Monday, December 7, 2009

Chatting With Em (The Action Design)

If you missed Sick of Sarah's 'Sleep When You're Dead Tour' this past summer I feel so bad for you! SoS' two supporting acts Donora and The Action Design were just fantastic live. I had never heard of The Action Design prior to this tour. I was hooked right away! The songs are fun, energetic and sometimes really sad. While the lyrics can sometimes be part of a sad story, they are always fun to sing along to, and the choruses, always catchy. Em is just a ball of energy, and you can't help but want to be apart of the vibe she's pulling you into. She moves around the stage and keyboards just a little bit less than Emily Haines! It really was a great show, one that I left with 2 tAD records and no SoS merch, which is saying a lot about tAD's performance that night!

Hello Em! Thanks for doing this. This really means…more than you know! Thank you so much!

Hey, no problem at all! Thanks so much for interviewing me!

I’m a new tAD fan. I just discovered you guys when you played with Sick of Sarah at a Michigan show in October. You guys blew me away! Absolutely amazing! How was it touring with Sick of Sarah?

Wow, thank you! It was super fun touring with Sick of Sarah – they’re all so friendly and fun to hang out with. We were like family, taking care of each other through all the van breakdowns!

I also love the Tsunami Bomb material a lot as well. Although Tsunami Bomb was a punk band, I found the tAD tracks and the TB tracks to be quite complementary to each other. When bands break up it’s usually hardest on the fans, but since I personally felt I could easily transition from one band to another sonically; I was wondering if the Tsunami Bomb fans did the same. Do you believe that a lot of the tAD fan base is made up of TB fans?

I feel like a lot of our most loyal fans came with us from Tsunami Bomb, but overall I’d say it’s a pretty good mix of TB fans and new tAD fans.

Another amazing thing about you guys is that you seem to be all about the personal touch. The online store is full of hand-printed artwork! That’s pretty great. How do you come up with all the designs/ideas? What inspires you? How do you even have time to sew, print and design all these orders individually!?

Ha ha, I just don’t have much time for anything else! For imagery, a lot of times I draw inspiration from the lyrics or from a concept that the band is into at the time. I want to do more with the sewing… I’ve got a few more ideas I haven’t completed yet!

This is a silly question, but as I mentioned I am a new fan. You seem to be extremely artistic and all of the items you design are awesome! You obviously have a gift for design as well as music. I have to ask, does your love of design/art have anything to do with your band’s name?

No, I didn’t even think of that! I do enjoy doing design work, but that came from necessity. The band name is more an expression of productivity and positivity.

When did you realize you wanted to be a singer/musician?

I wanted to be a singer when I first heard punk rock years ago, which came to me in the form of Green Day. I loved it SO much that I just wanted to be part of it – at the time, I never thought it would be such a big part of my future!

What are some of your early musical influences?

Aside from Green Day, I’d say Rancid, No Doubt, Tilt, MxPx… my parents always listened to The Beatles, James Taylor, and Huey Lewis & the News when I was really little, so they always have a place in my heart as well.

Are you into any current bands?

Morrissey, Metric, Phoenix… mostly I’ve been listening to vinyl lately, and my collection is a lot of old yard sale/thrift store stuff. My current favorites are Dolly Parton, Cat Stevens, The Faint (NOT a yard sale purchase!), Michael Jackson’s Thriller… and random bullfighting music and burlesque music from the 50s.

I’ve been keeping up with tAD’s Youtube channel as well. I have to say the new material you guys are working on sounds SO GOOD. Can you tell us when we could possibly hear a new tAD record?

Soon, very soon! Well, not a whole record I suppose, but we do have 2 songs that we’re going to unveil when they’re ready.

And for the last, most hard-hitting question of all! Is Jaycen’s last name really “Mckissick”? Also have you ever known anyone to spell it “Jaycen”??? If this is too personal feel free not to answer :p

Ha ha, I like how this is the most hard-hitting! Yes, his last name is definitely Mckissick. And I’ve never seen any other Jasons spell their name like him! There’s only one Jaycen in my life!

If you love yourself be sure to check out the live performances below, especially the unplugged performance of "Tokyo Train", and if you don't love yourself do it for me, cause I love you;-)

photo credit: Trish Leeper

Landmines (Live, posted by 'mrbayag')

Tokyo Train at Fearless Music

Pale Horizon at KDHX

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lucas Silveira: Better Than Ever

Lucas Silveira is pretty much the man. And it doesn't matter how many line-up changes The Cliks experience the core won't change. Lucas is the heart and soul of The Cliks. The guy's also a sweetheart! Not only did he get the answers back to me in an hour (record!), he also told me I could send in more questions! Well I hope you enjoy the read. It's a very revealing, sad and yet...optimistic look into the mind of Lucas Silveira.

I saw you guys play in Detroit about a month and a half before Dirty King came out. The show was amazing! How was that mini-tour? Were you at all nervous about playing new material live for fans before they had heard it?

The mini tour was unbelievably exhausting to my recollection. Short time and all you can do on the road crammed in 7 days. After that show in Detroit we drove straight to Columbus and got lost because your main highway was closed. It was a nightmare! And then arrived at 6 am, had to wake up at 10 AM and do a live radio show and play 3 songs, then go to a sound check at 1 PM. Can you say tired?
As for fans hearing the material, I think live is always the best way to introduce people to your music, so no, not nervous.More excited than anything.

