All 3 entries tagged New Wave

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November 14, 2006

The Organ

Writing about web page http://www.theorgan.ca/

Within seconds of Interpol having the fantastic idea of ripping off Joy Division there were waves of others who had the great idea of ripping off Interpol. Unfortunately the majority seem to have neglected certain details like the fact that Interpol actually did something more than merely ape Curtis, Sumner, Hook and Morris. For a start their music was denser, against Joy Division’s wiry minimalism. From the Interpol copyists comes precious little diversity, just men with sad voices singing songs which long to be drenched in Mancunian rain.

So what from here? From safety to where?

Why not let the girls have a go?

Oh they already have…

The Organ tend to be described as five morose young women from Canada. It’s not hard to see why. They make sad songs and are Canadian. Sort of. Actually, being Canadian is somewhat irrelevant unless there’s now a conscious attempt to liberate Canada from the Celine Dion/ Bryan Adams/Shania Twain tripartite dictatorship which makes people view Canada with suspicion. And the “sort of” applies to them being morose. Because there’s more to it than that.

Firstly being Canadian and in possession of a knowledge of the New Wave is not new. The Stills did it three years ago but kind of ruined it by being simply dreadful live and then messing around with their lineup and, indeed, every other aspect of their band. But the Organ seem more coherent, more cohesive. I bet they’d never turn around from a five minute jam and ask the audience “Do you think this is indulgent?” like some Canadian bands mentioned in this paragraph.

The clue’s in their timing. Their album is merely half an hour long. No fat, no flab, no fifteen minute jazz oddysseys with controls set for the heart of the fretwank. No song shall overstay its welcome. If you went round their house they’d give you a ready prepared cup of tea, ask how your day was then chuck you out onto the street. Where you belong.

Listening to their songs suggests being thrown out onto the street is something they’ve both done and suffered in the past. The first two tracks on their album Grab That Gun, ‘Brother’ and ‘Steven Smith’, take us straight away into their strange happy/sad world in which “we are warm and we are safe/enjoy it while you can before/things change” and where the eponymous stud Smith is somehow resistable to singer Katie Sketch whilst all others end up having regret filled romps. Chiming guitars, floaty synths and the strange feeling that they might have decided to conceal the Interpol connections with a heady dose of The Smiths abound. Really they’d be happiest wandering around Oxford Road, looking for new guitars at Johnny Roadhouse, M1 7DU, and complaining about the Glazers as the bright lights of the Curry Mile flash around them.

It’s all gone Mancunian!

But why not? No song overstaying its welcome, each emotion kept in check by mere threads. It’s the sort of album you need at 2am when you’re not entirely sure if you’re happy or sad, and need a slab of atmosphere which will happily accommodate both. So very blank and so very detailed at the same time. It shouldn’t work but it does.

Buy Grab That Gun from Amazon

Listen To These:

The Organ – ‘Basement Band Song’ MP3 Expired

The Organ – ‘A Sudden Death’ MP3 Expired


August 23, 2006

Interview: We Landed On The Moon!

We Landed On The Moon!

We Landed On The Moon! are Melissa Eccles (Vocals), Stephen Bowling (Bass), John Lambremont (Keyboards, Guitar), Jonathan Kolich (Guitar) and Ryan Rushing (Drums), an explosive pop–rock five piece from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They combine powerful songs with beautiful vocals and lyrics to great effect, and are, in fact, awesome.

Following the release of their eponymous debut album (downloadable for UK fans from iTunes or bought in real life from AwareStore and CD Baby, they've picked up a lot of fans (including myself) on the Internet and we caught up for an interview with Melissa to find out how things were going.

Samples

(Listen to these while you're reading the interview. Magic!)

We Landed On The Moon! - Everything Is Fine
We Landed On The Moon! - Simple Steps

Interview

How did things with We Landed On The Moon! begin?

It began with me and John writing songs together. We just really had a connection with music. We were both raised on the Beatles and listening to Radiohead at the time. I know that’s kind of the standard in Britain, but hey, we’re in the states where some of my classmates literally had never heard of the Beatles. And a lot of people here think that Radiohead is for the stuck up people.

We wrote for a while, and went through a couple of lineup changes. And then one by one we found Ryan, Stephen, and Jon and that's when things really started taking off.

How did you come up with the name We Landed On The Moon!?

Stephen actually said it sarcastically to us when we were coming up with a whole bunch of names that were obviously taken. We just kind of laughed and said, “see if the websit’s available”. Make sure and include the exclamation point on it We Landed On The Moon! or he will flip though, haha.

If you could be a planet, which one would you be and why?

