In the Key of Protomartyr

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Protomartyr on Friday at Underground Arts in Philadelphia

Text and Photos by K. Cecchini

I just saw Protomartyr on Friday at Underground Arts, which is (I say) Philly version of Brooklyn’s Rough Trade  where we saw them in October. I wrote a piece after that show and never posted it, so I will do it now.

Protomartyr vocalist Joe Casey took to the stage October at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade in his standard business casual attire. Throughout the set, he alternated between nonchalantly standing with one hand in his pocket, suit jacket pushed back and the other holding the mike to his face and intensely stretching up to nearly wrap his mouth around the mike on the stand. And then, with his hand still on the microphone, he will often hang his head down until the next verse.

With Casey’s vocals, drummer Alex Leonard, Guitarist Greg Ahee and Bass Guitarist Scott Davidson brought their richly textured sound to life in Rough Trade’s intimate space. Not letting up on the music, Davidson played right through a bloody nose. It was also really fantastic to already hear their brand new album The Agent Intellect live. On its own, the track, “Why Does it Shake?,” was worth the midnight trip into Brooklyn.

Protomartyr appears to have gathered a slew of attention in the past year and I would love to interview them before they get too big.

I only had my phone at the Philly and Brooklyn shows, so check out my photos from the Protomartyr set at the 2014 year’s Seaport Music Festival here. 

Protomartyr guitarist Greg Ahee, vocalist Joe Casey, and drummer Alex Leonard
Protomartyr guitarist Greg Ahee, vocalist Joe Casey, and drummer Alex Leonard (October: Brooklyn)
Protomartyr bass guitarist Scott Davidson
Protomartyr bass guitarist Scott Davidson (October: Brooklyn) 

 

 

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Artist Spotlight: Surfin’ Mutants Pizza Party

Interview written and conducted by @KralTunes

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While the notion of forming a band, cranking out some songs, touring the world, and making millions has invaded the dreams of literally every teenager in existence, seeing those dreams come to fruition can be quite the oddity (you could say it about as rare as cool songs about mythological Krakens and high school graduating werewolves).***listen to the album to get those two references***

Julian Maltais is one of those millions, only he took his vision about fifteen steps further.  As the brains behind the cult punk of SURFIN’ MUTANTS PIZZA PARTY (SMPP), Julien not only writes all the songs, he plays every instrument on the album, and even designs the albums’ artwork, all from the comfort of is bedroom.  At only 22, he has already amassed an impressive collection of material over the course of his burgeoning career.  His first full length album, ‘The Death Of Cool’, was released this past May, and has garnered some international press praising his energetic performances, as well as his do-it-yourself attitude.

SMPP’s music is a punchy collection of lo-fi, indie surf rock that incorporates a variety of imagery, ranging from sci-fi flicks, comics, video games, and skateboarding.  Julien’s vocals vaguely resemble a Mike Ness or a younger Billy Joe Armstrong on several tracks such as ‘Can’t See Straight’ or ‘Cocaine Lipstick’.  Not only can Julien bash the listener over the head with his brand of power punk, but he shows his range by crafting some wonderful slow jams, such as the ’50’s sounding ‘I Need A Cigarette’.  This album will warrant repeat listens throughout the summer.

Julian was more than gracious to answer some of my nonsensical rambling.  So without further ado, here is the One Man Music Making Machine, Julien Maltais:

Julien Maltais
Julien Maltais

KralTunes: Lets get it out of the way..the name..WTF?!  First thought that comes to my mind is Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but that seems too obvious. Where does the name come from?

Julien Maltais: Haha! Well, there really isn’t much of an interesting story behind the name other than wanting something that looks and sounds cool to me. Typical reactions to the name are “Dude! The name’s awesome, but I forget it on my way home” or “That’s stupid”. The TMNT connection was not something I was aiming for, but I did realize it was similar at one point. Kinda similar to CHUD too.

KT: Tell us a little about yourself?

JM: I was born and raised by vampire werewolves in Russia (well not really).  I don’t know, I’m 22, I enjoy video games, horror movies, skateboarding and comic books. Lately I’ve been reading these UFO books my dad had for a really long time, it’s pretty neat. I also have a college diploma in Social Science that is completely useless.