I read that The Cliks actually released a debut, self-titled record in 2004. I have to admit I was not aware of this. Is this record available? If not, any possibility of a re-release?

Yes, this is true. It was an entirely different band. Actually, every Cliks album has a different band so that's a little telling. Ha ha.
There's only 1000 copies printed and I think I have about 50 left for keep sakes. You can get it online digitally though on the Maple Music website.
As for re-release, anything is possible, but not planning on that right now. I don't like working backwards.

I know that 2005 was a really tough year for you with that 'Cliks' line-up parting and also a lot of sad things happening in your personal life. That experience would have broken most people. How did you get through that?

It was indeed a hellish year. I've learned from that experience that it sometimes takes those bad experiences to break you down so you can build yourself back up again and I think that's what I did and am still doing. I got through that with music and some really good friends & a loving family. I'm lucky that way. I think I'm still recovering from all that because I think when trauma hits your life like that, your body holds it and releases the sadness slowly when you're in a better place so that you can handle it. So I still have bad days from remembering all of it but nothing you can do but move forward.

When you decided to transition did you have any fears or concerns about what effect that might have had on your music career?

Of course. It was my main concern. Before I came out, I completely resigned myself to the fact that I would never be successful because of coming out as a trans man. I would always do music for the love but I told myself mainstream success was going to be out of the question. Then I come out and 6 months later we got signed. I sometimes think when you stop trying so hard to be something you're not, that's when things fall into place.

I'm so sad about there not being a True Colors tour this year! And wow what an AMAZING line up last year! Did you get close to any of the other bands on the tour?

True Colors was indeed an amazing experience. The best I've had so far. I kept in touch with Brian Viglione of the Dresden Dolls and thank god I did because now he's the new drummer for The Cliks! Whoopee! I'm also pals with Margaret Cho and actually just wrote a song with her for her new album and of course have kept in touch and email often with the Queen herself, Cyndi Lauper. She's been an immense support for me.

You guys hooked up with Sylvia Massy for the production of Dirty King. She's responsible for half my ipod; from Tool to Johnny Cash to System of a Down! The woman is brilliant! How did you guys end up working with her? What was that experience like?

It was through an engineer named Mike Philips who worked at Radio Star studios that we ended up in Weed, California to record the album. He had let her hear Snakehouse and she loved it and emailed us and said she'd like to throw her hat in the ring to produce the next album and how could we say no to that? It was an amazing experience. I learned a lot about myself as a songwriter there primarily and realized that no matter how many machines and tools you have to record an album, a good record comes from good songs and that's what Sylvia taught me.

Since the most recent 'Cliks' line-up broke up you've actually been more visible/active on the web. You also seem to be interacting with fans more. And judging for your tweets it seems you've been having more time for family and friends. I know you're a bit of a workaholic, did this break-up turn out to be a much needed vacation for you?

I think my visibility on the web was always something I'd wanted to do and yes, I do it a lot more now. With the old band I really felt that I had to censor a lot of what I did. It was harder to be myself because I felt so much jealousy coming from them unfortunately. So I would sort of hand it over to them and they would do nothing. In the years that they were in the band I think they wrote maybe 1 or 2 blogs and they were very forced. They didn't feel the same way about fans that I did. It was actually part of the tension between us. I love the fans. Without fans, artists have no one to connect what they create to. Morgan and Jen resented a lot of their fans and typically only took notice of the ones that were musicians.
I have had a long forced break and yes, it's what I needed. It's like the saying goes, when one door closes another one opens and I'm doing a lot of self work right now and realizing what I actually need as opposed to what I want out of life.
The relationship I had with them was toxic to the point that Jen felt justified in sometimes uttering transphobic comments. I haven't talked about it before but feel it's due time I come out about it because it was so hurtful. There's no good that comes from a band mate calling you "it".

So earlier this month you revealed the new 'Cliks' line-up, which includes Tobi Parks (Bambi) on bass, and Brian Viglione (The Dresden Dolls!!!) on drums. That's exciting! Any plans to start touring Dirty King again?

Yes, we're doing 2 shows this year as sadly that's all that was available at this point in the game. Brooklyn NY December 11th and Cambridge MA December 12th. Tours take months to plan so now we'll be hitting the road again in March of 2010 and finally touring the album.

I have a question from one of your fans (and twitter followers), Fireboltx:

Having had so many line-up changes in your band how easy or difficult is it to adjust to newly recruited band members, past and present?

This new line up was actually the easiest most natural change I ever went through. It's easy to feel good with the people you play with when you see they want it as bad as you do, and Brian and Tobi really do. We had 1 rehearsal for the show we did in DC and it was the best show I have ever done in my entire Cliks career. They're pros and their energy is on the money. It's not about ego, it's about music.
The band before was a lot more difficult. When I went from Heidi Chan and Ezri Kaysen, who were the original Cliks, into Morgan and Jordan, the second line up, I had a tough time. Morgan took a hired hand attitude to being in the band, like a job, even though she wasn't a hired hand and Jordan, well, that's a long story.
The addition of musicians as we went along was also difficult because everyone was always 20 steps ahead in expectations and that is what made them fail as band members. The work comes first, the reward, later. They didn't want to put their all into it and eventually got tired of waiting.
I think this new line up is completely different in that capacity because they've actually done more work already than any other band members I've been involved with and I need that kind of support because a band isn't just what happens on stage, mainly, these days, it's what happens off stage. That has to be solid because if it isn't, what happens on stage ends up falling apart.

