What You Call Love, Baby I Call Hell

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A Conversation with Lindsey Troy and Julie Edwards of Deap Vally

By Madison Killian

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Deap Vally and Wolfmother at The Showbox, Seattle

I’m sitting backstage at The Showbox in Seattle across from Pikes Place Market. The walls are a shiny valentine’s day red, the couches are purple velvet. As I stared at the band sitting in front of me, it was apparent that there was going to be no beating around the bush, they had nothing to hide. Sitting atop the purple throne was a fresh-faced brunette in a tattered black t-shirt, wielding a crochet needle. Directly next to her is a stunning blonde with wild curls, holding a contraption up to her breast, pumping.

I interviewed Deap Vally on March 31st before their show in Seattle opening up for Wolfmother. After shaking Julie’s left hand (her right hand was occupied…) and Lindsey had set aside her yarn ball- I realized that this was the most rock ‘n roll thing I could possibly witness in my lifetime.

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Photo by Rebekkah Drake

Sucker: How are the two of you enjoying Seattle?

Lindsey: We went yarn shopping. I’m stoked because I have two half done hats, and I didn’t have the yarn to finish them.

Sucker: How’s touring with Wolfmother been?

Julie: Good.

Lindsey: They’re killer, great guys.

Sucker: Were you fans of Wolfmother before the tour?

Both: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

Sucker: What’s a band that you’ve toured with that’s really inspired you/ been an honor to share a stage with?

Julie: Queens of the Stone Age and Yeah Yeah Yeahs for sure.

Sucker: Yeah, last time I talked to you guys you mentioned being big fans of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Lindsey: Well, yeah and then, I mean, Nick [Zinner, of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs] ended up producing our new record. I learned a lot from him. He’s a good guy.

Sucker: You guys have a new album, is there a release date at all?

Julie: It’ll be coming out around the Fall.

Lindsey: Not that release dates stay true anyways…

Sucker: Out of curiosity… What makes a release date so ever-changing when the album is basically done?

Julie: Yeah, so the albums done… But we haven’t signed on the dotted line with our label yet. So, you know… At this exact moment in time, there can’t technically be a release date.

Sucker: What is the hardest song for you to play live?

Lindsey: There’s a new song on the record that we haven’t played live yet, cause it’s like, really fuckin’ hard for me to do. We just have to practice it. In a weird way, a lot of our songs- we’ve been able to play with a minimal amount of practicing. We have this new song that we love- it’s great. We don’t record live and all at once- we do some multi-tracking. And we wrote the vocals after the music was written; I think when you write vocals like that, it’s harder to learn how to sing and play at the same time. Whatever you write and play at the same time is going to be natural.

Julie: We just have to rehearse it. Another one from the first record is “Woman of Intention.” That one’s hard for me. Maybe it isn’t still hard, but it was hard the first couple of years. It would just like, wear me out, it was really exhausting.

Lindsey: We just never knew how that song ended. The ending was just an eternal question mark. *looks at Julie* remember? *Lindsay sings a few ending “oohs”*

Julie: *laughs*

Sucker: If you guys weren’t musicians, what would you be doing?

Julie: I would be a psychologist. I’d probably go back to school for that.

Lindsey: Maybe a writer or filmmaker/ actor. Or a live drawing model. I like the idea of being one of those naked models for a drawing class. Iggy Pop just did that!

Sucker: How do you handle juggling your personal life and touring? Like… Julie, you’re breast pumping right now. How do you factor it all in?

Lindsey: It’s how she gets pumped up!

Julie: Right now [Lindsey’s] boyfriend is on tour with us because he’s documenting the tour- so that’s perfect. She has her personal life here with us. In the past, my husband has tour managed and come on tour for a little bit. When we were at South By Southwest my baby was there. It’s tricky, because when you’re on tour you’re in the little bubble of the tour family. Life continues on without you back home. Everyone you know continues to have their lives together and your life doesn’t really advance with everybody back home.

Lindsey: Restaurants close, new restaurants open. That’s the wildest part. It’s like watching a time-lapse video when you go back to your neighborhood and your favorite restaurant is closing and a new douche-y bar is opening up.

Julie: I think the thing that’s closest to what touring musicians do is military deployment or oil-rig jobs, or long haul fishing.

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Suddenly a mess of  dark hair appeared next to me, and a warm smile greets the three of us. Ian Peres, the bassist and keyboardist for Wolfmother stumbled in on our conversation. *************************************************************************************************

Ian: How do you guys know each other?

Julie: We’re doing an interview!

Ian: Oh! I’m so sorry…

Lindsey: *To Ian* How was your night? You got hammered, it was awesome.

Ian: Yeah…

Lindsey: That’s what you gotta do, man.

Ian: Portland was good to me. It was good… to US.

Sucker: What’d you guys do in Portland?

Lindsey: We stayed with my cousin. We got to stay there for two nights! She has a nice big house- with a full fridge, fresh eggs from his chicken… really nice. You know? It was a luxury for us. We kept it pretty mellow. These guys *gestures to Ian* got to party a bit more.

Ian: I’m a bit more hardcore. I went straight to ground control and played video games for a couple hours.

