grunge

THE GRUNGY SOUNDS OF WRITER
April 26, 2016 11:00 am

Brooklyn band WRITER just released a delicious new LP called Principle Web. Fuzzy, distorted, and dance-y in all the right places, it’s one of those albums that just hits the spot.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS had a nice chat with drummer James Ralph about the making of the album, being a band in New York, and where to find the best pizza.

Congratulations on your new album. How did it feel to finally play your record release at Berlin? Did you find the people who hang out there to be absurdly well-dressed?

The show was really great. Yea I know what you mean…very well dressed. We played our new record from start to finish excluding one song. I’ve seen other bands do this but we haven’t, ever. It is kind of like listening to the record while playing the record.

Your press release describes the band as “neo-grunge.”

Basically, it’s an ever-changing and new take on a lot of music we love and the majority of that music happens to be grunge. But I heard someone call us “hypnotic scuzz” recently and I really dig that.

Was there anything you learned while recording the album that you wished you had known going into the process?

Sometimes it can be really difficult recreating live demos from our practice space into structured recordings. I think we knew this already but sometimes you just have to leave the demos the way they first came out of you and not structure them at all. Also, Brian Herman and his Treefort Recording Studio in BK is always our favorite dark and twisted studio to work in. Jim Jarmusch based the vampires’ home studio in the movie ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ on Treefort.

You’ve toured quite a bit. Is there anything you do to prepare for life on the road? Have you had any notable encounters with fans at any of your performances?

We usually just try to save money cause you don’t really make any on the road. Ian MacKaye from Fugazi came to watch Os Mutantes and us in D.C. a few years back. Was pretty cool to drink a beer with that dude. Another would be headlining a show in Pittsburgh at brillobox. We were wondering all day if people were going to come see us. I think that’s normal but when people do make it out and buy records and sing your songs, there is nothing really like it.

Growing up in beautiful, sunny, Southern California, were you often tempted to cut school and do something fun?

I definitely cut some school and got a burrito or drove to the beach.

Who has the best pizza in the city?

Rosa’s pizza in Queens is the all time but Joe’s in the city is perfect.

What’s the stupidest thing you’ve fought about with [brother and bandmate] Andy?

Nothing… Literally fighting about nothing.

What are you up to for the rest of the year? Do you have more live performances coming up?

New York and all the venues have been good to us. That said we don’t have anything booked as of right now but we really love this new record and are planning to tour on it through out this year locally and nationally.

METZ TEAR UP PHILLY
January 18, 2016 6:00 am

I’ve been going to shows at The First Unitarian Church (or simply, The Church as everyone calls it) for a while. It was there that Metz played one of the most loved shows in Philly, and it was the first time I’d ever seen a security guard there.

The Toronto noise trio headed out on a short stint with bands so pitted and ATYPICAL SOUNDS’ December artist of the month Bully. It seemed like every band on the bill was extremely happy to be touring with each other. So Pitted, the Seattle punk trio named after this YouTube video, just recently signed to Sub Pop and its insane how powerful they are becoming.

Bully opened their set with “Milkman“, and there’s really not enough that I can say to really convey the coolness of this band. The band is made up of four extremely talented musicians, and they have a live presence that is unbeatable. The hearts of the crowd belonged to Bully, and while some openers are treated like dirt by fans, it was almost as if this show was a double bill.

Metz took the stage around 9:45 PM and the small basement of The Church started to get really packed. Luckily I found the perfect spot where I could stand, right at the side of the stage (RIP to my ears — this band is loud. Very loud.) Metz crushed through a grungy 14 song set with the most energy I’ve seen a band play with in a while. This energy was transferred right over to the fans, I’ve been around people moshing at shows but I’ve never seen two grown men punch each other in the face for fun. I’ll just go right ahead and check that off my bucket list now.

