Interview w/ Jason Karaban plus “Devil That I Know”

We recently had the chance to chat with good-songs-man Jason Karaban about conspiracy theories, songwriting in the biz and more! Check out our conversation below and listen to “Devil That I Know”, a new collaboration with Lucy Schwartz previewed here from his forthcoming Shift (9/4) release.

Jason Karaban – Devil That I Know

B3: Why is it you’ve found recorded music to be your ideal way to share songs?

JK: With technology and the internet, recorded music is the quickest and most convenient in terms of sharing your music… it takes seconds to get your music out there and can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

B3: What lessons come from the Jason Karaban school of hard knocks that you’d like to share with any self-proclaimed reclusive-type musicians out there?

JK: It does help to understand what you are up against. I believe that the growth of technology and the rise of the independent artist is a great thing, but if you want to embrace it, you need to learn about it… If you aspire to be a musician who wants to make a living from making music than know the business that you are in. Unless of course you get very lucky and find someone who can do it for you.

B3: Roughly speaking, how many songs are chill in and unreleased in the Karaban-archives?

JK: Thousands. Roughly speaking of course.

B3: What is it about writing music that brings you peace, or a level of serenity?

JK: The process itself… because whenever anything truly creative happens you’re on auto pilot. Once you start thinking about it it becomes something else. The content becomes more important than the art, which in my experience doesn’t hold up too well.

B3: How has Los Angeles factored into your evolution as a musician and person?

JK: In a word, access. Los Angeles seems to be one of the meccas to where musicians and artists flock which puts a lot of great talent all in one place. As a person i’ve become a lot more humble and gracious after coming across so many artists who work twice as hard as I do and are so talented but are still struggling to be recognized.

B3: Do you think the music biz allows great talent to slip through the cracks for alterior benefits?

JK: Not on purpose…. otherwise we’d be getting into conspiracy theories.

B3: Have you written music especially for film or TV? How would you compare it with your album(s) material?

JK: Yes, I have, and the process is quite different because the overall objective and concept is being dictated by the film or TV show. And if you are the kind of writer who is a bit ambiguous in your writing, then you need to balance your ambiguity with something that people can understand and connect the song back to the subject you are writing about. It’s the difference between relying on your GPS for directions or just winging it… The trickiest part is that you have to deliver what whoever you are working for is trying to accomplish but at the same time you want to put your own stamp on it and keep it somewhat representative of who you are as an artist.

B3: If there is one thing that you would like people to take away from your new album Shift, what is it?

JK: I leave that entirely up to the listener…

B3: Are there any songs in particular on Shift that you feel especially close to?

JK: Yeah, but actually it varies from day to day depending on my serotonin levels.. at the moment I’d say “Pay with a .45”, “What Do You Say (To That)” and “Misplaced”.

B3: We can’t get enough of that tuba and trombone arrangement on “Succeed 101”.. it just seems like there must be a story behind it?

JK: One of the producers I worked with, Shane Smith, didn’t want any of my acoustic guitar parts to sound standard or recognizable as an acoustic guitar, so he did something to it with some sort of effect that emulated a tuba. After listening to it we decided to cut a tuba which the other producer, Barrie Maguire, managed to do using a sample.

B3: How did you connect with your label Ascend Records? It seems like it’s been a fitting relationship?

JK: I recorded an album for Maverick Records that ultimately wasn’t put out. The Ascend guys came across it and were enthusiastic about the music. They started Ascend Records basically to put out that record and we’ve worked together ever since. They are one of the few labels that I feel actually care more about the music and the artists than the business.

B3: Are there any contemporary artists that you are a fan of?

JK: Well, I’m a fan of everyone I’ve worked with on my records. Other than them… Tom Brousseau, Lykke Li, Conor Oberst, Jeff Tweedy, Paul Westerberg and my brother Dave Karaban come to mind.

B3: So we’ve got this serious Time Machine over at B3SCI HQ. Who is your dream collab with?

JK: Ideally both John Lennon and Nick Drake

Jason Karaban california (Facebook)

Rating 8.3


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OUTSIDE LANDS 2012: Looking Back + Interview w/ Caveman

​Safely returned to the mid-August L.A. swelter, we took to the airwaves of Virgin Mobile Live on Friday to recap last weekend’s Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival in San Francisco. The beautiful cloudy chill of Golden Gate Park played gracious host to an immaculate lineup of artists from all eras and most genres past, present, and future. Check out our recap below featuring music from some of our favorite Outside Lands artists as well as an interview we did backstage on Saturday with New York band Caveman.


Little Stevie Wonder – Fingertips (Part 2) [extended edit] Tame Impala – Lucidity
MICS UP: Metallica – For Whom The Bell Tolls
Portugal. The Man – So American
Birdy – People Help the People (Cherry Ghost Cover)
Foo Fighters – Big Me
MICS UP: *Bruce Rave w/ Raves Fave
*Bloc Party – Team A
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)
Caveman – Thankful
INTERVIEW w/ Caveman backstage at Outside Lands, SF 2012
Big Boi & Theophilus London – She Said OK (Feat. & Tre Luce) [Clean]

Click here for more coverage on Outside Lands 2012.

Outside Lands (Official)

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NEW MIX! B3SCI on VML 2:4 (ft. Interview w. Ben Howard @ Troubadour LA)

We hit the Virgin Mobile Live netwaves this past weekend and gave a spin to our favorite records of late along with an excerpt from our interview with Ben Howard, who we’d caught up with earlier during soundcheck before his sold-out night two gig at the Troubadour in LA on June 6. Check out the show below and stay tuned for more updates on new B3SCI Radio.


