Stone Cold Fox's latest release 'Tunnel Vision' can turn any dull moment into a reflective and jet-powered dance session. Get acquainted with the EP and read about its process and evolution in the band's words.Read More
In my new series about musical obsessions, Al Berkowitz's Ignacio Simón talks about disliking writing lyrics, loving Nick Drake, and running as far away as he can from Madrid.Read More
Norwegian electronic producer, Coucheron, talks about bulldogs, graduation parties, and working with Mayer Hawthorne on his debut EP.Read More
For 14 years, Phil Dumesnil recorded an extensive collection of work using enough coffee to kill a small rodent, a social anxiety disorder, and an 8-track.Read More
Stage Hands plays like a soundtrack to a space odyssey. Elements of organic piano, analog samples and electronic quirks are constructed into a work of art. That artistry comes form multimedia artist and producer, Brandon Locker and drummer and producer, Gerald Mattis. Their self-titled debut LP, released February 10, ebbs and flows through meditative sonic moments and explosive jazz theories.Read More
In the wake of a fifth album, Faded Paper Figures talked to Sound in the Static about weird tour moments, evolving as a band and managing outside careers.Read More
Vibrant is a fitting description for Canadian singer/songwriter, Joanie Wolkoff and her musical creations. She's studied in Paris, modeled in Tokyo and tattooed pigs in rural China. After a traumatic event overseas, she decided to take a chance on Brooklyn and form electro-pop group Her Habits.
Their debut EP, released January 26, Northerner is self-aware pop music. It takes electronic risks while maintaining a reflective beauty. It's also accompanied with an illustrated manual created by Wolkoff depicting habits of women. She collected stories of feminine habits like, "She assembles weird costumes at night."Read More
A slight melancholy energy hangs about Turnip King. Tenderly twee vocals from Lucia and precious guitars from Cal add up to be a noise rock, shoe-gaze band from Sea Cliff, NY. They've have been together since high school. Now all grown up, the vegetable royalty talks about developing their sound, crazy concerts and the New York music scene.
How did Turnip King form?
Cal: It was the summer Lucia had just graduated high school and written these really sweet sounding dream pop demos that she shared with Christian who had also just graduated.She asked me through text if I would want to play guitar on some of her songs. I was going into 10th grade and was super psyched to play with them.
Lucia: We started going out to see shows at 285 Kent and Shea Stadium in 2011 and I think that seeing a handful of those bands that we listened to in our own bedrooms … seeing how they perform and how their live vibe plays out to an audience really helped us realize that the idea that we could be doing that ... So we handed out demo CDs to all these different people and eventually we got an email from The Delancey in the LES asking us if we wanted to play a show with our friends Mannequin Pussy, and then after that show we basically just accepted every show we were offered, and that's what we worked with.
How did you decide what kind of music you wanted to play?
C: We started off playing much more pop oriented songs but kind of unconsciously strayed from that and found ourselves doing a lot more heavier experimental stuff while jamming together in Christian's basement. The sound is very collaborative so the kind of music we play just kind of came out whether we stopped to decide or not.
L: I don't think we ever sat down and said like, "this is the type of music we should be writing, we have to sound like this.” ...The noise element became extremely attractive to us. I spent and still spend a lot of time at home and during practice trying to get better at understanding how to make the sounds I want to come out of an amp …Right now we fit under this noise-rock/shoegaze genre, and thats all fine and good- but I think we all write what we write now because it sounds good to us … we play what we like to hear, and we've gotten better at listening and determining what certain songs need- and a challenging new song is really gratifying to learn to be proud of.
Who are you influenced by?
C: MBV, Eric's Trip, Can, Slowdive, Kate Bush, The Microphones, Les Rallizes Denudes, Sonic Youth...we all have varied taste and too many influences to realize.
What do you think sets you a part from other garage rock/basement bands?
C: Are members of other basement bands as confused as I am? I'm not sure. We like dogs … that's not unique … we’re loud ... that's normal ... we watch a lot of Tim and Eric while we practice ... that could be something ... I feel like we definitely don't fit into any specific genre so that could actually be something ... We are frustrated? Is that normal? Yeah, probably.
What is the NY music scene like for Turnip King?
C: Manhattan has always sucked for us until we played the opening show at a DIY spot called Nola, Darling in Chelsea. 21+ bars are just bummers, Pianos and Cake Shop are very lackluster 90 percent of the time. We used to really really love what was happening for us in BK, we always made a lot of friends at places like 285 Kent and Cheap Storage. We definitely had lots of absurd experiences in lofts, basements, backyards and on rooftops that made being involved with music in Brooklyn awesome.