Sucker: When was the last time you guys played Seattle?

Julie: We played here a year ago, opening for Marilyn Manson.

Lindsey: That was a trip. I played bass with White Lung- my friend’s punk band- over the summer, and we played a couple shows in Seattle as well.

Sucker: What are you guys like on tour? Do you do a lot of partying?

Julie: We’re pretty mellow…

Sucker: Has that changed throughout the course of your band?

Julie: There was one tour we had where I feel like we really went for it. Most of them aren’t like that. You really need a stamina to party like that when you’re travelling. I know I don’t have it…

Lindsey: She’s also been married… Like, I was single for a long time and I was partying more than her- which isn’t really saying much.

Julie: If you drank a beer right now, you’d be partying harder than I do.

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(I supress the urge to tell her that I, in fact, drank half a bottle of wine before this interview to calm my nerves)

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Photo by Bryan Sheffield

Lindsey: You know, we have the nights that we let loose. You just can’t do it every night- I’ll get sick.

Julie: Yeah, also Lindsay really has to protect her voice when we’re on really long tours. Alcohol doesn’t always really lend itself to that.

Lindsey: Also, when you’re stuck in a van all day… you don’t want to have a hangover. It’s not great.

Julie: These guys [Wolfmother]… they’re in a bus. So, the bus drives all night, and they wake up in the city. I think that environment lends itself to… doing whatever the fuck.

Lindsey: And don’t get me wrong, there are nights we’ve partied really hard. I partied really hard the night before we went to Auschwitz. They party there. All the people were showing us a really good time. They drink a lot of vodka and stuff. The next day I was like… trainwrecked. I was not happy, and it was pouring rain. I couldn’t face it. Julie went, (To Auschwitz) and the rest of our crew went. I just felt like a piece of shit.

Sucker: What’s the first thing you guys are going to do when you get home from tour?

Lindsey: I’ll probably have some girl time with my L.A. bestie. I’ve known her for like 7 years.

Julie: Hug my little baby. She’s at home with daddy and grandparents.

Julie proceeds to lean forward and show me not only adorable photos, but videos of her infant daughter. I remain composed, but just barely.

Sucker: How old is she?

Julie: She’s almost 4 months.

Sucker: Have you already planned out which instrument she’s going to play?

Julie: She’s going to be a figure skater.

Keep in mind, during this entire part of the conversation, a video of Julie’s daughter laughing at an electronic whoopee cushion is playing in the background.

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Photo by John Moffat

Julie ended up having that beer and announcing to the crowd “I don’t have to breastfeed until tour is over!”

After some face melting guitar riffs and eardrum perforating drum solos, Lindsey’s icy stare locked onto the crowd while she began to chant “I am not ashamed of my rage.”

Deap Vally had taken Seattle by the throat. The band finished up the show and walked offstage to roars of applause.

After the set, I decided to do some recon in the ladies room (where else?) What I found was complete mayhem.

“What was that band’s name?!”

“They were so good. The singer was fucking amazing!”

“I’m going to buy a CD and a t-shirt… they’re my new favorite band”

By the throat.

As for the band- you can keep up with them

As for the band- be sure to check out their latest release Royal Jelly, and if you haven’t already- check out our last interview with the band where they talk Nick Zinner, the band’s formation, and more…

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Cumbia Meets Punk Rock

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Thee Commons Lotería Tribal Album Review

By Yvonne Villasenor

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Ever heard of a psychedelic cumbia punk band?

That’s right.

A psychedelic cumbia punk band.

Thee Commons bring a vast amount of variety to their music – the combination of genres makes for music you just can’t help but get your groove on to.

They’ve taken the sounds from their hometown of East Los Angeles as well as the diverse culture that inhabits it and have created something unlike anything I’ve ever heard. It’s refreshing and new in a scene that can easily become cookie-cutter and unoriginal.  

Thee Commons was founded by two brothers, David (vocals, guitar) and Rene Pacheco (drums). The Pacheco brothers have loved composing music since they were children and are now making their mark in the world of music.

They have recently incorporated saxophone into their songs. Sick, right?

The brothers started the band in 2012 and have released an E.P. named Sunburned at Midnight as well as Rock is Dead: Long Live Paper and Scissors (a compilation of eight volumes of E.P.s) and now, one full-length album since then.

Lotería Tribal consists of 14 songs, with songs titled in English, Spanish and even Spanglish.

The album is upbeat and will keep you on your feet – undoubtedly the ideal soundtrack for summer. Psychedelic, surf rock, punk, cumbia, even some rap components…What more could you possibly want out of an album?

As Thee Commons put it, “summer days are made for loving in this hot weather” and surely, this is an album Sucker will be loving once summer approaches.

Kick off your shoes and kick back, crack open a beer and listen to the sounds of L.A. This is definitely a record you don’t want miss.

The album will be released on Saturday, April 30, 2016.

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If you’re in the L.A. area, come to the release party and see them perform at The Teragram Ballroom with bands Quita Penas, Santoros and Sin Color on April 30.  

Doors: 8:00 p.m. // Show: 9:00 p.m. Tickets are $16-$18.

You can purchase Lotería Tribal at theecommons.bandcamp.com or at Burger Records.

