Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 11/30/12
Thanks to everybody who tuned in to my broadcast of Left of the Dial on WNHU last night. I won’t be on the air next week, but I will return on the 14th to start playing some of my favorite songs of the past year in a three part radio series that will take place over the next three Fridays.
The full playlist from last night’s show is below,
along with a Spotify link to stream the available songs at the bottom*. Thanks again for listening!
*Edit: Spotify’s embed code doesn’t seem to be working with tumblr today. I will update this if it starts working again in the near future. Until then, I’m afraid you won’t be able to stream this playlist. Oh well! Enjoy it anyway.
- 1. Bomb The Music Industry! - “25!”
- 2. Sufjan Stevens - “Alphabet St.” (Prince cover)
- 3. Anamanaguchi - “Overarrow”
- 4. Parquet Courts - “Borrowed Time”
- 5. Title Fight - “Numb, But I Still Feel It”
- 6. Title Fight - “Head In The Ceiling Fan”
- 7. Title Fight - “Sympathy”
- 8. Tigers Jaw - “Between Your Band And The Other Band”
- 9. The Guru - “Cow”
- 10. Yo La Tengo - “Avalon Or Someone Very Similar”
- 11. Red House Painters - “Lord Kill The Pain”
- 12. Low - “Words” (Live, feat. Benjamin Gibbard)
- 13. Elliott Smith - “Waltz #2 (XO)”
- 14. Snowing - “Pump Fake (Demo)”
- 15. My Heart To Joy - “That Ungodly Arch-Villain Voltaire Is Dead”
- 16. Joie De Vivre - “Sundays”
- 17. Koji - “Matches”
- 18. WHY? - “Gnashville”
- 19. Radiohead - “These Are My Twisted Words”
- 20. Elvis Depressedly - “A Bible In A Bath of Bleach”
- 21. Paul Baribeau - “How Could That Be True”
- 22. Cat Power - “Empty Shell”
- 23. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - “Love Letter”
- 24. Carissa’s Wierd - “Low Budget Slow Motion Soundtrack Song For The Leaving Scene”
- 25. Sharon Van Etten - “Tornado”
- 26. Waxahatchee - “Bathtub” (Requested by firewalkwithmel)
Stream: The Guru - Go Easy (2012)
There is a moment on Go Easy, the new LP from The Guru, in which the precocious Connecticut four-piece seems to transcend their particularly infectious brand of Modest Mouse-indebted psych-pop, simply by lampooning it. It arrives within the first minute of the title track, as an agonizingly smooth saxophone line introduces itself and proceeds to bleed out all over the sunny array of guitars and Eddie Golden III’s surprisingly detached vocals. As the sax plays on throughout the track, the mood changes from comedic to self-fulfilled. It adopts a kind of self-aware attitude not unlike Destroyer’s last LP, through which disco tropes and smooth jazz aesthetics aren’t inherently detrimental to the ‘seriousness’ or quality of a band’s music.
Unfortunately, that moment fades, and the rest of the album fails to pick up the slack as it continues on. True to its name, Go Easy is a gentle, relaxed album, free from the manic energy and forceful, consummate positivity of Native Sun, the band’s excellent LP from last year. Although the record benefits from the change in style, its apparent motivational deficiency is often stifling. If Native Sun could be described as positively forceful, like a good friend who drags you to a show on a night when you’re feeling down, Go Easy feels forcefully positive. After the stellar opening track, the band plods along without much urgency or direction, twinkling through the country-ish twang of the previously released single “Indian Day” and the stuttering noodles of “Tony Waves.” In between, “Foreign Moon” drags on slowly and without purpose, as does the lo-fi, experimental dirge “Pyramids.” Many of the faster cuts feel like lesser-quality holdovers from Native Sun, while the slow jams strain to hold the listener’s attention.
It’s not all bad of course — “Guacamole” features some really interesting distorted guitar, for instance, and “Cow” has one of those earworm choruses that so many of the songs on Native Sun could also lay claim to. The title track, too, is among the better songs I’ve heard this year. And yet, Go Easy is a frustratingly limited album that suffers most from feeling under-developed. Native Sun was the result of years of songwriting, touring, and recording. Those songs were birthed, developed, and honed over a lengthy period of time and finally released in their best possible form. By contrast, Go Easy feels rushed and lacking focus. It’s clear that there are some truly great new ideas in the mix, but that’s all they are — ideas in dire need of full realization and development. If you listen closely, you can hear that development happening, but it’s incomplete. In other words, this is the sound of a young band growing up, shaking its wings, and losing some of its charm in the process. Thankfully, though, they’ve always had plenty to spare.
