Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Giga Herbs: Riding the boat, Froggin'... all in a day's work.

Hello dear readers!  The third Hearts Bleed Radio Showcase is coming up on May 17th, at Matchless in Greenpoint.  Closing out the night will be Giga Herbs, a super fun indie pop band that puts for a kind of post-dada/absurdist vibe...  Or maybe they're just crazy.  You'll have to come to the show and decide for yourself.  I spoke with their collective mind.  Here's what I got:

Hearts Bleed Radio: Ok, so I'm listening to "Mad Weird", your debut album. It's a pretty big block of work, 16 tracks... How do you go about composing?

Giga Herbs: We lobotomize our egos and pack them into a spaceship. We then tear a hole in the space-time continuum and transverse through different dimensional membranes until some sort of cohesive structure is attained. Basically, we usually jam the tunes out.

HBR: Who would you say are your main influences? I hear kinda a straight up 90's indie side, but also, like a groovier Hall and Oates thing.

GH: Daniel Johnston, The Band, Unicorns, and the Wu-Tang Clan. More recently, the Black and Flaming Lips --respectively.

The band, in 16-bit mode.

HBR: I think "Froggin'" is my favorite track on the album. What's the song about?

GH: It's about comin' up and chillin' on that lily pad, y'know what I'm sayin'?

HBR: Oh, that's what I thought... but you never know if there's a hidden meaning. Hey, what is a Giga Herb anyhow?

GH: Well sometimes a predator done come along and park his car on your lawn.

HBR: And that's a Giga Herb?

GH: No, a Giga Herb is a dud.

HBR: A dud? Like, a bomb that doesn't explode?

GH: Exactly. A grand dud.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

All Forces ready for action!

Hey everyone!  Hope you're enjoying the weekend. I think Spring has finally sprung in New York City, and I'm totally ready to go on a long walk as soon as I get this post up. All Forces (formerly Gold Streets) is playing the Hearts Bleed Radio showcase on 5/8/13 at Cake Shop, along with LUFF, Big Quiet, and Corita. The band consists of Norman Vino (guitar/vox), T Almy (drums/vox), Gizella Otterson (bass), and Johnnie Wang (guitar/vox). I sat down with Norm via Facebook chat.  Here's the transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio: I think Gold Streets was one of the first really good small bands I saw when I moved to NYC in like, 2007. You guys were a three-piece for years. When did the band start?

Norm: About 8 years ago... I hadnt been in a band since college and was desperately looking for some kind of creative outlet... And started replying to a bunch of different Craigslist ads. Everything from singer songwriter stuff to metal, to whatever... Really just to see how I measured up... Met some really crazy people and found myself physically scared a couple of times...

HBR: Haha, yeah... There are some weirdos on the olde CL. But eventually you ended up meeting T and Gizella?

Norm: Yep. Just listed a bunch of stuff I was into.... Everything from The Pixies to Apex Twin and met a couple of great musicians. Then Gizella answered and it turned out that she worked around the corner from me in Manhattan... We wound up jamming for a couple of months once a week and new right away that we were creatively compatible. We're both self taught musicians and right of the bat were coming up with some really fun stuff.

HBR: So fast forward to the near present, you added Johnnie Wang on guitar... What led to his addition?

Norm: We've been friends for years upstate... Fell out of touch for a while, then linked up for a few shows in New Paltz. He wound up moving to Brooklyn and we decided to have him jam with us, then guest with us for a few live shows. And then one thing led to another. We started writing together. He has an amazing ear and is a fantastic guitar player. Way more technically fluent then Gizella and I.

All Forces prepare for the photo shoot...

Sunday, April 21, 2013

LUFF: Noise Magic Tremolo Hard On... @1:34, of course.

The second ever Hearts Bleed Radio Showcase Show Event Thing is going down at Cake Shop on 5/8/13, and we are so totally, incredibly, psyched/pumped/stoked, to have LUFF kicking off the night.  I sat down with the guitarists, Sheila Sobolewski (<-- lead vox too) and Robin Pickering via internet chat, and here is what transpired:

Hearts Bleed Radio
: For starters, give me a little history of the band. How long have you guys been playing together? Has the lineup changed over the years?

Sheila: Jeez that's a tough one! I started LUFF as a project with just me and a cellist quite a while back, maybe early 2000's? It really was heading towards rock-bandness from the start though. Things didn't work out with the cellist and I started playing with a drummer and a bass player. Friends of mine. It's evolved a lot since then and lots of people have been in the project. I love the current line-up that we have right now. Aleks Gylys and Mike Hurst on drums and bass. Robin and I both play guitar. It's been this line up for a couple years now.

