The Vapour Trails – See You in the Next World (Q&A)

The Vapour Trails are an Aberdeen based band influenced by their love of 60’s
stalwarts like the Beatles, the Byrds, Love, Buffalo Springfield, the Who and the
Kinks. You’ll also hear a healthy dose of later bands like the La’s, Stone Roses,
Rain Parade and the Smiths.
The Trails were formed in 2017 by father and son songwriters Kevin and Scott
Robertson. Kevin taught young Scott some guitar basics, who quickly surpassed
his dad’s meager guitar skills and set into his record collection for inspiration.
Before too long the two started writing songs, and the Vapour Trails were born.
The VT’s became complete with the addition of the indispensable Nicholas
Mackie on guitar and co-vocals, old friend Kenny Munro on drums, and the
newest Trail Chuck Milne adding his groovy bass to the mix.

BUY (FutureManRecords)




For every song you record how many end up in the bin?

My son Scott and I write the songs for The Vapour Trails. Initially we record them as demos and store them on SoundCloud.  I can honestly say we waste nothing. Songs can always be improved or altered as time goes by. Sometimes a song sounds great from day one but in some cases, you need to go back to the recorded demo and enhance it. An example of this in our band is the title track from our new album ‘See You in the Next World’. Two separate unfinished ideas, one from me and one from Scott, were merged together to create one cool track. Nothing’s wasted!

When was the last time you thought “I just wrote a hit”?

Songs should always live up to a bands or songwriter’s own personal standards that will differ band to band or songwriter to songwriter. Our standards are set based on melody. We don’t strive to write hits but we believe all our songs are melodic and tuneful. All our songs are potential hits in our own minds haha. Maybe some other people would think they are good enough to be hits, who knows!

Is recording a record easier than getting heard these days?

Making music is at musician’s fingertips more than ever these days. Computer-based daws and plugins are easy to find and are pretty affordable. Talent is still required though to make good songs and most people need help with mixing, mastering, artwork, etc in order to make a full record. There are those who do the whole thing themselves but most need help. As for being heard, it’s hard without backers. Record labels, promoters, radio stations, etc are attracted to good tunes. I think the answer is to get good at the song making and along with a little luck, it will become easier to get heard.


Playing music in front of a crowd, what’s all the fun about?

Because Scott and I are songwriters who play in a band who play to crowds often, from the first note of every song written you’re wondering how it will sound live. Creating little symphonies in your head and imagine what it will sound like within a full band setting is part of the fun. The buzz comes the very first time you play a new song to a crowd. Gauging the response, feeling the tune click in a live setting and just getting the tune ‘out there’ is the final chapter in the whole process. The other buzz we get from playing to a crowd is that often crowd members dance to our music. We are like a 60’s dance band living in the 21st century haha!

With every song you write are you still learning to become a better songwriter?

The answer is a huge YES. Scott and I are always striving to get better at playing and writing songs. The day you think you know it all is the day you should look in the mirror and draw a letter ‘P’ on your forehead, ‘P’ for pretentious. I have so many heroes in music and to write one song anywhere near their standard would be the ultimate musical achievement.





released August 2, 2019

The Vapour Trails is:

Scott Robertson – 12 string guitar, 6 string guitar, vocals, bass, keys
Kevin Robertson – Vocals, rhythm guitar, harmonica, keys
Nicholas Mackie – Vocals, rhythm Guitar
Andrew Crossan – Bass
Kenny Munro – Drums


Like an upside-down version of the honky-tonk thing where the fiddle plays a higher harmony with the dark twangy Telecaster


THE ARMOIRES return with their keenly-awaited second album ZIBALDONE.  Sweet Sweet Music talked to the Burbank, CA band’s co-leaders Christina Bulbenko (vocals, keys) and Rex Broome (vocals, guitar).






Things change. What’s happened since the recording of the last record and how did it influence the new one?


Absolutely everything changed. That’s true in so many ways, but to limit it to where The Armoires are as a band in this world… we released our first album in 2016 almost into a vacuum. We were totally unknown. It seems odd, because outside of the band we (Christina and Rex) have since then become fairly well known within the guitar pop community for all of the various things we’ve done as Big Stir, and while the band has played live a lot, there weren’t many recordings going out… we were working on what would become Zibaldone and Side Three but definitely wanted them to arrive as singular works that summed up the band as it is now.