KT: Surfin’ Mutants Pizza Party appears to be a one man outfit…is this true?

JM: It is true, I record in my bedroom (vocals are recorded in the closet, ‘cause of better acoustics) and I also do the artworks. It’s practical, I don’t need a schedule to record or having to wait on someone and it’s also a lot of fun to create something from scratch and shaping it up to what you want it to sound like.

KT: Your latest release, aside from digital, is available on cassette. Is there really a contingent of people out there listening to music on crappy walkman’s? Vinyl I can buy into, but cassette, I don’t know. What do you feel about this current cassette craze?

JM: I like ‘em, and when they’re blasted through a sweet ghetto blaster they can sound pretty awesome. As far as I’m concerned, I think it’s more about owning something physical the band or artist put out to show support. Who knows, maybe 8-tracks will make a comeback or laserdisc for movies haha!

KT: To these uneducated ears, your music appears to be rooted in punk with a dash of horror and dreampop for good measure. Am i off with this assumption? How would you describe your sound?

JM: That’s a great way to describe it I’d say! There’s a whole bunch of influences from different subgenres of Punk and I always aim for catchiness. As far as Horror goes, it’s surely inspiring the visual aspect and some lyrics.

KT: You seem to have garnered a decent amount of international press lately with your music. Is this something you set out for accomplish, or did this catch you totally off guard? What do you think is the driving force that is getting your name out there in these distant lands?

JM: Caught me off guard, and it was a pleasant surprise, I’m very proud of the album and was kind of hoping to get some press for it, but I got way more than I thought and that’s sick, now I don’t want it to stop. Maybe the weird name I chose is kind of driving force, I have no clue haha!

KT: Any plans for live shows in the near future?

JM: I did a show last Saturday as a two piece (my best bud was drumming) with an awesome band from Québec called Ponctuation. I do plan on playing more shows.

KT: Typical music interview question…What are some of your biggest influences?

JM: Misfits, FIDLAR, Jay Reatard, Wire, Wipers, Descendents, Weezer, The Replacements. I’d say those are my biggest influences.

KT: What can we expect from the band in the upcoming year? (Yes, I know that you just released a new album of material this past month, but us greedy American f***s always want more).

JM: Haha, well I’ll definitely start recording some new stuff, I’d like to shoot a music video, play more shows, all that fun stuff. I’m pretty active on my Facebook page, so if people want to stay up to date that’s the place to go.

Find Surfin’ Mutants Pizza Party here:

Facebook         Bandcamp          Youtube

Artist Spotlight: The Gotobeds

@KralTunes

Naming your band after a member of the influential English rock band Wire, AND releasing your album on a label named after a song by said English band, can be seen as either unshakeable dedication or grounds for a restraining order.  Fortunately for Pittsburgh post punkers The Gotobeds, option A is the more likely choice.

Comprising of former members of Pittsburgh native band Kim Phuc, The Gotobeds perfectly fit the role of class clowns that are waaay smarter than any of the faculty members give them credit for.  Underneath the guise of beer swilling, goofball punk rockers lie the souls of contemporary poets, offering up some of the more witty and insightful lyrics you will hear in modern music.

Underneath a parade of bouncey riffs, thrashing guitars, and boundless energy, the group rails against the homogeneity of the current music landscape,  a generation of iPhone zombies, and even offers up a thoroughly convincing argument against living in the Big Apple (“New York’s Alright”).

***This band has become my third favorite thing to come out of the Steel City, right behind  the 1970’s Steelers and 2000’s Steelers.***

The unrelenting greatness of their debut album, Poor People Are Revolting, has secured them a permanent place on my playlist.  Vocalist/Guitarist Hazy Laser was kind enough to take a few questions from my butt kissing self…

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Sub Pop Records’ own GOTOBEDS

KralTunes:  First off, Congratulations on signing with Sup Pop Records! How does it feel to be corporate music whores?!

HAZY LASER: FEELS GOOD MAN 🙂

KT: Lets get the most important question of the way…With the resurgence of the Pirates in recent years, do they have a legit chance of becoming the darlings of Pittsburgh, or will it forever be STEELER-NATION (and do the Penguins ever have a chance at being the city’s top team)?

