Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dialogue in full concert glory.

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

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

CMJ Wrap Up and My Unsolicited Advice for Future Festivals

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Ten Tracks + CMJ Anouncement

  It's really been for friggin' ever since I sat down and wrote something, ANYTHING, about actual music. I have a slight amount of free time on my hands, and I wanted to share with you some excellent tunes I came across this summer while working, setting up shows, playing music, etc. Also, I figured some random eyes might find this blog through the 4 Track Challenge, and I wanted to greet them with an article that wasn't about baseball.

OH, and we're throwing a CMJ showcase featuring Ghost Punch, The Planes, pow wow!, Light Therapy, Sunset Guns, and The Black Black. It's going to be a free back-room Legion party. Swing by if you're out and about on 10/24. I'll buy you a beer if you buy me some chicken rings after the show (only half kidding).

Ok, here's an indie-pop heavy (for HBR) ten song playlist of new releases from the spiring/summer. Enjoy!

Clam and what I believe is a DOUBLE RAINBOW.

The Underground pt. 2 (More Underground) - Clam

I love the desperation in Johnny's vocals on the second go around. A noisy crescendo that peaks right as it ends, this is end of summer jam #1. Also, Clam is an excellent live band, I highly recommend catching them. Bonus: there are a ton of interesting videos on their website.

Sleep Alone - The Teen Age

A catchy barroom rocker with some washed out reverb-y lead licks reminiscent of 80's guitar pop. Their next show is at the soon to be shuttered Death by Audio, with Spirit System and HBR favorites Clouder on 10/9. You should be there.

Fake French - Little Racer

The Teen Age's label-mates Little Racer, continue the theme of catchy, simple, but lush sounding tunes. Fake French is minimalist with a lot going on, if that makes sense. It's a simple tune with a rich sonic palette.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

HBR AMERICA SPECIAL REPORT: If NL teams were guitars.

Hey everyone, here's part two, the NATIONAL LEAGUE!


Atlanta, Fender Telecaster: Basically, the South's team get country music's favorite solid-body guitar. The Braves are a classic team, sometimes embraced by the whole nation (NL East fans aside). Tele's are kinda similar; they've always kinda been there.

Washington, Fender Squire '51: Traditionally, expansion teams come prepackaged with kid friendly colors, a big goofy mascot, and a ton of crazy marketing gimmicks. The idea is that, hey, we can't compete right now anyway, and the adults probably aren't going to give up on the team they've been rooting for their whole lives, so let's go after the kids, grow with them, and in a decade, we'll have a generation of fans to support us when we're finally ready to compete. Most adults hate expansion teams for this very reason. The Nats are different (not really an expansion team, I know they came from Montreal, but still, they basically started from scratch), they branded themselves right off the bat (intentional pun) as a continuation of D.C.'s baseball heritage. That what the '51 reissue is, a new-old guitar.  

Miami, Fernandes Vertigo: They pushed these guitars pretty hard in the late 90's. It seems like the stopped manufacturing them in bright colors, which it's kinda a shame because I though they looked awesome (except for the headstock) and the price was decent. They might have blown their load a couple years too early with the marketing campaign. Anyhow, the pastel Vertigos scream "South Beach" louder than any other guitar I could think of.

NY Mets, Fender Squire Stratocaster: Oh the Mets. They are specifically the Strat from the Strat starter pack. They are the expansion team that kinda started that whole "get the kids hooked" thing. Mr. Met, the home run apple; shit the Yankees would never consider... Squire Strats were really cool for a heartbeat in the 80's (neat colors, oversized headstock, a little more attention to consistency on the part of Fender), as were the Mets (though the coke parties and booze binges quickly took their toll).

Philadelphia, BC Rich Warlock: You have to have, like, aggressively poor taste to play one of these guitars, or just be so deep into metal that you cannot clearly see the world around you. Playing one of these is just like being a Phillies fan. I get it, it's cool, you feed off the hatred. Just please try not to vomit on children.

Friday, July 4, 2014

HBR AMERICA SPECIAL REPORT: If AL teams were guitars.

Happy Independence Day everyone! I wanted to do something super American, so I'm doing a three-parter on baseball and guitars. Part one, published below, is a list of all the teams in the American League, and what guitars they'd be if they were guitars instead of baseball teams. Part two will be the National League, and part three will be what position famous guitarist would play if they were on a baseball team.

