Posted by flotz on Wednesday, November 3, 2010 | Live Review

It was the night of 3 part harmony at Neumos -- both The Parson Red Heads and The Head and The Heart belting out big vocal prettiness that filled the space. Two bands perfectly billed together -- if you like one, yr probably gonna like the other.

The Parson Red Heads with a big sound, catchy tunes.  At their best when harmonies kick in: they can really let loose with some pretty stuff. Makes ya wanna melt. Think they played a lot of new songs, which sounded good. Ended their set with a killer tune, not sure the name.  They also played "Punctual as Usual" which could be their hit single. You can catch them again at The High Dive on November 15th.

The Head and The Heart had a big draw. Lots of fans turned out. Seem to be getting bigger. Also with lovely three part harmonies. Acoustic guitars. Audience singing along clapping along. High volume of female fans methinks judging from crowd.

Love whoever is doing lighting at Neumos these days. Occasionally they blast out dry ice and then it gets bathed in red, all smoky and seductive.

Posted by flotz on Monday, November 1, 2010 | Interview

Parson Red Heads play a sold out show tonight with Avi Buffalo and The Head and The Heart at Neumos. Flotzam has reviewed Parson Red Heads before. Got a chance to ask them a few questions:


How's the NW treating you? Miss LA?


The NW has been really great so far! It has been a really nice change of pace, something I think I needed more than I realized. Slowing life down, simplifying things a little, has been good for all of us. I've been able to really focus on songs and becoming a better musician, I think the same could be said for all of us. On top of that, we've already been able to get together and play shows with some great musicians from Portland / Seattle ... there are a lot of great folks up here, a lot of great players, and it's been fun getting to know new folks and put together new recording projects and show ideas. Definitely hasn't been all vacation - we immediately starting rehearsing and working on new songs, and have already played a sizable string of shows. We're booked pretty solid all through January, so we kind of moved up and put our noses to the grindstone right away.



We definitely miss LA in waves ... I think the people in LA more than the city itself. We miss all our friends from the music community up there, and the venues we love. But we're trying to focus on diving in and building a community of musicians around ourselves that will be great and that we'll learn a lot from. It took a while in LA to find our niche and find the community of people we felt at home with, so we're jumping in head first and really trying to get involved with the scene as much as possible.


Would you rebuke the term hippie if it were applied to you?


Haha - that is a good question. It's tough, because I guess it really depends on what the term hippie means to whoever was applying it to me! I think if anyone really got to know me - or any of the folks in the band - they probably wouldn't label us hippies anymore. But we happen to wear white when we play live, and have a strong vibe of love and community in our music ... and we get along with each other really well, we have a real family-band vibe. We definitely have a feel of a 60's band in a lot of ways. That leads people to saying we're hippies sometimes, and that is fine by me! In short ... I wouldn't reject it, if someone decided for themselves that we are hippies. But I wouldn't ever call us a band of hippies myself. =)


Facebook or MySpace?


You know, I was a staunch supporter of Myspace for a long time ... I really tried to stand by it through thick and thin. But I've had to face facts, and the facts are that Facebook is a better program. Much easier to use, and the fact that EVERYONE uses it is a plus, too. Although I still think that Myspace is better for bands / musicians. Facebook's band pages aren't quite up to snuff, in my opinion.


Microsoft or Apple?


Definitely Apple ... I don't have much to say to support that. But I have an iPad, and it made the last tour we went on a breeze ... didn't get lost once, and always had quick access to e-mails and what not. And it has a great version of Tetris.


SMS or Email?


Email for sure. Texting is fine, but I am terrible at it ... it takes me forever to text a really simple sentence.

Digital or Analog?


I am still on the side of Analog. I can't deny that digital has come a long way - there are ways to make an all Pro Tools recording sound really great, really warm. But there is something about analog that goes beyond the immediate sound. I think just the fact that digital recording makes it so easy to make anyone sound good ... with autotune, with the kind of precise editing and punching-in that can be done ... pretty much any caliber musician, any caliber singer, can be made to sound like a pro in the studio. But when you're recording straight to tape, not only does it have this unbeatable sound (maybe a sound that be closely mimicked, but never topped), but it really requires you to be on top of your game. There isn't any technology to hide behind, or to cover up your mistakes. It is by far the most pure way to record music, and for me the most enjoyable.


Beatles or Stones?


