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Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013
With over three decades of classics behind them and a new album (their 14th) out this year, Curt Kirkwood talks to PopMatters about The Wizard of Oz, the art on chili cans, and the eternal wisdom of Popeye...

Sometimes it’s funny how fame works in the music industry. You start out as a critically beloved act who influence a whole generation of rock bands, and when one of them blows up and invites you to be players on its MTV Unplugged special, suddenly you’re on everyone’s radar.


Yet while it’s easy to quickly associate the career of the legendary Meat Puppets with that of their successful progeny Nirvana, the truth of the matter is that the Meat Puppets’ career is one of the most compelling in all of rock music, stretching across 13 epic albums with a 14th—Rat Farm—out this year.


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Tuesday, Apr 9, 2013
How do you prove your salt when you're an energetic Jam & Lewis-referencing modern-day funk band? By going on the Vans Warped Tour, of course. Now the Bad Rabbits are touring with Kendrick Lamar, have a new album out, and a fresh set of 20 Questions answers in tow...

What do you do when you’re an energetic R&B/funk group really looking to make a name for yourself in these modern times? Why, you go tour with punk rockers, of course.


While it may seem like an odd pairing, a few years ago the Bad Rabbits did just that. The core group (which consists of Fredua Boakye on vocals, Salim Akram and Santiago Araujo on guitar, Graham Masser on bass, and Sheel Davé on drums) have been carefully honing on their own upbeat brand of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis-inspired funk for years, and in order to prove themselves as both a must-see live act and a musical force to be reckoned with, the band wound up joining the Vans Warped Tour, the annual tour of non-stop punk and rock acts. Not only did the Rabbits hold their own, they also wound up earning the kudos of the other performers on tour, multiple rockers calling them out in interviews as the hands-down best act at the event.


Now, after the release of a highly-regarded EP, the band is finally putting out their long-in-the-works debut full-length American Love out to stores and touring it across the nation, starting with Karmaloop’s Verge Campus Tour sponsored by Neff Headwear and powered by eMuze, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Steve Aoki. To celebrate these events, Sheel Davé sat down with PopMatters’ 20 Questions, and reveals how he’s a proud first generation American, holds Glassjaw and Michael Jackson in equal regard, and how he broke one of his band member’s ankles…


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Tuesday, Mar 19, 2013
Their band broke up three weeks before a recording session with super-producer Dave Newfeld, so this trio formed On An On out of their ashes and recorded with him anyways. The result? One of the best debuts of 2013 and a fascinating 20 Questions to boot (drunk bike riding highly encouraged).

So, imagine this scenario: your rock group has not only booked studio time, but you’ve also booked it with legendary Broken Social Scene producer Dave Newfeld, who has had a great hand in crafting some of the most memorable records in the Arts & Crafts label catalog. Then, three weeks prior to actually recording ... your band breaks up. With the money already spent booking the super-producer, what are you to do?


Well the answer is simple: Nate Eiesland, Alissa Ricci, and Ryne Estwing decided to continue as a trio, and with Newfeld’s assistance, On An On were born. Borrowing the moods and melodies from dream-pop greats while infusing them with a more direct, visceral indie-rock style, it’s obvious that with their quite-excellent debut, Give In, they have uncovered quite the unique sound. Just listen to the extraordinary first single “Ghosts”, with its rattling percussion, emotional guitar riffs, and loads of atmosphere: it already stands as one of 2013’s freshest debuts.


Thus, while the band is using tracks like the surging “War is Gone” to win over the rock kids and positively atmospheric album closer “I Wanted to Say More” to bring in the indie fringe while on tour, Nate Eiesland decided to give a run on PopMatters’ 20 Questions, here revealing that the band all aspire to be magicians one day, apparently require oxygen to live, and why drunken bike rides at night are simply the best ...


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Monday, Mar 4, 2013
This Canadian trio has been slowly building up a following for their quirky indie-pop sound, and now with a Juno nomination, their first charting single, and a boatload of "bronies" in tow, Hey Ocean! are on the verge of blowing up big, and talk to PopMatters in doing so ...

Hey Ocean! is a rare kind of band: one with a devout, unwavering following, a surprising bit of mainstream notoriety, and yet—despite all this—remain underdogs, only just now breaking out into the mainstream with their new album IS.


Yet let’s rewind the clocks: the group—which has been active since 2002 and features Ashleigh Ball on vocals, David Beckingham on lead guitar, and Ball’s friend since childhood David Vertesi on bass—has been working on its unique, optimistic brand of indie-pop for some time, its debut album Stop Looking Like Music having come out all the way back in 2006. Their music videos were clever, they toured constantly, and by the time 2010 came around, a surprising thing happened: Ball works as an actress in her spare time, doing a lot of voice work for kids shows and straight-to-DVD family franchise films. In 2010, she started doing the voices of Applejack and Rainbow Dash in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic—a show that has taken on a gigantic life of its own, which, as it happens, has lead the band to grow exponentially this past year.


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Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012
It was a tranquil cover of "Sweet Child o' Mine" that helped her break through, but her island-inspired dreampop is a sound all its own. Victoria Bergsman sits down with PopMatters to discuss animals, Harry Rabbit, and teach us some Swedish as well.

Victoria Bergsman has had a pretty fantastic career. In fact, she’s had two of them.


First, she’s well known for being the voice of Swedish indie-rock group the Concretes, who formed in 1995 and have been recording ever since. A great deal of the group’s recognition coming from the albums recorded with Bergsman before her departure from the band in 2006. Since then, she’s been putting out albums under the moniker Taken by Trees, and a well-timed cover of Guns ‘N Roses’ “Sweet Child o’ Mine”, which was used extensively in TV ads and movie trailers, helped slowly push Bergsman into the mainstream.


Now, with Other Worlds, her latest, she recontextualizes island music into her own world. By using instruments you’d normally find on Hawaiian albums and adapting them to create a dreamlike quality that only amplifies her well-honed pop chops, the whole thing sounding like precious few records out there today. To help celebrate the release of Other Worlds, Bergsman has sat down with PopMatters to discuss how mind-blowing animals are, why she finds a counterpoint in Harry Rabbit Angstrom, and proceeds to teach us some interesting Swedish turns of phrase . . .


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