Wednesday, August 31, 2011

James Blake's "Enough Thunder"

James Blake has been very cryptic about the details of what is called, Enough Thunder. It is an EP that will arrive on October 10 and will feature Blake's collaboration with Bon Iver, his cover of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You," which he has been playing live. The EP will also feature four new tracks.

Take a listen to Blake's collaboration with Bon Iver, "Fall Creek Boys Choir," which we posted last week on Twiter and Facebook.

Stephen Malkmus on Fallon!

Pavement's Stephen Malkmus returned to TV after a four year absence to perform on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Take a look as he plays the new songs "Senator" and Surreal Teenagers" off his latest Minor Traffic.

Damon Albarn's DRC Project Cover & Track Listing

DRC Music is the work of Damon Albarn's recent trip to Democratic Republic of the Congo, where he was recording last month. Albarn's worked with Richard Russell, Dan the Automator, Actress, Kwes, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosurs, Jneiro Jarel, Marc Antoine, Alwest, Remi Kabaka, and Rodaidh McDonald. DRC Music's debut, Kinshasa One Two will be released digitally on October 4, then physically November 8. Proceeds of the record will go to Oxfam and their support for the relief in the Congo. Take a look at the cover above and the track listing below.

01 Hallo [ft. Tout Puissant Mukalo and Nelly Liyemge]
02 K-Town [ft. N’Gotshima and Bebson]

03 African Space Anthem (A.S.A) [ft. Ewing Sima of Tout Puissant Mukalo]
04 Love [ft. Love
05 Lingala [ft. Bokatola System and Evala Litongo]
06 Lourds [ft. Yende Bongongo of Okwess International]

07 Respect of the Rules [ft. Loi X Liberal]

08 We Come From the Forest [ft. Bokatola System]
09 Customs [ft. Bokatola System]

10 Virginia [ft. Magakala Virginia Yollande and Yowa Hollande]

11 Ah Congo [ft. Jupiter Bokondji and Bokatola System
12 Three Piece Sweet part 1&2 [ft. Bebson]

13 If You Wish to Stay Awake [ft. Washiba]
14 Departure [ft. Bokatola System

Lenny Kravitz on Letterman

Lenny Kravitz is back with his new album, Black and White America. To celebrate the records release, he took to Late Show with David Letterman. Take a look!

Los Campesinos! Cover & Track Listing!

UK's Los Campesinos! will release their fourth studio album, Hello Sadness on November 14. The band recorded the record in Spain and will be a record that we are sure we will be bouncing too. Take a look at the cover above and the track listing below:

* By Your Hand
* Songs About Your Girlfriend
* Hello Sadness
* Life Is A Long Time
* Every Defeat A Divorce (Three Lions)
* Hate For The Island
* The Black Bird, The Dark Slope
* To Tundra
* Baby I Got The Death Rattle
* Light Leaves, Dark Sees pt. II

Monday, August 29, 2011


Jay-Z & Kanye WestWatch the Throne

Two of the biggest names in hip-hop team up for a legendary duet record that sees one shining brighter than the other. It is not surprise that Kanye West belts out the best lyrics, attack and flow on Watch the Throne, after all he is a bit mental and is still hungry to prove he is one of the greatest rappers of all time. Whereas Jay-Z, his mentor, has done everything one could possibly do in the genre and still manage to stay on top. Watch the Throne is a record that boasts two egos from two different sides of the spectrum, Jay-Z’s approach is more as the “big brother” figure discussing how he became the CEO of hip-hop, while Kanye is showing he is a true renaissance man from production to beat making to his words. While the record does not achieve the spectacle it aims for, it is still a worthwhile listen. With help from RZA and No ID on production and guests like Beyonce and Odd Future’s soon-to-be break out star, Frank Ocean, Watch the Throne is a record that is fun to listen to, but not as groundbreaking or brilliant as one would expect from these two.


Washed Out Within and Without

The sexy and seductive new release from Washed Out arrives to much hype and delivers. Within and Without is a record that simply exudes sex and will have you lighting up a few cigarettes after your initial listen. Combining shoegaze, dubstep and ambient sounds Washed Out turn on something very worthwhile to listen to.


Theophilus LondonTimez are Weird These Days

The much talked about New York emcee with the unforgettable name finally arrives with his debut. The debut from Theophilus London isa solid first release but could have been great in so many areas. London combines 80’s synth and old school hip-hop break beats and has clever things to say but does not seem to say enough. While the album is entertaining and any track can be tossed on a party playlist, it misses the mark in being complete with many of the songs beginning to sound too much the same.


Viva BrotherFamous First Words

After all the talk, all the publicity, all the name changes, Engand’s Viva Brother have finally released their debut, Famous First Words. A band such as Viva Brother are hard to review, simply for the fact that their live shows are nothing but energy filled romps and their album captures that, however, their anthems and songs all begin to sound too much alike and sound too much like early Oasis, no matter how much they hate being compared to the Gallaghers. Yet, Viva Brother who call their music “gritpop,” are band who are loud enough to make you pay attention and that you should, we need a band to stir the pot like them, they make things interesting.


Sleeper Agent Celabrasion

The mid-west indie rock band also serves up their debut and show us how to have fun. The cute and anxious boy/girl antics of Sleeper Agent are enough to keep the listener curious and hoping that the bands singers Alex Kandel and Tony Smith get together by the end of the record. Sleeper Agent are a band to keep an eye out for, Celabrasion is proof why.


Cool Kids When Fish Ride Bicycles

The Chicago duo return with clever hooks, introspective lyrics and bouncing beats. Cool Kids were a last minute addition to Lollapalooza this summer and they showed the audience why they should have been added to the original roster with their insane performance, their sophomore release, When Fish Ride Bicycles captures their raucousness. It amazes me why this duo of talented emcees are still underrated and underappreciated, with a record such as this, they again, do not disappoint.


Jeff Bridges

The Dude brings forth a record of songs from the ranch inspired by his Oscar winning performance in Crazy Heart. Bad Blake was the character that Jeff Bridges brought to life in Crazy Heart and it is him who we get in the studio on Bridges country debut. Produced by his friend, collaborator and legend T Bone Burnett, Bridges shows us his side project is something to admire.


Juno Reactor Inside the Reactor

The cinematic electronic band returns with more of the same. Juno Reactor, like their colleagues, Propellerheads, make a find contemporary form of electronic music that you can easily hear and want to have backing any major blockbuster film. Yet, the band’s latest is just more of the same material we have come to hear from them through the years.


Big Talk

The Killers drummer, Ronnie Vennuci takes center stage on his solo debut. Backing the massive ego of Brandon Flowers may get a little tiresome at points, so while on hiatus, Vennuci is taking his music from behind the drum kit to the front, singing and playing guitar in Big Talk. It is pure rock and roll, with a touch of glam. Something for fans of Killers to add to the collection.


Boy and the Bear Moonfire

Austria’s answer to Mumford and Sons arrives. The Aussie folk/alt-country act arrive in America and show how they can be the music industries answer to cash in on the Mumford and Sons sound. Nothing groundbreaking and nothing too exciting, but of you happen to be a fan of that style of music or that English band, take a listen.


Big Sean Finally Famous

Kanye’s protégée gets his debut. Big Sean’s Finally Famous is a debut record that has been years in the making. However, unlike other Kanye mentored artists like Lupe Fiasco, Kid Cudi and currently Frank Ocean, Big Sean is just a “radio rapper,” meaning his commercial success could be big and deserved but nothing very critical or too excited in terms of style and sound to make a fuss over.


