you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

30 July 2012

Set List for When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio, Aired July 25thth, 2012.

band name. track title.
neon indian. hex girlfriend.
insect guide. freak scene (dinosaur jr cover).
wild nothing. nocturne.
slowdive. golden hair.
flavor crystals. mirror chop.
ultra vivid scene. a dream of love.
anything after. having you.
airiel. kiss me slowly.
laboratory noise. she dies screaming.
swervedriver. rave down.
teenage fanclub. star sign.
the bilinda butchers. tulips.
au revoir simone. another likely story (neon indian remix).

Youtube Score: Spacemen 3. Playing With Fire (Full Album).

Memoryhouse. Old Haunts.

Anything After. No Signal.

New Track: Purity Ring. Obedear.

Interview: Souvenir Driver.

When The Sun Hits
Interviews
Souvenir Driver

Souvenir Driver is a Portland trio comprised of members Ethan Homan, Bob Mild, and Nate Wey. We can't put it better than what's already been said about their sound: "Laid back in-the-times reverb drenched golden zoned-out fuzz pop with a mysterious drowned-out disembodied vocal presence." That about sums it up perfectly. Enjoy the interview, and explore the links and videos you find below. You might just find your new favorite band today.



How and when was Souvenir Driver formed?

The band started as a solo recording project around the time my previous band was disbanding. It was songs being built in various bedrooms as I moved out, or on the road in hotel rooms while traveling. When I wanted to play live, about a year ago, Ethan was the first person I asked. I still remember us drinking Tecates in the back patio of Hungry Tiger (a really fun Portland bar), and just feeling stoked that I'd be playing with him. From there, it was just a matter of asking people who play in bands I love and who think similarly as I do. Ethan played in Soft Paws, Bob, the next person I asked, plays in The Upsidedown, and our newest member plays in Hawkeye and is one of the funniest people alive. I pitched the idea of the band to Bob while working in Las Vegas. I was so nervous about it, and I called him underneath a glowing neon sign. It was super surreal. I'm very lucky that all these great friends of mine also happen to be wonderful musicians.



Can you tell us what the band has been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (new releases, tour, etc)?

We have a few things up our sleeves, but for now we have to keep that a secret ;)

Do you consider your music to be part of the current shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene? Defining one's sound by genre can be tiresome, but do you feel that the band identifies closely with any genre? How do you feel about genres in music, in a general sense?

We try to call our music "Bliss Pop," a name we made up to describe where the melodies come from -- no matter how bright or dark they are, they all come from a blissful spiritual state. Out of the established genres, we probably sound closer to shoegaze and dream-pop than most other ones; and I think its totally awesome when people describe us as having those sounds. I still remember when I first heard those great shoegaze bands... it was like being hit by lightning. In a general sense, I think the idea of genres is a good way to discover bands you might like.



What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop/psychedelia artists, any favorites?

Of the modern movement -- Crocodiles are by far my favorites. They totally blow my mind; and their melodies constantly get trapped in my head. Also, The Raveonettes, A Place to Bury Strangers, Pink Mountaintops, BJM, & Black Angels get many spins on my turntable. Aside from that, there's tons of inspiring bands & friends in Portland making modern psych/shoegaze: Whole Wide World, The Shivas, Hawkeye, The Upsidedown, Miracle Falls, SexyWaterSpiders, Charts ...

What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?

For me -- just a microphone with tons of reverb connected to it -- whether in a studio or live through a pedal. I have a small, but fun pedal chain for my guitars -- The Holy Grail reverb being my most used. Ethan only has one pedal, but damn, he makes it sound amazing -- the Space Delay.

What is your process for recording your music? What gear and/or software do you use? What would you recommend for others?

Each recording we've done has been a different process with different gear and different people. The JOY LP was all done in bedrooms around Portland (and a few hotel rooms while I was traveling for work). A lot of that sound came from those dreamier moments when you wake up, slightly out of this world, and go directly to your computer to hit record. It was a very blissed out experience.

