Monday, April 07, 2008

Superdrag Interview

I brought in Brendan for this one. In advance of their upcoming NYC gig with Nada Surf @ Terminal 5 this Fri April 11, which I am very excited for, Brendan sent some questions over to John of Superdrag. Here's the Q&A:

Q. Superdrag fans were surprised and delighted last Fall when we learned that the original line up was reforming to play some shows. With more dates planned and a new album on the way, many are curious how this reunion came about. What made now feel like the right thing at the right time?

J: For one thing, I think alot of the music on my last record (ARIGATO!) and alot of what I had written in the meantime just sounded like Superdrag music. I guess between the four of us we just had means, motive and opportunity to do it and everybody was down for it.

Q. Speaking of the new album, a recent blurb in Nashville Scene described the atmosphere in the studio as "closer to a backyard game of horseshoes than an album session." Talk a little bit about that. How is the feel in the studio different this time around compared to past experiences making a Superdrag album?

J: Ha. Yeah, that was funny. Horseshoes. It's been interesting because we've been concentrating our times to work into very short, very focused blasts of activity where everybody just shows up well-prepared to do what they're going to do with absolutely no screwing around. Like, shooting for maximum effectiveness at all times because we're trying to track 3 or 4 songs top-to-bottom in 2 days or whatever. Sort of the opposite of how we approached a record like "Head Trip In Every Key", for instance. So it's probably some of the most focused work we've ever done, but because there are absolutely no external pressures and no obligations to anyone except ourselves and the people who'll want to hear this record, it's also been about the most at-ease we've ever been on any of the albums.

Q. Whenever I mention that one of my favorite bands is from Nashville people assume it must be a Country group. There's probably a pretty widely held misconception that Nashville doesn't rock. You guys have worked to dispel that myth. So does Nashville, in fact, rock? Is there a thriving club scene there?

J: Oh, definitely. There are plenty of clubs, plenty of bands, plenty of committed people trying to get it happening for themselves. And a great deal of diversity musically.

Q. I've read a lot of interviews in which musicians confess to never listening to their own records after they've been released. Often times they get burned out on their songs having heard them zillions of times during the writing, recording, and mixing phase of the process. How 'bout you? Do you ever find yourself sitting back and listening to Head Trip in Every Key or Last Call for Vitriol? Is it hard to listen to your songs without second guessing certain aspects of the finished product?

J: Hmm. No, I haven't heard either one of those records in a long while. I listened to Regretfully Yours before we started rehearsing for last year's shows, and I hated it less than I remembered. I have always sort of held a grudge against that album; not the songs, but my performance on it. And the way it was mixed. I'm not a big second-guesser; we're pretty deliberate nowadays.

Q. This one's for John specifically. John, how have you found the song writing process to be different as a solo artist than it is when you're creating music with Superdrag, particularly this time around?

J: I wouldn't say it's any different.

Q. This is kind of a goofy one. I was once asked, "If you could wake up to one song, every morning for an entire year, what would it be?" My answer was True Believer by Superdrag. 'Seems only appropriate that I pose this question to you now. Imagine it: every morning for 365 straight days, instead of an annoying alarm clock, you're coaxed out of bed by one song. What would it be?

J: John Coltrane, "A Love Supreme: Part 1: Acknowledgement." That would do nicely. Or "Better Git It In Your Soul" by Charles Mingus.

Q. A couple videos were posted on your webpage recently of the studio work you've been doing at Lake Fever, in which we see John playing bass and Tom singing and playing guitar. Is that sort of thing typical during a Superdrag recording?

J: No, that'll be a first on this album. I played some of the bass on In The Valley Of Dying Stars, and of course Sam Powers contributed songs to the last proper album, but this will be the first time Tom, Brandon and Don have all three taken part in the songwriting. We haven't really been collaborating thusfar, but everybody's bringing good material in. I love "Cheap Poltergeists."

Q. On a recent road trip my buddy Scott commented about how much he could hear the influence of Teenage Fanclub in Superdrag's Pine Away. From which bands would you say Superdrag has drawn their greatest influence?

J: Sebadoh. Dinosaur Jr. Definitely Teenage Fanclub. My Bloody Valentine. The Beatles. Hüsker Dü.

Q. No one wants to be the guy to ask the standard, boring "What can we expect on the new album" question. But, um, what can we expect on the new album? Are there any particular themes, sounds, or styles you've collectively tried to steer the music toward?

J: We just want to make a complete musical statement---something that's completely honest. I feel if there is such thing as a "signature" Superdrag album, now would probably be a good time to make it.

Good stuff. Much thanx to John, Brendan, and Jeffery. If you guys enjoyed this, I'll set up some more of these.

FYI - Brendan is currently in Charlie Watts Riot and was/is(?) a member of The Wait along with frequent contributor Scott.

Lollapalooza '08

Windy City, here I come.

I was tempted last year, but this year is just overwhelming. Radiohead/The Cure (and Pixies/Flaming Lips) took me cross-country in '04. Lolla will take me 1/2 cross-country in '08. Here's the lineup, with acts I'm especially excited about highlighted:

