fookcast Friday #1: Please Don't Adjust Yr Volume

The newest addition to the Huevos exclusive music archive is fookcast, a series of digital mixtapes compiled with your mental well-being in mind.

It's typically the things we do outside of routine that shake up our lives. Consider fookcast when deciding what to do, especially on Fridays. Now starting on a biweekly basis, Huevos will feature 1-2 hour long music broadcasts provided by fook—pseudo name of Nathan Rich—who selects, snips, and shapes found songs into a self-indulgent stream-of-conscious experience, free from genre boundaries. For best results: use fookcast during long hours of work, boredom, masturbation and meditation. Stream or download. Indulge and enjoy.

This week's 'cast is designed for comfort, so some familiar names (Frank Zappa, Smashing Pumpkins, Modest Mouse) have been revisited. A vinyl rip of Bobby Vinton's "My Blue Heaven" kicks off the two hour long feast before channeling into space with No Age and Stereolab; the second half is a lucid void devoted entirely to Boris' 70 minute endeavor "Flood." Meanwhile, Red House Painters wrap up the exploration with one last plea.

download fookcast #1

featuring the sounds of...

BOBBY VINTON my blue heaven ... FAUST jennifer ... FRANK ZAPPA shut up 'n play yer guitar some more ... MODEST MOUSE grey ice water ... ALGERNON CADWALLADER horror ... HOLOPAW hula-la ... KICKBALL sea ... THINGY revolution in a box ... GASTR DEL SOL rebecca sylvester ... HELLA post-ivy league depression ... NO AGE glitter ... STEREOLAB parsec ... DEVIN TOWNSEND fall ... SMASHING PUMPKINS for martha ... BORIS flood ... RED HOUSE PAINTERS lord kill the pain


Pixies bring Doolittle to Palace Theater

Guitarist Joey Santiago speaks about his side project with drummer Dave Lovering and keepin' on with the Pixies

The linear pattern of nostalgia-ready bands reunited and world tour bound continues. But the Pixies have been going at it for seven years. “I can’t even think of the end right now,” guitarist Joey Santiago told me during an interview conducted in September. “But I want to keep going. (Laughs) There’s no reason to quit. ”

It was a crucial move that the Pixies chose Doolittle as their touring album. It’s a record along with Surfer Rosa that both continue to be cited by artists as prime influences since their pinnacle of success in the 90s. Frank Black introduced Santiago and drummer Dave Lovering on his solo projects after the Pixies disbanded and in 2004 an official reunion eventually culminated from a few low-key rehearsals, releasing a new single [“Bam Thwok”] the same year. Although a new record isn’t in future sights, they’ve been dispatching free live albums on their website from the currently rolling Doolittle tour.

While taking a year off the Pixies madness in 2009, Santiago and Lovering launched a new fan-interaction project called The Everybody, meaning literally anyone. They released Avatar, a nine track album of instrumentals reminiscent of the Pixies without Frank Black yelling over them. Fans could download the album from their site in a mixing package of their choice and were granted complete freedom to clip, cleave, and dice these tracks into reinvented masterpieces. For a fee, they’re given then given the liberty to re-release these songs royalty-free and were encouraged to submit them for the the final compilation of winning tracks, ear-picked by the duo themselves. This was later introduced as Everybody Else, however, Santiago seemed to have remixed feelings about the outcome.

“I thought it was good. We had other ones that were better and I don’t know why we picked those,” he continued. “The mixes were good there, but I always have a different take. I should just do it myself--me and David, actually.”

Let’s hope the fans in Louisville aren’t as disappointing.

The Pixies will salute Doolittle this Wednesday, Nov 9th at the Palace Theater with Surfer Blood opening. Tickets are still available through the Palace box office and Live Nation. Doors at 7:30PM. All Ages.

*This article also appears at Louisville.com

Photo courtesy of Pixies


Interview: Lou Barlow on low-fidelity and felines

Lo-fi veteran Lou Barlow returns to Headliners this Friday to celebrate the reissue of Sebadoh's beloved Bakesale. And cats.

As the 90’s dissolved, so did the uncertain future of Sebadoh that was left stalled in 1999 after their last album The Sebadoh was released. Every couple of years since then, Lou Barlow gets back together with bandmates Jason Loewenstien and Eric Gaffney to keep the legacy alive. Sebadoh breathed life once more when they embarked on tour in 2004, and again in 2008 during the wake of Dinosaur Jr.’s anticipated revival. “They’re all nostalgia tours for me at this point; not in a bad way,” he said in our interview conducted last week. “For us, it’s just a matter of keeping the light burning until the time comes for us to make another record, which seems to be getting to that time now.”

When Lou wasn’t touring, the music lived on through Loobiecore.com where he built an archive of Sebadoh demos and tracks from his stripped-down solo project Sentridoh, many of which fans can download for free. Although his music made the digital transition, the hand-made feel of his website suggests this to be the only change. It wouldn’t be surprising to find it looked the same exact way upon its launch in 2000.

Two years ago Dinosaur Jr. took on Louisville and this Friday Lou makes a triumphant return with Sebadoh for a night of ultimate low-fidelity. Mazes, sounding much like a blast from the 90’s themselves, claim the opening slot. Best word of advice: bring your cat. Lou Barlow LOVES cats!

Your website Loobiecore.com still remains very hand-made and DIY. It doesn’t seem to have made the digital transition. How involved are you on the internet side, with social media?

I’m there. I always check my forum and website, and I do my Twitter sometimes. I don’t have a smart phone so I’m not doing it every minute and sometimes Twitter seems really cool to me and other times I don’t think anything I have to say or am thinking is gonna be interesting, and I don’t feel worthy sharing it with the world. It’s pretty mellow. I definitely keep my own stuff up and I’m active, but I’m not obsessive. I don’t really get a lot of results from it either. I sell stuff on my website and get maybe 50 orders a year. There’s people on my forum, but you have two or three people on it at one time, if that. It pretty much stalled out 1400 followers. No part of it is really growing, and it’s kind of going on. Just trying to keep in touch with people. I like the aspect of that, like if you keep in touch with people, and if they wanted to they could contact me directly. But people don’t really contact me directly.

Yeah, it seems a lot more low-key.

It’s real low-key. [Laughs]

You tend to release a lot of recordings in your signature lo-fi quality that often blurs the line between demo and finished product. How do you determine what is refined?

I feel like if the lyrics are finished, the story’s been told. Having said that, I think there’s other...I mean, now it matters less and less as time goes on. I don’t think things have to sound finished. Back in the day, in the 90s, people were pretty hung up on lo-fi and it was considered lazy. It was this “lazy” thing and it’s just like, “you’re a stoner tossing stuff off.” I never really felt that way in a lot of the stuff I did do that was lo-fi. I mean, I really spent a lot of time crafting it. But I did all of that, and I would craft these things, and people would be like “you’re just tossing this off; why don’t you do it for real?”

I did spend some time doing some new stuff for real. But in the end it doesn’t really matter because, it just doesn’t matter. If I feel like I want to do something more with something or have ambition with the way something should sound, then maybe I’ll spend more time crafting it. But if I was to do a demo or something I recorded in a hotel room and think “wow that sounds great,” then I’d probably release that. And releasing- what does that mean? Releasing is like putting it on a CD no one buys. What is releasing?

Making it public, basically.

Yeah. With the website I can make things public immediately. There’s something satisfying about that. There’s not really an end to it.

And it’s free!

It’s free; it’s there if anybody takes it.

And you really only need to know the bare essentials of recording. Do you think that limits you sometimes?

I think I do all right. I did a couple solo records the last couple years that I did quite a bit of the work at home. But if I put the stuff I did at home next to the studio, you can’t really tell the difference. On a lot of occasions, the stuff I did at home sounds better than the stuff I do in the studio. I kind of know enough. Every time I get into a situation where I’m recording, I really get into it. I delve into it and I figure out what I need to figure out. It’s always a good trip/adventure. Every time I start a record I start from scratch and I feel like I’ve never recorded anything in my life and I don’t remember any of the things I did over the last record. I start everything from scratch and kind of build it by ear, and that’s what makes the project- the adventure: learning how to do it.

Have you ever felt inspiration from cats?

Cats? Of course. I love cats.

Have your own cats played a major role in your feline inspiration?

Well, all my cats split. At least, one of them got killed by wild animals. About six years ago when we had our first kid, our cats started disappearing. They left because they weren’t the most important things anymore and most of the cats we had were strays; they were the kind of cats that adopted us. And they kind of moved on. We don’t have cats now because my wife’s allergic. She had to go to the hospital a couple times when she was pregnant, so when the cats left I thought it was safer to not endanger my wife and keep her off asthma medication because she’s breastfeeding.

That’s crucial. And it’s a good thing that your cats are independent and they can just leave on their own. You didn’t even have to ask them.

I really believe what makes cats so unique-as far as housepets go- they really can lead a dual life. I guess dogs can have that duel life if they live in the country.

They’re so dependent, though.

Yeah, they kind of want you to be the pack leader. I find that endearing about dogs, but I also find that a little... One of the reasons I don’t have a dog, is because I have a lot of empathy for dogs and I feel like they spend a lot of time very sad and expectant and I find that a hard thing to look at every day. Where as with cats, you can look at them, and they can have these supremely relaxed looks.

It’s like total indifference.

