Friday, June 29, 2007

Midpoint Music Festival: News

First off, band registration has closed for Cincinnati's Midpoint Music Festival. So if you've just now learned about it, you're too late. Try again next year. Bands that did register will be notified of their status beginning mid-June through mid-July.
I've been waiting to hear some news about the festival for some time now and just happened to see an update. Looks like some new events are planned for 2007.
From the MPMF web-site:

Out with the tradeshow and in with the MPMF Recording Studio. Conference bands will get the chance to sign up and record a song for FREE at the conference. But unlike most recording studios, conference attendees can watch and listen to the band LIVE. Bands get to keep the tracks so they can mix and master after the Fest. A lucky few selected by MPMF judges will record a song at Sound Images. Dubbed Radio MidPoint, not only will bands get to keep their tracks, but the performances will be streamed from the MPMF Web site.
The MPMF Recording Studio is made possible by Launched in 2002, Sonicbids is an online service that makes it easy for musicians to connect with people who book and license music worldwide. By offering access to thousands of performance and licensing opportunities, the innovative Sonicbids Electronic Press Kit (EPK™), and a community of 100,000 musicians and nearly 10,000 promoters, Sonicbids brings simplicity to an ever-changing musical world.
As the largest production studio in the area, Sound images offers total audio production – from voice overs and sound design; to original music, post scores and jingles.

Cleveland: Machine Go Boom new CD/ tour

Here is an update on all happenings with Cleveland's exceptional Machine Go Boom:
From their Myspace:

1) Work continues on "Ugly Magic." Expect it to be out in September before our next tour. Rumour has it there will be 10 brand new songs.....our second full-length this year.
2) There's a new song up! It's the last song on "Bible Universe." Some have called it "awesome"......and some haven't. So check it.
3) Lastly...we're accepting show proposals for our September tour! If you live in these areas, and would like to see us OR play with us; drop us a line or show proposal.

Tour plans:
Saturday - 9/15 - Chicago
Sunday - 9/16 - Madison, Wisconsin
Monday - 9/17 - Ames, Iowa
Tuesday - 9/18 - St. Louis
Wednesday - 9/19 - Kansas City/Oklahoma City
Thursday - 9/20 - Norman, Oklahoma
Friday - 9/21 - Little Rock
Saturday - 9/22 - Birmingham, Alabama
Sunday - 9/23 - Atlanta
Monday - 9/24 - Athens, Georgia
Tuesday - 9/25 - Chapel Hill/Raleigh, North Carolina
Wednesday - 9/26 - Knoxville, Tennessee
Thursday - 9/27 - Nashville
Friday - 9/28 - Cincinnati, Ohio

4) Tickets for the july 29th show with Man Man are now available. you can get 'em through ticketmaster, or in bloomington at 1a) the bluebird 1b) tracks records (415 e. kirkwood). they are 10 bones.....and you don't want to miss it.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


Check out this link to learn more about an incredibly loud and obnoxious new instrument based off of Tesla's inventions. It was built by some dude out of Illinois: HERE

Merit Badge Record's: Free music comp

In what may be the near future for indie record labels, Ohio's Merit Badge Records recently released a free compilation of regional bands.
The CD Sounds Like Columbus Vol. 1 is a compilation album featuring 19 tracks from "the best up and coming artists in the central ohio area. Totally free, we're giving it away as the first release from Merit Badge Records, as a sort of musical love letter to the city."
Merit Badge is apprently a brand new record label based in Columbus, OH.
"Our goal is to work with local and regional artists to develop, produce, distribute, and find audiences for all kinds of good music. We'll be focusing on digital releases via iTunes and other digital music retailers, with small runs of special edition CD's planned in the future."
The label stressed that the world of music is constantly evolving, and the results aren't always pretty.
"Paid downloads that only play on a certain program or device or on a small number of computers, unfair legal threats and less-than-inspiring music are all a reality these days. We think it can be done better," the label reported.
By handling most of the recording, production, artist promotion, and distribution itself and by focusing on digital releases, the label is hoping to eliminate most of the financial barriers that normally exist between artists and labels.
"This approach also lets us work much more closely with each act, allowing them to feel that the release of their music is something they have a strong role in, and not just an unpleasant process they have to eventually submit to," they said.

