Paul Collins talks about his new record!

‘Out of My Head’ will be released in September. What can we expect?

I’m very proud of this record, it’s the first time I have played the drums on an entire record since The Nerves! Not only that I also play almost all the guitars including the lead guitar on a lot of tracks. It was very exciting. Some of the songs are in the direct lineage from The Beat and others are a progression hopefully showing a more sophisticated approach to the power pop song form. It’s a record that moves around a bit above all we able to get a fantastic sound.

Can you elaborate a bit on how the record came together?

We recorded at my friend Tony Leventhal from The Mockers new studio. He built it himself from scratch at his place in Bushwick BKLYN. We were hanging out one day and he said “ I got this studio but I’m not exactly sure how to use it, would you like to be the test case” I said sure! The first day we all stood there, me and my songwriting partner Paul Stingo and Tony. Tony said he wasn’t sure exactly how to plug everything in, we said OK and we started trying to record. Eventually we got it going, then one day Tony turned to me and said, “You know we are making a record!”

We took our time and it really shows. The sound is luscious!

Do the songs still come easy? Or was/is writing always tough?

Songs have never come easy, it’s a constant challenge to try and come up with a really good song.

After all those years, what does a song need to end up on a new Paul Collins record?

Paul and I get together and work on new songs we always say the same thing, “We got to hit out of the park! We need a grand slam!” Basically it’s about trying to be as good as you can be. There is nothing like a good song!

Can imagine you have pretty high standards.

I grew up listening to the masters. I learned a lot from listening to the radio. Then in The Nerves I learned a tremendous amount from not Jack Lee and Peter Case about what it takes to write a good song.

I play your records a lot, especially the first two with The Beat. Still. Over and over again. My children sing them along as well. These songs stood the test of time, big time! Were you aware you were creating something special at that time?

I am very proud of the early Records, we did our homework and it shows! I wasn’t exactly sure but I was hoping that it would be good!

Young bands like Telephone Lovers almost copy your sound. Proud?

I think it’s very cool that the new bands are looking back to the older groups for inspiration, that’s exactly what we did!

Will you tour to promote the new record?

Yes, touring is an essential part of the process, you have to the bring the music to the people!

If you read this article do me favor, check out my new record, these days it’s easy to do!

Keep on Rocking!

Photos by Bob Gruen

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BIG STIR & the art of stitching the Power Pop community together

 

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BIG STIR RECORDS founders CHRISTINA BULBENKO and REX BROOME are on a mission. They are stitching the whole power pop community together.

 

There is the label, the magazine, the gigs, the bands … and they have only just begun.

 

Sweet Sweet Music talked to Christina, Rex, and the bands involved, about this mission. And more. Lots more…!

 

This is the Big Stir story so far.

Can you tell me a bit about the how and the why?

 

It really started out of gratitude for the other bands on the live scene, and respect for them and for ourselves.  LA is the very worst for live bookings: spaghetti-on-the-wall bills and pay-to-play. But we discovered a whole community of these amazing pop bands that mostly only played once a year at IPO (David Bash’s International Pop Overthrow Festival). They all wanted to be part of a scene and they all deserved better. We decided to do that on a live level (with no experience at all) in LA.

 

Somehow it resonated beyond geography. A watershed was when our friend Don Valentine (I Don’t Hear a Single blog and radio show), publicly spoke of wanting a “Big Stir” in the UK – that blew the door of global possibilities open. Our dear friends in Spygenius took up that mantle and we were suddenly worldwide. “Big Stir” as a name was a sly little nod that Christina came up with in tribute to power pop greats Big Star, but suddenly it was a trusted “brand”… it seemed silly not to roll with it.

How should ‘Big Stir’ look 5 years from now?

 

Bigger! Monthly shows all over the world that also serve as tour stops for everyone on the scene. DJ’s, bloggers, and journalists sharing the stuff that we release and support on sister labels like Futureman, Spyderpop, Kool Kat and so forth, so that there’s a place to go to find the “good stuff”, like in the old days. Employees! We’d like to make to be making enough money to be able to pay people to help us! But essentially – a solid framework for the community that already exists.

