Sunday, December 29, 2013

HBR's Year End List of Must-Hear Music

Happy holidays and happy New Year! With the end of year comes the annual barrage of top album lists. This year, we are very lucky to have our list guest written by one of NYC's most talented, prolific, and huggable musicians, the venerable Max Goransson. Max splits his time between playing guitar and singing in Quiet Loudly, and playing bass and looking cool in Clouder, and various other projects, and doing sound at Fort Useless. We feel he's qualified, no, OVER-qualified, to pen our year end list. So without further ado, here is HBR's official best albums of the year....

Max, hard at work on this column.

First off, a disclaimer.  I am good friends with a lot of excellent bands.  Especially in Brooklyn.  So, as much as it pained me, I intentionally left my friends' local bands off of this list for a couple reasons- 1. It's very difficult not to be biased-- a song that I would really like becomes a song I absolutely adore if I know and respect the songwriter on a personal level.  2. I'd feel guilty including some friends on this list and not others, as stupid as that sounds.  However, I will do this much-- a tip of the hat.  These bands that I happen to know personally all released new music this year that is well worth checking out: Crazy Pills, Heliotropes, Belus, Dead Stars, Naam, Miniboone, Jane Eyre, The Planes, Speedy Ortiz, Butchers & Bakers, Libel, Robot Princess, Zula, Seapost... shit.  I know I'm forgetting so many people.  shitshitshitshit.  Sorry, people I forgot.  It's definitely not you-- it's me.

1. Public Speaking- Blanton Ravine  Public Speaking is Jason Anthony Harris, easily one of the most criminally unknown musicians in NYC.  While some fair reference points could be found in the likes of Arthur Russell, Talk Talk, City Center, and Radiohead (at their most experimental), Jason Anthony Harris' sound is very much uniquely his own.  Throughout Blanton Ravine, horns, strings, field recordings, backwards samples, and auxiliary hand percussion of all conceivable forms snake their way in and out of the sonic landscape, helping create a dark, sad, mysterious piece that is beautifully haunting and impossibly crammed with brilliant ideas.

2. The John Steel Singers- Everything's A Thread  The John Steel Singers of Brisbane, Australia took their sweet time making this album and it shows.  First of all, they recorded the whole thing in their own home studio that they built themselves and it sounds incredible.  But it's what's behind this impressive-sounding record that counts-- intelligent pop songs (in the classic sense) of the highest caliber, expertly crafted and performed, complete with perfect harmonies and unforgettable melodies delivered in the form of driving, instantly lovable rock songs with brilliant krautrock and classic r&b influences aplenty.  Most of the songs make you want to dance, but it's the couple funky slow jams that really disarmed me.  And that bass line in "The AC" has got to be the most perfect I've heard all year.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The True Jacqueline's newest EP is a blaze of guitar glory

  The True Jacqueline are a three piece indie rock outfit from Northampton, Massachusetts.  They have just release an EP titled Like Way Out. I think it's pretty great. Full disclosure though, I used to play in a band with their guitarist, Noah Cerveny (the Billy Ripken Fuck Face Card, look it up)... and live with him too. And the album was produced by Planes' drummer Jeff Patlingrao (who also produced/mixed our last album). So basically, it's inbred cronyism. That being said, I'm honestly crazy about this EP. If you're into guitars and pedals, AND lo-fi/mid-fi recordings, you need to give this a listen. Recorded on a Tascam 688, Like Way Out captures the rawness of the cassette tape machine, without losing any clarity or definition in the guitars.

The actual, factual, for reallz... True Jacqueline

  Cerveny and bassist Kate Niemczyk share vocal duties on the EP, and despite differences on tonality, both voices maintain a certain innocent nerdy-ness and flow together quite nicely. Drummer Brian DiPippo stays out of the way of the more intricate guitar work, but just barely. He plays about as much as one really can, while still letting the tonal instruments ring through. A fun drummer to watch live, DiPippo shines during the EP's many transitional passages.

"Knock Knees" is the EP's opener is a lesson in crunchy bass playing. Bass distortion is something that I rarely like, but Niemczyk's tone is full and powerful. The song's jagged sections feel almost scotch-taped together, yet never quite come loose, giving the track an air of spontaneity. Throughout their career, Tru-Jaq have made the transition from heavily overdriven riffs to choppy clean, almost reggae-esque rhythm playing a signature move. Though this track is bigger and more raw than their earlier work, that finger print remains.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Party!!! (plus some bands to check out)

I've been so overwhelmed lately; it's really insane. I went from unemployed to over-employed in about two weeks, not to mention the band stuff, and blog stuff and the HOLIDAYS, (which always sneak up on me like a weightless ninja on a dark windy night)... There's a lot of great music I wanted to write about that I just didn't get around to. I'm not perfect. So to make up for that, I'm throwing a party this Friday, 12/20. You're all invited to come and be imperfect with me.

It took so long to get Baron to pose with the bow!

Before we get to the bands playing on Friday, I want to mention a couple of tracks...

Easy Lover, "The Sweet"

This track is just fucking beautiful. It's so lush and smooth, but distorted, wrecked, and cacophonous but closer inspection. A minimalist drum track drives this rainforest of ripping guitar feedback and synth swells. Vocalist Kali Holloway's powerful voice sounds like a love child of Martha Reeves and Nico. The outro will be stuck in your head, long after the tune is finished.

Madam West, "Darlin'"

A short, driving, dance-y number that's been stuck in my head for the past week. Todd Martino's rhythmic keyboard riffs punctuate this hectic song. Lead singer Sophie Chernin sounds crazy in love ("crazy" being the operative word) with the song's subject. Her voice is incredible, give this track a listen when you need to get yourself moving.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

12 Things Tiny Unsigned Indie Bands Love About NYC

Not to be a Negative Nancy, I wanted to write a follow up to the 12 things tiny unsigned NYC indie bands hate list that I published over the summer. Anyway, it's taken me for-F'ing-ever to get it together because of various life distractions: lack of discipline, sickness, health... activities both curricular and extracurricular... It's not a point for point counter argument to the original list, but it touches on a lot of similar themes. I guess it goes to show that a lot of the unique aspects of this crazy complicated dirt hole/fantasy land of a city can be seen as either positive or negative, depending on mere circumstance. OK, here goes....

GHOSTESS rocks a Brooklyn backyard. They play our holiday party on 12/20

In no particular order, 12 things that tiny unsigned indie bands love about NYC:

 #1. Public Transportation/Cabs. Though it can be a rough time lugging gear on public transportation, if you plan ahead and minimize what you need to bring, you can usually get away with bringing a gig bag and maybe a backpack. At the end of the night, hop on the train or hail a cab (fairly cheap if you're only going a couple of miles). You don't need a designated driver, everyone can drink and act like rockstars. Now, if a bandmate has a car, you'll probably end up having to pile in and drag stuff back to the practice space, just because you don't want to be the jerk who took off without carrying an amp. Of course, you didn't really need to bring that amp because....

