Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Neon Indian - New Video and Tracks from Era Extrana


Chillwave guru Neon Indian (aka Alan Palomo) has released a fantastically retro new video, which mimics an instructional video for a fictional 1980s electronic noise-making device. The video, entitled “Step into the World with your PAL 198X,” reveals Palomo’s penchant for experimenting with quirky electronic sounds and ‘80s throwback style. In addition, check out some teaser videos previewing two tracks (“Heart: Attack” and “Heart: Decay”) from Neon Indian’s new album, Era Extrana, due out September 13 on Static Tongues/Mom + Pop.

Neon Indian - Step Into the World With Your PAL198X from Neon Indian on Vimeo.



Neon Indian - Heart : Attack from Neon Indian on Vimeo.



Neon Indian - Heart : Decay from Neon Indian on Vimeo.



Caveman - CoCo Beware ALBUM PREVIEW


Caveman are a Brooklyn band who are on the verge of releasing their first full length album.   The band formed in New York back in January 2010 and have moved forward ever since and will be dropping their album 'CoCo Beware' on September 13th digitally, and November 15th physically via Magic Man!/ORG Music). Their sound is a combination of low key, indie, mood rocker noises and is well worth a listen.  From what I have heard so far the track 'Thankful' is very well done and offers the listener some straight forward, easy to listen to sounds.  Check out the albums tracklisting, artwork, and download the tracks 'Thankful' and 'Old Friend' below.

CoCo Beware Tracklisting:
01. A Country’s King of Dreams
02. Decide
03. My Time
04. Vampirer
05. Old Friend
06. Great Life
07. December 28th
08. Easy Water
09. Thankful
10. My Room

Caveman "Old Friend" MP3 by The FADER


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New M83 Track with Zola Jesus - "Intro"


It's been over a month since M83 released the first single "Midnight City" from his upcoming release Hurry Up, We're Dreaming and since then, we've been eagerly anticipating another taste of the record, which drops October 18th on Mute. Well, that day is finally here. Below you can preview the album's first track, featuring Zola Jesus, the goth synth-pop goddess who is no stranger to chilling electronic beats.

The track offers everything you'd expect for the opening of what promises to be an epic double album. "Intro" begins with a buzzing synth line over whispered voices and gradually builds to a shimmering crescendo, complete with lofty, sustained vocals. Every inch of the sonic space is filled with something, creating an overwhelmingly "big" feeling and foreshadowing the start of a grand album.


The Dead Leaves - If The Shoe Fits


Here is a refreshing new band out of Australia called The Dead Leaves. They have their debut album 'Cities On The Sea' which is due out in November. While initially formed in 2009 to play and record lead-vocalist Matt Joe Gow's solo work, The Dead Leaves (featuring guitarist Andrew Pollock, bassist Cameron Grindrod and drummer Joel Witenberg) have evolved far beyond a solo artist's backing band. (Via Facebook)

Here is the video for 'If The Shoe Fits' which features snippets of images from an early 1920's silent film.  Listening to this song brings to mind the type of sound that the indie powerhouse The National produce.  The vocals that Matt Joe Gow delivers are a thing of beauty and they are the center piece of what The Dead Leaves have to offer.  This is a great song and so addictive making you beg to hear what the entire 'Cities On The Sea' album will sound like.  Sit back and enjoy some honest new sounds with the video for 'If The Shoe Fits' and be sure to also download 'Harm' below as a free download.




The Horrors - Skying REVIEW


Skying is the third album from English 5-piece band The Horrors and offers the listener a very balanced and polished album. The album was released earlier this month in the USA and a month earlier over seas, and it has been on constant repeat with me even since. 'Changing The Rain' offers up a great opener for The Horrors 3rd effort Skying. It is a very balanced and a musically charged opener. It shows the bands darker more laid back side, "open your eyes".   The second song 'You Said' opens up with some low key darker vibes and heats up as the song goes on. 'I Can See Through You' is another upbeat, big sounding song with the throwback retro feel that is found throughout the album.

'Endless Blue' is a fantastic song and the album highlight for me which stands out front and center. The songs intro teases you along right into the chorus and after about a minute the song turns into a jam. The guitars and drums set the tone early digging up a dreamy and edgy tune in 'Dive In'. 'Still Life' is maybe the most radio friendly song from Skying. The vocals here are perfect as they go hand and hand with the music being played. 'Wild Eyed' is a simple, mysterious type of song, which comes at you gently but somewhat messes with your mind. This is the type of sound The Horrors create so well.  'Moving Further Away' clocks in at 8:34. I would call a song like this an experience. It dishes out all those retro vibes once again. This is the chill out song on the album, and is well worth listening to all 8 minutes and 34 seconds of it. 'Monica Gems' fun song here showcasing what they can do mixing guitars, drums and vocals together in a fast paced song. Another album highlight. Lastly is 'Oceans Burning' which is almost 8 minutes in length. This is a low key song that essentially is saying goodbye to the 9 songs before it. A song like this eases the mind and gives closure to a great album.

I asked a friend what their favorite track was from the album and after some hesitation and no response it was pretty clear that this is an album that is intended to be listened to from start to finish not on an individual song basis.   Reviewing the album for BBC Music, Mike Diver wrote, "There's no fault to be found with Skying – truly, every song here hits its mark... From the most incongruous of beginnings, The Horrors have become national treasures in waiting, and now possess the ability to realise any ambitions".  The Horrors always give off that 80's goth vibe with their name and look but as far as the album Skying goes, they are in the year 2011 playing some of the years best tunes. Skying is in my top 5 albums of 2011 so far. These guys aren't trying to go along with the flow of the current music that is being released, they have their own agenda and are creating something that is personal and has meaning.

ALBUM RATING:  5.0/5.0

Skying Tracklisting:
1. "Changing the Rain" 4:36
2. "You Said" 4:51
3. "I Can See Through You" 4:22
4. "Endless Blue" 5:15
5. "Dive In" 4:56
6. "Still Life" 5:26
7. "Wild Eyed" 4:09
8. "Moving Further Away" 8:39
9. "Monica Gems" 4:33
10. "Oceans Burning" 7:54



Still Life (Official Video)


Endless Blue (live @ Off Festival 2010, Poland)

Red Hot Chili Peppers- I'm With You REVIEW

And here we are with the tenth studio album from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The flawed, yet incredibly admirable I’m With You never strays too far from the traditional course but it does offer the listener a fair share of moments both groovy and (dare we say) graceful. Uncharacteristically devoid of traditional single material, the album is a more straightforward and organic affair favoring warmth in place of inexplicable audacity. Still, the hooks, the bass, the funk, are all thankfully prevalent- but they function more appropriately here as individual pieces of an enjoyable (yet massively overlong) fifty-nine minute entity. With the exception of “Brendan’s Death Song”, any traces of the band’s previous angst have dissipated- although this should be fairly obvious to Chili Peppers fans that endured the bloated, soulless affair known as Stadium Arcadium. However, I’m With You feels largely content making peace with itself and the listener. It’s a difficult act to sell for any artist, let alone one with a history as volatile as the Chili Peppers. But the band here seems at ease with it’s own evolution. And as a result, this may be the first time Anthony Kiedis has ever sounded genuinely wise on record. Perhaps I was a little hard on the Red Hot Chili Peppers with June’s preview of their single “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie”. And while I am no “Rain Dance Maggie” advocate, the band is far from dying; instead, they seem to be living merely on their own terms. And for a band like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, this should come as no surprise.