 

And a bit of a voice beyond that community to let the greater world know what they’re missing. Everyone loves The Beatles, The Byrds, The Who and The Kinks, but they’re settling for… well, let’s not names, but mainstream rock ain’t what it once was is it? Pop-rock on our level is as vital as ever and it belongs in movies and TV and anything that reaches the masses. It’s accessible, resonant, and timeless.  It’s “music that needs to be heard”, (Dave Boogieman Kaufman of Radio NewYork International), or “music that deserves to be heard” (Boris Boden of Secret Weapon).  Maybe our biggest goal is to, after bringing everyone who’s already in the know together, to bridge that gap to the public at large.

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A record label in 2018. What’s that about in this DIY world?

 

It’s about moving from DIY to DIO – Do It OURSELVES, together. Having created a space for bands to play together live, we, of course, all started talking about the records we were all making and financing and promoting on our own (on little personal labels which only had one band on them). And those records were really excellent and deserved a wider audience.

 

“We’re stronger together,” said our dear friend Steven Wilson of Plasticsoul; “A strong tide lifts all boats”, said Matt Mincey of Suite 100 – we took that to heart.  Let’s pool our resources, cross-promote, and be labelmates. More of a collective than a corporation. Little did we know that brilliant folks like Keith Klingensmith of Futureman (and The Legal Matters) had already come up with the same idea, but no matter, we all support each other’s efforts now.

So what’s up for 2018?

 

The new Blake Jones & the Trike Shop record. Big Stir Magazine (under the auspices of our genius illustrator Joseph Champniss) becoming the go-to source for anything power pop and all associated genres, without losing any of the heart-and-soul whimsy along the way. Tours on both sides of the pond with The Trike Shop, Spygenius, The Armoires, The Fast Camels out of Scotland, and Hux & the Hitmen from Boston. New monthly concert series in a few other noteworthy towns in California to go along with LA and South London. Compilations and more records from more bands that we can’t announce but can’t wait to release.

 

And more… Radio shows hosted by, like, us. The second album from The Armoires!  Basically, anything we can do for the global community. We have a lot of crazy ideas that shouldn’t work, but that’s been Standard Operational Procedure with Big Stir from day one, and a surprising amount of our crazy ideas have worked so far, so why stop?

 

 

BLAKE JONES OF BLAKE JONES & THE TRIKE SHOP

 

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Do you feel part of a community, the power pop community?

 

If you’ve talked to Rex Broome and Christina Bulbenko of the Armoires, and if the subject of the  Big-Stir-CoOp-Turned-Record-Label has come up, or if you’ve read the Big Stir ‘Zine, then you know that Community is a big deal to our band, and all the other bands involved in that sprawling adventure. We’ve pooled our limited knowledge, our limited resources, and our nearly unlimited enthusiasm, and together, I believe we’ve hit that point of critical mass, that excitement. We’ve found a communal home working with one another, a ‘scene’ if you will, and it’s very organic and very home-made. Home-made is always better than store-bought.

 

If you could tour the world with 2 other bands, who would you ask to join?

 

Anyone from the Big Stir roster….see above. (and we do this!)

 

Magic can happen when you are playing for a crowd. What was the first time it happened? And what did happen?

 

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Last year I did a show at a local performance festival called “Art: Why Do We Bother?”….and rather than being a listing of the discouragements that may happen to an artist/performer (as the title, read one way, might suggest), it was rather a discovery (for me) of all the ways that music is, as John Lennon has been quoted as saying, “not peripheral to society, but absolutely necessary”. There is indeed magic: magic in the making, magic in the receiving, magic in the sharing. It’s all very important stuff…and I’d have to go on way too long. Ha!…There are a couple of songs on our new album that grew out of that show, and in some ways, the whole album grows out of this very idea.

 

If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?

 

Very much like we did the current one, and the ones before it. Very home-made. It’s an old 8-track reel to reel and a very simple recording desk. At a certain point, one’s method of ‘making’ becomes a very important and integral part of what you ‘make’.

 

What’s up for 2018?

 

We’re deep into 2018, and deep into this ‘we’ve bitten off a lot and are chewing furiously’-type year. Whenever I even *hint* at complaining, my wife reminds me that I do it to myself and that this is exactly the sort of thing I enjoy—-the diving in, and the making….not the complaining. We have, of course, finished and put out a brand-new album that we’re very happy with. We are also very close to taking off on our fourth tour of Europe.