 #2. Backline. Yes, some of it is terrible. Beat to shit drum kits, static-y lifeless solid-state guitar combos, "fart-y"bass rigs (you know the sound)... but it's something that we take for granted. Few musicians here own cars, and even fewer own cars that could transport a full kit and amps. Because of that, it's understood that there will be house equipment to use, and goddamn, it makes everything so much easier on everyone. Other places don't do this. The drummer has to actually carry their WHOLE KIT, to their gig. Oh, the humanity.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Summer/Fall Roundup! Music for your ear-brain-heart mechanism to digest.

  Hey everyone, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! It's been a strange couple of weeks for me, but I've managed to have some Halloween fun, watch my beloved Red Sox win the World Series, and possibly have secured a new job. Needless to say, I've been swamped with shit to do, and really haven't been able to get around to writing about everything that has been sent my way. Unfortunately, some things slip through the cracks. Here are some albums that came out over the last couple of months that deserve a listen. It's an eclectic group of mostly friends/local artists, and there ought to be something for everyone in here somewhere.

The HBR new music research team. Our employees are our greatest asset.

In order of release date:

Dead Leaf Echo - Thought & Language

  DLE is a really rich, almost symphonic, shoegaze meets kinda pop-goth band. I don't even know what this stuff is called anymore really, but there's a lot of attention paid to detail and if you give it a deep listen, you'll be rewarded. "Memorytraces" is my favorite track on this album, give it a listen... Oh, and they are playing three shows on the East Coast this month. I highly recommend catching them if you can.

American Darlings - With Love, In Retrospect

  When I first saw these guys, at Legion, like, in the spring... I thought they were a super loud, indie guitar death, kinda overpowering huge Jazzmaster squeal tsunami wave murder squad. But I guess that's just how bands come off in loud small rooms, after everyone has had a couple. On With Love, In Retrospect you can tell that these guys really put songwriting first, and it's almost surprising how poppy they really are. American Darlings are that mix of catchiness, rawness, attitude and sweetness that really makes indie rock special. "No Clue" is the opening track on the album, and is one of the strongest tracks, right off the bat.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Don't Get Excited from Brooklyn's Lost Gloves drops TODAY!

  CMJ 2013 is finally over, and I have to admit, I'm still catching my breath a little bit. I was an absurdly hectic week for me with the bands and showcases and the music and the day job and all of that, etc. etc. But I was happy to be in the thick of it, and now I'm happy it's over. It's nice to get back to writing about new releases, and today we have a fresh, out of the oven, so hot it'll burn the roof of your mouth, brand spankin' new 7" from Brooklyn's Lost Gloves. You may remember them from our showcase on August 1st of this year (2013 if you're counting. I stopped in '09), which they played and were excellent. Check out the interview if you need to refresh your memory.

Just chillin' on the street.
  Anyway, Don't Get Excited is quirky without getting too cute, and interesting while remaining playful. I don't really know what sub-genre to stick them in, and I think that's very telling. Lost Gloves changes texture and feel quickly within songs, which always keeps the listeners on their toes. You never know when they are going to transfer from a keyboard lead that almost feels like a "96 Tears-esque" 60's garage rock, into a guitar driven passage reminiscent of 70's prog. Let's go through the EP song by song.

Don't Get Excited opens with the title track, which is a frantic feeling pop rocker and features a really nice push and pull between the keys and a chunky rhythm guitar lick. Lead vocalist Brian Goodheart always has this nervous urgency to his vocals, and they really fit well with this track. Around the 1:47 mark, the rhythm really straightens out and gives you a sense of perspective on the earlier jerky rhythm.

The second track, Nothing Yet, has a bouncy 8-bit quality that is best described as a Casio and a Nintendo entering a faulty transporter, and winding up with a mix of each other's molecules when they are re-materialized at their destination. The chorus slows a little in feel (is this the right way/or is this the long way down?), then returns to another pokey verse section, a couple of high velocity interludes, and back to a chorus... It's jumpy and unpredictable, but still works as a song.

Winter Walk is next, and it's the slow, pretty song. It maintains a certain velocity due to a 16th note beat, and the EP doesn't loose a shred of momentum. Really pretty vocal harmonies and an almost Irish sounding lead on the instrumental breaks on this tune. Neat drum beat over the instrumental sections too... I'm kinda a sucker for big snares, so I may be biased on that one.

Finally, the EP closes with Grandmom, which starts out with the biggest guitar sound we've heard so far, and quickly falls into a syncopated, riffy, verse. The keyboard lead that takes over once the track straightens out is money. Lost Gloves have this ability to use the transition from a jerky syncopated section into to a straight four feel, like you would used the harmonic dissonance of the dominant 7th to add to the strength of a V- I cadence. Might have lost some of you there with the music theory, but honestly, that's the best way to describe what they are doing.

Hopefully we'll get a chance to set up another showcase with these guys sometime down the line. In the meantime, they are playing this Thursday at Don Pedro to celebrate the release of Don't Get Excited. It should be an excellent night; HBR favorites Paper Fleet are playing as well.

RSVP to that show ---> here.

Purchase the Vinyl from Bandcamp ---> here.

Like Lost Gloves on Facebook ---> here.

And like HBR on Facebook ---> here.

See you at the show...  ;)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Radical Dads! Japan/CMJ/Songwriting... They are awesome. Just listen to them.

Last night's showcase went off without a hitch... Everyone had fun... I had fun, which is all that really matters. Tomorrow's showcase (10/19) is going to be incredible. I really can't wait to share all these bands with you. Radical Dads has been one of my favorite local acts since I first saw them play about two years ago. The trio of Lindsay Baker (guitar vox), Chris Diken (Guitar), and Robbie Guertin (drums) play bombastic indie rock that is very representative of the genre, without being generic. If you don't know these guys, check them out. You're going to love them. I did a little email interview with Robbie and Chris.

Here's the exchange:

Hearts Bleed Radio: Robbie, when I was talking to you last, after one of your Northside shows, you said you absolutely had to play with Lindsay and Chris when you heard they were getting something going. What about them makes them so special?

Robbie: Well first off, I wanted to play with them because they're my best friends! That makes them super special in my book. On top of that, though, they are also two of the best musicians and songwriters that I know, so I just couldn't bear the thought of not being involved! So, as I told you before, they were both playing guitar, and they needed a drummer, so I decided it was time for me to learn how to play the drums.

HBR: How do you guys compose? If I had to guess I’d say it would seem like a group effort?

