James McCartney Is Ready To Rock


James McCartney’s father is one of the most influential figures in rock and roll, so it’s no surprise that he is trying his hand at the genre that his father affected so heavily.

What is surprising is that his debut effort is so darn…good. Taking inspiration from the Beatles (duh), Nirvana, and Radiohead, James has released a 5-song EP (Available Light) that blends his velvet pipes with electric guitars, mandolins, piano and bass. All of which he recorded himself. Holy crap.

James explains that “it is basically rock n’ roll, clean sounding and vocal.” The songs were written over a 10-year span, which makes sense considering he had to learn every instrument ever made.

You can find Available Light on Enigma Records in stores (or browsers) now. Feel free to check out the song “Angel” right here first.

James McCartney – “Angel” by wiredset

Steve Albini Thinks Sonic Youth Cheapened Music

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Steve Albini, former frontman of Big black, current frontman of Shellac and engineer on Nirvana’s In Utero and The Pixies’ Surfer Rosa, has never been supportive of the mainstream music industry. His main source of income remains his day job at his Electrical Audio recording studio in chicago and his band’s live performance are particularly rare. When GQ sat down with him at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival in upstate New York, he made some valid observations about the existence of a “perversion of normal ethical standards” in the music industry regarding a sort of arrogance and entitlement that emerges as the industry becomes more removed from regular life. But he also made some harsh comments about artists who moved on to major labels, even those he considers his friends, like Sonic Youth.

When asked about his opinion on Sonic Youth’s conscious decision to move to Geffen in 1991, he very bluntly replied that he thought they “should be embarrassed about it.” He blames them for giving “credibility to some of the nonsense notions that hover around the star-making machinery” and sees their decision as “a sellout and a corruption of a perfectly valid, well-oiled music scene.” And the bashing doesn’t end there: he goes to call that decision “crass,” he says that as a consequence of their transfer to Geffen, music culture was “kind of empty and ugly and was generally a kind of bad influence.” No word on their return to the indie labels after their 2008 departure from Geffen to Matador.

The Q&A session also included his perspective on the state of the music industry now, which he finds exciting because of the endless possibilities available to bands to reach out to the world independently. He enjoys that our new habit of sharing the music through sites like YouTube and torrents is motivated by pure enjoyment, not the desire to make profit off of it, “which is the only reason the mainstream industry would do something” according to him.

Still, the article ends on a high note, after an especially GQ oriented question about fashion. Albini answers by saying, “I would like the fashion industry to collapse. I think it plays to the most superficial, most insecure parts of human nature. I hope GQ as a magazine fails. I hope that all of these people who make a living by looking pretty are eventually made destitute or forced to do something of substance. At least pornography has a function.”

It seems Albini is never out of brutal comments, but after all this slamming of mainstream culture, it’s important to notice that he had his own part in it, as some of his most noted work, Nirvana’s In Utero and PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me, were both released on major labels. Food for thought? You can read the entire interview HERE to get the full picture.

Laughing it Up with The Demon Beat

 

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The Demon Beat is THE band to lookout for in the coming months. Hailing from West Virginia, these boys play their instruments like it was 1974 all over again. The trio made up of Adam Meisterhans, Tucker Riggleman and Jordan Hudkins have been blowing away crowds on the east coast and they’re bound to only get bigger. The band will be releasing their newest album titled Shit We’re 23! (Big Bullet) will be out November 3rd, so be sure to pick up a copy! We had the chance of sitting down with the hillarious boys from The Demon Beat and here’s how it all went down.

How did you come up with the name, The Demon Beat?

Tucker: Who wants to feel this one, Adam?

Adam:  It’s from the story about this band I used to be into, one of the guys, well they used to be on a Christian label and he was wearing a Rolling Stones shirt and this guy came up to him after the show and said “You shouldn’t be wearing that Stones shirt, because Keith Richards went to Africa to study the Demon Beat.” Which is one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard….and it’s still one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard(laughs).

How did the band form?

Jordan: I’ll feel this one Adam. So Adam and I were in a band beforehand, a four piece op rock band called the Kamikazanauts and this is like you go to college and form a band of your friends, so after that Adam and I were talking that we’d really like to o sort of a classic rock duo. Adam had written all of these really cool riffs that he had played for me on an acoustic guitar, and I didn’t know how to play drums so I was like “I’m going to go home and learn how to play drums over the summer so we can form this band in the fall when we come back to school.” We came back to school, he had all the riffs, I had the drum skills, so we form a two piece kind of in the vein of The White Stripes, The Black Keys that sort of thing. It was really popular at the time so we tried to cash on that.

