Sunday, May 29, 2011

Live Review: Beach Fossils @ Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, 5/28/2011

As a native of the greater DC area, I've been going to the Kennedy Center for various and sundry events as long as I can remember. But never once, my little loves, was it to see a band. Opera, yes. Plays, you betcha. Orchestra performances, naturally. But you know how it goes, there's a first time for everything. And when my friend Carolyn mentioned that Beach Fossils would be partaking in the KenCen's free Millennium Stage concert series, well, after I squealed with delight I decided there was no better time to check out how the KenCen does rock & roll (the answer being pretty well).

I was pleasantly surprised to find tons of people sitting around, waiting for the Brooklyn boys to do their thing. Sure, some of them were definitely tourists hunting for free fun, but I'd bet there were plenty of bona fide Fossil fans there, too. What followed for the enjoyment of one and all was a delightfully breezy 14-song set, filled with that blissful summertime jangle that Beach Fossils does better than just about anybody. They began with the new "What A Pleasure," from the EP of the same name. The subtle twist and shout and all that langour got things moving in the right direction from the very first note.

"Golden Age" was, well, golden, bursting with that kicky groove that hallmarks a
Beach Fossils song. I was really impressed with "The Horse," a song that on record is great but live turned into the sparkling waves on a lakeside weekend getaway. Endearingly, the band admitted to wondering whether or not anyone would turn up, and the full house collectively chuckled. When the band launched into "Daydream," my favorite off their self-titled LP, I sat gazing at the stage in relative euphoria. It's such a perfect summer song, that one, and Beach Fossils nailed it. During "Vacation," a rather enthusiastic fan bounded down the center aisle to the front and then bounded back to round up some friends. The dance party down the front was allowed to continue, probably because the band's good vibes rubbed off onto the red-blazered ushers. "Twelve Roses," played next to last, was glorious, making me wish I was shaking a tailfeather instead of sitting with asleep feet.

All told, it was a great set. The sound was wonderful, the band was fantastic, the crowd was respectful, and a good time appeared to have been had by all. I probably prefer seeing bands in a club, where folks are there specifically to see said band, but then again, it was pretty cool rubbing elbows with well-heeled persons getting ready to attend a formal performance on another of the KenCen's big deal stages. A unique experience, to be sure, and if you're able to, you might wanna check out what's on offer for these free (did I mention they're free?!) performances.

Calyer (Beach Fossils from the What A Pleasure EP)

[photo by Giulia Mazza]

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Get Yer Pedals Out #5: Starring Ted Joyner (Generationals)

I couldn't quite tell you why, but for the longest time I've been somewhat moderately obsessed with pedals. Since I'm no guitarist I don't really have a valid reason for this, other than the fact that they both make pretty noises and are rather nice to look at. Much, really, like the folks who use them. I've decided to turn my inexplicable pedal fancy into Fuzzy Logic fodder, and I do hope you'll enjoy my foray into the ins and outs of pedal worship.

As I already mentioned, friendly friends, I was so enthralled by the Generationals set up here at Iota that I was compelled to drive all the way down to my former homeland Richmond to see them do it all again the very next night. After another triumphantly delirious, poptastical set, guitarist and vocalist Ted Joyner and I decamped to the band's wheels for a chat, in which it is discovered that Ted is a pedal minimalist, and that we have the same phone, and that teachers sometimes have good taste in music. But that's another story. Read further for Ted's thoughts on the pedal, and make sure to go see Generationals whenever humanly possible.

Fuzzy Logic: Which pedal is your very favorite and why?
Ted Joyner: Um, the tuning pedal because it keeps me in tune and without it I would sound like total shit. I’m not really good at pedals. Grant usually teaches me about what pedals are cool, and then I’m like “ok I’ll just get that.” And he always has a few more pedals than I do, because he’s always searching out a new sound or something, but I try to keep it pretty simple.

FL: Favorite chord?
TJ: My favorite chord…lately I like F. I think I’ve been starting with F sometimes, F major, when I’ve been messing around with stuff. I like playing minor chords but I don’t like writing anything in a minor key. I haven’t written anything good in a minor key I don’t think, I kinda stick to major. But yeah. I don’t fuck around with that minor shit. Strictly major.

FL: Who’s your guitarist icon?
TJ: Lately, I dunno…I think if I had one, I’d have a clearer idea of what I’m trying to do guitar-wise. It’s weird, at some point I was having to do a lot of keyboard stuff with this band, cuz we didn’t fill out, right now we have a guy who’s strictly keyboard all the time, a guy who’s strictly bass, so Grant and I get to stay on guitar, but before I was having to do a lot of keyboard duty, and I remember doing it and like not feeling comfortable, it never felt like my primary thing, so I never felt totally comfortable back there. Plus I couldn’t dance as much while I’m playing keyboard, you know what I mean? So I felt like oh well, guitar’s my thing, I’m only gonna be comfortable when I’m on guitar. But now that I’m on guitar all the time, I feel like I don’t know if guitar’s my thing. Sometimes I wonder what I’m most comfortable on. But yeah. I don’t know that I have a guitar icon. Definitely when I was younger I looked up to Jimi Hendrix, and like, Guitar Hero type people. Of course, I don’t aspire to play like him at all, at least not anymore. I guess now I just try to keep it kinda minimal, I don’t do any ripping solos or anything. I remember when I was like, 20, it was Albert Hammond Jr. from The Strokes, definitely, cuz he always seems so minimalist and tight…yeah, I kinda liked his vibe when I was much younger. I still do. I still like The Strokes.

FL: With all the pedals out there, how do you decide which ones to procure?
TJ: I think I like to keep it pretty mainstream. Like I said, I really don’t seek out pedals. Grant will be fooling around with something, and he’ll fool around with it for a while, and if it seems like a kinda standard issue, kinda like the kind of pedal someone would use…a lot of mine are Boss, I don’t even know what I have right now…I have one that’s like an overdrive kinda thing, that just pushes it and makes it a little bit dirtier, I have a signal boost pedal, which is ok. I mean, really right now I wouldn’t even say I’m like altogether really thrilled about my set of pedals. I probably need to get an equalizer, Grant’s been messing around with one of those for a while, that kinda helps. I’d say if a pedal is very time-honored, very this is the standard one, if you want this sound you should get one of these. I definitely don’t have a pedal setup to where like one pedal is for one specific song or one specific sound, I mean it’s kinda a general broad shaping of the sound, cuz all of mine are pretty standard, like I said. That’s so boring.

