Heather Shannon and Sam Lockwood of The Jezabels hang for a minute and talk to New York Music News. The band is currently on tour here in America with Yukon Blonde and playing at Webster Hall on October 17.
So what’s the difference between the America and Australia music industry?
Heather:The sheer size of the music industry in America. There’s a lot more commercial stuff we’re not used to.
Sam: You have to do it!
Heather: You have to tread carefully though.
What about New Zealand?
Heather: It seems like Australia steals all of New Zealand’s Celebrities, and names them as their own.
Sam: So, they’re pretty much the same country now. You never need a passport to go there.
Interesting. I think America might steals Australian celebrities. So what do they say about you in Australia where you have had a lot of success as a band?
Heather: One of the Cd reviews we had in Australia, they described our sound as Gothic Australian which includes Midnight Oil. I don’t know. I think there is an Australian sound in our music but it’s hard to put your finger on it. Maybe it’s the vast atmospheric sound.
Sam: Someone else said we sound like explosions in the sky with Hayley Mary as a front woman.
I read that you called it Intense Indy.
Sam: I made that up as a joke, but it does work.
Heather: Because indy bands tend to take themselves so seriously.
Sam: It’s an ironic statement.
Heather: People accuse us of doing that [being so serious]
Sam: That’s why is a jo-oke(sarcastically).
Heather: It kinda takes the piss out of us and the whole genre.
So, who writes the tunes?
Heather: We all write together and probably wouldn’t have it any other way. We all like playing our own parts, and feeling like we’ve built a part.
Sam: It’s important tot us that we feel a bit validated by our artistic input into the songs… it’s very democratic.
Want to remember when to replace the batteries in your smoke detector or schedule a dentist appointment. Simply perform these tasks whenever Thee Oh Sees releases a new album. The prolific musicians have just released a new EP entitled Putrifiers II and start a busy tour with an upcoming show in Brooklyn. We talked to guitarist Petey Dammit to get a sense of his knowledge on demolitions, goat and human interactions, and going ape butt bonkers.
NYMN: This upcoming tour is in conjunction with your soon to be released album, Putrifiers II. I heard the single “Flood’s New Light”, when Pitchfork named it a Best New Track a month ago. In the article, they talked about how “the song is proof that their upcoming album has the band tightening their focus and cleaning up their sound.” Do you feel like you’re more focused and playing a cleaner sound or is that just where you are right now and that on your next album you might play xylophones and scream into bullhorns?
Petey: On this record, it was mainly John recording everything by himself, with some guest additions by friends of ours like Mikal Cronin and Chris Woodhouse. I think this record might have had a bit more attention to details in it, which is why it is more focused or cleaner sounding. Or, maybe the reviewer had been smoking a little something something and just perceived it to be more focused and clean.
Petey: We unfortunately haven’t learned Flood’s New Light as a full band. We will be playing a couple songs from the new album, but not that one. I think some goats would fit in nicely with the chorus of “Goodnight Baby”. I’m also hoping its possible to get a goat to stand on top of my amplifier the entire set.
NYMN: Thee Oh Sees release albums at what other bands might view as breakneck speed. About every six months it seems another album appears. What is it about your band’s psyche that allows you to confidently release albums so quickly?
Petey: We work hard. I think it seems strange for us to release so many records because of the tradition in the recording industry to do things a certain way. For decades it has been months and months in the studio, one release a year, tour this, tour that, do this, do that… We just do what we want to do. Most of the songs have been worked out by the time we get to the studio so we can record them all live in two days. The other two days in the studio are having fun writing on the spot and having fun.
NYMN: And do you get that itch a month or so after you’ve released a new album like you have to make another one or does it happen more organically?
Petey: It happens more organically. For a long time we were ahead of ourselves with songs we know vs. songs that have been recorded. I think we’re pretty much up to date now. In December we’ll go back into the studio and already have most of that session written.