One more question. Other than Lady GaGa, who are some of your favorite current bands/artists?

I'm actually so into the rnb and hip hop side of music right now because I feel like a lot of rock music is going to the birds.
I love the crap out of Beyonce, Jay Z, Rihanna, TI, Kid Cudi and outside of that I love the Arcade Fire, Bloc Party but mainly I am obsessed with an artist by the name of Geo Wyeth with a project called Novice Theory. He's a trans guy and on Testosterone and has been able to retain his singing voice so that has given me a new perspective on that whole situation.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Exclusive: A Moment With Trish Bendix!'s music blogger Trish Bendix has kept me up to date for some time now with her column "Soundcheck" on the site. She's interviewed Missy Higgins and Tegan Quin, two of my favorite people (and yours)! So I was honored when she agreed to answer a few questions for me. I really didn't need an introduction, after you read this interview you will see why I wanted to interview her and why she's one of the coolest people....ever. YEP.

How did you begin working for Was this before or after you started "The L Blog"?

I started writing for AfterEllen as a freelancer, covering music. Eventually, I started the music column, SoundCheck, and when ScribeGrrrl left the position of Blog Editor, the powers that be asked if I'd be interested in working for the site full time. The L Blog started after, for Chicago lesbians, separate from AE.

As a music blogger you have to cover a number of genres to please your readers. What kind of music are you actually into though?

I really do like most kinds of music, or at least some artists in each genre. I find, though, that my favorites are those that are more eclectic and mix genres, usually bands that have a pop edge to whatever kind of music they are actually making: folk-pop, dance-pop, indie-pop and hip-hop and R&B, which are just innately filled with some pop. I go through phases, sometimes, and right now I've been really into the country-tinged alt-rock like Brandi Carlile and Neko Case. My girlfriend (an addmittedly huge metal head) and I are really into Jace Everett's album, too - he sings the twangy theme song for "True Blood," which I think sparked the latest obsession.

You've done SO MANY interviews and articles over the years, is there one in particular that sticks out in your mind?

I once interviewed Missy Higgins backstage before a concert after watching her do a soundcheck. She had just recently come out as bisexual, and I was glad to get her to open up about my favorite song, "Secret," of hers, which was about dating a closeted girl. Tegan, of course, is a great interview, and that's because she's not afraid to answer anything. Molly Siegel of the Baltimore indie band Ponytail was really refreshingly honest and laidback, and both gay women of The Gossip (Hannah and Beth) were awesome. It was right before they blew up huge and were playing a tiny venue in Chicago. Beth was eating chocolate cake and bought me a coffee. Oh, and Sia right after she inadvertently came out in a UK gay men's mag.

Can you name three people that you want to interview that you haven't yet?

I'm hoping to get an interview with Brandi Carlile ASAP and would also love to talk with Carrie Brownstein and Joan Jett. Probably Sam Ronson, too, because she's been thrown into this crazy position of high-profile lez and I bet she'd be an interesting interview.

How do you feel about "Women In Rock" features/articles (and things of that nature)?

Ah, such a loaded topic. In general, I do not think they turn out to be much more than "These women are great - for women!" It would be a wonderful world if we didn't have to have specific issues dedicated to women because they had equal coverage everywhere else. The same could be said for lesbians: We have because we need it.

In my opinion this has been a great record release year (at least for indie rock). I haven't found myself listening to so much current music in years. Could you tell us a few of your favorites so far?

Some of my recent gay faves: Telepathe - "Dance Mother," Brandi Carlile - "Give Up the Ghost," The Gossip - "Music for Men," Tegan and Sara - "Sainthood" and Dance Yourself to Death's debut. Despite being semi-closeted, I'll also say Lissy Trullie's been a mainstay. I also love Ladyhawke and Little Boots, both rumored gays but otherwise, just really awesome musicians.

My blog is all about indie music/bands (for the most part). Are there any indie bands you think people should be aware of? Perhaps some local Chicago acts?

Chicago is lucky enough to have two great indie bands with lesbians in them: Bound Stems, The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir. We also have an awesome lesbian rapper named Psalm One who is on the Rhymesayers label with Atmosphere and some other hot MCs.

Favorite Sleater-Kinney song/record? (Oh you so knew that was coming)

Album: One Beat, Song: Jumpers - it used to be my ringtone

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Brooke Svanes: The Beat Speaks

On March 15, 2009 I met Brooke Svanes (and the rest of Sick of Sarah, but let’s focus). It was the best night of my life. I mean I’d been blown away by Brooke’s drumming via Youtube for some time at that point. I mean I’ve seen her drum on storage containers, sofas, trash cans…etc. To see her live is amazing. She hardly moves her head when she drums, the only thing that moves is her hands (at what speed? I don’t even know! FAST!). She’s so meticulous. If she wasn’t drumming so loud I think we could hear her keeping time in her head. She’s quite a fascinating individual. She’s a quiet individual (mostly) and it’s my honor to present to you what I’m sure will be one of few interviews throughout Svanes’ career. How did I get so lucky???

So I've heard a couple times now that you started drumming when you were 10. That's really young. How old were you when you joined your first band?