Robbie: Yep, usually it ends up being a group effort. The general Rad Dads songwriting formula is that Chris or Lindsay will come in with some guitar parts. Sometimes it's just one part, sometimes 2 or 3 parts that fit together, and other times, it's 7 or 8 parts that fit together (that's usually what Chris does). So whoever brings in the new parts plays them while the other two play along and figure out our own parts to fit with it. It is very scientific. Sometimes new parts are added, or parts are taken away. Then we usually try it in a bunch of different configurations, usually with me being very bossy about it, until we find the right combination/length that works. Vocals and lyrics usually come last, but sometimes they are figured out somewhere along the way. Now you know our secret.

Rad Dads are going to make you as happy as a bear with a watermelon. 

HBR: How have you evolved in the period between Mega Rama and Rapid Reality? Has your approach changed?

Robbie: I think in a lot of ways we've stayed the same, but overall we've just become more confident in playing together, and we've started to figure out what works and what doesn't work.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Teenage Stride: Salt water up your nose and CMJ on your brain.

Hello world. CMJ is underway here in New York City (where they make a certain kind of picante sauce that is most definitely NOT Pace brand picante sauce) and I've already seen some killer bands. Our buddies Crazy Pills and Sharkmuffin rocked Legion last night, along with The Brooklyn What (playing our showcase on 10/19) and Hippy (a great garage/indie pop act, who I'd never seen before) and Sideasideb (their first show ever!). It was are really good start to a week that is always parts fun, annoying, surprising, and exhausting. We have two festival showcases this year, HBR CMJ #1 at Legion on 10/17, and HBR CMJ #2 at Matchless on 10/19. My Teenage Stride is closing out the night on Saturday. As far as I'm concerned, they are really closing out the entire official festival (though there's a sweet unofficial show at Spike Hill on Sunday), because after they play, I'm going straight home to pass the F out. I had a little Gchat with the main man behind My Teenage Stride, Jed Smith.

Here is the transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio: Who exactly is in My Teenage Stride these days?

Jed: Live My Teenage Stride is myself, Jedediah Smith, on guitar and vocals, John Grewell on drums and backing vocals, and Ed Chittenden on bass and backing vocals, although recorded My Teenage Stride is largely myself on all instruments and vocals.

HBR: Do you ever write a song from the drum kit? Or with a bass guitar? Or do you usually form those parts around the guitar/vocal melody?

Jed: Generally I just work it all out in my head and then record it, I find that picking up an actual instrument and trying to write like that doesn't really produce results, I don't know why. Although, if I were to start a song with an instrument, it would be drums. But generally something pops into my head and I arrange it "internally." That's not to say I've never ripped something off...

Jed with an artist's representation of the two cats that live in his head and write music all day.

HBR: I call that like, the internal iPod. Do you listen to songs in your head sometimes and it's just as good as if you were listening to it? I do that on the walk to work a lot.

Jed: Yeah definitely, music largely is a mental rather than physical thing for me, although it's hard to say that without sounding pretentious. Everybody works differently though and that fascinates me.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Talkin' CMJ and evil twins with EULA's Alyse Lamb.

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you're handling the pressures of returning to work, or if you're a barber, hope you're enjoying a day of not cutting hair. Anyhow.. CMJ officially starts tomorrow and we have shows on both Thursday and Saturday! Thursday night's show features a local band that I've known for years, and finally got a chance to book. EULA is a loud, fun band. They aren't "party music," but to me, they are party music. Does that make sense? I guess what I'm saying is that they are a great band to be in a small drunk room with. I sat down with guitarist/singer Alyse Lamb, and had a little chat about random music related things. Here's the transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio: So we're really pumped to have you guys for 10/17. EULA's sound, to me, kinda rests on a blurry line between indie and punk, and you seem quite comfortable there. What attracts you to loud, aggressive music?

Alyse: I've always been attracted to the physicality of music, probably from my years and years of dance classes. I love to move around to it. But I do need both - the cerebral and the visceral to be fulfilled.

HBR: What's your background in dance?

Alyse: I took ballet from age 4 til about 15, with intermittent modern dance/movement sprinkled here and there. My older sister was a pro so I wanted to be just like her when I was younger. But that all changed when I got a guitar at 12.

HBR: Haha, I think a lot of us know exactly what you mean. Was it love at first sight with the guitar? Did you know that you wanted to be a musician right away?

Alyse. Doing what she does best.

Alyse: I loved all of the classical-romantic-post-impressionistic music I was dancing to so I took piano lessons first... I enjoyed it but it required so much study and attention and I was a bit ADD for it. I tried saxophone and clarinet... very fun instruments. I always knew I wanted to be involved with music, as a professional dancer in a ballet company dancing to it, or actually performing it. The guitar really sealed it for me. I learned I could be physical as well as creative with it.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Slothrust CMJ Interview Action Spectacular

  Hello everyone. I hope you had a nice pre-CMJ week. Honestly, I never really know what to expect from festivals. There's always something disappointing that seemed like a lock. There's also something unexpected that turns out to be epic. Concerning the job of a promoter/booking agent/whatever the hell I am, a wise man once told me, "Whenever everything's going right, something's still going wrong." Anyway, despite the randomness and uncertainty of the business, there are some bands you can really go all in on, and Slothrust (Sloth-Rust. Once they get incredibly famous, we'll start Slow Thrust: Brooklyn's premiere Slothrust shoegaze cover band) is one of them. We're super pumped to have them for HBR CMJ Showcase #2 on 10/19 at Matchless. I had a little Gchat with Leah and Kyle (guit/vox and bass, respectively). Here is the transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio: So, are you guys all from Boston?

Leah: No. Will and I are but Kyle is from New Jersey. We all met at school in Yonkers.

HBR: How did you guys find your sound? Was it like, something you were aiming for? Or did it just kinda come together?

Leah: I think it just came together.

Kyle: They had this band going before I joined, and we still play a few songs from that period, however we did change them up.

Leah: We all played in blues bands in college so that was a big influence, but I feel like recently when people come see us play live, the blues isn't the first thing that comes to mind.

HBR: Yeah, but as soon as you mention blues, you can really hear it, I think.

Leah: :)

Kyle: I agree that our sound came together on its own. We sort of developed it while working on new songs that Leah had written, and eventually we sort of figured out what our sound is, and went with it.

Leah and Kyle rock the fuck out.

HBR: Did you grow up playing the blues first and foremost?

Leah: I think we try to run with the blues mentality in terms of letting there be room for improv and leaving it all on the stage.

