Sunday, January 22, 2012

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Why Music Needs Bloc Party More Than Ever

For Indie Rock/Post-Punk Revival junkies like myself there's little to listen to to satisfy our unyielding thirst for a jangly power chord , a bass drum steadily thudding along to the beat and a bass guitar vibrating your intestines.

Guitars have really fell by the wayside these past few years in music. Looking back at last year there's only seven artists I see that used guitars as a main asset on their album: Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Yuck, Minks, Arctic Monkeys and the Strokes.

Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes we can respectfully take out of this equation for obvious reasons.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart don't exactly "rock" as much as the type of music I'm talking about, nor do Yuck or Minks in a sense.

"Suck It and See" was just...bad.

The Strokes almost had it. God damn it was so exciting when Under Cover of Darkness was first released, I thought they had it, captured what made them so great on "Is This It" and "Room on Fire" but a large portion of the album was soft and not in the same style.

I'm not saying any of these albums are bad, just that they're not what I'm hoping for.

So what are we left with?



We do have a glimmer of hope, Bloc Party are working on a new album, and so far have around 20 songs in the making.

It's more important that Bloc Party makes an impression now than it was in 2005 when they were hyped to be the band of 2005.

In 2005 what Bloc was doing was in a sense unique compared to other bands, but they were one note in a huge landscape of riffs and handclaps. They were different from other Indie Rock bands, but the difference now and then is that there were actually other bands that were comparable to Bloc Party in 2005. In 2005 we had The Strokes (when they were better), Interpol (when they were better), Arctic Monkeys (when they were better), Editors, Franz Ferdinand, Maximo Park, The Cribs, Bloc Party, The Futureheads, and so on.

Now the landscape's been deserted, there's a tumbleweed here and there (What's up Strokes?) but it seems permanently dead, uninhabited, lost and unloved.

This is why the music scene needs Bloc Party.

We need guitars.

We need bass.

We need drums.

We need Bloc Party.

We need music like this

Judging by Kele's recent remarks on Radio 1 saying that, "It's nice to make music that sounds like all four of us playing together in a room," and recent pictures that Russell has been tweeting, we have something to hold on to, something to look forward to and something we're going to be able to rock out to.

Three of the four members, calmly resting around their instruments, with the fourth one taking a picture from his. We see the guitars and drums in place of where laptops and other electronic devices would be, now we just have to wait to listen to them.

Friday, January 20, 2012

New Minks Song - Painted Indian! (I'm Back Bitches!)

"Black to white to red to white and back to red."

The first song that I really started to like last year was 'Araby' by Minks, it would be fitting that they would be the first song this year in so many ways.

'Painted Indian' really does differ from Minks's earlier work. Yeah that thumping bass and emphasis on snare is still present, but the overall feeling is a lot more energetic and optimistic from what we're used to from music. It's strange to think that two years ago the same musician who made this buoyant tune started one of his most well known songs with, "Wherever people go, darkness will always follow. There is no way to lead a quiet life."

The lyrics still have the same undertone though, I haven't listened enough to find out what exactly the song is about (if there is a meaning, right now I'm thinking it might be a criticism of cynical people who hate everything, like these guys ) but the lyric, "You have your sunglasses on, and you hate everyone," really sticks out.

Anyway, good tune, really loving the harmonies and synthy feel it has to it.

Minks said on their tumblr that they're working on a new album, so look forward to that.

It's great to be back and I promise to post a hell of a lot more often.

Minks - Painted Indian

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Hey everyone, I'm really sorry for the lack of posts lately!

I wanted to get an interview with Yeasayer and Matt and Kim, but, unfortunately, both acts were unable to do it.

I still have to do my interview with Matt Tong, but only 5 questions!

Also, I will be seeing Interpol Monday night, which will leave me with my first concert review!

