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22 Oct
2012

After much anticipation, Los Angeles electro-rock outfit SHINY TOY GUNS have released their new album III () today, Monday, October 22 (Five Seven Music). It features the first new material by the original line-up in five years.

Production on III, courtesy of Mirror Machines (the band’s Chad Petree and Jeremy Dawson), is lush and dramatic, ranging from driving tracks like the first single due January 2013 “Somewhere To Hide,” “Waiting Alone” and “Speaking Japanese” into a sonic pendulum swing to the genre bending current release “Fading Listening.” The band teamed up with legendary mixer Tony Maserati (Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Alicia Keyes) to finalize and sharpen the new 2012 sound of the band. Unlike any other group out there today, SHINY TOY GUNS music is driving rock and electro spearheaded by a male and female vocal courtesy of Chad Petree and Carah Faye.

Tomorrow (October 23), VEVO will premiere the video for “Fading Listening” starring Tiny Toy Guns, a play on the band recording the song as kids. Carah Faye is played by Ally Petree, eight year old daughter of Chad Petree. Chad Petree is played by Jesse McClintock, son of GUNS longtime indie music publisher Steve McClintock. Drummer Mikey Martin is played by Maximus Morse, son of Toby Morse, singer of punk/hardcore band H20. Jeremy Dawson on keyboards is played by Noah Castro, the six year old son of friends of Mikey Martin. The two girls engineering at the mixing desk are Isabella Petree (age 6) and Stevie Jane Petree (age 5), daughters of Steven Petree ex-member of SHINY TOY GUNS and brother of Chad Petree. The studio owner is played by Tony Maserati.

UPDATE: the video is now live!

In conjunction with the album’s release, the band—Carah Faye (vocals), Chad Petree (vocals/guitar), Jeremy Dawson (keyboards/bass) and Mikey Martin (drums)—launch a nine-date headlining tour in San Francisco tonight. They will pass through a variety of markets including Los Angeles, Toronto, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C., New York, Pittsburgh and Chicago consecutively. At each show, the band will perform a variety of material from the new album as well as SHINY TOY GUNS classics and favorites.

Meanwhile, SHINY TOY GUNS—who is currently featured in the Virgin America “Experience” campaign—can be seen on the airlines major billboards across Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Dallas. The campaign highlights Virgin America ‘Originals,’ frequent flyers known for shaking up the status quo in their own fields – including SHINY TOY GUNS as well as indie film director Kevin Smith, Pandora founder Tim Westergren, Animal and Son of a Gun chef Vinny Dotolo, Ryan Schreiber of Pitchfork and independent artist/Facebook Creative Strategist Ji Lee just to name a few – inviting them to curate aspects of the airline’s already unique in-cabin experience including playlists, film picks and new menu items offered via the touch-screen Red™ in-flight entertainment platform. The Virgin America “Originals” include more than a few notable iconoclasts in the worlds of tech, design, food and entertainment many of whom also happen to be Elevate frequent flyers. Check out more at:
http://experiencevirginamerica.com
http://www.experiencevirginamerica.com/?cid=sm_social_WED_1010_1p_fb

Shiny Toy Guns play Brighton Music Hall in Boston this Sunday October 28th. Tickets are $17. See below for full tour dates.

Mon 10/22 San Francisco, CA Rickshaw Stop
Tue 10/23 Los Angeles, CA Echoplex
Fri 10/26 Toronto, ON Hoxton
Sat 10/27 Philadelphia Northstar
Sun 10/28 Boston Brighton Music Hall
Mon 10/29 Washington, D.C. Rock N’ Roll Hotel
Tue 10/30 New York, NY Santos Party House
Wed 10/31 Pittsburgh, PA Mr. Smalls Theater
Thu 11/1 Chicago, IL Subterranean

Shiny Toy Guns with MNDR, Colourmusic
Brighton Music Hall
Boston, MA
Sunday, October 28
Doors at 8 PM; Show at 9 PM; 18+ Show
Advance Box Office Price $17
Tickets

17 Oct
2012

Tonight, Bombay Bicycle Club headline the Henry Fonda Theatre (tickets) in Hollywood. It’ll be your last chance to see the band in LA this year. Before you go to the show though (or if you don’t live in the area), you can catch the band perform a live acoustic session and chat with their fans at 3pm PST today via Livestream. Just head over to http://new.livestream.com/livestreamsessions/BombayBicycleClub with your questions and get ready for a really cool show!

Pick up the band’s album “A Different Kind of Fix” now on iTunes

Remaining Bombay Bicycle Club US Tour Dates
Oct 17 Henry Fonda Theatre Los Angeles, CA
Oct 19 The Fillmore San Francisco, CA
Oct 20 Wonder Ballroom Portland, OR
Oct 21 Showbox at the Market Seattle, WA
Oct 22 Vogue Theatre Vancouver, Canada

Bombay Bicycle Club
The Fonda Theatre
6126 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028
Wed, Oct 17, 2012 08:00 PM
Tickets

08 Oct
2012

The Austin City Limits Music Festival returns this weekend and it’s COMPLETELY SOLD OUT again (you might be able to snag a VIP or Platinum Pass but you’ll need a rather fat wallet for it). If you’re not going this weekend, you can catch over 40 of the artists’ sets on the YouTube webcast of the festival at http://www.youtube.com/user/aclfestival. For the rest of you who are going, here are some artists you’ll definitely want to see up close.