I joined my first band at age 14? We were called the menstrual tramps. I totally thought I was genius because I thought of the name in 9th grade physical science class. But then found out that was already the name of a Minneapolis band. Ha. Other bands I played in were: Disrespectfully Yours, The Pseudonyms, Bootleg, Vertigo, The Pink Slips. All through high school.

Who were you're biggest influences?

I was super influenced by bands like Motley Crue, Firehouse, Saigon Kick, and Guns n Roses at the young age of 5. I had older brothers so I would get really addicted to their music. I was always wearing headphones and listening to my little cassette tapes. Like constantly. It was my escape really. And then I got into bands like Nirvana, Garbage and Hole. That's when I met my friend Elija, who basically runs the ND music scene. And he lent me Sleater-Kinney's self-titled album and Bikini Kill's CD version of the first two records. From there I started listening to all sorts of bands, like The Third Sex, Team Dresch, Bratmobile, Heavens to Betsy, Sarge, Unwound, Bangs, Minor Threat even! haha...

How do you come up with your beats? Could you take us through that process?

I've always been obsessed with numbers and counting (praise OCD and so I just always kind of hear beats in my head. I might hear a drumbeat I like and then sort of elaborate upon it and make it my own, as it is impossible not to be influenced by music one listens to, I think.

You're a bit more reserved than the rest of the band. I guess drummers have a reputation for being kinda crazy. Do you find that people are surprised at how cool and laid-back you are?

Well, I think that being crazy is sort of a prerequisite to being a drummer. I mean, we like to hit things. A lot. But yes, I am a more introverted person by nature. Though I'm also a Gemini, so there are many different facets to my personality. I am a pretty private person. Laid-back? Depends on the day and what I'm on. haha...

Is there a specific venue you want to play that you guys haven't yet?

I'd love to play the main-room at First Avenue in Minneapolis.

Sick of Sarah has accomplished a lot in a short period of time. Could you offer some advice to any young aspiring female musicians?

Advice? Keep practicing. Don't let anyone try and dictate to you what you should be playing or how. I mean, suggestions are rad, and we all need help, but in musician world, there are a lot of egos floating around and people who like to call the shots. Just play, and be open to constructive criticism. Let it inspire you. Play to get better. Play to get it out of you, because you have to. Play for the right reasons.

Photo Credit: Amber McDonald

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Correne Spero: 'A Thinking Girl's Hero'

Correne Spero pictured center

I'm a big Lucky Bitch fan and an even bigger (slightly obsessive) Northern State fan-most importantly, a Spero fan. So I was beyond stoked when you unveiled your new project, Paperwork. First off, where did the name come from?

Oh heyyy Janay-nay! Umm, the name Paperwork just sort of made sense to me, I guess because being in Northern State for 10 years there was a LOT of administration and paperwork associated with that band..because we basically do everything ourselves, we have self-managed for about 8 of our 10 years and sometimes it felt like I was drowning in desk-work, when the whole point of being in a band was in a band. But the rest of it is all a very necessary evil. But I kind of just wanted this little Paperwork project to be like the antithesis to that. I wanted it to be all about the songs and the music and not at all about the business or "admin" side of things. So I named it to remind me of that or something? Does that make sense?

I've only heard a few tracks so far. I really like what I hear, it's definitely different from your previous work in LB and NS. I had a hard time placing it in one genre, which made me like it more. How would you categorize Paperwork?

aperwork is sort of my dub country punk project. I think of it as my Southern Rock album. Cuz every girl needs one of those...right? But with some reggae and country thrown in and a little punk edge. When I put up more songs, I think you'll see what I mean? I hope? maybe?

You mentioned on your Myspace that some songs were written over 10 years ago. Did those songs in particular require a lot of re-working or did you stick to the original sound?

Yeah, we basically just stuck to the original thing that was going on with those songs. They are kind of straightforward country/rock songs. The funny thing is I recorded some of them (like BK'00 which is one of the ones up on back before Northern State started on my old 4 track ,and now I don't even have a cassette player, so I had no way to listen to them and remember how they go before I went to record them in Little Rock. Technology has changed, Janay! I was really feelin my age! But it all came back to me once I was down in Little Rock. It was cool to record words I had written so long ago, it was like they made more sense to me now more than ever. But now I am thinking about the lyrics in a totally different way. It was cool to check in with the 10 years younger version of myself and see if she still made sense to me, and if I was still pickin up what she was throwin down - and I definitely was.

Since there are songs over a decade old, does that mean that you initially set out to be a solo artist before things took off with Northern State?

Not exactly. I went to Audio Engineering School before Northern State formed, and I was very focused about wanting to be a musician. And I was writing songs and recording them in my bedroom and stuff. But I wasn't dreaming of being a 'solo artist' so to speak. I think when Northern State came along I was really psyched to join a band and be a part of something with other people. It gave me a focus and the three of us together had an energy that was really inspiring to me and more fun than the old 4 track-alone in the bedroom thing.

Are you still working with Lucky Bitch at the moment?

We're not doing anything right this moment, but we played a show this past summer and we may play another one later this fall. Lucky Bitch is just like a really loose supergroup of bitches who luv to rock..who can blame us? But we record and rehearse and play REALLY sporadically. We don't all live in the same city so it makes it kind of hard to be like a high-functioning band. Lucky Bitch is really just about fun - it's like instead of getting together with your girls for dinner and drinks we get together for rehearsal and drinks..or play a's really awesome to play with those girls and it's really cool that it's such a low pressure gig, I enjoy being one of 6 in that band..I can kind of just hide in the corner on some songs, or behind the drums. I can sing a Lita Ford cover (and I do). Anything goes. It rocks.