The Jeanne Moreau EP was the first thing we did as a proper band and was all done in our rehearsal space, which is Bob's basement. Our good friend James Buehring, who makes techno music, flew up from Santa Cruz to help us engineer it. Myself and him did it with limited microphones, and tried to give it a "live," basement-y feel. We really wanted it to sound "classic" and if that makes sense. To get more than two microphones on the E.P. we used the inputs on a Zoom H4n Field recorder to record snare and drums separately from the computer. That gave us a four mic set up which was rad and fun! After recording, I'd have to copy and paste the files from the H4n into my computer. It was a bit laborious but worth it. We spent three days recording it, and then a couple weeks of intense mixing. The final mix was finished the night before our release show; giving us a day to dub the 50 cassettes. James Buehring and myself mixed it together through email, exchanging Logic files.

Speaking of, I absolutely LOVE Apple Logic, but I think for a recording software, whatever you know best is what will work. Pro Tools and my brother swears by Ableton. I think its just whatever you're used to using. We use an Apogee Duet primarily for the mic pres.

How do you feel about the state of the music industry today? There is no doubt a massive change underway; how do you see it and do you feel it’s positive at all?

I think its an exciting time for DIY artists and underground artists like us -- there's so much access and freedom to do cool and out-there weird stuff. At the same time, I don't want to pretend that these changes don't hurt some mid-level indie acts who would've made a career in the past but now have to work at a restaurant on the side. To me, art is very valuable, and if I can afford to drink at the bar, I don't mind paying a few bucks for art. But I think sites like bandcamp act like a bridge between those two schools of thought (free vs paid), and I think that's fucking awesome. BC puts more control in the hands of artists and makes it easier to support an artist directly for their music, in the way the artist wants to be supported, as opposed to their label. I love how each artist can price their stuff as free, or a few cents, or many dollars -- its just really cool. And ultimately, I'm always optimistic about art -- I think it will always exist, and its just a matter of adapting to new circumstances.

When it comes to label releases versus DIY/bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any?

I mentioned above the reasons I dig bandcamp, and we love doing DIY releases such as cassette tapes and download codes on weird objects. We're going to try and push this even farther if we can. But labels are super rad cause they have the resources put stuff out on vinyl (something too expensive to do DIY), which is my favorite way to listen to music.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?

Woah, you're reading my mind! I listen on different formats (streaming sites, cassettes, mp3), just I just really love vinyl. The sound is amazing, and more than that, something about the ritual of pulling the record out of its sleeve, dusting off the turntable, lowering the needle, and looking at the artwork feels very intimate and magical to me. It makes you listen.

What artists (musicians or otherwise) have most influenced your work?

For me, more than music, I'm influenced by cinema, nature, romance, dreams, memories, art, and small intimate moments. These things often present melodies or tempos to me that I transform into songs. For example, the title track from our latest E.P. came from a moment of watching Louis Malle's The Lovers. This one image was so magical I paused the film and imagined the song over it. But the musical artists that have influenced me the most are probably Jesus & Mary Chain, Sparklehorse, and Talking Heads. Non-musically, Haruki Murakami and Joseph Campbell have probably had the most profound effects on my personality and my artwork.

Can you tell us a little about what you are currently into (books, films, art, bands, etc)?

My favorite filmmakers of all time include Antonioni, Stanley Kubrick, Terrence Malick, Woody Allen, and Truffaut. Lately I've been super into old American noir films, especially this one called "In a Lonely Place," which is like the cinematic equivalent of Ricky Nelson's song "Lonesome Town" and one of the reasons we covered that song.

For art, the photographs of Jason Fulford are so inspiring we used them for our last music video.

Musically, I'm right now super into Luna and early Rolling Stones, a band I strangely never was into growing up and just got obsessed with recently. I always listened to "new" music growing up and also in college, but about six years I got into 80s music, then 70s music, then 60s, and now 50s. Some of the 50s songs sound so extremely dreamy to me it drives me crazy. I love it. Out of contemporary bands, Crocodiles really destroy me (as I mentioned earlier); and Portishead's Third I think is the best "sounding" record to come out in the past 10 years. The new Brian Jonestown Massacre record is also killer -- it reminds me of Neu! and all that great Kraut stuff for some reason -- its really exciting to me to hear good BJM. Oh, and the best record to not be out yet is Miracle Falls' upcoming debut album. When I pick up an ipod instead of vinyl, that's normally the first thing I go for.