Petey: I don’t think I would do either. I would either grab a lawn chair, a beer, and sit and wait for someone else to come along to press the shiny red button. Or, just walk away and go watch cartoons on my couch. In one hand, I feel honored to be called a Garage Rock band because in my mind that puts us in the same genre as bands like The Sonics, The Mummies, The Novas, The Rip-Offs, and countless other amazing bands I’ve enjoyed listening too. On the other hand, it’s just a word and doesn’t really mean anything at all. It’s Kamelåså… If someone wants to blow it up, that’s fine with me too.
NYMN: I lived in San Francisco for two years and thought I’d never leave. I did eventually, but I still love that city. The band seems to feed off San Francisco and vice versa. Obviously, friends and family keep us in locations, but what peripheral benefits do the city provide you with?
Petey: I like that fact it is very culturally diverse. Walking a few blocks down the street you can overhear different languages, and sort of travel the world throughout the different neighborhoods. I think in this current day and age, traveling and embracing different cultures, countries, ideals, and enjoying differences in humans in general is an extremely important thing. If you stick to the same square mile of the planet you were born on and never experience anything outside of that, you are more likely to become a Republican presidential candidate.
NYMN: You play in NYC on September 22nd. What do NYC shows mean to you? Are they unique or special or are they just as important as any other show?
Recent sold out shows have brought critical acclaim and scores of new fans to the David Lynch tribute duo of Russ Marshalek and Sophie Weiner. Under the name Silent Drape Runners, they play live re-soundtrackings to the cult classic television program Twin Peaks. Theses experiences are quickly becoming some of the most talked about events in NYC and the upcoming show (spoiler alert: possible last show?) at the Bell House on August 28th should not be missed. NYMN recently interviewed Russ and Sophie to get their perspective on Mexican food, sexy jerks, and Chicago-based dolphins.
NYMN: You describe your music as “Sea Punk”. Care to elaborate?
Russ: A conjunction of words turned into a fourth-internet movement by famusband Zombelle and Ultrademon
Sophie: I wouldn’t say we’re really a #seapunk band, but we love playing around the with genre/aesthetic (which, if you are unclear on, is basically a new-nu rave movement mostly based in Chicago involving dolphins). #splash
NYMN: What should I call a live Silent Drape Runners performance? Is it a concert? Is it a live experience? Is it an art installation?
Russ: It’s an experience
Sophie: Every show is different. Every show is weird. Sometimes I’d say we’re performance art, sometimes we host parties, sometimes we just do a band set. We decided to call everything we do an “experience” as we feel that encapsulates a decent amount of the weird shit we come up with.
NYMN: I often find that I can eat a surprising amount of tortilla chips and that when they say “Hot Plate” they mean it when I go to a Mexican restaurant. Russ found out Sophie could sing at a Mexican restaurant which helped give birth to Silent Drape Runners. How did this come about?
Sophie: We were drunk after seeing a burlesque show (of Russ’ girlfriend’s former troupe). I’m pretty sure I fell asleep in the cab on the way there. And then I sang The Killers.
NYMN: .G.O.T.H. was released in July. You’ve had some time to reflect since the album’s release. How do you feel about it almost two months after it’s release?
Russ: We’re still goth. We have another song coming out soon. You’re hearing this first. It will either be called “Negative Reinforcement” or “IDC”.
Sophie: It’s definitely our best and most fully realized album to date. (Less obnoxious answer: the song turned out awesome, but with so much other stuff going on in our lives I wish we’d had more time to work on it before releasing it. The party we had for the release was totally insane.)
NYMN: When did the obsession with Twin Peaks begin?
Russ: I don’t answer questions about Sex and the City.
Sophie: I think Kyle MacLachlan rules. He’s so funny on Portlandia. I recently saw him in this movie where he is having sex with two best friends without their knowing and it was kinda cool to see him play a sexy jerk instead of his usual naive good-guy.
NYMN: Any special insight into your upcoming performance Tuesday, August 28th at the Bell House?
Russ: Real is a feeling. No, wait. This is the last time we’re doing this show, which I guess is our “calling card” show, in New York this year. It’s going to sell out. Buy tickets. Buy our t-shirts, too. We’ll have them there.
