Punch Punch Kick – Punch Punch Kick

Punch Punch Kick‘s debut is produced by Linus of Hollywood, released by Lolipop Records and contains 11 power pop punk anthems.

Phil McDonald explains what is happening.

 

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

 

Phil – Getting to record the songs live, together in one room, was the most fun part to me! Working with Linus of Hollywood is always so much fun — he keeps us on our game while making sure everyone has a great time during the process.

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At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?

 

Phil – I never really thought about that until the songs started coming together in our rehearsals. They were so much fun to play — I think that’s when it started to hit me that we could make a really great record out of that material. It starts to take on a life of its own once we all begin to feel out our specific parts of the songs.

 

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

 

Phil – Everyday there’s a new streaming service or method of delivery. All I know is is that Lolipop Records has been the most supportive label, and I feel like our album has found a great home with them.

 


She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

 

Phil –

Prince “I Would Die 4 U”,

Ozma “Natalie Portman”,

The Darkness “Friday Night”,

Jamiroquai “Cosmic Girl”,

Daft Punk “Digital Love”
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The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?

 

Phil – when “Hell Yeah” is the hype song for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Trip Wire – Cold Gas Giants

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This July San Francisco’s Trip Wire released Cold Gas Giants.
Powerpopaholic writes: ‘The band’s hybrid of jangle pop and rock dictates the album as it sways from one style to another, but it also manages to go in another direction on “Saturn V” with its space-themed indie fuzz pop.’ .
Founder member Marty Schneider talks to Sweet Sweet Music about adding harmony vocals, bringing Jeff Shelton on board, how new technology helps Indie bands to record and reach their audience and the need for drummers.
What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?
I really love to be in the studio, particularly during the overdub sessions.  We work with a really enthusiastic studio owner/engineer named George Rosenthal at The Complex SF and after the framework of the song is in place, and as you add each overdub of guitars, keys, vocals – you can start to hear the song coming together and it’s rewarding. George has a lot of great ideas that he will suggest during the whole process and that is valuable.  My favorite part, by far, is when the harmony vocals are added by our other guitar player Bill Hunt.  When we’re working on new material at rehearsal Bill will often sing harmony with me and I know that’s coming when we get to the studio but when we overdub, a bunch of other harmonies appear that I hadn’t heard before and are joyfully unexpected.
At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?
This record, Cold Gas Giants, was different, as far as the process goes, than any we’ve done.  Usually it’s pretty linear but not this time.  Two of the songs were slated for our last release Seizureville but as we put all the songs together for that album Long Days Gone and Winter Song just didn’t fit.  Seizureville was a darker, slower, kind of sinister record and those two songs are very much Power Pop songs.  I couldn’t find anywhere to put them in the running order so we kept them off and started writing a new record around those.  I was pleased with both of them and I wanted them to sit with a collection of songs that worked together more cohesively than they would have on the last record.  The first new song that came to me after making that decision was These Are the Days and when the band started nailing that arrangement at practice, I new we were on to something special.  Also, when we brought Jeff Shelton on board, I knew what a deep catalog of material he had so I asked him for some things he was working on and we ended up putting two on the record that really add a lot.
The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?
Yes, that’s true, but for me a lot of the changes have benefited my bands.  I have been doing this a long time and when I started recording we did it ourselves with cheap mics on a 4-track.  I had no access to money so real studio time was out of the question.  As a result, the fidelity was not good.  Luckily for me that was a bit of  a fad for awhile but I knew I wanted both the songwriting and the fidelity to improve.  Recording is so much easier now and if you put in just a tiny bit of effort, you can have a great sounding recording.  The other thing that has benefited me is the access to finding people who share the same tastes I have in music and connecting directly with them on social media – like you!  That was just not part of the equation when I started, you had to mount a tour and work really hard.  Now I just do a search for Power Pop and a whole world opens up at your fingertips.  More established artists would say that is exactly what’s wrong with the music business today but it’s working for me and I can’t complain.
She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?
– Ain’t That Enough by Teenage Fanclub
– Chasing Heather Crazy by Guided by Voices
– Gold Soundz by Pavement
– Save it for Later by The English Beat
– No Expectations by The Rolling Stones
The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?
For me, success is the simple fact that I’ve been able to attract really talented musicians to play songs I’ve written and be really committed to making them sound the best they can.  We have three writers now and the same is true for the other two guys Bill Hunt and Jeff Shelton because they both write great stuff and I am committed to my part in making their material sound as good as possible.  This may sound obvious, but corralling four guys into a room to rehearse weekly for three years now is no small feat.  Drummers are the hardest, everybody needs a drummer and they often play in several bands, we’re very lucky to have Stu Shader playing the drums with us now.

