shea stadium

TELE NOVELLA: REFRESHINGLY DRAMA-FREE
August 31, 2016 9:58 am

Tele Novella are gearing up to release their debut album, House of Souls, on September 23rd and have already begun to wet our taste buds with the deliciously subdued first single “Heavy Balloon”. Members Natalie Ribbons, Jason Chronis, Matt Simon, and Sarah La Puerta formed the band as a supergroup of sorts, coming from bands including Agent Ribbons (Natalie), Voxtrot and Belaire (Jason, Matt), as well as solo projects (Sarah).

ATYPICAL SOUNDS had a nice chat with Natalie on recording the new album, and how she really feels about SXSW.

What can your fans expect to hear on the new album?
They can expect to hear toe-tapping cynicism, hope-filled broken-ness, odes to the joys of hoarding in 3/4, and sex. Spooky sex.

Is there anything you learned during its recording that you wish you had known going into it?
Ho boy. Right for the ol’ can-o-worms question! Haha. The short answer is YES. But honestly, you’d have to be a fool or otherwise not give a shit for the answer to not be yes! I’d really rather not bore you with the details.

You’ve all come from other bands or solo projects. What do you feel you’ve been able to bring to Tele Novella?

Well, we all bring a lot to the band, given our collective experience and (of course) talents. This is such a talented and creative band, I’m beyond thrilled that we’ve stuck it out long enough to get to this point because it’s such a delightful group of people to work with!

Figuring out exactly what we should bring rather than can bring has been the question.  We’re still carving out our aesthetic world and figuring out who and what we are as a musical entity! This album has brought us so much closer to knowing what that is, and I think we have a clearer vision for where to go from here than we ever did!

Sometimes it’s more about subtracting elements rather than adding to them, and we’re going more in that direction now. When I was a little kid coloring pictures at the kitchen table, my grandpa used to ALWAYS say to me, “Natalie, a great artist knows when to stop.” It’s kind of hilarious to think of saying that to a little kid, but it has really stuck with me and I am only just now starting to deeply consider that advice.

Is there anything you’ve done (or want to do) with Tele Novella you feel you couldn’t do with your past bands or projects?

I can’t speak for the others, but in my case, yes. I am working with very experienced people, so when presented with a new song, the group approaches it as though it were a little gemstone or something. You turn it this way, and this facet is particularly of interest or prominence. You turn it that way, and you’re looking at something else entirely, perhaps emphasizing other aspects not seen before.

There are many more options, a greater array of possible directions. Sometimes this is overwhelming, but for the most part it is much better! This is the case not only at rehearsal but also in the recording studio. Everyone contributed so much, I actually probably contributed the least as far as production and arrangement goes. These are Jason’s area of expertise, for sure. He has a striking and natural talent for knowing how to take a song and really make it bloom in the recording studio. Of course, Danny Reisch played a large role in this also—he recorded the album.

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How did you all get together as a band?

Jason and Matt have been in bands together for years, starting with Voxtrot and most recently before Tele Novella, they were in Belaire together. My old band Agent Ribbons dissipated shortly before SXSW where I was still scheduled to appear, so we put Tele Novella together on the fly with members of Belaire. It turned out really well so we just kept doing it!

How do you feel about SXSW? Do you love it, or does it make you want to escape the city?

It’s always both. I think it’s a good thing for our city, even though the quality has declined every year in lieu of quantity. We try to participate when we can, but it’s a pain in the ass to be in the crowds or to look for a place to park the van and load everything in/out. We probably won’t do it this year, but we’ll see.

I’ve heard that Austin’s growing economy is pushing out the artists that made it a destination in the first place. Is that something you’ve experienced firsthand?

Yes, the struggle is real! Of course this is a nationwide war against the poor, not just Austin. Rich people are asserting more and more for themselves every day, and Austin is a really black and white, clear-as-day example of this for sure. Jason and I moved to a small historic town built in the late 1800s called Lockhart. It’s about 30 minutes south of Austin and it’s super cheap, but who knows how long that will last. For now it’s great though!

