A couple of decades into their career, Tindersticks are one of the greatest bands you’ve never heard of. But now you have, so what other bands need some recognition? Leave a comment below.
Noticed a little radio silence as of late? That’s the sound of a long, lazy summer. New content very soon. For now enjoy this:
The document you are holding was found tucked away in a drawer, among the remnants of what seemed to be the room of a young girl. Those who found it read though the pages with awe, experiencing the emotional turmoil of a young Mancurian woman over thirty years ago. When it was brought to us, we desired to keep the document as untouched as possible, so the only edits made were the addition of editors’ notes at the end of the work.
In addition, we found it imperative to gain the permission of the author’s family prior to publishing her personal writing, which seemed to be written for her eyes alone, surely not for the eyes of an audience.
This book is an honest and raw piece of history, with a basis in pure emotion. It is both a gorgeous and heart wrenching read.
Ian is Dead by Ashley Kreutter
20 July 1976
Adrian went to see this group, the Sex Pistols, and apparently anyone who is important in their music business was there. He got the tickets from his older brother, Liam, who didn’t feel like going, thought it was a load of bollocks. I didn’t feel up to going, a bit unwell, I suppose and I have some schoolwork to do. I don’t feel too much a part of the punk scene; I try not to embrace the rebelliousness of it all.
I am a fan of Bowie, and Iggy Pop isn’t bad either, but these gritty nobodies that can barely play guitar are not something I enjoy, let alone see the beauty in. Truthfully, I haven’t found a band that I can become passionate about yet.
Adrian tells me that I need to go out more and that by exposing myself to more music I’ll find my place. I think he assumes that I’m a bit of a homebody, which is true I suppose. I tend to hole up in my room often, after school or on the weekends. Being alone, in the quite is something I can contend with.
Opened, small crowd, too small, shabby.
Ordinary even with
Debbie in the front row. Staring slowly
Staring up at him then back
I was young then, doe-small with
Jell-O legs a sugared face. My eyeliner was mint-gum, green,
Metallic liquid winged and lips,
Frothed with beer.
That was the first time.
His eyes reflected back stage lights,
coalescing under grease of sweat
that clung to the tips of his now bleakly plastered hair.
Sweat rang his neck, his schoolboy collar
He danced wild as my body beat out the rhythm.
[“I hung around in your soundtrack,
To mirror all that you’ve done,
To find the right side of reason,
To kill the three lies for one…]*
24 May 1977
Went to see The Buzzcocks last night with Adrian for his 19th birthday. The show was at the Electric Circus in Manchester, one of those grubby affairs with oafs bumping into me all night, pogoing into each other. The band was supported by John the Postman (who Adrian thinks is hilarious, but I think he’s bloody stupid). This band called Warsaw also played, they were quite sloppy, but I was almost immediately enamored with the lead singer, this boy called Ian, who is right around my age. He stared right off into the spotlight, dazed and distant, and danced in such a way that it looked like he was in some sort of trance. He flailed his arms all about, his eyes bugged right out of his head. He swung around and sweat dripped down his face. I felt this urge to shove through the crowd and touch him, but I was too far behind. My heart raced and my breathing became so hurried, my head was dizzy. He’s all I’ve thought about since, his face floating through my mind constantly, at the oddest of times, even before I fall asleep. I’m enamored. I need to know what this man is like, what he’s like beyond the stage.
Revolution or so it felt that way.
Sticky, ink-bled program tucked in my bra,
I was part of it,
Pressed up against bodies, sweat coated
listening to words masked by
skuzzy guitars and glory.
It was uproar, riot.
Resistance and intelligence.
Humming and thumping
Pulses and heartbeats
Part of purebred prostitution.
I tried to grab at his ankles
His sallow face puckered and bled
Under the stage light bleach.
He was beautiful.
Copyright 2011 Ashley Kreutter
If your music were a dress, what would it look like?
Perhaps a 1950’s style dress with a sweetheart neckline. Whimsical and classic. The music I play is sort of airy and breezing at times, much like a vintage summer dress.
Describe the texture and color of Blue Ada Greene’s music.
Hmm, well to site my favorite film, Amélie, there is a scene where she dips her hand into a sack of grain and her fingers submerge. The texture of the grain closing in could describe my music. I feel some of my songs have that sinking feeling, but in a relaxing, calm way.
As for colors, a lot of browns and blues. Its all pretty melancholy.
How does your sound expand/change between the different musicians you’ve worked with?
