The Reflectors – First Impression (Q&A)

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SweetSweetMusic spoke to James Carman about The Reflectors’ debut.

Buzzbands LA writes: Coming down on the punkier side of power-pop, the album is chock full of toothy guitars, monster hooks and lyrical vignettes right out of the next summer teen caper flick. Ten songs, 27 minutes — the Reflectors get in and out of your face faster than that stick of gum you’re chewing (you’re liable to want to put a fresh one in). The Buzzcocks, the Undertones, Guided by Voices and the Nerves all come mind. And, yes, some tasteful guitar solos are involved.

 

How did this record come together?

 

The Reflectors have only been a band for about two years or so, but we’ve been writing music for a while and a lot of these songs are fairly old. This album is sort of a collective catalog of what we’ve written in the last 10 years or so. but finally getting a proper release for them. The second album is already in the works so we are extremely excited about that as well, which will include a lot of newer material we’ve been working on in the last few years.

 

 

 

 

 

As an artist, you chose to show your emotions to the world. Is it always comfortable to do so?

 

Yes it is. Music is like a painting and the painter is the composer, and you have a massive canvas to display your art and can choose to create anything you wish. Some paintings/songs resonate with people in different ways, and to have a positive impact on listeners truly means that we’ve done a significant part in providing art for the music community.

 

 

 

 

Any ideas about how to turn this one into a million-seller?

 

A catchy song or hook can go a long way! Think about Big Star’s “In The Steet” being covered by Cheap Trick on That 70’s show.

 

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When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’?

 

In theory, every song should be approached with the idea that it could be a “hit”.. so in that sense, I think every song we write has the potential to be a hit!

 

Which 5 records would you bring with you for your stay on Mars?

 

Buzzcocks – Another Music In A Different Kitchen

Exploding Hearts – Guitar Romantic

20/20 – 20/20

Paul Collins – The Beat

The Booze – Easy Beats In Modern Time

 

Recording music. What’s all the fun about?

Creating history with your friends. A recording studio is like a sanctuary, and once you hit record on the mixing board, your subconscious takes over and the energy flows through you.

 


 

The Reflectors:

James Carman – Guitar & Vocals
Nick Faciane – Guitar & Vocals
Ryan Miranda – Bass
Johnny Reyes – Drums

Tom Curless & the 46% – Almost Ready for the Future (Q&A)

 

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SweetSweetMusic spoke to Tom Curless about his new record ‘Almost Ready for the Future’.

 

 

When (and why) did you decide to release a record under the (fantastic) name Tom Curless & The 46%?

 

The name is sort of an in-joke. I formed a band to play shows to support my last record Songs of Movement, and it really felt good, it felt like after a long time of searching I finally found some kindred personal as well as musical spirits. When we were rehearsing some of the new material before heading into the studio, Ron Vensko the drummer said well, I think we have about 46% of the material down…we all laughed and it became the catch phrase, “well I think we have about 46% of that song” I wanted to represent the band on this release so I christened them the 46%!

 

 

 

I think I can hear that recording some songs was a blast. It is so powerful, so straight from the heart. Or have you been looking for the right sound for a long time?

 

Yes, there is a lot of “live in the studio” band tracks on this one that I have wanted to do for a while.I did the vocals later and I did a few overdubs later but the majority of the basic tracks are a band playing live together which gives some of the songs a different feel and urgency. This is what I was going for and it was FUN!

 

 

 

 

Once you have written songs like Always in Between and Just Wanna Talk, it seems increasingly difficult to keep that quality. How did you manage to keep the level of quality so high?

 

I appreciate that. I write a LOT and I usually go through a lot of songs/demos/ideas to get to the 11 you hear on the record. What is funny is that Just Wanna Talk came out of nowhere. I was strumming my acoustic one afternoon and those chords felt great. I quickly came up with a second section and the vocal melody came really fast. The song just came out of nowhere and when it was done I really liked it. I felt like I just got lucky with that one. Sometimes that happens but not as often as I would like! Ha

 

 

 

And then you release the record while the world is turned upside down. How does that work?

 

The record had been done for awhile, and I was thinking about waiting to release it later, but I spoke to Keith Klingensmith at Futureman Records and he just said, well, why wait? Wait for what? People probably need music now more than ever with all of this weirdness going on and maybe it could cheer someone up who is feeling down during this crisis we are living in. It has been a really weird year, I am just sad I can’t play shows to support the release, hopefully we can later this year if things change, but who knows?

 

 

 

 

Some of the songs have a beautiful outro. That doesn’t seem like a coincidence?

 

 

I am VERY fond of outros, if you listen to my music you will hear a lot of outros. I tend to get bored quickly and I always want the song to take a left turn if I think things are getting too predictable. I am glad you appreciate them.

 

 

 

 

Burn & Shine must be about someone special?

 

Burn & Shine is about a few different people but it started as a song about my older sister who had a lot of major life changes happen in a very short time. We were talking and she said “What happened?” and it struck me that this happens a lot to many people where things may seem to be going along fine and then WHAM life throws you a curveball. You have to try to roll with the punches but sometimes that can take a long time and sometimes we don’t feel like changing. Sometimes you feel like what you are doing makes no difference anyway. That is the general idea behind the lyric but it started from that phone conversation with my sister.

 

 

Kekker – Greatest Hits Volumes 1 + 2 (Q&A)

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Good things come to those who wait. For Edinburgh-based songwriter Keith Matheson, this first solo album is the result of waiting for the right time to record and release a highly personal collection of songs that illustrate the power of reflection.

 

SweetSweetMusic spoke to Keith about what it’s like to release a great record while the world is turned upside down.

 

‘Good things come to those who wait.’, Says Bandcamp in the bio. Can you explain what you were waiting for?

That’s a quote from the press release, my talented pal, Lorraine Wilson wrote but I suppose it also refers to the amount of time it took to finally realize a solo release (the better part of 23 years).

I hadn’t written anything for an absolute age and when I finally got back on it 5 new tracks got penned in a few weeks and I thought they were good enough, along with some unreleased back catalog, to complete a full album.

And then it turns out that the ‘good things’ come when the whole world is turned upside down? How do you experience that?

Ah yip, that hasn’t helped promotion!

I was planning a few gigs to get the word around but with the crazy situation we find ourselves in, that’s not happening any time soon.

On the plus side, I have a load of new songs I’m recording at home at the moment given all this free time!

Greatest Hits Volumes 1 + 2, you are only half-joking, aren’t you?

Absolutely!! The title is a tongue in cheek reference to the fact half the album is over 20 years old and the rest are brand new.

Your lyrics seem very personal to me. Does that come easy?

I always write from a personal perspective, it’s just the way I work. Given that most stories and feelings aren’t exclusive, I don’t think that affects any universal appeal…..got to have some killer hooks as well though!

 

 

 

You can buy the record as a download, as a CD, and on vinyl. No streaming? What’s the idea behind that?

I suppose it’s taking a bit of a stand against the streaming platforms due to the tiny percentages the give back to hard-working artists who’ve spent a very long time investing not only money into a project, but time, energy and talent!

In what other job (IT’S NOT HOBBY) would a person accept such a small return for their endeavors?

I am probably missing a promotional trick here but it just sticks in my throat a bit!

Same goes for unpaid gigs (“It’ll be good for your profile……. Etc, etc”.)

