Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Untitled Interview #147 – BiMA.fest Edition: Starring Matt Damron (Bright Young Things)

This past weekend it was time, once again, to venture up the I-95 corridor to partake in some Baltimorean musical hijinks at the BiMA.fest 2011. After last year's fun, my expectations were high. I spoke with a few of the bands you needed to know about playing BiMA.fest this year about all things festivus.

For some reason, whenever I see the words Bright Young Things, I think of the jazz age, with Prohibition-busters Charleston-ing their way from speakeasy to speakeasy, having a grand ole, Fitzgerald-ian time. The band, however, is less jazz age and more classic sunshine rock. Definitely in the vein of folks like AM and Phosphorescent, this Raleigh band is now all sorts of on my radar. Mama definitely likes. And stupid hurricane made me miss 'em. Dangit. Read on for Matt Damron's thoughts on BiMA.fest 2011.


Fuzzy Logic: Inevitably, you will forget to bring:

Matt Damron: Guitar picks and/or my "A" game.


FL: Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?

MD: Birds of Avalon.

FL: What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival in Baltimore?
MD: Check out all the earthquake "damage"...or maybe I'll just get a beer...

FL: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
MD: MACRoCK in Virginia. I played drums for Bowerbirds, and watched Des Ark blow people away.

FL: Favorite thing about festivals?
MD: The energy and excitement. You can feel the electricity coming from the bands and crowds.



The Untitled Interview #146 – BiMA.fest Edition: Starring Tierney Tough (The Pauses)

This past weekend it was time, once again, to venture up the I-95 corridor to partake in some Baltimorean musical hijinks at the BiMA.fest 2011. After last year's fun, my expectations were high. I spoke with a few of the bands you needed to know about playing BiMA.fest this year about all things festivus.

Another band I missed but really, really wanted to see is The Pauses. They currently reside in Orlando, which kinda makes their place of residence a little like their music: Super cute but with a dark side (though The Pauses have way less of the scariness of the Mickey Mouse empire about them). Below, Tierney Tough (she of the lovely vocals) talks festivals, memory loss, and why being easily distracted does not make djing a good career move. Oh, and once more I'd like to say...stupid hurricane.


Fuzzy Logic: Inevitably, you will forget to bring:

Tierney Tough: Hurricane repellent. It takes up a lot of room in the car. But hopefully Baltimore will use its charm on Irene so that we don't need it.


FL: Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?

TT: Our buddies in Office of Future Plans. J. Robbins produced our album, and Gordon Withers plays on it, but we have yet set to see their band!


FL: What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival in Baltimore?
TT: Lock up the car... real good...

FL: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
TT: Probably a Warped Tour or two. I think it was the one Jimmy Eat World was on ten years ago? Memory not so good.

FL: Favorite thing about festivals?
TT: The opportunity to be a spastic listener. I'm always cutting albums short, so moving from place to place is ideal. With that being said, I'm pretty sure I'd make a terrible DJ.

mp3: Go North (The Pauses from A Cautionary Tale)

[photo by Jason Greene]

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Untitled Interview #145 – BiMA.fest Edition: Starring Jinsen Liu (28 Degrees Taurus)

This past weekend it was time, once again, to venture up the I-95 corridor to partake in some Baltimorean musical hijinks at the BiMA.fest 2011. After last year's fun, my expectations were high. I spoke with a few of the bands you needed to know about playing BiMA.fest this year about all things festivus.

Another band Irene kept me from enjoying hails from Boston. 28 Degrees Taurus, in their own words, describes their musical output as "somewhere between the late 60s, early 90s and all the gorgeously catchy cheese in between." Sounds pretty daggum good, right? Yeah, I thought so too. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they come back, preferably when there's not a hurricane also in town. I'll say it again, stupid hurricane. Read on for singer/guitarist Jinsen Liu's festival thoughts.


Fuzzy Logic: Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?

Jinsen Liu: Thrushes.


FL: What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival in Baltimore?

JL: Check out all the hot girls in the downtown district...I think it's called "Powerplant Live"...or the point...forget from last time.


FL: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
JL: Lollapalooza in the 90s when it first started...set the tone for the rest of my life...

FL: Favorite thing about festivals?
JL: Brings tons of different people of different backgrounds and interests together. We also organize our own festival up in boston called "Deep Heaven Now"...it's a psych/shoegaze festival.

mp3: Electricity (28 Degrees Taurus from All The Stars In Your Eyes)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Crossing The Pond: New Manhattan

Holy Royal Wedding, y'all, I haven't done one of these since months before the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge hitched their wagons together in holy matrimony. Time to rectify this situation with a little something I do believe you'll like quite a bit.

New Manhattan
is a bunch of rather young Londoners making some mighty fine rock'n'roll. They've managed to marry the electric Englishness of that first Libertines EP to the taut, exciting simplicty of the first Strokes record, adding a sort of charming bashfulness to the noise for a disarming overall appeal. Not to sound too trite, but New Manhattan really does sound wise beyond their collective years.

They're giving away their three-song demo EP, which I've already downloaded and you should probably do so this very minute. Of the three, the jerky jangle of the perfectly lo-fi "Try Harder" is probably my favorite, and the song I can imagine helping them make some serious noise with. This is a band to be watched, and I plan on doing just that.

mp3: Try Harder (New Manhattan from the free demo EP)

The Untitled Interview #144 – BiMA.fest Edition: Starring Casey Harvey (Thrushes)

It's just about that time, to once again venture up the I-95 corridor to partake in some Baltimorean musical hijinks at the BiMA.fest 2011. After last year's fun, my expectations are high. I spoke with a few of the bands you need to know about playing BiMA.fest this year about all things festivus.