You could be Meg White!

Jordan: I don’t know how to play drums, surely I’ll be better than Meg White! So we got together and played our first show at a coffee house in Martinsberg, West Virginia. We set up in the corner in front of the flavor syrups and played in front of a few of our friends…

 Adam: We got a standing ovation!

 Jordan: We got a standing ovation. Our initial idea was to write a 40 minute long song, which we did…

 Adam: I did!

 Jordan: I didn’t have anything to do with it. Adam did everything. We started playing pen mics in our local town and after a while we were like, we need some bass, you know? To round it out. We needed some bass, and we had this guy playing with us and it wasn’t really working out and he couldn’t make an open mic night to play and Tucker was there and he’d seen us and so he filled in and he worked up chops in a band called Thunder Struck, a classic rock cover band, so he really knew how to weigh in down. Like seriously he broke the void, he was perfect it felt really good and we kept playingtogether. Kept going, keep on keeping on, I think that’s how the old poem goes. Then we came here and you were here and you had a tape recorder in my face. What’s a demon beat?!

 Who are our influences?

 Tucker: Musically? The Dada actually, anything Dadaist.

 Jordan: I’m into impressionism!

 Tucker: No actually musically, The Who, The Stones, anything on classic rock radio. 

Just so we can pitch it. We got into this brief period when we were really into Stack Records.

Jordan: Then we got really into Spacehog for a day!

 Tucker: For a day….

 Jordan: We quickly fell out of our Spacehog phase.

 I didn’t see that coming…

 Jordan: Now we like The Arctic Monkeys (laughs)

 How does the band write songs? Is it collaborative or does everyone bring in their

own songs?

 Jordan: Adam is the primary songwriter.

Adam: Yea, usually what happens is the songs come about one or two ways. Sometimes I’ll have like I’ll kind of know exactly how I‘ll want things. I’ve made some demos where  I’ve played all the parts and then they’ll listen to it and adapt it, because he’s (Jordan) a much better drummer and he’s (Tucker) a much better bass player. Sometimes it’s that way, sometimes they’ll be downstairs waiting for me to come down to start practicing and they’ll just be fucking around, and it’s awesome. We’ve written a lot of songs that way. I write the words all the time. That’s why there are so many drug references (laughs).

 Crack habit?

 Jordan: Adam is really into crack sheik. That’s his look.  All he eats is rice and old seasoning, but he doesn’t put it on rice he just licks it out of his palm (laughs).

At what point did you think that music was something you wanted to pursue in your

life?

Tucker: We all came from towns that were full of industry, and you went, well Jordan, for you it was coalmines, right? And for Adam plastic…And for me it was chicken factories and when you grow up there it’s pretty depressing and you know when that’s your future you feel the need to do something else. I think we all just kind of found music. It was like a dead end in all of our towns.

 Jordan: Man, you know what? Having a job blows. The coolest thing in the world….well you want to see the world, see the country, why not do it playing music? Why not?! That’s what I think. Our college just blew. I was going to drop out but I thought why not and just finished it out.

Tucker: I graduated and couldn’t get a good job, he graduated and got a decent job.

Jordan: I make 500,000 dollars a year (laughs). Can you believe that? Do you want a beer later? They have a beer that’s actually in an old sheep bladder…it was bladder-ed in 1835, I’ll buy it for you! It’s 90 dollars a glass. It’s called ‘Bladder Brow’ (laughs).

Adam: He’s the least charming person you’ve ever heard!

Jordan: You don’t have to be charming when you make 300 million dollars a year! 

What inspires you to write a song?

 Jordan: Robots.

 Adam: Just anything, most of our songs are about really deep shit and some of them aren’t about really deep shit.

 Tucker: It’s getting angrier.

 Adam: Actually I had a friend told me I was clinically depressed lately.

 Jordan: The more we go to Philadelphia pissed off we get…No Philly’s cool, right?

What do you prefer more, being in the studio or being on the road?

 Adam: Anytime we’ve been in the studio it’s been less than 2 days. But we love those 2 days. We’re probably not a good enough band to answer that question! We like both I guess.

Tucker: It depends on the weekend of shows. It’s just a really fun weekend but we’ve only been to a studio once, other than that it’s just recording in the basement.

Adam: We’ve sort of got a lot of shit in our basement so we kind of live in a studio. Sort of.

 Jordan: We did record in the studio where 2 Live Crew did their record. Put that on the front page!

 Tucker: We also recorded where they do the voice overs for that show, Backyardigans.