Kyle: I grew up playing a lot of metal and jazz. Blues came more into my life in college.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Marta from The Meaning of Life talks videos, cats, and CMJ

  As promo for 10/17 Hearts Bleed Radio CMJ Showcase #1, my band Big Quiet was going to record a collaboration with The Meaning of Life. Unfortunately, we couldn't make the time to get it recorded in time, so you're going to have to wait till, well, who knows when. But it's gonna be an original song, and it's gonna be sweet! Anyway, instead of a song right now, you get an interview, and a song in the future. You can see both bands (as well as FAN-TAN, EULA, and Heavy Birds) on Thursday, and another great bill (I set it up, so I'm biased...) on Saturday 10/19. So check out this interview with The Meaning of Life's singer/bassist Marta DeLeon and get pumped for the festival!

Hearts Bleed Radio: So, I've known you guys for awhile, but I'm not sure exactly how TMOL got started. How did you and Christian meet?

Marta: Somewhere between J-Date and the Bensonhurst Times? I answered Chris's ad for a female singer who sounded like Talk Talk's Mark Hollis being tickled by Jeff Buckley.

HBR: You seem like such a good fit for each other, it's hard to believe you met that way. What was it like when you first sat down to play together, and how is it different now?

Marta: I'm always a little scared meeting strange men in remote areas of Brooklyn BUT Chris's silliness translated through email. I was glad he also seemed to be a intuitive and creative player at the end of the B6 bus ride. We played for a couple of hours mostly originals. We were going to do a Velvet Underground cover I think to break the ice. Our approach today is similar. We start playing in the practice space with our adept current drummer San Lajeen and form a verse and maybe a chorus piece of the song. Then we make fun of each other while one talks of an obscure sitcom and or metal band. San grew up in Kalmyk and Chris in Chile so that makes the pop culture POV really fun.

Just another day at TMOL practice...

HBR: We did a piece on the Laura V video. Now that it's been out for awhile, are you thinking of making more videos? I kinda think you guys should do a movie.

Marta: Sure and something much different than Monty Python right?! The video really let us express the absurdity, color and cinematic qualities that we feel in our heads when play and write music. We are inspired by so many different images, vintage and futuristic I'd love to make something like "The Man Who Fell to Earth" type video/mini movie next time. These things take time and a little bit of bling.

HBR: Yeah, that's true. I'd like to see a four song EP, where like, you make videos for each song. Then, if you watch them in a row, it all actually goes together somehow. Anyway...
Are you working on anything in the studio right now?

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Heavy Birds to kickoff HBR CMJ Madness! (interview + video)

Happy weekend, dear readers. We're lucky to have Heavy Birds, kicking off Hearts Bleed Radio CMJ Showcase #1 at Legion Bar on 10/17/13. Heavy Birds are a slow, spacey, pretty-but-ragged, rock band from Brooklyn (by way of Boston). I had a brief chat with vocalist/guitarist Ryan Drag (with multi-instrumentalist Lia Mooney somewhere off in the ether, yet nearby). Here's the transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio: So for starters, give me a brief history of the band.

Ryan: Lia and I met in Boston and I asked her to be in my not so punk band, and she refused. I then moved in with her, and we decided to find our "own sound" together. We both love playing, so it was a natural progression. Plus, we both are into the same style of music. New York City also changed our ears, and we feel that Heavy Birds, as it is now, is finally what we originally wanted.

HBR: What are you guys into? Without name dropping, how would you describe you influences and the resulting sound?

Ryan: Rawness, minimalism, drones. We are listening to Spacemen 3, the Stooges, Velvets, Miles Davis- on the corner. We call ourselves space punk. Our drummer is into Tony Conrad & Faust.

HBR: Ryan's parts seem to be more song-form, while Lia's are textural. How important is the texture of your sound, compared to more traditional aspects of music, like melody/harmony/etc?

Ryan: Both aspects are equally as important. There is a lot of melody happening within Lias playing, and I lay a movement to form a base (sometimes) for my words. We prefer speaking vocals with what we do. The layers make us different, we think the "traditional" song-form is not for us at the moment. Plus, we started as a two piece and had to thicken the sound...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Brooklyn What: Genre Hopping Goodness.

Greetings Internetz! The CMJ Music Marathon is only a few weeks away, and we're happy to be bringing you two showcases this year! Our second showcase of the festival at Matchless on Saturday 10/19 features The Brooklyn What, a hard drinking, hard rocking, high energy crowd pleasing, just downright fun band. I had the privilege to sit down with Jamie Frey, the group's lead singer. Here's the transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio: For starters, can you give me a little background on The Brooklyn What, who were the founding members? How did you meet?

Jamie: The Brooklyn What was founded by myself, Evan O'Donnell, John-Severin Napolillo, Billy Cohen, Douglas Carey and our friend Z-Pac who was briefly our drummer. Pac was my friend from Junior High School, but the rest of the band met at Edward R. Murrow High School, where the lot of us played music together. I played with a few of the guys in my first band, The Jesus Fish Evolution, who were kind of a whacked out version of 90's alternative rock band, but we all were jamming and collaborating by the end of high school. John, Evan and Billy all went away to school, whereas I stayed in Brooklyn, and was writing songs for what I thought was would be a solo record, but when I got a group together to play the tunes over a break from school, simply for want of playing a gig again, we decided to become a band. By our second gig (outside of my parent's basement), Jesse Katz had joined, a schoolmate of Billy's, and we haven't had another drummer since.

HBR: What's it like growing up in Brooklyn, and seeing all these kids move here to play music and be in bands?

Jamie: It has definitely been a confusing experience, and I've had all kinds of feelings about it. Upon starting The Brooklyn What, we played our first gig as the only band on the bill... we did not know any other bands. Our early material, specifically, has a great deal of reaction and bile towards gentrification, and gentrifiers. The initial Williamsburg scene was something we felt entirely left out of, the first song on our first record is "I Don't Wanna Go To Williamsburg." Since then, we've discovered many like minded bands, musicians and audience members, some native of Brooklyn and some not. However, even today, I can't entirely shake that weirdness, of being unusual in my home borough for growing up here. It's still weird to hear the attachment of "Brooklyn band" to people I know are profoundly not from here. I still feel like there's this other scene, in the rest of Brooklyn, someday waiting to burst, from spots most people have not even seen, because they're "too far out."

Roof band fears no one!

HBR: There must be some satisfaction in the fact that people see Brooklyn as like, something other than a dingy little offshoot of Manhattan, right? Despite how annoying the "Brooklyn-Chic" crowd can be, at least people are acknowledging this place.

Monday, September 23, 2013

WHO'S MINI NOW!?!?!? (not miniboone)

  MiniBoone has long been one of my favorite local bands to catch live. They make every show feel like a party; high energy, danceable grooves, and plenty of sing-a-long moments that pull even the most tired and burned out concert goer off their barstool and onto the floor. The band consists of Doug Schrashun, Craig Barnes, James Keary (guitar, keys, vox between the three of them), Anthony Aquilino (bass) and Drew St. Aubin (drums), and they bring the complete package. Big group vocals and huge chords, and all the way down to pokey palm muted rhythmic riffs. I was super excited when I heard they were coming out with a full length album.