After the set was over it was like a bomb had been dropped on The Church. As the dazed fans wandered out into the snow, looking like they’d just been transported to another dimension, I found $2 someone dropped on the ground. Just enough to take the train home, I’d put that in the books as a pretty sick night.

TOP 5 INDIE FILM SOUNDTRACKS
November 17, 2015 8:00 am

No good movies out in theaters? Looking for something not so “popular on Netflix” to stream tonight? We’ve compiled our 5 Favorite Indie Movie Soundtracks below for your viewing (and listening) pleasure.

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Cruel Intentions– a 90s staple starring young Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Gellar and and Ryan Phillipe, this film’s soundtrack has every mood and all your favorites. Highlights include Blur’s “Coffee & TV,” Counting Crow’s “Colorblind” and The Verve’s “Bitter Sweet Symphony.”

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High Fidelity- This John Cusack movie is LITERALLY all about music; an inside look at the protagonists past relationships one soundtrack at a time. A must-see for all new couples looking for something cute and not-so-basic to watch. Highlights are “Oh! Sweet Nuthin” by The Velvet Underground, “Cold Blooded Old Times” by Smog, “Ev’robody’s Gonna Be Happy” by The Kinks and Jack Black, actually being funny.

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Blue Valentine- Who can resist Ryan Gosling, especially in this heart wrenching indie classic? The soundtrack consists of mainly instrumental releases of previously existing Grizzly Bear songs, including “Lullabye,” “I Live With You” and “Easier.” Highlights include Ryan Gosling playing ukulele and singing “You Always Hurt The One You Love.”

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KIDS- The intentionally provocative film (with a young Rosario Dawson!) is all about kids taking drugs and having underage sex in a grunge-era Manhattan. It’s realness is cringe-worthy, but “Good Morning Captain” by Slint and “Jenny’s Theme” by The Folk Implosion provide the perfect poetic backdrop.

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Pretty In Pink- Best soundtrack. Best fashion. Best cast. The soundtrack is impossible to pick favorites from, but highlights are “If You Leave” -Orchestral Manoeuvers, “Do Wot You Do”- INXS and “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” by The Smiths. 

Written by Alessandra Licul 

DILLY DALLY SETS BABY’S ON FIRE
November 16, 2015 8:23 am

For the past few weeks, Dilly Dally has been touring the U.S., leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake. Well, maybe not death and destruction, but the band did put on a hell of a show at Baby’s All Right on Saturday.

Dilly Dally is the work of childhood friends Katie Monks and Liz Ball, who met while attending high school in Toronto. They bonded over their mutual love of the Pixies, Christopher Owens, Pete Doherty, and Kurt Cobain. However, my gut reaction upon listening to their debut LP Sore, is that Monks and Ball are spiritual successors to feminist hardcore punk bands like Hole and Babes in Toyland, with their songs covering topics that include menstruation and self-reinvention after heartbreak.

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dillydalllSigns posted outside the venue warned attendees that video recording would be taking place at the show. They weren’t kidding. A video production team had set up camp directly in front of the stage, flanked by journalists and photographers, in all likelihood to the dismay of the audience (sorry). However, it’s no surprise there was so much press in attendance; Dilly Dally has already been featured in publications including Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, Stereogum, and Rolling Stone. And judging by the reaction of the audience, the band will not be slowing down anytime soon.

Saturday’s concert was sold out, and the venue was packed. This didn’t stop the crowd from dancing and, in one case, crowdsurfing. The guy with the video camera got shoved a couple of times. The passion with which Monks and Ball deliver their work is palpable, each one breaking a sweat early on in the show, and (along with the audience), eventually becoming drenched by the end of it.

The climax of the night came during the band’s performance of “Desire”, a song whose chorus is delivered in a gloriously lingering battle cry of repressed emotion. It’s a sound contemporary music hasn’t heard in way too long, and already I’m having fantasies about Dilly Dally beating the crap out of the excessively made-up artists whose overly produced nonsense is currently passed for popular music. It’s going to be awesome.

