Thursday, May 27, 2010

Everything You Need to Know: St. Vincent

by Shireen June

Annie Clark is St. Vincent.

Not in the way that Stefani Germanotta is Lady Gaga or Alicia Augello Cook is Alicia Keys, because although all three carry pseudonyms, Annie Clark is a creator of technical harmonies, witty lyrics, and prodigious instrumentals carried out by ten other assisting players (just kidding, that only happened on Letterman).

Clark’s accompaniment, despite the elaborate Letterman performance, is never anything less than intricate. Having seen her perform twice in the past year, I’m always in awe every time a new instrument enters the stage. It’s when I witness her give a starting nod to the keyboardist-turned-violinist that I appreciate the talent of a frontman, or in this case frontwoman.

However in order to be an honest writer, I’ll admit to having first previewed Clark’s album after walking past a vinyl copy of her latest release “Actor” in a nearby record store exactly a year ago. To get to the point, it was the face.

It was a vinyl cover unlike any around it, and when I bought it days later I found that it was a beautiful record, unlike any I’d heard before.

I also saved an image the cover as the background on my cell phone. No regrets.

The songs initially sounded like a cross between my vivid memories of watching Disney movies as a kid, and my less-than apprehensible memories of listening to Led Zeppelin as an adolescent. I think it was the intriguing contrast between Clark’s soft voice and her intimidating ability to slay on a guitar.

It all adds to the charm.

Clark, who now resides in New York when off tour, has opened for artists like Grizzly Bear, Death Cab for Cutie, The National, Andrew Bird, and Arcade Fire. Her earlier career began soon after dropping out of Berklee’s School of Music when she became a member of Sufjan Stevens' touring band and The Polyphonic Spree. Most recently, she collaborated with Bon Iver in the heartbreakingly magnetic song “Roslyn,” which was composed for the soundtrack of the overwhelmingly popular film New Moon.

With some summer shows lined up, St. Vincent will make her way to your area in which case you should definitely attend. Don’t take a date, because you’ll find yourself more focused on the stage more than any show you’ve attended before (and perhaps slightly hypnotized).

Do not take St. Vincent with any other drugs or alcohol.

Symptoms may include rapid heartbeat, over stimulation of the eyes, uncontrollable smiles, and sonic joy bursting into your ears.

Between her two albums released under the moniker St. Vincent (“Marry Me” and “Actor”), here are some songs worth checking out:

1. Actor Out of Work

2. Paris is Burning

3. Jesus Saves, I Spend

4. The Party

5. Now Now

6. Marrow

7. Your Lips are Red

8. What Me Worry?

9. The Strangers

10. Marry Me

~ Shireen June (


Monday, May 24, 2010

Everything You Need to Know: Blood Red Shoes

by Sarah Bastin

November 2007. I am taking photos of the Festival Les Inrocks for Brain Magazine. It’s my first time at this Festival, and if I remember well, it’s the opening night. Cold War Kids is headlining this first day but 2 hours before, I was stoked by a duo, Blood Red Shoes.

A drumset and a guitar. Then I remember the blond hair of steve and his blue eyes. But mostly I remember Laura-Mary. How pale is her skin and how dark are her eyes. I instantly got a crush on her, him, them. She acts shy but she rocks hard. Steve looks like a tiny boy but his big eyes are all opened.

I try to do my best to take photos. It’s complicated. I am far from the stage. I am not in the front row. The band is awesome and I am struggling against the work I have to do and the sensations that I feel. Blood Red Shoes gave me sweet warm feelings that I needed. "I Wish I Was Someone Better" blew my mind. So did "It’s Getting Boring by the Sea". Short songs full of riffs suit to my present life. It’s punk rock with the pop that we need. After the show, I’ve spent two weeks listening non stop to their first album. Buying it online, looking for their vinyls in Paris.

A year later, in 2008, Blood Red Shoes played a new show in Paris. The same night as Motorhead. First row in a pit full of photographers. Again, nothing on the stage but a drum set and guitars. It’s empty and I already love it. Laura-Mary is wearing the exact same shoes. Black ones. I remembered them as high heels. They are not. "Say Something, Say Anything" is epic and the band offers 3 exclusive new songs.