HL: Steeler-Nation for sure, Pirates fans have had too many disappointments making them pretty fair-weather for our boys to ever trump football-mania. Pens maybe when Lemieux was in the game, but not currently, no matter how big Sid the Kid or Malkin are. (I like this answer!!)

KT:So how did you guys get together as a group?
HL: We pooled like loose change, just knew these various people who were interested in what we were doing even when the early stages were pretty rough and most smart people avoided it. Cary had never played drums and I couldn’t sing so we were a perfect fit to just fuck around until something made sense.

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KT:  What is the thought process when writing these songs? Is there one person responsible for the lyrics?  Is it a completely collaborative effort?

HL: Songwriting is usually in excited bursts and it usually led by either guitarist that has something on their mind. It’s fairly intuitive in that we don’t talk about it before hand we just show up and when there’s a minute of downtime someone starts playing something new and it just goes from there. Lyrics are my bag, baby. Don’t think anyone else cares to write ‘em though occasionally Gavin who plays bass and sings backups will change a line if it’s something he’d rather sing and he’s bigger than me so might makes right in those cases.

KT: Whats THE GOTOBEDS idea of the ‘perfect’ album?
HL: The Kinks ‘Village Green Preservation Society’ or the Buzzcocks ‘Singles Going Steady’ though that last one cheats a bit cause it’s a comp. Perfect Lp’s flow well, have amazing artwork and say something different beyond what their peers had/have said. One thing I think is important is having some downtime or songs that are less interesting, like ‘just sitting their by the riverside’ not being the strongest track leading into ‘Animal Farm’ does more to set up that song than having say a better song precede it. My little brother once said they all can’t be bangers or else you’ve just written a ‘Greatest Hits’ lp and then you blew yr load.

KT: Tracks like ‘To And Fromme’ takes shots at contemporary culture and how homogenous it has become. Is this the bands consensus on the current music landscape?
HL: Anyone denying that corporate rock & radio are homogenous or fed by the same few bullshit labels are as bad a climate change deniers. History will not look kindly on yr narrow-mindedness young man! I like lots of bullshit that is considered pop but there’s a disposable element that’s inherent in that stuff so giving it anymore thought or credit is a waste of time. Large music sites writing dissertations on it is pretty funny though.

KT:  I see a lot of people comparing you to the likes of Protomartyr (I don’t know if that is your experience, but I have heard their name brought up several times already when mentioning you). Do you find it annoying as hell that people, rather than appreciate what a group is bringing to the music scene, immediately have to compare them to something similar?

HL:  It’s an easy thing to say to someone ‘hey you like A so you should like B’ – though getting compared to the same thing wears thin but if it helps someone hear it at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. Not everyone that listens to music listens to it in the same way that the scene’s that’ve fostered us does: it takes some real steps like doing SXSW or having sub pop interested in order to get different people involved. And that’s not good or bad, just the way it is.

KT: Speaking of Protomartyr. You recently concluded a tour with the group. How was it touring with another underrated gem of a band?  Side note: Next time you come around to NYC, try not to schedule a show in the middle of winter on a Wednesday please!

HL: Protomartyr is the SHIT!!! Though this question is dated cause I was mostly drunk in a van and couldn’t eloquently elaborate on any of this shit on my phone but ideologically, musically and personality-wise those dudes were a great fit. We’re all fans of their band so we were honored that they asked us to come along on their magic bus. Though complaining about us being there on a Wednesday makes me laugh internally: we’re treating Brooklyn like most touring bands treat Pittsburgh – a midweek stop on the way to the REAL MONEY $$$$$$. 

KT: Yes, you just released a new album mere months ago, but being the content whores we all are, we demand more of your time! What are your plans in 2015?

HL: More songs! Some good! Some not-so-good! Really just recording for the next LP that’s title is so great I can’t spoil the surprise here, so look for it at the sub pop airport store in early 2016.

Find The Gotobeds Here:

BANDCAMP          FACEBOOK           TWITTER

Other Artist Spotlights:

WHORES.              MONOCLE STACHE                BRYAN McPHERSON                    HOWLING GIANT

Artist Spotlight: Bryan McPherson- Wedgewood

By @KralTunes

Given the choice between C-SPAN or WWE Raw and most people will choose to watch chair shots to the head instead of public policy talk.