 

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The Best 100 Power Pop Songs of this Century (2000-2020)

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Sweet Sweet Music presents the best 100 Power Pop songs of the past 20 years.

Many thanks to all songwriters and musicians who, by writing a comment or a small story about their song, contributed to the creation of the list.

If you want to listen to the songs while reading, you can find the Spotify playlist here.

 

001 TSAR – Kathy Fong Is The Bomb (2000)

Jeff Whalen: “I was sitting in the Tsar apartment with our lead guitarist Dan. We were goofing around with guitars and listening to the album The Slider by T. Rex and I was struck by how simple the chord progressions on that album are. They’re the most basic things you can imagine, but they’re put forth so confidently, so triumphantly, so without shame, that it sounds masterful. You don’t doubt a thing about it. I was playing the chord progression from “Metal Guru” and I said to Dan, “How does he get away with this? He stole this chord progression from like a million songs!” Dan said something like, “Why don’t we steal it, too?” I had written the title “Kathy Fong Is the Bomb” on a Post-It note, because it had popped into my head at this temp job I was working, and I put it to the “Metal Guru” chord progression over and over and over until I had a chorus that seemed like its own thing. The lyrics pretty much wrote themselves. One of the funnier songs to write.”.

002 Sloan – Spin Our Wheels (2018)

Chris Murphy: “Sloan’s manager is always making fun of me for continuing to write songs about the band and our commercial trajectory, or lack thereof, but I can’t help it. See also “Anyone Who’s Anyone” (1996) or “Fading into Obscurity” (2006).”.

003 Tinted Windows – Can’t get a Read on You (2009)

Sweet Sweet Music: Tinted Windows from Tinted Windows is the most underrated Power Pop record ever. The band is made up of members of Fountains of Wayne, Hanson, The Smashing Pumpkins and Cheap Trick and all those bands have not made a record better than this. Yes, it is true. What an energy, what a truckload of beautiful melodies and what a power.

004 The Posies – Squirrel vs Snake (2016)

Ken Stringfellow: “Squirrel vs. Snake was written now 5 years ago, even before the last US presidential election cycle had really gotten up to speed. It’s not a commentary on Trump, or Clinton, but more the atmosphere of anxiety that weighs upon as we try and make the best decisions that we can. It’s really about an age of surrealism and weirdness that we are officially in, and perhaps never leaving. The mind-bending qualities of Philip K. Dick’s writing, the vaporous assaults we endure by faceless attackers on social media…we seem to float in a murky sea of meaning, and our toes are barely touching bottom. There is a youtube video called “Squirrel vs. Snake” which is where I got the title. It’s not so important that it was either of those two animals facing mortal combat–it’s more that they are not things that we normally see facing off, and I just kind of went further down the ladder of nonsense from there. I say nonsense only because the song is the soundtrack of my addled brain trying desperately to make sense out a world that refuses to steady itself and simply become comprehensible. “.

005 P76 – Me & Her, The Road and Our Ej (2001)

Danny McDonald:” ‘Me & her, the road and our EJ’ was the last song I wrote for the ‘Into the Sun’, which was something of a concept album, conjuring the feeling of the Australian summer as I remember it growing up in the late ’70s and early ’80s. I’d been working on that collection of songs for a year or two and ‘EJ’ was pretty much the culmination of that time. It’s a short, simple, and powerful recording thanks to the wonderful musicians I was lucky to be working with at the time. Lyrically, it’s about the feeling of freedom, and driving through the bright and expansive open landscapes of Australia – something I’ve been missing during these times of COVID-19. The recording was produced by my friend Dom Mariani (The Stems, DM3) who also contributed the main lead guitar and backing vocals.”.

006 Lolas – Me And Barbara Stanwyck (2006)

Tim Boykin: “Barbara Stanwyck as “Sugarpuss” O’Shea in the 1941 film Ball of Fire is what I think of. The movie really works, and the way she turns Gary Cooper’s world upside down is dazzling and hilarious. When I wrote the song, Stanwyck’s character, the ball of fire, came crashing into my song and made herself the center of attention. Who was I to refuse?”.

007 Pacific Radio – Katie (2019)

008 Hurry – Nothing to Say (2016)

Matt Scottoline: “When I think of “Nothing To Say,” it brings to mind the excitement and nerves of shifting my songwriting to a new place, and trying an entirely new sound. That record was an experiment for me in dialing down the noise and fuzz, and I’m really happy how it came out.”.

009 The Critics – World Stops Turning (2005)

010 Fountains of Wayne – Little Red Light (2003)

Sweet Sweet Music: I like records that last no longer than 34 minutes and 21 seconds. If you take the best 35 minutes from Welcome Interstate Managers with Little Red Light on it, then you probably have the best Power Pop record of the last 20 years. And even then Little Red Light would stand out because of the ‘power’ melody. Of course, Stacey’s Mom is just as good.

011 Sugarbomb – Bully (2001)

012 Nada Surf – Always Love (2005)

013 Wanderlust – Pornographic Version Of You (2012)

Rob Bonfiglio: “Interesting choice, I don’t really recall much about that song except it was recorded in a flurry with a batch of other songs within the very brief span of time that we reunited and made that record. Lyrically speaking you’d have to ask Scot the meaning, he wrote it.”.

Sweet Sweet Music: Scot?

Scot Sax: “Ah yes, “Pornographic Version Of You”. I think of three things. Thing number one: I was afraid my brand new wife was going to be a little weird about that title. She was not. Thing number two: Jim, our drummer was actually fairly upset about it. His son was young and I guess he just got paranoid that being in a band and having the word pornographic in a song title was not going to be a good idea. It was fine. Thing number 3: my inspiration was late 70’s punk bands and The Knack. Especially their tempos. I don’t usually write super fast songs. I made a point to write one and the words came out at the same time.”.

014 A View of Earth from the Moon – One Thousand Miles Apart (2017)

Jon Fickes: “Quite simply, it’s a breakup song. I was in a long distance relationship and while you might think the chorus of the song is a metaphor, I was actually thousands of miles apart from my partner at the time. It’s become surprisingly appropriate for the situation we’re living in right now. We could be right down the street from our friends and family, but because of social distancing, it feels like thousand of miles.”.

015 Ryan Allen & His Extra Arms – Chasing a Song (2016)

Ryan Allen:”The first thing that comes to mind when I think of “Chasing A Song” is “breezy”. It’s definitely one of my more jangle-y, laid back tunes – sitting somewhere between later period Teenage Fanclub and the band Real Estate. At least that’s what I was going for. Subject matter-wise, it’s really about what every songwriter is after – trying to chase that dream of writing the perfect song and not giving up, even though it’s an impossible goal. The message is simple: keep grinding.”.

016 The Popdogs – Kissin’ Alicia (2013)

Jim Styring: “I remember we’d been listening to a lot of Blondie at the time, so the song was definitely influenced by that sound. First time we’d added keyboards, too. I had some lyric ideas already written that just fit perfectly. A lot of people have since said it’s their favorite track from that album”.

017 Soul Engines – It’s Just Another Day (2001)

018 The Maureens – Early June (2013)

Hendrik-Jan de Wolff: “The first thing that comes to mind when I think of “Early June” is the making of the video clip on a hot summer day in 2013. All 6 (!) band members filming each other from different angles on our phones. Good memories! In time four of them have left the band and two new guys joined The Maureens. The love for harmonies never changed, these days in a more compact sound. We’re proud to be part of this beautiful list!”.