By Jackie Ruth

Friday

Los Campesinos!
12:30 pm, Bud Light Stage

This British indie band has been rocking out since 2006, and they would be an energetic start to your weekend at the Austin City Limits Festival. Their music is mostly loud and joyful-sounding, though their lyrics don’t always match that description. Los Campesinos! mixes classic strings and percussion with chaotic electronic sounds and lead vocalist Gareth David does nothing to hide his Welsh accent. All of the members of the band refer to their last names as Campesinos!, so they come off as an inseparable group. If you like dancing to dynamic indie pop tunes, you’ll definitely want to check out Los Campesinos!


Florence + the Machine
6:30 pm, Bud Light Stage

Since 2010, London’s Florence + the Machine has been gaining notoriety for their beautiful, catchy hits, such as “The Dog Days Are Over” and “Shake It Out.” Named for lead vocalist Florence Welch, this group is a mixture of indie pop and soul, and Welch’s powerful voice is like nothing else out there right now. They’ve performed on Saturday Night Live and won 18 awards from outlets in the United States and Europe, including an MTV Music Video Award. Seeing Florence + the Machine live will give you something to brag about for years.


M. Ward
7:30 pm, Austin Ventures Stage

If you want a more laid-back show, check out California’s M. Ward on the Austin Ventures Stage. The male counterpart from She & Him (the “she” is Zooey Deschanel) and a member of supergroup Monsters of Folk, M. Ward has been making music as a solo artist since 1999. He is a master guitarist and has a uniquely soothing voice. Although he doesn’t always consistently interact with his audience the way a lot of musicians do, it’s a treat to see him play the music that he loves with such skill. His mixture of indie rock, folk and alt-country makes him stand out from the crowd, and his music is a great way to unwind and enjoy yourself.

The Black Keys
8:30 pm, Bud Light Stage

This bluesy-rock duo from Ohio has also been climbing the ranks to stardom since 2010, when they had commercial success with their song “Tighten Up,” which won them a Grammy in 2011. Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney have been making albums together as The Black Keys since 2001, and their newest album, El Camino, is heavily influenced by music genres that were popular in America from the 1950s to the 1970s. They’re the headliners for Friday night, so you definitely don’t want to miss out on what is sure to be an exciting show.

02 Oct
2012

We recently told you about the indie band Bad Weather California. Tonight, they play their second sold out show at the Henry Fonda Theatre with The Lumineers. Our writer Ace Ubas recently had a chance to check in with the band’s frontman Chris Adolf. Check it out below and catch the band live this fall.

What was the band listening to during the recording of Sunkissed?

Oh man. Probably the same kind of stuff we listen to now. I’m not the kind of person who is always seeking out new stuff. I mean… I love when my friends turn me on to new stuff. But when I choose something to listen to I am usually looking for familiarity. Beatles, Stones, Marley, Paul Simon, velvet underground etc… classic rock greats like that are always in heavy rotation in my realm. As are great 80s-90s punk groups like black flag, dino jr. etc. I like the outsiders too. Roky Ericson, Recless Eric etc. But I can’t really give you a sexy list of super ‘cool’ obscure and aesoteric groups.

Were there any differences in the writing or recording process between Young Punks and Sunkissed?

Sure. I’m sure there were. My mind was in a different place. I can’t pinpoint exactly WHAT was different but I mean, my life has to move forward or it gets boring. So I’m sure I was in a different place for those two records.

Could you describe the ‘sunshine’ aesthetic or aspect in your music?

Well. I saw a trend in music through the early 2000s that still has some hang over now. Very serious music. Very somber music. Very chin rugby stuff. I just wanted to take rock and roll back to where it was from. Before it was over intellectualized and taken so seriously. Sunshine was just my way of saying, “lighten up dudes! It’s just life. Lets LIVE!”

By having a DIY work ethic, do you feel that at one point or another, you’ll be stretched thin and you’ll have to hire a manager, publicist, etc.?

I feel that way right now. I am spread VERY thin. But that’s just how life is. What ever you do you have to work hard at it. Single moms who work two jobs are spread thin. Underpaid school teachers who have to work all day and then make lesson plans at home at night are spread thin. I’m just a dude who plays rock and roll. It’s gonna be work. But we all gotta work. I’m not special. You can’t be a baby about work.

What is it about the DIY approach that you prefer? Does it have an effect on how you write music?

It’s not a preference. It’s just what most people have to do. No it doesn’t effect how I make music. The art and the logistics of making art should be separate.

Having worked with Akron/Family rather closely in terms of the release/production of your music, what are some things that you have learned from a band like that?

WORK! Those guys work their asses off. It’s inspiring.

Has growing up on an urban ‘island’ (as you have described Denver) impacted on how your write songs?

Well I didn’t grow up in denver. A few of the members were based out of there. But I grew up out in the desert near the Colorado and Utah border and still call it home. The desert is amazing and beautiful and at the same time very unforgiving and extreme. I’m sure it has effected the way I do things. I couldn’t tell you how but you know, everybody is effected by their environment.

After reading that a song typically just ‘comes to you,’ has there ever been a ‘weird’ or unconventional setting where a song just popped into your head?