Richard Turgeon – In Between The Spaces (interview)

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PowerPopNews.com writes about ‘In Between The Spaces’:

“THERE ISN’T A BAD SONG ON IN BETWEEN THE SPACES… DON’T BE SURPRISED IF IT ENDS UP ON THIS SITE’S BEST POWER POP ALBUMS LIST BY YEAR’S END.”

Sweet Sweet Music talked to Richard Turgeon about his new album, a power pop rock gem.

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

 

I think just deciding to set a goal and make a full-length record again after a long absence from music, and actually promoting it instead of just letting it exist for a few friends and family. I love writing, recording, and audio production, so I found great joy in having a dedicated space nearby and not running a live band. I’m lucky in that I can write, record and produce myself, play almost all the parts, and even mix and master. It affords an enormous amount of creative freedom. It’s the first time I consistently did this cycle of writing and recording for about a year-and-a-half, and that continues today. Honestly if I could write and record my music all day, I would. I’ve written books and screenplays, and I’ve been a professional full-time writer for close to two decades, but I’m feeling very creatively fertile these days with my music. And it’s never felt better or more rewarding and fulfilling than it has in making this record.

 

At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?

 

This whole album project began with the first song, “Bigfoot’s an Alien,” bubbling up after years spent working on a novel. I felt very out of practice and rusty on drums, guitars, and vocals (my main things), but I knew when I wrote this song, it was solid (this is rarely the case). Fortunately, I had enough experience to choose a local producer and studio that would be right for me—my friend Scott Llamas in San Rafael, CA. He basically took this song that was bottled up inside and, production-wise, turned it into the heaviest, most rocking song I’d put out to date. I was very grateful to have his guidance and experience on bringing that song to life. The result motivated me to put out an entire record building on where I was at musically, which was almost as if I’d never stopped. So I somehow progressed without doing anything haha.

 

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

 

Things are so different with promotion than it was when I was in my 20s, that I found more reward in that as well. The record continues to be very well received and I’ve loved connecting with all the DJs, bloggers (like yourself), and new fans so quickly. There’s no way I could grow a fanbase at this pace without the internet and social media. Even creating my website was much easier with the tools available today.

 

All that said, a part of me would like to get on a label, mostly to get my songs in movies and TV soundtracks, and basically just push the songs on the radio and any other channels to get more ears and increase my fanbase. In the old days, that meant regional touring and building fans with a live show, but I’m too old, busy (did I mention I have a full-time job and two young kids?), and solo-artist minded for that today. I’m fumbling my way through trying to make a dent with my music in today’s world with my particular approach to doing things (putting out recordings only, no live band, at least for now.) I guess a direct answer to the question is: The music industry hasn’t historically brought me jack-squat—I’ve always done everything myself: booking, promotion, and then eventually recording. I’ve actually been more rewarded by the indie press, bloggers, and DJs like you, who give indie artists like me a forum. So if the “indie” music industry counts, that has brought a lot to me over the years, even before the internet, and probably more so today than ever.

