Video Voyager: 3Q’s with Goose Bolton

Goose Bolton is a mysterious figure, who we are told came from outer space and crash landed here on earth in early AD 2021 after an intergalactic heist went awry. He has been releasing experimental music for a while, and his latest single/video “Lunatic” is one of them.

We spoke with Goose about this strange, yet powerful video:

Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically?

The song originated as a sonic accompaniment to a story about someone who starts hallucinating that inanimate objects can speak to them. When conceiving of a music video, I chose to visualize this song because it’s one of my favorites on my upcoming record and because, thematically, it felt like the most appropriate starting point to accompany the strange images and narratives that swirl around in my head. I didn’t feel locked into any single specific narrative with this song, and so the Tiger Ji (the director) and I could really let our minds run free during the brainstorming process. 

What was the inspiration behind this video(visuals, storyline, etc.)?

The initial inspiration for this video began a dream that Tiger had, which contained the specific image of men in business suits wriggling down a city street while wrapped in plastic. This was the springboard for us deciding that the video should be about a person who is seeing something crazy in the city (that only they can see) and their response to that. Initially, we were going to have the video’s main character be chased by fish people, but then we decided that lizard people would be more relevant to contemporary conspiracy theory as well as more thematically interesting, as it lets our main character wrestle with her own reptilian identity by the end of the film. We were aiming for a very specific mood that mingled elements of the absurd, science-fiction, horror, and comedy. I decided it made sense for the main character to be wearing a hospital gown after having escaped an asylum because the word “Lunatic” to me always seems like it’s a title assigned by society to an individual, rather than a subjective state that the individual feels (“crazy” for instance feels more like it can be either an assigned title or a subjective identity), so the hospital gown was the most efficient way to convey that this person is The Lunatic. The version of lunacy we wanted to explore in this music video is not mental illness. Rather, it is a label thrust upon a person by others in response to that person’s reaction to outside factors or new knowledge. This is important because the main character is not insane—she’s just the only person who can see the lizard people.

What was the process of making this video?

We filmed the video over 2 days across different areas of New York City in both Manhattan and Brooklyn. The final climactic scene with (spoilers) all of the dancing lizard people is the rooftop of a parking garage on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, most of the street pursuit scenes were shot in Bushwick, and we filmed the subway scene at the 2nd Ave subway stop in Manhattan as well. The shoot was incredibly smooth with zero hiccups. Tiger is the kind of director that has every single shot meticulously planned and storyboarded weeks ahead of the shoot, which led to a fun and efficient filming experience where we could focus primarily on the emotions and physicality of the actors in each scene. 

Watch “Lunatic” here:

Video Voyager: Questions with Kao Wonder

Los Angeles-based dance-pop and electronic artist, Kao Wonder, just released his music video for his song “Safe Space” from his album, EVOLUTION. He employed his prior dance experience to guide the videos narrative, with Kao acting as a narrator in the story. Kao’s voice is very much like Neyo and his music is much like Dua Lipa meets Tao Cruz. “Safe Space” makes you want to dance along. We spoke with Kao Wonder and he tells us all about the video below:

Tell us the story of this song, why did you choose to visualize this song specifically?

Funny enough, when I wrote this song, I was actually paying homage to all my female friends who considered the LGTBQ nightlife (bars/clubs) their ‘safe space’. Many of them  would say to me “well this is my safe space, here I don’t have to worry about men and their ancient pick up lines, I don’t have to worry about other women judging me or acting a certain way towards me. There, I can actually have the most fun and be myself and just have the best time ever with in such a free spirited culture.” How could you forget an answer like that?! I couldn’t! So I wanted to take that and turn it into a love song. It wasn’t that easy at first as love songs aren’t my forte lol, but when I was at the airport on my way to Atlanta to record with my Producer(s) (shouts to Tedy P. and Ced Ivory), I couldn’t figure out how to start it out….until I looked up and saw a guy take off his face mask (because he was eating – COVID rules), and he smiled at this female who smiled back at him from across the way. You could feel that type of warmness in the coldest of winters! So I said to myself, “It’s the smile for me,” and the the rest of the song wrote itself out. I would hope that’s one of the things that makes someone feel intricately connected when they meet their soulmate.


Tedy P and I have this thing before he creates each song, he always begins by saying to me “tell me how you’re feeling about this tune”, and I said for this particular track I want to pay homage to the musical decade that helped shape me and my creativity; the 90s! Something like the New Jack Swing, mixed with a little hip hop and up-tempo R&B, and Pop. Make it as if we were in1995. He did just that!! When the song was done and I heard the final mix, I literally shed a tear because it reminded of growing up in Brooklyn and all my friends back home. It reminded me of a time before social media, when we would run outside and play ‘Tag ‘ or ‘Mother May I?’, Double Dutch or Hand-ball in the park or on the side of a building. Just the fun we had outdoors, music would be BOOMING from someone’s boombox, house or car, It gave me this nostalgia that was a balm to my heart, so I knew I had to do a video to project these thoughts to the world, because I know someone in this world wants to take that same trip down memory lane with me. To get away from all these current politics and redundancies and just remember what it was to be a kid playing until the street lights came on. These thoughts are my “safe space”…

What was the inspiration behind this video(visuals, storyline, etc.)?

