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Wednesday, Apr 8, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
Jennifer Kelly raved about L.A. indie pop group the Little Ones back in a 2006 Now Hear This piece for PopMatters. "Not since the Spinto Band has a young musical outfit burst onto the scene with the level of infectious joy that the Little Ones exhibit on their Sing Song EP. Spinning out exuberant harmonies and indelible hooks, yet under-girded with strong, eccentrically plotted beats, the EP had the irrepressible optimism of early summer -- the smell of new mown grass and suntan lotion was practically built right in." Frontman Ed Reyes answers our 20 Questions in the midst of working on a new record.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
The last movie that made me cry was The Wrestler. In my head I was crying, but I didn’t exhibit it publicly for fear that I wasn’t wouldn’t be perceived as tough enough. Just kidding. I did get emotional when Mickey Rourke’s character explains to his daughter that he is washed up. I couldn’t help feel that maybe we are all washed up in some way. Maybe sometimes you can’t really follow your dreams?


2. The fictional character most like you?
I would probably say Hiro Nakamura from Heroes. I think his penchant for being a super hero is really appealing to me. He has great imagination and tries to accomplish the impossible. I can really relate to his good heart as well. Maybe we look alike too? More people should be like Hiro!


3. The greatest album, ever?
Very tough question to answer. I could probably elaborate on some albums that shaped my musical way of thinking. One album is The Beatles’ White Album (1968) and the other is The Kinks’ Village Green Preservation Society (1968). Both records really taught the power of melody and storytelling. Even if the melody is simple it can still have a great impact against a well-crafted musical bed.


4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars all the way. I was raised on Star Wars and I have such great memories of going to the toy store and purchasing the various action figures. If I had saved them all they would probably be worth a fortune right now. At some point as a kid, I believed that Star Wars was real. I know there are some adults out there that think that way too…


5. Your ideal brain food?
My ideal brain food is Wasabi Peas. I can’t get enough of them. I like to pop a handful in my mouth and see how long I can stand it. It usually starts making my eyes water and after that I can really concentrate on anything. Everyone should try it.


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Thursday, Apr 2, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
The garage-soul group Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears put on one of the best shows at SXSW this year, as anyone who has witnessed one of their incendiary sets can attest to. The Austin band released their debut EP and full-length recently on Lost Highway and also stopped by 20 Questions.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
Remember the Titans.


2. The fictional character most like you?
I can’t really think of one, it would be fun to be a little like Bruce Willis in The Last Boy Scout—a good mix of tough and funny.


3. The greatest album, ever?
8Ball & MJG: Comin’ Out Hard.


4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Trek, come on now.


5. Your ideal brain food?
Not sure about brain food but my favorite hangover food is crispy tacos, on the road my brain is hungover a lot… so these are important.


6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
Most recent would have to be finishing the record. I am impatient as hell, I hate being in the studio even though I know you’ve gotta do it. Jim Eno did a great job, I’m happy with how the record turned out. Though man, all the little tweaks and details, not for me. I’d make a full album in one day if I could.


7. You want to be remembered for…?
Writing a Star Trek episode, I need to get on that.


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Thursday, Mar 26, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
Once upon a time Cleveland band Cobra Verde served as Robert Pollard's backing band in Guided by Voices. They've released six albums and an EP over their career, including the most recent Haven't Slept All Year. Singer John Petkovic -- who has played in a bunch of bands, done time as a journalist, and served as an aide to the Crown Prince of Serbia -- sits down for PopMatters' 20 Questions.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
Gran Torino. The sacrifice that Clint Eastwood makes—and his redemption amid the senseless violence—brought a tear to my eye.


2. The fictional character most like you?
Huck Finn. I’ve paddle down any river in search of adventure, even if my boat crashes in the process.


3. The greatest album, ever?
Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan. I always loved the record, but I learned the hard way, through heartbreak and despair, just how beautiful it is.


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Friday, Mar 20, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
The LA electropop duo Jupiter Rising may not be re-inventing the wheel with their club-friendly pop, but as Evan Sawdey noted back in 2007 "who needs to be revolutionary when you’re having so much fun?" The duo's (Spencer Nezey and Jessica Payo) new record, The Quiet Hype came out March 17th and the recently sat down for PopMatters' 20 Questions.

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
Spencer: That’s a tough one. I haven’t read or seen anything that has made cry in a very long time. We need more sentimental material out there.


Jessie: The Apartment with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine during Christmas break after a break up. It’s a classic, but so sweet and heartfelt.


2. The fictional character most like you?
Spencer: Hands down I am like a young Black Tony Starks from Iron Man.


Jessie: Lydia from Beetlejuice. She’s a bit of a loner. She’s dark with a curiosity for the “other side” and ghosts. Plus all of her clothes are super rad,,,


3. The greatest album, ever?
Spencer: The greatest album off all time for me is A tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders. Changed my life at the age of 12.


Jessie: Tie with White Album by the Beatles and OK Computer by Radiohead. They both embody undeniably amazing songwriting, musicianship and the ability to go outside the box musically. They both have classic tunes that most people know of but they also have those wacked out obscure tracks for the super fans like me. Turn off the lights, sit down with these records and the experience is always amazing. They have been standby’s in my collection that I never tire of.


4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Spencer: I grew up watching nothing but Star Wars movies. I used to take my mom’s iron hair straightener and pretend it was a light saber. Star Wars all the way.


Jessie: Star Wars. No big reason why, really. I just watched The Empire Strikes Back probably 20 times one summer break. I prefer the older versions. You know, pre-Jar Jar Binks. I hated that thing…


5. Your ideal brain food?
Spencer: My ideal brain food is fish. Because its a proven fact that it is healthy protein for your mind. look it it up its true.


Jessie: Sushi…the whole package…sushi, sake, green tea…I always feel fresh and ready after a good sushi session.


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Thursday, Mar 12, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
Miranda Lee Richards recently released her latest album Light of X via Nettwerk Records. The singer-songwriter checks in with 20 Questions

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
Slumdog Millionaire. The Alchemist.


2. The fictional character most like you?
Santiago.


3. The greatest album, ever?
Parallel Lines, Led Zeppelin III.


4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Wars.


5. Your ideal brain food?
Salmon.


6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
Arranging the strings on my album, Light of X. Because I had the wherewithal to stick with the task even though I wasn’t initially sure I had the ability. That’s always good for one’s self esteem! :)


7. You want to be remembered for…?
Being a great singer, songwriter, and musician.


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