Cap’n Jazz Reunite!

Of all the bands we never thought would reunite, Cap’n Jazz was pretty high up on the list. Now the wait is over. On June 15th, Jade Tree Records will release Analphabetapolothology, for the first time on vinyl. The original release on CD was put out ten years ago, and the demand for the anthology to be out on vinyl was something fans were strongly behind. The band’s members have always stayed in the spotlight with being in groups like Joan of Arc, Owen and The Promise Ring just to name a few.

The vinyl version will be quite different and updated, and will also include a few songs not available on the CD. There will also be never before seen photos, show fliers, and new liner notes by Tim Kinsella.

If this deal could possibly get sweeter, Cap’n Jazz played an amazing one time only short surprise show in January, and seem to have rekindled the flame. The band is officially reuniting and their first show of the year is set to take place at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago on July 17th. More tourdates will be announced in the weeks to come.
Cap n Jazz-Messy Life by modernmysteryblog

Analphabetapolothology Track Listing:

1. Little League
2. Oh Messy Life
3. Puddle Splashers
4. Flashpoint: Catheter
5. In the Clear
6. Yes, I Am Talking To You
7. Basils Kite
8. Bluegrassish
9. Planet Shhh
10. The Sands Have Turned Purple
11. Precious
12. Que Suerte!
13. Take On Me
14. Tokyo
15. Ooh Do I Love You
16. Hey Ma, Do I Hafta Choke On These
17. Forget Who We Are
18. Olerud
19. We Are Scientists!
20. Sea Tea
21. Troubled By Insects
22. Rocky Rococo
23. AOK
24. Sergio Valente

Bonus Downloads:

25. In the Clear
26. Soria
27. No Use For A Piano Player When You Got A Player Piano
28. Scary Kids Scaring Kids
29. Bluegrass
30. Winter Wonderland
31. Geheim
32. Easy Driver
33. Theme to 90210
34. Ooh Do I love You

Modern Mystery’s Top 25 Albums of 2009

 

1. The Wooden Birds-Magnolia
From the ashes of the classic indie band, American Analog Set, rose a new project from former frontman, Andrew “AK” Kenny, called The Wooden Birds. Shifting completely everything he’s done musicially, AK has come out with one of the most surprising releases of the year. Creating a record that is more folk than rock, no songs on the album contain any drums what-so-ever. The bass and vocals really take off and captivate you, the listener. The live sets of the song also include Matt Pond on guitar along with songstress Leslie Sisson. I’m not sure I’ve heard such a heart felt and warm record in the past 10 years.

2. Julian Casablancas- Phrazes for the Young
It’s been a long time since we heard from The Strokes as a unified band. A lot of fans were hesitant on the thought of a solo album by the charasmatic leader, Julian Casablancas, putting out music that doesn’t resemble his band at all. What a surprise it was when we found he took his love for a bit of 1980’s dance and incoporated it with his unforgettable voice and lyrics. The end result? One of the coolest records of the year. We’d expect no less from him.

3. James Husband- Parallax 1
It took 10 years for multi-instrumentalist and drummer from Of Montreal, James Husband, to create his solo album masterpiece. Husband is in the spotlight for the first time in his career and wow, is he certainly taking advantage of it. Providing one of the best indie pop records of the past year, he lets out a 60’s retro sound that no one can mess with. The end result is something as charming as it seems. Raw, catchy, and glorious.

4. Alvin Band-Mantis Preying
Rick  Schaier is not only an amazing drummer and artist, but he is also an extremely talented singer and songwriter. Schaier who spends most of  his time playing drums in The Miniature Tigers has begun a new chapter in his book in the form of ‘Alvin Band,’ this year and completely blew our minds. Blending a retro sound with updated electronics, this is one album you should pick up if you haven’t yet. The catchy hooks and vocals will only leave you wanting more. That my friends, is a good thing!

