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

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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.

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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

The Strokes @ Madison Square Garden, NYC – April 1, 2011

Photo by the lovely Chelsea Franklin


Like fish to a bait, thousands of Strokes fans piled into New York City’s Madison Square Garden on Friday night. This has been nearly five years too long since the guys took the stage together in the Big Apple.

Openers The Grogs and Devendra Banhart (Who went on way too early), barely gained any attention. Elvis Costello, also known as our “April Fools,” joke, came out and played about three songs as a surprise opener as well. No one really seemed to care unless he was about to take off a mask and reveal he was Julian Casablancas.

We were there to see The Strokes.

A band that brought Rock and Roll alive for many of us in the crowd, you could look around and see the ripped jeans, converse sneakers and unkempt, but perfectly placed hair. It was easy to believe that everything was back in place. Just how we left it five years ago. It was interesting that the band was playing a stadium in NYC, the biggest headlining show that they have ever done in the city. Being about my 6th Strokes show in NYC, I wasn’t sure how they would carry out a big, sold out venue. The answer is nothing more than “brilliant.”

Cue the 9:30 curtain call and on walks the five familar faces. The crowd gave them one of the biggest welcomes I’ve ever seen and The Strokes seemed to be more than thankful. They wasted no time before launching into “Is This It,” a clever first song. Right away we knew every word, so much that Julian commented on it.

The chemistry of the band seemed to be back. They were tight, and not sloppy by any means, even when Casablancas messed up on a couple of lines. Hey, it happens. If you didn’t tell me they were on a hiatus, I would have thought they were playing together every night for the past year together. It was that great. Bands rarely play so perfectly, then again, no band is The Strokes.

From “Reptilia,” to “Under Cover of Darkness, the band delivered. Mixing classics like “Last Nite,” seemed to be flawless amongst the new tracks on Angles, (BMG) which were even better live than anticipated. Casablancas was chatty that night making comments and talking to the band. They seem to be healing with each other and that makes an arena of 25,000 happy Strokes fans. Highlights of the nights included “New York City Cops,” “Life is Simple in the Moonlight,” and “What Ever Happened?,” but honestly, EVERY song was a highlight

Elvis Costello appeared onstage in the midst of “Taken for a Fool,” which seemed to be magical for some or killed it for others. It takes a lot to impress Strokes fans. A lot.

Nick Valensi’s and Albert Hammond Jr.’s guitars intertwined with every single strum and pluck as they held the songs together. Nikolai Fraiture’s bass was smooth and emphasized every note perfectly. Fab Moretti provided brillian percussion bringing up the backbone of the band, even with the occasional use of the drum machine. Casablancas’ voice was dead on with every note and the crowd was right there with him. Jumping into the audience pit a few times, he weaved his way through the crowd and never stopped for a minute. This is always something amazing about the band. They don’t make the fans feel like outsiders, but part of what’s going on.

Climbing on speakers and upper levels, Casablancas was determined to get your attention at any cost. What was that line that Jason Lee said in “Almost Famous”? …”You know what I do? I connect. I get people off. I look for the guy who isn’t getting off and I MAKE him get off.” This my friends is Julian Casablancas. A man who will bend over backwards to make sure you are having a good time and look cool as hell doing it.

A whopping hour and a half later and a short encore, the band closed with “Take It or Leave It.” Just how we remembered it. Ful of energy, an explosion of sound, a jump in the crowd and smooth but raw vocals. As the band left the stage for the night, you could see 25,000 smiling faces.

The Strokes are back.