My previous band was a bit folkier, based on the instrumentation; It was acoustic guitar and my just voice. This more synth-folk, electronic thing I have going now is definitely different. Though there are some effect on my synth that I rely heavily on for my sound, like the organ, accordion, standard bass, there is quite a bit of experimenting with different effects to accent a song. I’ve also added a drum machine to a few songs. Though lo-fi, I think it completes the sound at times.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Camera Obscura is a band I really enjoy for their whimsical and old fashion nature.
Stars, Most Serene Republic, and Blind Pilot are all huge influences too. They all tell amazing stories lyrically. Musically, they each have a unique sound that never seemed harnessed. They are always expanding and surprising me.
Cat Power’s voice inspires me. It took me a long time to be comfortable with the way I sound when I sing, and her voice helped me with that.
Name 5 books that have influenced you/your music.
Pride and Prejudice/ Mansfield Park/ Sense & Sensibility. Any Jane Austen really. I have always been a fan of Austen, and I think its because despite the propriety and distant time/setting, I feel like these characters are so real and so full of passion and life. They are respectful and decent, yet such humanity comes through the characters. And my inner hopeless romantic can do nothing but sigh when the heroin succeeds in her quest for love with integrity.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (Jonathan Safran Foer )- A very passionate and creative book. Truly it has touched me like no other book. Just the ingenious of it makes me ache for more life. Its sad, and happy, and beautiful, and honest, and ugly and so God damn real. A lot of death and pain in it, which moves me the most.
A Series of Unfortunate Events(Lemony Snicket )- Like many children’s books, there is quite a bit of macabre in these stories. Though I wouldn’t call my songs macabre, there is a serious tone of melancholy. And pair that with a pipe organ sound, it edges toward macabre. In art and life in general, I am drawn to the darker/sadder side of things. Which is odd, because I’m a pretty positive person.
I don’t know how deeply these books influence my music, but they have all influence the person I am.
How did you get involved in the RPM challenge?
My old band mate told me about it; we did it together for two years. This year was the first time I did it alone.
Do you think working strictly with keyboards and synthesizers makes your music less organic?
No, because its not pop/radio music. Pop music is highly produced and my songs are pretty lo-fi. Even though its electronic, that real, almost live feel, allows the music to be relaxed and more human I think. Also, I think my voice helps in this situation, because its not a normal “radio” voice. Its pretty flawed; What is more organic then that?
Do you prefer collaborating with certain types of people over others, does personality reflect music and if so, do you work better with certain personalities over others?
Yes, I think I do prefer certain types. I find its easiest for me to communicate with someone who is a bit similar to me. An equal enough balance of passiveness and forwardness in their personality. I’m not the most knowledgeable of music. I’ve only been playing solo for 7 months now, so I enjoy it when someone can teach me things; however I don’t want to feel pressure or put down because I don’t know something. So an understanding, open personality helps too.
Is there any music that disgusts you? What bands/types?
Hm, no one really disgusts me. That’s seems harsh. I will say this, I am a bit of a music snob though. I recognize the difference between music and entertainers. A lot of “musicians” on popular radio/mtv/ect., I would simply consider them as entertainers, not musicians. Its performance, but in a different method and often for a different reason.
It disgusts me that some people think that is all that is out there for music. Though I am a music snob, I’d like to think I have a very open mind about new types of music. Some folks out there are resistant to making an effort to discover underground music. There is SO MUCH out there. And with Bandcamp and everything else on the internet, its easier than ever to find new stuff. So why are people listening to the same 5 songs on the radio? Ok, so that was my rant.
How did you manage to find other musicians to collaborate with and have on your radio show?
I have a few friends that I’ve known for years that do music, so sometimes it’s through friends of friends. Often times its from events though. I played at a festival called Hopscotchoria the last few years, and I’ve met kids through there. At open mics at the Stone Church in Newmarket too. Also found some bands through RPM. There are musicians everywhere!!
Finals are coming up. Here are a few tips from Chester College’s Heather Doherty on bands to listen to when you need to get stuff done:
I am the type of person who needs some type of background sound in order to get things done. Whether it is music, my neighbor’s music and/or video games or just people in general, I need the noise to produce work. Each aspect of visual art has a particular set of music that helps me produce better work. Like art in general, some music falls in multiple categories but for the most part each group has its own particular sound. All of my playlists for these are created by Pandora and Genius after I choose the artist I list below.
When it comes to printmaking music by Taio Cruz, Usher and other artists similar to their sound, work the best. I think these artists work for this task because you can go squeegee the ink across your silkscreen with the beat of the song in order to create a print. The beat of these songs cause you to constantly move which prevents muscles from stiffing up while doing the same thing over and over again. This music also helps to keep you from falling asleep, which can happen when you are in the studio at all hours in the night.
