Monday, October 22, 2012

Moon Bandits - Straight Thinking Means Plain Speaking

Moon Bandits Live
Folk-punk is awesome. It's a style of music that seems to be built upon sincerity, activism, and the questioning of all aspects in society. Its roots can be seen from artists like Billy Bragg, Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie, but it has continues to grow and stay relevant through artists like Ramshackle Glory, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Ghost Mice, Rosa and Moon Bandits.

Moon Bandits are a two-part DIY folk-punk band out of Los Angeles. Tommy plays banjo and Astrid plays the violin and they both sing. Their beliefs, lyrics, and ethos stems from the idea that a person should aim to make him or herself better and more conscientious of the people and world around them each day. For this reason, they are straightedge vegans that enjoy traipsing through the woods, climbing mountains, and making awesome (vegan) food. You can check them out on Facebook HERE

They currently have two records, a demo and an EP, which can be listened to and downloaded for free at their BANDCAMP.

Their new EP "Straight Thinking Means Plain Speaking" is a romp in the socio-political aspect of being a human. What should a person do in order to be the best that he or she can? What makes a responsible human being? The EP comes across as honest, down-to-earth and hopeful in spite of the fact that a person's life sometimes "makes [him or her] feel like a victim," according to their song "Pedestrian." 

Lyricism plays an important part of the EP. The music drives the narrative, but the lyrics demonstrate two people who are willing to take a microscope to themselves in order to see the good, the bad, and the improvements that should be made.

In an age where music on the radio becomes something not unlike cookie-cutter chord progressions and nonsensical words spewing the merits of partying and a person's primal instincts, a record like this seems not only welcome but necessary to remind us why we listened to music in the first place, which is both for enjoyment as well as an understanding of a bard who creates stories through auditory pleasance.

Check it out.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Big Eyes

Happy Saturday everyone,

About a month ago, I picked up the newest edition of Razorcake, probably my favorite zine. For those who don't know, Razorcake is an absolutely incredible compilation of goings-on, interviews, columns (not strictly limited to music), reviews, and comics (Ben Snakepit is a regular comic contributor). I couldn't tell you how many amazing bands have been featured in it. I bought LPs from each of the bands featured with interviews in the last month (big eyes, wreck of the zephyr, and lenguas largas). Each band was radically different from the others, especially in terms of ideology and ethos of their music and I could talk about each one, but today, I'm writing about the band Big Eyes.

Big Eyes are a powerpop/punk band out of Seattle, Washington who are about to embark on a ludicrously long and dense tour throughout the United States, including stops in Chicago and Asheville. They have a raucous intensity backed by impeccably catchy song structures.

The band consists of three people - 2 New Jersey Natives and A Reno-ite. Kate Eldridge plays guitar and sings. Chris Costalupes is on the bass. And C.J. Frederick is on the drums.

They have a few releases so far - a great first LP called "Hard Life" and a 7-inch. They also have 2 split 7"s. One with the Mean Jeans that will be on Dirtnap Records and one will be with Audacity on Volar Records. They are sure to be two of the year's great singles, especially since those line ups are stacked! I will definitely be ready 2 rip (you can check out my interview with Mean Jeans HERE).

They have also recently put up a mail-order page on their website, which can be found HERE and includes tour dates as well as links to streams of their albums, which are absolutely definitely worth the listen.

You can also check out the band on FACEBOOK

Hopefully, Chicagoans will be able to check them out at the Subterranean.

Happy Saturday listening!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Interview with Oslo's "Riots"

Cover of their Newest LP

Norway is most (in)famous for being one of the main birthing grounds for the popular Black Metal scene. When you do a bit of research into Norway, you can see that there is a real conflict of culture there from the Pagan history to the Christian takeover. Norway, like many modern countries, is a place based in a bit of conflict. This sort of past makes room for a lot of different views, both positive and negative. Likewise, there is a huge wealth of music springing from the country along all genre definitions.

I am a proud member of the Dead Beat Records distribution and label newsletter (order today, ship tomorrow!) and I saw a really cool package from Oslo's Riots getting a sweet distro there and I bought it. One morning, as I was doing a quick workout, I decided to pop in the LP and I was blown away. The lyrics of Riots have a tremendous depth that pervades social, political and perhaps even spiritual problems.

That and their music kicks ass! Pounding drums reverberate throughout the record and the guitar line merely bolsters the sense of disillusioned unrest of the vocalist. It's an incredible record and still has an awesome package for all the punx out there! I strongly recommend picking it up, which you can do HERE

This record is going to definitely make my year-of list. I think it's amazing.

