Tuesday, April 30, 2013

An Evening with The 1975

Photos and Interview Feature by: Kellen Nordstrom

There's a lot of intrigue behind The 1975, England's next big group to grab America's attention, so to use the word anxious to describe my state of mind before this interview would be an understatement.

It was literally the day after I got home from SXSW. My mind was warped, and after learning that Matt Healy (frontman of The 1975) and the guys had just played 11 shows in 5 days, I was nervous thinking his brain would be as fried as mine, and the interview process would not go as smoothly as I'd hoped, or that he would feel somewhat reserved during the interview: scheduled exactly one hour before their first U.S. headlining gig. Granted, the group got an alarming amount of support playing at the fest, "it was crazy there was people at these shows, man," Matt said. And the guys have gotten little rest since their EP, Sex, was released last fall, touring the UK and Europe shortly after its release.

All of this recording and touring left Matt in a state of shock when reflecting his SXSW experience. "We went home [to record] Music for Cars, but we've been on tour since December and our whole acceleration and profile is kind of... we've not really been there to see it that much because we've been in a different city everyday. So it hasn't really felt that real. So the fact that so many people from America know who our band are, let alone come to our shows, THAT'S crazy.. like, genuinely crazy."

So that's it. That's how The 1975 were introduced to the United States of America: with a general whirlwind of a festival, playing 11 shows in 5 days, and surviving off of adderall, alcohol, and cigarettes. They then came to Milwaukee to play Turner Hall Ballroom and thus, begin their first headlining tour of the States, and were greeted by a gracious and open-minded crowd.

This may seem like it was rushed, as The 1975's name hadn't been introduced to anyone in the US for more than a few months. But the group has been together longer than their babyfaces would lead you to believe.

"We've been a band for about ten years now," Healy says, "we started when we were like 13, and just kind of like in pop punk and punk bands and cover bands - covering bands like Lagwagon and Bad Religion and then we just kind of grew up together and it just became what we did. It became a very integral part of our identity, and it just happened that we made so much music together when we had gotten to our late teens... we were kind of studying and just making music." 

"We didn't know if we wanted to release anything," he continues, "because it was such a personal thing and we'd never done it, and we don't like being judged because we're people. So we didn't know whether we wanted to actually put something out properly; or we knew that we didn't want to put anything out until we were really ready. And we saw so many bands put stuff out there when they were 16 or 17, and it comes back to bite them later on; they lose their credibility for their new project or whatever."

Before Sex-- a 4-song EP released in August 2012, there was the Facedown EP-- a 4 song EP, and after SexMusic for Cars was released earlier this year. It contains 5 songs. Noticing a trend here?

It seemed bizarre to me that a group like The 1975 would base their entire catalog off of a trio of EPs, (and now, a confirmed fourth EP). But these aren't normal EPs. Each one has a base single, or a lead track as its centerpiece; each EP backed by a song so undeniably catchy, it's almost alienating. Facedown had "The City", Sex had, get ready, "Sex" and Music for Cars has "Chocolate", a song that's been taking American radio air waves by storm.

So what's the strategy behind these three EPs?

"We didn't really know how to do it. We had signed to our best friend's label [Dirty Hit] who is also our manager, and then we just kind of knew that you had to put singles out - that's how it works, regardless of how you want to do it, you need that lead track. But we kind of didn't like the idea of just lead tracks, followed by a remix, followed by a fucking acoustic version, and have that be the EP, you know?

We wanted the EPs to be more like mini-records. We've treated these EPs as our debut album... almost. Because none of our material has been subject to compromise or committee. They're all bodies of work that have been written as EPs, y'know? It's not like 'oh those songs aren't good enough for the album, let's put them on the EP.'

And the idea of doing them more over a period of time, was because... we didn't think people would catch on to it, and we want people to kind of fall in love with us, and you need time and a decent amount of investment in one another, in order to have that happen. And unless you have a body of work that really says something about who you are, then you can't really have that emotional investment."

As you read this I hope you realize something that I actually realized around this point in the interview: these guys are actually incredibly wise when it comes to music and the industry. They seem like they've released 4 full lengths over the past ten years, the way they are maneuvering their releases around their tours; the way they build an EP with its tracks.

This raises some skepticism, however. Releasing nothing but EPs over the course of 9 months, will raise some doubt in the band's ability to put together an actual album of standout tracks, especially if they plan to release an LP solely with new material. Healy squashed this skepticism without me even mentioning it.

"We love pop music, and we love making pop music - not in order to obtain the right perception - but for us, we only really love stuff when we pitch it and it's slightly left-of-center, y'know? It always needs to be in the more "alternative" end of it otherwise you get something that doesn't feel quite human. And I think there's a lot of humanity in our music, even though there's a lot of pop sensibilities, and our EPs, the tracks that surround the lead tracks are more alternative and they do kind of highlight a stylistic experimentation; there's a lot of R&B and 80's pop. 

With our album -- we've been together for a long time, and our EPs we wrote the majority of after we wrote the album, we wanted the album to be our version of a John Hughes movie soundtrack.

And that was a decision that we made about like a year and a half ago, that was the plan. And that wasn't based on any sort of reaction from people or development in evolution that we started stylistically, that was something that we've always wanted to do. And it's still what we've done. So I think it will open us up to some criticism because albums like that, the music that we're interested in making, is - when we wrote "Chocolate" we were like if this is a real sort of pursuit of excellence, I want ten of them. I want to feel how I do about that song as I do about every single song on the record. And that's something that we really really focused on doing. It's a big pop record."

Healy would go on to liken this process of thought to how he felt about albums in the 80's. Albums like Michael Jackson's Bad, Peter Gabriel's So, and Paul Simon's Graceland. If The 1975's aim is true, their full length album will encapsulate the nostalgic feeling held within those albums. Not necessarily stylistically, but instead focused on the way the music makes a listener feel. And if you don't feel that way about music, well, Healy is ready to leave you in the dust.