The biggest influence of everything that changed over that time was becoming part of that community and having adventures within it. That’s apparent both in the large list of guests on the album and the lyrics which are often celebrations of our journey and our fellow travelers. The album is awash in the talent and wisdom of people we hadn’t even met when we did the first one but now seem like lifelong friends. That goes from Steven Wilson (Plasticsoul) who produced it with as much love and care as if it were his own record to the total heroes of ours who sing and play on it and give it so much texture. But we’ve also got the experience of having the same live band and doing a lot of live shows, so that maybe paradoxically it sounds so much more like “us” than anything we’d done before.


Your sound is different. You use the instruments a bit different than others in the genre? Is that what sets you apart?


Right, we aren’t a two-guitar four-piece! So many of our favorite bands are, but as a collective, we sort of feel a calling to do something a little different that plays to our strengths as individual musicians – consider The New Pornographers and The Go-Betweens as very key influences there. The guitar is prominent but there’s less of it than you might think and a lot of our new songs follow our live sound in that there’s only one guitar track or at most an overdubbed solo… the keys and vocals fill in a lot of the space.


The two cornerstones of our sound are both happy accidents. Christina and Rex’s individual voices are very different and oddly in similar ranges, so they blend in some pretty unique ways and discovering that is what got us started. The other accident is that early on, Larysa, Christina’s daughter, jumped into the band on viola, which aside from John Cale in the Velvet Underground is an uncommon instrument for rock bands – it’s lower and richer than a violin – and Rex plays almost exclusively electric 12-string, which is higher and brighter than most guitars. We really worked on the chemistry between the two and sort of invented a sound that is, at least formalistically, like an upside-down version of the honky-tonk thing where the fiddle plays a higher harmony with the dark twangy Telecaster. Which would have been a brilliant idea if we’d actually done it on purpose… but we think we’ve refined it into a secondary sonic signature that we really like.




The new songs are always the best ones. What’s the best example of that? And why?


The Armoires had a lot of songs from the beginning, basically like 40 tunes that Rex and Christina had worked up to greater or lesser degrees, and only 12 made it onto our first album. The idea for the second record was to very quickly bash out the remainder of our live set in the studio for maximum immediacy, in the manner of some of our very favorite sophomore albums. But obviously, we took three years to finish it instead! And in that time naturally, new things took shape.


So the new recordings are a mixture of songs of wildly varying vintages that seemed to fit together sonically and thematically, although some are over a decade old (“Pushing Forty” shows its age as we’re both well past that mark!) and things that weren’t even written when we started recording, like the “travelogue” songs that bookend the record (“Appalachukraina” and “When We Were In England (And You Were Dead)”. We decided as we went along that songs, like wines, cheese, and people, mature at different rates and these were the ones that made sense together… some others still needed a little time to decide what they wanted to be when they grew up. They’ll show up on the next record, along with even fresher stuff, and we imagine that’s how we shall proceed from here on out… it’s just nice to imagine a future where we get to do that and have the panic of “what if we only ever get to do one album?” behind us!


What’s up for the second part of 2019?


Touring, although perhaps less than we originally envisioned… that may wait until next Spring if our current plans come together. Waiting to see how this baby is received by an audience we didn’t have last time around. And the promotional push that we’ve given to the other artists on Big Stir Records while crafting Zibaldone and waiting for our own turn. In every way 2019 will wind up being a watershed for the band and the label and we’re in the thick of it right now… we won’t really understand what’s going on now until the end of the year, and then we’ll have to sit down and figure out what just happened to us!


How easy is it to stay focused on your own music when Big Stir is growing and growing?


It’s both challenging and beneficial, really. Challenging in that, although we’re always together working on the community and business side of things, it’s easy to just think “we need to work on our own stuff but that can wait until tomorrow after we mail this bunch of records out and finish our pieces for Big Stir Magazine or do the press release for the next band in the Singles Series or”… it’s a long list. But at the same time being at the center of a community of great bands and writers and performers is VERY good for us… there’s a high standard to meet and when you’re on a label with Amoeba Teen or In Deed, you don’t want to come up short and look like the only reason your band is getting a release is because the singers own the business!


