you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

28 April 2011

Guest Interview and Exclusive Download: Screen Vinyl Image Interviews Rude 66 and leaks exclusive first listen to their brand new split 7 inch.

Screen Vinyl Image, one of When The Sun Hits' most beloved acts, is Jake and Kim Reid, a husband and wife team who, along with their growing roster of ace releases under the SVI moniker, were formerly of the very talented and now-defunt shoegaze band Alcian Blue. They also run the independent record label, Safranin Sound and Design. Screen Vinyl Image have been with us from the very beginning - as one of the blog's very first band interviews and receiving some of the blog's first reviews, and later as friends, sharing exclusive material with WTSH, including first leaks of their new singles and the like.

This time around, SVI have conducted their own interview for the blog, with Rude 66, an amazing musician with whom they are about to release a split on the esteemed Custom Made Music label (whom we also adore). Not only that, but they are giving WTSH and our readers an exclusive leak of the two tracks on that upcoming split! We are excited to present to you the following interview, conducted by Screen Vinyl Image, with artist Rude 66 - you are getting information that no one else is getting, and how cool is that? Not to mention first dibs on two brand new tracks from two exceptional bands. Thank you, SVI, for taking the time to do this for WTSH. We love you! And readers, Rude 66 is a must check out, as you'll learn after reading through this interview and checking out his new track. Cheers!

Screen Vinyl Image Interviews Rude 66.

The first time we heard Rude 66 was when the Cybernetic Broadcasting System was still on the air. The CBS was a great place to discover not only the brilliant array of artists in the Netherlands, but also a vast collection of electronic music and much much more. We heard The 1,000 Year Storm by Rude 66, and out of all of the new stuff we had been discovering at the time, Rude’s music was dark, heavy, and driving and felt immediately familiar.

We talked to Rude about doing a split, and Dave at Custom Made Music was more than into the idea and thus we present to you the SVI / Rude 66 split 7 inch. You can pick up a limited edition silk-screened copy of this at Custom Made Music and once they are gone you’ll have to wait until the official version comes out next month. Rude (real name Ruud Lekx), was kind enough to sit down and do an interview with us and talk about his early Industrial days, Bunker Records, and of course some gear talk.

Rude 66. A. The 1000 Year Storm.

Can you tell us a bit about the first band you were in? What instrument did you play, and what sort of sound was your band going for?

My very first band was called Kamika6 (Kamikazes) and it was sort of Neubauten/Swans/Test Dept. type of industrial stuff. I played 2 synths (Korg MS10 and Poly61) going through a guitar amp and metal percussion. We had metal oil barrels, car springs, etc that we would use for beats. We did some demo stuff on 4 track tape and a bunch of live shows in our local squat circuit.

Rude 66 with wife Shauna on Vox.

Was there a natural evolution for you going from your old groups to going into acid and techno? Was there a record or moment when it kind of clicked in your mind that this was the sound you wanted to do?

I was always into both types of music, I liked loud guitar stuff and synth music. When I was 12, I was a member of the Kiss Army, but also had records by Jean-Michel Jarre. Later I listened to Swans, Sonic Youth, Foetus, Flipper, etc, but also was a big collector of New Order. The first time I heard acid in '87 or '88 I could definitely place it, unlike many of my friends from that time. looking back, I'd say the record that really did it for me was 808 state's new build album...I still find that a mindblowing record in 2011.

You were one of the first artists along with Unit Moebeus and I-F on Bunker Records. How did you get hooked up with that label?

I knew Guy Tevares from my high-school, a very conservative place where we were 2 of the small group of 'outcasts'... His band and ours shared rehearsal space in the beginning, and we played with them quite a few times. We were also both part of a group of people who organized hardcore punk concerts in our home town. We had both moved away and hooked up again a few years later. He just started Bunker and I was dissatisfied with the label I just made my first 12" for. I heard their music and found it very similar to what I was doing. I sent guy a tape of my unreleased tracks, and that became Bunker 012/013.

What type of gear were you using on the first Bunker releases?

Not much. I had an Atari ST with Cubase, a Yamaha DX100, an Ensoniq Mirage Sampler, a Korg MS20 and I think that was it. I borrowed things like a 303 clone from the guy who would later become Syntecno, I had one which was basically a yellow tupperware box with 5 green knobs. eventually I upgraded to a better sampler (a Yamaha TX16w, disastrous machine) and found a cheap 909 in the US, and got things like the SH101, TR606, etc.

Reading about Bunker, it seems like there were a lot of notorious parties that went all night long and seemed very DIY and underground. Would you say the music was born out of this or was the music happening and the parties were an outlet for the new groups forming?

It sort of went hand in hand, but I think the music was there before the parties. They were about the only place where you could hear this stuff though, and from the original acid planet parties a lot of offshoots and new collectives formed that did their thing from then.

Unit Moebius, Circa 1995.

Was there a point with Bunker when you guys knew it was getting big and people were noticing or did it always just feel like a lot of like-minded people just loving like-minded music?

Well, it was certainly never 'big' here. There were 1 or 2 guys on our national radio who liked Bunker, and played our tracks on the radio. But most distributors, labels and shops wouldn't touch it. by then the Dutch 'House' scene was already a pretty commercial business, and they couldn't quite think of what to do with these guys from the punk scene with their weird attitudes.. So it was left to ourselves to make sure we had places to sell the records and to do the parties.. It was DIY because of principle, but also because no one else was interested in what we were doing.

Was what was happening with Bunker in The Hague spreading through the Netherlands or were there other pockets of electronic scenes going on that all started to come together?

There were small scenes everywhere, but I think Bunker was the first one on this non-commercial squat party punk DIY type level that inspired a lot of others. Years before there were more initiatives like that in the Dutch house music scene, but they'd all grown pretty big and commercial at that time, 1991-1993. Bunker was sort of a 'back to the basics' thing.

