you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

30 January 2013

TONIGHT! Special Re-Airing of the PROTOGAZE show, co-djed with Danny Lackey, on Strangeways Radio. 10pm EST.

Stream it live
10pm EST

Interview: Her Vanished Grace. By Elizabeth Klisiewicz of Big Takeover Magazine.

Going Deep with Charlie Nieland of 
Her Vanished Grace
By Elizabeth Klisiewicz for Big Takeover Magazine

I first discovered NYC’s Her Vanished Grace through the shoegaze blog, When the Sun Hits. I owe a debt to my friend Amber Crain and the late Danny Lackey, who passed away recently from cancer. They have both done so much to support and expose new artists, and they deserve a vote of thanks from those of us who love dream pop and shoegaze.

So how to describe HVG? It is the life work of long married couple, Charlie and Nancy Nieland, and there are many influences that are gracefully meshed into their sometimes delicate but muscular music. Nancy’s ethereal voice can veer from Liz Fraser to Siouxie Sioux, and she makes it seem so easy. Whereas Charlie’s equally fine voice sometimes edges into honey-throated Rob Dickinson territory.

Witness this on the title track of their latest album, “Star-Crossed." And if it’s the Cocteaus you want, dive right into “Turn It Over”. The band also recorded a cover of “Across the Universe” that is worlds different from the original (and that’s a good thing). Visit their Bandcamp page and dive deep into their catalog.

Is there any way of dividing your work into different periods, or do you see it as a logical progression to what you are today?
CHARLIE: Well both really. Her Vanished Grace has been making music for 25 years and you can definitely trace alternating periods of expansion and focus with a progression towards refinement. There is a common thread. HVG has a weird intensity that makes it not regular pop, but also has a melodicism that is inviting. We kind of glower at you and serenade you at the same time.

Our first two records were our duo albums, and we went from a great mix of psychedelic late 80s sounds on State of Grace (1991) to the dark urgency of hip hop beats and shoegaze textures on Festival (1992). We started playing with a band in ’93 and Waiting (1994) shows how aggressive and heavy we went with it. On Soon (1996) we hit our stride, successfully blending the indie rock band sound and our dream pop side with sharper writing. Colors Vols. 1 & 2 (2000) was a document of a time when we were in full celebration of our new band chemistry with Maria Theodosiadou and Brian Haarer, and we were trying to capture all of our different directions at once. It was the last few years of the 90s, and albums we loved like like Blur’s 13 gave us a kind of permission to be wildly eclectic.

After a brief hiatus, where we scored the Glen Close film “The Safety Of Objects”, we came back with our new drummer, Billy Loose, and made Paradise (2004), which flirted with chamber pop and punk and more. This era marked the beginning of the resurgence of the Post Punk and Shoegaze that we’d always loved, and it felt great returning to those influences. We proceeded to create a focused series of power dream pop albums; Get Up (2005), Satellites (2006), Twilight (2007), Blue (2009), See the Moon (2011), and Star-Crossed (2012). Each time we swing back and forth a bit between indulgence and convergence, getting more purposeful with each record.

In listening to Colors Vol. 1 and 2, it’s like I’m listening to a different band compared to Star-Crossed. I hear some punk, psych, and prog influences, and I even hear elements of Siouxsie in the vocals. In looking back to your earliest releases, can you point to some of your favorite tracks?
CHARLIE: HVG’s body of work extends back pretty far, and our latest album always serves as the tip of the sword. We’ve committed to each release with everything we have, and each reveals different facets. But it’s always Her Vanished Grace.

My favorites include State of Grace’s opener “7th Sign”, with its eastern intrigue, searing guitar and dancey, dreamy roar. There’s “Magic in The River” from Festival, with its witchy darkness and the power gaze of “Waiting” and the tribal drive of “Silver and Gold” (with its Siouxsie influence) from Soon. There’s the ethereal “Sooner Or Later” from Colors and the soaring “Early Bird” from Get Up, and the dark glow of “Alone” from Twilight. I really love lots of them, it’s hard to pick.

Of course we think that last three albums have the strongest material: “Disappear” from Blue, “Passenger” from See the Moon, and “Fade Away” from Star-Crossed are great representations of present day Her Vanished Grace.