 

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

 

I would have to qualify that the tape is just my favorite songs to authentically share, not designed to impress her in any other way. I would also ask her to listen to both sides, since I couldn’t fit it all on one side (hence eight songs). I don’t think a girl has to like her guy’s music for it to work out, but it helps to have some common ground there (…he said as he types this next to his wife in bed.) Fortunately, my wife loves some of these songs, too. Or at least tolerates me playing them way too many times in her presence.

 

In no particular order…

 

  • The Police – “So Lonely”
  • The Eagles – “Take It Easy”
  • Foo Fighters – “The Pretender”
  • Weezer – “Island in the Sun’
  • Pavement – “Stereo”
  • Juliana Hatfield – “My Sister”
  • The Replacements – “Alex Chilton”
  • The Cure – “Just Like Heaven”

 

The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?

 

It already is in my view. I put up my website hoping some friends and definitely family would take a listen and tell me they liked it, which they’ve been doing most of my adult life, god bless ‘em. But it went beyond that when I started connecting with people I’d never met before, including the indie rock and power pop community (see the “Buzz” tab on my website for my wall of fame tribute to everyone who’s helped get the word out so far). Friends and family helped me make a goofy music video we’re all really proud of. New folks continue to reach out for interviews and airplay. I’m very grateful for what’s happening with the record, since it’s gone beyond my expectations. If I could share it with the whole world, I would. I’m not one of those shy, insecure bedroom auteurs that wants to be obscure. I write rock songs but at their core, they’re pop. It’s what I like, and I always want more listeners and to connect with more people.

 

To that end, the best thing anyone can do for an indie artist like me is to visit my website (richardturgeon.com), like my social media pages, and share the sh*t out of my songs and video, and tell their friends to do the same. Refer me to friends in the music business. Reach out for interviews and spin the songs on your shows.

 

I think the next levels of success for an indie artist like me—if it’s what they want—is to get on a decent label and start making some money for the effort. I don’t think my time and art should be free, but I’ll probably continue giving away music until I get to that next level. Sorry if all that sounds crass, but it’s an honest answer to the question.

 

To your readers: thank you for supporting indie music (particularly mine)! And thank you for listening to the record, and the interview, Patrick!
Learn more about and listen to Rich’s new LP, In Between the Spaces, at his website, Richardturgeon.com

THE JAMES CLARK INSTITUTE – Yesterday’s Misadventures

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The James Clark Institute’s new full-length recording, ‘Yesterday’s Misadventures’ (official release date: October 24, 2016) was produced by iconic Canadian musician/producer Moe Berg (The Pursuit Of Happiness).

Clark talks about bed tracks, a Tornado Bubble Machine, Moe Berg, the explosion of social media and frozen facial expressions.

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?

This was the first James Clark Institute album to have the bed tracks recorded live off the floor with the live band (with the exception of me on drums). That was great fun indeed! Most of my acoustic guitar parts were played on a 1954 Gibson J-45…More fun! Also, the photo session for the album sleeve was super-duper fantastic, working with a Tornado Bubble Machine! Can it possibly get any more fun?

 

At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?

 

The band had been playing the majority of the songs live for a year or more before the recording began so I was really confident that we had a strong collection of songs. When Moe Berg signed on as producer, I knew that the record would be magical. He had some brilliant arrangement ideas. Everyone played and sang their hearts out on this album. I feel blessed to have worked with such talented people.

Buy here

The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?

The explosion of social media has certainly helped with having my songs heard by a much larger audience than ever before. “Yesterday’s Misadventures” is my fourth independent release. The growth of the platform between my last release and this new one has been gigantic. But with all of the positivity and opportunities that the new industry offers, I have to say that I truly miss the mystery of the music artist during the days before the internet. Back when you had to wait until the new issue of “Creem” magazine arrived to read about your favourite pop stars.

She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

 

The Beach Boys – God Only Knows

Glen Campbell – Wichita Lineman

George Harrison – What Is Life

The Kinks – Waterloo Sunset

The Zombies – Care Of Cell 44

Bonus Track! Harry Nilsson – You’re Breaking My Heart

 

How will 2017 look like?

