Sunday, October 25, 2009

they trip us up
a place to bury strangers
interview by kenyon hopkin

The Brooklyn-based A Place to Bury Strangers has been jack-hammering a post-punk wall of noise-pop, while accomplishing the dream of opening for some of its biggest influences and bigger named peers- Jesus and Mary Chain, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Brian Jonestown Massacre. Their new album Exploding Head just hit the public and it's another mesmerizing assault. Leader Oliver Ackermann (guitar/vocals) began the killer rock n' roll in the mid-90s, with the formation of a previous, similar incarnation called Skywave, which released the distortion drenched Synthstatic in 2003. The other two members of Skywave continued with dream-noise-pop as Ceremony down in Virginia. In APTBS, Ackermann is joined by Jono MOFO (bass) and Jay Space (drums). They've been written up in the Washington Post and New York Times. And now, Oliver faces Advance Copy for his most ultimate, complex and challenging interview to date.

Advance Copy: You opened some dates for Nine Inch Nails. NINE INCH EFFING NAILS. HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN!? When that got confirmed, WERE YOU FLIPPING OUT OR WHAT? how did it all go?
Oliver: They asked us if we wanted to play the shows because they liked the band. It was really rad, I definitely used to blast the Pretty Hate Machine cassette in my Chevy Caprice in the sticks in VA all the time.

AC: Is the new record, Exploding Head, as crazy and effed up as you planned it to be?
Oliver: No it isn't, but I don't think that is a bad thing. I was planning on making it really really fucked up and then we kind of took it in a different direction as it was being recorded. That is the way I think any recording has always gone. A lot of the writing is done while you are recording it and I think that is crucial and lets the composition work with the sounds that are laid down on tape.

AC: Although we both have to admit the songs of the JAMC are timeless classics, dynamically and noise-wise, APTBS blew away JAMC at Webster Hall (New York). There was another band that played in between but they were forgettable. Respond to these statements please.
Oliver: I think the Jesus and Mary Chain may not care as much now. Also what they are doing isn't as unheard of now as it was back in the day so there must be less excitement for them to get into it. I don't remember blowing them away but you can say what you want.

everything's alrite when you're opening for jesus and mary chain. photo by kenyon.

AC: It's real difficult to hear the lyrics in your songs, especially live. i have no problem with this, but do you ever get criticized for that? Or do most people "get it"?
Oliver: I think some people like it and some people don't. I've definitely heard people complain about this. That is fine though because I am mostly just making music for myself, if other people enjoy it and it can help people out than that is all a bonus.

AC: Your previous band Skywave is essentially the same sound as the current band. Why the name change? Cause of different members? Strangers though is indeed more of a sonic assault.
Oliver: Skywave was a band with different members and in that band we were all writing different songs that would all make it on the albums. APTBS is pretty much just my writing style from that. The other guys from Skywave have formed the band Ceremony. I think all of these projects and songs sound different but I would bet that I have a different opinion of what this music sounds like than what other people would.

AC: Have you ever gotten any really shitty negative reviews? Can you tell me about one?
Oliver: Sure, I think people sometimes say that our music is really derivative of other stuff and it always cracks me up because if you were to look at the reviews of what these people thought were original it is always such a photocopy of something previous. I always want to hear something new and different and that is definitely a goal of mine when I record.

AC: Creating your own guitar effects pedals has got to be the most killer and potentially lucrative thing you've ever done. i think i want to buy one. But aren't you afraid of other bands being able to replicate your sound? Who exactly makes the pedals, you? i read that U2 used a pedal, is that true?!
Oliver: I love to build effect pedals and all of the money that is made from the business is spent to design more pedals, release friends' records, pay for rent and food. I don't like money and try to put as much back into the art and community of things going on around me. I'm not afraid of other bands being able to replicate our sounds, it is an honor to hear that people are using the pedals to realize the sounds that they want to create. I think a lot of the originality comes with how you use effects and songwriting. I make the pedals as well as a few other people who have really helped out as the company has expanded. I think U2 uses a bunch of the pedals, they bought them all and then reordered a few duplicates of some of the pedals I think for their tour.

