Mister Heavenly is the new brain child of Man Man’s Honus Honus, Islands’ Nick Thorburn, and Modest Mouse’s Joe Plummer. Deriving the sound from a mixture of their own bands style, they have now added movie star Michael Cera on bass for the rest of the West Coast portion of the tour.
Cera has previously worked with Thorburn in the Islands’ video for “No You Don’t” as one of the actors. Cera has played characters who were bassists in both Scott Pilgrim Vs the World and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Play List, now he gets to do it for real.
Mister Heavenly is on tour with and opening for band, Passion Pit. Their first show was at Seattle’s Moore Theater. Check out the video from Pitchfork down below.
Recently we met up with indie darlings, Army Navy. You may know them for their catchy songs, their tracks in Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and their stellar cover of “Right Back Where We Started From.” The band’s second full length will be out this year and they show no sign of slowing down. This is surely an interview to read. Ben Gibbard geekery included. We talked to singer/guitarist Justin Kennedy and guitarist Louie Schultz about the history and future of Army Navy.
Modern Mystery: Where is your favorite place to play?
Justin Kennedy: We actually have better shows in New York. People are more excited about music here, or maybe people know about us more here for some reason. I honestly have no idea why, but we always have great shows here. We always have a great time.
How did you get involved with the Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist soundtrack?
Kennedy: The music supervisor who got the CD turned it into the editor who was putting together an early edit of the movie and was throwing in music. She was giving him stuff she thought was cool and it stuck, and kept sticking. Edit after edit the songs kept staying in and they got really attached to the song. We got two songs in the movie. The supervisor called us and said we’re the only band that has two songs in the movie, and they one of them was going to stay because they were getting down to the wire. They wanted to get rid of the second one because they wanted to feature as many bands as possible and they tried and tried to replace it, but there was so many viewings of the edit, they were totally attached to it and couldn’t get rid of it. Which was great for us. They wanted one of the songs for the soundtrack which was exclusive to the album. It was great for us because there was way more money going into the press than we could ever put into it. We gave them that song as an exclusive. We went to the premiere and us and The Submarines were the only bands representing. The director who we ended up chatting with and was super awesome…His manager was one of the producer’s husband of the movie and it was his Birthday the nigh of the premiere. They wanted us to sing Happy Birthday. I didn’t know they realized they wanted us to sing it to 300 people. We’re trashed. They took us backstage and announced us. It was the most uncomfortable and hilarious moment. Then the DJ tried to put a beat to “Silvery Sleds!”
How did everyone in the band meet?
Kennedy: I met Ben through a friend who had some early demos that I had. He was a musician looking to play something, and he was played with our old drummer Josh in another band. Josh was playing like avant garde Brazilian music. He was into it. We had a couple of other members including an ex-girlfriend of mine which was a bad idea who was playing keyboards at first. Then we had another girl playing keyboards and that didn’t work out. So we were like we need a guitarist who plays keyboard:
Louie Schultz: I played in another band with Josh briefly and the band broke up largely because the singer was heavy into crystal meth and tried to steal some of the band member’s equipment. I hadn’t talked to Josh in a while after that and I was going through my phone and was about to delete him. Then I figured I’d call him one more time before I delete his number. He picked up. It was a really awkward conversation. Before I hung up he said “Wait wait! Don’t you play keyboards too?” So he said come to the show, and I came and saw Army Navy, which was the Fever Zone at the time.
When did the name change?
Kennedy: It was after that. After Louie joined the band. Then Josh quit the band because he became a famous screenwriter. Pete Thomas played on the record who was from Elvis Costello and the Attractions. Through Josh then we found Doug, and he was amazing. We knew. He could do his own thing and sing. He responded to our Craigslist ad at the exact same time.
Does everyone bring in their own songs to a recording session or is it a collaboration?
Kennedy: I write the songs but everyone collaborates on everything that happens. When I first started making the band which I didn’t even know was going to be a band, I would just make up everything on fake drums and keyboards. Once everything solidified and everyone knew what to do and was confident about what the band was, I just came up with ideas and acoustics, and made Garage Band recordings of acoustics of that song and send it to those guys and we’ll just go into practice and jam on it and everyone will come up with their own ideas.
