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Happenings: On The Boat


This weekend, we'll be up in beautiful Newport, RI, hanging out on a decked-out boat with The Wild Honey Pie and some of our favorite musicians. Recording special sets on the boat all weekend long, the artists will also be making appearances on the ground at Newport Folk Fest. To get everyone pumped up for the big event, we interviewed a few of the artists involved to learn a little bit more about each of them. See you at the fest!

TALL TALL TREES




Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Well, my name is Mike Savino. I grew up in Long Island, NY, but I’ve made my home in Harlem, NY, for the past 11 years. I’ve been a musician all my life, from my humble beginnings as a heavy metal bass player in my youth, to a jazzer, to my current life as a banjo slinging troubadour.

How would you describe your sound?
Psychedelic banjo?

How do you feel about other people’s descriptions of your sound?
People throw around the terms “maverick” or “banjo wizard” which I don’t mind at all.

How long have you been playing the banjo? Do you remember the first song you tried to play?
I’ve been playing the banjo for almost 20 years (yikes), though at first it was a hobby as I was more serious about becoming a jazz bassist. On the side I was studying Earl Scruggs and Pete Seeger, learning to play those old-time songs like “Cripple Creek” and “Foggy Mountain Breakdown."

A show is a success when everyone leaves feeling elated and mystified.

The best part about touring is seeing old friends and making new ones.

Favorite memory from 2014?

The year is half over and I feel like I’ve already done so much. I just returned from a tour of Japan for the second time. That was pretty amazing.

Have you attended Newport Folk Fest as a concertgoer? If so, any favorite memories?
I haven’t. This will be my first time!

Any NPFF moments/sets through the years that particularly stand out to you?
I’m guessing that this year will stand out. :)

Who are you looking forward to seeing at the festival?
So much! I’m excited to reunite with my friends Lucius and Valerie June who will also be playing. I’m a huge fan of Trampled by Turtles whom I’ve never gotten to see. Robert Hunter has always been a hero of mine. I’m excited to see Jack White, Jeff Tweedy, Conor Oberst, Deer Tick... there’s so many. I’m going to be very busy.

What do you like to do when you’re not playing music?
Unfortunately, when I’m not playing music, I’m sending emails. Haha. One day I’m going to get me a little cabin in the woods and just sit there listening to the birds, drawing in my sketchbook, and drinking coffee.

Who are you currently listening to?
At the moment I’m listening to Sean Lennon’s new band GOASTT, Floating Action, and the tracks from my upcoming EP - getting them ready for release. I’ve heard those, WAY too many times.


THAO AND THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN



Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started as a musician.
I'm Thao. I grew up in Virginia and taught myself to play guitar and other stringed instruments and the first song I ever wrote was for a book project on Lord of the Flies in eighth grade. Still some of my best work.

How would you describe your sound?
Old country and blues and R&B influenced loose and energetic rock and roll music with melancholic lyrics.

How has your upbringing shaped your music?
I think growing up in an immigrant household as a first-generation American kid raised by a very hardworking single mom infused me with a social consciousness and empathy and I hope that is evident in my music.

What would you most like for people to take away from your music?
Empathy and energy.

Who inspires you musically? (Singers/songwriters/etc.)
Dolly Parton, A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Lucinda Williams, Bill Callahan, Outkast, Elvis Perkins, Songs Ohia, John Prine, older street musicians, our bassist Adam Thompson, my dear friend Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards, writers Joan Didion, Grace Paley, Dennis Johnson, and all the fantastic people with whom I've had the pleasure of collaborating.

You’ve collaborated with a lot of amazing artists. Who would you like to collab with in the future?
I would love to collaborate with brass musicians in New Orleans and genius musician kids and comedic actors.

A show is a success when you feel like you and the crowd were in it together and either side gave just as much as the other.

The best part about touring is seeing old friends you'd otherwise never get to see, eating amazing food you'd otherwise never get to eat.

Who are you currently listening to?
The Byrds, En Vogue, Mavis Staples.

What does the future hold for you?
Writing our next record and then recording it and then releasing it and then touring it. Immediate future holds eating kale I bought at the farmer's market.


DEATH VESSEL



Hi Joel! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in a small coastal town in Maine. Before Death Vessel, I formed the band String Builder with my brother, Alec. I first started making music in Rhode Island in 1997.

How would you describe your sound?
A friend once described Death Vessel's sound as "melancholy candyland."

A show is a success when when all is a wow.

The best part about touring is is feeling welcome in a new and distant place. Additionally, I've always liked the routine that a well-planned itinerary provides.

What do you love about RI?
The official state rock of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is the Cumberlandite. It's exclusive to RI. And it's magnetic.

Where are your favorite places to hang out in RI?
I spend most of my time on the west side of Providence. Parker Woodlands is great for shady hikes. I recently had the opportunity to visit Clingstone. It's a lone house built on a tiny rocky island in Narragansett Bay near Jamestown. It's quite a sight.

Have you attended Newport Folk Fest as a concertgoer? If so, any favorite memories?
Yes, last year. Michael Hurley's performances in the Harbor Tent (with Black Prairie as his backing band) and in the Family Tent were festival highlights.

Any NPFF moments/sets through the years that particularly stand out to you?
I'm easily enthralled by the video clip of Blue Ridge Mountain Dancers with Pete Seeger (1964?) that's circulating online.

Who are you currently listening to?
I've been on a Francois Rabbath kick lately.

Shop Joel's vinyl picks

On The Boat Performers
Tall Tall Trees
Death Vessel
Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
Shakey Graves
Lucius

RSVP for the On The Boat experience here! Spaces are extremely limited. Winners will be randomly chosen starting July 24. For more info, click here.

UO Video Series: Spoon


Playtime for one group of beings can be angst-riddled Armageddon for another. If that sounds way too close to some kind of intense Bruce Willis film, just think about the difference in perspective between ants and humans at a picnic, and you’ll get the gist of music video director Hiro Murai’s not-that-serious thought process when creating the video for “Do You” by Spoon, off their forthcoming They Want My Soul on Loma Vista.







We’re hanging out beneath a windswept tent in the abandoned parking lot of a shop long out of business that, in its heyday, was amazingly named “Travel Around the World with Bertrand Smith’s Acres of Books.” (Yes, that was the whole name of one single business.) A pyro crew’s on deck, prepping a trashed-out Mercedes and some rubber tires with industry secret sauce to sustain some serious flames. The art department is littering all kinds of detritus on the grounds, right in front of the police. Hey, it wouldn’t be the end of existence without at least a little rubble.

“Not to get super heady about a music video concept,” Hiro says, “but I’m really interested in a pocket moment that takes place in a doomsday world.” In the case of this video, that means Britt Daniel, the lead singer of Spoon, is cruising in a vintage Plymouth wagon through a very lackadaisical Sunset Drive kind of vibe, and it just so happens that the buildings are on fire behind him. Which is actually kind of what Los Angeles feels like sometimes anyway, metaphorically, Hiro concedes. “Hey, once you own the chaos of the apocalypse,” he says, “there’s a certain kind of calmness to it.”

Just then Britt walks up, head to toe in black, before he hits makeup for some bandages and bruises. “We’ve never really made a video where I totally understood the concept,” he says. “But this one, I get it.”







