rock

INTERVIEW w/ Me and My Dog

words and photos by Shabnam Ferdowsi

Me and My Dog (MaMD) is band based in Dublin, Ireland. When I was there in November, making my way out of Ireland, singer/frontman Luke Healy was kind enough to host me on his couch for a couple nights. So naturally, we got the whole band together for an afternoon photoshoot and interview, which turned into a 9 hour hang with a movie night included. Needless to say it was one the most fun band shoots to date.

The boys of MaMD are originally from Westport, a town on the west coast of Ireland, and have been friends since their wee years of elementary school. There's clearly something magical about being in a band with your best friends, and hanging out with these guys for 9 hours only proved me that point. Their cohesiveness, their camaraderies, their genuine bond is not contrived, not forced, and so humble that it is easily transferred to their relationship as a band. 

The band is part of  the artist collective Popical Island, like Oh Boland who I met up with in Galway a few weeks prior. The collective-run space, the Pop Inn, houses a bunch of a rehearsal and recording rooms for the bands to use and hang out in, share gear, put on diy shows, and simply be a space for the community to interact within. Surrounding yourself with people who are doing exactly what you're doing, and being to help one another out, is so important in leading a creative life, and that's what's proven the collective an essential part of the band's life. 

Jam to them below, check out the photos from our hang, and stay tuned for more good stuff from these Dublin boys:

CONNECT WITH ME AND MY DOG

Facebook // Bandcamp

INTERVIEW w/ Little Animal

words and photos by Shabnam Ferdowsi

Little Animal is a four piece band based in Paris, France, and led by Romain Blatter. When I was traveling through their city in October, we were able to meet up in Mont Martre for a photoshoot, then a chat over some beers. 

As most bands do, this one also started as Romain's solo project. Desiring a fuller, louder sound, he decided to hit the interwebs and put out a call for bandmates, and found his current band over the course of 2015. Basically, they're a very new band on the streets! The most important thing right now for them is become a more cohesive body, tightening their performance, becoming more in tune with one another. Then they can start working on the good stuff: recording another EP, touring, etc. 

Jam to them below, and follow them on Facebook! 

CONNECT WITH LITTLE ANIMAL on Facebook

 

PREMIERE: The Big Gone- Killer For Crazy

words by Shabnam Ferdowsi

The Big Gone have just recently popped onto my radar, and I'm excited to premiere their newest tune, "Killer for Crazy"! Fuzzy vocals, hot guitar riffs and those harmonies that initially  got me hooked to their music. It's a trip down west where I might as well be running for my life in the desert, chased by my ex-lover, at the end of a Tarantino meets Wes Anderson film.  Not to mention the track artwork is beautifully eerie in a way that has me fascinated and creeped out at the same time. 

Listen on below  and don't forget to catch them at our own show at the Silverlake Lounge on 9/26! Free, 21+,4pm.

CONNECT WITH THE BIG GONE

Facebook // Twitter // Insta

PREVIEW: My Double, My Brother @ The Satellite 1/12/15

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My Double, My Brother is an independent band based in LA who's  sound I was hooked on to instantly when I heard them for the first time last week. Perfect timing too, since they're playing a free show at The Satellite here in LA tomorrow 1/12/15!

To preview the show, I was able to ask the band a few questions about 2015 and their new album coming out next month. Hit play below and read on. 

For new ears, describe your music in  a few words:

Percussive indie alternative rock.

What's been your favorite show you've ever played so far?

We've played a few shows that have been really fun for us. One that sticks out is several months back we played at Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa (before it was renovated into the Wayfarer) and a bunch of people came out who knew all the songs from our first album and were singing along super loud and acting out all the drum parts. It was a ton of fun to see everyone enjoying the music in a very honest and raw way. It made us feel like we were offering something really special to those people as it was a palpable example of people appreciating something that we care about so much.
 

What can you tell us about your upcoming album? 

