Heartless Bastards

Gallery is here. All live photos here taken by Angel Ceballos in Seattle.

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Angel Ceballos's top 40 records of 2009

Happy 2009 everyone - 2010 promises to rock even harder!!

1. The Horrors – Primary Colours
2. Bat For Lashes – Two Suns
3. Miike Snow – Self title
4. Kasabian – West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
5. IAMX – Kingdom of Welcome Addiction
6. White Denim – Fits
7. Boy Crisis – Self title
8. Circlesquare – Songs about Dancing and Drugs
9. Hecuba – Paradise
10. Cock and Swan – Marshmallow Sunset
11. The Whitest Boy Alive – Rules
12. Golden Silvers – True Romance
13. The Raveonettes – In And Out Of Control
14. Gliss – Devotion Implosion
15. Wolfmother – Cosmic Egg
16. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Pains of Being Pure At Heart
17. The Polyamorous Affair – Bolshevik Disco
18. A Place To Bury Strangers – Exploding Head
19. Fever Ray – Fever Ray
20. Har Mar Superstar – Dark Touches
21. Logh-North
22. Amazing Baby – Rewild
23. Warpaint – Exquisite Corpse
24. The Dead Weather – Horehound
25. Grizzly Bear –Veckatimest
26. Múm – Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know
27. Band of Skulls – Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
28. The xx - XX
29. Cold Cave – Love Comes Close
30. Miranda Lee Richards – Light of X
31. Alessi’s Ark – Notes From The Treehouse
32. The Answering Machine – Another City, Another Sorry
33. Corridor - Corridor
34. Real Estate – Self Title
35. Girls -Album
36. Mission of Burma-The Sound The Light The Speed
37. Doll and The Kicks – Self title
38. A Camp – Colonia
39. The Pinx –Look What You Made Me Do
40. Igor Spectre – Tramps in Stereo

Honourable mentions:
  • Sue and The Unicorn– assorted singles

  • Robots in Disguise – assorted singles

  • The Soft Pack - Muslims EP

  • Zaza – Cameo EP

  • Voices Voices – Sounds Outside EP

  • Magic Wands – Magic, Love & Dreams EP

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Alexander 's favorite CDs of 2009

The Portable Infinite

1. Bat For Lashes – Two Suns
2. Sparklehorse/Danger Mouse - Dark Night of the Soul
3. Cold Cave – Love Comes Close
4. The Big Pink – A Brief History of Love
5. Hope Sandoval – Through The Devil Softly
6. The Horrors – Primary Colours
7. A Place To Bury Strangers – Exploding Head
8. Fever Ray – Fever Ray
9. The xx - XX
10. Hecuba - Paradise
11. Soulsavers – Broken
12. Band of Skulls – Baby Darling Doll Face Honey
13. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
14. Late of The Pier – Fantasy Black Channel
15. Amazing Baby – Rewild
16. Alessi’s Ark – Notes From The Treehouse
17. Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms
18. Dot Allison – Room 7 1/2
19. Taken By Trees – East Of Eden
20. St. Vincent - Actor
21. Flaming Lips – Embryonic
22. White Denim – Fits
23. Florence and The Machine – Lungs
24. Telepathe - Dancemother
25. Githead - Landing
26. David Sylvian – Manafon
27. PJ Harvey & John Parish – A Woman, A Man, Walked By
28. The Pains of Being Pure At Heart – Pains of Being Pure At Heart
29. Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest
30. Gliss – Devotion Implosion
31. Aidan Moffat & Best-Ofs – How to Get to Heaven From Scotland
32. Devendra Banhart – What Will We Be
33. The Dead Weather - Horehound
34. The Raveonettes – In And Out Of Control
35. The Answering Machine – Another City, Another Sorry
36. Vuk – The Plains
37. Lightning Dust – Infinite Light
38. Polly Scattergood – Polly Scattergood
39. Antony and The Johnsons – The Crying Light
40. Empire Of The Sun – Walking On A Dream
41. Julian Casablancas – Phrazes For The Young
42. A Camp – Colonia
43. Wolfmother – Cormic Egg
44. Vetiver – Tight Knit
45. Spinnerette – Spinnerette
46. Múm – Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know
47. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone
48. Corridor - Corridor
49. Lisa Germano – Magic Neighbor
50. Andrew Bird – Noble Beast

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Lightning Dust

Interview by Alexander Laurence

Lightning Dust is a band from Vancouver, British Columbia. It’s a duo,
Amber Webber and Joshua Wells, who are also members of the band Black Mountain.
They have two albums: Lightning Dust (2007) and the new one Infinite Light
(2009). So far this year they have toured with Cave Singers and Bonnie Prince
Billy. They tour Germany this December 2009.

