KZSC’s Program Director Lois Rosson had a chance to sit down with Alex Brown Church of Sea Wolf to discuss their latest album, Old World Romance. Sea Wolf played at Moe’s Alley on May 21st, the 3rd stop on a five-week tour promoting the new album. Listen to Church talk about Sea Wolf’s origins, influences, and evolution:
All of the cats at KZSC have been enjoying a huge influx of the finest jazz in lieu of the recent JAM (Jazz Appreciation Month) of April. Now that April has ended, the fun hasn’t stopped in May and we continue to recieve tons of titles from our promoters!
Here, some of the most popular plays are listed:
Sarah has already played some of the greatest venues in NYC, including Dizzy’s, the Blue Note and the Iridium. Her expression doesn’t stop at RED- I’m told that there is more to look forward to the end of this year and the the following.As usual, the jazz/blues department at KZSC is committed to keeping things fresh…We are receiving nothing but the newest recordings from all over the country and we want to spin them for YOU! If you want to hear it all, tune into some of the great shows throughout the week:Your favorite kind of American folk music on American Spirit, Wednesdays 9am-12pm
A mix that contains non-GMO soul on Stirrin the Soup, 2-4 pm Thursdays.
See how it’s all related on Not So Distant Relatives, Fridays 2-4pm.
The finest women of jazz on Jazz Kitty, Saturdays 12-2pm.
Still want more??? We know you do. Check out the program schedule in the tab at the top of this page to see what else is cookin’.We thank you for listening, we thank the artists for swinging, and the promoters for mailing. Until next time.
As one of the quickest risers in metal right now, Intronaut has been maintaining a very healthy fan base and a very solid discography. Recently, they added to that collection with Habiutal Levitations (Instilling Words with Tones), and apparently it was good enough to get a headlining tour with master instrumetallers Scale the Summit (which, by the way, comes to San Francisco on July 5th). Yours truly recently got to talk with the lead vocalist from the stoner metal outfit and chat about their newest album, their tour with Scale the Summit, and their latest additions to their shirt catalog.
What were you looking to accomplish with the new record?
Well, I don’t know if there was any one “goal” that we had in mind to accomplish necessarily, but I guess the thing that you’re always going for is to make a better record than the last one and to let ourselves evolve and progress into something new and fresh each time rather than putting out the same kind of record over and over again.
Habitual Levitations doesn’t feature the “growly vocals” that were present in your past records. What made you decide to do this kind of transformation?
Like I said, it’s just evolving as a musician and a person, really. Especially with the new record, and partially with the last, writing music where you’re just growling into a microphone after spending all of your time writing well thought out instrumental parts just seemed like it didn’t quite fit anymore. The music isn’t really coming from an angsty place at this point, if that makes sense? It’s hard to explain to somebody that might not be in a band, but if you’re on stage screaming into a microphone, it just doesn’t feel as natural. Expressing that kind of angry, angsty side wasn’t what I was after, it just doesn’t feel natural anymore. Not to say that it will never happen again in our music, but while we were writing that record, that’s where we were all coming from.
How do you feel towards the reception you’ve received towards your latest album?
It seems fine, about the same as always really. Most people are into it, and there’s always some people who aren’t into it, which is to be expected if you’re changing things up from record to record. This time however there’s been more passionate hatred, and I take that as a good sign *laughs*. It shows that people care enough to say something negative about it. Everything else has been really good I think. I haven’t really noticed anything out of the ordinary as far as that goes.
You’ve always kind of been the “poster boys” for stoner metal. How do you feel about that label? Do you embrace it or try to shrug it off?
I don’t really care. I mean, I would be lying if I said a lot of our music wasn’t written while under the influence, but personally I’m not what you would call a “stoner.” I think we’ve just played into that because we think it’s kind of funny, you know? It enables us to do ridiculous things, like a dolphin in a spacesuit smoking pot *laughs*. Also, when you’re on the road, you end up smoking pot with random fans. It’s just a good way to interact with people. So I don’t know if one would say we’re the “poster boys” for stoner metal, but we’ll play into it. It’s funny.
