Escaping The “Party” With Matt Myers Of Houndmouth

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Friday of Forecastle weekend, My Old Kentucky Blog made a pit stop on the way to Waterfront Park to catch up with Matt Myers of Houndmouth.

It only seemed right to kick off the festival weekend at Jimmy Can’t Dance, a small jazz club and bar in downtown Louisville, for Houndmouth’s album listening party. With a jam-packed weekend ahead of them, the New Albany, Indiana natives still managed to surprise fans with an exclusive listening party and opportune facetime with the band.

Slated for an August 3 release, the new album Golden Age spun on the house turntable while fans, friends, family and tourmates gathered for a hear-it-first listen and Houndmouth-inspired cocktails. The event also had a celebratory feel, as the band was finally close to home after multiple 2-3 week tours all a part of the album promotion cycle.

Depending on personal preference, concept albums can be hit or miss. I personally am fond of them, as they force you to listen to an album in its entirety to get “the big picture.” Each song can be considered a piece of glass that makes up a colorful mosaic or a chapter in a book that tells your favorite story. And they sound best when spun on your Dad’s old Pioneer turntable or blasted from your car windows on a long drive.

Working with producers Jonathan Rado of Foxygen and Shawn Everett, past credits including Alabama Shakes’ Sound & Color and The War On Drugs’ A Deeper Understanding, it’s no surprise Houndmouth’s Golden Age went from a planned few week recording process to an unexpected eight month creative venture. You simply work with producers like Rado and Everett to do the undone and push boundaries. And the Golden Age concept that was born is unique in its own right.

Towards the end of the shindig, guitarist and lead vocalist Matt Myers and I escaped the party in true Houndmouth fashion to talk hometown shows, the new album and weird party stories you can’t seem to forget–no matter how hard you try.

Interview conducted by Natalie Glidewell after the jump… (more…)

Black Milk Talks Fever, Detroit and More Ahead of a Headline HI-FI Performance

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Do317 and My Old Kentucky Blog sat down with Curtis Eugene Cross, better known as “Black Milk,” ahead of his headline performance at HI-FI Indy in Fountain Square. We talked about the rapper, songwriter and producer’s current tour, new album and his musical influences. Check out the interview below:

Do317: How has the tour been going?

Black Milk: It’s been great man, ‘cuz I’ve known these guys for 10 years. We’ve been touring together off and on the whole time, so it’s great to work with people that you feel chemistry with over the years and we all speak the same language musically. So, it’s great because of that.

Do317: If I’m not mistaken on Fever (new album) you worked with 3 of the biggest drummers on the planet – Questlove, Chris Daddy Day and Daru on the album – how were they different in style, the way they worked, so on and so forth; what did they each bring to the table?

Black Milk: Chris Daddy, he played percussion on two tracks off our latest: ‘Laugh Now Cry Later’ and ‘Drown.’ Daru, he played drums on ‘True Lies,’ played a little bit of drums on a song called ‘2 Would Try,’ and he played on the intro. Whatever the name of the first song is, I can’t think of it right now. Oh yeah, ‘unVEeil.’ And Questlove, no, he didn’t play anything for the album.

You build relationships over a period of time. I’ve known Daru for a long time, since like 2008, that was one of the first times I met him, so he’s played on some of my earlier stuff. I’ve been kicking with Chris a lot lately, for the last couple years since I moved to LA, you know, he lived out there as well. It’s just one of those things, having the right relationships and friendships, and when it’s time to work and if you need them to come play on some stuff, they come through. And if they need me to come through, I’ll play or do anything, whatever they’re working on I’ll return the favor.

Do317: How does Fever differ/compare to past releases and what was the thought process when you first started getting the inspiration for this album?

Black Milk: The initial thought process was to try to make like a feel-good album. Because compared to my previous albums, my last couple albums, were a little more dark or on the darker side. So, I wanted to make more bright sounds and colors and choral progressions, which I feel like I kind of did for the most part. What I’ve been saying in a lot of interviews, when I start making an album, during writing time, a lot of stuff is happening, the country has a lot of social issues from politics to stuff that’s happening in the world in general, and it kind of affected my writing process a little bit. To give somewhat of a perspective of how I feel about a lot of stuff that’s happening in this era. So, in the contrast of the lyrics being a little more heavy, but the production happy, more of a feel-good vibe to it. That’s how I thought it would feel, basically tie the records into living in the era, or living in the time where the temperature feels like it’s really high, where everybody feels like they’re on edge, just uptight about a lot of things that are going on right now.

