Saturday, August 22, 2009
The Swing Movement hail from a town right outside of Bradford in the UK. They formed in 2006 and make downright fantastic music. They sound like a lovechild of The Beatles and The Rascals who was raised in an indie night-club somewhere in the middle of Scotland. Ok, so the part about Scotland is speculative, I'm not all that familiar with their nightlife, but I am just guessing that it is awesome. Basically, The Swing Movement is Brit-pop at its finest, kind of like Oasis in their glory days mixed with the lively energy of the Arctic Monkeys circa 2006.
A lot of their tracks obviously draw from their musical inspirations of Nick Cave and the Rolling Stones, but there is no doubt that they are a 21st century band. Like a lot of my favourite bands, they know how to capture the perfect balance between old and new music. This is the kind of music that you can dance to or use as a muse for your poetry.
Although The Swing Movement currently do not have any music for sale, they are in the process of getting things organized as they continue playing gigs in the UK. You can download a couple of their songs below, and I'll keep you updated about the band. If you live in the UK, definitely trek out to one of their shows, and if you don't, well, you'll just have to wait like me.
The Swing Movement - Disaster [mp3, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]
The Swing Movement - The Town and the City [mp3]
(this is their newest song)
The band consists of Ben Walker (vox, guitars), Joe Gamble (bass) and Kieran Borrett (drums, percussion) and Patrick Wanzala Ryan (guitars). I had the lovely opportunity to grill Patrick and Ben, so read on below:
How did you guys form? Did you always want to play music?
Ben Walker - We were exiled from our community after being involved in some unsavoury activity. Forced to live on the outskirts of society we thought we ought to do something to stop us from getting bored. So forming a band was that very thing…
Patrick Wanzala-Ryan - I don’t think any of us ever harbored huge desires to make music until we actually started making it.
You played Leeds. How was that experience? How difficult is it to play to huge crowds who are obviously waiting for bigger name bands?
BW - Leeds Festival was fun, but the sun was going down into our eyes; we looked like four squinting moles that were seeing sunlight for the first time in eight years. I think we coped though. The fact that other bands were hanging over our heads didn’t bother us, you just have to go play and try keep people interested for half an hour of their time. I don’t think we did too badly.
PWR - In any case until you’re a ‘bigger band’ all gigs are in front of crowds who are waiting for bigger bands so its best just to get over yourselves and enjoy it.
What was your first gig, and how did it go?
BW - We played in an old loft style building…
PWR - One of those places that’s down a back alley, then down another back alley then down another.
BW - It was a rotting punk club called the 1in12; the room had camouflage hanging from its ceilings, and the sound desk was in a cage. Terrifying as the place was; we did love it, so did the 150 people who turned out! As a consequence we’ve played there a few times since.
What have you been up to lately? The new song “The Town and the City” is moving in a different direction than your older work. Are you guys going for a more mature sound or will you continue to stay true to your name and make catchy dance numbers?
PWR - We’ve always made a point of not discussing what sound or direction we should head in. But I think since recording the first set of songs we’ve all improved as musicians and all that boring jazz, therefore naturally I suppose the songs will have a more mature feel to them. The dancyness has never been intentional; we don’t really make tracks for people to dance to but if people fancy dancing that’s cool.
BW - We’re all keen to keep changing and evolving. We’ll just have to see what happens.
What’s your town like? Do you have a solid music scene?
BW - Our town is slipping from the edge of a Moor, the shops are 20 years behind; and the music scene even further so. But we elope to the nearby Bradford and Leeds for our gigs, and there’s always been a strong scene over there, Bradford is especially friendly to us.
What is your fondest musical memory from adolescence?
BW - When I was 14, Joe, myself got a coach to go see Kasabian at the Manchester Apollo shortly after their first album came out. It was my second ever gig and the bus there was full of Mancunians pissed up to their eyeballs singing Club Foot and discussing how Han Solo used to be a painter and decorator. That journey will go to the grave with me.