Bryan McPherson is the rare exception. And he thinks these broadcasts are interchangeable. He told KralTunes, “These people are characters who talk all kinds of trash and all kinds of game but at the end of the day they are actors and the fix is in and they go have drinks with each other and laugh about it.”

Unknown-1Calling Out the Bullshit

This is the kind of analogy that folk-punk troubadour Bryan McPherson weaves throughout his lyrics and you expect to hear more in his third release, Wedgewood, due June 10th.  Fusing the styles of Bob Dylan, Ani DiFranco and the Sex Pistols, Bryan tells compelling stories about society and everyday frustrations, all through a fusion of Americana, folk, alternative, and punk music. “I just express what Is going on inside me in some way or another. There is happy music and there is sad music. If someone wants to lighten the load there is plenty of shitty pop music out there to choose from.”

Wedgewood is filled with these type of stories, including his experience at the Occupy Oakland protests in 2011, where McPherson recalls instinctively picking up his guitar and heading down to Frank H. Ogawa Plaza.  While he was there, he said that he witnessed what became known as ‘Teargas Tuesday’ on October 25 when protestors attempted to retake an encampment outside the city hall. According to McPherson, the police met the protestors with a great deal of teargas and he said, “That’s when I started to notice that the police looked an awful lot like the military, like storm troopers, tanks, black SWAT gear, and all of these sort of sci-fi weaponry.”

Album cut “Here We Go” encapsulates McPherson’s response to the protests;

The government wants the internet,

Iran wants the bomb,
Our senators are the Hitlers,
‘Cause they’ll lock us all away,,
Bill of Rights burnt up right
AmeriKa,
M.I.A.

 

 

Aside from societal woes, McPherson is not afraid to put personal trials into his work. In “Hearts In Boxcars“, McPherson expresses the difficulty of a couple moving their separate ways, while “Burn It Down” illustrates how the  personal struggle with anger can either be used to fuel ones determination or devour its host in flames.

Off the Grid

McPherson stepped off the grid to record Wedgewood. Cut off from cell and internet service, he and a few crew members worked in a hut on the old Arrowhead mine in California. The rugged, isolated setting helped shape the sound of this new collection; Bryan went even as far as to name the album after the brand of the stove in the hut: Wedgewood.

Contrasting the album’s creation, Bryan turned to a more modern method to fund the album’s production; Kickstarter. Fortunately, the entire budget was fully funded in less than a week. This humbling achievement is not lost on the artist. “My mind was blown when it was hit in just a few days. I don’t want to give the impression that you can just throw a campaign up and get a bunch of money, but if you are giving it your all out there on the road and doing your best to make records and stuff then people will get behind you. I still find it incredible.”

Of course, such a feat does not go without some enticement, as several ‘backer rewards’ were offered to fans. People quickly snatched up the incentives such as living room concerts and early access to all future recordings.  With everything on the auction block, McPherson said, “It is a little nerve-racking to think of what people might expect, like I hope they LIKE the record. This campaign went up with only 2 small samples of songs on the record so still amazing. I put the high dollar contributions on there because hey, someone might be down to do that. But again at the same time its like Holy shit this is intense!  I’m also glad I don’t have to carve 150 sticks of wood as well!”

Off the Stage

An emotive performer, Bryan McPherson is not afraid to proudly display his heart on his sleeve. Such intensity can leave this artist completely exhausted at the conclusion of a tour. Although daunting, he is fully aware of the expectations, “Some nights I have to dig deep, but I always dig. Always. If you came to hear me sing and spent your hard-earned money, then you are going to get everything I have.”

Of course, being an open and honest musician can have more public drawbacks, especially when you are scheduled to play in a venue owned by the “happiest place on Earth.”