019 Van Go – Miles Away (2018)

Dave Sippel: “Miles Away is about anxiety, and keeping yourself safe during anxious times. Rather than the physical Social Distancing we are going through now, this is more of an emotional distancing of oneself. Does evil truly lurk in the hearts of men and women, both? Maybe, maybe not, but to be on the safe side, best to be… miles away, at least figuratively speaking.”.

020 Locksley – My Kind of Lover (2007)

021 Jeff Whalen – The Alien Lanes (2019)

Jeff Whalen: “I was writing and home-demoing songs for my solo record. I had just gotten Tsar’s old reel-to-reel 8-track recorder repaired and I was excited to use it again. Writing and recording demos digitally was bumming me out—Pro Tools has all those unlimited tracks and an “undo” button and you can start to defer a million decisions to some mythical “later.” It seemed like it was making me lazy and I was feeling disengaged from what was at stake, rock-and-roll-wise. I felt like I needed a process that demanded more discipline and focus from me. When you have just eight tracks of tape, the decisions you make are more consequential. They require more, you know, intentionality, or whatnot. I ended up writing pretty much everything for 10 More Rock Super Hits on that machine, but “The Alien Lanes” was the first one and I kind of consider it the central, you know, fulcrum, or whatnot of the record. I’m not sure how the song comes across to the listener, but for me it’s about a girl and her pop music obsession.”.

022 My Life Story – Taking On The World (2020)

Jake Shillingford: “Taking On The World is not quite what it appears on first listen.
The song is like a Black Mirror episode in song form. It’s about the ultimate dystopian TV reality game. A pop apocalypse where Flat Earthers and Fake Newsters take on the Old Darwinians and Extinction Rebellion in a battle of conspiracy theories.
I imagined what the end of the world would be like if it was played out live on TV, with Man declared the winner over Nature on a technical knock out, choking on golden non-biodegradable ticker tape as he celebrates his pyrrhic victory.”

023 Splitsville – The Popular (2001)

Matt Huseman: “I’m pretty sure I wrote this quickly based on a riff I’d been playing around with for a while. It reminds me of a specific time in my life for sure, but I was going for the Elvis Costello trope of mixing extremely personal lyrics with disparate ideas. Note: I neither freak nor do the body rock, however my brother and I have been known to pop and lock. It was originally supposed to have an a cappella musical interlude where the bridge is now, but I chickened out.”.

024 The Fire Apes – 3 O’Clock (So Long) (2011)

John Seymour: “I wrote 3 o’Clock (So Long) about the inexplicable feel and surreal place my mind goes when absorbed in the world of the 1960s art films. In particular, Truffaut’s 1966 adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup. There is something about these films that capture a sublime and idyllic world mixed with an underlying fear of the strange and unknown that feels exciting but indescribable.

I see it as an invitation to a lover to enter into a new, exciting, but risky adventure into an unorthodox utopian world of his making/daydreams, attempting to get the love of his life to see, feel, and understand in the same way. Somewhat like Huxley’s Brave New World mixed with W. Somerset Maugham’s main character, Larry, in his novel, The Razor’s Edge. Although, not as dystopian!”.

025 Berwanger – Slutty Skin (2016)

Josh Berwanger: “Most of this song is about High School and how “some” teacher’s (adults) would pressure kids on how the only way to be successful is by going to college. I thought the word “slutty” worked as in being young and undiscerning. It’s hard to know what to do, so a part of me is like what the chorus says “I don’t care” but, then again I think I’m supposed to care about all of this. Although, the line “get my kicks hanging with the slutty chicks,” was a quote from this dude that the girl’s thought was gross, and they were correct. He was like a Jeff Spicoli character, I always remembered that and thought it worked pertaining to the perception of delusion.”.

026 International Pop Overthrow – X-tended Care (2002)

Chris Lund: “The song was written about the first real job I had during college – specifically my experience working at a head-injury facility with in-house patients. The residential patient wing of this facility was called “Extended Care”. My job was to assist and shadow the patients through their daily routines which included making sure they went to all their daily physical therapy sessions, counseling appointments, relearning of basic life skills therapy, and the taking of their medications. This was very routine some days, but due to these horrible head injuries that damaged their brains to varying degrees they would often be in pain and would lash out, suddenly throwing chairs or attacking their counselors (me). The counselors all had short-wave radios and at the very end of the song in a very nasal toned voice, I’m simulating a call for assistance with a violent client on the short wave radio. I can surely say now that teaching guitar and making records is a much easier way to make a living – less dangerous anyway.”.

027 Weezer – Island in the Sun (2001)

028 The Ravines – Blue Eyes (2015)

Chris Corney : “Ok, I guess “a deceptive femme fatale” would be the first way of describing the song that comes to mind!”.

029 Fireproof Sam and the Network Stars – Old Trope Academy (2018)

KC Bowman: “I think of long-lost college pals convening (in person or remotely) to record a song that was inspired by hearing “Roxanne” back to back with “You Shook Me All Night Long” and thinking those two songs would make a reasonable mashup! Stole the verse from one and grafted on the chorus of the other…kinda!”.

030 Tuns – Mind Over Matter (2016)

Chris Murphy: “TUNS is made up of 3 old friends who have made lots of records since the 1990’s. We got together in 2016 and made a record. All of the TUNS songs are born of jams that we record into the voice memo app on our phones. When we have 50 jams, we pick our favorite 15 or so and try to form those jams into enough songs for a record. It is very collaborative and romantic. Matt Murphy sings this one. There is a video for it and if you don’t think it’s funny, we can’t be friends.).”.

031 Feel – Got Your Name On It (2002)

032 Ex Norwegian – Team No Sleep (2018)

Roger Houdaille: “What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Team No Sleep?’ Well…I immediately think of the source of inspiration which was “Team No Sleep” spray painted on a concrete bank of the canal by where I lived. I would see it every day and thought that was such a random and silly phrase. I loved it!”.

033 The Legal Matters – Short Term Memory (2016)

Andy Reed: “The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Short Term Memory is how much the three of us like to sing together. This is The Legal Matters at our best IMO.”.

034 The Sugar Stems – We Only Come out at Night (2014)

035 Nick Piunti – One Hit Wonder (2016)

Nick Piunti: “I don’t know if I have a method of songwriting but I know when lyrics, melody and a cool guitar riff come together in the same sitting I’m usually on to something. The first line of the song is important, and when I came up with, “burned out before it began, if it was destined to be then we stuck to the plan” I had a good feeling. So though the song is called “One Hit Wonder” it’s not about a band having just one hit song but about a relationship that burned bright but burned fast. One of my more typical power pop songs for sure. Sugary sweet harmonies, tight arrangement, stops and starts, handclaps, and can’t forget the key change at the last chorus. And just over 3 minutes. Can’t over stay your welcome in the power pop world. Thanks to Donny Brown, Andy Reed and Ryan Allen for performing on this record with me, and as always Geoff Michael for producing it. Oh, and Jem Records for releasing it!”.

036 Car City – (Don’t) Give Up on Love (2018)

Jason Lemke: “When I hear the song I usually think about ice skating for some reason. I guess what it means to me is willing to fight a relationship to succeed. It’s work and you have to not give up. But if you found someone you really care about that is a precious thing.”.