Here's a video from when I saw them in August, best concert I went to last year:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Interview with Edwin of Foals

I was in the middle of transcribing all of it when my computer froze, I'm not going through it again, it took 3 hours to begin with. I'll give you guys the general answers though, it won't be word for word as I was originally going to have it but most of it will be exactly what he said.

Neader: I'm here with Edwin of Foals, not The Foals, how do you feel when people call you The Foals?

Edwin: We're over it. It use to irritate us years ago but we're use to it now. Here in America foals aren't as well known or common like in England, in England generally everyone knows what foals are.

Neader: Yeah, when I first heard of you guys, I didn't know what foals were, so I searched on Wikipedia and found out. Now, when I search you guys, you come up. How's that feel, all this success, Mercury, NME, everything?

Edwin: That's a good question. We didn't mean to change the definition but it feels good, we feel more self-assured. We use to be quite anxious about our recordings. We would worry about where we were going. There's an enormous amount of the music industry focused on breaking new bands and we feel like we've done that, we've done two records. We've received some good nominations and won some awards so we feel a bit rooted now.

Neader: A bit different from your humble begins as house parties. Are those over now?

Edwin: Yeah. It wouldn't really work with our new material. We use to get hounded in the U.K. after the Skins thing through Myspace messages of people just messaging us "Hey I'm turning 16 next week I'll give you £50" some actually offered us a lot of money. It ruins the point though. The last house party we ever did was so busy it actually felt a bit dangerous. We're on tour now, so there's no need. The whole point of house parties was playing shows when we didn't have any, and I think now, on a day off, the last thing we would want to do is play a show.

Neader: How's the tour been so far in the U.S?

Edwin: It's been good

Neader: Disappointed you had to miss the Royal Wedding?

Edwin: Not at all. I didn't even know when it was happening. People talk about it, and people chat about it, but I don't care.

Neader: Earlier this year you were working on an album in Australia, can you tell us how that went?

Edwin: That went badly. We didn't really accomplish much in terms of songs. It wasn't like wasted, it was kind of disappointing. We went over and recorded with the brother of Dave Ma, Jono Ma. The two brothers are really talented, one does videos and Jono's the producer. He's got his fingers all over the place. He's opened our eyes to a lot of possibilities on the new record, synthesizes and drum machines that we haven't used before. It's given us a foundation to take our new record.

Neader: How would you describe that foundation music wise?

Edwin: A lot of old synthesizers, drum machines, and sound samples which I think we're going to stack pile.

Neader: You have a new song you're playing live right?

Edwin: Yeah, it's not a song, I mean it is a song. That had nothing to do with Sydney or Australia. That's just something we decided to play. I think it's important when we go on tour that we're doing something to enjoy ourselves. We've been touring for 14 months, and it's not that any of us think it's boring, it's just that we can easily get complacent about how we play them.

Neader: So what's happening with O-Funk? Is it dead?

Edwin: Unfortunately, different members of the bands have different opinions of the song. It's one of my favorites, I wanted it to go on the last record and I want it to go on this record. The approach we have to have is that only the best stuff goes on the record. So hopefully it makes it. I think it will be a little bit different but it's definitely one of those songs that has that live energy.

Neader: You have a lot of cover with Foals, from the Police, to Holy Fuck, to Gwen Stefani. How do you have such a wide variety?

Edwin: It's usually because we're told we have to do one. If you do various radio sessions the producer of the show says we need you to do a cover and we're given like a weeks notice. And there's a couple arguments like "Oh do we have to? Do we have to?" Sometimes it works, like our Police one.

Neader: I like your Swedish House Mafia One

Edwin: That one worked surprisingly well. Something them aren't the best ones in the world I'd like us to do more it's just a question of priorities. It's something that you should do for fun, and we don't do it for fun, we do it because we're told we need to do it.

Neader: Sorry that you're forced into it.

Edwin: It's not that we're forced into doing it.

Neader: What's next for Foals?