Will you be touring in support of this project soon?

Right now I am just focusing on finishing recording this Paperwork album, I am hoping to have all the recording done by the end of this year..and then maybe I'll think about playing some shows. I am actually kinda shy about playing shows, especially in a situation where there is more emphasis on me..I feel better with Sprout and Hesta or the Lucky Bitches on stage with me.I'm sure if you've seen me on stage with Northern State, you probably wouldn't get that, but it's true. But I am having a really good time recording this Paperwork album with some good friends, so if they would be up for playing some shows with me, I think I'd be into it, as long as the live show felt more like a band thing..which is basically what the album is turning out to be's like a band with a revolving door and a few amazing key players.

Speaking of touring, is there a place you've dreamed of touring but haven't had a chance to yet?

YES! Little Rock! Northern State has never played there. Also Memphis, I can't remember but I don't think we've ever played there either..maybe some places like Athens, GA..and we haven't played Nashville properly in a long time so I'd be psyched to play there..As you can see I have a bit of a fascination with the South. Or maybe the Florida Keys? Do some Jimmy Buffet covers?

Northern State formed almost 10 years ago, in that time at some point Lucky Bitch also formed and now you have Paperwork. Has music always been it for you, I mean have you ever wanted to do anything else?

Yes, music has been it for me since I was pretty young..But I'd say music and trying doing something positive in the world besides music are my twin loves. In college (at Oberlin) I was a Women's Studies major and kind of a super feminist activist on campus. Activism and working for positive change has always been really important to me, and that's something I recently decided I wanted to dedicate myself to a little more again. I missed it. I can't ever imagine not creating music- but eventually it just starts to feel kind of lame to me to always be asking people to come see your band, buy your merch, buy your cd..I start to feel like..who cares? It's all very necessary stuff, especially if you are trying to make a living off your music like Northern State has been fortunate enough to be able to do over the years. But I don't care if you are the Rolling Stones, at the end of the day, your band is a little bit stupid, you know?

Sooooo.. recently I have been working a bit with immigrant populations in NYC - helping them learn English, go to college, become citizens, etc.. I grew up very aware of the story and hard work of my great grandparents, my grandparents, and my parents. It's because of them that I've had an education and the ability to follow my dream and be a musician and travel the world. I'm living a life my great grandparents probably could not have imagined. So this kind of work really rewarding for me.

I also have this kind of crazy dream of being in local politics someday, maybe pull a Sonny Bono, oh heyyy! Touring and campaigning are basically the exact same thing anyway..But I want to just be like grandfathered into local office without actually having to run for anything and have my head on signs or anything. Can you arrange that, Janay?

That's it! Hope it's short enough. You're so awesome for doing this. I really am a huge fan. Thank you so much!

Aww Janay, you're a doll, me and the Northern State gals all appreciate your support so much. You are obviously a lady of discriminating and dare I say fabulous taste, and we feel very fortunate to know you..thanks again for the opportunity to talk about my little Paperwork project.



Thursday, October 1, 2009

Get Tegan & Sara On Canadian Radio & Don't Be So Canadian About It!

So tomorrow is the big day. Tomorrow Tegan & Sara's first single off their upcoming, highly anticipated (as proven by a recent poll in which it beat out Weezer's Raditude for most anticipated October release...JUST saying...), record Sainthood, hits Canadian radio. The track is called "Hell" and is a guaranteed pop/rock hit. That is if it can get proper rotation.
The purpose of this is NOT to make TnS mainstream, simply to get good music on the radio, Tegan & Sara just so happen to fit the bill. So below I'm going to list some radio contact information for you guys to utilize in the never-ending fight to get Tegan & Sara what they deserve. But this isn't just for them, you should fight for other indie bands you love to get more air play too- I mean on one of these station's websites their flash was pictures of Miley Cyrus, Jonas Bros and ANY of you even listen to these people!?

And you don't have to be Canadian to call and request or inquire about the song. Radio stations play a song based on how many requests they get for it, so keep that in mind.

89x (Windsor)

99.3 Fox (Vancouver)

Main Switchboard: 604-684-7221

100.3 The Q (Victoria)

Hot 103 (Winnipeg)
Studio: 204-788-WINS
Switchboard: 204-944-1031

Hot 89.9 (Ottawa)

91x (91.0?) (Ontario)

CJLX FM 92.3 (Ontario, Loyalist College/Community Radio)

And as a joke, maybe request "Hell" from Sainthood on
Life 100.3 Christian Radio (Ontario)

All anything ever takes is a little action. It's how everything came to be something.
(either I'm really deep or that made NO sense!)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Tegan & Sara: One Month Away From Sainthood