Zella Day – 7 Nation Army (White Stripes Cover)
Trails and Ways – Nunca
MICS UP: Ble3k – Into The Arch (Allied Remix)
Bluebell – Normal Heights (Worship Remix)
Sexton Blake – Hungry Heart (Bruce Springsteen Cover)
MICS UP: *Bruce Rave w/ Raves Fave
*Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Dear Believer
Ellie Goulding – High For This (KTHX Remix)
Ben Howard – The Wolves
INTERVIEW w/ Ben Howard during soundcheck @ Troubadour LA
Ben Howard – Old Pine
Coastal Ciries – Relief
Since Rabbit – Distant Places

Release date: June 29, 2012

Click for B3RADIO Archives.

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Here’s something fresh for your radars by way of new LA based duo MOTION CNTRL. The pair’s sound is dance floor ready, offering up a catchy and well groomed blend of minimal synth pop. With only a handful of tracks circulating the underground, cuts like “Rolling Shallow” and “It Feels Right” are fast becoming summer mix mandatories. We recently had the chance to chat with Allyce and Luke from the band and you can have a look at what they had to say below:

MOTION CNTRL – Rolling Shallow

B3: The next time that you go to a record store, what are you reaching for first?

ALLYCE: I always check out the dance/electronic section first. See what’s new. My go-to’s are late 70’s early 80’s music compilations. Always good finds there.

LUKE: some high quality cd , something that had a big budget and nice packaging and was on a major label. And anything between 1978 and 1987.

B3: Your song “It Feels Right” is pretty irresistible. How does “right” make you feel?

LUKE: whats “right” is recognizing the shared human experience. “it feels right” is about coming up in our modern world where you have to make strange choices, and remembering that we all are in it together.

ALLYCE: “It Feels Right” makes me think of finding personal fulfillment. And being in the moment without losing yourself in it all. When I’ve been good to myself and other people, things seem to come into my life at the right time and place. That’s when it feels “right” to me.

MOTION CNTRL – It Feels Right

B3: What inspired the creation of MOTION CNTRL and is there any musical history behind the band and it’s members?

ALLYCE: We met at our day job and started talking about music. We had both worked on music on our own before. I was definitely looking to collaborate with someone. When I heard Luke’s music I loved it. He liked my voice and writing so we just started working. It’s been fun to find our sound together and continue evolving musically.

LUKE: we met and had similar tastes in music so i had her sing over one of my tracks. her voice fit nicely with my music and she’s a quality person so it was clear we should keep it moving. i had done some music before but nothing to crazy.

B3: What do lyrics in music mean to you and do you think there is a certain role they play in songs?

LUKE: it depends on the style of music. its up to the song to determine how important the lyrics are. the lyrics in a rick springfield or def leppard song are not that important because the musics so big, but in a tracy chapman tune your catching every word. i generally don’t care much about lyrics, im much more focused on the production.

ALLYCE: I think lyrics in music can make statements and help people think or relate to a certain experience. It can be a powerful tool for change when an artist is sending a message, whether it be to an individual or to humanity as a whole. When an artist writes lyrics in a poetic way and tells a story, I’m much more connected to it.

B3: How do you feel about EDM?

LUKE: i grew up on it. future sound of london, apex twin, goldie, meat beat manifesto, i love all that shit. im especially feeling this new sound too, calvin harris, avicii, swedish house mafia, i was freaking out at wmc this year.

ALLYCE: I’ve always loved electronic dance music. I grew up on it as well in the bay area raver days lol.. The beginnings of electronic dance music is such a cool combination of punk, disco, funk, and electronic. All the music I love. I’ve been excited to hear current artists bring back some of the original sounds and combine them with new music. I’m definitely looking forward to what’s to come.

B3: What have you been listening to lately?

LUKE: my day to day music is all about a few hip hop blogs, so i’ve been on chief keef, meek mill, french montana etc.. but im also always listening to inxs, genesis, dire straits etc..

ALLYCE: Lately I’ve been listening to a little everything. I’ve liked what Trust, Grimes, and John Maus have been doing. Always love listening to Bryan Ferry.

B3: So we’ve got this time machine back at b3sci HQ. Where are we taking you guys?

MC: 500 years in the future. Whenever LA becomes like Blade Runner.

B3: When can fans expect something new from MOTION CNTRL?

MC: We have some remixes coming out soon for “It Feels Right” and “Rolling Shallow”. And we’re working on an EP to release this Fall.

B3: Any tour plans in the works?

MC: Right now we’re playing some shows in Los Angeles. We’re planning on doing shows in San Francisco and New York in the near future.

B3: What makes for an ageless record in your opinion?

ALLYCE: A timeless record to me has good songs from beginning to end and gives you an overall experience. And definitely a sound that is unique to that album.

LUKE: anytime a great songwriter a great producer a great engineer and great musicians get together i think timeless music is made.

B3: First impressions speak millions, especially in today’s digital age of short attention spans. Whenever anybody has the MOTION CNTRL “experience” for the first time, what is the first impression you’d like those listeners to walk away thinking?

LUKE: solid modern music

ALLYCE: We have fun making our music and I would hope that comes across through our music and gives people a good feeling. Hopefully it inspires dance moves or just nice tunes for a road trip.. Either would make me happy.

B3: Is there a song, or artist, that made you personally want to write and share music with people?

LUKE: “pyt” by micheal jackson was a big deal for me, aphex twin was big, and “waiting for the man” by lou reed

ALLYCE: It’s hard to just name one song or artist.. John Lennon’s “Imagine” comes to mind. So beautiful. And the popular Radiohead. I fell in love with their Bends album. And Bjork with her electronic melodies. All great inspirations.

B3: What are 3 things that you guys absolutely couldn’t live without?

MC: Good music, good people, fun times.

B3: What are 3 things that you guys could totally be cool living without?

MC: Close mindedness. Greed. Inequality.