There are tons of great bands out there. If you could be granted the wish to collaborate or tour with any band in the world, which would you choose?
BW - Nick Cave & Warren Ellis from the Bad Seeds. The noises Ellis gets out of that violin are insane. As is the facial hair. I would love to work on one of their film soundtracks with them. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are phenomenal, but the soundtracks Nick & Warren have done are absolutely incredible.
Which song do you wish you could have written, and why?
BW - “Goin’ Out West” from Tom Waits’ Bone Machine. Everything about that song is impressive. The vocals, the guitars; that double bass creeping in the background, the whole sound and atmosphere. Apparently that whole album was recorded in the old cement hatchery rooms in the basement of the studio. He just took all the kit down there because he liked the echo. It’s that kind of Lateral thinking that makes Tom special.
In this digital age, new music is a dime a dozen, and it’s really easy to spread the word about a new band. The problem is, a lot of bands can’t stand the test of time, unless they bring something completely indispensable to the table. What can The Swing Movement offer that will set them apart as a force to be reckoned with?
BW – Free Condoms. For everyone. After every show.
PWR - Always a difficult question. Folk end up sounding like fools by saying “Feel our music and our passion duuuude” or give big huge bullshit replies about how revolutionary they are… We don’t want to look like fools and we certainly don’t want to bullshit you so… I can’t answer that.
visit the band on MYSPACE for gigs, music, and other excellent things
"I kinda like messing with perception a little bit. Kind of what drugs do sometimes, and drinking. I mean, you know, you mess with your mind a little bit to see life from different angles. Within reason, if you can handle it." - Julian Casablancas
Thursday, August 20, 2009
But anyways, thanks to the lovely folk at Hippies are Dead, the band has been brought to my attention once again.
Apparently, the Tennessee based band is now signed to Kings of Leon's new label. More importantly, their single is catchy as hell, and I've been listening to it over and over and over again.
I've gotta pick up their full length album, which you can see at the 29 second mark. Good self-promoting, guys.
damn, I love me some Southern boys.
Green Day - When I Come Around [mp3]
this song is from 1995, back when the band didn't suck. I refused to go see Franz Ferdinand in San Jose, because they're opening for Green Day and I WILL NOT SUBJECT MYSELF TO UNADULTERATED CRAP--which is what Green Day has been for the last, well, ten years really. anything after Nimrod (1997) just isn't worth listening to.
but Dookie--well, that album is just classic. I will love thee forever and ever.
Rolling Stone has called Cage the Elephant a "breaking artist". read more HERE
the fantastic Kentucky band will be playing a free show at Rasputin in Mountain View next Saturday, the 29th, at 2PM. I think I read somewhere that it'll be a stripped down acoustic show. should be interesting, see you there!
Cage the Elephant - Psycho Killer (Talking Heads cover) [mp3]
this made me laugh: I was looking for a picture of the band via google images, and came across THIS. definitely NOT cage the elephant hahahhahahaha.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
thanks to the lovely folks at Sneak Attack Media, Music Induced Euphoria has a copy of the book to give away. if you live in the United States or Canada and want to enter the contest, leave a comment with your name and favourite book or author.
make sure that you enter your email in the comment section, so that I can contact you.
next Wednesday, I'll pick a winner at random and let you know who the lucky person is. bon chance!
you can purchase That Summertime Sound on AMAZON
our main man Peter has rounded up John and Gary, and is only awaiting Carl.
he jokes: "Maybe I could reform The Libertines without him, like he did without me. I'll put an advert in NME: 'Carlos lookalike required'."
read more on NME. I can't wait until they reunite. I started liking them well after they had broken up, and the prospect of seeing them live just makes me giddy.
The Libertines - Boys in the Band (live, Jools, 2002)
It’s rare that you come across a novel so honest, so amplified, so relatable as That Summertime Sound. The story follows a nineteen year old college student during his summer adventures through the music culture of Ohio in the 80’s, as he experiences things that all music lovers can relate to.
