Sunday, December 21, 2008

Jukebox the Ghost Interview

Jukebox the Ghost created one of my favorite albums of 2008 when they released Let Live and Let Ghosts on April 22nd. It's fun, really well made, and so insanely catchy. The band, that met in Washington, DC and now resides in Philadelphia, is made up of Ben, Jesse, and Tommy. They have toured with a ton of great bands including Via Audio, Say Hi, and Ra Ra Riot. Tommy, who provides guitar and vocals, was nice enough to answer some questions for me.

What was the recording process like for Let Live and Let Ghosts?

We were still in college, so there wasn't a lot of wiggle room for time and money. As a result, we had to track the whole album in 8 days, which was pretty stressful -- We slept on the floor of a friend's abandoned apartment that whole time. Jesse had really bad tendonitis when he was recording drums. My fondest memories are from playing hours and hours of Mario Kart on the producer's gamecube.

How would you describe your sound?

We usually let other people do that and just worry about making the sound itself. But, if you put a gun to my head, I guess I'd say vaudevillian-indie-pop-rock? But who knows what the next album will sound like....

Who have been your biggest influences?

Musically, we've all had very different upbringings. Jesse is a punk drummer at heart, Ben is a classical pianist at heart, and I'm a reformed Phish/noodly-guitar fan. In more recent years, we've had a lot of listening common ground with indie bands, we still have pretty divergent tastes. Jukebox the Ghost is one of the only musical things we can agree on, really.

You have toured with so many fantastic people, who has been your favorite so far?

Too many favorites to pick. We love the Winter Sounds, the XYZ Affair, Via Audio, Say Hi, Nightmare of You, Exit Clov, Pretty and Nice...The list goes on and on. We're very lucky that we've been able to tour with bands we love that contain people we love.

Favorite place to tour?

The west coast, which we only toured for the first time this fall, was pretty novel and exciting. We were all struck by how the scenery changes so quickly and drastically in the Southwest/West/Mountain region. Utah has unbelievable scenery in particular -- I wasn't sure we were on the planet earth.

Favorite song to play live?

Right now, my favorite is probably a new one called "Nobody", but it's always changing. Usually whatever is newest.

What do you like to do when you are not touring?

We live near a bowling alley in Philly, so a lot of bowling by default. Jesse watches a lot of 'Forensic Files' on truTV. Ben plays a lot of piano. I like history books a lot right now. In writing, that sounds pretty boring. In reality, it's also pretty boring.

What was the last album you purchased?

The Medications -- Your Favorite People All in One Place.

What has been the funniest thing to happen on tour?

Not necessarily the funniest, but our van broke down on the Utah/Nevada border, so we were forced to spend two-and-half days at the 'Wendover Nugget', a casino on the Nevada state border. We played a lot of shuffleboard. Hours upon hours. We're all embarassingly good at shuffleboard now. Once the van got fixed, we had to drive 35 hours (no sleep, only stopping for gas) straight to New York City for a show. We pulled up to the venue an hour before the show and somehow managed to get through the whole set without falling over. We'd like to thank vitamin B12 for getting us through that experience. Way to go, B12.

What are your plans for the future?

To record our next album!! To tour more! Overall soldiering onward!
Please visit their website and buy Let Live and Let Ghost.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ra Ra Riot Live Review/Interview

