GET TO KNOW: HEYROCCO

Tagged as South Carolina’s first rock band, Heyrocco composed of Natedog, Taco, and Cool are living up to the title. They’ve managed to preserve the dizzying highs and crushing lows of high school on their debut album, Teenage Movie Soundtrack, to offering up a “slice of life” on their newest EP, Waiting On Cool. Pulling from 90’s grunge all the way to the Beatles influenced with trashy percussion and snappy riffs, their music represents a change in the Charleston scene. I had the opportunity to catch up with Tanner and Nate on their pre-show smoke break before their December 16 show at Woolfe Street Playhouse.

Why did you choose to end your latest EP with “Perfect World” and how did the attitude shift from your highschool demo tapes?

Nate: I guess your problems change with your age and that song is kind of about losing a life and whatever you’re worried about in school or problems like who’s picking you up at the bus. Half of the time those songs where serious and I was just crying in my room.

You stated  “album 1 – middleschool, Waiting On Cool – high school, new album – drop out music.” Can you elaborate on the direction that you’re headed in?”

Tanner: It’s just the progression of things. were saying it’s more like, it’s more like at this point it’s like high school with Teenage Movie Soundtrack and then you’ve got college and then you’ve dropped out of college and you don’t have any money and you’re down in the dumps and just decided to make a record although I never went to college so I never dropped out. I’m not a dropout because I didn’t go… you can’t fail if you don’t try

Once you got out of here (Charleston), how did that change your music?

Nate: Um well when we first went to London I was introduced to a lot of music over there just kind of small time bands that never really made it over here and I’m obsessed with that kind of like brit-pop kind of movement, more then just like you know the Oasis kind of bands but uh I guess that affected us. I’ve seen people over there are much better writers you know even down to like Charleston music and stuff people there are just great at writing stories I think that’s an issue in a lot of music

What’s the difference between writing songs like “Slice of Life” and songs like “Elsewhere” and which type do you think people connect with the most?

Nate: Um I don’t know I guess it kind of just depends on where you are in life but uh “Slice Of LIfe” was really hard for me to finish because it you know it was one of our songs for like a year but when it comes time to like record it and you know whatever and I’d find it hard to stick with it and sing each night and I never knew how I wanted the story to end. But “Elsewhere
” was such an early song I didn’t really think about that stuff it was like no rules like having fun.

Where do you guys do most of your recording

Nate: Yeah that’s where we’re doing this new album but the other stuff was like um Teenage Movie Soundtrack was done in Nashville so. Waiting On Cool was kind of all over the place, we did a lot with Wolfgang…. over at his place. Wherever I feel comfortable I’ll record it but as soon as I get like headphones and like a bunch of people start coming in I don’t like that. I think you can hear it in the music that we’re not as relaxed, it doesn’t feel as pure. It just kind of feels like we’re trying

 On Waiting On Cool you guys experiment with a bunch of genres and  different sounds where Teenage Movie Soundtrack is much more one track, what made you want to branch out?”

Tanner: Oh man I feel like it was a transitional time in our life to where you
figure out what you really want to do like you find the details in it that will really pull it off. Like Teenage Movie Soundtrack was really honing in on how to play our instruments. The next one was really focusing on some songs and then this is like what we’re going to say with our songs like musically and lyrically.  Its ever evolving but I mean I don’t know at this point we’re honing in, we’re getting somewhere but I don’t know if it’s necessarily one sound or just like a vibe I don’t know

Nate: Yeah I think Waiting On Cool to me was just like all the B-sides all the songs that didn’t really make sense for the album so we put them out so people could still hear them but whether they go together or not I don’t know

Do you do most of the writing? Where does that inspiration come from?
Nate: Beer, lots of beer but yeh I do pretty much all of the lyrical stuff. I don’t know I’ve started reading a lot lately, that kind of inspires me. There’s a lot of new words we don’t use, and they mean a lot

Is it easier working the way you did in the beginning or is it easier with a label?

NATE: Hm I don’t know you have to have someone to make your muis physical and I can’t pay for that so. The fact that people ship us our albums that’s cool as hell. But the sacrifices suck sometimes… like the worst part is sending it to them because their either like ‘we love it’ or ‘nah we’re not putting this out’ and it’s like do you go with the music or do you go with the label?

Whats England like? How did people react to your music there?

Nate: We played there a  couple times we played um the first time we played this place called the Castle and it was kind of like this place maybe a little smaller, it was our show so it wasn’t huge but it was pretty cool to see people come out….they like knew the songs and then we got to play with Grouplove there a couple weeks ago and that was a much bigger show but uh we had to like fly the next morning so it was kind of sad cause we had to get up early but we still hung out. You guys have got to go though especially if you like to write it’s just cool they’re good with 3 and 4 syllable words you know it’s easy to just stick to it you know

One song to describe your teenage years?