"With our music I always give credit to the saying "we create in the same way that we consume" and I think that's the same with everybody at the moment. Nobody consumes any kind of media in a straight-forward way. So it's difficult, being part of this generation, for me, to try and do that anyway. And I think this record and a lot of our band's music speaks a lot to people our age, and people like me, and I like that. Because I want a sort of "strict door" policy on our band. I don't want fucking idiots who don't understand music getting in, y'know?"

The full length is done. It's ready. Co-produced by The 1975 and Mike Crossey (who's worked with some of the best British acts of the last decade - Arctic Monkeys, Foals, Keane, and The Kooks, most notably), Healy can only describe the process as brilliant and seemingly ideal.

"We kind of fell in love with each other, we made each other better. And it was just a great experience and because there was such a long time and writing process, with no compromise, every one of those songs on the album, at some point or another has been the most important song in my life. And I don't think you get that when you produce a record in six months. You can't be taken somewhere by memory. There's some songs that we wrote that I hated for six months. And then something in my life reminded me of why I loved the song so much and aspired me to finish it off, and that's how I think great records are made; made peacefully through human moments. Thats why the majority of our lyrics are quotes, because I've lived all of them."

All of this is done with the listener in mind. Healy cares about his fans, and wants to have that

"What I really didn't want to do now, is that there are these people that really love our band, that we really owe our success to, so if we just came out now and didn't do something that was our ilk, like another EP, that is available for it's own credit and merit, I think that would be pretty lame. We don't just want to release a single, and be like 'hey, yeah, we're getting big now, here's LESS of what we do.'"

But this doesn't mean The 1975 don't deserve some reclusiveness. And Healy reserves that right to some seclusion, and holds the band's writing process close to his chest.

"I don't really talk about it that much, to be honest with you. Not in a kind of 'back off' way, but it's hard to explain to people how personal this band is for so many different reasons, for reasons that we'd thought we'd never be able to do what we're doing now. Certain things happened, y'know, and it's the only thing that we've got left. People can know everything about us, and our story, and where we come from, and there's certain things that people don't know, that I'd like to keep personal. Because I don't like people to see us that much as individuals, because we don't really see ourselves that much as individuals anymore. (pauses) That sounds really pretentious right?

I like being The 1975. We all have names, but we're unfinished without each other's company. That's kind of why I don't talk about the way it works, not to kind of break the illusion so people kind of 'get too close' but in the same way that we live in a world now that accessibility is paramount and I think that if you kind of counteract that a little bit it's more refreshing for both people. I love people coming to shows, and I love hanging out with people, but stuff like the writing process and the intricacies of how it works is kind of for us, you know?"

So what's next for The 1975? They've announced their next EP, aptly titled IV, which will be released on May 20/21 (UK/US) and have recently released a video for the single, "The City". The 1975 just finished their first U.S. headlining tour, which found them selling out venues throughout the country.

"It's awesome because playing live now... we've been together for so long, yet we've never ever headlined a show until our first headlining tour, like never once. We never did a one-off headline show, or anything like that, we've only ever opened up for bands. So when we had a sold-out headline tour, it was this kind of juxtaposition of it being very nostalgic and very refreshing at the same time. So it was this amazing dichotomy, it was all four of us - which was so familiar, in an environment we'd always dreamed of but never thought would happen. 

The shows? We wanted them to be big, we wanted them to grab people's attentions, because that's kinda the way we are: we want people to get their money's worth. And we've been playing a lot of stuff off of the album. Because what seems to be happening, our popularity is accelerating quite rapidly in the UK, and so we could play all the stuff on the EPs. But we wanted to give people a glimpse of what's to come, so they can have that 'Oh, I remember when they played that before anybody else heard it' because I used to be one of those kids at shows. I used to love all of that shit. I used to live for that shit. For the knowledge of things to do with bands, and to hold things like that personally, and meeting band members. That's why I go out [to the crowd] after shows, not to bask in the glory, but if there are kids there who like my band as much as I liked bands.. that's the only reason I'm doing it now, man. I want people to feel about our records the same way I felt about records; I want them to be a kind of antiquated and nostalgic soundtrack to their memories."

As the interview came to a close, I ended it with a question I like to end a lot of my interviews with, asking Healy how many albums he saw The 1975 making. Allowing a glimpse into not only the current state of the band, but also getting a feel for where they've been.

That's an interesting question. Honestly, to try and project into the future, after how far things have come recently; every expectation has been blown out of the water. So I've almost kind of conditioned myself to second guess every single prediction. There's definitely, 100% going to be two, I know that. So let's stick with two.

After the interview, I joined the Turner Hall crowd and enjoyed another set by local favorite Boy Blue. The 1975 came out after, and absolutely killed it. The sound was spot on, punching you in the gut with ethereal pop and melting the hearts of many of the adorning female fans surrounding me. But more so than anything, the group was incredibly gracious. There wasn't a break in the set that wasn't filled with Healy either saying thank you (and truly meaning it) or giving the audience a glimpse into what The 1975 is all about. And all of this leads me to think that The 1975 is going to gain an exponential amount of praise and success in the coming year, and I'll be the first to say that the guys deserve everything that's coming to them.

Watch: Travis - "Where You Stand"

Last month Travis graced us with their long awaited new song "Another Guy", and now today we get their official first single of their upcoming seventh album, "Where You Stand".

Look for the new album August 19, 2013.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Watch: The Veils' New Video "Turn From the Rain"

The Veils recently released their fourth LP  Time Strays, We Go (Pitch Beast Records), which is also the first release we have seen from the group in nearly four years. Produced by Finn Andrews and Adam Greenspan (Divine Fits, Arcade Fire), the 10 track full length has been described as a "captivating new era for the band."