So Hurricane Irene kinda ruined my plans for getting back up to Baltimore last night, what with all that wind and rain and falling of trees, which means I missed the most excellent Charm City locals Thrushes, but thankfully I'd seen them before (and will be seeing them again soon!). Even so, missing their crushingly loud, painfully pretty brand of shoegazey fuzz makes me more than a little sad. Stupid hurricane. Below, guitarist Casey Harvey talks fests. And hurricane preparedness.


Fuzzy Logic:
Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?

Casey Harvey:
The Office of Future Plans! DC people take note this is J Robbins from Jawbox's new project and they have a new record coming out on Dischord!


FL:
What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
CH: Lollapolooza when it first started in like '91 or '92.


FL:
What would you advise the out-of-towners to see/do while they're in Baltimore?
CH:
Stock up on hurricane preparedness kits before you hit the American Visionary Art Museum then have a pizza pie at Matthews.

FL:
Favorite thing about festivals?
CH:
Festival food.

FL:
Best Baltimore-centric song?
CH: I don't know any really, seems like there should be a Mountain Goats song like "Going to Baltimore." I'll say "The Star Spangled Banner," which was of course written right here in Charm City!

mp3: Into The Woods (Thrushes - more here) (thanks, SleepWalking!)

Album Review: Valentiger - Oh, To Know!

I've had this record for quite a little while now, y'all, and shame on me for not writing about it before now. Valentiger, otherwise known as my favorite trio of Michiganians, won me over with their live radness and their record Powerlines to Electric Times last year, and they've further cemented my affection with latest and greatest LP Oh, to Know!.

On Oh, to Know!, the three gentlemen of Valentiger exhibit quite a bit of sonic maturation. The album holds steady in a sweet blend of poppy alt-Americana, at times given extra bursts of richness and earnestness with the inclusion of horns and harmonica. The record is an instant winner, with rambunctious title track "Oh, to Know!" serving notice with its gradually authoritative guitar that Grand Rapids knows a thing or two about some rock'n'roll.

Things stay the course for the duration, with the boys skillfully bringing together hints of The Boss, The Band, John Mellencamp (the Cougar years), Uncle Tupelo, and The Kinks and stitching in their own melodic, pretty little folksy pop. "Love to Forgive" is one such example, gently lulling strums of falling leaves and putting a sweet spin on the art of forgiveness. 90s college radio riffs creep into the rowdy "Frozen Dozing," the song that also features the gruffest, shoutiest vocals I've ever heard out of Valentiger.

The piano intro into "Why I'm Not Great" has a lovely sense of sadness to it, heightened by the addition of the harmonica and some warbly vocals. "I know I will let you down/some other way," goes the rueful blue certainty of the song, and the band shows their skill at crafting a wistful, melancholy wisp of a song. "Good Day, Goodnight" is a favorite, rollicking and tuneful and oh-so catchy. It's like Uncle Tupelo decamped to a small town on one of the Great Lakes, and I so verily love it.

I'm really pleased with this record, my friends, and I hope you'll share my affection for Oh, to Know!.

mp3: Oh, to Know! (Valentiger from Oh, to Know!)

The Good Ship Rediscovery: The Datsuns - The Datsuns

We all forget about the older stuff from time to time, in our quest to stay up to speed with the latest and greatest. But one should always respect their elders. So don’t forget about them, y’hear?

I have really fond memories of the year 2003, when New Zealand retro rock worshippers The Datsuns released their self-titled LP, some of which include that very same band. The funny thing about The Datsuns, friends, is that their brand of over the top, adrenalized stadiumesque rock precluded that of bands like The Darkness (by a few months I believe) and Wolfmother (by a few years), though they never quite seemed to get the same amount of attention as those fellows (perhaps, like The Darkness, they should have tried wearing spandex jumpsuits and other such shenanigans). Which is rather a shame, I think, because listening to The Datsuns, this record was and still is really fucking good.

Now, as you might imagine, this is not a record that's at all concerned with the art of making music. Instead, this is a record that is about pretty much nothing but sex and drugs and rock'n'roll. Which, I suppose, is all well and good. Leave the thinking man's music to Radiohead. And the feeling man's music to, say Bon Iver. But when it comes to being the second coming of bands like AC/DC and Thin Lizzy, well, The Datsuns had it covered with this LP. The songs are catchy, they are huge, and they are loud. When it comes to a rock record, what the heck else could you possibly need? The band also reeled in the back vocal talents of the ladies of The Von Bondies, at that time themselves a trendy little rock band out of the Motor City.

"MF From Hell" will always be a favorite, such a fearsome little lighter flame of a song, all about how some woman done someone wrong, making him feel "like a motherfucker from hell." And I'm not gonna lie, I do love a song with excessive use of an expletive. Not to mention those ridiculously riffing guitars. "Harmonic Generator" is another of my favorites, featuring the metallic drollness of those Von Bondies ladies and a fine little vocal performance by lead Datsun swaggerer Dolf (from zero to hystrionics in two seconds).

The Datsuns howled with a cocky, cock-rock attitude the likes of which you just don't hear much these days. They brought some serious noise to my world, without coming across as camp or silly. They walked the walk, friends, that's for damn sure. Word on the street is they're working on new material, so raise your glass to that and while we're all waiting to hear that, go ahead and throw this on the old stereo.

m4a: Harmonic Generator (The Datsuns from The Datsuns)


Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Untitled Interview #143 – BiMA.fest Edition: Starring Bobby E. Lee and The Sympathizers

It's just about that time, to once again venture up the I-95 corridor to partake in some Baltimorean musical hijinks at the BiMA.fest 2011. After last year's fun, my expectations are high. I spoke with a few of the bands you need to know about playing BiMA.fest this year about all things festivus.

Friends, I was at the Ottobar last night, and I had the extreme fortune to see some of the musical mayhem laid forth by Bobby E. Lee & The Sympathizers. They put on one heck of a show, and had the kids dancin' and hootin' and hollerin' and all sorts of misbehavin'. Yours truly was mighty impressed. Below, some answers sent to me collectively, and gives you an idea of the mindset of these Baltimore honky tonkin' swamp rockin' Virginia reelin' fellers.