AL: Have you toured in Germany and Berlin before?

Joshua: Black Mountain has a whole bunch. We have been there four or five
times now. We have done both festivals and club shows. Most of the time in
Germany we play clubs. The festivals are more likely to happen in the UK, the
Netherlands, and Scandinavia. WE have played a lot of clubs in Berlin. The
place we have played the most is the Festival of Kreutzberg, which is a
staple of the neighborhood. It’s a hall.

AL: When you get to Germany on a tour, do you have time, or a day off, to
look around?

Joshua: Yeah. We have a little bit. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t.
It’s cool to check out European cities, especially Berlin, which is huge.
You can spend months there and not see much of the city at all. It’s a
beautiful city. Parts of it are a wasteland and parts have amazing architecture. A
lot of it is quite modern. Berlin is constantly in decay and rebirth.

AL: The last Black Mountain record came out almost two years ago, and you
toured on that record until Spring 2009. When did you have time to do this
Lightning Dust record?

Joshua: We made the record last winter. It was in between Black Mountain
tours basically. You can’t really tour anywhere, unless you are in the
southern hemispheres. We started the record in November 2008, and finished it in
January 2009. The record came out in the summer, after we had finished all the
Black Mountain tours. We had to put together an actual band to tour as
Lightning Dust. The new stuff requires a full band. The first album was
different, and we played as a duo. We have done a few North American tours, and are
excited to go to Europe.

AL: You never thought about coming out with a laptop computer?

Joshua: We have never done that. Our first album is really sparse. It is
actually only piano and guitar. And vocals. We did one tour as a duo and a
bunch of local shows and one off shows. We couldn’t do that with the new
record. When we record, especially with this band, we never think of what it’s
going to be like when we play live. It is a studio group. This album is way
more orchestrated. We had to put together a band to tour.

AL: How was it playing shows with The Cave Singers and Bonnie Prince Billy?

Joshua: The Cave Singers are old friends of ours. We feel comfortable
playing shows with them. That is a familiar arrangement. That was an extensive
five-week tour of North America. It was great to play small clubs to a few
people. It’s great when both bands get noticed by people who listen to music.

AL: Since you know Cave Singers so well, do you collaborate or play with
each other?

Joshua: Yeah. Both Amber and I have played with those guys. Amber has done
some singing on both of their records. I played some drums on their first
records. On this tour I played some keyboards. It’s pretty fun that way.

AL: And Bonnie Prince Billy?

Joshua: It was really different. It was frightening too because it was our
first tour with this band, with the extra members. We had to rise to the
challenge of playing really nice theaters every night in front of sit down
crowds. It was really cool. We had really attentive audiences.

AL: Some bands that are a little more quiet and subtle, and have silence
and space in their music, have a hard time in these rock clubs where people
are talking all the time. What do you think about that?

Joshua: It’s hard to get people to listen especially if you are thrown in
front of people who have no idea what you are all about. If people come to
see you, they might understand better. It’s a challenge. Shows are social
occasions and part of life. Lately, they have been matching us up with some good

AL: Did you write these songs when you were on tour with Black Mountain?

Joshua: Mostly we wrote the songs in the time in between tours. We
collected the songs over a period of two years. There is not a lot of time on the
road to sit down with a guitar and piano and write new songs.

AL: Does Amber write all the lyrics and melodies first?

Joshua: We write songs two ways. Amber writes songs on guitar and her songs
are based more on melody. The vocals come first in the way that she writes.
There is another way we write songs. That is where I write a song on piano
as an instrumental, and she adds the melody and the lyrics to them.

AL: Since you are writing songs all the time, how do you decide which songs
go to Black Mountain and which ones go to Lightning Dust?

Joshua: It’s pretty obvious that we are not the main songwriters in Black
Mountain. Steve is the main songwriter in Black Mountain, and we are involved
more in arrangements in that band. Amber has written a song or two. Black
Mountain is a rock band. Our songs are not suitable for a rock band.

AL: What songs are you playing nowadays?

Joshua: We have picked some favorite songs to play. It’s mostly new songs.

AL: So now we are talking to Amber. Where did you go?

Amber: I was buying something at a department store. The line was long.