Yeah. Depending on the cat. I’ve had cats that were really emotionally dependent, and we’ve also had cats that were incredibly empathetic. Like if I was sick, one cat would always know it in the proximity of wherever you weren’t feeling well. They’re simple creatures, but they’re not. Dogs have a pretty complex emotional life. The thing I really love about cats is, you know, it’s legal to let them run around and let them out of your house- it’s legal. The relationship to human beings is so much more...


Yeah, it’s really interesting. Dogs, you can’t let them run around because they’ll fuck things up. They’ll get together and eat babies. Your family pet will a baby.

Yeah, and we don’t want that. You know how people are about killing babies.

[Laughs] Yeah.

So on your website people can submit pictures of their cats- have you gotten a lot of responses to that?

Yeah, I did initially. I made a bunch of pages of people’s cats. That was a long time ago; I had a lot of time on my hands. Now we’ve got kids at home and there’s no time to do that, but people still send me pictures which is great because I love people taking pictures of cats. It’s why I need to be looking at cats because it can be really calming.

It really is. I’ve actually done that a couple times. When I was really angry I’d look up some cat pictures, and it worked.

[Laughs] Your heart rate comes down a little bit.

Definitely, my mind shifts to more positive things. It’s a different vibe. Do you think you’d ever do an album of cat shit?

Maybe if I’m really old. I think maybe once my kids split and I feel a little senile, you know. And maybe I could really hook into some really heavy medical marijuana. Like if I was 65-70 and cats was the central theme of what I do. Sell cat related merch...[Laughs] Till I give up on all that, I don’t feel mentally feeble enough to chase my tail like that; I might put off the cat album.

It’d be really good in a time of intense writer’s block. You can always remember you’ve got that cat album on the backburner.

Sure, and probably with that being the most successful thing I’ve ever done, I can start wearing cat related clothing exclusively... and I’ll get a guitar with cat ears.

You could become a cat!

People would love that. Like in Cat Fancy magazine they’ll have an interview with me.

You can be the Grizzly Man of cats.

Exactly, that’s true. [Laughs]

Sebadoh will be playing with Mazes and Deer Meet at Headliners Music Hall on Friday, Nov 4th. Tickets are available through Headliners and Etix.com. Doors at 8PM; show starts at 9PM. 18+ with I.D.

*This article also appears at Louisville.com


Interview: Talking color with Alex Maas of the Black Angels

In a hue of red-orange...

The black alliance was broken last year when the Black Angels canceled their opening set for Black Mountain on the Dropout Boogie tour, but this Friday they make a welcome return to Headliners Music Hall, this time as a headlining act. Sludgy shoegazers Dead Meadow are set to open with Spindrift; expect to hear a dynamic of heavy psychedelia and low-key gypsy rock jams to build anticipation.

I caught up with guitarist/vocals man Alex Maas who suffered from a hernia on their previous tour, resulting in a few canceled shows including Louisville. Now in full health, Alex took some time with me to reflect on visual songwriting, black metal and describing the unknown.

When you combined your first two EPs for Another Nice Pair, were any of these older songs reworked in the process of compiling the release?

It was more of a compilation because those songs were limited presses off records. I think there’s only 1,000 copies of each, so for bigger distribution we thought, “okay a lot of people haven’t heard these songs. let’s release them. ” A lot of people were asking of them.

Your style has changed since 2005 when these were released, have you also adapted this transition when you play these older songs live?

Yeah, we have. With a song, the more you play it, the better it gets. That’s my opinion. We’re playing a little differently now.

In another interview you said that your music was a way to commune with the unknown and unexplained. What exactly has that entailed for you?

For me it’s less of a communication between the two and more our descriptions of the unknown. It’s hard to communicate with the unknown if it’s unknown, right? It’s more our way of expressing these kind of mysteries. The unknown is really interesting. You don’t know what happens when you die-- not that you have to know, or that you need to know. The unknown has always been kind of a point of inspiration for us.

Do you feel like you’ve made discoveries from creating this music that moves you?

Yeah, I think we’ve definitely pushed ourselves not to sound cheesy and pushed ourselves into different realms. Whether it be a spiritual thing, or something a lot more simple than that. When we’re experimenting with different sound, I definitely think it’s a way to time travel and kind of get lost.

You’ve coincidentally toured and have been associated with bands that also use the word “black” in their name. For the Angels, what does black mean to you?

It’s the opposite of light. [Laughs] We got our name from the Velvet Underground song “The Black Angels Death Song.” As far as touring with bands with “black” in their names- The Black Keys and Black Rebel Motercycle Club being the two off the top of my head, it was really amazing to be able to tour with those bands. We’d always been big fans of them and when the opportunity presented itself to tour with these bands for the first time, I was like “wow, awesome.” Obviously with Black Mountain as well. It wasn’t until our first tour was booked that I’m like “man, we keep playing with these Black bands.”

I know! Such a weird coincidence.

Yeah, and it honestly wasn’t like “we’re only gonna tour with these bands.”

Black to me isn’t as evil as everyone thinks. I mean, half of the world is black when there’s no light. If you think it’s a bad connotation. It’s always been a darker people color throughout literature. To me it doesn’t really have that feeling.

Speaking of color—on your song “Deer Ree Shee,” is that a tambura you used for the drone?

Yes, that’s a tambura and a sitar as well.

In classical Indian music the feeling or emotion of a song is called the rasa. Would you say that you take this same approach to writing music?

Yeah. That’s a good description of the way we write music; it’s about the feeling. We used to get a lot of slack about being a band like “oh, this is too simple, or there’s only note, maybe one or two changes...”

That’s how a lot of that classical music was, though.

Yeah, and that’s not something that we sought out to do. Simple was good. It was easy to get moved by a certain mood or certain style, like the tambura or something. Like whenever you hear [plays notes on guitar], you play these strings, and you repeat them over and over, it’s almost like the instrument is breathing. And it’s breathing inspiration and life into a potential song. And the repetitive nature of that has its own loop. It’s a tone thing, like it’s living. A lot of times the music comes and then we’re just describing the images that we hear, or the images that we see. It is connected to your limbic system, which is where all your memories and images are stored. And so it makes sense to how we make music--our band specifically. A lot of times, it’s the music first and then we’re just telling the story afterward of what the music is telling us.

Right, so it’s your interpretation of the music— more visual.

Yeah, it’s a total visual thing. Until I realized how the human body works—I was always perplexed as to how that happened—how do we write a song? People would ask us. It’s hard and different every time. [that’s what she said!] Knowing that has enabled me to go to that place and be okay feeling like “this might be nonesense, but I’m gonna say it anyway.” I make a lot of headway that way, in terms of songwriting.

Definitely, because it becomes a more natural thing and you can make it a mindstate. Which is awesome.

Yeah, and to play these songs live in front of people, you have to go back to that spot. If you don’t, you’re probably not going to be feeling it. It’s almost impossible to be into it every single time. I have a hard time with people I know seeing the same songs played over and over, so I like to keep it fresh and play a different set list every night. To me it’s more real as to where the music came from and how it’s being projected.

Do you ever get reoccurring visions of color?

Red and orange, for some reason. It’s something I’ve talked about with friends. It’s like a tinted hue of orange. I don’t know why it is or what it means, but for me those two colors...it’s almost like a sepia. A red-orange that kind of goes back and forth. I first remember seeing that when I was little, like if I was sick, everything would have this weird hue.

I know what you’re saying, like if you closed your eyes?

Yeah, it’s really tripped out. It was really strange. I remember that and I don’t know if it’s because you’re sick and your mind isn’t well--something is happening and going on in there. Whenever we’re writing music, I had that same kind of indescribable hue that hazed over. And it’s not always there, but it’s on and off.

That’s a really intense color, too.

Yeah, I remember when I was younger and had the flu, kind of hallucinating. It has a kind of eerie feeling to it. But it has a negative connotation. I think of seeing it when I was younger, and I’m like “ugh.”

We’re still on the subject of color, but moving to more rapid fire questions. I’ll give you the choice of two black things and you name your preference. Black eye vs. Black tongue?

Black eye.

Black coffee vs. black tea?

I’m a huge tea drinker, but I like black coffee. I don’t put cream in either one.

Black cats vs black girls?

Black girls

Black metal vs. black light?

Black light

Black light? So are you a raver?

[Laughs] No, I’m not a raver. I was at a couple parties when I was a teenager, but I’m not a raver. I’ve never been into black metal. I never got big metal into it at all. If the right person turned me on to it, I’d probably be into it. I’m not a huge black light fan, but I remember being at the skating rink when I was younger and I’d wear a white shirt, and it would look so awesome.

It’s really intelligent, the music they play [in black metal].

Yeah, it’s really complex.

It’s almost like a classical composition, really in-depth, or like hitting 3 notes on a scale. It never was for me. Probably didn’t have the patience or wasn’t good enough to play metal.

Yeah, for me it’s only good at the right times.

Yeah, I could totally see that.

Blackberries vs black beans?


You don’t like burritos?

I do. I like black beans, but I was mainly thinking of the antioxidant value the black beans have versus blackberries. Antioxidants over no antioxidants, I’m going to choose the antioxidants. Black metal and blacklight...So what’s the best time to listen to black metal?

Only when there’s a funky bass. Because if it’s not funky, it doesn’t do it for me.

It’s an isolated dichotomy. The funky bass would even out the note riffs of the black metal.

Yeah especially in jazzy progressive metal. I’m still slowly getting into the pool of metal because I’ve been avoiding it all these years.

