Video Voyager World Mental Health Day Edition: 7 Q’s with The R Train

Brooklyn-based rockers are hitting the ground running with a fresh new slew of releases. Recently they debuted with their track “Flip Out Zone” and extraordinarily energetic music video! In honor of today being World Mental Health Day we thought there was no better band to feature since Mike, the band’s drummer, is a firefighter and no doubt would have an interesting perspective on the topic. Read on to find out more!

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

The obvious dilemma we all are experiencing is the Corona Virus blues and the insanity of the times swirling around us. We thought about Flip Out Zone as being an anthem to the insanity, and something of a statement as to what we’re all experiencing in some form or another.  The fact is, we’re all living a life that is in the Flip Out Zone during these times of self-isolation and fear. We felt like it was time for us to stand up, take a deep breath and scream about the madness through our music.

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

We wanted to share the frustration of the times and at times just life in general. In a way describe the vibe of the mundane versus a satisfied life like where the construction worker is banging his head on the wall just suffering from the boredom and stress of the day.  In other scenes we show teamwork and camaraderie with people enjoying what they are doing like in the office scene, or the folks at the end running with the wheelchair still happy with life and making the most out of the moment. Its truly a yin and yang predicament that we all have a choice in life to make. Either be a drone and follow the path of the established norm or follow your passion.  

What was the process of making this video?

We put together a great team to assemble the video, Matt Greene is the Producer of the piece and he came out and shot scenes with the band to capture the musical aspect of the piece. Then he assembled some footage to tell the story about the situation of ups and down from satisfaction to disenchantment in the workplace and at home.  His goal was to illustrate what its like to be caught in the run around of anger and despair versus the life of achievement and fulfillment.

What importance does World Mental Health Day have for you?

Mental health these days is so important in our lives; the good news is you are not alone. Learning about mental health challenges is the first step towards helping each other.  Having the open door to learn and educate one another about the problems in our lives is what leads to cures and care. There is no stigma involved in mental health issues, it is a very normal part of our society and one that with open hearts and souls in the end can provide a great deal of support and healing.  We’re all dealing with the unprecedented impact of a global health emergency known as COVID-19, which has levied some form of trauma for each of us in our lives that affects us in profound ways. Everyone either knows someone that has had the Corona Virus, had it himself or herself, or worse known someone that has died because of having the sickness.  We are all suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) these days.  We are exposed to horrible things on the news, social distancing, isolation, fear, and uncertainty about our future. The importance of World Mental Health Day is, people are here to help and there are ways to cope and succeed and we can win if we work together.

What are some ways in which you tend to your Mental Health overall?

The main way is through our music. Having the ability to be playing songs with the band forces us to forget the issues of the day and focus for a little while on the music alone.  There is nothing like beating the drums with sticks to help you release some tension and anxiety I always say. Another way is through regular exercise and a healthy diet. Staying focused on what I eat and how much I exercise directly affects how I feel throughout the day.

Do you feel your career as a firefighter impacts your mental health? 

Yes, the job of a firefighter is a stressful position.  Bottom line, you are responding to people’s homes for fires or health emergencies or to a motor vehicle accident for something that has gone horribly wrong and you are there to help people in their times of need.  Sometimes you see very upsetting things that affect your mental health, and you carry those incidents with you the rest of your life. As I drive down the roadway 20 years later, I can still recall car accident scenes from the past and I can picture the twisted wreckage with people trapped inside, the smell, and recall the carnage that I witnessed at 3am that night. It’s something that you just learn to deal with overtime and something to chalk up to its part of the job.  The good news is the fire service has come a long way in terms of mental health awareness and prevention.  Through programs for education, peer counselors and open communication, we have begun to help fellow firefighters deal with these types of incidents in a more productive way.

If you could share one message with our readers about Mental Health, what would it be?

Do not be afraid to ask for help, you are a stronger person if you reach out to someone for help then you are if you keep it inside.  There are wonderful people in this world out there willing to help serve and protect us all when we are in our times of need. Be proactive and take charge of your own health and prevention and education can serve you well. 

Check out their video for “Flip Out Zone” below:

Connect with The R Train:

https://thertrain.com/

https://www.instagram.com/thertrainband/

https://twitter.com/TheRTrainBand

https://www.facebook.com/TheRTrainBand/

EL VY Proves to Be More Than Just a Side Project, with Debut Release, “Return to the Moon”

el vy

The much buzzed about EL VY creates an inspiring album, Return to the Moon, out now via 4AD. Consisting mainly of Matt Berninger of The National and Brent Knopf of Ramona Falls/Menomena, what the duo creates is something honest, heartfelt, and truly unique.

Like when all high profiled musicians break off from their main band, there seems to be a bit of a back and forth skeptical reaction that travels throughout the internet. I believe it was in Pitchfork that I had read a blurb stating that Berninger and Knopf were “incompatible” as musicians. To be honest, yes, they kind of are incompatible as musicians; but on the bright side, that is exactly what makes this combination work well.