Stream Go Easy above and buy it now on bandcamp for $3 or more. If you’re in the Connecticut area, you can catch The Guru live tonight at their record release show at The Space, with Tigers Jaw, Brian Stankus, and Disco Teen ‘66. More information about that show can be found HERE.
Anonymous asked: what's the next concert that you're really excited about going to?
There are a number of great shows coming up in the Connecticut area, some of which are being promoted by the company I work for. Next week, for instance, The Guru is playing a record release show with Tigers Jaw at The Space on Wednesday and on Friday (11/23) Bomb The Music Industry! is playing with TWIABP, LVL UP, and Hop Along at Lilly’s Pad in New Haven. I’m also excited for Title Fight at The Space on 11/28 and a lot of other high profile shows in December. It’s going to be a busy next few months.
The Guru - “Go Easy”
Connecticut’s own precious psych-pop youngsters The Guru have a new album on the way called Go Easy, and they just dropped the title track/first single via The Needle Drop. As Anthony Fantano points out, “Go Easy” marks an impressive maturation in composition and presentation from their last album Native Sun. True to its name, “Go Easy” is calm and relaxed, but it maintains the dancey, evocative grooves that make the band so infectiously enjoyable.
On this track, the group expands beyond the confines of their traditional four-piece sound, incorporating hilariously smooth, disco-reminiscent saxophone and a slightly distorted vocal effect that lessens the intensity of frontman Eddie Golden III’s manic pipes. On the whole, the track is not nearly as immediate or aggressive as anything on Native Sun, but it feels a lot less niche-focused and potentially more enjoyable in the long run.
Stream “Go Easy” above and pick up Go Easy when it drops on November 21st. Connecticut folks pay attention: That night, The Guru will be playing an album release show at The Space in Hamden with Tigers Jaw. Find more information about that show HERE.
Left of the Dial Radio Playlist - 4/27/12
Thanks for tuning in to Left of the Dial last night. By popular demand, I’ve decided to start posting my weekly radio playlists on Spotify, even though not all the songs are available. If you would like to stream the playlist on Spotify, I’ve embedded it below, sans the 7 songs that weren’t available. The full playlist can be found directly below, but I’ve only attached links to the songs that weren’t available on Spotify. If you’re not on Spotify already, hopefully this will provide you with an incentive to get on that!
- 1. Ceremony - “Into The Wayside Part I\Sick”
- 2. Ted Leo and The Pharmacists - “Dial Up”
- 3. Bomb The Music Industry! - “Everyone That Loves You”
- 4. Titus Andronicus - “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With The Flood Of Detritus”
- 5. The Fucking Cops - “Paycheck”
- 6. Screaming Females - “It All Means Nothing”
- 7. St. Vincent - “KROKODIL”
- 8. Andrew Jackson Jihad - “Heartilation”
- 9. Ceremony - “Citizen”
- 10. One Hundred Year Ocean - “Poison Smoak”
- 11. Desaparecidos - “Greater Omaha”
- 12. Beach House - “Lazuli”
- 13. Fang Island - “Sideswiper”
- 14. The Guru - “Pirate’s Cove”
- 15. The Format - “She Doesn’t Get It”
- 16. Sufjan Stevens/Rosie Thomas - “Here I Am!”
- 17. Serengeti & Polyphonic - “Bon Voyage”
- 18. Aesop Rock - “Labor”
- 19. Zammuto - “Groan Man, Don’t Cry”
- 20. Jack White - “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy”
- 21. Elvis Costello - “Every Day I Write The Book”
- 22. Simon & Garfunkel - “Cecilia”
- 23. Red House Painters - “San Geronimo”
- 24. Cameron Boucher - “27”
- 25. Into It. Over It. - “Raw Bar OBX 2002”
- 26. Sigur Rós - “Varúð”
TITUS ANDRONICUS live at Quinnipiac Festapalooza. Hamden CT. 4.20.12
July 10th 2010 may have been the first truly beautiful day of my life. If the previous March was the watershed month that set my life on the course that it’s been on for the past two years, then July 10th was the first real manifestation of that change. That night, Titus Andronicus played a packed show in New Haven, Connecticut with Hallelujah The Hills and Bomb The Music Industry!. That night I found out what it was like to be thoroughly engaged with music on both a physical and mental level. Much like TItus Andronicus’ record The Monitor, released earlier that year, had made me experience recorded music in a different way, that show at Lilly’s Pad made me appreciate live music more than I ever had before.