Ra Ra Riot has created, in my opinion, one of the best albums of 2008. The Rhumb Line is full of wonderfully written lyrics and songs that can evoke every type of emotion yet still make you want to dance in your automobile while you are stuck in traffic. The past few years for Ra Ra Riot have been a rollercoaster and they have received much attention for the tragic passing of their drummer and songwriter, John Pike. But they decided to keep going and seemed to go even stronger with their signing to amazing Seattle based record label, Barsuk and the release of The Rhumb Line. The album includes new versions of songs that had been released on their self-titled EP, new favorites such as “Too Too Too Fast”, and even a Kate Bush cover of “Suspended in Gaffa”. The band, made up of Wes Miles, Alexandra Lawn, Rebecca Zeller, Milo Bonacci, Mathieu Santos, and current drummer Gabriel Duquette, have been touring in support of the new album for the last few months and even appeared for late night talk show hosts like David Letterman and Conan O’ Brien.
On an extremely chilly Friday night in Nashville, I got the chance to see Ra Ra Riot perform and see if the live reviews I had been reading about their show had been true. In support of the band was Princeton and So Many Dynamos, who both put on a good show and were fantastic openers for the band. There was a good turn out of people at Exit/In when Ra Ra Riot took the stage. They started the show with “Each Year” and everything sounded immaculate. Wes Miles’ vocals sound perfect next to Alexandra Lawn’s cello and Rebecca Zeller’s violin. The band played all of the Rhumb Line and EP favorite, “A Manner to Act”. They had amazing stage presence and they all looked like they were having a great time. One aspect that adds so much to their show is how they commingle on the stage and are constantly moving around. After leaving the stage, the crowd cheered for an encore, and the band definitely delivered with an epic cover of Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love”. Ra Ra Riot’s live show is phenomenal, and if they come to your town, I highly suggest you go see them for yourself.
Before the show I had the chance to interview the lovely Alexandra Lawn who plays cello for the band. When asked about how they got involved with Barsuk, she said their manager contacted them and they came out when the band was recording in Seattle. “Ever since then we’ve been one happy family with them,” said Alexandra. I asked why they did new recordings of the songs that had already appeared on the EP, and Alexandra said they “wanted a cohesive album” and, “I think some of those songs had matured during the live shows”. Alexandra has been playing the cello since she was three years old and lists classical musicians as her main musical influences. When asked to describe Ra Ra Riot’s sound, she chose the word, “rich”, and said, “It plays back to the really good pop music, and what pop music used to be about, like the Beatles, The Police, and U2”. She has loved getting to travel and see the United States while on tour, and says “Oh, La” is one of her favorite songs to play live. She lists current tour mates, Princeton and So Many Dynamos, as some of her favorite bands to tour with, along with The Virgins, Tokyo Police Club, and Vampire Weekend, saying, “They are all just really fun, great people, and great bands”. As for Ra Ra Riot’s future plans, she said, “Keep on doing what we’re doing, I think, as long as we’re still having fun, then we’re going to keep doing this as hard as we can.” Also, Alexandra lists Britney Spears, hot fries, and rain boots as guilty pleasures and loves to spend time with her dogs when she is not touring.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Coconut Records album?!

New Coconut Records album called "Davy" will be out in January 2009. Nighttiming, Jason Schwartzman's music project's first album, is fantastic and if Davy is even half as good as Nighttiming is, I will be ecstatic.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Interview with the Spinto Band

The Spinto band is a wonderful 6 piece from Wilmington, Delaware. They just released their second album, Moonwink, on Park the Van Records. The band is made up of Thomas and Sam Hughes, Jon Eaton, Nick Krill, and Joey and Jeff Hobson. The new album is a follow up to their 2005 major label debut Nice and Nicely Done, although they had previously self released many albums. I had been waiting for Moonwink for a while, and it definitely lives up to all of my expectations. All of the songs are so refreshing and really great, that I can’t pick a favorite, although I am addicted to “Summer Grof”.
I just got the chance to see the Spinto guys for the first time at a Grimey’s in store. They were really nice and their live show was very energetic and fun to watch. They mainly played songs from Moonwink, but also threw in some old favorites, like “Brown Boxes” and “Direct to Helmet”. It was also a great to see the legendary kazoos in action. Jon Eaton, guitarist, was nice enough to answer some questions for me. He talks about the story behind Roy Spinto, touring habits, and recording Moonwink.

What was the recording process like for Moonwink?
Well, it’s a funny coincidence that the album was recorded in a converted sweatshop as we all worked pretty long hours putting the album together. We set deadlines, knew what we wanted and wore sweatpants every now and again. We also gained a fine appreciation for Ms. Pac Man and LA truck burritos. Dave Trumfio (producer) told us many a late night tale of past record industry fiascos to help inspire the process and once or twice we joked about whether veggie burritos were real burritos.

Can you explain the story behind Roy Spinto?

Roy is the inspiration of the band. He blessed us with some song inspiration early in the formation of the band. His face graces many a logo of the band nowadays and sometimes I wonder if he were alive today if he wouldn't anchor a band of his own and we could have a trademark battle for the rights to The Spinto Band name.

What have you guys been listening to lately?

Well.... excellent question. I have been enjoying a few albums of late. Dr. Dog's new album, Fate, is great. I enjoyed the Thao Nguyen album that came out this summer. The new Silver Jews is pretty cool, but I have to admit, I don't really get the new TV on The Radio. We had a discussion the other day that most people say that record is awesome because they are scared to admit that they don't get it. I am not scared, here me now, I don't get that new TV on the Radio album. I think it sounds like an unwound wool scarf.