037 Michael Carpenter – She’s In Love With Herself (2016)

Michael Carpenter: “‘She’s In Love With Herself’ was a song written by a good friend of mine, Allan Caswell, and some young guys he was writing with in Juvenile prison. I was asked to do a ‘rock demo’, and the demo of the song sat on the shelf for a while. It always annoyed me that it didn’t get picked up by anyone, so I eventually asked if I could release it. I added a little more jangle, and the Murphy Brothers on backing vocals, and there it is!
I love the attitude in the lyrics, and was always pleased by how much ‘power’ there was in this great pop song. It all turned out well. Fun video too!”.

038 Aerial – A Great Teenager (2014)

Colin Cummings: “I suppose “A Great Teenager” is our Peter Pan song. Over the years Pop music has been full of songs that document teenage angst and we wanted to pay tribute to those classic 50s / 60s “teenager” songs. However we thought it would be interesting to write something that described how those typical “teenage” feelings & behaviours don’t necessarily just disappear as you get older. As adults I think we all still feel like a teenager at times and in those moments it’s often easiest to just retreat back to that world and refuse to grow up!!”.

039 The Bishop’s Daredevil Stunt Club – Day’s at the Pool (2014)

Bill Giricz: “When I think of “Days At The Pool”, I think pool party of epic proportions, surfing on the winding concrete, and other sun drenched shenanigans. You’ve just got to get to this party, and you never want this day to end.”.

040 The Successful Failures – Hit the Ground Running (2014)

Mick Chorba: “The first thing that pops into my head when I think of “Hit the Ground Running” is a group of 4 friends blazing across the verdant open roads of the Netherlands – in a convertible. The top is down and everyone is singing our song at the top of their lungs. The tulips are swaying in the wind in time with the backbeat. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day!”.

041 Ulysses – April Showers (2013)

042 Cliff Hillis – Time an Evangelist (2017)

Cliff Hillis: “I wrote this song during the 2016 US election… I was at the gym and there were multiple TVs set to different channels. On one TV I saw a presidential debate with a snake oil salesman in the lead, and on the next over I saw a televangelist selling holy water. When I got home I wrote this song.”.

043 Telekinesis – Tokyo (2009)

044 Anyway Gang – Big Night (2019)

Chris Murphy: “Anyway Gang is made up of 4 guys who each have their own band that came together for a short time in October 2018 to record a few songs each. They weren’t that collaborative in the writing but we all played and sang on each other’s songs. “Big Night” is all Sam Roberts but I (Chris Murphy) sing the 2nd verse and Menno Versteeg sings the 3rd verse so that was fun. Note: The lyrics I sang involved knocking a girl’s cosmo off of the bar and I had to look up what a cosmo was.”.

045 The Top Boost – What If She Loves You? (2016)

046 Adam Daniel – Summer’s Coming (2013)

Adam Daniel: “Summer’s Coming is a mashup of Elton John piano, glam rock guitars, Beach Boys vocal stacks, and new wave synth candy—all my favorite things!”.

047 Edmund’s Crown – Feet on the Ground (2006)

Greg Pope: “To me, the song is about trying to keep your head while also trying to realize your dreams… It’s about trying to make good choices whatever the present vogue may be. The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of this song is the recording process… The band was kind of falling apart and I ended up playing all the instruments on this song… Which was kind of fun! Perhaps it was a sign of things to come?”.

048 The Speedways – Just Another Regular Summer (2019)

Matt: “Just Another Regular Summer is about wishing the best thing ever could last forever.”.

049 The Grip Weeds – Life Saver (2016)

Kurt Reil: “I co-wrote “Life Saver” with Jon Dawson for the band Third Of Never- for me it was a side project from The Grip Weeds, which started b/c Jon came to me with an album of songs he wanted to finish and record at our studio, the House Of Vibes. The lyrics are about duality and opposites- like you can be saved by the one who you are at odds with- the sickness can be the cure, etc. Jon had the chorus chords which produce interesting voicings on the electric guitar- you put two fingers down on the neck and the others are ringing open- really cool harmonics. I wrote the verse to work with that. The original recording was for Third Of Never and is on the album Downrising. I liked the version we did but felt it was missing that certain something that turned it from a ‘performance’ into a ‘Record.’ I do remember playing that version for other The Grip Weeds and watching their reaction, which seemed like “why did you give this great song to another band,” or “why aren’t we doing this song?” Later, Kristin pushed for The Grip Weeds to record it, and then everyone pitched in with ideas- Rick came up with the intro smashing chords; Kristin’s guitar riffs and solo are all hers; Dave DeSantis was new on bass and he chipped in with a great bass line. I was able to produce the track as I wanted to, so I pulled out all the stops to make it as great as possible. I was slightly influenced by ELO at the time and added a synth line that’s buried in the track to make it swirl a bit. Kristin and I were in a NJ club one night and the song came on- at first I didn’t know who it was. That’s the acid test for any recording artist- how does the song go over in a club? But right there, I knew we had done it- it sounded so great coming over those speakers and the crowd loved it.”.

050 The Greenberry Woods – Good Man Down (2018)

Matt Huseman: “‘Good Man Down’ – One of the earliest songs I wrote. I was maybe 19 and listening to a lot of The Smiths. A lot of REM too. It was my first real attempt at writing something deeply personal about my life and my relationship with my father at the time, so listening back now I hear a lot of teen angst. I think this was a handful of songs that had potential to make our first Greenberry Woods release but didn’t for whatever reason.”.

051 The Well Wishers – The Last to Fall in Love (2014)

Jeff Shelton: “What’s kind of funny is….
The first thing that comes to mind with respect to this song is that the drummer I was playing with at the time (Braden McGraw) was more of a hard-hitting power rock kind of drummer. I remember him being very nervous and reluctant to play a laid back pop track like this one. I reassured him that he did a fine job….and the result speaks for itself!”.

052 Paul Collins – Hurting’s On My Side (2010)

Paul Collins: “When I think of Hurting’s on My Side, I think of how a melody can capture the sadness you can feel in a quite way, there is a sweetness to the sadness as it resolves, like tears do.”.

053 Johnny Stanec – You’re an Empty Sound (2019)

Johnny Stanec: “I really liked that song from the moment I wrote it. It was actually a song I wrote fairly quickly. It came together all at once. I started playing the main riff and then it just sort of took off from there. The lyrics have some nice bite to them too. It was definitely one of the songs at the time where I felt like it would get a good response once people heard it. It has a fully developed feel to it. A song made for being a single. And since its release, it has been of the my most streamed and downloaded songs, so other people have obviously gravitated toward it, which is great!

Actually, most of the the record that ‘You’re An Empty Sound’ is on was written in a three week span. I was trying to come up with new songs for what, at the time, was supposed to be a new band, but after a while it ended up being a solo record. However, I think being in a place where I was focusing on something new gave that song and that record its entire feel.

Whenever I listen back to songs I recorded I’m very critical and it usually takes me a while before I can listen without picking apart the production or whatever, but that is one that has a pretty satisfying playback to it. I am happy with it and glad others have enjoyed it too!”.

054 Swag – Please Don’t Tell Her (2001)

Doug Powell: “I remember the band rehearsal when we wrote that song. Robert and Jerry Dale had been working on the verse (the Kinks-sounding riff) and started playing it. I add libbed the b-section, we fine-tuned it, and suddenly we had the song. The whole thing took about 10 minutes. I recall we did standing up – never had time to sit. We also wrote Ride and She’s Deceiving that day, and the process was almost identical. An uncharacteristically productive rehearsal for Swag!”.