This trip takes us from Glasgow, then through England, and then a couple of shows in Germany….So we’re happily busy.

 

PATRICK “POOCH” DIPUCCIO OF THE CONDORS

 

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

 

Recording again in the studio with my former Blow-Up brothers Jody Worth and Robert Williams.

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

 

In the middle of recording songs for what eventually became “Joie de Vivre,” I decided to focus on songs from my former band, Blow-Up, even though we had basic tracks done for several other tunes.  I couldn’t remember any act putting out a record as an homage to the leader’s previous outfit.  Kind of like if ELO just did an ep of mostly unreleased Move numbers.  Which, of course, I’d love to hear!

 

Do you feel part of a community, the power pop community?

 

Yes, the Big Stir contingent.  As for any Power Pop community, not as a whole per se; but with acts that bring a more powerful edge to their melodicism.

Magic can happen when you are playing for a crowd. What was the first time it happened? And what did happen?

 

Blow-Up opened two shows for Billy Idol at the Roxy, just when he was starting to climb.  The acts played off each other, increasing in energy.  The final sets from both bands were pretty explosive.

What’s up for 2018?

 

Placing songs on Big Stir compilations and perhaps releasing the Blow Up anthology “Boom” on CD.  Also, looking forward to writing new material, and co-writing with people I’ve wanted to work with.

 

STEVEN WILSON OF PLASTICSOUL

 

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

 

I knew the songs were good – I liked them at least. It was my first time mixing an album and it took a long time. I’m a pretty hard critic of myself but when I heard the final master of the album I knew it was something good. There aren’t many records like it these days. It sounds like music made by people instead of machines.

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

 

“Girl Go” by The Jazz Butcher – “Love Goes On” by The Go Betweens – “I’ve Been Waiting” by Matthew Sweet – “Millionaire’s Waltz” by Queen – “O Saathi Re” by Kishore Kumar

 

Yeah – seems a little heavy for a second date – but I move fast

 

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

It’s out in the world and people seem to love it – it’s already a success.
 

Do you feel part of a community, the power pop community?

 

Absolutely! Musicians tend to be very social, communal folks. Power pop people even more so. Our Big Stir community is like a big, happy (slightly dysfunctional) family

Which is the song you wish you had written it every time you hear it? And why?

 

“The Kiss” by Judee Sill – If I believed in angels I imagine this is what they would sound like when they sing. It is one of the most inspired pieces of music I have ever heard. There are times it can make me weep because I’m overwhelmed by its beauty. There are times it can make me weep because I’m so jealous that I’ve never created something so magical.

 

CHRISTINA AND REX OF THE ARMOIRES

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

 

Our first album “Incidental Lightshow” was a success just by existing, as it took some minor miracles to get it there. It was released into a vacuum, though; all the work we’ve put into the community we’re now a part of happened afterwards, and there’s an audience now who knows us – which brings about the bizarre flipside of hoping we don’t disappoint them!  The heart and soul answer, though, is that when anyone engages us in a conversation that goes beyond “that’s a good record”, and gets into the specifics of the songs, be it what the lyrics mean to them, or what obscure band a specific song reminds them of – especially if they’re right! – that’s the best feeling in the world, knowing your work means something to someone else and is part of their life now. 

Do you feel part of a community, the power pop community?

 

We’re humbled to be where we are now, having been embraced by that community, and that’s why we’re compelled to give back to it. We probably talk about that too much, to be honest, but what else can you do when you feel that your life has literally been saved by the privilege of being part of something beautiful and bigger than yourselves?  So, in a word, yes.

Which is the song you wish you had written it every time you hear it? And why?

 

So many – many of them by our dear friends. Songwriting is about seeking the perfect expression of a unique or even bizarre impulse, and when someone else nails it, you stand in awe and regroup to try to rise to that level, and on you go. Blake Jones’ “Alchemy C’Mere” is the anthem we can’t dream to live up to (but we’ll try). Plasticsoul’s “New Town Different Day” thrills with details that make you want to start the tour all over again. But sometimes it’s just one line: our friend Josh Gordon of The Living Dolls sings “I can see the jacarandas floating in her eyes” and we think, hell, if we’d just written that one line, we’d be good.