FL: What’s your dream pedal?
TJ: My dream pedal would be…one pedal that I could step on, and I wouldn’t need any others, that would just kinda feel out what I’m trying to do and do that for me. A pedal that would know me and know what I’m going for. A Boss intuition. But a lot of times, I know what I want it to feel like, but in the moment it doesn’t really do that. A pedal that just sorta knew where I was going with things and just did it already, preemptively. Some sort of artificial intelligence companion pedal. Like, you play with it for like a year, and it just learns you, what you like. That’s actually a good idea. Like if I wanna rip a solo, it can tell that’s what I’m gonna do, that’s what I’m wanting, and it’ll just do that. Which is I guess a long way of saying I just don’t like pedals, I wish I just didn’t have to deal with them, and I wish I just had one that did everything for me. Maybe that’s lazy? I think at some point I guess I started seeing pedals as some hobbyist thing that they could always sell you on the idea of another pedal that would do more, and at some point I was like no, you actually just need very few, and you’re shaping things more broadly. I bought into that definitely when I was younger, cuz you’re in Guitar Center and you play through it and it does like weird, crazy sounds…well, pedals are cool.

mp3: Ten-Twenty-Ten (Generationals from Actor-Caster)

[photo by Ted Joyner]

Album Review: Ringo Deathstarr – Colour Trip

I've been waiting a long time for this one. Approximately two years and two months, give or take a day hither and thither. You see, it was then that I saw Ringo Deathstarr play an incendiary set at Headhunter's in Austin during SXSWeek, and after I picked my jaw up off the floor I knew I was in love. So I waited. And waited. And waited some more. And finally, the heavens opened and down came Colour Trip. And all was right with the world.

Whenever something is written about Ringo Deathstarr, odds are pretty good it'll have something in there about My Bloody Valentine (but hey, Loveless is one of my favorite records of ever, too) and/or The Jesus & Mary Chain. Not for nothing, as Ringo Deathstarr most certainly learned much from the Shields school of guitar fuzzery and the Reid school of vocals, respectively. But whatever elements of those two bands they've adapted to their sound, the Texas trio uses beautifully and on their own terms. Witness, friends, album opener "Imagine Hearts," a song I haven't hardly been able to stop listening to for days on end. Sure, there's distortion aplenty and bassist/siren Alex Gehring's honeyed hush of a whisper on vocal duty. But there's also one heck of a sultry little beat, bringing a little shimmy to the shoegaze.

"Do It Every Time" follows, lively and driving, guitarist Elliott Frazier doing the Reid brothers proud with his rich, rough vocals and his guitar doing all sorts of contortions. All throughout Colour Trip the fantastic fuzz and sheer noise cuddle up to poppy elements. On "Kaleidoscope," Frazier sweetly sings "got a crush on you/what can I do?" over a glorious wash of hazy fuzzitude. There's ghosts of not only the aforementioned shoegaze deities, but also the early 80s sounds of The Cure and New Order and The Psychedelic Furs, running rampant not only in this song but all over the place. "Day Dreamy" is one of my absolute favorites, the breathy vocals of Frazier and the "To Here Knows When"-esque swirling placidity making for pure intoxication.

The record keeps on a steady, stellar path the whole way through. Poppy undertones course through the huge guitar on "Tambourine Girl," and I do believe Frazier sings the line, "there's no such thing as much too loud," a sentiment which applies to this album without a doubt. The fearsome decibel levels of "Chloe" make it another of my most favorite songs from Colour Trip, Frazier and Gehring hypnotically "ooooh"-ing against the big bad buzzsaw of Frazier's axe. Immediately following "Chloe" is another favorite, "Never Drive," the fuzz reaching epic levels and the vocals in full Reid-ian threatening yet come hitherness. "You Don't Listen" is the Ringo Deathstarr "Never Understand," all jaunty jangle under layer upon layer of delicious distortion.

There's a sort of timelessness to Colour Trip, making it on-point both with the records that inspired it and the records it will undoubtedly inspire. Stoned, quite possibly, but this band probably won't find themselves dethroned anytime soon.

mp3: Imagine Hearts (Ringo Deathstarr from Colour Trip)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Singles Club: Happy Vandals

Here in the US of A, it's just about Memorial Day weekend time. This means three glorious days of Not Working, which I for one think should always be the case but that's another story entirely.

Anyway. This three day weekend thing puts me in a rather good mood, and this super warm weather puts me in a vacation state of mind. Bearing that in mind, I'd like to kick the weekend off with the song stylings of Scots Happy Vandals, and their appropriately tropical-surfish-brogueish number "Mamma Roma." I don't know about y'all, but it gets me even more on vacation time. Mama like. So much so that I wouldn't be surprised to see more of Happy Vandals gracing FL, and soon.

Mamma Roma (Happy Vandals - more here)

Our Daily Vinyl #7: The Young Sinclairs

It is a sad but true fact of life that I once derisively mocked anyone who opined how amazing vinyl was and how music just sounded better when played on a turntable. Now, in a somewhat ironic twist of fate, I’ve come to realize, well, it’s true.

I don't know about y'all, but I'm always curious about the bands that other bands listen to. Not just the older stuff, the classics, but the new bands, the kids of today. To me, it's always rad to know that bands that you dig listen to each other. Such is the case with those adorable Diamond Center kids and the deliriously talented (and adorable) Roanoke outfit The Young Sinclairs. They're both amazing bands, and if I ever saw them on the same stage I'd probably spontaneously combust out of sheer joy. Below, Kyle explains and Brandi shows off the LP in question:

"The Young Sinclars - The Songs of The Young Sinclairs - Great record from this band from Roanoke. There must be something in the proverbial water there, because everyone I meet from Roanoke is super great and talented. So many good bands in such a small town. We've played a number of shows with them here and there, I just want to hug them."

mp3: WTT (The Diamond Center from My Only Companion) (thx, Mad Mackerel)

[Logo by the fantastic
Bill Taylor; Photo of Brandi Price by Megan Petty]

Live Review: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr./Generationals @ Iota, 5/17/2011

Detroit. New Orleans. On the surface, there might not be a lot in common betwixt the industrial Motor City and the naughtily genteel Big Easy. However, Detroit likes to have a real cool time, while New Orleans opts to laissez les bon temps rouler. So perhaps these two have as much in common as need be. And throw together two bands like Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and Generationals, and you bring together those two concepts into one handy package deal. It doesn't get much better, y'all.

I knew it was gonna be a pretty good night when, walking from my car to Iota, I heard the rather audible strains of a gentleman in the full lustful throes of what was, for him, a pretty good night. Turned out to be quite a night for yours truly, too. As I walked in, the gentlemen of
Generationals were smack dab in the middle of one of my favorite songs of theirs, a sublimely rad rendering of "Angry Charlie." It was as sharp and witty as struttin' as on Con Law, if not more so. "Exterior Street Date," another of my favorites, followed, the band partaking in a lively romp through the song's poppy sweetness and supplying it with just enough edge. The band pulled heavily from new record Actor-Caster, including new favorite "Goose & Gander" and its' inescapable bouncing frothiness and the sultry, humid swing of "You Say It Too." But throw in "When They Fight" and "Nobody Could Change Your Mind," friends, and it was one heck of a set. These New Orleans boys are proving themselves to be quite the formidable live act.

As for
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., well, their live reputation preceded them. I was expecting full-on NASCAR gear and full-on insanity. What I got was power suit/NASCAR jacket combos and almost full-on insanity. Which, my tarts, was good enough for me. This band has awesome in spades. Their shimmy shake noise was almost, dare I say, cute! at times, and their songs frequently dipped into major dance party levels. The Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. sound of candy hearts chased with bourbon was right up my alley. They threw in a sassy little snippet of "Like a Virgin," just because Josh "heard it on the radio today and I really wanted to sing it." And, in a totally risky yet ultimately rad move, the band covered "God Only Knows." It was a sweet cover, they really treated it well. Their set had it all: strobe lights, people blowing bubbles, audience participators in skeleton masks...all in all, way more fun than a barrel of monkeys.

