Yoni and Josiah Wolf/WHY? interview

Anticipation was pumping through my veins for weeks leading up to the Yoni/Josiah Wolf interview. WHY? is my favorite band of the moment. Why, you ask? Between the lyrics and intriguing instrumental arrangements, it is like a Siren call for me. Apparently the Sirens got me in the end because I was too excited and maybe a bit nervous about the whole event. I ended up freaking out the night before, calling a friend in another state for more questions, being unable to sleep, etc. Mr. Javier Suarez was there by my side for the interview and if you ask him I was pretty embarrassed and flustered over the technical complications we had with the phone lines. I think it set the tone of the interview to where all sides of the phone call were a bit annoyed. It took a (long) while to get rolling, but once we did I got a glance into the rather curious mind of Yoni Wolf. I’m still unsure about how I feel about it. (Insider Note: There has been recent speculation of the degree of truth in answers.) I know it could have gone worse, but I also know this was probably the only opportunity I would have to talk with the genius behind WHY?

As the sensitive-type Love Guru, I want to encourage every DJ to seek out bands they love/admire because it is worth asking the questions you’ve wanted answered for years. And if they aren’t available to talk via phone, conduct an email interview and post it here on the blog. Getting inside the minds of our favorite musicians doesn’t happen every day, and neither does hearing your favorite artists voice saying “fucking” over the FCC regulated airwaves. Cringe.

I’ve decided to post this for all to hear/benefit from/speculate on/enjoy.

(still giving) hugs and kisses,

Chelan

Listen to the interview on KZUU’s podomatic page:

2010-01-26T19_12_30-08_00

P.S. Also, if you are one of those idiots who has never listened to WHY? click here so you can stop being so uneducated.

P.S.S. Buy Josiah Wolf’s Jet Lag album when it comes out on March 2nd, 2010.

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KZUU Top 30 — 1/25

Hey, what’s up? You’re Victoria, right? From Beach House? I thought you looked familiar. I love your music. We just got your album at this radio station I work at. It’s really good. I mean really good. I’m pretty sure you were #1 on the charts this past week, so yeah, I’d say people are digging it. You should totally come play a show for us in Pullman sometime soon… Oh, I see, you have to go get a copy made of your house key. No, I totally understand. Safety first. I guess I’ll see you around then? No? Well that’s cool too, but hey, it was nice meeting you!

  1. BEACH HOUSE — Teen Dream
  2. REAL ESTATE — Real Estate
  3. LOCAL NATIVES — Gorilla Manor
  4. NEON INDIAN — Psychic Chasms
  5. THE FLAMING LIPS — Embryonic
  6. HOT CHIP — “One Life Stand” (single)
  7. YARN OWL — Stay Warm EP
  8. FINN RIGGINS — Vs. Wilderness
  9. TEGAN & SARA — Sainthood
  10. NANA GRIZOL — Ruth
  11. AU — Versions
  12. EL PERRO DEL MAR — Love Is Not Pop
  13. ATLAS SOUND — Logos
  14. THAO WITH THE GET DOWN STAY DOWN — Know Better Learn Faster
  15. FAMILY OF THE YEAR — Songbook
  16. BUFFALO DEATH BEAM — The Extended Play
  17. PHANTOGRAM — Phantogram EP
  18. ANIMAL COLLECTIVE — Fall Be Kind EP
  19. SMILE BRIGADE — Eering, Creaky EP
  20. BEAR IN HEAVEN — Beast Rest Forth Mouth
  21. ANNIE — Don’t Stop
  22. GIRLFRIENDS — Girlfriends
  23. MILES BENJAMIN ANTHONY ROBINSON — Summer of Fear
  24. YEASAYER — “Ambling Alp” (single)
  25. VARIOUS ARTISTS — Daptone Gold
  26. THE TEMPER TRAP — Conditions
  27. AH HOLLY FAM’LY — Reservoir
  28. KINGS OF CONVENIENCE — Declaration of Dependence
  29. DEVENDRA BANHART — What Will We Be
  30. THE KING KHAN & BBQ SHOW — Invisible Girl

Los Campesinos! — “Romance Is Boring”

Los Camp! are geniuses. They’re Welsh, there are seven members, and I love them. The band is perhaps best known for their single from a couple years ago, “You! Me! Dancing!”, which gained them notability (notoriety?) in the indie scene. Their debut, Hold on Now, Youngster… was brilliant, and eight months later they released We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed, which was brilliant. That’s quite an accomplishment, really. Two classic albums in 3/4 of a year. Both are in the KZUU library.

LC! sound like a bunch of hyper, intelligent British kids, because that’s what they are. They can build up and break down like nobody else, full of horns and noise and energy. It can get a bit hectic, but rewarding if you don’t take them too seriously–their entire attitude is tongue-in-cheek, approaching typical teenage/young people topics of love and relationships with a clever, cynical bent.

The new album is much longer and much more sprawling than the previous two. There is more experimentation with tempo, sound and mood than ever before. This means it’s a much less concise pop experience, although We Are Beautiful hinted at their tendencies towards ambient, moody instrumental pieces. All in all, Romance is the sound of a band evolving as it grows older, keeping only the most effective elements of their previous sound as they incorporate more sophistication and grow up a little bit.