AL: Are there any good places we should check out in Vancouver?

Amber: We have cool stores here that our friends are running. It’s a skate
shop called Antisocial. They have a lot of cool stuff. They have an art
gallery in the back. Bands play there.

AL: Is anyone in Lightning Dust a skateboarder?

Amber: Josh and I used to skateboard. I think Ryan the drummer still does
it. Most of the band doesn’t though.

AL: Was there any new influences on this new Lightning Dust record? Were
there any books that you read? Was there anything you wanted to do that was
new with this record?

Amber: We only did one small tour for the first album. The only thought I
had when we did the second album was to have more instrumentation so we could
tour easier. When things are that sparse, it’s hard to tour in rock clubs.
I don’t think that I was influenced by any books. I just read the Twilight

AL: You like vampire stories?

Amber: No. I just read those because it was light reading. Josh read Master
and the Margarita by Bulgakov. I just read Glass Castles by Jeannette
Walls. I like that. It’s a memoir.

AL: Do you bring a lot of gear on tour?

Amber: No. We have tried to condense it down. Josh used to bring a
Wurlitzer organ. All the old gear brakes down. It’s hard to bring stuff around on
planes. We have one of those ugly Nord pianos. It’s all in one pianos. My
sister used to be in this band, The Organ. It used to take every member in the
band to carry this organ around. My sister now plays bass in Lightning Dust.
We have a simple setup.

AL: So you just rent a bunch of gear when you get in Germany?

Amber: Yeah. We have our man, Heist, in Germany. I am bringing this
terrible guitar, because I don’t want to bring my good one. We brought some stuff,
as Black Mountain, and left it with Heist. Now Josh can have a better snare
when we get to Germany. It becomes expensive to bring a bunch of guitars.

AL: You have toured a lot this past two years?

Amber: Yeah. Black Mountain probably toured for six solid months. We got to
go to Brazil and Australia. We haven’t been to Asia yet.

AL: Have you seen any good new bands?

Amber: We played with The Oh Sees. They are from San Francisco. I saw
Dinosaur Jr. I wasn’t really a fan, but seeing them live was rad. We played a
couple shows with Portishead. They were the headliners. We played with Neil
Young in Denmark. We saw Jay-Z too. The tour with Bonnie Prince Billy was

AL: You can’t top that.

Amber: Definitely you can’t top that. Watching him play every night never
got boring. The way they play the songs changes every night. He has a group
of people who are very passionate about music. It was inspiring.

Website: www.lightningdust.com
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Beach House "Norway"

Free Mp3 from Beach House - "Norway"

Sub Pop is excited to offer up the first free download ("Norway") off Beach House's highly anticipated upcoming release, Teen Dream, out January 26th 2010.

To quote our very own bio for Beach House, Teen Dream is “ without question, more expansive and moving than anything they have shared before”… We think you’ll hear evidence of that very evolution on their track “Norway” – here's your link to listen for yourself: http://subpop-public.s3.amazonaws.com/assets/audio/6124.mp3

Beach House Artist Page (complete with Beach House band bio, new band photos, Teen Dream album artwork, mp3 and band website links) : http://www.subpop.com/artists/beach_house ;
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Voices Voices

Gallery is here. All photos taken by Angel Ceballos.

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Alessi's Ark Interview

Alessi’s Ark
Interview by Alexander Laurence

London-based Alessi Laurent-Marke has been doing music for almost three years now.
I have been writing about her for so long on the Portable-Infinite, that she was
called just Alessi back then. I attended one of her first shows, if not the
first. Much time has passed. She recorded an album called Notes From The
Treehouse (2009) with Mike Mogis. Her album came out earlier this year in
the UK, but not in the USA. She has played almost 150 shows by now. She has
done some art shows. She played at Glastonbury with Neil Young and others. She
has an EP coming out soon. She is off to Germany for the first time for
some shows there. She has done this all at the age of nineteen. Hopefully we
have a full length record to look forward to soon, and some American shows
next year.

AL: How do you like being here in New York City?

Alessi: New York is amazing and made even more special by some wonderful
friends that live there.

AL: Who is in your band now and how did you find these musicians?