What a show, what a show. I was expecting great things and I got...greater things. These bands wowed me so very much that I drove all the dang way down to Richmond and back the next night, just to see them do it again. And it was worth it, friends. Don't miss out on these here bands. Trust me on this one.

mp3: Vocal Chords (Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. from the Horsepower EP)

[photo courtesy the rad and a half Back Beat Seattle]

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Singles Club: The Dirty Lungs

In one of my (rather numerous) favorite songs by The Rolling Stones, "Rip This Joint," lives the lyric; "Wham bam Birmingham/Alabam' don't give a damn." It's a sentiment that I find suits my current favorite batch of Alabamians, The Dirty Lungs, rather well. Listening to them, I get the impression that they just wanna do their thing, and if you like it, you like it. You see, according to them, their "veins pump rhythm and blood," and I'm inclined to agree with them.

The Birmingham boys just put out a new 7" for consumption, and it's mighty fine. "Don't Fucking Remind Me," my favorite of the two tracks, shows the
Lungs striking paydirt with a murky, muddily golden vibe, still full of scuzz and attitude but a bit different than a lot of what I've heard from them. Plus, it's a song about California in which the band spells out the name of my dream state. Love it. "Serial Suicide," the other side of the 7", exhibits a ghoulish beach party vibe, taut and herky jerky and a little dark. Both tracks are definitely worth checking out, and you'll probably hear one or perhaps even both when The Dirty Lungs rolls on into DC on June 10th. See y'all there.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Get Yer Pedals Out #4: Starring Grant Widmer (Generationals)

I couldn't quite tell you why, but for the longest time I've been somewhat moderately obsessed with pedals. Since I'm no guitarist I don't really have a valid reason for this, other than the fact that they both make pretty noises and are rather nice to look at. Much, really, like the folks who use them. I've decided to turn my inexplicable pedal fancy into Fuzzy Logic fodder, and I do hope you'll enjoy my foray into the ins and outs of pedal worship.

Ah, Generationals. When it comes to making delicious, chirpy summertime dreamy pop nuggets, there’s pretty much nobody doing it better. Fresh off the release of their latest long player, Actor Caster, the boys from the Big Easy recently came through the DC metro for a pair of shows. Both shows I had the pleasure of attending, both at Iota and down in Richmond, were on the ridiculously excellent side, in no small part thanks to the guitar contortioning of Generationals mainmen Grant Widmer and Ted Joyner. Grant and I sat down post-set for some pedal talk, and I thank him profusely for introducing me to one of my new favorite things...Disaster Fuzz. Makes me giggle every time. Read on for more of Grant’s musings on all things pedalish.

Fuzzy Logic: Which pedal is your very favorite and why?
Grant Widmer: I’d say definitely the Disaster Fuzz…there’s kind of a story that I remember when I think about it, kinda how I got it. I showed up at a show in New York once and I went to step on my fuzz pedal and it just didn’t work at all. So I walked around the corner to a guitar store called Ludlow Guitars and I just asked for a shitty fuzz guitar pedal, and that’s what I got. So I like that one.

FL: Favorite chord?
GW: I don’t play favorites with chords. They’ve all been good to me and they’ve all fucked me over at various points.

FL: Who’s your guitarist icon?
GW: I don’t know…I guess it kinda depends. I like the way Tom Petty plays guitars, I also like Elliot Easton. I also like Britt (Daniel) from Spoon, really interesting guitar stuff. I think Chuck Berry was probably the first guy I ever tried to learn how to play like that, and then it took me a long time to unlearn how to play like that. So yeah. Those are some good ones.

FL: With all the pedals out there, how do you decide which ones to procure?
GW: It’s whichever one is available in the used case at Guitar Center, that’s typically what I get. I learn how to use it after I buy it.

FL: What’s your dream pedal?
GW: Oh man. Once we did a show in Chicago and I left my entire pedal board behind, and I had to get it shipped, but in the meantime we had a couple shows where I didn’t have one. I had to go to Guitar Center and just get whatever I wanted with a credit card knowing that I was gonna bring it back the next day, so I was just like I’m just gonna get any pedal I can think of. I got this fuzz pedal, shit I can’t even remember the name of it right now, I know the guys in Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. have it, one of them has it, it’s like a little rectangle, it looks like a little boutique handmade pedal, and it’s got hand-written lettering on it, multi-colored lettering, it’s some kind of a weird fuzz, but it also has other knobs on it too. I remember I used it for my fuzz and it sounded so awesome. It’s like a $300 fuzz pedal. (At this point I query whether it’s better than favorite pedal Disaster Fuzz) Oh, way better. Disaster Fuzz is disastrous, in that there’s a lot of really shitty things about it. For instance, the volume…there’s two knobs: volume and control. They don’t make any sense. The more you turn up control, it changes the contour of the fuzz but not in a cool way. It’s really lame. And the volume, in the space of what would be one hour, if that knob was a clock, if you have it on, say 9 o’clock it’s too soft, but then if you push it to 10 o’clock, it’s way too loud. That’s your range of acceptable volumes on that entire pedal. And it’s really loose, the knob, so tons of times I’ll go to step on it and it’ll either be way too loud or not audible at all. So I ended up having to just set it perfectly and then tape it down so that it never moves. Disaster Fuzz is actually kinda shitty.

mp3: Ten-Twenty-Ten (Generationals from Actor Caster)

[photo by Megan Petty]

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

100 Drummers #2: Starring Brian Moran (Mittenfields)

Long have I had a thing for drummers. Something about the way they sit, mysterious and enigmatic, behind their varying configurations of drums and cymbals, keeping time in a myriad of drummerly ways. Oftentimes, too, it seems that drummers are the forgotten member of the band, garnering less press than perhaps their bandmates do. But those intrepid keepers of the beat need love, too. In this series I want to fix this egregious, yet probably accidental, oversight, and bring to your attention some of my favorite keepers of the beat. And so, inspired by a line ("I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin'") in the Dylan classic “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” I present to you, friends, 100 Drummers.

By now, you know Mittenfields to be one of my favorite local bands. You should also know that this quintet is preparing to unleash one heck of an EP on us all, as soon as the mixing of said EP is done. From what I heard in the studio, dearhearts, it's gonna be ridiculously good. Oh, and ridiculously loud. Mittenfields played the debut of my Bad Behaviour residency over at Bella, and have a ton of stuff in the works. Check out with Brian Moran has to say about all things drummy.

Fuzzy Logic: How old were you when you first picked up the drumsticks?
Brian Moran: I started playing drums around 10th grade when the band I was playing guitar in needed a I picked up some sticks and played along with The Hives' "Hate to Say I Told You So.” It just grew from there!

FL: Which drum is the best drum, and why?
BM: Right now my "best" drum is my new Donoho 24" 3 ply maple kick - I just upgraded from a 22" Pearl and it's so ridiculously boomy; you can feel it in your chest. The kick is a great drum anyways - it can make the people dance, it can put me in complete awe, and it can make a band a death metal band all in one!

