“The Past is a Grotesque Animal”…Yes, yes it is.

kevinbarnes

Over the weekend I had finally watched the long awaited of Montreal documentary, The Past is a Grotesque Animal. I was hesitant to view this film for quite some time, as I thought it would destroy my perception of front man and songwriter Kevin Barnes. This proved to be an eye opening experience for sure. The film highlights the band’s career from the very start. Seeing all of the old footage of how the group came to be was rather charming and delightful. The behind the scenes footage was certainly a treat as well. Their vibrancy and quirkiness definitely shined straight from the screen. Every aspect of the band was touched upon. From troubling relationships, to the brilliant artwork and stage performance antics of brother David Barnes and co., it proved to be truly insightful. 

Throughout all of the good times and struggles the band often continued with, the film focused quite a bit on Kevin Barnes’ inner demons. The depression, the anxiety, the need to make ‘good art,’ no matter at what cost. The one problem though, is the need to make ‘good art,’ lead to the departure of longtime and key players Dottie Alexander, James Husband, Bryan Poole (B.P.), alongside Matt Dawson and Davey Pierce respectively.

The thing that struck me most was how easily Barnes removed himself from them to make a complete musical transformation. What came to be one of the most celebrated band of the 00’s, has changed into so many forms that there feels like there is something missing, especially in a live setting. The ever exciting line up during onstage dance parties are something that I, as well as many fans, truly miss. Though change can be good sometimes, The Past is a Grotesque Animal, made Barnes out to have villain tendencies. Whether or not this was the intention, it was an extremely fascinating look into a phenomenal band that has hit home with so many listeners over the past several years. 

I don’t think I will ever stop buying of Montreal records. Kevin’s songs have always struck a chord with me. This certainly gives me a different perspective into the world of of Montreal.

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CONTEST: Win a Copy of “Daughter of Cloud” from Of Montreal

 

ImageIt has been a busy year for the indie-glam explosion (and longtime Modern Mystery favorites!), Of Montreal. Just releasing a stunning collection of rarities and b-sides in the form of Daughter of Cloud, Modern Mystery is giving away a CD copy to one lucky winner! Like all Of Montreal releases, this is one you do NOT want to miss out on. Follow the details below to enter:

Enter the contest by midnight EST November 9th. Please send your name and address to ModernMysteryBlog@Yahoo.com. Winner will be chosen at random.

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

WIN AN OFFICIAL TAPE FROM THE SOMEONE STILL LOVES YOU BORIS YELTSIN “TAPE CLUB”

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin is obviously the #1 band around here at Modern Mystery (Hey we named the site after them, right?), and we have an AMAZING contest for you to enter, that hell, we’re dying to get a piece of ourselves.

Feast your eyes upon the exclusive, original, Tape Club tape from the month April (2006), that Polyvinyl was nice enough to hook us up with. Not only will you win the rare tape from the old club, but also a copy of Tape Club, their new album of demos and unreleased songs due out October 18th on Polyvinyl. Your choice of Black Vinyl or CD. A 26-song double album that spans 10 years of SSLYBY greatness.

The title is a direct reference to the subscription service SSLYBY started in late 2005 to raise money for tour while copies of their debut Broom (which they had just self-released) were quickly selling out. In exchange for signing up, fans were treated to cassette home recordings of unreleased songs packaged in handmade covers.

To Enter, please E-mail us at MODERNMYSTERYBLOG@YAHOO.COM by Wednesday, October 12th, 2011 at Midnight with your Name and Address. You must live in the U.S. to enter.

You can listen to Tape Club in it’s entirety at http://sslyby.bandcamp.com

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin Get Dirty In New Video, “Critical Drain”


Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin can write a good song but they can also pull a good stunt, as shown in their latest video “Critical Drain,” which just premiered on the MTVu website. The video, directed by the band’s friend Brook Linder and filmed in the band’s hometown, features some standard performance shots but mostly shows the band members dragged around on the ground. They even get splashed with paint in the process! Although they did their own stunts and didn’t get hurt, I wouldn’t recommend trying this at home. Watch the video HERE.

And because the band just released, via Polyvinyl, the album Tape Club, which compiles all the best of what they’ve discarded over the years, they’re also touring! Are they coming near you? Check it out below.