MOTION CNTRL california (Official)

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INTERVIEW: Slothbear


B3|fam Chris Gedos recently had the chance to interview a NY group who’s been ample in our discussions within this last year. So it’s great to learn a little more about Slothbear – a band with much more to be learnt about.

CG: A little background. How did Slothbear come into existence? How long have you been playing together for? Who mans what instruments and do you trade off depending on the song?

CH: I wrote to Josh on MySpace in 2006 because I liked his and Doug’s high school band, and kids who played music and were into ‘indie rock’ were impossible to come by. Long Island was pretty much dominated by emo at the time, and may still be for all I know. Ian and I played as a two piece at the time, and we all met at the Jericho Diner, which has since been demolished but was immortalized in all its Google Earth grandeur on the credits page of Qids. We became fast friends and would moonlight in each other’s bands, a tactic that proved hugely influential on the indie scene in Ridgewood, New Jersey.

JG: Each of us led our own band. There was the goofy, very sappy power pop band, The Electric Sentiments, which I fronted, Doug played guitar and Craig played bass in. Then there was Nancy Reagan’s Enduring Love, Craig’s sorta bratty noise rock band, wherein I played bass and Doug and Ian traded off playing drums. Doug fronted this pretty serious band called Ether Switch and Ian had his pet project, Sexually Active Girls, neither of which involved Craig or me.

I’d been trying to put Slothbear–a collaborative, egalitarian band for us four friends–together for a while but it didn’t really crystalize until early 2008, at which point we became the quartet we are today. We started out with pretty rigidly defined roles: Craig and I singing and playing guitar, Doug playing bass and Ian playing drums. When we were tracking
Qids, an album that consists literally of nothing but sounds made by the human voice, bass, drums and electric guitars, Doug started playing around with harmony vocals. On Canter On we all branched out: Craig and Ian play piano, I play bass and some acoustic guitar and Doug sings lead vocals. Now there’s much more flexibility in our roles in the band.

CG: We didn’t hear about Slothbear until Canter On. Can you tell us a little bit about the recording and release history of Qids?

CH: Before Qids we’d only really released a six song, self-titled EP via a netlabel called Rack&Ruin. It’s our only record that Doug hasn’t produced, so I took it upon myself to record the whole thing on a four-track my grandpa gave me, which by then had a broken input and could only pick up the built in mic. Everything — mistakes and all — would go through that, and then we’d overdub more guitars. To top it off, I for whatever reason took it upon myself to crank the treble as far as it would go. Doug made two pretty legit records in high school, but for the rest of us, Qids was the first proper LP we’d ever worked on, and it took a very long time. Doug’s better equipped to go in depth, but on my end, I spent the better part of a year’s time creating static visuals to represent every song, compiled in an art booklet with the disc inside. Only the first 50 copies featured all the art, and printing it cost us nearly as much money as mastering the record, so we probably won’t get to do it again.

DB: Recording Qids was actually the core of my senior project at NYU. I studied recorded music in a selective and theoretically prestigious program, and in order to graduate, I had to produce the album and draft an in-depth business proposal for its success. In the end, I had to “pitch” the record to a panel of industry big wigs, Powerpoint and all. I think the guy who recorded Sublime told me the vocals were mixed too low.

CG: How did the recording for Qids compare to Canter On?

CH: Most of Canter On was done live since the space allowed for it. “Goodnight, Retrograde” is actually several different live improvisations, expertly spliced by Doug Can-style. To date we still can’t play it live.

JG: The most significant difference between the process of making Qids and Canter On was how we wrote. The way we wrote the songs on Qids was usually just that Craig or I would come in with “a song” and just play it in front of the others. Before even hearing the whole song or knowing its structure, the rest of us would come up with something on the fly and start playing along. We’d play it at most twice and then we’d move on to playing something else. Besides the fact the composition of the songs themselves, like “Galloping” or “Goodnight, Retrograde,” was way more collaborative, we started sharing ideas about where we thought the songs could go and how we could improve them. When we were writing Qids, we would literally get angry at each other for stuff like that.

Canter On was written and arranged over a month’s time, but we did more talking about those five songs in that one month than we did on even the most collaborative Qids tracks, over the course of two or three years.

DB: Recording Canter On was my stab at the Albini method of production—record everything as quick and as live as possible. The experiment yielded mixed results. Most of the recording took place over a couple of days and that was cool, but mixing the EP took months! I probably won’t work that way again until I’m more self-assured about getting the sort of results I’m looking for in a short amount of time. Editing “Goodnight, Retrograde” felt liberating to being given thirty minutes of jamming and then having to construct a song out of it, without these clowns getting their grimy hands all up in the honeypot. It was a new experience, to say the least. Furthermore, I like that the final product sounds a few shades more three-dimensional than the rest of the EP—of all the songs, it does the best job of capturing the sound of Josh’s old living room. Come to think of it, I spent a lot time in that space as a teenager, so it’s actually quite nice to have this sonic photograph to remember it by.

CG: You guys sort of vacillate between straight-forward Rock and something more experimental. Does that happen on a song by song basis, or rather something you try to identify within a particular cut?

CH: Whenever I listen back to Qids I think it’s funny how many unabashedly ‘Rock’ songs there are because when we were writing and rehearsing that record, I was really into Animal Collective, and Josh and Ian listened to lots of hip hop. And now that we’ve come to terms with our love of The Rock, our newest songs are weirder and mellower. Josh and I often play in our own alternate tunings, and have since the beginning of the Slothbear Era. I guess it’s like Thurston Moore said, ‘when you’re always playing in standard, you’re sounding pretty standard.’ (no diss to the Beatles).

DB: Rock, being badass… these things are of a surprising importance to me. Although I’ve aspired to be innovative and “weird” all my life, I’ve found that there’s always someone else standing there to outinnovate and outweird you when it counts. And so I’ve decided it’s best to just to say ‘fuck it’ and join the party that is Straight-forward Rock.