FL: Who’s your favorite drummer of all time?
BM: My favorite drummer for a while is Zach Hill (despite more recently seeing what real trained drummers can do...). There are days worth of music to listen to with him on the drums...I saw him first when he ruined a Team Sleep show by overplaying, but that’s just what he does! He makes all the Marnie Stern albums, and takes Nick Reinhart (of Tera Melos) to a completely different level in Bygones.

FL: Singing drummers: On the cool side like Levon Helm, or more on the questionable side like Phil Collins?
BM: Unfortunately, I have no idea who Levon is, but he must be cooler than Phil Collins. So I'm going to go with him.

FL: Say you break a stick during a show and you don’t have a spare. What do you do?
BM: Ooof luckily, from my dropping sticks constantly (as you may've noticed last night), I always make sure to have extra sticks available. I’ve gotten pretty good at switching sticks without anyone noticing! In high school, I played in a Rage Against the Machine cover band, and we were playing on this huge flatbed truck. I didn’t realize how often I'd be dropping sticks, and I didn't have any spares when I dropped a stick off the side of the truck. Luckily, I played until a break in the song, hopped off the truck and got back in my seat just in time to keep the song going. I’m pretty sneaky like that...

[photo of Brian Moran by Megan Petty]

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Singles Club: Bleeding Knees Club

Today, my beloved little scamps, I've got a recommendation for you that was recommended to me. When you're done listening, you'll very probably wanna go and do some recommending yourself. Luke of my darling Sex Beet also does his own killer blog, and it's thanks to him I can talk to you about Bleeding Knees Club.

Hailing from Australia, Bleeding Knees Club have, on "Have Fun," unleashed a sound that is both summery and somewhat snarling. Listen once and you'll get what I mean. The song unites the simple lyrical banalities of forefather bands like The Ramones with just enough fuzz and the hint of sweaty summer parties. It makes me, as they so succintly sing, "just wanna have fun." You'll hear their self-professed influences death, bike crashes, and public bathrooms somewhere in here. So good you'll wanna loop this for a couple hours, no doubt.

Have Fun (Bleeding Knees Club - more info here)

Our Daily Vinyl #6: Donovan

It is a sad but true fact of life that I once derisively mocked anyone who opined how amazing vinyl was and how music just sounded better when played on a turntable. Now, in a somewhat ironic twist of fate, I’ve come to realize, well, it’s true.

Friends, there is almost nothing better on a Sunday (or, really, any day of the week) than talking about vinyl. Joined together with anything Diamond Center centric, such talk is a treat. Here's another poking and prodding of the record collection of dynamic Diamond Center duo Brandi Price and Kyle Harris, as Kyle talks about the one and only Sunshine Superman:

"Donovan - A Gift from a Flower to a Garden - This is one of my first records, it was passed down to me from my uncle. It's now in pretty rough condition, but I cherish it."

Caraway (The Diamond Center from the Caraway/20 Twin 7")

[Logo by the fantastic
Bill Taylor; Photo of Brandi Price by Megan Petty]

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Untitled Interview #124: Starring DJ Excel

As y'all know, I recently decamped to Los Angeles for a week of the three R's: Rest, Relaxation, and Room Service. Oh, and booze, though of course that doesn't start with an "r." I occasionally dragged myself away from the hotel (and the pool therein) to do some fun stuff with some fun people, however, and my next guest was a part of some of said fun.

Born in Philly and now based in LA, DJ Excel is what you might call a bonafide Man About Town. Or make that Towns, since the man is always on the move, hitting the decks all over the place on a singular mission to make people have a good time. Having seen him in action at Winston's somewhere in Hollywood, I can safely say the man knows what he's doing. We also happened to cross paths while pawing through the vinyl wonderland that is Amoeba, thus cementing our simpatico nature. If you're ever in the mood to shake what your Mother happened to bestow upon you, you probably couldn't find a better person to help you with that. Below, Excel muses on all sorts of pertinent topics, and picks the right answer to the most important question. Check it out, y'all.

Fuzzy Logic: How the hell are you?
Excel: Chillin' Back in LA. Getting some things situated for the upcoming gigs I have.

FL: What was the last song you listened to?
E: Hmm, last song I listened too...I listen to a lot of music everyday...last song I heard was in my car, Foster The People - "Pumped Up Kicks."

FL: Being a DJ is:
E: It's like chasing your dream girl around the world and sometimes getting lucky enough to spend the night with her and then she leaves and you lose her and have to start chasing all over again...

FL: What album most made you realize you wanted to do what you do?
E: Not sure exactly, I was fascinated with records, music, and the sounds they made when you moved them back and forth.

FL: Beatles or Stones?
E: Someone else asked me this question, it's probably one of the toughest to answer. My answer changes every time because both of them are still til this day phenomenal. I'm going to go with the Rolling Stones for this one, because I've played several Stones songs this past week and I'm just on my Mick Jagger steez right now.

FL: Top 5 albums (of now, of this month, or of ever):
E: Another tough question that my answers change every time asked. In no particular order...

1. Nas - Illmatic
2. Hall & Oates - Rock & Soul pt 1.
3. Michael Jackson - Thriller
4. Daft Punk - Discovery
5. Slum Village - Fantastic Pt 2.

FL: Favorite music-related movie?
E: movie as in movie that was based around music? Or the movie that had the best music in it???? Music-related, I'd say Juice or The Show. Best Soundtrack or Scoring - Dirty Dancing or Boiler Room.

FL: Half full or half empty?
E: In this lifestyle, it better be half full cause otherwise I would have been quit.

FL: What’s the first thing you think when you wake up in the morning?
E: Bagel...and coffee...everything else follows.

FL: Little-known Excel fact?
E: I can't sleep on my left side because I can feel my heart beating and it freaks me out.

FL: The greatest record store in the world is:
E: I can't speak for the world, but Amoeba is pretty good. Rue's (which is closed now) was pretty incredible too. Flea markets sometimes make for the best record stores too. One man's trash is another man's treasure.

FL: Shaken or stirred?
E: Even though stirred is the traditional way, I'm a James Bond head and he was the most cool so shaken. If it works for him, it'll work for me.

FL: What's your old reliable in terms of guaranteed crowd pleaser song?
E: Depending on the crowd, there's a few...

1. Michael Jackson - "Don't Stop Til You Get Enough"
2. Katrina & The Waves - "Walking On Sunshine"
3. Bell Biv Devoe - "Poison"
4. The Beatles - "Twist & Shout"
5. Rob Base - "It Takes Two"

FL: Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
E: "You get what you give."

FL: How do you know when you've played a really great show?
E: Blood, Sweat, Mayhem, Ambulances.

FL: If you weren’t a DJ you’d be:
E: Working in fashion, preferably for Ralph Lauren.

FL: If you were so inclined, whom would you form a tribute band in honor of?
E: James Brown w/Fred Wesley & The JB's.

FL: What's your favorite kind of event to spin at?
E: Basement party, preferably something illegally set up.

FL: Best song ever written?
E: I have to give you a few for this one too....