However it still feels like the "scene" is based more on social media and this weird sponsorship/advertising/beauty complex than it is on art or addressing cultural problems. The scene is seems way too directionless to be something that I am able to love, we are definitely trying to help that, but it's totally hard.
L: There is a lot of music and art to be made. … I think we're lucky to have known a lot of people who have given us these really great opportunities because they want to see us succeed, and they want to see smaller artists make a name for themselves too- and they want to showcase different mediums of art at the same time, like light shows or an art exhibit in a space where bands come to play- even cooking.
What is in your plan for the next year?
L: Probably to write and release more music, hopefully tour the East Coast. We recorded an entire album and Christian, our drummer, and our friend Ernie are working on mastering it and making it sound real nice. The goal with the album is to finish mixing and mastering it and then in the end, have a beautiful product. Something you can hold in your hands. I'm excited for that to come out. We'll probably be releasing more tapes until then; maybe even a split tape or record with someone who we trust and admire. If we get picked up by a label, then cool. If not, then cool.
What's the craziest concert moment you've had?
C: We played a show at Cheap Storage with Total Slacker in June 2012. Nick fed Tucker pizza as he crowd surfed during their set, that was pretty absurd.
L: My friend Heather (Sparxx) was trying to get people to crowd-surf and she really pushed me to try it, and she even told people before the start of the next song something along the lines of "Hey guys, she's gonna try to crowd-surf for the next one, so get ready." It was super nice. People were waiting for me to fall back on them- it was like that game Trust that you're supposed to play in gym or something. When I was up in the air, I saw Christian (our drummer) and his sister Jillian. Cal was looking for me because I think we were trying to get gear back to the car, but there was literally nothing I could do. When I was finally back on my two feet, I made my way towards them and Cal was like "Where were you" or something and Jillian and Christian were like, “What? You didn't see that?”
C: We've also had some really chaotic shows at Bard College. One where I stood on an amp the whole set to make space in an extremely crowded and tiny room and was almost seriously wiped out by the mosh a bunch of times, and another where there were lots of semi-naked freshmen painting each others bodies and the neck of Lucia's guitar.
What is your pre-performance ritual?
C: Tim and Eric, dat wetwet, absurd conversation...
L: We listen to some really good albums on the car ride to the venue. We usually try and squish some practice before a show too and we usually end up watching Tim and Eric before we leave. We haven't written a set list before hitting the road in a long time, maybe a year?
Favorite spot in NYC?
C: It definitely was 285 Kent just because it introduced me to a completely new lifestyle and culture I had no idea about and remained comfy, then it was Emet which also closed. I'm hoping it will be Stuart's new spot "Aviv" which we are playing the opening show at on the 21st.
L: Here's where I plug the MoMA. There is a ton of inspiration to be collected there, and I'm more of a modern art kinda gal myself. 285 Kent was p kool too.
Bodega Bay is not surf rock. It might be punk, art rock or garage rock but definitely not surf rock.
"A lot of music blogs write about us and say we're surf rock, and we're guessing that's because they only read our name," Aiko Masubuchi said.
Bodega Bay is based in Brooklyn, and align themselves to an art collective/movement/zine called "slackgaze" organized by Winston (aka Wimpy Slacer). In the words of Ben Hozie, lead vocal and guitarist, "It's working really heard to exist outside of a preordained notion of success." The band put that philosophy into their sound -- their songs are only about two to three minutes but are filled with bursts of energy and theatrical flair. Bodega Bay consists of six members: Aiko Masubuchi, drums; Ben Hozie, vox and guitar; Josef Von Welkkmann, percussion and vox; Nikki Belfiglio, percussion and vox; Joshua Fu, bass and Jacob Kaplan, guitar.
They invited me to their decorated practice space in Manhattan given to them by Winston at Slackgaze called Nola, Darling to talk about five hour rock operas, embracing chaos and perform "Brancusi Brainwash Birds."
They're working on a new album that might consist of 33 songs according to Josef...So look out for a whole lot of Bodega Bay in the near future but in the meantime listen to a few tracks below.
If there are two things immediately obvious about Ben Cassorla, it's his love for jangle guitars in his newest EP amigos and an impressive collection of musician/actor friends. He's toured with Ben Riley, Thelonious Monk's drummer and as a hot commodity guitarist with Dawes, Washed Out and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
Ben spoke with me over the phone during a tour opening for Blitzen Trapper with his own band, Cassorla, named after his last name.