055 The Wellingtons – Help me fall (2006)

Zac Anthony: “‘Help me fall’ is the oldest Wellingtons song by a long way. It was played live but soon pushed aside by the two bands I was in before I formed The Wellingtons. Oddly enough I remember the time and location I wrote the song which is a rarity for me (age 20 and in a bungalow /bedroom I had in a share house in Yarraville for the record) I’m glad I persisted with the song because a few years after it was released it was selected for synchronization on the How I met Your Mother DVD set. When the show initially aired on tv Fountains of Wayne’s Sink to the Bottom was used, but when it came to issuing the DVD they decided to use our tune. Maybe Fountains of Wayne wanted too much money so the went for the cheaper Fountains of Wayne?? Who knows? Really glad some people have responded so positively to the song!”.

056 Ed Ryan – Everything’s Gonna Be Alright (2016)

Ed Ryan: “It was my introduction to the world as a solo artist. The first single, first song on my first album…a lot of firsts! What does it mean to me? It represents the optimist under my somewhat cynical outer shell, the need to have and to give hope.”.

057 The Bobbleheads – Turn on the Radio (The Perfect Song) (2014)

John Ashfield: “I think about cranking the stereo in the car and going on a road trip!”.

058 The Fags – List (2002)

059 Champagne – Don’t Feed The Animal (2016)

Champagne (now Neon Vampire): “When I Think in DFTA one of the things that come to my mind is the process of production. The song has many arrangements that we studied a lot…The synths have a really important place in that song… I think the origin of the song is the melody of the synths.”.

060 Ruler – Petrified (2018)

061 Parks – Fools (2018)

062 Jason Falkner – This Time (2007)

063 Eugene Edwards – It Doesn’t Get Better Than This (2005)

064 Eytan Mirsky – I Saw Something In You (2016)

Eytan Mirsky: “My own foolishness.”.

065 The Lemon Twigs – The One (2020)

066 The Split Squad – Feel the Same About You (2014)

067 Tim Cullen – On The Down (2004)

068 The Chevelles – Zaragoza (2008)

069 Rooney – I’m Shakin’ (2003)

070 Deleted Waveform Gatherings – Little Baby Warfare (2008)

Øyvind Holm: “Going back to listen to “Little Baby Warfare” brought back quite a few happy memories. My first band, Dipsomaniacs, had ended in 2003 and I had released a solo album in 2005, before putting DWG together in 2006.
“Baby Warfare” was the second album recorded under the DWG moniker, and the only one of our four albums recorded in a full-blown state of the art recording studio. Naturally, that added an extra layer of excitement to the whole process for us as a band. When listening back, it also means the album has a richer, more hi-fi sound than our other albums, which we recorded on our own.
After listening to the title track now, it was cool to be reminded of the contrast created by the razor-sharp cuttings of the almost London-Calling-like guitars and the floating string arrangement that weaving its melodic threads in between the staccato beats of the basic track.
Lyrically I remember my original idea was to try to turn the concept of war into a living person. What if all the destructive forces that drive us to go to war were the personal characteristics of a person, what would that person be like? How would this person justify his (yeah, most likely a man) action?
And with that as a thematic backdrop for the song, that aforementioned staccato rhythm could very well also be interpreted as the sound of marching troops.”.

071 Derrick Anderson – Checking Out (2017)

Derrick Anderson: “I suppose the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about that song is: “Now, more than EVER, man!” Even though I wrote “Checking Out” years ago, when The Reaper was but a small speck in the crowd at the back of the stadium, he’s now larger than life itself, roaming our neighborhoods looking for an open door to waltz right in (and he’s quite capable of busting through closed ones). So live, love and be loved, because tomorrow is never promised.”.

072 Brendon Benson – Tiny Spark (2009)

073 Raymond Meade – Tracing Air (2012)

Ray Meade: “It’s really a song about keeping yourself going, not letting things get you down.”.

074 Superdrag – Lighting The Way (2000)

075 The Goldbergs – Feel The Sun (2008)

076 Fuzzbubble – Don’t Let It Get You Down (2000)

077 Goodman – Watch Your Mouth (2019)

078 Cheap Trick – Perfect Stranger (2006)

Sweet Sweet Music: In 2006 everyone was convinced that Rockford was the best Cheap Trick record since In Color or since Dream Police or since Lap of Luxury or …. Apart from Live At Budokan, Cheap Trick has not made any records that can captivate me from start to finish, but they have made a lot of songs where they have found the ultimate combination of melody and manikality. Perfect Stranger is such a song and could have been on Live at Budokan if it would have been there then.

079 Jughead – Promise (2002)

Sweet Sweet Music: Power Pop that is played by musicians who normally earn their money playing some harder music. Jughead’s Promise sounds like a Beatles song produced by Bob Rock. Contagious and massive.

080 Fair – Monday

081 Phonograph – Hangin’ Round (2014)

082 The Beat Seekers – Cinderella’s Demise (2009)

083 Reno Bo – Sweetheart Deal (2015)

084 French Films – Special Shades (2013)

Johannes Leppänen: “First thing that comes to mind… I wrote that one back in 2012 when we were visiting the parents of my girlfriend at the time. She had a guitar in her old room and I had nothing else to do so I tuned it and came up with the song. The lyrics are just some gibberish about walking around town when it’s the first really sunny day of spring and you’re getting that perfect buzz that shuts up all the depressive stuff in your head for a moment. Pretty bland, but it’s an okay song I think, just checked after many years.

The “million ways of killing time” -line is a coincidence, I learned about The Dogs (the French band) afterwards.”.

085 Screen Test – Notes from Trevor (2018)

086 Genuine Leather – Three Chord Song (2019)

087 Dude York – Box (2019)

088 Foxhall Stacks – Turntable Exiles (2019)

Sweet Sweet Music: If a group of punk rockers wants to show that they also love The Beatles, the result is roughly predictable. Forget it. Turntable Excile is much better than you can predict.

089 Crocodiles – Wait Until Tomorrow (2019)

Brandon Welchez & Charles Rowell chose a different route and they indicated what they think is the best Power Pop song of this century: “It’s a hard decision to try to name the best power pop song of the last 20 years but if I had a gun to my head I would say “Clocking In” by the UK band TV Crime. A total stomper of raw punk energy with a jewel of a pop song underneath! Like Elvis Costello on an amphetamine kick. I always play this when I DJ out and though most people aren’t familiar with it they can’t help but end up bouncing around to this infectious gem. Full disclosure, these guys are friends of mine but whether I knew them or not, Shaun’s songwriting chops are undeniable. A quick glance over the work he’s done in several bands shows this. Honorable mention to “Back Of The Van” by Hard Skin (which I guess is technically Oi! but what is the best Oi! if not power pop made by skinheads?).”.

090 Tommy Keene – Out Of My Mind (2015)

091 The Resonars – Gone Is The Road (2019)

092 Lannie Flowers – Kiss a Memory (2017)

Lannie Flowers: “I wrote that song back in my mid 20’s. It was me telling an ex goodbye, in a not so nice way. Most of my romantic relationships didn’t end well. Probably should’ve looked in the mirror. Ha! Don’t remember who it was about though. It’s been so long ago. It just sat around with many other songs for years. Until a couple of years ago, I was gonna record a couple of songs with NiteBob. He’s worked with Aerosmith, NY Dolls, Iggy Pop among many others. So we were going through demos and that was one of the ones that he wanted to do. So, we just sped it up a little and moved it from C to D. He took it back home to New York and mixed it there. I wish I had some great mysterious story for it, but that’s pretty much it. Thanks for the interest in the song.”.