Needless to say, when I found out that the dynamic pairing of Titus Andronicus and Bomb The Music Industry! would be returning to Connecticut, I was excited. I had seen Titus Andronicus twice since that show two years ago, and had seen Bomb The Music Industry! once more as well. My friend Ben Goodheart tipped me off that he was trying to get the two to headline a day-long festival he was putting together at Quinnipiac, and I waited with baited breath for the official announcement. As it turned out, the lineup was even better than I could have expected. In addition to two Quinnipiac-affiliated acts, the festival (dubbed Festapalooza) boasted The Front Bottoms and my good friends in The Guru.
When I arrived at the Quinnipiac campus yesterday, I immediately spotted the members of The Guru looking out from a bay window on the second floor of the athletic center where the show was being held. They waved down to me, and I entered the building and ascended the stairs in an attempt to track them down. Soon enough, I found myself backstage, quite accidentally. As I hobnobbed with The Guru, I realized that the members of Titus Andronicus and The Front Bottoms were lounging around in the very same room. I quickly re-introduced myself to Patrick Stickles (whom I had met three times before) before being called downstairs to do an impromptu video interview with The Guru. Soon enough, it was time to start the show.
I didn’t pay much attention to the opening act The Midnighters, but I found myself drawn to their followup act Great Caesar, a local group whom I had previously seen at The Space last year. I didn’t remember much about them from that show, but they quickly won me over last night with their power pop guitar licks and jazz sensibilities. Their frontman sang like a cross between Paul Westerberg and a 1950s crooner, and the combination of shoegazy guitars and tenor saxophone was exciting and unique. The Guru came on next, and within seconds of their first song I was brought back to this past summer, when going to a Guru show was practically a weekly activity for me. Their set was just as fun and as engaging as any I’ve seen, and the growing crowd seemed to really enjoy their frenetic psych-rock vibe.
Afterwards, The Front Bottoms took the stage, supplementing their traditional guitar/drums duo formula with a bassist/keyboardist. I had never given much serious listening to this band before, but from what I could tell, their bolstered sound really helped their performance. I was also amazed and surprised by what a draw they had, and how active their fans were during the show. For an acoustic guitar-led band that doesn’t really qualify as ‘folk punk,’ they maintained an incredibly high level of energy and crowd participation throughout. They also established a level of fun that topped even The Guru that night — a hard task to accomplish.
Although it actually seemed like The Front Bottoms had the most devoted fans of the night, my level of excitement last night only began to truly peak with Bomb The Music Industry!’s set. When I saw them the previous two times, I had only been a passive fan of their music, but ever since Vacation came out last year, I’ve gotten much more invested in them. Thankfully for me, their set was just about as perfectly aligned with my tastes as it possibly could have been. They played a whole lot of Vacation material, opening with “Campaign For A Better Next Weekend” and moving right into “Everybody That Loves You,” “Everybody That You Love,” and the album highlight “Hurricane Waves,” which elicited two impassioned stage dives from me. Other highlights included the sped up version of the breezy “Can’t Complain,” which was transformed into a high energy punk song with distorted guitars, and the pining, emotional slow jam “The Shit That You Hate,” which became an impressive singalong lovefest. They only played a few tracks that weren’t on Vacation, but the songs that they chose were among their best. “Side Projects Are Never Successful” sounded as much like an apocalyptic party as it possibly could, and their penultimate song “25” served as a great lead in to their very last, the Vacation closer “Felt Just Like Vacation.” Throughout their entire set, I couldn’t help but feel that this band (especially Jeff Rosenstock) was at their creative peak, despite having been around for nearly a decade. Plus, the abundance of beach balls everywhere was a fitting touch.
