Sneak peak of Berwanger’s ‘Exorcism Rock’ figures at Modern Vinyl

berwanger-toy
For the forthcoming Berwanger album, Exorcism Rock — the second for the band, and first for label Doghouse Records — frontman Josh Berwanger has more in mind than just 11 tracks of exceedingly catchy rock ‘n’ roll. As if four different vinyl variants weren’t enough, there’s going to be an action figure variant. Wait, what? Yes, indeed. An action figure tied to a new album isn’t new, obviously — Major Lazer and Less Than Jake have both released vinyl toys to tie in with records — but this might be the first to be blister-carded to the front of an LP. It’s such a crazy and cool idea, we reached out to Berwanger, as well as the man making it, Aaron of indie toymaker, Retroband. Not only did we get to hear about the new collaboration, but we have the exclusive first look at the Exorcism Rock toy.
Read both Q&As in full at Modern Vinyl. Published 10/20/16

Stalins of Sound, “Tank Tracks” LP

cover - stalins of soundMore dirge-like than the Spits, less poppy than Devo, and more abrasive than Digital Leather is Stalins of Sound. Their Tank Tracks LP -- out next week on Slovenly -- took a few listens to really grab me. However, despite the slow build up to acceptance, some tracks immediately interested upon first listen. "Monkeys Attack" is insistently metronomic in its rhythm, and the guitar just buzzsaws along. I featured it on the podcast a few weeks back, and the more I listen to it, the more I get what Stalins of Sound are trying to do. Granted, it's pretty indicative of what Tank Tracks sounds like. The earlier tracks follow that pattern, and if you're only half-listening, it's difficult to tell some songs from others. "El Cajon Beatdown" and "Abominations of Fire" work way outside the repetitive beats, and album closer "Rules For Your Mouth" is this strange thing that sounds like someone took The Legend of Zelda's dungeon music and mixed it with industrial punk rock. While not a huge fan of things that are firmly in the chiptune vein, when bands mine video game soundtracks for inspiration and effect, it lends an element of levity and places tongue slightly in cheek, lessening the otherwise oppressive elements of the songs. Stalins of Sound's guitar is just relentless, and these occasional electronic elements shine brightly through the darkness. Stalins of Sound's Tank Tracks is out next week on CD and LP from Slovenly and you can pre-order it now.

Hobocop, “Half Man, Half Cop” 10-inch

cover - hobocopHobocop's Half Man, Half Cop is just the right amount of lo-fi. It's not quite as rudimentary as Apache Dropout, but it's fuzzy and dirty. The fuzz and distortion works with the music, though, rather than obscuring good songwriting. "Stench of Death" especially benefits from some extra dirt on its sludged-out garage guitar. The whole lo-fi aesthetic gives everything a sense of mystery -- is that keyboard or a weird guitar effect? Is that an acoustic bass or a weird guitar effect? The element of mystery makes the whole Hobocop thing entertainingly strange. You'll accept the fact that "Fairweather Scum" is remarkably catchy, despite the fact you've little-to-no idea what's being sung. Just lock onto "yeah yeah"s and "whoo-hoo"s whenever possible, and use those as your guideposts to take you from mumbled guesses to enthusiastic and confident sing-along. The downside is that Half Man, Half Cop would be an excellent record to crank, were it a little more cleanly recorded. Even at reasonable volume, it sounds as if your speakers are blown out. "California Biodome" sounds as if your stereo is dying in a fit of feedback and wa-wa wash, and I fear to think what might happen if I decided to push the volume any more than I already did. I'm all for punk brevity, but another flipside is that some of these songs seem more like sketches or incomplete ideas than actual finished pieces. "Big Deal" is just shouted "BIG! DEAL!" and "You're not a big deal!" -- seeming more like the bridge and chorus for a song that could use a verse or two of actual lyrics. "LIttle Green Bills" is much the same, but with a piano line and ground-out guitar line supplementing the titular (and only) lyrics. If the short, "conceptual" pieces were cut, you'd be left with a fine 7-inch. As it is, Hobocop's Half Man, Half Cop is still a fun listen, if a little incomplete. The album is due out next week from Slovenly, but you can pre-order it right now.

