Monday, 29 December 2008

Pictureplane Interview

As previously highlighted (here) Pictureplane, aka Travis Egedy, was our favourite artist of 2008. He lives in Denver, Colarado in a house/art space/gig venue named Rhinoceropolis and creates electro-grime tinged with a hefty dollop of 80’s pop, which fills you with a feeling of total freedom and abandon. As he explained on his own blog (here), 2008 was somewhat of an Annus Awesomis for Travis. We asked him alllll about the past, the present and the future…

You played recently with Dan Deacon, how’d it go?
“CRAZY. But totally rad. It was in my house (Rhinoceropolis). Probably like 300 kids came out who have never really been here before. I booked this local hardcore band comprised of 17-year-old kids called Dethbox to play, they ended the set with like ten minutes of pure feedback and squealing saxaphones while they built a shrine out of their drums. People didn’t know what to think, it was great! Dan rented speakers for our house just for the night, so it sounded amazing. We also went shopping for pants at a thrift store before the show. Dan Deacon is an amazing man. We talked about conspiracies against the world and the people into the late evening."

Have you had some trouble with the police recently?
"Yes, it’s a long story....I was arrested during the protests at the Democratic National Convention in Denver over the summer. It was a mass arrest of about 150 people. I got unlucky on that’s total bullshit."

Are you signed yet?
"I kind of am now! Thanks to blogs such as yours and my friends in HEALTH, I got picked up by their label, Lovepump United in New York. I have a 7'' single coming out in March 09, it’s exciting."

How healthy is the music scene in Denver?
"Extremely healthy. There are TONNES of bands... but the scenes are kind of segregated for some reason... we’ve all been talking about how badly Denver needs more DIY spaces [like Rhinoceropolis] really has so much potential. But yeah, there is tonnes of talent here, and no one knows about it outside of Denver, besides the fortunate bands that get to play Rhinoceropolis. Ha ha!"

What was your personal highlight of 2008?
"Probably touring the East Coast in the Fall with a fellow Denver band called BDRMPPL [also rad]. We had a lot of amazing times, and played beautiful shows. It was freedom. And I loved it."

Do you have a new year’s resolution?
"I need to stop being so lazy...and really start to push people’s buttons again artistically. I am good at that when I want to be [check out some of Travis' artwork at his myspace or here]."

Are you looking forward to 2009?
"Yes. I should be touring a lot...maybe? I am really excited for my single to come out. There are some things in the works right now that bring bubbles in my stomach. So yeah, I think I am pumped. I have been really trying to live in the NOW, and not anticipate future events as of late though. There really is no future anyways ;) just now."

What do you have planned for 2009?...a UK visit?
"I fucking hope so. I want to dance to funky house. I can’t stop listening to grime."

What new artists/bands would you recommend we look out for in 2009?
"Sewn Leather, Future Islands [check out Travis' rework of their track 'Old dreamer'] Rustie, Zomby, Joker, Pictureplane..."

photo: Rita Minissi

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Dispatches from the West Coast - pt. 1

We asked Simon L (on the right) - one third of Dalston synth punks, Teeth!!! - to keep us updated on his travels and the band's forthcoming tour in Portland and California. Prepare yourself for one hell of a diary...

Day 1

LA is a big sprawling city. Hollywood sign, check. The people at the airport sounded exactly like they were in The Terminator or some other sci-fi LA movie. We are staying just off Sunset Blvd. We already ate "real West Coast-Mexican food" and checked out the superb Wildness where the awesome Wendy Yao from Ooga Booga [Store] was DJ-ing. Wildness is run by this ridiculously rad person called Ashley, he is totally in love with my friend Oscar and he makes films about lesbian strip bars called 'Shakedown'. He also makes limited edition t-shirts of Beyonce (he gave me one!!!) and other crazy awesome stuff.

Afterward we went to Taco Zone and the tall, gay looking one [John] from HEALTH was there. Today we're trying to fix shows in Olympia, CA for NYE and we just got a show at DUNES in Portland. I feel that I'm going to know everyone in the city before I leave.

Day 2
Last night Juan from Abe Vigoda [on the right of pic] and I went downtown and hooked up with the guitar player from Mika Miko (I'm so bad at names) we drank $2.50 margaritas at this most awesome mexican bar with a bunch of other people then onto this ridiculous gay bar in Hyperion. It was emptyyyy. We picked up Oscar and Sister Mantos and went to this fucking awesome leather bar (no one was there) and drank $2 pints of Budweiser.

