Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Spring Fling (perhaps the most random-ass article in the history of HBR)

Hey, it's March. I know there's still snow everywhere, but guess what? It's less than a week until the clocks spring forward. Honestly, it's my favorite day of the year. Some of you complain; "oh, we lose an hour, we have to get up early, wah wah..." Well guess what? You're ass is going to feel just as hungover and shitty waking up at noon on Sunday morning as it would have felt to wake up at 1. IMO, the only real crime is that NYC bars effectively close at 3am on Saturday night, but it's becoming exceedingly rare that I'm out at that hour.

Also, I think the day when we get an extra hour and bars effectively stay open till 5am, should be a holiday where we stay out until 5am, BUT, I don't think we should spread the word too much, cause I want it to be chill and not full of dickhead frat-boys.

Doe is the real deal (more on them later)

Anyway, it's always a weird time when winter starts to fade, but it's surely not springtime yet. So here's a weird collection of some shit that's going on, has just come out, an interview, some shit about Wednesday's show... And away we go!

The Meaning of Life released Diamonds and Junkfood a week or two ago. Give it a listen. Texturally similar to their earlier albums, but with an added funk, it's a step in a new direction. Wow Wow Wow is the track. Oh, they play ZeroFest this weekend too.

GRIZZLOR is noisy metal post punk punk. They are loud and from CT and playing Acheron this Friday. This is the show to go to if your a headbanger but way more interested in counter-culture than Metallica.

Since we're on the topic of shows, we (HBR) are throwing a show this Wednesday, 3/4. It's an unofficial ZeroFest show and will probably be the best show of the week. It's at Trash (which is closing). Trash was the place that looked the most (cause it changed the least) like the Williamsburg I met 10 years ago. It was never a super desirable place to play; it's wasn't a joint that broke bands, or a place where you'd run into even D-rate rock and roll celebs (though I did see Dee Snider shooting a B-movie out front one evening). BUT, literally every musician in my generation (born mid 70's through mid 80's) played there (and probably had a good time). Here's the link to that show.

Oh, and the second ZeroFest is happening this weekend too. Should be a good time, just like the last one. Four days of local bands, March 5-8. Bars, DIY spaces, all types of venues! I mean, just look at these guys, don't you want to hang out with them?


Brother's in Yarn is the newest project from New Jersey's Shawn Fogel. It's a hybrid book club/song of the month thing, where Fogel composes and records a new track every month for an entire year. It's a cool idea, here's hoping that he makes it through all twelve! Here's January's track:

Salem Wolves are some random band that posted their EP on my Facebook wall, and it's actually interesting for a couple of reasons; it's lo-fi and it's really about witches and shit like that. I don't know if these guys are crazy or think they're being funny, or actual Wiccans, or what, but I like this track.

Jason Maksymilian Szkutek (pronounced Szkutek), is in a couple of bands, but we know him best as the lead singer of the power pop/indie rock group, American Darlings. He took a moment to chat with me this afternoon, and here are the results:

Hearts Bleed Radio: So you play in several bands, but for this interview, we're gonna concentrate on American Darlings. When did you start the band, and what inspired your name?

Jason: Our drummer Daniel Vincent, responded to a Craigslist ad I posted in the Summer of 2010. By Fall we played our debut show at Otto's Shrunken Head in the East Village, followed by a CMJ show at the National Underground. We finalized our name at that Otto's show - I think our bassist at that time, John Alexander coined the name officially, but I recall tiki drinks and some 1950s pinup movies being on the TVs there and the words "American Darlings" just fit the vibe. Better than some of the others we joked about; The Lorna Era, The Mistresses...Wax Cactus.

HBR: I really like Wax Cactus. Some of the AD shows I've seen have been noisier, other's have been a cleaner pop sound. Obviously, a lot of that has to do with the club, the quality of the sound, etc. What are you shooting for? Hi, mid, lo-fi?

Jason: I think while yes it does depend on the venue for technicalities, trying to find that sweet spot between lo-fi and hi-fi is key, in my opinion. Think of it like a mood or a feeling that can fluctuate-that goes for a song, a whole album or shows. If the songs are there, than I think the production value can vary-makes it more fun. You hear a lot of strong songs by bands like Sebadoh or Guided By Voices recorded to 4-track cassette and officially released. Go figure. As for live performances, there are times when a song can be polished and then go into a noise interlude, and then back to the "polished part" so to speak...keeps things more dynamic in my opinion. I don't really see the band as being held to one sound, lo-fi or hi-fi. The songs/performances will decide themselves.

HBR: I know that Superdrag is one of your biggest influences, but unfortunately, not that many people are familiar with their catalog. What's the gateway album? What should we be listening to?

Jason: Ah man glad you brought that up. Those dudes recently started a new band called The Lees of Memory, teamed up with Nick Raskulinecz for their debut album Sisyphus Says, and are playing their first show at SXSW. Go check that out first. If you mix up Phil Spector's wall of sound, Pet Sounds, Loveless, and God knows what else, with John Davis' stellar songwriting skills you get the uniquely original brand of music that is The Lees of Memory. Brandon and John's dueling Jazzmasters are one Voltron-sized guitar sound. As for Superdrag, I'd recommend starting at the beginning with the Darla Records stuff if you can find it; The Fabulous 8-Track Sound Of Superdrag and Stereo 360 Sound. "Bloody Hell" never gets old.