Do you have a favorite release you did from Bunker over any other releases you put out on that label?

Not really, though 012/013 will always have a soft spot with me because it was my first Bunker release, and it contains so many different styles..

Bunker Records 012 - Rude 66. A2. Untitled.

You have a radio show called Cosmic Overdrive. How long have you been doing your radio show? You play an amazing assortment of music on the show, was this always your original goal, or did you have an initial idea for the show that evolved over time?

The original idea came from all this slow disco stuff called 'cosmic' that was all the rage a few years ago. I was telling people that the term 'cosmic' was used years before for a lot of the Krautrock stuff. i originally wanted to do only a mix of some of this music, but talking with I-f he proposed doing a weekly radio show. the show was originally called 'Cosmic Space' and it evolved from Krautrock/Psychedelica to basically anything that’s not played in the standard IFM programming. I remember people loving it if i played obscure 70's hard rock, grindcore ... So, the name of the show changed to 'cosmic overdrive' to match the new broader view. These days a lot of the more dark wave stuff is now in the IFM database too.

You also were in a group called 303 All-Stars. Who else was in that and how did the group form?

The idea was originally a one-off live show of 5 or 6 seasoned Dutch acid producers on stage together with their 303's, we did several shows, but it was never intended as something to release records too.. The band was the 2 guys from the acid junkies, cosmic force, zero one from Random XS, Drifter and me.

You play live quite often. Do you find electronic music is more accepted these days than when you first started? Did you ever get hassled showing up with a synth and drum machines at a club?

That used to happen all the time, especially playing in clubs where they usually had bands. The sound guys would look at our stuff, grunt something about 'this is not music' and leave. ;-)
It is a lot more accepted now, and PA systems are much more equipped for electronic music too. A lot of places had really crap sound because they were used to punk bands playing there..

Your live sets have been described as loud, intense, rocking, energetic and more. Are there any groups that you grew up with and saw live that inspired how you approach playing live?

That’s a hard one. Having seen thousands of bands, the ones that stood out were the ones with a lot of energy in their shows. For electronic music, that would include things like Front 242 or Nitzer Ebb. Pure soundwise, my hero has always been Adrian Sherwood, I've been at many gigs he did with Tackhead, Gary Clail, Mark Stewart, etc and I was always in the small group that was not in front watching the band, but in the back of the club watching Sherwood at work on the mixer. He would completely go nuts sometimes, doing live dubs, EQ's, effects and I guess that was the first time I saw that that was possible in a live manner. Of course I do it on stage rather than off, but the mixer is still my main instrument playing live.

Rude 66. Magic Waves (live - Winter 2010)

Do you feel like there is a strong connection between psychedelic rock music and electronic music? maybe more specifically acid and techno?

Sure there is, especially the original idea of acid as hypnotic dance music goes right back to the days of 'tune in, turn on, drop out' and 1988 wasn't called the second summer of love for nothing. A lot of Shoegaze bands from the late 80's and early 90's also crossed over, anything from Primal Scream to things like Main, or listen to what Spacemen 3 and Pete Kember did and evolved into. I always found the boundries between electronic music and guitar music artificial, held up by purists who don't know any better.

You are well-known for using analog equipment to record from synths to drum machines to analog mixing desks and recording to tape. Why is this important to you?

For 2 things: the sound and the interface. Soundwise, analog equipment simply sounds thicker, fuller because it has basically an infinite resolution compared to digital, which can never match that. Also because most of the gear is older it has misadjusted parts inside, which can give old gear a unique sonic character. I guess its the same as why guitar players go for vintage amps or fx.

The same goes for the interface: its much more inspiring and musical (at least for me) to work with an analogue machine with direct controls for each function, that to scroll through menus or look at a computer screen. As my colleague Newworldaquarium said so rightly: "a computer is not a musical instrument". Also a lot of analogue machines are 'alive', like a good guitar or amp or drum kit. They have character, and this also goes for mixers and tape. A good analogue mixer does your equipment a lot more justice than a shitty 'in the box' recording, and tape is that magical glue that binds separate tracks together. Yeah, its all big and heavy and can break down, but that’s part of being a musician. It's only in electronic music that the 'smaller is easier is better' argument sticks, i've never seen a drummer show up at a gig with a toy drum pad because 'its easier to carry' .

In your collection of gear, do you have a favorite synth? Favorite drum machine? Favorite other piece of gear?

I guess of all my machines, the synth floating above all else is the Syntecno Teebee 303 clone. I use it in almost every track since the beginning, and its also a very good 4x midi to cv/gate converter for my old synths, and controls the 808 via midi-din sync. A real workhorse. As for drum machines, I'd have to choose between the 808 or the 909, very hard choice and very traditional, but those 2 still do it for me after all these years.

Other gear... Effects-wise I'm totally in love with my Lexicon Vortex, another machine you'll hear in just about every production i've made in the last 10-15 years. the D&R mixer is a real big contributor to my sound an a very inspiring board to work on.. And I still have to pinch myself every tme I look at my Studer a80 to believe that its actually mine..

You released a very awesome and very dark full length called Sadistic Tendencies in 2009 filled with creepy samples, heavy sounding machines, and haunting atmospheres. Have you released anything since or do you have anything coming out soon? Are you continuing down similar themes in the new recordings?

I just released the 2 Worlds: 1992-1998 2 LP retrospective on Creme, full of old unreleased tracks from the acid planet days, and I did a remix for a Dutch band called Staatseinde on the Enfant Terrible label. There are some more remixes coming, I just finished work on a new very dark acid 5 track EP and I'm working on some more guitar based material. I have an electric guitar and 2 fretless basses and I've been very inspired by the return of the Shoegaze sound combined with electronics... but that'll be a new project under a different name and very likely also on a different label than the ones I normally work for.

