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THE FUNDAMENTAL DIANE COFFEE
November 14, 2016 9:00 am

Guys. Me and Shaun Fleming of Diane Coffee have the same silver eyeshadow. And now that that’s out of my system, I can tell you that we were able to grab some quality time with the shiny bombshell himself Thursday night before his show with St. Paul and The Broken Bones at Terminal 5. Keep reading to get the essentials on how Shaun feels about touring, turning the big 3-0, and what it’s like to sing opera at Macaroni Grill.

It’s been a really weird week, with the election happening two days ago. Did you perform last night?
We did. I needed that more than anything else I’ve ever needed, ever. I look to music and to artists to get me though everything from cracked a toenail, or this. [The band] were talking about it, and none of us had slept the night before, and we were just…I’m sure a lot of people were stressed on both sides. It was really close for a long time. So we were feeling pretty down, plus sick all over from the outcome. [Drummer] Kate was throwing up before she went onstage. Everyone was feeling really dumpy and awful. We were in Philadelphia last night, and the crowd was so positive and so energetic, and it was really awesome to be someone’s relief.

How is your tour going otherwise?
It’s really great, we sold out tonight. It’s been one of my favorite tours. I feel like [St. Paul and The Broken Bones] and I are cut from the same cloth in a lot of ways, but we’re different enough where I think it’s a nice blend. We’re playing to a lot of people who have never heard us before, and they’re walking away really enjoying what they heard, so we couldn’t have asked for a better pairing. Crowds have been awesome, they’re here to dance, they’re here to have fun, and the few headlining shows we had done were great. I got sick early on; right when we hit the road, it became fall all of a sudden. I had to cancel a show, which was a bummer, but other than that I think it’s been awesome.
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Is it hard for you to sit in a van with a group of people for the entire length of a tour?
I’ve been playing with Foxygen as well, so I feel like I’ve been on the road for like five years straight. [Diane Coffee has] been touring this record since September of 2015, almost nonstop. It’s funny; I get home and I feel like I need to go to the gas station just to go to the bathroom to feel any sort of normalcy. It’s been awesome and very tiring. You get used to it, and I’m traveling with great people who are my closest friends, kind of the only friends I have now with being on the road.

The lineup for this tour is new; I was playing with a separate band for everything prior to this for the Good Dog tour. And this tour kind of came up last minute and the other band couldn’t commit. It’s fun for me, because everyone brings their own personality to it, so everything feels very fresh and very new and very exciting again.

Will you be playing with Foxygen when they perform in New York?
No, I’ve stepped away from Foxygen. I’ve got so much to do with this project now, kind of focusing on my baby. They’ve got a whole new lineup though, and it’s amazing. They just played their first show that I haven’t played with them, ever. It was kind of surreal to see the tweets and stuff, “Excited to see Foxygen!”, and I’d have a little panic attack like “I’m supposed to be onstage!”. It’s like that dream where you forget your clothes and you’re at school. It was that feeling. I’m excited to see my first Foxygen show.

I have to ask, what brand is your silver eyeshadow and is there a method to the madness in its application?
There is, I got way better at it. It’s been about 2 or 3 years in the making now. I started doing it with Foxygen and it developed in that world and spilled over into this one. I’m using Maybelline Color Tattoo. Once it dries, it doesn’t come off. And just a basic eyeliner. And I use that Maybelline silver eyeshadow for my lipstick too, which I don’t think you’re supposed to do. I got this stuff by L’Oreal, Liquid Diamond powder, and I was thinking of doing gold, but it kind of looks like you have jaundice. But if you mix it with a silver powder, it’s kind of a weird halfway point between silver and gold.

Guitarist Matt Kronish walks in.

Me and Matt grew up together in L.A.

Matt: I feel like we’re still growing up together.

What was he like as a teenager?

Shaun: Matt had shorter hair.

Matt: He was just as much of a dynamo when we were 15.

Shaun: We were just talking makeup. Matt wore makeup for the first time the other day.

I’m a serious journalist, and we’re talking about makeup.

Matt: Getting to the hard issues.

Shaun: How do you feel about the election? What brand [of eyeshadow] do you use? Actually, that’s actually exactly where it went.