The Beast Recap of Bonnaroo 2015
June 23, 2015 4:56 pm

Every year, tens of thousands of festival lovers (to the heights of 80,000 to be exact) travel to Manchester, TN for one of America’s most well know festivals, Bonnaroo. This music and arts festival has a whirlwind of opportunities for its festival-goers, going way beyond the music itself. From the hammock haven found in the shadows of the only trees of the campgrounds, to the comedy tent hidden inside Centeroo, there is constant activity to please all likings. But with 125+ artists across 8 stages (including the silent disco) how can one decide their destiny in this 4-day chose-your-own-adventure festival? Here’s the run-down of what we saw, what we learned, and why we will ALWAYS be the first ones buying our tickets to Bonnaroo.

THURSDAY: DAY 1

BONNAROO ALABAMA SHAKES

First day on the farm is of course overwhelming. The campground is slowing filling, the Bonnarovians (the official name given to the inhabitants of the farm) are out and about and exploring what greatness this festival is about to provide for the next 4 days. Not to mention the spectacular line up in which Bonnaroo did not feel shy.

BONNAROO TEMPLES

Starting out our line up for the festival, we saw Temples. Their lights and 70’s inspired melodies (and hair) revved the crowd in preparation for the balance of the evening on the highly anticipated first day. Playing each of our favorites, Temples rocked their golden hour, and left us wishing they would play Shelter over and over again as the sound reverberated throughout the packed tent.

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Through the rest of the evening, we moved from space to space and were able to catch hints of The Growlers and Glass Animals, both pulling impressive crowds for a not yet fully populated festival. Courtney Barnett however, stole our attention as her femme fatal rock played into the crowd. Of course she played our favorite hits, History Eraser and Pedestrian at Best, and the crowd agreed with our taste as they screamed out the lyrics and swatted at the copious amounts of balloons soaring through the air. At this point, we couldn’t get enough of her kick ass energy and were left feeling ferocious and ready to be the next female ruler.

As the night continued, you would have to say that Mac Demarco and his trio of equally weird bandmates took the cake when they trekked all the way to Tennessee to camp in the excessive heat. Demarco proceeded to introduce each song with his famously creepy voice, like the one your parents told you to always run away from, while alternatively swooning the crowd with his latest hits; Salad Days, Blue Boy, and Freaking Out the Neighborhood being the stand out songs of the set. And just to top their night off, Demarco and band claimed to be on a mission to set the world record for the most crowd members on top of other crowd member’s shoulders. Like any beast would, I hopped onto of my neighbor’s shoulders to join in on the mission for Demarco’s claim to fame.

FRIDAY: DAY 2

BONNAROO BELLE AND SEBASTIAN

Day 2 on the farm welcomed us with a wave of heat, promptly at 7:30AM, and the only cure was to explore the vast campground and accompanying art scene. As mentioned before, the farm offers their Bonnarovians a hammock haven hidden in the only natural shade found on the festival grounds – but you better claim your hammock early, because they were a hot commodity (pun intended). Through the hammocks, we found tables for crafts. Yes crafts. All materials needed for bedazzling the official shoe of Bonnaroo, the Teva sandal. But if arts and crafts weren’t your jam, Centeroo offered a variety of art venders spanning from unique, one-of-a-kind prints, to specialized body art drawing.

BONNAROO CROWD

As the heat (sort of) let up, our impatience got the best of us and we headed off to the tents to start the day. Opening our lineup for the afternoon was Rustie, the Scottish electronic artist from Glasgow. His instrumental mix between electronic and hip-hop electrified the crowd as they jumped to each beat in unintentional synchronized fashion. A crowd pleaser to the max, he gave a performance that goes to show the variety of electronic we’ve come to recognize within the past couple of years. To keep the electro buzz strong, Unknown Mortal Orchestra hit our next chord as they overflowed the tent pleasing us with old hits and ending strong with one of their latest (and excellent) releases, Can’t Keep Checking My Phone.

