but the music leans more towards Antenna era Cave In and not Smashing Pumpkins in the least. The opening track “The Time of Low Volume” is an all out rock song but ends with electronic influenced sampled violins. The whole album has this feeling that they are a rock band dangerously close to being an electronic or new wave band but they never step over that line.They mish mash genres like fellow Chicagoans, Archaeology. (Two Thumbs Down Records)
Maritime Heresy and the Hotel Choir Heresy and the Hotel Choir is the best thing these boys have ever made including anything done by their past bands. Maritime has finally hit their stride with this release and it will be a shame if this band doesn't get recognized. It's hard to pick out a stand out track, because each one is good in its own unique way.There are no clunkers on this album. (Flameshovel) Mass Shivers Ecstatic Eyes Glow Glossy Mass Shivers sounds like a lot of things and not a lot of things at the same time. It seems like each song is based around a single repetitive drum beat or guitar part and built upon from there with frenetic guitars and vocals.A live show might be in order to determine if this album is worth it or not. (Sickroom Records)
Mustard Plug In Black and White A 5-year hiatus after their last album Yellow #5, Mustard plug is back with their most realized and mature album yet. In Black and White is classic Mustard Plug through and through, but this album sounds so much better than their previous albums. I don’t know if it’s the production or what, but it sounds so nice.“Hit Me! Hit Me!” is the obvious stand out on the album that is up there with other Mustard Plug favorites. I hope it doesn’t take another 5 years for the next album; this shit’s too good. (Hopeless Records) New Idea Society The World is Bright and Lonely New Idea Society features Mike Law from Euclid and Cave In’s Stephen Brodsky on guitar. The album is a mixture of Bright Eyes, Street to Nowhere and The Comas. It’s an ok album, but nothing really stands out about it. (Exotic Fever)
Say Hi The Wishes and the Glitch With a shorter name and a new geographic location, Eric Elbogen is back with another pop gem. What makes this album stand out from his previous albums is the female vocals provided by Nouela Johnston on a couple of the songs that add a much needed ingredient to a formula that was getting a little stale. Say Hi’s first two releases were quite good and original and peaked at Ferocious Mopes. While Impeccable Blahs was ok, it felt a little impersonal. Luckily a move to Seattle got Elbogen’s creative juices flowing and a great album was the result. (Euphobia)
Ryan Ferguson Only Trying to Help Ex-No Knife frontman Ryan Ferguson’s debut album starts out solid with the slow rocker “Remission”. A few of the songs feel like that have a slight Shins influence. The song “In the Sea” has a Beach Boys tinge to it and the melody fits perfect with the song, swaying back and forth like your on the sea. Only Trying to Help is a fairly strong debut solo release, but future releases would benefit if they were more focused. (Better Looking Records) Saves the Day Under the Boards I would have figured that Saves the Day would have broken up by now. With label changes and a few mediocre albums, it seemed likely. Instead they stick to their guns and release a catchy hook filled album worthy of a few listens. (Vagrant Records)
Signal to Trust Golden Armour I was a year late in buying this album and now I’m kicking myself for not buying it sooner. It’s great. I can’t explain what they sound like, but they have been lumped into the indie/prog rock category. This full length was a long time coming from their previous album Folklore in 2002. I wish they would write a whole album of songs just like “Silver Coast”. It’s the best jam on the album. (Modern-Radio) Soft Faded I pretty much wrote this band off as shit as soon as the first song started, just because the vocals sounded fuzzy and distorted and the instruments sounded like a mess. But once you get past that first track, things start picking up.There are a lot of interesting guitar parts and melodies and it’s those little
things that make this album worth coming back to. (Academy Fight Song) Streetlight Manifesto Somewhere in the Between This album has been a long time coming. Streelight Manifesto practically turned the ska genre on its side with their debut release Everything Goes Numb. Instead of taking that momentum and writing a follow up right away, they re-recorded Catch 22’s Keasbey Nights, which sounds exactly like the awesome original but more polished. Well they finally got their shit together and recorded a follow-up. Somewhere in the Between is not as jaw-dropping as Everything Goes Numb, but it’s close. I somewhat blame all the hype that was built up for this album as the main reason why. (Victory Records) These Are Powers Terrific Seasons These Are Powers features ex-members of Liars and Knife Skills, and their current project is self-described as “ghost punk”.The songs encapsulate primitive and industrial rhythms with haunting male and female vocals. Seven of the eight songs range from two to four minutes in length, while the song “Pizza Master Ice Cream Palace” clocks in at over twenty minutes. (Hoss Records) To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie The Patron It seems like everyone around town and out is talking about To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie. The album is full of dark and cold ambience and warm female vocals.The music has a way of keeping you interested, although the tracks due venture into epic length. (Krank Records)