Kippi’s Daniel Mana on the band’s upcoming Sickroom Records debut

kippis Due out next week from Sickroom Records is the debut release from Italian trio Kippi's, entitled Semplice Como Nuvole. It's a fascinating combination of motorik post-punk rhythms and psychedelic influences. The whole album is frankly hypnotic. Coming as it does right as the weather's warming up, we can see this getting a lot of windows down, volume up play around the house, and especially in the car. We were lucky enough to get to ask frontman Daniel Mana a few questions about the band and their album via e-mail. cover - kippis sempliceI have to ask, because Semplice Come Nuvole covers so much ground -- where do your inspiration and influences come from? Well, I guess the main reason why our record covers so much ground is because the three of us listen to a lot of music and we all went through different musical experiences in the past 6 years. The main idea was to make a record that sounded pretty unique here in Italy. It's sung in Italian, but it doesn't sound Italian at all. We don't really have any particular influences, to be honest. We are doing what we feel at this right moment. We write songs that are pretty "empty" in terms of arrangements, with repetitive beats, but every note we play or sing is carefully put in the song to achieve a particular and precise emotion. Kippi's are three really good friends with very similar personalities and I belive that's the secret, we always find a solution without arguing, everything with Kippi's comes natural. We are basically inspired by everyday's life and experiences. In terms of sound -- yes, we do have inspiration, we wanted full big drums kind of like Shannon Wright or Nina Nastasia. The compositions have a very improvisational feel, but is this how you put songs together? Most of the songs are born during rehearsals. You kind of are right -- for some reason, all of our songs are born as an improvisation, but it takes quite a long time after that to get to the final result. Sometimes, it takes just two or three takes to get the general idea of a song, but then it takes months before we are satisfied with it. As I said, we do things very carefully. For instance, what brought about "Pornospirituale" or "Monochromo"? The titles seem to quite accurately describe what's going on musically. "Pornospirituale" is an exception. I wrote the song a few days before going to the studio to start the recording. The first day in the studio I had the guys listen to it, they liked it, and we decided to add it to the record. In that song, the bassist plays drums and the drummer plays a Fender Rhodes piano. It was very spontaneous. I think we did three or four takes before we got the one that's on the record. We all really like that song. "Monocromo" was one of the first songs we wrote. It was me and the bassist that came up with the repetitive bass line and guitar and yes, in my mind I had this grey image of Beijing and China in general and the monochrome fits perfectly with the repetitive bass note. kippis liveAre the recordings templates for something further -- do the songs change in a live setting? I wouldn't say so. The songs are complete like that. Some of them change a little bit in a live setting. We follow the feeling of the moment. It's live so ... people have to be pleased. When did the band come together? We used to play together during high school, but after that we kind of didn't see each other for a while. I went to work in China during university and that was one of the reasons we couldn't make music anymore. During that time, we all focused on different musical styles. When I came back to Italy two and half years ago, I had pretty clear in my mind the kind of record that I wanted to do and so we got back together and started to work seriously on this record. What was your history before Kippi's? As I said above, we went trough very different musical experiences. I've lived in China for 6 years and I mostly made music on my own during that time. The bassist was in a folk band and the drummer kind of ... relaxed for while? Haha. We did meet up and play every time I went back to Italy, though, and even if it was for just a few hours, it's always been amazing. Does Kippi's have touring plans for the album in the US? Yes, we will be in the Us during the summer, but it's not scheduled yet. We will have a few shows in the Midwest and probably New York. You can find more information about Kippi's at their Facebook page and buy Semplice Como Nuvole from Sickroom Records.