If you had to choose one track that was the ultimate definition of your sound, which would it be and why?

Maybe "Mountains" which might be poppier than other songs, but is the ultimate example of our philosophy for lyrics and melodies; and which we tried to keep dreamy and poppy at the same time.



Can you tell us a little about the band’s song writing process?

Some songs are written at home, and sometimes Ethan will come in with a guitar part; but lately, the writing has felt spontaneous and free and just pours out of free jams, and out of the bliss that exists in the moment. I'm lucky to play with a people who are adventurous enough to go with it when it comes.

What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?

Our philosophy on life is very similar to our philosophy on music: Which is that life can be an intoxicatingly blissful experience if you choose to show up for it. Every day we have to make the choice whether to engage in our reality or disconnect from it. I think that engaging makes the world far more dreamlike and malleable than sleep does. Life is magical and wonderful and strange if you decide to let it be; which is actually a tough decision to make. In any case, I like to do my dreaming while awake; and we approach music the same way -- as a place of mystery and interpretation and wonder.Align Center

"Life is so meaningless, but I think that's why I like it I guess." - From our song, Mountains


Bandcamp Track of the Day: The Stargazer Lilies. Don't Waste My Time.

Link
Artist: The Stargazer Lilies.
Track: Don't Waste My Time.
Bandcamp.



Don't Waste My Time cover art

25 July 2012

Tamaryn Reveals New Album and Releases the First Single, I'm Gone.

tamaryn shoegaze

"Dream-pop songstress Tamaryn will release her sophomore full-length, Tender New Signs, on October 16th via Mexican Summer. She dropped the album’s first single, “I’m Gone", today. Slow and brooding like many excellent pieces on her debut The Waves, and with the gauzy wall of guitar and bass-led sound, “I’m Gone” is a booming breakup track with a tinge of heartbreak over Tamaryn’s delicate and somber vocals. The album’s aim appears to be a personal one. “In making this record, I hoped to transcend the mundane world, by living in a new one of my own creation,” Tamaryn said, “now it’s time to invite everyone else in it with me.”

Tender New Signs was created in partnership with Tamaryn’s longtime collaborator and San Francisco native Rex John Shelverton. “Rex and I met in New York City where I was living in the early ‘00s,” Tamaryn said. “We bonded instantly and over time started sharing ideas for songs. Eventually we began to collaborate on some recordings, traveling between coasts until the project inspired me to move to California indefinitely.” These collaborations resulted in several singles and the Led Astray, Washed Ashore EP.

“Rex finds that getting in the studio and taking things apart to adjust the subtleties of their sonics inspires him to want to play guitar more in general, and therefore is probably the biggest influence on how we make music,” she continued. “We like the idea of seeing how far we can take what we have, and we work best together without too many other distractions. The Waves found us in this ‘minimal wall of sound,’ so we took that style and applied it to these more defined song structures.”


School of Seven Bells Covers Lil Wayne's Track - How to Love.

School Of Seven Bells Covers Lil Wayne

Seriously. They did. And it kicks ass.


Set List For When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio. Aired July 18th, 2012.

band name/track title
Saskatchawon. Nice Daze.
Violens. Watch the Streams.
A.R. Kane. When You're Sad.
Engineers. What Pushed Us Together.
A Place to Bury Strangers. Dissolved.
Avoxblue. Dreaming Thru Your Eyes (Andre Obin Remix).
Curve. Cherry.
Tame Impala. Apocalypse Dreams.
The House of Love. Shine On.
Early Maze. Miles Away.
Hum. Green to Me.
Quiet Lights. Ablaze.
The Mary Onettes. The Disappearance of My Youth.

Youtube Score: My Bloody Valentine. Tremolo EP (Full Album).


Jonathan Mono Releases Third LP in July's 3 Part Series - Evil Machines.


Evil Machines, the third of Jonathan Mono’s July 2012 releases, is the logical stepchild of the internationally acclaimed Life.in.Mono (Music for Headphones, Evol Recordings, 2011). Where Life.in.Mono was a love-letter to Krautrock offset by post-punk vocals and noisy, shoegaze guitars, in Evil Machines Mono strips the guitars and vocals from the arrangements, letting the machines do the talking.