For Photoshop work I find that a Red Hot Chili Peppers mix is best. This music is chosen for different reasons than the rest. At this point in time I associate the Red Hot Chili Peppers with my boyfriend. Since he always helps me out with Photoshop while listening to them, they have become this art field’s music group. The second they start playing I am instantly reminded of how much more work I have to do. It forces me to focus on the layers of my picture and forces me to see how they are blending together because that’s the number one thing my boyfriend would go over.
Sculpture work is best done when listening to Modest Mouse. Modest Mouse is great for sculpture because it makes you want to do something physical. I always get the urge to do something while listening to them. Their music is made at this tone that when it vibrates through me I have to move. During these moments only occupying my hands by creating something satisfies that need.
Old school darkroom work is best done while listening to pop-punk bands like Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Fall Out Boy, and Blink-182. These bands work because they have good beats and you won’t be embarrassed to listen and bop to them in the dark. This music gives you something more to do than stare while waiting for your print to move through all the chemicals in the developing process. Like all good songs these bands tend to always have a song that properly describes a problem I am having and the darkroom gives me enough mental space from everyone else to sort it out.
Writing for me on the other hand never has a set mix. For the most part it depends on my mood at the time and the topic I am writing about. Sometimes Daniel Bedingfield’s song “Gotta Get Thru This” is the song that literally gets me through writing a piece of work. I have found that more relaxing the music, the better. In some cases, the Grateful Dead is the perfect band to write a research paper with. The collection of songs I have by them, their music is smooth and mellow which makes distractions or any lack of focus not a possibility.
This weekend marks the third annual ChesterFest, Chester College of New England’s blow-off weekend before finals. It is a two day event jam packed with activities such as fireworks, open mic events and live bands/concerts. This event is free to Chester College of New England students, alumni, staff and faculty. There is a $20 fee for any visitors and guests.
The bands playing at this year’s event are Caravan of Thieves, Blue Ada Greene, Tan Vampires, The If in Life, and PT Barnum.
• Caravan of Thieves is a gypsy folk rock group from Bridgeport, Connecticut. They combine acoustic, melodramatic popular song and swing music in order to create their sound. During their performances they invite their listeners to join in fits of claps, snaps and sing-alongs.
• Laura Harper is a Chester College of New England alumna who is currently working on the Record Per Month Challenge. Her music is very chill and ethereal. She will be performing under her stage name Blue Ada Greene.
• Tan Vampires are an indie rock group from Dover, New Hampshire. The group started off as a solo act, vocalist and guitarist Jake Mehrmann that received a huge following after doing the Record Per Month Challenge and escalated to the band it is today.
• The If in Life is an alternative rock band from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. They started off with a punk, hardcore and metal sound but have recently matured into alternative rock after the completion of their latest album.
• PT Barnum is a one man hip-hop act from Baltimore, Maryland.
I owe my detailed emotional history with all its memories to music. All the corrections to history’s timeline can be found in a riff or rhythm; all misconceptions reconciled with a sketch of setting and thought aroused by a melody. My past is locked in forgotten subconscious; I’m awaiting tones of home to fossilize and reverberate in society’s eardrums. A canyon of relics eroded against time’s needle turning the table into bearable seconds and hours of joy and rage.
Some folks cherish eyeballs hacked from the peeled skin of masked incoherent bands of rap/metal horror and some the humming of brooks flowing beneath summer’s trees. Some erupt with guitar gods shining in silver paint and reflecting in every mirror—including their guitar. Some rest to bagpipes on a Scottish moor surrounded with a sea of blackened faces.
Some never draw innovations on pop cultures ever-growing wings; some die never speaking. Some see the light in all of this.
Souls, initially married with no worry of divorce or hatred, are then poisoned behind their backs with struggling efforts to find perfection. Loss supersedes the orgasmic rhythms of new entrance into personal libraries of love and music fades. Devoting time and playing stories of life through working at a Mom & Pop music store, playing for semi-metal rhythm sections for laughs, or leading worship teams at churches in long U2 Joshua Tree Covers for freedom against religion—trying to find faith in all. Customers and patrons drinking up the blood of music’s holiness ever so slowly—torturing the saintly love underneath. Hope vanished into depression and loss of compassion. Valuing the detour sign half-busted on the side of the road, the arrows pointing haphazardly on opposite horizons. Melodies save you from morality’s destruction.