Matt leaves.
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You’ve mentioned in interviews that you embody a female role for your Diane Coffee persona.
Not necessarily a female role. I embody the feminine archetype, which is sort of that performer. Everything gets lost in translation with interviews, especially stuff like that. Diane Coffee is that feeling that you get when you’re a shy, reserved person, but maybe you go to a concert and the energy surrounds you and because of that community, you’re singing at the top of your lungs, and you’re dancing and then you’re back home and you’re quiet and reserved again. It’s the same thing when you go onstage; that thing that kind of takes over.

You hear a lot of artists that say they don’t remember what they do onstage. I remember what I do onstage to an extent, but that part of me takes over completely. That’s what I call Diane Coffee. When I’m performing, I’m Diane Coffee. If the band feels it, they’re Diane Coffee. If the audience feels it, they’re all Diane Coffee. I definitely wanted a more feminine name, but I don’t think it’s a character I’m playing onstage. It’s a piece of me that’s amplified greatly.

You used to live in New York and L.A., and now you’re in Bloomington. Do you feel like a big fish in a small pond when you’re at home?
I really love Bloomington. When I grew up in L.A., I wasn’t in L.A. proper; I was in a small place called Agoura. New York is kind of scary; I lived on the Lower East Side, which was a lot. Everyone was like “You should’ve moved to Brooklyn”, and they’re probably right. Bloomington felt to me like going back to business as usual. I don’t feel like a big fish or anything like that. A lot of my band members come from Bloomington, and there’s a sea of talented people there. There’s the Secretly Canadian label, Jagjaguwar, all that stuff, so they’re there. It feels like an artistic community in the middle of Indiana. It’s like this cultural oasis in the middle of corn. It doesn’t feel like a lot of other midwest towns; it’s a college town.

I’m far enough away that I do kind of become a little bit of a shut-in. Me and my girl have a house out in the woodsy area and it’s great. When you tour, it’s like city, city, city, city, all the time. And when I get home, I don’t want to be in a city, I want to be somewhere where I can have a fire and kind of just unwind and get creative again.

You’re turning 30 in the coming year.
Yes, I am. I’m trying not to think about it though. I feel like 29 was freaking me out more than I think 30 will be. My then-girlfriend in high school, me and her made this pact: she made me promise that if nothing starts happening with music by the time I’m 28, I had to get out of music and get a job or something like that. When I was 25, 26, I was like “Fuck that, I’m gonna keep doing what I’m gonna do”, and I started playing with Foxygen and things were taking off and it was going well. But still, in the back of my mind I was like “Oh man, 28 is coming up. How am I going to feel about it when I hit that point?”. And then my birthday was during the Primavera festival in Spain, and I think that was the biggest crowd I had ever played to, like 20,000 people or something like that. And I remember just thinking “This is cool, I think this counts as ‘I can keep doing this.’” But I mean, I know a lot of cool 30-year-olds. You seem cool. The world’s not going to come to an end. At least not because I’m turning 30.

Have you ever had a “real” job?
I did acting and stuff as a kid, and then no one really taught me about saving any of it. And one day it was like “Ok, this is over now. I have no more money.” My first job was at Cold Stone Creamery.
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Did you have to sing when they put money in the tip jar?
We’d holler for a dollar. Everyone had to sing. I was not getting into it. I had a job at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and I was a host/opera singer. Every hour on the hour, I had to go into the middle of the restaurant, pull out a chair, take out a fork and a cup and sing some opera standard.

Our Macaroni Grill never did that.
I don’t know if it was just this one, or if they knew I could sing and were like “This is what you do, this is part of the job.” And I would have to go around to the tables and ask if people wanted a song and they would maybe tip me a dollar or something. It was so brutal. I hated everything about that job. That was, like, my darkest hour, I think. I was living in Reseda, in this little cramped apartment by myself. I was trying to play music and write, but I couldn’t get a band together. And L.A. just sucks for trying to put a band together.

That sounds like the theme of a Tom Petty song.
I tried everywhere – Ventura sucked, Reseda sucked. I ended up moving to Boston for six or eight months, crashed on couches. Tried to be in a pop band, that didn’t work out. I did a lot of teaching; I taught voice and guitar and a lot of stuff like that. Things were getting super dark and I didn’t know what to do anymore. So I was thinking about going back to school and trying to get into music business, which I’ve never really wanted to do. Anything to keep me in the world. That’s when Rado [of Foxygen] hit me up, and was like “Hey, we got a show, do you want to play some drums?”. That’s when one show became two, and two became more.