Here we go! (teams ordered by standing on 7/4/14)


Baltimore, Guild Starfire: A respectable guitar that produced a lot of hits, and has been in and out of style since the 60's.

Toronto, Gibson Firebird: John Gibbons is Canada's team's manager, so I figured they should be a Gibson. The Firebird would be the #1 guitar if it were made by most other companies. Over the course of the last 15 years, there's a couple of Jay's teams that could have finished first in most other divisions.

NY Yankees, Gibson Les Paul: Yup, I'm a Yankees hater AND a Gibson hater. It's the kinda guitar that rich dicks would have, and it's a team full of rich dicks. That being said, both are incredibly popular for a reason. I don't know if you can debate the fact that they have the most consistent quality of any guitar/team in history.

Boston, Fender Jazzmaster: A classic second tier/second rate guitar that became nauseatingly popular in the 00's. I'm a Sox fan and a Jazzmaster owner, but that first sentence wasn't at all difficult to write. I'm amazed at the price that people will pay to A. own a Jmaster, and B. go to a game at Fenway. In 1980, you literally couldn't give those things away. However, there is a certain coolness to Fenway, and the Jazzmaster's design that make both the guitar and the team deserving of a large chunk of their fandom.

Tampa Bay, Danelectro U2: I feel like the Rays rebranding (dropping the "Devil," changing the uniforms) is cosmically similar to Danelectros re-emergence in the market. Pastel colors and a cheap price tag, BUT surprisingly good (at times). Really, you could choose any Dano, but I picked the U2 because I feel it was the first reissue they really pushed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Black Black plays Cake Shop (twice), will release a new album (eventually), and loves Les Pauls

  I hope you're all enjoying the summer so far (all 5 days of it). I'm still recovering from a booze filled Northside weekend followed by a full week of band practice, recording, and gigs. We're slowing down with the booking thing (more on that later), and we're trying to focus more on covering some sweet local bands. Honestly, I felt a little bad about how mean I was to Gibson lovers in the article on guitars that I wrote two weeks ago, so I thought I'd do a quick Gchat with Jon Daily from The Black Black; a well known Gibson-a-phile.

Here's the transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio: Start off by giving me a little history of The Black Black...

Jon: I started the black black in the fall of 2011. I was frustrated with my band at the time in every way possible, so I tried to create the antithesis band to it. I recorded three demos in my bedroom with my electronic drum kit. I sent the demos to my long time friend Chris and asked if he'd be interested in playing the bass (he was), and then Craigslist turned up our first drummer Johnny. It was super easy, and the band was just fun and easy for the first year with the three of us. We recorded twice, played a bunch of shows and it was just... fun.
  Johnny moved to CA, and then we spent a year looking for a new drummer. We had six guys do it in a year. It was pretty awful. Then Tomo came on board, and we finally got moving again... fast forward another year and we just finished recording our first LP. It'll be out on Money Fire Records in September (probably). The band was created as a cross between Big Black, McLusky, and LCD Soundsystem. I don't know if those influences are still obvious, but that was the initial idea.

L.E.S. Les Paul action at Pianos

HBR: You're playing a lot these days, you have a record coming out... But I want to talk about guitars for a second... I'm a Fender guy, you're a Gibson guy... I don't want you have to defend Gibson, but what do you like about Les Pauls? What do they do for your sound that no other axe will do?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

If you could have any three guitars...

  You make art with a guitar in a way that is rather unique; it's not unlike the way you make art with a classic car, if such a thing were possible (in my book, it is). In and of themselves, guitars are art. Playing a song with a guitar is kinda like carving David with the Venus di Milo. Anyway, it's almost Northside weekend here in Brooklyn, I'm about to see a million bands, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't silently judging the guitar choices of each and every last one. Don't think I'm a snob though, I don't give two shits about how much an instrument costs. That being said, there's a legitimate reason to judge bands by their instruments.

  I'm a Fender guy, and every guitar I've ever owned has been a Fender or Fender-knockoff (except for my acoustic, but that was a gift). This is because as a teenager, I was obsessed with Sonic Youth. Gibsons, to me, stood for dick-head frat boy jock metal/grunge crap. Bands show their influences by the guitars they choose, almost as much as notes they play. I hate to divide the world into two camps based on gear, because it's more complicated than that... but if you can find me a decent band that includes a guy playing a Les Paul through a digital multi-effects processor into a Mesa Boogie full stack, I'll buy you a beer. Hell, I'll buy you a case.