 Jordan: How does this work? Are you going to transpose all of this directly?

 Pretty much, yea.

Jordan: So it’s just going to be a question and all the shit we say? (laughs) Is this going to be in there? What I’m saying right now? I’m cool with it.

What’s your favorite song to perform live and why?

Adam: We like to do this song called “Bad Man” and I get to do windmills and stuff, so that’s cool.

 Tucker: We all get to do solos.

 Jordan: I like to do it because I get to do paradiddles, and they’re my favorite drum rhythm.

 Adam: Right, yea you figured out what paradiddles were 4 months ago!

 Tucker: I still don’t know what a paradiddle is, I figured out how to pronounce it 4 months ago.

 Jordan: It’s paradiddles, not per-diddle. Like two diddles. A pair of diddles.

 What was the first band you were a part of and was it awful?

Adam: I was in a band called Skele-Toothpaste (SPELLING) for 2 weeks, and I quit because of spiritual differences. Then they went onto become Scenes from a Movie and went on the Warped Tour and I’m in a dark concrete part of Brooklyn so obviously made the right move. I’m kidding, they did go to Warped Tour but they’re douche bags (laughs).

 Tucker: The local guitar player found me one day in my house with a bass guitar, which ironically was my thunderbird bass. He told me “I’m going to teach you bass” and what he meant by that was going to point and tell me to play that note. So for along time I didn’t know anything about music when I played it.

 Adam: Jordan, tell us about your first band experience…

 Jordan: Well if you do need to know, my first  band that I was ever in was the great Elementary marching band. I played saxophone. We played the “Duck Tales” theme which was a real scorcher, everyone loved that one. Actually as far like, stupid bands go Like band-bands,  I was in the Kamikazanauts in college. I already told you that already, what more do you want? (laughs).

 How has your music, songwriting wise evolved since you first started?

 Adam: Like a tadpole to a frog, not so much as evolved as it’s grown. I think the more you play, the more shows you do, the more you write. Everything gets better. We’ve all gotten better as musicians, we’ve all gotten to know what each of us are going to do and embrace it. Like I can write more towards the way he plays drums and more towards the way he plays bass. Plus we have more fuzz pedals now so that means we don’t have to write as much. We can just turn them on (laughs).

 Tucker: We’ve gotten lazier!

 Is there a big music scene where you live?

 All: NO!

Wow that was in unison!

 Tucker: There’s a lot of talented people but there’s one and a half places to play…

 Jordan: One and a half?

 Tucker: Well we tried to play the second place and they told us that we were too loud. So I mean like, all of West Virginia is kind of like that. There’s a couple of really cool venues, and a lot of really talented people but they don’t end up doing anything. There are some really good bands in West Virginia that are on the cusp of exploding.

Jordan: And they’re all better than us but we’re the only ones who drive to New York! Keep your eyes peeled for West Virginia bands to take over the scene. Williamsburg may be cool right now, but West Virginia is going to blow up. West Virginia is the new Williamsburg. Nirvana was a really good band.(This is where Adam’s eyes get really big)

 Adam:  Okay right where he says that can you say in parenthesis “This is Adam’s eyes get really big.”

 Jordan: Can you transcribe exactly what Adam just said?

 Yes! You blend a bit of blues and rock, if you had to chose just one
to play forever, which one would it be?

 Jordan: I hate blues. I really don’t like blues! That’s just me though. I’ll put blues into rock, but no, I don’t play blues. Adam just puts blue on top of what I play. I refuse to admit that I play blues.

 Tucker: You wouldn’t have rock without blues.

 Jordan: True there’s that history.

Adam: I can answer your question by saying I don’t want to play with Jordan anymore (laughs).

Jordan: Oh well, you win some you lose some! If you need me I’m back on a mega bus back to West Virginia in the morning. I’m taking mega bus this time! I may get my head chopped off by an ICP fan or whatever happens. I don’t know I heard something crazy happened. Strike that from the record! Please.

 It’s totally in there. Tucker, how did you decide to start Big Bullet Records?

 Tucker: I was procrastinating for finals in my senior year in college and I was really pissed off because we were talking about how there was a lot of really talented people in our town but they didn’t do anything. So I was like “Hey I’m going to help them book shows and make records and all that.” All it is basically like he does the artwork and stuff, I book the bands and help manage them and stuff, and get into the press, stuff like that. Help promote bands in area and bands like Dandelion Snow, and we friends on the label, and it’s like a community. A bunch of fans helping each other out, pooling our resources to make everything a little easier. Also I don’t ever want a real job, so one day I can pay my rent from running a record label, that’s my goal. It’s all about how the world sees you.