Can you tell us about your involvement with Hush Delirium? How did you get involved, and are there plans to tour together or stage events in different cities? Did you know any of the other artists before this collective came together? Your song, “Clouds 7 (Deep Time)” seems unlike your other work.
CHARLIE: The artist Simon Welford from Hush Delirium put the word out that he was looking for tracks for the project, the aim of which was to produce a gallery exhibition of artwork inspired by music. Knowing that Mark Gardener (Ride), Aziz Ibrahim (Stone Roses), Dean Garcia (Curve), and Adam Franklin (Swervedriver) were all going to be involved got me excited. I knew that our friends A*Star, Jaq Gallier, and Chatham Rise were all contributing tracks and thought that Her Vanished Grace could add something different.

I submitted a track from a collection of pieces called Clouds. This music was from a series of improvised pieces that I recorded rehearsing for a solo set that I played before some Her Vanished Grace shows. They’re made up of spontaneous bursts of guitar, guitar synth and transistor radio spun through several looping devices without a net. “Clouds 7 (Deep Time)” grows from nothing to a cathedral of sound and then winds back down to earth. I really felt it was something special when it happened, but I didn’t know if they would like it at Hush Delirium. I thought it could make a great accompaniment to a visual experience, and apparently Simon agreed because he picked it to be included. You can hear all 12 songs from the Clouds collection here)

I don’t know if there are any plans for a Hush Delirium tour, but if they come to the East Coast and they ask me, I’d love to do an improv duet with Simon’s painting.

You folks have had a long career, and I only just heard of you this year because of When The Sun Hits. How hard has it been to get the word out about your music? Has the Internet helped?
CHARLIE: We’ve always been a little outside of the various genres of the music industry, and it’s put us on our own path from the beginning. We went the route of management, publicists, and promoters for a while in the mid 90s, but we’ve been much happier since we went DIY in 1997.

When we started trying to find our way into the hearts of music bloggers and DJs, it seemed a little daunting at first, but during the promotion of our last couple albums we found that Shoegaze and Dream Pop fans on the social networks were starting to notice us. Blogs like Obscure Sound, Drowned In Sound, and When The Sun Hits also took notice and started writing about Her Vanished Grace. We constantly get “why have I never heard of you” and “you guys should be so much bigger” so the Internet seems to be helping us find people who are ready to love our music but just haven’t heard it.

What’s it like to work with XD Records vs. a DIY approach?
CHARLIE: Well,l it was a great opportunity to meet and join forces with a lot of great artists like SPC ECO, Morpheme, Bloody Knives, Panda Riot, Lightfoils, Music For Headphones, and The Microdance. We met most of them at the XD showcase in Chicago in late 2011. Unfortunately, the label folded in January of 2012 and we never got to release anything with XD. So we happily continue with the DIY approach. We’re still great supporters of, and enjoy our friendships with all the former XD bands.

How long has the current lineup played together?
CHARLIE: We’ve been playing with Maria since 1997 and Billy joined in 2003 so this particular group has been playing together for 10 years now. We love them.

How do you approach songwriting? Is it just you and Nancy, or do the others contribute as well?
CHARLIE: Some songs are created out of improvised moments caught in rehearsals. While I’m still plugging in all my pedals, Nancy, Maria and Billy will start playing something and by the time I’m set up, I get to join in and it sounds like a song already. We take these ideas and carefully, without crowding out the great band chemistry, write verses or bridges or whatever is needed. The songs “See The Moon” or “Star-Crossed” are good examples of that.

Other times Nancy and I write songs and bring them to our mates to add their parts to. That way works great too because we know Maria and Billy so well, they end up adding just what we thought they would in songs like “Passenger” or “Car Crash”.

You’ve scored a film (The Safety of Objects). Do you think that could happen again?
CHARLIE: It was a great experience. The director Rose Troche heard some stuff that we’d done and asked us to work on the score. We ended up working on all the music in the movie, source cues, score, and even songs sung by characters. We learned so much about how to work with a big group of people; the music and film editors, the music supervisor, the producer and the director. We just got thrown into the deep end of the pool, and we learned how to deal with musical ideas expressed in visual language. I had to learn about stuff like video frame rates.

