Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Show Review - Flotation Walls - Garfield Artworks - Pittsburgh - 1/23/10 - Concert Review

Very good show this past Saturday at Garfield Artworks. Flotation Walls played a fun, entertaining set (albeit a little short). Things got started a little later than what was scheduled with a couple of bands performing before FW.

"Willis the Fireman"

If you have ever been to Garfield Artworks you know that at times it's very difficult to get anyone to crowd the stage, especially when the audience doesn't know the band too well. As usual this was the case this evening with the first band on the bill trying to coax people near the stage and then throwing a little vocal jab when they didn't comply. When FA came to the stage, lead Carlos AvendaƱo possessed the persona and wit to get everyone up close (including the parents from the previous bands). There is definitely an art to this and Carlos really has it down. I wish other bands would take notes on how this can be done.


The band brought a 5 piece this evening capturing a great deal of their sound from the lp Nature. Carlos is definitely a showman keeping the crowd entertained while chatting them up between songs. The crowd appreciated this responding positively after each song. The band sounded tight and performed with a great deal of enthusiasm; you could really tell they enjoy playing. The only downside for me was they had to end their set short due to time constraints. I was a little disappointed, but really enjoyed what they did play.

"Sperm & Eggs"

Flotation Walls are definitely an 'underground' band you should checkout if you enjoy 'art-pop, rock'. If they come back through be sure to catch them live. They really do put on a fun show.

Infected Mushroom - Tickets Winner

Congratulations to Stephanie N. who won a pair of tickets to see Infected Mushroom Thursday night at Diesel. Thank you to all those who entered.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Reminder - Infected Mushroom - Diesel - 1/28/10

Just a reminder that Infected Mushroom will be playing Diesel this Thursday, 1/28 at 8p. Also, I am still giving away a pair of tickets to the show, all you have to do is email with your name by tomorrow. Please see my previous show preview here and here.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Reminder - Flotation Walls - Garfield Artworks - Saturday, 1/23/10

Just a reminder that Flotation Walls will be playing tomorrow night at Garfield Artworks. Show begins at 6p and FW should go on around 7:15p. Please check out a show preview here plus an interview with the band. Below is another track off their album Nature.

"Frozen Lake"

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ticket Giveaway - Infected Mushroom - Diesel - 1/28/10

Just a reminder that I am giving away a pair of tickets to see Infected Mushroom at Diesel on 1/28/10. All you have to do is email me with your name. All entries must be received by 1/26/10. Below is a video of them in concert. Not your typical dj's.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Interview - Flotation Walls - 1/23/10 - Garfield Artworks

This Saturday Flotation Walls will be playing at Garfield Artworks. Carlos AvendaƱo (lead) was kind enough to give us an interview. Please see a preview of the show here or below.

What is the story behind the album’s cover art? It’s interesting to say the least.

When I visited Guatemala with my Father in 2001, we went on a boat on a volcanic lake that went through twin volcanoes. It was surreal enough by itself, but the reproductive elements were mixed in because the record at it‘s heart is about human nature, and sex is one of the more tangible examples. The woman breastfeeding twins on the cover is meant to represent the juxtaposition of something alluring with something you can never quite have or are not sure you want. I hope the overall sense of the cover is something ominous but appealing, maybe akin to Friedrich’s painting The Wreck of the Hope.

I read that you have been creating this album for over a decade. Is that a true assessment or are you that much of a perfectionist?

The record was not in the works for over a decade. The band was around and active with different lineups in spurts since 1996. This is the truth once and for all. The song Worms was recorded in 2003. The actual recording stage began in 2005. The reason the record took so long to make was a combination of factors, the band I started the project with dissolved, I had incapacitating health problems, a lack of confidence in the material, and a really strange situation arose between myself and another part of the creative team. Also, I’m probably a perfectionist. Luke from the band really helped a ton in the last 25% of the record making. He kicked my ass and streamlined things.

You all are from the Columbus, OH area. Have you all resided there a majority of your life or stuck around after college? How is the Columbus area music scene? Supportive?

Ryan’s from Toronto, but we’ve all been in Ohio at least for most of our lives.
There are a lot of Columbus equivalents to national acts and then there are a handful of bands who really stick their necks out and aren’t afraid to do something that might not be well received by a scene of around 700 people or so. I suppose it’s a microcosm of American music in general that way. People are really supportive of us, and I think it’s more of an exception to the rule. It’s mostly a rock and roll beer time town. A band like The Smiths or Air could never have been nurtured in a scene like the one in Columbus in the last 15 years. I have hope that the tide is changing in Columbus though.

Is there a theme behind your new album? Or are these songs that shouldn’t be grouped together?

There are multiple themes to the record. Family, sex, death, dependency, spirituality, depersonalization. In this age of fragmentation and exaltation of the amateur, I think it’s sort of artistically irresponsible to put out a record that isn’t a substantial, conceptual work.

