Annuals CD Giveaway!

We here at Modern Mystery are in the spirit of giving this holiday season. To kick things off, we are giving away free cds of Annuals new record ‘Such Fun’.

This record is one of my personal favorites of the year.  The band has just wrapped up their tour with Minus the Bear and will be heading on the road again starting in January as headliners. If you have not checked out the band live yet, I urge you to. The first single ‘Confessor’ is a haunting and beautiful song which will capture your attention immediately.

To Enter to Win our Annuals CD Giveaway, You can either attach a comment to this post or email me directly at ModernMysteryBlog@yahoo.com

PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS! This contest will end on December 10th.

Download ‘Confessor’

Watch the new video for ‘Confessor’. The artwork in it is amazing to say the least.

Annuals also let you paint your own cover for ‘Such Fun’! Check out the widget HERE

Check Annuals out on Myspace

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An Interview with Matt Pond….

Recently I had the opportunity of interviewing Matt Pond of the indie rock band, Matt Pond PA.   To this day I still remember hearing the band for the first time. I had been an intern in college at a record label, and someone had left the company and left behind all of their cds. As an intern perk we got to sort through them and take what we wanted. I had come across this random mix cd that had a few Matt Pond PA songs on it. I was interested to hear the band, because it was a name I have come across in a few magazines. Upon my first listen of ‘Lookout (Closest)’ I was immediatly hooked.

To this day Matt Pond PA remains to be one of my favorite bands. In my honest opinion, every note, every melody, every lyric is completely flawless. I want to hang their records on my wall as a beautiful piece of art.

Matt Pond, who is extremely kind, was able to answer a few questions for me which I was so ecstatic about. If you have yet to pick up a Matt Pond PA album, you should purchase one immediately. You are missing so much. I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I do.

What part of PA did you used to live in?

 

I lived in Philly. In a commercial loft space in Chinatown. A bookstore on the first floor, gambling and prostitution on the second and third floors. And then me on the fourth.

 

When you moved to New York, how come the ‘PA’ did not change? Does it represent more than just where the band originated?

 

The PA is where I learned to let it all out. Where I started stringing notes to other notes. I must honor Pennsylvania and the state it afforded my mind.
I still hold onto the mountains, Plymouth Dusters and extension cords from New Hampshire, the pockets of fog of New Brunswick, the manual lawnmowers of upstate New York and discarded chewing gum from the NYC.

 

 

How has the way you approach songwriting changed over the years?

 

I don’t know if I’ve truly changed…The mechanics have definitely changed.
I’ve always relied on tuning variations. If I were to be a pony with a trick, that would be it.

Sometimes I can hear entire songs in the made up chords. Sometimes even the words. Like some kind of un-gluing of anxiety.

Fossils may make fuel. (who says there is nothing in what’s beyond…we all might be burning bright as gasoline stars in a few quick decades). But me — I personally run on anxiety. Which is why I should be given my own personal island or forest to tend and protect: I’m not exactly right for this place.

…As a starter, I used to video tape my fingers playing pieces of songs I wrote. I’d listen to the pieces and erase and erase until I found the pieces I could fully trust. Panning for crusts of bread.

Now. Now I use Logic. I write down my tunings and have it all proper and clean…

I miss the clunkiness of the past. Massive gears to accomplish very little. They made me feel important. I even wore a badge.

 

 

What was the first instrument(s) that you learned to play? Did you take music lessons?

 

I learned to partially play the piano. I took lessons. And that’s what turned me away from music for so long. Having my hands grabbed and forced into the correct chord formations. I didn’t like that. Nope.

 

Who are your influences?

 

I think my influences are hunched over people shuffling through quick crowds. Maybe they need help with their groceries… They are the sentences I’m too far away to hear. They are the cashiers who look like they’ve got so much more in them than ‘have a nice day’. Or maybe they have nothing to say. That’s fine too. (music’s greatest gift may be the spaces in between. the sweet quiet)
 

 

In your opinion, is a song better if it is based from a personal experience or is about an event that actually happened?

 

Every song has had to happen in some way or another. I can’t judge their lineage.
Mine are both at once. Spinning around and around. Songs make me dizzy no matter where they come from.

To me, personally, your lyrics can be read as poetry. There is something very beautiful about the way your words fit together. In college I actually used the lyrics to ‘New Hampshire’ in a poetry class project of mine. Do you intentionally make your lyrics sound like poetry? Are you inspired by any poets in terms of writing and form?