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The show stopper of the day was of course, Alabama Shakes. Lead singer Brittney Howard owned the stage immediately as she stepped foot into the crowd’s sight. Playing hits from their latest album, Sound and Color, Alabama Shakes could not disappoint, and their appreciation of the massive crowd presence did not fall unseen. Mid performance, Howard pauses, “I don’t even know what to say,” as she scans the crowd in amazement. After a long silence and a soulful sigh, she proceeds with “thank you. Now we can move on” and continues the set to play everything, but their original hit Hold On.

The rest of Day 2 was spent idolizing our past, listening to Tears for Fears and replaying Donnie Darko over and over in our heads. Standing behind the crowd you couldn’t tell what was clearer, the band’s voices or the crowd belting out Everyone Wants to Rule the World.

SATURDAY: DAY 3

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The third day of Bonnaroo was by far the most loaded of the weekend. (So many artists, with so few hours in the day.) Being the mid west gal that I am, seeing PHOX was first on our list. Having the chance to see a familiar face on stage was a breath of fresh air, just like the band itself. The eclectic group, made up of lead singer Monica Martin along with 5 other Baraboo, Wisconsin friends, I like to label as a mix between Beirut, Alabama Shakes and Amy Winehouse. Their soulful sound and quirky character gives a whole new take on indie pop. After their performance, with a special cover of Blink 182’s I Miss You, I was able to sit down with Ms. Martin and uncover her thoughts on Bonnaroo and festival life itself.

BONNAROO MONICA INTERVIEW

You guys have played at so many festivals this year, so far what has been your favorite?

Sasquatch is perfect, Newport Folk Festival is perfect, Coachella is a whole different animal and it’s a scary one to me but I also acknowledge that people really get into it.

And how do you feel about Bonnaroo?

Oh right, I should talk about this one. It’s great, it’s really really great. I like it.

Since you’re not able to hang out long, what artists are you most disappointed to miss?

Not just because he’s sitting right here, but Shakey Graves. I would love to see them play. I’m also sad that we’re missing Bahamas, they’re great. But we are playing a one off show with them soon, so I’m excited for that. Umm, D’Angelo. I really wish I could see D’Angelo. I mean who I really wanted to see I got to see and that was Kendrick Lamar last night.

Oh so you guys stayed last night, did you camp?

I did, I stayed, I camped! That was weird. That was a new experience.

Camping can be sort of terrible.

It’s a thing. It was weird. Part of me would rather just go camping.

OK, and one last question- If you could describe PHOX in three words what would it be?

Oh man. Three words. Confused eighth grader. I would elaborate more, but I’ve only got three words.

BONNAROO TRAMPLED BY TURTLES

As Monica and I parted ways, Atypical Sounds kept up on the folk inspired trend and watched Woods, the folk rock band from Brooklyn take over the tent and wow the crowd with Shepherd and Moving to the Left from their latest album ‘With Light and Love’. From there we saw Trampled by Turtles (another mid west favorite) lure in the crowd at the main stage, and we danced away the afternoon to the feet tapping, head bobbing blue grass perfection.

Changing gears for the balance of the afternoon to some synth-pop, we had the chance to catch Phoebe Ryan at her first ever performance at Bonnaroo. Playing at the smallest of the spaces Ms. Ryan surely did not disappoint as she owned the stage and kept the crowd singing along with her biggest hit Ignition/Do You.. (Mashup). Later in the weekend we had the opportunity to sit down with Ryan and talk about her latest EP released Tuesday, June 9th , and her thoughts on her very first performance at the farm.

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You released your first EP last week. How does it feel to have all that hard work finally out there?

It feels amazing! It’s literally been a year in the making. A year ago I flew down to Nashville for the summer and started writing the EP, and now here I am back in Tennesee. It’s mind-blowing.

BONNAROO PHOEBE RYAN INTERVIEW

This is your first year at Bonnaroo! How did you feel?

