Greg Hughes of Florida band Among Giants reached out to us about their upcoming tour with fellow Orlando band Zap Dragon & the Attack, as well as their forthcoming split 7-inch on Say-10 Records with New Jersey's Aspiga. We took a listen to the split and were more than impressed. When we took a look into the band -- especially when it became apparent that this was the first recording as a band, rather than just Hughes all by his lonesome -- we asked Hughes a few questions via e-mail about the band and their upcoming plans. How long has Among Giants been together? I've (Greg) been playing under Among Giants for almost two years acoustically, and now for the last year this has been a full band project. So 3 years I guess, but maybe 4 months with the current line up. What's in the water down there in Florida? The bands all seem to be morose as hell (see also: Hot Water Music, Against Me!, et al). There is some real good music down here in Florida. A lot of the bands have gotten some bigger attention, but there are also an insane number of local bands that are just as amazing. According to Say-10, Among Giants was an acoustic band before this. Is that completely true, and what prompted the change, if so? Yep. It started off as an acoustic project for me and now its full band. I started to feel limited with my song writing just sticking to the whole 'one guy acoustic guitar' thing. With a full band, it allows it so my song writing can take any direction and as a band we can work it out and make the song overall better. Did the songs on your new 7-inch start out as acoustic numbers? They sort of have that jangly feel, even with the electric rock chords. Yeah, I still write all of my songs on my acoustic so most songs start out acoustically even if I know they'll eventually be a full band song. Where'd you meet up with Aspiga, with whom you're splitting your upcoming 7-inch? I reached out to them last fall about the idea of doing this split 7-inch. They liked the idea, and we played together at a show in Philadelphia this past winter and it kinda settled the whole deal. Your upcoming tour with Zap Dragon & the Attack is Florida-only. What's it like for an underground band to tour Florida in July? First off Zap Dragon rules, way stoked to be hanging with them this summer. It's pretty awesome actually. You can hit up a whole bunch of big cities without spending crazy amount of money or gas or anything. We're really excited for it. What should people know about Among Giants, if this is their first introduction to the band? That we love what we do. We love playing and writing music and we don't plan on stopping anytime soon. Hope to see you all soon! To pre-order the Among Giants / Aspiga split 7-inch, go to Say-10 webstore. It's available on Coke bottle clear (limited to 100) or white (limited to 200), and comes out on July 19. You can stream a cut, "I Care About Everyone I Meet," on their Punknews profile. For more information about Among Giants, check out their Facebook page.
In the world of crate-digging music junkies, there seems to be a new obsession every couple of years. You've had lo-fo garage, rockabilly, soul, and lord-knows how many others. Currently, the music cognescenti have latched on to obscure or out-of-print soundtracks. Thankfully, several labels have sprung up to accomodate the demands of those in search of Italo-disco, sleazy funk, and the like that scored films in the '60s and '70s. In addition to Death Waltz and Mondo, a new label has appeared -- One Way Static. Ran by Sebastiaan Putseys from Belgium, their first release is David Hess' recordings for Last House on the Left. The test presses for that release just got approved and sent back to the plant to have the LP pressed, so we reached out to Putseys about the label's inception and upcoming plans, along with the whys and hows of reissuing records. Your first release, Last House on the Left, has been in the works for a while. You announced it back in late January, if I remember correctly. Is it the standard Record Store Day delays in getting it out? Well, the fact that it's been taking a while is actually a combination of things. We press at one of the oldest and best US pressing plants (this results in that they have quite a long waiting list), the mastering took a while, we had to gather liner notes from over 10+ contributors, we took our time in establishing a solid distribution partnership (really happy to say we will be working with Light In The Attic) ... not to mention tracking down all the right holders and the legal clearances. We could have done this fast and kept it basic but that would not have felt right you know. The release is dedicated to the memory of David Hess, so we took