Is that why you guys made those shirts? I mean, I find them hilarious, but I really have to ask: whats with the dolphin t-shirts?
*laughs* I don’t remember exactly where it started, but basically whenever we’re writing records, we’ll name our recordings in the hard drive with a joke title, and a few records ago one of those joke titles was “Barbecued Dolphin.” So, that became our funny little inside joke, and finally I just decided to ask this guy to make a barbecued dolphin t-shirt. He ended up flipping it around and turned it into a bunch of dolphins barbecuing, which is still to this day my favorite Intronaut shirt ever. We just loved it so much we started incorporating dolphin stuff into other things. This one time, we were playing at Budapest, Hungary, and this guy brought us this beautiful carved dolphin out of soapstone. And on this last tour, someone brought a dolphin glass pipe *laughs*. I don’t know, I guess it’s kind of become our thing.
Speaking of excitement, how pumped are you guys for the upcoming Scale the Summit tour?
It’s gonna be awesome man. We’re really excited to get out and do a real proper headliner, and we have Scale the Summit coming along too. It’s gonna be sweet. We’ve never actually played with them, I don’t think, but we’ve known them for a really long time. They actually used to live here in L.A., so we would always go to each others shows and whatnot. So we’re excited to be out with them. And then Mouth of the Architect, which is a band we’ve played with a couple times, and Joe, our bass player, actually filled in with them a few times over the years. So yeah, it’s gonna be a killer tour, for sure.
What are your plans for the rest of the year, and what do you hope to accomplish as a band?
We’re working on getting more tours lined up. So we’re going to be touring more this year, and into next year, I’m sure. We’re already starting to think about the next record, but of course that’s going to take a while to get put together. As far as our goals, I don’t know man, we just want to keep doing this band. It’s just what we love doing. We’ve gotten to a point where it’s pretty much sustainable and we can hopefully just keep making records. Who knows what the future holds as far as the music industry goes, but I think we’re in a pretty good place. We have a nice small fan base that are devoted enough to help us do this. Hopefully for as long as we want to do it.
Intronaut are headlining a tour with Scale the Summit and Mouth of the Architect/Castle, starting in June. If you’re interested (which you should be) you can find more information here.
Post rock outfit Caspian recently stopped by Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco to close out the Noisepop 2013 Festival, and holy mother of god what a way to go out. Before the prodigious climax however, I was lucky enough to sit down with Caspian drummer Joe Vickers and converse about topics ranging from their newest album to his opinion on the present condition of post rock and where he believes the genre is headed. Read below for more!
How do you feel towards the critical reception your newest album, Waking Season, has received?
I feel really good about it. It feels good to be validated on something we worked really hard on. It was a long time coming. We feel like our writing process is becoming more refined, and we’re just getting better at we do, so it’s nice to know that other people feel the same way as well. I mean, you always want people to dig what you’re doing.
Would you say it’s well deserved?
Yeah, I feel like we’ve been at this for almost 9 years now. So it just took us a while to figure out our way with an album that is exactly how we wanted it to sound, which was to bring the energy of a live performance to the album.
What did you set out to accomplish with the new record?
We just wanted as many people to hear it as possible, really. I think it’d be great to keep touring it. Obviously we’re going to write some more in the time coming up, but it’s been nice to tour in Europe and have people cheer for some of the songs for once. People are recognizing the songs before we actually play them. The ultimate goal is to just keep touring and keep playing to more and more people.
How long are you planning on touring for the new album?
I don’t really know to be honest. After this tour we have one show with Appleseed Cast and we’re playing the Boston Calling Festival in May, and after that there are literally no plans. Whatever comes up we just do until there’s a new album out there, and then we have to tour for that one too.
I’m going to get a bit more philosophical on you now. How do you feel about the “post rock” label that is often associated with bands such as Sigur Ros, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and Caspian?