 

 

That’s very kind of you. The skin on face area has changed color and I feel warmer than before.
I could say I’m inspired by poets. A total sucker for Anne Sexton and John Ashberry. Although I sometimes speak meekly incendiary declarations about how poetry is lazy prose. (not true, not true)

I’ve been criticized for colloquialisms, for ‘lay’ versus ‘lie’, for harping on about the grass and the trees and the leaves. My mind connects to parts of life — right or wrong — and doesn’t let go.

Which could be in contrast to the way I see the world going. It’s becoming critically questionable to maintain one’s sense of self. Individuality does not seem to be ‘the thing’ these days. Even among the open-minded.. And THAT is terrifying to me.

 

 

There has been some revolving members in the band. What is the cause of that?

 

Music making isn’t a stable environment for the supporting life. Yes it makes people feel alive. It also makes people feel desperate.
Your best friends will give up their lives in your defense. And then take your favorite pen and stab you in back.

This is why I want my forest or island. Anyone else can live there as long as they don’t believe in a hierarchy to humanity. Simple.

 

 

KC is mentioned in a few of your songs, as well in your latest record ‘Last Light’. Who is KC?

 

KC is my friend from Jackson, MI. She’s cut from the same thread as Eudora Welty and Sam Cooke. She’s an incredible person who can make anything, even birds. She wrote the liner notes to Last Light. Probably the most beautiful thing I’ve ever read…Her daughter’s name is Lily. She stirred a couple songs too.
She and her friends down there put on art shows/rock shows completely independently. Definitely worth checking out.  121millsapsave.com

 

 

How does the songwriting process for Matt Pond PA come about? Do you bring in a song already finished to the band? Or is there a lot of band collaboration and ideas floating around when you get into the studio?

 

I’ve mostly brought finished songs to the band. With Chris Hansen there’s more collaboration.
He kicks some serious ass.

I can ask Chris questions and he answers with analysis and intuition. Crazy.

(I had this idea of starting a band within the band, but it didn’t take. A utopia where everyone worked equally. Where everyone gave and received equally. Agendas,disagreements were to be held up to vote. A musical dreamworld….And that’s how it stayed. In dreams. Nobody else really ended up contributing. Just seemed like they were waiting for me to finish my damn hymns…I’m not bitter. Because I tried. And within that trying, I wrote a bunch of songs I believe in)

 

 

(And yet. Chris has come up with some recent instrumentals that blow my mind. Yes)

 

Where do you prefer to record your albums? I’ve seen several pictures of the band recording in more wooden looking, suburban, ‘peaceful’ areas that seem outside of the city. Is there any place you enjoy recording more than others?

 

There is no doubt that I’m more at peace when I’m outside the city.

Then again, recording with Rob Schnapf out in LA ruled in it’s own right. Hyperbole free, I’d say he’s about as cool as it gets in the entire recording world.

 

 

What is your favorite song to perform live and why?

 

Brooklyn

Stars. Because I almost dance. Or even dance. Depends on the way the wind blows.
 

 

I heard you are recording a new record. How is it coming along so far? Are we in for any unexpected surprises or changes?

 

We’re doing a free miniature album for Thanksgiving (I think). Because despite all my cantankerousness, I love people and I love food. And I love eating food with people… a soundtrack to all that could be a decent affair.
Surprises. I don’t know. I don’t know what surprises people. I just write songs. I rarely stuff them with firecrackers. 

The full-length is still a wrestling match. There’s really enough for 3 or 4 albums. But I’m not good at counting. I skip most numbers to get to eight. I love the number 8.
 

 

Are you ever nervous about going into the studio to record a new record?

 

Seeing that I’m always recording, I don’t think I think about it anymore.
I will yell at myself when recording. I’ll get frustrated and call myself a bastard…Maybe even this afternoon.

 

 

Will there be a tour to follow?

 

I think tours will always follow. Until I can’t stomach it any longer.

What are your favorite and least favorite parts about being on tour?

My least favorite goes back to the last question and my stomach. The least favorite part is the absence of consistently great food. The inability to cook my own meals for months on end stresses me out of my head.
My favorite parts (the reason I’ll never stop) are living in the moment and being able to connect with people.

Sometimes we’re gravely misinterpreted. And that’s too bad. But we won’t stop trying. No way.

 

 What is your favorite city to play a show in?

I don’t like hierarchies. I don’t think any city is better than another. It is truly the people and the energy that makes the shows go.
Still. I do love New York. Perhaps because I spend the most time here.

 

How have you changed on a personal level since the release of your first record, ‘Deer Apartments’?