Elbow to the Face

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What happened when I saw Basement with Turnstile, Defeater & Colleen Green at the Analog Café and Theater in Portland, OR

By Dylan Conner

basement

We arrived at the Analog towards the beginning of Colleen Green’s set. The small, yet growing, crowd swaying to her laid back surf rock sound while she was alone onstage, guitar in hand and sunglasses on. Green provided a perfect “warm up” for the rest of the chaos to come. Melodic hardcore band Defeater, from Massachusetts, was up next and by then the crowd had shifted from small clusters to a large room of people, half of them forming a large circle pit. The band was high energy and a complete shift from the calm performance of Colleen Green to loud guitar riffs and powerhouse vocals. I actually got a chance to speak with Green after her set! “I really enjoy Portland!” she said, “…this tour has been great.”

Up next was Maryland hardcore band, Turnstile. Now this band was one I have been looking forward to seeing and they met my expectations perfectly. The crowd was in full motion and between dodging the massive circle pit and crowd-surfers, and even an elbow to the face, I was able to get close enough to see the band entirely. You could tell how passionate they were about their performance, and not only that, you could tell how much the crowd absolutely came alive during their set. Everyone in the room knew the words, one song in particular, “Drop” off their latest album “Nonstop Feeling” seemed to get the crowd going the most. If you ever get the chance and want to see an excellent band, regardless if you’re into “punk rock” or not, I would buy a ticket to see Turnstile because they fucking rule.

basement b

Basement by Harley Pethybridge

Last to perform was Basement from London. Now I may be biased due to the fact that I have been dying to see them live since they reformed their band, but this band puts on an absolutely incredible show. They opened with one of their older songs titled “Whole” off their album “colourmeinkindness” and you could see the crowd absolutely go crazy as they sang along. Basement also played a lot of songs of their latest album “Promise Everything.” I would definitely go give that a listen if you like anything that has to do with rock or grunge music.

Overall, the performances last night were incredible. It is not always common to truly enjoy all bands on that big of a tour. One fan told me that it was “her first time seeing a show like this” and that she “feels like she’s been missing out on the ‘scene.” However, on the negative end, I wish this show had been done at a better venue. For those who have not been to the Analog Café and Lounge, it is a tiny attic-like room above a bar. Now, this sounds like it would work in theory, but get a room full of sweaty dudes body slamming each other and a stage that’s only a step off the ground, you’re going to run into some minor complications. For one, the ceiling was so low that it was a legitimate hazard to the crowd-surfers and stage divers… or “step divers” as I would call them. Security had to make an announcement not to knock into the sprinkler pipes.

Now, for a less rowdy show this venue would be fine. In fact, it is fine, I saw another show there not too long ago and I was happy with the sound quality. Unfortunately that’s about it. Sound quality is definitely a majorly important factor, but the Analog didn’t seem to even have that in the bag last night. A few times during Basement’s set, the guitars cut out and made for a couple long, awkward pauses. “Honestly, despite all the technical issues, Basement made up for it by performing so well” says Oregon State student Taylor Alvarez. The band did a fantastic job improvising during those times, however you would think that by the last and most anticipated band the venue would have gotten it together by then.

That being said… The Analog is by no means is a “bad venue”, however, I think that booking agents should be saving their rowdier bands for venues that are better equipped.

Check out a newer Basement song, “Aquasun” below… and while you’re at it check out our interview with Colleen Green from a few months back.

Treefort Music Festival Journal

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Photos and words by Macarah Heller

Check out our Treefort Music Festival diary and recap below- and scroll to the end for the full gallery!

Day 1- 3.24

porchesfort

Porches

Treefort Music Fest kicked off today in Boise, Idaho. With over ten venues, indie artists are constantly playing music simultaneously throughout downtown. I started off the evening sessions at the Linen Building where Telescopes as Time Machines rocked it. Later, over at the venue Mardi Gras, Porches put on a dreamy show through Aaron Maine’s atmospheric indie rock. Ending the night at the Linen Building, Self-Defense Family had great energy. Their rock music with influences of punk led for a good time.

 

Day 2- 3.25

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Chelsea Wolfe

Indie singer songwriter Adam Joseph Wright played a beautiful solo set at The District coffeehouse early in the evening. I later headed over to Boise’s biggest venue, The Knitting Factory, to catch Chelsea Wolfe’s stop on her tour. After, I headed over to see The Oh Sees at El Korrah Shrine. However, the venue was at max capacity with still one hundred people in line waiting to get in. Being apart of media, I was able to get in backstage and shoot the show side stage. It was definitely one of the crazier shows I’ve been too. The energy was insane. So many moshers, dancers, and crowdsurfers. And a heck of a show. One for the books.

 

Day 3- 3.26

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Unconditional Arms

Day 3 was a very busy day, all spent at the Watercooler. I dug deeper into the Treefort catalog by venturing through the more intimate venues. Prawn, Weatherbox, Enemies, and Unconditional Arms amazing tour came through for Treefort. Earlier in the day, hardcore band Blackcloud put on an interactive show. Bobby Meader was a segway into the alternative, emo music that rounded out the night with Triple Crown’s Weatherbox and Topshelf’s Enemies and Prawn. However, independent instrumental post-rock band Unconditional Arms performance took the audience on an emotional ride. They were a mix of empire! empire! (i was a lonely estate) and Explosions in the Sky.

