Zines are awesome. Coming from the back of beyond originally, genuinely good self-published literature, the desire to do anything different or, in fact, creativity of any description were, unsuprisingly, lacking somewhat. Therefore, I'm now loving the fact that at various places near to my new home I can pick up a cute little pamphlet (like that word) and get a sneak peek into someone else's strange little world.
The latest one I've found, Tally Ho!, is of such good quality, I couldn't believe that they didn't at least charge something for it! It's full of cool illustrations, reviews, thoughts and just incredibly good writing (I must say that some of it is a little self-indulgent, but therein lies the beauty of the zine). I like the fact, also, it has alerted me to what I now think is the most wonderful news I have heard all year...THE ALMIGHTY DEFENDERS! Again, this young blogger hangs his head in shame that he was unaware of the Black Lips and King Khan and the BBQ getting together to form the second (The Babies) garage supergroup of the year!! The Black Lips were already pretty special, but then to add, arguably, one of the most charismatic lead singers in the game (The King) is almost too much awesome for my ear drums to take in one sitting. They sound like exactly what they are - a group of pals having fun and jamming the shit out their songs...dressed in preachers robes. The song that they have on their myspace that I adore is "Cone Of Light", but I can't find that to add on here so here's a video of their first ever live performance in June...BEST. THING. EVER. King Khan and the Shrines are playing Cargo next week!! Be there or BEWARE!
So, I've been away from my computer for a while living life in the analogue world, but now I'm back and ready to stuff wires into my eyeballs and press my ears to my speakers. I've just started to do some work for a new publication (more on that later) and, inadvertently, I've been exposed to a whole new world of visual delights...
I found out about this guy a few days ago, and I was pretty impressed so I thought he deserved a shout-a-bout on the blog. Felix Thorn makes musical sculptures that act as a visual and audio display features that can be incorporated as an installation piece in their own right or as part of a larger contruction. The only way that I could describe it is to say that if the synthesiser from Masters of the Universe, Dick Van Dyke and Megatron got together for a Menage a trois in the belly of the Child Catcher, Felix's machines would be the end product. Anyways, I really enjoyed this video, and I hope you do too...
You know that band I was chomping on about the other day, Indian Wars? Well, so do I. They sing garage pop songs about girls and, basically, have a good time. They're like the Black Lips before they thought it would be a good idea to do a song with GZA...they're also Canadian, and not from Texas even though they sound a lot like they could be. This hateful bungalow caught up with Dave and Brad from the band the other day to shoot the shit in a rather confusing repete on instant messenger, and discovered a little more about a little more...because I really had no idea of anything about this band. Perhaps this is an exclusive??
How did Indian Wars get together?
Dave: We've all known each other for a long time. My brother and I met Fraser a while back through skateboarding. And same with brad, we all met through skateboarding really.
How many people in the band and how old are you all?
Dave: There’s four of us. I’m the oldest (28), John's 25, Frasers 24 and brads 22.
Had you all been in bands before? How long have Indian Wars been together?
Brad: I’m 23. Dave: Sorry Brad. Brad: I forget my own age sometimes haha Brad: I’ve never been in a band before John and Dave were in an awesome band, though. Dave: My brother and I had a band when we were 12 with our current roommate Tosh, who is a rad dude. Just stupid songs about space ships and shit. Then we had another band called Smash TV with our friends Pierce, Dave and Mike. We played a lot of talking heads and Iggy and the Stooges. It was fun.
Sick, and how long has Indian Wars been together?
Dave: We started jamming in our grandmas garage around 2 or 3 years ago. That was with all four of us. Then it was just Brad, John and I, because Fraser was too crazy. The band at that point was called Strange Hands, but we changed the name to Indian Wars because there's a rad band in France called strange hands. Now Fraser is back in the band. Brad: September 21st 2008 is when we signed up on Myspace and at that time Frase wasn’t even in the band, so I guess we’ve been an actual band doing actual recordings for a year.