"Through The Deep, Dark Wood," the albums first single, opens up with a "driving rhythm" and noticeable energy that carries over onto "Train With No Name." "Dancing with the Tornado" is another  energetic percussion drivin track, highlighting frontman Finn Andrew's raw and dynamic vocals. The album is full of life, more specifically on "Turn From the Rain," which features a  horn section that perfectly compliments the existing rhythm. The album closes with "Out From The Valley & Into The Stars," a ballad which builds up to a brief "explosive climax" before simmering back down.

The Veils recently performed a handful of the new songs live at Abbey Road Studios such as, "The Pearl" and "Turn From the Rain," which can be enjoyed below.

Watch: Vampire Weekend Performs Two New Songs At AmEx Unstaged Event

If you weren't able to catch Vampire Weekend's stellar live performance at Roseland Ballroom last night, broadcast live on YouTube (and directed by Steve Buscemi) courtesy of American Express' Unstaged event series, you can head to the Unstaged channel now and check out what you missed.

For now, we have two more new tracks that the group performed last night, off of their third full-length LP, Modern Vampires of the City, which is due out May 14. Yes, I'm counting down the days (we're at 15 as of today). Check out "Everlasting Arms" and album opener, "Obvious Bicycle" below.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Watch: Wild Nothing Reveal "A Dancing Shell"

Recorded over a 10 day period, Empty Estate, is the follow up EP to 2012's the critically acclaimed Nocturne from the group Wild Nothing. Recorded in Brooklyn, the seven song EP finds frontman Jack Tatum exploring new instruments and sounds giving Wild Nothing a new voice.

Empty Estate will be available on May 14, but until then enjoy the video and song  for "A Dancing Shell" below.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Listen: The xx's Contribution to The Great Gatsby, "Together"

The soundtrack for The Great Gatsby is getting just as much hype as the movie, produced by Jay Z and featuring tracks from Beyonce, Lana Del Ray and even Hova himself. Granted it does have potential stinkers from Gotye, will.I.am and Fergie, but if it brings us great tracks like the "Together" from The xx, well I'll [try to] stop complaining.

The plucking of the violin lays the groundwork for a strikingly eerie song, then eventually turned  graceful by the orchestration near the end of the song. Knowing Baz Luhrmann's previous works, I'm incredibly excited to see how he uses this song in the movie.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Watch: Jaws - Friend Like You

Jaws are a band out of Birmingham, and have been getting very little exposure States side.  For me this is the type of band that I always enjoy finding and listening to their music.  Their newest release is their Milkshake EP, which features 6 new songs, one being 'Friend Like You', which is occupied by a video.  All the footage in the video was filmed by Jaws on their recent tour with Swim Deep, and offers a very raw insight to life with the band.  The song itself is very chill and at times the guitar riffs remind me of Explosions in the Sky.


Watch: Splashh - All I Wanna Do

2013 is going to be a very good year for the Australian/New Zealand band Splashh.  They are on the heels of releasing their debut album Comfort, which will be available on June 3rd.  The band have their new video for the single "All I Wanna Do" up now and it has a very alt-dreamy feel to it which is right in line with their music.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Daft Punk's New Single "Get Lucky" Available Now

You've probably heard at least a portion of the track by now, but the official version of "Get Lucky" from Daft Punk is available now. The track is pure funk and pretty much perfect, but what else would you expect from a collaboration between Daft Punk, Nile Rogers, and Pharrell Williams?

"Get Lucky" serves as the first official single from Random Access Memories (May 21). You can download the track via iTunes NOW.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Watch: Iron & Wine Premieres "Joy" Video

Iron & Wine's fifth full length studio album, Ghost on Ghost, was released yesterday (April 16th). The album, consisting of 12 tracks, has been said to, "exhibit jazz and pop inflences with a more relaxed style." The described style can be heard on the single, "Joy," with the beautifully directed video (Hayley Morris), below.

Watch: Surfer Blood - "Demon Dance" Music Video

Surfer Blood's third studio effort, and second full-length LP, Pythons is due out on June 11th, and the band seems to be calculating every move they make before its release.

"Demon Dance" is the second single off of Pythons, but the first to receive an accompanying video. The band also revealed they'd be premiering a new single on Saturday called "Slow 6" for Record Store Day, which will also be available as a 7" single on that fine day.

Check out the video for "Demon Dance" below and stay tuned Saturday for "Slow 6" which will be posted at FPT as soon as it goes live!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Album Review: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Mosquito"

Ten years after their debut Fever to Tell, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are back with the highly anticipated Mosquito, out tomorrow on Interscope Records.

Mosquito, much like its 2010 predecessor It's Blitz!, can be quite the mood swing. Songs like "Subway" and "Wedding Song" leave you hanging on to Karen O's soft, crooning vocals while "Sacrilege" and "Buried Alive [ft. Dr Octagon]" make it hard not to move to.

Other than that, however, Mosquito is entirely it's own creature entirely. While some will surely fault the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for the subdued nature of much of the album, but for me it seemed like a pretty logical transition for the band from Fever to Tell to here. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs still entirely sound like themselves, just a more grown-up version. Karen O may have bleached her hair and apparently started wearing pantsuits, but she can still sing as if her clothing was just as tattered as ten years ago, don't worry.

Subdued though it may be, that doesn't stop much of Mosquito from being weird as hell. (Front-woman Karen O alludes to this refers to it as "tongue-in-cheek" here.)  The title track includes Karen O hissing the word "mosquito" over and over, before describing a day in the life of a mosquito (leading me to think she has little concept of how mosquitos actually exist) and buzzing wildly. "Area 52" is a song about aliens, complete with an alien voice singing along during the chorus. None of this makes me not like the songs; frankly, I'm glad the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have maintained their sense of humor toward their own work. Heck, one can look at the album cover for proof of that.

While "Area 52" is amongst the weaker songs on the album, it's a really interesting track. Maybe I have watched enough of The X-Files to consider a campy song about alien abduction valid, but why not? Also, if there is a way to mention Space Oddity/Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie without actually drawing any sort of comparison, I would like to do that here, thank you. My point is: aliens are cool. I get it, Karen O. I at least kind of get it.