Static Jacks If You’re Young

New Jersey punks go loud and raw but can’t hold it together. Rip-roaring guitars, pounding drums, tributes to The Boss and Static Jacks are just chaos in sound with no direction. Unlike other punk bands to come from the Garden State, Static Jacks are very unfocused and very sloppy in terms of production, style and sound.



Deftones Chino Moreno and Far’s Shaun Lopez team up for ambient rock. Remember Chino’s other Deftones side project? Team Sleep? The long awaited ambient rock band that Chino had been talking about for years, then they finally arrived and it was easily forgettable. Chino does the same thing with his longtime friend Lopez with Crosses. At points you can see how seductive and clever the two can work together to make a surreal, atmosphere sound, then it just becomes more of the same without any interesting feelings or colors to add to the pallet.


Jamie xx BBC Playlist

Jamie xx Essential Mix by Young Turks

The xx's beat maker, Jamie xx produced a mixtape for BBC this weekend which features the likes of Orbital, Jamie's work with Gil Scott-Heron and his current Radiohead remix of "Bloom," take a look and full playlist is below.

Orbital - Belfast
Phanes - Lucky Woman
Ifan Dafydd - No Good
Harvey Mandel - Christo Redentor
Koreless - Lost in Tokyo
Floating Points - Sais
Wiley - Colder (Instrumental)
Fantastic Mr. Fox - Untitled
Pärson Sound - Untitled
DJ Deeon - Fine Hoes
Luke Vibert - Analord
New Look - Janet
John Tejada - Unstable Condition
Univac - Untitled (Track 1)
Aardvarck - Nosestep (Original Mix)
Jean Jacques Smoothie - 2 People
Instra:mental - Pyramid
Grimm Limbo - Fortune Favours the Brave
R A G - Rage (Spaventi &Aroy Raw Mix)
Ronnie Dyson - All Over Your Face
Jamie xx - Far Nearer (Bootleg)
Axel Boman - Purple Drank
Loosse - About You (feat. Yolanda)
Anette Party - Moreno (feat. Anita Coke)
Gino Soccio - Dancer
Mr Beatnick - Synthetes
Funke, Sacha vs Nina Kraviz - Moses (Stimming Remix)
Jamie xx &Gil Scott Heron - I'll Take Care of U (Special DJ Version)
Genius of Time - Houston We Have a Problem
Austin Eterno/The xx - I Remember Shelter
James Blake - Libra (Edit)
Pangaea - Bear Witness
Holly Miranda - Slow Burn Treason
Peter Horrevorts - Siren
Chuck Roberts - My House (Acappella)
Virgo Four - Do You Know Who You Are?
Morning Factory - Diane's Love
Karen Pollack - You Can't Touch Me (Roc &Kato Vocal Beat Trip Mix)
War - The World Is A Ghetto (Special Disco Mix)
Marshall Jefferson - Mushrooms (Justin Martin Mix)
Radiohead - Bloom (Jamie xx Rework)

Friday, August 26, 2011


With a name like Ringo Deathstarr you have to expect something very clever and very fun. On the Austin band’s sophomore release, Colour Trip, it is indeed just that - a sonic trip of noise rock done right that makes you hear and feel every color of the rainbow. Bending sounds and fuzzy guitars with pounding percussion, Ringo Deathstarr are creating their own genre of music and seem to be having the times of their lives doing it. After various line-up changes through the years, the band has solidified to its core three members. We had the opportunity to speak to singer and guitarist, Elliot Frazer about the band's acclaim, music and why they seem to be dealing with the same fate as some great American rock bands and becoming much larger in UK rather than in the US. Take a look at our interview with Elliot below.

When you were starting out, like most bands, you went through various line-up changes. Did the changes affect your sound and style?

Well, it only affected whether or not we were gonna sound like shit or were we gonna know the songs

You hail from Austin, Texas but have such a British sound to your music. Are you influenced by the cold-wave/noise-rock bands of the 80’s and 90’s?

I don’t like the cold.

Speaking of the Brits, you have such a big following in the UK. Like most American bands, they get big there before getting big here, why is that?

Cuz Americans are really strange.

Coming from Austin, are you inspired by the vibe and art of the city?

Yes, especially after touring all over the place, Austin kind of has elements of all the best places in the world...but nothing beats the sunshine and margaritas on the patio.

Who came up with, what really is one of the greatest names for band – Ringo Deathstarr?

Well, we didn’t want to have a name at first but we played our first gig and someone asked our name so I think it was our drummer at the time, just kind of sneezed it out

What was it like recording your latest “Colour Trip?”

Really fun, we love the studio. we like making noise and recording it. We feel like what we are doing is like the know, there’s like a template that u build off of, so that’s what we did. And we had fun doing it.

Do you feel any vindication now that it is out?

Yeah, cause I felt bad for not having it out sooner.

Ringo Deathstarr has grown in popularity over the years and “Colour Trip,” is a very anticipated release and has made you a buzz band. Do you feel any pressure to live up to the high expectations the press gives you?

Well, they have strange expectations. We are not what they think we are and we are not from Brooklyn so you can fuggeddaboudit

In the beginning when the band was starting most of the songs were written by one person. What was the writing process like for “Colour Trip?” Was everyone involved?

Yeah, we all chipped in....cant really explain it though....there was not any conscious effort to make it a big collaboration or anything, we all just say what was on our minds at the time or kept quiet or let the songs record themselves

How have fans been responding to the new material?

Well, from what I can tell, they enjoy it.

Your live shows have been very talked about due to the confrontational nature and vibe the band gives off on stage. Is that confrontation intentional or is it straight pure passion

It depends. Its been said by millions of bands but its true.. The band and the audience feed off each others energy

Also, your shows have been noted to a very loud experience. How does it make you feel to sometimes be louder than other bands you are playing with? Do you enjoy the decibel discomfort you give to the people seeing you? we like being as loud as we can because why not just do it?

It is more fun for us, more like being fucked by a dominatrix.

You have done some many great tours with so many greats bands – Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Trail of Dead, Wedding Present. Who are you still hoping and wanting to play with?

Guitar Wolf.

How much fun as Ringo Deathstarr been for you? tons of fun. Because at the end of the day, if we are not having fun then why even do it?

The goal is to make music we have fun playing, and reach those people out there that want to share our same experience of noise bondage

Quick News

In very cool and very fitting news, The Vaccines have teamed up with Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes for the song, "Tiger Blood." Albert was a fan of the bands debut, What Did You Expect From the Vaccines? and asked the band to work with him. Vaccines front man Justin Young told NME, "we’re in a place now where we’re trying to think about what we wanna do for the next record. We really like the idea of working with other creative people and obviously, being a massive fan of The Strokes, it wasn’t something we were gonna say no to."

It is official, Keith Richards autobiography, Life has sold over a million copies and has become one of the most popular rock and roll autobiographies ever written.

Jon Stewart will host a Nevermind special with the surviving members of Nirvana, Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl. The special will run on Sirius XM Radio as a way to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the iconic album which arrived in stores September 24, 1991.

Arctic Monkeys will not return to the studio until 2013 according to singer Alex Turner. Speaking to UK's The Sun, Turner says, "I don't really write on the road any more. We come up with a few ideas on soundchecks and that but I have written too many terrible lyrics touring around. As yet there is no plan to return to the studio next year, we're keeping our heads down."


Radiohead just released another player of remix songs available for TKOL RMX 1234567, here is Brokenchord doing "Give Up the Ghost", Blawan's doing "Bloom," and Altrice "TKOL".

