Saturday, June 30, 2012

Edelweiss Tour & Interview

If you’re looking to hear one of the youngest bands around with a killer indie rock sound, check out this Pennsylvania quintet. Edelweiss independently released their new EP, the Pre-Columbians, last fall, and have some fresh new tracks on the way. Give this band a listen and you’ll see why they’re quickly gaining attention.

Check out our recent interview, and don’t miss them on tour this summer!

Tell us about your upcoming tour, starting on July 5?

Niko: Well it's going to be a basic East Coast tour. We’ll be hitting up New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and then we'll be heading out to Chicago as well for two days.  Overall it's about 10 days or so.

Is this your first time hittin’ the road?

Niko: Yeah, this is the first time any of us have done anything like this so it'll be a good first experience and something to have under our belts.
Donald: Hopefully it'll show others that we're ready for more

Definitely. You’ve gotten some pretty awesome attention lately with Absolute Punk streaming your newest demo, and your 15 wins on Gashouse Radio- What can you most attribute all this success to?

Niko: I think the majority of the success can be contributed to our fans and family. If it weren't for all of the support we would not be where we are today even remotely

So you’re playing July 7 at the Fire with Case Closed. Have you performed at that venue before?

Donald: Well we've only played in Philly one other time and that was at The Fire. It’s a cool place just because it's such an intimate setting and it allows for some great energy.

Is there a certain disadvantage or challenge in being a younger band, age-wise? Or do you think it’s an advantage?

Donald: It's a problem not being able to play certain venues. At the same time it's sort of good problem to have because it gives us the opportunity to experiment and really hone our sound.

You guys have a pretty unique name, can you give us some insight on it?

Donald:  We came up with the name randomly on a car ride. There was no real rhyme or reason behind it other than it had a nice ring to it. We originally spelled it "Eidleweis" for some reason, but we eventually went to the legit German spelling.

Niko: We were once called "anal-vice" right before we went on stage. It has its drawbacks

Haha I can imagine. Have you thought about where you'd like to see yourselves in a few years?

Donald:  We all have the same desire to do what we love and make a comfortable living out of it. I think every musician wants that, but we are very sincere about our music, especially as of recently. Personally, I would never trade average, half-ass music for millions of dollars. I just want to make music I love and make a living out of it.

Niko: I also saw Office Space the other night for the first time, and it really invigorated that philosophy.

Definitely an inspiring movie! Is there anything else you want to mention?

Niko: I’d say the only other thing is just about the new music we're releasing soon. It has taken a while to create these new tracks but like it was said before, we put a lot of time and scrutiny into our work. The new songs really excite us and we hope that everybody who liked the first 5 songs will like these next few.

When can your fans expect the new music?

Donald: One of the songs is currently playing on, and the others will be released over the next few weeks.


Alexis Canary

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Black Wing Halo

What's up Philly! It's been quite a while since I posted but I was waiting to bring you an awesome interview with our friends from New York, Black Wing Halo. Fresh off an album release of "Welcome to the Show and currently killing shows up and down the North East, Black Wing Halo was nice enough to take some time out of their busy schedule to answer a few questions about the new album, their time on the road, and their future plans (they're wild!). Make sure you check out their new album and catch them on tour!

Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions guys! I guess we should start with the name, how’d that come about?
It's from a Tom Waits lyric in "Potter's Field". We're big Waits fans. Until recently, we were known as "decibel." until DJs started emailing us asking how to play our techno festival.

So you just released your new album at the end of May, congrats! If you were to describe the sound to a new fan that hasn’t gotten ahold of it yet, what would you say?

Thanks! We're stoked about it. It sounds like Mike Patton and Tom Waits in a fist fight.

How was the recording and writing process like for “Welcome to the Show”?
A lot of the songs were written a while ago, they just needed to mature. Some had even been recorded in a couple of different stages of life. But they had all taken shape once we headed to Harrisburg to record.

How was working in the studio with Jason Rubal?
It was pretty awesome. Jason so blatantly loves what he is doing, and he does a great job of getting the most out of a song. He's no joke.

The band’s sound is definitely unique and blends a lot of different styles/instrumentation, how did you guys bring everything together?
We throw a bunch of stuff into the Vitamix. Seriously, feels like that. We'll write a riff ripping off Melvins, a chorus ripping off Clutch, and throw in a bridge ripping off Portishead.

What artists or bands have influenced you guys as you’ve grown?
Patton; in every incarnation, Waits, Nina Simone, Public Enemy, Jeff Buckley, Dead Kennedys, METZ, Fugazi, Shudder to Think, Subpar Brakers, Against Me, Cloud Nothings, Foo Fighters, Eminem, and of course, Super Bob.

