It's a reassuring sight to see an Australian band successfully take on the world in the way Tame Impala have over the last few years. Their lush, psyche-pop sound feels like it was born between the grooves of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, evolving inward and outward, feeding on a wealth of influences and dreams
Divine Fits may be an unfamiliar name, but the people behind it no doubt lurk in your record collection under their original outfits. Better known as Britt Daniel from Spoon, Dan Boeckner from Wolf Parade, and Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks, Divine Fits is the band du jour for these gentlemen and A Thing Called
photo by Angel Ceballos From her isolated upbringing in rural Wisconsin, combined with a passion for opera, philosophy and industrial music, Nika Rosa Danilova aka Zola Jesus has created a name for herself as being a successor to the great Diamanda Galas and Lisa Gerrard with her haunting, otherworldly vocal style. Over the past
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.
It's been said by Webcuts in the past that Destroyer's Dan Bejar is the Woody Allen of pop music. His idiosyncratic, poetic touch is less that of a lyricist but a storyteller with a revolving cast of characters (mostly women), and picking up on the ripples and waves they create to make them a part of his own interior monologue. An essential eighth of the mighty New Pornographers, Bejar has been recording as Destroyer since the 90's. Kaputt, his ninth album is a sumptious, rhapsodic slice of 80's melodrama, immersing itself entirely in the era from the vintage instrumentation to Bejar's own penchance for seeking the sublime out of what some might find the ridiculous.
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.
Baltimore's Beach House first appeared in 2006 with their self-titled debut, a gorgeous collection of dizzying songs built around Victoria Legrand's awash-with-reverb harmonies, church-style organ and Alex Scally's languidly strummed guitar. It was their style and approach, reminiscent of Mazzy Star, Yo La Tengo and This Mortal Coil, that found favour with a like-minded audience. Recently touring Australia and appearing as part of the travelling Laneway Festival, Chris Berkley caught up with Victoria and Alex of Beach House to talk about their gradual rise and amongst other things, how to keep cheese out of the live set.
Barely eighteen months since the release of one of 2009's dark delights, the epic Sun Gangs, Finn Andrews the New Zealand bred, England based leader of The Veils has released possibly one the highlights of 2011 with Troubles of the Brain. Over the course seven songs Finn and his band mates explore less grandiose and orchestral avenues than those on Sun Gangs favouring instead acoustic guitars, simpler arrangements and a lighter air in general. Chris Berkley tracked down Mr Andrews just before the release of Troubles of the Brain to talk about the differences in recording at home, going out on his own label and having a feverent fanbase to help that transition.
To say expectations were high for Foals' second album Total Life Forever would be stating the exceedingly obvious but from the grandeur and exquisite melancholy of “Spanish Sahara” to the frenetic indie-pop of “This Orient” to the dance funk of “Miami” it met and exceeded them with uncommon ease. Total Life Forever elevated Foals further from their peers and into the rare league of artists who maintain credibility with a more accessible sound and thus gaining a larger listening base whilst still remaining true to their experimental pop principles. We spoke to bassist Walter Gervers while the band was in Australia for the St. Jerome’s Laneway festivals and some recording on the sly.
Caribou (aka Dan Snaith) is not an artist prone to repeating himself. His second album, 2007's Andorra took '60s psychedelic pop and merged it with complex rhythm patterns, while his LP from last year Swim saw Snaith heading into a denser electronic direction while still retaining a fair amount of pop smarts. Caribou with long time friend Kieran Hebden better known as Four Tet will soon be the Antipodes for a series of shows but late last year Chris Berkley caught up with Snaith whilst on the seemingly never ending tour for Swim where Dan took time out to talk about the art of Caribou live versus recording, his electric friends, how some people perceive Swim to be his dark album and how to win over the doom metal crowd.
A Tale of Two Cities? Not bloody likely. While both appear on the forthcoming Laneway bill Cloud Control and Rat vs Possum are worlds apart and aren't harbingers of any Sydney or Melbourne scene. Although there are groups of like-minded musical acts in all Australian cities and towns they're is no discernible Sydney sound or Melbourne sound. Cloud Control's indie-folk rubs shoulders with Parades' and Jonathan Boulet's dense polyglot pop while Rat vs Possum's tribal skewed pop sounds share the same general geography as Love Connection's murky shoegaze and Super Wild Horses girl fronted garage. It's not where you come from, it's where you're at.