Fuzzy Logic: Inevitably, you will forget to bring:

Bobby Lee & The Sympathizers: 'nuff whiskey.


FL: Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?

BL&TS: The Baltimore String Felons, and 'specially The Matromonials- those boys have some tasty licks.


FL: What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival at the festival?

BL&TS: Tyin' up the mules and kickin' ass.


FL: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?

BL&TS: Does pappy playin' banja on the back porch count as a festival?


FL: Favorite thing about festivals?

BL&TS: Oh, the hos, definit'ly the hos.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Untitled Interview #142 – BiMA.fest Edition: Starring Craig Taylor (Lushfarm)

It's just about that time, to once again venture up the I-95 corridor to partake in some Baltimorean musical hijinks at the BiMA.fest 2011. After last year's fun, my expectations are high. I spoke with a few of the bands you need to know about playing BiMA.fest this year about all things festivus.

I love what Lushfarm's bio says so very much that I shall now include it here. Bands, this is how you write a bio! "Lushfarm is a band of staunch non-intellectuals intent on bringing you back to the days when rock music was something more than an emotion piece for a movie soundtrack, or a catchy tune for a commercial. there was a time when people went to shows to check out a new band, and we are that band." Those words just strike a chord with me, friends. Below, guitar/vocal dude Craig Taylor talks festival.


Fuzzy Logic:
Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?

Craig Taylor:
Metallica!!!!!! Oh wait, they're not playing? Then probably Bosley at Ottobar on Saturday.


FL: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
CT:
For me it was HFStival 1998. I was 16. I think I knew "Tomorrow" by Silverchair on guitar at that point.


FL:
What would you advise the out-of-towners to see/do while they’re in Baltimore?
CT: Go to Club Charles and see if John Waters is there. Then go to Joe Squared and try some pizza. Don't be afraid to buy a bottle of water from a dude on the street, they're legit. Go to Hampden, find a pregnant 15 year old (will not be difficult), snatch the cigarette out of her mouth, smack her wrist and say "Bad human! No! Bad!" Repeat this last thing as many times as you like. Maybe there won't be as many cigarette butts outside my house.

FL:
Favorite thing about festivals?

CT:
I LIKE TUWTLES!


FL: Best Baltimore-centric song?
CT:
"What's New in Baltimore?" by Frank Zappa. I've never actually heard it, I just refuse to say "Raining in Baltimore."


Lushfarm plays night two of BiMA.fest.

mp3: Paranoid (Lushfarm from their forthcoming LP)

The Untitled Interview #141 – BiMA.fest Edition: Starring Andrea Connolly (Birds and Arrows)

It's just about that time, to once again venture up the I-95 corridor to partake in some Baltimorean musical hijinks at the BiMA.fest 2011. After last year's fun, my expectations are high. I spoke with a few of the bands you need to know about playing BiMA.fest this year about all things festivus.

Up next is one of those North Carolina bands I've wanted to see for a little while now, otherwise known as Birds and Arrows. They are super, super cute, and to borrow from their bio, they totally and utterly make music that's "full of romance and energy" and "the kind you fall in love with." I'm all sorts of looking forward to seeing them. For your perusal, the multi-taskingly awesome Andrea Connolly (vocals and guitar, y'all) answers some fest-related queries.

Fuzzy Logic: Inevitably, you will forget to bring:
Andrea Connolly:
Well, we are usually pretty good at checking off everything before we hit the road but if we forget anything it's usually merch related. A few tours ago we forgot to bring the suitcase of our vinyl which was no good. Needless to say, we haven't forgotten that in awhile.


FL:
Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?

AC:
We are looking forward to seeing a lot of bands but a ton of them playing the fest are friends of ours which is going to make it extra fun. So we are most looking forward to hanging with all of them up there. after our show, we plan on trying to see Gray Young and Free Electric State at Joe Squared...that's going to be an amazing show as always.


FL:
What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival in Baltimore?

AC:
Well, we may have to go straight load in depending on the time we make on the road that day but, I always love seeing different parts of Baltimore every time we're there. I grew up going to Fells Point a lot where my grandparents lived so I make the guys go to that area for my own nostalgia almost every time we play up there. But, if we have time to take a walk and explore my plan will be to go walk around up and around Federal Hill again. Very beautiful area. Man, I love that city so much.


FL:
What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?

AC:
Well, my first festival was in Richmond, VA when I was a little kid, can't remember the name but my folks would always take us to music and events downtown while growing up. My first one after moving to NC about 8 years ago that really made an impression on me is Shakori Hills Grass Roots festival. It's such a simple yet beautiful fest and we always have such a great time playing and just hanging out there.


FL:
Favorite thing about festivals?

AC:
Being around other musicians and getting to spend lots of time together catching up.

Birds and Arrows plays the second night of BiMA.fest.

mp3: Sugarlicious (SWASO cover) (Birds and Arrows - more here) (thanks, Tsururadio)

[photo by Bill Hudson]

The Untitled Interview #140 – BiMA.fest Edition: Starring The Sky Drops

It's just about that time, to once again venture up the I-95 corridor to partake in some Baltimorean musical hijinks at the BiMA.fest 2011. After last year's fun, my expectations are high. I spoke with a few of the bands you need to know about playing BiMA.fest this year about all things festivus.

I have wanted to see The Sky Drops for A. Very. Long. Time. Another of those bands with the Austin Psych Fest under their belt, The Sky Drops make some fearsomely fantastic noise. It's big and beautiful and sure to delight any fan of the shoegaze ouevre. I couldn't be more excited to finally see them live. Below, Rob and Monika muse on the art of the festival. If you're planning on being out and about tonight, please bring Monika some earplugs. Lord knows she'll need them!


Fuzzy Logic:
Inevitably, you will forget to bring:

Rob:
At times, I will forget fresh picks. I must have a fresh pick for every show.
Monika: Earplugs.

