Ohio’s native sons in Times New Viking have had an eventful career that seems to be arcing forever upward. The trio formed after meeting in art school in 2004, recording albums like Dig Yourself (2005) and Present the Paisley Reich (2007). These early albums—the band’s first four—were released by prestigious labels, first by Siltbreeze and then Matador. Now, Times New Viking has signed with Merge Records for its fifth and most recent release, Dancer Equired. On the new record, the band continues its tour de force with songs like “Fuck Her Tears”, which made Pitchfork‘s March 16 Playlist. Here, drummer and vocalist Adam Elliott talks to PopMatters about the new record, Dada art, and what it’s like having played over 700 shows.
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The Felice Brothers have been at the game for quite a while, and in the most classic fashion: they are a family band, one which got its start busking for change in the NYC Subway system.
That makes the brothers Felice—Ian and James, along with a crew of co-musicians—more salt of the earth than the brothers Gallagher, able to claim more street cred than the brothers Gibb, and just more than those bros in Kings of Leon. James Felice (vocals and anything with keys) speaks with the warmth and confidence of a musician doing what he loves most. On his band’s newest record, Celebration, Florida, he and the group push past their Americana roots and into new territory. This exploration didn’t come purely by chance. As James puts it, “With this record, we came to the table with the intention to make the record that we did . . . previous records were a little more haphazard, just trying things out. We knew almost exactly how we wanted the record to sound, how we wanted the record to feel.”
Since the ‘80s, British-born/American-based writer Simon Reynolds has been showcasing his analytical, articulate, and occasionally quite humorous approach to music criticism in most any major publication one can name, ranging from Melody Maker and Spin to The New York Times and The Guardian. He’s also a notable presence on the music section shelves of book stores due to his authorship of tomes including Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984 and Generation Ecstasy: Into the World of Techno and Rave Culture, the former being the definitive and most engaging account of that genre/movement to be found. His newest book is Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past (released in the UK on 2 June and due out in the US on 19 July), wherein he takes a broad-based yet more personal look at the 21st century’s increasing obsession with retro sounds and signifiers in lieu of the futurism and stylistic innovation that so motivated pop styles in previous decades.
In this interview, PopMatters and Reynolds not only chat about the origins of and questions posed by Retromania, but touch upon other subjects including the modern state of pop futurism, the changing nature of music criticism in the era of digiculture, and just what exactly one of the music press’ foremost proponents of post-punk and electronica thinks about alternative rock’s retro-adoring standard-bearers from the ‘80s.
Graduating in the same class as mainstream punk rock acts Green Day, Anti-Flag, the Offspring, and others, Chicago, Illinois-based band Rise Against crafts songs born of an ennui that long ago boiled over into rage. And there’s plenty to rage about, of course. Economic hardship, domestic and international imbroglios, and a rash of other injustices—plenty evidence for a gloomy forecast on the future. Add to this mix the prophecies of oddballs like Harold Campbell, the California man who caused a worldwide fervor when he predicted the Rapture would literally occur on May 21, 2011. These problems, and the anxiety they cause, infest Rise Against’s latest album, Endgame (2011)—a hymnbook of laments from a frustrated generation.
For the past ten years, Rise Against has conducted a series of Platinum- and Gold-certified seances where it channeled the collective consciousness of the self-proclaimed “orphans of the American dream”, those who grew up in the shadows of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, children who came of age in a era where people tweet about a tsunami’s rampage one minute and Justin Bieber the next. Obsessed with the search for truth, the band’s lyrics personify the anger beneath modern malaise, and document what happens when the inability to discern right from wrong collides with the desire to do so. What results, perhaps not surprisingly, is music rife with religious terminology.
It’s almost de facto that a new Deerhoof album will show a willingness to experiment with form while always preserving a sound that is quintessentially its own. This is in addition to being ridiculously good. This trait has continued on the group’s new album Deerhoof vs Evil, a texturally denser yet no less visceral album than those that have come before. I spoke to guitarist (or should that be frustrated drummer?) John Dieterich about the album and current state of the group, finding out the band’s opinion of the new record as well as some of the surprise influences that led to the album’s sound.
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I see you’ve just started your US tour [Deerhoof is touring the US from January 27th to February 26th with a European tour following in March]. How did the first dates go?
It depends on who you ask in the band. It was a little nerve-racking. I felt really comfortable playing the new material but we’re still focusing on the surface aspects of the songs. You can play the notes but it’s just too new, but it was exhilarating and extremely fun to play these new songs to people for the first time. We played all but one song from the new album.
// Notes from the Road
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