Several Her Vanished Grace songs were used in another film called Under Hellgate Bridge and I also worked on the score for the VH1 Rock Doc NY77, The Coolest Year In Hell. We’d love to do more film stuff. I think our music is very cinematic. You have to find a film maker at just the right moment for it to happen. Or they have to find you.

You brought in some guest musicians for the recording of Star-Crossed. How did that work out, and are you likely to continue that practice?
CHARLIE: We’d been contributing to our friends’ projects here and there for years so it felt like the right time to bring in some of their influence on the layers of Star-Crossed. Daniel (The Invisible Kid) Cousins and Andee Blacksugar from Black Sugar Transmission sent their parts to me and I worked them into songs like “Earth Stood Still”, “Hungry” and “Across The Universe”. LG from Dead Leaf Echo came over and conjured up parts on the spot for “Midnight Sun” and “Earth Stood Still”. It was great to have their input and I’m sure we’ll do it again in the future.

I am not sure if Catherine Wheel has informed your music education, but Charlie, you sound a bit like Rob Dickinson, especially on “Star-Crossed”. Has anyone ever mentioned this similarity to you, because I think the resemblance is there. It would be so cool if you could work with him in some fashion.
CHARLIE: I’ve always loved Catherine Wheel and it would be awesome to work with Rob.
It’s interesting, I’ve heard a number of different opinions as to who I sound like on “Star-Crossed” now. My friend John from The Stargazer Lilies said I sound like Peter Gabriel. Sometimes I think I’m channeling singers I love like Ian McCullough from Echo & The Bunnymen, or Richard Butler from The Psychedelic Furs, but on “Star-Crossed” I was feeling pretty vulnerable and I was actually just being me.

Where are you biggest pockets of fans? Have you made it over to Europe, and if so, how was the reception over there?
CHARLIE: It’s so spread out. There are HVG fans in the UK, in Italy, Sweden, India, China, Indonesia. We have a bunch of fans in Brazil and Argentina. Lots more places. Of course, here in NYC, Chicago, Texas. California, and Boston.

We’d love to play in Europe, but without some tour support it would be very difficult for us to do.

The Cocteau Twins seem like an obvious influence, especially on your later work, but what other music, art, and even literature has excited you?
CHARLIE: The Cocteau Twins was some of the first music that Nancy and realized that we had in common. We had a mutual love of Siouxsie and The Banshees, Love and Rockets, The Cure, David Bowie, Echo & The Bunnymen, and XTC and then Jane’s Addiction, My Bloody Valentine, Lush, PJ Harvey, Shudder To Think, Chavez, Flaming Lips, Blur, Radiohead, Interpol, and Arcade Fire; they’ve all inspired us in different ways. We’re total fans.

We met working at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and we’ve always surrounded ourselves with the art we love by Balthus, Klimt, De Chirico, and lots more. Our words are inspired by everyone from Shakespeare to Emily Bronte to Tom Robbins, and Richard Russo, whose chapter titles from the novel “Bridge Of Sighs” make up the lyrics to our song of the same name. I also read a lot of Jung and Joseph Campbell. The beauty of nature is very influential, especially on Nancy, who is a gardener at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

What equipment do you prefer to use to achieve your sound?
CHARLIE: Our main instruments are Nancy’s ’66 Fender Jazzmaster, my ’74 Hagstrom Swede, Maria’s 90s Jazz Bass, and Billy’s Frankenstein monster of a drum kit; they make up the basis for almost all of our recordings. We also used a lot of Danelectro Baritone guitar and our Alvarez acoustics on Star-Crossed.

For effects, I love me some old Digitech effects: the Digitech RP-10 (multi fx with a programmable expression pedal), the Digitech WH-1 Whammy, the Digitech XP-300 Space Station, the Digitech PD 8000 Echo Plus; they’re all in my rig. I also use and the Roland GR-33 Guitar Synth and the MXR Micro Amp. Nance uses the Digitech RP-70 for her effects, and we both use Marshall 900 series amps.

I like bringing in new toys for each record; recent albums included the Zvex Fuzz Factory and the Electro Harmonix pedals Memory Man and Cathedral Verb. The next recordings will feature my recently acquired Line 6 Verbzilla and Echo Park pedals.

