Monday, June 22, 2015

Hot Summer Car Jamz: Super Nostalgia Edition!

I think the beginning of summer makes me nostalgic; I totally had the urge to listen to Liz Phair today. I always get a little sad too, realizing that the days will get shorter for the next six months. Whip-Smart got thousands of plays in my car's tape deck, back in the day. Before the mp3 revolution, people had that connection to music; you'd buy something, and that would be it, you better like it, cause it's gonna be a week before you have disposable income again. You looked for reasons to like it. There were plenty of albums I didn't really dig, but I committed to giving them 3 or 4 listens, because dammit, I bought it! And you know what? Sometimes, you'd catch something on that third listen and the album would end up in permanent rotation. Nowadays, it's the opposite, you look for a reason to hit the skip button; to go ahead and find the next thing. It's hard, cause a lot of the music I love didn't instantly grab me. I really think that most people will like an album if A. they culturally identify with it, and B. they are familiar with it. These days, I need to actively decide to get into something and then see how it plays out. It works for me, but it's not the same.

One thing that kinda sucks about living in NYC is that you don't spend any time in people's cars. I know it sounds weird, but there's an intimacy factor; it's probably as close as you get to someone until you get into their bedroom, if you ever get that far. A lot of the music that really sticks with me, and would guess most of you too, has a strong person/place/time connection. In a car, you instantly had person/place association. Whenever I hear "Only in Dreams," I'm baked out of my mind in the back of Chet's police issued Crown Vic with four other kids, parked down by a lake where no one would bother us. Whenever I hear "Mayonnaise," I'm cruising around with Meg in the middle of the night, feeling lost and hopeless, but also feeling like we belonged; if not to the world as a whole, but at least to each other. Whenever I hear "Marquee Moon," I know it's exactly as long as it took me to drive from the giant Victorian house I split with six other people across from the JCA in Amherst, to Rachel's two bedroom apartment on Randolph Place in Northampton, provided it was late at night and there was no traffic on Route 9.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Brooklyn - New Jersey Mix Tape Swap

We exchanged mix tapes with CoolDad Music, a NJ based indie rock blog. I'll let Jim take it from here:

Dentist kicks off Jim's playlist.
It's been one of my goals since starting CoolDad Music to bridge some of the too-wide gaps that exist between the Jerseys North and South, between New Jersey and New York, between Asbury Park and Brooklyn. I love seeing and hearing new bands, and I love the idea of bands expanding their sphere of influence beyond their neighborhood and their circle of friends. That was all kind of my motivation for this little "mixtape swap" with Hearts Bleed Radio. I want my readers to hear some of the great bands that Stephen has been championing at his site, and I want to give some great New Jersey bands wider exposure. Even if it's just in a small way. 
This is a compilation that includes Asbury Park bands like surf poppy Dentist, hardcore Hot Blood, party rocking The Battery Electric, modern rocking Smalltalk, and the early aughts indie influenced Prehistoric Forest. It includes New Brunswick bands like poppy basement dwellers ROMP, prolific indie song machine Sink Tapes. Roy Orbitron bring their unconventional song structures from Trenton. Grand Mariner do the surf / garage / punk thing in Howell. The Off White are dirty and gritty all the way down in LBI. Paper Streets are half-Brooklyn / half-Jackson, NJ disciples of all things jangly and classically indie. Almost all of these bands are my friends, and they all deserve to be heard far and wide. 
I hope you like it. Lots of these bands make the occasional incursion into Brooklyn, so keep your eyes peeled. Hey. Come on over to CoolDad Music, and I'll be sure to keep you posted. Thanks for listening. 
 CoolDad Music

Check out the mix below! (and check out my mix on CoolDad Music, here)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spring Fling (perhaps the most random-ass article in the history of HBR)

Hey, it's March. I know there's still snow everywhere, but guess what? It's less than a week until the clocks spring forward. Honestly, it's my favorite day of the year. Some of you complain; "oh, we lose an hour, we have to get up early, wah wah..." Well guess what? You're ass is going to feel just as hungover and shitty waking up at noon on Sunday morning as it would have felt to wake up at 1. IMO, the only real crime is that NYC bars effectively close at 3am on Saturday night, but it's becoming exceedingly rare that I'm out at that hour.

Also, I think the day when we get an extra hour and bars effectively stay open till 5am, should be a holiday where we stay out until 5am, BUT, I don't think we should spread the word too much, cause I want it to be chill and not full of dickhead frat-boys.

Doe is the real deal (more on them later)

Anyway, it's always a weird time when winter starts to fade, but it's surely not springtime yet. So here's a weird collection of some shit that's going on, has just come out, an interview, some shit about Wednesday's show... And away we go!

The Meaning of Life released Diamonds and Junkfood a week or two ago. Give it a listen. Texturally similar to their earlier albums, but with an added funk, it's a step in a new direction. Wow Wow Wow is the track. Oh, they play ZeroFest this weekend too.

GRIZZLOR is noisy metal post punk punk. They are loud and from CT and playing Acheron this Friday. This is the show to go to if your a headbanger but way more interested in counter-culture than Metallica.

Since we're on the topic of shows, we (HBR) are throwing a show this Wednesday, 3/4. It's an unofficial ZeroFest show and will probably be the best show of the week. It's at Trash (which is closing). Trash was the place that looked the most (cause it changed the least) like the Williamsburg I met 10 years ago. It was never a super desirable place to play; it's wasn't a joint that broke bands, or a place where you'd run into even D-rate rock and roll celebs (though I did see Dee Snider shooting a B-movie out front one evening). BUT, literally every musician in my generation (born mid 70's through mid 80's) played there (and probably had a good time). Here's the link to that show.