Originally they were The Muslims but now they have a less volatile name, The Soft Pack, and a more polished repertoire as heard on their self titled debut. Presently in Australia for the Sunset Sounds festival when they were last here Dave and Brian had some quality time with Static's Chris Berkley who got to the beginnings of how the band formed, that name change, the San Diego and LA rock scenes, surfing, the prestigious honour of being covered by Nada Surf and the possibility of covering some Australian indie classics.
Astute music fans have probably heard of the genre chillwave – a blend of 80s synths, psychedelic pop and liberal amounts of distortion – put upon acts like Memory Tapes, Toro Y Moi and Nite Jewel. The band most closely associated with that word is Neon Indian whose main man Alan Palomo, who also has a solo project VEGA, had a chat to Chris Berkley recently in London about the c-word, the beginnings of Psychic Chasms, the Yacht remix, his collaborations with Australian dance merchants Miami Horror, how he loves to make music that messes with people’s heads and the forthcoming Australian tour for the Texan group.
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.
The cross overs. Every year has them; bands that get touched by the hand of hype and go from being blogged about to actually selling significant quantities of records/MP3s along with world wide tour schedules and high billed festival slots. This year one of those bands is Brooklyn’s The Drums who have certainly enjoyed a lot of column pixels and radio play on the strength of their back to basics c86 indie-pop as imagined by Phil Spector self titled debut album and its omnipresent lead single “Let’s Go Surfing”. Static’s Chris Berkley has a drink with three quarters of the band for a lesson in how to avoid being drowned by the waves of success.
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.
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".
Villagers is the nom de plume of one Conor O'Brien, the young Irish gent with the piercing blue eyes positioned above these words. Having released his debut album Becoming A Jackal on Domino Records last month to widespread acclaim (surely topping the album charts in Ireland is nothing to be sneered at), O'Brien has been steadfast in moving his Villagers around the country like a pack of wayward Irish gypsies.
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...
With their fourth album My Maudlin Career Glasgow's Camera Obscura shifted further away from their indie pop origins to create their own take on Bacharachian orchestral pop and '60s soul contrasted against sparse country melancholy. Keyboardist and backing vocalist Carey Lander talks about joining the band, meeting Lloyd Cole, the orchestral and country elements in their sound and how they came to cover the Boss.
New York has definitely handed over its crown as being home to earthshaking epicentre of what's hot, hip, and happening. These days all eyes are firmly focused on the eclectic sounds of the West Coast -- as it seems that every single band we talk right now calls the place home. With Katy Perry (of all people) singing the praises of California Girls, just like the Beach Boys did in the 60's, so are we with Los Angeles' Dum Dum Girls.
We hunt down Ed Droste from Brooklyn's Grizzly Bear and get our claws into their move from a studio to live band, how they keep songs fresh, and how they came to record with Yacht rock legend Michael McDonald: "Michael McDonald is one of the coolest Yacht rockers around. We let him know we were fans and he ended up coming to a show and we really liked him and approached him with the idea and he was totally excited to do it."
Finding unexpected notoriety through their collaboration with electronic arsonists Crystal Castles, Los Angeles Noise Rock quartet HEALTH have been a prominent musical force in the LA scene over the past couple of years. With their second album Get Colour released late last year, the band have evolved beyond being nihilistic noise makers into an act that is pushing the textural accessibility switch.
The Dead Weather are a band that more than live up to their name. Dark and bluesy, malevolent and loud. Given the rock credentials brought by each of the musicians attached, you expect nothing less. A multi-headed musical beast comprised of Alison Mosshart, the chain-smoking siren from The Kills, Jack White, leader of the status: in hiatus White Stripes, Dean Fertita of Queens of The Stone Age and Jack Lawrence of The Raconteurs. With a new album Sea of Cowards about to be released, we speak to Alison, Jack, and Dean.
We chew the fat with The Horrors on their recent Australian tour about last year's remarkable second album Primary Colours, and their thoughts on cover versions: "I think it’s a funny idea that this is a conversation you’re more likely to have now than at any other time in the history of rock ’n’ roll, considering most bands really started playing cover versions, being The Beatles or The Stones or even the Sex Pistols. It was something that was just kind of part and parcel of being in a group and part of a live repertoire."
A firm favourite last year with those of a pop persuasion was the debut album of Brooklyn four-piece, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. An example of youthful exuberance and melodic indulgences, The Pains (is it ok to call them that?) were as easy to swallow as a chocolate sundae with all the toppings -- and just as addictive and in no way fattening. Recently on tour in Australia, we spoke with guitarist Kip Berman.
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.
You've probably seen the x-rated video clip for "Lust for Life". The 'penis as microphone' image is something you really don't recall seeing in pop videos these days, either then or now (and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). As vague and internet-search challenging as calling your band Girls is, Christopher Owens and Chet "JR" White are both neither, and are, so to speak.