Has the current state of the economy affected any plans you had for your band from travel or recording? To marketing?

Because of both the economy and state of the music industry we went the completely DIY approach with this record. It’s not ideal, but it’s an avenue that’s allowed us to tour since June and even have some profit. Our exposure probably would be greater with financial backing, but we decided to opt out of the lottery mentality of waiting for a record label to save us from loads of hard work, at least for this record.

Is this your first national tour? Have you been to Pittsburgh before?

It’s the first national tour with this lineup and with a full length record. We’ve played in Pittsburgh at Howler’s three times on this tour. It’s a cool city. Unfortunately we haven’t really been able to go sightseeing there.

I read that you recently quit your jobs in order to promote the album and tour. How has the experience been so far?

Flotation Walls has been our full-time job for 7 months. It’s been good. We don’t make enough to live the life of Riley, but we’ve had some really fun times. Some of us like the road more than others, so I’m not sure how long it will last. Flotation Walls will continue to be a band for a long time, I just don’t know if we will be able to keep touring full-time.

Is there a story behind “Willis the Fireman” Last night I/I thought I saw/God’s face in a cloud of smoke?

It’s about someone who has sort of a simple existence and is confronted with something extraordinary or sublime. I suppose it’s about suburban life vs. dreams in a way.

Does “The Sky Ejaculates” have any relation to the cover art? Also, could expound on the meaning behind the song with lyrics: Although I hate my face/ Although I take up space/The sky ejaculates

I guess the sperm on the cover is a nod to that song in a small way. That particular line is an utterance of confusion and destruction towards loss of control or external situations in the midst of deep depression.

How does the songwriting work within the band? Also, do you all have a part in the composition?

I wrote the songs and many of the arrangements. Some songs were embellished more by other members, Body being a particular example where the arrangement was completely overhauled by Luke and Ryan. The next Flotation Walls record will be a more collaborative effort, hopefully with only one creative team.

Have you had a favorite place/venue to play since being on the road?

I really like playing Kalamazoo, Michigan. The people there are really kind and seem to be really receptive to what we’re doing.

Since this is your debut album and it took over a decade to make, I imagine you have enough material for a new album. Will you be recording it anytime soon?

There are tons of bits and pieces and some entire songs, but we haven’t had much time to work on new material since we’ve been touring so much. I definitely have trouble writing on the road, or even being in the mentality that we are going to be on the road indefinitely. I think we’ll be getting some ideas together in February and maybe road testing new things some short time after that, but as far as when another record will be out, I can’t say. I can say with certainty that the next Flotation Walls record will be very different from NATURE.

Anything you would like to say to Pittsburgh?

Thank you for Stephen Foster.

Show Announcement - Flotation Walls - Garfield Artworks - 1/23/10 - Show Preview

Flotation Walls will be appearing next Saturday, 1/23/10 at Garfield Artworks. It's an early show beginning at 6p. The band is a 4 piece based out of Columbus, OH. They have been touring non stop the last 7 months on their debut album entitled Nature. They play a brand of experimental art-pop, rock using multiple instruments and strings to create their compositions.

"Willis the Fireman"

The band has gone through many incarnations with Carlos Avendano (lead) beginning the endeavor back in 1996. Over 13 years later, the first album was produced. It's an album that is pretty good on first listen, but after multiple plays the payoff really materializes. "Willis the Fireman" is one of the standout tracks. It begins with calming vocals, a plucking guitar and minimal drums before doing a 180. The rest of the song plays with bursting drums, driving vocals and a banging percussion section with lyrics: Last night I/I thought I saw/God’s face in a cloud of smoke. Definitely one of the songs that catches listener's attention.


"Worms" begins with a similar feel to 'Willis' but becomes much more dynamic changing the flow throughout the track. It keeps a rhythmic pace with low key vocals and horns blended over choir voices towards the end. "The Sky Ejaculates" provides the most interesting lyrical content: Although I hate my face/ Although I take up space/The sky ejaculates. The song begins with a soft piano and vocals for a minute and a half before taking it up a notch with strings and quicker pace. The aforementioned lyrics provide the context to the end of the track with thwarted vocals screeching the last verse.

"The Sky Ejaculates"

Flotation Walls provide a very interesting and enjoyable experience to their debut album Nature. For those who enjoy experimental art-pop sound they are definitely something to checkout next Saturday. Listen to the tracks posted and if you like be sure to come out to Garfield Artworks. It's an early show beginning at 6 and Flotation Walls should be playing at 7p. I will post an interview with them later this week.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Show Announcement - Infected Mushroom - Ticket Giveaway - Diesel - 1/28/10

Infected Mushroom will be playing Diesel on 1/28/10. This is a bit different for Pittsburgh as we rarely get any well known DJ/electronica acts that come through town. Infected Mushroom is a duo that is based out of Los Angeles but originally were born and grew up in Israel. They have been producing albums since 1999 and just recently came out with their seventh lp entitled Legend of the Black Shawarma.