Well as you know, the concept of the song Safe Space is  someone being their “safe space”, meaning being with someone you are comfortable with, not afraid to be vulnerable with, the person who you can be your honest and truthful self. As fun as that sounds and as great as that concept is…what if we took an alternative look at the premise; suppose there is an object or place that you consider your “safe space”? What if it’s cooking? What if it’s teaching? Or…like me…..what if it’s PERFORMING ? My team and I decided to explore these alternate roads and rather tell the traditional story of’ ‘girl meets boy’, why not make Dance’ the safe space for our protagonist instead? If you look at the video closely, you will see two individuals who met doing what they love to do, which is dancing (shouts to my leads Indo Hayes (who assisted me with the choreography of the video and Malik ‘Gvmby’ Bannister who is also phenomenal). From an innocent viewer’s eyes, during the club scene it looks like as time progresses the two leads in the video separate, which makes our lead male character sad and a bit lonely in his solo scenes, but the element of surprise comes when you see an older version of them in the end still together. So what was he sad about? He actually hurt his leg, which prevented him from dancing alongside his beau (this is why he was at the doctor’s office and this is also he had a horrible limp with his leg up in the club scene) , but still, when he looks to the alley in his older form, he’s reminded of how much dance was his safe space. So the love story is there …..but the ‘subject’ of the love story is what makes it so sweet, and my Creative Director, Joaquin Sagarra, did a fantastic job of telling this story visually. As far as the “setting” of the video goes, that was from my Videographer Jimmy Collier. He knew we wanted to keep the dedication to the decade of the song, but he also reminded us that the Caribbean/Afro culture shouldn’t be forgotten about during these times,..especially with the Caribbean influence in Brooklyn (interestingly enough this also was a HUGE influence on me, shout out to my favorite restaurant still standing back home… the infamous Tower Isle Patty Shop, i can literally taste my favorite chicken patty w/ cocoa bread as I write this and it was literally one block over from where i lived 😉  ) . It was like the icing on a perfectly lined up cake!! 3 tier !!! This is what made this particular video soo monumental for my team and myself? This idea was so big in fact, that it inspired Ced to go BACK and remix the song and create a ‘Riddim Remix” (which basically adds elements of dancehall/afro beats to the song), in which we used for the video and which was released Friday 11/5. All in all, this project was such an experience! 

Watch now:

You can find more on Kao Wonder via:
Website
Instagram
YouTube
Spotify

Video Voyager: 3Q’s with Patricia Silverberg

Patricia Silverberg has always loved music, but never thought that she had the “proper range” to be successful enough. That all changed after attending the Lilith Festival in Phoenix, Arizona, where she saw Natalie Merchant, The Indigo Girls, and Sarah McLachlan perform. From that moment on, she knew that music was the path for her. When she watched those powerful women in action, she was inspired to take the leap.

Her new video to accompany her rendition of “Midnight Special” is all about giving a voice to the voiceless. Let’s hear what Patricia had to say about her video:

Tell us the story of this song. Why did you choose to visualize this song specifically?

“Midnight Special” is a traditional American folk song with origins circa 1900. No one knows who the true author of the song is, but Leadbelly, a former inmate and famed blues singer, made the song famous in the 1930s. I discovered Odetta’s version a few years ago. Her emotional contralto voice enthralled and inspired me. I adopted the song and began singing it at local folk festivals. To make this song modern and relatable, I added a verse about “Tent City” in Phoenix (I live in Arizona). As a folk singer, I wanted to call out the horrendous injustices that the former sheriff made towards Latinos and anyone who spoke out against him. In my opinion, “Tent City” is against the 8th Amendment. (I can only say this as he is no longer in power, or I’d be sent to “Tent City”) I feel like I’m doing my job as a folk singer!

What is the inspiration behind this video (visual, storyline, etc)? 

Since I created an all-acoustic blues/Americana version of the song, I wanted the video to have an earthy unadorned feel to it. If I chose flashy special effects and images, the message, the lyrics, and the organic feel of the music would have been lost. Since I had a small budget, I used historical pictures as they are no longer under copyright restrictions. I found most of the assets from the Library of Congress. I interweaved a video of myself with images of steam trains (including footage from Thomas Edison’s studio) and prisoners to illustrate the story. I purposefully chose images representing diverse people, including African Americans and women. One of the images is of Ledbelly: the man credited for making the song famous. 

What was the process of making this video?

My budget was limited. I used my cell phone with a simple background to capture myself lip-syncing the song. A small lamp sits in frame to represent the Midnight Special “shining its ever-lovin’ light on me.” The filming took place at Greenworld Recording in Gilbert, AZ; the studio where I recorded my EP. I used a video editing application to slice the footage with the historical photos and films. The final master of the song was added to the editor’s timeline. I added fade in/out transitions in between images for subtle special effects. Fitting the historical images and film into the same frame along with the video proved challenging. I had to crop and adjust each asset. 

Watch now:

You can find Patricia Silverberg via:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
YouTube
Spotify
Soundcloud

Drowning with Ghost Wave!