This is a question I CAN answer. You know that window when you first wake up and you can still remember you dreams? Just before you forget what you were dreaming about? I write all of my lyrics in that window and then run to my computer to get them down before I forget. I e-mail them to myself. They just all come together and my mind doesn’t get in the way.

You mentioned in a previous interview that you like ‘old’ things, specifically architecture. What is it about the past that appeals to you as opposed to the ‘new’?

I think Jonathan Richman put it best. Just check out this song! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCb2aArq9HM&feature=related

27 Sep
2012

Punk/folk singer-songwriter Frank Turner is wrapping up his US fall tour this weekend with back to back shows (Saturday 9/29 and Sunday 9/30) at Webster Hall in New York City. Our writer Matt Arena had the chance to speak with Frank recently about the new album, his side project Mongol Horde, headlining Wembley Arena and why he loves America. Read on more below:

How’s the tour going so far?

It’s great, at the moment it’s just a short run, about three and a half weeks, which isn’t very much. And we started in Boston, but I’m speaking to you now from Denver. We’ve had great shows and a great time at Riotfest as well.

You’re recording the new album, right? What was the process like this time around?

The longest amount of time I’ve ever spent working on a record before was 12 days, and this time around we have four weeks. Not to put down any records I’ve made so far but they’ve always been made to accompany the live thing in a way. Not that that’s gonna change completely, but I kinda feel this time around I’ve got the opportunity and resources to spend a bit more time on the album as an album. It’s an interesting process. I’m gonna say, but everybody says this, I’m excited about some of the things, it’s gonna be a good record. I’m really chomping at the bit to get into the studio this time.

Recently you’ve started work on a side project, Mongol Horde, which has a pretty heavy sound. Any chance that will bleed over into your album?

No to any real degree. If anything it makes it less likely in a way because I’m getting that aggression out of my system. The two are pretty separate in my mind, I don’t feel like one effects the other particularly. The album I’m making at the moment, as it is with all the records I’ve made, is just me putting together the best set of songs that I can. I think I’m getting better at songwriting with practice and age. I feel like these songs are better than before.

I’ve noticed you’ve debuted a couple new songs on the tour so far, what goes into the decision making process of which new ones you want to try out?

One of the things over the course of this whole tour that we’re trying to do is cycle through so that everything gets at least one play out. We’re switching it up with that in mind. The art of writing a song is a fine one and playing a new song is always fun for us, it’s always about finding the right song to put in the right place. I always feel like playing a song live tightens it up in a way that a million studio sessions will never succeed in doing. Something about having to present there in front of a live audience makes it pull together. Or fall apart, then we’ve gotta figure out what’s wrong with it.

Does playing them live help you discover any changes in the songs?

Sometimes yeah, there’s little stuff when you play it with that much more adrenaline and you’re trying to forcefully present it to people that suggests new ideas to you. I’m weary of trying to decide which ones try to make the album because I’ve got too many to choose from. I don’t want to edit the album based around the reaction of one audience. I’m not gonna be fussed I play a song one time and it doesn’t go over that well and go “right, fuck that song then.”

Are there any new songs in particular that you’re really excited about?

At one point we had 25 songs on the list and at this point in their careers a lot of bands get tempted by the double album, which I think is pretty much resolutely a bad idea, so I’m not gonna do that. So I’m trying to whittle down. There are definitely more than 12 songs that I really, really love at the moment. So it’s gonna be interesting to see what makes the cut and what doesn’t.

What was it like playing the opening ceremony of the Olympics?

It was cool, it was very surreal, not just days, but for a couple of months. We got a call from Danny Boyle asking us to be involved. It was weird, because he’s a culturally impressive figure and he’s something of a diehard fan of what I do. Which is great, it’s fantastic. The weirdest wasn’t that we were hanging out in a stadium with giant Voldemorts and Rowan Atkinson, but that we got used to that, it wasn’t even a thing anymore and we were just hanging out. It was kind off but in a good way.

You playing on an interesting background, the giant hill with people farming. It looked like a Shire scene out of Lord of the Rings.

It was supposed to be kind of old England. It was kind of odd, we were on a fake hill with a bunch of sheep and horses and stuff. We knew we were playing to tons of people but none of them were directly in front of us. There were either across the stadium or on the other side of the camera. So it’s a weird mixture of being nervous, because you’re playing to millions of people, but then you can’t really see any of them.

Let’s talk about your side project for a moment, Mongol Horde. It’s much heavier and radically different from anything you’ve done; I really dig it.

Thanks. I’ve been wanting to do something like it for a long time, I spent many, many years playing that kind of music and I still listen to it. The drummer I’m playing with in Mongol Horde is one of my oldest friends and we’ve been playing together for many, many years and I kind of just wanted to play with him again. It’s definitely a side project. We did a couple shows in the UK and put out a couple rehearsal demos but I have no idea when we’ll do an album. We will do an album, but it might not be till the end of next year.

Just in looking at a couple videos from those shows, it looks really freeing for you to be playing with that kind of intensity live.

It’s kind of like scratching an itch for me. It’s a side of my personality that’s reflected in what I make. It’s not a major part, but that little, slightly crazy part of me. It is very, very tiring though. After about 30 minutes in those shows I’m completely fucked. I guess I’m not 23 anymore.