Even more so than on previous releases, band stalwarts, Anthony Kiedis and Flea, are front and center here. Despite the vocal confines of the legendary frontman, there is a comfortable restraint to his lyrics even at their most “freaky styley”- and Flea gets ample opportunities to exercise his fleet-fingered bass lines that exist to purposefully rescue songs from sonic disarray. Much fuss has been made over the replacement of guitarist John Frusciante, mostly due to the band’s previous excursion sans Frusciante- the misunderstood One Hot Minute with Dave Navarro. And while replacement guitarist Josh Klinghoffer is not quite as prominently featured (there are times when he actually seems buried within the mix), he is allotted several moments to shine especially in the album’s first half. Although he could certainly grow to be the full-bodied presence of his predecessor, Klinghoffer is reliably efficient, workmanlike, and far from the distraction that was Navarro.

I’m With You is not without it’s fair share of clunkers. But they are often strategically surrounded by energetic stretches of quality. The tracklist structure deserves substantial praise. As far as discernible flow, this is the band’s best arrangement of songs since Californication. The album begins with the dynamite trifecta of “Monarchy of Roses”, “Factory of Faith”, and “Brendan’s Death Song”- three tunes that seamlessly capture galloping rhythm, funk, and pathos. The following tracks, “Ethiopia” and “Annie Wants a Baby” never fully engage like intended, lacking the steadfast direction of earlier tunes. I have already said my piece on “Rain Dance Maggie”- yet I must admit the song is not quite as painfully awkward when taken in the album’s context. “Look Around”, “Did I Let You Know”(with a trumpet solo), and “Goodbye Hooray” liven up the midsection and also feature some of Klinghoffer’s more impressive melodies. I’m With You’s overlength predictably causes it to stumble towards the end. “Police Station” or “Even You Brutus” would have functioned properly as legitimate album closers. Instead, we end with “Meet Me at the Corner” and “Dance, Dance, Dance”- two offerings that are far too slight to end such a polished effort. In particular, the placement of "Dance, Dance, Dance" is a little odd. No strangers to minimalist finales, Californication featured the beautifully quaint "Road Trippin" as it's curtain-dropper, but "Dance" exists somewhere between a campfire singalong and a raucous high-energy dance number. The song really only works when listened to beyond the tracklist.


Nevertheless, I'm With You is an immensely rich and polished collection of songs. And if there was ever any real doubt, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are back and not treading water. Whether or not this direction is aimless is really for them to know and us to find out. But when it comes to these guys- isn’t that always the point?

STANDOUT TRACKS INCLUDE:






Monday, August 29, 2011

Jamie xx remixes Radiohead’s “Bloom” PREVIEW


Last Saturday night in the wee hours of the morning on a little island in the UK, Jamie xx of acclaimed indie pop act The xx took over the airwaves for a 2-hour essential mix set, which is streaming below. The stellar set includes a feel-good mish mash of grooves that will keep you dancing all night at your next house party.

Even better, Jamie gives us a sneak preview of his remix of Radiohead’s “Bloom” which will be featured on the upcoming Radiohead remix collection RADIOHEAD TKOL RMX 1234567. The “Bloom” remix comes in at the very tail end of the set (right as the DJ finishes the closing remarks) around 117:30. You can also find the artists and song titles of each track on BBC’s website, here. The Radiohead remix album, set for an October 11th release in the U.S. (October 10th in the UK), also includes remixes by Caribou, Four Tet, and Lone.

Jamie xx Essential Mix by Young Turks


The Jezabels - Endless Summer - VIDEO

The Jezabels video for "Endless Summer," premiered this morning on PopMatters.com. The video was directed by Mikey Hamer and shows a nice cinematic view of the bands music. The video is for the single "Endless Summer" which will be released on their debut LP Prisoner, for which the U.S. release date is yet to be set.

Also Check out FPT's Prisoner - Album Preview

SOUND CHECK: Washed Out INTERVIEW

Fake Plastic's very own Fr. Jones and Bobby Markle shoot the breeze with Ernest Greene of Washed Out about bigger hooks, intimate moments, layered vocals, and the popularity of the chillwave movement.

You can find the review here of Washed Out's Within and Without.




FR: When you started recording as Washed Out, was there a moment where you realized that you had attained a significant level of success?


EG: I guess that depends on how you define success. For me, that was just having enough attention to get an offer to put a record out. That was all I ever really dreamed of doing. That happened fairly quickly after the initial attention I got. That was back in 2009. I think of the day I got the shipment of records from my first release. It was like Christmas morning or something- it was really cool to be able to open up the record, put it on the record player. Everything since then has been icing on the cake and it has definitely far exceeded my expectations as to where I saw this stuff going.


FR: What was your goal for the Within and Without album? How do you think your musical vision on this record is different from your earlier EPs?

EG: Well, I had a couple of years experience under my belt since making my first couple of releases. I definitely learned a lot and kind of wanted to follow through with that in the recording. I knew that I wanted to take a step forward away from some of the stuff that I had done. That meant changing things a little, cleaning things up, having just a more produced sound. I knew that I wanted the songs to be bigger and make for a more entertaining show. So I was consciously trying to write songs with bigger hooks or whatever. That was much different too. The reception I think has been pretty good. We have been on tour in Europe and we’re about to go on tour again in a couple weeks with this Australian band called Cut Copy. We are going to be pretty busy for the rest of the year.


FR: Do you listen to any Cut Copy?

EG: Yea. I’ve been a fan of theirs for awhile. I know that their live show is a pretty big production- so we look forward to learning something from them. They’ve been at it for a little longer than we have.


FR: How did the recording process for Within and Without take?