Well, you have to call it something, right? To me, it was always just rock music. I had always played in bands that were instrumental because no one we knew could sing that well, so we would all get in my parents’ basement and just jam out all through high school. It sounded a lot like what we’re doing now. Back then, we were leaning more towards “jammy” stuff, but it evolved as we got more pedals and delay stuff and it started to sounds a lot more like “post rock” before I even knew what post rock was. I think the first post rock album that I heard was an Explosions in the Sky record in college. Cal, a guitarist that doesn’t tour with us, showed me the album and told me, “This is post rock!” I was skeptical at first, but now I don’t really see how you could label it as anything else other than something like…modern classical? Maybe? I think even that’s a stretch. I think people just don’t dig the label because it sounds pretentious, in the same vain as post modernism stuff. Honestly, unless you’re going to call it “crescendo-core” or “slambient”, you just got to take it as it comes. If people want to call it post rock, sure, but we’ll keep hammering away with the instrumental rock thing hoping that it will kind of catch. There’s always been instrumental rock, even back in the ’70s it was pretty big, so if anything it’s been around for a long time. I don’t remember when the term was coined, I think I read it on Wikipedia.
I think the first time I saw it was when someone was writing an article about either Tortoise or Mogwai.
That makes sense. Tortoise and Mogwai are totally post rock to me. They’re definitely staples of the genre. Especially Mogwai. When I think of post rock I think of Mogwai. They’re the one band that everyone in our band agrees on as a good model for what post rock should be. To answer the question though, you can call it whatever you want, the point is we’re still going to make music that sounds good to us.
So what’s your opinion on the current state of “post rock”?
I think everyone is starting to move away from the twinkly guitar thing and beginning to incorporate more electronics into their sound. At least, that’s what I would like to see. Maybe I’m keeping my ears open to only what I want to hear, but the whole “quiet loud” thing might not be quite as popular as doing some more “verse chorus” type of stuff in the future. Who knows? I think it’s certainly going to continue to be the thinking man’s type of rock and roll. I hope it gets bigger, for the sake of us and a lot of our friends who are still doing this thing, people in the trenches working really hard to make sure the music stays relevant and progresses.
Who would you consider some of your main influences?
When I was first learning, I would just put on Led Zeppelin albums next to my head on a big stereo and try to play along with John Bonham, which I was horrible at at first, but a lot of his beats are really groove oriented. Early hip hop sounds a lot like his drumming, and I just really like that groovy stuff. I also listen to a lot of electronic music. So for me it’s more groove oriented stuff. I know Phil (guitarist for Caspian) is a big Zeppelin fan too. Aaron likes 90s rock, like Bush and Live. Johnny likes emo stuff. Cal, who we started the band with, listens to country a lot and that shows through his playing, he utilizes lots of finger picking. So our taste in music is definitely diverse. I think it’s important for us to listen to different types of music and to expose each other to these vastly different things. For example, I have a soft spot for Skrillex, and these guys hate it, but they can get something out of my experience with that music and vice versa.
Would you say you pull influences from media not of the musical form?
Yeah, I read a ton of books. Recently we started getting into the Game of Thrones series because of the show. I read through everything. We even have a song based off of it called Fire Made Flesh. So I draw heavily from that because I spend a lot of time in books, so thematically when we’re writing our demos it helps me to think of where it’s going to get a storyline in my head, and I know Phil thinks along those same lines as well. He watches a lot of HBO television, which still has some of the most amazing storylines ever, and still a very immersive media. We also draw from a lot of personal experiences, from the atmosphere of where we come from. We’re all home town boys in Beverly, we just kind of hang out in our town. It’s a little seaside town, so we spend a lot of time on the beach in the summer. It’s nice. We like the ocean, and I think that comes through the most in our music. The vastness and expansiveness of the sea. I think everyone gets their influences from whatever their passions are, whether it be in that field of media or the music that they listen to causing them to create a painting or write a story or something. I’ve heard a lot of times after we’ve played a show people tell us, “Oh man, I just want to go home and write!”, and that’s awesome. It’s great to inspire people like that. We do a ton of traveling and see a lot of different places, and that affects our moods which comes through our music as well. I don’t know, I’m probably rambling at this point.