That is not to say that what remains is an electronic reflection of a bygone era looking at their future. Evil Machines gazes forward to our own future, one that is chaotic and alienating, but it does so with an unexpected sense of hope. Beyond the fighting, beyond the loneliness of the abyss, there is a glimmer. The sparkling arpeggios and expansive synths open up an array of possibilities, even under the oppressiveness of the staccato squawking (angry robot overlord?) that is a recurring motif throughout the album.

While preserving references to classic Krautrock bands La Dusseldorf, Kraftwerk, Harmonia and Tangerine Dream there is something new and distinct to Jonathan Mono--an aggressiveness that takes the noise, feedback and squealing of post-punk and mechanizes them, like the dismemberment and reassembling of a heavily effected guitar played by a futuristic species of robots. Mono’s psychedelic and space-rock roots are presented in a way that steps away from the Jazzmaster and massive pedal board he uses in Music for Headphones.

With this July’s three-part series of full-length album releases, Chalan on July 10th, Kill Surf City on July 17th and now Evil Machines on July 24th, Jonathan Mono distinguishes his solo efforts from Music for Headphones, who has an album scheduled for release late in 2012.


Contact: Nikki Roszko, info@evolrecordings.com
http://www.evolrecordings.com/



Tonight! When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio. Airs at 9pm CST / 10pm EST.


Come join me this evening for When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio. When The Sun Hits is one full hour of distilled shoegazey goodness, so black out the windows, grab your headphones, and go down the rabbit hole tonight on Strangeways Radio.

Don't forget to log in to the Strangeways chatroom during the show to hang out with me and many other awesome people while we talk about the music that is airing in real time and god knows what else...

Tune in live every Wednesday, 10pm-11pm (EST), for When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio. Join us in the Strangeways chat room for additional entertainment!

New Video: Jonathan Mono. VCF/VCA.

Bandcamp Track of the Day: Wild Nothing. Golden Haze.


Artist: Wild Nothing
Track: Golden Haze
Bandcamp.



Evertide cover art

23 July 2012

Strangeways Radio Blog: Shoegaze Spotlight - A Weekly Gaze. Last Week: Funeral Home.

When The Sun Hits and Strangeways Radio are uniting on yet another level -
activate the weekly Shoegaze Spotlight!

Every week WTSH will present a shoegaze/dream pop band on Strangeways' blog, highlighting how very awesome the band is and how you should be listening to them and buying their music and supporting them because they deserve it.

This week's focus is on WTSH faves Funeral Home.
We at WTSH adore Funeral Home and after reading this, so will you.

New Video: The Raveonettes. She Owns the Streets.

The latest Raveonettes video from their forthcoming LP, Observator,
out on September 11th, 2012.

New Track: Wild Nothing. Rheya.

From Nocturne (2012) via Captured Tracks...

Bandcamp Track of the Day: Speedway Star. Glow in the Dark Stars.


LinkArtist: Speedway Star
Track: Glow in the Dark Stars
Bandcamp.



Glow in the dark stars cover art

Interview: Justin McNiff of Speedway Star.

When The Sun Hits Interviews
Justin McNiff of Speedway Star


Speedway Star is Justin McNiff of San Francisco, CA. He crafts pop and rock and roll tunes, filtered through a hazy lo/no fi prism. Influences include Jesus and the Mary Chain, Lou Barlow, Dirty Beaches and Ariel Pink. I knew I'd stumbled upon something special as soon as I heard Speedway Star's track, "Cool as Molly" - read on, explore the links, and discover Speedway Star for yourself. Cheers!

Free Downloads Available at:
Bandcamp.
Speedway Star Facebook Page.


How and when was the band formed?

So the band is just me at the moment. Been recording for a little over a year now as ‘Speedway Star’. I had been been writing songs for a few years, wanting to put together a band, but was not really be able to make that happen, and after reading and hearing enough about how a lot of projects had started as basically just a guy or girl and crude recording into a laptop ala Dum Dum Girls or Wavves or Angel Olsen. With some time and heartbreak on my mind while housesitting for my parents in the country over a New year’s break I recorded a couple demos. After messing with them in GarageBand and not hating how they sounded I played em for my roommate who’s taste I trust and he seemed to not hate them as well and so Speedway Star was born.