EG: About six months. I had done touring for most of the beginning of 2010. I got finished in June and was fortunate enough that my wife’s family has a lakehouse in rural Georgia and we were able to set up shop there. I worked through the rest of the summer and into the Fall and had most of everything written and very strong demos recorded by mid-November and then I emailed with this producer here in Atlanta named Ben Allen. We had kind of talked some before- but he had some time in December to get together so we went on a short tour for the rest of November and beginning of December and came back and finished the record at the end of December. So six months total.


FR: What type of software do you use? Do you have a favorite piece of equipment?

EG: I wrote most of the record with software and it was a combination of a few programs. The first one is called Reason. It’s made by this company called Propellerhead. I’ve used it for a number of years and I’m really comfortable using it. And in the latter stages, we used Pro Tools- which is kind of an industry standard these days. That’s something I’ve been using more and more. It was mainly those two programs. As far as hardware stuff- I’m looking around the room to see which to pick out, I’m sitting in my studio right now. I’ve got the Nord Electro which is pretty cool. It kind of emulates a lot of old instruments, like electric piano and organ sounds. It’s a lot of fun to play and has a pretty authentic sound.


FR: What is the story on Within and Without’s highly memorable cover image? Is it reflective of the music in any particular way?

EG: I think it’s a reflection of the music definitely. We were touring around Australia as I mentioned in late November, early December and I finished most of the record and I actively had my eye out for a cover image. I was looking through this avant-garde photography magazine and stumbled across the image. It really made sense to me on a number of different levels. The first was that most of the artwork for my previous records was very saturated with colors. I wanted to do something drastically different with both the art and the music. So it made sense to do the opposite of the saturated colors that to me was this stark white, clean kind of look. Again, I think that kind of mirrors the aesthetic of the music and the change in the music- a move to a cleaner, stark sound. Also, just the content of the image, I thought made sense. To me, the record is a collection of intimate moments. I don’t write with particular memories in mind- but I do write following a type of feeling the music will conjure up. So at the core I think it’s emotional music. And to me, the image is an intimate moment in a completely nonsexual way- more of a romantic kind of thing.


FR: You recently performed a dynamite cover of Chris Isaak’s "Wicked Game". What in particular drew you to that song?


EG: I’ve been a fan of the song for awhile. I think the biggest thing I liked was the chorus. Really all the vocals and melodies easily translate into my world- the long, sustained, breathy type of delivery. When I’m considering doing remixes and covers, it all just has to translate. It’s hard sometimes to make that work but this song was very easy. After figuring out the vocals, it was very easy to work through and get everything else right. It’s funny- we performed that for a session at XMU, the Sirius Radio Station. We weren’t sure… we hadn’t been notified that we had to do a cover and that was a big part of the session, they always asked artists to perform a cover. So we were kind of scrambling the day before to get something together- we were a bit nervous recording it. But I think it turned out fine.


FR: It really showcased your voice. And that’s something that intrigued a lot of people. It doesn’t really get featured on your albums that much.

EG: Yea. On the records, I tend to layer my vocals quite a bit. So it does get kind of lost in the mix. But I’m starting to get more comfortable with my voice- especially with the live thing. It’s impossible to do all that live, so it’s being a lot more out in the open.


FR: We recently spoke with Travis from Pictureplane (link) and he mentioned touring with you some time ago. What was that like?

EG: It was a lot of fun. It was actually the first tour I had ever done. And so- it was a lot of fun doing it with him. There was another band, Small Black- who, at the time, were sort of playing as my backing band. He’s a great guy. He’s easily the life of the party in any situation. It makes for a very fun touring experience. A lot of times if you don’t have a personality like that on tour, it just gets kind of monotonous- even boring at times, doing the same thing over and over. But you can always depend on Travis to find the craziest situation happening in that city and then finding yourself right in the middle of it.


FR: He can cut a cool video too.

EG: Yea, yea, yea.


FR: The word is that you are currently experimenting with 70s soft rock- is that something we can expect on future releases?

EG: I’m not sure at this point. That’s definitely something I’ve been into and we’ve done a couple of sessions where we sort of translated some Washed Out songs into that type of sound. It’s something I enjoy doing. But it’s also a bit frustrating that we’ve been so busy, there’s little time to work on studio-type productions. We have a break in December so I’m going to start doing a little recording then. That sound is definitely in my mind but it’s hard to really follow up on anything when there isn’t much time to do it.


FR: In the past, you and Chaz from Toro Y Moi often get lumped together- because of the Columbia, South Carolina connection and of course the chillwave movement. How do you feel about this? How do you explain the popularity of chillwave?

EG: As far as the popularity of the chillwave movement, it’s really kind of hard to understand. Number one- there was a lot of different genres coming together which might expose listeners that might not have listened to indie rock before, they might like it because it has a hip hop influence or electronic influence. There’s a little bit of that going on. And also at the core, I think the music is pop music or at least leans in that direction. Most of the songs are meant to be happy, go-lucky or enjoyed on a simple level. But Chaz is a good friend of mine. I actually have him to thank for haphazardly getting my music out there because he had me featured on his MySpace page as his top friend and that’s how a journalist kind of discovered my music. I definitely owe that to him. Unfortunately we rarely get to see each other because we are always on different schedules with our albums. But when we do get to hang out, it’s always super fun.


FR: Where do you see the music industry going in the next decade?

EG: It’s really hard for me in particular to kind of predict that because I still consider myself very new to the business. But I certainly felt like I’ve come up as a child of the internet and that’s kind of influenced my way of thinking. And there’s no doubt that file sharing, blog culture, and all that has shaped the way the business works. But I do think that it seems like Spotify is a viable way of potentially charging people for music again. My record has actually done fairly well over here in the States. We’ve sold almost 40,000 copies since the release. So there are people who go out and buy records. But 75% of those sales or roughly around that are digital sales- so there’s no doubt that digital is the future whether it’s iTunes or some kind of streaming service. It’s hard to predict. There’s no doubt that the physical copy will lose it’s popularity if it hasn’t already.


FR: Any advice to up-and-coming artists struggling to make it in the 21st century music industry?

EG: My advice is to keep recording. If it’s music that you’re into and songwriting, just write as many songs as you can because it’s through that process that you really start to do your own thing and create your own sound. I think it takes a long time to do that, so be patient. I think the power of the Internet has leveled the playing field a bit. You don’t have to have a lot of money to put into promotion or anything. If the song is good, there are chances you can put it in front of people with the Internet. And if it’s good enough, it will rise to the top. So be patient and work hard.






- Fr. Jones

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Flaming Lips + Lightning Bolt – "I’m Working for NASA on Acid” VIDEO


The always intriguing noise/experimental rock duo Lightning Bolt has teamed up with Wayne Coyne and The Flaming Lips to record a 4 song EP, and it’s packed with all the bizarro psychedelic freak-out vibes you can expect from such a collaboration. As if song titles such as “I’m Working at NASA on Acid” and “I Want to Get High but I Don’t Want Brain Damage” weren’t enough of a clue as to the album’s thematic offerings, check out the videos for these two tracks below (Warning: May induce cravings for intense psychedelic experiences).





Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks - Mirror Traffic - Review


When I found out that Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks were presenting the world with a new album my mind was flooded with memories of when I would listen to Pig Lib forever and ever on end. Matter of fact, I loved the song 1% Of One so much that I would sing it out loud too often and annoy my girlfriend until she completely lost it and would demand that I stop singing that song in front of her. At times I would forget and sing that song out loud, and then realize my lady was near by and then sing it louder to help her understand that 1% Of One is a fantastic song and that Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks are fantastic!

The new Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks album Mirror Traffic was released August 23rd, and my ears were just enchanted by their 15 tracks. I really didn't know what to expect because I had read many things prior saying Mirror Traffic is their best album yet, political statements here and there, great lyrics throughout, Beck helped produce, less signature guitar jam sessions, and so on, and so on... Although, this all may be true this album brings songs with grace, some songs with edge, and some songs that are truly Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks.

Tigers is the first track and as soon as it started to come forth from the speakers it set me in the mood right away with the catchy guitar and melody. Later, it dives into a graceful No One Is (As I Are Be), and then into the rock'n and fantastic song Senator. Later, the mood swings back into something soothing and I realize that from the outside this seems like the tracks are listed in a kind of emotional rollercoaster, but I accept it warmly because as soon as a gentle song is done an upbeat song comes up and I'm ready to dance. Mirror Traffic is much different than the previous albums, but it has elements of what I loved in Pig Lib and Real Emotional Trash. Some of the great stand outs in this album are Forever 28, and No One Is (As I Are Be). I also loved the atmospheric track Jumblegloss, because it gave me images of weightlessness and floating. As a whole this is a great album.

I was completely entertained throughout this album - 4.5/5









Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks - Tigers by artsandcraftsmx



St. Vincent- New Live Songs From Strange Mercy

Here is something to tide the St. Vincent fans over until the release of Strange Mercy (9/13 in the US, 9/12 in the UK). Performing at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, Annie Clarke and company premiered new songs from the album- including "Cheerleader", "Champagne Year", "Year of the Tiger", and "Surgeon". Enjoy.









- Fr. Jones

Blisses B - Regal Goodbyes


Blisses B are a quartet who are based in San Francisco, CA. Their sophomore album Thirty Days, Sixty Years was released back in November 2010. I fully admit that I just listened to the album last week for the first time. Right away this opening track 'Regal Goodbyes' off the album caught my attention in a big way. The track just sunk in both lyrically and musically. It was a perfect refresher to the abundance of indie music that has been hitting the music scene. The song itself is just a musically ambitious effort and one that is fun and enjoyable. I encourage you as a music fan to give Blisses B a chance and if not the entire album you have to at least check out the catchiness of 'Regal Goodbyes'.

Here is a little info to Blisses B from their website...
Blisses B, rooted firmly in the city that embraces music in all forms imaginable, introduces another compilation of genre-crashing rock and psychedelia with their second fulllength album, Thirty Days, Sixty Years. Debuted on Nov. 9, 2010, the album was recorded, produced, and engineered entirely by the San Francisco-based quartet. Thirty Days, Sixty Years explores the mathematical parameters that define our lives — weekends, vacations, adolescence, adulthood, the reality of how much time we have left on this earth — and the personal equations that result from the many caveats that can extend and shorten most of these time frames.



Thirty Days, Sixty Years (2010) by BlissesB


Friday, August 26, 2011

Lupe Fiasco - LIVE REVIEW (Twilight Concert Series)

Lupe Fiasco closed out the 2011 Twilight Concert Series last night in Salt Lake City. I can't say how many people were there, but it was by far the most packed show thus far. Lupe put on an incredible show, running onto the stage opening with "Shinning Down." He was energetic and really worked the crowd for the entire set. He played tracks like "The Show Goes On" from his new album Lasers, but also played older songs such as "Superstar" and the critically acclaimed, "Kick, Push." The only downside was Pioneer Park was so packed, the crowd could be unforgiving and ruthless at times. Although, in-between songs Lupe reached out to the fans to make sure everyone was doing ok (especially in the front). If you ever have the chance to see him perform, I highly recommend it.

Photo Credit: Nicholas Swenor








Mister Heavenly - LIVE REVIEW

I'm going to start out by saying, I really love Kilby Court (Salt Lake City). I've seen a lot of good bands play the venue. So to see Honus Honus (Man Man), Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse/The Shins), and Nicholas Thorburn (Islands) play in a band together, for lack of a better word, was awesome. They interacted with the crowd quite a bit, with Thorburn making humorous comments, such as, "Ken Garff must run a lot of shit in this town." At one point in the show, Plummer threw a maraca to one of the audience members and signaled to shake it, which they did. After the song Honus Honus gave the individual a high five. They basically played all the songs off of their debut album Out of Love. For being such a small intimate space, I couldn't have asked for a better show. Two thumbs up, well done.

Photo Credit: Nicholas Swenor






Jeff Mangum to Release Neutral Milk Hotel Box Set




It looks like Jeff Mangum has finally come out of hiding and decided that it’s okay to face the world. In addition to releasing a Neutral Milk Hotel box set on November 22, Mangum will embark on a solo tour, with dates mostly around New England and a few in Europe.

The NMH box set is an all-vinyl collection of the band’s entire catalog – including original EP Everything Is and LPs On Avery Island and In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. But Mangum isn’t stopping there. The box set will also include 15 unreleased songs - an unreleased 8 track EP, Ferris Wheel on Fire, as well as three 7” singles, at a price of $88. As if that wasn’t enough to make your day, the unreleased tracks will also be available November 22 on Bandcamp, and fans can pay what they feel the songs are worth.

Two of the new tracks, "Oh Sister" and "Ferris Wheel on Fire" are streaming on Mangum’s fancy new site, on which you can also purchase Mangum’s original drawings for $15 each. Below is the tracklisting for the new box set along with a video for “Ferris Wheel on Fire.”