"Despair", one of the last tracks on the album, is a personal highlight. The guitar build in the beginning on the song matches perfectly with the delivery of the emotional lyrics. "You're there my wasted years/Through all of my lonely fears." A rare combination of a downer and a pep talk, the track helps both ground and round out the album.

It's not their strongest effort, to be sure, but Mosquito has enough strong points to hold its own amongst the rest of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs catalog. Fans of the band who can also listen with a sense of humor are likely to be pleased overall with the album. My recommendation comes with the aforementioned warning: it's weird, y'all.

Favorite track: "Sacrilege"
Song you can skip: "Always"

My rating: 3.9/5

Doldrums: Sound Check INTERVIEW

FPT recently spoke with with Airick Woodhead of Doldrums about their debut album- Lesser Evil, Montreal's DIY scene, Amsterdam, and waiting for the retaliation.

You recently performed at SXSW in Austin, Texas.  What was that experience like?

That was my fifth time playing SX and it’s usually a clusterfuck so I try not to make plans.  We played a lot of shows.  Something about it makes me feel like I’m in Montreal, so that’s nice, I love it.

Lesser Evil's been a long time coming.  Does getting an official Doldrums album out there feel as if a weight's been lifted?  Do you still believe in the "album"?

Yeah, I do. I listen to albums all the time.  I think it’s the best way to hear music.   I knew that if I was going to keep doing Doldrums, there needed to be an album.  And I’m really happy we pulled it off.

Did you find a favorite place to play during your international tour with Purity Ring?

Oh yea.  Amsterdam.  And I’ve been back there since, it’s just fucking incredible.  Playing a show for hundreds of people on mushrooms in a big warehouse… it’s unbeatable.

How was the music of Doldrums received overseas?

I think European audiences are a little more into the erotic exoticism that it’s in a lot of Canadian music.  It’s funny, because over here it’s a little more humble.

Full disclosure- is there as much improv as there seems to be in your live shows?

Yeah, absolutely.

You're primarily located in Montreal.  I've heard there's a super strong house party/DIY scene out there.  Can you tell us about that?

Yeah, it’s easy to romanticize.  Whenever I’ve played any real shows with real venues here, it’s been pretty tragic. The house party/DIY scene is really for me, it’s how I make an impact, how I make a living.  The locality kind of breeds complexity I think.

What's your favorite listening format?  On which do you think Doldrums sounds best?

My favorite format is still vinyl.  I haven’t really listened to one in two years, my record collection is just sitting in a closet.  Probably Doldrums sounds the best on mp3, we’re a very digital band.  Especially before Lesser Evil was made, we were a band meant to be heard on the internet.

From Napster to iTunes to Spotify, the music industry has gone in some crazy places over the past ten years. Where do you see the music industry going in the next decade?

I guess not a very positive place.  The internet is really clamping down with Web 2.0 or whatever it’s called.  To me, the golden age of music was 2010 when MySpace was big when you could just cruise around and look at aesthetics and check out the bands. Where as now, I think there’s a little bit of an oligarchy with what it means to be cool in music and it’s actually very hard to be a new band and get any recognition because there’s so many of them.  I guess with the cool thing, it’s like with Twitter and Facebook and stuff, it’s now all about what they’re doing and what they look like instead of what music they’re making.  And I think the reaction to that will eventually be very strong from the people who don’t give a shit about aesthetic and just want to play music.  I keep waiting for the retaliation.  Does that make sense?

Concert Recap: Phosphorescent - Lincoln Hall, Chicago, April 13

If there was ever any doubt that Phosphorescent (the nam de plum of Matthew Houck) has been playing music since 2002, seeing Houck and company in a live setting should squash any skepticism.

But a vast majority of the crowd at Lincoln Hall (Chicago, IL) on April 13 wouldn't have known that, hell, I heard a few members of the audience asking "Who's up next" and "what type of music they play" just before Phosphorescent took the stage. The show was sold out, so I haven't the slightest idea how they got in.

The crowd was much older than many of the shows I've attended at Lincoln Hall, and although it was a 21+ show, I wouldn't have expected most of the crowd to be 35 and up. These members took advantage of the venue's cocktail service, drinking heavily, as if gearing up for a Toby Keith show.

Phosphorescent would take the stage at around 11:15, after the opener Strand of Oaks warmed up the crowd in an admirable fashion. Oaks seemed like a duo of "metal-heads-turned-alt-folk-musicians" and their set was actually really good, as the singer and drummer eventually opened up to the crowd with lines like "I usually write songs about space and the pope... this one's about space" or dedicating a song to the singer's wife, or even admitting "I know I may look feral, but I'll be back [by the merch area] so please come say hello."

Phosphorescent's set was greeted with open arms by the crowd, focusing on intermingling material new and old. It was apparent that the group had overcome a tumultuous day, every member looking a little more stressed than one would normally expect. Apparently there had been some keyboard issues, so their lead keyboardist was forced to illicit someone to find them a new set of keys before the show (whom he eventually thanked graciously). Houck had his fair share of problems on the stage as well, as his guitar strap failed him on multiple occasions. Never to be affected, however, as the frontman would smile or joke about it with the crowd each time it happened.

One of the highlight's of a Phosphorescent show, is it's lack of structure. This sounds like an insult or a downfall, but after scanning the stage, there was no setlist to be found. The group relies on intuition within the band, and trust in frontman Matthew Houck. Their set was clearly discussed and primarily predetermined before taking the stage, but every now and then, Houck could be seen talking to different members of the group, discussing if they wanted to play something different.

(Another spectacle of any Phosphorescent show is their lead keyboardist [seen above], who manages to steal the spotlight time after time. His enthusiasm and just plain old rockstar mentality are a sight for sore eyes, and his talent level is top notch.)