Yeah, I hear you.

Black Sabbath vs Black Francis?

Frank Black is a really good songwriter, but I’d probably have to go with Black Sabbath. My sister always listened to the Pixies growing up, I do like them. But I have to say Sabbath.

Black Mountain vs Pink Mountaintops?

Ah shit, you had to throw that one in there. Pink Mountaintops. It has to do with the music for sure, because Black Mountain is more like metal and Pink Mountaintops is more like the Velvet Underground.

I’ll have to agree with you on the Pink Mountaintops. The electronic stuff [on Axis of Evol] definitely changes it up. It’s a nice break.

Chris Farley Black Sheep or killer Black Sheep?

Killer black sheep? I know of the one with Chris Farley, but is that a movie?

There’s one with Chris Farley and the other is about sheep that murder people.

Oh, that sounds awesome. But because I haven’t seen it, I’ll have to say [Chris Farley] Black Sheep.

The Black Angels play with Dead Meadow and Spindrift on Friday, Oct. 21 at Headliners Music Hall. Tickets available through ear-X-tacy and Etix.com. $15 adv/$17 day of show. Doors at 8PM, ages 18+ with I.D.

*This article also appears at Louisville.com
Photo: Flikr/DCP313


Interview: Seeking out new tastes with Maps & Atlases

Music. Math. Noodles.

The Chicago-based Maps & Atlases emerged after meeting in school at Columbia College where they were heavily inspired by the thriving arts scene around them. After releasing two EPs of noodle-heavy, spastic pop songs, their full-length debut, Perch Patchwork, took a different turn — the studio environment guided their sound down creative avenues they couldn’t have imagined. LEO caught up with singer/guitarist Dave Davison to discuss the new record and the importance of good food.

Your debut departs from the noodles of your earlier EPs; do you consider this to be the defining record for Maps & Atlases right now—or do you see yourself developing later on into something different?

From the beginning we were all sort of interested in experimenting with lots of different techniques, rhythms and aspects of music to try to be unorthodox. I think that we always wanted to write songs that were meaningful and catchy, and fun at the same time they were intellectually stimulating. I think this album is a continuation of that. The end result seemed a lot less jarring in some ways. I’m not sure exactly what we’ll still write in three years; I’m really excited to delve into that.

So, you’d say that your creative process is more of feeling things out?

Yeah, at least for Perch Patchwork, we were seeing what avenues that songs went down in the process of creating them.

Would you say that your live shows have become more improvised too?

They’re definitely calling it that. I think it’s interesting, because when we first started, the concept of ever improvising and jamming wasn’t something we would've really envisioned in the kind of show we were doing, but we loosened up a little bit.

In another interview you said all of you had an influence from 70’s psychedelic jams. For you, what was the defining record that made you want to be a musician?

I think if I had to choose an artist that made me want to be the kind of musician I am now, it would have to be David Bowie. Just because after discovering his records that my parents had when I was high school, it was all I ever grew up listening to. It just all of a sudden clicked for me in that way and really opened up a lot of different doors to me. Listening to David Bowie definitely was connecting a lot of dots in music that led me to where I am now as a songwriter and singer.

Have you ever been inspired by fine cuisine?

I totally have been. Being on tour and going to restaurants is the big highlight of going on tour for me just cus you can seek out different places. It’s kind of like how we’re able to find neighborhoods and remember how to get places, and I think in a lot of ways, we’re kind of a food centric band. A lot of our tour activities center around that. We’re mostly vegan or vegetarian band, so a lot of times we get really excited about seeking out a vegan place. I don’t necessarily write too much about food specifically, but a lot of times going in and seeking out food leads to the kind of experiences that are inspiring as opposed to a fast food restaurant on the edge of town.

So you have a pretty large palette.

Yeah, I would say so, definitely. I get mostly excited about spicy food, Thai, Indian, Ethiopian...

Maps & Atlases perform with Circa Survive and Sleeper Agent at Expo 5 on Sunday, Oct. 16. Show at 7:30PM, $20. Tickets available through ear-X-tacy and TerryHarper.com

*This is an extended interview. Read the condensed version at LEOWeekly.com
Photo: Drew Reynolds


Good news for those who buy Ben Sollee tickets

10 VIP passes are up for grabs. Get off the fence already--10 first replies are wins!

Ben Sollee w/ Vandaveer
Headliners Music Hall
10/15 | 8PM, $20 + VIP upgrade

Travelling cellist and Kentucky native Ben Sollee plays Headliners Music Hall this Friday. If you've already thrown down the cash for a ticket in advance--congratulations! You're eligible to receive a Very Important Person privilege, courtesy of the nice folks of Crash Avenue.

What does a VIP upgrade entail?
Winners receive a wristband that grants exclusive access to the Headliners Mezzanine (including the bar on the Mezzanine) throughout the evening. Revel in the moment of VIP status.

Why Ben Sollee?
You've been hearing about him for months and have never checked out a show. Why not start here?

He returns to Louisville for what's likely to be sold-out show, so it would be ideal to buy your tickets, STAT! Replies accepted until 5 PM Thursday!


Interview: Lessons with John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants returns to Louisville to send off the last Waterfront Wednesday of the year. The band's other half, John Flansburgh, takes a moment to discuss the new record and sketchy situations.

We may not be aware, but we have all experienced They Might Be Giants in one form or another. As a child I unknowingly witnessed their work watching Tiny Toons and Malcom in the Middle and never imagined I’d be coming back to question the entity behind it all. They were still an established band long before this time and have maintained strong output of inventive art that marks them a beloved act by all audiences. Leading the forefront of the inevitable internet-music marriage, they were the first artists to self-run an online music store and release albums exclusively in MP3. The past few years have kept them involved in mostly youth culture (get ‘em while they’re young) with their last three albums directed at children. Today, the two Johns tour in support of their latest adult TMBG album in four years, Join Us, which has been received surprisingly well according to John Flansburgh.

I caught up with John to discuss music and their upcoming show at Waterfront Park, a free event hosted by WFPK in their final Waterfront Wednesday of the season. Through the thousands of interviews past, it was clear he knew how to throw one down and made good company for a relaxed conversation. Flansburgh says he’s looking forward to be back in Louisville; this time TMBG is joined by Baltimore’s J Roddy Waltson & The Business and Louisville pop posse The Deloreans. Although there probably won’t be science lessons on the set list, it shouldn’t discourage you from bringing along the kiddies anyway. It’s an awfully generous opportunity with a free event of this capacity, and could seriously handicap your credibility as a human being if you neglected the legs/nubs you were born and failed to attend. A free They Might Be Giants gig is more of a right than an opportunity; don’t waste it!

You’re going to be doing a free waterfront show here in September.

Right, right. It’ll be fun to be back in Louisville. You know, Louisville used to be very much on the circuit of cities that we played. And I’m not sure if the rock club that put them on the map closed down or…I can’t remember the name of the rectangular room we played in.

Was it Headliners? [Note: I later came to find it was Tewligan's, which is now Cahoots]

No, it wasn’t. I forget the name it was called. In fact, the name might have changed a couple times, but I remember at one point we were still touring in a van, so it must have been the early 90s. And somebody—a fan—stole a license plate off our van which was such a drag, because it was at the beginning of a month of touring. We would have t-shirts drop shipped to us every five or six days and we’d have to go to an airport to pick them up. So we’d go to a local airport in some city and pick them up wherever the drop shipping place was. And one might not know this—but they’ve done it—if you drive a van without a license plate onto an airport, they know right away. [Laughs]

Basically they tipped off a crazy set of police alarm bells. But fortunately we had paperwork from the Louisville police saying that our license plate had been stolen, but you can’t get a replacement plate until you actually get back to the state where the vehicle was registered. So, we had to wait a month. And we were driving around for a month without a license plate, so we got pulled over like a half-dozen times, which really sucked.

Wow, that’s really sketch!

Well what’s weird about it is they were, officially, our friends, you know? They were fans who were getting a souvenir, “ha-ha.” So that month was really shitty.

So, about how many interview do you think you’ve done?

Oh, I don’t know, probably a few thousand. We’ve probably done almost 2,000 shows, and we do at least an interview per show. And that’s actually probably a conservative number. I’m used to it.

The current tour is in support of your new album Join Us, and I've noticed through your Twitter feed that several of your shows have been free events. For a band of your notoriety, it seems odd you aren't asking for any kind of admission. Any reason why?

Well, we did a big free show in Brooklyn right as the album was being released and that was just a very celebratory thing. You know, we do a free show in New York and there are 10,000 people so it’s a way to celebrate the release. This radio show [WFPK] is just something that’s having a big event and we’re taking part in it. There’s nothing better than a free show; it’s a great vibe. And you kind of super-size your audience when you play a free show. You get the music out to more people, so it’s kind of a win-win situation.

What are your favorites to play live?

Well, whenever you play a super familiar song, it gets a different kind of response from the audience which is exciting. But I think on a musical level, it’s always interesting to have new songs in the show, whether they’re from the catalog or it’s an old repertoire that you brought back or brand new songs. Right now there’s a bunch of brand new songs from the album and they’re getting a very warm response which is…unusual. But it seems like people are paying a lot more attention to this record than typical. The typical thing is kind of a time delay on how audiences respond to songs. Like when they’re brand new, they tend to be kind of quiet.

Most of them don’t know or care to know about them yet.