 At what age did you start to love music?

Jordan: I was born loving music! I came out of the womb with a “Jesus Christ Superstar” soundtrack. I was dancing.

 Adam: Jordan was one of those baby’s where that they put the headphones on. They played all musicals and ABBA.

 Jordan:  Actually my Mom had a record that was like “Classical Music for Your Uterus”or something like that!

 Adam: Classic Uterus?!

 Jordan: Mr. Holland’s Ovaries. Hey Adam, you like music!

 Adam: Well my parents only kept a few records from their collection. It was Magical Mystery Tour, Are You Experienced? And around 13 I heard Jimi Hendrix, but I also heard The Cardigans “Love Fool” and “Love Fool” made me want to play guitar and Jimi Hendrix made me want to have big hair, which I don’t have right now. But yea, around 13.

Tucker: My Dad claims he named me after the Marshall Tucker Band,, but my Mom claimed she named me after a hot firefighter. My Grandfather’s middle name was Asbury.

 What’s your favorite city or town to play a show?

 Tucker: I like New York. It’s always a favorite.

 Adam: I like North Carolina, you can drink on the street. We’ve only been there once by the way.

Jordan: We’re going back, I swear! We’re we going next weekend? Raleigh! We’re playing the Eastern Regional Final Roller Derby after party. Are you listening America? This is live right?

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What is your favorite album of all time?

 Adam: He’s not really big, but I like Kevin Devine. He’s from Brooklyn. I’m into that singer/songwriter stuff. I love Kevin Devine.

 Tucker: I’m going to get lame on you and do an either/or. It’s either Are You Experienced  by Jimi Hendrix, or The Who Live at Leeds.

 Jordan: Those are good ones. If I had to pick it’s probably either The Blue Album by

Weezer or Ratitude by Weezer. Do you know about Ratitude?!

 I do know about Ratitude….

Jordan: And you’re very upset! You like that new single, right?

I haven’t heard it actually.

Jordan: You haven’t heard it? There is a lyric in the new single that goes…have you heard the new single Adam? It goes “The summer was the best we ever had, we watched Titanic and it didnt make us sad.”

 Wow that’s why I haven’t listened to it.

 Jordan: Emily Dickinson is a really good poet. I like The Blue Album by Weezer and I

like, I’ve been listening to a lot of Cake lately, and I like Cake but it’s not my favorite.

 If you weren’t in the Demon Beat, what would you be doing? Would you be playing

in another band?

Adam: Playing in the Demon Beat. I would move to the city and start selling drugs because I’d be too poor to do anything else.

Jordan: I would sit back and ride on m 500K a year salary. I don’t know what I’d do, I’d probably sleep on a bed made of mermaid hide.

Tucker: I’d probably date a girl and so something to make my parents proud. Not express myself anymore.

Become a lawyer?!

Jordan: Hudkins, Meisterhans and Riggleman. That sound’s awful! Do you want to be in our law firm? What’s your last name?

Nastasi.

Nastasi, Hudkins, Meisterhans and Riggleman, we play hardball ya’ll.

 What are the immediate plans for the band’s future?

 Jordan: I know, I know what it is! We’re playing a show at the Charleston in

Williamsburg tonight, tomorrow we’re going home and chilling out, we’re playing a

couple shows, playing some more shows, we are booked up until November until our CD

release extravaganza is. Statewide CD release extravaganza, West Virginia. Spread the

word. New Williamsburg. We’re putting out an album in November. A record that we

recorded, did we talk about this already? We just recorded a record  in New York City,

with our good friend Chris in  Dubway studios, Manhattan, it comes out in November and

it’s called Shit, We’re 23! We’re going to put that record out and see where it takes us. It

may take us to new heights. Or it may take us to new lows. We may play SXSW too.

 Where do you see the band in 10 years from now?

 Adam: I’m trying to die while I’m young here. Past the age of 27.

 Jordan: What’s that poster, Forever 26?

 Adam: Forever 27. We want to end up on that.

Of Montreal * Roseland * October 10, 2008

Big Thanks to EduardoO on Flickr for use of his photos!

I’ve been to about 7 Of Montreal shows in my life, and still I’m never ready for what I am about to hear and see. I had the pleasure of meeting Matt from Youaintnopicasso.com and we kind of pondered what exactly the band could do on stage last night. We knew Kevin would be hung in a noose, but the rest was sort of up in the air. Talking to Ahmed a couple of weeks ago, he promised me that we were all in for some big surprises on this tour. That exceeded my expectations.