093 The Late Show – Sha La La (Wake Me When You’re Done) (2018)

Sweet Sweet Music: How a group of people over 60 can sound like a bunch of pissed off adolescents.

094 Farrah – This Is My Life (2004)

095 Somerdale – Shake It Maggie (2017)

096 Arlo – Working Title (2002)

097 The Empty Hearts – (I See) No Way Out (2014)

098 Joey Sykes – That’s American Life (2016)

099 The Madd – I Know (2009)

100 Telephone Lovers – Downtown Girl (2017)

 


 

 

 

Chris Church talks about heavy melodies, life on mars, empty rooms, and much more.

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How did this record come together?

 

I write and record different styles of music, but power pop has always spoken to me. The “what is power pop?” debate bores the hell out of me. If it’s catchy, has loud guitars, and has some sort of verse-chorus-bridge mentality in play, it’s power pop to me. Personally, I have always preferred louder guitars. There are genuinely melodic pop rock songs by “hard rock” artists of the late 70s to mid-80s like Def Leppard, Billy Squier, Dokken, or even early Kiss, and when they get mentioned, the immediate classification is hard rock. The very tuneful chord progressions and harmonies happening within some – not all – but some of those songs are a joyful part of my life. If there’s a point here, it’s that by the same token, there’s hard rock in the music of quite a few bands that are universally (in this weird little musical universe) agreed upon as being power pop, like Cheap Trick, The Knack, and even The Raspberries. I love that middle ground between hard rock and power pop. I even came up with a term for it, “heavy melody”. So, wait, what was the question? Oh yeah! I wanted to make a “heavy melody” album! I liked the first few songs that I had which seemed to fit the idea of a melodically aware rocker cranking up his car radio in 1983, so I just went with it, and “Backwards Compatible” was born.

 

When did you decide to start asking for opinions on the new songs?

 

I still haven’t. I’m stubborn enough to ignore opinions anyway. My goals were already in gear when I started enlisting people to help me with it. At that point, it’s their fault if they’re making a big mistake! Seriously though, I’m incredibly grateful and fortunate to have the assistance of my wife and producer Lori Franklin and mixer/guitar hero/ long-time friend and musical compatriot Scott Cornette. “Backwards Compatible” sounds way better because of the contributions by my excellent friends Bill Lloyd, John Hawkins, Nick Bertling, Jon Leeds, Charles Shoemake, Matt Lutton, Samantha Morgan, Doug Davis, and the amazing and helpful Lindsay Murray (Gretchen’s Wheel). All of these fine and talented folks could have given me their opinions if they had chosen to, but all they did was do a great job on their parts. Maybe they’re all too nice to tell me they thought it was a hot stupid mess!

 

 

 

 

Any ideas about how to turn this one into a million-seller?

 

Absolutely. It will only take two things. So, step one is to invent a time machine and go back to the days when people actually had to pay for albums and release it then. Step two would be to become more talented. It would probably also help to suddenly be irresistibly handsome, so yeah, that’s three.

 

What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

 

After a while of playing rhythm guitar with my first cover band (we were called Sabre!) as a 17 and 18-year-old, they finally gave me a lead guitar solo spot, on one part of the Eric Clapton version of “Cocaine”. The first gig we had after this exciting band development was attended by a total of maybe a dozen people. As we began the song, there were maybe half that in the place, including the soundboard guy. I wasn’t fazed, and I delivered my solo. I didn’t mess up! My teenage guitar God dreams had come true! I looked at the room, and no one was there. Everyone had gone outside. So, no, I’ll never forget that my first rock and roll lead guitar solo was performed to an absolutely empty room. I have somehow remained purposefully unincumbered by the metaphors.

 

Which 5 records would you bring with you for your stay on Mars?

 

In no particular order, and right off the top of my head today, let’s go with Marshall Crenshaw “Field Day”, Todd Rundgren “Something/Anything”, Mile Davis “Bitches Brew”, The Darkness “Hot Cakes”, and David Crosby “If I Could Only Remember My Name”.

 

That list will have already changed several times by the time anyone reads this. Oh, and thanks for specifically mentioning Mars. That takes off a bit of pressure, as I know I don’t need to list any David Bowie albums. Certainly, they have those on Mars already.

 

 

 

Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

 

It isn’t for me. I did that pretty consistently from the late 80s up until maybe 5 or 6 years ago. Opening act status was confirmed many times over, never made much money or any measurable impact. I might be selling it short, but I know I’m not the kind of live performer who’s going to leave anyone transfixed. I’ve been in bands that played pop rock, heavy progressive metal, wildly experimental music, and played goofy performance artist type things…as well as loads of solo gigs in front of barely attentive drinkers and diners in loads of places. It’s a lot more work than some may think, and can be soul-crushing, especially when you’ve just debuted a brand new emotional manifesto and the first thing you hear after the last triumphant chord is “play Margaritaville!” Reaching my 50s has made me aware that it’s going to have to be something special for me to be interested in playing live at all. I’ve always been more interested in writing and making records anyway, so this isn’t a sad thing for me… but who knows? Maybe things will change. Maybe I’ll be shopping one day and run across an Elvis-styled bedazzled one-piece jumpsuit that leaves me no choice but to buy it and get back out there in that spotlight, baby. Stranger things have already happened.

 

Young Guv – Guv I & II (Q&A)

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Young Guv is Ben Cook. A Canadian in New York.

Last years ‘Guv I and II‘ was released … ‘staggeringly poignant and infectious pop music‘.

 

 

You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

James Matthew VII, Tommy the Major from Tommie and the Commies, Tony Price.

They are all my close homies and those are the only people I write with. They also happen to be some of the best writers in the world right now, and their own projects are incredible.

What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

Friday the 13th of March 2020. Dallas Texas. My last show before covid19 canceled my tour in the middle of everything going quite groovy.

 

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When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’?

Last night.

 

 

Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?

Well anyone can record a “record” and anyone can put it online – so I dunno. It’s easy as hell for anyone to do it. Which is why there’s so much crap to sift through.

Recording music. What’s all the fun about?

It’s an indescribable experience of joy and a coping mechanism for living in a world that can sometimes really get you down.

Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

It’s an indescribable experience of joy and a coping mechanism for living in a world that can sometimes really get you down.

 

Always proud to answer ‘I am a musician’ to the question ‘what are you doing?’?

Mostly yes. Being a musician as well as a constant creative flow of energy is also about being a survivor, and a hustler in a time where musicians are extremely underpaid and inhumanely treated. I’m proud to stand with my fellow musical homies and do what I do.

 

 

Vinyl is back, Spotify is ruling, tickets for concerts are becoming more and more expensive, everybody can record songs, social media is the marketing tool, Coldplay stops touring … how will the music industry look like in 5 years?
Hopefully more of an underground network of cool amongst an even more gentrified and unlistenable musical experience forced by big rich and corporate overlords who care very little about actual music and actual musicians and only focus on numbers and dollar signs.