Where is your favorite place to tour?

Aww shux... I'm no good at picking favorites. Here is a list of cities I've been building that, if I were offered a well paying job there, I would move there... you know, if I were in a career path that created exciting life changing options like that: Madison, Austin, Norfolk VA, New Orleans (despite the potential for disaster), Glasgow, Paris, San Francisco, Portland Maine. Sometimes I want to live in Phoenix, but other times I think otherwise.

What is your favorite song to play live?

See above... Although some of our favorite shows have been in Glasgow Scotland. People are always game for a conga line and once everyone gets drunk you can't understand a single word anyone is saying- and people love to get drunk there, so you pretty much listen to people speak in a foreign tongue, but that tongue is really just drunken Scot.

Any funny stories from tour?
Oh are you kidding me? We are straight business in the Spinto band, the only funny thing ever to happen on tour for us was we misorganized our tax documents and had to refile, but we accidentally refiled using forenames instead of surnames and the files were all screwed up. Crazy story, I'd elaborate, but you kind of had to be there.

Who are your musical influences?

My influences are constantly changing. Today I was listening to a bunch of Ween songs and realized they shaped a large part of my musical upbringing. They helped explain an important point in music and all around existence: anything goes, try new things, do your own thing.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Seal and meerkats
Do you have any hidden talents?
Hustling suite upgrades at hotels

How would you describe the Spinto Band's sound?

What can I write that doesn't sound self-obsessed? The Spinto band sound can be described as the final words you write on a postcard before you run out of space. Jam-packed, poignant, and usually overshadowed by the flip-side.
Check out their website:
And make sure to go out and buy a copy of Moonwink!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Grimey's New and Preloved Music

I just thought that I should give a much deserved shout out to my favorite record store, Grimey's New and Preloved Music, in Nashville, TN. It is one of my favorite places and I always walk away with handfuls of new music. The staff is so nice, and not snobbish at all. If you are looking to start listening to a new band, they will direct you to the best album to try first. They are one of the only Think Indie record stores in Tennessee, and carry albums that are very hard to find. Also, the instores are fantastic. Over the past few months I have seen Conor Oberst, an amazing Nashville super group covering the Walkmen, and Chris Thile and Edgar Meyer. They were also named one of Paste Magazine's 17 Coolest Record Stores in America. So, make your way out to 8th Avenue South and say hi to some of the awesome people at Grimey's or even catch an awesome upcoming instore.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Conversation with Our Cat Philip

I have been searching my mind to try and find words to describe the sound of Our Cat Philip, a Columbus, Ohio based band. Nick Held, the source of drums/keyboards/vocals, says the band’s favorite definition of their sound is “kindergarten rock”, which is a perfect description of their sound. They just released their first album, “Apart of Someone” in August, and I highly recommend that you download it from their site. I got the chance to talk to Nick and ask him a few questions about the band. Our Cat Philip met at Ohio State University and is made up of Max Sollisch, Jeremy Hendricks, Nick Held, and Emily Ng. As for musical influences, Nick says, “Our music is a byproduct of our musical backgrounds.” Their collective influence is Yo La Tengo, while Max is influenced more in a lyrical sense and he notes Elliot Smith and Conor Oberst as his main influences. Jeremy is influenced by Grandaddy. As for their sound, Nick says, “There are really emotional lyrics and we put this poppy, folky sound behind them.” He also notes, “We are excited to have an emotional response to our music.”

Also, Nick lists the band Couch Forts as one of their favorites to play with in Columbus. “The music scene here is very, very helpful, and is a very close knit community,” Nick says when I asked about the Columbus music scene. Also, one important aspect of Our Cat Philip’s sound is that they do not use electric guitars or even a bass, because the cello takes the place of the bass. Nick says they do not want to limit themselves to one certain instrument. As for most memorable show, Nick said, “The first time we played with Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. It was such a phenomenal night.” They are currently playing a few shows around Ohio, but they also are all busy with school. Next summer, Nick says, “We hope to go on an extensive tour supporting a national act.” So, download their album, go see a show, and you will love this band as much as I do.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