Theme-wise its definitely all down the same dark paths... I guess its in my DNA, I can try to write a love song or an uplifting trance track but somehow the serial killers, German WW2 battles, airplane crashes and generally the darker aside of the human spirit always take over..

Two Worlds. 1992-1998.


Screen Vinyl Image - Tomorrow is too Far.

Rude 66 - I am God.

27 April 2011

New Track/Video: Keith Canisius. See You Tonight.

Brand new track from Keith Canisius' upcoming album - his 5th - entitled Oceanic Voyage II, which will be out on Darla Records this June. Exciting!

Video: The Spiracles. Fireflies (acoustic version).

Luis Rodriguez of Resplandor has been working on a very cool side project called The Spiracles. Here is a brand new, lovely acoustic version of the Spiracles' track, "Fireflies", for your listening pleasure. Check out the Spiracles, and if you haven't heard Resplandor yet, good lord, get on that asap!

25 April 2011

Austin Psychfest Video Series: Crocodiles. Sleep Forever.

Austin Psychfest Video Series: Black Moth Super Rainbow. Born on a Day the Sun Didn't Rise.

Interview: Jonathan Allen of Music for Headphones.

Music for Headphones is a Philadelphia-based group whose dark soundscapes weave 60’s rock, krautrock, post-punk, psychedelia, new-wave, and shoegaze into one cohesive aural trip. Vocalist and guitarist Jonathan Allen has been behind the vision for Music for Headphones since the very beginning, the band starting as a concept around 2000. In the past decade the band has gone through various line up changes and sabbaticals, as well as Allen's brief stint in The Upsidedowns, but all the while Allen has continued to hone MFH's sound into something truly unique. This has never been as evident as on the band's most recent release, the exemplary LP, which was released in January 2011. The band recently played a show with Spectrum, and the new LP has been getting plenty of well-deserved attention since it's release. If you haven't heard MFH yet, check out the band's bandcamp page and stream some of the mp3s there. You'll be an instant convert. When The Sun Hits hopes you enjoy the following interview with Music for Headphone's awesome frontman, Jonathan Allen.

How was Music for Headphones formed?

Headphones has been around off and on since 2000, but mostly active since 2006. The original line up started in Athens, GA at the demise of a previous band. I was playing bass back then and our guitar player quit in the middle of a recording project. The drummer and I looked at each other and decided we could make a record on our own. It was a crazy experience, highly conceptual. Nothing was written.We would record bass and drum tracks live and improvised then layer on guitars and synths. Finally, I'd get in front of the microphone and improvise the lyrics. Its a sprawling piece of space rock. You can easily tell I was only listening to three records while making it- The Cure's Pornography, Spacemen 3's Perfect Prescription and Pink Floyd's Meddle. When it was complete we decided to move to Portland, OR, but I quickly disbanded the project for a variety of reasons.

Next I found myself as one of the founding members of The Upsidedown, but again I left directly before the signed with Reverb Records. I think the only released thing I play on is a song called "Soul Diving" that I wrote with Jsun Atoms. My song "Pepper Spray" ended up on their debut. At this point I focused all of my energy into production, at least until I ended up in Philadelphia.

There have been close to 25 members in Music for Headphones over the years. I met the one constant member, my bassist Aaron Aleiner, in 2005 and recruited him and my younger brother, Patrick Richardson, to reform Headphones. Like I implied, there have been near constant line up changes over the years, but the band I have with me now has been together for the past two years.

Music for Headphones. Only Angry Lies.

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

Well, we are desperately trying to get out on vinyl. The response to it in Europe has been overwhelming, and Philadelphia is finally starting to take notice. I'm not sure if anyone has attempted the shoegazey electro kraut we have been playing out for the past 5 shows. We played with Spectrum last Friday and the response was unreal. Even Sonic Boom gave us a glowing review and you can't really beat that - having one of your primary influences tell you how new and exciting your music sounds.

Beyond that, we are starting to write a new record as a band (a first for me, I've always written or written/performed everything). was an experiment in kraut rock. I wanted to see if I could do it. It wasn't intended to be a pivotal Headphones record, but it is drastically changing the way we are approaching and performing music. I'm not going to try and reproduce another Neu! 75/La Düsseldorf homage, but I expect the repetition and rhythm will permeate the next record. is sort of devoid of guitars, at least the way I play, so live it has become a very different beat with layers of shoegaze and noise mixed into the synths.

As for touring- we won't be doing anything extensive. Probably bounce around the North East a bit.

Taking the hint from the band name, do you consider your music best heard on a good pair of headphones?

The name is really more a reference to my production style but has definitely directly applied to certain records we've made. We are talking about shortening the name to MFH. Who knows.

Do you consider Music for Headphones’ music to be part of the current shoegaze/dream pop scene, or any scene? I consider MFH to be a sort of electronic psychedelia dream pop hybrid; defining one's sound by a 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 certainly were in 2006-2008. we played a ton of shows with the Sky Drops, Thrushes, Alcian Blue and later Screen Vinyl Image (whom we still play with often). At some point I started to drift back toward neo-psychedelic music more like the Warlocks, but I've always had a massive pedal board and made crazy shoegazey sounds. I agree with your label - particularly the hybrid part. I am an avid record collector and everything I hear touches me. I don't try to stay in one place, I have more fun as a songwriter combining genres in new ways.

Can you talk a bit about your other projects?

I have two other projects going on. The first is called New Speedway. I just play guitar in the band and don't do any of the writing. Our first record just came out, Feel It, and is heavily influenced by Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine, and Dinosaur Jr. Rocco, the front man, already has two more records written that we are rehearsing and one is much more like Bardo Pond and the other like Spacemen 3, Jesus and Mary Chain, and Mudhoney. It's loud, noisy, heavy shit.