Though they’d had several conversations over the phone about the video, Hiro and Britt are meeting for the first time on set. (The rest of the band was back home in Austin, enjoying the day off.) “This is one of those videos we have to rehearse 800 times and then do it once correctly,” says Hiro, explaining why we’ve been watching them do laps around the parking lot for hours. The video is to be shot almost entirely in one take.

“I like really deliberate filmmaking,” Hiro says. “I like things that are very in control—the pace of the storytelling, what you show the audience, and when. Although I don’t know why I haven’t learned my lesson from the one-shot thing, because every time I do it, it’s such a pain in the ass.”







Britt isn’t worried in the slightest. “I looked at Hiro’s videos and it seemed like he really knew what he was doing. Like he had a flair for the bizarre and the unique.” It’s part of an aesthetic his band’s been mining for two decades and eight full-length albums.

Sometimes music videos “can be one of those things that you ‘have’ to do for a record,” says Britt, “but I’m enjoying this one because I have a good feeling about it.” The way he sees it, he explains, “is that we’re seeing the last scene of a movie, right? And you as the viewer is dropped into this last scene without understanding the full context. I’ve been battered around, and I’m driving down the street and you don’t really understand what’s going on. You see a few reveals of who I’ve got in the car, you see there’s all this destruction going on. The car’s on fire, people are running, you don’t really understand why. And the last bit of video…”

Well, if we continued with the explanation, what would be the point in watching? No spoiler alerts here: check it out and find out how it ends yourself. Photography by Mike Selsky

Pre-order They Want My Soul on vinyl

Music Monday: July 21, 2014

No more Monday morning excuses! Stop staring at the clock and start your work week out right with five hand-picked songs from our music stylist, Corbin, who wants to fill your brainwaves with summer-ready sounds and auditory illusions.

Tom Misch - Now

"Now" is a chill hip-hop track from Tom Misch, who is keeping it super real. All his stuff has been really good. This one has a Sohn vibe, but the beat of Apollo Brown. Incredible tune here. 

Hotlane - Whenever (James Curd Remix)
"Whenever" is a poppy dance gem that brings you right back to that amazing 2006-2008 sound of pop vocals and glimmery '80s nu-disco. See: Russ Chimes, then and now. #tbt

Merle - Fannie Likes 2 Dance
This is one of those tracks where you almost can't tell whats going on, but you don't want it to stop. Very confused and very interested. Killer summer joint here. 

Sinead Harnett - No Other Way (Ryan Hemsworth Remix)
No point in explaining this Hemsworth remix... just listen.

Los Angeles Police Department - She Came Through (Again)
Insanely chill track from the forthcoming debut LP from LAPD out in September. Beach vibes all over this one.





Friday Download: July 18, 2014


Summer is hurtling by, and that means Jenny Lewis' newest album The Voyager is coming out so soon (only a little more than a week, now). This is so exciting. My teenage self from 2003 is screaming in excitement. Her video for "Just One Of The Guys" came out this past week, along with some other awesome vids. Let's check them out below. Katie



Jenny Lewis "Just One Of The Guys"
Jenny can do no wrong and Kristen Stewart is incredibly charming in this, HATERS BE DAMNED. Always here for the "kinda totally random" actor cameos in music videos.



SZA "Julia/(Tender)"
Here's the newest video from SZA, another perfect jam for the summer. There's also this clip of SZA and tiny little Willow Smith performing their song "Domino" together earlier this week, which was fun to watch. (via Vibe)



Made In Minnesota
I was recently re-reading an article on The Replacements in a Sassy mag from, like, 1991, so when I saw that Noisey went out and did this mini-doc on the Minnesota music scene, I was pretty pumped to watch it. It's good, and made me finally realize that Craig Finn's speaking voice sounds literally exactly the same as his singing voice. I have no idea how I'm just finding this out now.



Lapsley "Painter (Valentine)"
This song is sooo pretty and Låpsley is apparently 17 years old, so have fun feeling like an untalented garbage can after you listen to this one. (via Gorilla vs. Bear)



"My 14-Hour Search for the End of TGI Friday's Endless Appetizers"
Caity Weaver is my favorite person to read over on Gawker and her most recent post over there may be her best yet. Basically, she sat in a TGI Friday's for 14 hours to test out their new unlimited apps deal, and boy oh boy, the laughs you'll have along the way are endless.

About a Band: Liars


Before heading out to Chicago and hitting the stage at our next Afterfest, we wanted to catch up with Liars’ guitarist Aaron Hemphill to hear what the band has been up to, listening to and looking forward to, following the release of their seventh album, Mess.
Photography by Zen Sekizawa and Jiro Schneider




Hi Aaron! What have you been up to since we last spoke? (For the “Mess on a Mission” video.)
I’m not sure if we’ve ever been as busy as we have been in the last few months, but we’ve gotten to do some amazing projects and it’s all to do with Liars so I’m definitely not complaining. In between playing more shows in support of Mess, we hosted and curated an event called Friday Flights at The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, which was really special. We assembled and installed a wide range of visual pieces all exclusive to the event and space. We also got to involve our very special friends like Mary Pearson Andrew, John Wiese, Kate Hall and Protect Me to do the same. At the moment, Angus and I are working on a special project that’s somewhat a secret at the moment, but we’ll be dropping clues on our social media and website to keep everybody informed as soon as we are able to. When we last met, our beloved Clippers were still alive in the NBA playoffs, so we’ve been dealing with the crushing blow of our early dismissal and are looking forward to the future and rebuilding for next season.

In the immediate future we have some exciting plans, all things we’ve never done before. First we are going to be performing at the Roskilde Festival where some little band called the Rolling Stones will be headlining. After that we are performing at All Tomorrow’s Parties (ATP) in Iceland—our first performance and trip ever to that country!

Really, we’ve been super busy and we’re so grateful for all of these amazing opportunities.





Can you tell us about the process of making Mess? Is there anything you would do differently if you had the chance?
The process of making Mess was all about immediacy and trying not to over analyze too much. WIXIW was such an intense experience where personal issues mixed with our inexperience with tools we were using. This led us to a very critical, doubtful, and calculated process. With Mess we had more experience with the music programs and we really felt grateful to be in the position to make records. It was a much more relaxed and confident atmosphere that I think was—dare I say—more playful. It’s not to compare one album with the other; it’s more that both records were made over a period of time where as we moved forward, the more we learned, and the more songs were able to flow with less debate. There are always things you wish you did differently, but you always realize that it’s better to learn from it than to be able to change it. Whatever happens is part of the album, and the experiences around it that you hope to incorporate into the music. If every record was perfect you might lose any sense of place or timing the album should hold.

What can we expect from your upcoming Afterfest performance?
To be honest, our live shows are similar to how we write our records. If we start feeling too comfortable with what we are doing, we naturally gravitate towards an environment where we are forced into feeling like complete novices. We like to feel that anything can happen, both good and bad, during a performance. It’s been our experience that when we play a show where we feel there were no mistakes, this rarely equates to what the crowd feels is a great show. This contrast is what keeps putting on a great performance a mystery and not a formula, which is great since there is the band experience meeting with the crowd’s experience. That said, I think the highest expectation we could hope to attain is for the crowd to expect the unexpected.

Are there any bands you’re excited to check out while in Chicago?
There are certainly a lot of great artists performing that we admire. I’m sure Kelela, Grimes and our friends Factory Floor will all be amazing.