Tracklisting for the NMH box set:

On Avery Island:
01 “Song Against Sex”

02 “You’ve Passed”

03 “Someone Is Waiting”

04 “A Baby For Pree”

05 “Marching Theme”

06 “Where You’ll Find Me Now”

07 “Avery Island/April 1st”

08 “Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone”

09 “Three Peaches”

10 “Naomi”

11 “April 8th”

12 “Pree-Sisters Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye”



In The Aeroplane Over The Sea:
01 “The King of Carrot Flowers Pt 1″

02 “The King of Carrot Flowers Pts 2 & 3″
03 “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea”

04 “Two-Headed Boy”

05 “The Fool”

06 “Holland, 1945″

07 “Communist Daughter”

08 “Oh Comely”

09 “Ghost”

10 “Untitled”

11 “Two-Headed Boy Pt. 2″

Everything Is:
01 “Everything Is”

02 “Here We Are (For W. Cullen Hart)”

03 “Unborn”

04 “Tuesday Moon”

05 “Ruby Bulbs”

06 “Snow Song, Pt. 1″

07 “Aunt Eggma Blowtorch”

Ferris Wheel On Fire:
01 “Oh Sister”

02 “Ferris Wheel On Fire”

03 “Home”

04 “April 8th”

05 “I Will Bury You In Time”

06 “Engine”

07 “A Baby For Pree/Glow Into You”

08 “My Dream Girl Don’t Exist”

“Holland, 1945″ 7″:
01 “Holland, 1945″

02 “Engine”

“You’ve Passed”/”Where You’ll Find Me Now” 7″:

01 “You’ve Passed”

02 “Where You’ll Find Me Now”

“Little Birds” 7″
01 “Little Birds” (Studio)

02 “Little Birds” (Live)



Future Islands – "Before the Bridge" VIDEO and DOWNLOAD


Baltimore-based “post-wave” act Future Islands has released a video for a track off their upcoming release On the Water, out October 11th via Thrill Jockey. If you haven’t heard Future Islands before, you’re in for a treat. Vocalist Samuel T. Herring’s rough and raspy vocals combine with swirling new wave synths to produce a driving, yet blissful cacophony of sound. What’s even better is the track is up for download here, along with “Balance,” another cut from the new album, which can be found here, courtesy of Thrill Jockey. Finally, check out “Tin Man,” a personal favorite from these guys, streaming below.

Future Islands - Before the Bridge from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.


Future Islands - Tin Man by theQuietus




Return to Rock: The Rapture - Echoes (2003)


Return to Rock is an exploration and reevaluation of the music that seemed important at a particular time. What was it like to get in to an album the first time, and has my opinion held up over time?

The Rapture: Echoes (2003)

Although you might think that the rationale for choosing this album is the upcoming release of the Rapture’s third album, In The Grace of Your Love, I began to think about Echoes following an exchange with fellow site contributor, Fr. Jones. Specifically, we agreed that best part of the M83’s new single, “Midnight City,” is the saxophone outtro; “a ballsy, committed move,” according to Fr. To the best of my knowledge, the sax has been out of vogue in pop rock since the late eighties, when it popped up in song’s like Glen Frey’s “You Belong to the City,” Men at Work’s “Who Can it Be Now?”, and Duran Duran’s “Rio.” What the sax in these songs have in common with “Midnight City” is warm, sensuous vibe. However, there is also sax on Echoes, and with a few exceptions, it’s more blurting, harsh, and surprising.

Songs like Olio and I Need Your Love seem like the perfect soundtrack for driving into a city at night, preparing for a night on the town. Particularly, the sax in I Need Your Love seems to mimic the sounds and bleets of the highway while going through a concrete underpass, with lights rhythmically shooting by the window.



Other tracks are aggressively abrasive. House of Jealous Lovers is rightfully celebrated, but The Coming Of Spring charges out of the gate and reaches the same fevered pitch. Killing positively pulses with energy. See below; “one two three four….”



Revisting Echoes also brought up some memories about live performances, if you would permit me a quick aside. My brother has a pretty good criteria when deciding whether to go see a band live, namely, “Will they put on a good show?” So, while a band like Godspeed! You Black Emperor plays great music, I found myself dragging when I saw them live last April. I’ve seen the Rapture live three times: 1) as an opening act for the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, 2) as part of the very, very short lived Curiosa Festival (which featured a stellar lineup of the Cure, Interpol, Muse, Mogwai), and 3) and finally at a smallish gay bar in Philly. It was at this last show that the Rapture really slayed it. The attitude and the atmosphere of the entire crowd promoted excessive dancing, which felt completely liberating after being guilty of standing arms-folded, head-bobbing, at many a show. The music of The Rapture, and Echoes in particular seems designed to promote this communal, “Let’s have a good time!” Dance-rock seemed like it was going to be a big thing at the time, and experiencing the music in the correct venue with the correct audience made the show just plain dynamite.


I am curious how The Rapture will sound going forward without the presence of bassist/co-singer Mattie Safir. His work on Sister Savior is especially prominent, anchoring the sound with a driving, nocturnal vibe.



So, the next time you’re heading out on the town give Echoes a spin, will you? It really seems like it was written specifically for the times between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m, when the night is still open with possibility.

Ryan Adams - Ashes & Fire ALBUM PREVIEW


Ryan Adams is back with a new album 'Ashes & Fire' which will be released on October 10th, 'Ashes & Fire' will be handled by Adams' own label PAX-AM. This is Adams’ first solo album to be released via a new U.S. arrangement with his own PAX-AM label and EMI’s Capitol in the U.S. and Canada, the album was recorded at Sunset Sound Factory in Hollywood and produced by Glyn Johns, renowned for his work with the likes of The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Clash, The Who and The Rolling Stones–and whose son Ethan produced previous Ryan Adams albums Heartbreaker, Gold and 29. Ashes & Fire also features guest turns from Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench as well as Norah Jones who contributes piano and backing vocals on several tracks. (info from PAX-AM)

It seemed like for awhile there Adams was releasing albums left and right, things have since slowed down and his newest release is sure to keep us on our toes. This new track 'Lucky Now' has that classic Adams' vocals and guitar sound. It seems like this is back to basics with a continuation of that Americana sound that will never be forgotten from his 'Gold' album days.

Lucky Now by ryanadams



Ashes & Fire Tracklisting:
01. "Dirty Rain"
02. "Ashes & Fire"
03. "Come Home"
04. "Rocks"
05. "Do I Wait"
06. "Chains Of Love"
07. "Invisible Riverside"
08. "Save Me"
09. "Kindness"
10. "Lucky Now"
11. "I Love You But I Don't Know What To Say"

We Were Promised Jetpacks - In The Pit Of The Stomach ALBUM PREVIEW


We Were Promised Jetpacks are an indie band out of Edinburgh, Scotland, comprising Adam Thompson (vocals, guitar), Michael Palmer (guitar), Sean Smith (bass) and Darren Lackie (drums). The band's debut album, 'These Four Walls', was released in June 2009 on Fat Cat Records. Their sophomore effort 'In The Pit Of The Stomach' is set to be released October 4th in North America which is also on the Fat Cat Records label. The new album had the band recording in Sigur Ros’ Sundlaugin Studios in the frozen wilds of Iceland. The first single 'Act On Impulse' which is below for listen and download is a strong song with some powerful guitar noises throughout which only increase as the song moves along. If the album is similar to this first track we are in for a nice sophomore release from We Were Promised Jetpacks.