Black Milk – Fever (Full album)

Do317: You’ve worked with such names as Jack White, Quest, Black Thought, Robert Glasper, Dwele so on and so forth. What do you learn as both a musician and a producer from people like that? How has it affected the way you work?

Black Milk: Oh man. More so, I’m humbled that they even want to do something with me because you look at all of those guys. It’s like anybody that’s a trained musician or has a knack in comprehension of music theory, that’s like so dope, that’s something I really don’t have. I, mean, I understand theory a little bit, but not on that level. You know, I wasn’t taught or didn’t go to school to have formal training or anything like that. When I get in the studio, I get a chance to work with people that are on that level, and like I said it’s an honor. I can be doing something from a hip-hop standpoint or a beat standpoint that they dig. Looking at them as like actual musicians, it’s just cool. That’s all I can really say. I’m jjust honored.

Do317: What were some of the most important things you learned from J. Dilla?

Black Milk: I did a few records with Dilla, off and on. He used to come around to the studio that I used to work at during the beginning stages of my production and career. It would have been great to sit down with him for one-on-one, but mostly everything I’ve learned about production and music in general has just been ears. It’s really just listening hard to what I like and what I love, and trying to figure out how to capture those feelings.

Do317: How did growing up in Detroit affect your music?

Black Milk: Being an artist and a musician, I wouldn’t want to be from anywhere else. I feel like I’m from a place that I feel has the richest music history in the world. When you grow up in that environment and tradition, you feel like you have that legacy, and that’s pretty exciting. You feel good to do something to hopefully be associated with someone great that came before you. So, yeah, I love that I’m from Detroit. I love that I’m from the scene, not only just for the hip-hop or the soul stuff, but there’s so much great music, from the electronic scene, to the rock scene, to all of that. Not only the hip-hop scene. It’s just dope, man. I take pride.

Do317: Put together your wish list of musicians you’d love to work with in the future.

Black Milk: Man… Who haven’t I worked with yet? It would be dope to work with a person like Cory Henry, he’s just a super dope musician. I really enjoy what he does. Sharkey [Isaiah Sharkey], crazy guitarist, he plays with D’Angelo’s band. MonoNeon would be another one, he’s an incredible bassist.

For more information on Black Milk, visit his website http://blackmilk.biz/.

Interview: NE-HI Talk Current State of Chicago DIY

By: Seth Johnson
Photos: Berto Campos

Following their high-energy set at Pitchfork Music Festival 2017, our Seth Johnson caught up with Chicago’s NE-HI for an afternoon chat.

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Seth Johnson: What background did you two have in Chicago’s DIY scene prior to NE-HI? How did your individual paths eventually cross?

Alex Otake (drummer): Me and Jason play in another project called EARRING.

James Weir (bassist): You also have deep history in Chicago with putting on shows.

AO: Yeah. I’ve lived at a bunch of show spaces. Like, I used to live at this place called Treasure Town on the south side (see footage of The Men playing there in 2012 here). That was like a three-times-a-week kind of show house. It was like a three-story warehouse. So we have been deeply rooted in Chicago’s DIY scene, which is now unfortunately very depleted in a big way.

SJ: What has changed about it?

AO: I mean, there are always peaks and valleys when it comes to show spaces and DIY houses in Chicago. But right now, it’s a very deep valley it seems. There are still definitely DIY spaces, but it’s not at all what it was.

JW: I think a lot of the bands we had been playing with were just moving to bigger venues too. There was just so much concentration on that specific scene, and it just kind of outgrew its space.

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SJ: Even though you say its depleted, are there still things that excite you about Chicago’s DIY scene?

AO: When I say depleted, I mean that the spaces aren’t all there. The music is all there 100%, even more so than it has been in the past. The space for having a larger DIY show is just not really there. There’s so much exciting music coming out of Chicago right now.

JW: The spaces might not be there. But as far as the sound of new Chicago bands, it’s even better than I think it was. The boundaries are being pushed more, and there are so many awesome bands out here. It’s not even just bands, but hip-hop and R&B too. From every genre, there’s just good fucking stuff going on right now.

SJ: Who are some people that you guys are personally excited about from Chicago?

JW: Jamila Woods. My cousin used to be a part of this group called Young Chicago Authors, which Saba and Chance the Rapper got their start through. I’ve seen her do poetry for the past five years, and now she’s just putting out amazing music. I think she’s going to be really big, and I really appreciate her message and her music.