Sophie: All will be revealed shortly… and I’m wearing a different dress than I usually do. It’s black.
Call Brian Olive “butter” because he’s on a roll. His most recent album, Two Of Everything, is garnering praise across the musical landscape. In addition to these personal accolades, he and Black Keys member Dan Auerbach, helped write, produce, and perform on Dr. John’s newest album Locked Down. We asked Brian a few questions in anticipation of his August 27th show at Union Hall.
NYMN: Before we get into Two Of Everything, I have to ask you about working with Dr. John on his album Locked Down. How did you get connected with him?
Brian Olive: Dan Auerbach and I were talking after a recording session in Akron. He asked if I’d heard of Dr. John. I said, Of course, I even met him once. We listened to Gris Gris. A few months later Dan told me he’d be producing the next Dr. John album and asked if I wanted to be in the studio band. I didn’t have to think about it.
NYMN: Locked Down has received critical acclaim – Rolling Stone named it one of the best albums of 2012 so far. Where you surprised at how well it was received or did you think “I told you so, suckers”?
Brian Olive: I knew it was going to be a good album and when it was finished it was better than anyone might have expected.
NYMN: Do you do a Dr. John impression?
Brian Olive: Yes, it’s hard not to.
NYMN: So what is it: all is one or everything is two?
Brian Olive: Exactly.
NYMN: What is your biggest point of pride with this album? What makes you happiest about this album now that it’s complete?
Brian Olive: I’m just happy I made the album I wanted to make.
NYMN: How many and which instruments did you play on this album?
Brian Olive: I think 6 or so, guitar, tenor and bari sax, piano, flute, and some others.
NYMN: I loaded your album onto my iPod and listened to it on a recent flight to Miami. The guy next to me asked what I was listening to, as I was moving in time with the music. I said “It’s a guy named Brian Olive.” Then he asked me what it sounded like. I couldn’t really think of anything to compare your music to and instead lent him my headphones. I think not being able to say a band or sound is actually a compliment. I see a lot of comparisons of your music to other bands or genres and I wonder what album the reviewer listened to when they wrote the article. What would you say is Brian Olive’s sound?
Brian Olive: That is a great compliment. I could say what my sound is but half the people listening would call me a liar.
NYMN: You get a lot of praise for your studio work. What’s a Brian Olive show like?
Brian Olive: I’ve heard the live show is very different.
NYMN: Any outrageous promises for your NYC show to get our readers riled up?
Brian Olive: It will transform you into everything you’ve always wanted to be.
This Monday, August 27th – Brian Olive (with Daniel Wayne and Mike Higbee) will be performing at Union Hall located at 702 Union Street in Brooklyn New York. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 on the day of the show. For more information on the show call 718-638-4400 or go to www.unionhallny.com. For more information on Brian Olive please visit www.brianolive.net.
The NYMN Investigative Team is known for hard hitting journalism that cuts through the bull pucky and gets to the heart of the story. We try not to get into politics because we believe music is our democracy. However, we’ve uncovered that even musicians like Matthew Dingee, of the band Lorelei, have been part of the political machine for so long that they no longer see themselves as what they have become: a Beltway Boy. Maybe we’re over-reacting? Maybe we watched The Manchurian Candidate too recently. But what we do know is that this group took an 18 year break between full length albums and are releasing Enterprising Sidewalks today. What were they doing in those years? No one knows. What we do know is the same week they decide to come out with a new album, a new movie with a new lead actor in the Jason Bourne saga is released. Are these simply “coincidences” or have we uncovered something that goes all the way to the Governator?
NYMN: This is Lorelei’s first full length album since 1994. Back then, I stored all my CDs in a Case Logic binder and displayed my jewel cases like trophies on a CD rack I purchased at Pier 1. The way I consume music has completely changed. When I talk to my nephew about a life lived pre-iPods, he laughs at me. Were there advantages to being a musician in a pre-internet, pre-iTunes world?