I love it. The vibes are so great, people are getting weird here, I love it

There is definitely a little bit of everything here!

Yea it’s wild, I’m a supporter! A supporter of the weirdness.

Have you been able to see any other performances while you’re here?

I haven’t been able to see as many as I wanted to, but I did get to catch Tove Lo’s set and I saw my friend Kevin Garrett. It’s been pretty great.

Anyone you regret not being able to see?

Haha everyone! Everyone is so cool, I wish I had more time to observe.

We definitely will keep an eye out for Ryan as she’s working on a new album this summer and just released a new single, We Won’t, with Jaymes Young. We are pretty sure that although her set at Bonnaroo was killer, the best is definitely yet to come.

Another indie-pop band that grabbed our attention was Belle and Sebastian. Their happy-go-lucky sound gave the crowd an extra jump of energy on the day, and when we least expected, lead Stuart Murdoch hopped onto the corner amp to shout out his jealousy that in the comedy tent, someone was fed fake gummy bears by a celebrity. His dreams came true (and so did ours) when Jon Hamm waltzed onto the stage to fulfill Murdoch’s fantasy.

The balance of the evening was overtaken by Childish Gambino, playing a variety of hip-hop and soulful power ballads. From was the EDM take over, where Bassnectar lit up the sky with glow stick showers and Flume defined the perfect ending for Bonnaroo Day 3 by playing our favorites Sleepless and Insane and ensuring we dance until the sun comes up on the final and last day of our festival adventure.

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SUNDAY: Day 4

The 4th and final day of Bonnaroo. We never thought it would come, nor did we ever want it to. It had been a long hot week and the perfect remedy was to lay low; our blanket game was on point.

Starting out our day we basked in the sun for Spoon. Lead singer and guitarist Britt Daniel captivated the crowd starting the set with old time classics, like The Way We Get By. The band continued to play from their newest album ‘They Want My Soul’ as they threw in old time favorites and ended the set with I Turn My Camera On.

To continue the lounging experience of the day, we sat through parts of Punch Brothers, and Florence and the Machine (knowing she would have an amazing performance after watching her glide across the stage this past Governor’s Ball). We caught Florence just in time to bring a guest from the crowd to the stage (as she had done for past sets), and to get chased by her own security as she continuously ran through the open areas of the venue. Surprisingly quick for having just recently broken her ankle at Coachella this past spring.

A highlight of our evening was Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters. As a music community we’ve grown to love Robert Plant from his role as lead singer of Led Zeppelin, and although he’s at the age of 66, Plant still fully understands how to rock and roll with his crowd. We sang along and watched from afar as Plant played some of Zeppelin’s best hits, which unfortunately did not include Stairway to Heaven.

As all good things must end, it came to be this sad time for Bonnaroo. One last artist and our 4-day adventure was over. We had highly anticipated this performance as not only was Billy Joel the only set of the night, but was also was slotted for a magical 2 and half hours. At the age 66, this New York native vocally amazed us. The field was filled with Bonnaroovians of all sorts and all ages, but somehow Billy Joel pulled everyone together to appreciate these last few moments. Joel played his classic hits, Piano Man, Uptown Girl, and We Didn’t Start the Fire, although we had secretly hoped Vienna would grace the set list. The disappointment set in early, when Joel walked off the stage at 10:15pm, only to be followed by a 20 minute encore and confusing delay before fireworks (his set time was slated for 9pm-11:30pm). Do we wish he played longer, of course. But was this early ending a blessing in disguise, absolutely.

Bonnarovians slowly left Centeroo, forming a mass of walking zombies as they all made their way back to their camps to either pack or pass out before the long (or short) journey home the next day. Despite the heat, and the massive crowds, Bonnaroo holds a dear place in our hearts. It’s not until after you leave, that you realize life on the farm is (debatably) better than life in reality itself.