The guys in their natural, glowing, irradiated state.

  MiniBoone's self titled debut album catches a lot of the explosiveness of their live performances, probably about as much as humanly possible. The album peaks around loud gang vocals and climatic choruses; it kinda breathes in and out between them and the staccato punctuated verse grooves. I guess I'd say the album captures about 85% the energy of their live performance, which is good reason to catch a live show and by no means a knock on the album. But the nice thing about this album for me is how well done the kinda sweet/tender soft parts are. These guys can lay down next to you and drift off to sleep. They aren't just party animals. They have a soft side.

  The opening track, "The Superposition of Human Affection," is a spastic rocker that clocks in just under two minutes. These guys have a sense of song-craft that is really as well tuned as any pop artist out there. The following track, "I Could," adds a little more diversity, while maintaining the bands trademark textures. The guitar lick over the second verse kills me. MiniBoone made a video for it, check it out below.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Let's listen to Let's be Loveless

  What do you want out of a band? Do you ever just, like, think what you're asking the from the artist? I think most people would declare a passive relationship with music. I think they log into Pandora (or whatever), and the tunes either grasp them... or they don't. When you write about music, you have to go at it with a scalpel; you have to open it up, climb inside its chest cavity with a geiger counter, a divining rod, and a ouija board, and take your data, superstitions, and gut influences back to your laptop, and figure it all out.

Let's be Colorless
  Anyway, Let's be Loveless is a joy to take apart and study. The four piece consists of Abby Camaya (keys/vox), Eric Arikian (guitar/vox), Christopher Whalen (bass), and Gary Elliot (drums), and released an airy and highly textured self-titled EP last spring. I've seen them perform live many times (they're a lot of fun, check them out!), and was immediately drawn to Arikian's guitar playing. But upon deconstructing the EP, I find it to be an extremely bass-driven work. Whalen's bass playing brings together the shoegazey reverb laden guitar and Elliot's poppy tight drumming. The bass adds to the melody, or strengthens the rhythm, depending on what the moment calls for. Camaya's soft, yet soulful voice hovers slightly above the mix, and her minimalist keys add a layer of depth, but still allow the other instruments space to operate.  

  Video Song, opens up the EP. The track fades in, which always leads to me turning up the volume and ending up playing it louder than I meant to (by the time the track is at full volume.) Nice trick guys. "We all just put on make-up/and try not to fuck up..." is the line that's stuck in my head after listening to this one. I love it when the shaker kicks in after the first refrain.

  Motivational Speaker starts up with a big guitar riff and driving bass line, and brings the overall volume and aggressiveness up a notch. After the intro, the song breaks into straight up arpeggio-laden indie pop. "Don't look behind you/This time get it right." Cayama's advice is worth taking. She comes off as pessimistic, but also strong and determined, regardless of her doubts.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Whiskey and (Fuzz) Tonic... Check out The Mad Doctors.

  Brooklyn's The Mad Doctors are like, kinda crazy. Not the kind of crazy that comes from mental illness in the traditional sense, more like the kind of insanity that becomes surf rockers who are forced to survive for years in a post-apocalyptic, highly irradiated, desert wasteland. There's a ghoulish, undead, skeleton/zombie overtone to their new EP, Fuzz Tonic. It's almost like three random Reavers picked up instruments and started a band. Overdriven everything rules this recording; you can almost feel the heat coming off the budget preamps as they struggle to maintain the signal over flow and not shit out.

The guys rock the LES.

  Fuzz Tonic borders on punk and surf (Black Magic and Alive and Well are pretty damn surfy), but I would consider their overall sound to be highly aggressive garage rock. They have a Iggy-esque devil-may-care attitude, and back it up squarely with a powerful rhythm section and bluesy guitar riffs that are interesting, but never get too cute.

 This a good album to pre-game with. I'd get a pint of Evan Williams, sit down with a friend, crank Fuzz Tonic, make sure the bottle is empty by the end of the EP, and then roll out to the bars and wreak havoc.

Give it a listen.

Like The Mad Doctors on Facebook ---> here.

Like Hearts Bleed Radio on Facebook --- here.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Laura V. video from The Meaning of Life!

  The Meaning of Life is more full, and lush, and deep, than a three piece really has any business being. If you're listening to Play Fuego and think it's studio tricks, I got news for you, I've seen them live and they pull it off, almost effortlessly. I've always felt that there was a sort of supreme beauty within an electrical circuit, a flawless math of humming electrons, a loop of echo and oscillation, an om made of ohms... Christian Gallardo coaxes that akashic entity out of his guitar rig like a snake charmer with an entranced cobra. With Gallardo's guitar providing the backbone of the band, bassist/vocalist Marta DeLeon drifts between drawn out melodic lines, and ornamental accents ad lib. DeLeon is one of the best lyricist around. Her deft use of imagery leaves the listener wondering if she's a surrealist or a symbolist, yet wholly satisfied, regardless of which conclusion is drawn.
Christian feels no pain from rose thorns.
  The Laura V. video officially drops today, and it's a perfect fit for the sensual, yet guarded, single off the Play Fuego EP. The "Instagram meets cabaret"-style video drifts from the absurd to the overtly sexual, and shifts between shots of the band on a beach, and a small group of people at dinner party (or perhaps a couple at dinner, depending on how you choose to see it). Anyway, it's stunning. Deep and artful, yet self aware, absurdist, and at times funny, the Laura V. video is probably as close to a visual representation of TMOL as one could really get. Check out the video at the bottom of the page. I sent Marta and Christian some questions via email, and here's what they had to say:

Hearts Bleed Radio: Is Laura V. a real person? Where does the inspiration for the song come from?

Marta: Christian called it Laura originally after Laura Palmer from "Twin Peaks" as a nod to his affinity for "her" and for us to have something to call our new jam in the practice space yelling over loud amps. The song is dedicated to a close family friend, Laura Vasalo who is deceased like the fictional Laura. It's not directly about either ladies. But I guess to me, both were laughing smiling ladies in the high school hallway surrounded by a group of friends. A lady's name as a song title never gets old.

HBR: Marta, as a lyricist you rely heavily on imagery. I feel like in Laura V. there's a battle between the spider and the halo. I see the spider as representing temptation or the guilt of giving into said temptation. Wearing the biggest halo, and/or waiting the longest to run is the other side of the coin; a partner is trying to have the upper hand (or possibly even do the right thing) in an obviously failing relationship. Is that accurate? Is it more open to interpretation? Or did I miss the point completely?