Oh, and the second ZeroFest is happening this weekend too. Should be a good time, just like the last one. Four days of local bands, March 5-8. Bars, DIY spaces, all types of venues! I mean, just look at these guys, don't you want to hang out with them?


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Very Best of The Four Track Challenge!

We created The Four Track Challenge last fall as an excused to screw around with a fun, somewhat forgotten technology; really for no other reason than we thought it would be neat. The response was overwhelmingly positive, which isn't too surprising given how nostalgia driven our counter-culture has become. Over a two month span (more or less), artists were asked to create an EP using an analog four track as the main recording device. We had 110 artists sign up, and to date, 40 of them have turned in projects, which is a pretty decent completion rate when you're dealing with musicians (or anyone).

In order to help you dig through this wonderful mess of lo-fi and mid-fi recordings, we had some guest writers make top ten lists of tracks/projects. Thoughts? Snubs? Leave them in the comments sections below. And OH YEAH, we'll be running challenges twice a year, with submissions due in May and November. If you're feeling inspired to participate, join the group on Facebook, or sign up for our email list.

Gotta start 'em young.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New video from The Meaning of Life (and more!)

Brooklyn three piece (and Hearts Bleed Radio favorites) The Meaning of Life released a video just before the holidays and I wanted to make sure you guys didn't miss it. "I Want To Do With You What The Spring Does With Cherry Trees" (a nod to Pablo Neruda for all you South American lit. majors out there) is dream pop with a danceable bass line and metronomic drumming that feels right whether you're the type who likes to shake your ass, or stand in the corner staring at your shoes. Punctuated by ringing guitars and smooth, echoey, ethereal vocals, the track is classic TMOL with a slight rhythmic twist. A step in a new direction, yet you wouldn't mistake them for another band.

Whatever is behind that door is kept safe by TMOL

The video itself is a mix of eye candy, symbolism, absurdism, and flat out rage. Shot throughout NYC and featuring some local musicians, the visuals lock in with the driving beat and bass line. The smashing of instruments is becoming a theme throughout TMOL's video work, and personally I love the contrast between their sweet and pretty tunes, and this unrestrained act of aggression. Check out the video below.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dialogue From A Silent Film releases "Grey Skies" video.

Dialogue From A Silent Film is post-punk indie-goth trio from Brooklyn, NY. Back in November, they released a video for their new single "Grey Skies." Shot one afternoon in, on, and around Pet Rescue (which lies squarely in a no-neighborhood industrial area where Williamsburg meets Greenpoint meets Queens and Newtown Creek),  the video follows the band through a somewhat abandoned warehouse complex, eventually giving way to the almost Montana-esque big sky of the building's large, flat roof. I sat down for a brief chat with vocalist/guitarist Daniel Kasshu. Here's the transcript (the video is at the end):

Hearts Bleed Radio: Grey Skies is the new video from Dialogue From A Silent Film. What's the concept behind the video?

Daniel Kasshu: The concept is, well, three guys being angst-y and loitering around Pet Rescue. Or something like that. ACTUALLY, I think it's a bit more about being lost. Katrin pretty much directed us as she felt matched the song's atmosphere. I think she did a great job with it.

HBR: You shot the whole thing in Pet Rescue? How long did it take?

DK: It was a nice simple shoot, all of us (myself, Brian, Brandon, Katrin, and Zak) all met at Pet Rescue in the early afternoon, drank coffee, hung out, and shot until the evening. The whole thing probably took about five hours.

Dialogue in full concert glory.

HBR: So it was just you being directed, moved around, etc... and then Katrin disappeared into the editing room and that's that?

DK: There was a LOT of joking around, too. I mean, of course. The best part was when I slammed myself in the face with my guitar. The video was actually edited by Jennie Vee, who did it a great job and really quickly, too.

Monday, November 3, 2014

CMJ Wrap Up and My Unsolicited Advice for Future Festivals

  This was the first CMJ I had a badge and no job, SO, it was the first Music Marathon that I really got to fully experience. It was pretty much five straight days of being out and about from 2-2, living off mostly beer and pizza with a healthy mix of dumplings, night nachos, and Vita Coco thrown in for good measure. I didn't do a great job taking notes/videos/etc. I figured the sets that were worth remembering would stick in my head. I could have made it out to more shows (like Northside '13 when I saw a whopping 38 bands (not counting the 2 I played in) in three days), but seriously, it's not a contest. Anyhow, you'd have to be sharper than I to digest all those tunes into something other than a throbbing grey blob of hip haircuts, PA feedback squeal, and wobbly half-drunk "good-set-man" after show handshakes.

View from the artist lounge at the The Hotel Rivington. I'm really not classy enough to be up here.

For those of you who don't know the history of the festival, here's a brief rundown; CMJ (College Media Journal) was started in the late 70's as a sort of Billboard charts for college radio stations (and still functions in that capacity today). Beginning in 1980, there's been a yearly gathering of these bands, at first mostly in NYC's Lower East Side, but now split between the city and Williamsburg/Greenpoint, Brooklyn. This was bomb shit for the music industry back in 1984; you could see all these regional bands in one place and scout new talent without having to send your minions out to Athens or Minneapolis or any other nowhere town that didn't begin with "New" and end with "York City."

Needless to say, media has changed a lot over the years. Spin magazine, 120 Minutes, Alt-rock becoming mainstream, and lastly (but most importantly) the emergence of the internet, all contributed to CMJ's steady decline as a taste-makeing powerhouse. Buzz that was once generated by hand now rolls off an almost entirely automated assembly line. There isn't a band who doesn't want college radio airplay, but it's nowhere near the priority it once was. Despite the ability to stream college radio from almost anywhere in the world, it's becoming more and more rare for anyone, even in hardcore indie circles, to turn to college radio as a discovery vehicle.
Captured on Instagram as I begin my CMJ vision quest.