Secondhand Sunday

We’re starting something called ‘Secondhand Sunday’ around here. To give you a brief overview, basically we are digging back in the vaults of indie music videos from years ago. These can be as old as say, a Sloan video from 1992 or as recent as an Of Montreal video from 2005. Its all about remembering those great songs that some of us have forgotten. A blast from the past if you will.

To start off our first Secondhand Sunday, we are posting a video of Phantom Planet’s ‘California’.  Lately I personally have been on a PP kick,going back listening to their older stuff as well as getting into Jason Schwartzman’s most recent project as Coconut Records. When I first saw the video for ‘California’ I remember it was right when our Cable company started giving MTV2 out for free. This is also a time when MTV2 actually played nothing but music videos. The tune was in heavy rotation at the time and I couldn’t get enough of it. It is one of the defining songs of my college years.

A Tribute to Michael Jackson

Losing Michael Jackson yesterday has already spawned tons of cover songs by other bands. I guess it is the most flattering way you can be remembered.  Who ever thought this would happen so soon. You can’t help to respect the man’s talent and passion for music, amongst other things.

I remember being a little kid in the 80’s and having Michael Jackson dubbed cassettes from my older cousins. We used to moonwalk across the living room and we even started our own little ‘fake kids band’ with our instruments imitating his songs. I also have video footage of my cousin Chris moonwalking in the background of a 1980’s Christmas day (don’t let him know I told you that!)  I wasn’t the biggest Michael Jackson fan in the world, but he did indeed change the face of music and quite frankily, one of my first tastes of ‘real music.’

One of my favorite that I heard today was a cover of ‘Billie Jean’ by an up and coming band called The Lost Fingers, a jazzy little trio from Canada.

Rest in peace Michael, you’ll be missed.

Enjoy this lovely cover of ‘Billie Jean’  by The Lost Fingers HERE

Causing a Scene with The New Collisions

Meet our newest writer, Olivia Hauck! She also writes for the amazing blog ‘Rock n Roll Boston’. Olivia recently sat down with indie pop sensations The New Collisions who discuss everything about how they met to Scott Guild’s Brian Wilson obsession.
All Photos by Michael Connors

The New Collisions will get you out of your seat and dancing like a maniac. The band’s playful, synth-y pop melds perfectly with silver-haired frontwoman Sarah Guild’s sexy and intimately intense vocals. Within the first five seconds of songs like “Parachutes on the Dance Floor” and “Ones to Wander,” it is impossible not to get hooked on their addictive music. Their fantastic sound translates into an energetic and commanding live performance, making a New Collisions show one worth attending.

Scott and Sarah of The New Collisions

Liv: How did you two meet, music related or otherwise?

Sarah: We met in college, at Marlboro in Vermont during some freshman orienation thing.

Scott: It’s a weird, weird place. The kind of college that if you get caught with pot, they give you a five-dollar fine. Originally, Sarah’s from Pennsylvania and I’m from Connecticut…two hot spots.

 Liv: Were you studying music?

Sarah: We were going to school basically for general studies…I was looking to do something with herbology, or botany or something

Liv: Are you still involved in that?

Sarah: Well, I’m a massage therapist so I get to work with herbal essential oils.

Liv: Scott, what is your day job?

Scott: I work all over Boston…Banana Republic, Middle East, T.T. the Bears, I did some real estate stuff… I worked at Cheapo Records for, like, a day…

Liv: You happen to be married… when did you two decide you liked each other?

Sarah: It was about two months into our friendship, I think?90411mac053

Scott: She had a boyfriend! And she dumped him! I was a nihilist at the time, so of course I was irresistible.

Sarah: And I was looking for a challenge!

Liv: How did you come to realize you wanted to play music together?

Scott: That was way down the line; we were already married. I sort of played, but I don’t even think I had a guitar when we met, did I?

Sarah: Oh, you did, you were playing Bob Dylan songs, playing like…”Earth Angel.”

Scott: I love that song “Earth Angel.”

Liv: When did you get the band together? And evolve into the genre you’re in now?