AO: And then, we just saw our really good friends Deeper play, and they’re unbelievable.

JW: They feel like a piece of that old Chicago that we came from too. They’re new, and they’re great. We love them.

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SJ: Obviously, you guys aren’t playing DIY shows as much now. What adjustments have you had to make with playing more conventional venues?

AO: For me, the real thing is trying to bring the kind of energy that we were able to create in a small space into a bigger space, which is really hard to do (laughs). The real challenge is trying to bring that kind of energy and trying to get everyone on that energy level with you while you’re playing.

JW: It’s just more preparation and trying to keep the same spirit and energy.

AO: We try not to waiver from the way we perform.

SJ: I know you went through some ups and downs with the making of your latest album, Offers. Can you talk to me a little bit about that?

JW: The process was just putting your whole life into it — not only your time, but also your emotions.

AO: It was very emotionally draining when we were having difficulties with it.

JW: But the beauty is that it’s so emotionally rewarding in that we put everything in, and there’s been some really awesome payback.

AO: As cheesy as fuck as that all sounds (laughs by all). But, it’s real though.

JW: People have been giving us a lot of love, and it’s really cool. At the end of the day, we put out a record that we’re really proud of, and I think we can do even better next time.

SJ: What’s on the horizon for you guys? More touring?

JW: We have some really tight tours coming up. We’re going to be in Indy with The Drums in August (event info here).

AO: We’re rolling with Chad VanGaalen to the West Coast, which I’m really, really excited about. He’s just a total badass, and we’re very excited to go on the road with him.

JW: We’re also touring with our really good buddies Whitney in late November/December.

Interview: Brian Wilson Reflects on Pet Sounds

By: Seth Johnson

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On May 16, 1966, the Beach Boys gave us Pet Sounds, forever changing the music world. Now half a century later, the album’s mastermind is out on the road, playing every song from Pet Sounds live at venues all around the world.

On this golden anniversary tour, Brian Wilson is playing alongside Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin, who were both formerly in early versions of the Beach Boys. In addition to songs from Pet Sounds, audiences can also expect to hear top hits and fan favorites spanning Wilson’s 54-year career with the Beach Boys and as a solo artist.

Prior to his performance at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, our Seth Johnson arranged for a quick email interview with Wilson, which you can read below.

Seth Johnson: At the time that Pet Sounds came out, how were you thinking it would be perceived?

Brian Wilson: Well, I thought that some of the older people would appreciate it and some of the younger people wouldn’t think it was commercial enough.

SJ: Were you apprehensive at all though? If so, why?

BW: Not at all – I was looking forward to releasing it

SJ: Pet Sounds has now become a timeless album. What are some elements of the record that you personally would attribute to that?

BW: I think the melodies and lyrics and the harmonies is what makes it really appeal to people.

SJ: It’s been half a century since Pet Sounds was released. What parts about it do you still really like?

BW: I still like the ballads on it (“Don’t Talk,” “Caroline, No” and “God Only Knows”).

SJ: Are there any parts you don’t like now?

BW: No.

SJ: How is Brian Wilson now different then Brian Wilson then?

BW: I’ve slowed down a little bit, my energy. My songwriting is not as often now. I don’t write songs all that often. And now, I have a family that I love.

SJ: I actually interviewed your nephew Scott about a year ago, and he spoke to how special the Beach Boys’ live shows were around the time when Pet Sounds came out. Compared to those earlier days, how does it feel to perform Pet Sounds today?

BW: It feels very satisfying and takes me back to when we recorded the album. Now, I can really appreciate how much the fans like it.

SJ: Smiley Smile and Wild Honey were released the year after Pet Sounds. How did those albums continue down the same path as Pet Sounds, in your eyes?

BW: They weren’t like Pet Sounds at all. Wild Honey was our R&B album and Smiley Smile was our more adventurous, psychedelic music.

SJ: What plans do you have after this Pet Sounds tour?

BW: I plan to do an album, a rock and roll album.

SJ: Could you ever see yourself doing a Smiley Smile/Wild Honey tour?

BW: No. Maybe a Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!) tour sometime. I’d like to do that.

Watch Nardwuar’s Entertaining Interview with Hinds

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We already shared Hind’s performance of their latest single “Garden” earlier today, but we are going to double down because this interview is too good not to post. Interviewer extraordinaire and legend Nardwuar recently connected up the band in Vancouver and it is absolutely a fun watch. Watch Nardwuar, who always brings the best out of people, gets the band to freak out over a signed Strokes poster, discuss Carlotta’s acting career (see image below) along with Spanish food, the band that made them change their name, The Dears, and so much more.