Edwin: We're going home, for ages. We're doing some festivals in the summer not very many. We have mid-May to the end of the year to do an album. We're just going to see what happens there's no real program to it, I think we're going to try and spend a lot of time together though, in a quiet easy manner. We're going to try and find a good producer and everything because that's our weakness. It's not that we've made bad producer choices, just in the writing process, we write too many songs, and when we go into the studio we have 30 songs that are unifinished and the producer has to bang our heads to together. And it's quite stressful, I think we're trying to do it...better this time? I don't know, I think we're going to let the process evolve naturally this time.

Neader: You have a lot of songs in your catalog that I feel don't get enough attention live, such as Brazil is Here, Dearth, Tron, why is this?

Edwin: I don't know. It's one of those things if a song doesn't really get written live then there isn't often a motive to start playing it live because there's a lot involved in putting it together. Brazil is Here was more or less composed in a studio and I don't think more or less we ever played it. Dearth is a different topic because that was kind of loved. There's this thing in this band where we always want to move on to different stuff and there comes a point where a song is just over, and that's happened with Dearth and it's a shame. We play it once and it was terrible, we did a surprise encore at the Squalor in London, it wasn't terrible but it wasn't amazing well.

Neader: Were they just like, what is this?

Edwin: Yeah, exactly. Tron same thing really, we just haven't played it in ages. We're trying to make our setlist more towards the new album.

Neader: Okay well I think that's it thank you.

Edwin: Thank you so much, cheers.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Interview with Wes of Ra Ra Riot and Discovery

Yesterday I got up and was looking forward to see Ra Ra Riot at the Magic Stick. I was in the middle of getting in the shower when I get a message from their Twitter asking them if I wanted to interview Wes after bombarding their Twitter with requests and being turned down by their publicist. I got that at 1:00 saying they would prefer to have it done at 8:30 without a camera and to call their tour manager when I arrived. The next 5 hours was me quickly scrambling for questions and doing all the research I could on Wes, finding something to record audio with (I ended up filming it with my camera but had the lens pointed at the floor) and other last minute preparations. When I arrived I called their manager at about 7:30, she told me they were out to eat and I told her that they wanted it at 8:30 anyway, so she just told me to contact her at 8:30. A half hour later I got a text from asking if it would be all right to do the interview after the show, I told her I was ok with that. After the show the band was walking around, I went up to Wes and told him who I was and that I was to interview him without trying to sound pompous. He was very accessible and friendly, and told me that if I could just wait around for a while he would be able to do it. After he talked to a few fans and the token group of 30 year old drunk girls who are having their night out, he approached me and we found a quiet spot by a billiard table, I thanked him for coming to Detroit and asked him how the tour was and such, then the interview began. The interview was full of a lot of laughs, positive attitude, and yeahs, which seems fitting with the type, style, and genre of music that he and Ra Ra Riot plays.

He's in blue, I'm in black


Ra Ra Riot, name kind of sounds like a thrash metal band, but you guys obviously aren't, so how did that come about? Do you know exactly?

Wes: Yeah that's kind of a boring story. We just sort of borrowed it from a friend, a friend of Milo's, our guitar player. He had a friend who had a band name but didn't have a band yet, seeing as we had a band and didn't have a name yet we sort of borrowed it, it sort of fit. I mean I think it's somewhat appropriate obviously it could be...

A thrash metal band?

Wes: *Laughs* Yeah something like that. We started off playing house parties and doing really crazy, noisy things. Yeah, it fit so it just kind of stuck.

You guys are generally a poppy band would you agree with that?

Wes: Yeah I think so.

Ok, there's something about you that makes you different from poppy, gimmicky, nonsensical music, what do you think that is?

Wes: *Laughs* Um...well I appreciate you not thinking that we're a gimmicky band. I don't know I think maybe part of it is you know at first look it might seem like having string players in a band could be a gimmick or something but, it's more about the composition. They write music with us, it's not just a direction that's given to them, they write their parts, they give us feedback, so 1/3 of the band has a totally different perspective than your average rock and roll band, so that might be part of it.

