November 30, 2008

So Paste Magazine ... like last year or the year before or something offered a "pay whatever you want" subscription thing a la Radiohead and I took them up for a dollar. My point being that for some reason they keep sending me their magazine when in reality I haven't really been able to get into their articles because I feel they pander to a less in-the-know crowd ... as in-the-know as I may or may not be, I don't much care for who they report on most the time. But I feel it's good to keep up with what a section of the music business is up to, and for that, Paste is good. (Really if you want some good stuff check out Filter or Death & Taxes. Filter's top 10 is actually fairly respectable, though I would have quite a bit to add to it. either way I feel they dug deeper than Paste. Check it.).

My real point to all this is they recently named She & Him's album, Volume One, album of the year. You may remember my take on the album. I bring this up because I need to recognize that this blog has been lacking in much of any action recently, and that's because (on top of school being crazy and my band playing a billyun shows) I've been compiling my best of. It will be similar to last years in format ... probably. things may change, nothing is until it is. As of today, I've got 1 week of classes and 1 week of finals then 1 week where my band will be in the studio recording our first EP, then I'm free to lounge on the computer, put on old episodes of Northern Exposure and Gilmore Girls, and write about music for 2 weeks.

I might be going to a show here and there and report on it, but that's if something strikes my fancy. Hope everyone is having a good December so far! don't forget to pay your rent if you pay on the first! c-ya soon.

November 21, 2008

This band by the name of Republic Tigers came to the Hi-Dive on the 15th. I'd heard their album a few times and rather liked it (save for the one song about playing air guitar. for some reason that song just rubbed me the wrong way). I figured their music, which is pretty good on the album, just comes alive when you see them in person. Well as it turns out my postulation was pretty spot on.

To be honest, the first 2 or 3 songs had me worrying that I would be writing about how they were good musicians, but I just didn't like their stuff. I don't know if it was the material or the audience, but, slowly at first, they just got better. Out of probably nine songs, the last five songs were just plain terrific. I've come to discover that the music I derive the most enjoyment these days is music that just utterly destroys. What I mean by that is actually a little hard to explain without the use of facial expressions and hand gestures, but basically it comes down to the musicians being utterly immersed in their music and the sounds coming out just taking my spirit and shaking it. Granted, even that is vague and what I'm basically saying is that I like what I like. Well what Republic Tigers did for the 2nd half of their set ... I liked it. Also granted, they didn't completely destroy, but they were pretty fun. It was like an amalgamation of shoegaze, 80's pop and late 90's indie rock.

Maybe it just took a second to hit their stride, but once they were on their game, it was like a wall of ridiculous sexiness via the speakers. Other than when they played their song Air Guitar I felt that one should have no reserves about trusting that their next album will be simply stunning. I know I'll see them next time they come into town ... for sure.

November 20, 2008

"New Prodigy album to be released on March 2nd

It's the news we have all been waiting for. We can now tell you the new album is called "Invaders Must Die" and will be released on The Prodigy's imprint, Take Me To The Hospital, through Cooking Vinyl, on March 2nd. Liam Howlett, Keith Flint and Maxim all feature on the album, which is the first time since the release of Fat Of The Land in 1997. The result is back to their bone shaking best, a collision of old skool rave noise with the stratospheric limits of new technology. You can pre-order the album in The Prodigy's Shop"

I swear to god Liam Howlett if you don't follow through with these promises I'm going to be freaking pissed. If this is another BGAT fiasco ... well I just don't know. I mean, I'm hopeful that it'll turn out all right, but ... well I just hope it's all good.

November 11, 2008

Misquoted w/ The Little Ones

Misquoted: w/ The Little Ones

Luke Hunter James-Erickson: Hey all you cool kids in The Little Ones

Ian Moreno: Hi you cool cats at some love music!

LHJE: People have compared your music to many things, the one striking me the most being the comparison to the Elephant 6 Collective (myself being a huge fan of almost anything that comes out of the collective). What do you think these comparisons have done for your group? Do you agree with them?

IM: Wow. To be honest, haven't really heard that one in a while. Early on that one would come up and to this day I'm not really sure how much it had to do with our label we createed, Branches Recording Collective, or the music itself. Either way, I think we all honored to be even compared as we're all fans of that collection of artists. I don't think it's really done much for our group, other than make us feel tingly inside. When we get the nods, I think it's just good to know that people listening out there have a broad spectrum of references. there's a lot of "camps" you can get plopped in to, so it's always nice when people can connect the dots to something you have the utmost respect for.