SETLIST
1.Is This It
2.Reptilia
3.Under Cover of Darkness
4.Hard To Explain
5.Last Nite
6.Life Is Simple in the Moonlight
7.Juicebox
8.Someday
9.You’re So Right
10.Under Control
11.You Only Live Once
12.New York City Cops
13.Games
14.What Ever Happened?
15.Taken for a Fool (with Elvis Costello)
Encore:
16.Ask Me Anything
17.The Modern Age
18.Gratisfaction
19.I Can’t Win
20.Take It Or Leave It

VIDEOS

About to Explode with The Deep Vibration

The Deep Vibration is one of our favorite up and coming new bands here at Modern Mystery, so when the band rolled into town on their co-headlining tour with Roman Candle we were really excited to see what they had to offer live. No lie, The Deep Vibration is one of the best live bands out there today. Singer Matt Campbell is literally an explosion of energy on stage. This is one band we can’t wait to hear more of and keep the name in mind, because they are on the verge of being huge real soon.

We had the opportunity of sitting down with Matt to talk about everything from their press exposure to how they got their infamous name.

How did the band form?

Matt Campbell: Uh, Andy and I went to college together and we started playing guitars together. And then when that band fell through years ago, two and a half years ago we met Luke who was from Australia and had traveled the world with some pretty big bands. We met Adam….well Luke joined the band in December 2007, it will still a different band kind of. Then this time last year Adam showed up as our bass player. I had seen him play, and we needed a bass player because the guy that we had parted ways, and that’s how we met Adam.

How do you go from Australia to Nashville?

MC: Yea he was playing for another band on drums.

You obviously have blues and rock and roll mixed into your sound. When push comes to shove, which one do you prefer?

MC: I like them both, I think of them as the same.

There’s a pretty big story how you got your name, how did it come about?

MC: We needed a band name because ours (The Attack) was taken, and we went to Walmart and flipped through um, like cheap novels and the Deep Vibration was what we went with.  (long pause). I’m just kidding! (laughs). So we went to a show at the Ryman and Lou Reed was playing and we were like ‘Well  Lou is going to have a good name for us!’ After the show we hung around the back. It’s great if ya’ll ever come to Nashville, there’s a great alleyway between the Ryman and Broadway kind of. Have you ever been there?

No I haven’t!

MC: Well there’s this great alleyway and it smells like garbage, because its like where they dump the garbage.  So that’s where that came in and Lou came out to sign autographs and everybody is crowded around him and then I was in the back and said ‘Lou! I need a band name!’ and he kind of kept signing records and then a while passed and he looked up and he said ‘Deep Vibration,’ and we said ‘Thank you!’ and we just kind of hung out and after he finished signing records and stuff he walked up to me and talked a bit then got in his taxicab.

That’s a great way to get a name! When does the first full length come out?

MC: We don’t have  a date. Probably….there’s no date. Maybe. By this time next year it will be out, definitely.

How do you feel about the success of the ‘Veracruz’ EP? There has been a lot of talk about it through magazines and blogs.

MC: I don’t like reading those things, and its great when people like it.  I’d rather not, I don’t know. I think it sounds good and I like the songs on it, and I think the guys put a lot of love into it. They did a great job. It’s different from a lot of the records…because, well it is. So I feel like its great and I couldn’t be happier with it. There’s a few wobbles in it, but it works well with the record. That stuff is just what works.

What made you decide to record the album on an 8-track?

MC: Computers are horrible and they can destroy beautiful things. Tape machines have a soul too and a heart. Technology can be self reliable but you can’t put you’re blood in it and rock and roll needs that.

I find that often, digital can be very cold.

MC: Yea, people can just get very over analytical and end up changing lots of things. I can’t go back and cut and paste on a tape machine. You can’t argue with it.

How did you get Gillian (mistakenly pronounced ‘Jillian’) to perform on your record?

MC: Gillian? That’s okay! (laughs) You’re a big fan I guess! (laughs) We went to one of her shows. I saw a great show in high school, she played at this place called The Station Inn in Nashville and on St. Patrick’s Day everyone was drinking green  beer and getting drunk. I met her there. My Dad has the same guitar as her and I showed it to her and talker to her a bit. I  had it in my car.

How does the songwriting process occur for the band? Is it a collaborative effort or does everyone bring in their own songs?

MC: It can happen anyway. So far I’ve written the songs in guitar, song lyrics, music, but I don’t write their parts. They bring it into the song, then it sort of pans out.