Austin is well-known as a music city, but are there any bands there you feel deserve more attention?

Deep Time is a long-time favorite. They are just so good, and I’m stoked they are playing again. Big Bill is the funnest band in Austin. Caroline Says is great also.

What are your favorite venues in Austin for seeing live music?

I feel like we’re missing a truly special venue at the moment. There’s an unbelievable amount of venues, but we don’t have that one special place that I crave. Cheer Up Charlies is one of my favorites, even though going downtown is not my ideal scenario (it’s a clusterfuck down there).

Have you tried the kale margaritas at Cheer Up Charlies? They’re weird, right?

Haha. Funny, I didn’t notice this question while I was typing in ‘Cheer Up Charlie’s’ but it looks like we’re on the same page with this! Yes, I’ve tried ’em. I’m not huge on margaritas, but they do a carrot-rita that’s not bad.  I like getting whiskey and kombucha there.

What are your plans for the rest of 2016? Will you be coming to New York any time soon?

We have a NYC date at Shea Stadium for October 7th. It’s all-ages.

SAM EVIAN: STAY HYDRATED
June 27, 2016 12:23 pm

You guys. I’m pretty sure this is the best response to an email interview anyone has ever gotten. After failing to secure time to interview Sam Evian in person, I sent him a list of questions through email, and got an MP3 with a SOUNDTRACK in response. I don’t think anyone has ever spent so much time giggling alone in a cubicle as I did when that showed up in my inbox. What follows is a transcript of that file, which you can listen to as you read.

Oh, and for the formal stuff: Sam Evian is the “luxury brand” of Brooklyn musician, engineer, and producer Sam Owens. You may be familiar with his work in Celestial Shore. Last Monday saw his new outfit perform in the penthouse suite of The Standard, East Village. It’s a great place to hang out if you want to feel like an urchin. Regardless, the band sounded great and the view off the private deck is pretty unbelievable. For a list of upcoming shows at the penthouse, click here. Ok, on with the interview!

It says in your artist bio that you wrote the 10 songs on your upcoming album Premium ten days prior to your first show, though the ideas had been in your head for a long time. What was it like to finally bring your ideas into the world?

It was really fun.

As an engineer and producer, do you ever feel like you stress too much over the production of your own music?

While there’s certainly vortexes and traps that people fall into when they’re recording themselves, and I’m certainly no stranger to those, the process on this record was relaxed. It was kind of stress-free, and the mixes were the most difficult part. I kind of just locked myself in the basement, well, in the studio that I work at, and mixed until it was done (for six days). At the end of it, I felt like I kind of emerged as a new person. I learned a lot about myself and my process. So yeah, it’s kind of a “full circle” thing.

I love your song “Sleep Easy,” partially because it reminds me a bit of Porcelain Raft (one of my favorite musicians). Are you also a fan?

I wish I could say, honestly, I knew who Porcelain Raft was but I don’t. And I guess that’s kind of one of the reasons way I wanted to respond to you in this way. I think if you’re going to sit down and answer questions over email, I may have Googled Porcelain Raft and decided whether I liked it or not and then responded, having done that. And I think that’s a little dishonest. So I’ll be sure to check it out.

You mentioned in your interview with Impose that “Bottled water is weird and totally irresponsible (kinda like playing music)…” Do you really feel like playing music is irresponsible?

[Laughs] Yes. Actually, I should say playing music is not irresponsible, totally. Directing your life towards only trying to play music can be extremely irresponsible.

You already have 71 Instagram followers [now 190] and your only entry is a video of you pouring water on your face. What’s your secret?

Hydration.

There are so many great music venues in New York. Do you have a favorite?

Yeah, my favorite venue of all-time in New York is The Bowery Ballroom because it’s a beautiful room and there’s a sound guy named Kenny who mixes all analog and the sound is just really phenomenal. And the staff are really great too, so that’s my favorite all-around venue.