LHJE: I know that when you're in a band it's hard to really tell what kind of music you're making (it's hard to be objective), but what kind of music would you say you're most akin to? Do you try to go for that kind of sound, or are you just doing what comes naturally and whatever comes out is whatever comes out?

IM: When we first started out and self-released our Sing Song EP, one of the first reviews we ever received coined us as "sunshine psyche". Granted it was probably like our 4th review ever, that one has kinda stuck with me and i guess kinda resonated over the years. Seems appropriate. Not really sure who said that, though a clever google search can probably figure it out. As for the sound itself, that would be the latter. It's funny, it feels a lil pretentious to say, "this is what naturally comes out", though I'd be lying if I said otherwise.
In the beginning, as we added each band member, all songs would be dropped and we would start fresh as a group. This band thrives on colloboration, so the end product or song is always a result of all 5 of us. Everybody contributes their bits and bops and sprinkles his character and style in there somewhere. In the end you have what you have and I think it was apparent to us early on about the upbeat-ness, quirkiness and for lack of a better term, happy aspects of the music. Though with Morning Tide we'd like to think their is some natural growth in there. And with this records we show some diblets of moodiness in there, especially with tracks like Waltz and Farm Song. After all, we are human.

LHJE: What drove you guys to become musicians? It's not really known for being the best career choice, and so many artists suffer much of their career just to keep up with all life throws at them, so what made you guys sit down and say "hey, this looks like it's for me" ? Was it just that there didn't seem to be any other logical path, or was it more that you were doing it and all of a sudden people started to really catch on to your sound and you just started to take the steps to get you to where you are today?

IM: I'd say a little of both. Record labels, touring an records aside, we would all be musicians and all be playing with each other on weeknights and weekends. For some
of us it was always a weekend warrior thing. You do it while going to school, then you do it
after and around a work schedule. Nobody here is a professional session player, though several are very capable of being one. I would love to say that there was a point where we were like lets do this and only this, and there was in some way, but on a personal level it was never practical I think. Like you said, it's hard out there, and for someone to go into that field head first is ridiculously commendable and brave. Talk about no room for compromise. For this band, like I said, it was a mix. Some were already working and some were in school. Some were studying music and some had jobs in the industry. But I can tell you now, nobody was getting paid for their passion. Or at least first love.

At some point, this band took on a life of its own and we were all faced with a huge decision. That's the point where you want it to be as you said 'this look like it's for me', and where you question if it's the logical path. So there was a bit of a gamble, a leap of faith so to speak. We were very lucky and fortunate to have people noticing this little ep we put out early on and it has definitely been the foundation for the steps we took afterward. A lot of that has to do with the internet and the accessibility of music, but that's whole other conversation.

LHJE: What is your creative process like? Does one guy come in with a riff or a beat and everyone just jams on it, or is more spontaneous, like someone just starts playing something randomly during practice and then other people just build on it? Or is it something entirely different?

IM: Both really. Someone can come in with a vers/chorus idea, or a riff idea, and we have written songs based off a random practice jam that suddenly evolves into a song. We kinda run the gamut. One of the first things we always do it figure the groove out. After we get the basic idea, we break it down even more, deconsturct it a bit, and go to drums and basss to figure how the songs is gonna groove and what rythmic devices we can implement. From there we buid like any other band. Like I mentioned it's extremely collaborative so people contribute changes, new chords, leads, percussion, etc... We really try to be mindful of each other. With a 5 piece you can easily run into a sound that sounds like, well, an argument. We like to think we compliment each other well and are mindful of each others' parts and allow the song to breathe.

LHJE: I saw that you guys just toured a bit of Europe. What was it like to tour another continent? Did you expect a completely different reaction to your music? What kind of reaction did you get? Where are you planning on touring in the future?

IM: we've done UK many times now. I think like 7 trips in 07. We've only now started to venture into other parts of europe. Reaction varies, as it does here in the states I think. I used to think there was this disparity and that UK crowds went off, whereas crowds in the states are more subdued. Though there have been accounts on both sides of the pond to contradict that. I've always thought it's a symbiotic relationship. if you give the energy, the audience will feed off of it, and give it back in return. It's a recipe too. If you have those 10 mega fans up front siinging along it can charge and infect a crowd. Overall, the reaction is positive. From manchester to barcelona, dublin to hamburg, crowds like to have fun and so do we. We had a complete blast and people on this tour have been lovely, energetic and kind. We're ridiculously lucky to get to tour these places and are very thankful for it.