We put a lot of work and effort into making it sound how we thought it should sound. It's pretty different from the last album, as I've learned a lot about song writing and poetry within the past few years, and we have all grown as musicians. The songs sound more refined and more honest, in some senses, and I think because of that, this album is a lot more effective in conveying a certain ethos. The album has a certain arc to it so that the songs, both in lyrical and musical content, function to play off of each other and contrast each other, not in the sense of telling a story, but more in a sense of creating a space where ideas and emotions become merged together; ideas and emotions that I hope people will be able to feel and think. 
 

How has your sound changed since the band formed? 

I think our sound has had a sort of consistency to it since we started writing music several years ago, but I think throughout the years we've developed more of a sensitivity to pop sensibilities and writing music that is fun to listen to and easy to digest. We've always been very critical with our work and have tried to create music that is interesting and pleasing, but our roots are kind of in more esoteric forms of art and music. I think in the past we really praised more avant-garde forms of art and our music was an attempt to flesh out those ideals, but recently we've attempted to primarily operate under the notion of writing for accessibility and for enjoyability, then expanding on that in the most creative and interesting ways that we see fit.

What else can we look forward to from My Double, My Brother in 2015?

Well, first and foremost, the album comes out February 10th, but then after that we plan to do a series of mini-tours up the coast and what not, and possibly a tour in the summer.


CONNECT WITH MY DOuBLE MY BROTHER

Website // Facebook // Twitter

 

 

NEW MUSIC: The Neighbors- Black River

words by Shabnam Ferdowsi

The Neighbors were one of the first bands to play a Beating Lights show last January, and they had me hooked ever since. Their live show was and still is one of the most captivating and passion-infused performances I've seen. After adding a few members, the band started recording their debut EP over the summer and has finally begun sharing their magic with us. 

Their second single, "Black River", off their upcoming EP is always a crowd favorite. What really gets me with this particular song is the imagery they're able to set up, both lyrically and instrumentally, then completely shatter down.  You find yourself flowing down this river they're talking about, where everything is going real smoothly, then the tide builds up and the chorus hits hard bringing with it an intense rhythmic storm of strings, percussion and guitar solos. 

It's simply and beautifully mind-blowing.

Listen below and expect more great music from these guys soon. 

CONNECT WITH THE NEIGHBORS

Facebook / Soundcloud/ Youtube 

Local Spotlight: Soft Swells

"Sun drenched indie rock in the vein of classic songwriters with modern sounds."
- Soft Swells

What has been the best part about your residency at The Echo?

Besides getting to hang with our new friends Fenech-Soler every week I really have loved playing all these new songs. It's been great fun discovering what will work live and what won't. Christopher Pappas, Kyle Fredrickson, Jack Lawless and I have really tried to keep our set uptempo and high energy. It's also been rad to see what people who liked the debut record think of the new record - as it's so different.

What’s one thing you want your fans to take away from your music, specially the new album?

I want both new fans and old fans to take away a sense of hope from Floodlights. A lot of the record is about the journey we all go through in life and the perspective we choose to give it.

As a band, what’s on your bucket list?

As a newish band we would really love to play venues we grew up loving like 9:30 club in DC, Newport Music Hall in Columbus (where I went to HS) and The Wiltern here in LA. We would also love to tour Japan and the UK next year - fingers crossed on those two!!!

What are you looking for in your upcoming tour?

We are really looking forward to exposing a lot of new people to our band, our new record Floodlights, and winning new fans over one by one every night. We have all toured and played in other bands before and know that as people consume and dispose of new music quickly it's important to make a one on one genuine connection with everyone we meet. (and we will do just that!)


Soft Swells is playing their last LA residency show at the Echo on Monday 9/22, you won't want to miss them before they head out on tour!

 

CONNECT WITH SOFT SWELLS

Facebook / Webstie

NEW MUSIC: The Hammers- Hammer City EP

by Shabnam Ferdowsi

I wasn't around in the 80's, and I'm pretty sure the members of the The Hammers weren't either, but there's something undeniably cool about a band that can make you feel like you're walking down the Sunset Strip 25 years ago (at least, how we imagine it must have been to walk down the Sunset Strip 25 years ago).