FL:
Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?

R:
Applesauce.

M:
Along with touching base with some friends (like Gary B, Free Electric State, Thrushes, and The Stargazer Lilies), I'm interested in seeing The Pauses - the New Granada band from Orlando.


FL:
What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival in Baltimore?

R:
Check in with McNulty.

M:
Find some earplugs and use the lint roller.


FL:
What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?

R:
South Hampton College - Smashing Orange.

M:
A 4th of July Festival in Memphis on Mud Island watching Booker T. & the M.G.'s = awesome.


FL:
Favorite thing about festivals?

R:
Performing.

M:
Dodging drum circles.

The Sky Drops play night two of BiMA.fest.


mp3: Explain It To Me (The Sky Drops from the Making Mountains EP)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Untitled Interview #139 – BiMA.fest Edition: Starring Skydivers

It's just about that time, to once again venture up the I-95 corridor to partake in some Baltimorean musical hijinks at the BiMA.fest 2011. After last year's fun, my expectations are high. I spoke with a few of the bands you need to know about playing BiMA.fest this year about all things festivus.

I shall now try to avoid making any sort of parachute joke as I discuss the next band, Skydivers. I've been listening to their pretty, pretty little ditty "Summer Sky" over and over again, friends, and I strongly urge you to check these little 80s indiepop revivalists/shoegazing sassypants rapscallions out. The band below discusses what festivals mean to them. And shamans. Sweet.


Fuzzy Logic:
Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?

Spacey: I’m looking forward to seeing Skydivers at the Festival. I have made arrangements with a local shaman, who will enable me to leave my body and watch Skydivers play while I am actually playing with Skydivers. It’s going to be cool. I’d also like to see the Sky Drops. Playing with our buddies Red This Ever and Retrogramme is always great. Also, I’ve never seen Stargazer Lillies, but they seem to be full of Shoegazey goodness.
Leah:
Alto Verde, since I keep buying gear from Nick Bertling at Music Go Round.
Michael K: This being my first time checking out live music in Baltimore, I'm just looking forward to seeing anyone. Oh, and Skydivers, of course.
Spacey:
You’ll probably need to speak with the Shaman.

Duncan:
Skydivers. Duh.

Leah:
Who are these Skydivers people again?


FL: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
Spacey: Hmmm…I’m going to hearken back to the Walls of Sound Fests that Skydivers played some years back. Out in Fredericksburg, VA. A bunch of bands playing shoegaze/blisspop/dreampop/etc all day and nite. It was fun, and we made some good friends at those events.
Michael K:
Some outdoor music festival I went to as a kid living in Holland. I can't recall who played, but remember that it was way cool and they had frites!!!

Spacey:
And wooden shoes!

Duncan:
The Fresh Fest in Cincinnati, OH, 1984. Run-DMC headlined with Whodini and The Fat Boys, with Newcleus opening.

Leah:
The 1998 HFStival at RFK, where I alternated between melting and checking out Dave Grohl's gear. We like gear. Though I'm sure it was not nearly as entertaining as Duncan's day with Run-DMC.

Spacey:
And Newcleus! Jam On It!


FL: What would you advise the out-of-towners to see/do while they’re in Baltimore? Spacey: Check out the Eiffel Tower! See the fabulous…um…pyramids.
Duncan:
Reach for the sky and say good bye to your long-cherished valuables.

Spacey:
Duncan is our “sunshine on a cloudy day.”

Leah:
Make sure to stop by the sushi capital of Maryland - downtown Towson.

Spacey:
Really?

Michael K: Have some mussels at Bertha's and check out the Aquarium...not necessarily in that order.
Spacey:
Can’t you just get mussels at the Aquarium?


FL:
Favorite thing about festivals?

Spacey: The rides and carnival games. The almost musical sound of children laughing as they romp through the midway in wonderment. Oh, wait. Music festivals. I think I really enjoy the grand scale of the event. It’s really cool to be involved in such a Big Thing. Michael K: The eclectic mix of music and people.
Duncan:
I love the feel and vibe of music outdoors. The air is alive and “bristles with the energy, and echoes with the sound of salesmen.” Sorry…couldn’t help myself. I would say that there exists a certain unreproduceable quality to an outdoor music festival. The indoor festivals retain the eclectic mix of bands whereby music is sorted into pigeonholes and those fitting in adjacent holes are grouped somewhat together in one venue.

Spacey:
“...adjacent holes…?”

Duncan:
The music is usually better fidelity when indoors due to somewhat experienced (hopefully) soundpersons working steadily at the venues and aware of unique sound aspects of the venue. Always appreciate that when it happens. Outdoor festival sound is usually of lesser fidelity whereby even things like the wind can affect the sound fidelity depending on where you sit. I like both for what they do best.

Spacey:
Duncan will now demonstrate further with a Powerpoint presentation.

Leah: Outdoor festivals are the only time individuals of my semi-gothic pallor see the sunlight. With, of course, the added plus of being able to check out lots of gear. Yes, more gear.

FL:
Best Baltimore-centric song?

Spacey: Not sure what kind of answer you want from me here, but I will say that “Standing Outside A Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand” by Primitive Radio Gods mentions Baltimore (“…a plane takes off from Baltimore and touches down on Bourbon Street…”). So that’s my answer.
Leah:
It's a tie between "Blue Skies over Dundalk" by Mary Prankster, and "Walking in an Essex Wonderland."

Michael K:
I live in the DC area, so I'm gonna have to go with Leah on "Blue Skies Over Dundalk" by Mary Prankster.

Duncan:
No such thing as a good Baltimore-centric song. Closest thing to it would be Live’s “Shit Town” about York, PA. “The Wire” rocked, though.

Spacey:
“I’ve got sunshiiiiine, on a cloudy day…”

Skydivers play the first day of BiMA.fest 2011.


mp3: Summer Sky (Skydivers from Hello. Atmosphere)

[photo by Graeme King]

100 Drummers #4: Starring Marty Linville (Ttotals)

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 in the Dylan classic “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” I present to you, friends, 100 Drummers.