The other band is called 2060 Chiron. It's primarily my girlfriend, Nikki, and I writing songs in our apartment. We are in the process of recording an EP and I'd describe it as Mazzy Star meets Her Space Holiday.

Oh, and I dj fairly regularly at a bar in Philly called Teri's. Primarily post-punk, neo-psych and 80's brit pop.

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

That's sort of a tough one. I was pretty burnt out on it for a while, feeling like everything was to derivative, but the bands Dave (Allison) at Custom Made Music puts out never cease to impress me. I've been a LONG TIME fan of Screen Vinyl Image. They are easily one of the best live bands I have seen. I play them in almost every dj set as well. They are so good! I also dig Dead Leaf Echo a lot too. I've been friends with Tom Lugo from Stellarscope for over ten years and he never fails to impress. Speaking of, I downloaded the entire Rock Back for Japan series yesterday (we are on Volume 4) that he compiled and I am blown away by all the talent spread across these six discs. Amazing. Bliss.City.East and Calm Palm Vapor from Chicago are friends whose work I truly admire. I think Soundpool are awesome. I'm sure there are thousands more I am forgetting.

Music for Headphones. Open.

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

I change amps every couple of years. Right now I'm using an Orange Rocker 30 (it's white!) and I love it, but I have no clean tone. I used two Fender Deluxe Reverbs for a few years, but the output transformer on one blew out and the second one caught on fire during a recording session. I was pushing them WAY too hard. I have been primarily playing a Rickenbacker 370 since 1998. I love it. My main fuzz is a HBE UFO (this week) and I always have at least three delay pedals on my board at a time, one analog and two digital. Then there are a ton of other toys.

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

Phil Spector, Peter Kember, Jason Pierce, Anton Newcombe, Michael Rother, Klaus Dinger, Thurston Moore, Jonathan Donahue (in the 90's), Will Sergent, Neil Halstead, Adrian Utley, Dave Roback, Martin Hannet, Dave M. Allen, Robert Smith, Peter Holmstrom.... the list could go on...

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

It's in total flux. How to succeed is anyone's guess and and we are all grasping at new ideas and technologies to get our music heard. I think it's all about community. The shoegaze community has always been pretty tight between the bands, but we need to find a new way to engage, embrace, and include the fans. No one is going to get "rich" or "famous" anymore, so people need to remember that playing music should be about expressing yourself and hopefully having fun (I'm still working on the fun part). I think the change is necessary and will undoubtedly be positive. I hate to say it but "corporate rock still sucks."

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 haven't bought a CD in a few years and don't even own a cassette player (though Headphones has appeared on a few cassette comps). Our listening time is spent equally between the turntable in the living room and the computer in the bedroom. I am back on big vinyl buying kick so we are spending more and more time staying up to dawn listening to warm, fuzzy music.

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

Music pretty much consumes my life right now. I am falling back in love with Mazzy Star, spending lots of time listening to the last Warlocks record, and still fascinated by kraut rock. Neu! 75, La Düsseldorf's Viva, and Can's Tago Mago, have been on the turntable a lot.

If you had to choose one Music for Headphones track that was the ultimate definition of your sound, which would it be and why?
I wish it were different, but "Doctor" from 2008's Preface/Alternate is the song people seem to grab on to. Looking at it another way, "Doctor" does have all the elements of the genre hybrid style I write in. Neo-psych intro, big washes of shoegazey guitars, droning organs and sparkling synths, and of course, post-punky baritone vocals.

Can you tell us a little about your song writing process?

It usually starts with sequencing organ parts and drum beats then building the live instruments around it. Words are usually the last thing I write. However, sometimes I wake up with words in my head, grab my acoustic, and write a song that way.

What is the most exciting thing that happened for MFH in 2010, and what are your goals for 2011?

The only really exciting thing that happened was the release of Secret History of the World (though I don't think anyone's heard it). It was a very painful record to make and took two years. I had back surgery during the process and ended a long term relationship. 2009 was really rough. The goals for 2011? Make the best album yet and get to Berlin to play some kraut rock for Germans, my way.

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

I just try to make through each day. My life feels a lot like Neil Young's "Everybody Knows this is Nowhere" most of the time (except I've got the girl right here).

More Resources:

24 April 2011

Austin Psychfest Video Series: The Vacant Lots. Revolution.

As promised yesterday, for the rest of this week When The Sun Hits will be showcasing videos of or providing downloadable mp3s of bands that will be performing at the the Austin Psychfest, which begins Friday, April 29 and runs through Sunday, May 1st.

As a relatively new festival, the Psychfest has already garnered plenty of media attention, even on an international level. And rightly so. This festival is awesome. The following band, The Vacant Lots, will be playing on the second stage at the Psychfest on Saturday, April 30 @ 4pm. If you must miss this performance, at least enjoy the sonic psychedelia emanating from your computer speakers when you listen to the clip of the Vacant Lots' excellent track, "Revolution", which you can hear below.

Video: Music for Headphones. Drive Motorik.

In order to get you stoked about tomorrow's interview with Music for Headphones, give this a listen. (pause while you do this)

Aren't you excited now!? Awesome interview up tomorrow.

News and Free Download: Talha Asim Wynne of //orangenoise Releases Solo Material.

Talha Asim Wynne of //orangenoise (the band behind the fairly recent //veracious EP, which is still blowing people's minds) has also been sporadically working on some solo tunes, all of which are extremely impressive. As a solo artist, he sometimes records under the name Toll Crane and sometimes not, and he hasn't yet told me if any of this will be officially released (but I hope so). Talha's most recent effort is the 3 track psych-set entitled A Matter of Seconds, and it is utterly mesmerizing. Click the link to be taken to the free stream and free download of the piece.