Matthew Dingee: We could sneak up on you! I suspect more folks came out to our shows in the past having not heard our music as it was harder to get a hold of. That could work in our favor in that we could potentially surprise folks. Now it’s a lot easier to stream or download a snippet of our music and make a quick decision to go out, or not, to a show. Thus now when we headline it sometimes feels like we are preaching to the converted. We have a tiny, devoted fan base for which we are eternally grateful. But it’s more difficult to reach the potential audience who might be on the fence when deciding to spend their finite entertainment dollar on a bunch of old guys like us.
NYMN: Also, how have you evolved since those days when we were all glued to the TV to see what the Taylor Family was up to on Home Improvement?
We’re better at keeping our mouths shut. Sometimes.
NYMN: Also back in 1994 it seemed like most bands had four or five members – your standard lineup of lead guitar, possibly rhythm guitar, possibly keys, bass, and drums. The trend nowadays is bands either have two or three people or a stage full of people playing multiple instruments. Were you ahead of the curve when you went from five to three members in Lorelei?
It didn’t happen by any particular design. Trends tend to come and go. I concur though that there seem to be more two member bands than ever before. I suspect Nord Express to have been the catalyst.
NYMN: And if you can predict the future what can you tell us about the possible Mayan apocalypse in December?
The end is extremely fucking nigh. But it’s only just begun.
NYMN: I’m always interested in reading band bios provided by their record company. Your record company describes your albums as “subtle” which according to the definition you choose can mean different things. It can mean delicate, elusive, refined, expert, perceptive, or even obscure. All that being said, is Enterprising Sidewalks subtle?
I’d like to think it fits that description, but having had a hand in creating it I’m less optimistic. Someone tweeted this Robert Hughes quote the other day: “The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.”
That’s probably the height of arrogance to quote. To be clear I don’t consider myself a great artist. However, I do have a healthy amount of doubt regarding how the tracks will be perceived. That’s probably also tied to my strong desire to always be creating the next track. I suffer from wanderlust. In other words, I’m the wrong person to ask.
NYMN: When you go into the studio and you have an idea for a song is it this little acorn of an idea that grows and grows when you all start playing together or is it this large, hulking tree that you have to prune back and shape into something that isn’t overgrown?
Well, we usually create together and play the songs out to an audience and then make subtle refinements before we go into the studio to record. For this record we created 5 songs quickly between October 2006 when I returned to DC from the SF Bay area. We played a show or two, and then recorded the basic tracks in a studio in NYC in December 2006. Then we worked on overdubs for awhile on those tracks (6 months to a year). Then we wrote 6 more songs, recorded those in DC, and again went through a long period of time of slowly building up the tracks. Despite the length of time we were actually pretty restrained in what we added. During that time Stephen and I both went thru some massive life changes. We both got married, had children, and Stephen moved to Philadelphia. All that kept us from dwelling on the tracks and gave us a new perspective each time we returned to them.
But, yes, we grow the tree. Quickly at first, then slowly adding each leaf. We don’t prune until the end at which point Stephen and I usually need a third party to keep us from strangling one another.
NYMN: “Washington D.C.-based” is an adjective I see in a lot features about the band. Can you fill us in on the D.C. music scene? What are some not so obvious advantages to being a musician in D.C.?
Well, the scene is small in that the degrees of separation are tiny. There is a core group of people (musicians, venue proprietors, DJs, writers, etc.) who have made DC their home for a long time and they keep the scene going and tightly knit. For example, folks like Mark Williams & Les Talusan who put on the “Taking the Piss” monthly DJ night. That night was started by Mark and Alex Hacker (of Lilys and Ropers fame) ages ago. The fact that it continues is a testament to both a stubbornness of the organizers and the DJs who come to fill the guest slots each month as well as to the bar owners who begrudgingly let it continue despite not being terribly well attended (there is another night there as well, “The Big Takeover” put on by Rick Taylor and Brandon Grover which is also very cool). It gives us a place to fly our freak flag. That’s invaluable.
NYMN: Also, is there a D.C. band or musician you think we folks in NYC need to start following?