I’d be Mars so I could eat more candy bars…

How do you think the Internet has helped promote We Landed On The Moon!?

Well, it has definitely given us some awareness that we never could have gotten just ten years ago. I mean, we’re in Louisiana and you’re in England. How cool is that? I never thought when we were writing these songs that people in England might be cruising down the street trying not to get pulled over by Bobbies while listening to our music. Or maybe on a iPod or something on one of those cool double decker buses. Sorry, I’ve never been to England so I’m just in love with all the cool “only in England” stuff.

We’ll get there eventually. It is amazing when we have people from Sweden and France and other parts of the United States telling us how much they like us. And iTunes is just amazing.

What's your favourite song on the album?

I know it sounds like such a cliché, but I like them all I really do. I have a couple of ones that I have stronger connection to. I like “Without a Sound”, the song that closes the album because we really tried to do something different with it. I also really like the punk feel in “Mourning Dance”. I really get to let loose in that song. “Rabbit Hole” has some sentimental lyrics for me too.

If you could have any guest star alive or dead to perform at one of your shows for one song, who would it be, what song would they guest on, and what would they play?

I think it would be cool if Joni Mitchell came and played “Before the Lights Come Up” with us. My mom listened to a lot of folk music, and Joni’s got the most beautiful voice. We’d do like an acoustic version of “Before the Lights….” with a piano instead of the synth and Joni fingerpicking the guitar part and singing. I’d just try to not to mess it up, haha.

What do you think you'd be doing if you weren't making great music?

I’d be teaching dance or choreographing. I still do it quite a bit now. I’ve been taking dance lessons as long as I’ve been singing. I’d also would be home loving my cats, Bobek and Aja.

What was the first album you bought, and what was the first album you really liked?

I think the first album I bought was the Little Mermaid soundtrack. I really thought I was Ariel. I was very disappointed I couldn’t make my legs turn into a fish tail.

The first album that I really liked? I can’t remember because I’ve always such a big fan of music. The first album I kind of obsessed over was Ok, Computer. Radiohead is a band that I can say that I got into before anyone else in my circle or before it became so critically acclaimed. Now it’s weird because you say you like Radiohead to a music fan, and everyone rolls their eyes and says, “Oh yeah. who doesn’t.”

Melissa Eccles (We Landed On The Moon!)

Melissa, the Internet's certainly had a lot to say about your voice and your own bio talks about the 'powerful yet vulnerable vocals of sultry lead singer Melissa Eccles'... How do you react to comments like that?

Usually, I try not to. It’s always really nice to hear. The reviews and bio, it’s just funny because I just think of me as me. And by that I mean, powerful yet vulnerable me.

Influences are first and foremost when discussing almost any music, but which modern day band do you reckon you could offer some tips to (style, technique or in just writing some bloody songs)? or are you waiting for your tenth album before making any grandiose statements of superiority?

Where do I start?

I’m just kidding, I like a lot of the new music coming out now. Not the mainstream stuff necessarily. I thought there was a lull for a bit in the early 2000s, but then I realized I just wasn’t exposing myself to as much of the music as I should. I recently started really searching for things, reading a lot, and I’ve found a lot of stuff that’s new and good to me.

I would probably tell a lot of bands to stop trying to sound like other bands. I’m not that huge a fan of emo music, but I mean, the kids are out there playing what they feel and know how to play. I’d tell most bands to broaden their horizons and start listening to more music that’s older than five to fifteen years old.

Some songs, such as Mourning Dance and Lovely, are very much reminiscent of Blondie, but others have a more 'modern' feel, for example in Everything is Fine. How would you describe yourselves to someone who hasn't heard you before?

Ah, the million dollar question. We waffled on that for a long time, and finally we just settled on what people we told us we sounded like. I think our sound really varies from song to song, and I like that. I think it keeps the listener interested. I mean, we kind of had an idea of what we didn’t want to sound like, but we never set out to sound like Blondie or synth new wave in the case of “Everything is Fine”. We just kind of wrote each song with the ideas and sounds we heard in our heads and went with it.

But, yeah, Blondie is really what we get all the time. I guess the girl in a dress comparison is too hard to resist. Blondie was amazing. Heck, Debra Harry is still amazing. Just a few months ago in Houston, I had a guy approach the stage and say, “Has anybody ever told you that you look and sound like a young Debra Harry?” I mean, if you get comparisons to a legend like that you kind of have to just say thank you for the compliment and own it.

But to answer your question, if anybody asks you what we sound like, you tell them we sound “like a sexy party”.

What's next for you guys?

