Was there really once a musical sub-genre called 'Shitgaze'? I mean, somebody actually sat around, coined that term and then hoisted it on a few unsuspecting bands who by fate or ill-fortune found themselves trapped under its audiophile repelling umbrella? Think about it, shitgaze. Would you buy into that? Thankfully it's only a memory, but some of those bands still remain, including Columbus, Ohio's Times New Viking. On the eve of their first Australian tour Chris Berkley of Static spoke to Jared and Adam of Times New Viking, fresh off the plane to promote their most recent album, the discordant but progressively tuneful, Dancer Equired.
As 2011 continues to reveal an abundance of new artists and great music, it's of no surprise that one of the more anticipated debut albums was that of 28-year-old Atlanta based songwriter and producer Ernest Greene, AKA Washed Out. Full of blissful harmonies and gently shifting arrangements, augmented with hip-hop beats and samples, Within And Without quickly became the preferred summer spin at Webcuts. Static's Chris Berkley recently caught up with Ernest to talk about all things Within And Without -- recording the album, the process behind it, and amongst other things, 10CC's "I'm Not In Love" and the 'raunchy' cover art.
Cold Cave's debut album of 2009 Love Comes Close was a unique display of synth-oriented mood disorder, venturing out from the bedroom to the dancefloor, filled with idealistic tales of romance and disillusionment. Band leader Wes Eisold’s spin on the world appeared to share a voice (in both dour baritone and content) with Magnetic Fields Stephin Merritt, if he'd spent his adolescence listening to The Cure and Depeche Mode instead of showtunes. On their second album, Eisold moved beyond the testing of the waters that was Love Comes Close and turned its successor, Cherish The Light Years into his dark dream made manifold.
An act that many have been holding their breath for the return of for as long as they've been absent from the stage are Haledon, New Jersey's The Feelies. Arriving in the late 70's, and releasing one of the first great new wave/post-punk albums of the early 80's (truly. no hyperbole here) in Crazy Rhythms, The Feelies were the Velvet Underground and Television's geeky Jersey cousins. An enthralling percussive ride, full of jerky rhythms and wild, melodic guitar interplay, the sound of The Feelies would evolve over the years, drifitng away from the arty CBGB crowd toward a more refined pastoral 'college rock' sound that typified an era when bands like R.E.M. and Camper Van Beethoven loomed large.
The Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horses. A fitting album title for these Montreal, Quebec, Canadians, as much as it was a challenge for a band who've skirted success but in turn garnered acclaim for their lush and psychedelic sound. Their most recent album The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night appeared in early 2010, and once again it was that intimate and expansive sound, coupled with vocalist/guitarist Jace Lacek's Beach Boys-like falsetto that saw the band release their most definitive collection of songs yet. Touring Australia for the very first time, Chris Berkley of Static caught up with Lacek and drummer Kevin Laing of The Besnard Lakes to talk about the slow rise of the band and their move into film scores.
Part extreme noise terror, part euphoria, East London’s Factory Floor have made a name for themselves as being loud and uncompromising, or as they stress in the interview below "brutal". Having walked half-way in during their set supporting American synth act Cold Cave earlier this year, Factory Floor's performance was very much a "what the fuck?" moment, unsure as to either quickly vacate the room or take stock of the diffused electronic/industrial free-form concotions they were composing. We stayed, with reservations... Chris Berkley of Static caught up with Gabriel Gurnsey and Nik Colk from Factory Floor shortly after their appearance at the Offset Festival in London in September to find out more.
During their recent visit to Australia for Splendour in the Grass we caught up with LCD Soundsystem's main man James Murphy who gave us reason to put away the hankies for LCD's much reported demise - "It’s not necessarily the last record. I would make another record. It’s more the end of this part – three records that go together, an arc. We became a bigger band than I ever expected. Something needs to stop, for me, for us all to be happy." He also waxes lyrical about making the record in the LA of his imagination, growing up and wanting kids, his Greenburg soundtrack experience and his many and varied future projects.
When you get down to the nuts and bolts of rock and roll, it's not about how tight your jeans are or how good your stylist is, it's about the music. It's about the song. For some bands in particular, it's about the pop song. Two and half minutes of spun gold that held your attention long after the needle left the record. Few bands embodied the spirit of the sublime '60s pop song than The Primitives. Sitting backstage at The Scala in London, Webcuts catches up with Tracy and Paul to rewind the clock and to talk about the events that brought The Primitives into the 21st Century and what lies ahead for the band.
For The Morning Benders, a big echo doesn't necessarily mean a big noise, but the latter is certainly what these Californian boys encountered following the release of their sophomore album Big Echo earlier this year, easily giving Webcuts one of our favourite albums of 2010. Perfectly formed and lavishly constructed, Big Echo stretched its influences across the decades, from the lush '60s doo-wop harmonies of "Excuses", the '70s Californian pop-rock of "All Day Day Light" to the peer rivaling, stark echoes (which the album lives up to its name) of "Hand Me Downs".
Spoon's latest album, Transference, seemed to show the band finding new ways to tie their own shoelaces, searching out their own "Mystery Zone" or what Britt Daniel will later say in the interview "we gotta try to please ourselves first". Notable for being our first interview where the band asks us the questions, Spoon have perhaps realised there's more to making music than pleasing yourself. You've still got to please your Mom too...
Forever known as Nick Cave's red right hand in the Birthday Party, Rowland was the purveyor of that skeletal, metallic guitar style that along with the bass growl of Tracey Pew, defined the sound of the band. Speaking to Static's Chris Berkley, only a few weeks before his passing, Rowland S. Howard recounts his extensive career and his brief return to music with Pop Crimes.
Sydney art-pop quintet Dappled Cities have steadily grown in status in the last ten years with 2006’s Granddance and their most recent psyche-pop opus Zounds. Last year, we spoke to Dave Rennick, guitarist and vocalist of Dappled Cities about birthing and touring the album.
Cassie, Katy and Ali aka Vivian Girls are back again with their sophomore album Everything Goes Wrong and we caught up with them in a place where nothing ever goes wrong, unless you have a show scheduled at the Hopetoun Hotel this week (fyi girls - it's closed).