"Hammer City" might as well be the band's theme song (probably is, right?). The repeating chorus line, "Hammer City, let's have fun tonight" sounds like a pretty good description of the band's live performance, and generally how they're approaching their music. The guitar solos are on point and Nick Belcher's vocals fit the bill perfectly for the intense, head-banging rock track.

Take a listen to the full EP here!

http://youtu.be/zneqFSPAGzs

CONNECT WITH THE HAMMERS on FACEBOOK

Artist Spotlight: Bats in The Belfree

"Our music is a mix of chill surf vibe and driving complex progressive rock, often distorted, with some pop influenced melodic sequences and an easy to listen and dance to rhythm."

Who: Christian Von Hamm, Riley Sieverts, Kimo Carpenter

Current Location: Los Angeles, CA

How did you come up with the band name?

We we're going through a period of time where we were a gigging band with a set list of originals and a name that would change every other gig. We figured this probably wasn't a good idea if we're trying to establish ourselves and gain a consistent following. One of us just learned about the phrase "bats in the belfry" which means crazy. We all figured that was the perfect description of what we are, so it stuck as a band name.Then for some reason we decided to change the spelling to "Belfree".

Who and what has influenced your music the most?

We gain influence from many different things in everyday life. The constant struggle of surviving in a dog eat dog, money driven society, fuels us to create music for ourselves and others to comfort and inspire. We take bits and pieces of the beauty of Mother Nature, surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, love, relationships, and more. Musically we're inspired by all types of music and heavily influenced by artists such as Bob Marley, Nirvana, Rush, Black Sabbath, Blink 182, Coheed And Cambria, The Police, Groundation, and many more. 

If you could collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?

If we could collaborate with any musician dead or alive it would probably be Bob Marley. He was just a brilliant songwriter with such a strong impact in all of our lives. It would be really cool to see what kind of music we could create with the reggae and rock collaboration. 

As a band, what's on your bucket list?

We want to be playing on the biggest stages and festivals in the world, touring and spreading our music and message to as many people as possible.

CONNECT WITH BATS IN THE BELFREE

Website // Facebook // iTunes

DISCOVER: I/O

by Shabnam Ferdowsi

"I/O believes human experience can be too beautiful and grotesque, inspiring and abhorrent, heartwarming and traumatic, to put into words."

Who: Tyler Hicks , Mackenzie Tate , Teddy Murphy  , Chatchon Srisomburananont  , Sean Carmago

Where: Boston, MA

It was love at first sound when I took a listen to I/O this morning. They're a five-piece post-rock band and their music is very much in the same vain as Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros, Brand New, Hammock and El Ten Eleven. They came out with their first album Saudade back in February, but it's never too late to share great music!

Based in Boston, MA where the band met in college, each member hails from a different corner of the world brought together by their mutual feel for music.

"Mackenzie is from Australia, Chatchon is from Thailand, Teddy is from Ohio, Sean is from Maryland, and [I'm] from Utah. When we met each other it was mostly just us asking what music the other was into and then saying "We should jam sometime." As soon as we started playing together we became fast friends. "- Tyler Hicks

Each track of their debut album has its own feels, from hopeful to nostalgic to warm to gut-wrenchingly blue, and I can easily see I/O writing the soundtrack to my life.  Take a listen to their full album here and if you like what your hear, buy their music on Bandcamp!

CONNECT WITH I/O on FACEBOOK

Artist Spotlight: The Moderates

Who: Josh Taylor (guitar, lead vocals), Wes Mathison (bass) and Garret Huff (drums)

Where: Long Beach, CA

In One Sentence: "We're an alternative, indie-rock band who is seeking to be the best that we can be; push ourselves, captivate people and make a difference."