Marta: Thanks! I never put those two together as a narrative in the lyrical lines literally but I like listeners to project their own emotions and interpretations of what the song means. I think pop songs lend themselves also to that quite well. Using pop references words like "spider" or "red dress" can be open-ended yet emphatic. A spider could be menacing or helpful and protective like in "Charlotte's Web". A collage of emotions, whimsy and longing are the common thread. Someone who waited for the perfect love and when it showed up with all it's complexities they ran away. Not too get too deep, too much bodega Redbull at 11:30 pm.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Breaking Down "With Our Thoughts We Make The World" by Jane Eyre

  I don't know how a band can go from referencing Flannery O'Connor to referencing a Macaulay Culkin movie with a straight face, but Jane Eyre makes it seem as natural as hot air rising, electro-magnetism, and the pull of gravity, which now I think about it, are all actually kind of bizarre phenomena.  Jesse Rifkin's voice has a familiar timbre that I can't place, and as I sit here detoxing for an upcoming mini tour, sweaty/shaky, huddled with cats and tea, I can't help to be pulled into this album's orbit. With Our Thoughts We Make The World is a Buddha quote, overall this album is a bit of a meditation; a stoned, psychedelic jam that slips in and out song-form like thread through a needle. It really should be played through as an entire piece. I wouldn't call it a concept album, or maybe it's a concept beyond explanation, but take some time and sit down with it... just be in the moment.

Due out August 8th, 2013

  Hazel Motes 1 & 2 start the album off with sampled chatter from some ethereal scene of normalcy; guitar drones build the songs into aural waves, up until about the 3 min. mark in HM2, at which point St. Aubin's drums and Gordon's bass settle into a groove that pushes the epic along in a manner reminiscent of Can or later era Sonic Youth. Rifkin and Seretan's guitars sail overhead, then decrescendo back to about where the first track took off.

  Be Still, Be Silent is bass driven and absent of percussion. The track reminds me of something off of Astral Weeks, and overall, I think WOTWMTW is on a similar wavelength. You can question the accessibility of an album that doesn't jump out with an uptempo single, OR resign itself to atmospheric background music. I don't know if I consider it a fault that this album requires a deeper listen; it's just a rarity these days. However, if you're looking for a single, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York is it. The catchiest vocal hook on the album spearheads a song where 60's jangle guitars give way to 80's, almost Smiths-esque shimmering arpeggios, then to indie guitar squeal, then back for a chorus... and end scene.

 Borrowing Body, is a minor key ballad with a 6 feel. St. Aubin's drums shine through on this track. Quick fills between cymbal crashed downbeats mark the first half of the song. After a rest in the middle, the drums re-enter with a kind of awesomely anti-climatic snare roll. That's the best I can describe it. Just listen to it.

  Boy King Island comes out with pianos upfront and a simple grove. As guitar heavy as Jane Eyre's sound has been up to this point, it doesn't seem strange or jarring at all when the keys take over the role of the main chordal instrument. Bells Bells Bells fades in from a loud manic solo, to some tape noise, then a slow, jagged vocal serenade. About midway through the track, we get one more chance to rock, before the album decays into tape loop nothingness.

The band in the heat of battle.

  With Our Thoughts We Make The World is worth a listen. Actually, it's worth four. That's about what it took me to catch most of what is going on. This is an album that was made for a time when you sat down in front of a record player and did nothing but listen, (and drink and smoke pot and maybe make out). It's not an album for a 3 min. commodity to soothe your soul on the way from your apartment to the bodega, or to listen to on the train with all the background noise; it's not an album to blast while you pre-game with your buddies, or to put on a jukebox at a bar. It's an album for when you go home, and learn to be alone.

Pre-order the full album ---> here.

Like Jane Eyre on Facebook ---> here.

RSVP to their record release show ---> here.

Like Hearts Bleed Radio on Facebook ---> here.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Lost Gloves, Power Harmony, compact car packing gold medalists

 Hey everyone, we're getting close to "go time" on HBR showcase #6! It's Thursday, August 1st, and it's going to be the last one of the summer (I need a break to work on writing reviews of all the wonderful submissions that I've been receiving). I met Brian Goodheart at Hearts Bleed Radio Showcase #3 (oh! the power of internet networkings) and he (guitar/vocals), along with Rebekah (keys), Mike (bass) and Pete (drums), constitute the band Lost Gloves. We're happy to have them batting second tomorrow night, and we think you'll enjoy their set. I had the pleasure of chatting with them last weekend. Here's the transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio: For starters, someone give me a brief history of the band.

Brian: Pete? I think you should take this question.

Pete: OK. It all started when I answered a Craigslist ad that Brian put up. That's right, we might be one of the few bands that actually started up the old fashioned way, with strangers meeting via classified ads. For a few weeks it was just the two of us being polite and seeing if the musical chemistry would work, which it did.

HBR: So Michael and Rebekah came from Craigslist too?

Pete: Brian knew Rebekah from a previous band, actually so he brought her in and for a few more weeks it was just the three of us. A happy little family.

Mike: And then...

Pete: Mike came on recommendation from a friend. After that, all politeness ceased and we became Lost Gloves.

Mike: And I forgot to bring my bass to my first rehearsal, which is usually not a thing you do. But somehow I conned them into letting me play with them. Sorry, first tryout. I demonstrated my musician chops by being a total flake.

HBR: I almost left my guitar and my bassist's bass in the laundromat yesterday, so I understand how that goes..

Pete: He lives up to all the bass player jokes!

Mike not pictured... Probably doing something weird.

HBR: So, did you guys kinda know the sound you were after, or did it come together from like, feeling each other out? Was there a vision? If so, who had it?

Mike: As we practiced more and more we also realized that we all genuinely like each other which was disturbing.

Brian: Lost Gloves' sound has been a work in progress since the beginning. Its been a source of frustration and self doubt, but also a lot of great self discovery and bonding as a band. I think those new songs we recorded that we'll be putting out on a 7" in the next few months represent the first time we've all kind of landed on a sound we like.

HBR: Rebekah, you've been quiet, this question is for you.. Who's your biggest influence? Where are you coming from musically?

Rebekah: Well, it seems to change a lot and I'm not sure I could really pinpoint one band or genre that really helped forge our sound. We all come from different musical backgrounds--I grew up playing classical piano and Mike taught himself bass--but somehow it seems to work... Personally, lately I've been listening to a lot of Marnie Stern, but I'm not sure that's had much of an effect on anyone else.

Brian: Oooh, Stephen Perry likes Lost Gloves on Facebook!

Mike: SCORE!

HBR: Haha, I didn't realize that I hadn't liked the band yet, sorry.

Mike: This isn't just because we are doing this interview, IS IT STEPHEN?

HBR: Do you like the newest Marnie Stern album? I've been on the fence about it.

Rebekah: Yeah, I'm totally into it.

Mike: I do as well.