Magic can happen when you are playing for a crowd. What was the first time it happened? And what did happen?

 

We think we’re lucky in that the core of our band is a duo of like-minded best friends so we can cross-check each other about when that magic stuff happens and make sure we aren’t just imagining it. It’s always when you feel connected to something bigger.  We did a lovely show on tour in Northampton shortly after the Manchester bombing last year; a national moment of silence was scheduled right in the middle of our set, and as Americans touring a country in mourning over an attack on a live music event, we felt very much a part of it. We stopped the song we were playing at the appropriate moment and the club went completely silent for a minute… then we picked right back up where we’d left off. It was extremely powerful and our tour band was at peak performance and the Northampton community had already been so kind to us… we won’t forget that, ever.


If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?

 

We don’t have lofty ambitions to record with super expensive gear or in any kind of historic studio… either would be nice, but what we really long for, as a band who plays live a lot and has no lack of material, is simply the time for everybody to tuck in and play all the songs together in a room, all in one go, ideally somewhere that’s “not home”, so that the entire record could be the focus and we could sustain a “vibe”. Day jobs make that almost impossible… so the budget would be to compensate our wonderful bandmates for time off of work!

 

 

PETER WATTS & RUTH ROGERS OF SPYGENIUS

 

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

 

Well, we had a lot of Mario Kart Marathons! But more seriously, it’s really great when we have a general but unfinished idea of what a song should be about musically, and then the collective band mind takes over and it goes off in unexpected directions and becomes greater than that sum of the parts – like on Back Door Son of Man, when we dreamed up an imaginary musical duel between Wilko Johnson and Patrick Moore – telecaster versus xylophone in a grand battle to establish once and for all who is the Astronomer Dominé… or on You And Me and Jiminy C, where we were kind of daring each other to make the arrangement more and more complex and weird as the song progressed… it was also great fun for the band to be able to work with Champniss on the look of the CD and all the associated artwork.

 

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

 

Back in the dark ages before Spygenius we’d all worry a great deal about the demands of the music industry and whether we had the right stuff to ‘make it’ – the music industry, on the other hand, was pretty much indifferent to us… then we just thought, ‘stuff that for a game of soldiers’ and set up Spygenius as a vehicle to allow us to write, record and perform original music, to as high a standard as we could muster, for as long as we could get away with it, with absolute indifference to everything going on around us. And when we did that, a whole universe of musical wonder opened up in front of us, glowing and pulsating invitingly like the entrance to Toontown at the end of Roger Rabbit… and then along the way we bumped into Big Stir Records and found they shared our vision – they laughed with us, not at us! So, we found ourselves a ‘music industry’ that fitted us, and what it brought us was friendship and beer… as well as a lot of opportunities to get our music heard, of course!

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

 

My Pal Foot Foot (the Shaggs); The Champion Dung Spreader (Adge Cutler and the Wurzels); Magic (Pilot); Sag Mir Wo Die Blumen Sind (Marlene Dietrich); It’s a Small World (Disneyland – not the souvenir album version, the continuous loop from the ride) …but don’t you think it’s a bit weird that she wants to date an entire band? It’s not the go-go 1970s anymore, after all…

 

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

 

Well, like Dylan said, “a man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do”. But then again it’s also pretty cool when people actually lend an ear to what you’re doing… so, the Spygenius Codex TM defines musical success as the moment two things come together: (i) creative enterprise fashions an artistic opus which effectively realizes the artists’ inspiration and effort; (ii) someone, somewhere, hears it and really, really gets it, to the depths of their soul. In these terms Spygenius’ initial Moment of Success TM was some years ago when we were playing at a wedding reception and one of the guests, a guy we didn’t really know, just closed his eyes and drank in our harmonies – we think his name was Robyn Hitchcock – anyway, we had a bit of a jam with him afterwards. The Moment of Success TM for our latest record ‘Pacéphale was when Rex and Christina heard it and thought, hmm, maybe we should release this in the States on Big Stir…

 

Do you feel part of a community, the power pop community?