Today I step outside myself to write this. You should do the same to read this. Why? Cause it's good practice for what you'll have to do to listen to the new tracks from Tegan & Sara. Pre-conceived notions and old impressions will do you no good and will probably leave you utterly confused.
Every record the band releases is an evolution of the previous record. So far Sainthood seems to be no different. Tegan & Sara recently premiered 6 of the songs at Rifflandia from the record, due out October 27.
Based solely on these 6 songs I'd actually have to say the evolution skipped a couple steps this time around-with GREAT results. I don't know yet if much is to be said for experimentation but one noticeable difference is lyrical content. Sara mentioned early on that she would not be writing about her loves and relationships but rather of those around her, including her mother's with her and Tegan's-at one point-distant father. Also 2 out of 3 of the new tracks Tegan performed from the record were about a harsh neighborhood in which she used to reside in Vancouver-lyrically, a very different direction for her.
Singles...hmm..which of these 6 songs could be played on the radio to the masses and motivate them to buy Sainthood??? I have NO idea. I really suck at this game. I mean we're talking about Hook Masters here...hell most of the new songs performed could do well. I tend to like my pop/rock more rock than pop so if I heard "Hell" or "The Ocean" on the radio I'd be an instant fan of this band. For those who love the pop "Alligator" or "On Directing" might seem like natural selections.
I have to admit though, the gem to me was "The Cure"! This track is SO big, so heavy. And the fact that it has such intense lyrics and ISN'T about love or longing like most Tegan tracks makes it that much more powerful. It reminded me of old rock songs from the 70's or 80's that I love and seem to hear in every movie. The ones too meaningful to let go or let fade over time. The classics. I think if TnS were a different kind of a rock band instead of a pop/rock (indie pop) band making "The Cure" a single would be a no brainer. Again...I suck at that, I don't really care I just want Sainthood!
Well I'm not going to hold you guys up for long. I just wanted to offer some early thoughts and opinions. After the release I'll be sure to return with more sarcasm, bigger words and EVEN MORE opinions.

People have been using my friend Jaime's footage without crediting her, I've never thought to do it cause I know everyone that reads this is aware of her and her footage. But from now on in case there's any confusion I will be crediting her. This video (if it's still here) is Jaime Wojodowski's (Wojo4hitz) IF it is gone, check out her channel and subscribe

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mute Math: Armistice

Hmm...where to start? O! Ok so don't want to start there. Hold on. Ok here we go, "Clipping"...nope, kinda want to do a "save the best for last" thing there....
Remember when Maroon 5's first record came out? No? Pessimist, try! It was so different from what was going on at the time. I loved it, it was something like rock/rnb fusion. It was one of those rare (at the time) records you could enjoy regardless of what genre you usually listen to. I call those "one-stop shop records", cause everything you need is right there. These usually contain soulful vocals, hard guitars, smooth drums and insightful lyrics. Now, too much of one of these elements would tip the scale making the album heavy on one genre; so if you were shopping you would not find...I mean if you were stopping at the shop...wait...I lost my analogy, damn. Well Armistice, Mute Math's latest release, is reminiscent of that feeling. Not necessarily of the Maroon 5 record-more like if Maroon 5 lightened up on the bass a bit and Ray Lamontagne was the lead singer instead of Adam Levine.
A while ago I did a post about Christian Rock, I fought my urge to mention Mute Math cause even though they have been referred to as a Christian Rock band since their debut, that never fit to me. The lyrics on Armistice are pretty dark ("Burden"), anything but inspirational ("Backfire"). There's even a little something something about drugs ("Valium"), and a little something something else about sex ("Electrify")- all very good things. The members might be Christians but that's not what's being reflected in the music, by that I mean religion period is not reflected in the music at all.
The Maroon 5 comparison is meant solely as a base comparison to the style of the vocals and the rhythm section. To get really into that "what it sounds like" thing I would have to go back to the 80's and dig up the "New Wave". I wasn't born yet so that's really hard for me. I'll call my mom and get back to you. But I can tell you Armistice DEFINITELY reminds me of music my mom would blast (from the past) during parties and gatherings...or while she was cooking or cleaning...generally just breathing.
My favorite track on the record is "Clipping". I have so many thoughts about this one song! There's something about the chorus and how it's so repetitive that it takes up most of the song that makes me emotional. When songs are arranged this way it's as if the song IS crying, it's continuous chorus is playing out the rhythm of a cry. And I'm not a crier, never have been. I haven't cried since I was 9. But certain songs project SO much intense emotion that sometimes I feel like I'm crying through them. "Clipping" is definitely one of those songs. It doesn't help that the song has the most depressing lyrics of all time. I'm pretty much convinced the song is about what was happening with the band as they were writing this record. Things got so bad they almost broke up. They hired Producer, Dennis Herring, and canned all the songs they had written (and were fighting over) for what would become Armistice and wrote 20 new ones.
Ok well, it's 10am which is a couple hours past my bed time!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Get To Know Lindsey Byrnes!

1. Formal dress, ninja and balloons are not words you expect to see in a photo shoot description (on a beach no less)-unless it involves Amanda Palmer, we've come to expect these things from AFP. However, this was all you. What inspired such an unconventional shoot?

The inspiration for the shoot of course was Amanda Palmer. It really was not and is not ever all me. I like to collaborate and shooting photos is always a collaboration. With some people things just click into place. Amanda is so vivacious she really has the most incredible energy and such a balls to the wall approach to everything. She called me and was like "I am having a beach gig, you wanna shoot it?" And I was like "YES! Tell them all to bring this and that" and that was it. That shoot has actually become a launching pad for a big project that I'm working on with Juxtapoz Magazine. I will be announcing details at a later date and will be sure to let you know

2. Another very interesting project you worked on recently was the "Vans Book". How did you get involved in that? What was that experience like?