Yes. Oh yes.
I understand what I want to do now…Whether I can achieve that or not, that is the question.

I would loved to have had a talk with my prior self. Though I’d never want to go back and live any of it. I like my memories where they are.

 

If you weren’t in Matt Pond PA, what would you be doing for a living?

History professor. Smoking a pipe. Grading papers. Many leather-bound books lining my shelves.

 

What album changed your life? What album made you decide to get into music?

 

Double Nickels on the Dime changed my life. It feels free.

 

I think Harvest made me commit. If I could feel what it was like to make that album, I’d surely float away forever.

 

What song do you wish you had written and why?

 

Most songs by Neil Young. Birds. Definitely Birds.

 

What do you love the most about music?

 

When it’s right, you forget everything else in the world.
At the wheel, heading straight for a ditch and singing the wrong words to Wave of Mutilation.

 

 

What board game can you kick anyone’s ass at?

 

I can walk on my hands. I can catch things in my mouth. Those are the only two things I’ll ever brag about.

Matt Pond PA has just recorded a song for ‘Guilt By Association: Volume 2’ which is available now on iTunes and will be on CD February 7th.  The band has recorded a cover version of My Chemical Romance’s ‘I’m Not Okay,’ which you can listen to here

Check out Matt Pond PA on Myspace 

Ain’t That the Truth with The Spinto Band

Sunday night at the Bowery in New York City, I had the chance of interviewing The Spinto Band’s Jon Eaton and Joey Hobson. The SpintoBand is one of my favorite indie pop bands that blend flawless vocal harmonies and catchy melodies. It almost feels like its impossible to pull off, but they do it so well. Just finishing their most recent tour for the new record ‘Moonwink’ the guys shared stories about everything from tour pranks to how the title of the new record came about.

Modern Mystery:  Who is Roy Spinto, and have you ever met him?

Jon Eaton:  I have not met him. He was Nick’s Grandfather. An inspiration for The Spinto Band, that you might may or may not know.

Is he still alive?

JE: No, he’s deceased a bit.  He passed away before I had ever heard his name spoken. I’m not sure of the exact year. He’s long since deceased physically, but spiritally he’s with the band every day.

How did The Spinto Band form?

JE:  We all grow up together and it was kind of like a bunch of guys hanging out, playing video games and kickball and stuff, and then we got some instruments, and then we became a bunch of guys hanging out playing guitars and messing around with a 4-track. And thats a strip down version of how it got started. We were all just good friends growing up.

How did you come up with the title for the new record, ‘Moonwink’?

JE:Um, well its actually the name of a motel we used to drive by on a touring route that we commonly did up to Bennington, Vermont. In Vermont there’s a hotel called The Moonwink, uh, a motel called The Moonwink Motel, and it has an awesome sign out front and its kind of run down. I don’t even know if you can stay at The Moonwink anymore. Its a really awesome spot on the drive, where, I don’t know, its just kind of cool. That’s sort of where the term really came from. Then we sort of embraced that term to mean like, the moon, if you imagined a man in the moon, sort of giving a wink down to all of us down here, you know? Like “Hey guys! I’m with ya! I get the joke! I’m in on it!’ (laughs)Thats kind of, I don’t know, some kind of bullshit I made up. I like the sound of it (laughs).

How does the songwriting process occur for The Spinto Band?

Joey Hobson: Uh, usually we come with like a base, depending, some songs are different than others. Usually it’s kind of like a couple of parts of a song but then we all get together and arrange parts for it.

Which do you prefer more..being in the studio or being on tour?

JH:  (laughs) Depending what you’re doing at the time, its always different…generally the other way around.

 

JE: (laughs) Yea, its usually a ‘Grass is greener on the other side’ situation. The grass is always greener. Like we just finished up our tour and it feels so good to be done with it. Like this is the last show for…like minus a week we’ve been on the road since the beginning of September and we did the UK and Europe for a little bit and had like four or five days off and then started the U.S. tour. Our booking agent is trying to get us on another tour in January and we’re like ‘Uh we may just go and try to demo some songs for the next album’ (laughs), and our record label is like ‘No you need to promote the album, its real.’ Definatly its like when you’re in the studio you want to get out on the road, and when you’re on the road you want to get into the studio and not BE on the road.

The videos you put on your Youtube site are incredible. How did you pull off these performances, especially the kitchen version of ‘Later On’?

JH:  It was a practice day and we didn’t want to practice and we sat around for probably an hour finding stuff to tap on and what not. Thats how that came out (laughs). We were like ‘Oh my God! I think we can fill these with water!’