Honestly, it seems like a good path for new labels to follow. The only downside is that many media publications and radio stations still don't really dig getting links or burned CDs, favoring instead the nice packages.
Why is that that the people in charge of the music industry are always the LAST ones to get on board?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day of Silence

Our esteemed Midwestern Internet radio station WOXY will go quiet today in observance of our government trying to take a large crap on everything that is good - again:
From WOXY:
The future of Internet radio is in immediate danger. Royalty rates for webcasters have been drastically increased by a recent ruling and are due to go into effect on July 15 (retroactive to Jan 1, 2006!).
To protest these rates and encourage you to take action and contact your Congressional representatives, is taking part in the Day of Silence by silencing both our main channel and WOXY Vintage for today. Don't fret, the rock returns at Midnight EDT this evening.
Please call your Congressional Representatives today to ensure the future of Internet radio. Click this link for instructions how. For more background and information, check out and
Thanks for your support of this important issue
- Bryan Jay, Mike, Shiv and Joe

Monday, June 25, 2007

Stags no more

Just learned this from Mike Breen's "Spill it" column:
Cincinnati's Staggering Statistics are calling it quits. This comes after a lot of activity recently, including live shows (both in and out of town) and the completion of a new album, … i'm thinking about changing (gee, they weren't kidding with that title), which the Stats previewed with a show at Know Theatre in May. News of their demise came out as they canceled several shows, including this Friday's triumphant return gig by local Indie greats mallory (The Invitational have replaced the Stats on the bill).

My note: The were a pretty great band that didn't play out too often. Lead singer Austin has a smooth yet angsty vocal approach you don't hear often. Noted for also having an ex-Afghan Wigs drummer on the kit.