Potpourri of Pearls, “We Went to Heaven”

cover - potpourri of pearls we went to heavenPotpourri of Pearls' We Went to Heaven has been playing down here in the basement, in the living room, at work, and various places over the past week. I've been trying to figure out if my initial impressions of it being amazing and weird have held up to repeated listens. Honestly, the first time I listened to We Went to Heaven, the whole '80s worship thing was a fun angle -- especially the fact they were lifting Erasure, making this a refreshing switch from bands who've been swiping New Order's sound for the better part of two decades. Repeated plays haven't really born out the opinions from the first listen. Frankly, with the exception of the last few tracks, the beats start to plod after a few tracks, and the repeated reliance on Autotune and various other bits of vocal pitch-shifting only demonstrate the unfortunate flatness in the vocals. For Potpourri of Pearls to work, these falsettos need to soar, and they barely achieve the heights of a baby bird taking its first tentative flaps out of the nest. However, when they embrace their limitations, and try something different -- when they get fucking weird -- the band clicks. "Under Every Ocean," with its extraordinarily uncomfortable juxtaposition of squeaky and super-deep pitch-shifted vocals, some beats that manage to do more than thud, and just being fucking freaky, works like crazy. Is it a dance number? Oh, hell no. People'd flee the dance floor like rats on a ship, but it's definitely far more interesting than anything that preceded it. Followed up as it by "Hang Me," a song that manages to work the weird in a much more listener-friendly way, with a flipping great hook and a groove that locks in and doesn't let go, you get the feeling that Potpourri of Pearls have it in them to embrace their inner SSION and make dance music that manages to be interesting. [embed]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Prs5us1soM[/embed] We Went to Heaven comes out February 11. Potpourri of Pearls will have a release party that night at Philadelphia's Kung Fu Necktie with operners Disco Hootenany. Details are viewable here.