Nate: Um probably like “Loser Denial” maybe still today my anthem, my personal anthem..I just think I don’t really know what it’d be like if you weren’t writing music to know who you where but i think when you are making music it’s kind of hard to know exactly who you are cause sometimes the song is just whatever, if you know it you know the lyrics”

Any pre-show rituals

Nate: Oh they change all the time but we always ride in the van together wherever that is. That to me is always my ritual. If I ever had to go to a show without it, our van, it would just be weird.”

What’s it like to be an artist in the 21st century?

Nate: I think that people are quick to make that noise but I don’t think it’s any different…I think there’s a lot of distractions but people are looking at pictures of other people constantly and it’s kind of hard to like even enjoy your own situation in life but whatever that’s just another thing to sing about so.

FRESH AIR ALBUM REVEIW

Since leaving Mac Demarco’s touring band in 2013, Peter Sagar has been releasing music as Homeshake. His first two albums, In The Shower, and Midnight Snack where begotten from the same easy groove and off-beat sound of tunes crooned by Demarco. However, Sagar’s lackadaisical bored sounding vocals and elastic contorted riffs soon began to cultivate a sound of their own. A nirvana that flowed from the thrift store synth-pop sounds captivated listeners almost instantaneously.

Those two records made for easy listening and a pleasant groove, Sagar’s play on slacker-rock brought a culture of stoner wanna be’s and 70’s nostalgics exactly what they’ve been missing in the rock scene. A sound that embraces far-out and lo-fi rock previously only executed effectively by bands like Tame Impala.

With the release of Fresh Air however this new breed of melancholy electric  R&B had a chance to push it’s boundaries and experiment with more sophisticated refined sounds. Keeping his off-kilter roots grounded in out of tune guitars and cheap synthesizers and second hand drums machines. Borrowing from the almost decade old movement of “chillwave,” Sagar incorporates the dream faded retro pop sounds into his new endeavors.

The first track, “Hello Welcome” automatically lays the groundwork for the album utilizing looping to create the ethereal ambiance melting into lazy vocals. The album flows into tracks like “Call Me Up” and “Every Single Thing” sporting sugary riffs and a second hand glamour resulting from the dreamily distorted riffs. Equally danceable and mopey the tracks served as the perfect two singles from the album, the third being “Khmlwugh,” a flux groove to it showcasing both sides of Sagars vocals, the casually luxurious side as well as the static clad eccentric side.

“So She” curates a more hip-hop feel with unexpectedly elegant vocals straying from the lackadaisical tone usually presented. Blending his indie-rock background with some second-hand shoegaze elements creates songs like “Getting Down II,” with the vocals serving as an accent to the heavily distorted synthesized track. His same aesthetic and overall styling stays stagnant throughout the whole album however, not straying far from the original slack-eyed lyrics and experimental guitar loops that Homeshake is known for.

GET TO KNOW: DUMB DOCTORS

Dripping with trashy drum beats and post-punk inspired guitar riffs, Dumb Doctors is instating their place as one of Charleston’s first psych bands. Releasing two songs at a time on Bandcamp and a cassette here and there, the band pull elements from all genres from noise-pop to scuzz-rock experimental rock. Tagging their tracks with “cigarettes”and “loud,” their authentic approach translates in their music. I had a chance to check out one of their practices and talk more about hitter recording process and influences. 

What’s the Charleston music scene like right now and who’s shaping it?

Oh wow the Charleston music scene right now, I think we all know where we’re going with this one. Brett Nash is the king he is the mover and shaker in Charleston. He plays in our band and he has his own band which is the best band and their called Secret Guest

I’d say the Charleston music scene right now is really great. Better then ever really we’ve got like psyche bands and slacker bands like Secret Guest heavy bands like I don’t know Drunk Couples, they’re pretty cool. You’ve got your singer songwriter types like She Returns From War.

How has your music changed/evolved from your 2014 releases to what you’re playing now?

I don’t know. I guess we’ve mellowed out some, the band was a little different back then but most of that stuff I record by myself so I don’t know I feel like our music isn’t, hm, I don’t take as much adderall now. That’s pretty much it.

You release a lot of 2 song stuff on bandcamp, why do you do it like that?

Well it’s sort of like a single as in a 45 record and I feel like a lot of times it’s not really worth it to set up your stuff and record one song so I usually do two songs at a time just because it makes better use of the time of recording I guess and I like to just post them pretty much as soon as I’m done with them. I would like build up a couple of them or whatever, which I have done before and uh but even then I just release them as two songs apiece just to make it brief. It doesn’t take up too much internet space, you know?

