Ladyhawke performs live at the Avalon on October 3rd.
Read more / Permalink
Amazing Baby Interview
By Alexander Laurence
Amazing Baby is a band from Brooklyn. The main members are Will Roan
(vocals), and Simon O’Connor (guitar). They are joined live by Don Devore (bass
guitar), Ryan Rapsys (drums), and Rob Laakso (guitar). Their first album
Rewild (2009) came out in June of this year. They are known in the LA area for
playing shows with Phoenix, Band of Skulls, and The Entrance Band. Their
recent show at the Troubadour was definitely a highlight of the week. They are
currently on tour. Check them out. I got to sit down with them and talk at Dan
AL: How is it living in Brooklyn now?
Will: Actually it’s really nice. I just moved to into a new apartment in
August. Everyone except Ryan lives in Brooklyn. We all live close to each
other in Williamsburg and Greenpoint. If the weather is nice, you can
comfortably walk to any of our apartments. We haven’t been there much this year. We
have been traveling and playing shows all over the world this past summer. I
feel lucky though. Every time we come home, it’s like coming home from the
war: everyone wants to hang out. When we leave, you get to have a goodbye
drink with all your friends. We are friends who are really talented who share a
similar lifestyle. Friendships have developed out of mutual respect of what
it’s like to be in a band.
AL: When the initial scene in Williamsburg happened with Yeah Yeah Yeahs
and TV on The Radio in 2001, where were you?
Will: I was going to Bard College. It’s two hours north upstate. I worked
at a record store in high school. When I went back for the holidays, they
would cut me a deal on records. I would order CDs and the next time I showed up
they would have it in stock. I remember getting Outhud and Lansing-Dreiden.
AL: It’s all about meeting and greeting the fans.
Will: A lot of people identify with bands that are real personable. We are
friends with Au Revoir Simone. They actually sing on one of our songs. We
are going to release it as a digital single. Every time they play, they make
it a point to work the merch table, and try to connect with everybody. I was
at the merch table last night.
AL: How does the songwriting happen in the band?
Will: The songwriting happens because I communicate with Jesus Christ.
AL: Do you channel JC?
Will: We started out as a home recording project. We got a lot of good
feedback. The first song we put up was “Invisible Palace.”
Simon: And then we had a party. It was a Myspace launch party. It was crazy.
AL: It was a slow night?
Simon: We had that party. Then we released the next batch of songs
including “The Narwhal” and “Headdress.”
AL: That was about a year and a half ago?
Will: Yes. It was in the beginning of 2008.
AL: There was the thing about people writing about Amazing Baby before you
had released anything and before you had played any shows. How do you feel
Will: Absolutely! I was excited. I was happy. I felt lucky. Everyone in the
band have had experiences with other bands. This is the first band where
people were interested in what we were doing. That was awesome. In hindsight,
it would be good to have a build up. Because anything that happens quickly,
can end quickly. You have to be smart when that all happens.
AL What were some of the other bands?
Simon: I have been in bands since I was fourteen.
AL: Some hardcore punk stuff?
Simon: Yeah. Actually I did do that.
AL: How did that go over?
Simon: That went great. It’s easy music to create, and it’s easy to enjoy.
This is our first show: yeah, destroy! Moshing hard! It’s fun as hell, but
it’s not very lucrative. Doing that past the age of twenty-two is too much.
AL: Do kids come to your shows demanding speed?
Simon: We have fast songs. We are a loud band, but we are not a hardcore
Will: I don’t think that people come to our shows expecting blast beats. If
they did we would give it to them.
AL: Do you have that in your arsenal?
Simon: Don and I have a side-project called Painus. We are a thrash band.
AL: Some of these bands that you have played with, Phoenix, Band of Skulls,
and The Entrance Band, seem like three different sorts of bands.