Key moments of the set included a few of Phospho's best tracks from their latest EP, Muchacho, including the lead single "Song for Zula" "Ride On/Right On" and "Terror in the Canyons" however, Mucacho's centerpiece, "Muchacho's Tune" was left off the set, to my disappointment.

The encore was also a nice change of pace, as I had seen the group two other times in the past month, both at SXSW, and both not featuring an encore. Houck would take the stage alone for a few songs, including "Wolves" and a cover of Randy Newman's "Days of Heaven". He was eventually joined on stage by his bandmates for Phosphorescent's usual endcap, but never tiresome, "Los Angeles".

Despite a few over-served members of the crowd, it's difficult for me to believe that most of the members of the audience didn't leave amazed by what they had seen. Even those who felt it necessary to ask fellow audience members what type of music Phosphorescent played.

You can purchase Muchacho here, and take a look at Phosphorescent's remaining tour dates at their website.

All photos taken by Kellen Nordstrom

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Daft Punk Feature Episode Three from "The Collaborators"

With album details out for the highly anticipated fifth studio album Random Access Memories (May 21st), Daft Punk recently introduced a video series, titled "The Collaborators." The first episode features Giorgio Moroder (disco music pioneer), where he speaks about his music, recording with Donna Summer and the use of synthesizers. He also goes into detail about his first Daft Punk experience, which can be seen here.

Episode two features Producer Todd Edwards, revealing his contribution to the album. Edwards worked with Daft Punk on the track "Face to Face" from Discovery. He also mentioned he spent about three weeks with the duo, contributing his "cut-up" method to an "unspecified song," noting "two androids bringing soul back to music. Episode two can be seen here.

Nile Rodgers is featured in their latest video, speaking of his membership with the Disco-Soul group "Chic." Explaining what it was like to work with "contemporaries," he expressed, "they went back to go forward." The latest installment can be viewed in greater detail below.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Watch: Frank Ocean's Retrospective Video for "Lost"

"Lost" seemed to be one of the most radio-ready and accessible tracks off of Frank Ocean's immediate classic channel Orange from last year. But instead it serves as a reminiscent track to a split screen video highlighting Ocean's journeys over the past year, released today, still making it seem like it's the optimal timing for the video to surface.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Listen: Cayucas' Newest Single "East Coast Girl"

Already my favorite track from FPT-favorites Cayucas' new album Bigfoot, "East Coast Girl" was premiered today via the Secretly Canadian's Youtube Channel.

The track is everything there is to love about Caycucas: light-hearted, simple-riffed, surf music with the echoing pop vocals and everything that comes with it. The song is also a little deeper than what we've heard from Cayucas thus far, providing a mellow break down about 2:30 into the song. Give the track a listen below, and pick up their debut LP, Bigfoot, on April 30.

Also check out FPT's interview with Cayucas here!

Listen: Tribes - Dancehall

Tribes have been one of my more welcoming additions in the world of music over the past couple of years.  They are on the brink of releasing their sophomore album Wish To Scream, and the second single off the album is titled 'Dancehall'.  The new song has the wave your hands in the air sound, that is sure to be a fan favorite when played live.

Wish To Scream will be released May 20th.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Listen: Born Ruffians Preview New Album, Premiere Track "Needle"

The Born Ruffians are back with their third full length studio album, Birthmarks, to be released on April 16th via Yep Roc Records. Allegedly, the band wanted to return the the days of Red, Yellow & Blue (2008), referring to a time when they lived together with the option to, "work it out right there that moment." The quartet spent a considerable amount of time living at a farmhouse, which became a key ingredient to the creation of Birthmarks. While a large amount of the songs where created while residing at the farm, frontman Luke Lalonde is known for constantly writing whether at home or on tour. Birthmarks hints at old Born Ruffians with a fresh, polished, and more mature sound.

The first single is titled "Needle" and can be heard below along with a live performance for another of Birthmarks' highlights, "6-500."

Deerhunter debut new track "Monomania"

With well-received releases from Atlas Sound (Bradford Cox) and Lotus Plaza (Lockett Pundt), it seemed easy to forget that it's been nearly three years since the release of Deerhunter's critically acclaimed Halcyon Digest. I too have to admit that I was completely oblivious to any new material from the group, but welcome the surprise of their sixth studio album titled Monomania (May 7th, via 4AD). The album was recorded in Brooklyn at Rare Book Room Studio with Nicolas Vernhes, who also produced 2008's Microcastle. According to band members, the album's title is in reference to frontman Bradford Cox's "obsessive traits" and has been described as "a very avant-garde rock & roll record."

The song of the same name, "Monomania," debuted on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon, with a rather interesting performance to say the least, and can also be heard below.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Album of the Week - Wax Idols' "Discipline & Desire"

Wow, so this feature is only in its second week, and I'm already throwing its "conventions" out the window. But who cares, when there's so many good albums to cover, and not enough words for me to summarize them... <rhetorical question>

It's funny to think of the term, "punk rock" in 2013... it's not to say we don't have anything to be pissed off about; the foundation of punk rock is/was an idealistic anti-establishment mindset, and making music to coincide with it. But in 2013, genres have faded and blurred, and the most brilliant groups and musicians work their way around them; not to mention the fact that every major label has about 16 sister labels that feature indie bands, making it nearly impossible for any band to make money while standing up against "the establishment."

What does this have to do with Wax Idols?

All of this adds up and eludes to my point: the Wax Idols are representatives of the "new punk" and represent it respectfully by utilizing elements of old punk rock while highlighting some invigorating new ones. Sure, the fuzzy lo-fi sound has been cooked and prodded at so much it's basically a chewy, over-dried piece of meat that gets fed to the dog under the table. But Wax Idols take this sound to new levels, aggressively putting a mindset behind it, and creating an album that is haunting while balancing atmosphere and melody to move past simple hooks and awaken a beastly tonality that is far more new wave than their previous effort.