Can you tell us what the band has been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (new releases, tour, etc)?

At the moment I’m writing songs for an EP. Still in the writing phase, so It’s pretty loose and sketchy right now but that’s farthest ahead I can see on the horizon.



Do you consider your music to be part of the current shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene? Defining one's sound by genre can be tiresome, but do you feel that the band identifies closely with any genre? How do you feel about genres in music, in a general sense?

I think dream pop would be fair, a friend called it early shoegaze and I wouldn’t argue. This is a fairly new direction, or at least the sound is getting more defined in that area. It’s always a little tricky when it come to genre’s, at least for the artist because you want to be free to go in any direction but you also want to identify and be able to communicate what your sound is. These genre names aren’t perfect as we all know and artists songs can be categorized in more than one and new genres are always cropping up and replacing old ones, so I get it, you want to say hey you should listen this it’s dream pop…or if you like these shoegaze bands you’ll like this one…but that can also turn people off as well when they have negative associations with a genre or are not interested with what they’ve heard so I guess it’s good to just keep an open mind. If it’s good it’s good is usually my attitude.

What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop/psychedelia artists, any favorites?

I like what I’m hearing. A lot of really cool bands are popping up. I love Weekend, Young Prisms, Bilinda Butchers, Vehicle Blues, KVB, Pains of Being Pure at Heart. does Radio Dept count as current or modern or Shoegaze? Their one of my faves.

What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?

I have this old Boss ‘Classic fuzz’ pedal and Holy Grail reverb pedal and I love the combination-- really big, heavy and woozy. That along with this Japanese knockoff model of a Gibson 335 called a Hohner with a Bigsby tends to be my set up right now.

What is your process for recording your music? What gear and/or software do you use? What would you recommend for others?

I’ve started out pretty lo fi and low tech so I’ve just been building from there. My first songs were recorded on an old acoustic guitar into Garageband and just messed with the filters and I’ve been building from that level. Drums come from GarageBand Everything gets recorded either directly in or with a midi controller or miced directly in. Sort of a combination. I don’t know that I can recommend this way as I’m sort of figuring it out as I go and working with what I got.

How do you feel about the state of the music industry today? There is no doubt a massive change underway; how do you see it and do you feel it’s positive at all?

It’s a really fascinating time right now, I can’t tell if were in the middle of golden age or headed toward some really dark ages. My situation feels really great. I can put out music at my convenience and discover bands really easily. Although, I do have a good day job and I’ve never tried to make a living off it so I could change my tune If were to get serious. I’m not sure how possible that is for anyone in this era. I do tend to think if your good, the money will follow. So it’s better just to focus on making great work!



When it comes to label releases versus DIY/bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any?

I’m definitely cool with DIY. Although it’s nice to have help with production and the business side. So it’s awesome the DIY option is there and is so elegant and streamlined and direct now but it’s good these medium sized labels are around to step it up if need be. It’s also so cool to see all these small labels popping up now. That can be a super cool outlet for artists and I love seeing all these small art labels popping up with cool crafted production, zines, posters, and pins.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?

I get caught up with ease and convenience of MP3s like everyone else so most of my listening is done on iTunes but I have a small vinyl collection going and ‘The harder they Come’ soundtrack sounds the best that way. I love the resurgence of tapes and that warm tape hiss. Never realized I’d miss it! I’ve actually been buying CDs again. Not sure if it’s nostalgia or pragmatism but you walk into Amoeba for instance, and new cd’s are cheaper than they’ve ever been, usually sound better than mp3s, can be copied onto as many computer’s or whatever as you want and I still get the satisfaction of a trip to the record store and touching a physical product. Liner notes and all! I’m sure I’ll be regretting that when moving day is here.

What artists (musicians or otherwise) have most influenced your work?