I don’t remember their titles but they are probably part, today, of their new album, Fire like this. After 3 years of intense listening to their music, I saw Blood Red Shoes for the first time in 2 years, at their show in Paris. I am here to film their set for Le Hiboo and I am excited and anxious just like the beginning of term. The new record is a bit more pop but "Don’t Ask" is an amazing single. The show was sold out and I am happy for this band. They played festivals and they deserve to have their own public. I am a bit scared too. What if nothing has changed? What if they don’t give something new?

This time I am on the left side, right in front of Steve who is facing me. I admit that I don’t remember Laura-Mary’s shoes but she has replaced her dresses for a large Led Zep tee and a skinny jean. Again, she rarely looks at the crowd while she is mastering her guitar. They are both themselves. At least, the same duo from 2007. But 3 years later, they are offering us a show with much more nuances of the rock music. Discret electronic drum intros, slow and fast tempos in the same song. "When We Wake" makes me want to stop filming and enjoy the song. It’s something heavy, weak, sweet, sour, fragile and strong. It’s the perfect symbol of a complementary duo, of an (apparently) shy girl offering heavy riffs, of a tiny blond boy with a huge drum set.

Titles, in no specific order :
Can’t Find the Door
Don’t Ask
I Wish I Was Someone Better
It’s getting Boring by the Sea
Say Something, Say Anything
You Bring Me Down
Light It Up
When We Wake
Follow the Lines

~ Sarah Bastin (

photo by Sarah Bastin

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Everything You Need to Know: Now, Now Every Children

by Maya Powell

I first heard Now, Now Every Children on a Monday. And a depressing one too. It was the beginning of October, which by Minnesota standards is the dead of winter. I wish I could remember who recommended them to me, but i’m stuck thinking it was some generous higher power. The first track I played was ‘We Know Martha Webber’, the third track off of their 2008 album Cars. Instantly entranced by lead singer Cacie Dalager’s soft yet potent voice and drummer Bradley’s delicate yet complex beats, I left my October-blues behind and executed an odd assortment of air-drumming, head banging, and jumping on my bedroom floor. I was, what many NNEC fans may admit to being, an instant super fan.

Almost as fast as the 2 minute 48 second song starts as a calm indie tune and escalades into a thunderous rush of synths, guitars, and cymbals, I entered the online world of NNEC. After tweeting, friending, and watching all the youtube videos I could get my paws on, I came to two very satisfying conclusions:

1. They are funny.

2. They are from Minnesota.

Funny is a very important part in liking a band for me. It’s a connection that a band creates that makes me want to buy the concert ticket just as much as the music does. I like watching 30-second videos of my favorite bands doing karaoke to 80’s hits in the van on their way to their next gig. And I appreciate the tweets that simply say “Shitballs.” NNEC, fully immersed in the interwebs via twitter, youtube, tumblr, stickam, and more, thoroughly filled my comedy quota. Complimentary to the humor is the fact that they are local. By default, I like bands a gazillion times more if they are local because I like to support the amazing music scene that has come through in Minneapolis. So to recap, crazy good music plus good humor with the fans plus local equals NNEC.

Now, Now Every Children - Friends With My Sister from Brandon Chesbro on Vimeo.

NNEC definitely has a ‘sound’, although I’m not sure that my mediocre vocabulary could find the words to do it just. Here’s my attempt: NNEC constructs synth based songs that start soft and escalade into full out guitar jams, then wind down into gentle outros that force you to click the repeat button. Cacie sings vocals that sound so frank and sincere you almost feel like you’re sitting in a room adjacent to her, listening to her write the song. Her slightly distorted guitar riffs make even the most casual listener wonder ‘why DON’T I play the guitar?’ Bradley creates intense, syncopated rhythms, clashing with the melody and chords to make a sound that is so powerful and different from rock music today. Touring band Britty, Christine, and Jess make their songs sound full and forceful live, compelling even the most apprehensive concertgoer to awkwardly sway with the person next to them. My favorite song, ‘Headlights’, off of Cars, is the kind of song that I listen to everywhere. I sit on my bed lip-synching to it. I get strange looks from people at lunch when I can’t help but shuffle my feet to it’s radiating beat. I get disapproving comments from my chiropractor when trying to explain that I strained my neck head banging to the half-time climax of the song.