I only had time to grab one pic for this article and this is it. Scrawny punk, Mustang, Hendrix hands. Deal.

  There are clubs/DIY spots in this city where the sound is so bad, it actually makes more sense to judge a band buy it's gear. At least you'll know where they came from.

  I asked a bunch of local guitarists what they're playing, and what their three dream guitars would be. I'll start it off:

Stephen from The Planes

  Current Guitar: White Fender Mustang, Japanese made from 1997. Bridge pickup switched out for a 90's stock American standard Strat pickup. Pickup switching rigged up like a Les Paul.

  Dream Guitars:
    #1. Jazzmaster with a stock neck pickup and a super high output humbucker in the bridge.
    #2. Squire Strat from the 80's with the giant headstock (surf green or sonic blue).
    #3. Mustang with Jmaster style tremolo; an actual Fender version of this.

Micah from The Teen Age

  Current Guitar: Sunburst and cherry red Mexican Telecasters.

  Dream Guitars:
      #1. Gretsch G5810  (note. that's the rectangular Bo Diddley guitar)
      #2. Music Man Albert Lee HH
      #3. Fender Pawn Shop Jaguarillo

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hearts Bleed Radio's Official Northside Showcase Previews!

  The 2014 Northside Festival is right around the corner. We're looking forward to four days of music, whiskey, food, and musicians being treated like they deserve to be treated all the time. The best thing about Northside is it's walkability; it never feels like you're more than a five minute walk from the next venue. If I'm not playing a show, I'll be bumming around North Brooklyn in an endless loop of whiskey, tacos, and rock 'n roll. That being said, most likely, I will be playing/hosting a show. This year, Hearts Bleed Radio is proud to bring you two and a half showcases. We'll cross paths with you at some point. It was meant to be.

The Teen Age, probably trying to find the entrance to Pet Rescue

Friday, June 13th
Pet Rescue

The Teen Age are one of those bands that effortlessly brings a vibe that, I guess in my head I refer to as "beer drinker's energy." I wouldn't want to call them a "high energy" band, because I don't want you think they're punks or anything like that. They have good energy; it's the kind of energy that comes from beer calories. They are a fucking blast. They are kicking off our weekend.

My Teenage Stride is the long time project of the multi-talented singer/guitarist/producer/king of Facebook; Jed Smith. Jed is one of the best songwriters I know, and I know a lot of songwriters. MTS is a songwriting clinic in action. Enjoy their music, and learn something too. Funny story, I realized last year that I saw Jed's old band open for Superdrag at Pearl Street in Northampton, MA like, in '99 or '00. Brooklyn feels like a weird "LOST" island more and more every day.

The Planes get good gas milage and fit into the tiniest parking spaces, but still have enough horsepower to pass a semi on one of those scary ass dotted yellow line highways. They are kinda the HBR house band. You know them by now, right?

Shark? Yes, dammit, SHARK?! Is it a shark? We tried to book these guys a couple times in the past, but nothing ever materialized... until now. This band is too good to be contained in a small place like Pet Rescue. I don't know what exactly is going on in this video, but I promise you there will be no weird predator aliens at the show.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Boy's Irrational Bedtime Fear: Let's Be Loveless Talk Recording and Nightmares

It feels like it's been forever since we've done a good old fashioned chat interview here on Hearts Bleed Radio. In my defense, I've been doing a shit ton of booking (May has 5 friggin' Fridays!). This week we have a showcase on Friday at Matchless and Saturday at Pet Rescue. You should probably come to both of them, because, whoever you are, I don't seen you enough and we need to hang out more. So... Friday's lineup is great. Opening up is me, Stephen Otto Perry, playing solo, like I never do. Second we have White Like Fire, all the way from Pittsburgh, PA (they are awesome!) and Shelter Dogs (Brian LaRue's other other band, which he fronts). Next is Let's Be Loveless, and closing out the night is The Black Black. I can't say enough about this lineup, it's diverse but it works. Anyway, we had some chat action with Abby and Eric from Let's Be Loveless. Here's the transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio: You guys have been busy in the studio. You have a single and a B-side dropping this week and an EP on the way?

