Monday, December 13, 2010
Thursday, September 2, 2010
"The day I give in to a “promo guy” is the day this label is OVER. I’m kind of venting because I’m really tired of people who don’t know what this label is about, hitting me up like they are huge supporters and have the whole catalog blah blah but really just trying to make money off of MY FRIENDS - aka the artists I release. Not happening. This is a personal label- I do everything myself and everyone who’s ever supported me knows this firsthand. Guys in Beverly Hills with management companies obviously don’t know this.
In other news, my split CD with Cloud Nothings and re-issues of 4 sold out releases are going to be available in a few days. I’m really excited about all of them, they’ll be out just before I leave for tour and you can get all 5 of them shipped straight to your house for only $22 because I don’t have to kick back stupid fees to promoters or booking agents or managers or anyone in “the music biz.” Cheaper at the shows.
Thanks to everyone who has ever ordered a CD/tape, came to a show and said hi, emailed me saying you liked the music, or helped make me feel like I should keep doing this my own way instead of just throwing stupid money to a bunch of guys who don’t care about the music my friends and I make, who say “we can do the work for you” to every independent label they can google.
To the guys who took the bait: have fun selling $9 7”s."
For more on Kevin and his label Bridgetown, check out his Tumblr
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
I was first introduced to Dan Plaza's music by my friend Wilton, of Not the Government, via a video post on facebook. It was a song from his performance on KXLU's Demolisten. I was instantly hooked by his positive energy and his uplifting lyrics. I a world of cynics, downers, and people who are just plain angry with something, it's refreshing to hear music that gives you a sense of hope and gives you something to believe in. Check out his site and download some his album.
Dan Plaza's official site
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Big Lizard, Tony Duran on Vocals, Sal Novoa; guitar, James Gastelum plays bass, and Eli Carter is on the drums, are a relatively new band here. I'm not big on hype. I like what I like regardless of expectation. So why else should I do an interview with a band that I'm not super hyped on. Passion. The same passion that my co-worker at Trader Joe's saw in my old band, I see in them. They're young and still have a long way to go but I appreciate them for their heart and I see a lot of potential. I find it important to interview them to hopefully have them be an example of what it means to not only have passion but to also play with passion. They're an example of being your own movement rather than being part of a movement.
AC - I want to start off by saying when I first heard about you guys, I was pretty skeptical. I'm a skeptic in general. So when I first heard you guys, I was pretty excited to see you live. I'm not here to blow up your ego. This isn't some puff piece. I view you guys and NASA Cat, this new crop of bands, as some of the most exciting live bands to come out of the desert in some time.
SN - Thank you so much!
AC - The thing is there's passion and there's playing with passion and you guys have both. With the little hype that you guys have received, albeit mostly word of mouth, how do you feel about this new found attention?
SN - Well, I don't know about the rest of these guys but the more hype we receive, the more humble it makes me. If you let the hype get to you, you tend to lose the passion you once had.
AC - That's interesting, it sounds like you take it in stride. It's kind of not the answer I was expecting. I was kind of expecting the normal "I don't believe the hype" answer. You sound like you accept that it's there but you don't let it change your mindset.
EC - I think that people's enthusiasm for the music is always welcome. It's really neat to see people have a response to this but that's not gonna effect what we do as a band. Definitely it gets people motivated behind the music. It's always nice. It's encouraging. At least people are receiving what we're doing.
SN - It's always cool to play shows and see people sing our lyrics. I'd have to say that's probably my favorite part; seeing people sing along with Tony, that's really cool.
EC - We're definitely against hype that's not deserved.
AC - Do you feel like you've been influenced by any of the local bands? If there are any bands, who would they be?
JG - I wouldn't say they influenced us a lot but Youth Pollution and Hi Ho Silver Away.
SN - Yeah, Hi Ho Silver Away, definitely.
JG - Yeah, I really dig their lyrics.
EC - As far as acts I've seen out here, I'd agree that Hi Ho Silver Away is one of the better bands in the desert. Youth Pollution too, just purely for the fact that it's completely different from what people are normally doing. You see a lot of people who react really strangely to them.
AC - I've seen their name on a few fliers out here. What about them makes you excited for their music?
JG - I'm not saying that they're not good at their instruments, they just play power chords, but when he solos, he doesn't stick to some formula. He plays whatever feels right.
EC - It definitely goes back to what we were talking about; playing with passion. You really can pick up on that.
SN - As far as Hi Ho Silver Away goes, his lyrics are pretty amazing. You feel what he's saying especially when he says the word "fuck", this dude is serious!
AC - Yeah, I've always felt that when you cuss in a song there's gotta be meaning behind it or else it's just a crutch. There's a difference between saying "fuck" and saying "FUCK".
EC - It's a good way of commanding attention.
AC- As far as influences go, in general, who are yours?