 

Day 4- 3.27

grove street coffee

Day 4 was spent discovering what was taking place at the festival outside of just the music side of Treefort. Grove Street was bustling with food and drink vendors, right outside of Main Stage. I had amazing food all weekend at the food trucks including a spicy avocado gyro and delicious Neckar coffee. Their Guatemalan pour overs were killer. Down the street, Band Dialogue was taking place where over 20 bands played the same piece of music at the same time, in an orchestral manner. The one performance that caught my attention was New Madrid at main stage. Their mellow indie rock made for a light, good feel time , but great music. Later in the night, at the Flicks movie theatre, FilmFort held screenings for independent filmmakers documentary’s in Cuba.

 

Day 5- 3.28

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Youth Lagoon

The last day of Treefort was spent at Main Stage and the Linen Building. Chanti Darling was the first artist I saw that day, putting on an attention grabbing performance. Boise locals Western Daughter set a high standard for the rest of the night. Youth Lagoon, born out of Boise, played their last U.S. show before a run of shows overseas and

ending this chapter in their music careers. Into It Over It, The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die, and Pinegrove’s tour on the last night of the festival was amazing. Their energy and passion filled performances made for a great end. Overall, driving over 13 hours from southern California to get to Treefort was totally worth it.

Did you think we were done!!? NOPE! Check out the rest of our Treefort pictures below:

Check out more cool photos on Macarah’s website.

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I HATE L.A.

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SUCKER INTERVIEWS MELTED

By Yvonne Villasenor

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Photo by Michael Haight

 

On the final day of Burger Records and The Observatory’s five year collaboration celebration, I was able to get musicians’ perspectives on the significance behind the event and interview some of the raddest dudes who play the sickest tunes.

MELTED is a punk band from Corona, California that consists of Justin Eckley on vocals/guitar, Sam Mankinen on drums and Thomas Jones on bass. These guys put on a phenomenal show Sunday afternoon in the Constellation Room and brought an exhilarating rush of energy to everyone who was present.

SUCKER: What is your fondest memory at The Observatory, whether you were a guest or playing?

Thomas: The spread for the No Parents/SWMRS show. It was pretty good.

Justin: We played a show and it was with No Parents and The Aquadolls. While The Aquadolls were playing, Yellowcard was playing in the big room and we all went to the big room and watched ‘Ocean Avenue’ and it was so tight. That’s probably my fondest memory.

Sam: I’d say mine was today. I’ve had cool experiences at shows, but today was really cool.

SUCKER: Do you guys prefer these shows to the smaller shows?

Sam: I don’t really have a preference – I just really like playing shows. If there’s anybody there and people like us, then I have a good night.

SUCKER: Is there anything more fun compared to the other ones?

Sam: It sounds really good. *laughs*

Justin: What I like about stuff like this is that there are so many different bands that we don’t get to really see or play with all the time. So it’s like, Too $hort…we’re probably never gonna get a chance to see Too $hort again.

Thomas: Especially with the big shows like this, people who wouldn’t ordinarily go to your shows or if they haven’t seen you before, they get to learn about you.

SUCKER: How would you describe Burger Records to someone who has never listened to them?

Thomas: Maybe it’s not what people think. I think there’s kind of a stigma around it, but I don’t think we sound like a “Burger” rock band.

Justin: True, I don’t think we sound very Burger either, but we are definitely a part of the scene. If someone was to say, “What is Burger Records?” I’d say it’s Orange County music. It’s everything.

Thomas: There’s so many different people – there’s goths, there’s punks, there’s greasers, Tumblr kids…

Justin: There’s everything. So that’s what’s cool about Burger. It’s a young thing.

SUCKER: Would you say there’s anything that makes them [Burger] different from any other record label that you know of?

Justin: Well, they solely put out tapes. They put out records and stuff, but they do a lot of tapes and their catalog is about to hit a thousand releases. And that is insane. I can’t even believe that – over what, eight years?

Thomas: They put Orange County back on the map. Before, no one would ever come here. And now, people have shows on Fridays and Saturdays at The Observatory and just in general.

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Photo by Michael Haight

SUCKER: Do you think it would be different if shows weren’t held here at The Observatory?

Thomas: Yeah, I think so.

Sam: Definitely. It’s been very progressive in the last two or three years.

Justin: There’s no other all-ages big venue. The small room is great because it holds like 300 people and it feels packed, you know? And the big room is like 1,200ish. So those places, like where else in Orange County can you go to a show other than the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre that holds like 10,000 people?

Thomas: Especially even in Santa Ana, it’s a really big help since it’s just so close to Orange County as opposed to Irvine or L.A…There would be no home for all these rock n’ roll weirdos if it weren’t for them [Burger]. They’d be playing bars every day.

Justin: Like we usually do when we don’t play here *laughs*

SUCKER: Are there any bands on Burger that heavily influenced your guys’ music?

Justin: It’s easy to say yes- like FIDLAR, Pangea and bands like that.