1. Labi Siffre - "My Song"
2. Ben Folds - "Brick"
3. Stevie Wonder - "My Cherie Amour"
4. Everything But The Girl - "Driving"
5. Oasis - "Champagne Supernova"
6. Rod Stewart - "Have I Told You Lately" (Written by Van Morrison)
7. Fleetwood Mac - "Dreams"
8. Gary Jules - "Mad World"

[photo courtesy Excel's official site]

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Newsflash!: Help the Pretty Nice Boys of Pretty & Nice Press Pretty Nice Vinyl!

Y'all know I like vinyl. And I like bands that like vinyl. Pretty & Nice likes vinyl, and the dudes are trying to raise enough green to press their great little record Get Young, and you yes you can help them do it.

You see, the band set up a Kickstarter campaign, and the days are a-winding down. You have five days left to pledge anything from $5 and up, with varying levels of thank you goodies from the band. For example, giving $5 to the cause gets you a handmade patch, where as $1500 and up will get you a heaping helping of awesome, including a show at your house (as well as a dinner cooked by the band!) as well as, my favorite, guest list for life.

So go on.
Do your good deed for the day and feel good about helping the vinyl cause.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Live Review: These United States @ Rock'n'Roll Hotel, 5/11/2011

It had been one heck of a long time, 12 months give or take a day hither and yon, since last I had the pleasure of seeing my very favoritest DC band on a stage. And that, friends, is a long time to be languishing in withdrawl. I hadn't actually realized just how excited I was to see These United States for the manyeth time until I was sat upstairs listening to them soundcheck "I Want You to Keep Everything," and then it hit me. As they say in Jersey, not for nothing is this band my favorite in all of DCland (even if many of them no longer reside in the greater Metro area).

Never have I seen this band look anything other than absolutely elated to be up on stage doing their thing, or sound totally splendiforous. Or, for that matter, I've never seen them play the same set twice. One more, these mad hatters dipped into their ever-expanding catalogue to deliver a set of ten rollicking, lively, and flat-out fantastic songs. "I got a big brand new Cadillac of a plan," sang front troubador Jesse Elliott during second song "The Business," a song played, as were all songs in the set, with a wink and a sly, knowing grin. "We're gonna play some old tunes we haven't played in a while, cuz you seem like some old friends," Elliot proclaimed before the band began "Will It Ever." And the entire set did indeed have a warm, friendly feel. Which, really, is par for the course with this band.

"The Important Thing" was a treat to have included in the set, the band almost radiant with jubilation and Elliott doing his bounce thing during more excitable moments in the song (and in many other songs, as it happens). He even went so far as to bounce right off the stage to hug a friendly face in the crowd, a gesture that pretty much sums up the warm fuzziness of These United States.

"We just made this up a little bit ago," Elliott wisecracked before "Slow Crows Over," one of my favorites from the band's first LP. Who needs more cowbell when you can have more steel, as the band proved with this updated arrangement. They stormed through their set, engaging and ever so enjoyable with their giddy Americana poetry. Elliott reached extreme impishness during one of my very favorite These United States songs, "Honor Amongst Thieves," gesturing and grinning uncontrollably. I was so delighted to hear this song that I actually came home and listened to Crimes, which is probably my favorite TUS record. An absolutely golden rendition of "I Want You to Keep Everything" came next, and was fizzing and popping with the band's infectious energy. When it was (sadly) time for the band to wrap things up, they closed with a cover of Smog's "Hit The Ground Running." Cowboys and Southern gentlemen are the order of that song, and as Elliott sang the line, "All I know is I'll hit the ground running," I felt confident that this band will continue to do just that.

If you've never seen These United States live, my loves, get a move on. They might just be your new favorite band.

mp3: I Want You to Keep Everything (These United States from Everything Touches Everything)

Reminder: Fuzzy Logic Residency Starting May 19th!

It's Tuesday, my little tom cats and kittens, so it's time for a reminder about the Fuzzy Logic Bad Behaviour residency starting up this very week! There will be much fun, there will be much good music, and there will be earplugs! The bands are excellent, and this is a night you definitely don't wanna miss.

The first installment of Bad Behaviour is set to feature the newish brashness of Fredericksburg's genre-defying Like Whatevers, the not-t0-be-missed dirty rock of The Invisible Hand (of Charlottesville), and the very, very loud shoesludgerockgaze of one of my favorite DC bands, Mittenfields. I couldn't be happier about this lineup, and I hope you'll be there to enjoy these three with me. See y'all Thursday!

[poster by the ever awesome Rich Bernett]

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Meet Folly and The Hunter

I don't know what it is about Montreal, but it seems to be one of those cities where there's something in the air. I'm pretty sure I have yet to hear a band from that part of the world that I don't get the warm fuzzies for. So you might guess I feel the same about Montreal newcomers Folly and The Hunter.

What I'm hearing from them is rather special indeed. It's a sound definitely inspired by the woodsy folk of American bands, but with the magical touch that only a Montreal band can truly capture. The resulting sounds are idyllic and dappled by the golden sun, totally glorious and lovely. I don't know how our neighbors to the North do it, but Folly and The Hunter is yet another shining example of the glorious Canadian music family. Definitely watch this space, as I suspect you'll be hearing more about this band very soon.

mp3: Cost (Folly and The Hunter from Residents)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Singles Club: Kids On a Crime Spree

Oh. Sweet. Mercy. Y'all! Here I am just pawing through my inbox, and lo and behold I find myself falling in love. The latest object of my affection is a seriously sweet little ditty by Kids On a Crime Spree called, appropriately enough, "Sweet Tooth." For fans of fuzz and the spectre of Spector, there's oh so much to get a sweet, sweet sugar rush from. Believe you me, little hep cats, it's a fine, fine song. You really ought to be listening to it as of right this very now.

It seems only fitting that
Kids On a Crime Spree will be releasing their forthcoming EP (with "Sweet Tooth" on it!) on the divine Slumberland, quite a match made in heaven if you ask me.

Sweet Tooth (Kids On a Crime Spree from the forthcoming We Love You So Bad EP) (fond regards to
The Tale Of The Tape)

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Untitled Interview #123: Starring Daniel Zott (Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.)

It's not just my racing genetics that make me really dig the dudes with the tongue-in-cheek nomenclature Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., my lovely little speedracers. Nor is it the fact that their name almost always makes me think of the character Major Major from Catch-22. Oh no.

You see, it's their tuneage that makes me dig this here Earnhardt. I like to think of their music as being somewhat akin to Willy Wonka on a tropical vacation, blithely tormenting belligerent children on holiday while coming up with piles of wacky new confectionary ideas. In layman's terms, it's pretty awesome stuff, y'all. One half of the DEJrJr braintrust, Daniel Zott, sat down and answered away. See below for his musings on Carole King, chocolate milk, and his tragically unrealized dreams of an NBA career. And then go see the band in the flesh, DC friends, tonight at the Red Palace and Tuesday at Iota. Both shows with the divine Generationals.

Fuzzy Logic: How the hell are you?
Daniel Zott: Halfway D.

FL: What was the last song you listened to?
DZ: "Higher Love" - Stevie Winwood.