None of this really has to do with my approach or artistic intent in Slothbear, but I do think it bears noting.

CG: We’re in love with the dual lead guitar. What are your ideas and ideals for how a guitar band should sound?

CH: I think it’s cool that anyone considers us a dual lead band, because Josh and I have very different ways of ‘stepping out’ on guitar. Not to burst any bubbles, but the two solos on “White Christmas” are just different Josh takes, and other than the two chords and some feedback, all the six-string insanity on “Djam” is Josh as well, at least until those arpeggios come in. I’ve always identified most with guitarists like Johnny Marr, who does really ornate and dense things but who never gets truly heroic on the axe. I’d call it kind of a ‘lead rhythm’ guitar, because it’s not just some strummy bar chords in the background, but it’s not melting faces, either. The intro for “White Christmas” is kind of my humble, depraved little nod to that school of guitar. We’ve always been very cognizant of our ‘tandem’ dynamic in writing parts, although ironically Doug is far and away the best guitarist in the band. I just take solace in the fact that a blogger recently described my guitar on G’nite Retro as sounding like “crazy ass ray guns.”

Other than obvious teams like Television or Sonic Youth, a personal fave of mine is Women, just the way they played off each other and were so texturally nuanced and subtly complex, I think that’s what I find most engaging. An active band who do it really well are Strange Shapes from Brooklyn.

CG: You use these dynamic background vocals very effectively and non-traditionally, thinking of “Galloping” and “White Christmas” in particular. Does something spontaneously harmonic happen during recording or are these vocals written into the song?

CH: We’re actually very self-conscious about our singing, so thanks! Josh and I have vocal-only practice twice a week to try and tighten up our trouble spots, and it’s definitely the ‘final frontier’ in my mind as far as becoming a tight live act goes. “Galloping” was an instance of Josh playing the main riff while goofing around and me pouncing on it even though he didn’t think it was much. I put some parts around it and showed it to him, and we went from there. I distinctly remember the two of us walking around campus talking shop, each asserting that our own vocal melodies for the chorus were better despite not even hearing each other’s ideas. That mentality is indubitably endemic to how the song developed vocally.

JG: Those songs being weirder vocally stemmed directly from the fact their music was written collaboratively. “White Christmas” was pretty conventional, I wrote the music for the verses and Craig wrote the chorus. When it came to arranging the vocals, we ended up trading verses and each singing our own part to the chorus. I’m a sucker for wordless “ooo-ing” vocalizations in the vein of “Cut Your Hair,” which go alongside ith Craig’s singing words. “Galloping” was trickier though, because its structure is less Josh-part-Craig-part-Josh-part-Craig-part. We both had a melodic vision for the song, so rather than fighting over who got to sing it, or one of us singing words and the other “ooo-ing”, we decided to just each do our own thing.

By the time we recorded “Galloping” all our parts were composed. Two sets of lyrics were written and recorded never having been shared with one another. However, my “ooos” on “Goodnight, Retrograde” and “Wide Berth” were written completely on the spot and premeditated in no way.

CG: At the end of “Wide Berth”, is the sound after the repeated lyric a clicking of the tongue? If so, brilliant!

Slothbear – Wide Berth

CH: Yep! It initially just had a conventional, melodic resolution but I think I was listening to Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd around the time of recording and was into the idea of just making wacky mouth-sounds. I’ve been likened to both an Australian and a squirrel on this track, so there’s that. Ian actually thought the clicking was his ride cymbal.

GG: There’s a wistful existentialism to the lyrics, such as “In the end, in the end, you’re just as small as all your friends,” (Don’t Taunt a Tiger) and “If you love someone you’ll let them run and go have fun.” (Ex-teen) Can you tell us a little bit about autobiographical inspiration and possible literary influences?

CH: I don’t mean to sound snarky at all when I say I’m always psyched to see the different transcriptions of the chorus to Tiger (laughs), not to break the fourth wall but I’ve always wanted to bust out “(laughs)” in an email interview, though Josh stole my thunder all over this thing, but the actual lyrics are “In the end, in the end/Justice mauls all your friends.” Josh and I talked about how it’d be funny to write a song about the tiger that mauled those kids at the San Francisco Zoo when they harassed her a few Christmases ago, and I put it into practice. Yours is probably a more cutting commentary, though. I think our friend Noah actually had your version verbatim, but I’m not sure. The guitarist in his old band once drunkenly told us that his whole family sang “INDIANS, INDIANS!” in the car, and my pal Hank from Spirit People thought it was “In and out, in and out/This is what it’s all about.” How lascivious!

JG: I think one of the things that is cool about lyrics is the subjectivity of what the “real” lyrics are. I’ve had some fairly profound experiences with lyrics to a song only to discover that I’d misheard them but that never changed how they impacted me. as for “Ex-teen”…

When I wrote “Ex-teen” I was looking to write a cathartic break-up song but something went wrong and I got introspective and wrote something that felt like a coming of age. I was shy about the song being so introspective, so I tried to focus on the object of the song (the girl I was sad about) rather than its grammatical subject (yours truly).

Most of “Ex-teen” is set on this secluded beach that I almost drowned at two summers back. I was 20 then, an ex-teen, visiting my then-nineteen-year-old, then-girlfriend. I sing “Got nipped by minnows in the bay, ex-teen. The teen’s areolae were…,” but it sounds like “Got nipped by minnows in the bay. Ex-teen, the teen’s, areolae…,” what with the embedded clause, characterizing the presumed titular character as being a teen. Playing around with sentence structure and punctuation allow the lyrics to mean something different in print than they would just being heard.