Sam: But even like bands that we’re associated with like…we like King Tuff a lot, but they also have a lot of heavy, cool bands.

Justin: It’s really hard to say that we are influenced by bands on the label. I would say for myself, an inspiration is when we see our friends do cool shit, we’re like, “dang, our friends are doing cool stuff – we should do cool shit too.” Not like ripping them off, but that’s working for them and that’s cool. We should try to emulate that with them.

It’s cool to be a punk band. There’s maybe five punk bands on Burger Records right now and they’re currently on Burger Records…No Parents is killing it. We play with them all the time. No Parents would have nobody else to play with if there weren’t punk bands too. I think that’s a big thing.

For us, we’re trying to stand out from the Burger crowd. We’re trying to be what they’re not being. We’re trying to be shit that all these Orange County kids don’t know exist kind of, I guess.

Sam: It also kind of goes back to the roots of old punk bands we like and that’s a big influence. Venturing out in that direction too is an idea. I’d say everything we listen to influences us.

Thomas: Burger does a lot of reissue tapes of the old punk bands like T.S.O.L., Adolescents…those re-releases were not going to be on cassette if it weren’t for them.

Justin: Dookie!

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Photo by Michael Haight

SUCKER: A lot of bands come to Southern California when they come to tour. What is appealing here compared to elsewhere?

Thomas: Maybe L.A. has that negative connotation of being snooty and nobody’s really into it, but over here, it’s really relaxed.

Sam: I give it that connotation. I hate L.A. – L.A. sucks *laughs*

Justin: It’s funny because people from far away think L.A. and Orange County are the same thing. They’re like, “oh, Orange County is where Disneyland is.” When we play elsewhere, it’s like, “you guys are from L.A.?” but it’s like, “no, that’s an hour away from us…”

I think bands really like to come through here because it’s like a perfect place to play a show and have a good time outside of the show. You go to other major cities like New Orleans, there’s cool stuff to do in New Orleans, or New York and that kind of thing. You got like Charleston, and there’s like a really cool place to get grits. *laughs*

SUCKER: What kind of impact do you think Burger has made on the local scene and all over?

Thomas: It put Orange County back on the map like I have never seen before…

Justin: I agree with that. Orange County was cool like a long, long time ago then –

Sam: That’s the thing. I used to go to a lot of hardcore shows down the street and a few years ago, I had never heard of The Observatory. I heard of Galaxy, obviously. I came here and I didn’t know any of the bands and it was crazy to watch how active kids were at a show like this, and it kind of just progressed from there. It definitely has revitalized the rock scene a little bit out here. There’s still a lot of work, and there’s a lot of things we can still do still, but it’s definitely active.

Thomas: I think it engages a lot of younger people to just want to try things. I think that’s really cool. It’s cool to see people just start bands and listen to older Burger bands.

Justin: Being a band from SoCal, it’s like a goal as a band is like, “we finally got a show at The Observatory” or “we finally got a show at The Echo”. Especially Burger allows a lot younger kids to do that, but it’s like the Orange County scene – there’s no other bands, there’s no other big venues, there’s no other small club that’s all ages. It’s all DIY shows and there’s a lot of them, but it’s not the same press around them. It’s not the same sound. There’s no stages, like that kind of thing…there’s kids playing on the floor. I think that’s why I like The Observatory. When we first started, I was like, “I really want to play The Observatory.” I was already in my twenties by that time, so it’s like not even as a kid, but I feel like a kid in the same sense.

It was the first time this lineup played a show, and it was cool. It was good.

SUCKER: What are your guys’ goals as a band?

Sam: I want to be bigger than Drake.

Justin: He wants to sell out the Forum.

Sam: My goal in music is to sell out The Forum in Inglewood. I want to be at the top…You can do anything in this world, why not?

Justin: I want to be played on the radio and then my mom Shazams it and she’s like, “who is this? This kind of sounds like my son’s band,” and then she Shazams it and it is her son’s band. And that’s gonna be the day we are successful.

Thomas: Just keep playing music, keep playing shows.

 

MELTED are currently touring and are playing this Thursday-Saturday in Austin, Texas for SXSW and will return home to play a number of local shows. They are also in the process of working on a new album with the help of producer/engineer, Jonny Bell, from Jazzcats Studios in Long Beach.

Keep an ear out and your eyes peeled for these guys – they are certainly a band you don’t want to miss.

 

Check out MELTED on social media:

Bandcamp

Facebook

Instagram: @meltedxca

Twitter: @meltedxca

 

Where When and Why: Flamingosis

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By Scott Kulicke

Music won’t – and shouldn’t – mean the same thing to any two people. “Where, When, and Why” is a first-person music series, stories about where I discovered an artist, when they began to soundtrack my life, and why they moved me at that singular moment in time.

MUSIC MAKES YOU LOSE CONTROL REMIX

 

“I got a cute face/ chubby waist/ thick legs/ in shape.”

I was feeling prematurely jaded after I graduated college. I was bartending and selling sandwiches at a spot in Little Tokyo: a 4-square block of downtown Los Angeles nestled in the intersection of skid row – a still-dangerous tent city – and the warehouse district, which had been taken over by DJs, fashion entrepreneurs, L.A. Underground scenesters, and the whole Skrillex/OWSLA scene. I’d get off work at 1 in the morning and cruise around town under a sky pink from light pollution, stinking like the beef and liquor I’d been hocking to my predominantly first-generation Japanese customers.   