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Over the CMJ week, Modern Mystery got to catch up to the pulsating 60’s sounds of Ghost Wave.Based out of Auckland, New Zealand, the band projects unconcealed and organic reverberations, while administering room for pioneering layers of new age rock-n- roll. With this being their first-time tour in the states, Ghost Wave discuss the fluidity of their sound, getting hassled by panhandlers in Venice Beach, and continuously expanding their musical grounds.
***Due to an immense amount of city noise and static during the initial interview, the recording underwent a few transcribing errors. This article has been modified and re-edited since it’s first published version. ***

How did you initially come up with your band’s name?

Matt: We don’t actually know how it came up or what’s behind it, it kind of just eventuated.  It has not specific meaning, maybe just holds a vibe.We came up with one song first, and then we needed a name, and then we needed a band after that!

 
How was your project formed? Were you all friends prior to the formation of Ghost Wave? 
Matt: Well Eammon is from Wellington,, and he was making a ton of music, so he decided to move up to Auckland.I’d seen him play a couple times, and I was interested if we could collaborate and create similar sounds to the music that I was familiar and interested in. We had about four bass players before Mike came along.
Mike: I lived in the south part of New Zealand, and I used to be friends with another bandmate of Ghost Wave. I then ended up taking his place, and started playing with these guys.I didn’t really know them before I joined, we became friends after we started creating together.
Eammon: Yeah, I didn’t know Matt at all. We were just always going to each other’s shows.
Matt: I bugged Eammon quiete a lot to be my friend, haha!
When did you first begin writing music?
Matt: I was always interested in developing my own sound, and with our band we put our vibes together, mixing different intros and creating from that base. Mike’s parents are very musical. My Dad introduced me to records at a young age
Mike: I’ve been playing bass since I was about 11. My first band was called The Weeds.
Where did you get that idea from?
It was a band that was put together by our music teacher, when I was about 12 years old. I followed through and played in bands while I attended high school, and just kept kicking at it.
Eammon: I didn’t actually play drums until I came to be a part of Ghost Wave, and started jamming with Matt at his house. I’ve been playing instruments since I was really young.My first instrument was a keyboard, I jammed on casiotone quiet a lot.
This is your first time performing in America, have any of you visited New York before?
Mike:This is our first time performing outside of New Zealand.Eammon  visited the states a few times before, but this is my first time being here!
Matt:I’ve never left New Zealand, this is my first time exploring.
 
How long was your flight and what did you mostly jam to on the plane? 
Mike: It was a pretty exhausting because we had to fly through Melvin,and then back over New Zealand, and then finally to Los Angeles. It was about a 16-hour flight. I watched a bunch of movies.
Matt: I downloaded a pile of psychedic sitar rock jams, just something to keep me interested for such a long way.
Eammon: I got into this new age meditational music. There was this thing on the plane with a video and music, that helped you go to sleep. It kept repeating, just take a deep  breath, just relax! I guess sometimes being on a plane can get pretty gnarly.
Mike: They also had skycam on the tail of the plane, and I watched the flight for a lot of the time.
Judging from your recent shows and first impressions, how would you say the NYC music scene differs  from that of Auckland?
Matt: Haha, well the difference is that in New York there IS a scene.
Mike: Also, when we play in New Zealand there’s not a huge communication between us and the crowd.A lot of times it’s bands playing to each other.
Eammon:It’s nice to have a different audience here, and have people be a lot more forthcoming. It’s refreshing to be here.
So how does most of the promoting for bands work back home?
Matt:We’ve always taken the responsibility for the way our band is perceived and putting ourselves outwards.There are not a whole lot of outlets. There is a couple of websites where you can put your band’s poster up.It’s a lot more limited and restricted.
 
Prior to your arrival to New York City, you played two shows in Los Angeles, how did your first U.S. show with The Golden Awesome turn out? 
Mike: Those guys are also from New Zealand.The show felt really natural and organic, it was really fun playing together, we truly enjoyed it.
Matt: A stage is a stage, haha!
Did you have enough time to venture out around Los Angeles?
Mike: We got hassled by some guy down in Venice Beach. He just started asking me to check out his music and buy his albums. He kept telling me “Check it out man, I’ll give it to you. Just give me a donation”. And then another guy came along, and I don’t even know how I ended up talking to all of them in the first place. I guess I can’t always be a nice guy.
Can you expand on central processes of making recently released self-titled debut EP?
Matt: There’s no formula to it, we come together and it sort of just evolves naturally. We can write parts with one-piece, two-piece, three-pieces fragments and then combine everything. It’s all very unstructured, but that’s what we’re going for. We also practiced a ton in this space which used to be a huge weed plantation. There were fake walls in the building when we initially arrived there. I’m pretty sure those people got raided by the police, and then the spot was converted for practice purposes.We have a new rehearsal space now though, we usually practice a couple of times a week. It’s at a place that was prior used for brewing whiskey.
Eammon: It’s nice not to have any noise restrictions, we can play as loud as we want, which is awesome.
 