Led by Hether Fortune, Wax Idols hail from Oakland, and have a completely contrasting sound to their surf punk counterparts based out of neighboring areas; focusing instead on dark, heavy, and intense musical elements while incorporating slightly pop elements, to give the songs the ability to get stuck in your head for days. But this isn't to say the band isn't without a sense of humor, the group's Tumblr page (curated by Fortune) features a plethora of Billy Idol and 80s punk throwbacks, and the group's Facebook page features video and review links, my favorite being to lead single "When It Happens" with the caption "Who the fuck watched this video 48,000+ times already?! MOM?"

Discipline & Desire, as an album, is incredibly sleek and powerful, hitting you with enough edge to make you feel like punching something when listening. Tracks like "Dethrone" "When It Happens" "Ad Re:Ian" and "Sound of a Void" all stand out as well-constructed performed songs, but I find it hard to name a disappointing track on the album. And not only has the band put out an amazingly well-produced album, but lyrically, Fortune is at the top of her game.

All of this melds in to an album that is on the short list of "Must Listens" for 2013 thus far. Discipline & Desire is dark and gritty, while still being invigorating to those who still have a little bit (or a lot) of punk left in their hearts. Groups like Wax Idols, Parquet Courts, and Iceage are on the forefront of a wave of punk music that will redefine what we know the "genre" to be.

Purchase Discipline & Desire here

Album Preview: Capital Cities - "In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery"

Los Angeles-based duo Capital Cities announced yesterday that they will be releasing their debut LP, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery via Capitol Records on June 11 of this year. Founded by two jingle writers, who met via Craigslist, Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian will be previewing tracks on the road as they begin their first American outing (The Dancing With Strangers Tour) later this month.

The album takes its name from a lyric in the band's first single "Safe & Sound" which you can watch the official lyric video for below. You've probably heard clips from the track before, as it's been featured in many promotional pieces and commercials. Not a bad start for a duo that seems to be doing everything themselves, and doing it right.

The album was mixed and produced by Ryan and Sebu themselves, and features guests like Andre 3000 and Shemika Secrest on the track "Farrah Fawcett Hair". If the album is anything like the lead single, In A Tidal Wave of Mystery is sure to be one of the catchiest and well-contrived albums of the year. Check out the track listing below, as well as tour dates for the group so you can get a little taste of the album before its June 11 release.

In A Tidal Wave Of Mystery Tracklisting

1.     Safe and Sound
2.     Patience Gets Us Nowhere Fast
3.     Kangaroo Court
4.     I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo
5.     Center Stage
6.     Farrah Fawcett Hair f. Andre 3000 and Shemika Secrest. Narrated by Frank Tavares (of NPR)
7.     Chartreuse
8.     Origami
9.     Lazy Lies
10.   Tell Me How to Live
11.   Chasing You f. Saseh Keshishyan
12.    Love Away

Capital Cities – Dancing With Strangers Tour
4/23      Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom 
4/24      Tucson, AZ - Solar Culture
4/26      Austin, TX - Brazos Hall                                  
4/28      Houston, TX - House of Blues – Bronze Peacock (Sold Out
4/30      New Orleans, LA - House of Blues – The Parish
5/2        W. Columbia, SC - New Brooklyn Tavern
5/3        Charlotte, NC - The Fillmore
5/5        Virginia Beach, VA - The Jewish Mother
5/8        Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club 
5/9        New York, NY - Irving Plaza (Sold Out)
5/10      Philadelphia, PA - Theatre of the Living Arts 
5/11      Albany, NY - The Bayou
5/13      Toronto, ON - Virgin Mobile Mod Club 
5/14      Cleveland, OH - Cambridge Room @ House of Blues 

5/15      Detroit, MI - The Shelter 
5/21      Colorado Springs, CO - The Black Sheep
5/22      Aspen, CO - Belly Up
5/23      Fort Collins, CO - Aggie Theatre
5/24      Englewood, CO - Gothic Theatre
5/28      Vancouver, BC - Venue Live
5/29      Portland, OR - Hawthorne Theatre
5/31      Sacramento, CA - Ace of Spades
6/1        Santa Barbara, CA - SOHo Restaurant & Music Club
6/5        Anaheim, CA - House of Blues 
6/6        Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre (Sold Out)
6/7        Los Angeles, CA - El Rey Theatre (Sold Out)

Monday, April 8, 2013

Watch: The National Premier New Track - "Demons"

It's a miserable, rainy, cold and gloomy day here in Milwaukee, so it seems only appropriate that a new track from The National became available for first listen today.

The video paired with "Demons" is rather engulfing, as you watch an artist render the album art for Trouble Will Find Me on a chalkboard. The song sounds like everything you'd expect from the Brooklyn group, but that's alright with me.

The band's forthcoming LP will be available on May 21 via 4AD.

Listen: Beady Eye - Flick Of The Finger

I am no stranger to my love affair with all things Oasis and the Gallagher brothers, and this new Beady Eye track 'Flick Of The Finger' takes me back to the good ol' days.  Liam has been on record saying that "This is the record Oasis should have made after (What's The Story) Morning Glory?, I'm not saying it's better than Be Here Now or it's going to be this or that - I love Be Here Now".

What ever the case is the new track is fantastic and Liam's vocals are better then ever.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Watch: Cat Power "Manhattan" Video

With nearly a four year gap in between albums, the singer-songwriter known as Cat Power returned with the release of her ninth studio album titled Sun in August of 2012. The album strays away from some of the softer tones heard on previous albums such as Jukebox or The Greatest, taking her in a more experimental direction. The album is also home to some of her best work to date, which can be heard on the newly released video for "Manhattan" below.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Watch: The Strypes - "Blue Collar Jane"

If you want to hear a promising young band that deliver up some traditional Rock music, The Strypes are for you.  The band members are in between the ages of 15 to 17 years old but by the sounds of their music the have surpassed those numbers in great detail.  The band is from Cavan, Ireland and have adopted some old blues and pub rock sounds. 