It should be illegal for Spotify to pay out what they payout for our hard-earned creations and I pray a union is formed to challenge what they have implemented over the last decade. We never got a chance to even question it. It happened so fast. Fuck them all. Fuck every employee of these companies. And a big shout to anyone really supporting artists and still genuinely supporting music. Much luv.

 

And check out the new single as well …

 

 

Robby Miller

 

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Robby Miller’s new EP contains 5 flawless pop songs. Melodic, catchy, and polished the right way. Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Robbie about how these songs came about and how you can ensure that a song never reaches the expiry date.

 

How did this record come together?

 

I wanted to create this EP for a while! I moved to the States in 2017 and met Matt Marzola. Matt is a very talented musician and producer and one of the easiest people to write songs with. I showed Matt the ideas I had already and we wrote another 10 songs or so together.

 

 

 

 

When did you decide to start asking for opinions on the new songs?

 

As soon as possible! We made demos and sent them to friends, played acoustic versions to people. We kept this process going when we were mixing the EP too. It’s important to do and helps detach yourself from the, perhaps, emotional ties to the songs.

 

You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

 

Chris Collingwood from Fountains of Wayne/Look Park – I’m a big fan of Chris and his songwriting and I can always imagine the story in my head like a movie or show.

 

Elvis Costello – There’s a structure and formula to the songs that really resonates. Plus the ‘My Aim Is True’ album absolutely captures the 3 min and 30-second pop song over and over again.

 

Jenny Lewis – I love both of her latest solo albums and I play them all the time. That’s a good enough reason for me!

 

Recording music. What’s all the fun about?

 

I’ve enjoyed recording music a lot more now that I know more about the process and what goes into crafting the sound. I’ve been lucky enough to record in some really cool studios but wasn’t that interested in the detailed production aspect at the time. Now, I’m always mixing stuff and trying to figure out how to dial in better sounds.

 

You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?

 

Nice question! I personally like songs that have a story but you might not ‘get it’ the first listen…or you think you do until maybe a few plays or a few years later when that story means something else. I think if a song can carry that longevity then it’s a really great song. I hope mine can do that for people too.

 

 

 

 

 


 

British born guitarist, Robby Miller grew up energized by North American rock music. After spending many years keeping his nose close to the grindstone, starting with performing with his father’s band and then weaving in and out of many teenage punk rock outfits, Robby created a name for himself as a hard working and passionate musician on the local scene. 

Robby continued full force with music and joined The Scruff (2014-2017) taking up lead guitar duties on their indie-pop anthems up and down the country as well as writing and recording at Monnow Valley Studios, famed for the Oasis ‘Definitely Maybe’ album.

Robby spent 2 years living in the US (2017-2019) where he joined up with Ryan Roxie (Alice Cooper) on two US tours and European shows performing Ryan’s impressive back catalogue and new releases from his ‘Imagine Your Reality’ album. During this time Robby also took the reins on bass guitar performing alongside Joel Kosche (Collective Soul).

Robby’s 20 years of performing, recording but most of all, loving music has allowed him to share the stage with the likes of Happy Mondays, We Are Scientists, D-A-D and Faster Pussycat, among others.

Robby now resides in Ottawa, Canada. Check back here as well as following Robby’s social media platforms for performances and news!

Steven Wright-Mark – Wake Up (Q&A)

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The songs that Steven Wright-Mark writes are often compared to the songs of Cliff Hillis, Michael Carpenter, Tommy Keene and Adam Schlesinger. Wake Up contains four of those songs. Sweet Sweet Music spoke to Steven about the EP but also about what it’s like to play in a country star’s band.

 

 

How did this record come together?

 

I had been a solo indie rock musician on the NYC scene for a few years, but recently spent most of my time on the road playing guitar and keyboards with country/rock artist Jessica Lynn. Although my music was always tightly arranged stuff with fuzzy guitars, bass, drums, and maybe some keys, playing with Jessica was a completely different animal. It was a 9-piece band with multiple guitarists, pedal steel, keyboards, sometimes fiddle, and I learned a lot about arranging tunes with more elements and complex textures.

 

After I stopped playing with Jessica last year, I went into the studio with some new songs and decided I wanted to take some of what I learned playing in her band to create a more layered and textured approach to the production. I play all the instruments on my recordings, and although it was a long process, it was a lot of fun to experiment with arrangements, layering different guitar tones, including much cleaner tones than I usually use, atmospheric keys, more vocals, vintage keys, and even a marimba! I think the result is a denser, more polished recording, yet one that has more space, and with some nice ear candy for those listening with good headphones.

 

Thematically, the songs address everything from how surreal life can be, to dealing with isolation, but many of the lyrics take on new meaning in light of the current worldwide health crisis, particularly the EP’s first single, “Underground.”

 

 

 

 

You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

 

Oh man, just 3?  I’m sorry, but I’m not big on following the rules anyway, so I’m going to list a few more here.  And the reason I’ve picked these songwriters is that they not only know how to craft incredible music, but they also excel at telling stories, painting pictures, or just making you deeply feel something through their lyrics.  They represent superstar songwriters and under-appreciated ones as well, including John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Butch Walker, Michael Penn, Elvis Costello, Adam Schlesinger, Todd Rundgren. I could go on and on, but I think I’ve already overstayed my welcome with this question.

 

 

What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

 

I’m dating myself with this one, and although I’ve had some amazing experiences playing at huge festivals opening for major artists, the most memorable gig was when my band was hired to be Chuck Berry’s backup band.  He was touring without a regular band, and rightfully realizing that everyone knew his songs, he would work with local musicians on each stop of his tour.

 

We never met Chuck before showtime.  We never had a rehearsal, or a soundcheck, or even a setlist.  Instead, we met in the wings right before the first show, and he said, “When I put my foot down, that means ’stop!’”  And on stage, we went.

 

It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. But by the time we got to show #2, the bugs were worked out, and standing on stage next to this legend is something I’ll never forget.

 

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Playing music in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

 

There is nothing like the give-and-take between a band and a live audience. When an audience is really engaged with a performance, the band feels it and it fuels the performance, pushing the band further.  It creates moments that can only exist on stage, in that particular moment in time.  And, you really need to be in the room to truly feel it…It can’t be captured in a concert film or home concert live stream.  I think most musicians live for the opportunity to perform live because there’s nothing like it.  And that’s what makes this moment in history so difficult, in addition to the obvious economic loss.

 

Vinyl is back, Spotify is ruling, tickets for concerts are becoming more and more expensive, everybody can record songs, social media is the marketing tool, Coldplay stops touring … how will the music industry look like in 5 years?

 

The music business has always been constantly changing, with new trends, new technologies, new methods of music consumption, and yes, bands that embark on their 3rd retirement tours.  Ticket prices rise ever higher, often shutting real fans out of concerts they’d love to see but can’t afford to, yet most artists struggle to make ends meet because of paltry royalty rates from the industry’s biggest streaming platforms.

 

In an industry where change is a constant, I don’t think anyone can really predict where we’ll be in 5 years with any accuracy.  And, in light of how COVID-19 has so quickly impacted the music business, I don’t think anyone can tell you where we’ll be just TWO years from now.  I mean, when can you imagine we’ll be able to stand shoulder-to-shoulder in a sweaty club again?

 

So at the moment, the future looks cloudy. But then again, music is a powerful force that brings us together, especially during times like these, and artists always have the uncanny ability to innovate and to push boundaries.  It’s a rough time for the business, but I’m confident we’ll get through this, and I’m excited to see what the future will bring. We’ll get there!