What is the most exciting part about playing CMJ?
Matt: Well, we’ve always wanted to come to New York, whether it was for CMJ or not, so having the chance to play our music in the city has been great. We wanted to go explore festivals like SXSW and CMJ, and we’re glad to be a part of it.We’ve done shows before, but not for such a prolonged period as with this festival. New Zealand is so small, it’s refreshing to be able to check out different music scenes and get out of the comfort zone.
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You can check out Ghost Wave’s tunes below
Interview by: Viktorsha Uliyanova
Photos: Skyler Smith

YEAR END LISTS: ARTIST’S EDITION

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SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELTSIN (Phil Dickey)

1. New Monsters Collective- Spaceland
2. The ACB’s – Stona Rosa
3. Nerves Junior-As Bright As Your Neon Light
4. Double Wedding
5. The North Decade- What You’d Give Up Tomorrow You’ll Pay For Today
6. Telekinesis- 12 Desperate Straight Lines
7. Lonely Forest- Arrows
8. Ha HA Tonka- Death of a Decade
9. Yellow Ostrich- The Mistress 
10. Dolfish- Your Love is Bumming Me Out

(#4 is a song I recorded with some 3rd graders at an elementary school songwriting camp)

Best thing that happened to you in 2011:
I went to the dentist for the first time since 9/11/2001 and the Pujols trade.

What you’re looking forward to in 2012:
Free Energy
Dragon Inn 3 (my nu thang)
Ghoul School (a new movie by Brook Linder)
Truth and Justice for the 3 missing women
When Vitamin Water buys out Pitchfork and Yeltsin headlines VitaminWaterFest

Best Holiday memory from when you were a kid:
I got a dope David and Goliath action figure set one year.

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THE SPINTO BAND

Music We Liked From This Year:

Mike Quinn – Magico
Key Losers – California Lite
Generationals – Actor Castor
Langor – Ladyblade
They Might Be Giants – Spoiler Alert

Music we liked this year that came out in another year:

Penguin Cafe Orchestra – Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Al Green – Tired of Being Alone
Sybylle Baier – Tonight
Raymond Scott – Soothing Sounds for Baby
John Prine – In Spite of Ourselves
The Would-Be-Goods –  The Camera Loves Me
Nina Simone – Little Girl Blue
Pic-Nic – Callate Niña
Konono Nº1 – Congotronics
Billy Meshel – I Blew It

Best thing that happened to you in 2011:

I lived through 11/11/11 the last fully binary day of our lifetime (when you write out the date). also, I found out that every year 11/11 is national corduroy appreciation day. – nick

What you’re looking forward to in 2012:

Releasing our new album, Shy Pursuit and all the fun stuff that comes with that.

Best Holiday memory from when you were a kid:

Eating cookies my mom makes, some are little meringue things, others are balls that have powder sugar on em, and some are just sugar cookies. now she has started making springerle cookies…which are the best holiday cookie ever created. i’m learning how to make em this year…so that will be nice. – nick

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Aaron Pfenning (Rewards, ex-Chairlift)

Top 10 songs

1. Phantogram – “Don’t Move”
2. YACHT – “I Walked Alone”
3. Blood Orange – “Champagne Coast”
4. Class Actress – “Weekend”
5. Discodeine – “Synchronized”
6. Grimes – “Oblivion”
7. Holy Ghost! – “Hold My Breath”
8. Drake – “HYFR”
9. Slowdance – “Les Reines”
10. Beyoncé – “Party”

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CASEY SHEA

#1 has to be “Rolling In The Deep.” Though thanks to modern American
radio playlists, I’ve heard it so many times in the last year, I’ve
developed a strong hatred for it. But there is no denying it’s one of the
best songs in the past few years. Great production, great songwriting,
great execution….and of course, a tremendous vocal.

Bon Iver – “Holocene”
The Strokes – “Gratisfaction”
Foo Fighters – “Rope”
Tally Hall – “A Hymn For A Scarecrow”
Young The Giant – “My Body”
Noel Gallagher – “The Death Of You And Me”
Foster The People – “Pumped Up Kicks”
Beyonce – “Love On Top”
Britney Spears – “Till The World Ends”

Best thing that happened to you in 2011: Only having a few chipped teeth
as a result of diving into shallow water.

What you’re looking forward to in 2012: More touring…stateside and abroad!

Best Holiday memory from when you were a kid: In 1989, it snowed in
Florida a couple of days before Christmas. It was the first and only
white Christmas I’ve had in Florida to this day.
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ARMS (Todd Goldstein)

1. Wild Beasts – Smother

I was initially suspicious of Wild Beasts’ new album – too much space, too few “songs”, the weirdness of their past albums somehow lost… but somewhere in there I fell in love. Smother is sexy and strange and immaculately produced and arranged – it’s also ineffably sad, and it’s that just-out-of-reach tone that kept me searching the sound, coming back to this album over and over again this year.

2. Nicolas Jaar – Space is Only Noise

3. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

4. Richard Buckner – Our Blood

5. Kate Bush – 50 Words for Snow

6. Sandro Perri – Impossible Spaces

7. Robag Wruhme – Thora Vukk

8. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

9. Liturgy – Aesthethica

10. James Blake – James Blake

Best thing that happened to you in 2011: After months of work and struggle, we self-released our new album, Summer Skills. I just got a new tattoo to celebrate!

What you’re looking forward to in 2012: Touring, and writing more songs.