The Hex Dispensers’ Alex Cuervo on his electronic project, Espectrostatic

alex cuervoAlex Cuervo is best known as the frontman and guitarist for Austin's fine purveyors of garage rock 'n' roll, the Hex Dispensers. However, his new project might throw you for a loop. Espectrostatic's self-titled LP, out today through Trouble in Mind, is 13 tracks of Carpenter-inspired electronic creepiness. I enjoyed the preview on Bloody Disgusting so much that I bought all three of Trouble in Mind's newest releases to get the limited color version of Cuervo's album. Cuervo (legal name: Alex Sargent) spoke with us via e-mail about the difference between Espectrostatic and the Hex Dispensers, and why it's not as much of a change as you might think. cover - hex dispensers winchesterEven in the Hex Dispensers, your work is tinged with horror -- the witch stirring the pot on the cover of the "Lose My Cool" single, the lyrics and artwork of Winchester Mystery House -- so Espectrostatic ought not come as a thematic surprise to your fans. However, the music itself is a pretty drastic departure. What was the impetus? My day job is writing music for advertising, online promos, and music libraries. Nothing incredibly sexy -- I mean it's fun work, but it's still work, you know? My real ambition however is to score feature films for a living, specifically unconventional indie horror and science fiction movies. TV and video games too of course -- I'm crazy about all that stuff. Espectrostatic was initially just a way for me to practice using the tools of media music trade (sample libraries, synthesizers, etc.) in a fun, exploratory way. Eventually it kind of grew to live in the space between the Hex Dispensers and the underscore/functional music I've been working on. [embed]https://soundcloud.com/alexcuervo/smokeface-appears[/embed] It says in your bio you only learned to play the piano a couple of years back. How have you come so far in such a short time? Well, I play every day. I'm still not a very good pianist, but I'm agile enough to work out melodic and harmonic ideas on the keyboard and then edit them on the computer. I took piano lessons from a good friend for about a year while I was devouring composition and music theory. It was all kind of a crash course, but I've dumped an insane amount of time into it. Horror movie soundtracks are only just now starting to get reconsidered as legitimate music. Yeah, it's really taken off lately hasn't it? I guess it's gonna be like surf rock was in the '90s (but that's seeing a revival now too ... funny how that all works). What's been your perception of the work of John Carpenter and your other influences over the years -- how did you come to this music, specifically? Well, I'm 42, so a lot of it was attached to the films I was obsessed with when I was a kid. John Carpenter and Alan Howarth's stuff is way up on top of the pile for me personally. I love Frizzi, Goblin, Tangerine Dream -- all that stuff, but Carpenter is just the sweet spot for me. I would be lying if I didn't admit that Umberto really rekindled my love for this kind of music. I'm a huge fan of his stuff. [embed]https://soundcloud.com/alexcuervo/its-raining-knives-love-is[/embed] Your influences are one thing, but what do you watch regularly -- for instance, what movie do you throw on and just let run in the background when push comes to shove? It varies, but I do this a lot. Sometimes I'll fire up a movie with the sound off when I'm writing just to soak up it's vibes, pace and colors. I did this a lot when working on this LP. I also keep a tumblr of images that feed into the range of aesthetics I'm trying to touch on. I usually have that open on a second monitor while I'm working. I'll just scroll through all the images when I'm listening to playback of a musical idea and sometimes a weird pseudo-narrative materializes and I build off of that. Is it strictly films, or are there other things from which you take inspiration? I know you're a pretty big gamer. Yeah, I love video games. I'm drawn to all kinds of visual stuff. Books, comics, TV shows -- I'm constantly devouring visual stimulation. My wife and I collect toys, oddball antiques and art; our home is a fun, cozy little fort of spookiness. cover - espectrostaticWhat was the process for recording this album? Were you looking to score particular scene you had in your head or paying homage to certain stylistic sources? Well, more than wanting to do the usual "soundtrack for a movie that doesn't exist" kind of thing that's cohesive and self-referential (the way an actual film score would be), I wanted to touch on and explore a variety of things that interest me. The guiding principle was to make an "occult science fiction" sort of thing, but it kind of ricocheted all over the place stylistically and I just went with that. Is this strictly a studio project, or do you have plans to take it out at some point? Initially it was just going to be a studio thing, but Alyse (my wife, who plays drums in the Hex Dispensers) and I are plotting ways we could pull it off live so that it's not just another dude sitting at a laptop kind of affair. Plans are in motion -- but it remains to be seen if we can pull it off or not. I know you've released quite a bit of material through Trouble in Mind, both Hex Dispensers and solo work, but this is such a step away from anything the label's done that it came as quite a surprise. How did Espectrostatic end up on this label best known for garage and power pop? They've really been exploring a lot of avenues lately. That Verma LP is unlike anything they'd done before and it's just killer. I love that album. Montibus Communitas too. They're really stretching the boundaries of what their label is and I think it's awesome. Bill and Lisa are just ravenous music nerds. They freak out about such a diverse range of styles. Lisa is a krautrock maniac and Bill is secretly goth. I agree that this Espectrostatic album is a little bit of a stretch, but when you consider the droney/atmospheric/psychedelic components of it, I guess it sort of makes sense. I'm just thrilled they wanted to release it because I think it's such a great label. Alex Cuervo's Espectrostatic project releases its first LP today. You can buy it from Trouble in Mind and find more information about Cuervo at his website.

Podcast #102, “In Advance Of”