5. Bishop Allen- Grrr
It’s been a long night since Bishop Allen gained attention by two teenagers named Nick and Norah, and fans were at the edge of their seat wondering what the Brookyln line up would come up with next. Taking a further step into their brilliant indie pop sound, the band did not disappoint at all with Grrr. See it as the next chapter in the Bishop Allen movie, one that is bound to have many sequels in store.

6. Grizzly Bear-Veckatimest
Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you may have heard of a little band called Grizzly Bear. Somehow exploding this year, it was certainly one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2009. Every song is flawless. Catchy yet moody. Beautiful in every way. This album describes itself better than anyone ever could.

7. Bat for Lashes- Two Suns
Completely out of left field, the lovely miss Natasha from Bat for Lashes surprised us all this year with making a stunning, charming, and beautiful record. The combination of her voice and the spacey background music is enough to send chills down your spine. And it does just that. The haunting track “Daniel” captivated the attention of many, and the rest of the album is able to keep you around.

8. Flight of the Conchords-I Told You I Was Freaky
Yes, they are known for writing ‘funny’ songs, but on this record, FOTC became even witty and even more advanced it seems in their writing. Their songs, even though the lyrics are mostly ‘silly’, are composed perfectly from start to end. Jermaine and Bret are really on top of their game with this record. We can’t wait to hear more!

9. Phoenix-Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
This band always makes a great record, and their 2009 hit was no different. Everyone wanted a piece of Phoenix and boy, did they get them. This classic indie dance pop record was a must have for everyone who ‘knew what’s cool.’ Apparently, this was the world.

10. Girls-Girls
An unlikely hit, this retro indie duo shocked us all with such a raw and appealing debut album. This lo-fi record filled with melodies, doesn’t need any frills or thrills to make it great. It hold’s its own firmly which is a hard thing to mess with.

11. Cass McCombs-Catacombs
12. Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Its Blitz
13. Pains of Being Pure at Heart-Pains of Being Pure at Heart
14. Casper and the Cookies-Modern Silence
15. Headlights-Wildlife
16. Japandroids- Post Nothing
17. Cymbals Eat Guitars-Why There are Mountains
18. Kevin Devine- Brother’s Blood
19. Joan of Arc- Flowers
20. Passion Pit-Manners
21. The Antlers- Hospice
22. Loney Dear-Dear John
23. Neko Case-Middle Cyclone
24. The Mountain Goats- The Life of the World to Come
25. Dirty Projectors-Bitte Orca

Dry Your Tears, Owen is Here.

Owen’s Mike Kinsella is one of the busiest men in indie rock. Juggling musical projects and now a baby, somehow he manages to create the most interesting sound out there. Owen just released New Leaves (Polyvinyl), the newest record yesterday and there is only one word for it: Brilliant. Our writer Elissa Suh talked to Mike over the phone on September 10th and got the inside scoop of everything Owen.

Elissa: So I heard you played a show last night in boston…

Mike Kinsella: Yeah I flew back today and just sort of got up from my nap, now I’ve got the baby in a stroller.

Congratulations! I heard you are now a husband. How old is the baby?             

Thanks! She’s just over five months.

I know youve been doing a couple college shows. Do you prefer to play in smaller venues like that?

 It’s funny because yesterday the show was on the quad. But yeah in general I prefer smaller venues. The thing with college shows is they pay really good money. They just have a huge budget, so they usually make it worth your while.

 So it’s not that you hate playing large shows and large crowds?

 No, it’s more that you’ve got to fight to be quiet, so I prefer smaller shows.

 I think it’s fitting to your music and your style. I read some stuff from your Myspace page about supposed fans and haters. (www.myspace.com/mybandowen). Is that real?

Yeah, it’s really stupid, but it’s real. I think there are a couple of them that I think are genuine; people are mad at me or something, and then there’s a couple of people who just think it’s funny.

 Well we have an idea of what the Owen hates are like. Obviously some of them are misinformed. What are the fans like?

 Pretty polite. I would like to say kind of well-read… good looking, you know what I mean. You know, the cream of the crop; the best that society has to offer.

 Haha. What’s the weirdest thing a fan has ever done?