What’s your favorite thing about touring the US that’s unique to this country?

I’m just a really big fan of America generally. It’s an endlessly fascinating country. I just really, really love American people, they have the best manners in the world. They tend to be very welcoming and interesting. There tends to be a boring, ill-informed anti-Americanism that pervades Europe, which, I’ll say when I was younger before I got to get around this country I probably indulged in as well, but since coming here I’ve gotten a real taste for what a fantastic place it is to be. I always feel happy when I’m heading back out to the US.

You always make it a point to hang around after shows and meet everyone, which obviously takes a lot of time and effort on your part, and not a lot of bands do it. What makes that so important to you?

I feel like it would be disingenuous not to do that if that’s what people want to do. I get to travel around the world and play music, it’s not a bad place to be. And the reason I get to do that is because come out to shows and buy tickets, shirts, and the rest of it. If people want to spend a minute of their time saying hi, it would be kind of really shitty of me not to do that. Philosophy aside, I’m a gregarious person and I like meeting new people and having a good time hanging out with people.

Do you have trouble doing that in the UK, where you’re a lot bigger? I would imagine it would be rough to stick around the merch table at Wembley Arena after a show.

Yeah, it’s a little more hectic. One of the things about it is that when things are a bit more of a manageable, I guess underground, level generally speaking the people are more connected to it and more respectful. I think one of the things in the UK is that people kind of go crazy in a slightly rehearsed way if you know what I mean. I kinda just wanna grab them and go, “chill out, I’m just another human.” Things have to be a little bit more controlled in the UK or else I’d spend my entire life talking to people after shows.

I think a lot of that comes from the fact that most bands don’t do it, so it’s really cool that you do.
Yeah, I think it demonstrates a point. That’s the main reason I do it really, to show people that I don’t hold myself above them.

How old were you when you played your first show?

Well, it depends how you categorize it. I played at my older sister’s birthday party when I was 13, I’m not sure that counts.

What do you think that 13 year old you would say if he were told that he’d be headlining Wembley Arena and playing opening ceremony for the Olympics?

Well I’m sure I’d be stoked but I’d be worried about saying that. Without sound too much like a Hallmark card, the whole journey is an important thing to me. One of the things I’m proudest about in my career, and if I can be forthright for a minute, is that none of it is handed to me. I’ve worked really hard to get everything and I’m really glad that I did. I wouldn’t have wanted a shortcut through all the shitty years because they were important to me.

(photo credit: Erik Weiss)

To see when Frank’s coming to a city near you, head over to frank-turner.com. You can buy his music on iTunes or XtraMileRecordings.com

31 Aug
2012

Ah, it’s Labor Day weekend. If you’re not away at the beach this weekend, you should be at FYF Fest in Los Angeles. Our writer Ace Ubas gives us his picks for the festival. Make sure to get there early!

SATURDAY:


The Men (2:45-3:25 Hill St. Stage)

If you want to start the festival in a rather blood pumping manner, then I highly recommend seeing Brooklyn’s The Men (not to be confused with MEN). For two years straight, they’ve released albums that cements their place as the top punk rock band today (with a third coming out next spring). Then again, it helps that the band has three different talented songwriters to provide diversity with each and every song that they write, so calling them purely a punk band is a bit of an injustice. Their latest album, Open Your Heart, is one of my favorites this year where they have taken punk elements and infused elements of blues and psychedelic rock into their songs. In a day that’s already punk/hardcore heavy, The Men is a MUST see.

Fucked Up (5:25-6:10 Spring St. Stage)

Once you have the chance to get your adrenaline going and looking for another band to keep your mosh on, then look no further than Toronto’s Fucked Up. It’s not often that a hardcore band gets nominated for a Polaris Prize or makes it in nearly every music critic’s year end list, but Fucked Up manages to do so especially with their latest David Comes to Life, an 18-track epic that is actually a rock opera. This should make you realize that they’re obviously not your typical hardcore band, which gives it all the more reason why you need to see them.

Chromatics (6:35-7:20 Spring St. Stage)

If you’re going to go by this schedule for FYF, then you might be tired (or bruised or bloodied or both) from all the moshing. With the sun setting at this time, why not have a nice change of pace with Chromatics and get your dance on. Their subtle yet complex style of synth-pop makes them a stand-out in the electronic music scene. In fact, they’re the only band that has taken the Italo Disco sound and added their own modern spin to it. This has lead to their latest album Kill for Love to be one of the best this year after a five year break.

James Blake (7:50-8:40 Spring St. Stage)

James Blake had a huge, and I mean HUGE year last year. While he was progressively making an impact in his native England, it wasn’t until his hit and cover of Feist’s “Limit to Your Love” that truly garnered him popularity and success. Having collaborated with Bon Iver certainly doesn’t hurt either. The post-dubstep musician/producer is finally back in the states, ready to build off his success and make waves once again. Plus, he has one of the more mesmerizing voices around that is full of dramatic emotion and soul. Why not have your heart wrenched at least once during a festival?