The duo create a fusion of psytrance, funk, progressive grooves and samples into their signature sound. Singer Amit “Duvdev” Duvedevani and keyboardist Erez Eisen set themselves apart in a live setting incorporating a drummer and guitarist to tour with them. Instead of a typical DJ set with someone wearing a pair of headphones and turntables, Infected Mushroom bring the band along giving the concert goer something to watch and interact with.

Their last album, Legend of the Black Shawarma, incorporate two guests vocals from Korn's Johnathan Davis and Perry Farrell. "Smashing the Opponent" is the lead single with Johnathan Davis singing over a trance, upbeat, dark melody. Farrell lends his voice to "Killing Time", another standout track from the lp. The music on the album pushes the bounds beyond accelerating tempos and beats that is standard in electronic music. The duo utilizes varying sounds and effects to create compositions that twist and turn from how they began. The album contains upbeat melodies making it a danceable record, but definitely not in the pop sense.

Again, Infected Mushroom will be playing at Diesel on Thursday, 1/28/10 at 8p. I am giving away a pair of tickets to the show. As usual, all you need to do is email me your name.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jay Reatard - Dead at 29 - RIP

According to the New York Times, Goner records has confirmed that 29-year-old Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr. — who went by the stage name Jay Reatard — was found dead at his home at 3:30 this morning. "It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our good friend Jay Reatard. Jay died in his sleep last night. We will pass along information about funeral arrangements when they are made public," the statement reads. Matador records, meanwhile, has released its own statement: "Jay was as full of life as anyone we've ever met, and responsible for so many memorable moments as a person and artist. We’re honored to have known and worked with him, and we will miss him terribly."

Reatard has been recording and releasing music — either solo or as a member of various bands — since 1998. More details on his death are forthcoming. Meanwhile, check out Alex Hammond and Ian Markiewicz's documentary on Reatard, Waiting For Something (above).

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Wilco Tickets - 4/11/10 - Carnegie Hall

I attempted to purchase tickets to see Wilco at Carnegie Hall in Oakland at 10a this morning. I went through ticketmaster and hit enter for a pair. Nothing. Literally Wilco must have sold this show out in a matter of minutes. I realize there was a couple of presale events, but still to sellout in a matter of minutes in Pittsburgh? I am impressed. I have seen them twice here, once at the Palumbo Center and another at St. Vincent College. They put on a decent live show. Plus, in my humble opinion, this is one of the best venues in the city. Should be a good time.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Show Announcement - Miles Kurosky - Former Beulah Frontman - Brillobox - 3/29/10

A while back I had a post about Miles Kurosky (of Beulah fame) coming out with his first solo album. Well, that has been confirmed with the release date set for 3/9/10 and the album entitled The Desert of Shallow Effects. The best part for me is he is making an appearance at the Brillobox on 3/29/10.

As mentioned before I was a huge fan of Beulah back in the day. When Your Heartstrings Break was one of my favorite albums in the late 90's. He is signed to Major Domo Records (an imprint of Shout!Factory) which includes a roster of The Airborne Toxic Event, Earlimart and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. I know he has family from the Pgh area so he should be well represented here. Definitely will be attending this.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More End of Year Lists - Buddyhead

I just was reading Buddyhead and they agreed with one of my top albums of the year AA Bondy. Here is what they said:

AA Bondy – “When The Devil’s Loose”

This dude is better at the whole “just me and a guitar” thing than anybody else right now, HANDS DOWN! AA Bondy runs circles around pretty much everyone in the song writing department plus the dude has a black belt in fingerpicking and playing harmonica. In fact, he sounds best when it’s just him, his guitar + a harmonica. That’s why it was kind of a bummer he recorded this second album with a full band. It’s still a great record full of great songs though – duh we put it on the Best Records Of The Year list – but we can’t help but think they would have sounded better if they were recorded in the same vein as his sparse and stripped down debut, “American Hearts”. At least he hasn’t gotten into world music yet.

Bonus trivia: This dude doesn’t like how much waste hotels create so he sleeps in his car on tour. How fucking weird and rad is that?

Also, I got a kick out of one that I have seen on many list for their worst of the year:

Animal Collective – “Merriweather Post Pavilion”

Lazy music journalists tried to act like these nerds armed with bongos and delay pedals were the second coming of The Beatles or some shit. Everyone from Mojo to Rolling Stone to Pitchdork seemed to have these fruitcakes somewhere in their top five records for 2009. These dudes couldn’t write a song if their lives depended on it, they are to songwriting what “Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” is to cinema.