"It's been a slow journey from playing my music none of the time to now almost all of the time," Ben said. "Finally I started to decide I wanted to make my own music. I got a little sick of all of the touring. I loved playing music every night but I found it a lot more satisfying when it was my own music."
On Cassorla's latest EP amigos, he put those touring relationships to use. Each song features a different collaborator including Taylor Goldsmith from Dawes, Crash from Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Eric Earley from Blitzen Trapper and Parks and Recreation star, Aubrey Plaza.
"I just felt like I have this great group of people that I know who are great musicians and offer great things to the world and I wanted to take advantage of that," Ben said. "We’ve all worked before in the past, so it was easier to make it all happen. I would just say okay, this song, I want you to sing it. Will you sing it?"
In the music video for "Bona Fide" Plaza paddle boats around a pond in LA playing, yes actually playing, saxophone.
"Her on a boat playing saxophone, I couldn't think of anything funnier," Ben said. "When I was making that album I wanted her to be a guest on a song. She said let's do this. I said if you’re going to play saxophone, we’re going to have to make a music video."
The video also features a performance artist dancing around New York subway stations, ferry rides and streets.
"I like the idea of him and Aubrey doing totally separate things but coming together," Ben said. "And having some sort of weird relationship across the video even though they haven’t met each other yet."
This dual life can also be said for Ben's personal life. He lived in Harlem and Bed-Stuy during college and for four years after but recently moved to California.
"In Bed-Stuy, I loved the Apple Bees where Michael Bloomberg was said to order strong long islands iced teas on Monday mornings," Ben said. (For any New Yorkers wondering, that Apple Bees is located on Fulton and New York Ave.)
Ben is now based in Glendale, Los Angeles. He says LA allows him to be more creative and pickier about shows and projects he takes on.
"If you’re looking for things that New York is good at in LA you’ll be disappointed," Ben said. "It doesn’t have good pizza or bagels and driving sucks. I don’t really like the weather in LA...But the tacos are amazing. The pace of life is a whole lot slower, not everybody has to hustle as hard. There's less of a need to make money to pay rent."
Before hustling for rent, Ben was introduced to music by his mother. She taught him classical piano starting at the age of four.
"Finally for my seventh or eighth birthday I got a beat up acoustic guitar, a tiny one," Ben said. "A few years later my dad ran over it with his car."
Luckily when he was nine he bought his first electric guitar with a $50 bond from his grandma, citing it as one of the happiest days of his life. It was a red Stratocaster, inspired by Jimi Hendrix.
More recently, he's inspired by the simplicity of John Lennon's John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.
"It changed how I make a lot of my music, it's so simple and direct and that was the music I connect to and make," Ben sad. "When I made this album, amigos...the mixer and master I work with were always incredibly happy to work with me because most stuff has 48 different guitars on it. My stuff is one bass, guitar, vocals, drums. It makes their life a lot easier."
I asked Ben about the recent trend of using backtracks on stage and electronic instruments, and if he holds one over the other. He said they're two different animals. He used real drums on amigos which made the recording process harder but added a looseness that he loves.
"To be honest, i don’t judge it either way," Ben said "In the studio using electric drums, it’s a different instrument."
He released track "The Right Way" with Mighty Mike (producer who worked with Kelly Clarkson and Carly Rae Jepson) that uses nothing but electric drums. He said that the track comes from a totally different place and has a very different sound.
"Live, I think I prefer doing it all with other people because part of the fun of the music is in interacting with people," Ben said "But at the same time i can’t judge."
This next year you can look forward to an EP coming out from Cassorla, some opening tours and the beginnings of a full length album.
"I can’t make any promises," Ben said. "Just performing, making a lot of music, new touring, try as play as many as possible collaborations with as many great people as we can."
Listen to the full amigos EP:
Sound in the Static asked Toronto band, Wicked Witches to record themselves answering a few questions at a bar over a couple of beers. Hear them talk about their latest release Digging Ditches, getting inspiration from dull rusty knives and the music scene in Canada.
Listen to Wicked Witches - Digging Ditches released September 22:
Natural Stranger posses a 90's grunge nostalgia and familiarity – yet their sound deviates into something original and different. Based in Brooklyn, the band has released two EPs. Their first, "Summer So Far" expresses the excitement of moving to New York and warm nights, while their latest release "Talk About Our Demons As Friends" explores the dark camaraderie we have with our inner demons.
I met Natural Stranger at a Jewish Temple somewhere in Park Slope to talk about their journey in the New York music scene and to play a few unplugged songs.