Although Bomb The Music Industry!’s set last night vastly outshone their previous performances that I’ve seen, Titus Andronicus’ headlining set did not. That certainly doesn’t mean it wasn’t great though; it’s just that the July 2010 show still stands as one of my top two or three favorite shows ever. Titus Andronicus took the opportunity afforded to them by this show to perform a lot of new material, much of which will probably appear on their currently untitled third full length album, supposedly due out at the beginning of next year or the end of this year. The new material was a little hard to get into, but from what I could tell, the studio versions will probably sound great. Among the new songs played were a lengthy jam called “Ecce Homo” and an even lengthier, multi-part epic called “My Eating Disorder.”
In between new songs, Titus Andronicus played some great older material as well. Working with a more streamlined punk rock lineup, featuring only three guitars, bass, and drums, the band cut away the instrumental fat from some of their tracks from The Monitor and did justice to the noisy and aggressive material on The Airing Of Grievances, their 2008 debut. Early on in the set, they played the vintage Airing Of Grievances track “Upon Viewing Breughel’s Landscape With The Fall Of Icarus,” which appropriately led into their new non-album single “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With The Flood Of Detritus.” On “Titus Andronicus,” Patrick Stickles busted out a harmonica and began wailing on it in between verses, and eventually passed me the mic as I crowdsurfed during the “your life is over” breakdown part. Ironically, I don’t think I had ever felt more alive. Patrick seemed a little worn out at points, but he and the other band members demonstrated impressive resilience during the lengthy The Monitor battle hymns “A More Perfect Union,” “No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future,” and the closer “Four Score And Seven.” By the time they began their last song, only a fraction of the crowd that was there at the beginning remained, but those of us who were still standing managed to give it our all, singing along with gusto and finally reveling in one last high-energy push in “Four Score And Seven’s” final half.
With some unfamiliar material and poor sound mixing, it wasn’t a perfect set, but perfection wasn’t what I wanted. What this show left me was an idea — an idea that being part of something even as seemingly temporary or superficial as a punk rock show is just as real and important as anything else. Titus Andronicus could have played anything last night and I probably would have liked it, but I really did need this to happen. Forget September 2011. Forget my ex-girlfriend. Last night was the first time I’ve been truly happy in what feels like a lifetime. My life isn’t over yet, but if it had to end right now, maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing.
Check out more photos from this show over at the Lewis and his Blog facebook page!
Photos: Titus Andronicus live at Quinnipiac Festapalooza, Hamden CT - 4/20
w/ Bomb The Music Industry!, The Front Bottoms, The Guru, & Great Caesar
I wish I could review this show in full, but in between the Record Store Day shopping that I’m doing and the two shows I plan to attend (particular Andrew Jackson Jihad live in Hartford tonight), I’m not sure if I’ll have the time. Needless to say, it was a pretty incredible time! Hopefully these photos will suffice. Check the captions on these shots to see which bands are which.
For more of my shots from this night, check out the Lewis and his Blog facebook page and give it a like!
Here’s the flier for the upcoming Festapalooza event at Quinnipiac University, sponsored by their radio station WQAQ. Titus Andronicus, Bomb The Music Industry!, The Front Bottoms, and The Guru are scheduled to play, along with two great Quinnipiac bands as well.
Tickets are just $5 for non-Quinnipiac students, and they’re onsale now! Buy a ticket HERE and support great music in Connecticut!
Click through the image to view the facebook event page.
Buy Tickets to Quinnipiac’s “Festapalooza” Now!
Quinnipiac University’s official radio station WQAQ is sponsoring the university’s first ever music festival this spring, featuring a stacked lineup that includes Titus Andronicus, Bomb The Music Industry,and The Front Bottoms. The festival will also include opening performances by local favorites such as The Guru, Great Caesar, and The Midnighters.
This show has been scheduled for some time, but now tickets to the event are available for purchase! Tickets are five dollars, or free for Quinnipiac students. Buy your tickets to this great Spring music event HERE.
Check out the original press release post below for more information:
FESTAPALOOZA: Quinnipiac University’s First Music Festival
Bomb the Music Industry
The Front Bottoms
…and Hamden’s local food vendors!
The event is on April 20th in Quinnipiac’s Burt Kahn Court, starting at 5:30, show at 6:15. Raffles every hour. Tickets JUST FIVE BUX (free for Quinnipiac students)
WQAQ Spring Break Show: Titus Andronicus, BTMI!, The Front Bottoms, The Guru
Hey Connecticut people Titus Andronicus is playing with BTMI and The Guru and some other bands at Quinnipiac on 4/20 so if you aren’t going to AJJ in brooklyn you should go to that.