We Were Promised Jetpacks "Act On Impulse" by GrillMarketing

You can also download the single below by entering your email


In The Pit Of The Stomach Tracklisting:
01. Circles And Squares
02. Medicine
03. Through The Dirt And The Gravel
04. Act On Impulse
05. Hard To Remember
06. Picture Of Health
07. Sore Thumb
08. Boy In The Backseat
09. Human Error
10. Pear Tree

VHS or Beta- Diamonds and Death REVIEW

It has been four years since 2007’s harmlessly infectious Bring on the Comets, the last full-length offering from dancefloor rockers, VHS or Beta. Despite the occasional single, the band has maintained a low public profile. This tendency to remain out of the spotlight has neither fostered nor lowered expectations regarding future projects. But at the rate at which the electronic genre has developed while subsequently expanding its potential, the innocuous beats of VHS or Beta seem frankly a little forgettable. Admittedly, there is a time and a place for all sounds, but perhaps 2007-2011 was the wrong moment for such a lengthy breather. With the advent of chillwave, dubstep, etc- the genre suddenly went from standing room only to immense fire hazard. Cut Copy certainly didn’t do VHS or Beta any favors during their four-year sabbatical. In retrospect, while far from outright theft, Cut Copy had no qualms with doubling down on this image with back-to-back albums of immense popularity. By the release of the ambitious and critically lauded Zonoscope, they had fully usurped the mantle and VHS or Beta was a distant memory. Regardless, with the relocation of band masterminds, Craig Pfunder and Mark Palgy, from Kentucky to New York acting as a possible catalyst, we have the imminent release of Diamonds and Death. So oblivious to itself, it is almost endearing- here is a comeback album unaware of the statements it needs to make.

Perhaps I’m being too hard on Diamonds and Death. This is far from a turgid affair and it definitely moves. But it fails to come alive; even though some songs (“Breaking Bones”, the Depeche Mode-esque“I Found a Reason”) seem to hint in new directions, VHS or Beta insists on regressing into familiarity. As a result, the album feels frustratingly anonymous. Any kind of signature, personalized spirit from Bring on the Comets feels largely subdued here in favor of more traditional, 80s-tinged club anthems. And this is a shame because it’s easy to imagine VHS or Beta fans looking at their previous album as a building block for something more ambitious. Instead, Diamonds and Death comes off as rote. An album doesn’t always need to feel outwardly challenging, but it should at least seem to have it’s own relative aspirations. At it’s best (“Under the Sun”, “Jellybean”-driven by an INXs-type guitar riff), it feels as if we are part of something better. At it’s worst (the pedantic title track), Diamonds and Death seems stuck in neutral- and ultimately, a little boring.

AVAILABLE TRACKS:







- Fr. Jones
(::)::(::)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Video: Washed Out – "Far Away" (Yours Truly Session)

Synth wizard Ernest Greene (AKA Washed Out) recently dropped into the studios over at Yours Truly to lay down a live version of “Far Away.” It’s hard to imagine the track being any smoother than it is on Within and Without, but according to Greene, he’s developed an affinity for '70s soft rock as of late, and it shows. As a result, synth and saxophone meld to create an undeniably feel-good sound, hopefully foreshadowing his ambitions for the next Washed Out release.

Yourstru.ly Presents: Washed Out "Far Away" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.





The Decemberists: Calamity Song VIDEO





Take a gander, will you, at this wonderful video for The Decemberists’ Calamity Song; an adaptation of the Eschaton scene from David Foster Wallace’s opus novel, Infinite Jest. It depicts a very tactical game of nuclear warfare played amongst young teens at a Boston-tennis academy, though if you need additional context, it would probably be best just to reread pages 321- 3421.


1. Wolf-spiders ruleth the land.


Foster The People "Say It Ain't So" -- Weezer "Pumped Up Kicks" COVERS

Here is Foster The People doing a "Say It Ain't So" Weezer cover a couple of weeks ago at Outside Lands Festival. This all comes after Weezer covered Foster The People's hit song “Pumped Up Kicks” at a Weezer concert a few days earlier. A pretty cool thank you for Foster The People to pay tribute to Weezer for covering their tune. It is easy to say that "Say It Ain't So" has been an anthem song for 20+ years and this past year "Pumped Up Kicks" has to be considered the anthem of 2011. Fun stuff all around here.

Foster The People - "Say It Ain't So"


Weezer - "Pumped Up Kicks"

St. Vincent- Cruel VIDEO

The new St. Vincent album, Strange Mercy, is out September 13 in the US. Here is the video for "Cruel" prominently featuring luminous frontwoman Annie Clark as a woman overwhelmed by her commitment to domesticity. St. Vincent will also be performing in this year's Moogfest event in Asheville, North Carolina.

















St. Vincent - "Cruel"


- Fr. Jones

2011 TWILIGHT CONCERT SERIES (SLC, UT) PREVIEW

Here is your 2011 Twilight Concert Series Lineup
July 14th - Explosions In The Sky / No Age
July 21st - The Decemberists / Typhoon
July 28th - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros / Entrance Band
August 4th - Thurston Moore / Kurt Vile
August 11th - Bright Eyes / Wild Nothing
August 18th - Ghostland Observatory / Phantogram
August 25th - Lupe Fiasco / Big K.R.I.T.

Official Twilight Concert Series Website

Fake Plastic Tunes Links to all things TCS:
Lupe Fiasco - Preview
Ghostland Observatory - Live Review
Phantogram - Live Review
Ghostland Observatory & Phantogram - Preview
Bright Eyes - Live Review
Wild Nothing - Live Review
Bright Eyes and Wild Nothing - Twilight Concert Series - Preview
Kurt Vile - Live Review
Thurston Moore - Live Review
Thurston Moore - Twilight Concert Series - Preview
Kurt Vile - TCS - Preview
The Entrance Band - Live Review
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros - Live Review
Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros -Preview
The Entrance Band - Preview
Typhoon - Live Review (Twilight Concert Series)
The Decemberists - LIVE REVIEW (Twilight Concert Series)
The Decemberists - Twilight Concert Series Preview
Typhoon - Twilight Concert Series Preview
No Age - LIVE REVIEW (Twilight Concert Series)
Explosions In The Sky - Live Review - (Twilight Concert Series)
Explosions in The Sky - Twilight Concert Series PREVIEW
Explosions In The Sky - Take Care, Take Care, Take Care REVIEW
Ghostland Observatory Interview

2011 Twilight Concert Series Photoshoots:
Kurt Vile 8/4/2011
Thurston Moore 8/4/2011
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros 7/28/2011
The Entrance Band 7/28/2011
The Decemberists 7/21/2011
Typhoon 7/21/2011
Explosions In The Sky  7/14/2011
No Age  7/14/2011


When you think of Utah the last thing on your mind is what is the music scene like there? Sure Texas has its SXSW and California has Coachella, and Tennesse has Bonnaroo but guess what Utah has something of it's own as well. Yep that is right - our great little State has a little Concert Series called "Twilight Concert Series" that has been coming along every summer since 2005 (possible longer not sure exactly).