When you were a voice actor on the Disney cartoon “Kim Possible”, were you held to a strong code of ethics like many of the actresses on Disney’s live-action shows?
No, no one knows who the hell we are. It’s great, my dad would just pull me out of school, drive down and we’d sit in a booth and do the thing and get out. No one really knows who you are. Especially pre-internet, no one knew who the hell any of these vocal actors were.

Do you look forward to coming back to New York at all? Is there a pizzeria that you like?
I was living right across the street from Lombardi’s, so I was right in the thick of it. I look forward to the dumpling houses. I was right near Chinatown and I was broke as all hell, so dumplings.

I love being in New York and playing in New York, but I hate living in New York. I hate driving in New York. I hate parking. I always end up getting a parking ticket.

Do you have any last words before you go on tonight?
I think this is going to be the last show in New York for a while. I’m going to be doing the new record soon. I’m sure this will be one of the first stops. Don’t forget me, New York.

ZIPPER CLUB GOES THE DISTANCE
August 11, 2016 11:49 am

If you haven’t heard “Going the Distance” by Zipper Club yet, get ready because it’s going to be stuck in your head pretty much forever. The band, comprised of Mason James of Cerebral Ballzy and Lissy Trullie, have recently been working with James Iha (of The Smashing Pumpkins fame) to produce their debut album. If it’s anything like this single, I can’t wait to hear it.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS spoke with Mason about new wave, new music, and new experiences:

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Your press release describes Zipper Club as being a “new wave-inspired” band. Are there any new wave albums that inspired you as musicians, or any that you’d recommend in general for your fans to listen to?

Stand And Deliver by Adam Ant, Big Country by Big Country is kind of a jam. The Bangles.

What bands from LA do you feel deserve more attention?

Every band in LA gets plenty of attention.

Has your producer James Iha given you any advice that’s resonated with you?

He has a real mastery of how to craft a song. He imparted little bits of his wisdom while working together. Subtle changes made a world of difference.

Did you squeal and freak out directly before/after meeting him?

I just got off tour. I met him in a dingy basement in Brooklyn to work on a Record Store Day single. I was so hung over that I wasn’t squealing much.

You just released a video for your song “Going the Distance”. What can you tell us about the production of it?

We wanted to make a non-literal adventure video that visually represented the music. We went out to the desert with some friends…and it turned out rad.

Did you help with the video’s concept or direction?

Jason Forrest Hogg and I had been messing around with ideas for a while and decided to direct this one together. Lissy and I worked as a band to conceive the storyline. We hit up some of our friends, bought a Cadillac, broke down four times on the way to the desert and then made a video.

What can we expect from your upcoming album?

Spacey synths and big hooks.

Zipper Club has a very different sound than your previous band Cerebral Ballzy. Is there anything in particular you were looking to do with Zipper Club that you felt you couldn’t do with Cerebral Ballzy?

I conceived this band out of frustration with punk. Punk can be pigeonholing in terms of musical creativity. This is a way for me to do something I wanted. It’s catchy and still cool. Once Lissy came into the fold, the remaining songs were greatly influenced by her presence and the collaboration built something great.

What advice can you give a band who is new to the music industry? Is there anything you were particularly surprised by when you were first starting out?

Get ready to sleep on a lot of floors.

Will you be touring soon or doing any live performances?

We play LA every Monday night in August at the Satellite. Then we’ll be on the road for the next year and a half.

Check out more Zipper Club with their tour, on Youtube, their site and here with the new single, “Going The Distance”.

LESS IS MORE: INTREPID BY AO’C
June 1, 2016 12:00 pm

Actress, Producer, Humanitarian, and Fashion Designer.  Is there anything Aerin O’Connell can’t do?

I have been following O’Connell since her line appeared in a Nolcha Fashion Week show in 2015.  Her sleek designs are classic enough to feed my inner debutante and edgy enough to appease the hipster desperately trying to escape.

ATYPICALSOUNDS had the opportunity to chat with Aerin about her Autumn/Winter collection of Intrepid by A’OC at the launch party for the line’s new video. The line goes on sale this month and I will definitely be snagging the tuxedo jumpsuit and the little red dress.

INTREPID by AO’C from Gerry Sievers on Vimeo.

What made you decide to be a designer?

To be completely honest, it was a very gradual process.  It’s not one thing, I had been working in film, and kind of creative across the board but it wasn’t a conscious choice to seek out being a fashion designer.  I love designing in general, whether its jewelry, furniture, clothing.