The song is about recognizing my impulse to settle settle down with someone and coping with the fact my still-teenaged lover is not on the same page as I am, not necessarily because she doesn’t love me but because she is too young to love me the way I love her. Sometimes I get really serious when I write songs. On the next record I’ll have better jokes.

The writers whose ideas and ways with words contribute to how I think and the aesthetics of my writing most are Joanna Newsom, Thomas Pynchon, David Foster Wallace, Milan Kundera and Bill Callahan. Lil Stevie Malkmus, too.

CG: Some in the blogosphere have compared Slothbear to Pavement. Is it an apt comparison, or do have a better band to complete the sentence: “If you like _______, you will like Slothbear.”

CH: Josh and I are probably to this day administrators of the Facebook group “Pavement Is the Greatest Band Ever” (Bob Nastanovich joined). As cherished a band as they were and still are to us, I think I speak for all of us when I say that slacker ethos are fairly antithetical to our approach to live music. Which isn’t to say that we didn’t have a great time seeing them on the reunion tour—we even conned people into thinking we were opening! Brooklyn Vegan and Consequence of Sound both listed us as openers for Central Park SummerStage, and QRO Magazine emailed us asking for a press pass. I told them we could do the interview in the crowd, Among the People. They declined.

CG: Greenpoint vs. Williamsburg? DiMaggio vs. Mantle? Jets vs. Giants?

CH: I work in Greenpoint, and I often find myself driving around Williamsburg, so neither of those. Bushwick is the ‘hip’ one now but while we play there a lot we’re kind of outsiders. Mantle is the better player and the more likable guy… DiMaggio was kind of a stiff whereas Mantle was like a hilarious frat dude. I’ll go Maris, the true homerun champ, for my dad. I’ve been a Giants fan since the tail end of the 2001 season, and I have the Kerry Collins jersey to prove it.

DB: Ultimately, I find myself roaming Williamsburg more often than Greenpoint, but that’s because I’m a yuppie at heart. Or maybe it’s because when I asked a girl where I could find another “unattainable girl genius,” she told me to “try Bedford Ave” (clearly referring to between Metropolitan and N 9th or10th).

Haha, “bears noting.”

CG: What’s next for the band? Any plans to hit the West Coast this summer wink wink?

JG: We’ve been rehearsing this eighteen song batch for over a year now and calling it Grey and Depraved. Those should start turning up soon, over the course of a couple singles, an album and an EP. That batch includes “Agonistes” and “Yorkshire Sash,” which there are decent videos of, some heavily reworked older tracks that have appeared in other live clips or radio sessions like “TXTMSG Never Sent” and “Tucked in Trees” and a bunch of other songs we’re pretty excited about like “Ranch Row,” “JZ,” “Please Don’t” and “Birds,” to name a few.

We’re also finishing up a video for “Wide Berth,” which should be a hoot.

CH: I’m currently in the throes of booking us a grossly ambitious cross-country ‘international’ tour to Vancouver and down through California.

DB: I’m working on a solo EP at the moment, but I plan on wrapping that up soon in order to start working on other projects, primarily the next SB album. I’m also very eager to get on the road with the band this Summer and begin filming our tour document/internet miniseries, The Torbus Diaries. The shows will be fun as well.

Slothbear newyork (Facebook)

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Bruce Rave Interviews HOWLER on Moheak Radio!

By Bruce Rave


B3SCI’s Mike and I recent enjoyed a hang with Jordan Gatesmith of Howler before the band’s hot set at The Echo in LA last Friday. Howler is one of the most talked-about in the world right now and America Give Up is one of my fave 2012 albums so far. The interview special will air on Go Deep With Bruce Rave today, around 2p Pacific, 5p Eastern, and 10p GMT. Jordan is a very down to earth dude who has wisdom way beyond his 20 years. Check out the interview on Moheak Radio, our 24/7 indie music station! Click “Listen Live” and if you come early, that isn’t a bad thing either!

UPDATE: Stream the interview below:

Howler minnesota (Facebook)

Check out Bruce’s “Go Deep” show on Fridays 1-3 pm Pacific, 4-6 pm Eastern, 9-11pm GMT. Also listen to past shows at Bruce’s blog and follow Bruce on Twitter.

reviewed by



We recently had the chance to ask budding LA scenestress Coco Morier a few questions. We got her thoughts on music labeling, guilty pleasures and rodeo costumes! Check out the Q&A and her song “Explosions” below.

Q: So who is Coco Morier in a shifting blackhole between commercial and independent music?

A: The satellite of love.

Q: Do you have a take on if there’s an increase in the popularity of independent music and art?

A: I dont see it that way really. There’s always gonna be people that listen to what’s spoon fed to them, and those who dig a bit deeper. It just depends on what the people decide to spoon feed us that might change a bit. But “independent” in the true sense of the word artistically is always there. People just doing what they love with no corporate backing and a community that supports them.

Q: What sort of things entertain you as a fan?

A: I love to see people who put on a show or add some kind of visual element to their performance. That gets me pretty excited and inspired.

Q: Let’s talk dancing. What’s your take on choreography and how important is dancing to you and your music?

A: I never had the budget to really have choreographed dancers or anything but I love it. For me it would be more as a performance art thing and less of a pop type deal. But I love that stuff too, its just not really where I am musically.

Q: You’re rather multi-instrumental, can you see yourself working in a world of remix projects as well?

A: Yeah, I’m working on some remixes right now!

Q: What’s something you listen to that might come as a complete surprise to fans?

A: Ha! I would think if you were a fan and really knew all of my discography there would be little that surprised you. My taste is all over the place. R. Kelley? Slayer? Boney M? The Pointer Sisters?

Q: True that. So then what kind of headspace inspires you to write?

A: All kinds of moods, locations, and studios. I really love to be far away from home like Sweden or Vietnam or something, then I get really creative.