That’s to be expected, but over time they become equally beloved. Although I have to say, this record’s getting a very different kind of response. Even the first couple times we played songs in the past couple weeks, certain new songs have just gotten a really big reaction, so it’s very exciting.

I think it might also be because your last releases have been children’s albums.

Oh, yeah. And that’s like a different audience entirely really. We don’t really mix those worlds. The stuff we do for adults is strictly for adults and what we do for kids is certainly for kids. So the shows are very distinctly different. We’re not into generating that level of confusion.

Right. So you’d take a different approach to making a kids album?

The things that are different are the things that are the same. You know, the challenge of writing a good song is always kind of there. Those things have a lot of common elements. They sort of function differently; it’s hard to say what the difference is, but I wouldn’t say they’re completely different.

Who writes more of the music/lyrics?

Well, we’re both songwriters and then we collaborate on things.

Has it varied over certain albums?

It really varies from song to song, but by large we typically just pull our efforts into the project. There’s a lot of experimentation in the way we approach collaborating. It’s not like one of us is a music guy and one of us is a lyrics guy. I would say a lot of songwriters work in sort a painterly way and a sculptural way- they kind of throw stuff out there and let it pile up, and there are people who are into editing and the subtractive kind of pruning of ideas. There’s a lot of peeling back of ideas in our work. To try to figure out how to arrange a song is always a big question for us.

TMBG has always been ahead of the curve in terms of adapting technology and alternative ways to distribute music. Where do you see this heading? Do you believe that file-sharing is a beneficial part of music's digital transition or does it do more harm than enrich?

In terms of the business of music, once you take the money out of it, it changes the talent pool. There was a time when a lot of very bright people were running record companies, because they were professionally ambitious. You know, people tend to look at the business of music from a very…they think about the artist and they kind about audiences, but they don’t think about how it functions as a business. There are advantages to having file-sharing and there’s things that are nice about artists being able to make a living. The economics right now are very different. And having been picking around this—you know, my first job was working in a record store when I was 17 years old; I’m 51 now. I’ve seen multiple formats come and go. I’ve seen generational shifts, and there was this period where. People always sentimentalize things. The truth of the matter is, in the 1950's there was a lot of crooks involved in music. A lot of those crooks kind of got pushed out by more legitimate business practices over the course of 30 years as the business got bigger and more corporate. And it’s hard to say. People talk about the 50’s like it was a glorious era, but it was an era where the only people managing bands were crooks and the people running record companies were crooks. So, how great is a business when it’s all run by crooks? I’m a little bit nervous that as the money marches out of the music business, it seems very likely that the crooks will return. But that’s just a guess. The music business is a very strange one.

This is totally on the side, but an interesting point. People are talking about schoolteachers and they’re complaining about…ah, it’s too complicated to explain. But it goes back to the idea of talent pools shifting. If you think of all the great women who are doctors, lawyers, engineers and business people- all the women in the workforce right now were doing all these amazing things. And imagine that all those women in a different generation would be teachers. Think about what a change in the talent pools for teachers it is. Just generationally. In one generation, it’s gone from being teaching and nursing were the professions of women and now women are everywhere in the business world. If you’re a teacher, and they change the culture of teaching. Because you just don’t have the best and the brightest in your work pool. And I have to say, I remember when there was a time when everybody’s kid wanted to be an intern at the record company. And when that changed, I really felt like, oh, music isn’t the business of future.

I also noticed your music video output has slowed since ’92.

Well, we’ve done three full length DVDs for kids in the past five years. There all like an hour long animated music video collection. MTV doesn’t really exist anymore. We’ve done lots of music video-type things, but the old fashioned music video doesn’t have as many outlets.

It’s definitely losing its value.

Yeah. And the shift in outlets and value kind of made the budgeting a really confusing thing. If you’re an established band and you try to make a rock video, people immediately want to attach a zero to the budget where it might not normally be because your presence makes it a bigger deal. But still, it’s a world of $5,000 rock videos now. It’s not a world of $50,000 rock videos and it doesn’t really make sense for us spend a whole ton of money on videos when there’s no place for them to get played. And they don’t hold people’s interest that much.

How did you get a spot on Xavier: Renegade Angel?

Oh, I’m friends with the people who put that show together and they asking if I could come in and do a thing. It’s very crazy.

What are your thoughts on the show? Did you have a fun experience?

It was very, very strange. I spent like an hour screaming at the top of my lungs. The production company that does those shows [PFFR], they also did Wonder Showzen, and they’re very creative people with loopy ideas. They’re neighbors of mine; just nice people.

It’s great; it really is. Do you have any current side-projects in the works?

No, we’re going on the road for six months, so my side-project is gonna be eating chicken wings at three in the morning.

They Might Be Giants will be performing with J Roddy Waltons & The Business and the Deloreans at Waterfront Park on Sept. 21st. Admission is FREE and all ages.

*This article also appears at Louisville.com.
Photo: Lastfm/TMBG photo album


Interview: Slug of Atmosphere and the Family Vacation

Atmosphere stops at Headliner's this Wednesday, Sept. 14th on vacation with labelmates Blueprint and Evidence. Sean Daley, the other half of Atmosphere, speaks about Eddie Murphy, his six day stint in Deep Puddle Dynamics and crybabies.

With Atmosphere as the driving force behind the movement of Twin Cities hip hop, Minneapolis breeds more than just bodies of water. It plays host to a thriving music scene of issue conscious rapppers and those willing to put their stories out there in a style defined by its candor and eccentricity. Under the umbrella of Rhymesayers Entertainment—a hip hop label founded by Atmosphere, Brent Sayers and Musab Saad—these artists are given a central hub to release records. However, you won’t catch them hanging around the office for a grip as they are currently on vacation with labelmates Blueprint and Evidence. Louisville will be one of the last handful of stops left on this excavation, a journey that began in Chicago at Lollapalooza and eventually brought them full circle around the nation. It was a really scattershot circle, though.

The tour is named after a signature hand gesture devised by Slug’s son, a gesture so commonly occurred that they decided to put it on the cover of their new record. Following up on the facts of life within 2009’s When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint That Shit Gold, things begin to get really slow. Usually this fixes everything; imagine any song with a beat and slow it down…that’s TENSE. Now, imagine the flow over top of this track spoken without much aggressive emphasis…that’s DYNAMICS. It doesn’t make much sense compared to the hip hop standards of violent subject matter and themes, but Atmosphere have been managing this sub-standard for a while. Piano trails littered the loungy, low-key nature of their last record, but now they’ve exchanged their coffee banter vibes with slithering psych-rock influenced platforms that conjure up enough texture to create its own natural system. In terms of where in the atmosphere this layer lies, it's the sub-stratosphere.

I didn't get into the scientific side of their music, but I feel some spark from Slug's very blatant answers. My spirit was crushed to hear Slug dismiss Deep Puddle Dymanics as a joke and was equally confused as to whether rewriting Eddie Murphy's "Boogie in Your Butt" is actually an ironic thing to do. I found him to be an extremely sincere guy serious with a respect for all art and the different purposes they serve.

I’m conducting this interview in the back kitchen of a head shop in Louisville. Where’s the strangest place you’ve done an interview?

I don’t know if I’ve ever done one in any strange places. Usually it’s over the phone, so it’s somewhere convenient.

That’s good. I’ve only seen a couple video interviews of you. I remember in one of them you said you became interested in writing hip hop from rewriting a really bad Eddie Murphy song…? Do you think if you chopped and screwed Kenny G it’d be any good?

I doubt it.

Is there no way of making it good?

No, I think it’s because the only reason someone would chop ‘n screw a Kenny G song would to be ironic, and I don’t think irony makes for very good art.

So you genuinely loved the Eddie Murphy song?

Which Eddie Murphy song-“Big Ol’ Butt?” “Put It In the Butt?” Yeah, that’s a great song- are you kidding me?

I’ve never heard it, but it’s definitely on the list to check out. (Note: I later came to find it’s titled “Boogie in your Butt,” something Eddie Murphy was not down with in the song.)

How does working in Atmosphere right now differ from your former rap group Deep Puddle Dynamics?

Deep Puddle Dyanmics was never a group. It was a thing, a side project that we did in 1998, but I’ve been in Atmosphere since 1989. Atmosphere has always been my group that I’ve been in. And then, a couple of dudes got together and said hey, let’s do this side project called Deep Puddle Dynamics and so we did that, and it was just a one-off. We only did one show because we all live in different parts of the country, so it was never really a group; it was just more like a recording project we did one time.

I meant that it was a group of people and collective effort.

Deep Puddle was never really work though, I don’t really know how to describe it. It was four guys who, for one week, smoked a whole bunch of weed and made a record. And so there’s really not a whole lot. Whereas Atmosphere is more like a machine, you know: a touring machine, recording machine. With Atmosphere I’ve put out about 7 official records, but we’ve put out about 15 records realistically. And Deep Puddle was something that lasted for six days. That’s what I’m saying, Deep Puddle wasn’t really a group, it was just a…a joke.

Well… I thought it was great.

Deep Puddle? Huh. That’s interesting.

I listen to it very often, actually.

You do?

Yeah, to this day.

Wow- right on, right on.

I just wanted to throw a question out there- I was genuinely curious.