Scott: I was 23, and I had just finished my degree in Philsophy. We went over to England so I could do grad school at Oxford, and we soon realized we wanted to return to the States to do something musical. We re-located back to Connecticut, and both enrolled in grad schools there. We were immediately unhappy…without bashing Connecticut, it’s safe to say there is a very diminutive music scene. Although we were both in school, we realized more and more how much we liked doing music. Actually, we were doing folk music at the time – well, more ambient, weird, Sufjan Stevens-esque. We got really, really bored doing that after awhile.

Sarah: We played the coffee house circuit, but people would rather watch the TV than listen to us.
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Scott: I eventually bought an electric guitar; we wanted to pursue a more upbeat, rock and roll sound. We holed up in our bedroom for days with a drum machine, just writing new stuff…and suddenly we had all new songs! I’m not even sure how it happened…so we put together a band around this, and never knew how much fun we’d have playing this dance pop rock music. It’s rock, but it’s melodic, it’s dance-able…

Liv: What are some musical influences for your “dance pop rock” sound?

Sarah: Missing Persons, Debbie Harry…

Scott: Our music at first though was a lot more like Arcade Fire, The National, and Interpol, but a little more sedate, a little more mopey. They’re all our favorite bands, but it’s not music you can dance to with your girlfriends (imitate dancing girls). As we developed and played more shows, we noticed people dancing to our music, so we started playing faster and faster-

Sarah: I think there is something we missed here, we had moved to Boston at this point!

Scott: Oh yeah, we had already moved up here while this was happening!

Liv: How did you decide on Boston?

Scott: Boston is just so sweet and inviting, we love this city.

Liv: The local music scene is incredible here, for a city of our size…

Scott: Yeah, the music scene in Boston welcomed us with open arms. The first show we played was at TT’s. We just showed up here, playing our music, and everyone was incredibly good to us. I don’t think we’ve had a single bad experience with the local music scene. Fans are so supportive.

Sarah: We’re not trying to be mainstream, per se, but we’re trying to reach as many people as possible with our music. We want to be attainable.

Scott: Our lyrics are meaningful, and the content is something a lot of people can relate to.

Liv: What’s the lyric writing process? What goes through your head? Do you simply sit down and say “Ok, today I’m writing a song” or does it just spontaneously come to you?

Scott: I’ll write the lyrics, just doodling whatever comes out, but since I can’t really sing it’s more like, “Uhn uhn uhn uhn dun dun dun dun” all on one or two notes. I’ll give the lyrics to Sarah-

Sarah: And I’ll be like, “Ok, this is good, keep that, move that line over here, change the chorus…” I’ll hear him strumming on the guitar and I’ll join him in his doodling, just humming melodies and working things out for hours.

Liv: Do you transcribe any of the music?

Scott: I don’t, ever. I play chords on my guitar, I hum the lyrics, and I just remember it, figuring out what works and how the lyrics go with what chords I’m playing…

Sarah: Scott’s really good at phrasing. There will always be the right number of words for what he’s playing.
Scott: But Sarah is more classically trained, so she can write things down. When she does keyboard parts she can notate it.

Liv: When it comes to your melodies, Sarah, do you write those down?

Sarah: No, I memorize them. I rarely write down my melodies.
Scott: Sometimes she sings a song differently a few times before we nail down what we like, we were in the studio earlier and she started singing one song like we’d never heard it before.

Sarah: I’m always improvising. I never really bolt down a melody.
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Liv: What’s your favorite song to play live? What gets the adrenaline exploding through your body?

Scott: The two new songs we just did in the studio with Anthony J. Resta; he used to produce Duran Duran and Blondie. He’s unbelievable. We collaborated with him and Greg Hawkes of The Cars; Greg came in and layed down keyboard parts for these two songs.

Sarah: The two new ones are called “No Free Ride” and “Beautiful and Numb”. We love playing them live.

Scott: We have them as singles, which sound better than anything we’ve done so far, but we’re just waiting to release them. They’re going to be digitally released and on a 7 inch.

Liv: Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?

Sarah: I want to be touring. We have to be.