As for future touring, after finishing this west coast jaunt we're on, we'll be done for the holidays, minus a benefit we're doing in december. 09 should hold some more US touring and promoting the album in our backyard. perhaps some waterparks in wisconsin, who knows. w00t.

LHJE: Thank you so much!
IM: thank you!

November 6, 2008

this just in

"THE ALBUM IS DONE. we r all so buzzed about it . it is called INVADERS MUST DIE as you probably know by now ! .11 tracks. its a band album mostly so we can play all the tunes live if we want. didnt want to have any guest vocalists on this record even though we did do 3 collabs but they didnt feel part of this record -- they may come out later. dave grohl plays on run with the wolves, what a top lad he is . he approached me and we pulled that tune out the bag at last minute, fast ferocious tune with evil big electronic riff with keef on vocals. i also got james from 'does it offend yo yeah' in to do a bit of additional production on a couple of tunes .i met him at gatecrasher and he basically told me he was a fan and had been trying to rip of my sound for years , fukin hilarious . geezer ,great to work with. warriors dance is on there sounding massive in its final form . got lots of other beats and pieces left over including a couple of live tunes i know people buzz off so the plan is to put that shit onto an additional disc that will be part of a box set or deluxe -not sure yet but those beats that didnt make the main album need to break out .
seee ya LLLLL. HHHH"

November 4, 2008


CNN projects that Obama won, and I know it's not over until it's over, but hot dog it looks like it's all done.

Here's a song about elections by John Darnielle:

The Mountain Goats - Down to the Ark

November 3, 2008

"I Know You're On To Something"

The Dears - Missiles
Verdict: Love (<) +

At times bringing to mind images of Radiohead and Joy Division, but also my mind draws connections to Elliot Smith (especially on Crisis 1 & 2), The Dears have sculpted a painful romp through what it must be like to destroy everything you know to make a piece of art. Um, okay even I'm not sure if that last sentence makes any sense, but it's staying ... what I meant by that was that the album is DARK. For me the entire album rides on the title track which has just about some of the most painful lyrics on the LP (maybe you will think differently, but I guess that's what it's like, isn't it?). That's not to say the rest of the album can't stand on it's own, it certainly has more than a few legs to stand on ... though ... about 8 legs less than it did before the recording for the album started (that's me trying to cleverly allude to the fact that 4 memebers quit the band before the completion of the album).

Again, the album is Dark, but it's that beautiful kind of dark.

The Dears - Missiles
The Dears - Lights Off
The Dears - Crisis 1 & 2

Og yeah, and check them out their on Tour

November 1, 2008

Last Monday I made a trip over to the Bluebird, a venue which I've slowly been gaining respect for for a while now. It's got an amazing sound set up which rarely produces a bad mix, though this could also be the work of a the Bluebirds soundperson. Either way, I've seen a myriad of shows here and every time I walk away fairly pleased. Last Monday night was, thankfully, no different.

I was not familiar with the Secret Machine's (The Dear's tourmates) new album (I hadn't actually realized they'd put one out in a while), but I was hella familiar with The Dear's new album (which, as a side note, is spectacular), and I was anticipating a good showing.

Again, I was not disappointed. The Dears were, physically, a little cramped on the stage, but that didn't come through in their performance, which was smooth and energetic. They played the upbeat songs from their albums, keeping the energy at least a little hoppin, but every once and a while it would get a little heavy. I enjoyed the really sad songs from their album the most, so I was a little disappointed to not hear the title track from their new album, but it made sense that they didn't play it, because it's a pretty sad song.

The smaller crowd grew as their set progressed, but it wasn't really a packed room, which is a shame, because this band really puts their soul into their music (it seems), and it would have been nice to see them getting more recognition. That said, the crowd that was there seemed to react in a way that related that this was the first time they'd heard the band, and that the Dears were beginning to capture their interest, which I suppose is the point of touring, isn't it?

I had a very good time at this show. Kudos Dears, kudos.

If you're interested in hearing some of the Dear's music, check the post that will be up in a little bit, it'll have some tunes for ya :)