At the throats of fanatics around music, barking orders, bitter against the naïve, all to casual unguided ears of Poker Face America. They look to me for guidance and I shun their existence. I become a senile, crotchety old man, barking towards the future he cannot understand; no one is left to nurture his understanding. Subconscious or not, burying anything alive doesn’t alleviate temptation that will one day set you listening again. The melody which unites harmony and the purpose to promote stories and emotions through albums is always there to haunt me.
I played a vital part in the crusades without realizing where I was going and where complacency would turn me blindly down the road of hypocrisy and start my blaming all else under a sea of excuses. I’d been transformed into a snotty pessimist, glued to the past’s ordeals like a freight train bombing through the emptiness, latching onto history and dead heroes like I was the only follower left. But I was dying from it.
I realized my error and opened my ears without fear. Passion welled in my teary eyes and I got a chance to see my useless crusade and end it, jumping up and down like I did listening to John Wesley Harding when I was six years old because it made my hair stand on end—every one of them—over and over again until the daylight ran out and the record became distilled. But back then I had much to discover. I believed there was more.
I find humanity within American society and my abomination of survival in America my personal aesthetic addiction. It doesn’t matter; we are not genius’s in IQ, or we’d be helping NASA launch “dead” rock stars, like Kurt Cobain and Jim Morrison, into space for their eternal party in space. I laugh regularly and I also get myself into violent rages in which I must break something of value, or else, explode. So, in all honesty we all change our minds and take the things back again and forget to apologize and stress unnecessarily for months or years before calling to remedy the situation in which I, or you, or they, yelled, threw things and/or owed money or counseling for the unwanted results to the other, who may or may not have been affected. Researching emotional content and intimacy; judging stories and moods as stimulated through my “open-minded” ears these days, and should be a “snap.”
-Karen Panek, courtesy Martin Ratchet
Chris Sracey and Jack Glass make up Bag Raiders an elecronic duo from Australia. Together they released their self-titled debut CD this past year in the US and overseas on Modular Records. Bag Raiders’ album features both instrumental and vocal pop/dance tunes. Both band members are DJs, so they write and construct the songs. They don’t sing but feature various artists on guest vocals.
The star track of the album is “Sunlight” featuring vocals from British artist Dan Black. This song has an upbeat tempo and infectious summer night sound from the xylophone pings. The lyrics are short and catchy. It’s a good pop song and Black’s voice melds perfectly with the pitch of synth. Every time Black goes into his chorus “You’re just like sunlight,” it’s almost impossible not to sing along.
“Golden Wings” is an instrumental that shines through the rest. It opens with soft keyboard synth beats, reminiscent of an 80’s ballad, breaking into a bass drop not dissimilar to Daft Punk. The song is like standing on the edge of a canyon, the bass pounding louder as your body leans over. It brings an otherworldly, computerized retro flair to the album.
Bag Raiders has shown they’re a force with fierce beats and solid sound. They’re sure to be a powerhouse on the dance floor.
The sophomore effort from Minneapolis band Dark Dark Dark took me by surprise with its difficulty to be reviewed. Numerous days of listening to the album, leaving it alone, then diving back in left me with a different opinion after each listening experience. Dark Dark Dark is a new band to my palette, so no bias was present I could only judge them by this effort, not how far they had come or fallen since their first release. With one pass, they pull the listener forward into their world of soft rhythm and vocal expressionism, but it loses some power with each additional play.
The mystery with this album is its ability to grasp listeners with enchanting vocals from Nona Marie Invie at points throughout, laying on a thick layer of nostalgia with “Daydreaming,” serenading the listener with the experience of what she is feeling through slow, supporting instruments. This is the stand out track of this album, reeking of memories and reflection. This track in particular brings the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to mind, but Karen O has never recorded an equal to this song, or expressed as much through her voice. Meanwhile the voice of Invie wreaks havoc in “In your dreams,” using a jazz inspired beat in an attempt to open the album with a bang. This exposed a short coming of this band with that single move. As musicians you will always experiment, and have clashing songs, but it seems like Invie is still fighting for the true meaning of her voice. The use of the male vocals from Marshall LaCount also hurts the album, clashing with Invie at points, and causing something of a distraction from the point of it all. LaCount will be valuable in this role somewhere down the line, but singing along side Invie creates more issues than necessary. It is amazing how the beauty of “Daydreaming” fades slowly into the dull, seemingly repeated tracks spanning the rest of Dark Dark Dark’s second album. Their performance never falters throughout the record, but the songs become interchangeable after the point the listener realizes each song has a twin somewhere in the forty minute work.
I cannot fault the young band for their consistent effort throughout Wild Go, or the quality of musicians working in the band, but cannot full heartedly endorse the album, as it left something to be desired, and lacked that hook to make this reviewer come back for their next album.