Last month I saw and became rather enamored with the savage sonic beauty that is the music of Ttotals. They're from Nashville, but you'd never think it given the lack of any semblance of twang. Instead, this duo trades on fuzz, drone, and volume. And I love it all. Drummer/knob-twiddler Marty Linville is one of those super trendy standing drummers, and is so badass he'll play through pain to make sure the kids are entertained. Read on for Marty's musings on drums, and as an added bonus, his pedal ponderings as well.


Fuzzy Logic: How old were you when you first picked up the drumsticks?

Marty Linville: The first time I picked up the drumsticks I was maybe 7 or 8. I picked them up to throw at another kid who was talking shit.


FL: Which drum is the best drum and why?

ML: Floor tom, portability.


FL: Who's your favorite drummer of all time?

ML: I'm cool enough to rattle off some jazz guys, or maybe Bob Bert, but I'm gonna tie with Keith Moon and John Bonham. KeithJohn MoonBonham.


FL: Singing drummers: On the cool side like Levon Helm or on the questionable side like Phil Collins?
ML: At karaoke, I sing "Against All Odds", and it feels like you and I are the only ones there, and you'd swear it was raining. So take a look at me now.


FL: Say you break a stick during a show and you have no spares. What do you do?

ML: Build a time machine and come back better prepared. Then use the time machine to warn the younger me to make better choices, although it's not likely I'd listen.


FL: Which pedal is your very favorite and why?

ML: The electro-harmonix memory boy self-oscillates, and therefore rules. Anything you put into it, it freaks out, and it allows for expression pedal control, so you can mess with it hands-free.


FL: Favorite chord?

ML: I like sixths, because they seem seductive and nonchalant at the same time.


FL: Who's your guitarist icon?

ML: They have this Wayne Kramer signature model Stratocaster. Now, Normally I don't go in for all that signature model stuff, but this guitar is like covered in an American flag glitter paint job, and it has an inscription that reads, "this tool kills hate," or some shit. It rules. $999.00 at sweetwater.com. I'm not sure if that answers your question, but there you go.


FL: With all the pedals out there, how do you decide which ones to procure?

ML: It's all about shiny decals and clever names.


FL: What's your dream pedal?
ML: My life is a crazy-ass dream. Sometimes I can't believe I'm alive. To answer your question, my dream pedal is the 80's Ibanez flanger my friend Derek modded to make it sound like a fucking UFO attack, son. I sold it years ago for, um, a stupid reason and I'd love to get it back. It's my Rosebud. I wonder if, on my deathbed, I'll moan, "yellow flanger" over and over, and no one will know what I mean.

mp3: Upon Some Action (Ttotals from the Ttotals 12")

[photo courtesy Ttotals]

Through A Lens Fuzzily #2: Midnight With Black Mountain

Since none of you have told me you hate it, I'm going to keep on keeping on with this here new feature. I hope you'll continue to indulge me.

Today's subject matter is a steamy summer night from a few weeks back, taken on S Street on the way back to my car after another enjoyable night out. Being in the deepest depths of summer, it was a hot night. The air was so steamy, so humid, and there was something a little mystical about the whole evening that I had to stop and take a couple photos. The way the moon lit the clouds was breathtaking. It's the kind of night that this haunting little Black Mountain song was made for.

m4a: Night Walks (Black Mountain from In The Future)

The Untitled Interview #138 – BiMA.fest Edition: Starring Dave Mann (Mittenfields)

It's just about that time, to once again venture up the I-95 corridor to partake in some Baltimorean musical hijinks at the BiMA.fest 2011. After last year's fun, my expectations are high. I spoke with a few of the bands you need to know about playing BiMA.fest this year about all things festivus.

First up, one of the locals I gush the most about: Mittenfields. But there is good reason for all that gushing. Their sound is so intricate, so detailed, and oh yes, so very loud. In DC they stand alone, and that, friends, is fact. Below, founding member/bassist/howler Dave Mann opines on the festival experience. If you're heading to Baltimore tomorrow, please bring Dave some hipster shades.

Fuzzy Logic: Inevitably, you will forget to bring:
Dave Mann: My hipster sunglasses to wear in a almost dark venue.

FL: Band you're most looking forward to seeing at the festival?
DM: Gary B's old band that is having a reunion the night of our show at The Wind-Up Space. If Gary B & The Notions were playing that night, then I'd be looking forward to that show. We are only in Baltimore for that night and I do not plan on leaving The Wind-Up Space.

FL: What's the first thing you plan on doing upon arrival in Baltimore?
DM: Soundcheck?

FL: What was the first festival you ever attended, either as a musician or member of the general public?
DM: Probably Night In Old San Antonio (NIOSA) in San Antonio, TX (where I grew up). I don't remember what bands played but it wouldn't matter because there would have been a language barrier and I wasn't tall enough to climb that wall.

FL: Favorite thing about festivals?
DM: Being able to see crowds of people showing up for these shows that they wouldn't normally go to if it were just a one-off. Safety in numbers, I guess.

Mittenfields plays Day 1 of BiMA.fest.

mp3: Cascades (Mittenfields from
The Fresh Sum EP)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

For The Music Snob Who Has Everything, II?

Those wily scamps over at Aggronautix have done it again. Their 9th figure is quite a good choice, if you ask me. Now you, or that particularly difficult person for whom to buy gifts, can own Roky Erickson. Well, a seven inch version of Roky, that is.