 

The year began with the release of the third music video from “Yesterday’s Misadventures”. “Charlie Schulz Was Always In Love” was shot mostly outside on the coldest day in January, as you may be able to tell from some of the band’s frozen facial expressions.

Since then it’s been a steady stream of both solo and full band live shows around Toronto. Due to a family member’s health crisis, the tour isn’t going to happen this year. Hopefully next year! I’m currently in song writing mode and conjuring up the next album. Meanwhile, a fourth music video from “Yesterday’s Misadventures” is being discussed.

THE TRAVOLTAS – Until We Hit the Shore

The Travoltas are BACK. Until We Hit the Shore will be the Pop Punk/Power Pop soundtrack to the summer of 2017. Sweet Sweet Music talked to Perry Leenhouts about the new record and how it came together.

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The music industry has changed a lot the last 10 years. What did it bring you? Now and then.

10, 15 years ago, once you hit a certain level you were really depending on the record labels. Nowadays, you have much more control over your releases and how you can promote it. With all these social media platforms, it’s much easier to reach a large, international audience that previously you would have needed a record company for to get that kind of exposure. That said, 10 to 15 years ago, the labels would bring in the big budgets to record albums and shoot videos, and get you on MTV. That’s basically gone, unless you belong to that select group of top artists. For us, it evens out. We always had a DIY approach, even when we were signed to CNR/Roadrunner. We’d still produce our own records. Now we do that on a much smaller budget, but luckily we have technology on our side, and a good set of ears!

Until We Hit The Shore, it seems you didn’t lose your craftsmanship for writing catchy tunes? How did the songs came together?

I never stopped writing songs, and after the 2014 reunion shows, I focused more on tracks for a potential new album.This time around, collaborating was a bit harder because the guys are in Holland, and I live in the States. So I’d work on demo tracks and send them to the band. Once we hit the studio, we had a clear picture of what we wanted, and how it should sound. We communicated on a daily basis throughout the process, something we do anyway, since we’ve remained good friends over the years.

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At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?

I think very early on, when we started sharing ideas and demos, we knew we were on the right path. Since we’ve spent many, many years together, we have a good understanding of what we all dig, and we trust each other’s judgement. When everyone in the band reacts very positively from the get-go, you know you’re on to something good.

You are getting great reviews! What about that?

You’re always a bit nervous, because we may like the songs, but will our fans, and people who are just discovering The Travoltas? So far so good, and it’s great to see so many people are happy we are back with a new record. That means a lot. Above all, we hope people will use the record as the soundtrack of this summer.

She will decide on a 5 song mixtape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

Ramones: Sheena Is A Punk Rocker
Bruce Springsteen: Born To Run
The Ronettes: Be My Baby
Buddy Holly: Oh Boy
Elvis Presley: One Night With You
The Beach Boys: Don’t Worry Baby

How will 2017 look like?

We’ll be doing a few shows over the summer and fall, but most of our attention will be around the record. We may release another video as well. It’s hard for us to get together and go on tour, at this point in our lives and because of where we are located. But for the right show at the right time, we’ll team up and hit the stage. Like I said, I really hope people will associate this record with the summer of 2017, that’s the goal. Anything else is a big plus. In the meantime, I’ve started writing new tunes again, so I promise you won’t have to wait 13 years for the next album !

JAMES A.M. DOWNES – PRISON FONT


Bait My Soul is my new favorite song. James  A.M. Downes just released Prison Font. Read all about it.



When did you realize you could really, I mean REALLY, sing?

I didn’t like the way I sang until about 5 years ago. I’ve been singing for about 20 years, and three quarters of that time was spent cringing at my own recordings.

I’m not sure the shift to being able to tolerate (and eventually like) my voice was associated with an increase in skill. I think it had more to do with the fact that I was entering a time in my life where I placed more value in the motive of music than it’s perfection.