I guess if I had to say it was different, I’d say that with Deep Puddle we didn’t really think about what we were doing. We were just doing whatever happened. We were under the pressure of time and six days together to make a record and so we just kinda did what happened without giving it too much thought. Whereas with Atmosphere, everything we do is very thought out; there’s a point to everything we do with Atmosphere.

I guess that’s why I like it- imperfect sound.


But with your newer stuff I noticed it’s becoming more positive- how have your audiences been responding so far?

So far, so good. Every time we make a record people have a tendency to go, “well I don’t know. I’ll really have to listen to it a couple times.” And then usually six months later they go, “wow this is great.” And I think this record is no different. When it first came out, everybody was like “well, it’s a little different, I don’t know,” and now that we’ve been out here for four months on the record everybody’s been starting to come around to it. I think people have this tendency to think they know us, or they know me. And so whenever I do something they think is outside of me, it’s like, they don’t know how to deal with it. They just all want me to be that guy that’s rapping about Lucy, and I haven’t mentioned Lucy on a record since 2002. So, Lucy’s been gone for about ten years. So when I quit doing it, cause I knew I had to move on and do something else—you can’t keep doing the same shit for more than two years, otherwise you’re a sellout—so, when I moved on…it’s like, audiences don’t move on. Things are timeless. Somebody today is hearing that Lucy shit for the first time ever, so they don’t put a time stamp on it. So you know, it’s more about when you take it in or how you take it in. For me, it’s more like it’s a straight line. Not a circle. And I guess that’s how it is for artists; they live on a straight line, however, for those of us that appreciate art you know, it’s circular, it’s a cycle.

Among your influences, what is the constant drive in your life?

Just my surroundings- the people that I’m surrounded by. I usually just steal my inspiration from my immediate surroundings.

What are your feelings on file-sharing? Do you believe it's beneficial to the music community or does more harm than good?

I don’t think I’d call it either; it’s just a way of the world, you know? It’s just the way things are today. When I was a kid we used to make mix tapes and share music with each other. People are always going to share music; that’s part of why music exists. I think that artists are being crybabies about not making any money because of file-sharing, because 100 years ago before the music industry existed, you would be lucky to get a pillow to lay your head on a bowl of soup for being able to sing a song. And then somebody invented this big scam called the music industry and a bunch of people got rich. Now, those rich people aren’t making as much money than they used to and they’re being little crybabies about it.

When you're writing, are you attentive to the pronunciation in how it affects the song in a sculptural way, or do you focus more on the words and their meanings?

I’d say, both.

Do you ever take breaks from writing or is it always a constant thing for you?

I take a break when I’m on tour.

Have you been through Louisville before?

Many, many times.

Any distinct memories?

None that I would talk about publically. I do like the airplane shoved into the side of the hill over there at Headliner’s.

Atmosphere will be performing with Blueprint and Evidence at Headliners Music Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 14th. Tickets are $20, available through ear-X-tacy, Headliners box office and Etix.com. Doors at 8PM. 18+ with I.D.

*This article also appears at Louisville.com
Photo:Lastfm/Slug photo album


Gig review: Tech N9ne at Expo 5, Louisville

Tech N9ne says that 6's and 7's stands for disarray and confusion. After rolling through Louisville last night with a crew of fellow artists off his label, Strange Music, some [children] might have felt that way.

There was already juggalo drama afoot upon my arrival to Expo 5, a venue that strangely resembles a deserted carnival even when no ICP fans are around. Offhand comments from police proved this to be the norm- “This is like an ICP crowd…” while a group of well decked-out fans were escorted outside the gates before the show kicked off. I found comfort in seeing younger fans, hoping that this would entice rowdy adults to calm their shit. Unfortunately, the term All Ages is only meaningful to those who haven’t quite peaked enough to buy cigarettes yet.

Tech N9ne rolled through Louisville last night with a large crew of fellow rappers to support his headlining tour, but they reassured us this was a party and not merely a performance. Stevie Stone initiated the night’s baller vibe, layin’ out the crunk…and yelling. The following act Mayday! succeeded at appeasing both rock and hip-hop lovers with their Beastie Boys delivery and ska/punk style, though it did border dangerously along Limp Bizkit territory.

Jay Rock did a brief set with material from his latest Follow Me Home, but brought nothing memorable besides an intense flow spat on his closing song. Kutt Calhoun was able to raise several hands with his single “Buy the Bar” and eventually Stevie Stone got back onstage as well. It appeared as though everyone had each other’s backs within stage banter that occasionally felt like watching a conversation aimed directly at us. Upon opening or closing a set, each artist dedicated their performance to a deceased fellow with the mysterious initials M.J. The party was for him.

However grueling it may sound, the slew of opening acts didn’t faze the patience of Tech N9ne fans. He entered the stage through an automatic door built within the giant red 9 that stood behind him, wearing matching Strange Music jumpsuits with the 816 Boys who are known for accompanying him on the single “Areola.” I definitely had the female advantage as Tech gave my camera extreme eye contact and followed my movement in front of the stage. The set was a chopped mix of old and new material, busting out with the first verse of “Worldwide Choppers” as he warmed up the crowd. There was no avoiding that some incarnation of “Midwest Choppers” would make an appearance (which has become a Technition anthem), but they only went as far to throw down part II in its entirety. “Psycho Bitch” was interrupted with “Psycho Bitch II,” and “Red Nose” was performed humbly by Tech sitting down. “Come Gangsta” also brought forth the unifying pride that this fan base shares. Of course, any fan could tell you what Tech N9ne’s favorite drink is; so when it was time to sing the ingredients in “Caribou Lou,” nobody had to tell the bar twice. On perfect timing, a pale yellow mixed drink was passed up to the stage once the song had concluded. Eventually it broke down to a mad-lib test of who Tech N9ne’s real fans were as he recited random lyrics from older songs like “Dysfunctional” to “Low” and allowed the crowd to fill in the blanks.

Things started getting pretty sloppy in the crowd and Tech definitely had this in mind while determining his setlist. 1) Convince everyone it’s a party, 2) Bust out “Areola,” 3) Demand women to flash titties. One poor soul ended up on stage lugging a pair of size infinite DD’s on her chest and showing them to whomever didn’t already have their head turned away. Even with this vague excitement, the show remained pretty anti-climatic until the evening came rolling to an end and he sang an excerpt from an unreleased track called “F.A.N.S.”- You are my heart/you are my soul/Thank you for all you’ve done for me. The big finish: Tech passing out free cans of Monster and a recital of The Pledge.

But just look at these photos!

*This article also posted on Louisville.com

Photos: Lara Kinne


Interview: Matisyahu, reggae's most spiritual Jew

His name means "gift of God," his beard means business, and he's performing at Headliners Music Hall this Thursday, July 21st. Matisyahu speaks about Judaism and recording in Louisville.

Much like his Hasidic beliefs, Matisyahu communicates his message through telling stories, or adapting old ones. He cites the Torah as the influencer of his words while his music dwells primarily in reggae and hip-hop, but they have more in common than you think.

This Thursday Matisyahu will perform with electronic duo Sub Swara at Headliners Music Hall, however, he is no stranger to Louisville. Among his last few stops here included a recording session downtown that later became The Louisville Light Sessions EP, a collection of select tracks from the 2009 studio album Light.

While Light embraces the wonders of electronic manipulation and multi-track recording that creates a lush texture, it seems to have left part of the funk behind. That isn’t to say that the organic feel of his live performances don’t suffice enough funk to bring the house down. A live album recorded in Austin, Texas during 2005, Live at Stubb’s, peaked #1 on the Reggae Billboard charts before the young artist even released his second studio album. The impressive beat-boxing and intricate vocal patterns can easily entice a listener to check out a live show and witness these songs in action, many of which appear on his definitive record to follow, Youth. Of course homage to Bob Marley is paid in the couple acoustic ballads that are nestled into this empowering album, and only one song title with the word Zion. The rest is a funk-infused call to action, minus the love song “Unique is my Dove" which can be referenced back to his marriage nearly seven years ago. He now tours with his family of three and band to promote his latest, Live at Stubb’s Vol. II, a second take at the same Austin venue that helped launched his career, now six years later.

I spoke with Matisyahu over the phone while in Chicago and he was very patient with the brief connection issues we had to accommodate. Immediately I was at ease knowing that I’d be speaking to someone less concerned with how much time or money they don’t have. In fact, money wasn’t even brought up despite trying to get him to talk about file-sharing.

How has touring been this year? Does the experience improve over time or does it differentiate between cities?

It has improved tremendously, actually. I’ve always loved performing, but there was definitely a time when I knew less. It’s like anything; you grow with it. All the different elements behind it: going from being able to create the right space around you, adjust to being on the road, and having the right people around you- in terms of the band and people working for you, having more knowledge of my instrument, and being able to connect with the fans. I find that when time goes on, I really find myself enjoying it more and more every tour.

Do you ever feel like the fact you’re a Jew is abused subject matter in an interview?

No, I think it’s fine. It depends on the interviewer and what their interest is. One of the best interviews I did was the other day for a daily newspaper in Pittsburgh, and the interviewer was Jewish, and I think he was pretty connected with his Judaism and therefore had a lot of in-depth questions about my Judaism. I don’t mind discussing it.

Well, I’m about to throw a few at you. What significant experiences led you from being raised a Reconstructionist to an Orthodox Jew?

There were a few that I could suggest, but all of them would require an interview for each experience. It’s something I don’t really like to over-simplify. Would you like me to pick out one of them?