An Interview with Sean Moeller of Daytrotter

I believe that Daytrotter has been one of the greatest contributions to the indie music world in the past two years. They bring in fantastic bands to their studios in Rock Island, Illinois and record four songs, sometimes those songs are new, unreleased, or covers. They then release these songs to the public for no cost at all. Don’t you wish you would have thought of it? Well, Sean Moeller did think of it. He started it in 2006 and since then there have been many fantastic sessions by bands of many different genres. My favorite sessions have included both Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin sessions, Ra Ra Riot, Death Cab for Cutie, Delta Spirit, Grizzly Bear, Islands, Spoon, and the list goes on and on. I got the chance to interview the man behind Daytrotter and ask him where he got the idea for the site, his most memorable sessions, and what the future of Daytrotter holds.

What were you doing before Daytrotter?

I was working full-time as a sports and entertainment writer for the Quad-City Times, a daily newspaper here in town. I was also doing a lot of freelance music writing for various magazines across the continental United States.

Where did you come up with the idea for Daytrotter?

I think I was out on a run, listening to the Kings of Leon or Ted Leo or something like that when I came up with it. Just thought I could make something happen here in town with our close proximity to all of the big Midwestern cities. I thought it could work. So far, so good.

What has been your most memorable session?

There are way too many to single out. Every band that I invite in, I like so there have been a lot of memorable ones. We have had some really fantastic sessions with Deerhunter, Grizzly Bear, Delta Spirit, Dr. Dog and The Walkmen. There are hundreds more that could and should be mentioned.

Who are your favorite bands that you have not done sessions with?

This would be a long list too. I'd say that I'd love to have Joanna Newsom, Wilco, Kings of Leon, Willie Nelson, Masters of the Hemisphere, Radiohead, TV on the Radio and Brian Wilson in here.

Why did you decide to offer the songs for free?

It just made the most sense. And, doing it that way eliminates a lot of hassle. We aren't trying to be MySpace Music or something like that. We wanted there to be no barrier to people checking out these great bands. We want these to be bands that everyone hears. People are stubborn when it comes to ponying up and not just stealing all the music they can get their hands on.

Why do you think that Daytrotter has blown up like it has?

Have we blown up? I don't really know. I think we're just doing something really true to heart and for the right reasons. We try to do things the right way. I think we have good taste and we do good work. Maybe that's it. Who knows.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I don't have any spare time. My wife and I have a couple of little girls. That keeps us busy. I do enjoy me some books though. I'm a runner. That's the life.

What is your favorite food?

Burritos and spaghetti.

What has been your favorite concert you have ever been to?

Either when I saw Spacehog play at the Madison Theatre in Peoria, Illinois or when I saw The Darkness play at The Double Door or when I saw Weezer for the first time at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Or...there are great moments at every show I've ever been to. It's sad to me when I go see a great band and the place isn't full. There have been few experiences in my life that compete with the thrill and creative inspiration that I get when I'm at a live show. It's discouraging to think that people would rather stay at home and play video games like lame-o Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Go see a fucking show!! A real show.

What is coming up for Daytrotter?

A whole bunch more great sessions. We've got some surprises.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Conversation with David Condos

David Condos is one of my favorite Nashville artists. He has such an amazing voice, writes lovely lyrics, and is a really nice guy. He released his debut album, Smoking City, in 2006, and just released an EP entitled Like Wolves, which he is offering for a free download on his website for a limited time. My friend Katelyn told me about him a while ago and I got Smoking City. I loved his voice and starting listening to the album so much. Now, with this new release, I have even more to listen to and love. “Permanent” is my favorite song, although “Like Wolves” is a close second.
I got the chance to do a phone interview with David and he was really nice. He moved to Nashville seven years ago with his family, and attended Belmont. Most of his current band went to Belmont also, and he was really close friends with Koral, who provides vocals and other various instruments, and was roommates with Ian, the guitarist. I asked why he decided to release Like Wolves for free, and he said, “Our sound has evolved since Smoking City and I wanted to give something back to the fans.” Also, Like Wolves and his other latest songs have been more collaborative with his bandmates. He has more eclectic influences such as Nick Cave, Radiohead, The National, and Wilco.
His writing inspirations are from “direct personal experiences”. David and his band have played many shows in Nashville, at places like The End and Mercy Lounge. His most memorable show has been in New York, and he says it was a “big band trip out there”. When asked about his fan base in Nashville, he responded, “We love our fans!”
His favorite songs to perform are his more intense, more passionate songs, like “Keep Your Hand on the Door” and “Like Wolves”. His favorite places in Nashville are Grimey’s New and Preloved Music, Hillsboro Village, and East Village. Even the last album he purchased, Mule Variations by Tom Waits, was purchased from the Grimey’s Preloved section. For those fans looking for even more releases from David, he reported he is hoping to get in the studio and release another EP before the end of the year.
I asked him who his celebrity crush was, and he answered, “I know this sounds generic for a guy indie musician, but I have to say Zooey Deschanel.” He also just decided to go gluten-free, yet chicken enchiladas are his favorite food. His favorite movie is Clifford, starring Martin Short.