 

We certainly feel part of a musical and artistic community… and we know that people who like power pop, jangle pop and the poppier ends psychedelia tend to appreciate what we do in Spygenius… but the community that we’re part of is pretty broad and it has a very fuzzy boundary. It absolutely centres around Big Stir nowadays, but it extends rhizomatically in a multitude of overlapping forms – there’s the International Pop Overthrow crowd (thanks for everything, Mr. Bash!), like-minded musicians local to us in the South Eastern corner of England, and a world of bloggers, DJs, artists and artists, well-wishers, fellow-travellers, weird blokes in bars and occasional sympathetic pub proprietors… is that the ‘power pop community’? Well, it might be? Er… we dunno… what we do know is that through all these connections we constantly get to hear loads of great new music …

 

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THE GOLD NEEDLES – PEARLS (Q&A)

THE GOLD NEEDLES are from Hull. PEARLS has been described as Power Pop with psych and prog elements. All true but, most important, melody is king on this 18 track delicacy.

Mark English and Simon Dowson talk about their new record and more … .

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

This was really hard and we had a good discussion about how best to woo a lady. We wanted to appear cool but not obscure so we went for the following:

It’s My Life – Talk Talk

And Your Bird Can Sing – The Beatles

Skin Deep – The Stranglers

Air That I Breathe – The Hollies

Untouchable – Rialto

Hopefully that selection would secure a second date. If not then we would have to question her taste and we wouldn’t want to be with her anyway…….

Which is the song you wish you had written every time you hear it? And why?

We would have loved to have written Yesterday or Merry Xmas Everybody so we wouldn’t have to ever work again! Failing that, Dancing With Myself by Gen X is the perfect powerpop song. It builds, it’s simple with a great beat, it has a great riff, great lyrics and a great hook. And the album it’s from, Kiss Me Deadly, is grossly underrated. Well worth a listen.

If you could tour the world with 2 other bands, who would you ask to join?

I’m going to cheat a little here and jump in a time machine back to 1977. We would have loved to have been part of the Stiff Live Stiffs tour. Imagine the package of Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and Wreckless Eric. Although we would probably have needed a spell in rehab afterwards! For a current band we would plump for King Crimson. Their shows are awesome, often featuring 3 drummers, countless guitarists and Robert Fripp’s outrageous and inventive lead guitar.

If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?

A big studio would be perfect with a top class producer. Abbey Road with Tony Visconti or Andy Partridge would be ideal. Failing that our local studio, Fairview, with Bill Nelson would be excellent. And not just because I could walk there and back! Simon would love Trevor Horn in Sarm Studio. Now that would test the budget.

What’s up for 2018?

This is shaping up to be an incredibly busy year. We’ve just released our album, PEARLS, on US label koolkatmusik. It’s available on cd and download however, if we can get enough interest, it will be released on vinyl as well. In May we are appearing at the world famous Cavern Club in Liverpool as part of the IPO Festival and in June we are supporting Duncan Reid and The Big Heads. At the beginning of August our cover of SMELL OF INCENSE is being released on Fruits de Mer Records. The single is being launched at their 16th Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival at which we will be performing an acoustic set. In September we are bringing The Darling Buds to Hull to do a gig with them. We’ve also submitted a track to Canadian label, TBM Records, for their tribute album to Adrian Borland and The Sound. Our cover of COUNTING THE DAYS will feature. This album should be released later this year. And we continue to write and record. Exciting times ahead!!!

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JACKIE DAYTONA – SHE’S SO HOT (Q&A)

If you like The Killers, The White Stripes, Royal Blood, Spoon, Weezer, The Black Keys … you will probably like Jackie Daytona. Big time!

Garage Power Pop from Texas.

Jackie Daytona is Jackie himself and drummer Justin Robinson. The two released their debut ep She’s so Hot a little while ago and it is just great! Big songs, big hooks, big words.

Buy She’s So Hot here

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

The most fun aspect of making this record was that it was Justin and me, just bass and drums for all of the initial tracking.  Most people don’t realize it, but this is very much a “drum and bass” project.  I wrote all the songs on bass guitar and most of the lead parts are a bass guitar.  I really wanted the record to only consist of drums, bass, and vocals, but as the record developed, I felt that the songs needed a little more to make them shine.