comingupThere are times where I wish I'd just use all of the outtakes to the show, just so you can see how utterly amused I am by myself. It gets a little silly down here in the basement sometimes -- there are things I say and do that leave me utterly in stitches. Additionally, I feel Like I should let you know what i listen to as I type up these previews as the podcast encodes. Currently: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Damn the Torpedoes. I've not had a copy on vinyl in the decade I've been in possession of a decent turntable, and it's astonishing how much better it sounds than any of the innumerable singles when they're on the radio. All ranting aside, we've some great music from Slovenly Recordings, amongst others, to say nothing of an interview with Rick Miller of Southern Culture on the Skids about the upcoming three-way split double LP they have with Los Straightjackets and the Fleshtones. It comes out October 1 on Yep Roc, and is entitled Mondo Zombie Boogaloo. You can find tour dates and order the record at Yep Roc's site. Podcast #102, "In Advance Of" The Replacements, "Takin' A Ride" (Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash) Heavy Times, "Might Not" (Fix It Alone) Old 97s, "Jagged" (Fight Songs) The Front Bottoms, "Au Revoir (Adios)" (Talon of the Hawk) --- The Penetrators, "Baby Dontcha Tell Me" (The Kings of Basement Rock) Diarrhea Planet, "Ugliest Son" (I'm Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams) Bent Shapes, "Brat Poison" (Feels Weird) Terry Malts, "Well Adjusted" (Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere) --- Interview with Rick Miller of Southern Culture on the Skids --- Los Straitjackets featuring The Fleshtones & Southern Culture on the Skids, "Que Monstruos Son" (Mondo Zombie Boogaloo) The Atom Age, "When You See Me Hurt" (The Atom Age EP) Wau Y Los Arrrghs!!!, "Rescate Griego" (Todo Roto) The Stooges, "Fun House" (Fun House) --- Big Boys, "TV" (Wreck Collection) Murphys Law, "What Will the Neighbors Think?" ("What Will the Neighbors Think?" single) The Humpers, "For Lovers Only" ("Fast, Fucked, and Furious" single) Psyched to Die, "Permanent Solution" (Sterile Walls)

Deafheaven’s George Clarke on their new album, “Sunbather”

[caption id="attachment_16834" align="aligncenter" width="560"]Deafheaven / photo by Randi Sumner Deafheaven / photo by Randi Sumner[/caption] Deafheaven's newest album, Sunbather, comes out tomorrow via Deathwish. It's a record that Stereogum describes as "expansive, melodic, blinding, textured, dynamic, and moving." For those who've followed the band since their arrival in 2010, the new album will come as no surprise, but for people discovering Deafheaven's music for the first time, it will seem like a revelation, mixing as it does shoegaze, doom, and black metal for a hypnotic listen. We were lucky enough to be able to ask vocalist George Clarke a few questions via e-mail about Sunbather. The opening track to your new album, "Dream House," was referred to by NPR's Lars Gotrich as having "the distant echoes of "Where the Streets Have No Name." Do you feel the U2 comparison an apt one or not? In a sense, yes. We are definite fans of the band and draw many influences from that era. Is it a direct, conscious influence? I'm not entirely sure. But I would definitely agree that the comparison is warranted, especially in the context that Lars was using. [embed]https://soundcloud.com/deathwishinc/deafheaven-sunbather[/embed] Sunbather starts with that nine-minute track. Where do you go after that? Most of our songs are on the longer side only because that's how long we feel they need to be before they feel completed. Sunbather, as a whole, is an enormous piece of ebb and flow so the length of a single song doesn't particularly mean anything to us. The word "epic" gets tossed around a lot in regards to Deafheaven. Do you find this appropriate, or is their another way you'd describe the band's sound? It's a word that writers generally use to describe us as having a large, emotional sound. In that sense, I don't mind it. It's obvious that sort of approach is vital to our sound. The tone of your more recent material -- especially your cover of Mogwai's "Punk Rock / Cody" -- denotes a step away from the double-kick roll on Roads to Judah to a more melodic bent. How does a band meld the melodic instrumentation with your blistering vocals? This band has always had a focus on juxtaposition and while we have ventured into more melodic territories with parts of this album, the key is matching that against the vocal intensity. I find that it is the two opposing directions clashing together that helps make us interesting. The feedback / noise on "Please Remember" almost serves as a point of delineation for Sunbather. Is it a way to divide the album, even if someone's listening to it on CD or digitally? Not necessarily, but with the sequencing, it tends to feel that way. The song itself is made to create a suffocating feeling that falls into a noisy dirge, then releases its tension and melts away. I think it's fitting for the middle of the record. Where did the found audio of the preacher, bus ride, and otherwise in "Windows" come from? It seems almost cinematic, and different from that which comes towards the end of "The Pecan Tree." The song was made to align the notions of a physical 'Hell' against one's personal Hell. The preacher was a field recording taken in downtown San Francisco and it is placed against a drug deal that our guitar player Kerry was involved with. poster - deafheaven tourLastly, what's your tour regimen like? Playing songs like "Vertigo" have to be the musical equivalent of running a marathon, and I wouldn't imagine you go into something like that hungover and tired. Truthfully, if we're hungover, we'll get drunk again to play. A song like Vertigo is hard to place in a set because it's so lengthily and we do usually have a strict set length. We haven't begun to play that song live, but hopefully we will soon. As for the rest of them, they're manageable. Find tour dates and downloads for Deafheaven on their Deathwish page.