Q: Is there a first instrument that you’ll grab for?

A: Guitar or maybe a drum machine.

Q: Have your prior experiences as a musician effected the way that you approach your music today compared to the past?

A: Well, its nice to be involved in all the different facets of making music. I started out playing live mostly but as soon as I made a record I realized the possibilities in song writing, and that in turn informed my live show because all of a sudden I had to perform stuff how it sounded on the record and not the other way around.

Q: Your live show, that reminds us, who is your mini ‘tiger friend’ that you bring on stage for your live performances? Does it have a name?

A: Not yet, he’s an orphan. I will take suggestions if you got em.

Q: B3tiger. So gotta ask, if you weren’t playing music today then what would you be doing today?

A: I’d be in the rodeo, only for the sequence costumes.

Coco Morier – Explosions

Coco Morier california (Facebook)

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Fidlar perfoming live on Moheak Radio with Bruce Rave


Fidlar is showing up on various lists of bands to watch for 2012, including the NME. LA Weekly has them as #1 on their Top Local Bands To Be Huge in 2012. They’ve been smoking it at various live shows, including a sleepless run at CMJ 2011 in New York. They recently came to hang on my Moheak “Go Deep” show tracked at Wavaflow in Los Feliz. More on the live set and interview here or check it out below. – Bruce

FIDLAR california (Facebook) (Bandcamp)

Check out Bruce’s “Go Deep” show on Fridays 1-3 pm Pacific, 4-6 pm Eastern, 9-11pm GMT. Also listen to past shows at Bruce’s blog and follow Bruce on Twitter.

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B3SCI Interviews Lucy Rose + New Track, Driving Home for Christmas


Lucy Rose let loose on this festive take on the Chris Rae classic “Driving Home for Christmas.” It’s sure to put you in the holiday mood. And for perfect reading while you’re listening, B3SCI recently had the chance to catch up with the budding songstress to talk about her musical wish-lists as well as gathered some insight on her writing, the evolution of the Lucy Rose sound and what the future might hold. Lucy had a big 2011 and no doubt is positioned to have a major 2012. So preview “Driving Home for Christmas” and get a little piece of the mind from the artist herself below… ’tis the season!

Q: Do you ever dream of plugging in an electric guitar and wreaking absolute havoc?

A: Oh definitely…. but not sure I’d be able to pull it off! I’ve tried a couple of times but think at the moment I’ll be sticking to sitting down with an acoustic guitar.

Q: I’ve read you’re all about the drums, and that you began writing with a piano, how deep does your multi-instrumental and writing pallet range?

A: I used to play drums in the school orchestra and the kit is 100% the most fun instrument to play, but I find writing much easier on the guitar. Instruments like the piano that I learnt to play I find more difficult to write with, unlike the guitar because I self taught myself I have no idea what I’m playing and therefore find it more exciting.

Q: What do you hope to pick up one day?

A: The dream would be to be able to play the trumpet but in reality I’m pretty sure it would be impossible.

Q: Were you at all surprised by the success that has come from some of your songs like “Middle of the Bed” and “Scar”? How do you feel they represent you as an independent artist now and moving forward?

A: Of course, I expected nothing to come of them, I was just at a stage I really wanted them to be available for people to buy because I’d been writing and gigging for so long. I like to think they represent me well, and the fact we self released them both made people’s support so much more important. Moving forward I have no idea what will happen, but hope that word of mouth will continue.

Q: Is there anything in particular that you feel you learned or gained as an artist by self-releasing your own material and do you see a record label’s role in the future of Lucy Rose?

A: I’ve learnt that it’s possible… that record labels are important but not an necessity to make your music available and for people to hear about you. I worry that too many bands and artists starting out are aiming for a record deal and not enjoying building up a fan base organically. It’s so hard to know what will happen in the future, I’d like to work with a label, but I’m a little stubborn.

Q: You’ve mentioned that as you began creating music, you took some time in finding and developing your sound. What were some early visions of your sound and how do you ‘dispose’ of those ideas? Are there any new visions for your sound that you are eager to explore?

A: It’s so difficult at the beginning to find the right sound and work out what is the best route to go down. My songs could go in many directions, I didn’t know what I wanted it to sound like but knew exactly how I didn’t want it to, so kept narrowing down the options until my vision became very clear and I could create the music I wanted. I hope my sound from album to album will develop and change, this excites me a lot.

Q: Where does your writing process typically begin? Is there a time of day that you like to write?

A: It normally begins at home, maybe in front of the TV, when my mind can finally turn off. Normally the chords come first and the lyrics and melody come together after. I takes me a while to work out what a song is about but all of them mean a lot to me.

Q: Rumor has it that you like numbers, do you believe in hit song science, or the idea that songs and melodies can pragmatically be constructed and arranged to become hits?

A: I love numbers but I don’t believe there is a formula for a hit song.

Lucy Rose – Driving Home for Christmas

Lucy Rose england (Facebook) (Twitter)

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B3SCInterview: Washington


We recently had a chance to catch up with Australian songstress Washington amid her US tour with OMD. We chatted about her forthcoming Insomnia LP, Bosendorfers, British weather and more! Also peep “Holy Moses” previewed from her Insomnia LP below.

Is there a particular inspiration that you attribute to the exploration of jazz early in your career?
I grew up being fascinated by old Hollywood musicals. Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Ann Miller, Ruby Keeler, Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Leslie Caron; I suppose you could say they were my idols. When I got a little older, I think I was naturally drawn toward old jazz standards because they were already familiar, they were the songs from all those old films. Irving Berlin and Cole Porter and Lerner and Loewe basically educated me in everything until I discovered rock and roll at about 20 years old. After that my tastes certainly expanded, but the core of my understanding of music is definitely rooted in show tunes and all that’s razzly and dazzly.