Best Holiday memory from when you were a kid: The absolute, all-encompassing joy I felt upon receiving Mario Bros 3 for Chanukah. I had just seen “The Wizard” with Fred Savage, and this was pretty much the best present a 10-year-old could ask for. I think I cried with joy, which is retrospect is kind of weird.

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WOODEN BIRDS (Leslie Sisson)

Josh T Pearson – Last of the Country Gentlemen
Bon Iver – Bon Iver
Wye Oak – Civillian
Real Estate – Days
Telekinesis – Desperate Straight Lines
Little Light – The Winter EP
Dan Mangan – Oh Fortune
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care
St Vincent – Strange Mercy

I’ve known Josh T Pearson since I was a teenager.  He’s always been an inspiration to me in music and life.  The man lives and breathes every note he plays, every word he sings, every soul he swoons.  I’m in awe of his talents and spirit.  Instead of breaking rules, he makes new ones.  Texas is the reason and Last of the Country Gentlemen is the way home.

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JUKEBOX THE GHOST (Tommy Siegel)

Note: These aren’t really in any particular order (because music isn’t a competition, duh).

Deerhoof – “Deerhoof vs. Evil”….Like 2007’s ‘Friend Opportunity’, this album is tied for being Deerhoof’s most ‘produced’ sounding record, but still has its moments of chaos.  If Deerhoof isn’t your favorite band on the planet yet, check out their free live record, “99% Upset Feeling” that was released as a companion piece this year (and then buy everything they’ve put out from ‘Reveille’ onward).  My personal favorite band of the new millennium, and while not my favorite of theirs, “Deerhoof vs. Evil” is a stellar addition to their discography with some totally banging singles.

Delicate Steve – “Wondervisions”….An album of spastic, world-influenced guitar-led instrumentals that breathe and climax in ways that have been largely forgotten by indie rock.  Some of my favorite background music ever.  Wonderful ‘vibes’ (pardon the phrase) all around.

Yellowbirds – “The Color”….Sam Cohen’s debut ‘solo’ record (guitarist of Apollo Sunshine), and the results are brilliant.  Great songs, wonderful guitar playing, and a sound and mood that nobody else is occupying at the moment.  This album is total musical poetry to me.

TV on the Radio – “Nine Types of Light”….Great songs, great album, great band.  Future music worthy of the hype.

They Might Be Giants – “Join Us”….As silly and scatterbrained as any of their early records, ‘Join Us’ managed to worm its way into my brain in ways I wasn’t expecting.  “When Will You Die?” belongs on a list of top 10 songs John Linnell has ever written.

Jay Z/Kanye West – “Watch the Throne”….No explanation really necessary here.

Grateful Dead – “Europe 72, Vol. 2″….I love the Grateful Dead.  Accept this as something you can’t change and move on (I know you’re angry).  This album was released as a companion to “Europe ’72”, an album I’ve worn out from spinning over and over again.  The hour-long Dark Star/Drums/The Other One that makes up the bulk of the second disc is hypnotic and otherworldly.  And the ‘Playing’ that closes the first disc totally shreds.

Ahleuchatistas – “Location, Location”…Reduced to a duo for this record, they’ve trimmed away a lot of their old math-rock tendencies (which I also loved) and emerged with something resembling an instrumental political/noise/punk/free-jazz record.  A great (and totally overlooked) record that belongs in anyone’s collection who likes adventurous and ugly guitar playing.

Fleet Foxes – “Helplessness Blues”….I didn’t love self-titled, but this album is gorgeous and imaginative.  In spite of being the type of band that you could claim was heavily and directly influenced by other bands (CSNY, Simon and Garfunkel, etc etc), they’ve really created their own world on this album and I love hanging out in it.

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – “Mirror Traffic”….To put it bluntly, this album sounds like Pavement.  So therefore, it’s really, really great.  “Senator” is one of the funniest and best songs I’ve heard all year….And though I’d like to say only Stephen Malkmus can get away with singing a chorus with the lyric “I know what the senator wants: what the senator wants is a blowjob”, I think I’m just mad that he thought of it first.

White Denim – “D”….Between Yellowbirds, Deerhoof, Delicate Steve, and White Denim, it’s really good to hear aggressive and tasteful guitar playing.  With all of the shoegazey/dreamy stuff going on, it’s incredibly refreshing to hear a band that kinda sounds like…well…Yes.  Proggy and loopy, with some great guitar playing and solid songwriting.  I’m a new convert to White Denim.

St. Vincent – “Strange Mercy”….I didn’t fall for it quite like ‘Actor’, but this record is still great.  St. Vincent is going to be making great records for decades to come (I have a hunch), so you might as well jump on the bandwagon now.

Deleted Scenes – “Young People’s Church of the Air”….One of my friends said it best when he described the sound of this album as ‘one of the best albums you’ve ever heard playing in another room’.  While their live performances are totally in-your-face indie rock a la other DC icons the Dismemberment Plan, this album is really subdued and beautiful.  ‘Bedbedbedbedbed’ is such an amazing song.  This album should be vastly more popular and you should buy it immediately.

Tereu Tereu – “NW EP”….’Savage Love’ is one of the sickest rock songs I’ve heard all year (in every sense of the word SICK), and the EP is great from top-to-bottom.  Heavily DC-influnced, with delicious little bits of Medications, Fugazi, and D-Plan.  Totally stoked for their next full-length….And NOT just because they’re my friends.  I swear.