Inspiration is therefore always close at hand… we get very involved in the material we’re presenting from other bands and we can romanticize it being like a small-scale version of the great and productive friendly musical rivalries of the past, McCartney and Brian Wilson spurring each other to higher heights. Nothing that earthshaking, but the Big Stir bands listen to and steal from each other’s songs all the time, and our record certainly wouldn’t be as good as it is without us feeling a part of a living, breathing continuum of artists at the top of their game. Can we build something based on a Plasticsoul drum part, shoot for Michael Simmons-level harmonies, attempt to capture the way a turn of phrase from Blake Jones gets you right there, try to shape a 12-string riff up to Peter Watts’ level of elegance? Those are good targets to have close at hand!



The unique harmonies of Christina Bulbenko and Rex Broome combine with jangling guitars, sparkling keyboards, soaring viola, and a singular sense of songcraft to create the essence of THE ARMOIRES. It’s sunshine pop with a kick, tapping the rich Southern California pop rock heritage from The Byrds to X and back to hits-era Fleetwood Mac, and melding it with a twist of English psychedelia and postpunk drive. The sweet and sour vocal sound gives life to Broome and Bulbenko‘s sophisticated lyrics – sometimes funny, sometimes heart-wrenching, always a bit mysterious. It’s a dreamlike combination of the warm and the unsettling that’s captured ears and hearts wherever The Armoires travel, and is as instantly recognizable as the pair’s visual profile: matching paisley attire, spectacles and platinum blonde hair. 

The band is widely known as the founders and leading lights of the Big Stir collective, a global concert series and record label dedicated to the musical community based around power pop and similarly styled melodic guitar rock. But The Armoires are an artistic force of their own, with a pair of new releases for 2019: the Side Three EP (out now), and the Zibaldone LP due in August, with a number of tour dates to follow. Reflecting the spirit of community and family the band represents, the new records are produced by Steven Wilson of Big Stir Records mainstay Plasticsoul and feature not only Christina and Rex‘s daughters (regular violist Larysa Bulbenko and touring bassist Miranda Broome respectively) but also a slew of guest appearances from their fellow travelers on the worldwide pop scene, including SpygeniusThe CondorsBlake Jones, The Corner Laughers, The Bobbleheads, Michael Simmons and more. The stalwart rhythm section of bassist Clifford Ulrich and drummer Derek “Kenny’s Plumbing” Hanna, longtime veterans of prior collaborations with Broome, provide the synergistic chemistry that makes the new songs hum with energy as The Armoires prepare for the next step in their strangely compelling musical journey.

The Successful Failures – Saratoga


NJ Indie-Rock/Roots band the Successful Failures 7th full length LP, “Saratoga”, features 11 new Mick Chorba tunes all about ghosts, mothers, gold stars, and Knoxville. Songs about going back to learn you can never go back. Rock and roll. 

releases August 30, 2019 

Mick Chorba: lead vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, keyboards 
Ron Bechamps: bass guitar, backing vocals 
Rob Martin: drums 
Pete Smith: electric guitar 
Greg Potter: electric guitar, keyboards, backing vocals




In conversation with Mick Chorba.


For every song you record, how many end up in the bin?


I write about a song a week….so for every song that makes it onto an album I have 3 that go to the bin. I think we are all better off this way!


With every song you write, are you still learning to become an even better songwriter?


Why of course yes! I always think my newest song is the most interesting, best thing ever and then at some point I hate it with all my heart. The songs that somehow avoid falling into disdain sometimes survive my wrath. I like to try out different strategies for writing songs and stealing from new and surprising sources!




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


I am not sharing my emotions…I create characters… I’m sharing their emotions. At least that’s what I tell myself and everyone else!




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


No idea. Need help with that. Anyone?


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


Now that I’ve been at this for a long time I realize that every show is an amazing opportunity to play music with my friends. I’m so lucky and appreciate every show.


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

“No White Knight in Knoxville” and before that “Love You So”


Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?


We recorded this new album differently.


We booked time in a big studio and did most of it live. I think this factor contributes to what I think is a really good record. It was a joy to record.


Which 5 records, that everybody forgot about, would define ‘our time’ on earth?


The Band’s self-titled album would express loss and joy and hope and defeat as good as any. The Replacement’s albums “Don’t Tell a Soul” and “All Shook Down” pretty much do the same.



Recording music. What’s all the fun about?


You never know what you’re going to capture…I like the mistakes best. Our song “Meal Parade” from “Captains of Industry….” for example. I actually started overdubbing my acoustic guitar over the drum part a measure too late and it totally changed the feel of the song and arrangement. On that song drummer, Rob Martin also played one of the drum parts on a stool that was laying around the studio which we thought was pretty cool.