///A brief moment of lucidity.
01 The Hook 02 The Fall 03 The Bait.

A Matter of Seconds by talhawynne

If for some reason the link above isn't loading, click HERE to be re-routed.

Click HERE to read When The Sun Hits' interview with //orangenoise's Talha Asim Wynne.

Click HERE to read Josh Davis' review of //orangenoise's veracious EP.

23 April 2011

Upcoming Event: Austin's Annual Psych Festival all Set to Provide 3 Days of Tripped Out Awesomeness.

Yes, the time is drawing nigh - the annual Austin Psych Fest is a mere week away, so it's time to prepare yourself for an onslaught of glorious noise, eloquent jams, legendary musicians rubbing shoulders with legends-to-be, unearthly feedback and distortion, sonic freedom, and awesome attitudes. And, let's just be frank, bad ass light shows. I'm such a sucker for those, provided the setting is right. The Austin PsychFest is absolutely the proper setting for epic light shows. WHO DOESN'T LIKE LASERS? Come on.

Anyway, the Festival begins on Friday, April 29th and runs through Sunday, May 1st. Follow the provided links to get any and all info you could possibly want about the Austin PsychFest. You should also attend, because it is going to be mindblowing. Below I've posted videos from a few Psychfest bands that'll be playing. Throughout the week I will post other videos depicting Psychfest acts playing at the festival. Great stuff lined up.

By the way: Your attendance to the festival is mandatory, but we will consider *reasonable* excuses for absences. But folks living relatively near by, you really must not miss this.

(that means "click me").



(Go to Austin Psych Fest web site for a more readable band line up).

Click the following links for desired info.

Roky Erickson. Night of the Vampire.

Spectrum. Touch the Stars.

The Black Angels. Bad Vibrations.

Video: Promo Video for Airiel's Upcoming EP.

Not only is the excellent band Airiel gearing up for a new release early this summer (huzzah), but When The Sun Hits is also interviewing Jeremy Wrenn of Airiel at this very moment; in the near future look for that interview, sure to be chock full of insider info. Until then, we tease you with this promotional video for Airiel's early summer 2011 release. Click Play. Sit Back. Listen. You are now in a state of Awesome. Maintain.

21 April 2011

The Triumphant Return of the Weekly Top 5.

Welcome to another installment of When The Sun Hits' weekly obsessions. You may have noticed that Danny and I took an extended vacation from weekly Top 5 lists in recent weeks; we both absolutely needed to hit our proverbial reset buttons. But now we're celebrating our triumphant return to our Weekly Top 5 lists. Huzzah!

For the uninformed, our weekly Top 5 Records lists include older and classic LPs and EPs for you to revisit, as well as brand new releases, so that you can keep your finger on the pulse of new artists and still rock out to classics. It's a great way to give old and new bands exposure, plus we just like making lists, because we are music nerds like that.

We've archived all of the previous weeks for your browsing enjoyment, which you can find in the right side bar, if you're curious about such things.

Amber's Top 5 Picks of the Week.

Ceremony. Not Tonight EP. (2011)

Screen Vinyl Image. Too Much Speed Single. (2011)

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Belong. (2011)

Between The Cities Are Stars. Degausser EP. (2011)

The Consolation Project. I Could Never Leave You to Die. (2011)

Danny's Top 5 Picks of the Week.

Ultracherry Violet. I Fall To Pieces. (1994)

Mojave 3. Excuses for Travellers. (2000)

Astrobrite. Crush Reissue. (2011)

Luminous Orange. Sakura Swirl. (2007)

Suicide. Suicide. (1977)

20 April 2011

News: Presents for Sally to Release Mini Album via Patetico Records.

When The Sun Hits faves, the UK based band Presents for Sally, have announced that they will soon be releasing an EP/mini album stateside (last year's excellent A Touch of Joy, A Touch of Sadness LP was a UK release only) via Tom Lugo's label, Patetico Recordings.

While there isn't an official release date yet, there is a working title of
Everytime a Bell Rings, an Angel Gets Its Wings. The mini album will feature 2 tracks from PFS's 2010 release A Touch of Joy, A Touch of Sadness (since it was never officially released in the USA) plus 4 brand new songs. A few titles of the new tracks include "Sing", "Letters Make Words", and possibly the 12 minute epic "Smile Holds True". Out of the new songs, a 7" is slated to be released in the UK sometime late this summer.
Presents for Sally have also contributed another new track, entitled "Three", to Tom Lugo/Patetico Recordings Rock Back for Japan release, a many volume compilation designed to aid those suffering from the recent disasters in Japan. This track appears on the 6th volume of the compilation series.

Very exciting news! We hope these new ventures will garner the band more new fans and attention, because they deserve it tenfold.

Interview: Preston Maddox of Bloody Knives AND the debut of a brand new Bloody Knives video!

For more reasons than one, you can consider the following to be a When The Sun Hits' 4/20 Special Edition piece. While they may or may not have been celebrating the holiday early during the following interview, Preston Maddox (of the Austin-based band Bloody Knives and owner of Killredrocket Records) and Amber Crain (Bloody Knives fan, radio DJ, and co-founder of this here blog) discuss a suspiciously wide range of seemingly random topics. So, be forewarned that amid the news about Bloody Knives, the debut of a brand new Bloody Knives' video, and lots of valuable info about Killredrocket Records and its bands, you will also get your fill of pertinent discussions such as: Billy Corgan's lameness level, their mutual and sometimes violent hatred of the CD format, rap music, Katie Couric, their takes on why the music industry is kinda fucking lame right now, Darth Vader, Stephen Hawking, crack cocaine is mentioned and yes, to top it all off, even Keanu Reeves makes an appearance. What can we say, the two were clearly given the gift of gab; there is no other explanation. Have fun kids! Just say no to drugs. Or whatever.