Bait My Soul, what a great great song! That one wasn’t written in a day, was it?

It was written in one day. The lyrics came spilling out while I was looking through a buddy’s illustration sketch book. There was an unfinished drawing of a beautiful woman wearing a knit hat that has “Satan” written on it. I was reading Dante’s Inferno that week, so the concept of Satan was on my mind. Of special interest was the fanaticism that Dante wrote about right and wrong, good and evil. It was all pretty comical to me. I started to think about a satyrical approach to my own version of the Robert Johnson story (selling your soul to the devil in exchange for your desires to come to fruition). The musical part followed suit. 

The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?

In one way, it already is a success for me. When the project started, my goal was to create an album where the creativity and inspiration was able to flow quickly, without getting bogged down by endless revisions. I was lucky to collaborate with three of my good friends (Greg Seltzer, Andrew Seltzer, Matt Cascella) in the writing and orchestration of this release- they helped insure that the momentum never slowed. It was a highly rewarding process. 

In another way, I’ll consider this record a success when I know that anyone who would appreciate it has the chance to hear it. I think that comes with wide distribution. I’d love for millions of music lovers to get a chance to decide whether they like my offering or not. I’m proud of what my friends and I created and I want the world to hear it.

She will decide on a 5 song mixtape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

“Every Man Needs a Companion” Father John Misty

“Why Don’t We Do It in the Road” The Beatles

“N.I.B.” Black Sabbath

“Sweet Judy Blue Eyes” Crosby Stills Nash

“Only In Dreams” Weezer

How will you promote Prison Font?

In addition to spreading the word via social media and blogs (like you!), I’ll be pushing the album through video content. I love live/takeaway videos. Playing stripped down versions of the songs in unique settings is very inspiring to me. I recently released a video of a performance in a subway hallway (“Rolling Stoned” ). Today, I filmed a performance in a overpass tunnel. The acoustics were incredible, people were walking by… it was all very real. I hope the uniqueness of these videos will capture the imagination of the people who see them and they’ll be curious to learn more about the project. 
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MOD HIPPIE – Big Wow

Discussions Magazine writes:
BIG WOW is like a time-travel album – it is very much of the here-and-now but it manages to incorporate bits of pieces of Alternative Rock’s history in ways that are inspiring. From Psych and Garage Rock through New Wave, Mod and Ska with some tinkly indie bits from the ‘90s, 

Sweet Sweet Music talked to Doug McGuire.

Big Wow has that larger than life sound. How did that came together?


I’m assuming you mean the song Big Wow, not the album as a whole. A little while back, a friends teenage daughter stricken with cancer asked if I would start writing songs again. It had been quite some time. 

When I agreed, she asked me if I could write a song like Madness would do. Big Wow was the first song I wrote in more than a decade. The “Big Wow” call, of course, mimics the opening of Madness’ “One Step Beyond.” 

After that came all the psychedelic nonsense “I am the Walrus” parts over lyrics that try to play with the word “economy.” 

This one became quite the popular number with friends and family.

Glam, Pop, Reggae, Psych, Rock … you are not afraid to use it all, are you?

Hmmm. I really don’t use the reggae thing that much, “Big Wow was kind of an aberration. 

We certainly play rock and psyche and producer/keyboard player/percussionist Adam Marsland has a very keen pop sensibility. 

Plus, you don’t want all the songs to sound the same, do you?

Glam? Me? Hahahaha

What makes a good Mod Hippie song?

Anything could make a good Mod Hippie song. My favorite part of it all is when the fabulous musicians I get to play with start tinkering with my skeleton of a song and I get to sit back and listen to them do their thing and make sound better than I really should. 

Tip of the hat and heartfelt thanks to Adam Marsland, Mike Schnee (Chissum Worthington), Teresa Cowles, DJ Bonebrake, David Marks, Jason Berk, Matt Zook, Connor Claxton

How will you promote the new record?