Yeah, if you could.

Overall it was a very organic experience for me. It wasn’t an overnight thing; it was the type of thing that really grew over time. When I was a teenager I started listening to Bob Marley and reggae music, and I really felt all the references to Judaism in there to the Old Testament in the lyrics of those songs. And the spirituality there. A lot of it is influenced and borrowed from Judaism and the Torah. So that was one of the initial draws to me: to explore Judaism on a deeper level. That’s one thing.

Another was when I moved to the west coast to Oregon and found myself to be one of the few Jews in the town I lived in. So I felt all of a sudden, going back from New York, this sort of… I guess at that time in my life, being in my late teens, I was looking for my identity. I felt that being Jewish was a big part of that, even though this wasn’t exploring religiosity, but it made me feel a connection to Judaism. Now when I was 16 I also went to Israel to and experienced a lot of Judaism and young American Jews, too. Israel was very different from the Judaism that we’re exposed to in America. Somehow it feels much more authentic over there. And the variety of Judaism that’s available is appealing.

In college I took a class on race studies. All of us white kids, we were taking the class expecting the black kids and the black teacher to tell us what it’s like to be black in America and be in those situations where there’s racism. And on the contrary, the teacher wanted us to talk about what it was like to be white in America, what it meant to be white and to really explore our identity. It was around that time that I began to really feel a spiritual pull, and an emotional pull from a lot of different directions towards Judaism. I decided, partially because of influence from that teacher and class, that I wanted to wear a yamaka. And let the outside world know that I’m Jewish rather it be a secret and something I keep to myself.

Now, do you find yourself identifying with more than one type of Judaism or religion?

Yes, to a certain extent. Judaism isn’t just a religion, it’s a people. So in that sense I find myself relating to all Jews. Coming from a cultural perspective, as people, yes. Coming from a religious standpoint, I don’t really identify or connect with reformed Judaism or reconstructionist as much, or conservative Judaism. I believe that the Torah’s the real deal; it’s the real thing. Within Orthodox Judaism there’s different branches, so I do find myself sort gravitating towards Hasidic and Kabbalistic thought, employing from those places mainly.

There is a Jewish fusion band called the Shirim Klezmer Orchestra that take the plot-lines from Jewish folk tales and play out the stories in their music. Have you ever adapted a folk tale to write a song?

The last studio release I put out is based on a story called The Seven Beggars which was written by Rabbi Nachman who was a Hasidic rabbi. He was the grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, who was the founder of the Hasidic movement and that was in the late 1700s. He basically believed that people weren’t really connecting to the Torah. The learning wasn’t real to them. Therefore it started creating an impediment between them and God. And therefore he felt that there needed to be a new revolution in Torah learning and that it had to come through stories, and so he began to tell these stories. I studied his work for about three or four years and it culminated in my records, based on one of his stories called the Seven Beggars.

What are your feelings on the digital transition to music, i.e. file-sharing? Have you been effected by the fact that people can download your music without paying or do you believe this transition has enriched the music community?

I think it does both. It allows music to get out there easier and in some ways…well, you know the story; you know how it works. I’m sure you’ve read plenty of articles about it.

Well, what solution would you offer on behalf of your music?

I don’t have a solution because I don’t really see it as a problem. Things just are what they are. It’s just the reality of: why are leaves green?

Do you go back to the holy land very often?

Yeah, I’m usually there two to three times a year.

Anywhere particular that draws you there spiritually?

If I’m there during the high holidays I usually stay in Jerusalem.

Do you have any distinct memories of your time in Louisville?

Yeah, we had a recording there called Louisville Light. This band that I was playing with at the time, we decided we wanted to record the songs from [Light] live. So we took a little break on the tour and stopped at a studio in downtown Louisville and spent I think four or five days there. Or was it three?

Also while I was there I spent some time over Shabbat by the Chabad. You know, just a normal Chabad house…nothing special.

Matisyahu will be playing with Sub Swara at Headliners Music Hall, July 21st @ 8PM. Tickets are $25 available through Headliners, ear-X-tacy and etix.com. 18+ with I.D.

FREE Matisyahu in-store performance and meet&greet at ear-X-tacy Records prior to show starts at 6PM.

Photo: Courtesy of MatisyahuWorld

*This article also appears at Louisville.com


Al Lover- Distorted Reverberations (of Reverberating Distortion) (2011)

An essential part of keeping community alive in music is the remix: the act of artists reinventing another's work into their own. With Al Lover's new project in producing hip hop beats reworked from current psychedelic and garage bands, he helps to further bring a sense of connection within underground music. His last project was in the similar vein of remixing rock 'n roll as he produced Safe as Milk Replica last year, a tribute to the late Captain Beefheart. Adhering to his mission to extend the music community, all of these mixes are offered for free through Al Lover's website...and now on Huevos. Lay down a flow or let the beat ride, and enjoy the sound of legal- the way it should be.

1. Natural Child- "White Man's Burden"
2. Shapes Have Fangs- "Terlingua"
3. Oh-Thee-See- "If I Stay Too Long"
4. White Fence- "Sticky Fruitman Has Faith"
5. King Tuff- "Sun Medallion"
6. JEFF the Brotherhood- "Hey Friend"
7. Ty Segall- "Fist Heart Mighty Dawn Dart"
8. Davila 666- "Yo Seria Otro"
9. Night Beats- "H-Bomb"
10. Moonhearts- "I Can Go On"


Gig Review: Bright Eyes/Dawes at Iroquois Amphitheater, Louisville


It was a beautiful summer evening to hear great music at the Iroquois Amphitheater last night. Conor Oberst must have been feeling the buzz too, because I wasn't expecting a Bright Eyes show to be so heavy. Sharing the stage with them were Dawes who released their second album yesterday and performed at ear-X-tacy before last night's show. They come close to a modern Band with California style that pulses straight out of their bluesy, Malibu roots.

By sunset, it was time for Bright Eyes to take the stage. Having never attended one of their shows before, I was expecting a mostly Conor-centered experience. But the addition of a larger band aided songs dating back to I'm Wide Awake and Lifted to sound more fleshy and vibrant than their studio counterparts. He often played around the wording of these older tunes and didn't appear bored from playing them over the years. Moreover the defiant nature in his earlier music wasn't lost, but became more refined and powerful.

Even though there was only one "MARRY ME CONOR" sign, it was clear that his fanship runs deep in Louisville. To many, he is presented as a prophet. It's a unique trait he has always been able to maintain as a songwriter; people tend to hang on extra hard to his words. In the instances where Conor performed without the band ("Poison Oak," "Lua") to a quieted amphitheater, you could hear shouts of approval and agreement amongst the crowd as if he was preaching to us some kind of truth. The raw subject matter in his songs definitely make it seem that way and one could easily get lost in the emotions they may evoke. This only goes to show what a great songwriter he truly is, unknowingly touching the hearts of many people young and confused.

Conor has had past connections to Louisville as he collaborated with MMJ's Jim James in Monsters of Folk and played at Headliners last year. He explained that "A Machine Spiritual" from the new Bright Eyes record was inspired by Jim and dedicated its performance even though MMJ is currently off touring. The set ended with a cheers to the audience in "One for You, One for Me," the closing song on The People's Key and an inspiring wrap-up for the encore.

Bright Eyes- "Four Winds"

*This article also appears at Louisville.com
Photos/Video: Lara Kinne


INTERVIEW: Afternoon in ear-X-tacy with Lucky Pineapple

This Friday marks the final performance of Louisville’s beloved funky collective, Lucky Pineapple, who have graced the local scene for nearly seven years. Reasoning for the breakup remains slightly unclear, but during an interview Monday afternoon, it was apparent that these four members have their sights on endeavors set beyond just playing in a band. Although it was a fun ride, Lucky Pineapple have called it quits for good. However, the things that lie ahead for them could assimilate to be just as fruitful.

Starting out in 2004, the Pineapple began as a concentrated mix of musicians either classically trained or pulled from the Louisville punk scene, theater performers, and improv noise artists. The outcome made for a cultured take on fusing worldly music with the styles of anything it may have dragged along while returning to Louisville. Straight from the opposite hemisphere and into your backyard, Lucky Pineapple’s tunes sound like the well-seasoned, juicy piece of refreshing music that you’re probably looking for. But don’t ask any of them to describe it for you.

They enjoyed modest success during their run, landing a spot at SXSW last year and even getting a song featured on Jersey Shore. Their music video for “Moment in an Empty Street” was met with rave reviews after premiering at Louisville Film Society’s 2nd Annual Showcase of Short Film and Video, and they have shared the stage among bigger names like Meat Puppets and Man Man. A split 7’’ with Prizzy Prizzy Please called The Yellow Belt was their final release before finally announcing their disbandment in February.

For Lucky Pineapple’s last interview, I brought the band into ear-X-tacy as an inspiration to talk about their musical influences. The only rule is that whoever catches the beach eyeball must extend upon the artist and album they choose to discuss. Although trombone man Dan couldn’t find what he was looking for, an on-the-spot review of Tyler, the Creator’s "Yonkers" did suffice.

Joining us to sendoff the band on Friday are locals Ultra Pulverize who have performed with Lucky Pineapple several times in the past. As we celebrate their existence and impact on Louisville’s music scene, let us not forget what will become of its fragments later on. Hold on a little tighter to your yellow wax copy of The Yellow Belt and recall the good memories you’ve undoubtedly experienced from past Pineapple shows. Now savor it.