TD - Influences for me would be Lux Interior from The Cramps because his stage presence, even though he's been gone for three years now, it's still as powerful as it was in 1977. I'd also have to say Jeffrey Lee Pierce of The Gun Club. He captured being a tortured artist perfectly and his contribution to the punk scene in the 80's in LA, I feel was just phenomenal. Their first album should hailed as one of the greats.
JG - For me, a lot of punk like TSOL, but I would say Sebadoh stands out. They're definitely an influence. Lou Barlow man...
AC - Were you a big Dinosaur Jr fan?
JG - Uh, no...
AC - How about Folk Implosion?
JG - I have a 45" of theirs.
AC - What about you Sal?
SN - This won't come as a surprise to James but one of my biggest influences is Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top. I don't know if you can tell by the music we play but blues really influences me. To me blues comes straight from the heart. Some people got it, some people don't. As far as Billy Gibbons goes, he doesn't play the craziest riffs in the world, but there's so much passion and heart in what he's playing. When I heard ZZ Top for the first time I was listening to "Tush". That main riff was really awesome! It was actually my dad's cassette and I asked him who was playing and he showed me the tape and all you saw was these two dudes with long ass beards. He told me it was ZZ Top and that they were from Texas, which is where I'm from. From then on I fell in love with ZZ Top and I knew I wanted to play guitar.
JG - I remember when we were in elementary school, it was probably third or fourth grade, he had this manila folder with ZZ Top written all over it!
AC - That's funny because most people's perception of ZZ Top is this kind of band that you don't take seriously because the music was kind of goofy, with the long beards and the funny music videos. They were never a band that I ever took seriously until later as I got older. But I think that an honest answer like that is great. To many people try to act cool and hide their more embarrassing influences.
SN - Yeah it's funny, after elementary school, James and I never really talked. But when we first started playing music together, one of the first things he said to me was "hey, do you still listen to ZZ Top?"
EC - Well, since we're on the subject of more embarrassing influences, probably Bjork was one of my earliest influences.
AC - Aw, don't be embarrassed of liking Bjork.
EC - But more recently I've been listening to Discord bands like Black Eyes and Q and not U. Lately I've been listening to a band called RVIVR. I've taken a lot from that band.
AC - What bands from out here do you guys feel people should be paying attention to?
JG - I would say probably Baby New Year.
AC - He's been around for a little while. What about him do you like?
JG - It's just sincere. His lyrics are very sincere. He's a great musician too.
AC - What is the writing process like for you guys?
SN - As far as the music goes it's been James and me.
JG - It starts with an idea and Sal will come up with a guitar part or I'll come up with a bass line and it kind of builds from there.
SN - I remember being in the car with my family on our way towards Cabazon and a riff came to mind. I really liked it and I didn't have a guitar so I grabbed my sister's cell phone and hummed just so I could record it and remember it.
AC - How about lyrically? Are there certain themes that you usually play with?
TD - I don't really have set themes. Whatever I feel reflects the song I try to write something for it. It could be a dream that I don't really remember. There's that song we have about rape. It's one of my favorite ones. They just come from all over the place. It all stems from me.
AC - You guys are originally from the Indio/Coachella area. If at all, in what ways do you think your hometown has effected your music?
SN - Well, yeah, there really isn't much to do out here. Besides the band I really have no life. I guess to some extent it does have some effect on the music.
EC - I think that regardless of where you're at, the fact that there is nothing to do is a good motivator for making music.
AC - What are your feelings on all-ages venues versus playing in bars?
EC - Bands cater so much to these bar environments, especially in the Palm Springs area. I just think it's bullshit that we're limited to playing in these bar environments. I think it's pretty crucial get the all age thing. A lot of the demographic for music are under age. There's really only a small group of people who are 21 and up that are going out to see a show.
AC - Do you think an increase in all age venues will attribute to an increase in bands here in the valley?
SN - I think so. Any kid, after seeing a band play, could be inspired to start a band. Just an increased opportunity to inspire.
EC - The one cool thing that I've seen come out of this whole 21 and up environment is the ingenuity of the kids out here.
AC - I've always been more attracted to people who are their own movement than to those who are trying to be part of a movement. Where do you guys feel you fit into that statement?
SN - Well, kids can be a little ignorant. They want things to fit into what they think is better. I've had kids tell me that we should get someone who can sing. They don't know what they're talking about. I don't want to be part of any movement especially not theirs.
AC - Yeah, I kind of feel like people out here would rather adhere to an aesthetic than to experience something new.
JG - Yeah, take for instance Youth Pollution. They're a punk band but not the normal punk band. They would play a show and all the other punk kids would just stand around waiting for them to finish just so they can hear their punk bands. I listen to punk like Minor Threat and I have the same influences as them but it just seems like they don't appreciate anything else.
AC - So I would venture to say that you subscribe to the whole Mike Watt, punk is what you make of it, attitude.
