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.