AC: Up until signing to Mute [records], you definitely made some progress as far as getting better known, without the help of a decent-sized indie label. How did you do it? Without giving secrets away of course.
Oliver: I think you just have to do what you like to do. I like playing shows, writing songs, and recording music and I think all of this is important if you want to be in a band that people will hear about. Just do what you love and if people like it or they don't at least you will be doing what you think is cool. I think that is the secret to success with your own personal sanity.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Sky Drops - "Stone White"
Taken from their summer 2009 debut full length release, guitarist Rob Montejo (formerly of Smashing Orange, who were a lesser-known, American shoegaze/dreampop band in the 1990s) and drummer Monika Bullette channel the moods of early BJM, Dirty on Purpose and Yo La Tengo. The video is clips from the Prelinger Archives (you know, those old misguided educational films). Sky Drops so far have had dates with Cold War Kids, Chairlift, The Dirty Projectors and A Place to Bury Strangers. -Kenyon

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lost Kisses: My Life is Sad & Funny DVD (Silber) Crudely drawn comics can have a charm or even a message. As long as that message makes sense, isn't an inside joke, and actually makes you think. Using the most simplistic stick figures possible, Brian John Mitchell--who conviently has the same initials as Brian Jonestown Massacre--offers 10 self-examining teen angsty stories involving death, moral issues and relationships while the stick figures add witty and thought-provoking banter.

Accompanying a slide show-like DVD of the original 2" x 2" printed versions is dark ambient drone by Silber artist Small Life Form, which makes the whole thing more original and eerie. Each story is about 5 minutes long and most frames make a statement within their own story (stuff like "does it mean i'm old that i watch the news?"). What happens in the stories are definitely plausible, and the question arises as to whether or not the author actual had that experience or if it was embellished or just complete fiction. The drawings call out for repairs in hopes of improving their craftmanship (I would love to see it more fully realized). At the same time it reflects the repairs needed for the characters. Extras include a few other, non-related Lost Kisses comics by BJM with a guest artist. -Kenyon

Thursday, October 15, 2009

movies left for dead.
this has nothing to do with halloween coming soon. i do this all year round, suckerrrr!

Blood Sucking Freaks (1976) Misleading title and cover--there is only one freak that does any sucking and it's only one scene. The original title was actually The Incredible Torture Show, which makes hella more sense. Hella hella hella. BSF is a gorey S&M torture film that overcomes the dreadful acting with dismemberment, nude slave brainwashed girls and a leader of the freakazoids (whose sidekick is a black midget) who periodically enjoys getting submissive just like his slaves. Over the top shock value for its time and effin bizarre to say the least. [rating ***] -Kenyon
See No Evil (2006) * Typical slash trash, but note that it "stars" Kane from WWE. In the weeks prior to its release, the WWE was promoting this and had Kane tie it in to the drama on the show. Everytime someone spoke the date of its release--Rey Mysterio got tricked into doing this--Kane would come out and go berzerk and beat down on whoever said it. The thing that stood out and sucked like a sore thumb was that the biggest jerk of the group of kids/victims was one of the survivors. Kane should have choke-slammed the shit of him. [rating *] -Kenyon

The Hitcher (2007 remake) All these jerk writers can't think of something new. Remakes/re-imaginings/whatever of Friday the 13th, Halloween, My Bloody Valentine and Last House on the Left have put a damper on the horror genre. Although Hills Have Eyes remake effin RULED. Original Hitcher wasn't widely remembered or is a cult classic. With improved effects it can only make junk like the new version more bloody and violent, which makes this a reason to see. The Hitcher is indeed predictable, although the roles of the boy and girl are reversed from the first film. It's also more implausible than the average horror movie. The maniac that stalks and plays mind games has little character and it hurts the movie's substance, not to mention his ability to easily and quickly pursue them. The reasoning for his actions--which results in the destruction of most of the New Mexico police force!--are avoided, albeit for the last scene in which he suggests that it "feels good." [rating **] -Kenyon

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Jawbox to play on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon on December 8, 2009.

Holy cow, Jawbox, who released the killer-riffed "Savory" from For Your Own Special Sweetheart in 1994, will be seeing a reissue of that album November 24 and will be on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon on December 8. And they will play "Savory." This will be the band's first performance of any kind in 12 years, although we can bet they will tour. Shockingly, the post-hardcore band was signed to Atlantic Records--which happened more than enough in the 90s with those kind of artists, but that's another story. They are now with Dischord and their own DeSoto Records, thank god. -Kenyon

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Casxio: new video + CMJ junk

me cannot wait to spin this at the clubs! a neato transgender transfusion of Scissor Sisters, La Roux, MGMT and disco-era MJ.

Dates with the nite aka CMJ junk

October 7 - The Shore - Hermosa Beach, CA
October 18 - Cinespace - Official Release Party
October 20 - Piano's - Music Slut CMJ Party
158 Ludlow St. NY 10002
(Casxio @ 6:00pm)
October 21 - Southpaw - The Rumble CMJ Party
125 5th Ave. 11217 (Brooklyn)
(Casxio @ 9:30pm)
October 22 - ASCAP Official CMJ Showcase
285 West Broadway 10013
(Casxio @ 8:30pm)