FL: Playing music is:
DZ: Superfluous.

FL: What album most made you realize you wanted to make music?
DZ: Tapestry - Carole King.

FL: Beatles or Stones?
DZ: Beatles.

FL: Top 5 albums (of now, of this month, or of ever):
DZ: Right now - The Archandroid, 24 Post Cards in Full Colour, Little Sun, Brothers, This is My Country.

FL: Favorite music-related movie?
DZ: Sound of Music, The Music Man.

FL: Half full or half empty?
DZ: Annoyingly half full all the time.

FL: Which of your peers do you think is making the best music these days?
DZ: Chris Wills.

FL: What’s the first thing you think when you wake up in the morning?
DZ: I can breath! Where's my love?

FL: Little-known Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. fact?
DZ: We don't sleep.

FL: The greatest record store in the world is:
DZ: UHF in Royal Oak, MI.

FL: Shaken or stirred?
DZ: Chocolate Milk - the one thing I can really dig about Charlie Sheen.

FL: Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
DZ: You'll know. You'll just know.

FL: How do you know when you've played a really great show?
DZ: Merch brings in a monetary blessing.

FL: If you weren’t in a band you’d be:
DZ: An NBA basketball player.

FL: What do you find most comforting/most disconcerting about going out on tour?
DZ: The comfort of people liking your music is rewarding! We can get pretty disheveled trying to book hotels. Eh!

FL: How has the response been to the on-stage presence of the skeletons?
DZ: People start sharing their secrets.

FL: If you were so inclined, whom would you form a tribute band in honor of?
DZ: Procol Harum.

FL: Best song ever written?
DZ: "Jimmy Mack."

mp3: Vocal Chords (Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. from the Horse Power EP) (thanks, Tale of the Tape!)

At The Cinema: The Rolling Stones Under Review – The Mick Taylor Years: 1969-1974

Ask people who their favorite Rolling Stones guitarist is and you’ll frequently hear the name Brian Jones. Now, I too have a whole lotta love for the tragic Jones, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that it is indeed Mick Taylor who played a pivotal instrumental role on several of my favorite Stones records (Sticky Fingers, Exile On Main Street, Goat’s Head Soup, and in bits on Let It Bleed). “The Rolling Stones Under Review – The Mick Taylor Years: 1969-1974” puts that era under a microscope, and highlights this period of unparalleled musical excellence and creativity, giving a hearty dose of credit for this period to Taylor’s skill with his guitar playing.

The movie serves as an interesting history of the Stones, and to a certain extent the times as well, full of photos and live performances and commentaries by industry types and writers and peers (and even Mr. Taylor himself) offering their insights into this crucial period in the Stones’ story. We begin at the end of the Jones era, right on the back of the peerless Beggar’s Banquet record when Brian Jones spiraled out of control and was eventually thrown out of the band, not long before his death. Interesting nuggets of information are all over the place, including the names of several of the candidates for Jones’ replacement: Ry Cooder, Ron Wood, and Eric Clapton. Impossible to know how different the band might have been had any of those three been invited into the Stones camp at that moment in time, though it is fun to let the mind toy with the idea (and as we all know, Mr. Wood did indeed eventually end up a Stone). Mick Taylor was but a tender 20 when he joined the band, having reached the end of his time with John Mayall’s Blues Breakers. Mayall himself suggested Taylor to Mick Jagger. Serendipity brought the band and Taylor together, and the fit couldn’t have been more perfect. For a brief few years, anyway.

Going chronologically through each record Taylor touched, the film serves up the goods in both fact and opinion. The contributors tend to disagree on things like the best Stones record, but all seem to share the opinion, as do I, that Taylor was a hugely valuable piece of the Stones during quite probably their most important creative period. Also peppered rather liberally throughout are stories about the drugs, the women, and the general wackiness that accompanied life with The Rolling Stones, such as that unfathomably debaucherous swirl of time recording Exile On Main Street while tax exiles in France and all that messy Anita Pallenberg hullabaloo. My one bone of contention with the film is that it frequently deviates from Taylor and his impact on the band, relegating him to supporting cast status while the emphasis, as the time ticks by, hones in more and more on the relationship betwixt the other Mick and Keith. I will say, though, that even when focusing more on Jagger & Richards the flick is still mostly absorbing.

The Rolling Stones Under Review – The Mick Taylor Years: 1969-1974” is a pretty captivating hour and a half (plus bonus features!). For Rolling Stones nerds like yours truly, it proves time well spent.

(Note: There appears to have been a tweak to the name from 1969-1975, which I suppose is because Taylor left the band in December of 1974. But my copy says 1974, and so that’s how I reference it.)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

100 Drummers #1: Starring Robby Cosenza (These United States)

Long have I had a thing for drummers. Something about the way they sit, mysterious and enigmatic, behind their varying configurations of drums and cymbals, keeping time in a myriad of drummerly ways. Oftentimes, too, it seems that drummers are the forgotten member of the band, garnering less press than perhaps their bandmates do. But those intrepid keepers of the beat need love, too. In this series I want to fix this egregious, yet probably accidental, oversight, and bring to your attention some of my favorite keepers of the beat. And so, inspired by a line ("I heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin'") in the Dylan classic “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” I present to you, friends, 100 Drummers.

There’s probably no better drummer to start things off with than Robby Cosenza of These United States. For many a year Robby’s been bringing the backbeat with a certain gusto and panache to the wonderful quirky Americana made by wandering DC/Lexington/NYC/VA band These United States. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Robby for a little all drums, all the time chat under the watchful eyes of a photo of Alice Cooper before the band’s show at the Rock’n’Roll Hotel, and the results of our delightful chat are below for your reading pleasure.

Fuzzy Logic: How old were you when you first picked up the drumsticks?
Robby Cosenza: I was 8. There was a summer program, I lived on Long Island, like keep the kids off the street and do something creative with your life, so I took lessons at one of the high schools. I think it was for high school kids, and they were like aww little kid, and I liked it and I did pretty well, and then I got a drumkit.

FL: Which drum is the best drum, and why?
RC: Well, all the drums are pretty important…I don’t know how to answer that. I mostly stick with the kick and snare, I don’t have a lot of like toms and cymbals and a lot of shit, cuz I’ll try to use it all cuz I’m a Rush fan and then it becomes a problem for me…so I guess I’m a kick drum guy, really, which is the bass drum.

FL: Who’s your favorite drummer of all time?
RC: Well, I would hate to say Neil Peart from Rush, but he is the reason why I started playing drums, as with many drummers of my era. I started playing drums in ’82, so that was big arena rock/prog rock stuff. I always wanna say Ringo Starr, cuz he’s probably like the first memorable drummer I know, or Max Weinberg from Bruce Springsteen’s band, which I know seems maybe cliché since he is like Conan’s drummer and stuff, but honestly he was probably my first big influence.

FL: Singing drummers: On the cool side like Levon Helm, or more on the questionable side like Phil Collins?
RC: Oh, I don’t think Phil Collins is questionable. I think he’s right up there. I mean, I sing and play drums, so…I think it’s good. I think it’s hard, when you see like the frontman as the drummer, like Phil Collins it seems maybe lackluster as a performance, you know, cuz you can’t move around and the front guy is generally gonna be more entertaining than not. But I support it, Levon Helm, I mean, no questions really. I’m a fan. I have to be.