FUCKKKKKK YESSS YESYESYESYESYESS
Yes, WQAQ (Quinnipiac University’s radio station) has been keeping this under wraps for a while but this is official now. They will have a flier for this show soon. I’m excited. The Front Bottoms are also supposed to be on the bill, as far as I’m aware.
Video: The Guru - “Indian Day”
Connecticut psychedelic rockers The Guru are back after a brief recording hiatus with a wonderful new single, “Indian Day.” This track (and its accompanying video) immediately sent me right back to this past summer, when I rocked out to their stellar LP Native Sun on a daily basis. It’s not summer anymore, but with the extremely mild winter we’ve been having here in the Northeast, it may as well be. Check this song out and reel some of those blissful vibes back in.
“Indian Day” will be officially released as a single at midnight tonight, as part of the Singles On Valentines Day compilation. This compilation will be the first official release for Seagreen Records, the record label that the members of the Guru started with their friends. I got a chance to interview the founders of Seagreen records back in December, when they were first getting the project off the ground. Check out that interview HERE.
The compilation will also include brand new tracks from the likes of High Pop, Madson, and Jake Shaker, and will be up for download on the Seagreen Records bandcamp page tonight.
As of right now, the full compilation is available already, but only for streaming. Check it out!
Interview: The Guru/High Pop/Jake Shaker (12.28.11)
From left to right: Sean Posila, Daniel George, Jordan Caulfield, Jake Shaker, Kyle McEvoy, and yr host, Chris Cappello.
Five of Connecticut’s most hopeful young musicians stopped by my house on Wednesday night for an interview. Representing The Guru and High Pop, along with a number of other musical projects, solo acts, and other bands, these five gentlemen were kind enough to speak to me about their past and future music, their place in the Northeastern indie rock scene, and their collective plans for 2012 and beyond. Towards the end of the interview, they revealed some really big news, so please listen and read on to find out what’s in store for their fans.
A complete audio recording of the interview can be streamed below via Soundcloud. This recording will be aired tomorrow on my radio show Left of the Dial, which starts at 6 PM Eastern time on WNHU. For your reading pleasure, it has been transcribed below. Read on and enjoy.The Guru Interview - 12.28.11 by Lewis and his Blog
Chris Cappello: So we’re here with five young individuals from Connecticut whom some, including myself have described as the future of the Connecticut music scene. With your separate bands and musical projects, particularly The Guru and High Pop, from which a certain number of members are represented here today, you have all contributed a lot to indie rock here in this state and beyond, and it’s a huge pleasure having you guys here for this interview.
So first off, let’s start with your names. Would you five please introduce yourself for everyone listening?
Kyle McEvoy: My name is Kyle McEvoy. I play guitar in The Guru and I play drums inMadson.
Jake Shaker: My name is Jake Shaker. I write my own acoustic music and I play guitar in Madson.
Jordan Caulfield: My name is Jordan Caulfield and I play drums in High Pop.
Daniel George: My name is Daniel George. I play bass in The Guru and I’m just starting to play guitar in High Pop.
Sean Posila: Hey I’m Sean Posila. I play guitar and vocals in High Pop and I’m the drummer for the new band The Hiya Dunes.
(background: Gotta say, you play a mean vocal, Sean)
CC: So, let’s start with some questions about The Guru. Dan and Kyle, since the last time I interviewed you guys back in April, The Guru has made some incredible strides playing at B.O.M.B. Fest in May, releasing a full length record in June, and touring throughout the Northeast in the subsequent months. What were those experiences like for you, going up through the summer with such momentum behind you?
KM: After we played B.O.M.B. Fest, we were kinda just curious what was gonna happen after that, you know what I mean? And if any bigger things were gonna happen… B.O.M.B. Fest was probably the biggest thing we’ve done to date but after that everything seemed to just get a lot easier… our name was already out there and just playing shows itself got easier.
DG: I feel like we’re very much the same dudes and stuff, but we’re more established now. We can act on our own now so all those experiences were I guess like a lot of hard work or whatever but they’ve been paying off recently and giving us more freedoms as a band and as people to have the liberties to choose shows and that sort of thing, so we’re really lucky to start going in that direction.