I was going to say - if you were a new band - your sound is so polished and loud! Definitely shows that you guys have been jamming for a while. Why did you choose the name Indian Wars then?
Dave: Do you wanna answer that one brad? Brad: because Indians are badass. Haha not really , Dave had another Myspace page for odds and ends and ideas for songs that he called Indian Wars, then when we changed our name we were all stoked on that Dave: Its kind of named after two things. There's a song called ‘Indian War Whoop’, an old time song played by John Hartford that we really like. Also, the Indian Wars that took place on the plains.
Sorry I'm British - what are they? I know like red indians and kevin Costner and land struggles and stuff…
Brad: Yeah red indians, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_wars - the band is named after this event. They were clashes between settlers and American indians over land and resources. I was really into the civil war, Custer, and this time period. A pretty interesting time in history.
What are the main influences for Indian Wars?
Dave: Sorry...lets get back on track. Brad, you wanna list yours? Brad: Yes. I think The Band was a big influence, their style doesn’t really com across in our music but I think they are the reason that we wanted to start a band, , love those guys... Dead Ghosts... they’re pretty much the only reason that people listen to us, Drew records all of our songs…Ya, the Dead Ghosts are a huge influence, and have taught us tons of stuff, from recording to equipment we need to playing live. We owe them alot. They're rad. Brad: i think that alot of our influences are not at all the style of music that we play, but we listen to alot of garage and stuff like that so I would imagine thats where the sound comes from.
And is that how you would classify your sound, Garage?
Brad: I guess so, thats what most people say , what do you think Dave? Dave: I think the first two recordings that we did were definitely garage sounding. Some of the more recent stuff is a little more poppy, and we have some pretty heavily country influenced/sounding songs we are going to be recording as well.
Yeah, you definitely can hear some of the country influence coming through
Brad: yeah i was going to say, the new stuff is more countryish. Dave: For sure. For influences we forgot George Jones. That's where the country in our sound comes from. It’s all George Jones. Brad: And his perfect smile
OK, you mentioned Dead Ghosts earlier - what is the underground music scene like in Vancouver? Is it pretty tight? The reason that I ask is that is that when I went there a couple of years ago someone told me that the music community wasn't really there…
Brad: A couple of years ago we weren’t really in the scene haha, but I would agree there wasn’t much going on…now there’s lots of shows going on. Vancouver is no Austin or Florida, but its definitely cool. Dave: I think it's getting pretty good right now. It definitely lagged for a while. A couple of bands that we really like right now are Time Copz and Student Teacher, along with Dead Ghosts.
Have you managed to put any tapes out or anything?
Brad: nope, we only had 2 songs recorded well up until last night, now we have 4.
Cool, and how will it work from here? Do you plan to put anything out? Would you put stuff out on a split with another band?
Brad: Dave, I am answering all the questions! Dave: We've got a split planned with the Fungi Girls that we're looking forward to. That should be good. We have to get someone to put that out though. We've been talking with a couple of labels, maybe to put out a 7 or 10 inch...but we're always looking for opportunities. We're just excited to get some vinyl out there.
So, I take it that gigs are where the fan base is coming from? What are your favourite kinds of shows to play?
Brad: HOUSE PARTIES!!!! Dave: House parties are the best.
Yeah, some of the pictures on your Myspace are so rad! They all seem to be in someones bedroom.
Brad: Haha i believe youre refering to johns bedroom / our jam space?
I like the summer soltice picture especially with one of you wearing the face paint (at top)
Dave: Ya, that was the first time we played live in front of anyone. We were all so drunk. We couldnt remember how to play any of the songs. Haha. Brad: Thanks, I think I should do that more often, yeah thats the first time we played in front of more people than just our girlfriends, the Dead Ghosts just showed up with their gear and made us do it. It was a good time.
Amazing. The picture that actually made me have to write a blog on your guys this morning was the picture of someone doing a huge air with a beer in his hand - that is the raddest fucking thing I've seen in so long!