The Beatles, without a doubt. Sam Fowles, the other songwriter and guitar player in the Parsons, was once interviewed and he boldly said the Stones. He has a decent argument for his side, but I can't go with him there. The Beatles changed everything, and no one did more to further pop music than they did - they really expanded the boundaries of what was considered do-able in popular music, especially in the studio. They created brand new sounds. And although the Stones were great at what they did, I wouldn't say they often, if ever, explored uncharted territory in the studio.


20th Century or 21st Century?


At this point, the 20th Century has the upper hand on the 21st Century. Ask me again in 90 years, we'll see if my answer remains the same.

Posted by flotz on Sunday, October 31, 2010 | Live Review

Caught most of Ask The Ages set at Cafe Racer.  Great players.  Interesting to see the instruments enhanced by effects: both trumpet (Matt Reid) and vibes (Steven Bell) pumped the sound through numerous petals, most notably digital delay. It worked -- the effects didn't mask any lack of chops, that's fer sure.  Rather, it contributed to their sound, which became more lush, more trippy, more hypnotic.  Both players full of ideas.  Bassist (Greg Campbell) on upright bass also doing something to his sound, maybe compression, something else. Sometimes he was riff-centric, sometimes not. Guitar (Brian Heaney) had a fat sound, almost overdriven, but not quite, big tone. Going through a Egnator set up that sounded wicked. Larger than life solos.  Drummer (Greg Campbell) was a shredder, like only jazz drummers are. Like these guys; happy that this kind of jazz is surging in Seattle. Cool to see younger players together with older players, everybody wanting to up their game. 

Posted by flotz on Saturday, October 30, 2010 | Interview

INFECTED MUSHROOM_Greg Watermanns Infected Mushroom (check out crazy Adobe Flash mechano-shrooms on their website!) are part of the rave jamboree that is Freaknight this weekend in Seattle. Got a chance to ask them a few questions:

1. What buzzword term do you feel most aligned with: psybient? psydub? psychedelic trance? something else?


2. How do you balance tension between conforming to a genre and pushing a genre?

Well, you don’t. You just do what you do. The natural evolution of what you do is hopefully a “pushing” of the genre. The only question is whether dance floors will like it and fortunately for us, they have.

3. You've been doing a lot of collaborations lately. Can you talk a little about some of the folks you've worked with and how's that's gone?

We have been really fortunate to work with some of the people who have influenced us the most. Paul Oakenfold, of course, was a big help to us on the last album. He also did a remix for us. We also worked with Jonathan Davis from Korn who did vocals on Smashing the Opponent, as well as Perry Ferrell from Jane’s Addiction, who did the vocals for Killing Time.Besides the album, we have been working with Matisyahu a lot lately. Our remix of his track One Day was number one in Israel. We look forward to many more cool collaborations in the future.

4. How does your classical training influence your compositions?

Well it is clear. Our tracks make reference to a lot of cool scales and melodies ;)

5. Looks like you are on the road a lot --- what do you usually do between shows?

With the family (we both have little babies), and we work in the studio at night! Not too much spare time on our hands.

6. Have you played Seattle before?  If so, when and where? And what are you impressions of our city?

Oh yes, many times. We love Seattle – ALWAYS a good party. Besides that, a beautiful city!

7. Facebook or MySpace?


8. Apple or Microsoft?

Depends which one of us you ask ;) We produce music on a PC, but we both like Mac accessories.

9. SMS or email?

They both serve a purpose.

10. Blogs or magazines?


11. Nature or culture?

Not sure what you mean by this, but I’d have to say a little from “column A” and a little from “column B.”

Posted by flotz on Wednesday, October 27, 2010 | Live Review

Big crowd for DJ Shadow. In-your-face push of the DJ Shadow iPhone app before the show started. “Download me! Download me!” Like if you didn’t have the app you weren’t getting the full experience? The app is is basically a promotional vehicle to push tweets and facebook updates about DJ Shadow. And pics.

Once the show started, it was all about the Shadowsphere.


In fact, didn’t even see a human for the first 1/2 hour of the set. Like he just hit play.  Think a lot of the stuff were remixes of his stuff.  How post post pre post modern.  Go to show; listen to remixes; cheer at a sphere.  


The sphere trope was followed down all its logical paths. Hmm, what to project on a sphere?  Planets! Basketballs! Discoballs! The Deathstar!


Eventually the wizard behind the curtain appeared in his sphere.  Wearing a shirt that said “Support Weird.” Played new stuff. No vinyl; all digital. The beats were blocky in the new stuff, anti-dub.


Welcome to 2010.