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

I remember clearly when we were tracking “Hot And Sweaty” and I motioned for a breakdown / solo….we did it and it just worked so well.  I remember looking at him and thinking that we may be onto a project that was more than just “for fun”.

Also, listeners should listen out for the end of “She’s So Hot”- that is Justin and I laughing at the end of the song after tracking it live – including that ridiculous drum solo he plays!

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

Every mixtape I have ever made starts with “Love Fool” by the Cardigans.  I would start there and see what happens.

Do you feel part of a community, the power pop community?  

We are still so new, that every day we get contacted by Power Pop fans who enjoy what we have come up with, and I never could have imagined such a warm reception by a genre of music.  I really look forward to getting to know more fans and artists/bands.

If you could tour the world with 2 other bands, who would you ask to join?  

This is easy.  The Killers and Tom Petty (RIP).

If the budget was unlimited, how would you record the next record?  

Honestly, we wouldn’t do much different.  We’d still record the record in my garage, only I would hire an engineer to aid in the recording process.  During the recording of “She’s So Hot”, I was playing, singing, engineering and producing.  This next time around Id love to focus on the performance side of it and let someone else worry about sounds/levels/compression/EQ/etc.

What’s up for 2018?  

I’m really hoping to start another record in the Fall and release by 2019.  I have most of the new songs written, and I’m ready to get back in the studio.

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Introducing … THE EGO RITUAL

“It has a sound like it was conceived in the late 60’s, given some 70’s guitar and some 90’s swagger and then let loose now!”. That’s how Wayne Lundqvist Ford, the Ice Cream man, describes the music of The Ego Ritual, B-Leaguers’ Jim Strying’s new band.

Let’s ask Jim what is going on.

1. The Ego Ritual, new band, new sound?

Yeah, new band and I guess a new sound, but the big melodies are still there! Everyone is going to bring their own influences to the band’s sound, though we don’t really write to any set of rules, or have a blueprint, we just go wherever it takes us. And it’s taken us to some far out places…

2. You are working on your debut, an ep. What’s there to expect?

Yes, we’re currently in the studio working on the songs that will become our debut, 4 track EP. We thought about doing a full album, but decided to test the water first. If people react well to the EP, we’ll look at doing a full length record. What’s to expect? The unexpected! Big guitars, big drums, big melodies!  A healthy dose of psychedelia! Stay tuned…

3. How did this band come together?

The stars aligned! William James Ward, our guitarist, I hadn’t seen for many years. One day he turns up at my door with a guitar and says, ‘let’s write some songs’ So that’s exactly what we did! Gaz Wilde, our drummer, I had known through other projects, as he owns the studio we record at. He’s a great drummer and an excellent sound engineer and producer. Things just fell into place, we’ve been lucky.

4. Any goals set? Ambitions shared between all members?

Well, at the moment we’re all focussed on getting the EP finished. It’s coming together and sounding great. We’re just taking it one step at a time. As I mentioned, if people like it, we’ll look at doing an album. We’re not setting ourselves unrealistic targets, things will happen if they’re going to happen.

5. When will the ep hit the stores/hit the digital platforms ?

We’re planning to release the EP late summer, probably with a song released a few weeks earlier (with accompanying video)

It’ll be available on both CD and download versions, from our bandcamp. You can keep up to date with all info at our facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/theegoritual/

The Rallies – Serve (Q&A)

Powerpopaholic writes: The Rallies are a tight four-piece band from Tacoma, Washington fronted by Steve Davis (vocals/guitar), Lee Brown (drums), Jeff Weidman (guitar), and Rick Jones (bass). Fans of The Rembrandts, Matthew Sweet, and Crowded House will really enjoy the Rallies sound.

Sweet Sweet Music talked to Steve

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

For me the fun was the creative and collabortive process in the studio. The experimentation and trying out ideas on the spot was very cool. Hope to get back there sometime soon and record our next album.