Dave: That’s our friend Parm. He shreds. Such an awesome guy. Brad: Yeah we are cheersing two cans of beer.
So good. So what would you say would have to be Indian Wars ultimate Top 5 records?
Brad: I think it would be different for each dude Dave: Can we do our own top 5's? Brad: Sure. Dave: You go first. Brad: • The Band - Music From Big Pink • 13th Floor Elevators - Psychedelic Sounds of.. • The Seeds - The Seeds • Sonny Rollins - Way Out West • Then I would say some blues album, im not sure this is really hard actually, maybe Otis Redding - Otis Blue.
Dave: • The Basement Tapes by Bob Dylan and the Band • Fats Waller and his Rhythm by Fats Waller • Best of George Jones by George Jones • The upcoming unreleased Dead Ghosts Album • Purple Rain by Prince. (fuck, prince sucks now).
I woke up this morning with a head filled with cobwebs, an ear full of alarms and my arm around nothing...but things quickly looked up. I figured I would spend the day listening to the Beatles and texting my ex-girlfriend, and then I happened upon a new blog (which I'm going to keep a secret for a while), which opened my lazy heart up to a whole new world of musical delight. I was going to wait a while to start preaching the news of this new band, but I've got a spare couple of hours so I thought 'fuck it', you're only young once...also once I saw the picture above I knew it belonged on my blog!
Indian Wars are a band of Canadians with a penchant for loud, Black Lips-esque, sharp hits of danceable garage punk. Think screeching guitars, fast drum rolls and an injection of blues vocals. They're the most exciting thing that I've heard in a long time, but maybe I just haven't listened to King Khan in a while. I went to Vancouver a couple of years ago and I was informed that there wasn't much of a music scene there, but the more I trawl this vast expanse of wires and signals I find more and more reasons why I should have trusted my instincts and bought an apartment there immediately. Record labels such as Old Life Records - who actually didn't get back to me when I tried to buy some tapes from them last year, but I forgive them - who are based in Vancouver Island, are making positive strides towards making a big impression on the underground music scene...so, perhaps there's even more to come...
Seriously though, check out Indian Wars - party time!
This band are old news blogwise - really old hat...like a tramps beret. I've just been loving their Myspace so much that I had to post this video of one of their tunes when I saw it. They are going to be better that Vivian Girls and Woods...even though they are Vivian Girls and Woods - whatever, it's amazing. Please enjoy...
Washed Out deliver the kind of delicate pop interlude that you could swear blind has been in your life for a long time. Googling the artist would yield even more deceptive results as a swarm of bloggers have posted tracks, whispering amongst themselves about the new Memory Cassette, trying to categorise the music that Ernest Weatherly Green is locked in a room in South Carolina making. Yet, Washed Out are but a fledgling concept, living mostly in cyber space and in the sun-streaked mind of the East Coast producer. I didn't really want to be drawn into the debate myself, so I figured that going straight to the source would get me a better idea of what it's all about, and how the project developed. I had a nice long chat with the man himself and was shown a little video that made me feel really sad that I live in London...
Washed Out is a one man outfit, right? How did it get up and running?
Ernest: Yes, I initially started playing music with friends in college...and I quickly realized how stubborn and selfish I was with the whole writing process...so I started doing it all by myself :) the stuff I was doing really didn't translate well to a "traditional" band set up as well. Its sort of built from there.
Sound, and was it at college where you initially started playing music or had you dabbled before?
Ernest: I had dabbled before...It wasn't until right after college - when I started having actual free time - that I started really concentrating on recording
Washed out is a bedroom project, right? What equipment do you use to record?
Ernest: I run everything into my computer and arrange/record with Reason 4.0/Cubase SE...its a pretty stripped-down setup...
Was it very much trial and error with the whole system or did you have a sound that you had in your head that you wanted to achieve?