Slotted to open for the Dropkick Murphy’s this past fall, McPherson received the unfortunate news that the Anaheim House of Blues (Disney operated) would not allow him to perform on their stage.  The reason, according to Bryan, was his “anti-political police views and drug insinuations.”  McPherson said, “At first I was a bit outraged and then I was flattered that they went and listened to all of my music. Then I was even more flattered that I was the punkest, most dangerous person on the bill that night. 🙂 Really though, I have never been a fan of what Disney does…even as a child.”  While Such notoriety only elevated him to Stone Cold Steve Austin-badass mode in the punk folk music scene.

On the bright side, he was paid for his ‘performance’, and was offered free tickets to the theme park.  McPherson’s reaction…

“I did not oblige.”

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Album Cover

 

WEDGEWOOD, via O.F.D. Records, comes out June 10.

See BRYAN McPHERSON Here:

JUN 11     Matthews Pub                                               Portland, ME

JUN 12     The Midway Cafe                                           Boston, MA

JUN 13     Map Room at Bowery Electric                       New York, NY

JUN 14     Russo Music                                                 Asbury Park, NJ
JUN 16     Kung Fu Necktie                                           Philadelphia, PA
JUN 17     The Court Tavern                                          New Brunswick, NJ
JUN 18     The Mill Hill Basement                                  Trenton, NJ
JUN 19     Gorham Brother Music                                 Syracuse, NY
JUN 20     The Barn                                                      Oswego, NY
JUN 24     Newport Thompson House                          Newport, KY
JUN 25     Sabbatical                                                    Indianapolis, IN
JUN 26     The Waiting Room                                        St Ann, MO
JUN 27     Reggies Rock Club                                       Chicago, IL
JUN 28     Money Wolf HQ                                            Kansas City, MO
JUN 29     Gust Gullie                                                    Laramie, WY
JUN 30     Forge Pub                                                    Fort Collins, CO
JUL 1       The Garage On Beck                                    Salt Lake City, UT
JUL 2       The Colfax Theater                                       Colfax, CA
JUL 3       The Crepe Place                                           Santa Cruz, CA
JUL 5       The Night Light                                             Oakland, CA

 

Find BRYAN McPHERSON Here:

Official Page         Facebook           Bandcamp            Twitter            Instagram

Artist Spotlight: Wyldlife

Interview conducted by    @KralTunes The boys of New York’s WYLDLIFE are in the midst of a personal revival.  After being sidelined for close to a year, the band has just released some new material, (It’s Called) Rock ‘n’ Roll, and are gearing up for a major run in the next year.  Before heading south to record their new album, vocalist Dave Feldman was awesome enough to talk to me about the highs and lows of the rock and roll life, some of his best (and worst) memories on the road, and some time traveling hijinks. a2015757904_10 KralTunes:  (Typical question I am sure you’ve heard ad nauseam)  Do the boys in the band WYLDLIFE actually live up to what the name implies, or are you all simple happy little homemakers when the lights are turned off?

Dave Feldman: Well, I don’t know about a homemaker. We all keep are heads on our shoulders, I’ll say that. We have vices, but we keep them in check. We have paychecks coming in for the most part so we’re not starving. When we’re on the road, we definitely turn into a whole different animal. A party animal, if you will.

KT:  Lets get some basics out-of-the-way.  How did you guys come together as a group?  Have you been playing together for a long time?

DF: Spencer (bass) and Sam (lead guitar, also only guitar) went to college together, as did our old drummer, Russ. I had been playing with Sam in high school so we just wanted to keep it going. Back then, I would go up to Purchase nearly every weekend, practice, play shows, look for some strange, mooch off everybody’s meal cards, and go home. Now we got Stevie in the band on drums, he’s a couple years older but looks maybe 8 years younger. He’s a killer drummer, but he’s also just a really sweet, soft-spoken guy.

KT: You recently returned after a “nearly a year-long hiatus between drummers” with an exciting new 7” vinyl, (It’s Called) Rock ‘n’ Roll.  Was it difficult for the band to be on such an extended break for this long?  For some bands, such breaks can go either way: (A)  Its torture, (B)  It was a chance to step back and reflect on our body of work and perhaps make necessary adjustments to future success (sorry for the philosophy) Where do you guys lean, or is there an option C I am not taking into consideration?