You can learn a lot about the band ON THEIR WEBSITE and see a bunch of live clips ON THEIR YOUTUBE CHANNEL


Jordan: When did the current band Riots start and what was that process like? Some of your members had played in the band Goldcrush, but when did the idea for Riots come along?

Paul: - Riots really started back in 2000. we were called Goldcrush then, we changed vocalists in 2007, and really should have changed the name as well. In 2010 on the European tour we passed under a bridge in Germany where someone had spray painted Riots on the wall, I thought that was a good name and one that suited our musical style better. We did eventually get round to changing the name in November 2011.

Jordan: Why did you name the band Riots? What political implications are there from your music? There seems to be a lot of disillusionment in your lyrics, but also a sense of pride.

Gisle: - Seeing it as I am an anti-capitalist I feel the need to express this. And we lefties love a good riot :P But jokes aside, I feel that music, all music, should express and comment on the world it is created in. I have a need to say these things.

Jordan: Your new release "Riots" is a short but poignant blast of punk rock. Which musicians, lifestyles and events inform the music you have made? In short, what makes a Riots song into a Riots song?

Gisle: -As I said, music should reflect the world it is created in. Things going on in this world, they need someone to talk about it. And there are enough love songs out there. But not too many songs deal with the real world.

Paul: - Thanks. I think we are affected by what goes on around us. It's very easy to write songs about things that piss you off and day to day life. We sometimes work on a riff, sometimes either Gisle or Mathias comes with a finished song. We have made songs before, and realized after playing them for a month or so, that it really isn't a Riots song, so we scrap it. 

Jordan: What is the scene in Oslo like? Is there a big punk scene? Who are some bands that you all are currently enjoying?

Paul: - There is a very small punk scene in Oslo, we found it very difficult to actually get gigs in Oslo, and we struggle still. We decided a few years ago that it just wasn't worth playing gigs in Norway, we get little feedback and it's frustrating and there are great distances between larger cities and it takes hours to drive and is expensive doing this. If you think we play festivals in China where they have a circle pit going, mad stage-diving in Czech Republic and Germany. We played a festival in Poland where we had to stop in the middle of our set for 20 minutes as someone got knocked out in the pit and the ambulance had to drive into the field, pick the poor guy up and drive out again. It makes Norway look very tame. I saw Cross-Stitched Eyes a few weeks ago in Oslo, they were really good. I am also listening to Whores, Cellos and Kerouac at the moment, sort of having a re-live the 1990's moment for the time being. I listen to UK/US punk rock. Anything really. Some I like, some is too predictable. I probably have the largest The Jesus Lizard vinyl collection in Europe. Been collecting since the 1990's. Thankfully I nearly have everything now. But what a band.

Gisle: - as Paul said, the scene is not that big, may be too much oil made all the punks go away… Eye for an Eye from Poland at Blitz, in Oslo this summer was a good show!

Jordan: You have been touring Europe a lot recently. Do you have any plans to eventually come Stateside for a tour or a few shows? What would need to happen to realize that?

Paul: - For us, Europe is where it is. We get the best crowds, best food, best beer, and we are due for another visit there soon. We've been asked to go back to China in 2013 and that we really have to do, because it was superb the last time, and we are trying to get some shows in Sweden sorted soon, but to get 5 or so shows in the USA would be great. Charlie Harper from the UK Subs thinks we're great, so he's asked us if we want to support them on their UK tour in 2013, some shows in May + June, so that will be a blast.

Gisle: - USA, USA, USA! Hehe… a US tour would be great. A lot of cool bands form the good ol’states.

Jordan: What makes for a memorable Riots show? Are there any standout performances?

Paul: - Well there was that ambulance incident in Poland, but another memorable day for me was when we played Midi Festival in Beijing during the day, and the Temple Bar in Beijing in the evening. We were treated like big rock stars, given VIP treatment, 5 star hotel and we played a great gig during the day, endless supply of alcohol, I was pretty wrecked by the end of the day, then we had to get on a bus and drive 2 hours through Beijing to a small pub venue, where everything was chaos, then played what felt like a really sloppy set. Tip. Don't drink beer all day then try to play drums. I managed to scrape through, but I will always remember this as a day where we experienced near enough everything within 24 hours. the first 5 star hotel I have ever stayed in my life, and I was out partying/sightseeing well into the early hours, ended up getting 45 minutes sleep there. Typical

Gisle: - Podebrady in Czech Republic was insane. Small spa town, mainly for pensioners, and we packed out a club for some crazy Czechh punks! That was so surprising and so great. And the last show in china, a really good crowd and a show that was super intense! Great stuff man.
Paul: - It was also a very good show. When we finished the set and I tried to get off the stage. One man wouldn't let me off, he wanted more, so he picked me up and put me back on stage. Hint taken. We just were the backing band for Charlie Harper out of the UK Subs, here in Oslo, belting out a blinding set of UK Subs classics with Charlie singing, so that for me goes down as a great performance.

