Merry Christmas America!
An Awesome Christmas Jew
Live performances from our East Coast trip. Includes a conversation and music from Andrew W.K., Nellie McKay & the Aristocrats and The Spinto Band.
John Roderick is the lead vocalist and main songwriter for Seattle-based band The Long Winters. Roderick’s lyrics are razor sharp, highly sing-alongable, and often detail the sweetness and the struggle of relationships. In short, the man can write a mean pop song. The Long Winters is recording the follow-up to 2006's Putting The Days To Bed, due out in late spring 2010. I spoke to Roderick about the new record and the band's new, loose approach to the singing-songwriting exercise. As for the new sound, it's familiar, but not too familiar. But not too not familiar.
Chris Bowman: One thing that comes up again and again when speaking to creative types is procrastination. It’s ever present when trying to get things done. You allude to it in 13 Songs, the series documenting the creative process behind The Long Winters new record. What does procrastination mean to you?
John Roderick: I often get down on myself for procrastinating, chiding myself for laziness, calling myself a do-nothing, but then I'll have an intense burst of creativity seemingly out of nowhere. Procrastinating is very hard to distinguish from ruminating. I'd like to just call them synonymous and be done with it, but unfortunately the world works on deadlines and people want their favorite artists to make new stuff NOW!
I'm slow, I think about stuff a long time before I lift a finger, and I rewrite stuff that other people might consider finished. It looks like I'm avoiding work, and I joke about it, but I'm working.
To find out more about the new Long Winters record click Read More
Ernest Greene a.k.a. Washed Out is a 26-year-old musician from Perry, Georgia. Greene has been making music for the last few years, but in recent months people have really begun to take notice of the magic he creates within the confines of his bedroom. His music sounds like a hazy, sun-soaked, 80’s synth-pop dream. The Life Of Leisure e.p. is available now digitally and through Mexican Summer in early October. If you’re looking to stretch out the remaining warm days, grab Life Of Leisure. Greene, as friendly a guy you could ask for, talks about perseverance, confidence, and the moment his parents finally acknowledged that he might be on to something after all.
Chris Bowman: Early in your music-making career (it’s still early!) you experimented with hip hop instrumentals and lo-fi rock. Then you wrote some songs for an “aggressive” type of dance project called Bedroom. That experience changed the direction of your own music. Aside from lo-fi, Washed Out doesn’t sound like any of those genres. How did you land in the 80’s synth-pop field?
Ernest Greene: That’s a good question. I really can’t think of a great answer I guess. Let’s see, a couple of years ago I was really into Caribou. Are you familiar with his stuff?
To read more with Washed Out click Read More
Shafiq Husayn is 1/3 of the Sa-Ra Creative Partners. Earlier this year Sa-Ra released Nuclear Evolution: The Age Of Love to much critical acclaim. Over the years Husayn has worked with Afrika Bambatta, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Jurassic 5 and many more. He was also a member of Ice T’s Rhyme Syndicate. On October 6th Plug Research will release Husayn’s Shafiq En’A-Free-ka. There are more than 30 contributors on the record including Bilal, Count Bass D, Fatima, and Sonny Coates. The end result is the work of an artist at the top of his game. Husayn speaks about democratic creativity, balance, and being the best person you can be.
Chris Bowman: It’s not often I use the term bangin’ but Shafiq En’ A-Free-Ka is exactly that! The U.N. Plan? Bangin’! Aside from the traditional African rhythms and other international influences, your music has a fairly heavy electronic influence to it. Who or what inspired you along the way to incorporate the electronic aspect?
Shafiq Husayn: Um. Basically just being a fan of music, a student of music. I’m gonna have to first go to a lot of those electronic records like the Dick Hyman/Moog series, Raymond Scott, Bob Moog. As far as actually incorporating it on wax, I would have to say Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone, Kraftwerk, and Afrika Bambaataa.