Do you think that immediacy that you mentioned is helping the music industry or is it detrimental?

I think it’s good because you can be in control of how you release stuff and not have a bunch of people tell you what to do but at the same time I feel like it might be better to set a dat eand hype the date which is something I’m just not good at. I feel like I need to just go ahead and put it out there because a lot of my stuff because I do them in like a day or two I don’t feel like, I don’t know if we went to a studio or spent a bunch of money making an album  or something then I would want to hype it just to get the full potential out of it. But since it’s just me in my basement fucking around with my recording equipment I just feel it’s just better to like put it out.

Earliest musical memory?

Oh weird. It was probably like New Kids On The Block or Michael Jackson. My parents bought me a walkman when I was like of age to play professional sports or recreational sports I mean and I would just sit and watch everyone else play and listen to like I got this Beach Boys tape which was probably my favorite one back then. It was like the old stuff, like the real popy stuff.  I don’t know like the first CD I bought was the Smells Like Teen Spirit single which had “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on it, it was a maxi-single which means it had 3 songs on it, or maybe it had 4 but anyway it had “Smells Like Teen Spirit,”  “Aneurysm” it had “Even In His Youth,” and I think that was it. That was like I don’t know, I guess that was a turning point for me. I used to spend every penny I had at the CD store which was called Sam Goody at the mall. So yeah I have  a lot of musical memories case even from a young age I’ve always really been into music and wanted to play guitar and drums so.

You still release a lot of stuff on cassettes, what do you think that adds to the music?

Well I record on cassette too

Why do you do that?

Well because I think it’s sounds better you can get a really warm sound from the tape and like a tape that small compressed real hard it can kind of get buzzy and weird sounding, low-fii, and I just like that aesthetic I guess. I didn’t really know how to use them back then, but I guess just from having one for so long I learned how to use it. Cause it’s different it’s not like you just hit a button and play. You hit a button, well you haven’t i like set up the tracks manually, it’s kind of the hard way I guess.

What’s it like to be an artist in the 21st century?

It’s weird I think I feel like, but it’s like a more honest thing because. I don’t know I wasn’t really playing in the 90’s but a lot of people I look up to in my hometown where playing and they couldn’t really do anything the only avenues they had were trying to track down people’s emails or trying to get on the phone to book shows, or knowing people somehow just to get anything going at all. Whereas inowits a lot easier and that doesn’t mean that it’s a couple of facebook messages or whatever but you know. I feel like no you really need to set yourself apart in another way because you can play for whoever you want to because the internet is os strong or whatever but who knows if people actually liset? And back before the internet it was harder to find stuff so if you found something medicover you kind of like you were really into it. Where now it’s like if you find something you really like you can have it immediately.

 

LABEL SPOTLIGHT: BURGER RECORDS

2007 was on the verge of unremarkable until the idea that was born in a basement finally came to light, that is Burger Records being launched. Finally, the people who had spent years cultivating garage rock, lo-fi, indie, skater tunes, and 80’s influences bop’s had a shot to turn the label into more than just a side project and to go beyond their sphere of influence on the west coast. The label was founded in Fullerton California by Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard of Three Makeout Party. Everything including the logo, which was originally a doodle by Rickard done bored at work, was drenched in a diy vibe and came straight from the guys themselves.

What started as a mutual love of music quickly blossomed into much more as the pair got started talking about the physical forms of music and how they’ve started to become a lost art form. Their conversation drifted from the underappreciation of the underground bands they adored to their need to break away from the corporate grind they were subjected to. From that the idea of Burger Records spawned and they set out to revive the lost art of physical music as well as publicity for the low-fi bedroom bands whose music motivated them. It was then that they stumbled upon the band AM and automatically connected with their sound. They offered to sign them, and together they produced a tape that would forever alter the west coast music industry. Their tape sold out in minutes, solidifying Burgers status.
From then on $6 cassettes were the way music was primarily being released on the label. Sometimes pressing vinyl, occasionally making a few CD’s they stuck to their philosophy of physical is best. Bands like The Go, Traditional Fools, SWMRS, and Apache contributed to the labels budding popularity with all of their tapes selling into the triple digits. Bands like NoBunny and Raw Romance, where selling almost 500 copies in one week, spiking their previous sales and showing the acceptance of tape culture. In 2012 Burger had sold over 100,000 cassettes including a Ryan Adams release which sold over 400 copies in three hours.