Refused (10:55 Main St. Stage)

How can you go through a festival without seeing one of the most important bands in the history of punk and hardcore? You’d be foolish to do so. Refused are fucking back so get ready to get be part of one crazy mosh pit. After 14 years after their initial break up, the Swedish hardcore punk band reunited early this year, going mainly on the festival circuit. But now they’re back in Los Angeles in what could be the last time they set foot in California (at least for the foreseeable future). Having the opportunity to see a seminal and influential band such as Refused is one that everyone has to take, whether you’re a fan of the genre or not!

SUNDAY:


Father John Misty (3:50-4:35 Hill St. Stage)

Fleet Foxes took a huge blow when drummer J. Tillman announced he was leaving the folk group to focus on his solo project, Father John Misty. Luckily for us, he made a pretty good decision. Father John Misty is his light-hearted and witty approach to folk rock, evidenced by the title of his debut album, Fear Fun. Basically, if you want to start off the second day of the festival on a weird, quirky, (maybe) fantastical note, then see Father John Misty.

Lightning Bolt (5:50-6:35 Spring St. Stage)

This is where things pick up for the day: Lightning Bolt. Known for their guerrilla-style performances, it’s not often you get to see them play in a traditional setting. But who cares what setting you see them in, just as long as you get to see them! It might be helpful and safe if you wear ear plugs because they are LOUD. It’s hard to believe that that amount of noise can be produced by a drummer and a bassist that incorporates a banjo string into his instrument. You wouldn’t have guessed that their influences come from classical composers because of their raucous nature, but their impressive ability to improvise is clearly a classical influence. Simply put, see Lightning Bolt. It’s not often they play shows and in Los Angeles for that matter. This one is a no-brainer.

Dinosaur Jr. (6:40-7:30 Main St. Stage)

Dinosaur Jr. ALWAYS puts on a great live performance, even after being in the business since the mid-80s. Watching J. Mascis shred on his six-stringer is always a spectacle, leaving you awestruck. Not to mention that their use of distortion and feedback has influenced many bands in the punk, noise, and garage rock scene. With a new album coming out in a couple of weeks, expect some new tunes but also some classic ones thrown in there as well.

Yeasayer (9:10-10:00 Main St. Stage)

It’s hard to pin down a term to describe Yeasayer. Their sound ranges from psychedelic pop, freak folk, and world music. But it might be accurate to describe them as experimental – taking influences from where ever they can to create a mélange of music such as melodies from the Middle East and Asia. The fact is that their music is highly textured and intricate that it can create a mental visual on their own. Their music is filled with infectious pop hooks, three-part harmonies, tribal beats, and lush melodies. That makes for one hell of a hypnotic performance that is sure to trip you out.

Beirut (10:55-11:55 Main St. Stage)

Having Beirut end FYF is a great way to relax after a pretty chaotic line up. Their European-esque folk sounds should serenade and calm you. I had the pleasure of seeing the Zach Condon-led outfit live at Outside Lands last year and they were perfect in an open air setting. Granted the grounds at Outside Lands are much bigger than FYF, but regardless, their signature multi-horn-driven and intimate sound travels beautifully in that type of setting.

09 Aug
2012

The Honda Civic tour has returned again this summer with its most solid lineup yet featuring co-headliners Linkin Park and Incubus. Mutemath will be the support band. The tour will be hitting several amphitheaters across the country.

Linkin Park’s newest release Living Things debuted at #1 this June. In a recent conference call interview, lead singer Chester Bennington talks about the significance of the milestone: “I’ve always felt that we just made the best record that we could make at the time. So for people, for our fans, it’s really more of a testament to our fans than to us. It really is a testament to how enthusiastic our fan base is about what we do in the studio.”.

For Incubus, for the first time without a label since the mid-90s, this tour might be their last for a while. Frontman Brandon Boyd remarked that “we’ll probably take another break. Hopefully it won’t be as long. But what we like to do is arrive with the best of intentions and try and create music from a sense of urgency as well as purity and not necessarily based on a schedule.”

Both Chester and Brandon agree that their mutual respect for each others bands and shared fan base made the idea of touring together a no-brainer.

Chester: “…it feels like I’ve probably tried to figure out a way to get Linkin Park and Incubus on the road together at least once per cycle since probably Meteora. It just goes to show how difficult it can be to actually get two headlining groups together. ”

Brandon: “We have a lot of mutual listeners, of our bands, and I think that it’s one of those things that once the idea was floated, and we really kind of caught onto it, that it seemed like, ‘Why haven’t we done this yet?,’ type of a thing.”

Honda Civic Tour Dates:

8/11 Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live*
8/12 Uncasville, CT @ Mohegan Sun Arena*
8/14 Boston, MA @ Comcast Center
8/17 Camden, NJ @ Susquehanna Bank Center
8/19 Atlanta, GA @ Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
8/21 Detroit, MI @ The Palace of Auburn Hills
8/22 Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
8/24 Chicago, IL @ First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre
8/25 Indianapolis, IN @ Klipsch Music Center
8/27 Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion
8/28 Houston, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
8/30 Denver, CO @ Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
9/5 Tacoma, WA @ Tacoma Dome
9/7 Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
9/10 San Diego, CA @ Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre

*Incubus will not appear at this event

16 Jul
2012

By Matt Arena

This year Dover International Speedway in Delaware will be home to Firefly Music Festival (official app). Firefly is a three-day music experience with over 40 bands, as well as a litany of other attractions, such as arcade games and even a hot air balloon ride. The lineup is one of the finest you’ll find of the many summer festivals, even standing up to (and this writer’s opinion, higher) than the usual stalwarts the likes of Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and Outside Lands. Boasting headliners The Black Keys, Jack White, and The Killers, it’s hard to deny the strength of this lineup. And that’s before considering all the stellar acts books throughout the day. In addition to booking great bands, the schedule itself boasts very few major conflicts, a rarity amongst summer festivals. Below is your guide to Firefly festival, including all the must-see acts during the festival’s three-day run.