Do you still design furniture?

Well I’ve been busy doing this, so at the moment no. But it’s something I’d like to explore in the future.

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 12.02.48 PMI heard that you got started with fashion on set. How did you start leading wardrobe teams on set?

My ex-husband had a lot of faith in me to pursue that sort of aspect of film. I had produced, but wardrobe and costumes were something that he and I felt could merge as far as my love for fashion and my love for period pieces. I had gone to the School of Style in Los Angeles, because a stylist isn’t just a personal shopper. I haven’t done much more than shorts and independent films but they were featured.

You based your designs on Edward Hopper. What elements from his paintings did you incorporate into your designs?

I’m obsessed with space, and when you over-complicate scenery, [it over-complicates the] depiction of anything really.  I think this goes back to the synonymous tagline of Intrepid, that less is more. Negative space can speak volumes more than too many objects.  So I’ve always kind of related to that.  You’d look at something like Chicago and a bar, and there’s one guy at the bar, one bartender, and this perspective from across the street. Not many things are in the imagery and that’s more impactful and intense for me. Less is more is something I strive for in my everyday life within fashion, within my apartment, within furniture. It just kind of reigns through in paintings like that. It leaves room for the imagination, for perspective, for interpretation, leaving a lot of it up to the individual. I think that is far more powerful than creating it for them.

Any film plans on the table?

Yes. An old friend/producing partner and I worked on the short film “Woke Up Crying.” The director was John Ibsen, known for international trailers like “The Dark Knight.” Him and I have been working on agreeing on a project. He’s been working on “The Avengers” right now, but it’s going to be a feature. As far as documentaries go, I’m still in post production on my documentary about Liberia, and human rights, mainly women and health issues.

How do you want people to feel when they wear your designs?

Confident.

Did you grow up with an interest in fashion?

I think I always had an addiction for fashion. I loved shopping, it’s how my mother and I would bond, My interest dove deeper when my sister-in-law took me to the Lower East Side or East Village to an antique boutique to find a vintage leather bomber jacket and she sparked that interest for me. But I’ve always been into clothes.

Tell me about your biggest supporters. 

My brother, family in general, special friends in Los Angeles and CJ who has taken over and Kevin Nolan. He’s the reason why I started custom making furniture and jewelry. He also has a flair for design, and an amazing eye for aesthetics, so we’ve teamed up for renovations and other design aspects.

Where do you find inspiration when you’re stuck?

I never seek out inspiration. Inspiration finds you. I really believe in that. You can hide and run but walking out of your door every morning, things will cross your path and will stun you or spark some sort of inspiration. You just have to be willing to receive it.

What are you most proud of with this line?

The fact that I have kept going and I didn’t give up when things got discouraging and that I had the courage to move back to New York and continue what the dream really entails.

What do you have in store for the future?

Stick around and find out.

Do you have plans to head back to LA or are you staying put in New York?

I’d like to be bi-coastal, but I knew that if I wanted to continue this venture it requires my undivided attention, concentration, and seriousness so I’m here until we can get this off the ground.

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Interview has been condensed for publishing.

WILDCAT! WILDCAT! HEAD STRAIGHT TO THE TOP
March 25, 2016 10:35 am

Wildcat! Wildcat! are back with their newest jam “Straight To The Top“.  Those familiar with Jesse Taylor and Jesse Carmichael’s signature mix of dueling falsetto melodies and tightly packed layers of synth and percussion are in for a treat. The duo’s wide vocal range and colossal sound is befitting of a song that dabbles with themes of perseverance and determination. We at ATYPICALSOUNDS agree: you’ve got to be a beast to get to the top.

Wildcat! Wildcat! emerged in 2012 with a string of infectious singles. 2013 saw the release of their self-titled EP via Downtown Records, and included the sensational tune “Mr. Quiche“, the accompanying video to which features a guy break-dancing in a cat costume. What more could you ask for, really? Wildcat! Wildcat! released their debut full-length No Moon At all in 2014 followed by an extensive world tour. One can only imagine how exhausted they were after that marathon of events, so it’s perfectly justifiable we haven’t heard from them in a minute.

Unfortunately, Wildcat! Wildcat! doesn’t seem to have any live gigs lined up at the moment, which means you wont be seeing them at any music fests this summer.  Worry not though.  Keep an eye out for new singles, as word on the streets is they have been busy in the studio piecing together new material, meaning there’s more on the way soon.  In the meantime, their entire catalog is available via their SoundCloud.  Check out the new single in all of it’s glory below.