Lemuria, “The Distance Is So Big” LP

B9R190_1500x1500_coverWith their third full-length LP, The Distance Is So Big, Buffalo's Lemuria have finally won me over completely. Given the amount of attention we've given the band here at Rock Star Journalist, and the fact that my Lemuria t-shirt is one of the few band shirts I care enough to wear to my office day job, that might come a surprise. Fact of the matter is -- and this isn't an opinion from which I've shied away in the past -- I've always considered the trio to be a bit of a singles band. "Ozzy," "Chautauqua County," and "Varoom Allure" are just three of their songs which have seen a 7-inch release, and they've always managed to get far more plays than the albums themselves. The songs are tight and catchy, and bear returning to repeatedly. 1886Unfortunately, I've yet to hear a Lemuria full-length that managed to hold my attention for the duration. Their first LP, Get Better, was my introduction to the band, and while I found it pleasant enough to spin once or twice, it wasn't until their split with Off With Their Heads, where they covered the Pixies' "Alec Eiffel," that I really bothered to dig further into their catalog. Pebble was pleasant enough, but the intervening singles -- a split with Cheap Girls and the aforementioned "Varoom Allure" -- brought me more entertainment than the LP itself. It always seemed that Lemuria would have half an album's worth of good songs, then fill it with mostly-disposable dross. That always made the singles so much of a conundrum. How does a band manage to put out one or two fantastic songs twice a year, then absolutely fall flat when it comes time to go the distance? On The Distance Is So Big, however, Lemuria goes from sprinters to marathon runners. The album's first proper song, "Brilliant Dancer," was also the first song previewed from the LP, and it sets the tone for the album with the repeated chorus of "This is the best place on Earth." Really, this album -- coming at the start of summer as it does -- bubbles over with effervescent energy and sunny tones, without spilling into bubbly, bouncy pop. [embed]https://soundcloud.com/bridge9/lemuria-brilliant-dancer-1[/embed] The midpoint to the album, "Oahu, Hawaii," from where the album takes its title, is an build-and-release song, with big drum rolls and just a hint of surf guitar rhythm, mellowed and offset with ever-growing cello backing. It manages to be a rocker, contemplative, and sets the scene for the end of a cookout, where everyone's full and slightly drunk, hiding in the shade and trading stories. At no point does Lemuria lapse during The Distance Is So Big. Sheena Ozzella's voice soars, wonderfully counterpointed by Alex Kern's more declamatory style. The guitar work is jangly but tight, and that's what really appeals most about these three: while being relaxed, calm, and mellow, Lemuria brings energy and focus to their music, bringing you back again and again. You can pre-order the LP from Bridge 9 before it comes out on June 18. The splatter vinyl and package deals sold out in a matter of days, but there are still copies on Coke bottle clear (limited to 700 copies) and black (limited to 1000 copies). There's also the "Brilliant Dancer" single on clear-with-black-smoke vinyl (limited to 700), with an exlcusive b-side, "Helloing," available now. [embed]https://soundcloud.com/bridge9/lemuria-chihuly[/embed]