Jesus and the Mary Chain. Big on The Radio Dept right now. The way they layer different sounds and genres combined with this personal approach to lyrics, in my mind, can’t be topped. New Order, the Field Mice. I’m really digging on bands that can combine electronic and traditional Rock and Pop. Gregg Araki films and soundtracks are hugely Inspirational and were totally my introduction to all the Shoegaze hall of famers like Ride, Chapterhouse, MBV and the Cocteau Twins. The Smiths and Morrissey/Marr in terms of songwriting is something I’ll always aspire to. There’s this band called My Favorite also, who are a huge influence on me. They were able to combine suburban ennui, John Hughes movies, French New Wave films and New Wave Romantic and MBV together into something that’s left a mark. I’m such a sucker for suburban ennui and art that deals with those themes. Maybe I’ve still got an axe to grind for my teen years. French New Wave, Daniel Clowes, Hal Ashby, Wes Anderson and all things Autumnal, JD Salinger. I love that sweet spot in films, or movies that hits that melancholy but playful and sunny as well. Bitter sweetness.



Can you tell us a little about what you are currently into (books, films, art, bands, etc)?

I’m a recovering film junkie for sure and not as voracious as I used to be and unfortunately I’m pretty boring and always watching old stuff so I’ve been going through my roommates criterion collection films and just watched ‘Scenes from a Marriage’ by Ingmar Bergman and loved it. Just saw Moonrise Kingdom and loved every frame of it. Just saw Jeff who lives at home’ and loved that. I’m reading the Steve Job’s Biography which is amazing and had no idea the story would be this fascinating. I’ve Kinda just had You made me Realise EP, The pulling our weight EP, and Smashing Pumpkins-- Siamese Dream on repeat for the past couple of months

If you had to choose one track that was the ultimate definition of your sound, which would it be and why?

I think right now it’s ‘Cool as Molly’. It’s a good representation of where my sound has gotten to and the direction it’s headed in.

Can you tell us a little about the band’s song writing process?

My process can be a little mystifying to me but right now is as good a time as any to look at it. I do a lot of recording of hooks and melodies whenever they come to me and jot them on my iphone. Same with little phrases or lines or titles and ideas. Kinda just constantly jotting this stuff down. Then I’ll have a free day and start recording with those ideas. Layout the basic map of traditional pop songwriting outline-- verse chorus verse chorus, and start riffing lyrics from a couple ideas until the verses and choruses are fleshed out and go for the final take. I tend to use recording as a pretty integrated tool of the songwriting process, mostly because I’m doing this at home and I can, versus really planning things out and organizing for a studio session.

What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?

It’s definitely a work in progress. So far I’ve come up with kindness, honesty and being respectful of others. Work hard to make great work. At the risk of being a little new agey I’m trying to be more open to taking risks in my life and being a little more open.

20 July 2012

Bandcamp Track of the Day: Flavor Crystals. Broadcaster.


Artist: Flavor Crystals.
Track: Broadcaster.
Bandcamp.



Three cover art

19 July 2012

Interview: Manorlady.


When The Sun Hits Interviews Manorlady

Manorlady is based out of Charlottesville, Virginia, and comprised of family members Aaron Bailey, Melissa Bailey, and Donald Wooley. The band got their start circa 2009, playing dynamic live shows filled with dense harmonies and programmed beats, often matched with beat-synced video originating from an affected VHS source. Manorlady spent some time re-working and crafting their material to eventually form their debut LP, entitled Home, which was released in April 2011. A very promising debut, the album put the family band on the map. Earlier this summer the band released their sophomore LP, Ego Oppressor, which is a much darker and more focused album based on a suite of short stories about oppressors/the oppressed. I've been listening to this record all summer and I am still shocked by how raw, emotional and near-perfect the tracks are. Highly recommended. As the band likes to say, they were children of the 1990s, making the only music they know how; it sounds like the future to me, and the future is sounds amazing.

How and when was Manorlady formed?

The band was formed in early 2009. We had jokingly come up with the idea as we goofed off with some old band instruments while back home in CA for the holidays. Aaron had recently broken his ankle in a climbing accident and needed a new hobby. He had played in bands in high school and college, but nothing for awhile, and this was a chance to get back into music. Donald had been classically trained in piano and played multiple other instruments in school bands, but nothing like this. Since we all lived together anyway, Melissa, who did not play anything besides flute in middle school, decided to try and pick up the bass guitar to fill things out.