Token Entry The Re-Issues This CD has re-issues of NY Hardcore/Skate Punk band Token Entry’s albums, Ja ybird and Weight of the World. If you know anything about NY Hardcore in the 80’s then I’m sure you know about Token Entry, the band that gave Gorilla Biscuits their first show at CBGB’s and helped inspire bands like Youth of Today, H2O, and Bouncing Souls. Ja ybird and Weight of the World is like Operation Ivy’s Energy for the East Coast hardcore scene. These albums are definitely something to checkout for the history of this band alone. (I Scream Records) The Velocet A Quick and Dirty Guide to War Michael Davison’s The Velocet comes out swinging on their debut album A Quick and Dirty Guide to Wa r. The first half of the album starts out strong with “Chinatown”,“O, Concertina”, and “The Turnstiles” among others, and then kind of falters towards the end of the album. The sound is very reminiscent of the Foo Fighters or Ted Leo with a post rock sound. It’s an album worth checking out, but one that might get bumped of the Ipod after a few weeks. (Eyeball Records) V/A Ska Is Dead Compilation Ska is definitely not dead and this compilation proves it. It features over an hour of ska madness by ska mainstays like Buck-O-Nine, Mustard Plug, Big D and the Kids Table, The Toasters, and the Pietasters, plus 20 more bands.This comp is a great way to get introduced to newer ska bands like Bomb the Music Industry The Flatliners, and Tip the Van. Skank your way to your local record depot and pick it up, pick it up, pick it up this album. (Asian Man Records)
PHOTO CREDITS :
Cover: Pg Pg Pg Pg 4: 6: 7: 8: Jason Anfinsen // www.thejerkalert.com Mark Dawursk // www.markphoto.net Promo Photo (The 1900s) Ryan Russell // www.ryanrussell.net Promo Photo (All Smiles) Promo Photo (Titles) Promo Photo (Del Rey) Promo Photo (The Valley Arena) Darnell Jackson // www.jacksondarnell.com Ryan Russell // www.ryanrussell.net Darnell Jackson // www.jacksondarnell.com Mark Dawursk // www.markphoto.net Mark Dawursk // www.markphoto.net Mitch Ranger // www.mitchrangerphotography.com Promo Photo Promo Photo ( The Cops Promo Photo (Georgie James) Promo Photo (The Good Life) Promo Photo (House and Parish) Promo Photo (Ladybirds) Promo Photo (Mannequin Men) David Belisle
Pg 9: Pg 10: Pg 12: Pg 14: Pg 15: Pg 20-21: Pg 23: Pg 27: Pg 30: Pg 31: Pg 32: Pg 33: Pg 34: Pg 35:
Ads: Lujo Records // www.lujorecords.com Modern-Radio // www.modern-radio.com Sickroom Records //www.sickroomrecords.com Revelation Records // www.revhq.com Lovitt Records // www.lovitt.com Saddle Creek // www.saddle-creek.com Exotic Fever // www.exoticfever.com Flameshovel // www.flameshovel.com Heart of a Champion // www.heartchamp.com Labels: Academy Fight Song // www.academyfightsong.com Arena Rock Recording www.arenarock.com Asian Man Records // www.asianmanrecords.com Better Looking // www.betterlookingrecords.com Dare to Care // www.daretocarerecords.com Doghouse Records // www.doghouserecords.com Euphobia Records // www.euphobiarecords.com Exotic Fever // www.exoticfever.com Eyeball Records // www.eyeballrecords.com Flameshovel Records // www.flameshovel.com Go Kart Records // www.gokartrecords.com Hopeless Records // www.hopelessrecords.com Hoss Records // www.hossrecords.com/ I Scream Records // www.iscreamrecords.com Kranky Records // www.kranky.net Lens Records // www.lensrecords.com Lovitt Records // www.lovitt.com Lujo Records // www.lujorecords.com Modern-radio // www.modern-radio.com Parasol Records // www.parasolrecords.com Saddle Creek // www.saddle-creek.com Say Rah Records // www.sayrahrecords.com Sickroom Records // www.sickroomrecords.com Suburban Home // www.suburbanhomerecords.com Suicide Squeeze // www.suicidesqueeze.net The Control Group // www.controlgroupco.com Two Thumbs Down // www.twothumbsdownrecords.com/ Vagrant Records // www.vagrant.com Victory Records // www.victoryrecords.com
Bands: Maritime // www.maritimesongs.com Look Mexico // www.lookmexico.net Mustard Plug // www.mustardplug.com The 1900s // www.the-1900s.com/ The Narrator // www.thenarrator.net All Smiles // www.myspace.com/allsmilesmusic Titles // www.myspace.com/titles Del Rey // www.dlry.net/ The Valley Arena // www.thevalleyarena.com/ Books: Anti-Matter Anthology // www.myspace.com/antimatterbook
Moral Fiber SHIT! - Turd Tales & Stool Stories While I was High Back issues of Swimmer’s Ear & Manual Dexterity
Super Friends Sight. For Sore Eyes Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org for more info 37
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.