Who are your influences?

JH: We have a lot of them (laughs). I don’t think we can rattle them off right now. Um, every band I’ve ever listened to.

If you weren’t in The Spinto Band, what would you be doing?

JH:  I don’t know, probably something with animation…or working on it.

You could make little animated Roy Spintos. That would be awkward.

JH: Yes, that would be awkward.

Do you find it hard to pull off on stage what you created in the studio?

JH:  Its always different. I don’t know if we’re always shooting to do exactly what we did in the studio. It would be hard to do exactly what we did in the studio, yea.

JE:  I think we tried to defiantly consciously, maybe not consciously, but we defiantly changed it around on stage. Its a little different experience.

What was the first band you were ever a part of?

JH:The Spinto Band…or Free Beer, I guess, which is the same thing.

JE:  I’ve never been (slight pause), I’ve never been able to really play music and enjoy it as much as I do with the guys in this band, whatever form it may be. We kind of did like rap albums and weird side projects and like weird different albums over the years, but its all the same group of friends.

What is your favorite album of all time?

JE:  Oh my gosh….

JH:  Don’t have one!

JE: Yea, mine changes a lot. I just got the new Q-tip album that I like, but my favorite of all time….I’d say currently in heavy rotation is The Silver Jews “American Water’ but if you ask me that question tomorrow it might be different, as I think most people would say. Do you have a favorite album of all time?

I can’t decide on just one. It changes all of the time, from like month to month.

JE:  Yea exactly!

It will never be the same.

JE: Thats a dirty question! (laughs) ‘Cause you’re going to write that on your blog now and be like ‘Oh really?!’ (laughs)

What is your favorite tour moment of all time?

JE:  I’d simplify it to this last tour. Um, there were some good moments. I’ll go back to in the UK. We were touring with this band called the All New Adventures of Us and it was the last show of the tour in Birmingham, and we had gotten along really well with the guys and like, shared some hotel rooms and had some drinks with them over the course of the two weeks we were on tour. So the last night we decided to prank them on their set, and we put milk on the drummer’s snare drum and the lights were kind of low and like the snare drum head is normally white, so he didn’t see it at all. We also put, well our soundman put, water in the trumpet player’s trumpet, and we had them all set up, and the drummer hit the snare drum for the first hit and I was watching him and you kind of saw him look around. He didn’t know what happened. It was his Birthday that night too so it made it all the better. He was really puzzled for a while, and we had always talked about doing that prank but never really did understand how you can pull it off, and then it worked perfectly. He eventually ran his hand down and smelled it or something. He looked out in the audience and like pumped his fist…had a laugh. And then they got us when we took the stage after the. After every song through the monitors they played like these real dirty British comedy routines that are like…they were like (Speaks in British Accent) ‘Oh gee, oh what I wouldn’t do for a big juicy cock right now’ or something and like (laughs) these really inappropriate sayings to have coming out of  your monitor speakers. I don’t think the audience could hear them, but you didn’t know if the audience could hear or not. We found out they couldn’t later, and they were just like ‘What the fuck?’  That was a pretty good moment and it was all in good fun, and I don’t think anyone in the audience came out of the show saying it was ruined or anything like that.

What was the first instrument that you learned to play?

JH: Instrument?

JE: Ha!

JH: I had a ukulele but I couldn’t play it well. It was just one I had.

JE: I remember in Elementary School, getting like, in music class, getting to play like some sort of drum or wood block or something, and having the music teacher ask me to chill out an listen to the rest of the people in the band because I wasn’t keeping proper time (laughs). If you ask anyone else in the band they’ll tell you that I fall off the beat more than anyone. It stayed with me (laughs).

Who is Mandy?

JE: Yea there is no Mandy. Its a disappointment.

JH:  There is a Mandy, its just not about one.

Somewhere…

JE: The song is named for the Mandolin, or the inspiration is a Mandolin.

Did you find it more nerve wracking releasing ‘Moonwink’  than ‘Nice and Nicely Done’ ?

JE:  Um, I’d say its hard, the last album, ha! (pause). Thats a hard one to answer.

JH: Well for the first one we had no expectations so putting the second one out there were…actual expectations.

JE: Yea, people actually wanted to hear the second one, whereas the one before it, nobody had any expectations.

What new albums are you currently listening to?