At the end of last month the band finally released their debut single 'Blue Collar Jane' on Mercury Records.  For now we will take what we can get from the young lads, but we will have to wait for that full debut album the band is currently working on with record producer Chris Thomas.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Album of the Week: Charles Bradley's "Victim of Love"

As part of a new weekly feature here at FPT, we're going to start selecting an "Album of the Week" - an album that was released either that week, or the weeks prior. Who knows, sometimes there might even be more than one worth sharing with you guys.

The first AotW goes out to that "Screamin' Eagle of Soul" Charles Bradley. His new album, Victim of Love, available via Daptone on April 2, varies little from his first, but that's just fine with me.

After being introduced to Charles Bradley's music via a simple documentary trailer, and music video for "Why Is It So Hard (To Make It In America)" I saw Bradley perform last spring at Turner Hall here in Milwaukee. His live shows are incredibly inspirational, enjoyable, and moving; see Charles Bradley live, and you will not be let down. Me and my guest laughed as Bradley's stage presence is uncanny and enjoyable, and were touched by his soulful lyrics and message, both brought forth through Charles' live set. It was a perfect introduction to the singer, and after his set Bradley showed his appreciation for his newfound fans, as he climbed through the crowd to ensure pictures were taken and embraces were given out.

His rise to prominence in the US music scene has been well documented: his life was incredibly arduous and bleak, as he lived on the streets of NYC for a period of his life, working many different jobs (including one as a James Brown cover artist at lounges) throughout the city to be able to afford feeding himself and his mother. He was eventually discovered by Daptone Records' Gabriel Roth and in 2011, when Bradley was a fresh 62-years-old, he released his debut album: No Time for Dreaming, backed by rave reviews.

Now, in 2013, Bradley releases his follow-up to his soaring debut: Victim of Love. The album finds Charles Bradley gleaming from his previous experiences, still troubled by some, but willing to share his lessons and tribulations through song. Bradley has a lot of love and joy to give, and Victim of Love defines that perfectly.

Bradley's story is unique, touching, and inspirational, to say the least. His struggle comes through in his vocals and his lyrics, but provides a sense of uplifting boost that can bring a smile to any listener's face. Get to know Charles Bradley, "The Screaming Eagle of Soul," through his music and his live shows and I can promise you, it will be a decision you will not regret.

Check out some info below, including a stream of his latest single, album purchase info, as well as tour dates.

Purchase Victim of Love HERE

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires U.S. Tour Dates

Apr 12 Annapolis, MD - Rams Head
Apr 13 Charlottesville, VA - The Jefferson Theater
Apr 14 Carrboro, NC - Cat's Cradle
Apr 17 Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel
Apr 18 Charleston, SC - The Pour House
Apr 19 Athens, GA - Georgia Theatre
Apr 20 Waverly, AL - Waverly Boogie
Apr 21 Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade
Apr 24 Jacksonville, FL - Jack Rabbits
Apr 25 Pensacola, FL - Vinyl Music Hall
Apr 26 Lafayette, LA - Festival International de Louisiane
Apr 27 New Orleans, LA - New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Apr 28 New Orleans, LA - One Eyed Jacks
May 01 Austin, TX - Antone’s
May 02 Dallas, TX - Trees
May 04 Nashville, TN - Exit/In
May 05 St. Louis, MO - Old Rock House
May 07 Minneapolis, MN - The Cedar Cultural Center
May 08 Milwaukee, WI - Turner Ballroom
May 09 Chicago, IL - The Metro
May 10 Ferndale, MI - The Magic Bag
May 11 Toronto, ON - Phoenix Theatre
May 13 Montreal, QC - Corona Theatre
May 16 New York, NY - Apollo Theater
May 17 Philadelphia, PA - Union Transfer
May 18 Boston, MA - Paradise Rock Club

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Watch: Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Sacrilege" Video

The Yeah Yeah Yeah's are on the verge of releasing their followup to 2010's It's Blitz. The much anticipated album, titled Mosquito, is set to be released on April 16th. With production from the likes of Dave Sitek (TV On the Radio), Nick Launay and James Murphy (LCD Soundsystem), the Yeah Yeah Yeah's are likely to deliver another solid and well-praised album. The band recently released the album's first single, "Sacrilege," which can be viewed below.

Watch: EFTERKLANG "The Ghost" Video

In 2011 after spending some time visiting an abandoned Russian mining facility, the Danish musicians who together make up the band Efterklang, had found their inspiration for their fourth full length LP titled Piramida. The band returned to the studio in Berlin, Germany with over a thousand field recordings of oil drums, fuel tanks, poler bears and also a grand piano in a concert hall, which may be the world's northernmost piano. The recently released official video for "The Ghost," is the sixth song from Piramida and can be viewed below.

Also if you have not heard of the group, the story behind the making of this album is very interesting and in my eyes, very inspiring. I strongly encourage you to take a closer look into the making of the album, which can be viewed HERE.

EFTERKLANG - The Ghost - Official Video from Rumraket on Vimeo.

Watch: British Sea Power - "Machineries Of Joy"

British Sea Power have always been a band that I have felt deserved a lot more credit then what they always seem to get.  Their music is so honest and refreshing and it continues to be that way with their newest release of Machineries of Joy.  The album marks the 7th release from the band in a 10 year span and sees them fully hitting their stride.

The album does what BSP does best and kind of flies under the radar and delivers one of the best (or Hidden) albums of the year.  Take a long listen to the 'Machineries Of Joy' track below and you get a sense of how the band keep it simple but deliver some incredible songs. 

Watch: Stars - "Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It"

When I think of Stars, I think of Canadian Indie Pop at its best and most true form.  Their melodies are ones that seem to linger with you from each one of their songs.  Their newest (Lyric) video 'Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It', is no different it is a pure indie pop gem.