Alessi: The Ark ebbs and flows and it's more like a gang than a band I
hope. Not that there's anything wrong with bands, but gangs/collectives
means more people can be involved! The fellows I’ve been playing with
for quite some time are Jamie Backhouse (guitar), Sam Nadel (drums)
and Adam Newton (bass). Sam lives in London and introduced me to both of
the others, Jamie lives up in Liverpool and Adam lives in Bristol.
Sam and Adam have been in their own band, Blackbud for a long while. I've
been fortunate enough to meet and play shows with members of the Willkommen
collective and we recently recorded some new songs together. It's been lovely
sharing the songs with these very kind
people dotted all around the country.

AL How were the recent shows with Cerys Matthews and Au Revoir Simone?

Alessi: They were very nice and both took place at the Union Chapel. It is
a very ornate chapel in Highbury & Islington. The acoustics are
beautiful and the audience sit amongst hundreds of glowing tea lights.
Cerys has the most beautiful voice and her band are very talented and
sweet, some from these parts and some from Tennessee.

AL: How has association with a big label like EMI been?

Alessi: Working with EMI was a good experience at first and it gave me the
chance of working with Mike Mogis, which was an experience I'll always
remember and hold closely. When the team I worked with left, the label became a
different place.

AL: I heard that you met artist Laura Levine recently. She created the
cover of your album. How was that meeting?

Alessi: It was a dream to meet her. She is a very rare and special person –
I admire her very much.

AL: What are your new songs about?

Alessi: Learning and friendship mostly.

AL: Are you writing about new experiences or are these more songs
connected to the earlier ones?

Alessi: New experiences.

AL: How do you feel about people downloading your music illegally?

Alessi: If somebody comes across your music and it keeps them good company,
that's what matters. There's so much music to find and search through, not
everybody wants to pay for it - but if they find an album or an artist that
strikes a chord with them, hopefully they'll go and tell a
friend or their sister and spread the word. It's a different way of paying
for it. Enthusiastic word spreading.

AL: How were your shows at CMJ?

Alessi: They were fun. The Living Room is a lovely venue and wins brownie
points for having a photobooth . Some very sweet friends came out to that
show despite the torrential rain and we ate a Mexican dinner up the road
afterwards. It was a win!

AL: What were some of the festivals you played this summer, and were there
any stand out moments?

Alessi: We played at quite a few this year ; Bestival, Glastonbury, Secret
Garden Party, Camp Bestival...and they were all very different and special
in their own ways. It was wonderful playing for little ones at
Camp Bestival - it's a family friendly version of Bestival that takes
place at Lulworth castle. The smaller festivals like Lounge On The Farm
and Nozstock are out there on their own in terms of paying attention
to lovely little details. One stand out moment was at Nozstock where
we are stuck in Dad's car in mud so thick, every single car on the
site had to be towed out by one tractor, one by one. Almost like
magic, we soared through the mud and avoided the tractor towing! Hyde Park
Calling was one of the best weekends of all time. We played on a bandstand
and then went to listen to Neil Young and his band play around the corner. He
is one of my favorites and it was just before my birthday. A very special

AL: How do you go about making videos?

Alessi: 'For one year' and 'The Crown' were made by Layke Anderson. 'My
Bedroom' was made by Madeleine Morley. Making things with friends is unlike
anything else in the world. We had a lot of fun just wandering around together
in different areas. 'For one year' covered a lot of West London - Ladbroke
Grove, Kensington and Holland Park and 'My Bedroom' and 'The Crown' were
both made in North London, in and around Hampstead Heath. 'The Horse' was made
by a lovely duo called 'DuckEye' in East London and we brought over Jake
Bellows to sing his parts. I was quite nervous at first to work with a team
other than friends but I've been lucky that everyone I’ve worked with has been
very warm and welcoming. 'Over the Hill' was made by Karni, a director from
Bristol who most often works as 'Karni + Saul' with her husband. The video
was made in an old house overlooking the river, up the road in Hammersmith.
A family live there and their cats and dog kept us company. One cat made an
appearance at the beginning of the video - look out!

AL: You have done some art shows. Can you describe what was happening in
that realm?

Alessi: I've always liked drawing and a friend, Lynden, encouraged me to
share the drawings in a local exhibition. Sometimes, it takes a friend to give
you a nudge to do something and you feel brave enough to do it. She has b
een organizing exhibitions and most recently a music festival, under the name
'The Velvet Sneaker' and is somebody I really admire. The exhibition was up
at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith from august 4th till September 27th and
with Lynden's support it wasn't half as nerve wracking as I thought having
an exhibition would be. At the moment, I'm working on some artwork for a band
from Milan called Green Like July and drawing some bits and pieces with Ben Phillips -
you can have a look at his illustrations here : www.benjaminphillips.co.uk

AL: Is there a new EP on the way?

