Tag Archives: Indie

Manchester Orchestra Video Chapters

I have seen the band name Manchester Orchestra popping up all over the place as of late and really had not checked them out until recently.  For some reason I thought they were more of a rock jam project but was corrected by a friend and learned that in fact they are an indie rock band.

With a new album coming out on 04/21/09 titled Mean Everything To Nothing the band is promoting their CD with a full-album collection of videos that have been popping up on the internet. Have you seen them yet?  Well you are in luck as I have included the first three on this blog.  Word is the band will have videos for all of the songs on the album.  I think it is a great idea.

Additional info about the videos from a recent email I received from SonyMusic.com:

The full-album series concept was conceived by the Emmy Award winning directing team of Clay Lipsky and Jason Bognacki of Destroy Rock Music Inc., whom also directed “I Can Barely Breathe” from the band’s debut I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child.

Lipsky notes that the vision behind the videos are to “create a cinematic collage of decaying film and lost memories intertwined with a loose narrative about a young woman on a surreal journey to find what she is missing.” The videos to follow will continue to discover the many layers hiding within the new record.

Chapter One featured on AbsolutePunk:
Manchester Orchestra – “The Only One”

Chapter Two featured on Spin.com:
Manchester Orchestra  -“Shake It Out”

Chapter Three featured on MySpace:
Manchester Orchestra – “I’ve Got Friends”

Interview: Steve Smith of Dirty Vegas

This interview is actually over a year old.  It posted on 02/07/2008 on Blogcritics.org.  Rather than archive it I decided to share it with you today:


Steve Smith
Steve Smith

It wasn’t so long ago that a British house rock/pop trio took the world by storm.  The band was called Dirty Vegas and released their debut album including a track named “Days Go By”.  This track soon made its way into the clubs and onto airwaves gaining lots of attention.  The band consisted of three gentlemen who formed the group in 2001 thanks to a little love song that vocalist Steve Smith wrote for someone special.  The song, originally an acoustic track, took a twist and was transformed into a dance club hit.  The song even earned the trio a Grammy in 2003.

The band earned gross amounts of fame but due to low sales on Dirty Vegas’ sophomore album the hype simmered down and soon two of the trio called it quits.  Steve Smith however did not have any intentions of quitting the music scene and recorded his own music.  He actually had been recording music all of his life and now found it the right time after a break to release it.  This Town was recently released as a solo project by Steve Smith who relocated from the UK to Boston with his wife.  The CD is more of a personal project to Steve Smith, his best work yet.

I recently had the opportunity to talk with Steve Smith.  In between changing guitar strings and baby diapers (he and his wife just had a newborn) Steve Smith took some time to answer some questions about the past, present, and future of his musical career.

Why such the long hiatus?

Well, when Ben and Paul left in 2005, I decided to have some time away from music to really get my head around what I wanted to do.  I moved to the US in early 2006 and began to feel really inspired. I started to write a lot of music and spent the year collecting songs for my solo album.  I also began my dream of writing music for film by scoring the brilliant movie, Boys and Girls Guide to Getting Down and for the FOX show Standoff.

Why did the band disband?  I know everyone was growing  mature and going their own ways but were there any other reasons?

Well, we we’re in a bad situation with our record company and Ben and Paul felt that we had taken the band as far as we could, but I truly felt there was more to come.

The band Dirty Vegas took the world by storm.  You wrote a song “Days Go By” that was transformed from an acoustic track to a techno hit.  What were your original thoughts on manipulating your original cut?

I have always loved the idea of taking a song where you wouldn’t necessarily expect it to go!

Steve Smith
Steve Smith

So who was “Days Go By” exactly written about?

My then girlfriend Charlotte, who is now my wife (songs always win a girls heart!)

Any plans ever of maybe creating another Dirty Vegas release in the future?

Who knows!

Once the band split up you got back together with your long time girlfriend (now wife) and moved to Boston.  Why Boston?  I know it is an amazing city but I am just curious.

I have always felt that Boston has a very European feel to it.  It has a great music scene and I have discovered a lot of creative people live/work here.

How was the transition from London to Boston for you?

Very smooth!  The people of Massachusetts have been great to us.

How long before you decided it was time to release a self-titled album?

It kind of happened when I started to play friends some of the songs.  The more I played them, the more people said I must get this stuff out there!

