Music Monday: December 9, 2013
Another week, another five tracks! From our hearts, to yours. —Corbin
Pional - Invisible/Amenaza
Another week, another five tracks! From our hearts, to yours. —Corbin
Pional - Invisible/Amenaza
Over the weekend I spontaneously decided to see a documentary called The Punk Singer at Cinefamily in Los Angeles. Originally premiering earlier this year at SXSW, The Punk Singer is a documentary that chronicles the life thus far of singer and songwriter Kathleen Hanna, who came onto the scene with Bikini Kill in the early '90s. The film features the voices and opinions of many strong feminists, including Kathleen herself, Kim Gordon, Tavi Gevinson, Carrie Brownstein, Kathi Wilcox, and so many more.
The Punk Singer is a total must see, and you'll have no choice but to feel inspired after watching it. In it, Kathleen Hanna talks about her career with Bikini Kill, Le Tigre, her new project The Julie Ruin, and essentially why she has ever done everything she has accomplished. It's an excellent glimpse inside where and how the Riot Grrrl movement originated, which is what I loved most. If you're not in Los Angeles this week and can't catch the week long run of the film at Cinefamily, you can also view it in various other theaters across the country up until February, and you can also rent it on iTunes. Go see it and let Kathleen inspire you to let your voice be heard! —Maddie
Ahead of the last gig on her recent tour of the United States, I caught up with singer-songwriter Kate Nash at The Fonda in Los Angeles to talk (amongst other things) about the release of her third record, Girl Talk, which came out earlier this year. Kate told me about her biggest role model, her experience at Reading Festival, and what she is most looking forward to about the holidays. Interview and photos by Maddie Sensibile
Maddie: You released your third record, Girl Talk, earlier this year. What was your mission when creating this album?
Kate: When I was actually writing the record, I wasn't really thinking at all, because I was going through a lot of emotional crap. I didn't have any other way of being powerful, so I just wrote songs. I would go into my house and just explode how I was feeling. It was the only way I could be that honest when I was writing songs.
I knew what the attitude of the record was going to be, but I didn't know how I was gonna make it until I started writing the songs. Playing bass made it sound really different. I wanted it to be an indie version of Destiny's Child's Survivor album, and bring together all the work I've been doing over the past couple of years… a really empowering album for young girls.
Maddie: Your opinions on feminism are definitely clear and very positive for young women. Growing up, did you have a role model, or is there one that is still important to you?
Kate: Yeah, I would say my mum, really. I've got two sisters, they're both here [in L.A.] actually. My mum and dad were very open-minded. My mum was very much a debater, and taught us to argue and be challenged. She would always open debates and discussions growing up. That had a really massive effect on me. She's just a really strong woman. She's a nurse and she worked in a cancer unit when she had cancer [herself]. She's so strong, but really motherly and nurturing as well. She's my biggest role model.
Maddie: Speaking of being a role model, you're very close with your fans. Why do you think its so important to maintain this relationship?
Kate: Because you can. It's so easy now, it almost feels pretentious if you don't. There's a line where you should be able to switch off and have time to chill out and zone out or whatever, but there are so many opportunities now to connect with your fans, and it's a really nice thing. I have the sweetest fans as well. They're so nice, its ridiculous. They're just really nice to each other, and [have] become best friends across the globe.
It's also been really cool because I got dropped from my record label last year, and to see how supportive my fans are...it's great. As an artist nowadays, you don't have to rely on a record label or a radio hit. With things like Twitter and Instagram, and just meeting your fans, they'll always support you for that. I feel like I'm not just writing songs to be cool or to be a musician. I've always believed in revolution and change, and connection with an audience.
Maddie: Your Girl Talk tour shows have gained some serious notoriety, stage raids included. What's the best gig you've had this year?
Kate: I guess Reading [festival] was crazy. I was so nervous about it because I haven't played a UK festival for a few years. When I went to the tent, I was like, No one's going to be there! I'm really scared! And then the tent was packed. I could see people in the audience, either friends or fans that I've recognized from shows on the tours we've been to.