How they met

Wes: " I knew Josh in 3rd grade, when we first met. And we just hung out by default because our parents were friends and we were both homeschooled. We just grew up playing music together. And once we got into high school, I met Garrett on the wrestling team and just hit it off right off the bat. [...] I went to his house one day; he had a drum set and I was like, "I have a guitar we should jam!" So we started jamming together, and then we brought Josh into the mix. Then we got that great idea and went, "Let's start a band."

Musical Influences

Garrett: "We listen to all kinds of different things, and when we come together  [...] we put all of our musical influences together into one moderate sound."

Dream Collaborations

Josh: Jon Foreman of Switchfoot. 

Wes: Victor Wooten.

Garrett:  Taylor Hawking of the Foo Fighters.

Dream Venue

Red Rocks in Colorado. "Outdoor, completely natural, [...] carved out of the rock."

Bucket List

Josh: "I say Solar System Tour. Let's play on Mars" 

But in all seriousness, the guys would love to go on a  World Tour. 

CONNECT WITH THE MODERATES

Website / Facebook / Twitter / Soundcloud

ACOUSTIC: Fever Charm- Sound of Summer

"We're guys who write pop songs, that play rock music,  that wish they could play funk."

Where: Northern California 

Who: Arieh Berl (vocals, guitar), Théo Quayle (guitar), Jared Tyler "JT" Gagarin (drums), Yianni Quayle (bass).

Arieh, Théo and Yianni met back in middle school up in Oakland. They met JT when he and Yianni had a class together at the Berklee College of Music in Boston during their freshman year. Fever Charm as we know really kicked off when JT joined in on the music making. 

Dream Collaborations: HAIM, The Strokes, Funkadelic, Major Lazer, Pharrell, Ricky Reed from 'Wallpaper'.

Bucket List: Play with the Red Hot Chili Peppers; play the local Bay Area venues (i.e. the Fox Theatre); festival tour; group tattoos of a galloping giraffe.

What's in a name? "Well we were all really sick, and it was because we were eating way too much Lucky Charms."

 

Artist Spotlight: Magic Man

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photo:Gavin Thomas

Where:Boston, MA

Who: Alex Caplow (vocals), Sam Lee (guitar), Gabe Goodman(bass), Justine Bowe (keys), Joey Sulkowski (drums)

Sounds Like: The Killers with a slight nostalgic flavor, tossed into an electronic rock that makes you want to dance like no one’s watching. 

Why the name ‘Magic Man’

Summer after their freshman year, while working on an organic farm in France, Alex and Sam met a man who called himself the “Magic Man”. He was the first person they showed their original music to, and found it fitting to name their band after their french friend. 

Looking Forward

Godzilla the movie, Touring (w/ Nigh Terrors of 1927in early summer and later  with Panic at the Disco) and the album release.

Bucket List

-Play with Coldplay

-Smash a guitar at a performance, but preferably a replica guitar

They’ve come a long way since they first starting making music in their bedrooms on Garageband. Make sure to catch a live show on their tour this summer, and dance to their EP ‘You Are Here’ before their album comes out!

Connect with Magic Man

Site // Facebook // Twitter // Soundcloud // Instagram

DISCOVER: Friends With Cameras- Wake Me

Friends With Cameras is an LA-based group. ‘Wake Me’ is their first track released on Tuesday, April 8, 2014.

I hope you like what you hear because you can most likely anticipate more awesome music from then soon! I’d recommend following them on Soundcloud,

DISCOVER: Fever Charm- Moonshine

 

Fever Charm is a four-piece band based in Oakland, CA, blending those East Bay rock sounds with that San Francisco indie. 

Check them out!

Website // Facebook

PHOTOS: Imagine Dragons at The Forum.

2/14/14. Los Angeles, CA.

What an incredible show. The Forum is huge, and although I wished I’d seen them in smaller, more intimate venue where I could’ve felt their music more, Imagine Dragons killed the stage. From the drum solo, to the guitar solos, to the memorizing lighting designs, the crowd was loving (the screaming girls were proof).