Galavant with Dead Trains & cohorts in their newest video as they get off the chain gain and into your basement hearts. There’s tons of SouthWest swagger from this Boston trio – with concrete grit and dirty jean vibez permeating off of their new single, “County Road Bound/Mean Town Blues” – it’s the perfect accompaniment to listen to while working on a serious hangover.
Winter, a band conceived in Boston & stationed out of Los Angeles, recently released a video for “Pretender” – the chill dream vibes of the indie quartet are encapsulated beautifully by lead guitarist Matt Hogan’s direction, as you get a backseat view of what it’d be like to chum around on tour with Winter.
Recommended If You Like: Beach Fossils, Summer Twins, Ducktails
Fresh from taking part in the always fantastic Outlaw Roadshow in NYC – The Longwall’s have released the first of a ten-song live video from their record release show back in March (due out in early December w/audio). Fittingly for this Halloween weekend the song they’ve chosen is “Zombies!” – one of my favorite tracks from their 2008 debut Field Guide for the Zombie Survivalist.
Filmed back in March at The Bridge Sound and Stage for the release of their absolutely stellar Gold Standard – an album which will be featured on Visions upcoming “Best Of The Year” podcast. I was lucky enough to be present for this show. Beer was packed at the front of the stage from the still too high snow banks outside – and the mood inside was positively captivated – something this video, and the upcoming video series encapsulate wonderfully.
Portland Maine is a cool town. Jargon Party is a cool band. “Surf Rock Anthem Number 7” is a cool song. The coinciding video is pretty darn….well, cool. My lack of adjectives are no lack of enthusiasm for any of the above, cool?
Oct 8 – Ralph’s Diner — Worcester
Oct 9 – Fran’s Place — Lynn
Oct 10 – Northeastern University — Boston
Oct 11 – O’Briens — Allston
The music of Honey Wild will wrap you in a woozy just woke up haze. Summer heat burning off mid-afternoon blacktop. Psych Folk to graze you towards something better. Chill Out. Listen to Honey Wild. Go Shorewave Go.
Recommended If You Like: Mac Demarco, Kurt Vile, Psych Folk
The story of Donnie and Joe Emerson is something vinyl heads tell their children as they tuck them in at night. Their only record, Dreamin’ Wild, was recorded by two brothers who lived in middle of nowhere rural Washington – they worked the farm during the day and played music all night. Their Father was so inspired by their passion that he built a $100,000 state of the art recording studio….in the 70’s…..in the middle of nowhere. The result is a weird mix of white boy soul, rock, and funk. The original vinyl is a holy grail find, as only something like a 1,000 records were pressed, however, it’s since been repressed by Light in the Attic records – and is an essential album for any record collection. Watch their story below in a brief but touching documentary on the brothers.
Free Pizza‘s first LP, which is co-released by Bufu and Feeding Tube, is an absolute must own. The Jamaica Plain based group play a unique brand of discordant stoner jangle that’ll make you want to hug your stereo, buy it a beer, and crank the volume. Limited to only 300 copies it’s sure to go fast, but hopefully Free Pizza will be sticking around for awhile – as they’re a band that’s got me pretty damn excited for 2015.
Kurt von Stetten is a continual favorite of mine and one of Boston’s finest artists. His 2014 solo release, Animals, is one of the best albums of the year, and will be featured in Episode 63, The Top 21 Albums of 2014, dropping this Thursday. I recently asked Kurt some questions on his DIY approach, Art, Influences, among other topics.
– Buy Animals via BandCamp
Kurt von Stetten:
Yeah I take that as a compliment! I love Robert Pollard and GBV. I came to know their music only after I played with The Longwalls. The lead singer is a huge fan and I slowly started getting exposed to them. I love his work ethic and sound- a sound which is not that far from mine. Lo-fi and a little clunky. I think one of my favorites is a recent one, 2012’s The Bears for Lunch. I just think that is a great record and an inspiration- because he produces so much. I always think to myself- well I could do that if I didn’t have a job too. I wrote a song called “Competition (fuck Bob Pollard)” off of my last record that is a reminder to myself that I am not competing with him. It’s no contest at all- he wins!