Alessi: Yes, It'll be called 'Soul Proprietor' and it'll be out early next
year. Ben and I have been working on the artwork. Three of the four
songs were recorded live.

AL: What other new bands do you like?

Alessi: Treetop Flyers are an amazing band from West London, my family and
I try to catch as many of their shows as we can. There is a lot of special
music in Brighton; Shoreline, Sons of Noel and Adrian,
Mechanical Bride... and I recently heard Dan Michaelson & The
Coastguards perform and thought their sound was lovely too. From
across the waters, I still listen to favorites ; Neva Dinova, Coal
Beautiere, McCarthy Trenching, Thunder Power and more recently ;
Forest Fire, Sharon Van Etten, She Keeps Bees, Alberta Cross and
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros.

AL: Can you recommend a book?

Alessi: Enchanted Night by Steven Millhauser.

AL: What should people expect in the shows in Germany this December?

Alessi: Some new songs from and probably some singing together, I'll be
going over with Jake Bellows. Give him (Neva Dinova) a listen if you haven't

 All photos taken by Angel Ceballos.

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Múm Interview

Interview by Alexander Laurence

Múm is an Icelandic band that started in 1997. They are well-known for
their music which is often experimental and for their unusual instruments. They
have had many members in their collective, but the two main members of the band
are Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Póreyjarson Smárason. Their sixth album is called
Sing Along to Songs You Don’t Know (2009). I caught them at CMJ in New York
City at their first American show in a few years. I spoke with Örvar and we
all ran down to the bar to bet on racing cars.

AL: What have you been doing these past two years? Have you taken some time
off from music?

Örvar: We were still making music most of that time. We were making the
album the whole time. It’s all periodical. There is the time for the album and
the tours. It has been exactly two years since we did a proper tour of the
States. We were at Coachella in 2008. I remember when we were in Kansas for
Halloween exactly two years ago. We all wore costumes.

AL: Was there any games plan or concept with the new album?

Örvar: We always try to steer away from game plan. We are not good at
deciding something and then following it. We never decided to make music. It’s
more like turning on a faucet. The only thing we planned was making a little
more simpler.

AL: How many songs did you end up writing?

Örvar: There were twenty songs. We are using most of them. There are two
that we didn’t finish yet. We had an EP come out in October 2009. Now we have
exclusive tracks that will come out in Japan only. We have exclusive tracks
for Australia. Everything is so complicated now. You want people to buy
these records with extra songs. We want to have another EP in the Spring as

AL: Did you do some other collaborations besides the one with Animal

Örvar: A few things. The last one we did was a radio theater. We love doing
that. We have two radio plays in Iceland. We won a Scandinavian Award for
best radio play. We have done plays based on works by contemporary Icelandic
authors. We have worked with a director who makes adaptations from novels.
They are poetic books.

AL: Many of us in America have heard of Halldór Laxness, but not many new
writers in Iceland. We don’t have a lot of translations over here.

Örvar: Yes. It doesn’t get translated in English very often, but French and
German obviously more often. It’s hard to get published. I wrote a novel a
few years back, and I had it translated. It came out in Italy as well. I had
it translated into English, but I couldn’t be bothered with sending it to
people over here, because it is different.

AL: Did you find that it was easy to write a novel?

Örvar: It took a long time. It was something I wanted to do for a long t

AL: I have met Henrik from Singapore Sling.

Örvar: I used to play guitar for Singapore Sling. Henrik was in a car
accident recently. I hope that he is okay.

AL: Henrik told me that people in Iceland are often in multiple bands.

Örvar: That is what I have done for the past ten years. I have been in
twenty-five bands. I like playing with a lot of bands. Now I am only playing in
two bands. The other one is a dance technopop thing. I only sing some disco

AL: There was a documentary film called Screaming Masterpiece that came out
a few years ago. What did you think of that movie?

Örvar: Well. The people who did that movie told us that they were making a
film that would not go in the same direction that every film about Icelandic
music. They were really excited about it. They promised to us that it was
going to be a loose study of a thousand years of Icelandic music. It was
supposed to be about how bands interact. It ended up being a landscape tourist
video. I had to shut it off halfway through. People like it but it wasn’t for
the bands.

AL: What songs are you playing in the live show now?

Örvar: We play mostly songs from the new album, and the last album. We play
at least one song from every album.

AL: Do you bring gear to the United States?