It’s just weird now with the internet. People ask a lot of random things like recently somebody wrote  “It’s my friend’s birthday, can you call up and say happy birthday? or leave a voicemail?” I didn’t even respond. I hate singing into the phone and I think it’s sort of weird. I can’t imagine when I was growing up, calling up… Morrissey and being like “HEY MORRISSEY sing to my friend!”

You have a lot of literary references. Are you well read?

 Oh, no. I’m just faking it.

 What’s the last book you’ve read?

 I usually start books and get attached to one theme or part of the plot and then most of them I don’t finish but I’ll wonder what happened to that part, or that guy, and sort of write it myself, and sometimes the reference shows up in my song. But I get way too addicted to television and sports.

So you’re pretty well rounded then.

My wife’s a high school teacher, she reads all the time.  So Id like to think she can teach me of the importance of reading and I can teach her the importance of….. 

A touchdown?

 A touchdown! Scoring more points to beat your opponent.

New Leaves comes out in a few weeks (released yesterday 9/22). I’ve heard it’s a departure as the title says, both musically and thematically, but when I listened to the title track I was pleasantly surprised to find it still retained that sort of biting quality. At some point it says “You’ll spend your whole fucking life walking”. I thought it was kind of ironic given the title, and it seems that people are expecting more heartfelt lyrics.

 I just did an interview where the kid was like,” I’ve heard you’ve totally changed in this record!” I don’t think it’s too different. I think New leaves is maybe the new perspective from which I’m writing from, which is a totally old dude, maybe. I still like to write about the same things. I think the same situations inspire me, but not the same perspective or the way I deal.  I’m still sort of critical of people. I don’t think I got real nice all of a sudden. I’m not giving anybody free passes all of a sudden. Haha.

You said you are inspired by situations, by what’s going on with you and your emotions. I guess how relevant is what you write to what you’re feeling? How reflective are they?

Most of the songs start with one or two lines. I’ll write a line or two and it might be a month later or year later that the whole song is written around it. Maybe to finish it off I’ll embellish or I’ll think of a way to make it more narrative.

 So it’s definitely a combination of how you’re feeling plus the editing process.

Yeah, it’s definitely not a stream of consciousness. I don’t fill pages and pages at one moment. It’s a song. And then there will be two lines from here and I’ll write a few more  there.  One will be third persona and one might be first person and I’ll fit them together somehow.

I understand that songwriting and making music in general can be really cathartic. Does it ever make you feel vulnerable? Or do you ever think “Hey, the person I’m writing this song about totally knows it?”

 It’s funny because I’ve been asked that because my music is pretty expressive and I usually dismiss it. But recently I realized that it is like an outlet. Maybe I don’t feel like I need to get it off my chest because I’ve just been getting it off my chest, without even realizing it. But within the past week I just sort of noticed that. Every so often a song will be about something or somebody but it doesn’t happen that much anymore. I used to write songs about girls and maybe a few times it got a little awkward but now they’re more…I don’t know if it’s more general or more specific, but they’re about things that hopefully more people can relate to without having specific information.

Alternative Press “Chicago’s most unhappy troubadour”.  How do you feel about that? Do you consider yourself a sad person?

No, I’m a very non-sad person. I think music is  a way to express the parts I’ve been down about.  I don’t think my songs are that sad. They’re mostly just critical. Maybe ten years ago I was pining over girls more but I think the situation, these are the reasons why, but it’s not sad. I think the music is sort of low-key and somber, but that’s because my favorite bands were always low-key and somber.

 You seem very observant. like you said, you’re critical. You’re not pining, you’re just able to see what’s going on in a relationship or given situation.

 Hopefully it’s just observational, and not about awkward or uncomfortable topics. I understand  certain songs, like when I read about my dad dying like, who the hell wants to listen to that? So I try to write it in a way that’s a little joke, or ironic so its not just super super heavy.

 Do you have a favorite song on the new album?