The Last Comfest

So I ended up going to check out the Friday night selection of music at Comfest. I was pretty disappointed all around. The only saving grace for me was a stunning set by Val Glenn's Time and Temperature (I plan to put up a picture, but haven't uploaded it yet). I tried to see the Kyle Sowashes who performed right before her, but I accidentally missed them because I went to find some of the Columbus music compilations that were put out this year. Gotta keep up on the new music coming out over there. I finally located the band merch booth, noticed some of the comps were not free, or not there at all, didn't have any cash, and then returned to the Solar Stage just in time to see the Sowashes tearing down their gear. Crap.
One question I have for Comfest organizers to consider in 2008: Do people really need that much heavy metal? Everywhere I went on Friday all I could hear was some baffoon screaming at the top of his/her lungs over on the Main Stage and their annoying 80s-style guitar solos. Even some punk would have been nice. The shit was going on all night long. It's all you could hear from the other stages.
Besides, if Comfest is going to keep featuring bands that aren't even from Columbus, I can name dozens that would have made this festival more entertaining. I'm not even an indie rock nerd, I like all types of music.
As it is, Comfest 2007 was a snorefest. Glad-handing will get you nowhere, organizers...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hippies unite!
Soon those long hair troublemakers will have a chance to sit in the grass, while smoking grass, all the while complaining about The Man.
The end of June is upon us and that means it's time for the 2007 Columbus Community Festival, better known as Comfest: Three days of live music in the sun, dogs crapping in green grass and hippies walking through it ambivalently.
I may try and do some coverage for the Friday nght shows. I like Columbus music a lot, but not enough to smell hippies for three days straight.
While the point of Comfest has always had grand aspirations and honestly is a pretty great thing, it's also a festival that rubs people the wrong way at times. Especially musicians and Republicans. I won't talk about why the Republicans are mad.
My own experiences with Comfest have consisted of going with a bunch of people, laying blankets down and enjoying the main stage. I normally sneak in my own cans of beer, because god knows I'm not going to go broke drinking Bud Light. I remember seeing great performances by Pretty Mighty Mighty a few years back, Johnson Brothers, Party Dream, Necropolis, and too many more to mention.
I guess I still like the whole thing, it's just that as I grow older I'm finding the festival is acquiring some of the same hippocritical aspects that made people want to start the community festival in the first place. It was supposed to be a way so the average Joe could be a part of a festival. It meant no corporate sponsors hiring the latest American Idol to perform country songs.
But, as with any festival, you have people who sit on a committee and choose who they want to perform. Therein lies the problem. Humans are faulty. They soon take advantage of others and come to enjoy their feelings of self-importance. I see it happen in every city, in almost every festival.
For Comfest you get the whole aspect of committee members telling bands that if they volunteer they may earn a spot performing for thousands of people. If you're nice you'll get to play! If you do what we say you will get to play! Just let us in free to every single show you have until Comfest. If you see us, tell us we are great. Ass-kissing becomes prevalent and even encouraged. In the end, it doesn't matter if you volunteer or not, it's all about who you know.
Worse yet, you get bands trying to infiltrate the process. Some musicians join the committee and push their own bands and their friends bands. So if you have nothing going on outside of work and can sit in a committee meeting every now and then you may have a chance of performing.
One of the saddest things I've seen all year was one night I was at a show in Columbus watching a band about to go on. I was talking to the singer/songwriter of the band. He suddenly spotted a Comfest scout and broke off the conversation to run over to the guy and kiss ass. I was kind of dumbfounded at how quickly someone could be willing to do something like that. It's something I would expect a fresh-suited business man to do at his new sales position. Turns out long haired rockers have that glass ceiling envy too.
The sad part is that I just now noticed that band didn't even get selected. Even after all that ass-kissing.
To be honest most festivals are run the same exact way. It's just that most are honest with the fact that they pick who they want to. The Community festival gives off a hint that if you are involve within the community you will get a chance to perform. History shows, that just isn't the case.
But what makes Comfest suspect to me is that the bands chosen often do not reflect what is going on in the city musically. Looking at the list of bands this year is like a Who's Who of bands that broke up and simply reform specifically for Comfest. The bands that put out two CDs and hit 50 states in their last tour, will most likely not be found. Never mind their charity shows and such. Therein lies the shadow of gladhanding.
But I do recommend catching these artists this year:
Ease the Medic, Big Back 40, earwig, the Slide Machine, Deadsea, Grafton, Envelope, The Bygones, The Rackets, The Kyle Sowashes and PWAH favorites: Time and Temperature
Loyal Divide, The Lab Rats, Sarah Asher, PWAH favorite: Happy Chichester, Mike Rep and the Quotas, Night of Pleasure, Terribly Empty Pockets, Miranda Sound, Mors Ontological, The Lindsay, Evil Queens and Hugs and Kisses.
Not that great of a day, but check out The Rosehips, The Patsy's, Embruje, You're So Bossy, Church of the Red Museum and The Receiver.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Who do you recommend? Brad from SHADE

He said:
"For some great Pittsburgh bands - i really like Black Moth Super Rainbow (they're blowing up), and well the already blown up Girltalk (mash-up DJ act). Some other Pittsburgh bands that I personally like are Donora (3-piece...great great pop band). Also the Takeover UK (who just signed with Rykodisc)....very Supergrass-ish sounding...And well i guess basically any of the bands that we have listed in our top friends we like a lot too (plus we are friends with as well).

A sample of those include Pittsburgh groups such as: Aviators, local record label Lovely Recordings, and Life in Bed.

The Pittsburgh Sound?

My only experiences with Pittsburgh, PA are slim. Some have not been all that enjoyable.
For instance, I drove all the way out there from Central Ohio once to see Elliott Smith/Wilco/Beck. It was a great show held outdoors. Elliott Smith looked like he would dry up and blow away in the sun at any moment, he was so frail. Jeff Tweedy got all pissed off because Wilco was playing in the bright daylight and the place hadn't quite filled up yet. It didn't help that sitting in the front row was some dweeb chewing on a giant Subway sandwich like he was eating his own arm off. So that got Tweedy going. Fortunately it proved to be a great way for him to go right into a jarring rendition of "Misunderstood" and a potent "I want to thank you all for NUTHIN at all!"
So the show's over and we go looking for something to do. Maybe we could hit a cool bar and stay at a local hotel? Nope. After driving around empty streets for an hour we quickly surmised that there was absolutely nothing to do in Pittsburgh. We didn't even see anyone walking on the streets. The town appeared to be completely deserted. So at 12:30 a.m. we began the drive back to Ohio. Talk about a long night.
Many years ago I played a show at some bar on a street full of restaurants. It smelled great. I cannot remember the names. The load in was straight up a thin tall stairway. Once inside, the stage was set back inside a room to the left. Then there was another room separating the stage from the bar.
Basically, it was like playing to an empty room, with a bunch of people two rooms away drinking. No one would leave the bar and since you could hear the music there was no need to. But the crowd went nuts for some band that played bad renditions of funk music covers, with a fat guy singing who wore a rainbow afro.
My image of Pittsburgh was forever tainted.
But lately I've come to know a few newer bands, checked out the great Brillobox venue and wanted to make a good effort at learning the local culture again. I started by checking in with the superb SHADE who I feel I can trust for a good opinion...

