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...