You’ve been hitting the road hard for the new album! You just played NXNE, how was that?
Toronto was amazing, and there was such an amazing array of music to see, it would be hard not to get influenced and motivated there.

How do live performances go with all the different instruments and styles you have in your sound?
Pretty easily. The loops are sometimes tough to stay on top of once all the sounds are added to the pot, but mostly our live show is under control. Mostly.

Did you manage to catch any other awesome performances there that stood out to you?
At NXNE? Yeah! METZ, Flaming Lips, The Bright Light Social Hour, Neon Windbreaker, A Place to Bury Strangers, Death Set, Oberhofer.

Are there any new artists that you’ve recently come across that you really admire what they’re doing?
METZ are pretty killer. We're stealing their light set up. And being in New York, we're privileged to catch new stuff every day. Pretty awesome to just go to any club and catch 4-5 bands that you've never heard of before. And we can learn from everybody and anybody. With so many bands, everyone has something new to teach us.

Where’s your favorite place to perform at?
Arlene's Grocery and Mercury Lounge in New York. Grog Shop in Cleveland. The Lost in Syracuse.

Do you guys have a favorite venue to play when you’re in Philly?
We do now! Connie's Ric Rac were so great to us! Let us stick around for Jameson and BIg Buckhunter. Also like Northstar and Kung Fu Necktie.

Any other plans in store for Black Wing Halo in 2012?
Yes! Keep doing little run outs for the weekend, that will eventually turn into week long mini tours, and then two week tours. We've also got some plans for home with a show at Mercury on 7/17 and some festivals coming up. And a split 7" with some friends. And a show with strippers. That's coming up too.

Grab a copy of their album and give them a listen then hop on a train and catch their next show on July 17th at the Mercury Lounge in New York, NY!

Check them out:!/blackwinghalo

Lauren Resnick
Monster Entertainment LLC

Friday, June 8, 2012

Third Class

Get your indie pop funk on this summer with Third Class, a trio originating from Ohio in 1999. The group just raised $2,000 from local businesses, fans, and friends in Ohio/Pennsylvania in order to make their newest EP, “12 and 9” free to the public.

Lee Boyle (lead vocals, keyboard, 2-string guitar), speaks to the meaning of the EP’s title: “The title "12 And 9" comes from reminiscing about childhood, as in the ages of 12 and 9.  The title track is a love song which deals heavily with feeling doomed as a child who realizes his or her homosexuality and feels like an outcast.  "When I was 12 and you were 9, I never thought I'd look behind and say that I was satisfied with my own life, after all" is a line in the song that states relief in surviving social stigmas, growing up, and living life happily. This ties in with the other 5 songs on the EP as an overall theme of dream fulfillment and childhood.  Many of the lyrics are, in one way or another, about coming of age and looking back on life.”
Support them on tour this summer follow them on Facebook for the latest updates!

*July 20
Donkey Coffee ($3/All Ages)
17 1/2 W Washington St
Athens, Ohio 45701
8 pm

*July 21
The Empty Glass ($7/21+)
(w/ Hardluck Heroes)
410 Elizabeth St
Charleston, West Virginia 25311
10:30 pm

*July 22
New Visions Studio & Gallery ($5/All Ages)
(w/ Small Town Rebellion, Warning
Level, Those Clever Foxes)
201 Vine St
Scranton, Pennsylvania 18503
8 pm

*July 23
Hebe Music ($5/All Ages/BYOB)
(w/ Saltwater Disco)
4 Mill St
Mount Holly, New Jersey 08060
6 pm

*July 24
The Trash Bar ($7/21+)
(w/ Inky Jack, Young & New)
256 Grand St
Brooklyn, New York 11211
8 pm

*July 25
Flask Lounge (Free/21+)
(w/ Rural Ghosts)
117 Spring St
Portland, Maine 04101
9 pm

*July 26
Goodbye Blue Monday (Free/All Ages)
1087 Broadway
Brooklyn, New York 11221
10 pm

*July 27 (
The Room ($10/All Ages)
(w/ The Moms)
3 Production Dr (Unit #3)
Brookfield, Connecticut 06804
6 pm

*July 28
Chapala Blue Beetle ($6/18+)
(w/ Lauren Young)
15530-B Old Columbia Pike
Burtonsville, Maryland 20866
8 pm

Alexis Canary

Monday, June 4, 2012

Siddiqah EP; Andrew Lipke

If you're looking to spice up your iTunes, give Andrew Lipke a good listen (The following video speaks for itself). Born in South Africa, Lipke has found much success as an artist, producer, songwriter and entertainer in the Philadelphia music scene. The interview to follow sheds light on his new EP, Siddiqah, and Lipke's musical inspirations. 