Have the huge changes to the music industry benefited your band? What about social media, is that really effective in getting the word out?
CHARLIE: I think the changes have benefited us. Certainly the technological innovations in recording have. I engineered our first two duo records with sequencers and an 8 track, followed by a couple of very expensive records made in big studios with Steve Peck mixing. Then, starting 15 years ago with Colors, I began using Logic to record us and that has really opened things up creatively and practically. I use my studio where I produce artists like Debbie Harry to track HVG projects and then I slowly mix it all up at home. This process has resulted in a very creative period, with 7 original Her Vanished Grace albums since 2004 and more on the way.

Social media first helped HVG find allies in the MySpace days. Meeting Autumn Thieves and The Loveless Music Group led to our friendships with Dead Leaf Echo, Soundpool, and lots of other bands. We slowly got into Facebook and Twitter, and then something happened last year and a lot of new people discovered us via various Facebook groups like I Am The Programmer and The Shoegaze Collective. We’re so grateful to the fans and fellow artists who have spread the word about HVG.

It’s still really up to us to stir up interest though; we send out hundreds of emails to blogs and lots of CDs to radio stations inviting them to check out Her Vanished Grace. It’s great that we have our music at CD Baby, ITunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp ready for anyone who discovers us on the interwebs.

Video seems like a big part of the band’s legacy. Do you do it all yourself?
CHARLIE: Our first video was for the song “Trouble” from Soon in 1996, directed by Marc Klasfeld, who went on to work with Nelly and Katie Perry. We only recently got back into doing videos. We discovered B.A Miale and she did the amazing music videos for “Passenger” in 2011, and for “Car Crash” in 2012.

Meanwhile, we started making our own videos in late 2011: “Make It Lighter’” then “Across The Universe”, “Bridge Of Sighs”, “Dawning” and most recently “Fade Away”. You can see that we’re evolving. In fact, I’ve had several requests to direct other artists’ music videos, which I’m really excited about.

I think we’re discovering that video is a new art form for us. You can see them all here.

What’s happening with HVG now? Are you working on any new music, or any future dates around the US?
CHARLIE: We’re finishing up a musical collaboration with Danny Lackey, a great guitarist and co-founder of the “When The Sun Hits” shoegaze blog, who just passed away after a long battle with cancer. His project is called Deepfieldview, and it includes contributions from Anna Bouchard from Drowner, Eric Matthews from Cardinal, Joey Levenson from SPC ECO, and Nancy and I. It’s an honor to have known such a loving and talented man. I’m producing and mixing it, and when it’s done it will be on sale at Bandcamp, etc. All sales will help Danny’s wife Barbie in her recovery and help her deal with the financial hardships of his long battle with this disease.

Here’s a link to a preview of the album.

Her Vanished Grace has also been working on an ethereal acoustic EP called Ice Age, which will be released later this year. We’re really looking forward to our show in Brooklyn at The Rock Shop on February 16th with The Stargazer Lilies and SUA, and Philly Peroxide coming in from Chicago to DJ. We will also be playing with Oh Halo on March 22nd at Left Field NYC.

29 January 2013

News: The KVB Announce Upcoming New LP and Releases new video, "Shadows".

Via The KVB:
We are very pleased to announce our brand new LP 'Immaterial Visions' will be released on the 26th February via Minimal Wave sub label Cititrax. 

The record will be available on 180g ultra clear vinyl (limited to 999 copies) and digital download and will contain 8 tracks.

The new video from the first track on the LP, 'Shadows' can now be seen at: (Premiered today on Self Titled Magazine : )

Pre orders of the LP will be available from the 4th February here:

Check out The KVB's artist profile on the Minimal Wave website:

Aside from the 8 tracks featured on the Immaterial Visions LP, we’re also happy to announce that there will be a limited edition vinyl release of remixes of select tracks from the album. The release will include remixes by RegisSilent ServantIn Aeternam ValeShifted & Worn and will be available as a 12” EP. More news on this soon.

Bad Vibrations will be hosting a London release party for the album on Feb 28th at The Waiting Room. Advance tickets are available:

Keep up to date for more details on 'Immaterial Visions':

Tomorrow Night on Strangeways Radio: Special Re-airing of Protogaze show, co-djed by Danny Lackey. 10pm EST.