So by this time I was hitting on Yutaro [on the left of pic], this totally hot skinny dude half L.A., half Japanese. We all went to the sauna - yes yes yes...outdoor jacuzzi, outdoor swimming!!! After funs swimming around til maybe 3am me and Yutaro toats made out forever. It was hot. I think I'm in love.

Day 3

Finally the sun has come out so we're heading to the beach. Juan is coming over later and we're gonna make a side project together with Sister Mantos called NEGATIVE CHARMS. I'm slowly learning that that's what a lot of people do in LA, be in loads of bands, smoke pot, drink, drive everywhere - if you don't have a car you're fucked. So, I hope I see Yutaro again. I'm obsessing already...I sent two text messages. Fuuck.

Hung out hung-over at Malibu...we went to the beach and sun bathed for a few hours then headed back. I waited for Yutaro to call but he didn't. Whateverrr. Tonight I'm gonna party again!!! Hopefully with Juan & co., I wanna hang with those kids more, they're awesome fags...we're going to a party called Shits & Giggles, it's a gay house/dance music party and sounds ridiculous.

We saw this awesome funny band called Spider Problem and then hooked up with Yutaro and Scott. It was super weird...we went to Shits & Giggles it sucked, left and then went to Scott's place. We made out, but it sucked.

Day 4

I'm meeting up with Juan later and we're heading to the fat girl's house from Mika Miko as she's having a birthday party. Yutaro will be there, I'm gonna tell him I love him for realz. I so fucking want a holiday romance.

Well I’ve completely lost weather this is day 4 or not as everyday brings new challenges. We went to this ridiculous sports bar, Big Wangs, and got Bud & chips, then we went to Spotlight, this ridiculous gay bar off Vine and Hollywood, with free snacks with beer. SO STOOPID!!! and rad all at the same time,... when we got there these super dudes (serious the faggots are fucking real gangsters) tried starting something because I was wearing Kurt Cobain sunglasses...whatever!

This afternoon we went over to hang out with Tom Grimley (my best time in LA so far!!!), this guy lives in this awesome house just off Vine and St. Monica with a real American porch. Tom is most noted for owning Poop Alley Studios in LA and producing early Beck records as well as building a tower in his back yard three storeys high so he can watch the sun come up and down, whilst drinking beer.

We went to the store in his Beatle - circa 80s - then came back and listened to noise music and watched the fire burn - everything felt so pure. Tom Grimley - ALWAYS AND FOREVER, THE GODFATHER OF ALL L.A. (who knows every fucking awesome band ever)...and I’m sharing super secret knowledge that only he told me…

Nebraska - Bruce Springsteen
His first album. LISTEN AND LEARN…and before you all fucking hate, you should read his
Wiki. Above all, this misrepresented, song manipulated singer-songwriter not only deserves your respect but also your fucking brain time... if there is one album you should revisit - or visit the first time it should be that one.

The one thing I’ve learnt is ALWAYS START AT NOISE. If you start a band make it a noise band, so then your fucking completely untouchable by anyone... until I guess you’re figured out. I guess that’s how I feel Teeth!!! should be... but I simply explained.. I’m in it for the ride... if it all happens it happens.... if it doesn’t whuuuteverr.

Ok, so now I’m back from the party. After we went to tom's house and finished the beers, we went to Taco and laughed at Santa, he’s a total paedo. One of the girls from Mika Miko (I’m soooo bad at names, but if you’re reading this I LOVE YOU) was telling everyone about me and her crowd surfing at their Upset the Rhythm show... she said it was the first time that’s happened (sometimes I’m so proud of London). Anyways, Yutaro was there and we made out in her room, a lil bit, and we decided to meet tomorrow!


Teeth!!! - 'Dead boys'.mp3

Friday, 19 December 2008

2008 Review

If a week is a long time in politics, then a year is twelve months in music. But if today was a year from now what would we say about Anno Domini 2008 in a sonic sense? Well...

Best gig
HEALTH @ Charlie’s (Hey Manchester!) 3 May 2008
We said: “At no point during their set is any member of the band static or making anything like the kind of noise traditionally expected by the instrument in their hands…a striking mix of hypnotic robot vocals, chiselled melodic dissonance and beat smart rhythmic intensity”…i.e. well rad.