We seem to have a good collection of instrumental bands right now. Buildings, The Orchid, and Tone in particular. Stephen’s project Chessie and mine LU are both instrumental as well so we’re pre-disposed to paying attention to bands going that route.
NYMN: When are you coming back to NYC to perform?
October we hope. Our friends Dead Leaf Echo are setting something up. We’re trying to play more to support the record so we hope to be up to NY more often in the future.
Better state to border D.C.: Maryland or Virginia? Our practice space is in VA and Davis lives there. Stephen grew up there. Also, when I first moved into my neighborhood in NW DC there was a steady stream of Maryland residents driving down my street to buy drugs. Thus we’ll have to go with VA. But they are both on notice. They both need to start paying more for the Metro.
If you had to choose between these two D.C. natives, who would you pick as the Godfather of Washington D.C. music: Marvin Gaye or Duke Ellington? Neither. Chuck Brown. RIP.
Better movie to take place in D.C. which does not have the government essential to the plot: Wedding Crashers or The Exorcist? Neither. True Lies. Arnold and co. used the record store Stephen worked at (Smash, then in Georgetown) as their dressing room for some of the shooting there. Stephen sold Arnold some Dr. Martens and played him the first Lorelei record which he really dug. Arnold is a Lorelei fan! Sadly Stephen did not give him a CD. A shameful act that I will never let him live down.
Enterprising Sidewalks is available today for purchase.
The NYMN Investigative Team recently interviewed brothers Andy and Zachary Gabbard of the band Buffalo Killers in anticipation of their upcoming album Dig. Sow. Love. Grow..
What we uncovered might very well lead to worldwide anarchy and an overpopulation problem destined to destroy the earth’s carrying capacity.
NYMN: Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. Where did you record the album and what sticks out to you the most about the recording sessions?
(Andy Gabbard) We recorded the new album at Candyland in Cincinnati, OH with Mike Montgomery. Mike usually gets everything mic’d and ready for us to go in and lay shit down. We work fast and always have fun together. Frequent smoke and skateboard breaks.
(Zachary Gabbard) Yeah, Mike is a good friend and really good dude. The one thing that sticks about most about these sessions is the fact that a lot of the songs were born in the studio. We brought them in, rehearsed a few times and the first take was the one we stuck with.
NYMN: Fill in the blank: “With this album, our goal was to…”
(AG) Our goal is always just to get these songs out and recorded. My brother and I are constantly writing and we love to rock. Each album reflects what’s going on in our lives at that time. We make records for fun and if they happen to turn people on, that is a wonderful thing.
(ZG) Yeah, the goal is always just to make a good record that we can be proud that hopefully stands the test of time.
NYMN: You’re releasing your 4th album and Buffalo Killers are older than the iPhone, the movie Knocked Up, and the TV show The Big Bang Theory. Take a minute to clean-up if needed after having your mind blown. How have you changed as an artist between that first album (Buffalo Killers) and your fourth?
(ZG) Our personal lives have changed so much that they lend themselves to the evolution of our sound. Not only that, as you mentioned, we are older than the iPhone, so time has played a big part. We are wiser, more experienced and less likely to give a shit what anyone thinks. We do things our way and hope that people like what we do. So maybe wise is an overstatement.
(AG) I think we’ve learned a lot about each other and how to work together for the sake of the song. There is less thinking going on, things just seem to fall into place. We really have been playing together for such a long time. We know what we can do, and where we wanna go, and how we’re gonna get there. It just works. When you first start your band, you have your own idea of what you wanna be or sound like. At this point, we know who we are and we just do our thing. It’s hard to explain.
NYMN: Hypothetical situation: I bring a nice lady home one night and put on your record to set the mood. How great will the sex be if we have Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. rocking in the background?
(ZG) Do you realize how many babies have been made to our music? Hundreds if not thousands.
NYMN: I see the world “nostalgic” in many reviews of your music. Are you OK with that constant comparison to music from the 60s and 70s?