But I’ve lived in New York for close to five years, maybe six, and there used to be a venue called Big Snow Buffalo Lodge in Bushwick and I spent a lot of time there learning how to play guitar, And learning how to play shows, and hanging out with really wonderful musicians. And it doesn’t exist anymore, but I still think about it a lot.

I guess that ties in with your next question of “Are there any venues with sentimental value for me”, and that certainly is one of them. But I also like the venues out in Bushwick like The Silent Barn and Shea Stadium. I have a fondness for them as well.

Did you grow up in New York?

No, I grew up in North Carolina.

What’s your favorite place in the city for pizza?

Well, I really like Best Pizza…because it’s the best.

Is it true that your mother is Italian? Have you spent much time in Italy?

I’ve never been to Italy, but someday I’d like to go to Italy with my mother. Her side of the family, they’re called the Trupianos, and they’re very Italian.

What do you think of the Italian pop music they have there?

I know of this wonderful artist named Luxardo, and I really recommend them.

What’s with all the Ringo Starr on your Twitter page?

Ringo’s Twitter is really amazing, and I think if you read through it, you really start to get a sense for how he is as a person. Like, it’s definitely him posting on Twitter. And I suppose ultimately, my greater plan is to be able to hang out with him someday and record with him playing the drums. Because he’s still out there, and he’s literally the best drummer of all time. Yeah, definitely Ringo.

Did you ever see The Point, that animated film Ringo did in ’71?

Yeah, the Nilsson film with the record. My favorite song is “Me And My Arrow” on that record. Yeah, Ringo narrated it. I think that may have been the beginning of his career in narration. I grew up with Thomas the Tank Engine, which he also narrated. Ringo’s been in my life.

What can your fans look forward to in the near future?

More visual and auditory stimulation.

CURTIS GRANDERSON: THE METS DJ EXTRAORDINAIRE
May 3, 2016 11:27 am

For quite some time, the New York Mets have been the unofficial team of Atypical Beasts. We don’t have any sponsorships or special event parties at Citi Field lined up just yet, but the love’s been there since day one. Not only am I a diehard fan, but Kim, the Head Beast herself, is a certified loon when it comes to this team.

The first thing you become all too aware of as a Mets fan is that the seasons aren’t always easy. The most iconic Mets highlight that’s happened in my lifetime happened the same night as the absolute worst Mets moment that’s happened in my lifetime. But these past two years have been different. Our pitching has made Bryce Harper cry, Michael Conforto is probably Jesus Christ, or at the very least Gilgamesh, and most importantly we’ve got the most tightly knit locker room in the league.

I always gobble fun team morale stories up. Like when they made an impromptu beer slip-n-slide after beating the LA Dodgers last season in the playoffs, or when their rookies wore underoos for their hazing. But this recent post on the Mets Tumblr took it to another level for me after seeing how dedicated Curtis Granderson is to having the most well thought out playlists in the league.

Each day has its own theme: Throwback Thursday gives them that nostalgic fix, the beautifully titled White People Wednesday let’s everyone sing along to NSYNC without judgement, and Saturday is request day. There’s a little bit of everything coming from the speakers and it’s all thanks to Grandy.

Just because the Mets’s taste in music is better than every other team’s doesn’t mean that a World Series title is imminent (a stronger middle relief would clinch that). But if Matt Harvey is going crazy to Michael Jackson every Monday, that’s gotta do wonders for the pep in everyone’s step when they go out on the field. Bartolo Colon might not be able to see his feet at this point in his career, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he has the most graceful moonwalk in his dance arsenal.
The more fun a team has together, the better chance they have at being successful. DJ Grandy’s clubhouse jammers gets the whole team involved. And the fact that I’m this happy during the MLB season proves it’s working. Right now, I’m just looking forward to what songs Granderson is gonna choose for the ticker tape parade.

Heyrocco Smells Like Teenage Movie Soundtrack
October 9, 2015 1:31 pm

In Charleston, where there is nothing to do but skateboard, drink “shitty box wine”, and hangout, three dudes in high school formed a band called Heyrocco that personifies the teen angst of growing up in the suburbs.