How did your record label, Killredrocket Records, get it’s start?
I started selling stuff to other people in high school, I guess my freshman year, selling tapes and shirts. My other friends bands didn't put out records, so I was just doing it for my bands. Which was awesome, we spent all the money on beer, weed, and Taco Bell. That was 1994.
Then I moved to Austin in 2003, and started setting up shows and finding other bands, and wanted to be able to showcase their music more publicly. I got into the compilations through this, mainly trying to promote shows. I'd put all the bands on a comp and try to get people out.
Sounds like you have a very DIY mindset. I bet $10 you were a punk kid! I know my own kind.
Yeah, 100% DIY. But I have had experience with a lot of the big timey bullshit, and that’s just what it is, bullshit. The only way to legitimately build something that people like is to do it yourself.
I really couldn't agree more. So the first release on KRR was...?
1995. The Popsicle Tape.
That was our punk band in 1995, we played alternapunk, and covered Rage Against the Machine and Tool. It was all originals on the tape and we sold a lot. We also had the "My Government Rapes Me" shirt...
It had a picture of a politician on the front, with money stuffed in his collar, and on the back it said: "My Government Rapes Me."
All our friends bought them and wore them to school the day of a show, and everyone got sent to the office and had to take them off, or turn them inside out. High school glory!! (laughs)
We promptly spent the money on vodka.
Anyway, we recorded the actual record at a friend’s house, on his ADAT machine in his home studio.

Bloody Knives. Tell Me I'm Wrong.
(Laughs) That is fucking classic. Do any of those shirts still exist?
Yeah, I don't own one though. I, unfortunately, do not own most of the things I’ve been involved in. Funny thing how that happens…But yeah, there are still some in existence.
I miss making cassette tapes. It was fun, and more personal. I would say that CDs have made music go to hell. Even though tapes sucked, too...
But they sounded cool. They were cooler than CDs. CDs are like instant trash. I feel compelled to throw them away and abuse them. (laughs)
I feel the same way about CDs! It’s like this weird hatred. They are so tacky looking and flimsy. I mean, tapes aren't like, classy looking by any stretch of the imagination, but there is a certain kitsch about them that makes them still charming.
Plus, I like the work that goes into listening to a tape or vinyl. It's more active.
Yeah, for sure.
Rather than skipping around with one easy button on a stupid CD player. It's like cheating.
Exactly. That’s their biggest fault.
I actually think CDs are nearly obsolete now. It’s all about the convenience and immediacy of the mp3, or the throwback nostalgia of vinyl. Hell, even the tape is making a comeback. There are some really cool tape-release-only record labels right now.
I know that labels exist for tapes, mainly underground noise bands first did that. But I don't know if they sell, because who has a tape player anymore? I still think they are awesome. But I prefer vinyl because the artist dictates the song order.
Tapes are like that too. CDs and mp3s not so much. But mp3s are so convenient, it’s going to be the way most music is heard these days, but they sound like shit.
(laughs) I do still have a tape player, nerd that I am. But my most preferred medium is, of course, vinyl. Mp3s cater to everyone's ADD mindsets. You can just listen to a shitload of stuff in a single hour, totally random or brand new stuff. People have no patience anymore. The information age and the internet have done a fucking number on the music business. Whether this is bad or good, not sure yet.
Yeah, I don’t know either. Also factoring in: the ease and affordability of recording technology. I’ve never heard so many shitty sounding records. People are without patience now.
Yeah, the idea of legitimate production or decent production is out the window for many people. It’s sad. People just shit records out left and right. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some who can do this and it's actually nearly always good. A special few. But mostly, no.
People don’t have the sense of a need to self censor. I think that’s going to be the next step in music. People are overburdened with things to hear. There has to be a reaction to that. Most bands are not good enough each shot out, mine included. No need to make people listen to your bullshit throwaway mistakes.
Some of these are lingering things from the previous music industry model. There is no use for b-side record anymore. They were invented as a cash cow for record labels. But who wants to hear, or has time to hear, the bad songs?
Unless the band is awesome.
True. I mean, really awesome bands generally have amazing/classic (to me) b- sides, but other than that, you're right.
Yeah, and those are the songs that were excluded, usually because they were too creative. Too out there to fit the pop mold. Like the whole Pisces Iscariot album by Smashing Pumpkins. But then, the stink of poor Billy Corgan's legacy!!! (laughs)
God. I was randomly watching some very early Pumpkins live footage a few weeks ago, and I was like: Fuck, they were so good. I can't believe this guy's ego is going to eclipse their collective talent.
I know…
They were loud as fuck, man!
It’s such a huge disappointment. They were awesome, but Corgan was like that the whole time. He gets blamed, but he also singlehandedly delivered their best shit.
That band got killed by cocaine. Billy Corgan shoving it up his nasty nose. And heroin. And their drummer…
Also, Corgan was such a dick to Iha. Iha was responsible for more than Corgan gave him credit for.
I saw this the other day and was simultaneously impressed, dismayed, and amused. Watch this, man.