Örvar: It’s really difficult. We used to tour with a lot of gear. We try to
bring less with us so we don’t have to pay taxes. They charge by weight. We
have t-shirts and CDs from here, and we buy some gear from here. It’s
cheaper buying amps and gear here than bringing things over.

AL: Do you have a lot of music stores in Iceland?

Örvar: None.

AL: So if you have a guitar amp in Iceland, you are a popular guy?

Örvar: We have so many amps loaned out in Iceland. We don’t even have a
space to store them all. Our amps are all over the place and being used.

AL: Are these new songs personal songs, or are they about stuff going on
right now?

Örvar: I wouldn’t connect these songs to any year. The feelings are a
starting point for the songs, and there is a lot of reflection. I often go back
to childhood in songs. I think people do that all the time. Sometimes you
smell something in the air, and you think about some moment you never thought
about before. Sometimes it doesn’t seem so important, and then that memory
comes back to you. That is very important for me. I live for stuff like that.

AL: It’s like a magical moment.

Örvar: Exactly. It’s a really nice feeling. We have always made music based
around that notion, but it’s also us just playing around.

AL: When you are writing a song, do you sit around with an acoustic guitar
and figure out some chords, or do you play around with sounds, and record
sonic ideas?

Örvar: We do both of those things. We do a hundred song ideas before it
gets cut down to these twenty songs. Some songs begin by playing the piano or
acoustic guitar. Or getting some beats out of an old Casio. It comes from
there. We like to record beats on a cassette tape recorder like the one you
have taping this interview. It has good compression.

AL: How do you decide who plays with you in the band?

Örvar: It’s pretty free and open. It’s a big group of friends.

AL: How many people have been in Múm?

Örvar: About twenty. Now we have these seven people, but it is always
changing. Some people can’t make it. We have had a few different drummers.

AL: Are there any bands that you have been excited by recently?

Örvar: I listen to some Icelandic bands. There are some teenage bands that
I like. The next generation of bands is really interesting. They are very
colorful and energized. It’s happy music. There is no style. There is no scene
that dominates. There are never two bands who do the same thing. That is
frown upon.

AL: Have you played a lot this year?

Örvar: We played a few UK festivals and we did a European tour. We have
been playing for about three months. We went to Israel and Japan. We are
playing until the end of the year.

AL: Is there anywhere in the world you like to go?

Örvar: Japan. We have played there ten times.

AL: Was that one of the first places you became popular?

Örvar: Yes. We play our biggest shows there. They get quiet and they are
very respectful. It’s very quiet. I have had art shows there too. I have shown
my drawings and paintings.

AL: They get loud at the art shows. You don’t have to be polite there.

Örvar: Yeah

Website: www.mum.is

Gallery is here. All photos taken by Angel Ceballos.

Playing at the EL REY on November 6th.
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Happy Birthday Bryan Adams!

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Zaza Interview

Interview by Alexander Laurence

Zaza is Jennifer Fraser (bass/keyboards) and Danny Taylor (guitar/vocals).
They live in Brooklyn. They released a great 6-song EP called Cameo (2009).
I saw them in Hollywood earlier this year supporting The Morning After
Girls. In a short time they have created their own world of atmospheric acid
rock. They played a few successful shows at CMJ this year. I was able to be at a
few of the shows at Cake Shop and Webster Hall. I was able to talk to them
for a few minutes recently. They have a show at Pianos on November 28th.
Hopefully they come back to the west coast again soon.

AL: How long has the band going on for?

Jennifer: The band started a year and a half ago. I was in another band. In
between tours I would be working with Danny on new music. We were indoors
and we had the headphones on and recording music.

AL: Danny, were you in other bands too?

Danny: No. I had just moved to New York, and I was in limbo. Everybody who
moves to New York goes through that period where they are 86ed from every
bar. You get on a first name basis with every bouncer. It was a big
adjustment. New York is such a complex animal to wrestle. Especially when you don’t
know anyone.

AL: Was there one song that you wrote together, that you said to yourself
“Hey, this is a band. We have our own sound.”

Danny: I think the first song where things came together was “Sooner Or
Later.” It’s on the EP. All the writing was done with us on headphones.

Jennifer: I think “Dark House” was the first song we wrote.

AL: Were you just laying done a ton of tracks?

Jennifer: That is why we used a drum machine. At the beginning it was just
Danny and I. It was a necessity. We didn’t have any intentions.