Obsessed with a local band called Lords of Oblivion, the narrator desperately clings to their measly two 45s as divine inspiration. He is determined to meet the deliverer of truth—the band’s lead singer Nic Devine. What ensues is a rollercoaster of fresh perspective through a genuinely original story.
In short, this is a book that Chuck Klosterman should have written. I am a HUGE fan of Mr. K, and adore all of his non-fiction, but when I finished reading his first novel (Downtown Owl), I wanted to send him an angry letter telling him never to write fiction ever again, because he is damn awful at it. I was expecting a story grounded in music, with love et al. as a secondary thing, what I got was the opposite.
With That Summertime Sound, Matthew Specktor has achieved what I wanted Klosterman to fulfill. The book is riddled with abundant musical references—sometimes obscure, sometimes mainstream, and sometimes esoteric. Chapters are titled with song lyrics or titles, reminding me of how I used to title my own journal entries in high school. The narrator does not hide his disdain for his girlfriend’s favourite artist—Elvis Costello, whom he deems a phony, unworthy of the name he “stole” from the King. He talks about Grand Funk Railroad incessantly. He speaks of mix tapes and drugs, of girls and backlash from people who do not understand the sanctity of music. And with him, the reader discovers many shocking things, such as the mortality of our musical heroes. The story is as timeless as David Bowie.
Specktor’s first novel delivers a very powerful kind of musical description, only capable of being uttered by a person who worships a certain band. For example, the narrator describes a Lord of Oblivion song as one that “drew blood it was so urgent.” It'll make you stop and reminisce about your own favourite bands, and how powerfully their art affects you.
My favourite thing about the book was how the narrator’s perspective changed as he looked into the stories behind the music that he so desperately loved. He began to realize that while singles are the perfect form of delivering a powerful shot of musical glory, they might just be a way to hide behind the fear of creating a full length album.
My only criticism is that the author tries a little too hard to create memorable themes, such as “summertime adventures” or the namelessness of the narrator. In my opinion, he could have done it a bit more subtly. But that’s it. The book is great, and you won’t be able to put it down.
That Summertime Sound is prose of the highest form—irresistibly delectable and close to your heart. It’s the kind of novel that I wish I could have written, and that is a critic’s highest praise.
buy the book on AMAZON
ZIP FILE (entire concert)
2. Is This It
3. When It Started
4. The Modern Age
6. Barely Legal
8. Alone Together
9. Last Nite
10. Hard to Explain
11. NYC Cops
12. Trying Your Luck
13. Take It Or Leave It
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Thursday, the SF dance-rock band will be playing a free set at concert in the park at Cesar Chavez Plaza in San Jose, CA
the music starts at 5:30 and I can guaruntee that it will be an excellent show, having seen the band perform live already.
for more info, click HERE
see you there!
visit the band on MYSPACE
Music for Animals - Redder Cells
the only thing I love better than a good documentary is a good MUSIC DOCUMENTARY.
It Might Get Loud features Jack White, The Edge and Jimmy Page. I am really excited about this film.
click HERE to watch a trailer
and HERE to watch a clip from the film.
here are some RELEASE DATES
visit the official SITE
Jack White is my favourite of the three. who do you like best?
Monday, August 17, 2009
Austin's Voxtrot is one of my favourite bands. A couple of weeks ago, they announced their new single, "Berlin, Without Return...", and it sounds great. I like it a lot; even though "Trepanation Party" was interesting, I prefer this new single. It draws back from their older EPs (which in my opinion, was their best work). There are lots of pretty string arrangements, too. You can order the 7" or buy it on itunes by clicking HERE
I had the chance to ask lead singer Ramesh Srivastava a few questions. He was super quick in getting back to me, but his responses were a bit concise. Oh well, the music speaks for itself. Read on below:
Before releasing your debut, you released a bunch of EPs. Lately, you’ve been releasing singles. Have you begun to work on a full length album or are you just warming up your creative buds right now?
I suppose we are probably releasing a full length album, however, we'll probably start with an EP and see how we go from there.