Eric: Well, we just mixed/mastered 2 songs out of about 7 tunes we've been painstakingly writing/recording. It's been a year process. We get a little obsessive when recording. We are hoping to drop one of them this week, and maybe another in May to keep people interested.

Abby: We are super excited to release these songs.

HBR: Which one is dropping this week?

Eric: Well, not sure. Which one do you think works. Stephen, You are like the 3rd person to hear them. Ha.

Abby: We'll get back to you on which single we're releasing, but it will either be "Hostages" or "A Boy's Irrational Bedtime Fear" or "Death to the Moon."

HBR: Do you enjoy recording?

Abby: Recording is actually my favorite part of the process. Liquor helps a lot when doing vocals.

HBR: Really? Haha, it's my least favorite.

Eric: Yeah, I'm a fan of writing/recording. It's when I feel like I'm actually creating something.

Abby: Yes, it's like giving birth.

Abby and Eric, I'm not even going to describe this picture, it's too perfect.

HBR: I think "A Boy's Irrational Bedtime Fear" is the first single.

Eric: I think so too. It's a rocker, and has awesome Smiths'y title.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sunset Guns release "Not Clean" EP, to play HBR showcase

I love writing a title like the above... like I work for Brooklyn Vegan or something... like you're supposed to to know who the band is, like it's as clear as "Germany invades Poland, to annex Austria." But I never know who any of those fucking bands are.

Sunset Guns are sweet. We've interviewed them before. There was an injury to the drummer of Summer Saints, so SG's jumped on the bill, cause that's the kinda guys they are; they are true homies. We have three Sunset Guns plugs. Here goes nothing.

The EP, pictured with the Bearcat.
Not Clean

This EP (cassette tape/download) rocks. It's pure 'Guns. On paper, the tempo isn't that fast, but SG's put so much energy into everything, it gives a high velocity illusion. John Wooden said, "Be quick, but don't hurry." The 'Guns are the musical embodiment of that quote. "Eviction Notice" is my favorite track. "There's no next door anymore," gets looped in my stupid, broken brain. Wait, did I pay rent this month?

HBR Showcase at Matchless 4/4/14

Because of the song "Pride" by U2, I'll always know that MLK was shot on April 4th. I like U2 up until about 1998, and I'm not afraid to admit it. ANYHOW, we got Sunset Guns playing the unglamorous, but very necessary, 8:50-9:25 slot, between a solo opener with no friends*, and an out of town act. See what I mean about being true homies. Come support them. I think there will be free cassettes!

Square Zeros

Jon and Derek (SG's guitar playing singers) have a sweet ass podcast, the origins of which can be traced back to this very blog. What was a neat project that I totally thought they'd get bored of and give up on after 3 episodes, has blossomed into a pretty interesting collection of interviews. It's a musical show and tell; musicians bring in recordings of their earliest bands and basically explain what they were trying to do. So far, everything has been either good or funny. You know what they say, "A ghost will haunt you for a night, but your past will haunt you forever." (no one says that, but they really should) Like them on Facebook to keep up with new releases.


See you at the show tomorrow, and for Pete's sake, like HBR on Facebook. It makes my Mom think I'm famous.

*Daniel can take a joke. I think.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The guitar guy played real good feedback... The top 5 Lee Ranaldo Sonic Youth songs.

  When I was a teenager I had the world subdivided into two sets of people, those who liked Sonic Youth, and those who did not. They were the most famous obscure band in the world. Obscure to the general population of course, not the arty-intellectual types like my friends. During a time when grunge and hip hop were breaking into the mainstream, most kids were exposed to at least some decent music, just by turning on the radio. If you were into Sonic Youth, it meant you dug a little bit deeper. SY fans weren't going to be jocks, call you a fag for having dyed hair, probably read books other than the ones required by school, and generally, were less likely to be total dicks.

  When Thurston and Kim split up, I gotta say, I didn't really care. Maybe I'm just jaded, old, cynical, but I'm an adult now, they are people, shit happens, whatever. I like the newer Sonic Youth albums, but I really haven't been deep into a SY release since A Thousand Leaves. It's not them, it's me. I don't think they ever put out a bad album maybe unless you count Cicconne Youth or whatever your least favorite SYR EP was, and that's really incredible. That's NINE albums that I love and another handful that are somewhere between good and very good.