The figure (Throbblehead, y'all) pays homage to Roky circa 1980, and the 13th Floor Elevator stands defiantly with arms crossed and a heavy-lidded stare just daring you not to buy him. All you psych lovers, take note, the Roky Throbblehead is limited to just 1000 figures, and you don't want to miss out (several Throbbleheads have already sold out, so don't be surprised if Roky soon joins the ranks). After all, there's a mere four months of shopping until it's time for Santa, and who wouldn't love a little Roky in their stocking? Or, pair it with a 13th Floor Elevators record for the hippest present around.

mp3: Be And Bring Me Home (Roky Erickson from Never Say Goodbye)


Through A Lens Fuzzily #1: Pulp at The Hotel

My lovely loves, I do believe I'm about ready to unleash a new feature on you. It's quite a simple concept, really, and I hope you'll like it. Here's the pitch: I take a lot of pictures. I have a lot of music on my iPod. Sometimes in my mind I put a song with a photo I've snapped, and that's pretty much the gist of what I want to do in this little series. Let me know if you love it. Or hate it. But I hope you'll do more lovin' than hatin'.

First up: A snap I took upstairs at the Rock'n'Roll Hotel a few months back, paired with some classic Pulp. Enjoy.


m4a: Party Hard (Pulp from This Is Hardcore)


[photo by Megan Petty]

The Good Ship Rediscovery: Archie Bronson Outfit - Fur

We all forget about the older stuff from time to time, in our quest to stay up to speed with the latest and greatest. But one should always respect their elders. So don’t forget about them, y’hear?

Sometimes, as I'm sure you know, there's nothing that quite hits the spot like a raunchy little blue flame of a rock record. And from the beginning to the very end, my beloved Archie Bronson Outfit's debut Fur is nothing if not good old raunch and roll. This is a record that follows in the grand old English tradition of American blues worship, paying homage to the Delta with wailing guitars and a pervading sense of bad behavior. When first I heard this record, I was in love with its sheer, unflinching badness. The scuzz was overpowering, the wickedness palpable. And I've never been the same since.

Somehow, these three English boys made an album that sounds more bayou backwoods stomp than Londoninium-landed. Dedicated "to the girls thath Broketh our hearts," Fur is alive with sweat and booze and penetrating stares, pulsating with inebriation and lust and all manner of things. Opening track "Butterflies" throws chunky guitar riffs at you, along with some grasping, throaty vocals inclined to crackle with ardor. The heft returns in "Islands," a sonic snarl that chugs along, filling the air with smoke and frenzy. "Riders" is filled with langour and heat, and the proclamation, "We'll ride to the end of the earth." Damned if I don't believe it.

"Bloodheat" is a favorite amongst favorites, building from a slow, labored plod to an ever-increasing build of triumphant tremendousness. "Armour For a Broken Heart" to me comes across as a slightly-less unhinged Immortal Lee County Killers, frenzied and rolling along in fierce, defiant aggression. "Kangaroo Heart" takes things even further into the bawdy depths of darkness, instruments crashing down in hailstorms and plaintive, anguished vocals ("I've run out of words to give you/I've run out of things to say/my heart still beats towards you"). The glorious "Pompeii" closes up shop, but not before the Bronsons get one last hook in. A hypnotic, repetitive riff will draw you in, and the slow burn of the build will reel you in as things get slowly louder, slowly bolder.

Good goddammit, friends, Fur is magnificent. Sometimes I forget, but once more I remember...if this one's not in your collection, make it so. I'll always love the Bronsons and all of their records, but I'm going to say my heart will forever belong to Fur.

m4a: Butterflies (Archie Bronson Outfit from Fur)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Singles Club: The Snowy Owls

Back in May, dear darlings, I gushed a little (perhaps a lot) about the rather delightful Richmond band The Snowy Owls. Well, it's time to gush once again, as the band has just released another! New! Song! Yay! And I do declare, y'all, you're gonna love it.

"Yr Eyes" is large in scale, once again mixing the scuzzy fuzz of Sonic Youth and just a dash of The Jesus & Mary Chain with shades of Dinosaur Jr. for a sound that both has the ability to blow out your speakers and make you coo with glee. Somehow, through all the noise, the song retains a kind of bashful intimacy that makes it seem sweet. It's the kind of song the hipster ladies would swoon to have written about them, and the kind of song you band boys should definitely make more of.

As if that wasn't enough, the Owls have kindly added a cover of St. Vincent's "Actor Out of Work" to their single, and the lo-fi feel and the way fuzzed-out guitar add a fresh, fantastic take to the song.

mp3: Yr Eyes (The Snowy Owls from Yr Eyes)


Album Review: The Orange Revival - Black Smoke Rising

If there was any doubt, my little dukes and duchesses, that Scandinavians know how to do psych rock, it ought to have been put to rest by now by the excellence that is Dungen. And now, lo and behold, here comes another band from Sweden, bringing with them an even more accessible, even more shimmying little rock'n'roll psych rock thang. The band in question is The Orange Revival, and they claim to make "psychedelic R'n'R," and they're not bluffing. Black Smoke Rising, their new LP, is nothing short of tantalizing, not to mention charming, and shows The Orange Revival to be quite a band of upstarts in the wonderful world of psych.

The Orange Revival has plenty of kindred spirits floating around in the world of nouveau psych, most notably the incomparable Anton Newcombe and his Brian Jonestown Massacre cohorts. Black Smoke Rising is steeped in the BJM's brand of brash, but beautiful, guitar-heavy melodic psychedelia. Each of the record's eight songs has plenty to recommend it, and the entire album dallies successfully with roaring yet melodic guitars and the prowl of a well-played organ. "Ever" shows the band's Stones-ian swagger and booming bravado, all guitar strut and adorably-accented lyrics delivered boldly and in a flatly matter-of-fact manner. "Medistation," another favorite, is a towering powder puff of sticky sonic smoke, giving off daydream thrums and all the drone you could want.