REACHING FOR GEMS
February 15, 2016 10:00 am

In two short years, GEMS has gone from “The Best New Band You’ve Never Heard” to “…an understanding of the true height at which these two stand as influencers.” I’m sure that’s not intimidating for them at all.

Luckily, the band seems to be keeping their heads on straight as ATYPICAL SOUNDS found out in our interview with vocalist Lindsay Pitts.

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Kill the One You Love, the title of your debut LP, is a reference to Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. You also use a Sylvia Plath quote in your band bio on the Carpark website. Have either of these authors influenced your work?


LP: Sylvia Plath definitely has. Actually, we kept coming across her collection, Ariel, when we were writing our EP, Medusa. It sort of just kept being there in our path wherever we traveled and I feel like we were meant to read it. Her poetry is very close to death and that’s something that we try to explore through our music.

How was your recent tour with Oh Wonder? Did anything surprise you about the experience?


LP: It was lovely. This was actually one of the shortest tours we’ve gone on. (We’d previously spent a month on the road with Autre Ne Veut and a month with Classixx—they were both great tours). But I was glad to have a shorter run this time and be in the sun in LA and not trudging through the snow on the east coast.

You also recorded a live session for KEXP a few weeks ago. Are you a fan of the station? Do you have a favorite KEXP session from another band or artist? 


LP: KEXP is a great station and one session actually comes into my mind right away. I was unsure how I felt about Grimes when she first came out, but after watching her KEXP performance, I was a convert. Her personality really shone through in that setting and it felt very honest and real.

It seems like GEMS has suddenly blown up with your last tour. Does it seem that way to you? Has your personal life changed at all?


LP: Wow that’s really sweet, we’re just taking things one day at a time and being grateful for having the opportunity to keep making music.

It’s been suggested that your songs “reach for authentic and raw human truths.” Do you agree? And if so, is this something you aim for when writing, or do you find your songs take on this quality as they progress in their production?


LP: I think that is a large part of the core of what we are about – especially the “reaching” part. My main goal with writing songs is to create something that helps people transcend space and time, connect with something on a higher plane, and access that deep sense of existential longing.

GEMS originated in Washington, DC but you have since relocated to Los Angeles. Did that come before or after your record deal with Carpark? Was it hard to adjust to the change?


LP: The move came after I guess, but I don’t think that really played a part in when we decided to move…basically we wanted to finish our album before packing up and making our way out here since we wanted it to be a cohesive statement. I feel more at home in Los Angeles than I ever did in DC. It’s so inspiring to be here.

What are your favorite places to listen to music in LA?


LP: I love going to the El Rey, the room looks and sounds amazing. I also really like the vibe of the Lyric Theatre.

What are your plans for the rest of 2016?


LP: Writing music is what I really love to do. I’m excited to finish what we’ve been working on and release more songs.

 

MEET IAN
December 22, 2015 9:00 am

Ian isn’t that nice boy from the library your mom wants you to meet. Ian is actually a dream pop trio that originated in Boston, during singer/writer Jilian Medford’s tenure at Berklee. Now based in Los Angeles, bandmates Medford, Tim Cheney, and Damien Scalise have released their eponymous EP and are working to bring their diaphanous sound to the masses.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS caught up with Jilian to chat about her time at the famous music school and the band’s first time at CMJ.

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You released your first EP during your senior year at Berklee. How did your experience there shape you as a musician? Was there a lot of competition between you and your classmates?

JM: Berklee is a very interesting school. Most of the kids I know and was close to while attending ended up dropping out after their 2nd or 3rd year. I had thoughts of doing the same but my mom wouldn’t let me and also I wanted to finish and walk in graduation with funny socks peeping through the bottom of my gown!

There is a lot of competition at that school, and it drove me to start exploring different ways of expression, because I just didn’t feel like I was pushing myself enough or I didn’t feel like I was fully executing my projects to my full potential. So I decided to seek out Mark Fede for our EP (he has worked bands like Guerrilla Toss and Fat History Month) and it was a huge step in the right and certain direction for this band.

The recording process was short and sweet and hot and sweaty in August of 2014. We mainly recorded this tape to have something to give people on our summer tour but it ended up taking many twists and turns in a positive direction that we are so grateful for! People actually listened, I didn’t really know what I expected but I just didn’t know if anyone would listen.