FRIDAY

WALK THE MOON
Set info: 6:45, The Porch

If any band were custom made for a festival, it would be Walk the Moon. These Ohio natives have absolutely exploded the past couple months, mostly due to the release of their self-titled debut album (to long time fans, more of a companion to their independently released album, i want i want!) and a number of TV appearances the likes of Jimmy Fallon and David Letterman. With music that sounds like it came from a sentient pack of Starburst, they’re a band that never fails to deliver live. A summer anthem if there’s ever been one, the smash hit single ‘Anna Sun’ has been topping alt-rock countdowns for weeks and boasts a still growing 3 million views for the music video on YouTube. Taking their studio tunes and giving them even more life when played live, it’s near impossible to not dance along to these guys on stage. Poised to have a Foster the People type year in terms of popularity, Walk the Moon is a band you’ll be hearing a lot about as the summer continues.

SILVERSUN PICKUPS
Set info: 8:00, The Backyard

Hot off the release of their new album, Neck of the Woods, Silversun Pickups aren’t making a lot of festival stops this summer, making their set at Firefly that much more of an important mark on your schedule. It’s always said that the mark of a truly great band is that they can translate their sound on record to their live shows. Silversun Pickups take that one step further. Louder and heavier than on the album, their songs take on a new life when played live. Songs like ‘Growing Old is Getting Old’ and the newer ‘Mean Spirits’ will no doubt have the entire crowd jumping and singing along. They might even melt your face a bit too. The passion lead singer Brian Aubert exudes on stage is palpable, as his primal screams and frantic guitar work are enough to drive even the most stagnant crowd member into jumping along. Definitely one of the best acts Firefly has to offer, do yourself a favor and experience their set.

JACK WHITE
Set info: 9:30, Firefly Stage

Though Firefly is one of the many stops Jack White’s making in support of his first solo album, there’s a reason he visits so many festivals as a headliner. One of the few modern musicians to reach legendary status (and rather quickly), he garnered a lot of buzz surrounding the break up of The White Stripes. Proving that he’s just as good on his own as he is with his many bands, White’s solo album Blunderbuss has by many been considered the album of the year. Giving new life to dirty blues, his complex riffs and old school sound have resonated well with music fans today. Even though he’s playing with a new band, Jack White doesn’t neglect the songs that got him to where he is. White Stripes, Raconteurs, and Dead Weather songs are all a regular occurrence on his set lists. And come on, it’s got to be on everyone’s gig bucket list to hear ‘Seven Nation Army’ at least one time live.

SATURDAY

GROUPLOVE
Set info: 3:30, The Lawn

Winning over new fans as a festival mainstay this summer, Grouplove has continued to impress at major stops like Coachella and Bonnaroo. Known for their out of control live presence, all it takes is one Grouplove show to understand why this band is growing so quickly. They just finished up their first headline tour in support of their debut album, Never Trust a Happy Song, and still continue to tour tirelessly. It’s hard to not respect a band that tries as hard as Grouplove, and clearly has a ball doing it. To try to describe their sound would not only be a near impossible task, but would almost do the band a disservice. Ranging between modern pop-synth indie rock and mellow, introspective electronica, they have a little something for everyone. They’ve had a massive year so far and only look to get even bigger.

YOUNG THE GIANT
Set info: 4:30, Firefly Stage

Following in the footsteps of other indie-rock acts that have recently found their way to mainstream success, Young the Giant have had quite a year. Starting with a huge main stage slot at last year’s Lollapalooza, a classic performance on the VMAS, a turn on MTV’s Unplugged, it was just a matter of time before it all clicked. And clicked it has. Selling out nearly every stop of their tour this past spring, even having to rebook several shows to larger venues, this band deserves every bit of praise they get. They’re able to mix modern indie rock with mellow beach pop and come out with an incredibly unique sound that is clearly finding an audience. Having a scorcher of a hit single like ‘My Body’ sure helps. Add to that the ever-growing popular tracks like ‘Cough Syrup’ and ‘Apartment,’ this band has been one of the biggest standout bands of the past year and show no signs of slowing down.

SUNDAY

REPTAR
Set info: 1:10, The Porch

There’s been a contingent of fantastic bands coming out of the South and making it big lately; Manchester Orchestra, Cage the Elephant, Sleeper Agent, and now Reptar. Having just opened for Grouplove on their nationwide tour, Reptar might just be Firefly’s best band that you don’t know about. Describing themselves as “disco dust,” once you hear one of their songs you’ll definitely agree. An eclectic combination of synths, guitar, bass, and drums, Reptar will make you want to dance and then mosh, sometimes both simultaneously. Their recently released debut album ‘Body Faucet’ has certainly struck a chord as the band’s popularity continues to rise. With a relatively set on the last day of the festival, Reptar will certainly set the bar high for the rest of the day.