Your keyboard player Jared recently left the band. How is Voxtrot different without him?
Cheaper travel costs.
While “Trepanation Party” was delightfully synth filled, your latest single draws back to the layered simplicity of your earlier songs. Are you treading between these territories or have you found your niche yet?
Not sure, just trying all kinds of things, I suppose. There is, however, a goal in mind.
I see that you are releasing your latest single via the recent trend of a 7” I know you’ve done this with previous singles and EPs, too. What do you think about the future of digital music?
I have no idea where we are going with the future of digital music. At this point, the only thing I mind is that nobody is hearing anything at great sounds fidelity. It's all mp3s...
Your live shows are quite a spectacle. You’re always up and about, dancing your heart out. How do you feel when you see musicians remaining static as they play?
It depends upon that band. Honestly, both can be good-I'm trying to work on a delicate mixture.
How has working with Jim Eno been? Are Voxtrot fans of Spoon?
Jim is great-he is really nice and studio is amazing. Any sound a musician might desire, Jim can create that sound. I am not terribly familiar with the Spoon catalog, but they are fantastic live performers.
Your lyrics are very memorable. Where do you draw inspiration for these words? Do you have a favourite lyricist or poet?
My favorite lyricists are probably Bill Callahan and Joni Mitchell-also Stuart Murdoch, and my favorite printed page writer is John Berger-beautiful use of language and subtle detail. I suppose I get my inspiration from the more subtle aspects of the lives of either real or fictional characters.
You’re originally from Scotland, right? What brought you to Austin? Do you prefer the indie-rock scene here better than Brit-pop?
I am actually from Austin-I went to university for several years in Scotland-it was wonderful. American and British music is so different that it is hard for me to make a choice between them. However, were it an imperative, I would likely say British.
What have you been playing on repeat lately?
Los Valentinos-Midnights (Emperor Machine Remix)
What current band(s) do you admire?
Deerhunter, Ponytail, The Field, Vampire Weekend.
Can we expect a new tour anytime soon?
Hopefully sooner than later, so, yes.
Any last words?
visit Voxtrot on MYSPACE to stream the new song and for other cool stuff.
Don't you hate that? You find a cool new band only to hate the lead singer's voice.
Fuck it all.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Faris Badwan (The Horrors) - I'll Be With You (Black Lips cover) [mp3]
very unlike the upbeat original, this one is dark and really quite interesting. while Black Lips are lo-fi, this one is just subterranean.
Kid Rock - No Woman No Cry (Bob Marley cover) [mp3]
Ben Folds - Golden Slumbers (The Beatles cover) [mp3]
Weezer - The Weight (The Band cover) [mp3]
not the best cover of this song out there, and it barely sounds like Weezer (whom I've given up on lately). but I thought someone out there might like it.
Oasis - Octopus's Garden (The Beatles cover) [mp3]
this is one of my favourite Beatles songs. oddly enough, I usually have it stuck in my head when I take long showers.
Alien Ant Farm - Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson cover) [mp3]
this one is just as famous as the original, and I prefer it a little more.
She & Him - You Really Got a Hold on me (William Robinson Jr cover) [mp3]
Band of Horses - Your Love is Forever (George Harrison cover) [mp3]
are these guys perfectionists, or what?
Antony and the Johnsons - Candy Says (The Velvet Underground cover)
Lou Reed dips into this one. I love love love this. I've been on an Andy Warhol binge lately, and the Velvets have provided me with lots of good music (as always). Antony Hegarty has a beautiful voice and doing this cover must have been really special for him (he is transgender, and Candy Darling was a transsexual).
OK Go - The Lovecats (The Cure cover) [mp3]
this is fantastic. just found it a few days ago.
Spoon - Modern World (Wolf Parade cover) [mp3]
Elliott Smith - Jealous Guy (John Lennon cover) [mp3, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!]
one of my readers sent this to me. now we all know that Elliott left behind tons of live recordings and covers, but most of the sound quality isn't too great. this is a mind-boggling exception. it's really crisp, you've gotta download it.