Q&A with Oh Pep! at the Pitch


For the benefit of anyone drawn into the hotel room by the charming music, the band’s name was spelled in wooden letters on the floor. This was the 2015 Folk Alliance International conference, and the musicians who’d made this endearing gesture had come a long way: Oh Pep, of Melbourne, Australia.

Oh Pep is primarily the work Olivia Hally (the Oh) and Pepita Emmerichs (the Pep), who released their debut LP, Stadium Cake, on the Dualtone label this past summer. I spoke with Hally and Emmerichs via Skype about writing and producing the record.

Read the full interview at the Pitch. Published 9/29/16

August Cine Local at the Pitch


If you’ve read this week’s issue, you’re obviously aware there are tons of great local releases out now. And now, if you watch your way through all of these videos, you’ll know all about the releases coming out in the next couple of months. Whether you like Keef Mountain’s stoner doom, Various Blonde’s genre-breaking beats, the heartbreaking pop of Heidi Lynn Gluck, or Berwanger’s glam power-pop, there’s something to catch your eyes and ears. We even have some classic footage from the Wilmas in this month’s Cine Local.

View all the videos at the Pitch. Published 9/1/16

Q&A with Mikey Erg at Modern Vinyl

Ever since the breakup of beloved pop-punk trio the Ergs in 2008, drummer and singer Mikey Erg (né Mike Yannich) has been busy…insanely busy. He’s played drums for nearly every pop-punk act on the East Coast, he’s toured constantly, and all the while he’s been the drummer for the LLC, the house band for Fusion’s The Chris Gethard Show.

However, musical output focusing solely on Yannich’s distinctive songwriting has been frustratingly scarce. While he’s been making music pretty constantly, hearing that voice has been limited to less than a handful of singles and splits. That thankfully came to an end with the release of his debut solo LP, Tentative Decisions, on Don Giovanni at the end of June.

Read the complete interview at Modern Vinyl. Published 8/17/16

Josh Berwanger on his new split with Dwight Twilley



At this point, the output of the Josh Berwanger Band is starting to rival that of the bands for which Berwanger was formerly best-know, the Anniversary and Only Children. The band’s just finished recording their second LP, and just release their third single — a split with power-pop idol Dwight Twilley — on Good Land Records. We asked Berwanger a few questions via e-mail about the split and his upcoming plans.
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Vacation Club, “Heaven Is Too High” LP

cover - vacation club heaven is too highThe first full-length from Indiana’s Vacation Club, Heaven Is Too High, took a couple listens to really work its way into rotation. Samuel James‘ vocals are an acquired taste — they’re high, they’re snotty, and they’re fairly monotonic.

It took picking the LP up after a little time away from it, putting it on the turntable, and hearing the opening strains of “Gas Station” to get what Vacation Club’s doing — this is a trimmed-down, lo-fi version of something like the Sweet or Slade.
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Josh Berwanger, “Oh Bis!” 7-inch

cover - berwanger too much rockKids! Kidskidskidskids! Guess what?

Josh Berwanger put out a new single! And it’s part of the too Much Rock single series! And it has a cover of the Jags’ “Back of My Hand” on the b-side! I literally responded to the initial news of this with a linked article on Facebook and something along the lines of “THE FUCKING JAGS?!?!”

But, really, everybody: I’m a huge fan of Josh berwanger as a musician and just a guy to chat with in general, and this might be my favorite thing he’s thus far done. “Oh Bis!” has been part of Bernwager’s live sets for a while now, and the fact that he uses the word “bozos” has always endeared the song to me.
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Rev Gusto, “Still There” 7-inch

rev gusto header
With the second installment of the Too Much Rock single series, we have the first-ever physical release from Kansas City power-pop group Rev Gusto. As longtime readers will recall, we were super-hyped on their first EP when it was released digitally. It’s good to see that the band has managed to both retain their loose, shimmery tones, as well as tightening up their melodies and harmonies.

The a-side is an original, “Still There,” which balances that shimmering guitar with tight drums and bass, resulting in a song that bridges the gap between slightly psychedelic ’60s and early ’80s power-pop. The cover of Graham Parker’s “Local Girls” on the flip only makes that comparison more accurate. I’d not heard Parker’s original in years (it’s not like anything along those lines except Marshall Crenshaw’s “Someday Someway” ever makes it on the radio anymore), and it was interesting to revisit the song after hearing Rev Gusto’s take. They do a lovely job of energizing the slightly-lethargic original, in the process rendering it less morose, and more snotty.

The band’s goddamn catchy and everyone who sees or hears them just can’t help but fall in love with these guys. Here’s to hoping some of you pick up the single and do the same. It’s a delightfully catchy pair of songs, just in time for summer.
More info on the single series can be found at Too Much Rock.

“A Man Called Destruction” flatly documents the life of Big Star’s Alex Chilton

book cover - a man called destructionIt seems that Alex Chilton and Big Star are in the midst of a revival. It started with 2009’s Keep an Eye on the Sky, a box set that compiled music from all eras of Big Star’s existence and continued with last year’s Nothing Can Hurt Me documentary. Now we finally have the literary companion in Holly George-Warren‘s Chilton biography, A Man Called Destruction: The Life and Music of Alex Chilton, From Box Tops to Big Star to Backdoor Man, out March 20 from Viking.

It’s a thoroughly comprehensive book. My big complaint with Nothing Can Hurt Me is that it seemed awfully rushed, fitting far too much into a short running time. However, as thorough as the book is — going all the way back to the Chilton family’s European roots — A Man Called Destruction completely lacks any sort of emotional core.
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Podcast #107, “Rush to Judgment”

scales of judgmentRecording this podcast, I was all kinds of excited about getting it done, doing a phone interview, and then heading out to enjoy some sunshine. The sunshine disappeared, some support screws sheared off on our bed frame, and I spent an hour and a half at the hardware store and kneeling in our bedroom with a drill.

Sometimes, you should just be happy for what you’ve accomplished — namely, putting together a really poppy, upbeat podcast that runs the gamut from nerd rock to stoner jams. It’s a blast and a half this episode, despite everything that followed.

Podcast #107, “Rush to Judgment”
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Save Ends, “Warm Hearts, Cold Hands” LP

cover - save endsFun times with indie-pop from Boston’s Save Ends. Their debut full-length after several years of EPs, Warm Hearts, Cold Hands is a harder-edged Dollyrots or Mixtapes. It’s super-poppy, and the whole album is pretty much “Harmonies! Energy! Riffs!” for its entirety.

Save Ends really aim for energetic songs, but the lyrics drag everything down. It’s not that the music isn’t good — the riffs are catchy, the keys are nice when they come through, and the bass and drums make for a head-nodding beat. It’s more that the songs contain lyrics talking about falling down, blood draining from arms, things breaking down, and feeling alone.
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