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).
Recently setting the stereo at Webcuts HQ on fire with their debut release A Brief History of Love, we speak to Robbie Furze of The Big Pink as he explains the power of love and offers us a brief history of this incredible electronic/shoegaze duo.
Thomas Mars talks about the evolution of Phoenix, including their stint as a covers band, the seemingly infinite number of Phoenix remixes, the Kitsuné Tabloid compilation and Lord Byron.
The friendly folks from indie-dance sensations Friendly Fires stroll into Static's studio to talk the good talk about their new single "Kiss of Life", the Mercury music prize and more -- "It’s good to kind of feed off the energy of the crowd: suck them like vampires."
Deerhunter's willowy singer-guitarist and stand-up comic in the making Bradford Cox entered the 2Ser studios to trade words with Static's Chris Berkley about all things in the Deerhunter-verse.
Murray from The Dears lays it all out - "I didn’t sign up for any of this shit. I just write songs and try to work with people to facilitate those songs and get them out to people to hear them."
Touring Australia on the bequest of the all-conquering Coldplay, Mercury Rev stopped into visit Static's Chris Berkley to talk about their latest album Snowflake Midnight and an impressive career that cannot be reigned in by simple film analogies.
Having just released the second single "Summertime Clothes" from their acclaimed eighth album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Chris Berkley from Static spoke to David Portner from Baltimore, Maryland's favourite sons, Animal Collective and asked, among other things, what lurked behind the eye-catching artwork and whether or not they had been invited to play the venue they
A collaboration between Benjamin Curtis of Secret Machines and twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza of On-Air Library, the School of Seven Bells (founded in name from a mythical South American pickpocket academy) that surprised all with their ethereal, haunting charms that found them in perfect company of shoegaze/dreampop acts like M83 and Prefuse 73.
The Veils' recently released third album Sun Gangs displayed astounding depth, warmth and honesty across its ten tracks. Ranging from emotive ballads ("It Hits Deep", "Sit Down By the Fire") to epic Velvet Underground/Nick Cave art-rock ("Three Sisters") and something in-between ("The Letter") it provides further proof of the compelling voice of main man Finn Andrews. Chris
Having pulled up a chair with the The Stills in London to have a drink and talk about their most recent album Oceans Will Rise late last year, we continue to follow their adventures as The Stills join the Kings of Leon on tour in Australia, where Chris Berkley of Static catches up with both
Arriving on the scene way back in 2002 with the gritty Black Rooster EP, The Kills took the garage rock aesthetic and beat it down, creating a skin and bones strut that stank of sex and cigarettes. In the following years, The Kills haven't strayed too far from their original lo-fi blues/rock blueprint, yet still
Capping off an incredibly busy year with a singles compilation for 2008, Nashville native Jay Reatard has been relentlessly touring the globe and still hasn't stopped to catch his breath. Recently blowing away audiences in Australia with his demented hair-shaking garage rock, Chris Berkley caught up with Jay in Sydney and spoke to him about
Having just released one of the stand-out (and Webcuts approved) albums of 2008 with the awe-inspiring brilliance of Dear Science, Static's Chris Berkley spoke to Jaleel Bunton, drummer of Brooklyn's roof-raising TV On The Radio as the band embark on their American tour. Webcuts was on hand recently to see TV On The Radio debut their
It may come as some surprise that for a band who always seem to be on the cutting edge The Faint have actually been in existence for over a decade, combining punk attitude and guitars with a hellava lot of synthesizers and electronics. Static's Chris Berkley sits down with The Faint's keyboardist, Jacob Thiele, and
After a break of five years since their last album Amazing Grace, and a near crippling bout of double pneumonia, Spiritualized are back and in perfect health with their finest album to date with Songs in A&E. Chris Berkley of Static spoke to Jason Pierce about his illness, working with Harmony Korine, and the effect
Austin post-rockers Explosions in the Sky have been weaving their instrumental magic for almost ten years now, releasing four revered albums and one soundtrack over that time. During their recent Australian tour Static's Chris Berkley talked to Chris Hrasky drummer with the band about creating their last disc, All of a Sudden I miss Everyone,
Anthony Gonalez is the driving force behind French band M83. Since 2001 M83 have released several albums of hypnotic electronica combined with effects laden guitars, and softly sung vocals. Static's Chris Berkley managed to track down Anthony on his first Australian tour and discussed airline mishaps, growing up on the French Rivera, the new M83