There's this band called The Tuts from the UK that have opened up for us a bunch. They're insane. Really, really fun. Nadia [Javed, vocals] will, like, crowd surf and get dropped. She doesn't care about looking stupid or anything. I've seen her slam down trying to crowd surf and failing, being stuck over the barrier. At festivals it's really hard to get over the barrier, there's like ten men lined up, and everyone was trying and getting carried off, but somehow Nadia managed to run on stage. We were all laughing so much while we were playing.
Our L.A.-based freelancer Maddie is so in love with music we were like "Why don't you marry it" and gave her her very own column, "I'm With The Band." Whenever a cool band rolls into town, Maddie will be there to chat to them - and she'll get the pictures to prove it. We'll be putting up Maddie's most recent interviews in the coming days, so stay tuned.
To find out a little bit more about our favorite fanatic, read on!
With three remixes this week, we'll be sure to keep you groovin', right up until Turkey Day. —Corbin
Jamie XX - Untitled
English band Death of Pop have cultivated a perfectly shoegaze sound with their swirling guitars and ethereal vocals that call to mind veterans of the genre like Chapterhouse and Ride. Though the group has yet to release a full album, their Bandcamp page is littered with jangly pop earworms like "Sun In My Eyes" and "What A Day." Be sure to keep your eye on these indie Brits, as their underrated singles keep getting dreamier. —Hazel
Music Monday! Let's all try to get through this week together. We're so close to Thanksgiving, y'all. —Corbin
TCTS - These Heights
It's Monday, so here are some tunes to get you through the week! —Corbin
Seablaze - Pastel Spells
This track has a great feeling to it right from the beginning. The vocals are reminiscent of Iceage, but it has the fuzzyness of Ride. Not understanding a word doesn't take away anything from this tune. Vaadat Charigim are from Israel and have a full length album coming out tomorrow.
There's a lot of energy in this one. It moves along super powerfully but still allows you to maintain the groove. Solid reverb on the vocals, and good overall vocal presence. Love this track because of the speed disco and early '90s bass and guitar licks.
This smoothed out tune seems like it was way ahead of its time, seeing as it hit Soundcloud a year ago. This has the perfect Pure Moods vibe that Clammy Clams had when Instrumentals came out. There's good pitching on the voice, and nice matchstick drums.
Helfer "Couch Surfer" continues their stride with a fully fleshed out digital take on a downtempo Portishead tip. This is a majorly big tune. It looks like you can expect an EP from Helfer soon.
Since its launch last winter, The Le Sigh has been an online cool girl clubhouse of sorts. With consistently excellent indie music and arts coverage along with a strong allegiance to zine culture, The Le Sigh is one of the best well-rounded blogs in cyberspace today. This month, the Le Sigh girls will be moving to print with THE LE SIGH Vol. 1, a full color publication. The contributor list reads like a who's-who of Tumblr It-girls with work from Grace Miceli, Laurence Philomene, Lauren Cook, and more.
But the glossy, bubblegum pink-tinted zine is not the only thing these ladies have up their sleeves. The Le Sigh is partnering with Brooklyn-based record label Birdtapes to put out a girls-only tape compilation featuring acts such as the twee singer-songwriter Frankie Cosmos and the raucous punk band Priests. The publication and tape, which will be available for purchase online November 18th, will debut at The Le Sigh zine launch party November 17th at Silent Barn, which features performances from musicians on the tape like Whatever Dad, Lizard Kisses, and more. —Hazel
We wish Delorean was still going to be in town to play at Fun Fun Fun and our AfterFest this weekend. In honor of the lovely Spaniards, here's a video of their live performance from AfterFest FYF of their song "Spirit." Be sure to check the guys out when they return to the states in the new year! —Ally
Welcome to Music Monday! Gettin' your week started off right. This week, we have a PREMIERE TRACK for you guys - Wild Cub's "Thunder Clatter (Twin Shadow Remix)", and the first song on our mix. Check it out and let us know what you think! —Corbin
Hey, if you feel like having your HEART RIPPED OUT AND STEPPED ON, then may I suggest watching this video? Our music director here at UO sent me this video to check out, so I did, and then I yelled at him through a waterfall of tears because OH MY GOD. FEELINGS. Had to pause this a minute in to silently weep. And then our other blog team member Ally also got about a minute in before she started weeping. So get your tissues, buddies, because you sure are gonna need them. —Katie
Birmingham band Peace made a quick stop in Los Angeles this week, and I was able to have a quick phone chat with lead singer Harry Koisser while they were here. The band's had a whirlwind of a year: They've come out with their debut record, In Love, and have toured everywhere from their home country of England to Japan. Their music has an extremely unique sound that is somewhat psychedelic, but also sounds like something you've never heard before, which is unbelievably refreshing. As Harry says, the band was influenced by "everything you'd ever like." Harry told me about his favorite places, guitars, and the red velvet catsuit he just purchased. Don't fret, he's wearing it on Halloween.