(AG) It’s okay. We enjoy a lot of music from the 60’s and 70’s. But we are here now in present time making new music. I guess that’s just the easiest way for someone to describe us to someone who doesn’t know a lot about music.
(ZG) What are you gonna do? I think the real problem is music has diversified so much, if it doesn’t sound like the stuff that is being pushed by rags, screaming from a radio or mainstream in any way, then it is nostalgic… because that was the last era when bands made real music, played real instruments and sang without auto tune. The fact of the matter is, there are a lot of good bands out there, real musicians, who get half-assed reviews and comparisons because they aren’t Indie, Pop or Urban enough. Rock and Roll is alive and well. It isn’t nostalgia it is a genre of music.
NYMN: We interviewed The Sheepdogs recently and we enjoyed getting to meet the guys. They seem like excellent touring mates. How did this tour come together? I know you both worked with members of The Black Keys.
(ZG) We met them when we played SXSW a few years ago. They came to our showcase and told us that they were big fans. The next thing we knew they were winning the cover of the Rolling Stone, congrats to them and looking forward to playing with them and seeing them again.
(AG) We’ve crossed paths with The Sheepdogs a couple of times. Seem like really nice fellers. I’m really looking forward to playing with them, they are a great band. Yeah, we’ve known Dan and Pat for a long time. Another great band.
NYMN: When performing, do you prefer holding the crowd captive during a slower song, hanging on your every word and note or having the crowd going bonkers leading them like a Rock and Roll Pied Piper?
(ZG) Our standard bonkers recipes is to come out mean and loud, slow it down a bit and then blow their minds with a rockin’ screamer.
(AG) It’s fun to rock out. We give it all we got with every song. The funnest thing to do is to start jamming on a riff that we’ve never rehearsed live and just seeing what happens.
NYMN: Buffalo Killers play on August 16, 2012 at Glasslands in Brooklyn, NY. What stands out to you when playing in NYC and do you have places you “have to go to” when you arrive in NYC for a show?
(AG) It’s always a good time. Usually the only place we “have to go” is the van for a smoke haha. Seeing our friends is the best part of going to NYC. And finding a place to eat.
(ZG) We would love the opportunity to just chill and enjoy the city with our friends, but usually we never have the time. We could eat Katz’s all day long. You should bring some to the show.
NYMN: What’s an amazing prediction (it can be outlandish, lie all you want) you can make to the people of New York City of something that will happen at the Glasslands show to get them beating down the doors to get in?
(ZG) As evident from this interview, you will get laid, you will go bonkers, you will feel a touch of nostalgia, we will be releasing the latest iPhone exclusively at our show and you may get a contact high.
NYMN: Cincinnati rapid fire questions: (As answered by Andy Gabbard) Reds or Bengals? Both! Should Pete Rose be in the Hall of Fame? Fuck yes. Skyline Chili – Hype or the real deal? Real deal. Chilli and Spaghet! Better movie filmed in Cincinnati: Rain Man or Airborne?Dude, Airborne. Extreme blades. More proud of which fictional character being from Cincinnati: beloved Sesame Street character Snuffleupagus’ grandmother OR the staff of WKRP in Cincinnati? Snuffleupagus’ grandma was from Cincinnati? Definitely her.
NYMN: Cincinnati rapid fire questions: (As answered by Zachary Gabbard) Reds or Bengals? Bengals Should Pete Rose be in the Hall of Fame? Yes Skyline Chili – Hype or the real deal? Real deal, but not as good as Camp Washington Chili Better movie filmed in Cincinnati: Rain Man or Airborne?Milk Money More proud of which fictional character being from Cincinnati: beloved Sesame Street character Snuffleupagus’ grandmother OR the staff of WKRP in Cincinnati?Dr. Johnny Fever and co.
To see Gallagher, a Michael Jackson hologram, and the new iPhone check out Buffalo Killers at The Glasslands Gallery on Thursday, August 16th. Don’t forget to bring a nice salami for the band. Their upcoming album Dig. Sow. Love. Grow. is available tomorrow.