Here are their upcoming tour dates:
9/24 – Polyvinyl’s 15 Year Anniversary @ Pygmalion Festival, CHAMPAIGN, IL w/ Braid, Deerhoof, Japandroids, and more
10/26 – Firehouse Pizza & Pub, NORMAL, IL
10/27 – MOTR, CINCINNATI, OH
10/28 – The Current, RICHMOND, VA
10/29 – Tremont Music Hall, CHARLOTTE, NC
10/30 – Local 506, CHAPEL HILL, NC
10/31 – The End, NASHVILLE, TN
11/04 – Firebird, ST. LOUIS, MO
11/05 – Mojo’s, COLUMBIA, MO
11/30 – Hi Dive, DENVER, CO
12/1 – Urban Lounge, SALT LAKE CITY, UT
12/2 – Neurolux, BOISE, ID
12/3 – Tractor Tavern, SEATTLE, WA
12/5 – Biltmore Cabaret, VANCOUVER, CANADA
12/6 – Mississippi Studios, PORTLAND, OR
12/8 – Hotel Utah, SAN FRANCISCO, CA
12/9 – Bootleg Theater, LOS ANGELES, CA
12/10 – Soda Bar, SAN DIEGO, CA

Interview: of Montreal vs. Yip Deceiver


Interviewer: Bella Questions: Melissa Nastasi / Bella Photos: Cienna Willis

Last weekend at Webster Hall we had the chance of sitting down with members of an old favorite and a new favorite. Davey Pierce and Nick Dobbratz from of Montreal and Yip Deceiver. The guys gave us a whole new insight on what it takes to put on an oM show, and just what exactly a Yip Deceiver is. Give it a read. It’s a good one!

So how has the tour been treating you so far?


Davey: It’s been really good actually.

Nick: Yeah, it’s been lots of fun.

Davey, you worked on some props for the False Priest tour. Was that something new? Do you plan on doing it in the future?

Davey: I probably will do it in the future. It’s kind of something that fell into my lap. We needed somebody to make these props and I like doing stuff like that. I kind of just took it over.

Everything is different since you joined during Hissing Fauna, how do you keep up with all of the change?

Davey: It’s pretty easy actually. I mean because it’s kind of a natural progression you just sit back and watch it happen basically. You get so caught up in playing the shows and everything and you don’t even realize that everything’s changing so much.

Recently you can tell that the actual band members have been a lot more involved in the theatrics than usual. Is that something you guys plan on doing? Or is that something you enjoy doing?

Davey: I love it personally. I mean like it adds this whole kind of sense that it’s not just two different things going on on stage. Which in the past it has been. It’s been a bunch of people set up playing music while something else is going on in front of them. Whereas now it’s more like the performance lines and the music lines have blurred so much that it’s actually just one big thing.

Nick: I feel like it was a concious decision on this tour ahead of time to do exactly what Davey’s saying. As opposed to having two different things. I enjoy it, I like it. It’s changing every night right now.

When it comes to theatrics is it just David Barnes right now or do you all have a say in it?

Davey: He takes ideas from everybody. It is like Dobby(Nick) was saying. It’s a big evolving kind of thing. If you have an idea you can be like “Hey, what if we did this?”. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. And David’s very open to suggestions like if I walk up to him an I go “I really hated this one thing” He’ll be like “Okay, let’s see if we can make it better” It is his thing but he’s definately open to critism which is given.

Nick: And he likes to work with people’s personalities too. Whatever someones comfortable with.

You recently went on tour as Yip Deciever with Sugar & Gold. How was that tour?


Davey: It was great, it was really fucking fun.

Nick: Yeah.

Where did the name Yip Deceiver come from?

Davey: It’s actually, um, it was Clayton. We were actually drunk at a bar at like noon and we were trying to come up with a name for it. And we started making anagrams of my name. Yip Deceiver is what we came up with but we left an ‘A’ out and put an extra ‘I’. It’s a failed anagram of Davey Pierce basically.

How did you two come to working together on this project?

Nick: I joined of Montreal almost a year ago and during the time on the first tour I already heard Davey’s stuff. We kinda just started talking and we shared a lot of the same interests and influences. It inspired each other to keep working on stuff so it just happened.


Speaking of influences, you can tell that Yip Deceiver is very different from Inkwell. What influences do you have in this project that are different from Inkwell?

Davey: It’s pretty much all over. I’ve been listening to a lot of old 80’s and 90’s R&B, actually Dobby’s kind of the one that got me back into it. It does kind of come through in a way. The sounds that they use speak to me so much to me. The Inkwell stuff was kind of worn out of necessity. It was like we own guitars and a drum set and so that’s what we had to work with. And it was also like blatant punk rock, all the crap I used to listen to when I was 12. Getting the rest of that out of there so I can move on.