Will: We played a few shows with Band of Skulls, but we never toured with
them. We are a pop band overall. I would have liked to tour with Entrance
Band first. We have pop songs, so it makes sense to tour with Phoenix, but our
live show is more heavy rock. We are more psychedelic rock, so it makes
sense to play shows with Entrance Band.
AL: Did you play some festivals this year?
Will: Yeah. We played a bunch. We played in Japan, which was insane. It was
the Fuji Rock Festival and it was wonderful. It was one of the most
beautiful places that I have ever been. The crowd was crazy and enthusiastic. A lot
of festivals are like that. People go to these festivals because they want
to enjoy themselves. There is a lot of public urination. People ash in cups.
AL: Did you work with a producer on the record?
Will: We finished the record in January 2009. We did a lot of stuff
ourselves. We went to studios in New York. Most of the songwriting happens at home.
Simon: All songwriting is also recording. We don’t sit around with acoustic
guitars. Every idea we had we would record immediately, and then see what
AL: You are constantly laying down tracks?
Will: Yeah. It’s awesome to have new music all the time. You can email it
to your girlfriend. I don’t play guitar, so I can’t play acoustic guitar at
a party with a girl in a room.
AL: What is a good song to play, to close the deal with a girl?
Simon: I would say “Wicked Game” by Chris Issac. Bam! That will close the
AL: That is a good one.
Simon: “Cats In The Cradle.” Girls love it.
Will: Most of our songs were recorded and produced. The only song that
isn’t like that is “Headdress.” Simon wrote that on acoustic guitar. It is such
a heavily produced song, but it works on acoustic guitar too. That is a
song that you would want to play to a girl in a Jacuzzi.
AL: I saw a thing online in Fader Magazine. They were making fun of you
because you had an acoustic bass guitar.
Simon: When was the last time you saw an acoustic bass guitar? When Alice
In Chains played MTV Unplugged.
AL: Does all the live shows influence what the next record would be like?
Will: Everything we have done in the past year will impact what we do next.
All the mistakes and all the lessons will all go into it. In general,
everyone has their little place they go to write music. Playing a bunch of shows
doesn’t change that.
AL: Are you looking forward to playing any shows?
Will: I am looking forward to playing our show in New York City. We played
one show in Manhattan this year, supporting Yeasayer. That was wonderful.
There was like seven thousand people there.
Simon: We also played with Phoenix. We haven’t played our own show in New
York this year 2009. It’s great doing shows, and people came to see you.
AL: People sing the lyrics back to you?
Will: Yeah. It’s incredible. We are a difficult band. We do write pop
music, but we try to be experimental, and bring a nuance to it. We are not
extremely trendy. It makes people have to pay attention and listen. We have a
sound and a style with so much room to grow.
Read more / Permalink
Interview by Alexander Laurence
AL: Maybe we should talk about Haiti. Are you still in contact with people there?
Edwidge: I still have a lot of family there. I still keep in touch with friends and family there. I keep in contact with Haiti. Last December there was an election. At the end of February there was an inauguration of a new president, Rene Prevtal. It was the first time in Haitian history that a president had been elected democratically, where one president turned power over to another. It was a big deal. So the new president is trying to move things forward. Rene Prevtal's biggest obstacle is that the country is bankrupt because of all the stuff that happened before, since 1986. Our problem is that we are very dependent on outside aid. The monetary fund want the president to privatize.
AL: The relationship between Haiti and the United States has been good?
Edwidge: It's been okay. But there are always those moments when it turns a little bit. The last thing that Clinton did was establish relations with Cuba. That didn't go over so well with Haiti.
AL: What sort of politics are there in Haiti?
Edwidge: They have had elections since the dictatorship ended in 1986. The military has stepped in a few times. My Uncle who lives there is a minister.
AL: How did you get involved in writing?
Edwidge: I think it started from reading so much. My Uncle worked in a school and he gave me books. I started reading when I was very young. From reading I developed a love for writing. It is wasn't because there was a writer in my family.