With the business officially taking off, Burger quickly outgrew their online presence and casual distribution of tapes. Faced with this realization Bohrman decided to take a chance and quit his job, withdraw all his money, and open a storefront. With the help of Brian Flores, they chose a spot in the industrial side of Fullerton that they transformed into their own. They plastered the walls with posters, crammed it full of every cassette they could get their hands on in every genre they could think of. Not only did they want to support musicians, but they wanted to support art in general. They used the store as a haven for all things creative and let artists display their work and sell their zines. The store perfectly captures their eccentric vibe as well as creating a place that encouraged people’s minds to flourish and push beyond the bounds of reality and the mundane town beyond those 4 walls.

Since the opening of Fullerton, Burger has continued to scout out the best bands in the underground scene from not only all over the United States but all over the world. From huge names in music like the Aquadolls to more underground bands like La Sere and The UFO club, Burger covers them all with the help of their sister label Weiner Records. Burger makes sure that the rights to the music are kept with the band and that they are simply an outlet for which it is released and promoted.

The label continues to revive music from the doldrums and flat sounds of car radios and instead of bringing back the experience and scratchy sound of vinyl and the dimensions of tape. Burger supporters make it known, sporting t-shirts and pins with their logo sprawled across it, proud to be a part of the label that revived the tape scene. Proud to support the underground success and artist shaping the scene. Proud to be a Burger Lover.

GET TO KNOW: THE TUTS

Though girl punk was pioneered in the 90’s, The Tuts aren’t leaving it there. With their angsty lyrics and attitudes combined with punk infused riffs it seems that girl punk is being revived one beat at a time. With their infectious tracks these girls are taking the british diy scene by storm. I had a chance to talk to them prior to their album release.

What originally drew you to music and what prompted you to create your own?

Harriet: I think for Nadia and Bev it was getting into a bunch of indie guitar bands and going to see them live at that important age – 14/15/16. That was important to me too. Nadia also played keyboard as a kid and even tried to play tunes on her telephone dial pad because she had so much musical energy she needed to burn haha. My parents were pretty encouraging and got me to play piano when I was really young, but it was Juliana Hatfield that inspired me to pick up an electric guitar, which led to the type of music I play now.

Nadia: I’ve always into music from a young age. It started off with the spice girls, catchy pop, learning the dance moves, going to woolworths with my Dad to get the new singles on tape or CD, bonding with the girls at school over new songs and dance routines. My mum pushed me into piano lessons because she always wanted one of her children to play. I was a natural but as always I didn’t focus enough and eventually stopped playing. I’m trying to get back into it but it’s a little bit harder when you’re an adult as you have less time and there’s a fear you won’t pick things up as quick. In secondary school I was bullied a lot, my parents divorced and the girls I hung out with turned against me so I turned to music as my therapy and output. It started off with just lyrics and then I started to teach myself how to play guitar and covers. 

How would you describe your music style? 

Beverley: I would describe our music as high energy, zero fucks given, bubble gum pop punk. 

Nadia: Hyper bubble gum punk pop, cacophonous guitar riffs and sweet harmonies. It’s an organised mess with 100% boner guarantee 

Harriet: Unapologetically catchy. And music I’d listen to.

Do you find music to be a form of empowerment?

Harriet:  Yes. Music is the perfect outlet for anything you’re feeling. And what’s great is once you put your songs out there they stop becoming insular, it becomes a shared experience and you feel less alone. You’re sharing it with people and you can all start relating and bonding over the lyrics. If we’re talking music as a form of female empowerment this also hugely works. Practically every industry is sexist, when a woman or someone who doesn’t identify as cis male, or a girl band puts themselves out there and creates music, it’s not only going to have a snowball effect of encouraging others but it’s also a big middle finger to the sexist music industry and sexist people in the music scenes. Especially when you’re on stage with your girl gang. Even beyond the music, using your platform to show solidarity with women is important. Like our recent speech on stage at Glastonwick festival. As Nadia said in the speech “we stand by what we sing about, and that’s solidarity”.

Nadia: Yeah of course – 3 girls all of different colour going against all social norms expected of us and making unashamedly punk songs with sweet undeniable catchy pop melodies

What is it like to be a female group in an industry mostly male dominated? 