The DJ at the bar was a quiet little man named Justin, professional monicker “DJ ManBoy,” large eyes peering out from a mess of black hair and black beard, an untouchably cool creature who would’ve spent his days skateboarding and finding obscure tunes if life didn’t demand rent money. His taste in music mirrored my impression of him: offbeat and cool, jazzy and slick, sonic silk.

He’s the man who, as I explained to the umpteenth customer the difference between the spicy wrap and the zesty wrap, played me my first Flamingosis track.

Flamingosis is a Jersey boy my age who ended up going to college with a bunch of my friends from high school. I’d ask them if they knew him – they had no idea he was a successful musician off playing festivals in Tunisia, they just knew him as that kid who threw down some astonishing beatboxing at a party one time. He has a penchant for crate digging and an ear for the perfect two bars that need to be flipped. I watch videos of him: just one of the old all-white MacBooks and an MPC, dexterous fingers and a headbang that moves his whole body.

As the ubiquitously corny slow jam synth swells and choppy guitar of Spandau Ballet’s “True” swept outwards from the DJ booth, I thought to myself “word, ManBoy’s tryna bang someone, more power to ya dude.” But then something else happened to my ears, and I promptly stopped giving a shit about my customer:

“Music makes you lose control”

It was an effortlessly fly mash up, two songs with universal recognition but totally opposite tones, sex jams from two very different eras. When the beat dropped, double timing hi hats and a short, punchy kick, I did something I’d been told many times not to do: I stopped serving food and started dancing in the middle of the bar.

 

DOWN FOR THE FIFTH TIME

 

“Left your mark/ in a distant place/ but somehow it’s all gone now/ good things can never last.”

All my friends had real jobs. They were waking up early, working till 5, cooking themselves wholesome dinners, and tapping out by 11. I was waking up at noon, starving myself till I could eat for free at the bar, drinking during my shift all night, then swinging through the McDonalds drive thru sometime between 1:30 and 3:00 – I knew things had reached a breaking point when the graveyard drive thru crew not only knew me by name, but happily commented “oh, you’re not as high as you usually are!”

I felt like I was both cooler, and much sadder than my friends. I felt like I was going nowhere but down, but at least I was doing it listening to the dopest beats in town. I’d cruise through neighborhoods blessing the sleeping denizens of Los Angeles with seconds of these velvety tunes. I was gonna go out like Fonzie – a star that burnt bright and quick, saying something dope as I rode into the sunset.

Of course, none of this was true, but I was high.

The Bobby Caldwell sample he flipped is fire, somehow landing between dance-y and profoundly sad – a throwback to a distant time with an added modern edge, contemporary enough to feel like it’s our own but never substantial enough to feel like we really own it.

 

I LIKE IT (INTERLUDE)

 

I’d take the train when I wanted to drink. The late night L.A. trains were rarely ever as fun as I’d hope – I’d board with aspirations of people watching and sightseeing and feeling like “man, maybe I’ll see a buncha people living tiny little metaphors for life in the big city and I’ll get off feeling connected to the urban sprawl” like I was in a Zach Braff movie.

Instead I’d get drunk teens, workers who were tired and just wanted to get home, and the occasional babe who never seemed to notice me, and invariably I’d end up stumbling the 15 blocks or so home from the station disappointed.

One night, as I let Flamingosis’ acoustic sample of a DeBarge cover run back to back on repeat, I came to an intersection at the same time as an anonymous sedan. I was tweaked and feeling bold, so I charged the crosswalk, staring down the car in a silent “yeah, I got the right of way you sack of shit!” protest.

Halfway through the intersection, the squeal of tires filled the air and I saw the car burn rubber and starting swinging an aggressive u-turn. Then, two thunderclaps filled the air – gunshots.

I sprinted without a single thought in my head – I didn’t even think until I slammed my bedroom door behind me. I sat down and cut two rails, hands shaking, sweating, panting. I don’t even think they shot at me, I think they were just trying to scare me.

It worked. Things had to change.

That night, I hopped on Facebook and sent Flamingosis a message – I just thanked him for his music, told him we had some mutual friends, told him that I was working on my own music and that it gave me some hope and some juice to see him succeeding. His response was short but sweet, what felt like a heartfelt and genuine “thanks brother, keep at it, thanks for listening” (paraphrased). I then texted my brother and sister and told them I loved them and I was happy we were all alive.

 

FOOTBALL HEAD

 

Girl Crush: Frances Bean Cobain

Lifestyle, Uncategorized

By Tracie Marrose  

 

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Photo by Hedi Slimane

 

We have all seen Frances Bean mention some of her current favorite music and reads on her Twitter feed. Every now and then, the witchy twenty-three year old will sprinkle us with a dash of her vast knowledge of music, books, film, and art. I have compiled a list of just some of Frances’ picks for your ears and your eyes. Fill your brain. Go nuts.