AWOLNATION
Set info: 2:20, The Lawn

The leading pioneer of Red Bull records, AWOLNATION has been one of a garrison of new bands making quite a splash. Touring hard since the release of their debut album Megalithic Symphony a year ago, they’ve been able to garner lots of attention from their energetic live shows. Actually, energetic is an understatement. Known for quite literally crowd surfing at festival recently, as lead singer Aaron Bruno floats along the crowd on top of a surfboard, it’s hard to walk away from an AWOLNATION show unimpressed. Blending elements of electronic and rock, as evidence on their hit single ‘Sail,’ they’ve got a sound custom made for the wide expanse that a festival brings. It’ll be hard to miss AWOLNATION, as their sound will no doubt carry over the entire festival grounds. If you’re having trouble finding them, just look for the guy surfing over the crowd.

COLD WAR KIDS
Set info: 3:45, Firefly Stage

One of the few gems of Firefly, Cold War Kids haven’t been touring much lately, thus making their set all the more a must-see. Equal parts soul and rock, the Long Beach natives certainly know how to put blend these elements and highlight them in the live show. The sheer power of lead singer Nathan Willett’s voice will no doubt draw crowds towards their stage during the midday set. Though everyone will probably already know ‘Hang Me Up to Dry,’ the rest of their songs bring similar funk energy. Hearing Cold War Kids on the production and power of the main stage is a treat that everyone would be wise to experience.

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE
Set info: 6:15, Firefly Stage

Easily one of the best bands in the entire festival lineup, Death Cab’s set is one that will no doubt be on everyone’s radar. Even though they’ve been around for a while, they still play with the passion and ferocity of a band still trying to break it. Those who haven’t seen Death Cab before will no doubt be surprised with the energy the band exudes live as many of their songs make the jump to a live setting better than expected. Never ones to disregard their old material, you can expect a perfect blend of songs touching upon almost all of their seven full-length albums. Balancing between the intricate riffs found on ‘You Are a Tourist’ with the beautiful lyrical and piano work on songs like ‘What Sarah Said,’ they will entertain every second of their set. Add to that the sheer power and breath taking ability that their usual set closer ‘Transatlanticism’ has and it would be a crime for any to miss Death Cab for Cutie’s performance.

THE BLACK KEYS
Set info: 9:30, Firefly Stage

Unless you’ve been living under a rock lately, you’ve got to know who The Black Keys are. If there’s any band that has worked long and hard to get where they are, it’s them. The overwhelming praise (both from critics and fans) behind their latest effort, El Camino, has helped propel the band into further heights of popularity. Launching their first ever arena tour just a short while ago, many doubted whether or not the band had bitten off more than they could chew. They answered it by selling out Madison Square Garden immediately and adding another date that quickly sold out as well. Taking the unique set-up of a just drum and guitar (though they bring along some extra members on tour) they’re able to make a lot of noise for the music of just two men. The lyrics for songs like ‘Howlin’ for You’ and ‘Tighten Up’ will no doubt be echoed on the lips of everyone in attendance. The Black Keys are a perfect choice to close out the festival, as any other band would be hard pressed to follow up what’s sure to be the highlight of the entire weekend.

14 Jul
2012

It seems like it’s taken forever but our favorite LA band Saint Motel just released their debut full length album “Voyeur” (BUY IT NOW) this week and headline the El Rey Theatre tonight. You can pick up tickets for the show here or at the door.

Listen to “Voyeur” below:

14 Jul
2012

You might know Andy Hull as the frontman of the Atlanta based alternative rock band Manchester Orchestra but have you ever taken a listen to his great solo project Right Away, Great Captain!? Andy’s been working on this project for six years with 2006′s “The Bitter End” and 2008′s “The Eventually Home” and is completing the trilogy with a tour in support of “The Church Of The Good Thief” (iTunes) just released last month. Andy’s on tour now with The Dear Hunter’s Casey Crescenzo and took a few minutes to chat with TAP’s Matt Arena. Read on and catch him live this Tuesday at Maxwell’s in Hoboken and next Sunday the 22nd at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn.

How’s it going, Andy?

It’s going great, man. It’s going really great.

You just recently hit the road, how’s the tour going so far?

We started the tour a few nights ago in Chicago, did Michigan last night, and we’re on our way to Akron, Ohio right now. I haven’t played a lot of this material live before so it’s a totally new experience for me but I’m really enjoying it.

You’re one of the hardest working guys in the music industry. Since 2004 with all the different bands you’re involved with, you’ve released over 10 albums/EP’s, so do you manage to stay so creative?

It’s just really fun for me. I consider it a job but it’s a job I love doing and I certainly don’t consider myself as hard working, it’s just something I really love doing.

You co-produced one of my favorite albums last year, O’Brother’s Garden Window. That was a fantastic album.

Thank you, I think that album’s a masterpiece. I love it. We’ve taken O’Brother out with us as often as we can, they were able to use our studio and they’ve were at it that record for a really long time. They continue to work on their craft and get better and that record was a really difficult album to make, it took us a long time to do it. Because we wanted to make sure we were doing it right and really give it the time it needed to evolve and sound great. They were really open to letting Robert and I get in there and kind of become members of the band for that record, rather than just a producer saying “let’s do that take again.” We were messing with song structure and vocal melodies; it wouldn’t have worked with any other band because you’ve gotta be close to somebody to let them do something like that.