To purchase Smoking City and receive a free download of Like Wolves, go to his site:
(Photo from David's flickr)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Conversation with Via Audio

Everyone should listen to Via Audio. They really are that fantastic. The band, made up of Jessica Martins, Tom Deis, David Lizmi, and Adam Sturtevant, resides in Brooklyn, NY. They met at Berklee College of Music in Boston and the rest is history. Via Audio released their first album, Say Something, in September 2007. I have listened to the album so much, and the song, “Modern Day Saint”, is my favorite on the album. I got the chance to do a phone interview with the bassist, David Lizmi, and the drummer and newest member, Adam Sturtevant.
David and Adam are really nice guys, and when I talked to them they were in Austin, Texas with Jim Eno of Spoon starting on their new album. Eno produced their first album, also. They listed their main influences as Radiohead, Spoon, and Death Cab for Cutie. The band tours often, mainly in the northeast, but they admit they love to play in foreign countries. Japan and Montreal are two places they named as favorites. Also, the band has toured with many talented bands in the past. "It is very, very crucial for us to be really, really close with the band we're touring with,” David said. They list Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin as a favorite to tour with and Jukebox the Ghost as another favorite. Also, they collaborate with the bands they are touring with, whether it is onstage or off. As for what they do to entertain themselves on our, Adam said, “All we do all day is try and crack each other up and weird shit will come out."
Also, David and Adam are both movie freaks. Adam quoted Ferris Bueller Day’s Off as his parting words and named Breakfast Club as his favorite movie.
As I said earlier, the band is currently working on their new album with Jim Eno. They both sounded super excited about it, and I am looking forward to it because I know it will be amazing. They predicted May 2009 as a possible release date. Make sure to pick up a copy of Say Something if you do not have it. Also, check out their website:
(Photo from their website)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Backroads Mix

At the beginning of the summer, my friend Aubrey and I made a mix for driving on the backroads, which we both prefer to do over sitting in traffic. I think its a great mix and has a bunch of our favorite bands on it.

Beirut-"Elephant Gun"
Fleet Foxes-"Mykonos"
Matt Costa-"Sunshine"
The Shins-"Pink Bullets"
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin-"House Fire"
Belle and Sebastian-"If She Wants Me"
Rogue Wave-"Lake Michigan"
Rufus Wainwright-"Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk"
Simon and Garfunkel- "The Dangling Conversation"
Cat Power-"Sea of Love"
The Decemberists-"Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect"
Iron and Wine-"Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car"
Bright Eyes-"Landlocked Blues"
Andrew Bird-"Heretics"
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin-Glue Girls
My Morning Jacket-Gideon
Ryan Adams-Wonderwall
Wilco-Sky Blue Sky
The Shins-New Slang

So, make this a mix for your car and play it when you are driving on the backroads, or even if you are sitting in traffic and you just want a pick me up.

Also, I am loving:

Ra Ra Riot's The Rhumb Line, they have been a favorite of mine for a really long time and their new album is so fantastic.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

An Interview with Eric Johnson of the Fruit Bats/ The Shins

I really, really like the Fruit Bats. Eric Johnson, the main man behind the Fruit Bats, is so talented and an amazing musician. Also, he is a really nice guy. The Fruit Bats have released three albums, Echolocation, and their last two were released on Sub Pop, Mouthfuls and Spelled in Bones. Recently, Eric Johnson became the newest member of the Shins. I got to see him perform with the Shins on the Wincing the Night Away tour, and they were astonishing.