I got involved with the Vans book because they were looking for someone who could photo edit the project. I worked for many years for High Speed Productions, Inc. the publisher of Thrasher Magazine. Over the years I have worked with Vans in different ways. Doug Palladini who authored the book, put a lot of trust in me. This was so fun, I feel honored that I was chosen to help. Jeremy Taylor was in charge of the design and working with him was amazing!

3. I love ALL your work! I am particularly fond of your live/action shots. Of course your organized are amazing as well, do you prefer one over the other?

I really don't prefer one over the other. I think that it just depends on my mood. I like shooting live music because I get to capture part of a performance, the musicians know they are being photographed and are happy about that. It also depends on the subject. I like collaborating with the artists. I like shooting photos of people because like people

4. One of my favorite photographers, David Lachapelle, also directs videos. I've known of a few photographers to do this. Is that something you're interested in at all?

I love David LaChapelle's work. He is also one of my favorite photographers. Yes I am very interested in music videos and film! It is hard not to be interested, at the moment I'm trying to stay focussed on what is in front of me and who knows what happens down the road.

5. Your "Mexico" photo album on myspace is beautiful! What are some other places you want to travel to and get some shots of?

I want to travel everywhere. The easier question might be "where don't you want to go?". My whole life I have wanted to travel and see new places and when I am shooting travel photos it is like everything looks like a postcard.

6. Your most recent shots of Tegan & Sara, the monochromatic ones, are my favorite of them! Period! I don't even have anything to ask you about that. Just...DAMN! You're so awesome please do this forever! ok?

Thank you! I appreciate all the encouragement. I think everyone feels insecure and scared at times and then there are those of us who are insecure most of the time...So again, Thank you!

7. If you could go back in time and photograph any legendary band, who would it be?

I would love to have been able to see the Beatles perform, holy crap that would have been insane, and to have been at Woodstock. Okay, so I guess that makes me a hippie at heart... so what?

8. The people would like you to "Twitpic" more. So, I told the people that I would ask you to "Twitpic" more. Lindsey Byrnes, could you please "Twitpic" more???

I really want a new phone, one that has a camera attached, then I would TwitPic all the time. Any suggestions for those of us with out a camera-phone?

9. Any big photo shoots or projects coming up for you soon?

See answer #1

10. That's all I have, but odd numbers make me cringe so here's my random 10th question, another one for the people:
What is your favorite Tegan & Sara song? You can give us a "Top 5" if that's easier!

I have never been one who could answer what my favorite color is let alone a favorite band or song from one of my favorite bands. I can honestly say that I love Tegan and Sara's songwriting and listen to their music all the time. I go through different phases of which song or CD I listen to more...

Photo of Lindsey Byrnes: Windy Tien
Photo of Tegan & Sara: Lindsey Byrnes

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Aaliyah Dana Haughton: January 16, 1979 - August 25, 2001

You never know how you're going to feel when someone dies. I think we all assume if we don't personally know the person, then we won't feel too torn up about it. That's what I thought. I was wrong, I was so very very wrong.
Aaliyah died 8 years ago and I've never gotten over it. I can't....I don't listen to her music or watch her movies cause whenever I try it makes me so depressed. Every year I remember how I felt on this day. Every year it's like she dies all over again, except every year it has a little less impact on me emotionally, but it still hurts like hell.
So I don't want to focus on the pain. But rather do what I usually do: introduce or further educate some people on an artist they may not know about. And this is extra special because I think most people that read my blog are mostly into Indie Rock, as am I. But if you want to know what I listened to before I discovered Rock, Aaliyah is a good place to start.
I was 7 when I became a die hard Aaliyah fan! Tiny little fanboy I was! She was a hardcore tomboy yet SO pretty and graceful! I wanted to be just like her! I was in awe of everything she did! I couldn't believe she was from Detroit. I had hometown pride at a young age! Then in 1996 when One In A Million came out and she was everywhere, living in Detroit was like living on a fan base. Everyone had her poster in their room and everyone said only positive things about her. In 1999 she performed at the Oscars in a dress she got at Eastland! Eastland Mall, if you lived in "The D" you would know how hood that is. I mean it was the Oscars and she was huge she didn't have to do that but to her, a dress was a dress.
That one act was a testament to who she was. She was "cool". Everyone wanted to be her friend. I've run into so many of her friends from high school and they say she never let the success get to her head. I remember the day after she died someone said on a radio call in that she came to their birthday party and as a present got them something they had casually mentioned to her in passing. I mean at this point she has sold over 10 million records and she's in Detroit attending an old friend's birthday party! Amazing! She even continued to go school here through all this; graduated with honors!
She always did the opposite of what was considered cool at the time. Dressing like a boy, DEFINITELY not cool when she started doing it back in '94. Also around the time One In A Million came out there was all this controversy surrounding Tommy Hilfiger's clothing line. It was rumored that he said he only made his clothes for white people. So what does Aaliyah do? She models for Tommy Hilfiger...again..AMAZING!
In 2000 Aaliyah made history as the first artist to top the Billboard 100 chart solely on radio airplay with "Try Again", a song that also earned her a Grammy nomination. The video for that same song also earned her a MTV VMA. I've never heard an Aaliyah track I didn't at least like a little bit lol. Artists like that are so rare.
Her last record was doing well, but as expected upon her death sales sky rocketed, reaching over 24 million, why can't we appreciate people while they're here? She died in a plane crash with 8 other people, including the pilot after shooting a video for "Rock The Boat", off her last record.
She was indeed phenomenal if you're keeping up; her debut record went double platinum, her sophomore record sold ever 8 million worldwide and her last over 24 million worldwide. She was so much more than R&B, constantly experimenting with Pop and Rock elements in her music. Perhaps this is why she was deemed the "Queen of Urban Pop".
Here's my favorite song off her last record, Aaliyah:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Feel It In My HEAD: The Good, The Bad...The Tegan, The Sara & The Tiesto