Oh I am so terrible at promotion. I really want to jump right back in the studio. Ok, I really have jumped back into the studio. DJ put down drums on Easter Sunday for 6 new songs. 

Anyway, back to promotion. We made videos for “Night Rally” and “Psycho Romeo” and they’ll go out in as many places as we can think of. 

I don’t play live much, but we are doing a release party gig with Karma Frog label mates Rob Martinez and Pacific Soul Limited –plus Adam is reviving a different era Cockeyed Ghost to round out the evening!

A completely different cover. Were there many changes since Tomorrow Then?


There were some big changes. When Connor stopped playing, I began to feel that this is more of a solo record than a band record. 

Enlisting pros like Marks and Bonebrake really lifted the bar. There are big similarities between “Big Wow” and “Tomorrow Then” as well. The main vocal sound is still Teresa and Me. Teresa still holds down the bass notes. Songs are by Mike Schnee and me etc. 

Overall, I think Big Wow is more poppy and accessible. Tomorrow then has more of a fun with lunatics feel. Leastaways, that’s how I see it.

WATCH/LISTEN

COLMAN GOTA – Fear the Summer

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Fear the Summer will be one of the big surprises this year. Colman Gota’s new record was produced by John Pfiffner. And Mitch Easter plays a mighty solo. Sweet Sweet Music talked to Gota about fuzz guitar arrangements, raising the game, The Replacements and a soul-searching kind of thing.
Let’s make the first seconds count! What about the Fear the Summer intro? Wake-up call or anxiety attack !?

That is the genius of John Pfiffner and his love for fuzz pedals (Mastodon style). If it was up to John Pfiffner there would be only fuzz guitar arrangements. I´d say it´s more of an anxiety attack than a wake up call.
If Mitch Easter is involved everybody always seems to hear exactly what het brought to table. What did he bring to your table?
This time Mitch Easter was less involved than on other occasions, but the mighty solo on “Already Dead” can only be played by him (Don´t try it at home). Another North Carolinian, by the name of John Pfiffner, took care of the guitar solos department and Alvaro Escribano contributed some.
 
Somewhere between The Replacements and Tom Petty. Would you take that as compliment?
 
Absolutely, The Replacements are an all-time favorite and I love Tom Petty too.

For A Reason, what a song! Is the sound a little different compared to the other songs or am I hearing things that aren’t there?

 
“For a Reason” is the kind of song that you don´t know where it comes from. It´s good that sometimes you surprise yourself. I started with a guitar riff, but I soon realized that It made much more sense with the piano. It took sometime to figure out the bass line and the rhythm pattern but once we did, all the pieces seemed to fall in place. It has some original arrangements and a melódica, which is an odd instrument for my trade.

3 records in 3 years. Your bio says you are ‘at the peak of powers’. Is there an explanation? Did you write all those songs in one emotional outburst or do new ones keep coming at you as well?
I started writing as soon as I got back home from the “Tape” sessions. I had a good bunch of songs and I toyed around with the idea of recording on December 2016, but I had only four songs that I really liked. Suddenly I wrote “Already Dead”, “Fear the Summer” and “Someday I´ll Get it Right” in one go, and then I had 7 songs and an album seemed more likely to happen.


Now I´ve raised my game, so the new stuff has to be at least as good as the songs on “Fear the Summer”. The songs keep coming but it seems I´ll have to write a good bunch of them to have quality material. When it comes to songwriting you can´t take anything for granted. I have developed my own craft, but anything could happen, from writer´s block to even better songs. Let´s hope for the better, it´s a soul-searching kind of thing.

The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When would Fear the Summer be a success to you?

It definitely has. For me success sums up in the concept of “something happens”, meaning that you don´t have to push everything, that things start happening by themselves. Shows start to get packed, people beyond your radar start to become interested in your work, girls tattoo your name…

She will decide on a 5-song mix-tape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

 


You mean from “Fear the Summer” or generally speaking? If it´s from “Fear the Summer”: “Never lie”, “What goes on in my head”, “For a Reason”, “Fear the Summer” and “Make a Stand”.