And any spots you like to visit whenever you’re in Chicago?
Chicago is a great city. While we’ve been there many times on tour, we’ve never had any time to take in the sights. We’ll be so preoccupied with preparing for our show, we won’t be able to devote the time and attention a great city like Chicago deserves.

What’s been one of the best parties you’ve ever been to (besides this Afterfest, of course)?
For Angus’ birthday we raced go-karts and went to a Clippers game. We don’t have much downtime and when we do we tend to spend it apart doing our separate things, which is totally understandable. It’s nice to get together outside of band situations and cut loose a bit.





We saw the recent video you did with Yoonha Park for “Pro Anti Anti.” How did that come about?
What we like to do is give the directors complete freedom to execute their interpretation of the song. For all of our videos that aren’t directed by a band member, the story and vision is all from the director. One of the reasons we prefer this method is because we feel it adds another meaning or possibility for the song’s interpretation by having someone else’s vision represent the track. While in certain circumstances we like to make the videos ourselves, we fear that if we do it too often it might be perceived as how the song should be heard. We feel that once we’ve released the album, the song’s meanings are no longer strictly based on our perspective. Any misinterpretation is not only welcomed, it’s an invaluable part of us being able to learn what has been communicated by our album.

The ending was awesome, but do you wish you had gotten to keep the busts of yourselves?
I don’t know… for me it was really hard seeing my head that way. I got to see angles of myself that I’m more than happy never to see again!

What do you think are the best albums of 2014 so far? Any upcoming releases you’re stoked for?
Container’s Adhesive 12" is amazing. Also, HTRK’s Psychic 9-5 Club is pretty amazing. I’m excited for the new Grimes record, though I’m not sure when it’s due to come out. We did some shows with Jana Hunter recently where she played some of the new Lower Dens tracks solo. From what we’ve heard, the new Lower Dens record should be pretty amazing.

What are you listening to currently?
The two records I mentioned above are played quite frequently. I recently got a hold of Free Kitten’s discography, which is awesome. I think Kim Gordon’s bass playing was so huge in defining Sonic Youth’s sound. If you imagine any song of theirs with a different bass player, with a different bass line, you might argue that it’s the backbone of their sound. I got to see Free Kitten play once back in the day and it made such a huge impression on me. At the time I hadn’t ever made songs or played in a band but I had been playing guitar since I was really young. They sort of fortified the concept in my head that anything is possible. I know that sounds cliché, but I can’t describe it any other way.



Come see Liars at #AFTERFEST in Chicago on Friday, July 18th! Click here to RSVP.

As always, Making Time DJs Dave P. and Sammy Slice...UNITED will be DJing our Chicago event. Listen to
July's edition of Making Time RADio here!

Music Monday: July 14, 2014

No more Monday morning excuses! Stop staring at the clock and start your work week out right with five hand-picked songs from our music stylist, Corbin, who wants to fill your brainwaves with summer-ready sounds and auditory illusions.

TRACK PREMIERE: Lyon & Lowe - Everyone Walks to the Beat of a Child

New track premiere (*airhorn*)! This is Lyon & Lowe's sophomore Music Monday appearance and it's a goodie. Head to Facebook to learn more about Lyon & Lowe. And if you head to their Soundcloud, you can get a free download of this track!

"Heaven" is a nice, chill, endearing track from No Rome. "Floralpunk" is the self-declared genre of No Rome, who hail from the Philippines. This one sounds like Ryan Hemsworth would like it a lot, because it's in the similar realm of RnB infused trap-pop. Great track regardless of the genre or scene. 

If this is a demo, I'm especially interested in listening to the studio version. This is that classic, Prince-y poppy funk stuff. This one has a nice summery vibe - good for a funky beach trip for sure. 

"Time" has been floating around the interwebs for some time now (no pun intended). It was played on a Boiler Room set that left everyone wondering when and where this track would be released. Turns out it was the great Will Saul, Aus Music head, who recently included it exclusively on his DJ-Kicks. Thanks, Will. 

Solid tune from what appears to be a brand new band, Soph Nathan. This is a killer chill indie track. Listen if you like: Beach Fossils, and other awesome shoe-gaze bands. 



Friday Download: July 11, 2014


Can you even believe that it's already mid-July? Because I sure can't. Luckily there will always be songs coming out that help us hang onto that "endless summer" feeling. Here are some of my recent favorites. Katie



Yumi Zouma "It Feels Good To Be Around You"
I'm really into this one from Yumi Zouma for the aforementioned summery vibes. Makes me want to sit on the beach in a sparkly leotard while drinking a Raz-Ber-Rita. (via Gorilla vs. Bear)



Christopher Owens "Nothing More Than Everything"
Listen, if you know anything about me, you know that nostalgia is everything to me, which means that I am so into the vibe of this video and song. Great job, Chris Owens. You're really doin' it.



Little Dragon "Pretty Girls"
Realllly into this new video from Little Dragon because it involves a beauty pageant, pageant queens and ZOMBIES! It's a real delight. Very girl power, TBH.



Dev Hynes "Chandelier" Remix
"Chandelier" on its own is a very special song so I was a little unsure about any remixes, but Dev Hynes did a-ok with this one. Gonna make a playlist with just this and the original "Chandelier" looped over and over again for 40 straight hours. (via Pitchfork)



Interpol "All The Rage Back Home"
Interpol are coming back with a brand new album, El Pintor, this September and the first single is here with an accompanying video shot in a moody black and white. INTO IT.

About A Band: Led Zeppelin


When it comes to classic rock, nobody has done it bigger or better than Led Zeppelin. Sure we could all rattle off a list of bands that have stood the test of time, but you’d be hard pressed to name a group as iconic as this one. Beginning in the late '60s under the name The New Yardbirds, the band quickly morphed into the musical powerhouse we know and love today, churning out anthems that still make us raise our lighters into the air. During the decade or so they were active, Led Zeppelin created the standards (and broke a lot of the rules) of modern music, setting the bar for future groups in rock-and-roll, heavy metal, and beyond. Words by Amanda Weatherford





Formed in 1968 in London, England, the group was wailing vocalist Robert Plant, John Paul Jones on the bass and keys, John Bonham railing on the drums, and of course, Jimmy Page killing it on the guitar (what aspiring guitarist hasn’t spent hours locked in their rooms trying to copy his riffs from “Stairway to Heaven”?). Often considered the fathers of modern metal, the foursome took heavy influence from blues and even folk. This unique sound landed them a record deal with Atlantic Records, with whom they released their self-titled debut album in 1969, followed quickly by Led Zeppelin II, and then (no big surprise here) Led Zeppelin III in 1970. Plant generally wrote the band’s lyrics, and Jimmy Page wrote most of their music, creating a string of albums that followed that self-titled trio, all helping to cement the band’s popularity and influence in rock music.

Widely considered one of the most successful bands in history, it’s estimated the group’s record sales are somewhere around 300 million albums worldwide. Each of their nine studio albums placed on the Billboard Top 10 and six reached the #1 spot. Rolling Stone has referred to Jimmy Page as “the pontiff of power riffing” and his legendary solo from “Stairway to Heaven” is commonly lauded as the greatest guitar solo of all time.