HEALTH - 'Glitter Pills'.mp3

Best album

Late Of The Pier – Fantasy Black Channel (Parlophone)

We said: “with the help of Erol Alkan, [LOTP] have shown just how to inject not only electro into your average indie-rock but weight and substance too. In so doing, LOTP completely exposed the redundancy of The Whip's baggy beats to the point that even lobotomised berk, Bez, now politely refuses seconds.” Pity that we only caught five seconds of their set at the Warehouse Project in October because we had the audacity to turn up as late as 10.30pm for a night that went on till 5am. Nice one schedulers.

Late Of The Pier - 'Broken'.mp3

Best single
Telepathe - 'Chrome's on it' (No Pain In Pop)

We said: "a beat-smart, hook happy slice of process pop". Still not tired of this.

Telepathe - 'Chrome's on it'.mp3

Favourite band

We said: “Imagine shoegaze vocals married to the kind of grime Wiley used to make and you're halfway there. Actually you're noway near. Chuck in an unhealthy love of 80's pop, electro and avant noise and if by that point you're not thinking 'this sounds like the best shit ever yo', then frankly you're lost.”
Prepare yourself for one hell of a dope interview with the big man to be posted here pre 2009.

Pictureplane - 'Trance doll'.mp3

Favourite Manchester band

We said: “3 heavily fringed 'disturbed teens' who make playing post-Test Icicles spazzcore pop sound the most fun thing in the world.” Expect more from these felines next year, particularly Alex Hewett who has his paws in multiple musical pies. Check out awesome new demo 'Body language'.

Copycats - 'Body language'.mp3

But most of all 2008 will be remembered for…
Paul Ross reading ghost stories from a big black book. A watershed moment in British television. The horror. The horror...

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


Despite the seasonal liberty, we’re still committed to unravelling the paper chain of new music and erecting it within eye and earshot of your face, i.e. here. With the aim of posting at least one New Ears piece minus any reference to The Smell, S.C.U.M or the Deaf Institoot, I'm proposing we consider the superb lo-fi beach noise of Wavves. Yes yes, oh yay.

Wavves is the brainchild of 22 year old, Nathan Williams from San Diego. Now and again he’ll blog about classic rap and other stuff wot he likes (here), but mostly he creates raw beach punk gems onto a four track cassette. Whilst the sound owes a debt to fellow Californians No Age’s pop-punk, his tales of young American manhood are most reminiscent of Jonathan Richman’s unaffected naivety. In other words, were they to bring back California Dreams and write it with some basis in the reality of what it’s like being a yoof in the Golden State, Wavves would be a fitting sound for the opening credits. What Sly Winkle would make of Wavves is unclear (though he’d probably try and manage the band, with subsequent zany results) but it definitely lights our lamp.

A tour of Europe starting in February 2009 has recently been announced, calling in to Manchester’s Saki Bar on 2 March with rad lo-fiers, Pens, providing the necessary supporting duties. Both bands have releases imminent through De Stijl Records, seek them here.

Wavves - 'So bored'.mp3

Words: SS

Go Ear - Vivian Girls, Hotpants Romance @ Now Wave, The Deaf Institute 9/12/08

Twee/Indiepop has been enjoying something of resurgence of late (thanks in no small part to the work of London based promoters/label/zine Twee As Fuck) and as of this Wednesday the sound looks set to plant its flag firmly in the face of Manchester via Now Wave’s enviable Vivian Girls vs Hotpants Romance line up at The Deaf Institute.

Like many bands swept up in this ‘Twee’ movement, these New Yooikers' music is anything but. Vivian Girls' spiky girl-punk clutter is closer in kin with say, Huggy Bear or The Primitives than Belle and Sebastian. They’re one of several bands to have emerged from the scene surrounding their native city’s Cake Shop venue (cakes and records upstairs, venue and bar downstars) alongside the equally ace Pains of Being Pure at Heart (who comprehensively answer the question of what My Bloody Valentine would have sounded like if they had never discovered fuzz pedals) and Crystal Stilts.

Hotpants Romance on the other hand are 3 Riot Grrrls hailing from our very own city of Manchester. They make shouty, poppy records focusing on themes like the varying strength of sun cream and we like them a lot (evidence here). So much so in fact, that at some point over the summer we went to one of their shows and interviewed them. We talked about all kinds of interesting stuff - their (then) forthcoming tour of America, their appearance at Twee As Fuck in London, our mutual love of Erase Errata etc etc, then we (and when we say ‘We’ we really mean ‘I’) went out, got really drunk and lost the dictaphone and consequently the interview, making the whole affair a big waste of everyone’s time. That was pretty lame, but the band is anything but. You should totally go check them out, rad times are guaranteed.

Vivian Girls - Where Do You Run To.mp3

Words: Billy iDle