AL: Does you family think that it's odd that you wanted to be a writer?
Edwidge: There's some much involved with immigration. So much is sacrificed in my parents coming here. They leave their lives behind. They expect you to do something stable and grounded. My parents wanted me to be a doctor. They got over it. But I was also the oldest. I was supposed to set a path for the others. I have three younger brothers. My brother Andre is a teacher. Another one is a musician. None of them want to be writers.
AL: Wouldn't you like to write things in French or Creole?
Edwidge: I don't think it's odd. I came here when I was twelve. I adapted. I spoke Creole at home and French at school. I liked to write in English. When I first started writing, I wasn't thinking about publishing it. I was working and writing. It just happened. It wasn't very calculated. Writing in any language is difficult. Only about twenty percent of people in Haiti speak French everyday of their life. I've written some stuff in Creole for the radio because radio is a strong medium in Haiti. I go back there whenever I can.
AL: Is there a publishing or writing scene in Haiti?
Edwidge: There's a lot of writers. The obstacle there is that you have to pay for it yourself. So if you are poor you can't really published. There are musicians and performers.
AL: The Haitian immigration has been going on for how long?
Edwidge: There were a lot first in Savannah, Georgia. Then in the 1920s and 1930s, there were a lot of immigrants concentrated in Harlem. Not just from Haiti but all over the Caribbean. Then the biggest immigration from Haiti was in the 1960s when Papa Doc was in power. He drove a bunch of people out when he was dictator. Especially people who were professional. Some went to Africa, some came to France, but most came to the United States.
AL: Was the Castro revolution in 1957 affect anything there?
Edwidge: Papa Doc was already in power at that time. When Castro came in, it gave Papa Doc a scare. That might have given people an idea for revolution. Instead people started leaving in droves up until the 1980s. Poorer people left in the 1970s, when my parents left, then you had boat people in the 1980s. Then you had the military, and economical and political pressures. My dad left in 1971 and my mother in 1975.
AL: How did they leave?
Edwidge: My father came out the normal way with a visa and stuff. He sent for my mother. My brother and I couldn't come till eight years later. I was talking to my brother about this last night. He was remembering things. I was poor but I didn't remember being poor. I just remember kid stuff and going to the countryside in the summer when it was really beautiful. We used to have kite wars. When it rained you would go outside.
AL: When did you start writing the books?
Edwidge: I came here in 1981. I went to high school in Crown Heights. I worked for a newspaper that was sent out to New York City public high schools. I wrote an essay about my experiences coming here. After that I started writing stories. I was writing all the time since I was sixteen. When I went to college I started taking some writing classes. I started showing it to people at Barnard. I had about seventy pages of it then. I put it away for a year. Then I finished it at graduate school.
AL: Were there any writers that you were influenced by?
Edwidge: You always look up to writers but you don't think that you can do the same thing. Writers are always like tired old baggage. I remember reading Jacques Roumain early on. He was the first person to write about the peasant life. It was the first time I had seen Haitian imagery. He had written the book in the 1930s. Most of the Haitian writers modeled themselves on French Writers. Victor Hugo was big back then. We were stuck in a Romantic style for a while. I think that Roumain was one of the first writers to look what was going on in Africa and his own environment, rather than relying on abstract models of the Symbolists. There was a whole moment happening at the same time of the Harlem Renaissance. That was the first time I read about people I knew. That made a strong impression on me.
AL: Granta picked you as one the best writers under forty. How do you feel about that?
Edwidge: It's always nice to be chosen. I didn't campaign for it. I'm not sure how it happened. It's fair to protest. For the people who were chosen: we had nothing to do with it. For me the most important thing is the writing and the process and the enjoyment. I know that the Granta thing was controversial. This passes and people forget it. You go on by yourself and write.
AL: What are some of your other influences?