Robin: Yeah I joined about 5 years ago or so.

Sheila: I couldn't get Robin in the band fast enough! I was like, hey so if you ever wanna play with us, um...

Robin: Haha. I was in Triple Creme at the time, so I was a little bizzy...

Sheila: I "borrowed" you.

Luff plays Sealab in 2021.

HBR: You released the "Maybe It's Just Sleeping" EP (which I think is incredible BTW), about a year ago, but you guys haven't played a show in a couple of months. Why the hiatus?

Robin: Thanks!! We've been writing new stuff!

: How many new songs do you think we'll hear on 5/8?

Robin: Probably like 4 new ones. Keyboards, too!

HBR: Who is on the keys? Robin?

Robin: Keys/piano was my first instrument actually, long time ago in jr. high band kind of stuff. I play keys on two songs, just for part of the songs. So it's a keys/guitar double duty.

Sheila: I'm really excited about adding the keyboard! A few years ago I used to use a microkorg for live shows. I sold it. Definitely regretted that sale.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Farewell to Brooklyn's Corita

Monday evening I had the pleasure of Gchatting with Marisha (guitar/vox) from the band Corita.  She, along with Eleanor (guitar/vox), Aileen (bass/vox), and Nick (drums), will be closing out the 5/8/13 Hearts Bleed Radio show at Cake Shop.  We're are super excited to have them on the bill, but before we got to talking music, we felt it necessary to tackle the day's depressing news...   

Hearts Bleed Radio: Hey. Crazy shit today, huh?

Marisha:  Yeah, it's so sad and weird. WTF? I had a friend I just discovered was running the marathon, a girl from my college radio station. But she's OK. And I felt a little freaked out, working across the street from the Empire State Bldg and passing under GCT twice a day on the subway.

HBR:  I remember like, watching the marathon as a kid. It's like someone bombed the Macy's Thanksgivings Day parade to me. Did you see a lot of cops and security around today?

Marisha:  Kind of. I heard a lot of helicopters hovering around. I felt a little on edge anytime I heard a siren. I lived in NYC during 9/11 so I get a little flashbacky.

HBR:  All my Bostonian friends are accounted for, I think... The nice thing about Facebook is that like, the second it happened, everyone started popping up in my news feed, "I'm OK, I'm OK."

Marisha:  Oh OK. Yeah social media really makes everything immediate. Good and bad news. I'm glad all of your friends are safe and alright.

HBR: I mean, I guess we'll get past it.

Marisha:  I also stayed in that area during a conference so I know exactly where that is. Yes, the news cycle moves all too quick...

HBR:  Glad all your people are ok too.... Yeah, it's a pretty centralized and populated area.

Marisha:  Thanks. The interview hasn't started yet, has it?

HBR:  I don't know. I think we should include some of that, like, it feels better than just ignoring it.

Marisha:  Ok, sure. It's not something to ignore, surely all of these things make up the collective unconscious, or what's on our minds. you can't ignore context of something like this happening in the world on a certain day and time and part of the world.

HBR:  It's kinda how everyone's conversations are starting today. But let's get to band stuff.

Marisha:  Of course. Now on to more happy thoughts.

Corita will let you continue down the hall...  If you can answer a riddle.

HBR:  Corita has a familiar texture to it. How would you describe your sound? I see it as kinda a quasi-shoegaze indie-pop. Or whatever that means.

Marisha:  That sounds accurate to me. I think some of the pedals we've sought out are an intention to pay homage to the bands we love and shoegaze is certainly among our influences but not all of it. And most of us have a love of indiepop or some kind of indiepop upbringing.

What the Boston Marathon means to New Englanders: an explaination for the rest of the world.

Growing up on Cape Cod, there are a few facts of life that seemed universal; alcohol came from a package store, pizza topped with linguicia was common, and spring came every year, sometime between Easter and Patriots' Day.  When I left home and befriended other students from across the country, I was surprised how unique these things were.  I know some of you are wondering what a "packie" is, and if linguicia is any good (it's incredible!), but unfortunately, if you've been following the news, you probably now know of Patriots' Day for all the wrong reasons.  However, I'm not sure you fully grasp the concept, what it means to a native New Englander, and why people like me (a transplant to NYC with no real ties to the Boston metro area, other than a love of Boston sports teams) are taking this tragedy particularly hard.