DF: Yeah, the last year since Russ left was really hard on everyone. It was so tormenting to want to be playing, wanting to be recording, wanting to tour and to not be able to do it just because I was at the mercy of a terrible situation. And for me, this is all I want to do in life. And for so long I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen again, or if the whole thing was going to disintegrate. I got around to thinking about killing myself, especially around the winter time. That’s not really something I’ve talked about with too many people, but whatever. For about a year, I basically had my terrible day job that I would come home to every day and that was it. That song “Saturday Night” became totally true for me and it was really bad. We had two songs that we recorded in June (that just came out) but we weren’t doing anything with it. I didn’t even like going to shows or seeing my friends bands anymore because it just made me a really bitter and sad person. Anyway, I’m glad I didn’t kill myself because it’s looking good now. The one thing that we were able to do was write a ton of new material, even if it meant we weren’t playing it out, but now we have Stevie on board, we’re recording this album next month and it’s gonna be a ripper. Then I just want to be on tour forever if I can.

KT:  The bands image portrayed through your videos and various photos I’ve seen is one of beer swilling ruffians, and does not seem to fit into the current ‘pop-punk’ landscape.  (most people think of this 5SOS band when talking about punk rock, for Gods sake)!   Do you see yourselves as outliers of the current scene? Are you products of a bygone era?

DF: I think WYLDLIFE may actually be the most outlier-type band right now, only because we are too rough around the edges for a major label (which is fine for me) but we are too slick and good-looking for a Burger Records or Slovenly or Hozac. That kinda sucks because those are my favorite bands right now, Barreracudas, Dinos Boys, Shocked Minds, Dirty Fences, Bad Sports, etc. But I think that huge amount of admiration and appreciation for those bands is most likely not reciprocated from their audiences to us. We’re caught in this fucked place, sonically and visually, but whatever. At the end of the day I just want to drink Bud Lite Lime and make music we like. Our fans will get it, and if some other people get it, that’s cool too.

KT:  Songs like “ Cowboys and Slutz” and “The First Time’s The Worst” off of The Time Has Come To Rock & Roll appear to be written from a first person account.  Do you pull from real life experiences for the lyrical content of your music?

DF: Yeah of course. The title for Cowboys and Slutz actually came from this Cowboys and Nava-hoes party we went to one time. It sounds fratty as fuck, but I swear to god it was insane. Loose woman dressed as Native Americans, Jesus Christ… The funny thing about both of those songs are that their both about teenage girls. They sound totally different but for “Cowboys” I guess we were going for like an AC/DC or Motley Crue thing, and then “The First Time’s the Worst” was just lyrically going for a song The Raspberries might have written. Those two weren’t about anybody specific, but a lot of our songs are. Mostly ex-girlfriends and knuckleheads I see around the city.

KT:  I’m sure you’ve been asked about your favorite spots to play…whats the worst venue you have ever played in?  Was the experience so vile that no amount of $$$ would convince you to return?

DF: I won’t name names but people can ask me in person. Hamtramck, MI was fucking terrible. We did a show with The No Tomorrow Boys and at the end of the night they offered us $10 between both of our groups because “they had to pay the light guy.” You can’t even get high for $10 dollars. There was a show in Kansas City that was so fucked, there was just negative energy that night following us. We almost got into two separate fist fights, one with a group of local dickheads, another with a drunk guy in the parking lot who told us “You don’t know how much money I make, you’ll never make 300 dollars a week in your life.” There was also a massive thunder and lightning storm that night. It was awesome. Also there was a spot in Winchester, VA where we didn’t get paid, we ran our own sound, and without any sympathy we’re just like, “also your bar tab is 50 bucks between the four of you” so we Blues Brothers’d the fuck outta there.

KT:  Follow up: Are there areas of the country/world that you are super excited to get back to on future tours, and why?

DF: Yeah absolutely. Too many to name. Definitely looking forward to going back to FYWROK. Atlanta, Milwaukee, Chicago, definitely looking forward to playing Denver some time in the future, hit the West Coast. All that good stuff! If anybody wants us to come to your town, get at us!

KT:  So body ink seems to be a favorite pastime amongst the boys in the band.   Any of you have tattoos that you regret getting years (or the next morning) later?

DF: I mean, I got a Misfits tattoo lasered off. I coulda lived with it, but really I was just bored and could afford something else. Oh well.