Nothing will ever be as cool as this. Deal with it.
  I saw Lee Ranaldo play one of the last shows at Maxwell's (RIP). The timing of it all; the Kim and Thurston split, the SY breakup, and Lee releasing a strong album of very accessible rock songs, really put a spotlight (for me at least) on Ranaldo's work in SY. Part of me wanted to avoid gossiping or even realizing that the couple who defined the band that basically shaped my existence has broken up. Part of me was pumped from seeing a really good show, with a band member who had always been a supporting actor finally in the starring role. For the first time since hearing Washing Machine back in 1995, I really saw Sonic Youth with the indie-camelot folklore stripped away.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Eastern Hollows release video for "Summer's Dead" and hit the studio!

Eastern Hollows are a great local band who are hopefully poised for gaining more popular and critical attention. It seems to be a busy spring for the Brooklyn-based quintet; we were lucky to have them perform at showcase #12 (3/14/14) and hopefully will get them again for a show in the future. Easter Hollows sounds part shoegaze, part C86, and part post-punk. Imagine a poppy guitar driven British band the 80's and add more washy reverb, and better/more modern guitar pedals. They are familiar, but not stale. Interesting enough, but simple enough to be catchy. Jeremy and Travis were nice enough to exchange some emails with me regarding their newest video, which was released last week.


Hearts Bleed Radio: This starts out with very muted colors, cuts of the city... I was preparing myself for another "band on a roof" video, but it really takes off and becomes colorful and exciting. Where did the inspiration come from? How did the concept evolve?

Jeremy (drums/percussion): The concept and idea evolved naturally from the aesthetic that we have followed on all of our artwork to date - colorful images always involving flowers. The design and artwork all came from Cassandra Gibbons (she is also the unnnamed hooded figure in the video placing the flowers). She is a great artist and has been responsible for all art direction by offering up different samples and concepts for us to choose from. This video was her idea that she developed along with the director, Julian Kauffmann. "Giant paper flowers that grow and eventually take over the entire city" was the main idea.

HBR: The song is titled "Summer's Dead," which I assumed meant "Summer IS Dead." Upon watching the video, I guess it means, "The Dead belonging to Summer." Correct? What is the song about? (and thanks for inadvertently teaching me a grammar lesson)

Travis (lead singer/rhythm guitar/lyric writer): "Well, it was meant as "summer is dead." Not ownership. I thought it could be either depending on the context. Maybe I need a grammar lesson. It was loosely about a Smith's lyric I had always heard wrong and about the time of writing the song. Summer was just ending, getting sentimental about a great summer and that lyric. [Smith's] lyric is: "I want the freedom and the guile"---I always thought it was guide and not guile. This is in "I Won't Share You" I loved the idea of wanting both freedom and guide because that's how I feel all the time. Wanting freedom but then unsure what to do with it.

HBR: How long did it take you guys to shoot? Any interesting stories from production?

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Hey people!

  I've been insanely busy and I haven't written ANYTHING in FOREVER. I'm breaking my silence to let you know that you all must go to Fort Useless in Bushwick tonight. It's the last ever Quiet Loudly show and the opening bands are great and we're all going to miss them! 

Here's a picture of Max that has been saved on my desktop for a year for some unknown reason.

And here's my favorite QL song:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Chillin' With Chuck

Good news ladies and gents... I survived my birthday weekend. I have enough booze left over to last me till 2015, and 1/4 of a working liver with which to process it. That 1/4 of "old brown bag" that's still in action is going to have a busy fucking weekend, because goddammit, it's Valentines Day on Friday. We're having our annual V-day showcase showdown this Friday at Matchless in Greenpoint, and we'd love for you to come share the misery with us. Opening up the night is Chuck Burns; a local bluesman/folk anti-hero. We sat down for a little back and forth on Gchat. Here's the transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio: We usually book indie rockers for HBR shows, but it felt right to go in a really bluesy direction to open up our Valentine's Day show. How do you feel about V-Day? For it or against it?