Your first CMJ festival was this year. Did anything stand out to you about your performance?

JM: Cake Shop was special! The spot itself reminds me a lot of this spot in Boston called Great Scott so it was a familiar vibe. It was the end of CMJ so the show was quaint and filled with familiar faces, plus a few new ones, and my best friend Ellen Kemper from Palehound came and it was the best surprise since she had been so busy all week.

Something that really stood out was a 60-year-old woman asking me if she could buy our shirt that says “don’t call me” on it, since she had just left her husband of 30 years and wanted to wear it next time they saw each other! Kick ‘em 2 the curb!

How did you prepare for the show?

JM: [The band] hung out in a practice space together and got our new songs all worked out so we could be comfortable dancing while playing them.

Did you discover anyone new?

JM: OooOoo!! Loved seeing PWR BTTM! That was my first time seeing them play and it was incredible. So intimate even though so many people were there, and they managed to engage every single person watching. It was admirable.

Always love seeing one of my favorite bands Kal Marks at the Exploding in Sound showcase as well as Palm! Got to catch Protomartyr at the Sub Pop showcase, had to pee the entire time during their set but it was worth the wait, their new record is fire fire FIRE!! And they are even better live; Joe Casey’s stage presence makes me think of Bill Murray.

Were you able to try the pizza while in New York? How did it compare to the pizza in LA or Boston (where you’re based now)?

JM: We did eat pizza, I remember it clearly because we ordered a chicken bacon ranch pizza and couldn’t stop chanting CHICKEN BACON RANCH down the street all night long. This is my breakdown of foods between BOSTON NY AND LA: Boston has the best donuts (dunkin donuts, strawberry frosted, keep it simple baby), NY has the best pizza and hot dogs, LA has the best Mexican food ~ taco trucks till infinity.

What can fans can expect to see from you in the future?     

JM: The future, especially this coming year is really exciting for us. We will be relocating to LA in the next couple months to see if that is the spot for us, or to at least escape for the winter, and finishing a record to come out later next year, which will hopefully be accompanied by a lot of touring and traveling and seeing new places, faces, plants and dogs!

DEAD TIMES: THE FUTURE
December 21, 2015 11:41 am

Los Angeles-via-Tempe, Arizona transplants Dead Times fit cozily in today’s beat-forward R&B meta.  Boldly  describing their sound “the future” on their Facebook page, the duo’s sonic palate consists of Calvin Marcus’s ethereal croon underpinned by Travis Bunn’s snappy percussion and atmospheric samples–check “Inner Gold” for one of their more exquisite brews.

Dead Times grooves are harmoniously constructed, intimate love songs with a kick. To boot, Calvin is an adept lyricist–take the poetic chorus from the up-beat “Feel” for example:

“come outside my hands are freezing cold / let’s just start running until we’re completely alone / forget our past forget our valuables / I’ve got this feeling you’re all I need for warmth”

Last year, Times performed aside fellow bedroom beat-artisan How To Dress Well exposing themselves to a wider audience. Although still unsigned, these two guys aren’t going away any time soon–they’re very prolific and have even hinted at the idea of a self-released debut album. They’ve already garnered a considerable listernership on Spotify, and as such, their songs are–I’m going to make a bold prediction here–pre-destined to be included in a clothing store playlist.  It just has that vibe.

THE INFATUATION: AN EMPIRE OF FOOD ENTHUSIASTS
December 8, 2015 2:55 pm

It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of local indie bands, old-school punk rock, electronic music, or One Direction. We all have one thing in common: We love food. If you don’t, you’re probably in denial and you should keep on reading this article because you’ll be craving a cheesy New York style slice of pizza in no time.

With the rise of social media people have been obsessing over writing yelp reviews, checking in at their favorite restaurant on foursquare, and capturing the perfect photo of their poached egg so they can upload it on Instagram and hashtag #yolkporn. With a crazy food fanatic world out there, The Infatuation has made its way to the top in the food blogging industry. Chris Stang and Andrew Steinthal, just two guys who built an empire of food lovers out there. They now conquer 5 cities so far (New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Denver) and have their own hashtag #EEEEEATS trending nationwide. It’s clear that these former music industry working people take food very seriously. I had a chance to chat with Andrew about The Infatuation, music, and pizza.

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First of all, what do you guys call yourselves- Food critics, food bloggers, food enthusiast?