They embody the melting pot that is New York. Bass player, Jino Arielly, came to New York from Israel, Ernest Hampson, vox and guitar, lived in Germany from ages 12 to 15. Joseph T Paz on drums came from a long string of musicians and guitarist, Kevin "Sully" Sullivan came from New Haven. They met working at the same music store about a year ago and found a shared love for music. Together they have a solid and defined sound that's somewhere in between the angsty cool of the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the melodic temperance of Bright Eyes.
"The attitude that everyone brings to this band is very positive, people are just really easygoing with things," Arielly said. "So nobody is like in other person we all give our space to each other. There's not a lot of ego."
Listen to their latest EP below:
Listening to Victoria psych-pop duo, The Backhomes, gives you the sense of floating on top of heavy reverb, synths and neo-psychedelia. Their sound is heavy and dense enough to fill a pool, but it's liquid and light enough to glide over the top of it.
The band consists of Kees Dekker, guitarist, vox, drums, bass, keyboard and master mixer, and Aimée van Drimmelen, lead guitarist and projection maker.
Van Drimmelen answered questions about writing in cabins, the state of the psych scene in Montreal and eating mushrooms at Golden West Music Fest
When/how did The Backhomes begin?
The Backhomes began in Montreal in 2009. We were both playing in other bands and one day Kees was playing this song in our apartment and I joined in, and we recorded it. It felt really good, we were both on the same page musically, and it made sense to try to start putting something together.
You have this psychedelic, dreamy sound that's still grounded...Who are your influences?
We are inspired by lots of different music. Kees got into stuff like Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized and Flying Saucer Attack when he was younger, and when we met I heard that stuff for the first time and it really resonated. I personally love bands like the 13th Floor Elevators, Velvet Underground, Warlocks, stuff like that. But we also really dig stuff like JJ Cale, with his stripped back tulsa sound and use of old drum machines. I'm pretty sure we were both conceived to JJ Cale, so we got a good dose of that in the womb.
Are you both originally from Montreal?
Kees is from Moncton NB and I'm from Regina SK. We both lived in Montreal for 10 years and this is where we met.
What is your songwriting style like? Do you have to have a specific location, does that location change with each project?
Everything we've done so far has been recorded in whatever space we happen to be living in, whether a cabin in the prairies, or in Victoria where we live now. Kees usually sketches stuff out with guitars, synths, loops, drum samples, and organ in our living room. We end up with all these skeletons of songs that we listen to and decide which ones are exciting. Then we'll add layers, textures, leads, lyrics. On our first album Only Friend it's a mix of this style of writing and some "song songs" that began more traditionally on an acoustic guitar. On our upcoming record Tidal Wave it's pretty much all songs stemming from experiments like this, which feels like the best way to write right now.
You have a limited edition blue vinyl for Only Friend, who did you print with and what was the collaboration like?
We printed them with Pirate Press in San Francisco. They do a good job and it's direct metal mastering which is apparently more enviro friendly. Our friends at Storyboard Label in Vancouver helped us release it.
Listen to Only Friend below
For live shows, you create the projections. What are your visions behind your projections?
I'm an artist and animator, and I make all our videos and projections for our live sets. We are just as interested in giving people something cool to look at as something cool to listen to. We want the audience to space out and have it be an all encompassing experience. For this tour we have two projectors, one which is big moving textures that cover the whole stage, and another smaller one projected into a bass drum head. If you see us live come up close to the stage so you can watch that one, it's cool
You're headed to the Montreal Psych Fest September 12, what are you most looking forward to?
We played La Vitrola for the first time this August and it's a great room. We are excited to see what's going on in the psych scene in Montreal since we left, because there wasn't much of one four years ago when we lived here. We're really happy to see people trying to get things going and bringing all these great bands together.
How has your tour been so far? Where was your favorite/least favorite place?
The tour has been great. We got to play with Crocodiles in Calgary which was fun, and the highlight was definitely Golden West Music Fest on this farm near Edmonton. There are so many rad bands coming out of that part of Canada right now (Betrayers, The Lad Mags, Powder Blue, Tee Tahs). The stage was built on this huge squished car, there was a giant grasshopper made of wood that was lit on fire, and many mushrooms were eaten...
Playing with Moon Duo was great, Ripley really inspired me to play louder, and Sinea's projections are kick ass. We geeked out about projectors and stuff after the show.
What do you hope for the future of The Backhomes?
We are really excited about our next album, and we hope we can get it out to larger audiences as well as release a second edition of Only Friend as we're almost out of our first run of vinyl.
How will your next album coming out in 2015 be different from your previous work?
More sonic, more driving... We're playing a lot of new songs already so come and hear for yourselves!
What's the hardest thing about making music as The Backhomes?