Lucky Pineapple will perform their farewell show with Ultra Pulverize on Friday, May 20th at Headliners Music Hall. Tickets on sale now through ear-X-tacy, Headliners box office, and Etix.com. $8 adv./$10 day of show. 18+ with I.D. Doors @ 9 PM.


Inside the Spacedome: An interview with Disco Aliens

At the very peak of Thunder anticipation, DJ supergroup Disco Aliens plan to invade the Glassworks building at Landing on the Roof this Friday. Hailing from the Midwest, these DJs, Tyrohn Brooks (obitykenobi), Sean Collins (Plexxx), Daniel Batson (Archeon) and Chris Mindel (Elektrolyte) bring you a multi-demensioned experience. Through several mixed tracks and elaborate visual appeals, the Aliens are able to powerfully stimulate their audiences without spiking them with drugs beforehand. Their passion for sound and its potential is apparent through the music selection of their mixes. Many of these can be found and downloaded for free via their website or can be streamed through DJ G.F.G.'s podcast series Sunday Slackin', a soundtrack to your Sundays.

Although they are currently based out of Louisville, the group admits to not often playing local gigs. Many of their events are spread across the Midwest which included appearances at the Land of Nod Experiement, Underground Sound, Forecastle Festival and Halfway to Forecastle. They are preparing to fill a roster of shows for 2011 and intend to transpire new ideas within the studio.

Chris Mindel's basement, known formally as the Spacedome, is where the magic takes place. It's hard not to get engergetic and inspired looking around this home setup. From layered, technicolor banners to the flourescent paint, everything glow-in-the-dark, and two really cute cats, it immersed me in nothing but good vibes. To a group of producers experienced in crowd stimulation, the vibe of a setting is an important factor of ones reaction to the music and overall experience. They hope to bring this good spirit back to Louisville this Friday. Due to travel complications, Sean Collins (Plexxx) was unable to attend this interview.

Disco Aliens will be bringing the house down with Secret Beats, Moogonaughts (G.F.G & John Napier) and Double Stuff (DJ Lady Carol vs Duffy) this Friday, April 15th. 5PM-Midnite, 21+, with a $10 cover charge.

Photos/Video: Lara Kinne; main image taken in Detroit by PictureThisDetroit


Interview: America's Funnyman Neil Hamburger talks rave music, Carl's Jr., and magical battered mushrooms

Neil Hamburger says that he's been a comedian for over 92 years. Gregg Turkington is 43. Yet, both men have accomplished a plethora of work done in music, comedy and television. This is a known fact. It's also known that Neil and Gregg are actually the same person. Turkington, who is a musician credited for founding the now defunct Amarillo Records, plays as Neil Hamburger only to the public eye. This persona, comparable to Andy Kaufman's side stint as Tony Clifton, presents to the audience crude and often offensive humor that's incredibly difficult not to laugh at. Many interviewers in the past have found that inquiring about his endeavors as a musician seems to draw out more bitter responses than informational ones. Even the story of his upbringing changes periodically, but one thing that he stresses most is that it was a very disturbed one. Since changing his act from comedian to musician, Neil's roster of projects continues to grow. He's gone from hosting his own series on tomgreen.com (Poolside Conversations with Neil Hamburger) to recording his own country western album through Drag City. On Twitter, he recently admitted to wrapping up for a future Fantomas film, but refused any forthcoming information.

Neil’s last stop in Louisville with fellow funnymen, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, brought him as a opening act for the finale show of their Chrimbus Spectacular, referred to that evening as Chrimbus Eve. Neil is no stranger to opening for amazing acts, as he has also been seen commencing shows for names like Guided by Voices, Melvins, Iron and Wine, Pinback, and Louisville’s own Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. This spring, Mr. Hamburger returns to Louisville for his own headlining tour at Headliners Music Hall. According to Neil, the Spring Value Tour is meant to pack as much entertainment and laughs into one night as humanly possible. Joining him are comedians Todd Barry and Brendon Walsh. Barry's comedic roots date as far back as Neil's, lending his talents as a voice actor for old-school shows like Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist and Home Movies. His current endeavors include a recurring role on the Adult Swim series Delocated and playing as himself on Louis C.K.'s television show Louie. Brendon Walsh has toured extensively for two years with Doug Stanhope and his appearances have varied from Premium Blend to The Bob & Tom Show.

I chatted with Neil in the afternoon while he was three hours behind me in California. During our conversation, I found him to be a very sincere man who has a serious commitment to his profession in making people laugh. Here's what Mr. Hamburger had to say about everything else...

Do you feel like there's any competition between you and other comedians?

Well there's always competition because the problem is, most of the folks these days, most of the night clubs and things, you know they have this techno music- have you heard this?

Yeah, I don’t really like it.

It's horrible. No one likes it, yet the clubs are packed. Now, they've taken bulldozers to some of the great comedy clubs, pizza parlors, and rock n’ roll night clubs, to put in these new techno buildings. They're very ice cold inside and they have vending machines at the bars that dispense drugs to these drug filled assholes to listen to that monotonous music. As a result of this, there's only so much comedy work to go around. But you’ve got 500,000 comedians and only 1,000 shows a night to pay, you can see where this competition creates, unfortunately, a very unpleasant environment when you when spend time with these other comedians, because everyone’s scrambling to get the same ten cents. Know what I’m saying?

Now in the case of the Spring Value Tour, we, some of the quality comedians, some of the real deal comedians, decided to join forces and bring a bill that packs so much entertainment into one evening, it's a surprise that it's not a $500,000 ticket. We're only trying to give the people their money's worth just by packing an insane number of laughs into a small amount of time; that's what we’re trying to do. Whether or not it works, well, we just don't know.

Yeah, but everybody gets their time, too.

Which is very important.

Twitter question from @KentuckyProphet: How do you determine your opening acts?

Well you know, that's an interesting interview question, it seems a little bit like trick, you know? A lot of interview questions would be things like "Neil! What's your favorite color?" "Neil! What’s your favorite Elvis Costello movie?" "Neil! What's your favorite Nancy Sinatra song?" Those are the sorts of questions you usually get. This question is more along the lines of probably your next question. I bet your next question is from the Super 8 Motel saying, "Neil, have you already reserved a room? We got great deals going right now." Now I don't want to speak badly of the Kentucky Prophet, I've heard that his music is in fact quite good. The sad truth is that we put together a full bill, a full night of entertainment, so there's really no more room for other acts. When we go out there, it's myself and Todd Barry, who everyone knows from movies, from all the late-night talk shows, from his really award winning career. Brendon Walsh who's been seen on all the late-night shows, you know, has also had a wonderful career; we already have three folks on one bill. There really isn’t room for anything more, so I must respectfully tip my hat to the Kentucky Prophet, but really this bill full. And if anything, it's over-filled.

I heard in another interview that you thought K-Fed's album was really killer, so I was wondering if there were any other records you would consider the best of all time?

Boy, that's a good question. That's not one you get very often, and normally it’s these motels trying to get you get to book them. Well there's an album by Frank Sinatra Jr., the son of Frank Sinatra, and the album is called Spice. And I think you'll find that it's one of the top albums that are out there for listening. We really have enjoyed it through the years and I would give my vote to that. I try not to listen to a lot of music because it distracts the mind from you really need to be doing, which is paying attention to the road.

Is that the only album?

Well, there are a few albums we have listened to. Do you know who I really like? Bow Wow Wow, did you ever hear these guys?


That's really a good sound. I mean it really was a happy sound, Bow Wow Wow. They had songs that were very popular in the 1980's when I was getting my start. And they’re one of those [bands] I think really hold up today under the light, so I really recommend them. I'm also a really big fan of any of the old orchestras, you know the Tommy Dorsey orchestra, the Jimmy Dorsey orchestra, the Glenn Miller orchestra, any of the old singers like Rudy Valley, these guys who could really put a show out there for ya. Nowadays, I don't know if you've noticed this, but probably as a journalist you would, as journalists have an attention for detail but of lot of the performers are slobs, you know? You don't come out on the stage wearing a dirty t-shirt that's incrusted with all the garbage that's soaking out of their armpits. And sometimes if you go to...do you have Carl's Jr. in Kentucky?

Carl’s Jr.?

Yeah, you have Hardy's. Alright, Hardy's, on the west coast is called Carl’s Jr. and the further east you go they call it Hardy's. If you eat the food from Hardy's, you will sweat out a little stone. They’re the size of grains of salt, they're black, and they'll come out of your pores. It comes from the garbage that they're serving at that Hardy's. Some of the oils are straight out of hell itself. So, these bands they go to Hardy's and they'll have some kind of sandwich and the next day if you raise their arms and I don't recommend you do, because most of these musicians smell horrible. But if you raise their arms you'll see the oily black clumps that look like tar coming out of the pores under their arms. Now, it's disgusting. What they need to do is wash this off, but instead, these bands will get on stage wearing a dirty t-shirt and if you look under the shirt, it's filthy dirty from these globs of the Hardy's tar. They'll have dirt under their nails, halitosis, and a lot of them have hepatitis, or BD, and they get up on stage wearing sweat pants and that's not really the kind of music anyone wants to look at or hear. Compared to these great orchestras, to answer your question, if you were to ever go see the Tommy Dorsey orchestra, you would see guys wearing suits and ties, you know what I'm saying? Impeccably groomed and always smelling fresh and not eating at Hardy's… and that's really what makes the difference.