Chuck: Well, in general, I would say I am against the holiday itself, mainly because it is a big money making venture for the Hallmark Company. But we're really looking forward to the show. we're gonna make the theme of our set a cynics Valentines Day, one for the broken hearted. We'll be raking up an ancient song of mine called, "Fuck You, I Love You," which I'll be singing as a duet with Sophie from Madam West

HBR: Awesome! I think I agree with you on Valentine's Day, on the other hand it's hard to really be upset at a holiday so pointless...

Chuck: Well said. I think its a perfect irony for us to be playing on V-Day, because so many of my songs come from this place of heart break.

Chuck, looking the part.

HBR: Who are your biggest influences? Are they passionate or cynical in their delivery?

Chuck: I guess my biggest influences, at least lyrically are the underground traveling singer-songwriters, people like Paleo and Jeffrey Lewis. That said, I get a lot more aggressive in my singing, which I suppose I owe to Tom Waits, and old school growlers like Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters ets.

HBR: How does it feel to growl like that? I think my voice would break. Does it come from the back of your throat? Is this a stupid question?

Monday, February 10, 2014

Talkin' Music Magic With THE SUZAN

  Valentine's Day is in the air, is it not? It's very obviously February outside. Winter fatigue has set in city-wide. A dusting of snow that would have been considered beautiful in December feels about as welcome of pigeon shit falling out of the sky. So it's time for winter's last holiday to rear it's ugly head, pass us by, and allow the springtime healing season of rebirth and romance to engulf us all. As an expert on being single on well, basically every day of the year, I highly recommend going to a show. You don't have to talk to anyone though there will be other people around, it's totally ok to spontaneously dance or stand in the corner and look at your shoes, and there will be all the alcohol you need (and then some).

  We're really exited for the Hearts Bleed Radio 2nd annual Valentine's Day show. Closing out the night is THE SUZAN. Transplants from Japan, they are always an engaging live show, as they transition between bubblegum pop and arty noise assaults. I spoke with Rie, Saori, and Nico via email. Here's the transcript:

Hearts Bleed Radio: Were you exposed to a lot of rock and roll growing up in Japan? Were your parents into it, or was it something you had to find on your own?

THE SUZAN: Rock and Roll is not so major in Japan, so we had to find cool foreign music on internet or music stores on our own.

Rie: My parents loved R&B or Soul music, Dance music.

HBR: Who are your biggest influences?

Rie: The Beatles.

HBR: You guys switch between bouncy pop music and noise punk. Does one style feel more natural than the other?

THE SUZAN: We are genre-less band. We have a lot of styles of music. Last week, we had a studio session, and made a dark heavy rock song. We play the music that we want to play. It's natural.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

V-Day Is Almost Here! Kill The Anxiety With Madam West.

It's been awhile since the last legit interview we've done. HELL, it's been a bit since we've posted anything at all. There's some new tunes on the horizon which we'll check on next week, Steve's B'day is this Saturday at Legion, AND we will be booking every Friday (almost) at Matchless, starting in spring. For now though, we're going to focus on the (drum roll) Second Annual Hearts Bleed Radio Valentine's Day Show! (trumpets blare). Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sophie Chernin of the wonderful Madam West!

Hearts Bleed Radio: For starters, give me a little history of Madam West.

Sophie: Well, Todd and I met in early 2011. We found out quickly that we had the same musical tastes - we both had named our dogs Elliott Smith, for example - and so we started covering our favorite indie tunes every week in his basement room in Bushwick. We started out as a duo, writing solely electronically (on Logic), but once we decided we wanted a live sound, it was natural that we recruited Todd's long-term friend Mike from AZ (where they went to school). So he was on drums, and I recruited Christine and Will, who both played with me in our college folk band, Feste. Now the band has a few different combinations - as a duo, I play drum machine and Todd plays synths, and as the onstage group changes we shift a few of the instruments around. And that brings us to today!

HBR: Do you have a favorite lineup? When you're all together?

Sophie: I change my mind all the time! If you had asked me last summer, when Todd and I had played as a duo in montreal, I would have said the full band. I got really horrible stage fright and a case of sticky fingers with the drum sequencer. I almost cried onstage. I just wanted Mike there, drumming and pumping us up! But now that I'm more comfortable with the electronics, I don't really have a preference. It's nice to have the flexibility to say yes to a show on the spot, without making sure everyone's available that date.

HBR: Is that the most embarrassed you've ever been onstage?