27 January 2013

Set List for WTSH on Strangeways Radio. Aired January 23rd, 2013.

band name/track title
SPC ECO. Let It All Down (In the Dark).
Slowdive. Altogether.
Fleeting Joys. Kiss a Girl in Black.
Dead Mellotron. Weird Dreams.
Should. This House I'm Living In.
Daybehavior. A Train for Moscow. 
Grabbel & the Final Cut. Psycho Popsong.
The Foreign Resort. Delayed.
Ride. Drive Blind.
Mark Gardener. 3rd Floor Elevation.
Chapterhouse. Mesmerise.
The Mary Onettes. The Night Before the Funeral.

Perry Pelonero & Kim Welsh of A*Star to Guest DJ WTSH February 13th.

26 January 2013

Video: Dead Leaf Echo. Kingmaker.

Kingmaker from dead leaf echo on Vimeo.
Official video for dead leaf echo's 1st single "Kingmaker" from their upcoming debut LP "Thought & Language.
Release Date: 03.05.13
Label: Neon Sigh
Directed by Patrick Ryan Morris
Edited by LG Galleon
2nd Camera by J.M. Silverman

24 January 2013

Bandcamp Track of the Day: L'Altra. Winter Loves Summer Sun.

Telepathic (Deluxe Edition) cover art
Winter Loves Summer Sun

23 January 2013

TONIGHT! WTSH on Strangeways Radio. 10pm EST/9pm CST

Bandcamp Track of the Day: Souvenir Driver. Daylight is a Movie.

Daylight is a Movie cover art 
Souvenir Driver
Daylight is a Movie


WTSH Shoegaze Spotlight on the Strangeways Radio Blog. Spotlight Feature: Engineers.

WTSH Shoegaze Spotlight 
on the Strangeways Radio Blog: 
A Weekly Gaze.

About this week's spotlight: 
Who: Engineers
What: WTSH Shoegaze Spotlight feature
Where: Strangeways Radio blog
When: every week

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.

20 January 2013

300,000: A Compilation (Volume Two) is NOW available! Download it for free...

as a FREE DOWNLOAD on Bandcamp

WTSH is so proud of both volumes of this compilation. We are honored to present these bands to you and we hope you love the shit out of this compilation - we do! Thanks so much to everyone who submitted. Once again, we could have made a volume 3, with all of the great stuff we received. So much talent out there; but there are more compilations on the horizon, and all in good time...

Keep gazing, everyone, and enjoy the tunes.

Interview: Panda Riot.

 When The Sun Hits Interviews Panda Riot 

How and when was Panda Riot formed?
Rebecca: We (Brian and Rebecca) first formed the band in Philadelphia.  We were making a short film and made the soundtrack for it.  We realized that we really liked the music that we were making so we started the band.  

Brian: Panda Riot came about kind of by accident. Rebecca and I were working on a short film and when it was complete we realized we'd needed a soundtrack for it so we just made a bunch of little pieces of music. People seemed to really like the soundtrack afterwards and from there we started writing some Panda Riot songs. Later we added Justin on Bass and Jose on Drums.

Jose: I joined Panda Riot as an Aux Percussionist in the fall of 2011. 

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 new record coming out February 19th called Northern Automatic Music. It’ll be out on Saint Marie Records in the US/UK, Vinyl Junkie in Japan and White Wabbit in Twain. Locally, a label called Notes and Bolts is putting out a limited edition single Flexi for one of the tracks off the album called Amanda in the Clouds as well.  I don’t think we’ve ever worked so hard on a record as we did with this one and it feels good to know people from all over are going to hear it.

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?

Brian: Even though we have certain  shoegaze elements we are more into other things influencing us than shoegaze bands. Rebecca’s voice for instance would sound really dreamy no matter what kind of band she was in. Its just that in Panda Riot we really push that idea.

Rebecca: When we make songs, there is a shoegaze element, but we all have really diverse influences, everything from classical music to hip hop.  When we write, we don’t think about genre, we just write what we think feels and sounds good.
What is the most important piece of gear for your sound? Any particular guitars/pedals/amps that you prefer?