Are you releasing the new record on your own label?
Kennedy: We don’t know. To be announced!
What is the new album going to sound like?
Kennedy: Is Ska popular now? Because it’s going to be in the next year. It’s coming back. Swing dancing is making a resurgence! It’s adjacent but it’s definitely a new batch. It feels like a whole new thing to me. It’s a new wave of what’s going on. It’s totally going to make sense. All of my songs make sense together but there’s definitely too and we’re going to be really focused on getting it done. It’s going to be bigger and better and really strong.
Do you prefer being in the studio or being on tour?
Kennedy: I think studio probably. You can’t have one without the other. One feeds the other. The songs we worked on during the first record became what they did in the studio then playing them out so much. The band that we’ve become after releasing the first record has a lot to do with touring.
You used to be in a band with Ben Gibbard, is that right?
Kennedy: I knew him from high school. He’s one year younger than me and moved to my high school from somewhere in the east coast. His dad was in the military. We met because he either had a Spinal Tap tee shirt on or a Lemonheads tee shirt on. The Lemonheads tee shirt he wore all the time was a handmade tee shirt and it was so stupid. It was like the Lemonheads candy, he printed it out and made a tee shirt of it. I was like “Are you a fan of the candy or the band?” He made his own in art class. He was like “I’m a fan of the band,” and then we were best friends.
Do you still keep in contact?
Kennedy: Yea. He had a band before we started in high school called, it was the name of an R.E.M. song “Oddfellows Local.” I played one song with them during lunchtime and then we started our band towards the end of high school.
At what point in your life did you know you wanted to become a musician?
Kennedy: I kind of tried to kind of give it up for a while actually. I guess I’d write songs and stuff but I wasn’t enthused to be in a band. I wanted to play in bands and not do my own thing. I played with Ana from That Dog and her first solo record. Played with her, toured and recording a little bit. It got me excited and I thought I have these songs maybe I should do something with it. It got me focused like I really need to do this. Even if it was just me in my bedroom with my M-Box and my computer, I was just drawn to it and it feels right. We’re happy with the things we have done on our own. Putting this record out, selling records, touring, the movie, videos, kind of doing it our own way feels great. It makes us want to keep on doing it.
Where do you see the band 10 years from now?
Kennedy: It’s hard to say. We’re happy doing it now I’m sure songs keep coming, we’ll be inspired. I’d love to do it as long as we can. Hopefully not a reunion tour or covers night!
I have something I’d like to admit. I’ve never seen Vampire Weekend live before. For some reason their shows have passed me by many times in New York City, and yet I never had the urge to attend one. Then came Contra which I still cannot stop listening to. Getting a ticket to Vampire Weekend in New York is like cramming six people into a standard cab. It’s just really hard to do and not likely it’s going to happen. Somehow with one ticket to see the band play the United Palace Theater, in the Bronx no less, my journey to Vampire Weekend was on it’s way.
The United Palace Theater is really decieving from the outside. Used as a church on the weekend, the place looks pretty dark and scary from the outside. The moment you walk in the door though, it’s one of the most beautiful places you’ll ever seen. The walls are gold and ornate with carvings and statues directly on it. The red carpet makes you feel nearly like royalty. Even the seats were comfy!
Titus Andronicus took the stage at promptly 8pm. Sadly this set was overtaken by people trying to find their seats and standing in the way of the audience. This made it hard to enjoy the band at all, but through what y0u could hear was amazing. Playing new tracks of the yet to be released album The Monitor, the band poured their heart out to anyone who was listening.
It was obvious though that everyone was there for the main attraction and it showed. Eager fans in a mixed aged crowd (we’re talking 5 to 65 here), couldn’t wait for Vampire Weekend to hit the stage. Out rolls the giant banner with the Contracover on it as the band walks out at around 9:15. Immediately launching into the set, the audience was up on their feet. This was really nice to see as everyone usually sits when seats are available. You couldn’t help but get up and dance to the music. Tonight was truly a special night as singer Ezra Koenig stated repeatedly that it was “their longest show ever.” And I can see that as it clocked in at about an hour and a half.