What is unique about this Concert Series? Well it is FREE and it runs weekly for 8 weeks usually right in the middle of the summer months (July/August). They originally started hosting the events at Gallivan Center and switched them over to Pioneer Park for the 2010 series. The big news from last year was the Modest Mouse concert bringing 40,000 people to the show. The Series has really grown and it will be interesting to see how the 2011 lineup unfolds and what location it will be held at.

The 2011 line up has not been unveiled just yet but I think we will get some details here in the next week or so at some of the acts coming to town.  Lets take a look at the past 3 years lineups which were all just outstanding.

Explosions In The Sky 7/14/2011


2011 TWILIGHT CONCERT SERIES LINEUP
July 14th - Explosions In The Sky/No Age
July 21st - The Decemberists/Typhoon
July 28th - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros/The Entrance Band
August 4th - Thurston Moore/ Kurt Vile
August 11th - Bright Eyes/Wild Nothing
August 18th - Ghostland Observatory/Phantogram
August 25th - Lupe Fiasco/Big K.R.I.T.

2010 TWILIGHT CONCERT SERIES LINEUP
July 8: Modest Mouse,  Avi Buffalo
July 15: Girl Talk, Memory Tapes
July 22: Beirut, Twin Sister
July 29: The New Pornographers, The Dodos
Aug. 5: Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Jamie Lidell
Aug. 12: Matisyahu, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
Aug. 19: Big Boi, Chromeo
Aug. 26: She & Him, Dum Dum Girls

2009 TWILIGHT CONCERT SERIES LINEUP
July 9 Bon Iver | Jenny Lewis
July 16 The Black Keys | Human Highway
July 23 M. Ward | Land of Talk
July 30 Sonic Youth | Awesome Color
August 6 Q-Tip | B.o.B
August 13 Toots and the Maytals | N.A.S.A.
August 20 Iron & Wine | Okkervil River
August 27 Robert Randolph & the Family Band | Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

2008 TWILIGHT CONCERT SERIES LINEUP
July 10 The Roots | The Knux
July 17 Andrew Bird | Josh Ritter
July 24 De La Soul | The Cool Kids
July 31 Yonder Mountain String Band | Keller Williams
August 7 Nada Surf | Tim Fite
August 14 Clap Your Hands Say Yeah | Delta Spirit
August 21 Broken Social Scene | The Big Sleep
August 28 Neko Case | Crooked Fingers

Here is a list of all the links to past years websites;
2011 Twilight Concert Series
2010 Twilight Concert Series
2009 Twilight Concert Series
2008 Twilight Concert Series
2007 Twilight Concert Series
2006 Twilight Concert Series
2005 Twilight Concert Series

Additionally Check out some articles related to the Concert Series:
Where We Live: SLC’s Twilight Concert Series
Modest Mouse kicks off SLC’s Twilight Concert Series
SLC prepares to handle Twilight Concert crowds
Twilight Concert Series in New Home in One Week
WHERE HOBOS, HIPSTERS AND ROCK STARS COLLIDE: 2010’S TWILIGHT CONCERT SERIES
Salt Lake City Arts Council
2011 Twilight Concert Series Official Site

Lastly here is a video a shot from 7/21/2011 - The Decemberists - "Sixteen Military Wifes"

New FPT Writer - Bobby Markle

Bobby Markle’s fascination with music began as a child growing up in the suburbs of Greenville, South Carolina. At age 13 he picked up a guitar and since then he has never been quite the same. After becoming a college radio DJ in 2005, he became increasingly enamored with the overwhelming variety of great artists he heard there (Apples in Stereo, Four Tet, Wolf Parade, and M83 are among his favorites), many of which remained unknown to the lay public. He decided right then and there he would embark on a lifelong quest to bring the music to the people. And so he did. This is an incredibly exciting time for music and music lovers everywhere, and Bobby is proud to be a part of it.

Email: robertscottmarkle@gmail.com

Lupe Fiasco - Preview (Twilight Concert Series)

Lupe Fiasco, from Chicago Illinois, made his way onto the hip-hop scene in 2006 with his critically acclaimed "Kick, Push" off of his debut album titled Food and Liquor. In December of 2007 he released The Cool, his sophomore album, with notable tracks such as "Superstar" and Paris Tokyo." After a long waited four years, he is back with his newest album, released in March, "Lasers." Over the years he has earned a reputation as a dynamic lyricist , MC, and philosopher, whose music is generally positive without resorting to vulgarity.

See Lupe tonight at Pioneer Park in Salt Lake City, Utah as the last installment of the 2011 Twilight Concert Series.







Lupe Fiasco "The Show Goes On" from hmurai on Vimeo.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Album Preview: Atlas Sound - Parallax


Atlas Sound, the solo project from Deerhunter singer/guitarist Bradford Cox, has announced the release of a new album, Parallax, on November 8th, via 4AD records. If the new album is anything like Atlas Sound’s previous efforts, we can probably expect Cox’s “stream-of-consciousness” experimental pop style to shine brightly on Parallax.

As a teaser for the new album, Atlas Sound has released a new track called “Terra Incognita,” (streaming below), which evokes a beautifully intimate, bare-bones feeling. Sparkling guitar tones flit about the space and channel a calm warmth, perfect for the fading days of summer and the chilly weather ahead.


Tracklisting for Parallax:
01 The Shakes 


02 Amplifiers 

03 Te Amo 


04 Parallax 


05 Modern Aquatic Nightsongs 

06 Mona Lisa 


07 Praying Man 


08 Doldrums 


09 My Angel Is Broken 

10 Terra Incognita 


11 Flagstaff 


12 Nightworks


Atlas Sound - Terra Incognita by pillowjungle

SOUND CHECK: M83 INTERVIEW

Fake Plastic's very own Fr. Jones shoots the breeze with Anthony Gonzalez from M83 about Moogfest, double-disc nostalgia, walls of sound, and music in the desert.
FR: First things first, you will be performing at Moogfest in Asheville, North Carolina. How did you get involved with this event? Is there any particular artist you are excited to see perform?