Can you tell us what the band has been working on and what you've got forthcoming in the near future (new releases, tour, etc)?

We just released our second full length, Ego Oppressor as a CD+DVD combo, as well as Boyhood Freedom, a 7" through Cellar Hits, on June 18th. We're doing a short tour through the Southeast at the end of July in support of these, playing a lot of towns we haven't been through before. We also already have a couple songs for an EP that we're considering putting out on cassette at some point in the next few months. We'll see! We're hoping to relocate back to the West coast sometime this fall after Aaron finishes up his PhD.

Do you consider your music to be part of the current shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene? Defining one's sound by genre can be tiresome, but do you feel that the band identifies closely with any genre? How do you feel about genres in music, in a general sense?

Genres can serve their purpose, as they often work very well in retrospect, but in the present tense they often feel phony. This categorization helps other people get a quick understanding of what a band sounds like, but it's often a pretty narrow definition and will almost never accurately describe what we (Manorlady) do. We have a hard time seeing ourselves fitting into any one scene, as our music tends to cross into different genres without really belonging to any one of them. Do we see ourselves as part of the current shoegaze/psychedelic movement? Maybe. Hopefully in a greater sense contemporary shoegaze takes on a greater breadth of sub-genres and isn't simply rehashing what happened in the '80s and 90s.

What do you think of modern shoegaze/dream pop/psychedelia artists, any favorites?

I don't know, they're great. Some of our favorites are A Place to Bury Strangers, Asobi Seksu, Tamaryn, Boyfriend, Ringo Death Starr, and Tame Impala. Locally and touring we've also come upon bands like The Sky Drops, Birdlips and The Diamond Center, who have been doing really great things for this scene.

What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?

AB: My Ibanez Roadstar 2 which has a great tremolo bridge, and so far, but hopefully not forever, the interactive Ableton/midi-foot-pedal set up. I've been using a ProCo Rat and Fender Twin since the beginning, and am always finding new things to do with my Akai Headrush 2.

DW: DX7 for me, it's all I have besides a pedal.

What is your process for recording your music? What gear and/or software do you use? What would you recommend for others?

AB: On the latest album we only used programmed beats. It made sense to begin with that, but that usually involves making alternate versions for each musician. This time we recorded all the instruments together and were lucky to not have to do very many overdubs. After doing vocals and before saying we're done, we'll typically re-evaluate and make sure it makes sense. We perform with Ableton, so have the advantage of simply recording with it as well. What would I recommend for others? Go to a studio, it's easier! But if you don't take my advice, make sure you have great neighbors.

How do you feel about the state of the music industry today? There is no doubt a massive change underway; how do you see it and do you feel it’s positive at all?

AB: It's clearly a miserable scene. It seems like the only way to survive is to already be famous or do everything yourself, be extremely talented, extremely lucky, and extremely smart with your money.

DW: I feel that the music industry, like most things, is accumulating into more and more of a colossal pile of shit. This is coming from an ignoramus who doesn't really pay attention or care about what is happening in the world...

MB: If there is a positive, it is that it is incredibly easy to access the music you want and any artist can be heard by a larger and more diverse population of people. On the other hand, it is really difficult for artists to maintain financial stability or get the credit they deserve, especially for those of us who are doing everything on our own.

When it comes to label releases versus DIY/bandcamp and the like, what is your stance, if any?

All we've every really know is DIY. Working with Cellar Hits recently was pretty great. Having an independent point of view for ideas and a completely different fan base and network was everything we could have hoped for.

Do you prefer vinyl, CD, cassette tape or mp3 format when listening to music? Do you have any strong feelings toward any of them?

They all have their moments. Vinyl is a great way to relax at home, cassettes and CDs are great in the car, and mp3s are a pretty great way to get through the work day. That being said, we are usually looking to add more to both our vinyl and cassette tape collections than any of the others. And yes, we are still making CDs.

What artists (musicians or otherwise) have most influenced your work?