Edwidge: I like to walk and think things out. That is really inspiring. Also the movies. You really think about the economy about storytelling. Nothing is wasted. Even in the worst movie everything has a purpose. I prefer silence when writing. That was hard to come by when growing up with three boys. You can tune out.
Read more / Permalink
Listen to 'Never My Love'
Read more / Permalink
PERHAPS IN CLOUDED SHROUDS
Devendra Banhart and Dana Kline
By Alexander Laurence
Devendra Banhart stormed on the music scene in 2002 with his very first album. He started a folk revolution with his very original and idiosyncratic four albums in four years, and many his tours worldwide. He even showed up in a Beck video. The twenty-five year old Banhart seemed to be everywhere for a moment. Years ago he was even willing to give attention to the then burgeoning group Vetiver. I watched him enjoy the music of Vetiver during a sound check. He was like the biggest music fan ever. There was a real joy and innocence to Banhart’s whole fresh perspective. Banhart had a real knack for seeing art where no one was looking.
Devendra Banhart has been frequently mistyped as some leader of a “freak folk” movement, especially in the UK. He is aware of several music traditions and he listens to modern music too. He has always been a huge fan of Caetano Veloso. Recently he played a show with Bert Jansch. In interviews, Banhart seems displeased when the journalists have pegged him as some retro act. He is not a retro act at all. It’s very modern music with influences and new ideas. With his early songs like “Roots…” it was obvious that he was trying to re-animate the world, and all animals, and all things in it.
All along Banhart seemed to have worked out of some artistic sketchbook. Some ideas would become songs and some painting and drawings. Years ago he used to perform in art galleries. His work has been on most of his albums. Many of the drawings are ink on paper, and act as another layer in his total vision. The images themselves are dreamlike, displaced, worldly, and interrupted by a subtle darkness. Recently he got together with poet and childhood friend, Dana Kline, and published a book called “Perhaps In Clouded Shrouds.” They had a party in New York where the band Golden Animals played. Devendra has recently moved to Venice, California, to work on his new album and other projects.
I spoke to Dana Kline recently about how this book came about. Dana Kline explained the beginnings: “Devendra and I have known each other ten years. I moved to New York City and he would stay with me whenever he was in town. I would play with him. We talked about collaborating. We weren’t sure what it was going to be. I met this person, Morgan, who owned this store called Number Six. It is a vintage shop in Soho. She said she wanted to have this art show every six months. She was involved in a small publishing adventure with her boyfriend. She asked me if I wanted to be involved. I remembered this collaboration idea I had. Devendra sent me this set of drawings and I responded to each one with a poem. It took about six months to come together.”
Some art books are real collaborations and some are brilliant ideas that seem to mirror the two artists separate worlds. Dana Kline explains how this book is a true collaboration: “I wanted to created a dialogue between the words and images. I would look at each image, drink a bottle of wine, and write something based on the characters, from their perspectives. Or I would look at certain words and sculpt them into a poem. Much of the time I was thinking of our friendship. It was about the fact that we were living on different coasts. I remembered some of the hardcore punk shows that we went to when we were fourteen.”
The drawings are wonderful, and poetry by Kline has great moments too. I loved lines like “Sweet infiltrated fork toes of unabridged glee!” I mentioned that some, who just know Devendra through his music, would be surprised to know that he also has this artist’s background. Kline says: “People who are creative have an aptitude for displaying that. Devendra is a dreamer. That comes out in the way he carried himself and the way he speaks. His vision is very specific. People can focus on certain ways to visualize the world. He has been drawing and playing guitar since I met him. That was when we were in grade school. He has always been working on many different projects.”
Really Devendra is the most modern artist. Devendra is connected to everything in the natural world. He is just being himself. Devendra is like sunshine.