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


You can physically feel the energy from an enthusiastic crowd and it makes it so much more fun. It makes a connection that is hard to describe but we all can feel it.


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?


For this new album listen to the way the instruments interact with each other… Listen to the sequencing of the album, the way one song leads to the next and lastly, the vocal harmonies and Pete Smith’s guitar parts are a lot of fun. There are stories in these songs I hope people can identify with.

The Brothers Steve – #1


Tantaliciously delightful

Sweet Sweet Music talked to Jeff Whalen and Os Tyler about The Monkees, Springsteen, catchy melodies and singing harmonies.

BUY THE SINGLE HERE (Big Stir records)


Don Valentine writes:

Tsar stalwarts Jeff Whalen, Jeff Solomon and Steve Coulter are joined by Os Tyler and Dylan Champion in the Los Angeles five piece. In stating that the album is as good as that Tsar debut, it must be said that it’s not the same.

There is a much different tempo here. the band are in much less of a hurry to get to the licks. #1 has far more in common with The Monkees and great late 60’s Pop. The album is built on the wonderful vocal harmonies and singalong choruses.



Was that indeed the sound you were looking for or does that sound comes naturally to you?


Jeff Whalen:  Thank you for the Monkees comment!  (ed. Take that as a compliment Don) They’ve always been a top-five band for me.  I mean, it comes and goes, but I’ve had several periods in my life in which I was so absolutely obsessed with the Monkees that it caused concern among some loved ones.

Some friends and I got super-duper into the Monkees movie Head when we in high school.  The way only guys in high school can—you know, where you watch the same movie over and virtually everything you say to each other is in some way a line or reference to the movie.


But yeah, the Brothers Steve record to me is like a ‘60s meets ‘90s kind of record.  Most of the things I do—solo or in Tsar or whatever—have a 1970s glitter component, but this record doesn’t really have that.  I don’t think the ‘60s thing here was super-intentional.  It’s more like when Os and I get together to sing and write, especially with our crack guitar player Dylan singing with us, too—he’s got a super-cool voice— we very often end up in this early-Bee Gees/Association/Nilsson territory.  I mean there’s a million other things going on, too, but yeah, it’s a sound that comes very naturally to us when we’re making music together.


Os Tyler:  Singing harmonies is about the most fun you can have.  It’s tantalizingly delightful.


Jeff:  Tantaliciously delightful—possibly even cee- or even be-lightful.


Os:  Indeed-lightful!  If you haven’t sung harmony with someone recently, make it happen.  Or just sing a harmony along with whatever song you listen to next!  #1 is infused with our shared love of intertwining voices and I would say the sound you hear is primarily an organic one.



When they speak about the new Springsteen record ‘that great 60’s Pop’ is also mentioned. Same influences, different outcome? Or different influences?


Os:  The Boss is a magical force of nature, a musical genius masquerading as a majestic miner.  I hope we are dipping our toes in the same waters.


Jeff:  I haven’t heard the Springsteen album.  I assume we share some of the same influences—like, I bet he likes the Shangri-Las or the Dave Clark 5 or whatever—but how that inspiration gets processed is probably very different.  And then I bet we have some different influences, too.  Like, I’m not sure when Springy last cranked some Archies deep cuts, windows down, sunny day, cruising down Sunset Blvd.


Os:  Are we all influenced by transportational love, suffering, and desire?  Probably, but you’d be crazy to talk about it.  I would never bring it up in an interview.


You wrote so many great choruses, when do you decide it’s good enough to record?


Jeff:  Thanks!  I dunno!  Great question!  Os and I definitely have a tendency to keep working on songs to a controversial degree.  Years, sometimes.  But usually, it’s not in the writing stage that we have trouble deciding if it’s good enough yet—usually we have trouble calling it finished when were in the recording phase.  We just keep adding stuff.  I think it’s a combination of enjoying the process and a semi-neurotic reluctance to finish something.  If not for the firm, patient-yet-scary insistence of the other band members, I’m sure we’d be overdubbing even now.


Os:  Recording is such an evolution-in-the-process thing now.  The most critical element is deciding to do it and picking a start date.  Dive in and make it happen.  Anyway, that’s what I tell myself:  “Self, Dive in!”



How did The Brothers Steve start?


Jeff:  We met in college, at UC Santa Barbara.  We got together last year to play for fun at a party and decided to record an album.


And, in the end, how will they be remembered?