This is your first extensive tour. How has it been going so far? Are there any weird tour stories yet?

MC: I don’t know!(laughs) Its going alright, its funny being on tour.

Has being on the road lived up to your expectations of what it would be?

MC: Sure! (laughs) I’m not sure what I expected it to be!

Our friends are on tour camping in tents in random places right now.

MC: Yea, people do that!

You get compared to Jeff Tweedy and Wilco a lot. Is that flattering or do you find it annoying?

MC: Jeff Tweedy? I don’t get that very much!

In the review I’ve read you do!

MC: Oh really, I don’t read them! I like Jeff Tweedy a lot. That’s strange.

How would you describe The Deep Vibration’s sound?

MC: Its’ try to keep it simple. It’s a simple sound but there are holes in it. Like a live show there is only four of us so there are a lot of gaps I think.

Which do you prefer, being in the studio or playing live?

MC: I like them both. I really like playing live shows especially when they’re situated right. Like when you get good sound and all that stuff, but I like playing anywhere. Tonight’s venue (Piano’s) was small!

And awkwardly shaped!

MC: Yea its really small. I had like an inch of stage. I really love the studio but I’m ready to hang out for a while.

How did you get signed to Dualtone Records?

MC: We played a show and Paul Roper (of Dualtone) came to it. That was like February of last year. Well, the story goes like a friend of ours was interning at Dualtone and she was playing a CD of ours and they were curious as to what it was. Paul came to  a show we played and then we gave, well…we  blackmailed them (jokingly laughs) I forgot you had a tape recorder! (laughs)  I guess they liked us, our songs and music. We didn’t have a bass player.

Paul Roper of Dualtone (who was present during the interview): The first time I saw them they had a bass player with a huge afro and I said ‘We got a character here!’ but he had other things going on and Adam filled in and it was a great live show. That’s what sold me.

What is the first instrument that you learned how to play?

MC: Oh geez! Bass guitar. I never learned how to play it. I got it though. Guitar I guess.

If you weren’t in The Deep Vibration, what would you be doing?

MC: I’d be in The Attack!

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

MC: I see us with a few records out, playing shows. I see myself playing guitar, I see Jeremy playing guitar, Adam playing bass and Luke on drums. Just playing shows, recording a lot of songs, getting really good. I’m really excited about it. The next year is going to be a big year, a really big year for everything. What are you going to be doing?

I don’t even know what I’m doing tomorrow!

MC: You got to get it together! (laughs)

Final question of the night, what board game can you kick anyone’s ass at?

MC: Monopoly. Its a game of chance. I like the top hat.

CHECK OUT THE DEEP VIBRATION ON THEIR MYSPACE

Check Out More Photos from The Deep Vibration’s Show at Piano’s AFTER THE JUMP

Annuals at Bowery Ballroom *1.28.2009

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Annuals are just getting started with their fierce U.S. tour and they already play the new tracks from their newest release ‘Such Fun’ like old pros. I’ve seen Annuals before (hell I’ve even recorded them once at a show in Brooklyn) but the Annuals Bowery show was just incredible to say the least. Did I mention they have a light show thing going on now? Usually I don’t like those sort of things but Annuals had me truly intrigued. 

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As a drummer I was pysched to hear a sweet little drum intro as a bit of an opener. Its always great to hear. For a band with only two full lengths under their belt, they gave the New York crowd their money’s worth. Annuals played for about an hour and a half of new material as well as some older stuff from ‘Be He Me’  even with some EP stuff mixed in. The band plays with such intensity on stage that they manage to even blow their own recorded work out of the water. Killer, right? 

Annuals

My personal favorites of the night is when the band played ‘Hardwood Floor’ and ‘Carry Around’ which I will always consider the two songs that standout to me the most out of all of their recorded work. Chances are Annuals are coming to your town soon so it should be in your best interest to check them out. Bands like these are far and few between. Catch them while you can.

-Bry

Check out Annuals on Myspace

*Note: Sorry my pics are not the greatest kids. I was just having too much fun*