Another similarity between Pollard and yourself is you’re both Visual Artists as well as Musicians. You both create your own Album art, and you even take it a step further and create your own videos. Does your music influence the art you make – or is it the other way around?
I think visual art definitely influences my music and not the other way around. Really only because all of my training/education is in visual art and music came into my life much later- but all in all they are starting to become closer. This month I started working with an artist on abstract video pieces that I would be writing music for- we will see how that pans out. But really music takes up the emotional space that visual art can’t ever seem to cover- so they compliment each other, but music sometimes gets only the table scraps or base emotions to start with!
Back to your DIY DNA – you’ve played every instrument on each solo album you’ve released – one every year since 2006 – how does this differ from playing drums for fellow Static Motor Recordings band, The Longwells. Do you prefer the solitude of your solo work, or do you miss the camaraderie of collaboration?
They are very different endeavors to be sure. When I sit down to write my own music I make sweeping changes every minute- tempo- key- voice- instrumentation- and then see where the chips land. Then I record it, listen to it, and eight times out of ten trash the whole thing. I shoot first and then aim- I have 90 songs on my iPad from this year that I will never use- they are just in the “booshit” folder (and trust me they are strait up booshit). So I am definitely most comfortable with not being beholden to any sound or style.The Longwalls do all of that hard work before I even get to hear it and add drums to it- that is a huge difference for me and my process. We also usually stay true to the original feel of each new song- that is hard for me too. That is definitely something that I still wrestle with- not being able to be like “why don’t we have a killer musical saw solo here.” I also am the least talented of the bunch so I am playing catch up (musically) most of the time.
Yeah I agree- there are more compatible sounds from song to song than usual for me. I think that is because I used a lot more synthesizers on this record. For a long time I was scared of having the synth be the main sound of a song – or something that leads everything else. And because it is programmable the screw ups are much less noticeable. I generally leave all the rough edges showing in a song, but synths are always a little smooth. I also spent a lot of time on the drums this go around- I was just loving being in studio and recording them- so there are less screw ups in the drums and drum sounds.
Another love of yours is BMX. You recently posted a video of yourself (below) flatlanding on an abandoned basketball court. This was my first time being exposed to your BMX skills and my jaw was agape the entire time, it was beautiful. Do you find your experience with BMX translates over to your music? There seems to be some symmetry between the two – as the final results appear seamless, even though there’s a tightrope you’re walking – with the fall always being a possibility. That’s where I garner a lot of appreciation for your music, you’re obviously not afraid to push yourself and potentially fall.
YES! They are very similar to me- they are both physical, dependent on patterns and structure, and usually end up with me being bloody and disoriented. Seriously, I love practicing things and repetition- probably to an intolerable degree for those around me. Being on that line between not falling and falling- or musically failing or not failing is enjoyable. It means I fail a lot- and have to- to get something that really surprises me and that I like.
Well I am not really a performing musician- and I haven’t had a band in years, but if I was able to find some folks I would love to play again. For now I am a studio guy.
What’s the next big project for you you in 2015?
The Longwalls have another great record coming out soon and I will have another coming out in 2015- those two records are front and center, but I have other side projects in the works too- I have had more people ask me to collaborate this year than in any other so hopefully I will be on many other records. One such local record is the new Dan London record– I Will Take You Back. I played drums and cello (and other odds and ends) on that record- and that was just released.
Animals will justifiably be featured on the 21 Best Albums of 2014 for Visions of the Unexcused – what have you listened to in the past year that’s really dug into your ear holes?
I think a lot of old music came back to me this year- like digital leather, the drums, and Guided By Voices. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the re-releases of classic hip hop that have dominated my listening year too- Ice Cube, NWA, De La Soul, Wu Tang, and Tribe. For new music I would go with Youth Lagoon, The Folk, Pixies, and Karen O.
What does being “Unexcused” mean to you?
Unexcused means presenting yourself – warts and all (and I mean WARTS)- and not taking yourself or others too seriously.