The accumulation of all of these elements makes Now, Now Every Children my favorite band- The inspiring melodies, witty charm, and blatant hipster appearance are the grounds of my, and many other fans', tremendous love for Now, Now Every Children.


2. We Know Martha Webber
3. Everyone You Know
4. Headlights
5. Have You Tried
6. Holiday, Birthday Funeral
7. Friends With My Sister
8. In My Chest
9. In The City
10. Little Brother

~ Maya Powell (


Everything You Need to Know: Guster

by Melissa Coleman

About ten years ago, an album changed my life. My dad (who I obviously thought was super lame at the time,) played Lost and Gone Forever by Guster on the car stereo. I sat and listened, stunned. Three-part harmonies sang over the crashing of bongo drums and complex guitar arrangements. My Aaron Carter obsession disappeared instantly. This was what music was supposed to sound like.

Ryan Miller (vocals, various stringed instruments,) Adam Gardner (vocals, various stringed instruments,) Brian Rosenworcel (percussion) and Joe Pisapia (various stringed instruments and keyboard) hail from Massachussetts and comprise Guster.

Since their first album in 1995, they've released four more, gaining moderate mainstream success in the US. I have no idea why they aren't topping the charts. It's impossible for me to distinguish a favorite album between Lost and Gone Forever (1999) and Keep It Together (2003).

What makes Guster so amazing?

Maybe it's the instrumentation and arrangements. First, Rosenworcel plays drums without sticks... like with his bare hands. Besides that making him a beast, it gives an incredibly unique sound to the percussion (obvious on songs such as "Barrel of a Gun" and "Happier.") The other members also play an arsenal of unique instruments: lap steel, appalachian dulcimer and ukulele to name a few.

Maybe it's the unbelievably catchy harmonies. Miller and Gardner's voices together make my ears explode every time I listen (just barely an exaggeration.) Every song forces me to sing along. Even the lyrics are great, which is an added bonus.

Maybe it's their live shows. I got to see them in 2006 with my dad (who obviously was still super lame.) I saw their onstage banter firsthand, and I must say that it rivals Tegan and Sara's. They were so hilarious... and I got confusing crushes on all of them.

Amazingness aside, listening to Guster simply puts me in a good mood. Many of their songs (like "Amsterdam" and "Manifest Destiny") achieve the near-impossible: being optimistic without being cheesy. Other songs (like "Two Points for Honesty" and "Backyard") allow me to reflect and philosophize.. Every song engages me in every way, which is a feat since I get bored easily.

Oh, and once you're addicted to Guster, you'll have a reason to celebrate this fall. Their new untitled album drops in September. Get excited.

Essential Guster Playlist:

1. Barrel of a Gun (Lost and Gone Forever)

2. Backyard (Keep it Together)

3. Great Escape (Goldfly)

4. What You Wish For (Lost and Gone Forever)

5. The Captain (Ganging Up On the Sun)

6. Careful (Keep It Together)

7. I Spy (Lost and Gone Forever)

8. Amsterdam (Keep It Together)

9. Fa Fa (Lost and Gone Forever)

10. Jonah (Music For Relief for Haiti compilation album, 2010)

~ Melissa Coleman (


Friday, May 21, 2010

Everything You Need to Know: Sick of Sarah

by Heather Patterson

Sick of Sarah is an all female band out of Minneapo....booorrrrring.

You can read their bio dozens of different places, the story behind their name, their influences, that's all in the bio on their facebook , the bottom line is YOU HAVE TO CHECK OUT THIS BAND. I promise you will not be disappointed. Their music is catchy alt pop-rock combined with interesting, heart-felt lyrics.