Nathan Merli sings lead vocals and plays guitar, the guy with the real cool name Chris Cool plays bass, and then there’s Tanner Cooper or “Taco” on drums. Together they make melodic grungy tunes about the awkward, vulnerable, and rebellious feels of being a hormonal teenager.

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I first saw Heyrocco back in June at Shea Stadium.  Their debut album Teenage Movie Soundtrack had just come out on Old Flame Records and they were about to play their first show back in the US after a super successful tour in the UK.

They opened to a scattered crowd and played songs from the album which covers pretty much every topic that teen-dom entails.  Let’s see, there’s girls, peer pressure, horny teens, virginity, clumsy sex, hookups, heartbreak, house parties, hating everyone and everything around you…yup, I’m pretty sure that covers everything.

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Heyrocco describe their sound as “disney grunge” and it gives a very 90s feel to them that sometimes (bear with me as I try to compare them to other bands) reminds me of a grungier Motion City Soundtrack but if Conor Oberst was the vocalist.

I wonder if they would hate it if I compared them to Dashboard Confessional’s “Hands Down” or Simple Plan’s “I’m Just a Kid”I’m going to do it anyways, because their music reminds me of a time where I would play songs like that on repeat with my bedroom door shutting out the world so I could wallow in my teen angst to the band (the only people who understood me). Dramatic, I know.

It was funny talking about some of the verses with Merli.  He stopped mid-sentence at one point and was like, “Oh my god, I sound emo.” Because it’s true adolescent feelings and behaviors can sound pretty ridiculous, especially from an outside perspective. But Heyrocco embraces the humor in it, for example by holding up a t-shirt that says “daddy issues” at the end of the music video for “Loser Denial”.

Other times, especially when they played their song “Virgin”, Heyrocco really sounds like Nirvana.

“Virgin” makes fun of stereotypical macho males bragging about sexual conquests and pressuring others to do the same.  They approach many similar themes in the same deadpan style of Kurt Cobain, and to complete my mental comparison for the night, Cooper was wearing the same “Hi, How Are You” Daniel Johnston t-shirt Cobain often wore.  

Although Heyrocco claim to be “packing more bowls than venues” I would say they’re doing pretty well.  They are currently back touring in the UK, where they have been selling out shows, and are playing in Manchester the 13th before coming straight here to play CMJ on the 14th at Webster Hall.  So what’s next? Some touring around the US then on to Canada eh. I also vaguely remember Merli saying something about going in a different direction with their music…but anyways still can’t wait to see what they do next. So cheers Heyrocco, thanks for reawakening the nostalgic angsty teen in me!

Potty Mouth Beasts It Out
September 29, 2015 11:01 am

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So I was walking through some weird Williamsburg streets Thursday night. It’s a pretty deserted area and there weren’t any signs of a music venue anywhere… or any sign of life as a matter of fact. As the blue dot on my google map approached the alleged destination, I hear some rock ‘n roll music echoing from a warehouse. I see a group of young girls making their way into a random door off the sidewalk attached to the warehouse. If it weren’t for those girls unabashedly loitering in the middle of no where and walking into the door to Randomland, it would have been impossible to find this venue, but I instantly fell in love with the ‘speakeasy’ vibe they had.
Pop punk band Potty Mouth owned the stage like they were regulars. They seamlessly made their way on stage and it made me nostalgic seeing them in their hip 90’s fashion. Each of them had a unique style but had a certain look to the band that no other band could imitate. Just like their look, their old-school punk rock tunes vibrated throughout room. It was kind of weird being in a room where people stood normally while listening to some fast-paced and aggressive guitar tunes, instead of creating a circle pit which is usually what I’d see at a concert like this. Nevertheless, these girls knew how to hype up crowd and showed their thrue bad-assery.

This is a band you DO NOT want to miss! A true homage to beasting it out on any stage.

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