Black Smoke Rising
is filled to the last note with quite a few of my favorite things, from all the delicious droning to the tangy kick of impish guitars to an overall kaleidoscopic swirl of luscious, lovely noise. Relying on their patron Saint Anton, Black Smoke Rising is the sound of a band that knows what it wants and knows how to get it.

mp3: Medistation (The Orange Revival from Black Smoke Rising)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Untitled Interview #137: Starring David Andler (BiMA.fest)

David Andler is what you might call a Renaissance Man. Musician, music label…and festival mastermind. The Baltimore Independent Music & Arts Festival (otherwise known as BiMA.fest) is once again nearly upon us, and yours truly is delighted to be heading up to Baltimore once again to check out what David and his helpers have put together. This year looks pretty tasty, friends, so don’t miss out. Below, David took some time out of what I know is a crazy schedule to answer any and all possible fest-related questions. Oh, and he also offers to buy us all beer. Which definitely adds to his awesomeness.

Fuzzy Logic: What made you want to go forth and put BiMA.fest together?

David Andler: It was my hope to bring together all the Baltimore and regional musicians that we’ve worked with for so long in a way that would both to get attention for Baltimore bands for the rest of the country and also be a positive event for people that live here. My plan was that with a very diverse festival of a substantial size that we could unify the various music scenes all together...even if it was just for one weekend a year.



FL: What's your favorite BiMA.fest memory thus far?

DA: Seeing and hearing the band Tennis play their song “Baltimore” to close their set on Saturday night of BiMA.fest 2010 was pretty awesome. It was the last show of the festival, it was packed, and it’s my favorite of all their songs. I had just walked across the street to the Hexagon Space from the Windup Space and all my responsibilities were essentially over.


FL: How did you build on last year's fest in terms of planning and scheduling and such for this year?

DA: The structure of the event this year is basically the same, except we have bigger bands and better overall shows. It took a while to figure out how a way to do it that would be really fair to all the bands and worthwhile for the clubs, yet would still allow us to create a very inexpensive pass. Last year a three day all-access pass was $49. This year we expanded the event to be four days, including Thursday to Sunday, and we’re starting a lot of the Saturday events much earlier. We also brought the all-access price down to $39 for all four days, which works out to only about 32¢ per band. It’s a pretty sweet deal, considering some of the national acts that are playing this year.

Part of what also made this year easier was that I didn’t have to explain the concept to the clubs again. The Ottobar, The Windup Space, the Hour Haus, CCAS, and The Depot were all part of it last year, and our friends at Golden West, Frazier’s, Joe Squared, Cyclops Books, and the Sidebar were happy to be asked to participate this year.


FL: What do you want festival goers, especially first-timers, to come away with after experiencing BiMA.fest?

DA: That Baltimore is a great mecca for a lot of different types of music; indie rock, punk rock, noisecore, metal, hip-hop, experimental jazz, neosoul, Americana, shoegaze....you name it. A lot of incredible artists have come from Baltimore over the last few decades, but most of them have had to travel the world to get acceptance and credibility. Bands in places like Austin, Chicago, and Seattle have it a lot easier because people flock to those cities annually to see live music. Baltimore does already have a few successful events that cater to very specific genres of music (MD Deathfest for Metal and High Zero for experimental music), but very few people realize just how many great bands there are here playing in a huge variety of styles.

I went to school in DC and lived in the DC area for nearly 6 years...and I barely visited Baltimore at all during that time. I wish I’d known back then how much was going on here. I was very involved with the DC scene at that time, but when I moved here I was stunned by just how amazing Baltimore’s scene was...I had been less than an hour away and there was so much going on here that I had been utterly unaware was happening. So my hope with BiMA.fest is to help other people make that discovery too...that Baltimore is a place that should be specifically known for live music.

FL: True or False: You're already thinking about BiMA.fest 2012.

DA: True. I’m mostly trying to decide whether to move it to the 2nd or 3rd weekend of September next year, to make it slightly easier for people who are starting classes around the time we’ve been having it the last two years, and to make it a bit easier to bring in some national bands. A lot of bands start their Fall tours at the beginning of September, so it’s been harder to get them to come out for August shows. That will also make it easier for us to include a few more venues.

FL: If you could have any band (that's not already playing of course!) at BiMA.fest this year, who would it be?
DA: I think it would be The Hold Steady, but Archers of Loaf, Superchunk, and GBV were also asked this year. Our good friends in Wye Oak and J Roddy Walston & The Business were both all set to play but bizarre schedule and contractual conflicts came up and prevented it.


FL: What's been the most difficult aspect/biggest hurdle in sustaining BiMA.fest?

DA: The only serious hurdle we’ve had is that last year some people mistakenly associated what we were doing as being a continuation of a very unsuccessful event that happened for a few years in Baltimore. But most of them have since realized that BiMA.fest is nothing like that other event was, that there are great bands playing and that it’s a really good vibe overall.


Other than that, it’s a lot of work but it’s a really enjoyable challenge for me to organize, and I’ve had great help from the Morphius staff. Branden Funkhouser once again designed most everything for the site and all our posters and printed materials. Janne Mosser helped coordinate promotion and volunteers and handles Twitter feeds. Kris Heath worked as our artist liaison for about about half the shows, as well as supervised our interns, and managed the bimafest2011.sched.org site. And my good friends Gary Barrett (of the band Notions) and Serge Baptista (of the band Nervous Impulse) both put in a lot of work asking bands they know to apply to showcase or specifically asking them to play on a shows. And plenty of other people help in various ways, including my wife who puts up with the absurdly long hours I work during July and August.


FL: Anything you'd like folks to know about the fest that they might not already know?

DA: This year one of our most important sponsors is Yuengling, and they’ve basically hooked it up so we can do 2-for-1 Yuengling at every venue throughout the entire festival. And they’re providing beer for the BiMA.fest VIP party this year so people will drink entirely free there. I’ve been really impressed with how supportive they’ve been of all that we’re doing and all the bands playing this year. Other than that, it’s pretty easy to get here from DC, Richmond, and Philly. Most of the venues this year are walking distance from Penn Station, and half of them are less than 4 blocks. There’s a free bus called the Circulator that takes you basically right to the doorstep of the venues that are slightly farther. It runs nonstop. Pretty rad if you ask me.