Sophie: Probably. Montreal, to me, is like the holy mecca of indie bands. All of my favorite bands were from there growing up. It was insane that we got to play there, so I really built it up in my head before I got onstage. I think I was most embarrassed afterwards, when I was crying so hard I forgot to man the door (all of the bands were switching off door duty).

HBR: But you survived? The show went on?

Sophie: Of course! And then when I listened back to the recording, most of my mistakes were barely noticeable, of course.

HBR: Yeah, that's how it goes

Sophie: But in my head, it was total chaos.

Sophie ponders the cultural significance of V-day

HBR: Where does the name "Madam West" come from?

Sophie: Todd and I have a bad portmanteau habit. We love wordplay. It's probably infuriating to be around us most of the time. So Madam West is Mae West+Adam West... I forgot that "Madam" means "chick who runs a house of prostitutes," but oh well.

HBR: Haha, I was wondering if it was a play on Adam West.

Sophie: Yep! Most people think we spell it "Madame," which would be great if I didn't have to worry about them ever finding us on the internet.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hey Haybaby! Nice to meet you.

Hope you all made it through the polar vortex in one frozen piece. Thirty-five degrees feels like springtime to me. Anyhow, we have the first showcase of the year this Wednesday at Cake Shop, and we're really excited for the lineup. The Mad Doctors are up first, followed by Crazy Pills, pow wow!, and then Haybaby. Doors at 8, don't be late. Check out this chat with Haybaby. Try to control your excitement. Save it for the dance floor.

Hearts Bleed Radio: Can you start us off by telling us a little about the band?

Zach: Leslie and I met at a show of a band I played in called Bad and the Ugly, and then a while later I asked her to join a band with my ex girlfriend called Peter Pan, which became Peter Pan and the Lost Boys once Leslie joined. I also played in a band called Steer at the time and we played a show with Sam's other band called Spaces.

HBR: Did this all take place in NYC?

Leslie: We started as Haybaby when Zach and his ex broke up with our friend Caleb. He was on bass at first then wanted to switch to lead guitar so we had Sam join on bass, then Caleb moved back to Boston so we were just three again. Yeah, all in Brooklyn.

Zach: That pretty much sums it up, although my ex did not break up with Caleb, but my ex and I broke up.

Leslie: I play guitar, Zach drums, and Sam's on bass. We all sing, but Zach and I share lead.

HBR: Do you think that bass players need to have a good sense of humor because they are kinda the "losers" of the band?

Zach: Definitely think so which is why Sam is perfect.

Leslie: Sam definitely is the biggest loser in the whole world but he is also the best at bass in the universe.

Zach: True and it's awesome that he's not here to defend himself 'bout his loserdom.

Leslie: I think he would agree.

Zach: True, but he is the baddest ass at bass that I know.

A rare pic of a NYC band in a non-taxi automobile.
HBR:Well, in all honesty, bass players aren't "losers" but it is kinda a thankless instrument, right?

Zach: Not when you play like Sam. He thanks the powers that be with every note. I just think that they are in fact losers.

HBR: I'm going to pay special attention to that on the 15th. So, how do you guys go about songwriting? Is it a group process?

Leslie: I think in a lot of bands the role of the bassist is pretty boring, holding down root notes or whatever but that definitely is not the case in Haybaby. Sam pretty much defines the groove of the whole song and I just noodle around it.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

2013 Playlist and 2014 Shows!

Hey everyone, hope you're not frozen to the bone. I'm really happy that my 7 year old computer heats up like a toaster oven; I'm wearing two sweatshirts and clinging to it like it's the last spot of warmth in a dark and dying world. Anyway, I wanted to mention a couple of things...

#1. Our 2013 Playlist!

  These are all bands who played an official HBR showcase in 2013, and I think it's a pretty sweet playlist. Unfortunately, not every band we booked is on Spotify, for a full list (with links) check out the ever-evolving Bands We've Booked page. If you find something you like, share it with your buds. Need more info on anyone? Hit me up.

#2. Typhoon Haiyan Relief Show

  A bunch of HBR regulars are playing a benefit show this weekend, 1/11/14. All proceeds will go towards aiding and rebuilding the Philippines. It's $10 for a great cause, and it's a sweet bill at a sweet venue. Here's a link to the event on Facebook, and here's a link to donate if you can't make the show.