Nadia: Drowning! Drowned by male dominated line-ups, however it does make us stand out more! but saying that it shouldn’t be a token to have a girl band on the bill. We have to work harder and shout louder to be heard. Luckily we enjoy working hard and everything we do we put 100% energy into. We never play gigs half-heartedly or post anything on social media we aren’t pumped about. Some man bands get things a lot easier, they all tend to have managers running around for them and most of the time look like they’ve just rolled out of bed. We’re the opposite, we’re 100% DIY — although we have been known to live in our pyjamas so sometimes we do look like we’ve rolled out of bed but never on stage! A lot more men tend to go to gigs and so we have attracted a wealth of middle-aged men, we love em! I think if girls saw more girls on the stage they would be inspired to go to more gigs and to start their own bands etc. so there can be a vicious cycle of the industry being male dominated. We also have to prove ourselves that we’re not just 3 girls dressed in matching outfits and that we can actually play our instruments/write our own songs. On the flip side sometimes we do the job so well people think we’re manufactured, which is like some weird backward compliment. 

What inspires you to make music and where do you get your creativity from in general?

Harriet: All sorts. If we’re talking other bands it began with stuff like The Libertines, Feeder, Kate Nash. Now our inspirations are constantly developing, like getting inspired from a bunch of badass women we see live and meet. And other bands in the smaller punk and indie pop scenes too and what they’re putting out there. Some great bands around right now: Personal Best, Dirty Girl, Suggested Friends, Ay Carmela. We really like Paramore too and we try and capture some of Hayley William’s energy before we go on stage. As well as LOADS of pop music we play in the car- McFly, Busted, Destiny’s Child- can’t beat those catchy tunes. 

Nadia: Hearing a cool dynamic of a song and thinking…I wanna write a song like that. Or watching a documentary and discovering new music. I like a lot of new bands but I like listening old artists to discover from the pioneers themselves. I recently watched a documentary on Nina Simone and then started listening to her, she’s so political – I love her lyrics! And back in the day to be that political was jaw dropping. 

Tracks like “Dump Your Boyfriend” and “Do I have To Look For Love” are anthems of independence, what inspires that? 

Nadia: Those songs were written just based on personal experience. My friends kept telling me to dump my boyfriend and I was clinging on too scared to let go because of all the years I had invested. One day we were out and Harriet said ‘da da dump your boyfriend’ so I made it into a song. Do I have to look for love was a really old song with only a chorus and no verse or anything. My friend really liked it so I sat down and finished it….it’s a perfect pop song. It even has a dance routine! 

Would you consider yourselves to be feminist?

Beverley:  Yes of course we do it’s in our bones, it’s in the music we play. Wanting equality is a no brainer.

Nadia: YES – Sometimes men come up to us and say ‘ you hate men don’t you’ cos they get intimidated by songs like ‘dump your boyfriend’ but we believe in equality…simple as! 

Harriet: Always. Intersectional feminism is everything.

How do you hope your music impacts people?

Harriet: I get quite a few messages to both of my bands (my other band is Colour Me Wednesday) from people going through something tough and being able to find solace in our lyrics. That is an incredible feeling and makes everything worth it. I also hope a lot of girls and women out there realise how much they can do themselves- teach themselves instruments, write songs, learn to record themselves and put out their own records without the help of a patronising man.

Additionally….

Nadia: PLEDGE FOR OUR NEW ALBUM FROM WWW.PLEDGEMUSIC.COM/THETUTS

Beverly: Never let anyone tell you that you need to get a proper job.

THE GROWLERS CITY CLUB REVEIW

After about a decade of what can only be categorized as classic indie rock, The Growlers are kicking off their high top converse and dipping their toes into the waters of funk. Taking advantage of their well-established fan base and accompanied by Strokes Frontman Julian Casablancas, they embarked on their journey in early October with the release of their latest album, City Club. Laced with out of this world sounds and groovy rhythms, the album was a smash and all prior constructs of the almost decade-old band were demolished. With a fresh sound and a smoky, neon-drenched, eclectic, aesthetic, City Club still managed to incorporate some aspects of The Growlers previous beach goth style.

The first single and title track from the album, “City Club” laid the foundation for the rest of the album with it’s far out sounds and infectious intro where hazy clubs meet 70’s style. The track incorporated heavy synth beats and was offset by lead singer Brooks Neilson’s raspy vocals. It is an anthem for the whole album and a track that simply cannot be overlooked. Preceded by “I’ll Be Around” the single proved that The Growlers were onto bigger and better things with a sound so infectious and idiosyncratic. Melting and low-fi it had an authentic grainy sound that offset the flamboyant disco elements. “I’ll Be Around” also worked with layering vocals in the chorus creating a conversational chorus where Brooks sings “you never do what you say” “no you don’t” seemingly having a discussion with himself.

Casablancas was sure to leave his mark on the album as well on various tracks including “Blood Of A Mutt,” sounding straight off of any one of the Strokes albums. The vocalist themselves bare many similarities to each other with their gravelly undertones and off-beat tonality that only add to the authenticity of the tracks. Following in the Stokes footsteps with unorthodox riffs and a nonconformist style that only Casablancas could mentor. “Vacant Lot” for example shares an uncanny resemblance with beloved tracks like “Meet Me In The Bathroom.” From their haunting melodies and straightforward baseline, it’s easy to trace Csabalnacas back to both. Similar to The Strokes it seems these tracks were practically made for vinyl.