 

 

 

THE CORNER LAUGHERS – Temescal Telegraph

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THE CORNER LAUGHERS will release their new record Temescal Telegraph on Big Stir Records. The longtime and beloved California indie-pop band, – Karla Kane (vocals, ukulele and most songwriting), Charlie Crabtree (drums), KC Bowman (guitar) and Khoi Huynh (sharing guitar, bass and piano duties) –,  returns to beguile listeners once again with a ten song collection exploring themes from acceptance and loss to climate change, childhood, and the nature of time itself.

 

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The album, their fifth overall and first for BSR, is out June 5 on CD and download.

The Accepted Time is the first single and you can buy it here.

 

 

SweetSweetMusicblog spoke to KARLA KANE about the new record.

 

 

Recording music. What’s all the fun about?

 

Some of the fun is about bringing to life something that previously only existed in your mind (or possibly on a page). And some of it is about the chemistry, banter, buffoonery, and magic that especially comes about when getting the full band together to work. Some of the fun is when things turn out exactly how you’d hoped and imagined. Some of it is when things turn out very differently and surprise you.

 

You can pick 3 co-writers to write new songs with. Who? … and Why?

Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lin Manuel Miranda, and Jeanine Tesori, because I’m a musical theater nerd at heart and wish I could write a Broadway show.

 

 

 

 

What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

 

I’m combining two gigs in one here to say the two times Khoi and I, along with our UK band members Helen and Mark Luker, performed at Martin Newell’s Golden Afternoon in Colchester, England, September of 2012 and 2017. It’s just the ideal gig for me in every way– playing with one of the greatest songwriters ever, in the most beautiful and slightly haunted medieval ex-church setting, on the eve of autumn in an ancient city, and at a civilized, child-friendly afternoon hour with tea and cake! What more could one want?

 

 

You can’t control the way people ‘hear’ your music. But if you could make them aware of certain aspects, you think, set your songs apart. What would they be?

 

No, you definitely cannot control the way people hear it, nor would I want to. I suppose I’ll go with the boring answer of hoping people listen to the lyrics as, understandably, it’s usually the sounds that hook people first. But I do aim for interesting lyrics.

 

Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?

 

Well, I suppose in some ways it’s easier, thanks to a myriad of accessible tools, but that doesn’t mean making a *good* record is easier, necessarily. And even though there is a lot of saturation and competition to be heard, thanks to the democratization of making music cheaply/conveniently, technology and the internet also make it much easier to reach people across the world. (So basically my answer is, I have no idea!)

JAMIE 4 PRESIDENT – Consolation Prize (Q&A)

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Many international Power Pop bands regularly tour in Spain. However, there are also a lot of nice Spanish bands. Jamie 4 President is my favorite.

SweetSweetMusicblog spoke to Jamie R. Green about Consolation Prize.

 

How did this record come together?

 

Basically, I started writing songs consciously for a new album towards the end of 2018 as we’d booked the recording studio for late April 2019. I started sending very basic home demos to the rest of the band and our producer Santi Garcia so in that sense there was more groundwork done as we’d never worked like that in the past and just gone straight in. In the new year, I and Pablo (drums) went to Sant Feliu where Borja (bass) and Xavi (guitar) live to work on the songs in the practice space. It’s a bit of an issue when 50% of the band live 700 km away but we get around it. After those sessions, some new stuff came up and we began to get a clearer idea of the songs. For the next few months until recording it was basically changing some stuff around, me finishing lyrics and adding bridges, etc. Then we went to a country house outside Barcelona where we recorded all drum tracks then traveled to Ultramarinos studio to do all the rest. I think we spent about 9 days in total and pulled an all-nighter on the last day to finish. The record ending up coming out 8th November so essentially a year elapsed from starting to write the songs to the record being released, which ain’t bad.

 

 

 

 

 

Any ideas about how to turn this one into a million-seller?

 

When was the last time you thought ‘I just wrote a hit!’? Haha good one. I used to think this quite often but then concluded that while by no means uncommercial our songs aren’t in any way “hit” material, at least not at this moment in music. That’s something that’s been happening to bands for years so it doesn’t worry us and who knows, they may be discovered in years to come and become smash hits. Though I think it’s unlikely for some reason haha.

 

What’s the gig you will always remember? And why?

 

With the current band line-up, we’ve had lots of memorable ones for good and not so good reasons. The first that comes to mind is quite recent actually. At the beginning of the year, we played our first shows in promotion of the album and started in Cataluña so we could squeeze in a couple of rehearsals after New Year. Half of us were suffering from flu including myself but we went to play the first show and things were a little shaky but it was fine. The problem was rather than taking it easy and getting some rest me and Borja (bass) got carried away and stayed up all night. We went to play the next day in Sant Feliu (which is like our second home) and we showed up a bit knackered. Anyway, we started playing our set and things were going ok till about the 6th song when suddenly while singing I didn’t know if I was gonna puke, blackout or shit myself. Flu and hangover combining to teach me a lesson for the schoolboy error. I turned around and the other guys took over vocals while I was leaning against my amp and gradually wilting to the floor. I did kind of blackout and came to my senses with a crowd of people standing over me then got carried out and the show put on hold until I got my shit together but I knew it was game over. We called it a night as I was in no state and the other guys sold our merch half-price to make up for the shitshow. The first and only time I’ve had the experience and definitely don’t want to repeat it but the funny thing was something similar almost happened to us a year earlier in the exact same venue but we survived.

 

 

 

 

Recording music and playing in front of a crowd. What’s all the fun about?

 

Well, I didn’t use to enjoy recording as much as playing live but now that’s not the case. I enjoy the creative element of recording and how things come up that you don’t have planned and those are the things sometimes which end up making the song. It’s an intense process that requires lots of focus but at least I find it super enjoyable. Playing live is more instantly gratifying and obviously the energy is totally different and in terms of interaction, it’s a different story. I can’t think of many things more enjoyable than going to different cities and countries with your friends playing music you’ve created every night that people actually pay to go and see.

 

 

Vinyl is back, Spotify is ruling, tickets for concerts are becoming more and more expensive, everybody can record songs, social media is the marketing tool, Coldplay stops touring … how will the music industry look like in 5 years?

 

I honestly have no idea and especially taking into account what’s hit with COVID and the implications of that on the music industry and scene. Who knows, maybe something positive will come out of it all because I personally wasn’t too happy with how it seemed everything was becoming geared around festivals and all the business side of that. I’m referring to the bigger ones, as I have friends who organize small to medium-sized ones and it sucks that all that’s gonna fall apart for them this year. I have no problem with Coldplay stopping touring, don’t think those guys need it. I think things will probably be like now but 5 years further down the line, let’s see.

 


 

released November 8, 2019

Recorded at Cal Pau Recordings and Ultramarinos Costa Brava, end of April/beginning of May 2019.

Produced by Santi García, engineered by Santi García and Borja Pérez del Pozo.
Mastered by Victor García at Ultramarinos Mastering.
Artwork by Pablo´s Killers.
Cover photo by Florencia Rojas.

Jamie R. Green – Guitars, lead/backing vocals and bass.
Pablo González – Drums and backing vocals.
Borja Pérez del Pozo – Bass, backing vocals and synth
Xavi Calvet – Guitars and backing vocals (lead on “Cheap Perfume”)
Santi García – Bass and synth.