During their heyday, Led Zeppelin also (supposedly) took the rock-and-roll lifestyle to new heights. Their record-breaking tours came with a reputation for debauchery and excess. Some have since lamented that the stories of hotel room destruction and venue banishment are exaggerated, but the tales have done nothing but reaffirm the mystique of the group as rock gods. Led Zeppelin continued their legacy of rocking and touring until the group ultimately disbanded in 1980 after the death of drummer, John Bonham.

Every self-respecting audiophile owns at least one Led Zeppelin record, but so does your next door neighbor and probably a few of your former elementary school teachers as well. That’s the beauty of the group, they’re more than just musicians: They’re legends. Let’s be real, just about any Led Zeppelin song that’s playing on your record player is, at least for that moment, the greatest song you’ve ever heard.




Free Led Zeppelin poster! UO exclusive and available in stores one day only, Saturday, July 26th.
Shop Led Zeppelin

Music Monday: July 7, 2014

No more Monday morning excuses! Stop staring at the clock and start your work week out right with five hand-picked songs from our music stylist, Corbin, who wants to fill your brainwaves with summer-ready sounds and auditory illusions.

The Hellen Hollins Singers - Consolation (Nicolas Jaar Edit)

Well, this is amazing. We're sorry Chile lost, but this edit is out of this world. This is a bit unusual for Jaar since it's a little more straightforward, but we'll take it. 

Lil Silva - Mabel
"Mabel" is a great new song from Lil Silva. Coming from his forthcoming Mabel EP, it has a nice SBTRKT RnB/house vibe going on, and the EP will also include vocals from Banks, which is something we're so looking forward to. 

Eno & Hyde - DBF
Well, this second Eno & Hyde release is just as impressive as the first one. "DBF" has a stuttering, hip-shaking groove, which we love. It's kind of like a mix between James Brown and Talking Heads. This track really stays moving.

Naomi Punk - Firehose Face 
Summer and punk seem to go hand in hand. "Firehose Face" is taken from Naomi Punk's self-titled sophomore release out in August. This is really throwing us back to Wavves "King of the Beach."

Alex Burkat - Shower Scene
"Shower Scene" is one of the many great tunes on the new Mister Saturday Night compilation. This one has an eerie but happy mood. Really interesting stuff, and we're assuming it's pulling its name from the water/shower sound, and the fact that it's slightly reminiscent of the Psycho shower scene music.

Near and Far: Victory Press x UO


Victory Press is designer Jessica Humphrey and artist Jonathan Cammisa, collaborating to create a collection of men’s clothing inspired by post modern art, prints and silhouettes of ‘80s skate and surf culture, and the functionality, integrity and ideology of ‘90s outdoors wear.

En route to launch a Victory Press pop-up event at our Los Angeles-based concept store Space 15 Twenty, Jess and Jonathan drove across the country, visiting American factories and getting up close and personal with the country’s great outdoors. Here, the design duo lets us in on every adventure of their nationwide trek.







How did you two come together and launch Victory Press?
Jess: Jonathan grew up in South Philadelphia skating. He was heavy into grafitti and hip hop, and he spent his summers at the Jersey Shore. I grew up in Virginia Beach surrounded by surfing and skateboarding, and as a teenager photographed every punk and hardcore band that came through my town. We met about five years ago in Vinegar Hill, a small neighborhood in Brooklyn. We both were obsessed with 1980s and ‘90s vintage clothing and we had the same taste in art and music, so we became best friends. We decided to start a clothing line out of a shared realization that outdoors wear just wasn't cool. We wanted to make outdoors wear that like-minded people want to wear.

Tell us about the Victory Press pop-up that brought you across the country!
Our friend Kyle came to our studio one day and proposed we set up shop at Space 15 Twenty for the summer of 2014. As a new brand, we were stoked on the opportunity to build out a space with our creative vision and spread our ideas to the West Coast. So, we though it was only appropriate to see the country on our way here so we can tell our story to you.







What was your favorite city or pit-stop along the way?
Mystic Hot Springs, Utah was by far the most interesting destination. We spent a few hours soaking in old claw foot tubs filed in with mineral rich hot springs with epic views of the Utah Mountains. Mystic Mike, who hosts the property, has an extensive collection of posters and stickers he's illustrated for touring bands, including the Grateful Dead. He also has a YouTube channel where he hosts live music and does an awesome job recording. There is also a collection of buses previously owned by Deadheads, for which you can rent and sleep over, if you want. It was truly a mystical moment. And then there was Yellowstone National Park—there are no words for how beautiful it is there.

Any travel mishaps?
Not really. We had good vibes on our side!

What was your day-to-day life like on the road?
We woke up. I'd heat us up some Grady's Coffee we cold brewed the night before. I might have some time to make breakfast while the boys break down the camp. If not, it was Early Bird Granola and yogurt and then we were on the road. Some days were long drives—almost 14 hours. We literally drove until it was time to sleep. Our meals that day would be "Jon's Back Seat Turkey Sandwiches" and the good old gas station special. The other days we'd drive for six hours or so and set up camp. We'd cook chili or hamburgers, relax, shoot our BB gun, then go to sleep extra early, wake up, maybe do a hike and then hit the road again. We were lucky enough to spend a good stint in Yellowstone and Utah where we could meander a little more and soak up the environment. We drove through 15 states in seven days, so there wasn't a whole lot of time to stay idle.







What were some of the best and worst meals you had while traveling?
The best meal was the chili we cooked over campfire the first night in Yellowstone. We brought our cast iron dutch oven and made a slow cooked chili and cornbread. We set up camp with the Grand Teton mountains as our backdrop, with no other human in site. It was magical. We actually ruled on the food tip. Even the sixth time we had turkey sandwiches, they were delicious!

What are your top five travel essentials?
Our trusty Birkenstocks, Oberto Beef Jerky, Snowpeak Titanium Stove, our dog, Jasper, and Santa Maria Novella Potpourri (for the stinky truck).

What advice would you give to someone about to embark on a cross-country trip?
Give yourself a good month because there is too much awesomeness to see.





The Victory Press x Ours Gallery summer pop-up shop at Space 15 Twenty (1520 N. Cahunega Blvd) is open now and runs through July 27, 2014.

Music Monday: June 30, 2014

No more Monday morning excuses! Stop staring at the clock and start your work week out right with five hand-picked songs from our music stylist, Corbin, who wants to fill your brainwaves with summer-ready sounds and auditory illusions.

Museum of Love - In Infancy

Two of DFA Records' staple artists, Jee Day and Pat Mahoney, have teamed up to give us this incredible new tune. Really well-done classic sound here; it's reminiscent of New Order, Friendly Fires, and it's all driven through that amazing DFA tunnel. Their self-titled debut LP comes out in August. 

Rustie - Raptor
Rustie is back, and "Raptor" is a surefire way to announce it. Their album Green Language is out August 25 via Warp and you can head over to Pitchfork to see the tour dates.

Painted Palms - Hypnotic (Saint Pepsi Remix)
Great remix of this Painted Palms track. Saint Pepsi has really made a name for himself at this point and the tracks continue to improve consistently. Check out the original song which is good in a completely different way. 

Camp Claude - Camp
The first thing that grabs my attention here is the super Joy Division-sounding bass. The chugging instrumentation mixed with the whispery vocals make this a great jam.