Danny: At the beginning it was very experimental. We had acoustic guitars
and autoharps. It wasn’t guitar-bass-drums. It was like a clusterfuck of any
sounds we could find.

Jennifer: We had all these loops of harmonicas

AL: When did you play your first show?

Jennifer: It was a year in October 2008.

Danny: We had all this gear onstage. We had brought our own mixer. It was

AL: There are so many records out there with crazy sounds. Then you have to
bring it to the stage.

Danny: It’s great when you are in your loft or practice space doing that
stuff. Then the kick of reality sets in when you get onstage and you realize
you can’t pull it off.

AL: When did the live performances catch up to the recordings?

Danny: I think it was when we recorded some stuff and became comfortable
with what we were doing. We sat down and thought what we were going to do
live. We still use a drum machine. We have a live drummer to play on top of
that. I end up playing more guitar onstage, and Jennifer plays bass and
keyboards. Right now we are working on that process more. Jennifer is doing more
vocals. We are using samples more. I would like to play piano more. I am not
really a guitar player, but we needed that sound.

Jennifer: I never played keyboards before this band. We had to play
everything. There is no formula how we write songs or who plays what onstage.

AL: It’s dull when people in the band are designated the guitarist or the
drummer, when maybe you don’t have drums or guitar on a track.

Danny: That is how we work. We have three people in the band for live shows
now. We are going to stay like that for a while.

AL: Did you do the Cameo EP at home or did you work with a producer?

Jennifer: We worked with Ryan of Asteroid #4. We went down to Philadelphia
to do that. Ryan did a lot of the engineering. We were at his house and Ryan and
his wife were fostering kittens, and these kittens were crawling
everywhere. They were housing twenty-five kittens. You got to be kidding.

AL: What songs are you playing in the live show now? Do you have new songs?

Danny: Yeah! We play all the songs we have. Every between the songs we
improvise. We don’t stop songs and begin others. Every transfer from song to
song, it could go any way.

Jennifer: Our live show is much simpler than the recordings. We change
everything. There might be even a different structure.

AL: Is every show really different?

Danny: Every show is an experience rather than just a replication of the
recordings. We like things to be backlit, rather than front lit projections.

Jennifer: We have been working with visual artists. We are ourselves visual
artists. We want to have some sort of visual accompaniment. We drag around
these big light boxes. We bring our own lights. We arrange them.

AL: I saw you play with The Morning After Girls earlier this year. Have you
played with some other interesting bands?

Jennifer: We just opened for Echo and The Bunnymen. It was really
interesting. They sounded amazing. It was at the Mercury Lounge. We were dancing
around. It’s hard to enjoy your own party. We played with the Raveonettes and
Pains of Being Pure At Heart.

Danny: It was a honor being asked to play with Echo and The Bunnymen.

AL: The EP came out in August?

Danny: Yeah. We had a free download. Kanine Records released it as a CD and
Vinyl in August, with two more tracks.

AL: What is the plan for the winter?

Jennifer: We were thinking of going to somewhere warm and recording an
album. That is what we said last winter. Danny said: “Let’s go on a jet plane
somewhere tropical next winter.”

Danny: We might do an Australian tour. I think we are going to do a record
before we do an American tour again. We are working on the new record right

AL: Is the Cameo EP a sample of what is coming?

Danny: The Cameo EP is great. It has the essence of us forming and coming
together. I think the first full-length album will be a more solidified Zaza.
The other stuff was, as Jennifer said, what we wrote when we first met.

Website: www.myspace.com/warofzaza

Gallery is here. All photos taken by Angel Ceballos.

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LIARS announce the release of their fifth studio album, "Sisterworld," in early 2010.

"Sisterworld," the follow up to "Liars" (2007), was written and recorded in Los Angeles by Liars and Tom Biller (Kanye West, Beck, Where The Wild Things Are / Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind soundtracks)

This is the first Liars album to be recorded entirely in the USA since 2004’s "They Were Wrong, So We Drowned" and sees Angus Andrew, Aaron Hemphill and Julian Gross taking inspiration from fringe characters lured to LA and the resulting subcultures and alternate spaces that they generate.

"Sisterworld" is Liars’ own space, completely devoid of influence, somewhere
remote from the false promises and discarded dreams amassed in LA. In it Liars explore the underground support systems created to deal with loss of self to society.

Say Liars, “We're interested in the alternate spaces people create in order to maintain identity in a city like LA. Environments where outcasts and loners celebrate a skewered relationship to society”.
Enter Sisterworld.