Well, we’re going to start touring more and more. We’re going to try to do an Eastern US tour in early 2007. Promotion of this CD starts in earnest this September. We’re doing the College Radio Station thing here in the States. Should be fun to see what type of response we get.

Um… what else? We’re working on songs for the new album already. We probably have about 3–5 that are in some semblance of arrangement, and 3 or 4 more that we’re playing with. We’re going to have about 30 when we go into the studio, so that will give us a lot of material to choose from.

What we really want is Virgin UK or some cool English label to sign us for distribution so we get an excuse to come play around in England for a few months. A friend of ours just toured with a band who basically just uses their band as an excuse to travel the world. That would be fun.

So all of you kiddies buy our CD so we can come and visit. I want to eat fish n chips!

We Landed On The Moon!

Buy

A big thanks to Melissa for the interview and good luck on promoting the album, we hope you guys come to the UK soon :) Make it happen by buying their fantastic album NOW.

iTunes
AwareStore
CD Baby

Links

Website
MySpace


August 10, 2006

Wire

Wire's Essential Albums

Wire - Pink Flag

Pink Flag

Wire - Chairs Missing

Chairs Missing

Wire - 154

154

Click on album art to buy from amazon.co.uk

Punk wasn't about being stupid. The poor musicianship was a result of the egalitarian sentiments it espoused not the movement's principle tenets. People who sneer at any music which has the audacity to have more than three, poorly played, chords is an idiot and not punk. Anyone could play guitar. That was the point. And sometimes those anyones were quite good at it. It was allowed for people to be clever, although there was a line that could not be crossed (if you believe the hype that line was labelled "Beyond This Point Lies Pink Floyd"). 'Good' clever meant having songs shorter than the normal punk shortness (30 seconds was sometimes enough), or smart lyrics, or being daring. Doing any of these things would be enough to make your band quite ace. Rather sensibly Wire did them all.

From direct steals to the subtlest of acknowledgments, Wire have had a tremendous impact on modern indie, even for bands who probably don't realise they've been influenced. With every incident of Elastica running off into the night carrying entire riffs (or songs), to The Futureheads' disregard for traditional verse–chorus–verse, to anyone who ever decided to not even bother trying to fit in, Wire have shown it's allowed in music to be a bit cleverer than the rest. They were students, again something which some 'punks' saw as a kind of class treachery. Anyone who thinks this is an idiot and I'm not just saying this as a student.

In three albums Wire tried a massive experiment – was it possible to get in there, make your point, and leave without being pinned to the floor by your record company and then abused until you've stretched out your songs to 'traditional' sizes? As it happens the answer was "no". Ish.

Most of Wire's songs were as long as necessary. 'Field Day for the Sundays' was merely 28 seconds of joy. Sneeze and you could probably miss many of the songs on their debut, the wonderful Pink Flag. Cramming 21 songs into 35 minutes doesn't leave much room for... well, any flab at all really. Even when they decided to be a bit less frantic on their followup Chairs Missing they still sat on the suitcase to get those 15 tracks into their alloted 42 minutes.

But the beauty of all those tracks, short and not–at–all–long alike, is that they sound like they were released yesterday. Seriously. Being an evil bitch I like to play people their songs, exclaiming "they're the next big thing", and then tell them that those tunes are 25+ years old later. Riffs which are everywhere in indie don't sound out of time when you hear those who came up with them first. And lyrically it's great – Pink Flag opener 'Reuters' is a worryingly accurate sounding description of any of the world's conflicts, with it's sinister chanted vocals and the agonised yell of "rape" at the end. In contrast 'Ex–Lion Tamer' has the humour telling of the titular hero with his "three fingers all in a line". Obtuse but comprehensible. This is where The Futureheads are coming from.

And then there's their near hit, 'Outdoor Miner'. As mentioned, Wire weren't immune to record company meddling and 'Outdoor Miner' the single version was expanded to bump it up to the length of a short but normal pop song. It works, surprisingly, by shoehorning in a quite lovely piano solo to one of their more laid back numbers. Of course the record company then buggered it all up by making errors in the single's release so it wasn't eligible for the charts. There's probably a moral to this story somwhere.

In any case we heartily recommend their first three albums as essential indie albums

Top notch short arse songs to be sampled in a frenetic surge of adrenaline:

Wire – 'Outdoor Miner (single version)' from Chairs Missing - MP3 Expired
Wire – 'Ex Lion Tamer' from Pink Flag - MP3 Expired
Wire – 'Field Day For The Sundays' from Pink Flag - MP3 Expired

Buy Pink Flag from Amazon

Buy Chairs Missing from Amazon

Buy 154 from Amazon

+1 to Andrea for already being down with the Wire love.


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