With all the work you’ve been doing between producing and working with all the different bands, do you ever worry about burning yourself out?

Yeah, for sure. When that happens, I certainly don’t ever force anything, it comes when it comes and just recently Manchester certainly burned ourselves out on touring so we took the last 6 months off. We’ve been building a studio at home, we’ve got a house and we gutted it and soundproofed it and now we have this house that’s close to where we live. Nobody’s living there it’s just a studio so we make sure we take time and that’s certainly something we needed this year.

Being involved with so many different bands do you ever find yourself recording for one group and then getting ideas for another? For example recording a Manchester album and stumbling upon a Ride Away, Great Captain! song.

They’re pretty divided. With the latest Bad Books record, which comes out in October, there were a few songs that started as Manchester songs in my head and ended up becoming Bad Books songs. I was able to bring them to Kevin and mess with them to put a Bad Books spin on it. I think with Ride Away the story is so specific that there’s really no way I could mix that stuff up. But when I’m generally writing I don’t really think about it for a specific thing, it just usually makes sense.

For Church of the Good Thief, there’s a great vinyl package that encompasses all three albums, can you tell me a bit about where that idea came from?

For me it was something that was pretty obvious that I wanted to do it. I’ve never really printed up stuff like that and I knew that eventually I wanted to put the culmination of all these records together as one package. It was cool being able to finish something like that, a trilogy that took me six years to do. It was really fulfilling.

It strikes a perfect balance between embracing the digital age without disregarding physical vinyl releases.

I think that people like things that are tangible that they can hold and as long as the quality is there people are willing to do it. When I started making music I never thought I’d have a record that would be on vinyl. Obviously the digital thing allows people to be able to get music faster, without it being a totally insane procedure, you can just click and get it. But it also takes away a little bit because you don’t’ really have to search it out since it’s all there at your fingertips. There are positives and negatives to both of them. I love CD’s still, I like buying records and putting them in my car. But I also buy a lot of stuff on my iPhone, it’s easier to just click and listen to. I still find myself buying something digitally and burning it so I can listen to it on a CD.

I love the running story through this trio of albums. Is it something that you find yourself coming upon with other work or was it relegated to Right Away, Great Captain!?

I think that the next thing I do will have something to do with that because I love writing stories and I like the idea of something that spans over the course of several albums. The new Manchester record will probably have a lot more storytelling on it and be a little bit more character based. With Right Away it was more like an exercise to see if I could do it. When you start something when you’re 19, you never really think about what it’s gonna be like when you’re 25 and finishing it up. It was cool to watch that evolve.

Since you started it young and as you get older the way you make music changes, was it difficult to keep it cohesive musically?

The last one for me was sort of the feeling like having homework due for 4 years. I felt like I was late on a project for 4 years. Every time I’d release an album with Bad Books or Manchester I’d feel even more guilty that I hadn’t finished it. Like I was saying earlier, I don’t ever want to force anything so it wasn’t that I found it difficult to be cohesive, because it’s just me and an acoustic guitar. That actually lent itself to the benefit of the album because as the character grows, the songwriting grows and I feel the songwriting got better over the course of 6 years.

The story within the albums is so well thought out, are there any plans to bring it to another medium? Whether it’s a short story or a series of music videos?

I’ve always been open to a lot of that stuff and that would be really cool to do. I don’t really know how I’d do that, I’d love to see a movie made of it but it might be a boring fucking movie. There’s part of me that still wants to work on that story, maybe with other characters but at the same time I think a fresh start’s going to be really important too. I let things grows the way they’re gonna grow. With other mediums it would be super cool to do but I’m not in a rush to do it.

Touring with an album that’s very musically different from the last tour with Manchester, what kind of adjustment is there?

It’s cool. The reason the third Right Away record is so stripped down musically had to do with the story in part and that there was so much shit happening on Simple Math. They compliment each other the same way live shows do. Playing big venues is fun but there’s something really great about playing to a room of people and it being dead quiet. You can see everyone in the room and they all feel like they’re a part of it rather than being separated from them by a sea of people. I love doing both of them and feel very blessed to be doing both.

Does it help keep the touring experience fresh?

For sure. I haven’t done a lot of these Right Away shows, I do a lot of solo shows, spot gigs here and there, but I’ve never done a tour like this. It’s definitely a cleansing of the palette, it lets me play these songs that I’ve never played live before and I love it.

One last question, since Church of the Good Thief brings the story to a close, is that the end of your work with Right Away, Great Captain! or are there more ideas to explore?

As of now that is the conclusion and the ending. It’ll be a long time before I come back and revisit it. I also don’t want to Stars Wars it and totally fuck it up, ya know? Just because people like it doesn’t mean that I have to keep doing it. The story sits where it is, obviously he’s dead so there really isn’t a lot you can with that.

You can always pull a George Lucas and do a prequel trilogy.

(laughs) Yeah exactly, I could. As of now I feel really great about exactly where it is.

Awesome. Thanks for taking the time to talk, I appreciate it.

Yeah, man. Nice talking to you.