Rebekah: I really like how poppy it is.

Mike: It's definitely a push towards a more pop sound.

HBR: I just remember being like, in a crappy mood, and listening to it and being like, "It's not as guitary as I want it to be."

Brian: Yeah, she's streamlined a bit on that album, and I think it works.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Libel's Music for Car Commercials, and HBR Showcase #6!

  Greetings dear readers, the August 1st Hearts Bleed Radio showcase is almost upon us! Today we're chatting with Gavin Dunaway from the Brooklyn band Libel. Libel has a new album out, Music For Car Commercials, AND they are closing out the night on 8/1. MFCC retains most characteristics of the band's earlier works, but isn't afraid to wander off in new directions. Dunaway's Bowie-inspired howls coast over the super tight rhythm section of Nick Brzoza (drums) and Julie Rozansky/Brian LaRue (bass, it will be explained in the interview, be patient). Anyway, we're pumped to have them on the bill. Here's the chat transcript: 

Hearts Bleed Radio: For starters, give me a little history of the band.

Gavin: Libel formed pretty soon after I moved to Brooklyn in 2008. I'd kinda broken up my longstanding DC band, The Alphabetical Order, and had the idea of joining an established act when I landed here. Well, while I was looking for that magical established band that was going to rocket me to stardom, I recorded a bunch of demos that I let a drummer friend name Jim Archer listen to. Next thing I know we're jamming on the tracks, his girlfriend Julie is playing bass and we have gigs.

HBR: You knew Jim from VA/DC? And Julie too?

Gavin: Jim was the original drummer of The Alphabetical Order – he's on our first "professional" recording, "The Unimpeachable EP." Julie played in a rival band called Run Silent Run Deep. They were kind of like the bizarro version of Alphabetical Order. Both had tall, skinny singers with moptops, short and cute girls on bass, brawny drummers and traditionally handsome guitarists. They were more... metal than us – we were more into our post-punk, super-mathy DC stuff. Lots of odd time signatures, odd guitar parts, some screaming here and there.

HBR: So you've had some changes at drummer, and bassist, but now you're back with Julie. What does she bring to the table that keeps her coming back? How is she unique among bassists?

Gavin: The girl has groove, among other things. I've always enjoyed playing with Julie, since we did a Smashing Pumpkins cover band together (still do occasionally). She's got a very deft touch, an ability to really make every note hum. When she's playing with her fingers, her tone is low and round, perfectly filling up the low end. However, she's also vicious with a pick – she can be incredibly aggressive when it's called for. Finally, she's a fantastic singer – choir-worthy pipes that have always added an ethereal quality to our vocals.

HBR: Libel has four releases, Julie is on three of them?

Gavin: Julie is on three, though she's not playing bass on Music For Car Commercials. Those duties fell to Brian LaRue, who did a tremendous job (with his backing vocals as well). Brian exhibits raw power through his bass-playing – almost always... 

Libel rocks Muchmore's. I took this picture.

HBR: That's not Julie on Broken Wine Glass?

Gavin: ...killing every note. And yet probably the best bass line on the album is Broken Wine Glass, where Brian put down his pick and composed a haunting yet gentle melody. Really versatile player – you're lucky to have him on The Planes team. Oh, and what a distinct voice! You bet I'll be begging him to come back for future backup vocals.

HBR: Wow, I was certain that was her!

Gavin: Crazy, huh? I didn't know he had it in him either.

Friday, July 26, 2013

12 things tiny unsigned NYC indie bands hate

Hey everyone, my band, The Planes, is playing at Matchless tonight, and I'm spending the afternoon doing laundry, fetching guitars, and nervously thinking of all the things that can go wrong (I know I'm gonna break a string tonight). Anyhow, since I'm sitting here waiting for my laundry to dry, I thought I'd make a quick list for you all to read, and hopefully argue about.

We rocked Ft. Useless into a painting dreamscape/nightmarescape.

12 things tiny unsigned Brooklyn bands hate (in no particular order):

#1. Carrying heavy shit. It's literally 30% of being in a band.

#2. Transporting the above mentioned heavy shit on public transportation. That rickety hand truck with a 40 lb. amp, pedal board, and kick pedal strapped on isn't going to carry itself up to the J train. "I coulda swore this station had an elevator..." Nope, it doesn't.

#3. Getting ditched by everyone while you bring your stuff back to the practice space. "We'll be back in 45 mins, and meet you at the bar/diner/party..." Nope, no one is gonna be there, especially those three cute girls/guys who, "Really dug your set."

#4. Getting paid next to nothing. "Hey good crowd, the bar did really well! Here's a free beer and $80 from the door for the five of you to split." I know the small clubs aren't racking in the dough, BUT, an extra beer, maybe some food if the joint has it... It goes a long way. Also, bands should get paid a percentage of the bar. Wouldn't we all rather have 50 people show up, stay all night and drink all night, then have each band bring 20 people who show up for their friends, have one beer, and go somewhere else?

#5. Big rooms that book small bands. "Yeah, we need you to bring 100... on a weeknight... in February." I ACTUALLY HAD A PLACE SAY THIS TO ME. Like the motherf'ing Planes could bring 100 out on a Saturday during warm weather... even if there was nothing else in NYC going on that night, even if there was free hand jobs and whiskey. If you have a room that holds 200 and you want it full 7 days a week, you need to hire a booker, and you need to be guaranteeing some money to the headliner. Don't book tiny local bands and expect them to work miracles, then get all pissy that the place was only half full.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Low Fat Getting High's BAD YOGA will mess you up! (in a good way)

  Low Fat Getting High is one of those special bands who can appeal to both the hardcore kids and the indie rockers. I guess it's "crossover potential," but that usually applies to country/pop, dance/hip hop, etc. etc. Anyway, Fugazi and Minutemen did that, indie/hardcore thing the best, but Low Fat Getting High sounds nothing like them. LFGH is more of a post-hardcore aural assault (with a lot of grungy/metally elements), with enough carved out melodies and riffs to keep the most song-minded indie kid engaged. A trio, made up of vocalist/guitarist Michael Sincavage, bassist Artie Tan, and drummer Kaleen Reading, LFGH released their first studio produced EP last week.

Artie on the left, Michael on the right... Kaleen's in the back, being lifted towards the heavens.

Tittled "Bad Yoga", it's a real bruiser from start to finish. Despite the howling guitar, I find it to be a real drum driven release. Reading's drums push and pull the piece from "moderate hardcore" to "mud/blood/sludgefest", and hits every step in between.  Let's break it down, track by track.

Better Better Worse is the opening track, and it shows exactly what the band truly is. Huge, pounding drums and tight rhythm guitar and bass. Sincavage's vocals add a grungy flair, but don't seem the least bit derivative. There's a monster guitar riff section towards the end. Bouncy and energetic, though still driving and powerful in a dark sort of way, it's a great start to the EP.