Os: Fondly.


Jeff:  With people’s brains.


Os:  There’s something inherently moving about music that is comprised entirely of amplified strings vibrating, drums reverberating and human voices intertwining.


Jeff:  Simple lines intertwining.


Os:  People are going to keep returning to that sound, and the Brothers Steve, #1, is a pretty good dose of it!


When is the last time you heard from Kathy Fong?


Jeff:  Ha!  I’m not talking to her at the moment.  She knows why.


Os: Listen, between you and me, I talked to Kathy recently, and she’s doing OK. But she can be a little private about her feelings, just give her time.




TBS Avatars

The Lunar Laugh – Goodnight Noises Everywhere

The Lunar Laugh is a pop band based in Oklahoma City. At the group’s core is the singer/songwriter trio of Connor Anderson, Jared Lekites, and Campbell Young backed by Jimmy Jackson’s powerful drumming. Their music draws inspiration from the classic pop masterworks of the 60’s and 70’s, with fully realized arrangements and lush harmonies in the foreground.  “Goodnight Noises Everywhere” is their third album (and Kool Kat Musik label debut).

Buy at Kool Kat Musik





Jared Lekites explains.

For every song, you record, how many end up in the bin?


We tend to have a lot more written than we eventually record. On this particular album, we had about 25 contenders that we narrowed down to about 14 to record which we then had to narrow down to just 10.


With every song you write, are you still learning to become an even better songwriter?


I think we are always trying to better ourselves as writers but we also approach each song as something new. I mainly try to focus on creating something I am proud of and something that means a lot to me.




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


I sometimes find some things a little embarrassing, especially if one of the other guys also has to sing or harmonize on a particular line that I feel is pretty personal and close to me. But the other guys are also pretty reassuring and they never object to anything I bring to them.


Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?


It can be a struggle to do either depending on what you’re going for and who you’re trying to please. You can spend a fortune on creating music that maybe only 5 people will ever know exists. Sometimes you just have to not think too much about that. We are making the music for ourselves mostly and it’s certainly rewarding if anyone else listens and enjoys it. But I try not to get too hung up on “getting heard”. Once the album is out there, it’s there.


Recording music. What’s all the fun about?


We had a ball making this album as a band. We would lay down simple foundations to start and then just see what we could find laying around the studio that might work. On “Another Casualty” for instance, we scavenged around trying to find some different percussion sounds. We tooled around hitting a cowbell with different types of mallets and sticks and using different microphone placements on shakers and maracas to get a combination of sounds we thought were cool. Then as we were looking around, we stumbled upon these roto-toms that were just shoved in a corner of the studio. The light bulb went off in our heads and we had our drummer Jimmy record this amazing sounding drum fills with them. Those fills absolutely take the song to a new level. So all the fun is really in trying new things and creating a world for the songs to live in.


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


The energy of the audience and the sort of ‘feeding frenzy’ feel you can get out of it. When you give your all from the stage, and they send it right back to you with their applause and their yells, it’s an amazing feeling. I’ve heard some musicians compare it to really intense sex which makes a lot of sense to me because a good show should have that kind of arc; passionate and a hell of a mutual climax at the end.


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


Most people are pretty impressed or at least intrigued with that answer. It’s more interesting than saying “I’m self-employed” or “I’m between jobs”.


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?


Well, I would always like to point out the things I always listen for in music which is things like chord changes, harmonies, and melodic structure. Those are typically what musician-types or songwriters like to listen for. On this new album, I’d like people to be able to hear the way Connor, Campbell and myself are layering our voices around each other and the way certain vocal lines are ping-ponging along. I think we carved out something with our vocal work that sets us apart, as you say.

Sofa City Sweetheart – Super​(​b) Exitos

The L.A.-based solo project Sofa City Sweetheart is the centerpiece around which (Juan Antonio) Lopez shapes his masterworks. Writing, arranging, recording, and engineering all the music himself, Lopez tangles together his spectrum of childhood influences into stories of acceptance. Over layers of gentle guitar sit toe-tapping melodies and intermingling harmonies that merge art and feeling, spinning stories that tie the persistent tragedies in his own life to the stuck-to-it-iveness that’s often required in any contemporary artist.

Buy/Listen here 





Sweet Sweet Music talked to Juan about his new release ‘Super​(​b) Exitos’.


For every song you record, how many end up in the bin?