Ernest: Very much trial and error...I started off making a combination of ambient/hip-hopish stuff...it has gradually been moving more and more into structured "pop" songs. My technique has gotten a lot more refined as well. I've been working on the vocal sound for at least a year or more...
Cool. What are the main influences for Washed Out?
Ernest: I mentioned the hip-hop influence earlier...I loved all the stuff that stones throw put out...especially Koushik...there's a pretty direct influence with him...I love everything that grouper and panda bear put out. I see my stuff as a connection of some of the stuff they are doing, but a lot more structured.
Yeah I'd definitely agree with that...there's an ambient quality that you share with those influences, but your music is definitely more listenable I would say.
Ernest: I try to remove any non-essential element...i guess thats where "pop" comes in...I try to keep the melodies and arrangements simple, though.
Lots of people are lumping Washed Out into the ‘Dreamwave” category – are you comfortable with this? How would you describe the music you make?
Ernest: It doesn't really bother me.I think my stuff sits at a weird place between traditional dance music and traditional indie rock...not quite upbeat enough to rage at a party, but beat-driven enough to turn-off some people.
Yeah, I think that's fair.
Ernest: It seems to me that in the past...as soon as a label is thrown in...a backlash quickly follows. We'll see...everything just moves so fast on the 'net :)
This is true. I think that being compared to Neon Indian and Memory Cassette isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. Do you like those artists?
Ernest: Oh yeah...there stuff is great...hold up let me grab something really quick you might find funny. I was bored at the beach earlier this summer with my family...:)
This is one of the best things I have ever seen!
Ernest: haha everytime i would jam that track my little nephew would start rocking out that’s when u know its a hit!
Haha. That is amazing!! Cool - just to get back on track, are you officially signed yet?
Ernest: nah...the record with mexican summer was just a one-off thing... I'm doing a few more 7" but nothing official yet...
You did some tapes with mirror universe, I read? How did the Mexican Summer thing come about?
Ernest: Yeah...the tape will have a few new songs, as well as a few old songs pre-washed out...Mexican Summer contacted me early on and I'd always loved the records they put out. They've been really great.
Have you played out at all yet?
Ernest: I did a few shows pre-washed out...but nothing with this new material... Still not sure how I'm going to approach it...I don't want it to be "just another dj set".
Are you going to keep it just under your control, do you think, or will you likely incorporate some more musicians in to play your songs?
Ernest: I will probably have someone else to help with vocals/synths...most of the songs have 2 or even 3 vocal parts and i would rather not sing to a backing track...I have discussed doing some shows with my friend chaz (TORO Y MOI) where we would help each other out...We had a duo a while back called LIFEPARTNERS.
Sick, he's been getting a lot of hype too. He was mentioned in the NME over here as one of the artists to watch in the next year.
Ernest: yeah...he's brilliant...his sound is constantly evolving...
Are there any other bands we should be watching out for from South Carolina?
Ernest: There are some really good groups in columbia - Kid Trails, Plundershop's St. Montana is a really great song...There is this guy Phil from Atlanta called Dog Bite. His stuff is really really good, and he's only 20.
Yeah, he’s been putting out a lot of mixtapes recently.
Ernest: Yeah...i live in georgia now...so we've been corresponding a lot Choir Quit is another good columbia group.
Ernest: Yeah...they played a few house shows at my place in cola
Is that the way that the scene in Columbia works - like house shows and stuff?
Ernest: They are my favourite...its normally a bunch of young kids who can't get in to clubs...so they are always nuts. All the lamps at my place were sacrificed that night. Toro Y Moi played a couple of times too
That's price you pay for punk I guess...
Ernest: Haha. I've got some really great pics from those nights. My friend had like 5 boxes of old polaroid film.
Finally then, What records are you listening too at the moment?
Ernest: Chaz just sent me his new record...which is really good...Stone Roses. That Beach Fossils song "Daydream" is really good. I have a mix on my ipod called summer 2009 that I just keep adding songs too.