the black keys

30th CENTURY MAYBIRD
May 16, 2016 12:29 pm

Meet Maybird, one of the first signings to Danger Mouse’s 30th Century Records. The Rochester and Brooklyn-based, psych-rock-flavored band just released their debut EP,Turning Into Water and have now gone right back into the studio to record their full-length album.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS had a nice chat with founder Josh Netsky about what we can expect, what the music scene in Rochester is like, and where to get the best pizza.

Congratulations on your brand new EP, Turning Into Water. Did you do anything to celebrate its release?

Thank you, and yes! We had a great release party on the rooftop of The Standard East Village. It overlooks the city and the view is spectacular. We played the EP plus a few newer and older tunes and the crowd was amazing.

Is there anything you learned during the production of the EP that you wish you had known going into it?

Sort of, it was a pretty long time between now and when we began with these songs. Years ago actually (not purposely). But giving things time is very important, and we gave this EP a lot of time. We made a bunch of tiny, tiny changes even after songs had been “done” for months. I think that was a valuable lesson, learning to listen for a while before calling it “done.”

I heard you’re working on a new album. Is there a part of that process you most enjoy or look forward to?

Working on new music in the studio is my favorite part of being a musician – the whole thing is enjoyable because it’s all creation and idea sharing. Building a song up from its roots. Hearing songs come together and morph into their own things in the studio just makes you feel crazy in a good way.

I know it’s an imprint of Columbia, but I’ve read about the emphasis Brian (Mr. Mouse?) is putting on retaining each artist’s unique sound and perspective. Did you feel like other labels weren’t offering you that?

We had no label interest prior to 30th Century. I’d sent music to a few labels but gotten no bites. I couldn’t be happier working with Brian, it feels comfortable working with someone who you know is an artist himself and has been in the music world for a while. He’s definitely putting an emphasis on retaining the sounds of artists on the label, which is great, and they all sound dope.

How does the Rochester music scene differ from that of NYC? Are there musicians local to Rochester you think deserve more attention?

The Rochester music scene feels like a big family, lots of different types of music and tons of bands all supporting each other. And a lot of folks in the scene literally are family. It’s great. New York is just full of talent, there’s always good shows to see every night and all these little scenes and bands that are connected to each other. Tons of hidden gems. And yes, there are a lot of bands in Rochester that deserve a wider audience, although many are doing great things right now. To name a few of our favorites: The Demos, Harmonica Lewinski, Thoroughbred, Auld Lang Syne.

Are there any music venues in Rochester you’re particularly fond of?

The Bug Jar is a classic Rochester venue that we have a pretty deep history with. They bring in all these great bands before they blow up – so if you’re hip to it you get to see bands like Arcade Fire and Future Islands play in a little intimate room. A year later they’re selling out concert halls.

Which places have the best pizza in Rochester and NYC? 

Joe’s and Vinnie’s in Brooklyn. Acme is legit in Rochester, and the Pizza Stop.

You seem like someone who would know a lot about psychedelic music. Are there any albums from the 60s you can recommend to someone looking to expand their record collection?

Here are a few: The 13th Floor Elevators – Easter Everywhere, The Yardbirds – Self Titled, Dino Valente – Dino Valente, Can – Tago Mago, Captain Beefheart – Safe as Milk, Sly and the Family Stone – Life 

What would you say is the least glamorous part about being in a band? Do you guys still have day jobs?

There are parts of playing shows and recording and whatnot that are stressful – lifting a bunch of gear, late nights, early mornings, etc. We are all full time musicians now. Most of us work in music – teaching lessons, gigging, recording sessions. Up until pretty recently I had a day job managing a co-working space in Union Square where I still help out once in a while.

Do you have any plans for 2016 in addition to the album? Do you have any live dates coming up?

Lots of work. We’re kinda playing it by ear right now, but we want to hit the road after we get the album in the can. Coming up we’ve got:

May 19th – World Cafe (Non-COMMvention) – Philadelphia

May 21st – Funk n Waffles – Syracuse

June 18th – Anthology – Rochester, NY

THOSE HEARTLESS BASTARDS DID IT AGAIN
November 19, 2015 1:20 pm

Before we begin our descent into the end of 2015, let’s take a minute to reflect on one of the lesser-noticed stand out albums of the year: Restless Ones by Heartless Bastards.