Detroit's The High Strung return

Any chance I get to mention The High Strung will be done. Sounds like they had a blast on the recent tour, so it's good to see their fan base growing. I just read this from a recent Myspace bulletin Josh posted. Yes, I am lame. I sometimes get stuff from Myspace instead of doing actual music journalism... STOP JUDGING ME!
we're home. SIX weeks of touring and we're home. Now... I love home because there are people here I'm happier than happy to see and be with... and there are songs and books to be written (though these things could be taken care of on the ol' road, admittedly). my mom is here... my dog is here... my collection of Stephen King hardbacks is here... and groceries too. But... still... on the way in... on the riiiiiiide over the Michigan border, I couldn't help but feel a little twisting, aye. A little uneasiness in the gut. Because, for as good as all the things home has to offer are... the road (this time... and probably most times) was UNBELEIVABLE.
And not just the Son Volt half! That was as magical as three wishes but Seattle, Tucson, Lawrence, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Phoenix, Des Moines... and THE MALL OF AMERICA in Minneapolis. Oh how I wish I could take y'all with us. Show you the country through the tinted windows of the High Strung short bus... stop at THE THING? with you in Arizona... stay at Berko's in California... drink with Zack in Omaha and LA... get waaay to hot in the desert... walk around downtown Seattle with me... read GARCIA with Chad... listen to a thousand albums and a couple stand-up bits with us... watch THE DESCENT and we can all be mutually surprised at how much better it was than we imagined it'd be.
Come with us! Come with us on the road so my explanations can cease to feel flat. KNOW like I know how amazing this circle of America was.
And for all this... I thank thee... I thank ya' (cities we experienced) for making this the best tour yet for a band that has done a shit ton of touring.
Until later...


Friday, June 15, 2007

Flash no more

Shitty and blurry photos douchebags like me take at concerts may get better. No account-music bloggers throughout the world rejoice: Kodak is trying to step it up and get rid of the flash altogether. Article from Yahoo Tech... red eye. Period. Or no need for a flash on a digital camera.
Now that digital camera makers have come up with all kinds of ways to eliminate red eye and improve flash technology while stabilizing images, Kodak says it is developing digital technology that will nearly eliminate the need for a flash (and the oft-accompanying red eye) and improve performance in low-light conditions.
Here's how it would work: The new technology would increase light sensitivity of existing image sensors by two to four times. That means a camera's shutter speed could be cut in half, or at least a quarter, which would reduce camera shake and blurring problems. If it works, it also would allow photographers to shoot in low light without producing grainy, speckled photos.
The proof is in the pixels. In most digital cameras, each sensor pixel detects either the color red, green, or blue and places them into a pattern named for Bryce Bayer, the Kodak engineer who developed it. With the new high-sensitivity technology, half of the pixels will be panchromatic, or clear, so they will capture only the brightness, not color. That means a 12-megapixel camera would have 6 million panchromatic pixels, 3 million green pixels, 1.5 million red pixels, and 1.5 million blue pixels. In comparison, today's 12-megapixel cameras have 6 million green pixels, 3 million red, and 3 million.
The announcement is Kodak's latest big play in an intense bid to rebuild into a digital photography company as its film business dwindles. The company's plan is to make use of its proprietary intellectual property, including this image sensor technology, to compete in the crowded digicam market. Kodak entered the printer business this year with models that are slightly higher priced than competitors' but use ink that retails for about half the cost of other cartridges.
Kodak will build its own cameras with the new technology, but it also plans to sell it to other manufacturers since it works with existing image sensors. The new tech will be available in early 2008, but Kodak has given no word on when the first cameras with it fully built in will be on the market.
On each page in my photo albums of the kids since they were little, there's at least one photo besmirched by red eyes, the scourge of the snap shooter. More and more cameras are including tools to remove red eye in camera, while even the most amateur among us have become pretty adept at removing the demonizing glare with tools on photo software, online photo ordering sites, and in-store kiosks. But built-in technology that eliminates the need to tinker before and post shooting would be a welcome feature in a digital camera.
Is this the kind of feature you've been waiting for in a digital camera?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Vandervelde expands into his european future...