AG: There’s probably tons of artists I’d like to see perform- but I don’t know the lineup yet! I don’t know who’s playing actually. But I’ve always been a big fan of the Moog synthesizers. I have a couple of them and when they asked us to perform for the festival, there was no doubt about it. So I’m excited to see who is playing this year and… oh my God, Tangerine Dream is playing?!


FR: Tangerine Dream is playing.

AG: Well, then, I’m super excited to see them.


FR: Let’s talk “Midnight City”- the first single from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. Your last album Saturdays=Youth featured a diverse selection of 80s style synthpop ballads ("Kim and Jessie", "Graveyard Girl") as well as songs that are primarily electronica-driven ("We Own the Sky", "Couleurs"), “Midnight City” is a seamless hybrid of these particular styles. Can we expect more of this concept on your new album?

AG: You’ve heard the single, right?


FR: Yes. I've heard it.

AG: The single is kind of different. Well, it’s not too different but there are a lot of different styles of music on this album. A lot of very intense tracks, a lot of orchestrated tracks, a lot of small pieces of ambient music to connect all the tracks. This album is more like a dream, it’s a journey. It’s like a movie almost. It’s very cinematic. So there’s many pop songs, but there’s a lot of slow songs, very intriguing, very psychedelic. “Midnight City” is one of the poppiest songs on the album. The rest of the album is much more cinematic… I don’t know. It’s hard to explain. It’s a double album y’know? So there’s a bit of everything in it.


FR: Double-disc albums have become something of a rarity in music during the past 20 years - but usually when it happens, the end product are massive successes (Smashing Pumpkins, Outkast, to name a few). Why are artists so reluctant to embrace this format?

AG: I don’t know. I grew up listening to double-albums. When you’re a kid in the 80s and you know that one of your favorite bands is releasing a double-album, you really wait for the album to come out. You’re just waiting for it. Because you know it’s going to be big and thoughtful like a great piece of art, a piece of work. And I’m a little nostalgic about that musical era, y’know? Now it’s not about discs anymore unfortunately. It’s all about the single and downloading stuff and I think it’s kind of sad. I’m not saying it’s bad and it was better before. I’m just saying there is too much information nowadays. It might be too much for people. I don’t know, it’s too much for me. What I miss is when you’re really expecting something to come out NOW. But now there’s something in the same day, the same week- you’re basically excited about the album for forty minutes, and then you’re excited about something else. I don’t know. I’m an old music fan and I love listening to vinyl and CDs, y’know..


FR: How did you decide to work with Brad Laner and Zola Jesus on the upcoming record? What do you think they bring to the record musically?

AG: With Brad Laner, I was a huge fan of his band Medicine from the 90s and it was a great experience for me to work with him because I was a fan as a kid. Same thing with Justin the producer who was the bass player for Beck. Playing with them and making an album with them, when you watched them play on TV as a kid, it’s just amazing, y’know? Watching him perform with Beck as a teenager and now he’s one of my best friends and we’re making music together- it’s really unbelievable. And Zola Jesus- she’s one of the rare female artists that really gets my interest. I think she has something very special in her voice. She has something unique, such character in her voice. It’s hers and no one else’s. That’s what I like about her. And she’s such a nice person, very genuine, very smart, very intelligent. I was expecting a very perfect girl. But she was actually very simple and nice. We have a lot of things in common, the same movies…


FR: What is your songwriting process like? Has this approach changed over your career?

AG: My writing process rarely changes. I always start the same, finding a good melody on keys or with chords. I always start my songs with my keyboards. I barely start any songs on my guitar or bass- mainly piano and keyboards. Because I’m basically alone in the band, I just go into my studio and it’s basically creating layers and layers of sound. I like the idea of a wall of sound adding layers and layers of instruments until it’s too much.


FR: "Couleurs" had a great Wall of Sound effect.

AG: Yeah it did.


FR: “We Own the Sky” has one of my favorite videos of all time. Do you have a concept in mind for the “Midnight City” video and are you by any chance planning another video contest?

AG: We are maybe planning another video contest for the last single from this album but for now… for “Midnight City", I have been working with two directors from France. They are shooting the video this week so I’m excited to see it. They had a great concept for it.


FR: M83 is named after the spiral galaxy Messier 83. In particular, on Dead Cities and Before the Dawn Heals Us, the albums feel big enough to fit an entire universe. Do you have a fascination with space and if so, how has this influenced your music?

AG: For the last album… well, I’ve always been fascinated by space, science fiction. I love science fiction movies and books. I play lots of video games about space. For this album, I often drove my car to the desert with my laptop just to get away from the city, just to see the stars at night because I miss that. In the desert, you can see all of space in front of you- it’s right there. This is what I liked to do on this album. I would bring my computer and most of the small ambient interludes and songs on this album have been composed in the desert.


FR: When it comes to your music, do you favor a particular song above all others?

AG: A favorite song of mine? I think one of my favorites would be “Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun”- the outro from Before the Dawn Heals Us. It’s very special.


FR: That’s actually my second or third favorite.

AG: Cool. Cool.


FR: My favorite is… well, I keep coming back to “You, Appearing”- the opening track from Saturdays. That’s a really dynamite way of opening an album. But hey...

AG: Hey... that's cool.


FR: Music these days can be heard in a variety of formats. It is available in almost any way the listener finds preferable- cassettes, vinyl, CDs, digital downloads. Is there a certain way you prefer your music to be heard? What’s your favorite format for listening to music?
AG: Obviously, just like anyone else…. Fortunately, there are a lot of mp3s. But I still like to buy CDs and vinyls. I still buy a lot of vinyls. I love the sound of vinyls- especially for the kind of music that I’m listening to. I’m listening to a lot of electronic music from the 70s and it just sounds better on vinyl.


FR: Where do you see the music industry going in the next ten years?

AG: Ohmigod. I think in ten years, there will be some software where you can say the kind of music that you want to listen to- and it will create new music for you. You know what I mean? You could say, “Oh, I want something that sounds like M83…” and it will create a brand-new track especially for you. It’s weird. It’s scary. The future is scary for music.


FR: Any advice to up-and-coming musicians struggling to make it in the 21st century music industry?

AG: Try to find another job because it’s very hard now. It’s not the best job on earth right now.

M83 will be performing at this year's Moogfest in Asheville, North Carolina on the weekend of October 28-30. The new M83 album- Hurry Up, We're Dreaming- will be released October 18 via Mute.


- Fr. Jones