Watch: Generationals - Put A Light On

Generationals just released a fantastic new album Heza, yesterday, and have put together a very cool video for the single 'Put A Light On'.  The video was shot in New Orleans with director Vice Cooler out of L.A.  The band is heading out on tour next week and are hitting all the major USA/Canada cities, so be sure to be on the look out for them.

Sound Check: Cayucas (FPT x SXSW 2013)

Our next SXSW interview is with Cayucas' (ky-yook-us) frontman/songwriter Zach Yudin (above). Cayucas turned a lot of heads at SXSW with their catchy, beach-ready, pop songs. Tucked aside at the busy Austin venue Red 7, just off to the right of the outdoor stage, Kellen and Zach stood and chit-chatted about all things Cayucas.

FPT: So tell me how Cayucas started.

Cayucas (ZY): In 2010, it was just a "solo bedroom" thing, called Oregon Bike Trails, and then a year later, I signed to Secretly Canadian, we changed the band name to Cayucas because of the song name, and that's how it all started. I eventually put together the band.

Ok, so this was more of a solo project to start?

ZY: Yeah, and then I recorded the album, and realized I could use a band as far as touring goes.

Did you play and track everything on the album yourself then?

ZY: I played a lot of it, but also the producer, Richard Swift, improvised a lot -- bass lines and stuff - he did a lot. And then my brother, helped out a lot with recording on the album.

I had no idea you were a "family group" until I, obviously, just saw you.

ZY: Yeah, we're twins.

Right on, that all makes sense now. How's SXSW going for you so far?

ZY: It's been really fun. Smooth sailing surprisingly, a good ride. Just a good time; really hot.

Yeah, me being from Milwaukee, this is quite possibly the best weather I could have asked for.

ZY: Right see where I'm from, in Santa Monica, there's just no breezes it's just so dry. Dry Heat.

What sort of inspirations did you use to put together the album?

ZY: It was actually... I think it was Panda Bear a few years ago, and listening to his samples and loops of old 60s rock, I mean, he was sampling a lot of other things, but I kind of heard the rock songs he was sampling, and I was really into that. So i just kind of started doing that, and then I thought y'know "this would sound really cool with a 'surfer' vocal or catchy vocal parts over it. And then when we wrote the album, we just recreated and drew from a lot of that. I haven't been doing much of that lately, more writing songs from scratch now.

So "Cayucas" is derived from a destination/region in California, based on that is it safe to say you have a lot of pride in your roots? How much of where you're from comes forth within the band? 

ZY: Well, Cayucos is really just a destination that I'd visit a couple of times throughout college, and it just kind of fit the band, and fit what we wanted our sound to be like. It wasn't like I was born and raised there (laughs), I mean I love Cayucos, but it was more about the vibe I was going for.

When does the album come out? 

ZY: April 30th! Yeah, we're really pumped on it.

Bigfoot, right? How did that come about?

ZY: It was just a song on the album, and I thought - two parts- there's a "wolf man" character that was drawn up by our art guy on the cover on the album on a bike.. so maybe it should've been called Wolfman, but... he was just kind of the brand of everything we were working on. And I kind of thought and was hoping it would draw some attention to that track.

Are you specifically proud of that track?

ZY: Yeah, I like that one.

Right on, so a lot of your stuff has been compared to modern bands like Vampire Weekend, but I hear a lot more old 60s surf-rock, a la The Beach Boys. Is that intentional, are you guys necessarily trying to draw from that as a major inspiration?

ZY: Yeah just for the last couple of years, I have been really into the Beach Boys, so that was the main inspiration. I was trying to make it fresh, I couldn't really find myself doing the same things they were. So we would just kind of take the Beach Boys vibe and try and make it fresh.. not like a total throwback. 

Well I'm loving everything I hear so far. And we have a writer on the site, who I am supposed to tell you "LOVES" you guys.

ZY: (laughs) Well thank you, that's good to hear.

What are your thoughts on the current, kind of "indie" music, scene that's coming out? Do you have any favorites or anything you've been listening to a lot?

ZY: I feel like I listen to all things on Spotify. From Unknown Mortal Orchestra, to Foxygen, to new Vampire Weekend, I will listen to all of it. Pretty much anything.

Where do you see Cayucas fitting in with all of that?

ZY: That's the weird thing. Everyone has their own reference for a band, and the other day someone said "you guys are kind of like The Shins" based on how we are kind of difficult to put in to a single box or sound, and how it's very vocal heavy. So I thought that was interesting. When they first came out, it was difficult for me to pigeon hole them, no one really sounded like that.

Are you afraid of being pigeon hole'd? I know this is only your first album but..

ZY: You know, I've been getting a lot of the Vampire Weekend and Beck comparisons, and Beach Boys too, but like, I really like that. Those are great names to be compared to.

I always kind of feel bad, talking to a band and outright comparing them to someone or something else that's out there. It just doesn't seem fair.

ZY: Yeah someone came to us, and said something like "Yeah, you remind me of Incubus" or something like that.

Wait someone actually said that to you?

ZY: Yeah he actually said to me "You remind me of when Incubus was first starting out" it was kind of weird.

Well, that makes zero sense... I don't hear it.

What's a Cayucas show/tour like?

ZY: We're trying to get people to just like have fun, and get moving y'know? Like, right now, some people will sing a long to "High School Lover" and "Cayucos" and eventually we hope people will become familiar and start to move around a bit. "Swimsuit" too obviously.

For sure! You seemed to have a good response tonight.

ZY: Yeah we're getting there. Once the album comes out, that'll help.

Absolutely. My end cap question is usually this: How many albums do you see Cayucas making?

ZY: I don't know. I really don't. I'd like to say at least 3. The band is coming together through friends of friends, and we're just getting settled in as a band, y'know? Just kind of beginning to play as a band now. We'll see what happens with the next album and where that takes us. 

Cayucas' debut LP, Bigfoot will be out April 30 via Secretly Canadian, but if you pre-order today, you will get a digital copy of the album IMMEDIATELY. Quite the sweet deal, if you ask me.