Norwegian Arms – “Trimming of Hides EP”/”Sibir EP”….Once again, another friend….But I happen to know a lot of people making great music, OK??  Analog-made freak folk with unusual percussion and tastes of what I would describe as a more spastic Neutral Milk Hotel.  I WANT A FULL LENGTH ALBUM FROM YOU, BRENDAN…OK?  But in the meantime, get these EPs because they’re sick.

Trawler – “Northern Star EP”….Dear friend of mine, recorded in Nashville.  Old school folk music with some 60s rock influence thrown in.  ‘Kill Olympia’ is unreal.  I’ll wait and bestow more praise when the full-length comes out.

 Honorable mentions….

The Psychic Paramount – “II”

Hella – “Tripper”

Tuneyards – “Whokill”

Cave – “Neverendless”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – “It’s a Corporate World”

Traffique – “Endless Weekend Mixtape”

Kate Bush – “50 Words for Snow”

Trouble Books and Mark McGuire – “s/t”

Radiohead – “The King of Limbs”

Marissa Nadler – “s/t”

Joe Lally – “Why Should I Get Used to It”

Joan of Arc – “Life Like”

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THE DEMON BEAT (Tucker Riggleman)

10) Time New Viking – Dancer Equired
9) Pujol – Nasty, Brutish, and Short
8) Yuck – Yuck
7) Stephen Malkmus & The Jick – Mirror Traffic
6) Fucked Up – David Comes To Life
5) OFF! – First Four EPs
4) Tyler, The Creator – Goblin
3) The Black Keys – El Camino
2) Bon Iver – Bon Iver
1) JEFF the Brotherhood – We Are The Champions

JEFF the Brotherhood are so fucking loud, it’s awesome. We got to play with them back in August and it ruled. One of the best live shows around.

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WYLDLIFE (Spencer Alexander)

10. The Rotten Jazz Quartet “Sing Damnit”
These guys have such a unique sound and draw from so many different influences. Its like a real rockabilly Tom Waits on acid.

9. Fleet Foxes “Helplessness Blues”
Good stuff to relax to.

8.V THE VIPER “IIIIV (ONE)”
Some good mash-ups for when you’re in the mood to party.

7. The Downtown Struts “Sail the Seas Dry”
These dudes take the punk rock road that bands like Social D, Rancid, and NoFX, paved and take it step further.

6. The Rolling Stones “Some Girls Reissue”  I guess this doesn’t really count but I’m so into the tune “No spare parts” which TECHNICALLY  is new.
5.Porches “Scrap and Love Songs Revisted”
My buddy Aaron is one of the most talented people I know.

4.Biters “All Chewed Up”
This band is one of the tightest I have ever seen. See them live.

3.Social Distortion “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes”
This is my all time favorite band, so they are automatically guaranteed a spot in the top three. I’ve been waiting for this album for so long.

2.Liquor Store “Yeah Buddy”
These guys fuckin’ rule. Really epic punk songs.

1.The Booze “At Maximum Volume”
I’m sorry to say that these guys have recently disbanded. This was my album of the summer, I wore this thing out.

Best thing that happened to me in 2011:
 The best thing that happened to me in 2011 was releasing our first full length album. We are all so proud of that sucker, and its been getting a good response which is all we can ask for. Also, opening for CJ Ramone at Webster Hall was so cool. I can remember listening to the album “Mondo Bizarro” on cassette,which he played and sang on when I was 12, so to be able to share the stage with him was surreal.

In 2012 I’m looking forward to finally getting on the road again. We haven’t toured in a dog’s age.

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ANTHONY D’AMATO

1. The Low Anthem – Smart Flesh
2. Bon Iver – Bon Iver
3. The Felice Brothers – Celebration, Florida
4. Bright Eyes – The People’s Key
5. Blind Pilot – We Are the Tide
6. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
7. Sam Roberts – Collider
8. Chris Bathgate – Salt Year
9. Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire
10. Jessica Lea Mayfield – Tell Me

Best thing that happened to me in 2011: My first UK tour was undoubtedly a major highlight of the year. The crowds were amazing, and I couldn’t have asked for better traveling companions than Jesse Malin & the St. Marks Social.

What I’m Looking Forward to in 2012: Releasing my new album! Recording’s almost done and I’m so excited about sharing it. Definitely a different feel than ‘Down Wires.’

Best Holiday Memory from When I was a Kid: Eating myself into a homemade ravioli coma at my grandparents’ house annually. I plan to keep the streak alive this year.

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ERIC DAVIDSON (freelance writer; singer for New Bomb Turks and LIVIDS; author of We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 (Backbeat Books))

The ubiquitous caveat – Of course I have not heard every record, seen every movie, read every book, etc. released in 2011. I haven’t had a TV for months, and haven’t even heard the new Atomic Suplex album on Crypt or The Men’s LP, for pete’s sake! But for now, here are my year-end ra-ras ‘bout the junk I dug… in no particular order.