The personal growth in the album is also astounding, and though it is apparent throughout the whole album, lyrically it is in “Night Ride” that the metamorphosis is most evident. The song centers on the recent departure of their former drummer, Scott Montoya, from the band. Neilson divulges the fast paced lifestyle they’ve all become accustomed to and states that “nothing’s changed but you.” He goes on to explain “that tomorrow night will go on without you” and admits that he’s not going to give up the band or clubbing or any of the things Montoya previously enjoyed. Another huge moment of growth comes in “When You Were Made” where Neilson croons about broken homes and the struggles that come with divorces and the pain they inflict. It is an incredibly vulnerable song and there’s no rock-star front being put up, and where it lacks in the usual garage rock tone it makes up for in beautiful lyrical moments and the distillment of raw emotion.

Despite the progress and the blatant style change, there are still nods to their previous style hidden all over the album. Over the course of, these 13 songs life unfolds and a story is told. It represents the triumph, the struggles, the losses, it shows you all sides of humanity and brings with it an undeniable sense of mortality as much of the subject matter and lyrics are applicable to everyone’s daily lives. The preservation of those hazy sleepless nights and midnight memories that show gleams of nostalgia throughout. No doubt this album was created with the patrons of city clubs across the world in mind, stumbling on the dance floor their eyes reflecting light from the disco ball. The boys smoking outside, the girls leaving lipstick stains on martini glasses, the night racing out around them yet oblivious to anything else except the events transpiring in those four walls.

GET TO KNOW: REAGAN CATS

unnamedIf you’re looking for the perfect mix of fuzz rock and dreampop, look no further then Regan Cats. Hailing from Baltimore MD and composed of Matt Kruse, Grant Mcavan, Gabe Durastani, Cazz Cerkez, and Matt Slomba I had a chance to catch up with them prior to the release of their newest music video “What’s On Her Mind.” 

You’re originally from Baltimore, what is the diy/underground music scene like from there?

It’s really great, it seems like it’s starting to get bigger too. There’s a lot of different bands and it seems like there’s a lot of variation going on. Like I wouldn’t say there’s a definite sound, you can go out and hear a ton of different stuff throughout the city. There’s a nice mix between cool venues and house spaces too which makes it a lot of fun. People are really chill and welcoming, and we’ve met some great people that will go out of their way to help you and know what it’s like to be doing music stuff in the city.

On bandcamp you’re tagged as “dream pop,” what do you think that says about your music?

I think that’s more just an aspect of our style but at heart we’re more rock oriented I would say. We definitely strive for a bit of dreaminess though we want it to be enchanting and beautiful. Something that almost doesn’t feel real or something you haven’t experienced

What made you choose to use “Sandman” as the title track for your most recent ep? What is it about the song that made it stand out to you guys so much?

We just really liked the overall vibe of it, just kinda how we were feeling in those times so it was a natural choice.

You guys have a super washed out/breezy sound, where does the inspiration for that come from? Who or what influenced that?

We’ve always liked a lot of tremolo, vibrato and stuff that rings out, kinda blending surf sounds with more pop or rock. It kinda just morphed into something a little more shimmery sounding

How does it feel when you guys are all creating music? Do you make it for yourselves or do you make it so that everyone can connect with it?

There’s aspects of both. We always want to feel satisfied with it first and foremost but we definitely want people to connect as well. We don’t really want to force it trying to cater to what someone likes, but more try to connect the dots and hope people can maybe relate to some of our feelings

How does your more recent release stack up to your older releases? What are some things you changed and what are some you worked to preserve?

A lot of the earlier stuff was more of Matts recordings, but it’s grown to become more collective amongst the 5 of us. We definitely take more time now with our writing and recording. We try to preserve the sincerity and natural feelings of what we had when we were first starting everything. We really want it to feel like us, however that may be. I think we stopped comparing and just started to make stuff that comes naturally and we feel like our sound has blended into something that is us.

Artist/album/song that makes you feel the heaviest dose of nostalgia?

“Sleepwalk” by Santo and Johnny

If you could live in any decade, which would you choose and why?

Ancient Egypt or 19th century in the Wild West cause it was a really weird time and we were Cowboys in our past lives

What’s it like being a musician in the 21st century?