What really sets the band apart is their lyrics, though. I’m not sure I can adequately capture what hits me so hard about their writing. Here’s a sample of some of my favorite lines:

  • “You said ‘send me stationary to make me horny’ / So I always write you letters in multicolors / Decorating envelopes for foreplay / Damn extended metaphors, I get carried away” (“My Year in Lists“)
  • “I cherish with fondness the day (before) I met you” (“My Year in Lists”)
  • “Said every photo that you took that festival got lost in your camera in an insurance scam / And though underexposed, i could see from the quality, his K Records t-shirt and you holding his hand / And I know he took you to the beach, I can tell from how you bite on your cheek, every time the sand falls from your insoles / And when our eyes meet, all that I can read, is ‘you’re the b-side'” (“Knee Deep at ATP“)
  • “I identify my star sign by asking which is least compatible with yours” (“Ways to Make It Through the Wall“)
  • “I’ve spent too much time on my knees next to urinals in garish Mexican restaurants / Sobbing into my warm, pale palms for a better understanding of my dietary requirements” (“Miserabilia“)
  • “I taught myself the only way to vaguely get along in love / Is to like the other slightly less than you get in return / I keep feeling like I’m being undercut” (“We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed“)
  • “As if I walked into the room to see my ex-girlfriend / Who, by the way, I’m still in love with / Sucking the face of some pretty boy with my favorite band’s most popular song in the background / Is it wrong that I can’t decide which bothers me most?” (“It’s Never Got That Easy Though, Is It? (Song for the Other Kurt)“)
  • “You asked if I’d be anyone from history, fact or fiction, dead or alive: I said ‘I’d be Tony Cascarino, circa 1995.'” (“All Your Kayfabe Friends“)
  • “I’ve learned more from toilet walls than I’ve learned from these words of yours / Your feelings are buried in scriptures and fictions, it’s all in the words but I’m here for the pictures” (“We’ve Got Your Back (Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #2)“)
  • “I think we need more post-coital and less post-rock / Feels like the build-up takes forever but you never get me off” (“Straight in at 101“)

So yeah, that’s why I like this band. All the best songs on the new record are FCC though. Fuck. Still, you should be able to find some killer tracks. Even their lesser cuts are fire.

Also, in June, this cutie (Aleks) left the band to go back to school. She will be missed.

-Evan

Nana Grizol — “Ruth”

So there’s this genre called “folk punk.” It’s basically inspired by Irish punk bands, the most notable being The Pogues. (Wiki confirms this. Here is a photo of the Pogues’ lead singer. He is attractive.) It’s pretty much what it sounds like–folky instrumentation and aesthetics mixed with the attitudes and song structures of punk rawk. In the Celtic punk genre, there are two bands everyone has heard of, probably because they are pretty fun to listen to while getting drunk (Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly).

Anyway, there’s a set of American “folk punk” bands that includes Dillinger Four, Andrew Jackson Jihad, Ghost Mice, and (early) Against Me!. All great bands, all great music. There’s this one though, who is also good, and their name is Defiance, Ohio. Now that we are over 100 words into this post, I can finally make my point.

Nana Grizol are led by Theo Hilton, who is also a member of or collaborator with, Defiance, Ohio. So, knowing the folk punk roots are kinda crucial to explaining this band. NG are folky, but don’t make folk music. They are punky (has this word ever been used before?) but not punks. Definitely less abrasive and raw than Defiance, but possibly better. Their first record, Love It Love It, from 2008, was awesome but went unnoticed by just about everyone. But now they have Ruth, and it’s time to get the word out.

On first listen I kinda thought meh, but by listen 1.5 I was in. It’s an understated album, easy to overlook and underrate. There’s something about the soft textures and loose feel that seems very earnest to me. Hilton’s lyrics are for the most part pretty frank, although sometimes cryptic. (This could describe 99% of songwriters.) I just feel like these “folk punkers” think they have a strong grip on society and comment on it in interesting ways. Do they? Who knows, they could be total blowhards. Still, with a little effort, Nana Grizol could steal your heart and keep you warm until spring arrives.

UPDATE: Paste Magazine informs us that NG features “a pristine horn section that once belonged to Neutral Milk Hotel.” This is a big deal! N-M-fuckin’-H! Check out their interview with Theo Hilton.

Check out “Cynicism,” “Galaxies,” “From Here” and “Arthur Hall.”

-Evan

[CAN’T FIND A GOOD VIDEO TO ATTACH TO THIS POST]

Jay Reatard: In Memoriam

Total bummer. Jay Reatard, born Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr., was found dead at his home in Memphis Wednesday morning. He was 29.

According to this listener’s ears, Jay was one of the most naturally gifted songwriters of my generation. His prolific nature blessed rock n’ roll fans with 22 full-length albums and over 100 releases in his short career, which began at 15 when his bedroom recordings caught the ear of Gonor Records.

Jay Reatard was the sound of man who felt there just wasn’t enough time.

mp3: Jay Reatard – Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seattle (Nirvana cover)

mp3: Jay Reatard – Gamma Ray (Beck cover)

-curt