WAY too many. But the bin is more of a “to do” bin instead of a trash bin (or do you guys say “rubbish” over there?) Most of them are just unfinished, or need better/completed lyrics and are waiting for their day to shine. There are literally hundreds!


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

It’s kind of funny, because I am a naturally shy and private person that doesn’t always like to reveal too much or be the center of attention. But this is essentially what I’m doing when I perform and release my music to the world. It’s a strange dynamic, but I think I feel most comfortable expressing myself through music. You can feel it more when the words and feelings are delivered with a soundtrack.



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

If I knew that, I’d be flying in my solid gold spaceship right now. Maybe legally changing my name to “Adele”?

Honestly, I think my music tends to be most popular with musicians and other music/songwriting nerds (of which I am proud of!) so I’m not sure if I will ever have a mega platinum hit. (But maybe if enough nerds come together and form a union I can start making payments on that spaceship!)

Recording music. What’s all the fun about?

I always say that writing songs is the closest I’ll ever get to giving birth. And recording is where you get to see the song “grow up”. This is where the greatest magic happens. It’s important for me to not only write a great chord progression and melody, but to write all of the other parts that add to the song and make it more beautiful and powerful. Countermelodies, bass lines, guitar parts, harmonies, etc… That’s the fun stuff! Only when the song has grown up is it ready to go out into the world.

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?

Maybe just exactly how much work I put into every single aspect of my songs. From the writing, to recording, producing, and mixing… I spend a lot of time at every step. I’m basically a mad scientist in the studio and try everything I can to make the song come out just right. Then eventually, one day, lightning strikes and… IT’S ALIVE!

Meet Lannie Flowers



Check Lannie’s FB for updates on new releases.


Sweet Sweet Music is in love with the Texas-flavored Power Pop Lannie Flowers has been producing for years.

Make sure to check out all the new music Lannie is releasing and if you, by any change, are not aware of Lannie’s music, buy Live in N.Y.C.  today!



For every song you record, how many end up in the bin? 

Quite a few. Although, not as many as when I was younger and just trying to figure out how to write songs. Sometimes there are songs I like parts of, and they usually get used in other songs that need a break or verse.




With every song you write, are you still learning to become an even better songwriter?

Oh yeah. I don’t think you ever quit learning. If you do and you quit trying different things, then you start getting in a rut. That is a really hard thing to keep from doing.




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

I don’t really have a problem with that.   It’s easy to draw from your past experiences and the emotions you were or are going through.



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

If I knew, I would’ve done that a long time ago.   So, obviously no, I don’t. Wish I did.


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

Can’t think of any right off hand.  Done so many over the years.


The first gig I ever did, I was 12 years old and we talked the high school into letting our band play at intermission for their beauty contest. We got to play one or two songs and (as I remember it) girls were screaming, So when we got through, these older girls were coming up to me and talking to me. Just 15 minutes before, they would have nothing to do with me. That’s when I figured that this would be a pretty good occupation.


There are a few others. Opening for Cheap Trick was really cool.  Playing on the beach to 50,000 kids, opening for some of the Beach Boys. The one I’d like to forget is having to go on after Quiet Riot. That was not an easy task.




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

Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever thought that. I don’t really know what a hit song would be. I just try to write what I know.


Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays? 

The recording is the easiest, fun part to me. Getting it heard is a whole completely different thing.   Although there’s internet radio and different outlets that weren’t there before. So many people can record and release songs themselves. So there are so many choices out there for the buying public.



Which 5 records,  that everybody forgot about, would define ‘our time’ on earth?

Don’t really have a good answer for that. Probably different for everyone.



Recording music. What’s all the fun about? 

For me, the fun of recording is creating something that didn’t exist before. You can do anything you want with the song. When it all comes together as you hear it in your head, it’s pretty amazing.


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

The fun for me sometimes is the feedback you get from the people in the audience. Other times, it’s just playing with the band and clicking on all cylinders.





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

I always add “and I use the term loosely “  to that answer. Ha!


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?

I’m not doing anything that hasn’t been done a million times before. The only thing that is mine is the way I see the world and the way I put that vision in my songs.