I first heard of this band about a year ago when I saw Abisha on Brunch With Bridget, of course a few minutes of Abisha and anyone would want more. I immediately started checking them out and by the end of the first time I watched the music video for "Bittersweet" I was in love. Abisha, Katie, Jessie, Jamie and Jessica are talented, unique, hilarious, super sweet, and let's face it, smoking hot. I saw them live for the first time in September 2009 and I was blown away! These girls are AMAZING live. I've been to a lot of concerts and shows, but I have never seen a band that is as fun to watch as Sick Of Sarah, there is nothing I can say here that would do their live show justice, it's something you need to see for yourself. And make sure you don't leave without meeting them, they're very approachable and so nice. I adore each and every one of these girls, they're the sweetest people I know and even let me pretend we're friends.
Sick of Sarah is in the studio in El Paso now recording their next CD and I couldn't be more excited. They previewed some of the new stuff on their most recent tour and HOLY SH!T, so so good. So check them out, buy the music, check out their HILARIOUS youtube vids and go see them as soon as you can.

If you've never heard them, start here:
Kickback (Youtube)
Kiss Me (youtube)
Not Listening
Mr. Incredible
Autograph (youtube)
Common Mistake
Hardest Part

~ Heather Patterson (

photo by Amber Mcdonald (

footage by Karyn Brawley

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Exclusive: An Horse Interview

Yeah, no introduction necessary. One thing I should mention is I didn't know if Kate or Damon would be answering the questions, normally I would reword the questions before posting so they are directed at who's actually answering. However, Kate turns this into something hilarious so I didn't even bother! Enjoy!

How was it finally touring Germany? I know fans had been wanting to see you guys there for a long while now. (hence, #AnHorseForGermany)

Germany was great. A lot of fun and SO much food. The crowds were really appreciative and energetic.

How did the remix EP, Beds Rearranged, come together?

Our label suggested it to us. At first we weren't sold on the idea but we heard a couple of remixes and we really loved them. It was a really fun project. It was really interesting to see what people did with our music.

Do you guys have a release date for the new record? If not, could you tell us about when we could be expecting it?

We are recording it in Vancouver in July/August with Howard Redekopp. We don't have a release date yet. We are super excited to make it!

Though I’ve read this once before, I was wondering if you could tell us what the songwriting process is like. Does Kate write all the lyrics?

I usually write songs quietly in my house and record them. I then send a whole batch to Damon and he goes away and listens to them. Then we get together in a practice room and work on them. I write all the lyrics. Damon sings a few things that he has come up with.

Sonically are you guys moving in a different direction on the new record?

I think you have to develop with every record you make. Damon and I always want to be pushing ourselves sonically. I don't doubt this record will sound different to Beds.

I recently saw footage of Kaki King playing lap steel during a performance of “Little Lungs”. It was pretty amazing. Any chance she’ll appear on the new record?

Umm I don't think so. Maybe? We haven't asked. I am sure if Kaki wants to play or we think there is something she could shred on it would happen but I don't think we could figure that out until we are making the record.

I’m a huge Intercooler fan. Damon, I was wondering if you’re still working with them at all?

No he isn't. Horse is pretty all consuming. (He is watching a movie right now so I had to answer that).

Damon you also had a band called Mary Trembles. I saw a show poster/flyer with both Intercooler and Mary Trembles on the bill for the same night. How was it to play drums for two bands on the same night?

He is still watching the movie! I am pretty sure it was tiring.

You’ve toured with Tegan & Sara, Death Cab, Silversun Pickups, and Telekenisis, to name a few, and are now on tour with Kaki King. Is there any other band/artist you would like to tour with that you haven’t yet?

Yes there are tonnes of bands we would love to tour with. Perhaps too many to list here. I think we can tour with a really diverse range of people. From pop to punk.

What is your favorite record by your favorite band?

Oh that is way too hard! I have lots of favourite records from lots of favourite bands! I couldn't possible name one as my favourite. I have a really eclectic taste so nailing down one album is so hard. I love Kylie and Beyonce and I love Cancer Bats and Fugazi. I love Patti Smith and I love Carol King. See what I mean? Difficult! haha.

Would you ever consider doing a Tegan & Sara cover?

I would consider covering anyone!

Lee (@hoosierforlife) asks: “Why did Kate move to Montreal?”

It seemed like a good idea and it was! I love it.

Katie K (@K8tKp)asks: “Ninja or Pirate?”


Julia (@Julieisntmyname) asks: “When are you coming back to Texas?

Umm we were just there so probably not again until the new record comes out!

thanks janay!
kate xo


photo by: Lindsey Byrnes (@LindseyByrnes)
live footage by: Wojo4hitz (@Wojo4hitz)