Basically, no song was left off the setlist and this very intimate show. There were plenty of song highlights that night including new Contra favorites such as “Horchata,” “Cousins,” “Diplomat’s Son,” and “Giving Up the Gun,” and “White Sky.” The guest string section came out for such songs as “Run,” which was one of the highlights of the night. You could see that the band was amazed they were here at this moment in time, with their career exploding even more before their eyes. It nearly gave me chills that I was experiencing something so great. Vampire Weekend also managed to play most of their debut album from the foot stomping “A-Punk” to “Oxford Comma,” and fans were delighted to hear some of the old tracks that made them fall in love a mere two years ago. Closing out the night was “Ottoman” from Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist which was one of my favorites of the night, and “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.” This was the perfect ending to a stellar night, that almost felt like a dream. It was almost too good to be true. Most of their upcoming tour is sold out, and trust me, you’ll get your money’s worth.
WATCH OUR VIDEO FOR “HORCHATA”
SEE MORE VAMPIRE WEEKEND PICTURES AFTER THE JUMP
Making the trip to The Bell House in Park Slope, Brooklyn is always an adventure. Certainly an unlikely place for a venue amongst the family neighborhood and car washing stations, nestled on a loney street corner stands the venue. One of the nicest places you can attend a rock show was home to Bishop Allen’s last show of the year on Saturday night.
Opening the show were two great acts. The first being New York’s own Darwin Deez. Not really knowing what to expect besides the name being mentioned recently, the band came on doing a ’silly’ (and I mean that in a polite way) dance that brought back memories of seeing The Moldy Peaches on stage back in the day. From the moment they played the first note of “Constellations” everyone in the room dropped their jaws in amazement. Between the incredible songs came more fun dancing that also featured members of Bishop Allen and Throw Me the Statue in the mix. With pop hooks that will knock you dead and an explosive energy, this is one band to watch out for. Up next was Throw Me the Statue who had a hard act to follow but managed to pull it off. Playing familar tunes like “Lolita,” the band made a nice addition to the lineup.
Around 10:30 Bishop Allen started to set up. No matter how popular they get, you still see singer/guitarist Justin Rice and guitarist Christian Rudder onstage warming up and tuning their own guitars. The band hit the stage at 11 and opened with the classic tune “Rain,” which immediatly had the band excited and dancing. The level of energy Rice and Co. brings to the stage is phenomenal and somehow, they never miss a note. The list of songs was a nice blend of new and old as they are nearly pass the stage of promoting Grrr (Dead Oceans) full on. The pages turned from the EP project tunes like “Winter Coat,” to Broken String tracks such as “The Monitor,” and ”Click Click Click.” Though when the band broke out the new tunes they came in full force. Stellar performances of “Dimmer” and “Cue the Elephants” in particular were the highlights of the night and had fans singing at the top of their lungs. Darbie Nowatka (aka the new Mrs. Rice) came from behind the keys and woodblocks to sing a few songs on her own but oddly enough not their newest single for “True or False” in which she showcases her vocals full on. Throughout the night Rice provided the crowd with witty banter which had everyone laughing; “I love New York graffiti. I saw one wall that had on it “Don’t be shy” and “You go girl,” and it reminded me why I love New York so much. It’s very uplifting.” The band closed the set with “Middle Management” which was a perfect way to go out with a bang. It’s good to have you back in New York Bishop Allen. We missed you.
CHECK OUT MORE BISHOP ALLEN AFTER THE JUMP
Fresh from his transition to Warner Brothers/Reprise Records, freak folk leader Devendra Banhart is set to release his major label debut. I don’t quite recall hearing that he made the jump from his former indie label but kudos to him for branching out. Banhart will release ‘What Will Be’ later this fall but there is no official release date yet. This will be his sixth record and the rumor is that there is an hours worth of material on it. Nice. Below is the tracklisting, and though no new music has really leaked yet, we’re leaving you with an old Banhart video below.
‘What Will Be’ Tracklisting
01 “Can’t Help”
04 “Goin’ Back To The Place”
05 “First Song For B”
06 “Last Song For B”
07 “Chin Chin & Muck Muck”
08 “16th & Valencia”
10 “Maria Leonza”
12 “Meet Me At The Lookout”
Watch ‘Feel Just Like a Child’