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The Answering Machine Interview

The Answering Machine
Interview by Alexander Laurence

The Answering Machine is a band from Manchester, England. I read about them
in the NME earlier this year. They sounded really interesting. I saw them
play in March 2009, in Los Angeles. They were definitely an exciting band
with fresh ideas on music. They are Martin Colclough (vocals/guitar), Pat
Fogarty (guitar), Gemma Evans (bass), and Ben Perry (drums). They played a few
shows at CMJ. They considered New York City their favorite city, and home away
from home. They recently played at SXSW 2009 and Glastonbury. I got to ask
them about their new music. Their first album is Another City, Another Sorry

AL: When did the band form?

Gemma: We formed in the last year of University in late 2005. Pat and
Martin were introduced through a mutual friend and just decided to start writing
songs together, they used to meet at uni, get a crate of beer from the
supermarket and just go back to Pat's get drunk and write songs. I was on the
same course as Pat and he asked me to play bass, we played some gigs for a
year or so with a drum machine. Ben joined on drums in 2007 and we haven't
looked back since.

AL: Do the members in the band come from a musical family?

Gemma: Well there's no famous musicians in any of our families but they
definitely had an influence on us. Pat and Martin both used to be in bands
with their brothers, Ben's dad is a brass musician and his uncle is a tour
manager. In fact I think I probably come from the least musical family, my
brother can play The Pink Panther theme tune on the clarinet and that's about

AL How does a song begin for the band? Is it music first or lyrics and
melody first?

Gemma: It's changes, usually Pat or Martin will come in with an idea on the
guitar, either a little riff or sometimes more of a structured song. We'll
then play it in our rehearsal room until it becomes a more fully formed
idea, or we decide it's not going anywhere and move on. Usually lyrics and
vocal melodies come last.

AL: How was your experiences at CMJ this year?

Gemma: It was a complete blur, I was really ill for it so I have pretty
hazy memories of forcing myself to get out of bed and going to play a show.
The atmosphere around all the venues was amazing though, there'd be loads of
people and bands just hanging out. It was always a mad rush to get onstage
and soundcheck and then play the show it was very raw and ramshackle but a
lot of fun to do! We were really pleased that even though there were loads of
bands playing we still had a lot of people come see us.

AL: Can you talk about making your video with the ice skating? How do you
go about making videos?

Gemma: We always like to use our friends or friends of friends to make our
videos, we know a lot of talented people and are lucky that they want to get
involved and help us out with stuff like videos. The Curling video was the
most fun we've ever had, it just came out an idea to do a sort of spoof
video similar to Mighty Ducks or Blades of Glory and these guys in LA said they
could make it happen. We had some shows organized over there anyway so it
all fell into place!

AL: What other bands have you played with in the past year?

Gemma: We've done a ton of support shows, probably the most exciting was
The Manic Street Preachers support tour. We've also played with Bombay
Bicycle Club, Casio Kids, The Charlatans, Ra Ra Riot. On our recent tour we had
The Crookes and Driver Drive Faster on the road with us, both are exciting new

AL: Are there any other bands do you like, apart from those?

Gemma: We saw Phoenix play at Monolith festival earlier this year and they
just blew us away at how good they were, they've become a firm favorite.
The other bands on our label are awesome as well LoveLikeFire and The
Pomegranates. Other records that have been on repeat include Dutch Uncles, Bad
Veins, The Antlers. We always cite our classic band favorites as following The
Strokes, Shout Out Louds, and The Radio Dept,

AL: Can you recommend a book for us?

Gemma: I could recommend several but today i shall go for Michael Ondaatje
'Coming Through Slaughter' it's this beautifully written poetic prose that
really captures the life of the New Orleans jazz musician it depicts. It's a
short book but leaves you stunned as to how good it is.

AL: What should people expect from the band in the shows in 2010?

Gemma: I'd say a more mature sound and more developed, adventurous song
writing, We've been working on our guitar sounds and collecting guitar pedals
so that there'll be more depth to our sound. And obviously we'll be playing
live loads, if anyone's got any gigs, we'll play 'em!

AL: Will you come back and tour the USA?

Gemma: Yes of course we will if you'll have us. We love it out here and
just hope people want us to come back!

Website: www.myspace.com/theansweringmachine

Gallery is here. All photos taken by Angel Ceballos.

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Trail of the Dead

Gallery is here. All photos taken by Angel Ceballos.

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