Reflecting back, is there anything that you take away from earlier experiences as a keyboardist and back-up vocalist for artists like Ben Lee that’s prepared you for the spotlight as Washington?
I learned a lot in those years playing in other people’s bands. I learned how to tour, (which is a skill you don’t realise you need until you need it), I learned how to structure set lists according to the venue size and crowd size, I learned how to rearrange the recorded songs for a live band… I learned a lot. I wish I’d learned to play guitar better but I’m still working on that. It also afforded me the opportunity to travel the world and play at lots of festivals and see a lot of music that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to see.

Can you compare being a singer/songwiter in Australia to that of the United States, UK or elsewhere? Is there anything particular about the culture or landscape from your point of view?
I don’t know whether I can really answer that question faithfully… I think that the experience of being a songwriter is different every day, with every song, and every city. Certainly Australian crowds are generally a little more boisterous compared to, say, a typical German audience, where I guess culturally there’s a little more of a ‘recital’ spirit to the show, but that’s an awfully strong generalisation and I can think of plenty of instances where that hasn’t been the case. Touring in America is very similar to touring in Australia; the drives between shows are long because the countries are so vast. My thoughts about the UK are simply that it’s always FREEZING because I’ve only ever been there mid-winter. So now I know how to drag my keyboard through snow!

When is your favorite time to write? Is there something that inspires you… favorite instrument of any sort?
I really can’t go past a Steinway grand piano. I also love Bosendorfers but they’re terribly hard to come across. I generally write quite late at night, usually around midnight, although there’s also this strange thing that happens when I’m running late to leave the house I have this odd compulsion to sit down and write for 10 minutes or so and make myself even later. I don’t know what kind of psychological connotations that has. I’m usually inspired by relationships, stories. Tales of woe. Edgar Allen Poe. Bukowski. Heartbroken maidens wrecked on the shores of romance.

Is there anything that the world should expect from ‘Insomnia’?
It’s a funny record, Insomnia. It’s very different to ‘Liar’, in that it’s quite dark with a lot more space than anything that came before it. Obviously it was written in the dark, so it makes sense that it’d be dark, right? Also Cello. The world can expect Cello!

What makes a song timeless in your opinion?
Truth and restraint.

Washington – Holy Moses: australia : (Twitter) (Facebook)

[VAULT] Washington – Welcome Stranger

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Lana Del Rey – You Can Be the Boss


#TEAMLANA. Here’s a something we hadn’t heard yet from Lana Del Rey. We did some research and came up empty with any sort of attachment of this song to her Lizzy Grant persona. Everything Lizzy Grant has been wiped from the record. Gone. However, judging from the “hi-fi” production values and Lana’s singing style on the track we’re guessing this track dates a little a bit. The track’s vid does look like a post-enhancement Lana though. #lipinspection. That aside, it’s still a nice track from Ms. Del Rey Grant.

Lana Del Rey – You Can Be the Boss

Lana Del Rey newyork (Official) (Facebook)

Rating 8.4


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b3sci asks James Vincent McMorrow


Photo by Carrie Day

Ask and ye shall receive. In prepping a November b3sci feature on the killer tune “The Sparrow and the Wolf”, we were really knocked out by Irish singer-songwriter James Vincent McMorrow; really knocked out by some of his ideas about music and about songwriting. His debut album Early In The Morning will be released in the States January 25. And a fantastic debut it is. We recently had the chance to catch up with James and ask him a few questions about his album, musical influences, the internet, Dublin’s music scene and more…

b3sci: While growing up, when did you know that music would become a major part of your life?

JAMES: I think I always knew music would be a huge part of my life, which is strange considering when I was younger I didn’t really play any instruments, and I certainly didn’t sing or write music. I just always felt drawn to it, the feeling of holding a record that you loved in your hands was always a magical thing to me, I wanted to be part of that.

b3sci: With Ireland’s legendary tradition of folk music, are there any classic artists in particular that you‘ve looked up to or grew up with?

JAMES: Not neccessarily grew up with, when i was a kid I didn’t really have the appreciation for folk music that i do now. But for me, and for most people, when you talk about Irish folk music, you can’t look past Van Morrison. Astral Weeks and Veedon Fleece are two records I listen to almost constantly. My dad was a huge Luke Kelly and Planxty fan as well, when we were growing up he’d play their songs at parties in our house, it had a much bigger impact on me than I realized at the time.

b3sci: So then given the history of folk music, did you feel there were specific obstacles to overcome as an artist before you were embraced by your peers?

JAMES: Not really, I think like most countries there’s a route you have to travel in order to gain some sort of respect from your peers, play certain venues, play a certain amount of shows, things like that. But when it comes down to it you either make music that’s worthy of other musicians respect, or you don’t.

b3sci: Are there any particular places that you find inspiration, or types of music you love, which you think might come as a surprise to some?

JAMES: I think the main influences I have that surprise people are Hip Hop and Hardcore Rock. I mean drums were my first instrument, I learned to play drums along to bands like Refused, At The Drive-In, and Glassjaw. And then listening to Hip Hop and seeing people like the Neptunes and Timbaland making such incredibly unique music made me want to learn how to record and produce music myself.

b3sci: Can you tell fans a bit about your songwriting process? Has the ability to play all the instruments on your new record affected this process?

JAMES: Songwriting definitely involves all the instruments for me, I tend to switch between them as I write. I’ll hear drum lines or banjo parts, and follow them wherever they’re going. I record a lot of demos as i write as well, so I can hear things back, figure out what’s working and what isn’t. I think it gives everything a pretty singular feel, it’s not just a singer with a guitar plus a backing band putting down tracks, everything is very deliberate and every part serves a purpose.

b3sci: If you could collaborate with anyone past present or future, who would it be with and why? Keep in mind they wouldn’t need to be a musician… any sort of artistic collaboration counts.