KT:  If you had to rank your wyldest (see what I did there) touring moments (on stage or off), what would the top 3 be?

DF: There are too many and all quite blurry. In no order: Milwaukee, WI: Picked up, immediately escorted to a strip club called The Cheetah Club in a party bus with all these street punks, then played to a packed house where the cops showed up. That was madness. We Woke up the next day and went on a brewery tour and drunk bowling. Indianapolis, the one time Young Matt stole my sneakers and we wound up at a slip and slide party and drove around in, I swear to Christ, a fucking lawnmower hovercraft, then went back to Brett’s house and watched the Best of Stone Cold WWF VHS tape and ate a pizza that was bigger than my mattress.  (You would have been my heroes circa 1999). The first time we played Chicago some guy in his mid to late 20s walked towards me with a knife and said, “Hey! You were at my friends party last weekend weren’t you?” and I said “Uhh… no.” And then his friend in the background shouts, “IT’S NOT HIM!.” That all took about 4 seconds but it was pretty fucked! (You guys have lived a charmed life..that much I am sure of).

KT: What the hell is a  “GLUNK ROCKER”?! (apparently, you are)  Do you approve of such a term?

DF: I think it’s a conjunction of glam and punk. Yeah I back it. I have been called worse. I think that the New York Dolls and The Soda Pop Kids and The Star Spangles and The Richmond Sluts were kinda glunk rockers in their own right, so I back it.

KT: I try to get some opinions on current events with each interview, so bear with me as we troll through miserable reality for a moment: Baltimore.  Freddie Gray.  Whats your take on all this crap?  Seems like every week theres a new story about abuses in law enforcement that unfortunately results in a dead African-American man.  Has there been an actual spike in these events occurring, or is the media simply hyper focusing on such stories?  Are they (the media) making it worse? (my answer, YES!)   As I write this, they are now stating that his death was self-inflicted while in custody..seems far fetched, but anything is possible I suppose.

DF: None of us are ones to rock the boat politically or socially, so I’ll just say that the footage of the dude nonchalantly throwing a huge rock through a cop car windshield got me so pumped, I had to run laps listening to The Kids just to work off the excitement.

KT: You just released this new 7”.  What does the future hold for WYLDLIFE?

DF: We are driving down to Atlanta next week to record the next album. I am so excited for that, I can’t even tell you. Then we got a couple shows around NYC for June, probably fly down to Tulsa for this FYWROK festival. The album will be out hopefully by early fall. Maybe do some touring around then. I would love to put out a Christmas 7” this year too. We’ll have to see.  (Excellent!! I look forward to it)! 

Most important question of the night…

KT: I like a good time travel hypothetical situation, and this one comes from the podcast TELL EM STEVE DAVE. The one scenario that immediately comes up in conversation is always “If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be”?, and the answer almost always is, KILL HITLER.  That became the standard answer, and as a result, to make things more interesting, the question evolved into “If you could travel back in time and kill baby Hitler before all of his atrocities, would you do so”?  Now, in an attempt to ratchet it up even more, the question has become “You have the opportunity to seduce Mother Hitler prior to his original conception from his actual father, thus sparing the world from his DNA and cruel final solution. (assuming that the child would grow up to be more like one of you, and a lot less like Hitler).   Would you be willing to impregnate the future Hitler’s mother to save he future of millions of lives?? Here is a picture of Mother Hitler to help (or hurt) your response… 996b19e0-190f-3fc6-ba27-2691380a4ab1 DF: (Off the record, I really appreciate that Mall Rats reference). Is that a brooch made of grapes? (I do believe it is)  I think it would be pretty awesome to be like, “Hey Hitler. I fucked your mom.” And  God knows I am a motherfucker at heart but nah, she’s beat. I wouldn’t fuck her with yours.  (HA!  While I do abhor your negligence in avoiding a worldwide suicide, I do believe that my dick should not be deemed  ‘in play’ for such shenanigans… Well played).  

Find WYLDLIFE Here: BANDCAMP

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Other Artist Spotlights: Monocle Stache     Howling Giant        Whores.