You know what? He's even better when you see him live.
From CMJ:
Chicago's David Vandervelde will be touring the UK, Austria, and Germany starting in late June before returning home to the US in time for that 4th of July barbeque. After releasing his debut album, The Moonstation House Band, in January, Vandervelde toured the US and European circuit with Spoon and Richard Swift. Perhaps he is going back out of excitement to play with label mates Magnolia Electric Co., or maybe he didn't get that pair of lederhosen he'd been eyeing.

Tour Dates For David Vandervelde:
06/25 - London, UK - Scala*
06/26 - Nottingham, UK - The Rescue Rooms*
06/29 - Ebensee, Austria - Kino*
06/30 - Vienna, Austria - Szene*
07/01 - Munchen, Germany - Rote Sonne*
07/02 - Stuttgart, Germany - Schocken*
07/03 - Karlsruhe, Germany - Jubez*
07/05 - Rock Island, IL - Ribco
07/06 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown
07/07 - Springfield, MO - Randy Bacon Gallery
07/08 - Denver, CO - Hi-Dive
07/11 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom Of The Hill**
07/13 - Los Angeles, CA - Spaceland**
07/14 - Tempe, AZ - Stinkweeds**
07/16 - Austin, TX - Emo's**
07/17 - Dallas, TX - The Loft**
07/18 - Houston, TX - Walter's On Washington**
07/19 - Hattiesburg, MS - Thirsty Hippo**
07/20 - Atlanta, GA - tba**
07/21 - Wilmington, NC - Bella Festa**
07/22 - Washington, DC - Rock And Roll Hotel**
07/23 - Philadelphia, PA - Johnny Brenda's**
07/24 - Boston, MA - Great Scott**
07/25 - New York, NY - Mercury Lounge**
07/26 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland***
07/27 - Ann Arbor, The Blind Pig**
07/28 - Milwaukee, WI - Stonefly Brewing Co
08/04 - Chicago, IL - Schubas****
08/05 - Chicago, IL - Lollapalooza
* with Magnolia Electric Co.
** with Blitzen Trapper
*** with Besnard Lakes
**** with Illinois, Black Angels


So People with Animal Heads is celebrating its 6TH Month Anniversary. Wow, time really flies when you forget to remember.

Buddha Boy Update

So I guess the kid is still in the ground. Not much new going on. He's no Paris Hilton, that's for sure (other than they're both doing a lot of sitting lately). But that's probably to be expected when talking about a kid who's famous for his lack of movement:

From United We Blog! For a Democratic Nepal:

Ram Bahadur Bomjon Now Meditating in Pit
March, 28, 2007

28 March: Ram Bahadur Bomjon, popularly known as the “Buddha Boy”, who stole the limelight after spending months in meditation, reportedly without food and water, has been found again, meditating inside a pit dug underground at Ratanpuri recently. Bomjon, who had started meditation under a Pipal tree in the village, had gone missing since March 11, 2006, and again reappeared on December 25 the same year. According to Inspector Rameshwor Yadav of the Area Police Post Nijgadh, Bomjon was inside the bunker-like square ditch of seven feet.
“We call it bunker,” he said, adding, “Although it’s seven feet deep, there is no lack of oxygen inside,” said Yadav, who claimed to have seen him going inside it from close range Monday (Mar 26). A police team, under the command of Yadav, had gone to the place after word of Bomjon being on underground meditation spread in the area. “His face was clean and hair was combed well,” Yadav said. According to him, “the bunker” has been cemented from all sides with roof of tiles. Even as frequent “hide and seek” were continuing, some locals recently spotted him in the local forest on 9th March. After his mysterious disappearance last year, his “disciples” had claimed that he had gone in search of a peaceful place for the purpose, as thousands of curious people began visiting him daily then. However, a few others had even termed it a ploy of his followers to earn popularity and money.
Indra Lama, a local, who has been deployed as caretaker for him since he began meditation, said the “bunker” was prepared as per Bomjon’s order. “After granting audience a week ago, he expressed his desire to meditate inside the ground; so we built it,” he said.By Upendra Lamichhane