I’m here to let you ramble!
Haha, yeah I guess so!
Who or what are some of your favorite bands/acts out there right now?
These guys Native, who we’re on the road with, everyone should check them out. They are badass. They have a new album that they just finished, and their new stuff sounds ridiculous. It was a real cool thing for us to tour with them. I think in 2011 we did a short run with them on the way to SXSW and I had never even heard of them before our first show, and I was just blown away. So everyone should check them out and see them play with us on this tour!
Caspian is currently on tour with Native throughout the United States. If intrigued, please help support an awesome band and check out their newest album Waking Season which, in this humble writer’s opinion, was one of the best albums of last year.
I recently was given the opportunity to chat with the bassist from progressive metal giant Between the Buried and Me. Below you can read highlights of our conversation in which we cover Russian Circles, Dan’s new band Trioscapes and even an AMA they conducted on reddit not too long ago.
Brootalisk: How did you feel about the critical acclaim towards The Parallax II? Do you think it’s been a long time coming, or were you surprised to see it atop many year end lists?
Dan Briggs: Definitely not. We set out to kind of make our own version of a rock opera, just trying to make an over the top, thematic, progressive metal, operatic story, and it ended up being 70 something minutes long. You never know how something is going to turn out and be perceived. So we in the studio really felt like it was the best thing we had done, and that’s a hard thing to try to instill on people before they even hear the record. With all that in mind, we’ve been pleasantly surprised with how it’s been received. It’s definitely a bit of a shock for such a long record to be embraced by so many people. For me, when I listen to it, it doesn’t quite feel as long. The important thing about it was the flow, and I think there’s a lot of that that contributes to the theatrical feel that we were going for. We’re definitely excited about it.
Brootalisk: Were you surprised at all to see it atop of many year-end lists?
Dan: You know, I didn’t really see that it was, but that’s cool!
Brootalisk: Oh yeah, it topped a lot.
Dan: Oh wow, that’s awesome! [laughs]
Brootalisk: Your upcoming tour with Coheed and Russian Circles is obviously in support of The Parallax II. How much of your set will be devoted to new material, and can fans expect some of their favorite old tunes to make it into the set list?
Dan: It’s gonna be about half new stuff time wise. We didn’t want to do too much off of it. Of course, for us we just want to got out and play the whole thing, but we can’t. It’s kind of a matter of picking out songs that we were really excited about and that we wanted to play, and that we though would be a good balance for this tour, and finding older songs that compliment those well. We have such a big catalog now that making a set list is almost like creating an album. You want to have a good flow and have it come down at the right moments to give yourself and the crowd a break. Our music has a lot of those dynamics naturally, so it’s just finding the right mix of songs. It gets harder and harder because we keep putting out records, so we just have more songs to choose on. But, it’s the first tour we’re doing in America since the album came out, so hopefully people will want to hear new stuff.
Brootalisk: How much time are you given for your set?
Dan: We have around an hour.
Brootalisk: I’ve heard some unique and downright strange ways band members ready their bodies for a set. Do you have a preshow warm up? If so, what does it consist of?
Dan: I stretch before we play. I always stretch to get my body looser, but I’ve also employed deeper stretches for my legs and IT bands. Aside from that though, we don’t do anything weird. We just sit there and practice our instruments. Maybe some casual stretching on the side. I think Blake does some push ups. So that’s kind of weird, I guess. [laughs]
Brootalisk: I was surprised, but very happy, to see that Russian Circles were chosen as the supporting band for the tour. Did you have any influence in choosing them to support your and Coheed’s tour?
Dan: We did! What originally happened, we were supposed to be in the middle of a headlining tour at this point that was going to involve Russian Circles as well, and I think Coheed had some tour packages fall through, so they picked up our tour package and added it to theirs. Russian Circles was a band that we picked to go on tour with us, and now they’re going on tour with Coheed and us!
Brootalisk: What’s your opinion of the band?