Live Review - VHS or BETA @ Studio at Webster Hall

Sometime in the middle of last decade, a neo-new wave explosion of dance inspired rock and roll hit, and it hit big. With bands like The Killers, The Bravery, Scissor Sisters and many others it was a rebirth of 80’s inspired beats and catchy hooks, one of those bands, Kentucky’s VHS or Beta were poised to break out and hit the leagues of their colleagues. Touring non-stop with bands like Scissor Sisters, Duran Duran and hitting major festivals around the world and achieving critical praise, VHS or Beta were on the right track. However, plagued by label issues, internal matters within the band their road to the big leagues has taken a more scenic route than anticipated. With the self-release of their fourth album, Diamonds and Death, due next month, VHS or Beta has relocated to Brooklyn and are about to hit the road with Ladytron this fall.

In a opening performance at the Studio at Webster Hall last night, VHS or Beta flexed their muscle at one of their first New York shows in years to announce their comeback. With the only two original members of the band, singer / guitarist Craig Pfunder and bassist Mark Palgy they were joined for the first time in the city by new members for an intimate hour and fifteen minute set. With the bands new wave meets Ital-disco style, the band looked as if they were having the time of their lives. Their sound was tight and coupled with their energy, the crowd was throwing a dance party for the ages, it was proof that VHS or Beta are back on track and have such a welcomed return in their new home. With the new songs blending in perfectly with their best known songs like “Night on Fire,” “Nightwaves,” and “Can’t Believe a Single Word,” VHS or Beta may have remodeled but have not lost their touch.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

In the Studio w/ Jenny Owen Youngs

When you’re a talented singer and songwriter that has poured all of your soul into what you do, it gets to a point where you seek inspiration anywhere, for you have already may have said everything you wanted to say by now. For Brooklyn via New Jersey artist, Jenny Owen Youngs prepping album number three has become quite the task, yet she is doing it with such poise and grace that the end result will be exactly what her fans are yearning for. A singer/songwriter in the current music market seem to be a dime a dozen and the competition has forced many to stop and others fall by the wayside. For someone like Jenny Owen Youngs equipped with her clever personality and intimate songs, she has managed to stay afloat and develop a throng of fans around the world. I caught up with Jenny as she is currently writing and recording the follow up to her acclaimed 2009 sophomore release, Transmission Failure.

“The new album will feature an emphasis on weirdo percussion, some grittier songs and arrangements, but ultimately I think the people who are already into my music will find plenty of the things they like and are familiar with” Jenny says of recording her yet-to-be-titled next record. She continues to work with producer Dan Romer, who has produced her first two albums and she says “our working relationship and our individual careers pretty much kicked off together, with Batten the Hatches, which was recorded in the 48-track studio at SUNY Purchase where we met in the Studio Composition/Studio Production division.” The two inspire and push each other in all the correct directions that an artist needs to go to. For Youngs, she has been finding stimulation for her latest record in various places from “the Jonestown Massacre, electro-convulsive therapy, human sacrifice and then of course all the lovely stuff. But it's a bit darker, less moping and more understanding of less seemly human motives.” When I asked Jenny how her songwriting has evolved through the years she playfully said, “Gosh, well, I hope it's gotten better,” then she elaborated “I'd say my primary focus has moved from lyrics to melody, which is not to say that I'm not still neurotic about the words... just more neurotic about the melodies than I used to be.” When I asked Jenny if she has run out of ideas by now she said, “always, but then I always prove myself wrong. The key is to continue to take in work that inspires you.”

In June, Jenny released her first new song, the non-album track “Great Big Plans” which she worked on with L.A. singer Greg Laswell, the song is available via Jenny’s website and Bandcamp page. She released the song as a way to let her audience know that new material is on the way, “I just released the song because I knew it wouldn't be on the record, and I know the record still won't be out for a bit. I wanted to put something fresh in people's ears in the meantime.” While the record is still being worked on, Jenny will hit the road this fall with her friends in Motion City Soundtrack and then on a small fall tour. She will have a packed schedule from September on and hopes to get the record done after her work on the road is finished. When I asked her what has been the most challenging thing she has encountered in this whole process, she says, “In an industry that makes business out of art, it's easy to get confused about which is more important. For me it's a challenge to remember every day that perfecting the song is more important than the weight of all the business tasks that go hand in hand with releasing that song.”

Though her road to album number three has been a journey of self-discovery and pushing herself as an artist more and more, she is still having the time of her life simply living out her dream. “Once in a while I get a letter in my PO Box, or handed to me at a show, that tells me about how my music has helped a person get through something terrible - a break-up, the loss of a loved one, a struggle with a life-threatening disease. When someone reaches out to thank me for something like that, it reminds me that however down, hopeless, or aimless I may feel, what I do actually matters. Maybe to just ten people, maybe just to one person, but one person is enough for me. […] A smart man once told me that music is necessary to civilization because it makes us feel like human beings.”

Quick News

Contrary to reports, U2's Bono did not have a heart scare in the south of France last week. The band's spokesperson has said that he went into the hospital for a routine check.

The collaboration album between Lou Reed and Metallica that is due on Halloween will be called Lulu.

After a two year hiatus, Ministry have reformed and will tour through 2012 and will deliver new material in the form of the album, Relapse in the new year. Ministry was sidelined in 2010 when main man Al Jourgensen was on his death bed when he had a burst ulcer and flatlined in the hospital. Jourgensen was saved and has cleaned himself up for the band's next outing.

Glasvegas have been dropped from Columbia Records after the release of their sophomore album, ///Euphoric Heartbreak \\\ which was released earlier this year. However, the band seem to be unfazed by the whole thing, with guitarist Rab Allen speaking to NME saying "People have come in about signing us, but there's no need for us to have a label right now, James (Allan) is writing the third album and when its ready we'll probably sign. The people who want to sign us will still be there in four months time."

The toxicology reports of Amy Winehouse have been released and it states that Amy did not have any illegal drugs in her system when she died last month. However, the reports reveal that alcohol was present in her system.

File this under - "VERY COOL" - The Flaming Lips and Death Cab for Cutie are set to record an EP of tunes together. It went down when members of Death Cab were giving an interview to Spinner and Lips front man Wayne Coyne interrupted the interview to ask the band if they wanted to collaborate together. Clearly both parties agreed and this is something fans should keep on the horizon. Recently the Lips have collaborated with Lightening Bolt and on stage with Weezer.

Florence and the Machine will release their sophomore release their yet-t0-be-titled new album on November 7. Take a listen to the first single, "What Water Gave Me," below.

Peter Hook Brings CLOSER to North America Next Month

As we mentioned before, Joy Division's Peter Hook will be returning with his band The Light to perform Joy Divisions final masterpiece, Closer in full across North America. On select dates, he will be playing both Closer and Unknown Pleasures. Take a look at the dates below to see where Hooky will be playing, this is a concert you do not want to miss.

September 2011
13th Irving Plaza, New York The Light - Closer
14th The Music Box, Los Angeles The Light - Closer
16th El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles The Light - Unknown Pleasures
17th Mezzanine, San Francisco The Light - Closer
19th Bluebird, Denver The Light - Unknown Pleasures
20th Paradise, Boston The Light - Closer
21st 9:30 Club, Washington DC The Light - Closer
23rd Metro, Chicago The Light - Closer
24th Phoenix, Toronto The Light - Unknown Pleasures
25th Club Soda, Montreal The Light - Unknown Pleasures
28th Black Box, Tijuana The Light - Unknown Pleasures
29th The Warehouse, Guadalajara The Light - Unknown Pleasures

October 2011
Saturday 1st The Warehouse, Guadalajara The Light - Concert

Read our May feature on Hooky when we spoke to him about the tour, Joy Division and his career HERE.