FL: Say you break a stick during a show and you don’t have a spare. What do you do?
RC: I use my cock, actually, if I can, depending on where I am. [chuckling] If you don’t have a spare? You just one hand it, do the Rick Allen/Def Leppard, you know? You just fake it til you make it, really. But I have spares.

mp3: I Want You to Keep Everything (These United States from Everything Touches Everything)

[photo of Robby Cosenza by Megan Petty]

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Our Daily Vinyl #5: Culture Club

It is a sad but true fact of life that I once derisively mocked anyone who opined how amazing vinyl was and how music just sounded better when played on a turntable. Now, in a somewhat ironic twist of fate, I’ve come to realize, well, it’s true.

Oftentimes you can hear the inspiration of a band in their musical output. I'm not sure I really hear this next band in the mountain of gorgeousness that is the music of The Diamond Center, but perhaps the spirit of Boy George is there in small doses. Here's another peek into the record collection of The Diamond Center's Brandi Price and Kyle Harris. And now, Kyle explains Culture Club:

"Culture Club - Karma Chameleon 45rpm. This was one of the first singles I remember asking for. It was in 1983, I think. I would've been about 6. I still have this, my copy of Thriller (of course), Bonnie Tyler -Total Eclipse of the Heart, and Sesame Street Fever."

mp3: WTT (The Diamond Center from My Only Companion) (via Mad Mackerel)

[Logo by the fantastic Bill Taylor; Photo of Kyle Harris by Megan Petty]

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Untitled Interview #122: Record Shopping Edition – Starring Generationals

This one here is from the vault, y’all, and it’s definitely about time it saw the light of day. Many moons ago I had the pleasure of going for a little retail trip with the delightful lads and lasses of Generationals, and thanks to the hospitality of the good people of Plan 9 down in Richmond there was quite a bounty to be had. The Louisianans are bringing their good time summer fun time sound back to the DC metro for a few dates very, very soon, which is good news for everyone. They're hands down some of my favorite people, band or otherwise. So in case you’ve ever wondered what lurks in the record collections of Grant Widmer, Ted Joyner, and Tess Brunet, wonder no more. Here’s a little sampling of their musical inclinations. Pull up a chair and enjoy.

Fuzzy Logic: Please explain why you chose your respective albums.

Grant Widmer: Ok. Paul Simon - There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, every song really here is an American classic, but especially the song “Take Me to Mardi Gras,” where he talks about New Orleans, and then he says, “Where the dancing is elite/and there’s music in the street/in New Orleans,” right, which is where we’re from, and we were listening to it the other day, and he kinda swallows the second half of the word elite, and Ted heard it and he was like “where the dancing is illegal?” That’s actually inaccurate. Anyway. But I love this album. Kodachrome we used to play in school, and it says “When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school/It’s a wonder I can think at all,” and then I would change the words and go, [sings] “When I look back on all the crap I learned in architecture…” [interlude while Ted looks for seating] I think Randy Newman’s one of the best songwriters. Saw him in Baton Rouge about a year or two ago, at a nice new theatre and it was really special. This is a song called “Kingfish” about Huey Long, who’s a cult hero in Baton Rouge. We used to live just a few blocks from the capital in Baton Rouge where he was gunned down as a US Senator. But yeah. Randy Newman’s a great chronicaler of Louisiana and American life. In Baton Rouge there’s an animatronic Huey Long, where you can go into the old state capital building, and when you walk in the room he like comes to life and goes, [Grant herein adopts thick, languid Long-ian accent] “Welcome to my world,” and he has like 5 or 6 different programs that he goes through about, like, “The Depression is upon us,” and “Spread the wealth, every man a king, a chicken in every pot…” [giggling ensues] So yeah. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Damn The Torpedoes, this is the one where Tom’s having a big argument with his record label, which was a lawsuit that took him a lot of years but he actually won his lawsuit, and this is his second really full album (ed. technically third) as Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers. This is the one that Jimmy Iovine produced in New York, and he said he was really surprised by it because it was his second album, usually an artist’s first album will be material from 15 years that they’ve been just thinking of and working on forever, and then the second one is all from six months, but the second one was way better than his first one, which was how Jimmy knew that he had a really hit artist. “Refugee,” etc. “Here Comes My Girl,” “Even the Losers”…that’s your second album? That’s pretty good. Neil Young I like cuz he plays guitar like a crazy person, but he doesn’t seem like he’s especially skillful in a way that, like, Santana is or something, but he’s like abstract genius guitar player, and there’s some really good songs on this, “Cinnamon Girl” etc. And then this one, like I said earlier, was a record that was in the jukebox at the bar that I worked at for a few years, and I have one friend who’s a dear friend who just loved it, and everyday when we’d get to work he’d play like five dollars worth of songs from Herb Alpert, so whenever I hear it it just takes me back to that…(breaks into song)…it’s kinda like this jazzy, brassy, it’s kinda goofy and makes you wanna do Pee Wee Herman dances and stuff. I can’t wait to put this on cuz it’s gonna immediately take me back to that. So those are mine.

Ted Joyner: I bought The Kinks because I don’t have any Kinks records, actually, cuz I lost all my music, it was in my laptop, and all my Kinks was on there, and also they’re such a prolific band, and I feel like I only just now got into ‘em, I’ve been into them maybe a couple years now, it’s just taken me a long time to get into them. I’ll get into some of their stuff and just have to sit with it for so long. Like “Waterloo Sunset,” I had to like just deal with that song for a long time before I got over it. We also covered a Kinks song. I think everyone in the band is kinda really into The Kinks. We covered “Victoria” on our last tour, which was kinda fun. Tess is a big Kinks song. And then Grant pointed out to me that this particular one has some really good songs on it, so I got it. And then my second choice was Fat Boys, [interjection from Tess: “Good choice, by the way”] which Tess is really jealous of, but she informed me that one of them recently passed away which is really sad. But I hadn’t thought about these guys in a while, and I think the album art is actually hilarious. In addition, my mom is a schoolteacher, and she actually met these guys, because in their heyday they visited her school to raise awareness about…pizza [mass laughter]. No, I think they showed up to, like, rap, but I think there was a message there too about “don’t do drugs.” So my mom got to meet them, and that looks like school cafeteria pizza now that I think about it. Just for the record, the album art includes the Fat Boys all eating or drinking something and looking at a giant pizza upon which there are miniature versions of them, eating the pizza, as prisoners. Anyway, another note on my mom and rappers, she actually taught, in first grade, she teaches first grade, about 20 years ago, she taught Dwayne Carter, who’s actually L’il Wayne, she taught him how to read and she said he was really smart and he sat at the smart table. So she’s hung out with Fat Boys and L’il Wayne. So I was gonna give this record to my Mom. And those are my choices.