our time making sure it would turn out 100% as we had envisioned it. Good things can't be rushed. Now that the test presses have been approved, when do you expect it to be in your hands, if not those of consumers? Hard to say, the big work is done, a bonus surprise has been made… We are now finishing the album cover and then it's off to the plant. They'll give us a street date so we can issue a complete press-release and start the pre-orders, after that it's a couple of months to physically hold them in our hands. Are you doing pre-orders, or waiting until it's sitting on a pallet and ready to go before it goes up for sale? Yes, we'll be doing pre-orders soon (a matter of weeks), pre-orders are more of a practical thing. That way we can prepare shipping and logistics. It speeds things up and when we get the release in it can be sent straight to the fans and record stores. For Last House on the Left, did you work from the master tapes themselves, or from the CD David Hess released in 1999? We've been working with the 1999 CD and the engineers at the plant did an excellent job getting it ready for vinyl. We worked with that for two reasons actually. The most important one being that David Hess supervised it's production himself and we did not want to mess with his vision of the songs. Second one being that the only masters that exist are old German movie Dat tapes, starting from those would actually result in the same outcome. The sound is really good judging it's such an old recording (1972). Sure it has its cracks and pops: it has soul and it's raw, just like the movie. [embed]https://soundcloud.com/onewaystatic/wait_for_the_rain[/embed] What's involved in reissuing a record -- who do you have to speak with, how are rights determined, etc.? Let's just say that when you release a soundtrack you have to track down and speak to lot of people (record labels, publishers, right holders, movie companies ...) and if you want to have additional people collaborating on your project (ex. liner notes from cast & crew) then you'll need a lot of patience. Some people are around and well represented, others have passed away. Tracking down right-holding relatives can be quite some trouble. It varies: Last House On The Left took about 6 months to get everyone on the same page & one of our next releases was concluded in 5 days. It varies from project to project. Are you already working on your next release, given that your first one has taken a bit to get out? Yes, we have 2 more killer releases lined up at the moment and working on several others. They will follow up on LHOTL pretty quick. I've seen some communications between you and Spencer Hickman at Death Waltz Records regarding putting together a shared forum. What will that be, and when can folks expect it? Yeah, really looking forward to that! It will be hosted on the DW site and will basically be a place for people to talk soundtracks, movies, … hang out & chat with us. We'll see where it goes, it just seemed like a cool thing to do. Won't take long now before it goes online, Spencer is on it. ! SPIN THE BLACKEST CIRCLES ! It seems like One Way Static, Mondo, and Death Waltz have all sprung up at the same time, doing some really stellar stuff. Why soundtracks and why now? Yes, Mondo has been doing prints for a longer time but I believe they did their first OST ( the original Maniac) somewhere late 2011 if I'm correct. I started One Way Static Records in june 2012, Deathwaltz released the Zombi2 score around that time. When I found out about this I got in touch with Spencer and we've been in contact ever since, totally love his releases and he's such a great guy. We try to support/promote each other as much as we can. There are a couple more labels popping up looking to do similar stuff, I guess it's becoming a small hype. I have no problem with that, as long as they take good care of those cool pieces of history and try to be original in what they are doing you know… Why soundtracks? That's easy: I've been running labels and putting out records for as long as I can remember. Soundtracks have been a passion of mine since I was a kid. I've always been impressed by the impact that sounds can have in combination with moving images. So the idea of starting a soundtrack label was always lingering somewhere in my mind. It was partially born out of frustration due to the fact that a lot of these scores are so hard to find or just plain non-existing. I just want to re-release these records so I can spin them myself & let others discover or re-visit these forgotten gems. It's a labour of love. More information about One Way Static can be found at their website, Facebook. You can also follow them on Twitter (@onewaystatic).