We are nearing the end of the month and the end of summer. Here is a playlist to take you out of the funk of the end of season and into some joy.

- Big Audio Dynamite - "E=MC2"
- The Wombats - "Anti-D"
- Mona - "Listen to Your Love"
- Glasvegas - "You"
- Nirvana - "Drain You"
- Sharks - "Yours to Fear"
- Titus Andronicus - "Theme from 'Cheers'''
- TV on the Radio - "New Cannonball Run"
- Nas - "Life's a Bitch"
- Tupac - "Whatz Ya Phone #"
- Foo Fighters - "Bridge Burning"
- Santigold Feat. Karen O - "Go"
- Yelle - "Safari Disco Club"
- Thursday - "Turnpike Divides"
- Viva Brother - "New Years Day"
- Cut Copy - "Need You Now"
- Prince - "Darling Nikki"
- Beady Eye - "Beatles and Stones"
- New Order - "Hellbent"
- EMA - "Butterfly Knife"
- Interpol - "NYC"
- Airborne Toxic Event - "Changing"
- Low - "Trying to Sleep"

To Listen to this Playlist & Others, Subscribe to Us on SPOTIFY:

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George Harrison "Living in the Material World" Trailer

After years of work, research and editing, Martin Scorsese will tell the tail of George Harrison's private life in the HBO Documentary Living in the Material World. Take a look at the trailer above, the film comes to HBO this fall.

Tom Waits Cover & Track Listing

The legendary Tom Waits will release his latest album, Bad As Me on October 25. Take a look at the cover & track listing for the album.

01 Chicago
02 Raised Right Men
03 Talking at the Same Time
04 Get Lost
05 Face to the Highway
06 Pay Me
07 Back in the Crowd
08 Bad as Me
09 Kiss Me
10 Satisfied
11 Last Leaf
12 Hell Broke Luce
13 New Year’s Eve
14 She Stole the Blush *
15 Tell Me *
16 After You Die *

*Deluxe Edition Bonus Tracks

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Live Pix - EPMD / RAKIM in Central Park

While it was down pouring this weekend in New York City, EPMD and Rakim along with special guests Funkmaster Flex, Peter Gunz, Chromero & more gave a free show in Central Park. Our photo correspondent RICH D SMOOV was on hand to capture the soggy action.



Funk Flex

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Sunday, August 21, 2011


Look outside to the world today and you seen revolution of every kind hitting every street. From the riots in London, to the uprisings in Egypt, Libya, Syria, to the release of the West Memphis Three, the cycle of the world is changing. Whether it be for political, social, economic, judicial reasons, it is constantly changing due to citizens rising up and taking action. In the age of social networking, taking action seem's to be moving along much faster and far greater than ever before. With all of this comes the soundtrack to the uprisings brought to us by one of the most controversial bands on the planet and in music history - Atari Teenage Riot. The inventors of Digital Hardcore had a profound impact on music in the 90's with their strong political stance and message coupled with vicious, pulse pounding beats, Atari Teenage Riot would blow out and blow away the competition and heads of fans from all kinds anywhere they played. As the band went on hiatus at the turn of the century, they reactivated in 2009 with CX Kidtronik and have toured non-stop and released their acclaimed new record, Is This Hyperreal? in June. With the world changing, these turbulent times summon the rebirth of ATR and we need them now more than ever. We caught up with ATR main man, Alec Empire again to discuss the world today, making a new ATR record after nearly a decade and what is in store for the band. Take a look at our interview with Alec below:

How exciting was it to get back and make a new ATR record? What was the feel like in the studio?

Alec: It was strange at first…when you load data from disks that you had 18 years ago into the old Atari computer…there is something about it…the digital information doesn't change.

But then very quickly it was all adrenaline and energy…like you're on a surfboard and catch this massive wave…thunder and lightning…With ATR when I produce a record I have to keep the intensity level up high until it's finished…a lot of it is high speed programming, making the machines do unbelievable things…There is such a fresh vibe amongst us in the group..things just come together!

How much fun is it to be making new Atari Teenage Riot music after all these years?

Alec: ATR has a very specific type of sound. Even though it evolves from record to record, we always sound like ATR…One of the reasons is that the music is made on an old Atari ST 1040 computer. Back in the day this was the Mac. But it has a certain attack to it that is making this music so physical. It has 2MB Ram! Can you believe it? So making music with a machine like that feels almost liberating because you must focus on the most important ideas in your song. It's like math or something…haha…and that can be a lot of fun. Especially when the results blow you off your seat.

What did you do differently than you did over a decade ago when you last recorded with the band?

Alec: There were things I always wanted to do…for example we have this track "Collapse of History" and it starts with the sound of the classic Atari video game Pong, then it goes into this part where the idea was to have an army of Alec Empire clones sing this chant…like those old Russian military quires…full of passion, flags waving. So we go from this super minimal part into this pretty insane football stadium type sound… but it feels logical to the listener and not like a gimmick. I had to do over 40 overdubs in the studio, because it had to be all my voice…Back in the 90ties a lot was about having this or that crazy effect on a record. I feel now the theme and the idea of the music is more in the forefront. Also there is this uplifting and positive energy in the group right now. We were way too early when we started, now people understand more what we are actually about and why we write this music.

Your live shows have always been brutally intense and you take that directly into your recording. When recording, “Is This Hyperreal?” did you feel reinvigorated after your live show return between 2009 and 2010?

Alec: I have toured more over the past decade than in the 90’s actually. But not in the US. The main difference between me, ATR and many other electronic artists is that I come from punk rock and live shows are what's it all about instead of just standing there knob twiddling. It's an ongoing dialogue between the studio and the live shows, both influence each other a lot. With ATR I was very skeptical if we should play that one show in London last year. My whole year was pretty much booked with Alec Empire projects. But the enthusiasm of the audience and the British music critics was so great that we decided to keep doing more shows. At some point I was thinking that there is so much to write songs about and "Is This Hyperreal?" had to be made fast to capture this atmosphere. Wikileaks, hacker activism, human trafficking…all these issues are so present but most musicians don't seem to reflect that in their music. I found this very exciting to make a record about those topics. The new album is the ultimate protest record in the Google age.

One of the first singles off the new record was “Blood in my Eyes,” a song about sex trafficking and features Nic entirely on vocals. She penned the lyrics, but did you feel the impact would be bigger if the song was sung by a woman?

Alec: We always had songs which featured vocalists solo. But apart from maybe "Destroy 2000 Years of Culture," none of them became singles. One reason why we chose this track was because the issue is being talked about in the British media quite a lot. The Olympic Games are coming up next year, and those crimes rise during big sport events. I also liked the idea to NOT release another stereo type ATR track. The song has a different energy to it, because Nic is describing a revenge killing…a young woman who was forced into prostitution who takes the power back because she is so pushed to the edge. In Asian cinema the image of a strong female hero, which we know probably from Tarantino's Kill Bill films, is important and can inspire girls to think further than becoming an accessory of a rich husband. It is also another reference to riot grrl, the music genre that got a lot of publicity when we were already doing ATR. Why does Blood In My Eyes sound like it does? Rape victims often describe an out of body experience when it's happening to them. Also soldiers describe this trance like state in moments of extreme violence. This is why we created the music this way. It has that dreamy atmosphere to it, but has also these hard beats and guitars in there. Our fans fell in love with it right away, because it's different. Nic Endo nailed the vocal parts better than anybody else could have done. She really wanted to put the meaning into the song and she achieved it.

The album also features a song called “The Only Slight Glimmer of Hope.” What is the only slight glimmer of hope to you?