Mmm I would say that we’re just people who like food. Then again, everybody likes food. So I don’t know, I guess we are….Well, that’s a hard question. I’d say we like food like everybody else and just decided to write about it.

So you guys were in the music industry before The Infatuation.

For both of us music was our past. Since we were in high school even, that was the route we were headed down but by nature of the job. I was the VP of PR at Warner Bro’s Records and Chris was the VP of Marketing at Atlantic Records. By the fall when you’re in the music business for 13 years I would say the big part of it is that you’re out at shows all the time, consistently running around town going to see bands, entertaining bands, entertaining managers, and a big part of the job is out of the office. And obviously when you’re out to see a show at night, food plays a big role. Are we going to food before, are we going to food after…

Do you guys still keep up with the music scene?

For so long we went to so many shows and that was our entire life. We know what’s going on.

PizzalovesEmilyWere you into food as you were with music?

Would I say we liked it as much as music at the time? No. We started fielding calls from our friends who were finance guys, doctors, bankers, who weren’t out as much, and were looking for information because their parents are in town or want to take a girl out to impress them or whatever the situation was, we would get phone calls. Also at work they’d be like “K-Rock’s in town. He likes Mexican food, plan the night.” We were those planners and looked at each other and were like- people are coming to us for this information. Clearly, they’re not getting it elsewhere. There’s a need for a voice that speaks to people and real talk about restaurants.

Was YELP not a ‘thing’ yet?

We started in 2009 and Yelp was definitely a thing. I think we were kind of the anticipates of Yelp in a sense that you don’t know what opinion to trust on there. It’s a lot of white noise on that platform and it’s really hard to decipher what information to trust. It’s really useful for some things, but restaurants need some nuance that you really need a person you trust to guide you. The voice of a million people doesn’t really help a lot of times so we thought that there was a big opportunity to really try and make the expense of going to restaurants sort-able and divide it by category. Make it very real, honest and not pretentious. A lot of food media out there is very serious and very much representing of the chefs and the industry..We were just obviously not that and thought that there could be a real opportunity to become the voice of the people and make something super useful and help find restaurants. That was always kind of the goal. How can we help enrich people improve their lives by just having a good resource.

Who are some artists you dig currently?

Let me pull up our Spotify. We do a monthly Spotify Playlist! (Below). Hmm- I like Leon Else, The Japanese House, obviously the new Disclosure record. I’m all over the place. I just like good music. I’m a songs person so whether it’s dance, electronic, hiphop, alternative or indie- I’m all across the board. I’ve worked with artists in every range over my career, mainly because I was interested in everything and familiar with every kind of scene.

What’s your favorite post-concert food?

I’ve always been a post-show slice kinda guy. Especially if its a late one I’m like “alright I just need something before bed and I’m going to get a slice of pizza, so thats usually mine.

Since NYC is famous for their pizza- What are some underrated pizza restaurants here?

I mean it might not be underrated anymore but they’ve been getting a lot of attention in the past year. Pizza Loves Emily in Clinton Hill is fantastic! That’s my new favorite Brooklyn pizza by far. That place is absolutely worth the trip. I think Brooklyn Pizza is kind of underrated. I just like a classic slice pie and they have some of there other good stuff as well.

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Are any pizza places worth lining up for anyway?

Yeah. I mean, pizza’s one of the very few things I would line up for. I mean not too long. If the line is 40 minutes long at Grimaldi’s they’ve got problems because that is not worth waiting for. If you go make a trip to Di Fara deep into Brooklyn, THAT is absolutely worth any amount of minutes you have to wait and all $5 for the slice. That’s just your quintessential New York pizzeria.

You guys were part of the food curration for GovBall this year! How cool was that?

We’ve been friends with those guys over the years. Our backgrounds with music and we have a lot of relationships and we know that world really well and we worked together a couple of years ago on the media front and we helped simply blow up the food a little extra via social networks. Last year we’ve been in discussion and were like look, I think we could really help improve the food lineup and represent New York better. Last year was our first year that we curated the food lineup and we’ll do it again next year and we’re really excited because we brought in stuff that they didn’t have previously like the Ramen Burger or Tacombi Tacos

Do you think Instagram has been a big game-changer for food bloggers/enthusaists?