 

 

Books

  • A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  • The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
  • Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller
  • No Logo by Naomi Klein
  • Flappers and Philosophers by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks by Jack Kerouac & William S. Burroughs
  • The Stone Reader Modern Philosophy in 133 Arguments by Peter Catapano and Simon Critchley
  • Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
  • Richard: A Novel by Ben Myers
  • Edie: American Girl by Jean Stein
  • Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace
  • Dune Messiah by Frank Herbert
  • Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  • I’m With the Band by Pamela Des Barres
  • GRACE: A Memoir by Grace Coddington
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith
  • Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again by David Foster Wallace
  • Helen of Troy: Beauty, Myth, Devastation by Ruby Blondell
  • Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
  • Memoirs of a Beatnik by Diane DiPrima
  • The Monk by Matthew Lewis
  • Road Less Travelled by M. Scott Peck
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
  • The Town and The City by Jack Kerouac
  • Love is Dog from Hell by Charles Bukowski
  • Ham On Rye by Charles Bukowski
  • If You Meet the Buddah on the Road, Kill Him! by Sheldon B. Kopp
  • Will Work for Drugs by Lydia Lunch

 

 

 

Music

  • PJ Harvey
  • Dolly Parton
  • Thank God for Mental Illness (Album) – The Brian Jonestown Massacre
  • David Bowie
  • Definitely Maybe (Album) – Oasis
  • The Pogues
  • The Warlocks
  • Young Marble Giants
  • The Magnetic Girls
  • Noisettes
  • Television
  • Munki (Album) – The Jesus and Mary Chain
  • Brandi Carlile
  • Lush
  • Blur
  • The Muffs
  • Adele
  • Black Mountain
  • Suck My Left One – Bikini Kill
  • I Want Your Love – Transvision Vamp
  • Stupid Hoe – Nicki Minaj
  • Wish You Where Here – Shakespeare’s Sister
  • We Used To Be Friends – The Dandy Warhols
  • You’re A Wolf – Sea Wolf
  • Animal Nitrate – Suede
  • When the Stars go Blue – Ryan Adams
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer – Knife-Edge
  • Love Of The Loveless – Eels
  • Waste of Paint – Bright Eyes
  • Lover I Don’t Have to Love – Bright Eyes
  • Out of Nowhere – Django Reinhardt
  • Celeste – The Telescopes
  • Hard Headed Woman – Wanda Jackson
  • What Is? – Wipers
  • My List – Angelyne
  • Hey You, Get Off My Moon – Velocity Girl
  • Nancy Boy – Placebo
  • Lose Yourself – Eminem
  • Punk Rock Girl – The Dead Milkmen
  • Black Balloon – The Kills
  • Blow – Blossoms
  • Bone House – The Dead Weather
  • Treat Me Like Your Mother – The Dead Weather
  • To Love Somebody – Nina Simone
  • Get Ur Freak On – Missy Elliot
  • Come Together – Spiritualized
  • Twisted Words – The Circles
  • Fire Sign – Gossip
  • High And Dry – Radiohead
  • Jackie – Sinead O’Connor
  • Featherframe – Pale Saints
  • She – Suede
  • Jorge Regula – The Moldy Peaches
  • Shadowboxer – Fiona Apple
  • Heart of Gold – Neil Young
  • Mad World – Michael Andrews
  • She’s So Strange – Travis
  • Driftwood – Travis
  • Is She Weird – Pixies
  • As If By Magic – La Roux
  • I’m Not Your Toy – La Roux
  • The Boll Weevil – Lead Belly
  • Devil Got My Woman – Skip James
  • Venus In Furs – The Velvet Underground
  • Goddess On A Hiway – Mercury Rev
  • Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead
  • Plastic – Portishead
  • Boom Swagger Boom – The Murder City Devils
  • I’d Like To Know – Supergrass
  • Just Lookin’ – The Charlatans
  • Junk Bond Trader – Elliot Smith
  • Featherframe – Pale Saints
  • Orange Crush – R.E.M.
  • She Said – Longpigs
  • Suicide Bomb – Primal Scream
  • Suzanne – Leonard Cohen
  • Bang Bang – Nancy Sinatra
  • Dig Me Out – Sleater-Kinney
  • Zombie Man – Primal Scream

 Listen to our FBC inspired playlist below:

 

DIIV // IS THE IS ARE

music, Uncategorized

By Yvonne Villasenor

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After nearly four years of anticipation from fans, DIIV released a new album, Is The Is Are, on February 5, 2016. The New York indie rock band released their debut album, Oshin, in 2011 and left listeners longing for more material.

The years between the release of Oshin and Is The Is Are were filled with turmoil for DIIV members. Frontman, Zachary Cole Smith, became addicted to heroin in 2013, which would unfortunately cause a massive delay to the process of putting out their sophomore album. At the peak of their popularity, addictions amongst members led to jail-time, rehabilitation and even resulted in drummer, Colby Hewitt, departing from the band just last spring.

After spending time in rehab, Smith revitalized his motivation to write music and had a great amount of support from pop singer and girlfriend, Sky Ferreira.  He took (and still takes) a lot of inspiration from Nirvana (their name is derived from the song title, “Dive”after all…) and became even more captivated by Kurt Cobain’s legacy after experiencing a similar lifestyle.