The Resonars – No Exit (Q&A)


AllMusic writes: No Exit is another home-cooked, perfectly baked album that fits right in with previous albums. It’s loaded with brilliant songs, from the jangly Byrds-ian “Days Fade Away” and heart-tugging minor-key ballad “Dull Today” to the pulse-quickening power pop rush of “Louise Tonight” and the beat-group peppy “Fell Into a World.” Rendon claims to have had something akin to writer’s block — which helps to account for the many-year gap between Resonars records — but by the time the tapes were rolling it’s clear he had conquered it. He certainly was in full control of the sound, too. Each song has an immediateness that’s welcome in an age of gauzy production techniques, the arrangements are simple but powerful, and the guitars have a majestic crunch and chime that is hard to get at any price point. Rendon seems unable to put a wrong foot forward, and even after doing basically the same thing for so many years, the Resonars have yet to sound even a little tired. No Exit can be counted among their best work, which is saying a lot.








Sweet Sweet Music talked to Matt Rendon.


For every song you record, how many end up in the bin? 

Well – I record every song written but half of them end up on albums. There is a downloadable album on the Resonars Bandcamp called Apostasy, Impatience, Power & Volume that is a collection of rejected songs.



With every song you write, are you still learning to become an even better songwriter?



Yeah, I’m never satisfied with my songwriting so I try to listen to as much new music and new old music as possible. Lately, I’ve been working on condensing songs and writing more inventive bridges so they keep your interest from the beginning to the end.






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


In the early days, it was not comfortable. Now that I’m older I’ve become more open and honest and I no longer give a shit.



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


None whatsoever haha.




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


Resonars played a show in a boat in Stockholm and it was Isaac’s birthday. We all got hopelessly drunk but played great and it was the most fun I’ve ever had playing a gig.




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


Never. I have thought ‘I just recorded a hit!’ though.




Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?


Oh yeah – we have our own studio so that’s always easier.



Recording music. What’s all the fun about?


For us, meaning the Midtown Island circle of bands, we have a very supportive, encouraging environment. Lenguas Largas, Freezing Hands, Free Machines, Sea Wren, Anchor baby, Resonars, Harsh Mistress – they’re all made up among the same 10-12 people and each one is a talented songwriter, so when somebody has an album full of songs, the others get behind the project. In fact – we just started a record label called Midtown Island so we can have complete control of the release process.


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


Always! It’s the only thing I know how to do.



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?


I think sometimes people expect something different from us aesthetically because of the sound – like dressing in Beatle boots, fringe, and striped shirts. This was particularly apparent in Spain when we played the Purple Weekend festival – there were so many bands dressed in their late 60s regalia and we show up in jeans and t-shirts like we just got off work. People were taken aback by us.


We’re a bunch of hicks from Tucson who, while making music steeped in 1960s influence, are fully aware of the time in which we’re living. Our country is a fucking mess right now and has been for a while – how that’s affected the well-being of friends and family is the main source of both my songwriting and that of my friends.



Tucson, Arizona’s Matt Rendon has certainly done his homework. Over the course of 22 years and six albums as The Resonars (seven if you count the Butterscotch Cathedral album; a one-ff psychedelic magnum opus released in 2015) for labels like Get Hip & Burger, Rendon’s musical vision has remained unwavering; a paean to a lost-era of analog recording, whip-smart, dynamic songwriting, and soul-stirring anthems to ignite generations. “No Exit” is his latest album as The Resonars. 

“No Exit” kicks off with the epic clang of “Louise Tonight”, which merges dive-bombing guitar licks and bombastic drumming, hinting at the controlled chaos of a modern day Townshend/Moon. Elsewhere, “The Man Who Does Nothing” evokes the shimmering harmonies of The Hollies atop a persistent backbeat, and tunes like “Before You’re Gone” “Beagle Theory” sidle up to a dreamy kiwi-jangle strong enough to make Martin Phillips jealous. Conversely, tunes like side two’s “All Those Hats” rages with an amphetamine-laced melodic tension reminiscent of The Buzzcocks or The Undertones. Rendon has consistently proven to have a knack for an everyman style of songwriting that doesn’t seem rote or tired, lacing his melodic vocal harmonies with that melancholic joy omnipresent in the best numbers by bands like The Beach Boys, Big Star or even Simon & Garfunkel’s pop hits.

Rendon typically handles all aspects of Resonars albums from the recording & engineering (at his own Midtown Island Studios) to the performance of every instrument, but for “No Exit” he employs the help of some friends & colleagues; Resonars live drummer Johnnie Rinehart plays on half the tunes, while sometimes live members Ricky Shimo & Travis Spillers play bass & sing (respectively) on two numbers. Despite being the first Resonars album in 5 years, Rendon shows no signs of stopping; He’s a rock & roll lifer, having been raised in a musical environment & osmosis thru older sibling’s rock fandom. Once it’s inside you there’s no escape. “No Exit”, if you will. 

