brian west

IF “ALICE IN WONDERFUL” STARTED A ROCK BAND, THEY WOULD SOUND LIKE THE GINGERLYS
May 28, 2015 6:25 pm

Indie pop stars, Gingerlys, took over The Palisades Monday night. I had the pleasure of sitting down with front-woman Jackie Mendoza and lead guitarist Matt Richards to talk about love, life, and the pursuit of indie rock fame (their drummer Brian was unable to join as he had recently been hit by a car. “Dammit Brian you always do this” Jackie jokes on the phone).

From the moment Gingerlys’ set started off, they sounded bigger and brighter than their means. Upon first impression, the band sounds like they are being held back by the physical confines of the space. Their music has a “big” expanding quality, and very serious dance party potential.

The red/orange lighting as the backdrop at The Palisades show felt perfect. One would imagine listening to a Gingerlys record cruising down an open highway in a convertible with the top down, at sunset. The metaphor is meant to evoke feelings of release and happiness, as if Alice in Wonderland herself tried to create a rock band.

The songwriting process of Gingerlys is largely centered around guitarist, Matt Richards. His style is reminiscent of the early 90s. Matt’s background is very interesting, as the music scene on Long Island where he grew up was what you might call, limited. “I wasn’t allowed to listen to anything growing up. My rabbi microwaved my Van Halen CD in 7th grade to make an example of me. I’ll never forget how a CD looks when it’s microwaved”.

Matt presents the song ideas to the rest of the band in, more or less, their final form, where the other members will add their opinions and tweak it.“When you are writing a song, there is a certain energy only you can connect to. It’s not until you show the song to other people do you find out what’s good and what’s not so good”.

The band’s biggest challenge “is collaborating. We all come from very different places. Jackie loves electronic pop, I love anything rooted in alternative rock, Brian is a jazz musician, Colin loves stuff from New Zealand. It’s hard sitting down to write a nice little pop song, but as hard as it is, there’s a lot of creative energy and great ideas that come out from forcing a collaboration like that” Matt says.

Lead singer Jackie Mendoza says she would listen to ragtime and swing if she had to listen to one genre for the rest of her life. “I love the energy of big band, the dancing and the freedom”.

Jackie is a new edition to Gingerlys, and this influence is apparent in what she brings to the band. Though quite reserved, she has a contagious energy while on stage. She spent the set bouncing around, playing synth and delivering fun, awesome, and memorable vocal melodies.

It is hard to imagine the band without Jackie because her voice fits in so beautifully with the existing soundscape. Gingerlys is a very independent minded group themselves; they released a 7” with ShelfLife in addition to some other exciting plans in the works for this summer.

Photo cred instagram @aalaskaa

Photo cred instagram @aalaskaa

The band says they are taking some time off from their ridiculously busy live performance schedule of nearly 100 shows this year to sit down and work on 10-12 songs for a full-length album. They have two singles with Connor Hanwick of The Drums under their belts and are going back in June to finish. We’re really looking forward to their release and be sure to watch out for it on AtypicalSounds in early fall.

You can listen to their most recent EP here.

Written by Alessandra Licul 

LEISURE CRUISE RELEASES NEW LIVE VIDEO FOR RAGGED DAWN
May 15, 2015 1:23 pm

 

Leisure Cruise is the musical brain child of Leah Siegel & Dave Hodge.  Both Leah & Dave are accomplished musicians from well known bands such as Firehorse and Broken Social Scene. This duo came together in November of 2012 and have made quite an impact on the Brooklyn music scene.  Seeing this band live for the first time is almost like going on a spiritual journey. The chemistry between these two is undeniable and hearing their back story only makes it more evident:

“Dave Hodge—the veteran Canada-born musician (Broken Social Scene & Bran Van 3000..who has also performed with Macy Gray, Feist, Brazilian Girls, and Basement Jaxx), arranger (Janet Jackson/Neptunes, Carly Simon), and composer (through his company, Finger Music)—was sitting in a café one day when he saw an acquaintance walk by: singer and songwriter Leah Siegel (a fixture on the New York scene known for her solo project Firehorse, and for singing with The Citizens Band). The two had met while recording for a tv spot a few years prior, and hadnʼt seen each other since. Before Hurricane Sandy, Hodge had been creating the score for the soundtrack to the indie film Two Hands to Mouth.” Pleased with the results, he hoped to create a new musical project based on a few of the pieces. Something that day—maybe it was a post Sandy you-only-live-once feeling—prompted him to run out and say hello, and ask Siegel if sheʼd maybe want to try writing some music together sometime.  In April 2013, after a few months of writing, recording, and mixing, Hodge and Siegel decided to create Leisure Cruise. The result is their self-titled debut, full of darkly hypnotic, danceable synth-based anthems”.

It’s hard to not become obsessed with Leisure Cruise after seeing them live. Their debut album is filled with gem after gem. The first song that really got our attention was “The Getaway”.  It’s a song about doing it your own way; and for any musician who has had to give it a go at taking their music career to the next level, it is so easy to relate to the lyrics.  “Don’t want to drink the Kool-Aid, just want to go the right way”. Seeing them perform “Earthquake” live last year at Cameo Gallery was truly one of the best live performances Atypical has ever seen.  The mixture of the lights combined with Leah’s captivating performance was enough to grab everyone in the room and have them asking, “who was that band?” “Livin It Up” is a naughty little gem that’ll make you want to start an all night dance party in your apartment.

This brings us to “Ragged Dawn” which is absolutely our favorite song on the album.  “One more fight before the night ends, there’s glory ahead, so we won’t give in”, Siegel’s voice declares defiantly that Leisure Cruise is here to stay, and we believe her.

Here is a new live video of “Ragged Dawn” captured at Rough Trade in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

[embedyt]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1N1HXEAxvk[/embedyt]

It’s not often that you can listen to an entire album, coming away with the glorious feeling that you’ve been transported into a magical place you have never been yet also feeling the warmth and embrace of familiarity. This album does just that! It lifts you up into a vibrant, electric. and sensual musical world that is Leisure Cruise, and wraps you in blankets of sonic bliss. The best part is, it never gets old or stale. Like most epic albums, you can listen to this one for the rest of your life and it will always remain fresh.

We caught up with band member Dave Hodge to find out what the band has in store for this summer.  Leisure Cruise will be filming their next video for the track “Crime Tip” with director Michael McQuilken and The Windmill Factory. Plus, actors Jon Morris and Julia Stiles are set to appear in it.  The band will also soon be heading down to producer Timbaland’s Thomas Crown Studio in Virginia Beach to work on new music. They are also teaming up with producer Brian West who has worked with Nelly Furtado in the past. The band will be embarking on an ambitious summer tour of the South East, coming back up in June for the Firefly Festival in Delaware and in August for the Osheaga Festival in Montreal.

If you have not seen Leisure Cruise live or heard their debut album, we implore you to do so now! This is a band we expect to see great things from soon.