Brian: I mainly use these discontinued MagicStomp pedals.  They are really flexible effects processors.   It gives you a basic starting point, but you can edit a ton of parameters on a computer. In that way, it gives you the freedom to really experiment and shape the sounds you want. My main guitar is a 1960's Harmony Silhouette. In the 60's these would be the kind of guitars you would find in a department store. It's kinda like a variation  of a Jazzmaster although the pickups on the guitar are really unique and have a saturated type of midrange sound. I also starting building guitar pedals for certain songs on this record, as well. For amps, we mainly use a Vox AC-15 and weird old Fender Twin that’s just the head part of it run through other speakers.

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

Brian: Our last record, the Far and Near EP was kind of our sparkle-y daytime record.

We wanted this album to be more of a nighttime record with a darker feel.  I was more focused on texture and melody this time. We tried to approach every song from a fresh perspective and not assume that there was a “standard,” way of doing things. There was no start and finish to most songs in a linear fashion. We would write new parts, record, and mix all at the same time, adding, rearranging or re-recording things as we went along. If we heard something interesting while mixing or had a new idea about a new section of a song we would completely change direction and try to incorporate it.

This meant recording multiple versions of songs to look at them from different angles, trying strange mic placements while recording and mixing instruments in different ways. The songs were constantly evolving throughout the process. The original demos to most of these songs don’t even remotely resemble the finished versions. Some weren’t even ever demo’d, but made up bit by bit and composed while mixing.

As far as recording software, we use Logic Pro 9. In the end the software doesn’t matter though it how you use it that matters.

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 all super exciting. The internet is such a great asset to musicians and fans. You have sites like soundcloud and bandcamp to get your music heard and tons of blogs that are eager to listen to it. Its all subverting the idea that you have to rely on traditional mediums like print magazine and MTV. The same is true for recording as well. The idea that someone can make an album with a laptop and radioshack mic and that you can just put it out there feels so liberating. 

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

We’ve done both and it all depends on a lot of things. A label is nice when you both see eye to eye on things and they support what you are doing or want to do.  Then it works as a way to push things forward faster.

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

Brian: Vinyl is probably our favorite but we have no problem with CDs. Both Vinyl and Cassettes are kind of cool because you are more likely to listen to a whole side A instead of skipping around. Even though I prefer not to listen to mp3’s you can’t argue with how accessible they are and that matters alot.  Aside from the format wars type of thing, I think what matters more is what people are listening to things on. Laptop speakers? $12 earbuds? Some nice monitors? I think that affects the musical experience way more than format. Sometimes I wonder if I like the idea of vinyl because people are more likely to play a record through speakers as opposed to earbuds.  I think the whole thing is like the difference between looking at a painting in a magazine to seeing it at a museum. You really feel the physical aspect of a recording from playing on good speakers really loud.

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

Brian: I was really into Joan Mitchell (the painter not the folk singer) for some of the songs. She does these really abstract yet totally emotional paintings. I generally like taking cues from things other than music when writing and recording. I hardly listen to any other music at all when writing or mixing. The film maker Jordan Belson was also in mind when writing some of this. Again he's working in a completely abstract framework yet somehow making it emotional.  I liked this idea of working with abstraction and wanted to try to take something like that and fit it into the context of a pop song.  It was important to us not to have anything extra in the song. To try to say everything the song needs to say but in the framework of 3-4 minutes.

Rebecca: I study philosophy and I am influenced to a certain extent by the philosophers I study who describe human beings in terms of incompleteness and desire.  Plato’s Symposium, for example, is all about the tragic situation of being human in which we know that we can work to be better than we are but we also know that we will never be completely satisfied.  We are in touch with something higher than us that we can never quite grasp.  I think that the beauty and tragedy of the human situation reflects the emotion in a lot of the songs.

Jose: I was influenced a lot by Brian Wilson's usage of the "Wall of Sounds" concept.