Scott: This time next year I know we’ll be touring. That’s what we want. Badly.

Sarah: Our team, our entertainment lawyer, manager, and producer, sees us breaking into England and exploring that market. We have a lot of friends in South America who think our music would do well down there also.

Scott: The overall goal right now is just to keep building and building the fan base.

Liv: It seems you’ve been through the “getting started” process, done and finished with scrounging around at coffee houses…do you have any advice for musicians just starting out? Anything you did or didn’t do well, something you’d do again?

Scott: I think the two things that worked best for us was that you have to put on an energetic and crazy live show. That’s what gets people to remember you. That’s what gets people talking about you. I’ve seen bands starting out and they stand there stock still, nervously performing, and it doesn’t work. That’ll kill you. The other thing is that a band should meet every single fan and every single person interested in the band’s music.

Sarah: Just be open and friendly. I appreciate so much the people on the top tier still being down to earth and helpful.

Scott: I remember, once when I was working at the Middle East, I was the driver for Tom Morello. We ended up hanging out with him for like, two days. We had a blast, he was fantastic.

Liv: If there is any band or musican you would ideally love to collaborate with in any capacity, who would it be?

Scott: I’d love to do something with Brian Wilson.

Sarah: Scott is a Brian Wilson superfan. It’s borderline creepy.

Scott: Brian Wilson literally has changed my life.

Sarah: The way he produced music made me think about music differently…. but I would like to meet Debbie Harry.

Liv: Who wouldn’t? She’s a goddess.

Sarah: She’s so amazing, and she just has this edginess that isn’t pretentious. It’s all coming from who she is as a person and from her life experiences. She’s one of those inherently cool people.

Liv: Got any famous last words you’d like to leave us with? Better think of something witty and clever so we know that you’re cool.

Scott: I’m very appreciative of how quickly our band has progressed, and how many people have attached themselves to us, helping promote us and helping push us forward. We don’t have trust funds or rich parents, and everything we get to do is because we make it happen with the help of our friends and fans. Thank you!
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Lollapalooza 2009 Lineup Announced

Ah, remember the days when Lollapalooza got, well to say the least really crappy and they toured with the festival and no one cared to see it anymore? Well since Lollapalooza has stationed itself permanently as a festival in Chicago, the quality of bands have been getting better every year. Thus, making me wish that  Lollapalooza actually was a touring venture again. Just reading the lineup for the three day event makes my head want to explode with excitement. The best thing about the show is the wide range of bands.

Here are some of our top picks for each day of the festival:

Friday:  Of Montreal, Kings of Leon, The Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Andrew Bird, Crystal Castles, and Kevin Devine.

Saturday: Ezra Furman & The Harpoons, Chairlift, Langhorne Slim, The Living Things, The Constantines, TV on the Radio, Santongold, Lykke Li and Animal Collective.

Sunday:  Sam Roberts Band, Passion Pit, Friendly Fires, Neko Case, Dan Auerbach, Cold War Kids, Vampire Weekend, Cage the Elephant, Bat for Lashes, Dan Deacon, Dearhunter, Ra Ra Riot, Silversun Pickups, and Band of Horses.

The festival takes place at Grant Park in Chicago from August 7th to August 9th. Unless a bag of money falls from the sky there is no possible way for us to be there. Sad. Let us know how it goes kids.

Check out all of the details on the festival’s main site HERE

Spoon Recording Follow Up to ‘Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’

It has been already two years since we saw the release of the most critically acclaimed Spoon album ‘Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.’ Yes it is hard to believe that it has really been that long, but Britt Daniel and the boys have announced they are heading back into the studio this summer to record another album. This is of course great news to Spoon fans, or indie fans in general. No doubt the band will keep on the path of genius their last few records have provided. When not in the studio this summer, Spoon will be playing a small (and I mean small!) handful of shows with bands such as The Atlas Sound and Low. I’m not sure about you, but I can’t wait to hear the new Spoon tracks. Most likely the album will be released early next year.

Check out Spoon on MYSPACE

Watch Spoon performing ‘The Underdog’ on David Letterman