David Brookings and the Average Lookings – Scorpio Monologue (Q&A)



Watch, listen and Buy writes about Scorpio Monologue: It’s gripping but it also makes you wish you were drinking something with an umbrella in it. I guess what I’m trying to say is if I were quarreling with a lover and trying to cheer myself up with a windows-down-solo-drive to the beach, this is the album I would blast the whole way and I would cry my eyes out with a big smile on my face. 


Sweet Sweet Music talked to David.


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


For me, it is usually comfortable, yes. I’m pretty open with my feelings, but I think writing songs for so long has helped me to be in touch with my feelings, and with what I want to say. Every once in a while though, something will surprise me emotionally. I was recording vocals for ‘Rainbow Baby’ (on the new record), and it’s about my youngest daughter. I got a little choked up singing about her. So it took me a few different takes to get through it in the studio


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


Haha. I would settle for turning it into a 500 seller. My idea is that people have to give new bands a try. I’m not new. Scorpio Monologue is my 8th record. But I guarantee you I am new to most people – so they just have to give it a shot, and I think they might like it





Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?


I always say that recording is the easy part. The tough part comes after that once it is released and you’re trying to promote it / get people to listen to it, etc. But that’s where Sweet Sweet Music comes in, lol.





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


I love playing live because you never know what’s going to happen at a show. I don’t know how many people will show up on a given night, or what new friends we’re going to make afterward, or what new band we might like that is also on the bill with us. So its always a new adventure, plus we try to mix up the songs in the setlist, so that’s fun too


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


My answer to ‘What are you doing?’ would be that I work on both sides of the music industry, b/c my day job is working in the digital music business, but my heart is in writing songs, putting out albums, and playing gigs. So I feel like I’m sort of a double agent who can appreciate both sides of the music business. Absolutely yes, I’m proud to be a musician, and I’m proud to work in the music industry in general.




The Bobbleheads – Myths and Fables (Q&A)



The Bobbleheads are an indie pop-rock band, formed in 2003 in San Francisco, CA. Their sound is best described as upbeat,but sly, hard-hitting pop with melodies that stay with you for days. But don’t confuse catchy with kitchy, they turn a tad serious on their new album, Myths and Fables.   


John Ashfield explains.


For every song you record, how many end up in the bin?


Many songs are written and tried out by the band, but only a few get considered to be recorded. A lot of these songs are demoed at home, but just never get too far. When a song works it’s really clear. The ones that work get recorded.




With every song you write, are you still learning to become an even better songwriter?


Well yeah! You are always trying out a new idea or approach… in some ways its still a mystery if it’s actually gonna work. When it does it’s exciting!


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


No, it is not. Any ideas about how to turn this one into a million seller? HA!!!! Just you wait and see! It’ll be groovy.


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


Every gig is exciting and new really. It sounds ridiculous to say that but for me it’s true. You always want to win the crowds attention and keep it.




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


I always think every new song is!! Every time! You get a little more critical as the days go on.


Is recording a record easier than getting it heard nowadays?


Oh yeah. So many people are making cool music. It’s impossible to keep up, and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. I am really thankful when anyone pays attention to our music!


Which 5 records, that everybody forgot about, would define ‘our time’ on earth?


This is a hard one. Things in popular music and pop culture are so fragmented. I remember being a kid in the ’70s and ’80s and there were songs EVERYONE knew. Now even big hits can sail under the radar of many. So, instead, I will list 5 songs that define my time on earth at this very moment. In no particular order!!! “You’re So Good To Me” – The Beach Boys, “Eyes Of The World (live 1982)” – Fleetwood Mac, “Man Blir Yr” – Gyllene Tider, “Senses Working Overtime” – XTC, and… there is always some new song that grabs my ear for a week or so.


Recording music. What’s all the fun about?


You get to experiment with sound! You get to try out ideas out and then hear the results straight away. When it doesn’t work, you know it quick! It’s like playing dress up.


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


It feels like magic, making all that sound. Seeing people react to it feels great Always proud to answer ‘I am a musician’ to the question ‘what are you doing?’? Oh yeah. No shame in being a musician ever. I’ve defined myself as one


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?


I believe in the power of a great chorus…