 There are certain parts. Like a guitar part I’ll play a million times and I’m like “Oh that’s so cool!” Just little moments where I get excited about it. But I don’t know if I have a favorite song. Each song I try to have a moment where it comes in and changes the song somehow.  But yeah it’s like choosing your favorite baby.

 I see I see. Not that I have songs or babies..

 Well what do you like?

 Film.

 It’s like picking your favorite movie.

What is your favorite movie? 

Right, I can’t answer that!

 What goes into choosing your set list?  How far ahead of time do you decide?

It’s not spontaneous because there’s a lot of tuning involved. So I play songs relative. What’s relative to what’s before and after. But for these upcoming  shows, I’m learning a couple off the new record that I haven’t played just because people who have seen me before don’t have to hear the same 12 songs every time.

 Are you ever surprised at the requests?

Any sort of hint that anybody’s sort of listening to the song makes me uncomfortable. I never think about the fact that once the album comes out, people are listening to these songs. Any time there’s an allusion, I get sort of creeped out. But when they request a song, depending on where I am tuning wise, there’s probably a good chance I won’t be able to play it.

 Any song you won’t play?

 You’re probably talking about ‘Never Meant’ maybe?

 Oh I wasn’t referring to anything specifically.

 I think there are two or three songs my wife refuses me to play so I sort of forgot how to play those.  I’m not really against learning some of them. Some of them are 6 or 7 minutes long on the album and it’s just me and guitar and it’s hard to keep that interesting so I think some songs are better for a live setting.

 You recently got married and had a child, while writing the last album. Did that in anyway change its content? The people thinking you’ve turned into this happy man is attributed to the fact that you’re married and settled down.

 It’s just part of the process. I definitely enjoy being married. There’s definitely a transition period like, “Oh i love this girl i’m totally married to her its awesome! I’m going to the bars and get drunk,” and she’s like “Why would you do that? we’re married,”and I’m just like, “Oh it’s what i do.” You have to figure out your new role, you know? 

 Yeah, I’ve been happy all the time.  Some of these songs are written, maybe when I wasn’t happy. There are bands that write these songs and they’re real upbeat. Sometimes that is how i’m like… oh man I don’t feel like playing these sad songs. There was a band yesterday…this band was playing this pop punk or something and it was positive and you know what? They’re forcing it too. It’s really really hard, unless you’re playing watered down bland music like Jack Johnson, to each night be in that mood, to be totally flat, and I have no interest in playing really watered down music like Jack Johnson.

 So what’s the best way to get over a breakup?

 Um. [pause] alcohol and just being social. That would be my advice.

 What new music have you been listening to?

I don’t listen to music too much. I listen to sports talk or NPR in the car. I’ve got these albums of popular bands done in a style that a baby would enjoy, like all bells and flutes. So I’ve got a Ramones album I’ve been listening to a lot, a Cure album and then the Radiohead album for babies. So I guess a lot of baby music.

Haha. That makes sense for now. What’s happens in the future now?

I think I’m in a good place. I’ve played enough and satisfied that urge, and traveled enough to have satisfied that urge. Honestly, just continue what I’m doing. Hopefully write more concise or better songs.  So maybe in five years I will have written the best song ever written… No that probably won’t happen. I’ll be doing this in the next five years. 

Check out Owen on MYSPACE

Joan of Arc to Release New Record

Chicago’s own Joan of Arc are set to release their newest record titled Flowers on Polyvinyl, June 9th. What the new album will sound like? Well I guess we’ll have to wait and see at the moment. Frontman Tim Kinsella (and the one and only permenant member of the band) stated in a press release that  “I think it’s harder fora band to make a tenth record, than it is to make a first record; there is more freedom to be daring, but there is also your own standard to live up to and surpass.”

On Flowers the band made an effort to make sure that all of the songs flow into each other, and apparently they have pulled it off perfectly. The album is about life, death, and rebirth, hence that is where the title came from. Joan of Arc is one of the most interesting bands out there. Quite frankily, you never know what Kinsella and crew are going to do next.

Download Explain Yourselves #2

Check out Joan of Arc on Myspace