Jordan: How is it working with different record labels in order to reach an international audience?

Paul: - I though that this would be the best way to get physical copies of our music out to people. For us to send 1 x 12" vinyl to the US it costs as much as the vinyl itself, so it was better to find willing distributional partners in these far off places. We did distro deals with them, they take 20 of our vinyl, we take 20 of theirs to sell on our merch desk. The best thing for us would be to get a label in Germany + US interested in doing a release with us. There is a lot of emphasis on digital distribution at the moment, and that works ok, but I personally like a cd or piece of vinyl in my hand. Our vinyl sounds so much better than the cd or download, it somehow makes the sound even rawer

Jordan: What are the future plans for records and releases?

Paul: - We have several new killer songs, so it won't be long before we start to think about doing some new recording. I would like to think after Christmas we'll start the ball rolling, hopefully we'll have a new 7" vinyl out March time. I am in talks with a German label now about a split release between our own Subversive Records and them.

Jordan: Anything else you'd like to say?
The Band members

Gisle: - Don’t be a fool, stay in school!

Paul: - The more you drink, the better we sound

Interview with Justin from Far Corners

One of my all time favorite bands is Mr. Airplane Man, a female-fronted garage rock band that used to be on the Sympathy for the Record Industry label, one of the old pinnacles of garage rock (White Stripes started on this label). They put out some amazing releases but eventually went defunct before returning from the mean-ol-grave in 2011. A couple months ago, I sent out a tweet saying - "anyone know how to contact Mr. Airplane Man?" and I got a response that led me to another band that has Tara from Mr. Airplane Man in it. The name of the band was Far Corners, a garagepunk band featuring Tara and her husband Justin who writes the music for the band. I was directed to the band's FACEBOOK PAGE, where luckily I could listen to the band's music and I was extremely happy. Not only had I found out what Tara had been doing, but I found another band that I really liked and wanted to put on my website.

So I got in contact with Justin and we started e-mailing each other. He said he'd be down for an interview, which definitely made me happy.

The band is noisy. It's got almost swamp-like distortion followed by eerily piercing guitar wails and a ghostly scream of a voice, that all but front a blues-rock sound. Doesn't that sound awesome? Spoiler alert - It is awesome.

You can hear a cut from their new 7" HERE. And you can see a video of them live HERE

I also couldn't find many pictures, so I put up some of their posters from gigs.


Jordan: What's Far Corners? Who's in it? When did it start? How did it start? 

Justin: The band started about 3 years ago when we formed out of an old band we were in. I was writing new songs that were different from the old stuff and wanted to kind of start over.  It's me, Tara and Sean.

J: What has influenced your sound? I take it that you have been in bands before, so how did you arrive at Far Corners?
JU: Swell Maps, X (Aus.), Simply Saucer, Wire, Blue Cheer. Tara (the drummer) and I were in a band in Boston before we moved out to New Mexico, when we got here we hooked up with Sean and he started playing bass with us. After a year or so it seemed like we should just start over with a new batch of songs and just make it a different band.
J: What all have you guys released so far and what has the process been like in terms of recording and getting your music out? 

JU: We've got two 7" out, one on Limited Appeal and a split with Earthmen & Strangers on Dirt Cult. The third will be coming out on Volar hopefully in the next few months. So far, we've recorded the stuff ourselves onto 4 track cassette. It's been cool recording our own stuff, also a pain in the ass. I guess I'd rather be frustrated with myself then with someone we were paying to record us. Oh yeah, Mads from Cola Freaks was supposed to put out a 7" on his label Mastermind. Maybe if he reads this that'll put the squeeze on him!

J: Who writes the songs? What is the process like behind getting a song written?

JU: I write the songs, sometimes they take awhile to come together. Other times they're pretty much vomited out. Lately it's been, "Here's one part, and here's another part. That's a song."

J: Do you guys play shows or have any plans to play more shows?

JU: Yeah lately we've just been playing local shows, this band hasn't been out on tour yet. Hopefully we can pull that together relatively soon.

J: You've said that you have a new record coming out soon - what does the record sound like in comparison to what you've released? Have there been any changes in roles in people in the band during this new stage?

JU: It's weird thinking that's our new record because we recorded it over a year ago. Hopefully it's different from what we've done before, I'd like to think we're always changing a little. I was trying to write stuff where the bass and guitar are playing separate parts instead of chugging along together the whole time. 