Here's some more from the Asia Yahoo News:

A Nepali teenager dubbed the "Buddha Boy" has begun meditating for three years in an underground bunker and will neither sleep, eat nor drink any water during that time, supporters claimed Tuesday.
Ram Bahadur Bomjan, 17, who supporters insist is the reincarnation of the Buddha, shot to fame in May 2005 amid reports he did not need food, water or sleep while meditating.
He has, however, been spotted nibbling on fruit and catching a nap
"We've constructed an underground room with a tiled roof as requested by Bomjan," said Raju Shah, a member of a village committee set up to support the activities of the young man.
Shah said Bomjam began meditating in the bunker on Monday.
"He has not eaten, slept or taken any water and he plans to continue meditating without food or water for three years there," Shah claimed.
The cement-walled bunker is seven feet (2.1 metres) deep and is located in the jungle 60 kilometers (40 miles) southeast of Kathmandu, Shah told AFP.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Midwestern Roundup

• Seriously, The White Stripes new tune "Icky Thump" is probably the greatest fucking song I've heard in a long time. I don't even care that it's way too long.
• There is a new label up and running in Columbus, called All Hail Records. It is currently set to release CDs by experimental pop bands Take No Damage (Columbus) and allegedly Cincinnati's Paper Airplane(UPDATE: Paper Airplane confirmed they have signed, new CD out in July!).
The National is coming to your town soon. Do not miss them.
• Mike Breen's Cincinnati blog "Spill It!" explores the music of broken hearts. My favorite is when you've heard all the sad songs, heard all angry songs and you're finally to the point when you can revel in the best "kiss my ass song" of all time: Bob Dylan's "Positively Fourth Street." Then you know the healing is complete.
• Cincinnati/Kentucky's (in)famous Southgate House is listed as one of the best rock venues in the country. I agree. I still recall watching Sam Coomes from Portland's Quasi walk around the venue before his show. He bought a bar t-shirt and was reading every bit of historical information framed on the walls. Now, if we can only get the band to come back to Southgate House someday...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Spotlight: Times New Viking

(editor's note: I finally caught up with Times New Viking after their return from Yo La Tengo land. Their interview was for my ongoing article on Noise Rock in the Midwest. Still working on that. But here is the full interview, since it doesn't look like I'll be done with that article in another few weeks.)

Times New Viking sprang up in Columbus a couple years back and started hitting it up in the city's east side. Word spread of their girl/boy duo pop vocals and the heavy rhythm created by the guitar/keyboard interlay. The trio is made up of drummer/vocalist Adam Elliot, keyboardist/vocalist Beth Murphy and guitar virtuoso Jared Phillips.
Fast forward this year and Times New Viking gets signed to heavyweight indie label Matador Records, made a splash at SXSW, toured with Yo La Tengo and did a show or two with Spoon.
Now they are back in Columbus and back to the monthly gamut of local bars again.
However, since they were gone, Columbus bands have had some discussions on what they think Times New Viking is up to. Some get oddly heated up about it - whether they are for or against their music.
As I told guitarist Jared, the point in including TNV in this article is because they are among the ONLY Midwest bands that fill the gap between Indie pop and the "noise" aesthetics. Most pure noise rock bands don't consider them "noise" at all, and seem to resent it. Most rock bands seem to think, TNV is more "noise." I suppose my take on it is that TNV are the perfect mix of both. That is why they are so interesting.