I hope to see you and your readers there. Introduce yourself and mention this article...I’ll buy you a drink!


BiMA.fest runs from August 25th-28th in Baltimore. Check the site for all pertinent details.

The Good Ship Rediscovery: Super Furry Animals - Fuzzy Logic

We all forget about the older stuff from time to time, in our quest to stay up to speed with the latest and greatest. But one should always respect their elders. So don’t forget about them, y’hear?

Upon telling people the name of this here blog, I am oftentimes asked about said naming nomenclature. Most often, people think it has to do with the mathematical concept, which, I suppose, in a backhanded way it does. That certainly wasn't why I chose the name. However, friends, I'm about to give you a special treat, and relay to you the real, the true, the official story of how and why Fuzzy Logic is Fuzzy Logic.

It all goes back to the year 1996, when first I started listening to the wonderful, wacky, gloriously out of this universe and then some Welsh quintet Super Furry Animals.
As I'm sure you'll recall, lovelies, in the mid-90s your fearless blogette was all about "Britpop" and associated but not really technically Britpop bands. The Furries, as they're affectionately known, probably aren't what you'd consider Britpop, they're much too eccentric and unique for that, but seeing as I first discovered them amongst the pages of the much-missed Select magazine, otherwise known as the Good Word to me, I decided to give them a listen. And I've been listening to the Furries ever since.

Fuzzy Logic was their debut, and I loved, and still do love, everything about it. Even the cover, featuring an assortment of snaps of the notorious cult icon Howard Marks, is quite a thing to behold. My first taste of the record was the dynamic single "Something 4 The Weekend," a cheeky monkey, beyond catchy little song about recreational weekend drug use. In case you're not aware, chemical indulgence is occasionally (often) prominent in Furryland. When I tore myself away from the single, it was time to give the whole album a good listening to, as you do. Just on the off chance you don't already own this record, let's go through and go over why exactly you might want to rethink.

Fuzzy Logic opens with the chunky, wait for it...fuzzy onslaught of guitars, enthusiastic yelping, and a tone of saucy braggadacio that is "God! Show Me Magic." As with most songs of the Super Furry variety, it offers a strong sense of mischief. "Hamster/turning round in your wheel/I've got something to tell you," begins Gruff Rhys as the opening strains of "Fuzzy Birds" make their way languidly into your ears. I often think the Furries might be the sonic equivalent of the most absurd Ogden Nash poem you could possibly think of. And that, darlings, is quite a compliment.

"Frisbee" is one of my absolute favorites, full of those crushing guitars, a chorus of crazy, owl-like "oooohs," and the lovely Welsh accent of Mr. Rhys (ladies, you haven't lived until you've heard him sing in Welsh - trust me). "Hometown Unicorn" is a leisurely, rolling trip of a ditty, irrepressible to the last note. I love the melancholia that the Super Furries added to Fuzzy Logic. In "Gathering Moss," we hear the tale of a what could very well be a relationship gone stale ("you and me are idly gathering moss") with a backdrop of cosmic oompah. Immediately following "Gathering Moss" is the even more beautifully sad "If You Don't Want Me To Destroy You," grand in both scale and in its slow, dignified moroseness.

And then it's back into the realms of the truly rocking, with the Furry pop stylings of "Bad Behaviour" (and yes, I borrowed that name, too!). "Bad behaviour/was my saviour," sings Rhys, and who am I to argue with such a spectacular sentiment? With the catchiness on full throttle in the chorus ("bad/bad/bad bad behav-i-our") the guitars wail away, creating a wave of fuzz amongst all that confectionary goodness. It all gets unhinged at the end, melting in a fabulous noisy mess. "Mario Man" feels like the 70s run through a Welsh dreamland parallel universe portal, the groove swept into the eye of the storm of strange.

"Hangin With Howard Marks" is another of the record's most triumphant moments, in my humble yet firm opinion. Those guitars alone are not a drop shy of fuzzy pomp and circumstance, and crafting a sonic shoutout to a figure cut so notoriously as Mr. Marks gave the boys street cred galore. Well, in certain circles of course. I suppose people unaware of the Marksian exploits are reading this with a furrowed brow. In any case, the song is splendid and a half. Listen and love, my little black sheep. "Long Gone" is rather repetitive, lyrically-speaking, but musically bounces all over the place, equally gentle and lovely and louder and slightly rambunctious. The record comes to a close with the retro-wrapped "For Now and Ever," all big guitars and a congenial, cutesy sway.

So there you have it, the many, many, many reasons I love Fuzzy Logic, and why I had no choice but to snatch the name for myself, in humble tribute to the masters of the wacky universe I've loved for so very many years now. It's a classic record from that era, and to me Fuzzy Logic sounds as good now as it did all the way back in 1996. Please do go forth (right now) and experience the world of SFA for yourselves.

m4a: Hangin' With Howard Marks (Super Furry Animals from Fuzzy Logic)

m4a: Frisbee (Super Furry Animals from Fuzzy Logic)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Newsflash!: Bad Behaviour #4 TONIGHT!


Man alive, my darlins, has it been a crazy week and a half. It has seriously been the best of times and the worst of times (though probably not in very Dickensian ways). I'm ready to let off some major steam, and we all know one of my favorite ways to do that is by seeing some great live music. Yours truly has put together a slam dunk of a bill for this month's installment of Bad Behaviour, if I may be modest about it, featuring three incredibly delightful bands from the Richmond area (being lax with proximity).

Please join me at Bella tonight for some beautiful, loud, oft-shoegaze-ish noise, to be made by White Laces (Richmond), The Late Virginia Summers (Lynchburg), and Canary Oh Canary (Richmond). It's the first DC show for several of these bands, so come show 'em that DC knows good music. Festivities are due to get going around 9:30, so don't be late.