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

I’m not sure there’s ever a point when you have a thought like that about your own music, but I have had it about others. I can tell you I’ve had moments during the initial song writing and creation that on the first playback of a new song its brought a big smile to my face. 🙂 Also there’ve been times during the recording process in studio when the tracks are first being mixed that an old song somehow sounds new again, that’s a cool feeling.

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

I’m pretty sure that I don’t know what the “music industry” really is… which probably shows that I’ve never actually been a part of it. So I’m probably not qualified to answer this question. But I can say that as a music listener when I go searching for good new music that I’m not browsing through the standard “music industry” channels, I can’t seem to find it there.

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

This sounds like a question right out of the John Cusack movie High Fidelity, which is a great movie by the way. John’s character Rob said “The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.”. So with those rules in mind, how about this song order; Still Gonna Want You, You Don’t Know, Every Now And Then, So Right, These Are The Words.

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

For me as a songwriter the answer is simple, the success is in the completion of the album. The culmination of all that time, energy, and money is something that all the people involved in creating that music should be proud of.

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PACIFIC RADIO – Pretty, but killing me

‘Pretty, but killing me’ is one of my favorite records of last year. Released in December, so still as fresh as fresh can be. Pacific Radio combines all there is to like: Power Pop, Garage – and Indy rock. Catchy as hell, all songs. I mean ALL SONGS.

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PACIFIC RADIO IS:

 

Joe Robinson:  Guitar and Lead Vocal
Joe Stiteler:  Bass
Kyle Biane:  Guitar
Hyke Shirinian:  Drums

 

What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?
JR: The first day we recorded at Conway Studios it felt real.  Tracking in a place with that unique vibe and history really reinforces the fact that it isn’t amateur anymore.

 

JS:  We recorded three songs in Austin in the middle of March and SXSW, that had to be the most fun.

 

KB:  I think the biggest fun for me is tweaking the arrangements. We typically play the songs live for quite a while before we take them to the studio. When we finally get to record them it is fun to invent new things to make them come alive on the album.

 

HS:  Tough question for me.. The recording process is always a blast. Though so is touring it!

 

 

At what point, during writing, rehearsing, recording, did you knew you were on to something special?
JR:  I got Pro Tools and started “idea recording” songs. People kind of flipped out. That sparked the confidence I needed. They continued to get better and better as the band put their footprints on them, and here we are.

 

JS:  When we showed up to Conway Studios and started tracking drums.  It’s a special place and we were honored to be there.

 

KB:  When JR played me a demo of the song “Katie” I remember thinking we were onto something.

 

HS:  The whole process just feels special.  The way it has all come together, you know?

 

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

JR:  It has brought anxiety. It hasn’t brought a Lamborghini.

 

JS:  We’re adapting to the new process of cyber interaction.  A long way from the times of handing out flyers in person or spray painting our logo onto a sidewalk.

 

KB:  I think it always has been a non-traditional industry, and with the internet’s role becoming such a large factor, the “changes in the music business” are just coming faster and faster. I don’t think that we have missed or gained anything, I can say however, we go into work everyday not knowing what to expect. And that can be kind of exciting.
She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mixtape if there is going to be a second date. Which 5 would you put on?

JR:  “Skyway” The Replacements
      “Rave On” M. Ward
      “I Only Want You” Eagles of Death Metal
      “Peg” Steely Dan
      “Roadrunner” Modern Lovers

 

JS:  “Every Breath You Take” The Police
      “Tyler” The Toadies
      “Keep On Loving You” REO Speedwagon
      “Walk” Pantera
      “This Love” Pantera

 

KB:  “Across the Sea” Weezer
      “Overcaffeinated” Yellowbirddd
      “I Only Have Eyes for You” The Flamingos
      “Caroline No” The Beach Boys
      “Debra” Beck

 

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

JR:  Pacific Radio is a “success”, but there is plenty of room in my bank account for more “success”

 

JS:  Success is the journey, not the destination.

 

HS:  To me… It already is. It was a huge endeavor and we’re all proud of it


KB:  I am with Hyke, this whole adventure is a blast, and we are constantly setting new high water marks for ourselves. I am just glad we get to keep doing it.

 

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THE MYLARS – MELODY RECORDS

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The music of The Mylars has been compared to Bruce Springsteen and Rick Springfield. Heartland rock and Power Pop.