Dan: They’re cool! I’ve been getting into some of their more recent stuff. I remember listening to their very first record when it first came out, and I thought it was cool, but I just kind of fell off after that. Not for any reason, I just kinda stopped listening to them. They’re a very interesting band and very interesting kind of instrumental band, so I think it’s going to be a very neat package. I think every band has their own crowd. I’ve been a huge Botch fan, so I’m extremely excited to nerd out on their bass player a bit.
Brootalisk: Going off topic a little bit, you conducted an AMA on reddit before your newest record released. Can you give some insight on what kind of experience that was for you?
Dan: It was fun. I had never been to reddit before, so I didn’t know what to expect. I had no idea. I didn’t know the format at all. When it started, we weren’t together at all. We were at our respective homes, so I didn’t really know what to do! But it was fun! It was cool. There were a lot of people that asked questions, and we tried to answer as many as we could. Paul’s personality definitely shined through. He’s a very sarcastic and funny guy, something that people might not necessarily get just from watching him play on stage or reading his interviews. We did it with the hope that it would be a bit more laid back and teach the fans more about us than they normally would get.
Brootalisk: Would you ever do one again?
Dan: Yeah totally, now that I actually understand the format!
Brootalisk: Speaking of internet popularity, are you aware of Protest the Hero’s attempt to go independent with their latest album? What are your thoughts on that? Do you think it’s a potentially viable way for bands to start funding an album?
Dan: It seems like it, if they raised that much money! To make an album, we’ve probably only ever had about half that much. I guess you don’t really need that much to make an album nowadays. But, I’m glad it’s an option for people to come out with their own stuff. Artists have been doing that for decades. Peter Gabriel has been putting out his own records since the ’80s, so it’s nothing new, but I think it’s reached the point where people who are underground can do it. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that you don’t necessarily have to rely on making a CD that has a national distribution that’s going to be in every Best Buy or whatever. I think the fact that you can get your music out through the internet, from either digital files or even your own webstore, that’s a huge thing. And maybe you can get a smaller distribution deal to sell at indie stores. That’s perfect, what else do you need?
Brootalisk: What are your plans after the tour?
Dan: BTBAM is going to Europe in the Summer, but right after this tour my group Trioscapes, which is a three piece fusion project with bass, saxophone and drums. We’re doing a couple weeks on the East Coast and we’re going down to Puerto Rico to do a masterclass and a concert of course. That’ll be fun. I’m going to be working with my third group Orbs. We just finished writing a new album that I’m probably going to try to and record the guitars, bass, and drums in May before BTBAM goes to Europe, and hopefully I can finish that in the fall. So, you know, staying busy.
Brootalisk: Do you think Trioscapes would ever tour with Tosin Abasi’s side project, T.R.A.M?
Dan: Yeah, you know it was really funny because we’re all good friends, and we all went to different countries touring, so we hadn’t seen each other for a long time. So we find ourselves in Europe together after a year or so and we ask them what they had been up to, and they were like, “Oh we started this fusion group with a saxophone player!” and when they asked me what I had been up to, I was like, “Oh I started this fusion group with a saxophone player!” That was weird. It ended up because we just have similar influences. Tosin and Javier are big into Mahavishnu Orchestra and John McLaughlin, and John McLaughlin is a big influence to me and everyone in Trioscapes, and that was sort of a chance thing. However, I don’t think they have live ambitions. I kind of made it pretty vocal from the get go. Trioscapes started as a live band, after all. It’s very much an active group. So, I would love to, and I think that would be super fun. I’m sure kids would love to see that, but I think there’s a better chance of seeing us on tour with Animals as Leaders than seeing T.R.A.M.
The Babies have just come out with their second full length album, House on a Hill to amazing reviews. After their show at the Crepe Place in Santa Cruz on December 7th, Kevin Morby and Cassie Ramone sat down with Bikini Kill DJ Ana, frequent guest DJ Andrea Casablanca and Jesse Perez to talk about tour life, their favorite city (SANTA CRUZ) and House on a Hill.
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