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Interview : Buzz Osborne (of The Melvins) : Unplugged

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By Thomas Kennedy

It been over twenty years since Buzz’s last solo-effort. We talked about who he’d been listening to during that period of time.

On the Corner by Miles Davis has definitely been one of the biggest albums that we go back to over the past 20 years,” Buzz Osborne told me. “That’s one of the main places we’re coming from. People don’t see it, but it’s there.”

While the Miles Davis influence on Buzz Osborne’s new solo material may be rather oblique, it’s front-and-center on Dale Crover’s new all-drumming project, Hew Time.* Revisiting On the Corner, I can see how the use of sleigh bells on “Black Satin” might inform the final post-silence minute of “See How Pretty, See How Smart”.

“The jazz people all hated it,” Buzz was saying, still in reference to On the Corner, “They probably still do.”

“The whole electric period,” of Miles Davis’s career is the period that had the most impact on Buzz. “Big Fun, Bitches Brew…but especially On the Corner. There’s a boxed-set of all the sessions for On the Corner that I would highly, highly, highly recommend.”

Buzz seemed thoughtful for a moment. “A lot of it comes from Miles Davis. Miles Davis and Captain Beefheart of course. Primarily with Beefheart, you know, we go back to Clear Spot and the Spotlight Kid. Not so much Trout Mask Replica. But people don’t really hear that either. But if you listen to those albums, you’ll hear it. If you listen to them, it’ll make sense. That’s where we’re coming from.”

We were standing beneath the marquee in front of Radio Radio where he would be playing an acoustic set that night, trotting out new material from his upcoming album This Machine Kills Artists.

I’d purposefully avoided previewing his set online before the show, so that I could experience the full novelty of Buzz Osborne unplugged in a live setting. I told him that I was literally unable to imagine what he would sound like on acoustic guitar. “It’s like an epistemological threshold that I cannot mentally traverse,” I was explaining.

“Yeah, well,” Buzz mused, nodding, “You’ll see. It will make sense. Although it’s not really like anything else. There’s nothing, really, to compare it to.”

How had he decided to do an acoustic project?

“Well I’ve always played acoustic guitar. A lot of the Melvins songs, I wrote them on acoustic. I can’t remember which ones, but that’s not the point. The point is, I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long time. A really long time. So… here we are.”

As Mr. Osborne has previously expressed, his acoustic stuff does not sound like Woodie Guthrie or James Taylor. The name of the album, in fact, appears to be a play on the bumper-sticker formerly displayed on Woody Guthrie’s guitar: “This machine kills fascists.”

If anything, I thought, it would make sense in the context of an Acid Western. I told myself that it would work well as a sonic backdrop for something by Jodorowsky or Downey Sr. But then when I actually glancingly reviewed the films in question on Youtube, I realized This Machine Kills Artists wouldn’t really fit as a score for these films either.

Not metal, not folk, not Acid Western: maybe it could be called, “Acid Western Molk.” As the missus, Mackey Osborne, remarked, “It sounds like The Melvins.”

Relative to the mean-average Melvins fan , the fact that I’ve been to a mere seven Melvins shows over the past 15 years actually puts me on the low-end of the standard spectrum of devotion. But I’ve seen them live enough times that it was really almost dissociative to be able to hear Mr. Osborne’s vocals, out from underneath all of the heavy distortion and thundering drums. Sort of like seeing a shucked oyster walking around. He sounded clear as a bell up there on stage, everything crisply enunciated.

“No drummers to hide behind tonight,” Buzz had told me.

“That was really, like, almost disorienting to be able to hear what you were saying,” I told him, later.

He was like: “Thank you.”

*Full disclosure: I occasionally consult on PR stuff for the record label that released Hew Time (Joyful Noise Recordings), though I did not do any work on press for Hew Time directly.

Listen : Warpaint : BBC Radio 6 Music Live In Session for Steve Lamacq

Warpaint dropped by BBC Radio 6 Music to record an interview and live in session for Steve Lamacq. The ladies have started to hit the promotional circuit in support of their forthcoming self-titled sophomore full-length due out in January via Rough Trade. During the session, they played two new songs from new LP “Love Is To Die” and the previously unheard “Keep It Healthy,” along with “Composure” from their 2010 debut album.