PWAH: Whether you know it or not, your music often brings up debate among rock nerds regarding recording techniques. Can a noisy recording be considered art? Can it be considered pop? It is not just about HAVING to record with tape hiss, it's about APPRECIATING the tape hiss. Any comments on this paragraph?

Jared: APPRECIATING the tape hiss - yes, that just about explains it. An old wizard friend of ours once said something to the extent of 'tape hiss is the sound of life' or, 'tape hiss is the sound of the comet's tail.' Something poetic like that. We just like to make records that evoke a unique atmosphere, putting our sound in a different place, perhaps one that's a little more intimate. Records, i think, are supposed to sound a little experimental - it's a completely separate art form than seeing a band play live. You know, people think distorted guitars on records are okay, but distorted drums or vocals are not. Who decided this? Hitler? The Shins? Who cares. Also with records you can listen to them over and over again and hear new things each time.

PWAH: Critics of lo-fi aesthetics often bring up how you can’t hear the words, you can’t hear the details, etc. What do you have to say to these people? Why do you think your music has raised such debates in modern recording and lo-fi? I think if we're going to turn more people onto deconstructing pop, it may be important to address that.

Jared: We have nothing to say to these people. You either like it or you dont. Maybe their ideas will change, but that's not why we make music, to change people. Most of the critics are people who think music is supposed to sound a certain way, or they are people who spent too much time and money at recording school - hence their panties getting all bunched up when groups like us just teach ourselves how to do it the way we want. I'm sure a lot of people who don't listen to anything remotely experimental are the same ones who believe that everyone owns protools - or SHOULD own protools. Really fucked up, in-the-red records are nothing new. (Velvet Underground's) 'White light/White heat' is forty fucking years old. Seriously.

PWAH: So my question now is what are your specific attempts at song writing? Are you coming at it from a “rock/pop” tradition or more of a deconstructionist way?

Jared: We come at it all ways. As long as it's a good song it dosent matter how we get it - really, none of us think about how we arrive at a song. I think of our angle as being mostly pretty traditional. We got singers, drums, guitar, keys. We like songs. We like to make records that flow well, nicely sequenced. We like the standard 1-3 minute pop format. We like writing songs in 15 minutes, just like 'louie, louie' was done.

PWAH: Could you describe the process of how you ended up on Matador? That's just great info for any Midwestern
band to know.

Jared: It was a heated battle of lawyer 'bro-downs', endless porterhouse steaks, cocaine, strip clubs, yacht cruises, contractual flim-flam, jargonized speed-talk, rivers of alcohol, more cocaine, a few fist-fights between major-label suits (at one point roland woodbe roundhouse-kicked 3 a&r men at the same time!) etc., etc., etc...
When it was all said and done, matador really just seemed to like our stuff the most. and they bought the most expensive steak, which i'm still digesting.

PWAH: Ultimately, my site is about the Midwest underground rock scenes. I want people to know about them. What does it mean to you to be Midwestern? Maybe more specific, how has Ohio influenced you, your life, and your music? What are some of your favorite current bands from the Midwest?

Jared: Being midwestern means being ten years out of the loop, at least in our case. When you're kind of an underdog (or hillbilly), you feel you can do whatever the fuck you want because people already have a preconceived notion of you. i think Robert Rauschenberg said that.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Athens' Southeast Engine sign to Misra Records

I've been sitting on this info for a few months, but I think it's safe to announce now (seeing as how the label itself is stating it).
Athens, OH. folk-pop outfit Southeast Engine has signed to New York/CA. label Misra Records.
I think what is so special about this is that SEE is a band that has been working their butts off for years. They write wonderfully creative songs, with excellent lyrics. They constantly tour and they have worked their way into a great following within different cities, soley based on their music. If any band deserves it right now in Ohio, it's Southeast Engine.
From the Misra Myspace site:

Misra is an Emeryville, CA based independent record label with branch offices in New York, DC, Seattle, Birmingham and elsewhere. This year we are releasing recordings by Palomar, Hallelujah the Hills, Sleeping States, Mobius Band, Southeast Engine and a few other surprises to be announced. Visit our *other* website at for more MP3s and information.

Plus, Southeast Engine is apparently set to perform at this year's CMJ New York festival.