 

Most important, Melody Records contains 9 quality songs.

 

Sweet Sweet Music talked to Danny and Quig.

 

 

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

 
Actually, the thing that was the most fun for us was just sitting back on the last day of mixing and listening to the record in its entirety. It was definitely a very proud moment for The Mylars.

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

 
We knew we were on to something special right from the very beginning of the writing process. Every song took on a life of its own and each one brought with it a sense of new excitement.

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

 
The music industry has certainly changed a lot. Along with the change comes the sense of freedom to write and record exactly what we wanted, how we wanted.

We were able to capture the sound we were hearing in our heads without the outside distractions and influences of people with a different agenda.
It also gave us the ability to own 100% of the rights to our future.

 

 

 

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

 
1) I Melt with You- Modern English
2) Hold Me Now- Thompson Twins
3) If You Leave- OMD
4) Don’t You Forget About Me- Simple Minds
5) When it comes down to making out, Whenever possible put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV

 
The meaning of ‘success’ has changed over the years. When will the new record be a success?
We believe a record goes thru many successes. The fact that the record is out in the world and that people are truly enjoying it is definitely a success for us on a certain level.
We believe that the ultimate success for this record would be for every person who truly loves power pop rock as much as we do to have the chance to enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.

 

THE STANLEYS – THE STANLEYS

“If there’s a better pure power pop album that’s been released in 2017, I’d like to hear it. In the meantime, I’d like to hear ‘The Stanleys’ four or five more times. Grade: A” – Goldmine Magazine (US)

Mark Di Renzo ‘explains it all’.

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

There can be frustrating moments along the way when making an album but I do feel for me it’s pretty much all fun. The most rewarding aspect of making an album is being part of the journey of each song starting as just an idea, then slowly building all the solid foundations, then listening back writing and adding new parts, taking away things, trying ideas and sometimes accidentally and unintentionally adding awesome parts, then finally finishing a song that is ready to be released to the world!

WATCH and/or BUY

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

For me it was once we’d written and recorded the first half of the album. At that point I was so excited about that half and I knew we all wanted to write more songs we felt were just as good as the first half of the album or even better!   I think musicians like myself and others can be their own biggest critics.  Therefore, if you can get to a point where you are very excited about your own work and know that no matter what anyone else thinks you love it, that is a great place to be.

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

If we start with the “what nots” I feel the main thing is the lessening in value of music as a product.  Its obviously a lot harder to sell and make revenue from physical and digital music than it has been in the past.

However, the internet (via music blogs and social media) is a great medium for discovering new music from all over the world and it has made the world a much smaller place.  It has helped The Stanleys to connect with power pop lovers from all around the world to assist with releasing and promoting our music and organising tours overseas.  We’ve been lucky enough to play gigs in many places in Europe and USA as well as a few places in Asia and I hope we can visit some more places in this big world of ours!

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

That’s a tough one to answer without knowing the actual girl I’m dating but whomever she might be I’d like some variety in there so these 5 below might work well together:

Pavement – Stereo

Jet – Rollover DJ

The Stone Roses – Waterfall

The Smithereens – Too Much Passion

Prince – 1999

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

To me the record is already a success and I am very grateful. To have three labels in different parts of the world invest some money and their time and effort into releasing the album, many music journalists from different parts of the globe say lovely things about it, many people come watch us on tour and many radio DJs from all over the world play songs from the album on their shows makes us very happy.

And now at the end of the year to be included in some Best of 2017 lists, the album’s reception has really been way beyond our expectations. I hope we can get back on the road and tour again next year to meet some more lovely people around the globe.  It’s a wonderful thing to be able to share your music with people!

2017 was a punk rock year for Sweet Sweet Music

2017 was a punk rock year for Sweet Sweet Music.

01. Japandroids – Near to the Wild Heart of Life

02. The Menzingers – After The Party

03. The Lillingtons – Stella Sapiente

04. Together Pangea – Bulls and Roosters

05. Hot Water Music – Light it Up

06. Pacific Radio – Pretty, but killing me

07. The Front Bottoms – Going Grey

08. Citizen – As You Please

09. Brand New – Science Fiction

10. Acid Tongue – Babies