I think every social media platform has made it easy for everyone, whether you’re in food or writing about music or trying to write about cars…Whatever it is, internet’s given you the opportunity to say whatever you want. And it’s kind of up to you to see if you can come up with something different, unique and compelling enough to make people give a fuck. Instagram for sure has enabled especially in food. Most of these kids on Instagram don’t have actual websites or blogs. They’re just Instagram photographers going out there taking pictures to get likes- which is fine. But it’s made this whole thing pretty crazy.

What’s this new app you guys made where I can text a dinosaur?

We have a text message recommendation service called Text Rex where you can text us directly for restaurant recommendations. We have a whole system set up, but it’s always a human. You’re always talking to somebody and it’s always open 8:30am to 11pm everyday so you’ll always get a response within 5 minutes. And if you text at 3am you’ll probably get a message saying ‘hey you’re probably hammered and  probably want pizza so here are your options.’ People want what they want now. We hear from people all the time- they don’t want to sit there and go through the website. Its also good for us. It’s like having an amazing focus group of thousands and thousands of people everyday telling you what they want, so we made a lot of content decisions based on hearing what people say through Text Rex.

I think what we can get out from this is that you can do whatever you want. Don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not capable of doing it. And follow your dreams, even if it’s something as simple as taking artistic photos of your food.

DOE PAORO GETS NOSTALGIC
October 20, 2015 11:21 pm

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Los Angeles based indie-pop artist Doe Paoro released her new album After through ANTI this past September and the Beasts are getting all sorts of nostalgia listening to it. The songs show a gracious maturity from her previous releases, both lyrically and musically. It seems to be departing a bit from her experimental vocal ranges and comfortably settling into a more down to earth, pop sensible approach. The collaboration with producers Sean Carey (Bon Iver) and BJ Burton (The Tallest Man on Earth, Sylvan Esso) has created a sort of Indie-rock meets pop princess love child.

With singles like “Nostalgia” and “Growth/Decay” Doe Paoro (a.k.a. Sonia Kreitzer) touches on subject matters and depths that are often neglected in the world of pop music, while songs like “Travelling” and “Regret” show a sort of dark honesty that anyone can connect with. “This record emerged from a very specific psychic space: feeling out of the past but not yet in the future, adrift in the space between two closed doors – and reckoning with the reality that what you are hoping for might not be coming” notes Kreitzer.

Doe Paoro was born and raised in the relatively isolated city of Syracuse, New York. Her sound can be easily compared to that cloudy isolation. Previous to beginning her musical journey, Kreitzer was introduced to Lhamo, the Tibetan folk music, while traveling alone through the Himalayas and meditating for long stretches of time. These influences are also clearly present in her music. Perhaps these influences are what contribute so strongly to the reflective elements in her sound.

All in all, listening to the music of Doe Paoro is a good way to get in touch with your inner being. It is a refreshing escape from the dull world of radio pop music, and is made even more interesting by the sonic depths in her production. Make sure to check out her new album After and get nostalgic as you look back on the year. You can find her current tour dates here.

The Astral Sounds Of Moon Honey
September 27, 2015 11:29 pm

Just in time for the lunar eclipse, the Beasts have come across the music of L.A. based psych-rockers Moon Honey. Moon Honey seems to operate on a higher level of existence! They have created a fantasy world of sound as timeless and beautiful as the plucking of a medieval harp. Seriously, it is quite possible that they are simply time travelers from another dimension!

It has been said that originality is the highest form of art. It is so with the music of Moon Honey. The peculiarity of their sound is quite difficult to compare. Perhaps it is due to the influence of the small city life of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where Moon Honey first met and found inspiration. However, their sound eventually took on the lightness of the west, as a move to Los Angeles evolved their sound into the floaty psychedelic tunes we hear today. The falsetto registers from Jessica paired with the spacey effects and thoughtfully calculated chords from Andrew create a sophisticated and progressive sound that evokes the Aquarian aspirations of the sixties. Their lyrical content deals with mystical mixed with romantic themes of an esoteric nature, which adds to the curiosity that wells up in the listener. Since releasing their debut album Hand-Painted Dream Photographs in 2013, they have continued to impress with videos including the hypnotizing visual of The Cathedral,’ (below) released earlier this year.

Moon Honey spent most of the summer on their cross country ‘Boy Magic‘ tour, creating a buzz which we hope will only grow. As we continue to move boldly into the future, it is refreshing to hear a band that can keep up with the excitement of such a journey. Be sure to put on some Moon Honey this weekend as the full moon shines down, and the astral world draws near.