Is there a possibility you may tour in support of this release?

Absolutely! I cannot wait to get out there and perform the songs in front of people.

Can we expect a follow up to This Town sooner than later?

Anything is possible.

Who would you say are your musical influences?

I would say that growing up it was everything from Pink Floyd to Marvin Gaye.  I was always listening to the Top 40 and raiding my brothers and sisters record collection.  So I got to hear Joan Armatrading and Neil Young [because of them]. When I heard Neil Young’s After the Goldrush album it blew my mind.

I am still amazed that the actor John Savage from the Deer Hunter agreed to perform a spoken word on the first track of your CD.  How did he get involved?  He is the last person I would ever expect to speak on an album, yet it seemed so perfect once I heard it.

Every guest on the record was someone that naturally came along. My manager was in a furniture store and spotted John. She told him about the song and he agreed to come along and we just spoke about his life experiences and the message of the song. That was one of many incidents that happened with the recording of the album.

Speaking of incidences, you were also able to recruit a violinist for the track “Smile” who in turn wrote a piece that was the favorite of your father.  Do you think that was pure coincidence or a calling?

That was another one of those natural moments with the record.  I still cannot believe that the actual guy that performed the solo parts of my late father’s favorite pieces of music, came and performed on a song about him!  A calling I’d say. And my old man is looking down laughing.

Can you tell me a little about your father?  Was he a music lover as well?

My dad was never a professional musician but my mother told me he had a beautiful voice as a young man, and people would often ask him to sing in pubs and parties.

You are definitely a multi-talented individual with the ability to play acoustic guitar as well as spin house sets.  Which do you prefer over the other?

I am a very lucky person that gets to experience the buzz of a dance floor move to a pumping bass line as well as sing with an acoustic guitar in a small folk club.  Both have amazing energies that I find complete polar opposites but have the same rewards!

When did you learn to play guitar?  Was it before or after you learned percussion?

I learned to play the guitar quite late, I was around 21. I had been playing percussion, but needed to learn a melodic instrument to craft the songwriting.

In your spare time you continue to guest DJ.  What is different these days about the club scene as opposed to yesteryear?  Are there things you miss about the overseas club scene?

I think with the way the internet is now, you can hear a brand new track played in Ibiza (Spain) and [in] Kansas on the same night!  Gone are those days of the kid in the middle of nowhere ordering a track from a record store 6 months after it was first heard in NYC.

Do you still communicate with any of the DJs from the past you once toured with such as Sasha or Paul Oakenfield?

Sometimes you see DJ’s/Musicians that you have worked with over the years, I have been going to Ibiza for many years and there is always a familiar face there.

Do you think the DJ / techno genre will make a comeback in the states?

I think all genres of music will have exciting times ahead,  just look at the festival line-ups now, Rock Bands, DJ’s… there all there.
The song “Late Nights and Street Fights” was the main theme for Fox’s now defunct Standoff.  How were you able to land that?

The music supervisor for that show had used Dirty Vegas music before and heard I was recording my solo album, and asked if I had a rock song that could suit.  I played them “Late Night” and they loved it.

You won a Grammy while in Dirty Vegas for the song “Days Go By”.  I am just curious if you display it in your home or use it as a paperweight?

It’s on the mantle-piece

Any plans for the future?

Well, I want to head out and play live shows to support the solo album, and then I am looking at scoring a musical with the director of Boys and Girls Guide and of course Dirty Vegas.

Why should people check out This Town?

Because it is the best piece of work I have ever done.


Steve Smith’s This Town is available on G.A.S. Records.  For a sneak peak at his self titled release and to see if he’ll be touring in your area you can visit his website or his MySpace page.  Word is Steve Smith and Dirty Vegas are working on new material.  More to come about that…

Until then, here are some videos to keep you entertained:

The song that started it all… Still love this video too:

Those Darlins Made My Day

Before I even begin this blog, props need to go to my good pal Matt at Addicted To Vinyl for his assistance in helping me through rather vulgar texts on some mp3 help…  Thanks jerk.

I had one of those days today.  It was a bad day at work.  It was just too much for me and I really wish I had a special remote control to help fast forward through all the BS.  Unfortunately I do not so I had to go through my work day at a regular speed hating stressful moments.