CC: Your new record Native Sun has been really well received by fans and regional critics alike, and it actually placed at number 28 on my Top Albums of 2011 list. Have you guys been surprised at the positive reception of the album and do you think it has played a big part in putting you guys on the map?
KM: Yeah, I mean, before we went to record it, we just went through this whole process of trying to figure out where we were gonna record it and how much money we were gonna put into it and we ended up just kinda going all out and going into a really nice studio. That whole time in the studio when we were getting the mixes back we were just really hoping that it was gonna come out the way we want. And then as soon as we released it, all the feedback that we got from it… I don’t know, I mean I guess you could say that it kinda got bigger than we thought it would be, but I’m just glad that we put all the time and effort and money into it.
CC: So two of you are absent today right? Not here? But all of you, for the most part, are still very young. But when school started back in September, the future of the band seemed kind of uncertain, at least for me. You know, the two members who aren’t here were going off to college — the singer and guitarist — and yet, from what I can tell, you always seemed pretty optimistic about the future. How has the band handled having its members more spread out and disparate over the past few months?
DG: It’s certainly different. I know, speaking personally, and probably for the other guys as well, that at the end of the summer, we really didn’t know what was going to happen. We were kinda in a funk where we couldn’t really write anything new. I mean, we tried to be outwardly optimistic but it was uncertain. But this new era of the band has granted us a sort of urgency with the band now, so when we’re home we always make a point of getting together, and we’ve been a lot more successful in writing and making full advantage of our time and doing that sort of thing. So it’s definitely a different phase for the band as a whole, but so far it’s been proven to be pretty productive.
KM: When we finished up Native Sun, like the last song on it, “Kodachrome Daydream,” Ed (Godin) wrote it from his perspective of just being a songwriter in high school and at the end it talks about the four years and everything. So I think that song was… I think even you wrote about it in your review… just like, if it was the last Guru song, then it would be a very fitting song, you know? And that’s kinda just how we wrote it. And I think that was almost the end of the old Guru. I mean, we’re still like exactly the same guys but just writing songs has just come so much easier and just the songs themselves, everything about them is just so much more… the way it comes together is just in a much more professional way.
CC: So you guys mentioned this “New Era of the Guru”. Would you guys say that you, for the most part, rallied from those difficulties that you faced?
DG: Short answer, Yes. It’s tough to say. We’ve got about four tracks that we feel comfortable putting towards a new release of some sort, so for me that feels pretty significant in terms of a rally, but it’s still a little bit early. But we’re all feeling pretty good. We’re all really happy with the direction that we’re moving in. We feel like it’s progressive and different and stuff, so that’s all good for us, I believe.
CC: Alright so all five of you guys are playing at a big show on Friday that The Guru is headlining. It’s actually going to be the first Guru show in Connecticut since the end of the summer, from what I’ve been told. So do you guys want to talk a little more about that show? Who’s playing it? What’s it going to be like? What can we expect going into that show?
SP: Well we have White Savages starting it off. Then Madson will be playing, and they’re a new band.
KM: I play drums in the band [Madson]. Jake Shaker plays guitar, Alexa Masi does vocals and Gunnar Wrinn plays keyboards. And Jake, you can talk about what Madson is.
JS: I don’t know, sound-wise… I always have described it as twinkly jazz punk. But yeah, it’s got influences from math rock, it has a little bit of jazz in it, it has some of that late 90s really raw sound. I don’t know. The lyrics are very ardent and evocative and I’m really excited about it. Kyle, how do you feel about playing something that’s so vastly different from The Guru?
KM: I think it helped us decide things about The Guru too, just because like Ed’s doing the Hiya Dunes, and I’m doing Madson, and Dan’s in High Pop. There’s just more of a family vibe, and there’s so many different music types that we listen to that now it’s just more exciting to get to play all of them, and I don’t know it’s just different.
DG: We need to get back on track. The show… The show. Friday. So the Hiya Dunes are up next. [Sean Posila] is the drummer in the Hiya Dunes. Do you have anything particular to say about The Hiya Dunes?