Clap! Clap! - The Rainstick Fable
Oh man. African Poly-Rythmo with a footwork beat behind it! Badman tune!

Friday Download: June 27, 2014


A lot of new, good tunes were released this week, but my actual current favorite "album" is this delightful mash-up album called Mouth Sounds. It has a lot of Smashmouth. It's pretty special. Oh, and if you want to feel really old, Wilco's A Ghost Is Born turned ten years old this week. TEN! Ten years of people yelling out "PLAY 'SPIDERS'!" at Wilco shows. God bless. Anyway, here are the tracks released this week that really spoke to me. Katie



The Weeknd "Often"
You know, sometimes I forget to listen to The Weeknd's lyrics and then when I do I feel like a scandalized mom because dang, he gets dirty. This new one from him is great, though, pearl-clutchin' lyrics and all.



Grimes "Go"
Okay, here it is. The new Grimes song. The one that Rihanna rejected. It does seem a little more Top 40/made for Rihanna and a little less "classic Grimes," but I am not one to turn up my nose at a catchy tune. YOU DO YOU, GRIMES.



Ryn Weaver "OctaHate"
Ryn Weaver kinda came out of nowhere, but this song is amazing. Charli XCX wrote it so you know it's good. (BTW, here's a very fun interview with Charli where she talks about writing the song.) This is going to be another one I'm obsessed with this summer.
(via ONTD)



FKA twigs "Two Weeks"
A NEW VIDEO FROM FKA TWIGS! She looks perfect and the song is perfect and I feel perfect listening to it. Her debut album LP1 comes out in August, so luckily we can expect to be hearing even more new songs from her soon.



Sia "Big Girls Cry"
Sia deserves all the millions of dollars that she gets for songwriting because she is so darn good at it. This newest one from her is as good as the rest and I will absolutely be listening to it as I cry off my makeup.

For the Record: Sharon Van Etten

Things people are saying about musician Sharon Van Etten’s new album, Are We There, include: 


1. “…a masterpiece, an album of extraordinary depth and sophistication that finds the New York singer and songwriter in full command of her considerable talent. (via Paste)
2. “…her most present-tense album to date, her most immediate and urgent—the peak of a steady upward trajectory. (via Pitchfork)
3. “A poignant tour-de-force, the message of Are We There is urgent, its delivery selfless” (via Pretty Much Amazing)

The record, Van Etten’s fourth, was released in late May, and like all of her work, it’s an earnestly vulnerable and deeply personal album filled with, as she explains, “songs that hurt like hell.” It is an often gut-wrenching trip through the complexities of a relationship. It is an appropriate use of the word “heavy,” but in a way that is satisfyingly sincere.  

Van Etten has spoken widely—widely!—about the album’s inception, from the break-up that inspired much of its architecture to feeding the songwriting cycle that her career has so-far dictated. 

Leading up to her UO “For the Record” vinyl signing on Thursday, July 3 at our Westover Road store in Portland, OR, we opted to lighten the mood by inviting Sharon to channel her own stomping grounds from the road—asking her to tell us all about her favorite things in NYC, from her ideal summer day in the city to her favorite haunts, from apartment horror stories to what its like to see Julie Andrews at the dentist.


This is Sharon Van Etten’s New York.

Years in the city? 
10 

Current neighborhood? 
Village

New York in the summer: what's on your itinerary for an ideal day?  
Bike Ride along the West Side, picnic, then read on a bench.

What was your first job in New York? 
Salesman at Astor Wines

Tell me a story about your worst New York apartment. 
I moved to Linden Street off the JZ line in 2005 and the neighbors told me they didn't want me in their neighborhood: Literally told me they didn't want me in their neighborhood after I had just moved in. They made sure I didn't feel comfortable on their block.

What's the most recent, truly great thing you saw in New York?
I saw The Great Beauty at Angelika. So moving.  So vivid.  And afterward, I went to Veloce wine bar and had amazing wine. Perfect evening.

Where in the city do you go to be alone?
I love going to Film Forum and IFC to movies by myself and wine bars, in general. Also, the Comedy Cellar when I am feeling low.

Tell me about a favorite New York memory.
I went to my dentist and as I was paying my bill, Julie Andrews walked in. I was immediately in tears. Childhood hero.

What's something very New York that you refuse to do?
Hang out in Times Square

What's something very New York that you shamelessly love?
The city skyline at the waterfront by the promenade driving in a cab at night.

Please share your best NYC survival tip.
Don't be an asshole, but be kind of on-guard while helping people. And work your ass off.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
 Living here and working here and helping people do the same.


Method of transportation?  
Subway

Bar where you're a regular? (and what's your poison?)  
Four Faced Liar, Bourbon and beer

Spot for leisurely brunch? 
Joseph Leonard

Spot for a celebratory dinner? 
Palma

Morning coffee shop and order? 
Americano at Joe's 

Favorite music store? 
Princeton Record Exchange (sorry! In Jersey!)

Music venue?  
Bowery Ballroom

Where do you get your news? 
Gothamist and New York Times

Place to see art?  
MoMA

Place to be outside? 
Washington Square Park or the West Side

Easy summer day trip?  
Long Beach Island

Place for a group hangout?  
My friend Taylor's house

Place to people-watch?  
Washington Square Park

Place to be inspired?  
Everywhere

SHOP SHARON'S VINYL PICKS

And if you're in Portland, be sure to stop by Sharon's UO "For the Record" vinyl signing Thursday, July 3 from 4-5pm at the Urban Outfitters on Westover Road, Portland, OR.

UO Music: Raury


Raury is an 18-year-old performer from Atlanta, GA, and even though he just graduated from high school last month, he'll soon be supporting Outkast (along with Childish Gambino and Kid Cudi) at their sold out #ATLast festival this September. We've been hearing the buzz about Raury for some time now, so this Friday, June 27, Raury will be performing at our Atlanta, GA location. We caught him on the phone last month right before his graduation to find out a little bit more about what he plans to do this summer and just how he's going to take over Atlanta. Katie



Hi Raury! Thanks for talking to us.
No problem. Nice to meet you, Katie.

Nice to meet you too. How’s everything going?
I’m graduating today!

Oh, today?!
Yeah, I have to be at the center around 4pm.

Oh my god, well thanks for doing this interview. And congratulations on graduating!
Yeah, for sure. It feels so good to be free.

Do you have any plans for the summer yet?
Oh, yeah. To take over Atlanta. [Laughs] Those are my plans.

So you must be pretty happy to be done with school now.
Yeah, I guess a lot of people are pretty excited to be done, like [excited voice], “I’m graduating, I’m graduating!” But I’m just so ready to get it over with and go away. I don’t feel that excitement. Maybe it’ll hit me when I’m in there, but right now I’m just like, “Get me out of here!”

Are you planning to move out of Atlanta or do you want to stick around?
I have unfinished business here. There’s a lot to be done before I can just up and leave. I’d like to be here and then leave from time to time, like business trips or working with other people. I feel like I need to take over the city before I leave it. [Laughs]

We saw online that you’ve been going on an “Anti-Tour” and played outside a Childish Gambino show recently.
Yeah, yeah.