It has it’s pros and cons I guess, technology now helps things spread much faster and things are a lot more accessible in terms of recording and getting it out there. It’s great being able to connect with people and share things so easily, and that really helps a ton  

LABEL SPOTLIGHT: GNAR TAPES

gnar_tapes_footer_2016Based in Los Angles and self-described as “freak music label specializing in weirdo art & sounds from all over the planet Earth,” Gnar tapes truly is reinventing the way music is consumed. Made up of life long friends Jimmy, Funkle, Izak, and Rikky, they set out to create a solid support system for underground and underrated musicians as well as give them a platform to share their art. Not only did they want to help promote the artists’ music, they also wanted to revive the lost art of physical music and tangible discography.

From the start, the four founders shared their passion for music by creating it themselves. In high school, they formed White Fang who to this day frequently releases music with the label. Intertwining snappy riffs and smoky vocals they managed to create the perfect blend of worn punk and skater rock. They’d skip class to practice or to go to their internship at Marriage Records where they’d spend hours listening to the latest music and curating their favorites. It was through those afternoons in the studio that the idea for their own label was sparked.

Born in a rainy basement in Portland, Oregon, the guys started pulling their favorite artists from the local scene and creating cassette tapes. It wasn’t long until they became the pioneers of underground tape culture in Portland, however their art and fresh tunes started spreading beyond the city. Everyone was intrigued by the grainy, unrefined, authentic element that the tapes added and the guys began to be flooded with requests from artist wanting to work with them. They began working with bands from all over including Capetown South Africa with Le Elbow, Brighton UK with Keel Her, even Saitama Japan with Boys Age. Soon they were producing music through every medium: vinyl, cassettes, and even digital. They also worked with artists and sold zines, pins, and the band merch. It was in 2008 at only 18 years old that Erik Gage officially established Gnar Tapes.

In 2014 the label moved further down the west coast to sun-soaked LA to be in the heart of the emerging DIY music scene that was gaining so much traction and influence in the city. They opened a storefront that became an art gallery of music, the shelves and walls full of the most recent releases, limited edition cassettes, and vintage vinyl. Most importantly, they regained the sense of exploration that came with sorting through stacks of tapes and piles of records until the perfect one was found.

They continued to expand and in 2015 partnered with Burger records to create GNARBURGER. They also took on Marriage Records where they had interned all those years before. They integrated their collection and gained releases by bands such as Tune-yards, and Karl Blau amongst others. They continue to support and encourage the members of the DIY scene internationally by producing tapes ranging from fuzz rock to skate pop and everything in between. Some of their most notable releases can be ascribed to Free Weed, Mean Jeans, and White Fang. However, they continue to seek out the musical pioneers, the underrated, the quirky, the edgy, the weird. Nothing is off limits, nothing is too strange. They have the most eclectic label on the West Coast and it continues to grow each day.

HEYROCCO WAITING ON COOL REVEIW

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After preserving the dizzying highs and crushing lows of high school, the melted memories, and drug infused daze, the band returned back to the studio in May and released their second EP, Waiting On Cool. Named for bassist Christopher Cool and his incompetence when it comes to time management, the EP was a cumulation of their year touring all over the US and the UK. The EP was an introspective look into how things have progressed and how the members of the band have developed on an individual and an emotional level as well as on a musical level. Everything from the subjects of the songs to the music itself carries the weight of maturity and experience and is saturated with long nights driving from gig to gig, parking lot smoke breaks and a deeper understanding that surpasses their teenage vignettes tied together with baselines and backup vocals. Serving as a bridge between their first album and their next which is due in early 2017, it provides a glimpse at the transition from their teenage angst anthems to a more developed sound.

The EP is composed of 6 songs, each bringing something totally new to the table. The eclectic mix of tracks ranges from the somber reflexive state of “Slice of Life” to the grunge infused banger “Build It Up.” The tracks are placed side by side to mimic the unpredictable nature of the events that unfolded over the course of the year. The adventures, the love, the heartbreak, the losses all laid out in front of the consumer giving them the most genuine and authentic mess of life and emotion for them to unravel and draw from it whatever they can. All the while the EP highlights the best elements of each artist from Nates effortlessly cool scruffy vocals to Tacos trashy drum beats.

Through the labyrinth of emotions, it’s “Perfect World” that really sets the EP apart from your traditional transitional album to the brink of artistic genius presenting a true understanding of the human condition and emotional complexity. The song is a ghost of their past work the only commonality being Nates effortless vocals, other than that it is an earnest track divulging the slow transition from his early years as an optimist to the disenchantment of illusion and the assumption of realist views. The song starts out with the typical teenage dismay that has become a staple of Heyrocco with they’re hated of suburban life and the pressing urge to escape it all and obtain something real outside the charade of white picket fences and perfection. Gradually, however, they began to realize that everyone’s “somewhere between happy and barely getting by.” Nate begins to ridicule his previously optimistic belief that there was a perfect world out there that he could obtain where he would be free of emotional baggage and untouchable by mortal strife. He mocks all of the people that believe that they have found that in the suburban town that only upholds it’s illusion of happiness through the avoidance of anything of substance and the ignorance of individual struggles.

