Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Turks on Times
Ah, nice to see a former Columbus writer is paying to attention to the home front.
Just saw Eric Davidson (former New Bomb Turks) just did a write-up on Times New Viking for CMJ:
TIMES NEW VIKING: A Font Of Frazzled Pop
By Eric Davidson
Just as the indie world has been starting to embrace the joys of somewhat cleaner, bigger sounds in their pop, the notion that the ease of at-home tune toys like ProTools has begun to dilute the old ideas of "good production" as an impressive, hard-earned talent is also floating around out there. In short, dumping out a 300-track masterpiece ain't what it used to be. And so, just like that, coming up with a perceptible lo-fi production personality seems interesting again.
Of course if you're an indie rock band in Columbus, Ohio—like trebly trio Times New Viking is—love of crud-fi recordings comes with the floaties in your corner bar's $1 Schaeffer can. Aside from the long history of home recording purveyors from Ohio's capital city (check for some schoolin'), Guided By Voices made Columbus their second home/bar in the '90s. And from all of that has, since century's turn, sprung a mess of messy combos who, underneath layers of scratched Maxell UR cassette hiss, harbor a deep knowledge of Ohio smart-scuzz sounds. But even if you've never had your ears pierced by Mike Rep And The Quotas, you might be hooked by the increasing hookieness Times New Viking displays on their recently released third album and Matador debut, Rip It Off. Now, if only I hadn't forgotten to ask them if they enjoyed the documentary Helvetica.
CMJ: Give us the requisite history of the band.
TNV: Well, Adam (Elliott, drums, vocals) and my (Jared Phillips, guitar) old band lost its other two members (Robittussin o.d. is what they said), and when we went to the flower store to get the black lillies, Beth (Murphy, keyboard, vocals) was working there. Turns out, we went to university together! Wild! So then we started playing music together. That's about it.
CMJ: Even those in the know figured Siltbreeze was kaput, and then, blammo, you guys have a swell CD out on Siltbreeze [Present The Paisley Reich, 2007].
TNV: Well, I think the staff over there is really enjoying getting back into the swarm. There's been a lot of good stuff out lately that wasn't really made to fit on a label like In The Red or Goner, as well as stuff that isn't weird enough for more strictly experimental labels. So they find a home at Siltbreeze. Those guys still have a good ear for the shit no one else wants to put out, or just don't know about I suppose.
CMJ: And how did Matador find you?
TNV: Gerard [Cosley, Matador head honcho] and their other braintrusts still keep on top of things pretty well. A lot of people on the staff got our first album early on and seemed to like it. Matador used to have a manufacturing deal with Siltbreeze, so they were hip to the label a long time ago. They took the entire Siltbreeze staff—all 37 of 'em!—to a Phillies baseball game. Instead of buying us out of our [Siltbreeze] contract, they wagered on the game. The Phillies beat the Mets. Done deal.
CMJ: In the recent TNV write-up in Time Out NY, Mike Wolf was claiming that Columbus spews out some good new noise every few years or so, and here's the latest good shit, etc. Yet you guys and the bands he may be referring to (Necropolis, Feelers, Psychedelic Horseshit, etc.) have all been at it for awhile. In other words, the Internet only does so much for bands, eh?
TNV: I suppose that's a good point. Putting out records is much more effective. You can't totally gather a band's ideas and concept just from a MySpace page. Well, you can get close, but real music fans like product. Plus I think not many bands from Columbus toured for quite a while after starting out (except the Feelers), which can make a difference.
CMJ: What plays over the TNV tour van speakers? Or does everyone just sit there on iPods avoiding the world?
TNV: Country radio. Contemporary country radio. Unless the CD player is actually working, then we listen to Chain Gang, just to get both extremes.
CMJ: You've been using a lot of peace signs in your artwork of late. Then again, your sound has gotten tougher and tighter in ways. So who are you ripping off— hippies or metal dudes?
TNV: I believe peace signs are public domain.
CMJ: Okay, if Meg White was Jack White's "sister," who's Beth?
"I have no relation to Jack White," says the diminutive Murphy.
CMJ: Two frat guys walk into Café Bourbon St. [Columbus' punk central] right after Ohio State loses the NCAA football national championship again. What local Columbus band would you want onstage playing, and why?
TNV: New Bomb Turks with horns. Have you ever seen them live?*
CMJ: Best Ohio city, besides Columbus of course.
TNV: Any city besides Huber Heights.
[*Ed. note: of course we have. Eric Davidson, the author of this piece, is their frontman.]