Do you have plans to keep doing that?
Okay, I’m going to tell you a secret but you can’t tell anybody. I can’t even say it too loud because my mom’s in the other room and she doesn’t know either. But you know how I’m graduating today? Guess what’s about to happen? [Laughs] A lot of kids like the song and I didn’t perform at the talent show, so they’re pissed off at me. They’re about to get their performance. [Laughs]

Have you ever gotten in real trouble for one of those performances?
Nah, I’m too fast to get in trouble. [Laughs]

Do you ever play venues in Atlanta?
Actually, my first "real" show at a venue is going to be June 10th.


Footage from Raury's first "real" live show, Raurfest, June 2014

When does your EP Indigo Child finally come out?
I'm thinking late summer. Be on the lookout for it August through September!

Do most people find you through the internet or do you have a good fanbase in Atlanta that's spreading your stuff?
Well, in my high school I've always been really well-known for doing music. Like I started a music club and directed the talent show so I have a lot of people that believe in me and the things I do. For the past two years my management and I have just been building up one hell of a network. Getting to know the right people and starting the right relationships, you know? Now that it's time for me to release something and they know what the music is, they really champion it. They really love the music.

When did you start getting super serious with your music?
I knew that music was what I wanted to do with the rest of my life when I was 14. I was a young kid and was like, "What can I do to get rich and get the girls?" [Laughs] I've always been doing things, I've always been musically inclined. And I tried other things, like I ran track and football, but at the end of the day I wrote my first song when I was 3, looking up to Michael Jackson and all that, so by the time I was 14 I quit playing football and really tried figuring out every way I could get involved musically with the school. Just putting myself out there. Throughout that, I just got to meet the right people and get into a position where I'm doing the things I'm doing now.

Who have you been listening to lately?
I've been listening to PARTYNEXTDOOR. Also digging deeper into some older stuff lately. I've been retrograding with my music. Like Stevie Wonder and Prince. I just downloaded Nirvana's Nevermind album. I'm always listening to Kid Cudi, I'm never not listening to Kid Cudi. I'm never not listening to Justin Vernon.

What are you excited for this year?
To see how the world reacts to the Indigo Child project. I feel like it's not just gonna be a collection of music. It's not just an EP or a mixtape or anything like that. It's a movement and a project within itself. The videos and interviews, everything down to the shows I do, they inspire this new wave in music. There's a lot of cool, different types of kids in my city, not to mention the rest of the world, that are young and overlooked. Throughout this project it'll just bring awareness to these young, advanced kids of the internet age. Kinda wake the world up about that.



See Raury perform live on June 27 at our Atlanta store (1061 Ponce DeLeon Ave. NE)!

UO Exclusive: Robyn and Royksopp "Do It Again"


It's no secret that over here at UO we love all things vinyl. Now available to pre-order only at UO is the new record from electronic pop trio Robyn & Röyksopp called Do It Again. But there's more to it! This UO-exclusive is made of crisp, white vinyl, and will look fabulous in your collection. Also, how cool is the cover art? Totally loving the throwback to an old CD label across the front.

The album features five massive tracks from the trio that are sure to be your new summer favorites. Each track is a perfect combo of European electronic music mixed with Robyn's superb vocals. Robyn, a futuristic pop-princess in her own right, spoke to Billboard Magazine about the new record saying, "It was an outlet for not having to live up to anything but my own expectations." That's the spirit, right? Do It Again opens with the slower, melodic "Monument" and then ramps the energy right back up with the title track. Do It Again was created, produced, and recorded by all three members from scratch.

Robyn & Röyksopp are on tour this summer, will you be catching them? Pre-order the record here. Maddie

UO Live: Connan Mockasin


The inaugural video in our UO Live series, Connan Mockasin performs a live and unplugged version of “I Wanna Roll With You,” off Caramel, his second full-length album. We caught up with him and his band behind the scenes.



You can thank Connan Mockasin’s mom for bringing his music into the world. The New Zealand-born artist was living with his parents when he recorded his first solo record, Forever Dolphin Love, at home.

“I’ve done two records on my own,” he says. “The first record, I was pretty disheartened by the industry—still am in some ways—but the point is, I went back home to stay with my parents and I wasn’t really doing anything. And then my mum was telling me that I should make a record. And I was like, ‘No, no.’ Because I was kind of brainwashed into thinking you needed a producer, an engineer, a proper studio—da, da, da. And then mum was going, ‘No you don’t, you’ve got some equipment back home.’ So I just made a record on my own there, not thinking that it would ever be heard. And then it somehow got released and I started having to play shows all of a sudden and it just happened like that.”

The record “somehow got released” via influential British DJ and producer Erol Alkan, and brought Mockasin’s soulful, experimental grooves to the attention of Charlotte Gainsbourg, with whom he has collaborated and played backup band for, and Radiohead, who he supported on tour in 2012. 

Caramel, released in November last year is, as its name suggests, Mockasin’s most deliciously slow-dance-ready yet, and sees him touring with a new line-up—a motley crew of musicians he picked-up from New York to London: Drummer Matt Eccles, bassist Nick Harsant, guitarist (and occasional bongo player) Rory McCarthy and keyboardist Sofia Karchi. (Fun fact: Mockasin met keyboardist-cum-manager Sofia on the Eurostar from Paris.)



Hi everyone! Connan, can you tell us about the song you chose to perform for the first in our UO Live video series?
Connan: I recorded it in Tokyo in a hotel room. It was the one song that I’d written before I made the record and it had a caramel feel for me.

How would you describe your outfit today? [Mockasin is wearing pale silk Chinese pajamas, an embroidered vest and black nurse’s clogs accessorized with a fencing sword he found on-set].
Connan: Peter Pan!

Where are you all based? 
Connan: I’m not based anywhere at the moment, myself. 
Nick: I’m in London, always in London. 
Matt: New York
Sofia: I don’t have a place anywhere. 
Rory: Paris  

How did you all get together? 
Nick: That’s a long one… 
Connan: Matt and I met in London. Then I met Nick the day we played together. We met Sofia on a train and I helped with her luggage. I thought she was rude. 
Sofia: I was just thinking, this poor man seems very tired, and he was already carrying so much, I didn’t think it was fair to ask for his help. 
Connan: So we sit down and Sofia was one up from me but across the aisle and we sat chatting. 
Rory: I met all of the other guys in Manchester at The Deaf Institute. I came to see Connan; I had seen him a few times and he was a friend of a friend. He asked me to play bongos, which as a guitar player was a funny thing to be asked, but I ended up playing more bongos than guitar! 
Matt: Rory just got up for an encore and never left!

What did you do for a living before you started playing music? 
Connan: My last proper job was a gardener. 
Rory: I as making fake teeth, which is ironic because I’m missing a tooth and I don’t have the tool here to make a replacement. 
Band: How do you make a fake tooth? 
Rory: I can go into it right now! It takes a lot of casts and semi-precious metals and all kinds of stuff...

So, how do you describe your sound? 
Rory: “Sensitive rock”
Matt: "Café Soliel"
Nick: "Sleaze Rock"
Connan: "Wonka Dust"

You get pretty creative describing your sound. What about other people's descriptions? What do you make of it?
Rory: The weirdest one for me when you got called Auzzie-psych. 
Sofia: Yeah, that was just wrong! 
Rory: It’s fine but it’s wrong. 
Nick: "Weirdo" always creeps up, which is strange. Aussie-weird. Psych-weirdo.
Connan: Or “Wellington Jazz Pianist”—that’s another funny one. I can’t play piano and I’m not from Wellington, either. I think it was on Wikipedia for a while, that’s why. It’s really hard to get things off Wikipedia. A lot of people run their interviews off Wikipedia and a lot of it’s wrong. So I wrote to them and said, “This is actually me and this is not true, can I take it off?” And then I got kicked off for trying to change it.