Alec: That is a reference to a Mick Jagger quote. He said in the late 60’s or early 70’s…not sure when exactly…but he said 'Anarchy is the only slight glimmer of hope'. We see ourselves as anarchist libertarians. In the last century we have seen in Germany how dangerous it can be to have big government controlling too many aspects of our lives. It lead to Nazi Germany and the socialist East Germany regime right after that. Everything we say politically in our songs must be seen in this context really or it can be misleading. My grandfather was killed by the Nazis in a concentration camp, that's why I am so aware of that. One government can come up with laws and technology to make the country 'safer', but the next one might abuse that power and will turn it against ordinary citizens. In America people are way more critical towards their own government, democracy works in a different way compared to Germany. The Germans were defeated in the War and then democracy was enforced, so it's different. They just love and trust authority, so much that they can't move in any direction. Many politicians in Germany want a stagnant society…this is my idea of hell really.

One thing that has caught the buzz of the band again is your use of social networking and using the internet to speak to fans. Do you feel it is necessary in today’s world to do so?

Alec: I think it helps to explain our views. People are fast to compare us with other bands, but forget that we come from a different background and a totally different country. Even though now ATR is 2/3rds American with Nic Endo being born in Texas and CX coming from Detroit.

So to be able to interact with the fans is very helpful. But I have to point out that the social networking platforms don't mirror our fanbase at all. The majority of our fans doesn't like those sites at all. Just a few months ago, I was announcing a song from our album "Burn Berlin Burn" which was censored by the German authorities since 2003. So basically the record can't be sold or played in public anymore, no radio, no TV and so on. I explained that it even goes so far that platforms like Last Fm or Myspace can't have these songs up in Germany. So I was explaining it to the audience during a show, and a handful of fans got so upset by the fact there was an Atari Teenage Riot myspace that they literally walked out in protest. I was very surprised about that. I mean most of these sites …you kind of have to claim them before some lunatic does it in your name, but for them it was this world view.

I often get misquoted and German journalists who trying to put different words in my mouth. With the internet you can correct that stuff immediately. We are very transparent about this. I also love the criticism. It's unfiltered and direct. I find this constructive once you learn to ignore the trolls. I wouldn't say this is the solution for everything, but it's good to have those platforms.

We have seen social network become a powerful tool, we have seen it take down dictators and expose corruption more than ever before. Do you think we are only seeing the beginning of what social networking can really do?

Alec: I think what works for freedom in certain countries, can make our own society less free. I already see people behave differently on the social network sites. People become more aware of their profiles being scanned and spied upon. We wrote a song about that called "Shadow Identity." In old socialist East Germany many people had these split personalities to hide what they were really thinking. In our time when people take off personal photos which were taken while they were drunk at their own birthday parties, because they fear their boss could see those, then we're moving towards a society which looks open on the outside but in reality is far from that. The technology that brings us freedom can also take it away from us. This is what this decade will be about. Governments and corporations trying to control the internet too much, so people will start using it less. Digital Decay. Many women in Iran live like that. They have to play a certain conservative role in their public life, but in private they are very different.

Given your heavy political stance and Atari Teenage Riot returning with a new record in the same year that Mubarak has been ousted in Egypt, uprisings in Libya and Tunisia, do you feel this is the most important time to be back?

Alec: Yes, while we were recording, all these events really inspired us. I don't know if it's the 'most important time to be back', but I find the world of the music industry very boring compared to what's happening politically in the world.

When we last spoke, I had asked you how you felt about the world we lived in and you had mentioned, almost predicted that technology would rise against the old way of thinking. How do you feel about the world we live in today? Any difference?

Alec: I still think the same, but I have the feeling we are losing a lot of people who can't keep track. Let's look at music production. The technology that's out there can help us make the most advanced music. But hardly anyone pushes the limits because the passive consumers of music haven't been educated enough to understand experimental music. It's like a mind grid. Instead of becoming curious about the unknown most people want to salute something they recognize.

You have said a few times that if Carl Crack did not die before September 11, the band would have reformed. During the Bush years, do you feel ATR would have been much more forceful than ever before?

Alec: We never really officially split up, but when Carl Crack was found dead just a few days before 911, the concept of ATR felt very distant. We spoke about the Bush years before he got elected. I heard this again and again…Alec, you guys were so right… I think the music scene tried to stay away from those topics while Bush was elected. MP3 piracy probably worked against artists taking a stand, everybody feared losing their fans, selling less records, being blacklisted by radio stations and so on…I am not sure if ATR would have been able to get anything across in those years… The reason why people kept listening to our music was because the records still made sense to them, even years after they were released. Sometimes things just happen the way they do. When Carl died, I was very sad about the loss. We toured the world, we slept on the floors of squats in the early days, we shared amazing times together. Even though I am very good at not showing this when I'm in public, it hit me very hard. So in those moments you just don't think about going into the studio and all the what ifs.

What would Carl say about ATR today?

Alec: It would be awesome to have him in the group now. In 1996, when Nic joined ATR, we pretty much played most shows together with Carl as a 3 piece. Any 4th person would come and go. We clicked and were the basis for ATR. I think Carl would get along very well with CX. The guy had his demons, but was a very deep guy. One great thing about us playing again is when we quote him on stage and the audience knows and everybody remembers his work and what he stood for. I just DJed this huge rave in Belgium and I opened my set with an accapella of Carl and mixed in a Dubstep remix Dim Mak had done for one of our songs, to see thousands of kids go nuts in the crowd just gave me the chills. His voice still carries so much meaning. Here you had a guy who was born in Africa, then was raised in Berlin. When I look at how conform Hip Hop has become these days, then I think it's almost a miracle that Carl Crack was able to reach so many people.

Censorship took over during the Bush / Blair years around the Western world, hardly any bands were speaking out in protest, or if they did the big labels would drop them and saw them as a liability. How upsetting was that for you as a musician no one taking a true stand?

Alec: It's no secret I am very anti- censorship. There is nothing good about censorship. And those who do support the idea of killing free speech should realize that every corrupt system will sooner or later fall. That goes for the Romans thousands of years ago or the Nazis in the last century. It's natural. Otherwise evolution would stop at some point…which is impossible. If someone speaks the truth it will come out sooner or later. The musicians should have come together when the Dixie Chicks were under attack for example. I believe that this triggered the real crisis of the music industry. The fact that music just didn't matter anymore. In any other decade the most powerful music was created during those hard times. At the end of the 60ties..the Vietnam war…the civil rights movement in the US. We can even hear that Aretha Franklin records that aren't about politics. It's just an atmosphere that is stored in all those recordings. Same goes for punk at the end of the 70ties…and so on… Pop is not only a formula, ideally it should be a real part of people's lives and matter. Ok, it's always about the balance between escapism and confronting the reality. If the music industry got back to that basic principle instead of trying to clamp down on internet freedoms, then people would support that.

Do you think Punk is dead?

Alec: As a music genre, yes…in terms of spirit? we'll see…to me punk meant to go against conformity…not only in terms of how you dress and so on…but in terms of thinking.

Will Atari Teenage Riot continue to make music after “Is This Hyperreal?”

Alec: We have material and ideas for two more albums right now. We do what feels right. If this becomes a boring routine, then we'll stop. I got involved because the chapter felt unclosed and I saw that the music still mattered to people. This is what I find rewarding. I met the strangest and most amazing people because this music brought us together. I had experiences…let me tell you…money can't buy those …haha…

Read our 2010 Interview with Alec Empire HERE.