After more than a decade of releasing music, Heartless Bastards have earned their status as a staple in the Blues-Rock scene. Lead by the bellowing vocals and songwriting skills of star frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom, the band returned in June of this year with their latest record, Restless Ones. A bold follow-up to their acclaimed 2012 record Arrow, Restless Ones showcases a sound that is aged and refined while still maintaining the freshness and garage nostalgia we have come to expect from the group.

While Wennerstrom seems to have hit her stride with Restless Ones, the road to now has not been without its fair share of obstacles. Often plagued by a rotating line-up of band members, personal turmoil, and writer’s block, Wennerstrom channeled all of that energy into an album that can only be described as liberating.

Born out of material composed mostly on the road, it is no surprise that Restless Ones feels instantly like a road-trip soundtrack. “Wind Up Bird,” the first track on the album, hits the ground running with an array of power chords that function like the instant gratification of a school bell. The album then delves into the critic’s choice single “Gates of Dawn,” a declaration of rebirth that is straightforward in its message and craft. Bouncing tracks like “Hi-Line” and “Journey” act as serious feel-good numbers that draw upon images of fresh break-ups and long stretches of open road.

If you are looking for the next album that is going to change the nature of music forever, Restless Ones may not be the one for you. But if you’ve found yourself craving an hour of shimmeringly-produced, feel-good rock and roll, look no further than the Bastards’ latest. This album has the anthemic power of The Black Keys (an early supporter of the band) and the escapist lyrical content of a modern Bruce Springsteen. The combination is flawless.

With a one-in-a-million voice that croons and cries with remarkable depth, Wennerstrom is back. And if Restless Ones is any indication, she is here to stay.

A Few Things You Missed at Governor’s Ball Day 3
June 16, 2015 5:40 pm

Last year was the first time I’ve been to Governor’s Ball Music Festival and I had the time of my life, so this year my expectations were pretty high. I’ve been looking forward to this big day for months since I purchased my ticket in February, and it’s finally come. It’s a time where we get to watch our favorite musicians perform live, rage with our friends, eat amazing food, and exhaust ourselves from dancing way too hard.

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The weather this year wasn’t as great with some rain here and there during the first two days, but luckily the weather was on our side on Sunday. The last day of the festival had finally come and I was heartbroken that the past two days had already flown by so quickly. Despite the fact that I was exhausted from the first two days running around and constantly being on my feet, I wasn’t quite ready for this day to end.

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I started the day with Streets of Laredo, a Brooklyn based indie folk band at the big GovBallNYC stage. They have a clear cut acoustic sound that’s perfect during the daytime when people are laying out on the grass.

I went over to the other side of the park afterwards to catch Australian band DMA’s rocking out at the Big Apple Stage. I fell in love with them after listening to ‘Laced,’ which had somewhat of a nostalgic sound that reminded me of Green Day or Oasis.

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Echosmith was right after DMA’s so I ran back to the main stage. During their set, they invited two lucky fans to get up on stage and “dance like they’re in love.” ’Cool Kids’ was my ultimate summer jam last year, so I didn’t want to miss out on them. The lead singer Jamie said some pretty inspirational quotes during that song about how we should accept ourselves for who we are and who we aren’t. You go girl!

The band I’ve been looking forward to most was Tame Impala, so I decided to wait 45 minutes before their set to get a good spot for the show. Their music was very soothing with the help of some trippy graphics going on in the back. You could tell that a lot of people were pretty ‘baked’ and having a good time dancing to their vibrating tunes.

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There’s something about Big Gigantic that just makes you want to get up and dance, even if your feet are dying from all the walking. The sounds of the trumpet and saxophone kept me going, and got me excited when fire emerged out of the stage!

Hot Chip knows how to keep the crowd going, because everybody…I mean, EVERYBODY was raising their hands and dancing the night away.

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By the time Lana Del Rey and The Black Keys started playing, I was pretty exhausted and the post-concert-blues were slowly creeping up on me. Being a fan of both artists, I went back and forth to check both of them out. Even though I was physically drained, my friends and I powered through until the end of the festival. Thank you Governor’s Ball for yet another successful year – the Beasts hope to see you again next year!