Tess Brunet: This one is Dick Jensen Giant of Hawaii, and I got this sheerly based on the artwork. I love the polyester zip-up suit, and you can see, well, y’know, it’s kinda hanging out there…[interjection from Grant: “I think the Giants of Hawaii is in reference to his balls”] [much laughing] but he’s with these lovely ladies on the front, he’s very happy…and he’s very happy alone on the back, as well, looking very satisfied. And then I’ve never owned a Rush album, believe it or not, kinda crazy that I don’t have a Rush album, so I had to get a Rush album. The next two are both Kenny Rogers. I love love love Kenny Rogers, especially Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. A lot of people I don’t think know that he went through this psychedelic phase. And then this one’s not Kenny Rogers’ psychedelic phase, but it says What About Me, and I thought that was really interesting considering the photo in the back because it looks like some love tryst goin on in there, and he’s like “what about me?” I thought that was kinda weird. So I got it because I had to see what this record was all about. Cuz I wanna know what about Kenny Rogers and why he’s even posing such questions. Why would anyone deny Kenny Rogers? And Purple Rain, of course, I love Purple Rain. It’s a great record. Never owned it. I mean, the purple suit with the metal on the side. It’s just really great, the purple motorcycle…and then, you know, the unisex symbol, the arrow and the plus sign in one. And I don’t know anything about these guys, DC’s number one band, but it’s printed on the album so I thought that was pretty important. [interjection wherein Laura and I inform the band about Chuck Brown being the godfather of go-go] Well, I lucked out.

FL: Who among you has the biggest record collection?

GW: I don’t know. I’ve never seen your record collection.

TB: Probably me.

GW: Probably Tess.

TB: Just taking a wild guess. I don’t know, how many records do you have?

GW: At some point, a lot of ‘em are on my computer, a lot of them I don’t have physical copies of…my dad used to have a really big record collection that I would kinda steal things from. I was in Columbia House CD club, alright, so I probably got a couple hundred CDs in my collection all from like 1995. I was probably in like 6th grade, I’m gonna get Snoop Doggy Dogg Tha Dogfather, the second one, cuz I wanna see what he comes back with. He’s already got Doggy Style, how can he top this? But yeah, Tess probably has more…I’ll give you that one.

TB: It would be quite a project to actually sit down and figure out how many records I have. I wouldn’t even wanna do that.

FL: Would you describe yourself as avid, middler, or novice collector?

GW: Pre-novice. I just don’t have any place to put stuff anymore, so I can’t even house a collection.

TJ: I don’t think I’ve ever devoured music quickly enough, I’m kinda slow in general, and I lose it all the time, or it gets stolen…so yeah, novice.

TB: I dunno. Pretty avid. Yeah. I kinda go through it quickly, like I know right away if I’m gonna wanna listen to it or I like it. So I’ll just spend time with three main songs on a record and then if I don’t like it I’m not gonna even bother listening to the rest.

FL: What’s the one record you’d save from a burning building?

[much thoughtful silence]

TB: Well, probably some of these that are in this stack right now that I got for a dollar.

GW & TJ in tandem: Fat Boys, probably, you’d like burn yourself, “Get the Fat Boys!” [chuckling]

TB: Probably my Andre Williams Detroit Grease. I would definitely save that from a burning building.

FL: What’s the most embarrassing record in your collection?

GW: Fat Boys right here for this guy. [all eyes on Ted]

TJ: But I’d also risk my life to save it, cuz I’m most embarrassed by it. I’d save it just to make sure it wouldn’t be found in the shards by forensic people.

TB: I wouldn’t be embarrassed by that.

GW: Yeah, police found remnants of a very troubled man who evidently had just bought a Fat Boys album.

TJ: No, no, I’m not embarrassed by the Fat Boys.

GW: Snoop Doggy Dog Tha Dogfather. I know that’s a little bit redundant…

TB: I personally believe that no record is too embarrassing, but if I had to pick one it would probably be Jody Watley’s “I’m Looking for a New Love.” Some people think Heart is embarrassing, but I don’t think so.

TJ: Terrible things? Aerosmith Big Ones I think is probably embarrassing?

GW: I think there’s some good shit on there.

TB: I know, me too.

TJ: Spin Doctors? Pocket Full of Kryptonite?

TB: Now we’re getting somewhere! But does anybody actually own that?

FL: What’s the most you’ve ever spent on an album? What was it? And was it worth it?

TB: Same answer. Andre Williams Detroit Grease.

GW: How much did you pay for that?

TB: 33 bucks.

GW: 33 bucks? That is a lot for an album. I think I got like a double CD of Beatles live at the BBC when that came out for like $18.99 or something, but that was pretty worth it cuz it’s a pretty big collection. But I don’t ever think I’d spend more than that.

TJ: Ever heard of an artist called Syreeta? Stevie Wonder produced some of her stuff. There was this song in this movie called Junebug. It’s a great song. I heard this song and I had to have this song, and I was looking for it all over the place but I could only find it on this one thing, that was like this huge compilation that cost like a hundred dollars. I really, really liked that one song, but I didn’t wanna spend that much money. That’s the closest I ever came to just saying “fuck it, I need it.”

FL: What’s your favorite place to buy records?

TJ: This place is pretty good.

GW: Amoeba is awesome, Waterloo Records in Austin…I could spend all day in there.

TB: Probably Waterloo Records and Domino in New Orleans. Probably those are my top two.

GW: I’ll say Amoeba in LA. That’s pretty much the biggest one I’ve ever seen.

FL: What’s your pick for best album of all time?

[contemplative silence]

TJ: Give me Thriller? It holds up.

TB: Jesus of Cool. Nick Lowe. I could think of a couple Kinks records. Something Else by the Kinks

GW: Like a Rolling Stone is pretty good.

TB: Jody Watley. “I’m Looking for a New Love.”

GW: Jody Watley. Gotta be. Any conversation about the best record ever has to include Jody Watley “I’m Looking for a New Love,” otherwise you’re just not being serious.

TB: Whitney Houston. The self-titled one with “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” on it.

GW: Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation 1816. I’m just sayin. Just the interludes alone make it, has to be considered. Steely Dan Aja. Ted loves that one.

TJ: That’s my favorite classics documentary making of. I enjoy the story of the making of that album. There’s definitely Beatles albums I could listen to every day for the rest of my life, but that’s pretty easy.

FL: Most important - Food or Music?

GW: I’m gonna say food.

TB: That’s tough.

GW: I feel like the right answer’s music but…

TB: Right answer’s not music I’m afraid here. I dunno. That’s tough. I love food.

GW: We were thinking about quitting this band and starting a band of roving chefs instead.

TB: We’re gonna have our own reality show, take it on the road, compete with other bands in different cities, just cooking not music.

TJ: Lack of music would probably be a more drawn-out death, cuz you’d just kinda go crazy and then probably kill yourself, but you’d get to live that much longer, whereas food, no food would kill you. I mean, how long could you really go?

TB: That’s true. Do you want a quicker death or do you want a longer death?

TJ: Two really crummy deaths.

GW: I’m saying food still.

Generationals play Red Palace 5/13 and Iota 5/17. Both shows with Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Make sure you catch at least one.

mp3: Ten-Twenty-Ten (Generationals from Actor Caster)

[photo by Laura O'Neill]