Public schools in Massachusetts are closed every 3rd Monday in April, to commemorate the battles of Lexington and Concord (which are generally considered to be the real start of the American Revolution).  As a kid, Easter and St. Patrick's Day fly right by, but Patriot's day marked the beginning of spring break.  There could be a blizzard on Easter or St. Pat's, (hell, I even remember an April Fools Day storm that dropped over a foot of snow on The Cape!) but by Patriots' Day, it would definitely be springtime.  Every kid new it.  We waited for it since the end of winter break and cherished it, knowing it would be our last breather till summer.

The Boston Marathon is run on Patriots' Day.  Every year, or at least as long as I can remember, Marathon Monday.  Amongst long distance runners, the marathon is a premier event, known for it's tough, hilly, windings, from Hopkinton to the center of Boston, "heart break hill", (the last big hill before the city) being the marathon world's fiercest adversary.  I didn't need to wikipedia this.  I just know this shit.  Not because I have an incredible memory, or follow long distance running, but because I grew up watching the race every year.  Every year.  Plopped down on my couch, listening to Chet and Natalie drone on about a marathon, possible the most boring spectator sport there could be.  But it was a big deal because it was our Rose Bowl, our Kentucky Derby, and our Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and our Vernal Equinox, all rolled into one.

The NYC marathon is important.  It's a big event.  But it's a big event in a city FULL of big events.  It's on the weekend, when most of my friends are nursing hangovers, or going to yoga, or nursing hangovers at yoga, and though I stumbled down one year to watch the runners make their way over a cigarette butt-lined stretch of Bedford Avenue, I can't say I'll be marking it on my calendar in the future.  Last year's was cancelled due to Superstorm Sandy (it's been a bad year for marathons in the Northeast, to say the least), and outside of a couple of grumblings, and the disappointment of those who had trained to run, the whole thing passed like any other bump in the road.  In Boston, it would have devastated us.  Not because Bostonians are weak, (though neither group might want to admit it, New Yorkers and Bostonians are way more alike then they are different), but because it's the only big thing we have.  Because it's the embodiment of our package stores, and rotaries, and white clam chowder (the way it was goddamn intended to be), and it's the f'ing hot dog buns sliced on the top, and it's...  it's us.

I understand that there will be, for lack of a better term, lunatics, who will from time to time do things like this.  I understand there will be misguided individuals who are brainwashed into thinking that acts of violence help their religion, or political struggle, or whatever.  The deeper reasons behind these violent acts, we may never fully understand.  I guess I just want to make sure that you understand what the Boston Marathon meant to a kid who grew up on The Cape, and was in love with springtime.          

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hello to our global friends!

Hello Planet Earth! 

  I've noticed that we've been getting a solid amount of hits from both Germany and Russia.  Isn't the internet a wonderful thing?  I can sit here in my tiny apartment in Brooklyn and immediately reach someone on the other side of the world, as if they were random drunk people on Grand Street (seriously guys, stop hanging out in front of my door).  Anyhow, let me know how you came across the blog.  I know it's rare that anyone actually leaves a comment in the comment section below, but hey, it's worth a shot, right?  Maybe we'll make some new friends.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Galapagos Now! (well... on Friday 4/5/13)

Hey internets.  Though not an official Hearts Bleed Radio production, I thought I'd take a hot minute and sit down with Mark Gurarie to talk about the show that his band, Galapagos Now! is playing this Friday with one of my bands, Big Quiet.  Galapagos Now! has been on the scene since way back in 2008, the brainchild of Mark (bass/vox) and Joe Dairy (aka Jeff Waite, guitar/vox).  These days they are playing with Thomas Maiwald on drums...

Hearts Bleed Radio: You guys are a lot of fun to see perform, and you have a full length album out, The Beards of London, to me it feels almost like a concept album. When is the Broadway show coming?

Mark: Well, we have pirate costumes and smoke machines and, lately, access to a sailboat, so I would venture to guess that a musical production is forthcoming in Kansas City by the year 2020. They have a community theater on Broadway that is known for its stage production, I am told.

                                                   Outside rocking is just around the corner, WE SWEAR.

HBR: How do you guys write? Does someone bring in like, a verse/chorus structure? Or is it more collaborative? Or a mix?

Mark: It is a little bit of both, I'd say. Jeff is quite a bit more prolific as a songwriter-- he put out quite a few solo records before the band existed and has been at it as a kind of basement svengali for quite some time-- so many songs are our interpretations of his structure, but he and I have worked together on quite a few things. Also, I'll chip in some uglier punk-ier vehicles as well. The thing about the process for us is that we are typically lyric and concept driven. We appreciate and try to make songs as constructions or structures. Arrangements predominate over jams, I guess...