BEST OF 2014, Part Un

Text by @KralTunes Just hear those sleigh bells ringin’ an… Yes, it’s that time of the year (at least for the first time) for the annual best of list that everyone will no doubt bitch and moan about relentlessly, as if these things matter to anyone (except that 2014 ROLLING STONE list, which BTW, was utter horseshit). Anyhoo, on with the superficiality!!!

10.   th-4 Benjamin Booker-Benjamin Booker To these ears, newcomer Benjamin Booker sounds like a 25-year-old working on a 45-year smoking habit.  On his debut album, the New Orleans native harkens back to the days when Southern roots rock was king, packing in plenty of the bluesy twang, gospel, and guitar tones that Jack White loves so much. Benjamin Booker leaves us with a reminder of the glorious past of rock and roll. The album, as a collective, touches on all those elements of that bygone era; one minute Ben and his crew can bring the raucous in the grand fashion of Chuck Berry (“Wicked Waters“, “Have You Seen My Son?“), then steer you right into a rockabilly swagger (“Chippewa”) and mere moments later have you mournfully reaching for the whiskey bottle (“I Thought I Heard You Screaming”, “By The Evening”).  Booker spreads his musical wings on tracks like “Have You Seen My Son?”, a pseudo rock-opera complete with ‘Tremé’ like drum beats and epic 70’s guitar riffage.  Whatever your mood, these songs are so much fun that they’ll leave you smilin’.

HIGHLIGHTS: VIOLENT SHIVER   HAVE YOU SEEN MY SON

9.   th-3 FKA Twigs-LP1 My opinion on this album being merely a collection of decent tracks has morphed over time, and I have come to appreciate the album as an adventurous and exciting pop album. Every song offers an interesting or unique aspect, even as some triumph over others. The first L.P. is a promising effort from an up and coming artist and is perfect for any late night festivities you may partake in (wink, wink).  “Pendulum” -the 5th track- is where Twigs shines the brightest; her R&B style vocals are complimented by slow, minimal beats drenched in electronics and it works beautifully. HIGHLIGHTS: PENDULUM    TWO WEEKS

 

 

 

8. th-2  BADBADNOTGOOD-BBNG3 Whether its ‘Post-Bop’, ‘Scenster-Jazz’, or ‘Cool Jazz”, this trio will not be pigeonholed on their third release, as they both expand their musical palettes and tighten their core strengths (I sound like an 80’s fitness tape… Buns of BBNG) with this collection of tunes. Whether it’s a firmly constructed tune like “Triangle” or a looser jam such as “Kaleidoscope”, the band is in a groove at the moment, and hopefully their future 2015 release with Ghostface Killah will continue this trend. Definitely worth your listening time. HIGHLIGHTS: KALEIDOSCOPE    TRIANGLE

 

 

 

 

7. th-1  LOW ROAR-0 Low Roar is Ryan Karazija’s Iceland project, as he has relocated to the Nordic regions to create something that is hauntingly cinematic.  This is an album I have been trying to write a review for months now.  Only recently in the December cold did I find my muse, as the current landscape almost perfectly fits the score of this album. The emotion that is interwoven into the verses of these tracks cannot be overlooked, as tracks like “Easy Way Out’, “Phantoms”, or “I’m Leaving”  revive the spirits of a Radiohead or Sigur Ros quite prominently.  While a long listen, it is a stunning piece of music that builds as the track numbers click by, HIGHLIGHTS:  I’LL KEEP COMING        DREAMER  

 

 

 

6.   th RUN THE JEWELS-RUN THE JEWELS 2 The fact that one album can be so ridiculous one moment and then immediately flip on its head to offer you some truly interesting and thought-provoking lyrics the next helps make Run The Jewels 2 the best rap/hip-hop album you will hear all year. Killer Mike and El-P provide fast and furious beats that match the energy and intensity of the verses blow for blow. This is a collaboration in the truest sense; each member pulling their weight throughout.  Everything about this release works near to perfection. HIGHLIGHTS:  OH MY DARLING DON’T CRY    CLOSE YOUR EYES (AND COUNT TO FUCK)     ANGEL DUSTER

 

 

 

Coming Soon…The more than under-yet not so overwhelming- conclusion…