Ok, and your drummer recently left, why is that?

Wes: Yeah, Gabe left. He wrote us a letter that we put on our blog or something.

He wanted to simplify things?

Wes: Yeah he's older than us, and I think he was starting to feel like the things he wanted to do were more likely to be done at home.

Kind of like James Murphy?

Wes: I guess, somewhat yeah. He's also obsessed with the (Collapse/Claps/Claps/Clash I can't understand him, sorry!), you know like he's mapping out the fruit trees in his neighborhood and so forth.

So is your new drummer, Kenny, permanent or have you not decided on that?

Wes: I'm going to say no comment on that.

Haha kind of awkward

Wes: *Laughs* That's okay.

So your tour bus is named Mark Wahlberg?

Wes: Yes!

Big fan of Entourage?

Wes: *Laughs* This was before any of us have ever heard or watched that show I think, how long has that show been on?


Wes: 2004? The van we got in like 2007, I don't think I ever heard of Entourage until like maybe the next year. I don't know it was just one of those things like "What are we going to name the van?" Someone said Mark Wahlberg and it just stuck. And our trailer is named Buddy so we call them Mark and Buddy.

You lived in Japan for 4 months right?

Wes: Yeah

And since the tsunami you've been doing a lot for relief effort. How's that been going do you know how much you've raised?

Wes: I don't know the figures, but we played a benefit show and that was really great and sold out.

Zach Galifianakis was there right?

Wes: Yeah he was there. *Laughs* he was like an hour and 15 minutes late. But he was there! Yeah, I made a bunch of T-Shirts just like stencils and spray paint, and sold them on eBay for charity auction, and they all sold. I was really pumped about that.

Obviously everyone somewhat in someway compares you to Vampire Weekend. Is there ever going to be a tour? That would be awesome.

Wes: Well there was a tour, in the U.K. for like five shows. It wasn't a long one, and we played one show in Montclair New Jersey which is just up the road from where Ezra and I went to high school.

You guys went to high school together? Is that how you know each other?

Wes: Yeah, we've known each other since like elementary school, so yeah that was really fun just like up the road.

Hometown heroes?

Wes: *Laughs* Yeah. We've been to that theater as kids, I think separately actually, but it's just like right in our neighborhood, never thought that would happen, it was a lot of fun.

And speaking of that, anything with Discovery we can expect in the future? Possibly Ra Ra Riot and Vampire Weekend tour together with Discovery opening?

Wes: *Laughs* Well, I don't know, I hope so. I love working with Rostam and getting to work with Ezra again, that was a lot of fun, so I don't know, I really hope so, it's so difficult to get together, so much touring.

What have they been up to?

Wes: Uh...I don't really know, Rostam was just in India, he was tweeting from there. So we'll see, I hope it happens but we'll see.

And on your LP with Discovery you had a cover of the Jackson 5. Was that before or after you heard about Michael Jackson's death? Because the album came out like 2 weeks later, so probably before right?

Wes: Yeah it was way before. Yeah it was strange.

Do you remember where you were when you heard that?

Wes: Yes, I was playing tennis with my girlfriend and she got a text from her cello instructor.

Mood killer.

Wes: Yeah it was crazy, it was really hard to fathom, but we felt like we wanted to put song on the record so that's no reason not to.

Well it's a good song and a good cover.

Wes: Thanks.

Being in Detroit Motown you know, huge fan of all that music.

Wes: Oh yeah totally. Then you might also be interested to know we use to do a cover of Madonna, also a Detroit native.

Yeah my uncle's backyard matches up with Madonna's dad's backyard.

Wes: No way, wow, that's crazy.

You have a major in physics, are you ever going to put that into use? Will you be working in a lab in the future?