Read more / Permalink
|Devotion Implosion UK/Europe album release day||UK & Europe|
|UK/EUROPE TOUR BEGINS|
|BIVOUAC @ SCY||Lincoln|
|NIGHT ’N DAY||Manchester|
|WHITE NOISE @ THE ELECTRIC CIRCUS||Edinburgh|
|KING TUTS w/ THE HOURS||Glasgow|
|BURN DOWN THE DISCO||Barnsley|
|GO: CLUB @ THE ROYAL w/ The Kull||Derby|
|HOWL @ MET UNIVERSITY||Leeds|
Read more / Permalink
They are playing Saturday night at the Troubadour!
Read more / Permalink
Miranda Lee Richards
Read more / Permalink
October 17th & 18th 2009: The Flaming Lips, MGMT, The Decemberists, MSTRKRFT And Many More...
|For the past two years the Treasure Island Music Festival has been determined to minimize its effect on the planet, diverting 72% of its waste to recycling and composting, and this year they are looking to reduce their waste even further. This year's reductions begin on the trip to Treasure Island thanks to partnerships with Bauer's and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. Bauer's zero-emissions buses will bring festival goers directly from AT&T Park to Treasure Island, while the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition will provide complimentary valet bike parking at Lot A of AT&T Park. |
Once at the festival, patrons will be directed to properly dispose of their waste thanks to Clean Vibes - an organization dedicated to diverting as much waste as possible away from the world's landfills. On Treasure Island their staff and volunteers will be directing people to properly dispose of their waste whether it be recyclable, compostable, or not.
In addition to these initiatives, Global Inheritance will once again be bringing their TRASHed Recycling Store to the grounds, where the group will accept bottles, plastic cups and old cell phones in exchange for various prizes.
All printed materials at the festival use recycled paper; all napkins, paper towels, and toilet paper are made from recycled products; and cups, plates, and utensils are biodegradable. Leftover food will be brought to Bay Area shelters. Bio-diesel generators will power the entire festival.
Also new this year to Treasure Island is the Refillable Water Program, which will cut down plastic bottle consumption. The festival is offering two different refillable spring water options for the audience's convenience, they can either purchase a TIMF branded stainless steel water bottle at the water station or the merchandise tent and receive free refills of spring water all weekend, or bring their own water bottle from home and purchase refills for $1.
The festival is also asking ticket buyers to add one or two dollars to their ticket purchase to help reduce the carbon footprint of the festival. All money collected will go towards renewable energy and reforestation programs.
A limited quantity of $115.00 2-Day tickets and VIP Single Day 2-Packs are available and can be purchased through www.treasureislandfestival.com. A VIP 2-Pack includes two VIP tickets to one day, one parking spot on island, preferred viewing area with bleachers, lounge with full bar and other amenities. Single Day tickets are available for $65.00. To offset traffic congestion and the limited amount of parking on the island, Treasure Island Music Festival will be providing shuttles on and off the island to ticket holders at no additional cost.
LTJ Bukem feat. MC Conrad
Crown City Rockers
Sunday, October 18th, 2009
The Flaming Lips
Yo La Tengo
Thao with The Get Down Stay Down
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Your Treasure Island experience is brought to you by your friends at Noise Pop and Another Planet Entertainment.
For more information on Treasure Island Music Festival please visit www.treasureislandfestival.com
Read more / Permalink
September 13, 2009, 6:17 pm
Jim Carroll, Poet and Punk Rocker, Is DeadBy The New York Times
Jim Carroll, the poet and punk rocker in the outlaw tradition of Rimbaud and Burroughs who chronicled his wild youth in “The Basketball Diaries,” died Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 60.
The cause was a heart attack, said Rosemary Carroll, his former wife.
As a teenage basketball star in the 1960s at Trinity, an elite private school on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Mr. Carroll led a chaotic life that combined sports, drugs and poetry. This highly unusual combination lent a lurid appeal to “The Basketball Diaries,” the journal he kept during high school and published in 1978, by which time his poetry had already won him a cult reputation as the new Bob Dylan.The full obituary by William Grimes can be found here.
Read more / Permalink