Black Lips – Arabia Mountain (Vice) – While longtime fans keep expecting a drop-off, and new converts still yell for on-stage peeing (annoying said longtime fans), the Black Lips continue to traverse the globe for inspiration while always holding a stash of huge yankee garage-pop hooks in their ass-pocket. So much so this time, that this is probably the most fully enjoyable Lips album to date, after 10+ years in the game!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKdIv5N6rZY

Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring for My Halo (Matador)
After dishing up some of the cooler scruffy garage-art of the last couple years with his Violators around him, Vile dishes up this beautiful, subtly brazen solo salvo, fogged-up with 12:45am ruminating folk, best left to your weakest mood points on the rainiest nights. Though it all retains enough scruff, snarl, and thrift store demeanor to be enjoyed on a 6pm ride home. So sink into this stuff before the inevitable focus-destroying Kanye photo opp and DJ of the Week remix.

Acid Baby Jesus – S/T (Slovenly)
A more scarred, psych-pep take on all that fuzzy, echoey, melancholy early-60s melody garage-plop churning through the indie underbelly (I call it “Hardly Artcore”), and unwittingly suffused with the oddly inspiring empty pockets of the Grecian economy nosedive. Layers of frightened bellowing and otherwordly distortion, with sticky, oily hooks outta nowhere, make it the most intriguing debut of the year.
http://www.agitreader.com/primitivefutures/acid_baby_jesus.html

OBN IIIs – The One and Only (Tic Tact Totally)
Tykes from down Texas-way, with probably too many side projects (all of them good!), slingin’ killer slash’n’burn, with structure smarts, way more-than-required sweat, and that elusive, effortless ability to make you think R’nR has a pulse.

Last Laugh Records
Label head honcho and sole employee, Harry Howes, really went cuckoo with the reissues of ultra-obscure, first-era punk rock that are truly cracked and a genuine hoot, as opposed to just, y’know, ultra-obscure. He spread his Red Bull wings out into early-70s glam, power pop, and even some new shit – like the house party punk of Liquor Store’s debut, Yeah Buddy! – with his Almost Ready and Mighty Mouth imprints too. But Last Laugh has resurrected the whole “Killed by Death” pinhead impetus for yet another generation of louts.
http://www.lastlaughrecords.us/

Othermen – Just Pallin’ Around With (Killer Diller)
Calling it crazed shockabilly brings to mind lame flame-skull tattoos and leopard print creepers, etc. But it ain’t that exactly. Aside from singer Max Frechette’s pompadour recalling the torn innards of a post-hunt leopard, and his hot licks hollow-body guitar having been taped and stapled back together like Michael Yonkers taught him the Eddie Cochran catalog, the band drunkenly dissects-then-discards any mid-century nods, making a fast racket that wears you out quick. And the 15-minute chat with a very sauced Rico (bassist) at the end is the perfect respite. Who needs more songs anyway?!

Human Eye – They Came from the Sky (Sacred Bones)
(and some Timmy’s Organism singles…)
Timmy Vulgar, Detroit’s alien heart of now-times punk, continues to produce on the level of Ford in the ‘50s, while his sounds – via his Human Eye and Timmy’s Organism projects – evolve into the noise of those dead ol’ axel factories being torn to bits by the drunken arrested adolescents of that new planet they discovered this year. The Human Eye live shows were as consistently id-invigorating of any band this year.

Flesh Lights
The hopped-up hopes of the year, this Austin trio frisbeed out a few singles, but it’s the surprisingly searing sounds of their debut LP on Twistworthy, Muscle Pop, that can really electrify the ears of someone who thinks OBN IIIs could save R’n’R.

Death of Samantha reunion show, Dec. 23, Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland, OH
The first, and probably last, reunion of the original lineup of my favorite local Cleveland band (one of my fave bands period) from my formative years. So yeah, kind of a personal pick here, but DoS remain one of the more underrated indie acts of the late-80s, a monster mash of glam gloop, punk pissed, and leader John Petkovic’s lounge lizard leering that put them in the pantheon of great Ohio bands that just didn’t fit into prescribed rock world peg/hole prescripts. On this Xmas Eve eve, the band had a ball and masterfully blasted out tunes from all their releases, and generally lifted the packed faithful up and into 1986 and back again, like maybe they should consider erasing that “and probably last” line from the first sentence here.
http://www.cleveland.com/music/index.ssf/2011/12/1980s_punk-rock_band_death_of.html

Guilty Pleasures – Summer Strange (Dusty Medical)
L.A. Times – s/t 7” EP (Smash It Up)

Long never-unleashed recordings from two of the most savage and sorely under-known bands of the whole late-90s lo-fi garage-punk undie-explosion. Having crawled from somewhere around Bloomington, IL, around 2000, the Guilty Pleasures put out one insanely screechy 7” single, a few brain-gutting gigs, and sometime inbetween recorded this album that sat around for some damn reason, until now. Same goes for L.A. Times, a Devil Dogs-worshipping bunch from, ahem, L.A., who were too young to be told that 60 beers in one night is in fact a lot to drink for one band. Finally quit waiting for someone to dig up their AOL email address and ask ‘em, so they finally just released this sick 4-song slab this year, 300 copies only, so get hunting!