Spelled in Bones was released in 2005, and then the Shins took most of Eric’s time after that. “Canyon Girl” is one of my favorite Fruit Bats songs, and one of my favorite songs in general. It gives me goose bumps sometimes, when I listen to that song on my drive home when the sun is setting. When Eric hits the high notes, I just love it. The Fruit Bats were the soundtrack to my summer. I suggest if you do not know Eric’s work already, you should definitely buy a copy of any of his albums.
I got the chance to interview Eric Johnson, and he talks about Fruit Bats news, being the newest member of the Shins, and his hidden talents.

Here is the link to their merchandise on the Sub Pop site:

Sarah: So what have you been up to lately? Any news about the Fruit Bats?

Eric Johnson: I'm working on new songs right now, and there should be some shows early next year. It's been a while, so I've had time to reinvent things a little bit. The live show is going to be much improved, I think. I'm pretty excited! I've been taking my time, nice and slow.

Sarah: How does it feel to be the newest member of the Shins? Were there any hazing rituals?

EJ: No hazing rituals, thankfully! Playing with that band is as fun as one might imagine. I've been friends with those fellows for quite some time now (from before they even had records out), so it's been fun watching them grow, and then getting to jump on board! I'm the first person who isn't from Albuquerque to play with any of those guys, so it's been pretty fun becoming an honorary New Mexican. Especially for a guy from Chicago like me.

Sarah: What has been your favorite place to tour?

EJ: Fruit Bats have always just toured in the US, and I still love getting in the van and going. It's always an unpredictable adventure, and it's kind of addictive. I've toured pretty much all over the world with The Shins, and I can't even begin to tell you a favorite. Japan was amazing, I will say.

Sarah: What is your favorite song to perform?

EJ: People have always responded strongly to "When U Love Somebody," and I guess it's probably the closest thing the Fruit Bats has had to a "hit." Usually bands hate playing their hits, but I still get a kick out of seeing people bounce around to that one.

Sarah: Who have been your biggest musical influences?

EJ: That's a hard one. It might be a cliché, but I turned a huge corner the first time I heard the Velvet Underground at about age fourteen. My friend's older brother had "Loaded," and it made me realize you didn't really have to be able to play that great to make great music. I had similar epiphanies (for different reasons) with Neil Young, Nilsson, Dylan, The Grateful Dead, Pavement, Souled American, Red Red Meat... The list goes on.

Sarah: What was the last album you bought?

EJ: I just bought Todd Barry's comedy album "From Heaven" off of I-tunes last week.

Sarah: Who has been your favorite band to collaborate/tour with?

EJ: I can't answer that. I've enjoyed so many collaborations and tours with different people in different ways.

Sarah: Do you have any hidden talents?

EJ: I can pop my shoulder blades out of their sockets. It's really gross. It doesn't hurt at all and I can pop them back in just as easily. Some people find it hilarious but most find it freaky. It's a drunken party trick.

Sarah: What is your favorite thing to do when you are not touring?

EJ: Watching or listening to Chicago Cubs baseball, cooking, hanging with my lady, writing screenplays.

Sarah: What is your biggest guilty pleasure?

EJ: No true pleasure should bring you guilt.
(Photo taken from the Fruit Bats' flickr)

Things to Come...

Hey guys!

I just wanted to tell everyone what is coming up for my blog. I just did an interview with Via Audio, and I have a ton more interviews set up.

With: Eric Johnson of Fruit Bats/The Shins
The Features
The Whigs
Our Cat Philip
Sean Moeller, who created Daytrotter
David Condos
And Tokyo Police November!

More things also, but those are interviews that should be finished in the next few weeks.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

An Interview with Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, from Springfield, Missouri, is definitely one of the best pop bands around. If you know me, then you know that they are my favorite band. Broom, their debut album, stole my heart and is one of my favorite albums. It was so well received by the public, and the guys can even call Chris Walla, of Death Cab for Cutie, a fan. Yet, with their release of Pershing this past April, Broom had some major competition. Pershing is so insanely catchy and the perfect pop album with substance. Every single track on Pershing stands out. It is the best driving album, for driving with the windows down on the back roads. My personal favorites are “Glue Girls”, the first track, which has the greatest ending and “Oceanographer” which is so amazing performed live. “The Beach Song” is another personal favorite. Both albums are so different, yet both are phenomenal.

One of the main reasons that Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin are my favorite though, is that the members, John, Will, Phil, and Jonathan, are such great guys. They are so friendly, and always make an extra effort to connect with the fans.