Those Darlins indeed...
Those Darlins indeed...

Finally getting home I just needed some chill time and what better way to do that than to geek out on the laptop.  I checked my emails and one in particular grabbed my attention.  It was an email inviting me to check out a band called Those Darlins who are currently touring with Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys).  Having never heard of them and being a huge Black Keys fan I decided it could not hurt to listen to the attached MP3.

What I heard completely changed my entire day and I am not just saying that.  After hearing the song “Wild One” I just felt better.  It was a fun folky honest song of sorts and something I really needed to brighten up my day.

So who are these three darlins I speak of? Those Darlins are a folk/country/indie/punk/appalachian/blue grass (hope I did not miss anything) band featuring Kelley Darlin on bass, Jessi Darlin, on guitar, and Nikki Darlin on, get this, baritone ukulele.  Awesome.

The trio currently resides in the college town of Murfreesboro, TN a city that rests somewhere between the country capital of the world Nashville and the Woodstock replacing town of Manchester, the city Bonnaroo is held in.  Taking their love of playing music and love for a variety of bands of all genres Those Darlins created their own style of music and released the sassy Wild One EP.

Before I even continue you should just click on the link for the song and listen to it for yourself…

Download This! – Those Darlins – “Wild One”

With one song not enough of a sample I headed to their MySpace page to check out a few more tracks.  The vocals on some of the tunes reminded me of a female version of Hank III as well as a twangy Jenny Lewis or even Zooey Deschanel.  The music is classic at times and all around enjoyable.

I have a feeling these three cuties and their mustache sporting drummer really will be going places with their unique and chipper sound.  To make things even better, I just found out that Those Darlins are coming to the Beachland Ballroom next week.  I have to go see them in person and I think I will.  Look for an update next week.

-To pick up the EP for just $5.00, or to purchase some of their self-made merchandise visit their site at:

www.thosedarlins.com

Until then check this video out…

The Faint – Fasciinatiion – CD Review

The Faint bring yet another installment of their new wave/dance/indie tunes to your ears with Fasciinatiion.  Once a solid staple to Saddle Creek Records, the band parted ways in spring of 2008 stating they would be releasing material on their own label blank.wav.  This is their first album in four years and is also the first to be entirely fashioned by The Faint.  Fasciinatiion proves that this five-some has no problem doing things all by themselves.

Formed in Omaha, Nebraska around 1995 the band lured me in thanks to the release of 1999’s Blank Wave-Arcade.  Their unique sound that had similarities to 80’s dance but with indie rock and even a little punk rock flair; something I had not found myself getting into before.  Soon thereafter, I was listening to them on almost a daily basis.   They were one of the original bands that introduced me to Saddle Creek records and helped get the indie label some well deserved recognition.

The Faint
The Faint

I was excited to check out their latest release seeing how I really have not listened to The Faint in quite some time.  Fasciinatiion started out strong with “Get Seduced” refreshing me on their dance rock style.  Their electronic rock music was not missed by my ears.  It would appear even after four years the band still has it.

“The Geeks Were Right”, the band’s first single off the album, was my favorite track.  The more indie pressed song reminded me of She Wants Revenge and Interpol, but heavy on the electronic side.  The music video for the song is extremely interesting too almost visualizing what a Max Headroom acid flashback might look like.  Even better there are remixes of this track floating around on the internet; my favorite was “The Geeks Were Right (Does It Offend You? Yeah Remix).

The album seemed to stray away from the Faint’s unique sound I had grown accustomed to with more experimental tracks like “Machine In The Ghost” and “Fulcrum And Lever”.  The vocals were a tad too robotic for me and the sounds were too experimental and unhurried.

The funky “Psycho” saved the album for me as it took direction back away from the slow, unusual songs previously mentioned.  Deep blimps and bleeps at the beginning of the song  kind of exceeded it’s welcome, but soon it mellowed out building for an good listen.  “I Treat You Wrong”, with poor lyrics, really was a good track but was nothing to dance about.

I really feel that The Faint created a roller coaster effect on Fasciinatiion.  The album does not seem nearly as constant and up-tempo as prior releases nor was there any of that punk rock flair that could be heard on Wet From Birth.  It is one of their more unique albums, but certainly not their best effort.  I am not saying this album is bad, but it does not compare to their more recent efforts.