Kansas City's High Diving Ponies haven't played a show since last November, when they played FOKL with Dry Bonnet. They're not likely to be playing around here any time soon, either. According to the band's Josh Thomas High Diving Ponies are "probably not playing Lawrence or KC again until fall." So, that makes tonight's show at the Replay in Lawrence an imperative thing to attend, especially if you're a fan of the intense psychedelic shoegaze the band proffers. Thomas promises that the band will be "playing mostly new songs," giving you a chance to hear the live versions of the long-gestating Face Blindess cassette that ought to be out sometime in July (Thomas has "been doing seemingly endless remixes," he says). However, if you're looking for a chance to hear it before everyone else, there will be 10 light-scribed CD-Rs of the album available at tonight's performance (which also features Kansas City's Pretty and Wisconsin's Elusive Parallelograms). The show starts around 10-ish, and High Diving Ponies take the stage around midnight. Listen to a couple of tracks from Face Blindness below, but take care -- I listened to all of these yesterday afternoon and promptly lost a good half hour of time. They're mesmerizing. [embed]https://soundcloud.com/highdivingponies/a-05-headlights[/embed] [embed]https://soundcloud.com/highdivingponies/b-05-samizdat[/embed] [embed]https://soundcloud.com/highdivingponies/walking-back-to-the-van[/embed] [embed]https://soundcloud.com/highdivingponies/in-a-mitten[/embed]
Small Plastic Songs is the first release from a new boutique vinyl label called Record Collective Limited and features one song each from the forthcoming debut albums of four of Sydney's "most promising up and comers," according to the press release. What we know is that we've listened to the four-way split, and it sounds just dandy. The shoegaze-tinged, college radio flavored "Wind Shear" from Skullsquadron will instantly grab your attention, as will the additional tracks from Ya Aha, The Aerotrope Guild, and Restless Leg. "The Record Collective Limited exists because the music business is broken," continues the press release, with the "boutique, short run releases" taking inspiration from the likes of "legendary DIY record labels like Merge, Flying Nun, Siltbreeze, and Half A Cow." We were a little curious as to how this new Australian label came to be, so we e-mailed Patrick Haid and asked him about it. We started out by asking where everyone came from. "All the bands on this release and the label call Sydney home," said Haid in his e-mail response. "It worked out that way cos of proximity and organisation, but there is no desire to be a Sydney only unit." And the "Collective" part of "Record Collective Limited" is appropriate, too: RCL is a collective, driven by the bands, but Haid is probably the central point, he says, continuing:
"This particular release has been put together, funded and produced from the ground up by the bands. Folks have variously mixed and mastered each others' work, put the artwork together and have done all the legwork. The collective (such as it is) will be organic ... we have built some basic infrastructure (contact lists, bookers, wellwishers etc) and will facilitate (rather than control, own or manage) future releases. Everyone we work with will bring something to the table."Haid plays in the Aerotrope Guild, whose "Time Spreads" kicks off the second side of this 7-inch release, said that the other bands were chosen because they're "also locals I know of who had just recorded albums. What started as an offhand discussion took a bit more shape as the evening wore on, and we ended up with this first release." The record is available from <a href="the label's Bandcamp page for $10 Australian, or at the single launch at The Square, Haymarket in Sydney on Thursday, April 18 -- if you can hope a flight to there or something. Entry is $10 and includes a copy of the record.
Minneapolis musician and writer Nate Gangelhoff has an impressive CV. He's played in Off With Their Heads, Rivethead, and Banner Pilot, as well as a band that's recently put out their third full-length, The Gateway District. The quartet's remarkably well-known for a band that rarely plays outside of the Twin Cities area, but their pedigree is enough to interest anyone familiar with the current punk scene, with members of the Soviettes, Salteens, and Dear Landlord (to say nothing of Gangelhoff's laundry list of bands). Gangelhoff was kind enough to take time out of his rather busy schedule to do an e-mail interview with us about the new album, Old Wild Hearts, as well as his many other musical projects. Given that the Gateway District is -- as you refer to it -- "a three