JE:  I just mentioned the Q-tip album, I just listened to that  yesterday, um, on this tour I picked up that Last Shadow Puppet’s album which I thought would be a lot differnt but it just sounds like an Arctic Monkey’s album. I picked up…we played a lot of instores so we got a lot of opportunities to buy albums. Um, I picked up the new Jenny Lewis which I liked, I don’t know. Nothing too exotic there. Let’s see…the new Silver Jews is really good. Not real into the new TV on the Radio. The Money Notes album has been on heavy rotation on all of ours (laughs). In all honesty. And let’s see, what else. I can probably answer for a  couple other people in the band. Tom just got the new Deerhunter, he’s a big Deerhoof fans so Tom likes bands with ‘Deer’ prefixies (laughs), and Sam always listens to weird hip hop I don’t know the name of.

JH: MURS. He just got that.

JE: So who knows. I don’t know. Is that a good enough list?

Yes, very detailed (laughs). So where do you see the Spinto Band in 10 years?

JE:  Sitting on a beach with some pina coladas. Yea I don’t know. Ask Nick!

At this point singer Nick Krill comes down the stairs and walks over.

Nick Krill: What?

JE: Answer this one question.

Where do you see the Spinto Band in 10 years from now?

NK: Where do I see them? Everywhere I look! (laughs)

JE:  There you go!

Good answer!  And on to the last question of the night. What board game can you kick anyone’s ass at?

JH: Sorry!

JE: Sorry!

Both:  Team Sorry!

JH:  Not just Sorry but Team Sorry!

The Spinto Band at the Bowery Ballroom, NYC, 11/16/2008

Sunday night at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City I had the chance of seeing The Spinto Band on the last show of their lengthy international tour. Never have I seen such an outburst of energy like that on stage. In one word, it was astonishing. The Spinto Band are extremely tight on stage even when they whipped out the kazoos for ‘Brown Boxes.’

The band kicked off the show with ‘Summer Grof’ which was an unexpected surprise. Nick Krill’s and Thomas Hughes’ vocals compliment each other even more so live than they do on their records. The Spintos really had the whole place dancing, and not only is their playing tight, but their harmonies are absolutely extraordinary. Somehow they double the perfection of their albums when they are on stage, and how they manage to do that, I’ll never know. From one song to the next, The Spinto Band delivered the goods from the mandolin of ‘Oh Mandy’ and beyond. I can’t wait until The Spinto Band comes back to New York City again. They are literally one of the best bands out there today.

The Setlist:

Summer Grof
Brown Boxes
Needlepoint
Later On
Vivian, Don’t
Mountains
Cat’s Pajamas
They All Laughed
Late
Oh Mandy
Pumpkin’s and Paisley
Black Flag
Direct to Helmet

CHECK OUT 3 VIDEOS of The SPINTO BAND from the Bowery over at my Vimeo

Check out more live photos of The Spinto Band at the Bowery after the Jump
Also check them out on their Myspace

BONUS: Tomorrow I will be posting my interview with The Spinto Band from Sunday night! So keep an eye out for that!

The Stereotypes Cover Of Montreal

When I got an email in my box today announcing Polyvinyl Record’s massive store sale, of course I immediatly went to the site. Posted on the front page I found the most interesting thing I have ever seen in my life.  The Washington University’s Male acapella group, The Stereotypes had decided to cover and make a video for Of Montreals ‘Wraith Pinned to the Mist’. Wow, is all I can say. They also add in a bit of ‘Gronlandic Edit’ and ‘Lysergic Bliss’ in there during the song. I have never thought of turning Of Montreal tunes into acapella, but damn it sounds so good.

Check out The Stereotypes on the web: The Stereotypes

Watch The Stereotypes cover Of Montreal

Franz Ferdinand ‘Ulysses’

I was pleasantly surprised this morning to wake up and find that Franz Ferdinand had just released thier new sing ‘Ulysses’. I never thought that years (wow has it been that long?) later I would still really like Franz Ferdinand. It has been an awful long wait since their last record ‘You Could Have it So Much Better,” but the band is returning with “Tonight: Franz Ferdinand” due out January 26th on Dominio Records. Yes this is a little over a two month wait, but I guess we’ve waited this long already. The first single titled ‘Ulysses’ is classic Franz Ferdinand. The band managed to maintain the sound that made them so popular in the first place. The ‘get your ass out of the seat and dance sound.’ They have indeed thrown in a little Spoon-like funk which only adds to the greatness of the track. I can’t stop listening to it. Its that good. Is it January yet?

You can stream ‘Ulysses’ over at Franz Ferdinand’s Myspace.