Yip Deceiver gained a lot of attention, which was mainly positive, for the Coquete Coquette remix. How did to feel to that feedback and that attention?

Davey: I mean obviously I was cool with it but I found just as much negative attention as positive attention. As you will with any remix. “This sucks compared to the orginial” Well it’s like thank you I guess, it’s not suppose to be the fucking orginial. But whatever, it was fun to do. I love the song. It was basically just me in my apartment with a bottle of wine and a drumset. I’d do it again, well, I probably will do it again. But I also did a remix of Sugar & Gold’s “It’s All Over You.” It’s on their new EP, it’s fantastic. Not the remix, but the EP.

Nick: The remix is fantastic. Which actually now that I think about it is one of the moments where we realized that we should be working together. It was kind of something that I written and Davey reproduced it; and it kind of the first thing we worked on together.

Davey: Actually the first thing we worked on we never actually finished. We’ve just been working on it for like a year now.

Davey, you had prior expierience playing two sets in a row with Jamey’s project, James Husband- and then again with Yip Deceiver, who had opened up for of Montreal for a few shows. Do you find playing sets in a row exhausting?

Davey: In some ways. It can be really physically exhausting but at the same time it’s like this is what we do. It’s kind of like we’ve been training our entire lives to do this. It’s so rewarding that it doesn’t really matter how exhausted you are because you can have such a great time doing both things. Especially if they’re so different. Playing with James Husband and playing with of Montreal are two totally different animals. I was on two totally different insturments and it was always fun.

Nick: For me it has a time limit. It got to a certain point on the last tour where I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore. But for the most part it’s not like you have a slightly different role so you make due.

What do you find most rewarding about it?

Davey: For me it’s just like, it is the thing we’ve been working towards. To be on stage with all these people that are my best friends. There are all these kinds of personal jokes that you don’t want to say during the set. I look over at Dobby and fucking crack up. There’s one thing that he does that makes me laugh or it’s Clayton or Thayer or Dottie. It’s rewarding because every night I get to do the thing that I’ve always wanted to do.

Nick: That’s true, I forget that sometimes.

Davey: It is actually really easy to forget that sometimes. Like when you wake up and you’re just like “I just wanna get a job and wear a tie”

You have those moments?

Davey: Every once in a while. The grass is always greener sometimes. Where it’s just like I wouldn’t mind being home. We haven’t really been home for more than two weeks in the past seven months now?

Nick: Yeah.

Davey: So I wouldn’t mind being home for a year but at the same time if I’m home for more than week I get really tired of being home.

What’s in the future for Yip Deceiver?


Davey: We’re working on a full length right now actually. Hopefully it’ll come out October-ish?

Nick: That’s what we’re shooting for, yeah.

Davey: We’re doing a video for a song called Get Strict starting in May. There’s gonna be all sorts of nice little surprise guest stars. It’ll be a big dance video.

Dance video? Will you guys be dancing?


Davey: There will probably be a little bit of us dancing in it, yeah.

Nick: There will be a lot of other people dancing in it too.

Davey: Mostly other people dancing in it.

New York has always been a great crowd for you guys. But, truthfully, what is your favorite city to play in?

Davey: Surprisingly, Mobile Alabama has very recently taken that spot. Just blew everyone outside of the water. They’re insane down there, they’re amazing. The crowds are so into it. They’re having so much, they’re just so nice. It’s incredible actually.

False Priest did great on both the CMJ and Billboard charts. How did it feel as a band to do that great?


Davey: It felt really good. Where were we when we got the CMJ thing? Was that Stockholm?

Nick: Yeah, I think so.

Davey: I’m pretty sure it was Stockholm. It was like “We’re number one on the CMJ charts!” And it was kind of this weird feeling. It was like, well we’re not even really home and no one knows what CMJ is over where. But it feels really cool to know that you’re doing something that people really want to hear. I guess that’s kind of the ultimate goal, is to have an audience that’ll listen to your insane ramblings for the most part.

One last question, is it blackmail domination or black male domination?

Davey: Blackmail.

Nick: What do you want it to be?

Davey: Yeah, that’s a good point too.

Davey: There are teams now. It is a very polarizing issue.

Nick: Blackmail or black male?

Davey: Yeah.

Nick: -chuckles-

Davey: I’m on Team Blackmail. But at the same time he(Nick) has a point, it’s whatever you want it to be. It doesn’t really matter too much.


See more interview photos HERE!