How did you come to title the EP “Siddiqah”?
The piece "Siddiqah" - which is the majority of the EP - is based on a tragic story I read about in the NY times. A young man in Afghanistan was in love with a young woman. He was already in an unhappy arranged marriage and she was about to be forced into one. So they decided to elope. After they had left their village and taken up with some relatives in a not too distant town they were subsequently contacted by their hometown families, urging them to return home...promising that the young man - Khayyam - could take on his love as his second wife. Although not interested in sharing a marriage, the two were ultimately convinced to return to their village. But it was a trap, and the Taliban grabbed the couple out of their homes the evening they returned and placed them in front of the men of the community the following day so they could renounce their love and admit their sin. The couple refused to denounce their love for each other and were then stoned to death. First the young, 19 year old, woman, and then the man. The woman's name was Siddiqah. Hence the title of the piece, and the title of the EP. 

The two-track EP has two very different sounds- what was the inspiration behind it? Have you recorded anything similar to this before?

The inspiration for the first and more substantial piece on the EP I related in the last answer. The story seemed so operatic, so like something from a Shakespeare tragedy or tragic opera, yet was heartbreakingly true. And I'm continually frustrated by the needless hatred and violence fueled by religious dogma so it spoke very directly to the core of what drives much of my artistic inspiration. 

The second song on the record - Passing By - was a song I wrote many years ago and never got around to recording...and I had played at a few shows recently and many people seemed to connect with the words and images in the song. So I decided I wanted to record a definitive version of it and figured it might serve to balance Siddiqah as a listening experience. 

Siddiqah is by far the most ambitious recording I have made in regards to sheer number of instruments and tracks, so in that way I suppose it is the first of it's kind for me. 

What was the writing and recording process like for all the string and brass instruments on this EP?

I arranged all the instrumental parts for Siddiqah as if I had unlimited resources at my disposal - as I do most things I orchestrate or compose with pencil and paper - and then set out to try and figure out a way to realize what I had written.  It is more often than not that the latter takes quite a bit more time than the former. I tracked the strings as a quartet and then had them play the parts multiple times to build what is essentially a string section of about 20-25 players at its fullest, and a simple quartet when needed. The horns were tracked together; again multiple times from multiple positions in the room, and the trumpet, trombone parts were performed by one person, overdubbing each part. The tuba part was performed by the same person who played the trombone parts, Steven Duffy. And then there were many hours of editing and mixing. 

What was the experience like?
Exhilarating, frustrating, painstaking, slow, rewarding. It was like most worthwhile things I guess. 

What is your favorite instrument to write for? To record?

I really think more of ensembles than instruments when it comes to the more traditional sense of writing or composing. I love collaborating when in a rock band setting, and throwing things at different members of the group to get their thoughts and ideas, and hitting upon that sound that everyone is excited by. But when I'm working by myself with pencil and paper I'm much more focused on the relationship of each instrument to the others, to the ensemble as a whole, and to the meaning of the music should it be connected to a narrative - as was the case with Siddiqah and is so with much of what I write. In that regard my favorite ensemble to write for at present is the string quartet. Granted this might be because I have access to amazing string players who enjoy playing my music and four players is a lot easier - although not easy - to assemble than a 30 piece orchestra. But it is also an amazing representation of what is possible in music and there is such a wealth of possible interaction and gorgeous sonorities that I can't imagine I will ever tire of writing for string quartet...even if I have an orchestra at my disposal one day (fingers crossed!)

Can your fans expect more of this sound from you in the future?

Yes!  I am more and more drawn to longer, larger, through-form compositions that blur the line between song and something else. Much like my last release "The Plague", "Siddiqah" is another example of an attempt to combine the aspects of long form, large ensemble, classical music that I love - Mahler, Wagner - with the immediacy, vibrancy, and youthful energy of pop music. I see this as something I will work on for many years. There will undoubtedly be tangents and other non-related creative endeavors, but there will most certainly be more similarly ambitious attempts as Siddiqah in the future. Whether they will be successful or not is a whole other question!

How do you feel your music has changed since your first solo album, Ghosts, in 2005?

In some ways, not much at all and in other ways, drastically. It was while I recorded “Ghosts” on a little BOSS recording machine in my closet sized studio that I wrote my first two string quartets. So I was operating in both musical realms at that time but had not yet found the way to merge my two equally powerful muses into one. I feel with “Siddiqah” and “The Plague” I am just starting to figure out how to combine these two distinct voices into one that I can call my own.  Perhaps it's a bit late to be finding my voice in my early 30's, but that, I suppose, is the way things have turned out.

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Alexis Canary