Interview by Maddie Sensibile.
Maddie: Hey! How has your headline tour of the U.S. been treating you so far?
Harry: It's been fantastic, you know. I love going around the U.S.
Maddie: Your debut album, In Love, came out earlier this year, but just came out stateside. What were some of your main influences making the record, musically, or even non-musically?
Harry: Everything. I don't know really. Musically, just everything you'd ever like. We were just doing what we wanted to do, and we'd never made a record before. It was more about just doing it and making a record and writing songs. I guess we were influenced by the opportunity to do it.
Maddie: I know you've recently acquired a double necked Gibson SG, and I've read your tweets about looking for vintage guitar specialists. Is there one guitarist that really got you to become a guitar enthusiast, and eventually led you to playing music?
Harry: Guitarists... Jimmy Page was always my favorite. He's just, the one.
Maddie: Yes, he's everything.
Harry: Yeah, he's brilliant.
Maddie: Speaking of that, what was one of the first gigs you ever went to that you knew sealed the deal early on?
Harry: I don't know really! I went to my dad's band quite a lot. He was a drummer in a covers band, and he played like weddings and stuff. I used to go to those, and I guess that's kind of it, really. Seeing a band, when I was like two years old, was quite cool. It's what I wanted to do when I was really young.
Maddie: Aside from having incredible guitars, you're always dressed excellently on stage. What is the best piece of clothing you've ever worn on stage?
Harry: I just bought a like, I don't know what you'd call it - it's almost like a catsuit. It's made of like, velour, and it's dark, dark red, almost black. It's kind of what Catwoman would wear, I guess. I've got that. I don't remember where I bought it actually. It's very good.
Maddie: You should wear it on Halloween.
Harry: Yes, I will.
Maddie: Now, let's chat about tour. What do you guys put on your tour rider? Anything we wouldn't expect?
Harry: We don't actually put anything on it. We just say Whatever.
Maddie: You're very easy.
Harry: Yeah, we can't bother to write it, really. We used to have one, for Christmas, we used to ask for loads of stupid stuff, but now we just ask for whatever.
Maddie: What's the best city you've visited on this tour? Any place you'd really dig returning to?
Harry: I always like going to Portland. We didn't actually play there, but we did stop there. I know it's not in the States, but Vancouver was really fun.
Maddie: What music have you been listening to lately that you just can't stop listening to?
Harry: Queen, A Day At The Races. It's quite good. I've been writing new stuff, so I've been listening to myself, which is lame. Dom's [Peace's drummer] been listening to something awfully psychedelic. Dom's always got something terribly psychedelic from like, Budapest.
Maddie: Lastly, is there any song, new or old, that you wish you could've written the lyrics and music to?
Harry: I heard the demo of Lou Reed's "Walk On The Wild Side," and I was like, awesome. You know I've just been reminded of that 'cause he cocked it. I was thinking about that, when I heard [about his passing]. I was like, he wrote some songs that I really wish that I could've written.
