“Sixteen Candles” - Bethpage Black
On Saturday, Claire Gallagher got to chat with the members of Bethpage Black. Here is some of their conversation:
Claire Gallagher: What do you think you would be doing right now if you weren’t a musician?
Steve Coy: The cliché answer is "Lying in a grave," but it's sort of true--music is all we want to do. Davin plays guitar like 8 hours a day. The goal, like with all bands, is to quit our day jobs.
CG: What did you want to be when you were a kid?
SC: I wanted to be a chef (and was one, at the #1 Zagat restaurant in LA, Melisse)
CG: What has been a personal high and a personal low about your musical career so far? Any particular moments of awesomeness or embarrassing blunders?
SC: Highs: Our shows at the House of Blues and Troubadour, and hearing our song "Demyelination" on KROQ for the first time. Our record release show last year--we somehow got 200 people to show, and we hardly knew any of them! Always a good sign. Lows: Pretty much most of 2010, because I had shoulder surgery and we couldn't really do anything!
Read the rest of Claire’s interview here.
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“What’s The Dream?” - The Ocean Floor
Over the weekend, Liz Livengood caught The Ocean Floor’s concert at Rontom’s in Portland.
Liz wrote, “The Ocean Floor is one of the most eclectic Portland bands I’ve had the pleasure to come across. The four-piece sound like a cross between a beautiful jazz combo and the Muppet Show. It’s not a bad thing. It actually works quite well. [...] The self-described ‘band geeks’ bring a level of creativity to their performances, regularly switching instruments and sharing vocals. They play songs full of complex melodies and Barrington’s silky vocals make them beautiful compositions in their own right.”
Read the rest of Liz's review here.
“With You Friends” - Skrillex
Monica Christoffels reviewed Skrillex’s set in Portland, where the L.A. DJ celebrated his 23rd birthday.
Monica wrote, “Skrillex’s high-energy set fit the moods of the hundreds of club kids who came out to the show. Heavy bass mixed with trance/techno overlays to provide hours of fun for the sweaty, half-naked dancing crowd. Everyone around me was lost in a trance - in fact, as I enjoyed the show from the second floor I was surprised no one fell over the balcony as a result of dancing too crazily!”
Read the rest of Monica's review here.
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“Austere” - The Joy Formidable
This week’s BackStory series featured this UK band. In their own words, here’s the BackStory on The Joy Formidable’s “Austere”:
“A melting pot of different references and ideas line this song marking the beginning of Ritzy and Rhydian's writing relationship. It's tonally at odds, sometimes playful and tenacious but also contemplative and melancholic. Thinking about isolation, snobbery and first impressions in a new relationship.”
View the rest of TJF’s BackStory post here.
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“Lights Low” - Madison
Liz Livengood reviewed Madison’s first of a four-part EP series, The Noise Some People Make.
Liz wrote, “There’s a surprising element of intelligence there, like Madison has happened upon the secret formula for the perfect pop sound. It’s funny; I thought this before I read that Madison dropped out of medical school to pursue her pop dreams. She’s a published neuroscience student from Miami and she has her hand in every aspect of this effort. There is something I really respect about that, and it makes me like her even better. ‘Lights Low’ is a solid dance club epic, complete with a really decent rap section from Madison. I think that’s hard to pull off without sounding cheesy. Madison peppers seemingly cliché phrases throughout, but it works. It would definitely fit into any decent DJ set.”
Read the rest of Liz’s review here. “Lights Low” is available for free download off of Madison’s Facebook page.
“Away Frm U” - Oberhofer
On Wednesday, Jesse Diener-Bennett interviewed Brad Oberhofer, the young indie sensation from Tacoma, WA. Here’s a little of their conversation:
JDB: You started playing piano pretty young, right? Did you play classical stuff?
BO: I mean, I was pretty much just a beginner. I took piano for two years early on and played some little jazz pieces, some short classical pieces, nothing too fancy.
JDB: I heard that when you were a little bit older that you started freestyle rapping. Is that true?
BO: Yeah, that’s definitely true.
JDB: How old were you when you did that?
BO: It was about fifth grade when I started freestyle rapping.
JDB: What does a fifth grader have to freestyle rap about?
BO: Well all kinds of stuff. I was listening to Limp Bizkit at that point in time, and that stuff is pretty vile. It can really influence a fifth grader’s imagination.
JDB: So, like, did you rap about some bully picking on you?
BO: No, fifth grade was more a bunch of nonsensical swear words. I was in a duo called The Shizzle Men at one point, and we had a lot of really vulgar songs. I remember one of them had a line about my sister yelling at me.
Read the rest of Jesse’s interview here.
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“Secret” - The Pierces
Daniel Kohn caught the sisterly duo at L.A.’s Hotel Cafe, which had been their third performance of the day.
Daniel wrote, “Mixing in songs both old and new, The Pierces, along with their terrific backing band, had the crowd roaring its approval throughout the set. The sisters were having a great time on stage and it was reflected by the tightness of their sound and control of the room. [...] The duo’s playful banter was entertaining, especially as they were explaining the unofficial meanings behind some songs, which had everyone laughing. ‘Secret’ and ‘Sticks and Stones’ sounded as good live as it did on 2007’s Thirteen Tales of Love & Revenge.”
Read the rest of Daniel’s review here.
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“Clementine” - Sarah Jaffe
On Thursday, Laurel Kathleen interviewed the Denton, Texas songstress. Here’s a little of what was said:
LK: Your songs and album Suburban Nature have been placed on several best-of lists for 2010. Which one are you the most pleased about and why?
SJ: They really are all a huge honor. Sincerely. It's crazy to me. I'm really proud of this record despite of how old some of the songs may be. So, it really is so rewarding and a joyful feeling to make any best of list.
LK: Is there a particular song that's your personal favorite? Is it challenging to perform the same songs over and over again, or are you ever pleasantly surprised by new elements you hadn't heard or thought about?
SJ: I don't really have a favorite. There are songs that I have a lot of fun playing live. "Vulnerable" is always fun. I play with amazing musicians that let me pull fast ones on them in shows, and we try and play different versions of these songs. I think that relinquishes any hint of exhaustion with certain songs. But I think its too early in my (hopeful) game to be really tired of playing any song.
Read the rest of Laurel’s interview here.
“Wasting Away” - Tonight Alive
Kristina Villarini interviewed lead singer Jenna McDougall of Tonight Alive. Here’s a little of their conversation:
KV: You have spoken before about the challenges of being a young band, and by now, the comparisons to other bands must be getting a little bland. What sets you guys apart?
JM: Obviously, the comparisons to other punk bands with female leads are there. I think it just gets a little tired at times, like 'Oh, c'mon, is that all you could come up with?' [Laughs] We don't take it to heart. I think it's easy for people to do that, at first. They don't really know us, so they're trying to find something to help them decide whether it's something they would like or not.
All I can really say is that, nothing about the band was forced or premeditated. As corny as it sounds, we are just five best friends who really love playing music together.
KV: You guys were named one of the “Seven Acts to Watch in 2011” by The Music Network. What's that like?
JM: It's like... How the hell do you even know who we are?! No matter what you do, you always sort of feel tiny. I think we're tiny. No one knows who we are. It gets really thrilling, because we are putting out our debut album and you're hoping people will wait for you. You get hopeful. It's always an honor to be compared to or included in anything with successful artists.
Read the rest of Kristina’s interview here.