SP: Well, we all met at school, at Purchase College, and we kinda just jammed out, and we had a lot of time to make cool songs out there in New York. We kinda just did some stuff. I would say we’re kinda psych-y. We don’t really know what we sound like, but I think everyone’s gonna dig it, and it’s something you can really vibe out to, so that’ll be fun. And that’s new and fresh, and we’re working on recording stuff too. After that, High Pop will be playing as a four piece, which is kinda new and exciting. And we sound a lot fuzzier and fun. And then Lovers and Thieves, which is kind of an old favorite of all of ours.
DG: They’re a bunch of Wolcott/Watertown area kids from a band that broke up three years ago. They played our CD release show and stuff, and it’s always special for us because they mean something personal. Yeah, certainly they’re influential for a lot of us. That and then The Guru, who I’m sure you’re familiar with at this point, so no need to elucidate on that one, but we’ll be there.
CC: As I understand it, the scene that bands like The Guru and High Pop have helped establish here in Connecticut has always seemed kind of insular. It seems self-contained. But ever since the big show announcement about The Guru coming back to Connecticut, and all the other bands that have sort of come along with that, it seems to be sort of expanding. A lot of new side projects, new bands, you know… new stuff that bands are doing. What would you say led to this expansion? Do you guys sort of know what I’m getting at, and are you working to perpetuate that?
DG: I know what you’re getting at and it was something I was thinking about going into this interview. The Guru and High Pop and I guess all the tendrils coming out of those bands… I don’t know if we fit really neatly into some of the more established scenes in the state. You know, in the emo scene there’s some stronger bands. There’s some pop-punk/hardcore scene… There’s a scene built up around it, people that are into it and stuff. So for us it’s always kind of been a matter of what shows we fit onto most, rather than exact matches. So I don’t know if it’s try to solve that problem a little bit.
JS: I think that just the fact that we’ve all been playing music together as friends in some form or another in different arrangements… It doesn’t really seem like something that we actually thought of. It’s just, “these are all our friends, these our our new bands, these are our old bands. Let’s have a show together.” Because that’s how our old shows were. We would just book a venue some friday night and have all our friends’ bands play. And I don’t think there was ever one continuous sound within a set or in the larger scheme. It was just a very… again I’ll use the word… “Familial” vibe.
CC: So I actually do want to talk a little bit about some of those new bands and side projects and everything, because there are some really interesting sounds coming out of the scene that you guys established and coming out of sort of what that has led to in places like Purchase. Sean, you’re probably best known as the guitarist and frontman for the lo-fi group High Pop, but this year you started a solo project called boy crush. How did that come about?
SP: It was really wacky how that came out. Well I’ve always been making songs in my room, and that’s just kind of been something that I’ve always done. But then with High Pop, I started doing stuff with Jord (Caulfield), and we started working together. And even now as a four piece, it’s even kind of a larger project. So I always wanted to have just that place I could go in my room and just record stuff. So that’s sort of how boy crush came around. Not to mention I got to record in a haunted house, which is really true, and that was a lot of fun. It had a haunted theme to begin with, but we’ll see where it goes from there.
CC: That record Hauntr has a really fragile and, I would say, more mature sound than most of High Pop’s stuff. Where did that sort of change in style come from? Was it conscious or did it just sort of happen as a result—
SP: Yeah I mean I’m growing up. I’m just a little older now. I got High Pop, and we just like to be loud and have fun and make people dance, but with boy crush I kinda tore things apart a little bit, and kinda dissected things a little bit, and kinda thought of what I was planning and just did things a little differently, which was refreshing.
CC: So I would like to talk a little bit about High Pop as well. You and Jordan, the drummer, both went to separate colleges, as I understand. So did High Pop face similar difficulties to those that The Guru faced going into the school year and sort of separating a little bit?
SP: Yeah Jord, what do you think?
JC: Naturally it was tougher when Sean was in New York and I went to Boston for school. So it was tougher to get together to write songs, tougher to get shows, but we made it work. We did it. We’re working on New stuff now, so we fit it in.
CC: What sort of plans does High Pop have for the future? I mean, you guys said you’re expanding to more members, right?
SP: Yeah, we have some more members now, just for a fuller sound. But we’re in the writing process right now. We’re hoping to put something out this summer. That would be really cool.
CC: And Jord, you started your own solo project [Major Bummer] while you were in college as well, you wanna talk about that?
JC: Yeah, I mean I recorded a couple songs right at the end of the summer in my basement in Thomaston. I just wanted to make some really fuzzy tunes.