Billy Corgan Guitar Solo. 1985.
(laughs) Holy fuck.
I know! Hilarious. But, at the same time, he clearly had real fucking talent too.
Man, I remember the days of practice and technique…those are long gone! Prince is the same way. He can play the fuck outta the guitar but never does it. Stay away from the coke and the people who tell you you’re cool. That totally fucked that dude up.
I didn't know Corgan did coke! I thought Iha was kicked OUT of the band by Corgan for doing drugs?? Hypocrite.
Yeah, he talks about how he did coke to “be creative" during the recording of Siamese Dream. All of them were on drugs, they were in a fucking rock band!!!
I didn't know that grinding your teeth, sweating profusely, looking sketchy and endless chatter = creativity. But it sounds sensible.
(laughs) It doesn’t. It has to do with insecurity, and needing to develop a false sense of self, I think. A confidence booster.
Whatever, Smashing Pumpkins are still awesome.
Worst drug ever. And yes, yes they are. I even thought Adore was kinda bad ass…You can make fun of me. It’s cool.
It was good. I wish the drummer had been on it. D’arcy was replaceable, but the other two were essential, regardless of their songwriting involvement.
Let's not even speak of D'arcy...(laughs)...crack is a hell of a drug, D'arcy.
Fuck yeah it is!!! But yeah, she got kicked out early. Poor D’arcy.
Why “Poor D'arcy”?
I thought she was hot when I was 14, mainly because I played bass too. I think all teenaged boys thought she was hot.
Around that time it seemed like there were lots of girls in bands like that. They were awesome. But give me Kim Gordon any day of the week, above all of them.
Yeah, PJ Harvey, Fiona Apple…don’t get me started on female musicians.
Kim Gordon is awesome. Girls in bands are still awesome! But it’s not the same as it was during the more sexist macho 80's. It meant more then, I think.
But poor D’arcy didn’t even get to play her parts on the record, even though she could, because Corgan was such a dick. He blamed it on his and Iha’s relationship falling apart, which I’m sure was shitty, but still. Corgan just snuck in the studio and gave everyone the fuck off, doing hers and Iha's parts.
Total bastard. Remember Zwan? Utter shite.
Yeah, that was terrible. That creepy smile video… dude fucked up.
Indeed. So it goes. So yeah, that was an epic tangent! I still want to talk a shitload about the label and etc!
I trust you, Barbara Walters of Shoegaze.
HEY. I see myself as more of an Anderson Cooper of shoegaze.
(laughs) Yeah, that is pretty good!!
As long as I'm not Katie Couric.
Nah, fuck no. But she is a horrible bitch, which I respect. To an extent. Like the way I would respect a snake.
Yes, I can see that…
So do I have to talk about my extensive knowledge of Smashing Pumpkins anymore? Because I don’t want to embarrass myself. I know its not "cool" to admit you loved their music back in the day.
Who cares if it's cool, it's TRUE. They were fucking badass! But yeah, we can move on.
Cool. Goodbye, Billy.
Yes, Farewell, Billy. Don’t forget – The world is a vampire.
Ok, so: do you run Killredrocket Records on your own, or do you have others helping you?
Most of it I do by myself. I put together the comps, book the shows, take stuff to the post office, etc. Sometimes I have other people help me with small stuff, but almost everything is handled in-house. Jake does the website and takes care of all of that. I joke about crediting the staff, but there is no staff!!!
There was this one time when a band was a dick to me while I was running sound for them, and then later they sent a thank you note to the label head. Which was me, of course. So I keep things separated, and that usually works well for me, because I can see how somebody treats people directly.
I don’t have anything else smart to say about that.
(laughs) Fair enough. Aside from your own band, naturally, who is your current favorite KRR band?
Ahh man, that’s really hard.
Well, for the comps.....probably Screen Vinyl Image, Burnt Ones and Me You Us Them. Those are three of my favorites. Oh, and We Are Hex! I have them all on vinyl. As for recent label releases, the new Between The City Are Stars is awesome.
All excellent choices. Screen Vinyl Image is so good. They all are, but I've respected SVI for quite a number of years now.
SVI is awesome. I don’t know why they aren’t more popular. The techno side of their music is what I like the most. And the trippy sound fx.
They are awesome live. The shoegaze comes out.
Agreed. Between The Cities Are Stars new one, Degausser, is definitely fucking awesome, as well.
Yeah, that new record is so trippy. It’s very washing and dirty and digital. Very repetitive and hypnotic. Like a big west coast record, but still loopish and not big rock, like Deftones.
It’s incredibly cool! I've been playing it a lot lately. So do you have your eye on the next band to bring into the fold, or is there one you wish you could?
Not really. Whirl, maybe. Me You Us Them already have a label. I’ve been asking them forever. Anyway, Whirl is an awesome shoegaze band from San Francisco. But mainly, people come to me and ask to be on the label. I usually don’t search them out. A lot of people want to do it themselves, and I don’t want to bother them.
What kind of sound are you looking for?
Unique sound. That’s it.
So no particular mood or aesthetic, you are just looking for truly unique bands that are awesome?
Well, it has to be at least dark, to a degree. I don’t do happy bands. Because when I listen to music like that I get real pissed off. Like, Mumford and Sons. So yeah, no hipsters. Fuck no. I also prefer bands that have some sort of pop aesthetic, to some extent. I’m not interested in music that is too experimental, or relies too much on the listener to engage it. I would rather hear a band that has elements of the most experimental music in a pop format, like Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation. Anything that sounds like it could have, at some time, be considered punk rock, throughout the history of punk. That’s probably the best definition of what I want in bands that I work with on things.
Yes, agreed. I like chaos and noise, but it has to be reigned in a bit. It needs a framework within which to move. Like a “pop format”, as you said.
Yeah, exactly. Something that at least considers the listener. I appreciate stuff like Phillip Glass and even listen to it, but I don’t work with it. It’s not modern enough to me. I love all kinds of music. The best musicians have a wide influence on art in general.
So you don't love this, I imagine?