 


How will you promote Fear of Summer? Will you do some touring as well?

I´ll try to get to as many places as I can, but I can´t afford to put more money out of my pocket, so we´ll see. Being a solo artist is quite a trip, you get all the credit (and deservedly so) but you have to pay all the bills.

WATCH/LISTEN first

DOLLY SPARTENS – Time Sides With No One

Losing a band member can easily mean the end of a band. Not so for Dolly Spartans. They return with Time Sides With No One. Five Garage Pop gems. Michael Eliran tells about challanges and dedication.


You can feel the pain listening to It’s Not Easy. Difficult song to write?


“It’s Not Easy” was definitely a challenge, but the evolution of the song came pretty naturally. The process was definitely driven by emotion first and foremost. I came up with the beginning part in the middle of the night. I couldn’t sleep so I brought my guitar into the bathroom (not to use the bathroom but because the acoustics were different and it was an isolated space) and that’s where the first part of the song was written. In the weeks after that the song came together bit by bit. It took a lot because I had an idea where I wanted the song to go, so in that sense it was difficult, but it was a natural process.

Losing a band member can easily mean the end of a band?

It definitely can, and for a while we had no idea what we were going to do. Losing Chris was really hard, and for the following months we were basically inactive. All we could do was continue to work on the EP as a dedication to him. The momentum to keep going came from us wanting to honor him.

Garage Pop. That’s exactly what it is, isn’t it? And New York all over?

Yeah I guess you could say that. It’s not really my place to categorize my music, but it seems like that label’s stuck. New York’s not really one thing at this point; there’s so much going on that although there are definitely those kinds of bands here, it’s not the predominant sound by a long shot.

The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?

Success is entirely subjective. To me, this EP is “successful” as long as people get something out of the songs or can relate to them. Also, we’ve been donating our EP proceeds to the American Civil Liberties Union so if our contributions help them in any way, that’s another form of “success” for us.

She will decide on a 5 song mixtape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?



Oh man. I couldn’t possibly pick five… we’ll get back to you on that.

How will 2017 look like?



It’s gonna be a busy year. We’re playing a bunch of shows these coming months and touring, as well as working on videos, so stay tuned.
Watch And Listen

CORIN ASHLEY – Broken Biscuits

Corin Ashley lost the ability to do the thing he is clearly meant to do. He fought his way back and he just released Broken Biscuits, a wonderful WONDERFUL collection of pop songs inspired by his recovery from a pretty major health crisis.

But there was much more to talk about. Find out about Delia Derbyshire, Graham Gouldman, XTC, Jellyfish, friends, playing with Jody Stephens, the wish to tour Japan and 60s or early 70s pastiche.

 Corin Ashley (courtesy photo)

 

If I wonder if 10CC was a big influence on you while making Broken Biscuits, would you take that as a compliment? Or were there others that inspired you?

I would definitely take that as a compliment, but I would saw that Grahm Gouldman is more of an influence specifically. There’s a song on my last album, “Marianne” that is an absolute celebration of Graham Gouldman’s writing.

I have a recording of him, Neil Finn and Roddy Frame doing a songwriting circle where they sing on each other’s songs and I have listened to that a million times.

The biggest influence on this album was that I had a pretty major health crisis halfway through making it. I had a stroke due to “a series of unfortunate events”, as they say. It completely wiped out the use of my left hand and paralyzed one of my vocal cords, and really messed up my ability to speak, let alone sing. I did about 9 months of therapy to get back to being able too really play and sing again.

It was a rare opportunity to reconsider music on every level after having played for 30 years. I had to go back to my building blocks as a musician, which are Wings, Badfinger, Supertramp- things I grew up listening to – and then, purely from a learning-to-play-the-bass again perspective, the Police.