quarters project," when does the band work together? It's a sporadic, on-and-off thing. In other words, it's not like, "It's noon on June 3rd, that means Gateway District season has begun!" or anything. It's randomly throughout the year depending on who is in town, who has ideas to work on, etc. Essentially, since it's not strictly a side project nor anyone's full-time band, how does it end up being so damned prolific? Three LPs are pretty amazing for a band that hardly ever plays outside of Minneapolis. Yeah, that is pretty cool that we've already knocked out three albums. I hadn't really thought about that. One advantage is having three distinct songwriters, I suppose. If each of them writes 4 songs over the course of a year, boom, you've got an album. So it's a little less impressive when you think about it that way. Damn. I was all pumped up for a minute there. Is there a band you feel gets the majority of your focus? Since Off With Their Heads mostly gets studio work from you, I would assume that it's most likely Banner Pilot, but feel free to put me straight on this point. Oh yeah, Banner Pilot for sure. I spend a lot of time on that band. Gateway District is just a nice, way more low key thing for me. Other than writing guitar leads and making minor suggestions on song structures, I don't really have much to do with the songs in GWD, so it's a fun, laid back deal. BP is obviously very fun too, it's just a lot more work. Haven't really done anything w/ OWTH since In Desolation. The Gateway District's sound frequently has a bit of a "bounce" to it -- like you should handclap along to most songs, or bop around the room, specifically on songs like the new album's "Tell You Why" or Perfect's Gonna Fail's "Run Away." Where does this come from? I think Carrie's songs in particular bring that element. She's just really good at writing bouncy, poppy songs that in some cases have a neat almost country-esque vibe to them. What did you switching from bass to guitar lend the Gateway District, in terms of sound? Well, probably nothing-- I'm not exactly Yngwie Malstem over here. I mean, I'm pretty similar to him, but I'm not exactly him. Mostly though, it's just that I enjoy playing guitar and it's been nice to get to do that in a band. I mean, I play (lead) guitar on all the Banner Pilot records, but never live, so it's fun to be able to do that w/ GWD Did it do anything, really, since you played bass and guitar both on that first 7-inch, or was it more just the addition of Carrie Bleser, period? Carrie definitely has a different style of playing bass than I do, and when you compare the 7" to the albums, I think her style fits this kind of music a lot better. I think I would probably fall back on the really driving, Banner Pilot style bass parts that I don't think would mesh as well with the rest of the music. So I think it's worked out really well the way we've been doing it I ask, because it seems that the Gateway District is different in terms of bands that people tend to associate with the current Minneapolis punk scene -- Dillinger Four, Off With Their Heads, Banner Pilot, et al -- which have this gruff, Tom Waits meets pop punk thing going on. Is there a conscious decision to differentiate yourselves, or is it just happenstance? Well, I think some of it is due to the stuff I just mentioned. But yeah one thing I like about GWD is that we're able to do (and hopefully pull off) things that would seem bizarre for a lot of other "midwest pop punk" style bands. Like, for some of the newer songs we're working on we want to try cleaner guitars, different tempos, etc, that I think will sound pretty cool, but would sound weird on a Banner Pilot or Dear Landlord song. Being as how you've been busy touring with Banner Pilot, recording with the Gateway District, and so on, have you had any time to write anything new? Yeah, Banner Pilot has 11 new songs right now, and GWD has 4 or 5. I barely tour, really (3 to 4 weeks a year) so there's plenty of time to write. Anything in the works to promote Old Wild Hearts on a larger scale, other than the social media campaign and talking to people such as myself? Could we expect a few spring tour dates, maybe? We're going build buzz with a viral marketing campaign that involves leveraging and harnessing social media synergies to drive traffic. Put another way, we're going to tack flyers onto buildings, and hope that people go to our shows after seeing them. Also, we're heading out to Chicago for a show. Maybe more, but those are the main things for now. The Gateway District's new album, Old Wild Hearts, is due out March 26 from It's Alive Records, who have released the band's previous records. You can stream it exclusively on Punknews.