Do you have any distinct memories of your visits to Louisville?

Yeah I sure do. We had some real good mushrooms. They cooked these mushrooms up, oh boy...I don't know the place, it was downtown, but I'll never forget these mushrooms. They battered them in something, or maybe it was the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices. It certainly was better than that. This place was just a little place downtown with these magical battered mushrooms. Do you know what place I’m talking about? I’d love to get some of those again.

I’m not sure, but I’m sure someone who reads this interview would.

[Note: If anyone knows the name of the restaurant where Neil got these mushrooms, please let me know! I would like to relay the answer to him and perhaps try them myself.]

Well they’ll have to get in touch. I also really had a wonderful show there some years ago with a wonderful, wonderful two-piece act called Elvis and Meatloaf dot com. They're two brothers. One of them was truly an amazing Meatloaf impersonator. He has the sound, he has the look, I mean he was Meatloaf. He would do a couple songs and then leave the stage, and then his brother would come out and did a fairly incredible Elvis impersonation. And then Elvis would leave and Meatloaf would come back out. It went like this all night long; it was really something. I was honored to share a building with this group. And I understand that they play some of the casinos in the area...I don’t know if the casinos are there in town or if they’re across the river or what but these guys were real great and it was real fun seeing them. Then afterwards as I said, eating these battered mushrooms...I think it was a cornmeal that was on the outside of the mushrooms. It was quite good.

Sounds really good.

Also, I went on tour there and went to the Old Spaghetti Factory; I remember that place. Now, I’m sure that’s not the finest place you’ve got in town there in Kentucky. I went in there and walked around and it seemed like there was a lot of bankers and financial guys in the area and I don’t tend to get along with those people.

Yeah, it’s definitely not the fanciest place here.

We also went to the Kentucky Fried Chicken headquarters and the beautiful mansion they have there. We tried to see Colonel Sanders’s grave and they wouldn’t let us because this was right after 9/11. We were told they were not letting visitors see the grave because of 9/11…I don’t see the connection, personally. They also had Colonel Sanders’s desk. You could sit behind it and have a photo taken. Another time we stopped in Corbin, Kentucky at the original location of Kentucky Fried Chicken at Sanders Court, and they were selling old photograph records of Colonel Sanders’s mandolin band. He had a whole band of mandolin players that played spiritual songs, and they were selling these albums right there at KFC over the counter for a mere five dollars. So you will want to stop in there if you get the chance, if you like mandolin music. I mean, who doesn’t like mandolin music? These are records from 1959 and they’re selling them there in Corbin, so do stop by.

Also, I was [in Louisville] with Tim and Eric and John C. Reilly. We travelled in a bus and had some wonderful fans that travelled all the way to Columbus, and they were there again in Kentucky. They were just the sweetest kids and we loved them. They were really nice people; nice folks.

What crimes have you committed spiritually?

Well, I don’t know if this is spiritual or not, but when I’m in the hallways out of my hotel room, and [on those carts] the maids sometimes have a little box of pens, a little box of shampoo bottles, and usually I try to scoop my hand in there and try to take as much of that as I can. I wouldn’t say it’s a spiritual crime, if anything it’s a very un-spiritual crime, but it is a crime. It is something I feel bad about.

Is that the only crime?

There are a couple shows where I didn’t give it my all, and for that I’m very sorry. I’m not going to name the cities because I don’t want to disgrace myself, and anyone who paid money to see the show. Generally I will give it my all every single night and that’s what you have to do, but when you do an average of 400 shows a year, which I’ve been known to do. You get the occasional night where you feel sick or maybe you ate some bad canned food and you don’t give it your all. That really is a crime against God, who created the some of the canned food that got me sick. But you really need to give it your all, or it’s a crime against the readers, you know?

How do you feel about kids these days?

Well you know I think a lot of them are souped up on God-knows-what. They need to clean up their act and quit listening to that techno music that I’m talking about, which is real garbage. They play a lot of televised shows with remotes and everything, but I think what the kids need to do is come see the show. Can they even get into the venue? I have no idea, but I do think kids need to laugh more these days. There’s a lot of stress going around and this is a difficult time to be a young person today. So I do salute them. Any time there are kids at the show, we always try to shake their hand, give them discounts on our merchandise. Neil Hamburger dolls… a lot of the kids really like dolls, you know, it’s sort of a security blanket sort of thing. I do wish they would educate themselves some more about good comedy because some of this junk you see in the theaters... I don’t know if you’ve seen Marmaduke, but that was garbage. It was rubbish. I think you’d be much better off watching Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy or Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man. I mean, those are quality movies. But this Marmaduke dog, is clearly on drugs or something. And to promote drug use amongst animals is the lowest of the low.

Favorite pizza.

Well you know, I prefer something that doesn’t have a lot of oil on it. Have you seen the Nile in Egypt? If you can imagine transplanting the river Nile on top of pizza, except imagine that the river Nile was all oil. That’s what all the Pizza Hut pizzas look like. It’s really quite disgusting. I think that’s pretty shameful; I would stay away from that.

Twitter question from @Thaxter: Why is the guy who plays Neil Hamburger on TV not the guy I hear on my vinyl records?

Well, it is the same guy. The problem is, Thaxter, smart aleck, is that if you’ve been buying the records, look at the year on the record. I’ve been doing this for so many years, and honestly my act has changed over the years. I’ve gotten older and as you get older your voice deepens, sort of mellows with age and that sort of thing. I could say to Thaxter: why is a 3-year-old baby that I have photographs of with a diaper full of feces not the same strapping young man that’s on Twitter asking questions? And the reason is, Thaxter, is that you’ve grown and changed with time. Now, I don’t know what records I’ve mine he has. But I can guarantee it’s the same person, but I have aged considerably. Now, Thaxter, you’ve aged, we’re all heading towards the grave. I haven’t had a day off in 12 years; if you work this hard doing this many shows it ages you prematurely. Every one year that you age, Thaxter, I age two, because unfortunately show business is the hardest type of business to be involved in. So if you have a record, say he has my first album America’s Funnyman, from 1996, well that’s 15 years ago. In show business years, that’s 30 years ago. If you listen to Frank Sinatra’s vocals from 1948 and listen to his vocals from 1978, you could easily say that this is not the same man because Frank Sinatra used to have the voice of an angel. He used to have a very sweet, tenor voice and with time it became raspy, old and crotchety. Now I happen to like that very much and any fan would, but I don’t believe conspiracy theorists like this Thaxter guy accusing them of having switched out one Frank Sinatra for the other. Frank Sinatra from 1948 was as thin as a rail, the man probably weighed 110 pounds soaking wet. And Frank Sinatra from19 78 was quite a bit more hefty. I don’t understand how Thaxter got through life not noticing this. Did he not notice at one point that he started growing hair above his lip? I mean come on, Thaxter.

You’re 43, aren’t you?

Well, there’s a lot of misconception about that. There’s a lot of information out there on the internet and there’s no way to control it.

So how old are you?

Well we can’t answer that because we don’t want to feed the misconception on the internet. We have a policy of not answering questions like that, because if you do, it causes more inaccuracy.

I guess it’s better to remain inaccurate..?

Well it’s better if people try to get their facts straight, but we can’t contribute to the mass by giving answers like that.

And you’ve been doing comedy for 92 years?

Well, I wouldn’t say that many, but that’s closer to the truth than some of the other things I’ve read. Definitely there has been a lot of comedy, and it has gone on far too long, but a lot of the audiences have moved onto other things. A lot of folks that used to come to the shows are in nursing homes, or some of them are working as strippers. I mean, anything can happen; the next great thing might change. I’ll tell you, my interest in putting on the best show that I can, that never changes.

Do you have a message for Louisville?

Yes. We are bringing what I think will be the show of the year, 2011. I think it will be the most talked about show of 2011 and I dare say it will be the best value show of 2011. What else is coming to town this year? Do you know of anything that could rival this? I don’t think Limp Bizkit could compete. I don’t think Eric Clapton could.

Robert Plant, Wanda Jackson…

Well, those are great legends in their own right. How much are the tickets, though? The thing is, we have a good price. If you were to see these acts separately, you would be paying three times as much at least. Todd Barry, you might have seen in the Oscar-award winning motion picture, The Wrestler, and on every late-night comedy show there ever was. If you were to ever see him in concert, you would have to go to the emergency room from an aching gut, a bleeding throat, and tears at the side of your mouth because you smiling and laughing so damn hard. Put him on a bill with somebody like myself and Brendon Walsh, it really speaks very well of what kind of year 2011 will be, because you will be kicking it off with laughter, joy, happiness, a little bit of disdain, disappointment, maybe some anger. But mainly, the other things I was mentioning. It’s really going to be a fantastic show and I really hope the town comes out and gets behind it. The last time I was up there it was snowing. I don’t know if we’ll have snow; I could be wrong.

It’s possible.

Well, wear something like boots to protect your feet in the snow when it’s snowing, and look fashionable if it’s not. That would be my recommendation.

Neil Hamburger will be performing with Todd Barry and Brendon Walsh at Headliners, 1386 Lexington Rd., April 14th. Tickets are $17 advance and $20 day of show available through Headliners, Ear-X-Tacy, and E-tix. Ages 18 & up. Doors open at 8 PM. Show at 9 PM.

Photo: Flickr/ Rick Hall