The band continues to cultivate a diverse sound throughout the EP by pulling elements from all different genres and experimenting with an array of previously untouched sounds. “Something New” borrows it’s easy beat and washed out low-fi vibes from surf rock where “Yeah” uses quick vocals and uncut rock riffs to give a nod to their previous style. Infused with such a smorgasbord of sounds it mimics the process that they went through to evolve into the sound they have now and reflects the phases of experimentation that lead to the tracks.

Throughout the whole album, the perspective change and the impact of the knowledge and the experiences are evident. Their deeper understanding of life is projected and they incorporate different dynamics to mirror the complexity of humanity. Not only is their music different but they present a whole new way of thinking and show a broader view of things and a more in-depth understanding of life in general. They’re lyrics go beyond high school parties and crushes and move towards more complex themes such as growing up, love, and idealism.

CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN THE RIDE REVEIW

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Trying to create a follow-up to the Balcony seemed like an impossible task, but Van McCann somehow did it. A modern day poet, pulling inspiration from sleepless nights, low-lit bars, Heathrow, stumbling home, toxic relationships, and the inevitable comeback, he managed to exceed all expectations. Part of this can be ascribed to the lyrical genius displayed in all the tracks. With themes of youth and ambivalence shining through, he doesn’t try to make the situations perfect. This honesty is captivating throughout the whole album.

This album features smash hits like “Soundcheck” and “Twice” which are massive sounds. Everything about those songs is huge, from the scenes they depict of bars, girls, mistakes, and independence. They are anthems of our generations, speaking for everyone too ambivalent to sort the situation. You can’t ignore them, their classic rock songs, with loud percussion, enigmatic bass, and epic guitar solos that come at any given time. They both build before the bridge, then go absolutely insane afterward dissipating into a brilliant mess of passionate groundbreaking instrumentals.
Another trend on the album where jumpy, upbeat, bass laden tracks. Most notably tracks like “Anything,” with its bubbly sound, jumpy build up, and sweet lyrics. The end is by far the best part as McCann shouts “anything you need any time at all I want you to phone me” which commences with a huge guitar slide solo. “Oxygen” is another bop that follows this pattern but is more laid back, making it rhythmic and danceable. It radiates fun, it’s incredibly introspective lyrically as he talks about the almost fictional infatuation he has with this girl. How he is ignoring everything, even basic needs like oxygen, supplementing it instead with her “tank full of high.” “Postpone” is also another breezy rock song, not quite as dense as the other ones but still a good listen. The lyrics are sweet as he reassures her that he’s going to be with her through it, and she can always go to him with anything even when her “luck needs changing” He accepts that she is not perfect and confesses that he isn’t either.

The album also has its acoustic moments with tracks like “Glasgow” featuring just McCann’s sultry vocals alongside a guitar. Another track “Heathrow” features the same acoustic vibes, however much more simplified then “Glasgow” rhythm wise. “Heathrow” is a heavy track, saturated with sadness, it’s utterly emotional as you can feel that despair seeping into every word. McCann’s voice is dense, kind of like a gray cloud slowly closing in as he accepts that she was “a different league when I was nothing much.”

Another notable track is “Outside,” as it is unlike anything produced by the Bottlemen before. The song starts out simply with just a few beats and a bass line, but gradually evolves into a percussion heavy masterpiece. Right before the first chorus, it breaks with Van’s vocals as well as a breathtaking rhythm guitar part. The lyrics are raw and honest, as they depict an on again off again relationship where he admits he’s too weak to walk away despite always coming back to her. He confesses to only doing it because he knows she is the only one for him even if they don’t have a picture perfect relationship because there’s “nothing in the life I knew that got through to me.” He reminisces about their better times through the emotional twist and turns that are depicted in the lyrics. It takes all the crazy emotions and spills them out in front of you, not to make sense of them. simply to have them there. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted to just scream at that one person, and you can’t help but fall totally and utterly in love with the song.

This album truly is a work of art as it displays all the ups and downs in life. It stays true to the Bottlemen’s style of cigarette smoke, Manchester at night, chaotic club scenes, mixed emotions, and of course relationship. It’s all brutally honest, they aren’t trying to pretend to be something they are not. They truly are the band to bring back the British indie scene.