Nothing is hard when you're as privileged as we are in these times and places
One fateful night on the way to a roller rink, three friends came together to form puke-rock band, Ghost Punch. Located in Brooklyn, NY, Kate Bennis (vox, guitar, bass), Adam Taylor (drums) or as he likes to call himself, “Teaze” and Sarah Rogers (vox, guitar, bass) find the happy-medium between vomit and art museums.
How did Ghost Punch start?
Adam: You guys asked if I wanted to be in a band and I said yeah.
Kate: Yeah, but you had a ghost tattoo, that was the best part.
Sarah: We were on our way to the roller rink at the Salvation Army and we propositioned Adam to join our escapades.
A: It’s true.
K: And then Sarah and I were practicing in my room at my old house called Shredstuy. And we would play there and no one cared because it was a house full of boys and we could be as loud as we wanted to be. There were eight boys.
A: Just boys being boys.
S: It was like Real World but way grosser.
K: It was smelly, we had a cat and then we had an Adam, who’s basically a cat.
Where did the name come from?
K: Well, so I was at a show that a friend was having at this place, this small venue. And there was an ambient noise person playing and I wasn’t into it and I was like man, I kind of want to punch myself in the head over and over. And then I started thinking about ghost punches and how funny they were. Because ghost punches are when you take a photo when you’re shaking your face and it looks like a ghost is punching you. And then my friend came back down after playing and I was like, ‘I thought of a good band name, Ghost Punch.’ And he was like, ‘That’s already taken.’ But then it wasn’t.
S: Let it be written.
How would you describe your sound and inspirations?
S: We’re described as puke-rock. That copyright is Kate Bennis. And it keeps getting published so we’re running with it.
K: We had our first review, and they called us puke-rock after we put it on our Bandcamp page and it keeps coming up every time we play a show so I guess that’s how we would describe ourselves.
A: I’m pretty down with throwing up, so.
K: Yeah, a side note, Adam threw up on me one time. Well, Adam drank a bunch of Mad Dog at a show in Cleveland that we played and then...
A: It was my first mad dog.
S: Baby’s first mad dog.
K: What flavor was it?
A: The red kind? Red-flavored...Red drank.
S: So, Adam puked all over Kate’s lap.
K: And then he told me that Metallica ruled and then he threw up all over my dress and then my friend drew a ghost on his face. And then we went to the art museum with my parents.
A: it was just magical.
What are you working on now?
S: We’re working on a full length album that will probably be called “Mass Sext” and we hope to have it done by the end of summer and we’re also doing a split with a band called Splat. And it’s going to be sick as fuck.
K: And they’re from Cleveland and they’re similar in puke-rock. Adam is also in another band called Mega Pig.
What’s the biggest challenge?
S: Let’s go with that.
K: Yeah, we also have a lot of feelings.
S: Mostly feelings.
K: Sometimes when you eat a whole pizza, you can’t eat it at once cuz you’re too full.
S: Puke rock is like that.
K: Or when you wake up next to a half eaten taco, and you’re like ‘I thought I ate you last night’ and then you have to eat it again.
A: That’s called breakfast in bed.
Your 80’s Movie Idol?
A: I wasn’t born in the 80’s.
S: Oh my god.
K: Awe, baby.
A; I’m 12 years old.
K: I guess mine would be Molly Ringwald in “Pretty in Pink”
S: That’s a good one. Mine might be Ferris Bueller. I don’t know. He’s an inspiration for all.
Favorite pizza topping combos?
A: Shit, that is a loaded question.
K: That’s a really personal question.
S: I don’t really discriminate man, I like all the toppings.
A: Sausage onions and peppers.
K: I like olives, olives the most. And if you can make a face with the olives, then extra points to you my friend.
S: I’m a fan of jalapeños on pizza.
Least favorite music genre?
K: We don’t discriminate. I love new metal. If there’s one thing about me..
A: Least favorite, Kate.
K: Oh, hmm. My least favorite song right now is “Brooklyn Girls.”
S: Yeah whatever genre that is.
A: That’s bad.
S: That’s the worst genre.
Guilty pleasure song?
S: Probably “Slowride” by Foghat, but I also don’t feel bad about it.
A: Who sings that song, “Fast Car?”
S: That would be Tracy Chatman’s “Fast Car.”
A: I thought Tracy Chatman was a dude.
S: She might be.
K: Mine would be the song by a woman in the 90’s named Inoj, and it’s like “At night I think of you, I want to be your dirty baby.” That’s how it goes, “If your game is on, give me a call boo” I don’t know the rest.