Wes: Well I hope not *laughs* I hope that it just collects dust forever, because I've become a successful musician I hope that pans out. But if not that would be fun to do a little physics.

What's next for Ra Ra Riot?

Wes: We are going to finish this tour, and just keep touring I guess. And probably by the end of this year start working on a new record.

And what are you coming out with this August? August of 08 was The Rhumb Line August of 09 was Discovery and August of 10 was The Orchard. So are you going to have anything out?

Wes: I don't know, I hope so. Yeah it would be the first year I don't release a record since 2007. But yeah maybe it's time to take a break and regather and reassess my goals and readjust things.

Enjoy August?

Wes: Yeah maybe time to enjoy August for a change. Yeah well my birthday's in July.

July what?

Wes: July 3rd.

Oh I'm July 12th, my uncle is July 3rd. He keeps coming up.

Wes: *Laughs* Yeah, your uncle and I should be in a band.

He's like 58, he plays saxophone.

Wes: He plays saxophone?

Actually I think it's the trumpet.

Wes: I play saxophone.

Yeah with the Dirty Projectors right?

Wes: That's right yeah wow, you did your research!

Yeah I had like 5 hours to get this together so I just sat home and Google! Google! Google!

Wes: *Laughs* Well that's good you know more about than most people that interview me.

Thanks it's only my third interview so...

Wes: Well you're good.

Haha thanks, well I think that's it, thanks for doing this with me.

Wes: Cool man yeah man thanks so much.


I would like to once again thanks Wes for agreeing to do this with me. Looking back I feel like I may have asked too much about Vampire Weekend and less about him and Ra Ra Riot which I feel kind of bad about that, Wes if you read this, sorry! On the other hand I wish I would have asked if he had any funny childhood stories that happened to both a young Wes and a young Ezra.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Thanks, Yay/Nay, Russell, and Matt!

Well in case you haven't heard, I'm sure most of you are reading this from it, the Guardian has quoted my interview with Russell and linked in here. This has caused the traffic of this blog to over 10xs! So, a special shout out to the Guardian for all of that, along with Consequences of Sound who quoted me, the Spinner, and the dozens of other sites, you guys and girls are all the bomb. For those of you coming here for the first time, welcome! Hope you visit soon and often and enjoy your stay.

I've added a "Yay" "Nay" feature. Since no one ever wants to comment on stuff, just click "Yay" if you agree with something I write, or enjoy it in anyway, and "Nay" if you feel the opposite. I thought it'd be better than having "Interesting" or "Insightful" and other adjectives that mean roughly the same thing in the context of the blog. Simple "Yay" and "Nay" ought to get the job done. So it'd be awesome if you could all click it on posts.

Unfortunately, my interview with Russell is over, and NME has decided to steal my interview, that was nice. I talked to Luke Lewis about it and he said it was done last week, that was when Part 1 of mine was done, I doubt there's a coincidence. Why would they choose Russell over Kele if not for my interview when they interview Kele all the time? Yeah Russell just left Ash, and t hat's a primary reason they chose him, but I'm positive they chose to do an interview in general because of mine. So way to go NME, way to steal my thunder. When I told Russell about it he said,

"And i wouldn't pay any attention to them, their interviewer was clearly too busy playing Angry Birds and seemed to make half that stuff up."

So looks like I wasn't the only one who got fucked over in this scenario.

What's next for the blog?

Well, seeing as I've just finished interviewing Russell, I'm going to interview Matthew Tong, drummer of Bloc Party, as he is available and said he would answer 5 of my questions. Choosing the questions will be difficult, but let's see how this goes. A friend of mine who lives in Germany, Chris, already asked him 4, all of which are great questions, so I'm left to try to think of questions just as good but not as obvious! At least I can base some of my questions off of his!

Here's some of Matt's Animal Collectivesque solo material from last year.

I'm also seeing Ra Ra Riot tomorrow night, hopefully I'll be able to corner Wes before or after the gig for an interview.

That's all for now!