Lawrence's the Rackatees and Omaha's the Shidiots have their upcoming split 7-inch off to the plant for test pressings right now. Let's hope these two gruffly poppy punk acts will have some new vinyl in time for our favorite warm-weather activity: opening up the windows, putting the speakers right up next to the screens, and annoying the neighbors while we drink beer on the front porch. As for pressing details, they're doing 300 copies (each band will have 150 copies) pressed on randomly colored vinyl. It's looking like the release date will be mid-April 19, but that hasn't been confirmed just yet -- and I think we all know about what happens with vinyl delays, especially considering that falls right before Record Store Day. We've got an exclusive preview track from the Rackatees' side, entitled "Anthem for the American (Food Service) Worker." It's the first song off the upcoming 7-inch. It's especially great for a Monday morning start to the working week, with lines like "So never trust the manager / The whip that's in his hand." MP3: The Rackatees, "Anthem for the American (Food Service) Worker"
The upcoming release of Till Death... A Guide to Love and Loss is sure to be a big deal for fans of New Years Day and its frontwoman, Ash Costello, as well as Kriz DK of the Genitorturers and Deadstar Assembly. It's a wonderfully shot series of photographs by Jeremy Saffer, and the concept is that it "shows what it might be like to date a Gothic matriarch, like Morticia, Elvira, Lily, etc. prior to them meeting their Gomez or Herman." It's a 70-page, full-color hardcover, with the images within hewing to "Addams/Tales From The Crypt" sense of humor. Essentially, that means some very cheesy (cheap Valentine's Day level, really) visual puns, coupled with some excruciatingly gory imagery. Till Death is a well-shot book. This photographs are an exercise in contrast. With so much of the coloring variants on the mortician's pallett -- grays, blacks, charcoal, etc. -- accentuated only with Costello's hair and lipstick or Kriz's "blood," these pictures could easily have been washed-out messes. Instead, the images are vibrant and nuanced, allowing even the tiniest details to come through. Sadly, the jokes and posing are nowhere up to the level set by Saffer's pictures. The jokes are hokey: "He's crazy for me!" while Kriz is trying to get out of a straight jacket; "I only have eyes for you" while Costello pulls Kriz's eye out ... the makeup is astonishing. Were it not so well-lit, Till Death could almost function as a full-color version of Death Scenes with its commitment to viscera. Still -- the jokes are terrible, the poses Costello strikes are a little Facebook at times, and it's just ... unsubtle. The whole thing is far too wink-wink-elbow-in-the-ribs to be really clever, and these are the sorts of things which will be lucky to get more than a subtle smirk. While it's a nice thing to look at, the price tag ensures the only people picking this up will have more money than taste. You can, if so inclined, purchase the book from Saffer's webstore, with an astonishing array of pre-order options ranging from prints to autographs.
We've demonstrated some love for Berwanger a lot recently, and it'll only ramp up now that the band's getting ready to release their full-length, All You Can Eat, later this spring. In advance of all of that, however, will come this split 7-inch with TK Webb on California's Creme Tangerine Records. Berwanger's contribution, as you can see, is the track "Neon Corners." No clue as to when the split will see release, but keep an eye on the band's Facebook page for more updates. You can hear a live version of the band's track below, in a live video shot by Sid from Too Much Rock during their show at the Jackpot in Lawrence on Thursday, February 7, 2013.
Some of you may have recently become acquainted with the UK's Death Waltz Records via their profile in Spin. Well, the fine purveyors of horror and sci-fi vinyl announced their releases for Record Store Day 2013. They're fucking choice. While the soundtracks to Horror Business and the short film Yellow will have a lot of the folks out there most excited, I'm pretty jazzed about the series of three split 7-inches of TV themes. There's Star Trek / Lost In Space on black and glitter vinyl, The Twilight Zone / The Outer Limits on clear and black vinyl, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents / The Munsters on white and black vinyl. They're all in exlusive Death Waltz die cut retro disco bag sleeves (300gsm card with matte varnish and black paper inner sleeve), include a free 7 x 7 artprint, and are limited to a one-time pressing of 1000. WANT. HARD. Somebody in the UK needs to figure out a way to get me one of each, please. Check the art below. [gallery ids="16322,16323,16324"]
Despite a toddler running around, Matt Beat has finished his trilogy, The Presidents of the United States of America, as performed by Electric Needle Room. This is the third volume of songs about every president of the United States -- except for Obama, however. Beat says he's "waiting to write the song about him until after his term." The final collection will see release on the same day as the previous two volumes: on Presidents Day, Monday, February 18. The release show will be at One More Cup Coffeehouse in Kansas City, at 75th and Wornall on Saturday, February 16, and Electric Needle Room are also playing a show in Lawrence on Friday, February 15 at the Jackpot Saloon with Something and the Whatevers, Har-di-Har, and Tiger Waves. The album will be available at both shows. The Presidents of the United States of America (Volume 3) by Electric Needle Room