Can you tell us a little about the band’s song writing process?
Brian: I usually come up with the guitar and drum machine parts for a song. We might run through that basic idea in practice to see if it makes us think about any different things we'd like to add, subtract or change.  After that I'll record about 10 minutes of Jose improvising drum parts while playing with the drum machine. Afterward we'll listen back to that and choose sections that we like and sometimes chop up the drum parts to make brand new parts. In a way, a lot of the live drums are actually sampled and recombined versions of live playing. Once we have the guitar, drum machine and real drum parts down we'll record Rebecca singing to the track a bunch of times. Sometimes a vocal melody will be fully formed right off the bat. Other times, we may record a lot of vocal tracks, listen back, grab the best parts and recombine to form new melodies. After that we'll add a bass part which usually either composed by myself, Rebecca or Cory.

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

Rebecca: The essence of human reality is to be at one's core in relation to the Other to whom I am inevitably and infinitely responsible.  In other words, ethics precedes ontology. Levinas 4 LYFE.

Preston Maddox of Bloody Knives Lists His Top 2's of 2012.

Preston Maddox of Bloody Knives:
TOP 2's of 2012

My lists are things I found out about in 2012. I tried to make it about things that actually happened in 2012, but it may not have happened in 2012. My list, my rulz. Don't be a h8r.


1. Mumford and Sons: "I Will Wait"

Rootsta-farians with fake ass bullshit Celtic accents faking the folk. Dude gets a banjo and adopts a road weary persona like he just lived through the Irish potato famine. Band name sounds like the name of a Mormon bakery. These guys are so full of shit they might as well call themselves the Colostomy Bags.  

2. Bon Iver: "Calgary"

This guy told the media he camped out in the woods and found his hippie spirit or some dumb shit like that. That was the secret to the success of his record, that he drew artistic power from Mother Nature herself, that the muse of nature spoke to him and through him.

Did his hippie spirit tell him how to use electronic synthesizers and sound like Phil Collins??

He must have heard the spirits of Phil Collins and Peter Gabriel whispering in the winds. That is the only way he could have rediscovered dramatic 80's arena-pop through the whistling of the wind, the rustling of the leaves, the trickle of water through the stream, the essence of nature that is embodied in synthetic keyboard music.


1. No Retreat No Surrender

This is a classic piece of cinema history. This is also Jean Claude Van Damme's first movie.

In short, Rocky 3 + The Karate Kid + Bruceploitation = NO RETREAT NO SURRENDER. 

My favorite scene in the movie is when the young student has a fight with his Dad and runs off to an abandoned house. Out of the darkness comes a glowing light and the spirit of none other than Bruce Lee himself shows up to teach him how to beat the shit out of former ballerina Jean Claude Van Damme.

I want to wander out to an abandoned house and hope the spirit of Cliff Burton will show up and teach me how to be a bass master.  

2. Possession

This is a horror film from 1981 about a couple's disintegrating relationship. It is one surreal "what the fuck?" moment after another until the end, which both provides both a sense of closure and a lingering impression that keeps the movie with you long after the initial viewing.


1. Trust || TRST

This record rulz.   

2. Crystal Castles. || III

This sounds like a "mature" record for them, and by mature I mean better from experience like a touring band, not lame and old like U2. Some of their fans whined about this while simultaneously praising it, a clear indicator of how good it is.


1. Ultra-Serious Hipster Singer Dudes in Red Pants.

Are these your sexxxy-pants? Is red your power-color? Put those sassy-pants on!! U GO GURLFRIEND!!!!

2. Bands spelling their names in complicated ways.

You hipster dickhead fucks.

*][]#^$&^$}}{}{}{}W{{$ isn't a fucking band name.

Seriously. This isn't Nam Walter, there are rules.


Austin and Brooklyn are going to run out of bowler hats if they keep recruiting hippies to pick up the washboard and join the band.

These "HEY" choruses are getting out of control. I think we may need to quarantine hippies. I've been hoping for an excuse.

First: The Lumineers:

Of Monsters and Men:
Of course we could always attack the root of the disease, as this actually started with Arcade Fire a few short years back.

It almost sounds like they all sampled the same "HEY" and traded it amongst themselves...


Ke$ha "Die Young"

There is more Illuminati imagery in this video than in a David Icke novel.

THE PLOT: A goth-religious ceremony in a ghost town is followed by satanic rituals which develop into an orgy interrupted by a shoot-out.

Whoever thought that up needs to direct my bands videos.