Quick News

U2's Bono was taken to a hospital in France after suffering from chest pains. Bono spent last Wednesday at Princess Grace Memorial Hospital in Monaco and was seen by a leading heart specialist who told the singer to get plenty of rest. He was released after the specialist had checked him out.

Oasis are reuniting! ...... In Court. Liam Gallagher is suing his brother Noel after Noel has insistently said that his brother was hungover at V Festival in 2009 which led to Noel leaving leaving the band. Liam is suing Noel over the "lies" Noel has repeatedly said about the events at the festival.

The partnership of Lou Reed and Metallica is now getting a release date. The rumored and much speculated duet record featuring the legendary titans of their respective genres will be released on Halloween in the US and the following day in the rest of the world.

Former Nirvana bassist Kristi Novoselic is paying tribute to the 20th anniversary of Nevermind, his band's biggest and most influential record with a tribute concert. Members of various Seattle bands will make the rounds to also pay tribute in a mass band performance, members of Screaming Trees, Vaporland, The Long Winters, Campfire OK will all accompany Krist.

Could a collaboration between dubstep poster boy James Blake and indie poster boy Bon Iver be in the works? Blake tweeted earlier last week "24 August 2011 - James Blake & Bon Iver "Fall Creek Boys Choir." Our guess is that a collaboration between the two and the Fall Creek Boys Choir shall be released that day.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Great Soundtracks - Purple Rain

In what will be a new monthly feature to the site, one that will appear in the middle of each month, we will present to you "Great Soundtracks." It is as the title suggests, great soundtracks from film, the films themselves may be great or may be awful but as long as the soundtrack is worth mentioning, we will feature it. To kick things off we decided to go with the soundtrack we feel is the greatest of all time....

Twenty seven years ago as Prince was taking the 80's by storm, his eclectic, eccentric and electric personality crossed over into the summer blockbuster world with the release of his film Purple Rain. The story of a disgruntled Minneapolis singer trying to make it to the big time, the plot may not be groundbreaking but the music on the other hand was. What Prince and the Revolution did for Purple Rain was something not many artists have ever been able to do - make a record that happens to be a film soundtrack, stand on its own as an artists release and break away from the idea that the music was for only the film - think The Beatles with A Hard Days Night or Help. With 20 million records of Purple Rain sold, it was one of Prince and the Revolutions biggest selling albums to date. It was their sixth album at the time and first to actually feature The Revolution credited on the front cover, the album spent 24 consecutive weeks at number one on the Billboard charts.

What makes Purple Rain arguably the greatest soundtrack of all time is the fact that all these years later it still sounds as fresh, vibrant, funky and sexual as it did when it arrived in 1984. With songs like the title track, "I Would Die 4 U," "When Doves Cry," Darling Nikki," it was and still is a tour-de-force musical soundscape that travels through all areas of rock and roll combined with a funk flair, pop and R&B, it is no surprise that the success of the soundtrack was a hit all demographics. The production of multi-layered guitars over the groove of thick bass lines and sparkling synthesizer sounds, if anything was the star of Purple Rain the film, it was that the music had to be the centerpiece of the story and it shows.


The remaining of Pukkelpop 2011 has been canceled due to the fatalities and devastation that occurred yesterday at the festival. In a translated statement, organizers of the event said:

Pukkelpop is in deep mourning. We feel much sympathy to the families and friends of the victims. Words can not describe. We can therefore not easy to reconcile the festival continue to take place. Therefore, we decided to Pukkelpop 2011 for the rest of the weekend to stop.

What happened here is exceptional and has been very unpredictable. We are very touched by all the spontaneous help that our festival goers and we received.

We call on all Pukkelpop Press on to a serene way back home again. There are extra buses and trains loaded to everyone back home.

Many of you are undoubtedly a lot of practical questions, we urge you to focus on this

We ask everyone to bring understanding to this very difficult decision.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tragedy at Pukkelpop

At the Pukkelpop festival in Belgium today, a stage collapsed due to severe weather, reportedly killing between four to six people and injuring 70. Indie rockers, The Smith Westerns were due to play as the stage collapsed, luckily they were not on it when it fell.

Foo Fighters, who were to headline, tweeted: "Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the tragic events at Pukkelpop."

Travis Barker
who was supposed to play with Blink 182, tweeted: "Really sad bout Pukkelpop. Another stage collapses 2 dead & tons of people hurt. My heart goes out. Not supposed 2 happen at shows."

This is the third stage collapse to happen in this summer with Cheap Trick's stage at a festival in Canada and country music band Sugerlands stage collapsing just before they took to it at the Indiana State Fair.


Want to see a free show AND support music education? You can win tickets to see Power Live: Fabolous, Kelly Rowland, Big Sean, J Cole, Estelle and more at Power Live this Sunday August 21st? All you have to do is go to and sign up for the Music Unites news letter. While you're at it Like Music Unites on Facebook and Follow them on Twitter.

The Music Unites Mission:
Music Unites, a 501(c)3 non-profit, is dedicated to bringing music education to underprivileged children in underfunded inner city school systems.

Our goal is to connect people through the universality of music by providing communities with opportunities for a rich musical experience. This is achieved through education programs and by offering established and emerging musicians performance opportunities in a variety of venues and locations, including schools, where they act as mentors to the students.

We also nourish the next generation of performers by providing audiences and performance opportunities, while at the same time enriching the listening experience of the public, allowing them to experience new forms and genres through exposure to an increasingly diverse world of music.

Radiohead Live From the Basement

Radiohead performed their latest, The King of Limbs in full for producer Nigel Goodrich's From the Basement series. Take a look!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


The Vaccines were in LA this week and hit up Jimmy Kimmel Live to perform "If You Wanna" and Norgaard." After this taping the band were forced to cancel three performances due to singer Justin Young straining his vocal chords. Take a look at the band in action.

Quick News

On November 8 cult filmmaker David Lynch will release his first solo album. Lynch will release his debut entitled Crazy Clown Time which features guests Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Take a look at the track listing below:

1. Pinky's Dream
2. Good Day Today
3. So Glad
4. Noah's Ark
5. Football Game
6. I Know
7. Strange and Unproductive Thinking
8. The Night Bell With Lightning
9. Stone's Gone Up
10. Crazy Clown Time
11. These Are My Friends
12. Speed Roadster
13. Movin' On
14. She Rise Up

Rejoice Britpop fans, Suede shall return. Front man Brett Anderson has confirmed to UK's XFM that Suede will record again. He says "After I've promoted this solo album I intend to be writing a new Suede album." No word yet as to when the record shall be ready.

At a surprise show in Costa Mesa, California earlier this week, Green Day debuted 15 new songs including one called "Amy," about the late singer Amy Winehouse. Green Day did not say when the new album and new material shall be released.

Lollapalooza will celebrate 2012 in three locations next year. In tandem with the annual Chicago festival and coupled with the success of the inaugural Lollapalooza Chile, Lolla organizers will also look to go to Rio and debut Lollapalooza Brazil in April of 2012.

Patti Smith's acclaimed autobiography, Just Kids will be turned into a film. The book which chronicles Smith's love affair with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, see's Smith co-writing the book with Gladiator scribe John Logan.