The Good:

Well "Feel It In My Bones" started streaming on yesterday. You can imagine the excitement this sparked among the TnS fan community who has been eagerly, and not so patiently waiting on new material from the band.
And this also was a big deal for any fan of Tiesto who loved his remix of Tegan & Sara's "Back In Your Head". I've watched a few Youtube videos of Tiesto spinning his remix of the hit and from what I can tell, the remixed track has a hell of a lot of fans. The mix itself I think made a lot of people wonder what Sara would sound like if she actually did a techno track, some might even say her voice was made for such a genre-I wouldn't, some might (some have).
After hearing (obsessively listening to...whatever you like to do...) The Con, Tegan & Sara's 2007 release, it was obvious some experimentation was done with the production. The main experimental element had to be the multiple keyboard tracks. Cranking the pop up multiple levels. Even with this somewhat new sound being widely accepted by fans, no one wants a Tegan & Sara Techno record. So, how do we hear a Tegan & Sara techno song-just one!?
Well my friends, all we needed was for Tiesto to come out with another record and ask TnS to be on it. Being the control freaks they are and knowing what they can do with their voices and with their writing they probably suggested that THEY write the song.
And the end result is amazing, as many of us knew it would be. Sara's voice is just perfect on the track! She shines, and the lyrics are 100% Tegan (...I take my heart out of my chest I just don't need it anymore...) and 100% Sara (what rushes into my heart and my skull)! What I mean is Sara's lyrics are always a bit strange, yet awesome! And Tegan's lyrics are always simply heartbreaking, yet awesome! And the vocal collaboration between Tegan & Sara themselves is unlike anything they've ever released, it's also something fans have been waiting for them to do. So overall, the song would appear to be a win; for us, for Tegan & Sara, and for Tiesto.

The Bad:
The dark clouds mostly form over on Where lots of people seem to not only dislike the song, but also seem to dislike Tegan & Sara and Tiesto. Which begs the question: Why would one click a link with the words "Tegan and Sara" and "Tiesto" in it if they in fact do not care for these artists? I don't know what the answer could be other than: They don't like Tegan & Sara but they like to argue and debate. And well, they got what they wanted, I myself have taken part in some debate on the site. But I felt I had no choice things where being said about my girls that just were not true.
One that really got me heated was comments saying that they had "PR agents". One individual even going as far as to say that they were commenting under aliases just to fuel the arguments and debates. This is a lie but what's really outrageous is that this song is not Tegan & Sara's nor is it for ANY of their records, including their upcoming record Sainthood. As explained in a video posted on the band's website, the song is a song they wrote with Tiesto a year ago exclusively for his record, Kaleidoscope. The song is also NOT a remix of a Tegan & Sara song. That's actually the only thing I'm going to touch on regarding the negativity.
If someone doesn't like the song, that's fine. There will NEVER be a piece of music that everyone agrees on! NEVER! No one should ever tell anyone that they are wrong for liking or not liking something.

That Is All! End Rant!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Christian Rock And It's Universal Appeal

Now I've never been very religious. In fact, the next time I find myself in a church, it will probably be at my funeral, in which case, I still won't be finding myself there. But I'll still be there, are you happy mom!?
Sorry, um...yes yes music.
Growing up it was very clear religion, church and all that wasn't my thing. But also very clear that music was. My mother even bargained with me on this issue. I would get excited about a record and she could see I'd do anything to get it. So of course she gets the bright idea to force me to buy a "gospel CD" before buying my devil CD.
When my mother says "gospel music" she means Yolanda Adams, Fred Hammond, John P. Kee etc. Basically go duplicate her music collection. I knew that everyone that went to church couldn't possibly be into the same kind of music so I did some research and stumbled upon "Contemporary Christian Rock", take that mom! I wanted a Finger Eleven CD, so before I could get it, I purchased a P.O.D CD. I continued this pattern for the rest of my years at home. All of it was rock to me, christian or otherwise, it sounded the same.
So in the end we both got what we wanted. However, a year later I told my mom I was gay so my music taste was the least of her child-burning-in-hell worries.
Even now I LOVE "christian rock", but not for religion, I just love the music and I don't even relate much to the Christian aspects of it. The lyrics are universal. It's similar to when gay artist play the "pronoun game" and they don't use words like "her" or "him" in their music, to make it universally relatable. All the Christian rock bands I listen to now never use the words "Jesus", "God", "holy", "church" or anything that would pull attention away from the whole message of the song and directly towards religion.
In doing this these bands have managed to blend in with pop culture, basically spreading the same message as most bands. All the basic emotions are still in their music; anger, pain, and sadness. There might just be more than one song on their records about hope, love, and inspiration. Instead of giving some long list in print, I'll just go ahead and list some of my contemporary favorites, starting with my favorite: Thousand Foot Krutch!!!