Radiohead, Rage Against the Machine, Nine Inch Nails, Kanye West, Wilco, The Raconteurs, Louis XIV, Love and Rockets, Gnarls Barkley, Bloc Party, The Black Keys, Broken Social Scene, Lupe Fiasco, Flogging Molly, Mark Ronson, Cat Power, The National, G. Love & Special Sauce, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Explosions in the Sky, Brand New, Gogol Bordello, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Dierks Bentley, Okkervil River, Amadou & Mariam, Blues Traveler, John Butler Trio, Girl Talk, Your Vegas, CSS, Eli “Paperboy” Reed & the True Loves, Battles, Steel Train, Jamie Lidell, Bang Camaro, Butch Walker, The Blakes, Mates of State, Tally Hall, Spank Rock, White Lies, Brazilian Girls, Magic Wands, Chromeo, Electric Touch, Duffy, Innerpartysystem, The Kills, The Postelles, Rogue Wave, The Parlor Mob, The Go! Team, Bald Eagle, Mason Jennings, Krista, The Gutter Twins, Ha Ha Tonka, Yeasayer, Witchcraft, Grizzly Bear, We Go To 11, MGMT, Sofia Talvik, The Weakerthans, Booka Shade, Santogold, Black Kids, Black Lips, Dr. Dog, Nicole Atkins & the Sea, The Ting Tings, Kid Sister, Office, The Cool Kids, What Made Milwaukee Famous, Does It Offend You, Yeah?, The Whigs, Manchester Orchestra, Foals, Uffie, The Octopus Project, Cadence Weapon, Ferras, De Novo Dahl, Noah and the Whale, Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s, K’NAAN, Serena Ryder, Newton Faulkner

In addition to these, there will of course be more acts added, and afterparties. I'm excited to just hangout in Chicago for an extended weekend. I hope I can fit in a little sight-seeing while I'm there. I also hope that BSS IS BSS and not BSS and so.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Toadies????

Here's another quick one.

The Toadies??? At Bowery??? Seriously???

I wonder how long ago their last show was? I want to go to this just to hear one song.


Which is, as I have well documented, my all-time favorite stalker song. Nothing else comes close.

I could post an mp3, but too lazy. It's at their Myspace.

They look old in this picture from Bowery's website, but in an awesome way.

Speaking of AWESOME. The ending to HIMYM this week. Recanize.

Edit - so their most recent shows were in 2006. Short reunion tour of Texas. I guess a better question is when was their last NYC show?

Tyler video:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What's this?

Posts two days in a row? Madness...

This one is a quickie. Can't think of a better way to describe them. Maybe discorific?... new songs just posted over at Architecture in Helsinki's Myspace. Definitely jump started my hump day. Like It or Not is way, way too tasty. When are these guys coming back to NY?

Vote for Mussels or The Antlers for band of the month over at Deli Mag. Sophie's choice.

And you've all listened to Mussels WOXY lounge act already, right? Of course you have. But I'm going to post the mp3 anyway.

Performed March 20, 2008

Almost a full year after they self released their debut album "Little Voices", we caught up with this Brooklyn band on their way home from SXSW.

While they don't have any finalized plans to start recording a new album just yet, they did squeeze one brand new tune into their Lounge Act session.

Track Listing:
Little Voices
It's Coming Down
When Did You Start Killing Me (new/unreleased)
- interview -
Cannon On A Clothesline
Thank You, Goodnight

Download MP3 (25:37)

Still waiting for that Finest Dearest lounge act AND BROOKLYN SHOW. Cursive lounge act should be a good one too. Schedule:

4/3 Throw Me The Statue 11:00am
4/4 Glenn Kotche 12:00pm
4/4 These United States 2:00pm
4/8 The Photographic 4:00pm
4/9 Cursive 1:00pm
4/28 Finest Dearest 1:00pm
4/29 Velella Velella 3:30pm
4/30 The Little Ones 4:00pm
5/2 Peter Adams 4:00pm
5/22 DeVotchKa 2:00pm

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

No. This is not an April Fools trick.

I'm actually posting.


This one is no longer going down at Market Hotel. Bummer. I was kind of looking forward to catching a show there for the first time. Here are the detail on the new locale:

"The show is no longer at the Market Hotel, instead, it’s been moved to a loft space at 132 W. 3rd St. 2nd Fl. - corner of 6th Ave (RIGHT NEXT TO THE MICKEY D’S). Everything else still stays the same - doors at 8pm, $7 bucks."

I feel like I have been to that space before. Maybe for a Fixed party. Hmmmm...

So I expect to see all of your shining, happy faces at this tomorrow:

And then I also better see you all at Union Hall on Sat night for this incredible lineup and especially to welcome home mi amores The Lisps. Can't find a flyer for that one yet. I'm sure one will turn up in the next few days.

Fuckin A. Opening Day(Night) is here. Rod already got a big RBI. Wang looks shakey, but it's early. Was weird seeing Torre in a Dodgers uniform yesterday, but not so weird seeing Girardi announced as manager today. I keep waiting for stupid YES to show some good camera shots of the new stadium, but they are showing people getting on and off the sub and the courthouse instead. Gah.

The show last night @ Pianos was definitely as good as BV has been hyping it today. And Bryan's pics do rock. Bell broke my heart with that videotape/eraser cover. Have to catch her again very soon. The new Takka Takka were excellent. Big things in store for those guys. First time seeing John Vanderslice and St. Vincent (sort of, does last night count?). I pretty much was made a fan after the very first song.

Update - Wow. Melky is putting on a show out in center.

Some recent quality Mypace discoveries:

The Silver State
Hearts & Numbers
Klak Tik (reminds me of The Antlers)

I received a very nice little surprise yesterday. The new Annuals/Sunfold split EP. Annuals are sounding Cloud Cultier than ever (I mean that in a good way, not in a ripoff way). I haven't been paying enough attention to other blogs recently, so not sure how common knowledge this is, but if you don't know about Sunfold, they are just Annuals alter ego. All the same members, different lead singer and much different sound. I can't decide which I like more. Have they ever played out as Sunfold? In NYC? I hope they do, and soon.

And finally.... I can't even begin to explain how obsessed I am with the new The Secret Life of Sofia songs that have been slowly trickling onto their Myspace. I CAN NOT wait to get my hands on the new album.

Rehab. Tomorrow. Seriously. Be there.