Bjork has pulled a fast one on fans...well, not really, but enough to keep her latest multimedia project Biophelia more of an enigma than it already is. Last month we displayed the cover to Biophelia, but today the Icelandic Princess has released this as the actual cover to the album which arrives September 27 as a physical album, download and app record. Take a look:


A rare documentary on The Smiths that Rhino Records has uncovered for the forthcoming Smiths Deluxe Box Set. Take a look at the documentary above, worth every second!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Live Review - FreeSol @ Standard Hotel

It was a bizarre day in New York City yesterday, the air was thick and heavy, the sky was dull and dreary and then it decided to downpour late in the afternoon. It was not typical hot, clear, electric August weather that we are used to. In fact, it was the wettest day on record - ever, and that is how the week started. As the moon came up, a private event was taking place at the posh boutique hotel, The Standard in the Meatpacking District. Shoe company Steve Madden was putting on a free gig for Memphis hip-hop inspired band Free Sol. Just as bizarre as the day was the venue, a narrow bar on the 18th floor of the swanky hotel, with the band playing around the perimeter of a small four foot deep pool. As the place packed in with models, VIPS, press and contest winners, the smell of chlorine was raging in the air and the anticipation to see a band that Justin Timberlake has been raving about was escalating. The band, which is set to release their yet-to-titled sophomore album later this year, took the stage just after eight and as the sun was going down behind them and the massive city skyline as their backdrop, it was the only highlight as to what would come of the band's terrible half hour set. Led by Emcee Free, Free Sol are a cross between funk and rap/rock and manage to find all of the worst in both genres. Free, whose delivery is very smooth falls under the problem of having a good flow but terrible lyrics, he maybe energetic to watch but once you listen to what he has to say, it is a turn off. He basically becomes another want to be commercial rapper just rhyming about money and girls. While the band are as generic as they come, what saves Free Sol from being a total bomb is the rhythm section of drummer Kickman Teddy and bassist Premo D'Anger, who are a delight to watch and showoff their musicianship with every lick. While the songs all began to sound the same, by the end of their set they were playing the music of Gorillaz "Feel Good Inc.," and Free would add his own lyrics to catchy melody that made me go from loving the song to instantly hating it, if Damon Albarn were to hear it, he would almost wish he never wrote it. Their is potential in Free Sol, however, it is going to take a long time to dig it out.

Good News for Portgual. The Man

In a letter too beautiful and too good to summarize, Portugal. The Man front man John Baldwin Gourley has given fans an update to the fiasco that happened to them after their performance at Lollapalooza last week where their gear and van were stolen. Take a look at John's letter below which comes via the band's website:

Laying in bed at 9:30pm Friday night, fittingly depressed over the theft of our gear, I received a phone call from our tour manager "The Chicago PD found our gear! Its not all there but it sounds like most of it is!". Good news right? A win for the band in a situation that seemingly happens monthly in the van and trailer touring world and so rarely followed by good news and equipment being returned. Well, it is good news and it is more than just a win for PTM, it is also a win for twitter, the world of social media, the Chicago police, and old school journalism. We had taken notice of this as soon as the first tweets started rolling, as the blogs were posted and the news story aired. It's the sort of thing that brings you close to tears (in the manliest way, of course). Tears not because we had a chance of getting our things back because, after all, they are just things but because this was people banding together over a cause. People banding together because "I was robbed before and fuck that". I'm sure we all know how it feels, and even surer still because of this response. It is violating, it is unfair, it is wrong. As much as I found humor in the fact that it took a robbery to make us a trending topic on twitter I knew it was more than the band, it wasn't about "us" at the end of the day, it was about all of us. This is a serious win for everyone that has been violated in some way. I have said this before and it will not sound any less cliche' saying it now: We can do anything when we work together. Yeah, we may not get all of our things back, most certainly guitars were sent off maybe the personal things have already been distributed, little things are harder to track and easily lost in the mix but really, who cares? They are just things. The most important thing to remember is that we did this together.

Thank you Chicago PD and don't be offended when we send a pile of doughnuts over. We are understanding in its simplicity. Its like a marathon runner eating a stack of pancakes before the run. It is much needed energy in your long days of crime solving and we appreciate this because, well, doughnuts are delicious and sending cupcakes is a little to mamby-pamby for the sissys you most certainly are not. All respect.

Thank you Twitter, Lollapalooza, Facebook, networks, bloggers, Chicago, Patton Oswalt, Danny Masterson, Ben Savage for lending your twitter accounts, and most of all you thank you to each and every individual. We thank you every day and you can't possibly know how much you mean to us. Good People

Lastly, a special thank you to James and all the people at the Hard Rock Hotel & Cafe. These people fed us, gave us a bed to sleep in and got us home to Portland, amazing. Audix Microphones, great local Portland company. Blitzen Trapper. Fender, Earthquaker pedals, The Divine Noise Cables, Orange Amps (Alex you're amazing) and of course Old Town Music in Portland. Thank you.

The case is still very much under investigation and we will share more details with you as soon as we are allowed.


Sunday, August 14, 2011


What seems to be a growing trend in indie music these days is duo's comprised of a husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend. We have seen it in Tennis, The Bengson's, Hank & Cupcakes and others. For LA duo, Kisses, they add to this mix but also bring their own flavor. The band is a mix of shoe-gaze and new wave all laid out over dance beats. It is very catchy, very fun but also very intimate and sexual. Kisses have created a stir in LA as well as overseas in the UK as The Guardian called them out to be one of the band's to look out for in 2011, earlier this year. With the release of their debut, The Heart of the Nightlife, the band have been continuing the momentum of their buzz and rolling along. I had the opportunity to speak with singer Jesse Kivel about the band's throwback sound, nostalgic ideas and working with his girlfriend and bandmate Zizi Edmunson. Take a look at my interview below:

You hail from LA but have such a fresh South European sound mixed with New Wave. When creating Kisses was this the type of sound you were going for?

Just something people could dance to mixed with some nostalgia. Channel a bit of Arthur Russell as well.

Given the unique sound who are some of the bands you look at for inspiration?

Arthur Russell. Some of the disco greats Moroder, Cerrone, Soccio as well as contemporary groups like The Whitest Boy Alive.

The music of the band is very fun in the sun but also very gloomy in some aspects. Is this reflective of being in LA in the perfect weather all the time?

It could be or it could just be the type of person I am. I am often a bit cynical despite all this nice weather.

Given the name of the band is Kisses and the music is made for dance floors, do you consider what you do sexual and seductive? Or just plain fun?

This is extremely sexual.

You gained attention from UK’s The Guardian before gaining much attention outside of LA. Do you feel the Brits are ahead of the curve as far as new music goes?

Not really. I think the Brits are quicker to love and forget than anywhere else. So maybe they are ahead of the curve but they dispose of you quicker.

There have been many comparisons to your voice to that of Bernie Sumner and Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian. How do you respond to such high praise?

I am so flattered!

LA has always been home to so many great artists, how does Kisses fit into the legacy of what the city of Angels has given us?

I am not sure. It is nice that I grew up here because I feel that there is some authenticity behind the music I make. With that said, I am not sure if John Phillips or any of The Byrds were born here and they still made awesome music that reminds me LA. John Phillips is tops for me.

I totally love the cover of “The Heart of the Nightlife,” where did you find the mansion? It has such a perfect Vice City style to it, who decided on it?

I shouldn't say really. It is just an old post card I found and it resonated with me. Its actually an old hotel in Palm Springs. I used it as an image to start and then moved away from it. But with some prodding from our manager and Australian label we went back to it. Which I am happy about.

We are seeing a lot of couples start bands these days – Matt and Kim, Hank and Cupcakes, Tennis. How does Kisses stand apart from the mold of just a boyfriend – girlfriend duo?

Well, we separate ourselves on strength. We could probably beat up all of those other couples so that's how we stand out.

Does being in the band together take a toll on your relationship or strengthen it?

I think both. Sometimes its stressful and sometimes its very exciting. All in all it has been a good experience.

Jesse, you are a travel writer, has some of the places you have been to, make an impact on your sound and style?