Ed Wood’s Sleaze Paperbacks show at the Boo-Hooray gallery, NYC
An amazing amassing of not just the paperbacks of Ed Wood’s end-of-existence career of porn-pulp writing – featuring astonishingly eye-burning cover art – but loads of personal family/friend photos, magazine articles with more wild cover graphics, and a short film, readings, and recollections from fans at the closing party that revealed that “sleaze” is in the mind’s eye of the beholder
http://boo-hooray.com/ed-wood/ed-woods-sleaze-paperbacks/

The general proliferation of fun, fuzzed-out R’n’R combos splattering the less pretentious edges of the, well I wanna say “indie underground,” but I probably have to start getting used to saying shit like “blogosphere” and “Twitteratti” and other childish words that sound dated the second they leave your lips. Anyway, there are loads of new/ish bands who kept huffing Black Lips and King Khan & BBQ fumes that were let go circa mid-2000s; and exhaled grimey swirls of early-60s girl group and doo-wop dredged melodies, Goner/In the Red/Crypt-rooted garage-punk spasms, some spooky, echoey undertones, and a deep, ceaseless love of the Ramones – all with a cheap-ass trash production style that has as much to do with accidentally mirroring our broke, on-your-own freelance times as Scion or Sailor Jerry blowing cash for cred. Most of it still kicks nasty, though shit is edging a little too cutesy (Jacuzzi Boys, maybe switch to 60-minute IPAs or something). And the shark has been flossing his chops waiting to be jumped (is a Hunx & His Punk song on Two Broke Girls inevitable…?) But for now, it’s a pretty fun party.
So keep it up, The Hussy, Davila 666, Mean Jeans, White Mystery, Strange Hands, Mouthbreathers, No Bunny, The Eeries, Bare Wires, Mark Sultan, Dum Dum Girls, Tandoori Knights, K-Holes, Shannon & the Clams, FIDLAR, Peach Kelli Pop, Jail Weddings, Los Vigilantes, Radar Eyes, Wax Museums, Ty Segall, Useless Eaters, Thee Oh Sees, Royal Headache, and more, etc…

Catch-up With Casiokids

The beauty of CMJ is just the astounding amount of bands that end up playing there. The Norwegians from Casiokids were not about to miss the party and we were not about to miss out on the chance of chatting with them while they were here, especially since their newest album, Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen, just came out on Polyvinyl! We spoke to two members of the band, Ketil Kinden Endresen and Omar Johnsen, in a hallway at Pianos last night and here’s how it went!

Modern Mystery: How many times have you been part of the CMJ line-up? How do you like it?

Ketil Kinden Endresen: This is our second time here, we last came in 2008. It was also our first show in New York, at Cake Shop. But we’ve been in New York many times since then. I think this is our 10th mini tour in the U.S. Playing in New York is definitely one of my favourites.

Omar Johnsen: It’s nice when we’re playing things like CMJ or South by South West, you can stay in one town too. It’s so much easier.

KKE: It gives you time to enjoy the city as well.

MM: So where do you like to hang out in New York?

KKE: We spend a lot of time in Williamsburg. We try to go see museums, go to Central Park and roam around Manhattan.

MM: So your songs are in Norwegian, which can’t be easy for everyone to pronounce. Which place had the oddest pronunciation of Norwegian?

KKE: Probably Russia.

OJ: In a way it was the best and the worst [laughs]. They were very into it but it did not sound like Norwegian!

KKE: Still it was pretty special, they were very passionate. But mostly outside of Scandinavia, there is more dancing than singing along. In Scandinavia, they sing more.

MM: What is your biggest musical influence?

OJ: It’s hard to pin down because everyone is from different places. There is some overlap but I think it comes out through our music. It’s like a pot of stew.

KKE: Well, there is this Swedish band called Bobhund that we all like. There’s also electronic pop like New Order, Kraftwerk, Cornelius…

OJ: I guess also krautrock like Neu… Everyone likes these bands at least [laughs].

MM: Anyone you’re excited to see here at CMJ this year?

KKE: I haven’t really looked at the program to be honest but generally I like to rely on luck. Like tonight we got here and then went upstairs and realized our friend was playing!

MM: So your new album, Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen, just came out. How would you describe to someone who’s never heard your music?

KKE: It was inspired by the story of Dr. Tarzan Monsoon and his discovery of a secret rainforest. It’s quite varied and with electro and dance rhythms. Our stories are in Norwegian and we use a lot of harmonies in our vocals.

OJ: It was also made differently from our past albums. Before, the albums were more like compilations of singles. It’s quite diverse but it’s still a sound that sounds like us. It’s also better produced; we have our own studio so over the years, we’ve learned more and got better.

MM: I hear you’re going to Japan next month! What are you most excited about?

KKE: Yes, on November 6th! I’m excited about the food. Japanese food has to be my favourite food in the world.

OJ: I want to discover the culture, I find it very inspiring. Maybe it’s because I’m half-asian so I have a special attraction.

MM: Do you know when you’ll be back in New York after CMJ?

KKE: Not yet. But we’ll definitely be back sometime in the spring.

Catch Casiokids during the rest of CMJ here:

20.10.11: Glasslands
21.10.11: Spike Hill
22.10.11: AAM Inc party 14:30 @ Knitting Factory