For more from Shafiq Husayn click on Read More
Julie Fader is a Toronto based singer/songwriter and artist. She’s also a touring member of the Chad Van Gaalen band, Great Lake Swimmers, and the Sarah Harmer band, among others. But on 09/08/09 Hand Drawn Dracula will release Outside In, Fader’s first solo effort. It’s a sonically gorgeous, multi-layered record full of warms textures and heartfelt sentiment. Fader spoke to me about the influence of environment, the importance of trust, and learning to let go.
Chris Bowman: Outside In is your first solo record, but you are not new to this. How did you get your start?
Julie Fader: Seventh grade. When I moved back to Hamilton, Ontario. I had to make a decision between vocal and instrumental and the thought of singing was horrific. So I chose flute. My parents made me take private lessons because my dad was super excited that I was going to try and learn an instrument. They had never forced me to take lessons. My brother and sister had to go for violin lessons and piano lessons and they didn’t take to either. So (my parents) decided with the youngest child that they wouldn’t make me do that. But having to take lessons was fun. Years later, being such a music fan, I was drawn to people that played music. I would hang out and listen to them jam. So when a bunch of people were playing, I brought my flute and a couple of songbooks because the idea of playing by ear seemed far fetched. So we learned some Neil Young songs and that’s how I got my start.
BAGHEERA is a young band from Liverpool, England. With only the self produced, released, and shared Hollow Home e.p. under its belt, (and under 7000 hits on their Myspace page) it’s safe to say they’re new to the game. But it’s not too hard to see that this band is going places. The as-yet-unsigned trio consists of Tom Cowcher, Sam Twidale and Jacob Silkin. All of whom are students of music at the University of Liverpool, and by the sounds of things they have been paying attention. Tom and Sam took some time away from rehearsals to talk about who they are, perfectionism, and how a young band can sound so accomplished so early in a career. Also included is the link to the Hollow Home e.p. We don’t condone stealing, so understand that the band intended to give this away for free. And enjoy!
Chris Bowman: So first off, this is BAGHEERA from Liverpool, not Missouri.
Tom Cowcher: Yeah, that’s right. I think there’s a Dutch symphonic rock band as well, with the same name. We’re not them.
CB: So there’s three Bagheera’s then?
Sam Twidale: Yeah, maybe.
TC: Maybe more!
For more from BAGHEERA click on Read More
Yes, I know this is lame, but I'm a company man.
I'm guessing that if you are not interested in surfing and skate-boarding and such you haven't spent lots of time browsing the site for Fuel TV, the network that so generously employs me. It might surprise you that the music page houses an impressive number of live performances from some super-awesome, super-credible indie rock types. You'd think that the content of the network being what it is, you'd hear mostly bad metal and white guys playing reggae. Instead you get good schtuff from bands like Art Brut, Foreign Born, and Edward Sharpe. Here's doozy from The Hold Steady:
Greg Kot is the music critic at the Chicago Tribune, host of the public radio program Sound Opinions, and has written for the likes of Rolling Stone, Details, Blender, and Encyclopaedia Britannica among others. His new book is Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music. We'll talk about how the music industry got to where it is today, and what might be next.
John Vanderslice is a San Francisco based singer/songwriter. The former MK Ultra vocalist/guitarist has the distinct honor of having produced Spoon (Gimme Fiction), The Mountain Goats (Heretic Pride, Sunset Tree) among others. Vanderslice is also the owner Tiny Telephone, one of the few remaining all analog (tapes!) recording studios in North America. His most recent album Romanian Names is a beautiful album full of perfect warm pop songs. Vanderslice took some time to talk about his new band, the reason why he decided to hang up his production hat, and the fact that he doesn’t own a giant plot of land in Marin County, CA.
Chris Bowman: You just wrapped up a tour in support of Romanian Names. At the start of the tour you said on your website how “stunned” you were by your band. What made this band different from previous bands?
John Vanderslice: Well, I’ve never played in a quintet before. So we had a much more orchestrated rock band set up. I had done that Great American Music Hall show with a thirty piece orchestra but this, as far as a rock band, was the most arty band that I have toured with. We had two guitar players, two singers other than myself, and it was really fun. On some levels it’s actually easier to play when there is so much music happening on stage. You have an enormous amount of freedom.
For more with John Vanderslice click Read More