Definitely. But I have definitely been more places traveling with my two bands than as a travel writer. Travel writing is maybe an even less lucrative career than being a musician.

Where does Kisses go from here?

To the Moon!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


In the fourth installment of Radiohead's online remix series,the band have posted remixes from Thriller Houseghost, Illum Sphere and Shed. The band will also release the double remix album, TKOL RMX1234567 will be out September 16 and will feature the remixes we have been posting all summer. Take a look at the cover and track listing below:

Disc 1:
01 Caribou: "Little By Little Rmx"
02 Jacques Greene: "Lotus Flower Rmx"
03 Nathan Fake: "Morning Mr Magpie Rmx"
04 Harmonic 313: "Bloom Rmx"
05 Mark Pritchard: "Bloom Rmx"
06 Lone: "Feral Rmx"
07 Pearson Sound: "Morning Mr Magpie Scavenger Rmx"
08 Four Tet: "Separator Rmx"

Disc 2:
01 Thriller: "Give Up the Ghost Houseghost Rmx"
02 Illum Sphere: "Codex Rmx"
03 Shed: "Little by Little Rmx"
04 Brokenchord: "Give Up the Ghost Rmx"
05 Altrice: "TKOL Rmx"
06 Blawan: "Bloom Rmx"
07 Modeselektor: "Good Evening Mrs Magpie Rmx"
08 Objekt: "Bloom Rmx"
09 Jamie xx: "Bloom Rework"
10 Anstam: "Separator Rmx"
11 SBTRKT: "Lotus Flower Rmx"

Quick News

Coldplay have finally confirmed the title to their much anticipated new album. The record, Mylo Xyloto, will be out October 24. Take a look at the album art below:
In related news, Coldplay singer Chris Martin tells Billboard magazine, that this record could be the band's last. He states ‎"I always feel like each record is our last, but at the moment I'm in the stage where I really mean it."

After months of hype, the supergroup formed by Mick Jagger entitled SuperHeavy which features Dave Stewart, Joss Stone, Damien "JR Gong" Marley and A.R. Rahman has released the track listing for their debut album, which arrives September 20. Take a look at the track listing below:
"Miracle Worker"
"Satyameva Jayathe"
"One Day One Night"
"Never Gonna Change"
"Beautiful People"
"Rock Me Gently"
"I Can't Take It No More"
"I Don't Mind"
"World Keeps Turning"

Also releasing track listings is Ryan Adams for his latest record, Ashes and Fire, which is out October 10. Take a look at the track listing below:
1. "Dirty Rain"
2. "Ashes & Fire"
3. "Come Home"
4. "Rocks"
5. "Do I Wait"
6. "Chains Of Love"
7. "Invisible Riverside"
8. "Save Me"
9. "Kindness"
10. "Lucky Now"
11. "I Love You But I Don't Know What To Say"

Sigur Ros pulled a fast one on fans this week, showcasing a cryptic video on their website called "Inni," fans and critics were baffled as to what it was. We have found out now that it is a tour documentary on the iconic Icelandic band that will open at this year's Venice Film Festival. Take a look at the trailer for INNI below:

Incubus on Kimmel

Incubus were on Jimmy Kimmel Live this week to perform "Adolescents" and "Promises, Promises" off their latest, If Not Now? When. Take a look.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Adios Amigos! 15 Years Since The Ramones Split!

1,2,3,4! 14 albums, 8 members, 4 chords all developed by band that changed a generation, city, and music forever. Forming in Forrest Hills, Queens in 1974, The Ramones would speed up rock and roll and usher in a new sound that would eventually be known as punk rock. To most, they were the first true punk band, while MC5 and The Stooges were creating punk antics and esthetics, Ramones created the sound and style that bands would go on and mimic for decades later. While they never experienced massive success in the US, it was other parts of the world that their fans would put them on the same pedestal as The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Elvis. After countless shows, numerous line-up changes, internal issues and 22 years together, on August 6, 1996 The Ramones called it quits with a huge farewell concert in LA. In the 15 years since the band stopped playing, the music world and the history of rock and roll has embraced them more today than ever before.

In the shadow of the New York skyline, three friends; Jeff Hyman, John Cummings, Doug Colvin got together to form a band, their story starts off like any other of any group of young guys wanting to achieve rock and roll glory, struggling starts and bizarre finishes to every song but when the Ramones first came about it was not what we have come to know about the band. At first it was Joey (Jeff Hyman) drumming, Dee Dee (Doug Colvin) singing and playing bass and Johnny (Cummings) playing guitar. At the suggestion of their friend, producer and eventual next drummer, Tommy, they switched the line-up to Joey on the mic, Dee Dee just playing bass and backing vocals, Tommy took to the kit and Johnny kept to guitar and thus the foundation of Ramones line-up was formed. “It was totally raw, it was really something else” Ramones tour manager and author of On the Road with The Ramones, Monte Melnick told me in an interview when I discussed the band with him. While the band would develop their sound in Queens, they would eventually make their way to the Bowery at the infamous CBGB’S and it was there that their reputation would build. With the band’s bizarre look; tall and lanky Joey fronting with Johnny, Dee Dee and Tommy with mop-tops and all in motorcycle jackets, it was not just the sound that was strange, it was also the band’s appearance.

As they gathered fans from the downtown scene, the band would build its reputation on the road as one of the finest bands, if not greatest band to ever come from New York City, but the road was long and difficult. The bands philosophy was tour, tour, record then tour more. When I asked Melnick what it was like to be on the road with the band, he replied quickly and said “it was great!” when I asked Joey’s brother, Mickey Leagh the same question in a 2010 interview, he said “it was uncharted what they were doing, in terms of punk rock. Nobody really knew what was going on when they would see these guys, so we were never quit sure how we would be received when we went to these small towns.” While the band would fail to pack clubs initially outside of New York, their friends who were working with them stuck by them, really for work as Melnick says “I was working with bands with three part harmonies and had records myself, I thought of the band as kind of a joke, but it grew on me.” What they were creating was so original and so new that it was hard to market and hard to understand from those outside of the punk scene in both New York and London. Yet, as the years went on, the genre grew, as did the respect of the band. “The Ramones in itself was a pretty radical group and the raw stages of The Ramones were even more radical,” Melnick says.

While the Ramones built a reputation on the road, they were still searching for a hit record. With radio not playing their songs in heavy rotation, it was difficult for them to get noticed. “The Sex Pistols had a lot to do with it, they perverted the outlook of radio stations in the United States,” Melnick says “we were so close to them, but they were not us, but were tied to them.” It was in other countries where concert promoters owned local radio stations; they were bigger in Europe and South America and would get a taste of what it was like to be bona fide rock stars. With disgruntle attitudes toward their success, fighting between Johnny and Joey, Joey faced with a severe OCD problem, Dee Dee dealing with a major drug addiction then eventually leaving in the early 90’s, and a revolving door of drummers, the Ramones could have imploded and stopped at any time, yet they kept pushing on. After headlining Lollapalooza alongside Metallica and Soundgarden, the band played their final show, never to return to the stage together again. In 2001 Joey died of Lymphoma, a year later the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and solidified themselves as legends, a few moths after their induction, Dee Dee died of a drug overdose. In 2004 Johnny died of prostate cancer. While the remaining members and supporting musicians through the years still play Ramones music in concert, anytime one listens to the radio or picks up an album from any artist ranging from U2 to Pearl Jam to Green Day to The Strokes to Arcade Fire to Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ramones’ influence can be heard. While they collectively never got to see what they would become to the history of American music, Ramones will live on through their short songs, infamous sets and four chords that altered music eternally.