Your performances are very special: They’re atmospheric, wonderful and such an experience. How do you approach it as a band? 
Matt: We try to make it different as much as we can.
Connan: It would be pretty maddeningly boring to do the same thing every night. Last night at the Bowery Ballroom we had a huge band. We had probably 20 people on stage!



Within your music, do you feel like there is a commonality in your friendship? 
Sofia: Fashion. I think that’s our common thing. 
Connan: We enjoy hanging out together. I don’t know if it’s necessarily about music or enjoying the same music, but we do. Because you are doing the same thing a lot of the time: Going to the venue, setting up, playing, and going away. I think a lot of bands get disheartened and it starts affecting them. 
Sofia: I think we just love each other so much and we genuinely really care about each other so much in our lives, and we are friends. It’s true. These guys are the most important guys in my life and every show is just about us having fun with the crowd and enjoying our job. It changes every time depending on our mood, but I think it’s love. 

It must to be great to be so close and tour together. Are there any special moments on tour that you can share? 
Matt: Tunisia was pretty cool. 
Connan: [Laughs] 
Matt: Connan rode a camel to the stage. 
Nick: With a Go-Pro 
Connan: Which I had to hold! The camel would go down and up really quick and I was trying to hold on tight. 
Matt: It took a long time to get to the stage as well. [Laughs]
Connan: Am I allowed to swear on this?

Yes!
Connan: When we were in Tunisia, I had this moment—we were in a really nice hotel. That’s the thing, usually when you’re on tour you don’t get time to hang out on your own very often, but it was nice to have a day off and just spend it by myself in the hotel. I ordered a coffee and I rolled myself a cigarette and the sun was going down and I was standing on the balcony and there were camels walking along the beach. And I [dramatically mimics smoking a cigarette], I had my coffee and I was just like, 'Fuck yeah!' I spoke out loud to myself—‘Fuck yeah!’ I scared myself! [Laughs]. You know when you talk to yourself when you’ve been on your own all day? It was aggressive!

In general, what has touring been like? 
Matt: It’s nice to play shows in America now. It’s always nice to go to new places and see how it goes. 
Nick: People know the lyrics to songs. They’ve started to sing along, which didn’t happen before—our lyrics are pretty obscure. It’s pretty funny to see people sing what they think they’re hearing. 
Sofia: I don’t know the lyrics! 
Matt: Even we don’t and we’re all singing as well. 
Connan: Even I don’t. [Band laughs]

What do you like to do when you’re not making music? What can you do when you're not touring that you can't on the road?
Connan: I watch a lot of surfing on the Internet and I love pasta.
Sofia: [Go on] dates. I feel like I've gone on more dates since I’m I the band so I’m happy about that. I think it’s a good thing, no? 
Matt: Depends on the date really! 
Sofia: Yep, it depends on the date. I had two dates in New York since I’ve been here! One good, one just okay. 
Connan: They’re going to know who they are now. 
Matt: Keep ‘em guessing!

Check out Connan’s full-length album, Caramel, out now on Mexican Summer Records.

Music Monday: June 23, 2014

No more Monday morning excuses! Stop staring at the clock and start your work week out right with five hand-picked songs from our music stylist, Corbin, who wants to fill your brainwaves with summer-ready sounds and auditory illusions.

Nao vs. A. K. Paul – So Good

Apparently this is Jai Paul's brother. We'll take it, though, since at least it's in the same realm as the ever elusive Jai. This is a jam, and boy, are we looking forward to Jai Paul's Debut LP.

MCFERRDOG – I Wanna See

This is a Monday kickstart, for sure. House beats, great textures and vocal pitching. All around big tune here. 1080p never disappoints. 

Seiho – Plastic

Seiho with a wild one here. Many surprises in this track, and to really seal the song is the Lyn Collins sample. Listen if you're into: Sophie, Night Slugs, Fade to Mind.

Sad Actor – Cringe

Wonderful nostalgic chugger from Sad Actor. This is from Sad Actor's debut EP, but they are working on releasing their debut LP this fall. It's very reminiscent of Russian Circles, older Mogwai, and that post-rock instrumental sound. 

Darkly – Animated Space Debris

Great summery lo-fi pop track from Darkly. The atmosphere and vocal style really makes me think of Niva. All the Darkly stuff is good, as per the case with Swedish artists. 

Friday Download: June 20, 2014


Before we get into everything from this week, we'd just like to point out that O-Town released a brand new music video yesterday and the song is called "Skydive" and the lyrics are "I just want to skydive into your life." So, don't say that 2014 never gave you anything. Now, onto the rest of the best from this week. Katie



Arctic Monkeys "Snap Out Of It"
The sad girl in this video is us when we realized that Alex Turner won't be marrying us anytime soon. Sigh.



Little Daylight "Hello Memory
We stumbled across Little Daylight on Soundcloud this week and were racking our brains trying to figure out where we'd heard them before, and then we realized they played Governor's Ball earlier this month. Anyway, we're happy we randomly ran across them again thanks to the internet because every song is amazing, especially this remix of "Love Stories."



Jungle on Kimmel
This week, Jungle made their US TV debut on Kimmel and did prett-ay, prett-ay good. We're excited to hear their self-titled full-length album when it's released July 15.



How To Dress Well What Is This Heart?
How To Dress Well's new album is out June 24 and the whole thing is available to stream over on whatisthisheart.com. It's a good album to listen to if you're feelin' like you need some sad summer music to wallow outside to. Right now we're listening to "See You Fall" and feeling like we should be in a dramatic indie comedy. It's very pleasant to weep to contemplatively. (via Consequence of Sound)
"Rock Band Recital Fail"
This is incredible. They are trying so hard and then everything just falls apart and they don't even react. It's basically your entire career as a middle schooler condensed into a 59 second metaphor. KEEP YOUR HEADS UP, FELLAS. (via PAPERMAG)

For The Record: Little Dragon

Little Dragon, a Swedish group that has consistently put out dreamy, uptempo tunes to keep us dancing, is the latest band participating in our For The Record program and will be signing vinyl at our Herald Square location (1333 Broadway, NYC) on June 21 from 1-2pm. We spoke to Yukimi Nagano, the band's frontwoman, to find out a little bit more about their latest record Nabuma Rubberband and what the band has planned for their inaugural U.S. tour.
Interview by Katie Gregory



Katie: How are you today?
Yukimi Nagano: Good! It’s a beautiful day. I’m home in Gothenburg.

How does it feel to finally have Nabuma Rubberband, your new album, out?
It’s amazing! I think we’ve waited for that time, and now it’s actually happening and it’s good to finally share the music with the fans and people—not just journalists and the label.

How long did it take to record the album? Because you’ve taken a break for the last couple years, right?
Yeah, we toured after Ritual Union for a year or two years and then I’d say we were in the studio for about a year, year and a half.