The first two singles shined light on the blending of two parties; first with “Return to the Moon (Political Song for Didi Bloome to Sing, with Crescendo)” and the follow up “I’m the Man to Be.” The first singles were definitely a departure from Berninger’s deep and heavy sounds of The National, but it allowed us to see a more upbeat version of what he has to offer. Knopf on the other hand, brings a stunning element of instrumentation to the table that sometimes provides a lively vibe, and other times, a haunting and unusual sound. The mixture of these elements seem to work completely, as they weave throughout each track of the record.

The biggest misconception that a listener can have going into this, is that it’s going to sound like a “National” record. It’s not. Then Berninger would just be working on National songs right now (Right? Right.). What would be the point? The voice is there, but the content isn’t always as heavy. You’re going to dance, you’re still going to get depressed as hell, and you are going to love every moment of it.

Releasing a series of lyric videos directed by the multi-talented Tom Berninger, it provides multiple songs with an intimate look to capture your attention even more. Tracks such as “Happiness Missouri” bring a haunting, yet determined sound into play, while harmonies fill the album in pieces such as “Silent Ivy Hotel,” or the chilling musicianship of “Paul is Alive.” Songs such as “No Time to Crank the Sun,” offers up Matt’s signature delicate crooning, as “Need a Friend,” shares a more vibrant sound, that brings Knopf’s intricate brand of musicianship to the table. Together they create a truly special musical experience within Return to the Moon.

Each piece on the record is strong enough to stand on their own, which is perhaps why the group decided to release a track one at a time leading into the record. Return to the Moon is perhaps the finest record of 2015; mark my word.

EL VY is currently on tour, recently kicking off their Eastern U.S. dates, with two stops in New York. Friday at Bowery Ballroom, and Saturday at Music Hall of Williamsburg. See you there kids.

Oklahoma’s Trio Psychotic Reaction Out and About in Brooklyn

At a time when it is challenging to seek out bands hailing from regions outside of the musical mecca of NYC, Oklahoma-based  group Psychotic Reaction bring forward progressive and mind-numbing sounds.  The band crosses the traditional barriers of garage rock and psychedelic tunes and reintroduces subcultural drones of Lou Reed and the Stooges.  While their instruments aggregate a concoction of multi-layered guitar snarls, the group constructs a type of narcotic energy that makes the listeners believe and remember the power of rock and roll.PR3

PR1

Find them on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/psychoticreactionband?ref=br_tf

AERS Debuts Haunting Single, “Blue Tempest”

aers

AERS is Tasha Abbott and Zack Nestel-Patt, currently based out of Brooklyn, New York. Their stunning arrangements liken the sounds of Grizzly Bear and Sigur Ros, channeling both as influences. The group has just premiered the dreamy, lustworthy track, “Blue Tempest,” via Redefine Magazine.

“Blue Tempest,” is a gracious first glimpse into AERS’ upcoming record due out later this Fall. The debut EP release, Blue Tempest, sets the scenery for the band’s haunting  tones that grace the record throughout. On “Blue Tempest,” Abbott’s voice lingers with dreamy lyrics, which paints a bold and sultry soundscape. Powerful yet graceful, her voice captivates delving deeper into the track. Nestel-Patt helps to build the song with layers of dark textures, bringing the piece to fruition. The sound of AERS will stop you dead in your tracks; be prepared to fall in love with every listen.

Cymbals Eat Guitars Premiere New Track “Hawkeye”


I still remember seeing Cymbals Eat Guitars as a bright-eyed band playing at Brooklyn Bowl at an Insound Anniversary party co-headlining with Real Estate and The Drums a few years back. The critically acclaimed group are opening for the legendary Bob Mould on a few East Coast dates, kicking it off last night at the Williamsburg Waterfront in Brooklyn. Cymbals Eat Guitars unleashed a new track to the masses yesterday as they premiered “Hawkeye,” on Pitchfork yesterday afternoon. The dreamy track blends just enough sugary twee feel into their unique sound, creating the perfect song to get you in the mood for Fall. Give it a listen, you won’t be sorry.

Listen to Cymbals Eat Guitars “Hawkeye” over at Pitchfork HERE

DATES with Bob Mould
9/10 – The Paradise – Boston, MA
9/11 – Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA

Life Size Maps Release New EP


Brooklyn based alt-rockers and friends of the site, Life Size Maps, have officially released their new EP, Magnifier. The EP represents an evolution of sound for the band, as this new grouping of tracks is both noisier and more complex.

The band kicked things off with a release party at Monster Island Basement in Williamsburg with Dino Walrus, Total Slacker and Soft Black. Visit the band’s myspace page MySpace page. And, in the meantime, be sure to listen to our exclusive preview of the band’s new track “This Same House,” down below.