Yesterday the world lost an extremely influential and groundbreaking musician, Lou Reed. Although he was a founding member of The Velvet Underground, he also had an extensive solo career, and was responsible for influencing the psychedelic and punk scenes. Beginning his career with the Underground, Reed later collaborated with other influential artists like Andy Warhol, and worked on his own solo career, even releasing the controversial album Metal Machine Music. Through it all, Reed made a gigantic impact on the world, for musicians and non-musicians alike. His work and attitude influenced and continue to influence nearly every band, old and new. Music surely would not be what it is today without his contributions. Here's a little playlist for your mind and ears to remember some of his best. We'll miss you, Lou. —Maddie
Check out what we've got for you on this Music Monday! —Corbin
Furns - Haunt Me
Last Saturday, October 19, Palma Violets brought their extremely high-energy show to the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles, and just before the gig I had the chance to sit down with them (literally, on the red, carpeted floor of the venue) to chat. Vocalist and guitarist Sam Fryer, bassist Chilli Jesson, and resident Palma Violets prophet/merch boy/band's best friend Harry Violent joined me. Here's what they had to say.
Interview and live photos by Maddie Sensibile.
Maddie: How's the Rattlesnake Rodeo Tour been treating you so far?
Chilli: It's been great.
Sam: It's been up and down.
Maddie: How was Berkeley yesterday?
Sam: It was one of the ups, definitely.
Maddie: How does it feel to have such a well-received debut record, and to be so young still? Do you feel happy about it?
Harry: I'm twenty-two...
Maddie: I'm about to turn twenty. I know, getting so old.
Harry: Oh, to be twenty again!
Maddie: Only two years ago!
Chilli: Absolutely, it's been really great. Good reaction.
Harry: Gotta bring it down from the inside, haven't ya?
You recently released the "Invasion of the Tribbles" single with a special etching on the back, the purple "Best of Friends" vinyl, and the white "We Found Love" single as well. Do you enjoy collecting vinyl?
Sam: I think it's fantastic. I wouldn't say we're vinyl collectors, but we all have vinyl collections. We're not fanatics, we don't study it.
Chilli: Our sound guy goes to every city and picks up a little. You also need to have quite a bit of money to get a vinyl collection going, you know what I mean? On tour we need to kind of save our cash to buy food.
Sam: We've got a good collection, though. A good stash in 180.
Chilli: Most of mine are from my parents. Some that I've bought. It's building up into a good stash.
Sam: It's the best way to listen to music, to the ears.
Maddie: Speaking of all things analog, you guys use social media, but not too much. Do you think it's crucial for a band to have a strong social media presence, or do you think it's okay to keep it minimal?
Sam: We keep on being told it's crucial.
Harry: We've been tweeting, though.
Sam: These guys are trying their best.
Maddie: How do you feel about Twitter?
Chilli: Oh. By the way, I deleted it...
Harry: You deleted it?
Chilli: So, we had a twitter account, but I woke up this morning and felt like, very anxious...
Harry: Didn't you tell me something about it this morning? You told me we gained thirty or something.
Chilli: And then I thought, well then we'll just pull out.
Harry: We did two tweets.
Maddie: It was too much for you?
Sam: We're definitely too sensitive for Twitter, I think.
Harry: I'm too long winded as well.
Maddie: You recorded 180 with Steve Mackey of Pulp. Do you want to work with him again?
Sam: We're big fans. We went to go see them in Sheffield, one of their last shows ever.
Chilli: Supposed final show, in England, in Britain.
Harry: Final homecoming show!
Sam: We're big fans of Pulp, yeah. The future is unwritten as well for album two.
Palma Violets' drummer, Will Doyle.
Maddie: Who do you listen to before shows? Any specific things you do?
Sam: We don't listen to music; we actually just watch interviews. Nick Cave does good interviews, and Jesus and Mary Chain do great interviews. They're actually quite entertaining. That gets us geared up.
Harry: Sometimes Shrek and Depeche Mode as well.
Chilli: Yeah, and Zoolander.
Sam: Sometimes other peoples' music can pollute the soul, so you want to feel your own energy as you head onto the stage, as opposed to somebody else's.
Maddie: Since you guys are here, what are your favorite things to do in L.A.?
Chilli: IN 'N OUT BURGER! We've just been.
Harry: I want to go lick the sand on Venice Beach again.
Sam: Last time we saw loads of porpoises.
Harry: Call them dolphins.
Sam: I was told, "They're not fucking dolphins! They're porpoises!"