REM. Shiny Happy People.
(laughs) Not my favorite REM song. However, I would argue that this song is predominately sad, because you know where it’s coming from. And the music is melancholy. And Fred Snieder is so fucking awesome!!! I’m confusing, I know.
What is your favorite REM song then? I'll answer if you do.
It’s a tie between “Fall on Me” and “Nightswimming”.
Dude. THOSE ARE MY TWO. Seriously.
No shit! They are the best ones, of course. Everybody usually likes the more popular stuff.
OK, let's not get trapped on a tangent talking about REM, because I can totally foresee that happening (although can I just say that the lyrics to “Nightswimming” are still amazing to me?)...
Agreed. Early REM lyrics were awesome.
So what will be the next release from KRR?
Boys Beware EP. Laserz. Buttermilk. Probably all at the same time. And the new Bloody Knives EP. So that’s four free records.
Ace line up! No vinyl pressed for any of it?
None of this is going on vinyl.
So all the free downloads then?
All free on the Killredrocketrecords bandcamp. But with the Bloody Knives release, there will be a physical package. Extra limited, like 20. The Knives’ music will be on both sides.
Boys Beware are doing a series of 4 EPs. At the end they will pick the best songs from each and make a vinyl release to sell for that.
I love that idea.
They added a female singer, too. A backing vocalist. It adds a lot of atmosphere.
I love how a lot of their songs sound like they could be 4 different ones, almost like movements.
Yeah, they do that. There is a lot of stuff going on, but they combine it nicely. The parts do segue into much different parts, but the connections all make sense. It’s kind of like Alice in Wonderland. Sort of.
What about the next Bloody Knives releases? How has your sound evolved this time around?
The next record is very heavy. Lots of chops and quick samples. It’s also written differently. We improvised the songs in a rehearsal spot in Brooklyn called Sweatshop when we were on tour, and then made songs from the improv jams. The lyrics are really harsh. It’s about getting wrapped up in bad shit and it eventually killing you. Not a happy record at all.
I'm curious to hear what will be MORE heavy than your existing stuff, which is pretty damn heavy already!
I thought Burn It All Down was a poppy record. This record is more glitchy and experimental. Its more experimental in the noise end. The drums are more varied and rockish. I’ve listened to a lot of glitchy music, and I wanted to make something that is microglitched. So I programmed little tiny changes in the loops.
I think there will be people that will be turned off by how heavy it is, and others who will like it more.
Can't wait to hear it. What has the newest member, Jim Moon, brought to the table, in terms of sound on the next record?
Jim is writing the segues between songs, which is cool, and he does alot of extra effects in the songs. So his part in the scheme is very ambigous, but very important.
Jim is kinda of like an electronic jazz musician. He takes the vibe of the music and creates music to it and with it. Samplers are his instrument. Buttons and knobs.
That's very cool.
We work kinda weird together, to other bands, but to us it makes sense. We all work separately and write the record first, then learn it, practice a little, and play. So we all have an area to be creative and not get in each other's way. I don't need to help Jake write drums, etc.
After years of being in bands, I got tired of having to work out songs at rehearsal. When I wrote dance/electro at home it was so much faster and I did better stuff. So with Bloody Knives, I wanted to make that the way we wrote. It's the same thing the MArs Volta does, pretty much. And Linkin Park!!
... and Miley Cyrus.
Plus all hip hop groups, pretty much.
Practice became this drunk party, which is awesome for a while, then it gets old.
Bet that's how Kanye does it, too.
It is!!! I was very influence by those dudes, when I worked at the record store, that sold screw music. I learned how all the H-Town rappers made it work. Smart dudes. Those guys made money!!! One guy writes the music, or a few producers. But the music is done when the rappers come in, and they have their parts to do. Then multi instrumentalists, those guys all did mix tapes, even when they hated each other.
So yeah, we are kinda rap group like.
Maybe you should release a Bloody Knives rap album next?
I don't market to that crowd and honestly, a lot of new rap is not good...yeah, it's gotten pretty bad. Very indie and mainstream. They need to make a leap as a genre. They need a Kurt Cobain of rap.
Ha! I guess Kanye doesn't fit that bill. Damn. I don' t think it's the best idea ever, by any means, but I'm twisted and totally want to hear BK rap now...

There will be a rapper on the remix record. The BK remix.
So I guess it wall happen... (laughs)
Do you know what the next BK release will be called?
Nice. Well, time is moving way too fast! a few more things: Do you have any specific goal for KRR records?
Keep putting out comps. Keep putting out good music for free. The best end result would be to create something that people trust for quality and that they can go to to get new good music. So that we can continue to create music that people like and they will get to listen to it, instead of getting missed with the rest of the stuff.
Is there any kind of philosophy you live by, when it comes to making and releasing records, as BK and/or as the label owner?
Only put out your best music. Don't bother people with needy promo emails. Never go corporate.
That sums that all up! (laughs) As if going corporate is an option anymore
That is indeed a good summation, yes. (laughs) One last ridiculous question, just for fun, because I'm a weirdo like that: You have to choose one of the next three people I name to provide vocals for a song on your next album. You MUST pick from only these three. For the record, I think all of these are amazing choices, each with their own merit.Your choices are:
Stephen Hawking.
Darth Vader.
Keanu Reeves.
well, Kanoooo is out.

What, you don't like Keanu's band, Dogstar?! I can't imagine why.
Like, I like that shitty wannabee actor's vanity project as much as I like Michael Cera's shitty indie band.
I've never really listened to them, honestly. But I can't imagine it being very good.
I just remember that Keanu used to follow Sonic Youth around all the time in the 90's and beg them to let him open for them. And I think they did a few times!
(laughs) Ok, so Darth or Hawking?
Darth Vader - through the vocoder.
I think that's essentially Stephen Hawking's voice, dude. (laughs) But ok, so you're going with Vader then, right?
Yeah, I guess I have to. Even though he may kill me. I want Vader to teach me how to choke people with my mind. That would be sweet.
Totally sweet.
And on that note, thanks for doing this and stuff! I'll see you in a few weeks man!
Yeah no problem, thank you!
Check out the brand new video, by Matt Spear, for Disappear!