I saw them play in Covington, KY at the Madhatter in July and they were amazing. They were everything I expected and more. John, the lead singer, had lost his voice, so Phil, who also sings, took over the singing for the entire night. They played a shorter set than they normally do, but it was a very special set list. It included songs from Broom and Pershing, which included “Yr Broom”, “Dead Right”, and “Modern Mystery”. Also, they did an Arrested Development cover of “Mr. Wendell” in which Phil rapped, and they played b-sides, like “Let’s Get Tired”. I got the chance to meet the band, and they were all so funny and incredibly kind. I can’t wait to see them perform again soon. They are leaving for a European tour starting September 10th.
I got the chance to interview Phil Dickey, the drummer/guitarist/singer/songwriter of the band. He talks about the differences between Broom and Pershing, adventures in touring, influences, and his guilty pleasures.

Also, please check out their website, and buy their albums.
(Photo credit to my friend Katelyn, who took the photo at their Covington show)

Sarah: So, how is Pershing, the latest album, different from Broom?

Phil: There were so many different circumstances when we made Broom and Pershing, and that's why they sound different. I think Broom is more introverted...I think it sounds like starring at your ceiling in your bedroom. We recorded it in Will's bedroom, so it was easy to make it sound like that. Making Pershing was more complicated. We wanted to make something personal, but we also wanted to make a record that sounded more like our live show...which is much louder, and more upbeat than Broom. We borrowed nicer microphones to record Pershing, so it sounds more professional...but I don't think that's what makes it good. I think Pershing is more of a party record, or for riding your bike.

Sarah: Who have been your biggest musical influences?

Phil: Music that I listened to when I was younger, before I could really play an instrument. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with contemporary Christian music because that's all my parents listened to. Then I got obsessed with the Beatles and Nirvana because I really thought I would get beat up or ridiculed for listening to Michael W. Smith in junior high. Anyway, the Beatles and Nirvana were like magic to me. They're our biggest influences, even though we don't sound much like them.

Sarah: What was the last album that you bought?

Phil: Wildflowers by Tom Petty. It's okay. I wish I liked it more.

Sarah: Where has been your favorite place to tour? Why?

Phil: Beloit, Wisconsin. We play at Beloit College in a really small basement. It's always packed and the kids always freak out and get really into the music. After the show we always hang out with them and sleep on the floor in a random dorm room. We'd much rather play Beloit than a huge club somewhere else.

Sarah: How is it on the road, traveling so much?

Phil: It's all about action, adventure, friendship, and loyalty. Sometimes we're friends and sometimes we want to kill each other.

Sarah: What is your favorite song to perform live? Why?

Phil: Heers. Because it's quiet and loud and it's fun to sing.

Sarah: What do you like to do when you are not touring?

Phil: Just normal stuff like walking a dog, hanging out with friends, and riding bikes. My biggest thing is that I always like to have an art project going on and working on it everyday until it's done and I have a new one. Sometimes it's writing a song. But lately I've been making skateboard videos with my little brother. Will, our guitarist, makes a lot of art, too. We all have normal jobs when we're not touring.

Sarah: Who has been your favorite group to tour with?

Phil: Probably Harry and The Potters because the shows were all ages and totally unpredictable. The first five rows in the crowd were always little kids who had never seen a rock show before.
Sarah: Has anything funny or strange happened on tour recently?

Phil: I got jumped by 3 guys in Asbury Park, New Jersey. They wanted my money and I said no, so one of them punched me in the face. A security car pulled up and they ran off. My face was bleeding and then we played a show. I always wanted to get punched in the eye. So I'm glad it happened without serious injury.

Sarah: What are your plans for the next few months?

Phil: Go on tour and write new songs. Then record new songs for a new album.

Sarah: What is your biggest guilty pleasure (whether it’s food, movies, music, or television show)?
Phil: Right now it's the movie Home Alone. I got the special edition DVD and it has so many awesome extra scenes, and I usually don't watch those. We played a show in Chicago two days ago. While the other guys were eating, Will and I found the Home Alone house with a couple friends.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Hi everyone!

I thought that I should introduce myself before I jump into posting about music that I love. I'm Sarah, and I am a budding music journalist who lives in Nashville, Tennessee. I am surrounded by great music all the time. This blog will basically include some awesome interviews I have with bands coming up, reviews of albums and live shows, and mixes I have made with my friends. The first interview I should be posting in the next few days is an interview with the fantastic Phil Dickey of Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, my favorite band.

Thanks for reading!