Childhood Friends comes next. Right off the bat I'm struck by the full crunchy mid tones of the guitar. It cuts through the mix extremely well, and gives the bass/drums/vocals plenty of room to operate, while still sounding extremely full. Sincavage screaming "Have you lost your fucking mind?" and the ensuing instrumental section might be my favorite part of the EP. Tan's bass is really solid on this one too.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Cleveland's Filmstrip plays Brooklyn's Death by Audio

Hey people! Filmstrip is an awesome band from Cleveland, OH, and they've been on the road for what seems like 10 years. Monday, 7/15, they are playing in Brooklyn at Death By Audio, with one of my bands, Big Quiet, another Brooklyn band, The Meaning of Life, and Severe Severe, from Albany. Marta DeLeon (lead singer/bassist of The Meaning of Life) took over interviewer duty and spoke with Filmstrip guitarist/vocalist Dave Taha. Here's the transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio (Marta): Obligatory, why did you guys choose "Filmstrip" as a bandname? Are movies an influence for songwriting, etc?

Dave: Our friend Ray was on a photography kick and suggested "The Filmstrips". We thought that was too pop-punk sounding, so we went with Filmstrip. We sat on it for about a week, and it kept coming back up. We liked the sound of it, the arrangement of letters. It stood out and was the obvious choice.

HBR: I like the lyrics and pop leanings of your single "Stuck on Explode". How was that written and recorded? I hear Sebadoah, Superchunk with the post rock guitaring of bands like Polvo. Any notable influences that you like or like at this moment?

Dave: Wow, thanks! I wrote that song in 2002 on an acoustic guitar. I'll let you draw your own conclusions about the lyrical content, but I guess I was reacting to the onset of instant-gratification/ soundbite culture, the swiftness of it. As far as recording, I've actually recorded this song a bunch of times. The process at Echo Mountain was really smooth, we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to get out of it, and luckily we were able to translate that to the finished version. Influences? Those three you mentioned are pretty spot-on. We came of age in the 90's, so grunge and post-punk are huge for us. Right now it's a lot of Neil Young and Crazy Horse, The Band, that kind of stuff, but we'll always be close to our punk roots.

Filmstrip, outside and unwound.

HBR: You guys grew up together and have been playing in this incarnation for awhile. Good serial monogamist musicians! How does that influence the songwriting? Are you collaborative?

Dave: We have a pretty established system, where, if we all agree we like it, we go with it. Sometimes that might mean I approach the guys with a finished song (at least my parts), with a concrete idea of how the drums and bass should sound, and other times it might be the three if us jamming, and we go "Whoa, what was that? Let's do that again!" We're lucky to have a streamlined, intuitive writing process. That's the easy part. I think we'd all agree the songs come from somewhere else, we're just the vehicle.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sharkmuffin: Fembot vs. Mermaid vs. The World

Hello Universe. We have the privilege of chatting with Brooklyn's Sharkmuffin. They are, I think, very close to the heart of what is rock and roll, the leather jacket, motorcycle, rebel darkness that lurks in the bone marrow of even the most innocent, precious, and pretty bands. Not that Sharkmuffin is any of those things; they are loud, aggressive and up front. They are playing with The Planes and Sunset Guns at our 5th showcase show, this Saturday at Fort Useless. They are going to be incredible. Here's the chat transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio: Can one of you start by giving me a brief history of the band? When did you guys start?

Tarra: Well it actually all started as a completely different lineup in 2012 when a close friend of mine was recovering from an addiction and I started Sharkmuffin with her on lead vocals to help her keep her mind off of things, and that all went to shit pretty quickly. So by July 2012 it became a 3 piece with Natalie on Bass and me on lead vocals and guitar and a different drummer than we have now, who just recently left.

HBR: That sucks. But I think we're all happy we get to hear your voice.

Tarra: Sarah just joined the band last month actually. Has it been a month?

Natalie: Yup, our first show with Sarah was in a parking lot in Bushwick on June 1st.

Sarah: My first show was June 1.

HBR: How are you fitting in?

Sarah: Hah, well I'm a girl and have red hair so now we look like the Powerpuff girls. I think I'm fitting in pretty well.

There's nothing to fear in the ocean when you are the shark.

Tarra: We're still in the hazing process with her, I think.

Sarah: Lots of hazing

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How West Bushwick Was Won or: A Brief History of Fort Useless.

Hey there, Internetz. Showcase #5 is upon us! We are super lucky to be throwing down at Fort Useless, a performance/art/comedy space off the Myrtle JMZ stop. I've been going to shows at Fort Useless for the last couple of years, and I always have a blast. Its atmosphere sits at the intersection of bar/gallery/party, and everything in the space feels handmade and intimate. Since this spot is so interesting, I figured it would be fun to talk to the man behind the Fort, Jeremiah McVay. Any further questions for Jeremiah, send us an email or leave them in the comments below. Enjoy! 

Hearts Bleed Radio: When did you decide to open Fort Useless?

Jeremiah: I decided to open Fort Useless sometime in 2009. My band at the time, Coyote Eyes, was starting to look around for a possible new practice space. And I'd also been booking shows at various venues for a while and was sort of feeling the DIY bug, I guess. So, the original idea was to find a place where, perhaps, a couple of bands could practice and we could have parties or shows from time to time.

HBR: I miss Coyote Eyes...

Jeremiah: Thanks, yeah, me too, sometimes.

HBR: How many different spots did you see before you settled on the Ditmars location?

Jeremiah: Honestly, I can't quite remember -- probably somewhere around 15 or 20.

HBR: Wow. Were they mostly like, industrial spaces?

Jeremiah: It was a mix of different types of spaces. Some were very industrial, some ended up being more residential than was appropriate. One spot I got really excited about kind of early on in the search was on 9th Street in Gowanus, but they ultimately decided they didn't want music in there -- just visual artists instead.

HBR: The first time I went to Ft. U, I remember thinking I was at the wrong address. It looks like just a door in a row of houses, and I was expecting an old factory. Were you nervous about neighbors and the noise? Are you still?

Unsacred Hearts at Fort Useless  (photo by Bryan Bruchman)
Jeremiah: I was incredibly nervous about neighbors and noise. But the thing that made me think that what we were planning to do there would work, was that the guy who showed me the place told me the previous occupants had been throwing hardcore punk shows... which was obviously way more intense than what I was interested in doing. I still do get nervous from time to time, but I just try to be smart about it and keep things to hours that are easiest on the neighbors. Also, the building was sold to new management at the beginning of the year and they've begun redoing the apartments in the building and there's about to be a lot of turnover -- that makes me really nervous. Really not sure how it will pan out...