SP: I would say Jord always keeps it fuzzy and fun no matter what.
JC: That’s my rule.
CC: So, if I could turn the attention to Jake for a bit, I understand that you and Kyle formed a new band with some of your friends that you guys were talking about called Madson. As someone who has written and released music and played shows primarily as a solo artist for a while, what has it been like playing in a full band setting?
JS: Dude, I love it so much. It’s cool ‘cause I don’t have to sing at all and the attention’s not as me, so I get to keep focused and I’m in my own little bubble, and I don’t know if it’s like that for all the other non-frontmen out there, but it’s definitely a refreshing feeling. And it’s definitely cool to just have a full band, ‘cause I never have had that. I mean I’ve tried that with my own solo music, but it’s never felt right.
(background: It’s a different style)
Yeah, no, it’s different. Cause I was in a band called This, From Jacques with literally all the members that I’m sitting down with right now. And I’m sure they could expand on that experience and how it’s shaped their musical paths.
KM: Yeah, I mean Madson’s just really relaxing. It all started off… there was a great jazz piano player from my school, so after school I went to his house and we would kind of just jam on jazz music and just play little school functions and stuff. It was funny too because I played in The Guru and he was in this jam band, and we were kind of like rivaling bands, and like freshman year it was Battle of The Bands, and like, “Who’s gonna win?” And I mean now that we’re seniors we’re just like, “Let’s just try to make a band and see what happens?” It’s just like a more intelligent sound. Everything’s just a little more technical and the lyrics are just really raw.
CC: Yeah, I mean I’ve listened to the live demo and the songs are really fantastic. It’s definitely going to be interesting to hear what that sounds like with guitar as well. Anyway, you guys have all sort of posted on your respective facebook pages and blogs about big plans that you guys have for the new year. You know, [laughs] I was wondering, would you care to expand upon those big plans at all?
KM: Tomorrow night, or actually well, this is gonna be on you know… well…
(Background: We should do a thing where we all finish each other’s sentences. [laughs])
So we had an idea…
JS: …that we could all…
JC: …come together…
DG: …and make something truly unique.
SP: So we did.
KM: Sea Green Records.
KM: Yeah, we decided to make a record label. It just made sense, seeing that we all had different side projects now. Pretty much the idea happened from it ‘cause there was just a bunch of leftover money from Guru shows. I’m being completely honest! [laughs] What? Just from all the album sales of Native Sun and everything, just we had like tons of money saved up. The people want the truth! We just had tons of extra money saved up, and so we just decided that, why not put it into our friends’ records and put out CDs with it. We’ve never taken money personally from The Guru and we decided, why not put it into our friends’ bands? So now it’s just easier. We are on Sex Cave Records… and it was just kind of a hassle to drive up to Amherst, Massachusetts and pick up the CDs and do all that so now it’s just going to be easier ‘cause we can release anything on our own when we want.
JS: I think on the forthcoming records from all of our projects, you’re going to hear a lot more of each other on each others’ records. And it’s going to be very interconnected, and it’s gonna be a nice vibe.
CC: So what kinds of releases can we expect on this new label in 2012? What sorts of things are you guys planning?
DG: Well, our first planned release is going to be released on February 14th, 2012. It’s going to be titled Singles on Valentine’s Day, and it’s going to feature new tracks from The Guru, from High Pop, The Hiya Dunes, Madson, and possibly some of our solo projects like boy crush, Major Bummer, Jake Shaker… We’re still sorting that out, but that will be our first major release. Then after that, the next planned one is probably a Hiya Dunes casette. Then something from each of the bands thereafter.
CC: So does that mean we can expect a new Guru record in 2012?
DG: Yeah, certainly. We’re taking it as it comes. We’re still in the writing phase, so it’s a little early to say anything really really definite, but we’re aiming for the end of summer/beginning of fall. I’m thinking it’s doable at this point. But we’ll see, for sure.
CC: Alright well I guess we can wrap things up. The future is looking pretty bright for you guys, so to everyone out there listening, be sure to catch The Guru live at the Woodbury Town Hall this Friday with White Savages, Madson, The Hiya Dunes, High Pop, and Lovers and Thieves. And to the five of you guys, thanks for stopping by.
(collectively: Thank you Chris)