JAMES: I think based purely on hero worship it would have to be Roy Orbison. As far as i’m concerned there never was a better singer, songwriter, or interpreter of melody. I sometimes sing ‘In Dreams’ in my set, I dont even come close to doing it the justice it deserves, but it’s the most compelling pop song I’ve ever heard, just the way he builds it and builds it, then finishes with that soaring note, it’s perfect.

b3sci: Are there any tracks from your album that you feel especially connected to or proud of as an artist? If so, which and why?

JAMES: I think I feel equally proud and connected to every song on the album. If there was one track I’d single out it would be “If I Had A Boat”, it’s the first thing I wrote for the album, I
remember finishing the first demo of it and the feeling I got listening back to it, I knew it was the song that would open the record. I didn’t even have the acapella intro written yet, I could hear it in my head already though.

James Vincent McMorrow – If I Had A Boat

b3sci: Is there a message… theme, specific sound, or concept on the album you are looking translate to the musical world?

JAMES: There was no specific theme I was consciously exploring while I was writing and recording, but looking back and hearing it finished there’s a lot in there about transition and change. Moving out to the house to record by myself was a decision I took because I’d realized I needed to change something fundamentally if I was every going to get it done, and that definitely found it’s way into the foundations of the album. Also I can hear the time passing when I listen back to it, starting it in January when it was freezing cold, moving into the spring and finishing it in the summer. Plus the proximity to the sea also played a huge part, I can hear the sea in every song.

b3sci: Do you feel the internet has played a role in the development of you as an artist? How would ideally like to see both your career and your fans affected by it moving forward?

JAMES: The internet has been vital to my record, when I put it out I hadn’t really played live, I certainly hadn’t played any of these songs live, so no one had really heard of me. Giving my record to blogs, them talking about it, using things like myspace, facebook, and soundcloud, they gave the album life really early on, and it’s sustained it all the way through to now. I’d like that to continue and grow, I like people to feel like they’re connected to what I’m doing, what I’m trying to do.

b3sci: What are some of your favorite sources for news and music discovery?

JAMES: I read a lot of music blogs, although not as many as i used to. Stereogum,, Pitchfork, Gorilla VS Bear, all really good for finding new music. I read a lot of news websites as well, not music related, things like CNN and the New York Times, if I’m not playing music I’m usually off reading something.

b3sci: Is there something really great that you’re listening to and influenced by at the current moment?

JAMES: Mines by Menomena was my favorite record of 2010, sonically it’s like nothing I’ve heard before, really great songs articulated so uniquely. I also love the new album by the Walkmen, Lisbon, they’re such a great band, and the production on it reminds me of the early Sun recordings, I’m pretty sure they’ve gotten the best guitar and drum sounds I’ve ever heard.

b3sci: Hypothetical situation, you’re stranded on an island… and you can chose between having with you either 30 songs OR 10 albums… do you chose to have the albums or songs with you, and why? What’s at least one that would be in your selections?

JAMES: 10 albums for sure, I have always been and will always be an albums person. After the Goldrush by Neil Young is an album that I’d find it very hard to live without.

b3sci: What general observations, if any, do you have about the reception of emerging songwriters from Ireland, and even Europe, in the States?

JAMES: I’ve been treated incredibly well so far in the US, the reception to the record has been exactly what I always hoped it would be. So much of what I do is rooted in American music, so to be able to go over there and for people to care about what I’m doing is something I am very grateful for.

b3sci: How would you say emerging American songwriters are received over in Ireland are Europe nowadays?

JAMES: I’m not sure I’m qualified to speculate on that, although from personal experience I’ve always been pretty excited to see great American musicians come over here and play!

b3sci: What in your eyes are some of the popular misnomers about being an emerging independent artist among the general, casual listening public?

JAMES: I’m not sure I’ve ever come across any specific popular misnomers to be honest. I mean the word ‘indie’ often has certain connotations attached to it, some good, some bad. More now so than ever though it feels like independent music is really at the forefront of modern music. I mean bands like The National, Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, all debuting near the top of the US charts, things like that happening make it a whole lot easier for new acts working independently to be taken seriously early on.

b3sci: We are heading to Dublin for our first time in a few weeks. Few Questions for you:

1) What food MUST we try?
2) What beer MUST we drink?
3) And what clubs must we check out for spectacular local music?

JAMES: I can’t think of a way to answer that question without sounding terribly cliche and twee, people tend to have very specific ideas about Ireland and the food and drink we have on offer!! Guinness and Stew! As for live music venues, there are a lot of new places popping up, like the Workmans Club down on the quays, that have a lot of great bands coming through them, and the institution that is Whelans is somewhere you should go, at the very least for the history to be found, pretty much everyone has played there at some point.

b3sci: We love to cook. Is there a specific dish you love or recipe that we should try out?

JAMES: I really like to cook, I mean i get zero time for it these days, but when i do there’s a Morroccan chicken and couscous recipe I found on the internet, think it was BBC good food or something like that, it’s really easy to make and properly good.

b3sci: Happiness… what in this world of ours will ultimately do it for you?

JAMES: Will ultimately do it for me!?? Thats a pretty big question, one I have no answer for. I mean a lot of things make me happy, my family, my friends, getting to do what I love. But sure ultimate happiness isn’t really something musicians have in spades, if I was content I don’t think that I’d be making music, or trying to search for new and interesting things to sing and write about.

James Vincent McMorrow – Sparrow and The Wolf

James Vincent McMorrow – Down The Burning Ropes

James Vincent McMorrow – Breaking Hearts

More James Vincent McMorrow on b3sci HERE

Info on James Vincent McMorrow / Purchase his music here

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