J: How are you releasing the record? Are you doing it through a label or self-releasing or what?

JU: Volar is putting it out. I think he's doing Eat Skull, Cosmonauts and a few other records at the same time.

J: What else is in the future for Far Corners?

JU: We need to record soon! We've got a bunch of stuff ready to go, hopefully we can get it to tape and move on to the next batch.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Interview with Fancytramp!

A female centaur playing the git-box under "Fancytramp"

Every now and then, I'm hanging at my pad (probably eating rice) and scouring the internet for new stuff. Then usually my buddy Kyle turns me to Get Bent for a band he really likes. I don't know what it is about Rice ad Kyle (possible link since they both use long "i" sounds in their names - must continue research) Kyle's got great taste in music so I generally take him up on that. And usually, amid mouthfuls of rice, I, for lack of a better word, lose it because I am so impressed with the quality I hear. That's exactly what happened when I first heard Fancytramp. These guys rock in the best way possible. Think Golden Triangle met PJ Harrvey and then Ty Segall decided that he had crushes on these two girls and needed to impress them by playing guitar (for free!) for them - it's got a powerful female singer backed by a relentless howling guitar over some rickety rocking drums.

So I bought the EP off their bandcamp, which you can listen to for free as well, which can be found here - I usually include links up here at my description before the interview, but Fancytramp incorporated them into the interview, so I figured I didn't have to. Sorry if I let anyone down though.

The band is currently on a short tour, which I unfortunately missed in Chicago, but the band is sure to please and seems to have a lot of shows so I wouldn't be surprised if they get to your city some time soon. Here's a video of them performing "Fault Lines Fact" live and it's AWESOME

They also have a casette of their current EP out as well, so you can e-mail the band for that.

The Band

I e-mailed them and they e-mailed me back. So we set up an interview. Here, without further ado, is that interview

Jordan : When did you start the band? Who's in it and how did you meet each other? We're oh in different bands before?
Fancytramp: Fancytramp started as Olivia Scibelli's solo project and morphed into a full band with Katie Banyay on bass and Matt Manning on drumbs in April 2012. Matt and Olivia worked together at the Groove (local record store). Olivia tamed Katie's hair (and she continues to do that....well) and they instantly clicked. Matt previously played drumbs in Nashville's Big Whig.

J: Your band name comes from a Charlie Chaplin film. Are you guys big into movies? Do they inform your work or output? What kinds of movies do you like?
F: We love movies and we hope to one day create a score for film.
Playing in a Store

J: On Get Bent you guys were likened to an amalgamation of grunge icons. I didn't really buy it, but I liked the thought. How would you describe your musical influences? How did you arrive at your sound? Who ends up impacting the music you make?
F: We all came together with the love of heavy rock and melodic music. Olivia's lyrics are influenced by poetry and punk. Email us at and we'll make you a mixtape!

J: Does the Nashville scene inform you guys a lot? Who are some of your favorite bands from there? Any favorite labels or venues?
F: It inspires and motivates us to continue on our path of making music and to try to bring something new to the table.

Crybaby, Ascent of Everest, Those Darlins, Ranch Ghost, and RI¢HIE.

Stone Fox, The End (RIP Brad & Stacey), and Marathon Music Works.
The album cover of the available EP

J: What releases do you guys have? How do you decide when a release is complete? Do you guys do physical releases? What do you think is the role of physical media in today's music climate?
F: Yes we have an EP on tape called Singing Tower at Sunset. Owning a physical copy of any type of music is so important. It allows the band to compile lyrics, artwork, and share anything else they please. We cannot wait to release music on vinyl because we're all collectors of it.

J: How do you record? Is there a decided songwriting role for each person? How does a song become finished? Do you use analog or digital recording?
F: We record at Battletapes. Olivia creates the skeleton, melody, and lyrics. Matt and Katie help with working on the structure. We've used both to record.

J: What can you say about your upcoming release? You mention something about a tentative summer 2013 release. How did you arrive at that? What are you all doing until that comes out?
F: We are in the process of writing and recording songs for a new record between touring, so we get in the studio when we can. We will release a 7" beforehand hopefully by winter.

J: Can you say anything about your current tour?
F: We are currently driving our beloved minivan Ursala in Kentucky with our beautiful merchmaiden, Coco. We're playing through the Midwest for a week.

10/4: Bloomington, IN
10/5: Chicago, IL
10/6: Detroit, MI
10/7: Cleveland, OH
10/8: Cincinnati, OH
10/9: Bowling Green, KY

Check our Facebook for more deets.

J: Anything else to say?

F: You can listen and download our EP at:

Email us anytime!!!! We would love stories to read while in the van!