Big Eyes’ Kate Eldridge on their new album, “Almost Famous”

big eyes band header We've been big backers of Big Eyes for a good long while, going back to their debut 7-inch on Evil Weevil. Since they first released that collection of demos, the garage-pop trio has toured the country, released a slew of amazing split releases, and are now getting ready to release their second full-length LP on Grave Mistake Records, entitled Almost Famous. Frontwoman and guitarist Kate Eldridge spoke with us via e-mail about the new LP, touring, and more. BigEyes_AlmostFamous_4pOutThe new album, Almost Famous, is different from your debut, Hard Life, in that it's all previously-unreleased material, aside from "Half the Time." Was Hard Life re-recorded versions of prior singles for a reason? Hard Life had two songs from a limited edition single ("Why Can't I" and "Your Lies"), which was released as a teaser for the LP. The album also featured one song off our demo, "Since You Left." Almost Famous has a song from the demo as well, "You Aint The Only One Who's Lonely" as well as 2 songs from 2 different splits we did earlier this year, "Losing Touch" off our split with Mean Jeans (on Dirtnap Records) and "Half the Time" off our split with Audacity (on Volar Records). Before you released Almost Famous, you re-released your first 7-inch, which was a demo. Was the idea to show people how far you've come in such a short amount of time? We didn't really think it out too much, that record just hasn't been available in over a year and we finally got around to getting it repressed. Thanks for the compliment though, I never thought about it like that. :) BigEyes_Posed02What jumped out to me on first listen to Almost Famous was that your guitar tone seemed to be much thicker than before. Is this from a change in production, or equipment? Both. About a year ago I started using an SG as my main guitar instead of my Mustang. I also use a Marshall 4x12 cab now instead of the Fender 2x12 I used to use. We also put more effort and time into recording Almost Famous. I'm way happier with how the new LP came out. The whole record, really, just seems to be more rock 'n' roll than garage rock. It's like you took a lot musically from the likes of the New York Dolls, giving everything some heft in the low end. How do you get to a stomper like "The Sun Still Shines"? It's hard for me to pinpoint why or how my writing style changes. I've been listening to a ton of Blue Oyster Cult, Kiss and Alice Cooper in the last year or so, so I feel like the new LP has more of a hard rock edge than Hard Life. That yelped "LOSING TOUCH!" early on in "Losing Touch" is pretty emotional. Where does that emotional explosion come from? I don't want to get too in depth about it, but that song isn't about a romantic relationship like most of my other songs are. That song is about paranoia and mental illness. What prompted the move from East to West Coast (well, so much as Seattle can be considered West Coast)? I spent my whole life in NY and wanted to get a change of scenery. I first visited Seattle in 2009 and was always drawn to it, so I made the move. It's much easier to have a full time band out here. New York is too expensive. Big Eyes is now being feted by the likes of Pitchfork and Brooklyn Vegan. Are you inclined to dismiss so-called hipster websites, or are you glad to have the band out there in front of as many folks as possible? The more people that get to hear us, the better! You never know who is going to like your band until you put it out there for them. big eyes tourJudging by the photos on Facebook and Instagram, Big Eyes has a lot of fun on the road. It looks like the band takes advantage of touring to get out and do things, rather than living in a van. Is that the case, or are we just seeing the highlights? Big Eyes, big fun! Ha ha, we love to tour. It's not fun all the time, but definitely a lot of the time. The past tour we went on with Criminal Code was one of the funnest tours I've ever been on in my life. Great company, very stress free. When we have enough time we like to get out of the van and go swimming, check out parks, mountains, that kind of stuff. In September we went to Disneyland. Fucking ruled. While you just did a big tour with Audacity that crossed the country, then a short hop down the West Coast with Criminal Code, it seems like you've got most of your upcoming shows in Seattle. Why no big summer tour to promote the record? We are touring for 4 weeks in June, to the east coast. The dates will be announced soon. Almost Famous comes out May 14, via Grave Mistake. More information about Big Eyes can be found at their website and their Facebook.