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BONNAROO THE GROWLERS

Drenge likes to “Fuckabout”
June 22, 2015 4:34 pm

The Loveless Brothers are at it again, taking over the U.S. venue by venue. Eoin and Rory Loveless, also known as the UK alternative rock band Drenge, were back in New York last week to play for Northside Festival at The Knitting Factory. I randomly came across there self titled album a few months ago while I was strolling through Rough Trade and had purchased it. Ever since, I’ve been playing their record when I need that extra boost of energy. There’s something about their hostile track names like “I Wanna Break You In Half,” “Fuckabout” and “People In Love Make Me Feel Yuck” that mysteriously drew me in. It amazed me how they produced such in-depth and complex sounds with just the two of them. With a lot of popular two-piece bands gaining popularity nowadays like The Black Keys and Royal Blood, they seem pretty confident in producing great music. As Rory said in an interview with DIY Magazine, “We didn’t choose the two-piece life. The two-piece life chose us.”

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red audienceNow with their newly added tour bassist Rob Graham, I was excited to see them perform live for the first time. Drenge super-fans who were obviously in the front row seemed pretty young and had the most energy out of the crowd. A lot of aggressive head-banging, while the older crowd in the back were a little shy to join in. Their grunge sound is pretty honest and forceful in a way that makes you do whatever you want to do. They accurately sum up those moments of teen angst which can be quite refreshing when you’ve been surrounded by a lot of mellow indie rock tunes lately.

Since their debut on the Late Show With David Letterman in January, they’ve gained quite a following in the U.S. According to BrumNotes Magazine, “It also turns out they were also approached by Kanye West backstage for a chat, mentioning to the duo that he was interested in “making his music more aggressive”. Their latest album “Undertow” was released this April with their hit song “We Can Do What We Want.” If you’re looking for some cool rejuvenating music to rock out to, this is the track you should be listening to.

Motel Pools Just Perfected “Grunk”
June 18, 2015 2:27 pm

Grunk: Grunge, Indie, Punk, Rock. It’s a thing, and so are Motel Pools, who just released their first self titled EP on June 2nd. The album, stemming from the brainpower of California native Chiara Angelicola (also known from Bird Call), was produced with the help of TV on the Radio’s own Kyp Malone, and the influences do not fall unseen. The eclectic mix ranges from the Human Cannonball cover (originally sung by grunge band Butthole Surfer), to the synthesized pop-punk melodies of “Lemme Walk Your Dog”. Each their own tune, they still fall under the direct characterization of Motel Pools’ take on “Grunk”.

Having a chance to speak with Motel Pools’ own, Chiara Angelicola, it was fascinating to catch some of the band’s favorite parts of the release. Angelicola explains the great experience of working with dear friend Kyp Malone throughout the production process; she quotes his “humble and imaginative” character as a huge support in the creation. It also helped that the members of Motel Pools have an excellent friendship, branching back to their meeting in Brooklyn back in 2009. The production process itself remains one of Angelicola’s favorite parts of her artist life. She explains that “the nature and creativity of the process and the steps before any production even happens” is the most enjoyable and rewarding part of the experience in creating any new record or EP. She looks forward to spending the summer busy working on new material (and so do we).

Taking a look at the tracks themselves, the majority are driven by the head banging drums, rock inspired guitar chords and muddled punk vocals. The talent shines through with the complexity and differentiation of each track leaving us wanting more. Angelicola fills us in on her favorite track, “Lemme Walk Your Dog” featuring vocals from Ryan of Man Man. She tells us, “The structure of the song itself is what I’m most used to, but I can take this less seriously than with other projects and add the more playful feel.” Other stand out songs from the EP are Monster Girlfriend and Human Cannonball, both embracing the grunge punk qualities we love most. And if it were 1995, we would find each and every track featured in the most epic punk rock film of the 90’s, Empire Records.

Check out this new EP, and get ready for their west coast tour this summer with NY native band, Vows. And in character of Motel Pools themselves, happy listening weirdos.