That whole period of being a bit of a frazzled blank space mentally was a big re-set button on my music, too. When I couldn’t even really comprehend notes for a while there, the sound of the MRI machine sounded like music to me (which I actually took as a hopeful sign) and I got really into Terry Riley’s music for a while, and Brian Eno suddenly started to make more sense to me. Bowie’s “Black Star” album was the soundtrack to my whole hospital stay.

Now, as a matter of music that maybe influenced this album, I would mention the Eels, certainly Jellyfish, XTC (always)- but these are things that are more in terms of arrangement or production ideas. I’d be inclined to think “OK, I want to do a compressed Nashville tuning electric part like the Eels on this section”. Or, on the last song, the Dean Martin cover, with the strings and woodwinds arrangement, I added some strange bits like a pedal steel app on my iPad and a music box, and that track is labelled “Jon Brion nonsense”, so that’s where direct influences come into play.

brokenbiscuits

 

What about Broken Biscuits? It’s more than just a record title, like a theme?

Yes, it’s so funny how these little matters of happenstance can take on more profound meanings. I stumbled across this term “broken biscuits counter” in a rock bio of Ron Wood and just liked the sound of it. I tucked it away as lyrical idea and then I encountered it again in a collection of synth piece done by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in the early 60s- the very early days of music synthesis.

This artist with the best name in all of music history: Delia Derbyshire- c’mon, you gotta love someone named Delia Derbyshire, right? The name alone conjures up sexy 60s intrigue.

So I wrote this first song on the album as kind of pastiche of 60s or early 70s spy caper with lots of travel. It doesn’t particularly mean anything, but it could also mean anything the listener imagines, right? So, then, when all this happened with my brain, I really felt just shattered inside.

With a stroke, your brain is still trying to fire off signals to burnt out synapses constantly, it just feels like there are burnt wires inside your head that are sparking and fusing constantly.

I came back to the idea of broken biscuits- do you have the saying “that’s the way the cookie crumbles” in the Netherlands? It kind of means “that’s just your bad luck” when something happens. Anyway, all of this was tied together in my head and then I told my friends Aaron and Liz, who are designers. They went to Liz’ photo studio and actually cut biscuits with an exacto knife to make the letters and did this album cover for me.

MInd you, I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to finish this album at all, but they gave it to me a surprise, as encouragement and motivation. They spent hours on their knees, cutting the biscuits up and making the cover, so I really felt like I owed it to them as friends to get better.

 

Magpie over Citadel. What a beautiful BEAUTIFUL song! And what a Prog Rock song title it is?

Thank you. That’s possibly my favorite on the album because it’s quite a simple song. That’s another example of how my friends lifted me up when I was down. Rob Anastasi, a songwriter I know, asked me to go to Memphis to play bass on a few of his songs.

Perhaps it would have been more practical for him to hire a bass player who hadn’t had a stroke, but he really gave me some confidence- honestly, once I found that Jody Stephens would be playing drums, I would have played bass on his sessions one way or another no matter what. But I was able to book the next day, after Rob’s session, and leave the drum mics up since we already had sounds.

I had this song kind of half written and it was still very fresh and exciting when I recorded it with Jody. I didn’t have a lot of pre-conceived ideas about what I wanted to do with it. I just told him “On this one, If you could just play like Jody Stephens from Big Star, it would be wonderful” and he did exactly that.

It felt like I had played with him before after listening to his drumming for so many years.

The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When would you consider Broken Biscuits to be successful?

It doesn’t have much to do with money, I can tell you that.

The fact that you said you were driving around in the Netherlands singing one of my songs with your son is special to me.

These songs, you write them and then send them out into the world to make friends.

For it to be really successful, someone would put the album out in Japan and I would have a reasons to go play shows in Japan. That has always been a dream of mine. I don’t know, I suppose with this album in particular, I’d like to leave some breadcrumbs behind as encouragement for other musicians who might have an injury like mine in the future. Not just musicians, but anybody who loses their ability to do the thing they are clearly meant to do and has to fight their way back.

Buy Broken Biscuits here