Last night’s show at Roseland Ballroom in NYC can be described in only one word; EPIC.

The band came on stage dressed and ready to go. Jamey was in a cowboy outfit complete with hat, Dottie was in a tutu, Ahmed was in a blue vest and Afro wig, Davey was in a silver white jacket, and BP was wrapped in a giant orange silk scarf. Of Montreal came in with a brief musical introduction as four golden buddhas carried out Kevin who was wearing a Sombrero and traditional Mexican outfit. Of course this was the first of many costume changes. ‘Id Engager’ was the first song played, and WOW what a start to the show, that essential Kevin scream. Chills were just sent down my spine.

The band focused mostly on playing new tracks off of ‘Skeletal Lamping’ last night, and if I’m not mistaking, played most of the songs off the record. Seeing the new songs live bring a whole new aspect and life to them, which I really enjoyed. The dance party didn’t stop all night. ‘For Our Elegant Caste’ which has currently won me over the past couple of weeks as my new favorite song was so good live i’m not sure I can believe it actually happened. “An Eluardian Instance” which is another favorite of mine, lived up to my expectations of seeing it live. I think it is one of the most beautifully crafted Of Montreal songs. The band was extremely tight. I think they finally ‘mastered’ all parts of the stage. Ahmed Gallab who has joined as the second drummer is a nice addition. Not only does it free up Jamey to play other instruments but it adds a heavier beat overall to the songs. BP was rocking out with the double head guitar last night which was a nice touch. Kevin’s vocals were spot on every time, every little scream, every little note. Perfect.

One of the most wonderful moments of the night for me, was when Kevin sat at the piano alone and played ‘Touched Something’s Hollow.’ The sound of his haunting voice over the sorrowful piano made it feel like a dream. If you were paying close attention, you could see BP sitting on his platform, looking over at Kevin, silently mouthing the words. It was just an astonishing moment to say the least.

Of Montreal also pulled out some favorites from the last few records, ‘Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?’, ‘Sunlandic Twins’ and ‘Satanic Panic in the Attic.’ One of my personal highlights of the night was ‘Disconnect the Dots’. This still remains to be one of my favorite songs live. It brings the energy in the room up another notch if that is humanly possible. ‘She’s a Rejecter’ had so much enthusiam put into it, I thought the band would collectively pass out from exhaustion.

I feel I have to list the theatrics in it’s own section. They are two very different things and the combination of them onstage is rather interesting. Seeing Of Montreal is really like going to see a play….on another planet. Of course David (Kevin’s Brother) and Nina (Kevin’s Wife) were part of the actors on stage last night along with Matt Wheeler (The band’s tour manager) and I believe Nick (who does a lot of stage prop building for them.) There was also another woman on stage who must be new to the group and i’m going to go out on a limb and say its David’s wife. I could very well be wrong.  Kevin’s costumes ranged from glittery blue jackets with a large bedazzled fanny pack to golden underwear. During ‘Gallery Piece’ there was video of the band acting out lines from the song on the large screens. Truly hillarious.

Amongst the stage antics in New York was Kevin in a mythical man-horse suit, golden buddhas, ninjas, army people with machine guns, people in bathing suits, victorian costumes, a card game, people in in tiger and chicken costumes, large limbs made of what appears to be bumpy plaster (These later made up a person) and more.

During one point, the characters in silver masks tried to convince Kevin to kill himself. This lead to him being hung in a fake noose on stage, swinging side to side. Later on they smeared him in fake blood. During one point, Kevin came out on a white horse and sang. It was gorgeous. A really beautiful concert moment. So unexpected, so unbelievable. How do you even find a horse in Manhattan? I don’t think anyone saw that coming. I’m not sure everyone in the band even saw that coming. Kevin also came out of the his coffin of shaving cream last night towards the end and hugged the crowd afterward to get it off.

Another unexpected surprise last night was when they brought out Andrew from MGMT. We were certainly in for a treat,  but that took a hard left turn that none of us saw coming. Kevin said they were going to play a song that Andrew wrote. I thought to myself, ‘Wow! An MGMT song? I love MGMT!’ but then they launched into Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. The crowd transformed into 1992. Quite frankily I think Of Montreal made it sound better than Nirvana did.

The band ended the night with ‘Gronlandic Edit’ and all of the characters came out and bowed afterwards, ending another beautiful night with Of Montreal in New York. I love Of Montreal is so many ways. They know how to make you have a good time. They know how to get inside your head. They know how to make you smile. Everytime I see them I love them even more. I’m glad to have their music in my life. If it wasn’t, well, life just wouldn’t be any fun.