AB: Definitely the folks at Warp Records in the '90s. Those guys, in my mind, made me realize it was possible to perform electronics in the same way that a rock musician performs. Them dudes in Pink Floyd made it clear that an album must be a cohesive story, and have a beginning and an end. Also, I've definitely never held a guitar the same way since hearing My Bloody Valentine for the first time, so I guess I owe some credit to Kevin Shields -- me and at least 10 million other people out there.

DW: For me, most of my parts are pretty much just random and spontaneous. I don't think I have particular influences unless of course it's already part of my playing style and I just haven't realized what it is yet.

MB: I feel similar to Donald. The whole idea of even being a musician still feels weird or foreign to me, so although I'm sure the music I listen to probably influences what I play, it's difficult for me to identify.

Can you tell us a little about what you are currently into (books, films, art, bands, etc)?

AB: I don't really have a whole lot of time to read stuff as I'm trying to finish up school. In the past year I've gotten more into technical metal and Texas/Western psychedelic rock, like Black Angels and Sleepy Sun. While I can't name any visual artists in particular, except maybe local hero Thomas Dean, I've definitely begun to appreciate many of the technical subtleties in hand screen-printing shirts and posters. Translating the "all possible" digital realm to physical media is something that can take a lifetime to get right. Learning is an ongoing process.

DW: I'm into many Japanese manga, anime, games and the people/language itself. Currently reading the Dark Tower, FMA and Fruits Basket series; recently seen Moonrise Kingdom, Midnight in Paris, and Boys on the Run; frequently listening to Sigur Rós, Bjork, The Middle East, Beach House, Nick Drake, Boris, and Songs:Ohia...

MB: Lately I've really been into Sharon Van Etten, Broadcast, Other Lives and Family Band. Favorites like The Cure, Type O Negative and Deftones are also never far off. I've always been an avid reader and love books of all types. I recently finished Crime and Punishment, and am currently reading The Girl Who Played with Fire.

If you had to choose one Manorlady track that was the ultimate definition of your sound, which would it be and why?

AB: "Dog on High." I like that song because as an electronic band it's really difficult to stay organic, to stay fresh. Performing this one requires that 'jam' sense - that everyone is paying attention to everyone else, and when stopping/starting the beats throughout, we're all right there the whole time. That song in particular has some quiet/ loud moments, it showcases the more complex programming that we do, and it requires that you immerse yourself in it. As the first track on Ego Oppressor, it's sort of like the album gate keeper-- if you can appreciate that one then the rest of the album is for you.

DW: "Children..." seems to be the most representative simply because I think it is kind of a fusion of our developing sound from when we first started to where we have been recently going. It has elements reminiscent of songs off of "Home/Home Away" such as "Red Juice" (with it's defining chorus and mostly prosaic song structure) and "Trees" (which is driven by its abruptly powerful transitions and interesting melodies), in addition to being a significant part of our current direction and evolution, with stronger writing and heavier, darker tracks...


Can you tell us a little about the band’s song writing process?


Aaron writes the lyrics, guitar, and/or drum tracks and shows them to us; Melissa and Donald attempt to come up with parts while playing along with Aaron, but not necessarily at the same time. We continually refine and modify parts as needed to make the most coherent sound we can.

What is your philosophy (on life), if any, that you live by?

"Everyone dies alone."








Bandcamp Track of the Day: Her Vanished Grace. Star-Crossed.


Artist: Her Vanished Grace.
Track: Star-Crossed.
Bandcamp.



Star-Crossed cover art

18 July 2012

Tonight! When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio. Airs at 9pm CST / 10pm EST.

Come join me this evening for When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio. When The Sun Hits is one full hour of distilled shoegazey goodness, so black out the windows, grab your headphones, and go down the rabbit hole tonight on Strangeways Radio.

Don't forget to log in to the Strangeways chatroom during the show to hang out with me and many other awesome people while we talk about the music that is airing in real time and god knows what else...

Tune in live every Wednesday, 10pm-11pm (EST), for When The Sun Hits on Strangeways Radio. Join us in the Strangeways chat room for additional entertainment!

Video: Anna. Coming Down.

Bandcamp Track of the Day: Blackbird Blackbird. Happy High.


Artist: Blackbird Blackbird
Track: Happy High
Bandcamp.



LinkHappy High cover art