EC - Yes.
SN - Yeah.
AC - It seems like the kids out here would rather subscribe to an aesthetic than to actually just be open to a wide variety of things. How does that make you feel.
SN - It's pathetic. To me, if a bands good than a band is good. It doesn't matter what style they play.
AC - Well, it goes back to how you feel about ZZ Top. You can like TSOL and like ZZ Top.
SN - Yeah! If a bands good give it up to them.
AC - I always try to be honest with everything that I say. I'm not going to tell you that I'm interviewing you because I think you guys are the greatest band I've ever heard. That would be a discredit to you. I feel that you guys have potential. I've seen the tiniest amount of hype swallow up many a band here in the valley.
SN - The last thing we want is for the appreciation of the music to be lost.
Check out more of Big Lizard on their Myspace.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
I found out about Kevin through seeing his name frequently involved with my friend's band, No Paws, on fliers for shows at Ports o' Call Bedroom and other events. I checked him out and really liked his music. It was folky at the time when the term outsider folk was being kicked around amongst many of his peers such as Voice on Tape, Zombelle, Whitman, John Thill, and Sean Pineda. Outsider folk, to me, was anyone that had a folk sensibility yet wasn't trying to be the next Dylan. It had a heart that was missing from folk that I hadn't heard in quite some time and each of those artists that I previously named have a unique voice of their own. Kevin was, to me, the newcomer to that group. I've been a fan for a while now. We had made a connection via the Internet and I've followed his music and all things he's been involved with since then.
I don't know how long Kevin's been doing Bridgetown. My guess is it's been about two years. Labels like his are nothing new under the sun though. Punk bands have been making small run, self released albums for years. But in an age where any and every kind of media can be downloaded, labels like Bridgetown, have become extremely important to the survival and proliferation of artist driven music. The "art of the album" has been somewhat lost. These days it's very easy to download single tracks from an album, leaving out the tracks that are less favorable, not realizing that some of these bands release the full length album with the intent of the listener hearing the album from beginning to end in order to tell a story. The album artwork and packaging also provide something that a Jpeg can't. And in the case of an artist like Danger Mouse, the collectability and value of his first cassette has skyrocketed.
Selling batches of CDs and cassettes is also a concept that isn't new in the DIY arena. It's commonplace. But what makes the Bridgetown batches so special is it's consistency. A lot of DIY labels tend to waver in it's releases, sporadically putting out albums, all the while becoming stale with it's roster of artists. Bridgetown negates this occurrence by putting out it's releases all at one time, giving the buyer the option to buy single albums, multiple albums, or the complete batch all at consecutively better deals. Their summer batch features CDs from such notable bands as Weed Diamond, Vehicles Blues, and Ancient Crux whose last album, Interracial Coupling, sparked a lot of interest in another one of my favorite labels, Family Time.
Bridgetown Records recently has seen write-ups and mentions from some of the biggest taste makers today such as Stereogum, The Fader, and Vice and for good reason; the selection of bands that he chooses to release records for is impeccable. They're tiny gems waiting to be discovered. Check them out for yourself. Tons of free mp3s on the site as well as info on upcoming shows for bands that Bridgetown is currently involved with.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
I wasn't instantly floored by Wavves when I first heard them. In fact, I was kind of talking shit. Saying things like "the lo-fi sound is great for the album but I wonder if he could pull off these songs and make them sound interesting live". Lo-fi albums can run the risk of not delivering live. For instance Best Coast and Vivian Girls. The only way I could ever prove or disprove this thesis would be to go to one of their shows. I finally saw them live and was impressed. Yet how can he follow this up? I was very excited when I heard the track Cool Jumper that Nathan Williams did with Zach Hill. It was a sonic leap forward. Very unexpected for those not familiar with Zach Hill's body of work. Then came along Jay Retard's old backing band.
Jay Retard's old backing band joined Wavves leaving me a bit disappointed. I really wanted to hear more of what Zach Hill brought to Wavves. I felt like he was going to slide back into what was familiar. Little did I know that King of the Beach was going to be a pure pop magic. Nathan ups the pop ante by weaving in some Cali influence a'la Beach Boy/Brian Wilson instrumentation while still keeping enough punk to keep it raw enough for even the most skeptical, such as me. Thank you Wavves for providing me with the soundtrack to Summer 2010. Check out the live stream of King of the Beach on Fat Possum Records.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Oh yeah, and if there was anything more memorable than Vice Cooler getting humped by a dog at this years SXSW, I would love to know.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
With all the recent changes to my life and all movement that has been going on in The Ghost Channel, rather than try and do weekly segments, I found it more feasible to post articles on my blog whenever I feel like it. It won't be the large posts that have been norm on this blog but rather it will be a bunch of short postings at random times of the day.
Let's hope this works out better for me.