What has the reception been like? Have your fans been into the new music?
Yeah, it’s been amazing. [We’re] definitely feeling the love from the fans and even new people who don’t know about us, who have discovered us from this record. I mean, you’re always going to have those people who have their opinion with, "Oh the first one’s my favorite." Or, "Ritual Union was my favorite." But that’s just the world! It would be boring if everyone had the same taste. I don’t mind.

I saw on your Twitter that you retweeted Willow Smith who said she liked “Paris,” which I though was cute!
Oh yeah! Yeah, that was fun.

Was it easy getting back into the touring game?
It took a minute, for sure; I think just to sort of feel tight as the band. We needed to just throw ourselves out there and have some shows. I think we feel ready now.

I saw that you guys participated in “Tumblr IRL.” That show seemed really awesome!
Yeah it was really special actually; it was pretty crazy. We had a small space—it was maybe… 200-300 people capacity—but the line has two thousand people so it was pretty amazing. It was frustrating because we obviously wanted everyone who came out to come in but we were at least able to give everyone the comic. It was a special space because Brian Butler, who created the comic, also did our art installation in there. It was good to do something for the fans that was genuinely just from us so it was fun.

So that was kind of a one-off event right? And how about the comics? Would that be something you would bring on tour?
[The event] was definitely kind of a one-off, but the comic is something that me and Brian and the guys have talked about doing for a few years, but it didn’t happen until now. Obviously it made sense to do now because of the record coming out; I sort of kept in contact with him and waited for the right minute to be like, “Alright, let’s do this comic!” It all fell into place spontaneously but it was also something we talked about doing.

I saw all of the pictures online, and the actual comic looked so cool!
Yeah! And you know I really love comics and the stuff that they brought was kind of in the similar spirit to the Nabuma comics, so it had humor, it was surreal, it was fun stuff! I got in and bought a whole bunch of comics myself to read on the road or whatever.



I saw that you guys have been doing fun things around the album release, like the derby car contest for people to win tickets. How did that come to be?
It was something we decided to do! It was partnered with Redbull but it was our initiative to do it. All of the cars were really awesome. There were some really creative, fun fans who did amazing little cars. I was really impressed; it was fun. The whole idea was initiated by Adam Farrell from Loma Vista who has this really creative mind and he always comes up with crazy, interesting ideas. It’s fun when you meet those people who are like, “Hey I have this idea that sounds stupid and amazing!” And then it actually happened.

Do you have any upcoming festivals or shows that you’re looking most forward to play?
I mean, I think were just looking forward to so much. I think for sure doing the tour. I think we’re going to be doing our first U.S. tour in June. So compared to festivals that should be fun to be able to get into the zone a little bit and actually have time for a proper sound check. But I really enjoy playing festivals because of the other bands. You get to see the other bands and check out other acts and also get into the adrenaline of playing for a big group of people and people just come check you out and don’t know who you are. It’s a larger scale and more intense, but I look forward to both festivals we’re doing this summer but then proper shows as well.

I saw that actually both of your New York shows sold out, which is awesome!
It’s really cool! When we started we felt a lot of love from the West Coast in the U.S., especially L.A. and San Francisco. It’s nice to really feel the love from New York and feel it grow there. It’s a special place; I mean I really love going there and playing there.

What do you like to do for fun on tour that’s not musical related? Any rituals or places you like to go?
When we have the time, because we don’t always, we definitely like to eat good food—everybody’s kind of foodies. You want to get a contrast from your everyday so definitely like some beautiful nature, or a park. Erik is into speed skating on ice and weight lifting. Håkan tries to find the little weird gear stores where you can find some synth that is rare but hopefully cheap because they don’t know it’s rare. Fred is always looking for the best coffee place. I think it’s just sort of about finding that space to relax.

Do you have any music or TV shows that you’ve been into lately?
True Detective… I was pretty mesmerized and scared. Like, it really scared me! A couple nights there I was like, “Uhhhh… when I get up to use the restroom I might get murdered!” Fred is into Fargo. Håkan had a moment of Game of Thrones but apparently he’s kind of over it now [laughs].

Where do you hope to see yourself in the future with the band?
I definitely see us making more music and trying to challenge that—I want to do different things. I don’t know how exactly. Not necessarily collaborations with other musicians, but maybe collaborate with a painter, or make music for film. I don’t know, definitely creative stuff and staying inspired, and making music and kind of continue to make things that feel fresh, inspiring and new so you keep your mind on the edge and inspired!

Shop Little Dragon’s fourth studio LP, Nabuma Rubberband, out now on in the U.S. on Loma Vista Recordings, and in the U.K. on Because Music.

Summer in the City: Amoeba Music at Herald Square


Excited about the permanent Amoeba Music installation in our newest Herald Square store (1333 Broadway NYC), we spoke to Marc Weinstein, one of the co-founders of Amoeba, to get the scoop on what his brand plans to bring to the Amoeba Music record shop in their first NYC location.


Amoeba Music in Herald Square

Can you tell us a bit about how Amoeba started, and what it’s like to have grown from a small place to become such a big entity?
Amoeba started because two record store geeks got together to create a business that would be the closest thing to a mecca for record collectors, carrying as much music to do the overall subject the justice it deserves and a place that truly celebrates humankind's most "accessible" art. Our idea and our "style" quickly made many people enthusiastic customers and we grew exponentially in our first ten years of existence. Expanding our reach has been most gratifying as so many have been able to avail themselves of what we offer and have the next best thing to a big museum fully devoted to music: A place where you can actually buy the stuff and bring all that love home with you.

How has your taste in music changed and evolved over time?
My taste has only grown broader and wider in my 38 years in the retail record biz having been exposed to many new genres, scenes, and artists along the way. Mostly because we all work around other music collectors and experts all day, everyday, and get constant firsthand accounts of cool new stuff to check out—with much of this wisdom coming from the customers themselves. I am much more interested in jazz and "world" folk music than I was when I was younger. American "roots" music, too. I also now particularly love "experimental" and "improvisational" music, the stuff where amazing musicians go completely out on a limb and expose all their wackiest ideas.

What are three words you would use to describe Amoeba and its staff?
Love, passion and personality.


Amoeba Music in Herald Square

What do you think are the best albums of all time?
My "top" favorites would truly number in the hundreds and would include hit records as well as some super obscure titles. OK, I'll try. The Beatles' Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart's Club Band; Sun Ra's Atlantis; Pere Ubu's The Modern Dance; Miles Davis' Nefertiti; and Led Zeppelin 4.

What will you include in your curated selection at Herald Square?
It will be a cross section of all popular genres—a small attempt to distill the half million used on out-of-print LPs that we have and hopefully a selection that will inspire people to delve deeper into the experience of listening to LPs... LPs that will show off how great the experience of bringing home something new to check out can be!

Can you talk to us a bit about selling records in California vs. New York?
For one thing, California has always had a love affair with records, with more record stores "per capita" than anywhere in the U.S. New York City might have come in a close second, at least until recently when real estate prices made it downright prohibitive for independent stores to exist. Like New York, Los Angeles is a 24-hour city and we have lines in our store right up until our 11pm closing time every night. NYC and L.A. have so much in common culturally with such utter diversity and an amazing array of art and music-related institutions. Also, like NYC, Los Angeles is home to so much media, we're almost always a part of the hype surrounding a given release which adds a lot of excitement. Both places are among the few places a store like Amoeba can thrive with such a feeling of constant cultural "critical mass"!

See more from Herald Square here!