HBR: What's the best rock and roll movie ever made?

Jason: Another great question!...Let's see... "The best" is a pretty steep mountain to climb...

HBR: Ok, what I meant to say is "your favorite."

Jason: "Dig!" the movie with Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Dandy Warhols is a pretty mind-blowing underground film that captures much of the raw life emotion of playing in a band. They're both great bands too. As far as "favorite" goes from a more fantasy perspective, I've watched "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!" too many times to count. "That Thing You Do" was the soundtrack to my childhood, but then again so was "Empire Records". I spent New Year's eve watching the movie "Head", by The Monkees. Best opening ever - music movie or not.

American Darlings
HBR: If the Ninja Turtles were a band, what instruments would each one play?

Jason: Really?

HBR: Yes.

Jason: Donatello would be the synth/keys, multi-instrumentalist 'cause he's brainy. Michelangelo would shred on guitar, but like one of those Randy Rhoads Jackson flying Vs. Leonardo would play bass and write all the tunes (cuz he's the unofficial leader I suppose). Raphael would be upfront, singing like Danzig cuz he's angry. I dunno, Leonardo could be lead singer...I just wanted to drop the D-bomb...Danzig. When are we playing the TMNT Arcade Game at Barcade?

HBR: I got $25 in quarters in my change cup, but we still need two others on the team. Oh, and I think we need to draw turtles out of a hat; everyone want's to be Donatello cause his reach so long.

Jason: Oh I never thought about that actually..

HBR: I kinda thought Michelangelo would be the drummer...

Jason: ...he's so goofy. And guitarists are typically goofy.

HBR: ...cause drummers are always like, kinda dumb and goofy. I see Leo as being a guitarist.

Jason: But yeah, that's the thing about the Turtles. They're so unique in that they have their own personalities but can be interpreted multiple ways. Genius. I'm a guitarist and I'm goofy.

HBR: Yeah, but I don't think you fit the mold.

Jason: I could be the fifth turtle?

HBR: Casey Jones? 

"Oh man have you heard the new TMNT album with fuckin' Casey Jones on it and he's playing all those fucking synth parts? WTF, you're a hard rock band, not a new wave band. I want to hear guitar solos. At least Shredder hasn't sold out."

What's next for American Darlings? You guys got more shows, releases, recordings coming up?

Jason: Next up we're playing this Friday March 6th at Cakeshop with Big Quiet, Golden Alphabet and Lost Gloves. Tommy, our second guitarist/synth player also plays and sings in Golden Alphabet so that'll be fun. Our two songs recorded at Converse will be out on vinyl at the following show at Piano's April 15th. And we'll be playing with The Shackeltons so I'm really amped up for that. Also putting together some out-of-state shows and working on new songs so we can put out another record in the Fall.

Speaking of goofy, Onesie just released this video for The Ballad of The Boomerang. Listen to it three times and it will be stuck in your head all day, promise. Oh, and they're also playing this weekend, check out the Facebook event, here.

If you're into something more mellow, check out U.K. transplant David Ellis' bouncy number, When Love Is Caving In. Ellis moved to NYC recently, so keep your eyes peeled for him at Pete's Candy Store, and other low-key joints. (tunes here)

In the same vein as Ellis, check out NYC's own Bay Uno. Bay is releasing a full length album next week. The release party is 3/7 at the new Living Room in Brooklyn, below is a stream of Catalina, off the upcoming album.

Longtime HBR buddy, and ex-New Yorker, Hailey Wojcik is also about to release a new EP. Check out the video for XO Skeleton below (especially if you're into stop motion and insects).

Radical Dads dropped a new album this week. Universal Coolers is an all around tight album; poppy, loud, dirty when it needs to be, riffy too... It feels like a perfect followup to Rapid Reality. Rad Dads are incredible. Don't Go is the track, IMO. Check it out.

At the RD's UC release show I had the pleasure of catching UK band Doe. Hopefully they come back to the states soon. There was one song that really grabbed me, but I haven't been able to find it sifting through their stuff. No matter though, it's all good.

I hate how dance-y music is usually overproduced. Half the reason most of that shit sucks is how inorganic it feels. Happy Lives fixes that with their track Wanna Go Dance. It's nice to hear analog sounding dirt on slick beats. It's kind of subversive that way, dig?

Our buddies EULA have a new video out and a new album on the way. Check out Meadows below. It's post-punk ballet school at it's finest!

Finding Fiction is a garage pop lofi rock Brooklyn band with a sweet new cassette out. Go to their Bandcamp and buy one. There's only 100 and you should have one. I don't know you, and I don't even know the band that well, but I know you should be in possession of this tape.

LASTLY, Passenger Peru has a new tape out too. Light Places is sold out, but you can download it for only six beans. Give it a listen.

OH YEAH ALMOST FORGOT. Saturday in Bayonne, NJ is the Serious Rockers NY release show. Check out the comp below, and the show deets here.

OK, people, that was exhausting. Hope I turned you on to some new tunes. If you have anything to send my way, email me or post it on the Facebook page's wall. We here at HBR have a bunch of new projects on tap for the spring, hopefully we'll be ready to share them with you soon. Until then...



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