 

DIIV

“I know I have to stay alive at least until the album’s done. This is one shot at immortality, if I ever have one. I know it’s by far the most important thing I’ll ever do. That’s very empowering, no matter what fucked-up shit is going on…” -Cole Smith in June 2015

Is The Is Are was written and produced by Cole Smith himself. Prior to its release, Smith was proud about the turn out of the record and was looking forward to showing the world what DIIV was capable of creating.

It is an astounding album, to say the absolute least. Considering the band’s rocky history, it is miraculous DIIV even put out another album. Whether or not it is better than Oshin is up to listeners to conclude, but the modifications made, such as more audible vocals, really makes for a nice change.

Smith wanted his messages to be heard clearly this time around in the 17 track record. He expressed the raw emotion he experienced in participating in and kicking his reckless habits and successfully carried that emotion over into writing the album.

 

DIIVAlbum

 

The record starts out with ‘Out of Mind’ that carries a melody listeners can get lost in. The fuzz of an amp entices and prepares listeners for what the album has in store…a lot of guitar. The guitar creates a warm and welcoming sound as a first track.

Sky Ferreira’s featured song, ‘Blue Boredom’ brings a touch of sugar, spice and everything nice to the record as well. It creates a Sonic Youth vibe with Ferreira’s spoken word vocals, very Kim Gordon-esque.

While some songs carry a dark, morose melody, such as ‘Valentine,’ ‘Take Your Time,’ and ‘Mire (Grant’s Song)’ there are others that while the lyrics may be dark, the melody is far more relaxed, carefree and euphoric. ‘Healthy Moon’ is the perfect representation of this and is a personal favorite off the record. Others that are just as carefree and dreamy are ‘Bent (Roi’s Song),’ ‘Dopamine’ and ‘Loose Ends.’

The final track, ‘Waste of Breath’ can best be described as a song where you can finally catch your breath, reflect and nod your head all while doing so. It is comforting in the fact that it has a slow rhythm and is merely four lines repeated throughout the five minutes that begin with, “it’s no good, it would be a waste of breath…” The compilation of notes intertwined to compose this song gives off the impression of a heartfelt farewell to listeners, leaving them satisfied with their experience.

The album is very well put together with a variation of upbeat and melancholic tunes. While DIIV may be considered more of a shoegaze band, they are more than capable of creating a noisier, grunge sound and proved it with Is The Is Are.

The lyrics to this album are highly representative of Smith’s destructive behavior and substance abuse. Their single, ‘Dopamine’, is a heavy illustration of Smith’s heroin addiction (“crawling out from a spiral down, fixing now to mix the white and brown, passing out, running in place…got so high, I finally felt like myself.”) Some lines that hold a substantial presence on the album are those off ‘Dust’ – Smith describes his crippling addiction and the difficulties that come with kicking one as serious as heroin, “it gets too bright, and your body’s a brick, I’m fucked to die in a world of shit.” But album isn’t solely about Cole Smith’s experiences with losing grip of his control over his addiction. ‘Bent (Roi’s Song)’ describes a friend of Smith’s addiction, (“I saw you with a very loose grip on your tight ship, and I lost you when you said one hit couldn’t hurt a bit”) – very powerful lines. The other song dedicated to whom we assume to be another friend, ‘Mire (Grant’s Song)’ has simple lyrics that describe what seem to be a supportive figure that gave Smith a wake-up call with the lyrics, (“I was blind, but now I see – you made a believer out of me”) Lyrically, Is The Is Are is a lot heavier than Oshin by far – there is nothing better than a personal, sincere album.

Is The Is Are was written with the intent to depict the lows of life, but it’s also meant to show that it is possible to start anew in some way, shape or form – creating this record was Smith’s way of doing so. Unsurprisingly, DIIV did a damn good job showing us that although it might have been four years since the previous album, it was well worth the wait.

“Two things we love, Love and Joy”

music, Uncategorized

An interview with Portland band Lovejoy

By: Dylan Conner

Not too far back I saw this band absolutely kill it at a house show here in Corvallis, Oregon and just knew I had to track them down to talk music. They brought a wave of energy to a crammed living room of sweaty, drunk college kids that I haven’t seen a band do in forever. I sat down and chatted with two of the founding members, Jonah and Nate about the history, and the future, of Lovejoy.

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Sucker: Wanna introduce yourselves and tell me a little bit about Lovejoy?

Nate: I’m Nate and I play guitar.

Jonah: I sing!

Nate: Jonah, he’s our singer. Then, we’ve got Tysin on the drums and he’s down here in Eugene, and then Cody is on keys, and Joe on bass.  The two of us write the songs for the most part.

Jonah: We started the project back in March when we met each other, over time we kinda had this moment of desperation because I promised a very good friend of mine that I would sing at her wedding. So I had to get a band together. At the time I met [Nate] and so we had to panic and get a bunch of people together. It just so happens when I met [Nate] I was starting work at this place called Benchmade Knives where he was a machinist. Cody happened to be working there too and we sort of connected and Cody has known Tysin since he was in college, so they have had like a seven or six-year relationship and he brought him in. Then, we happened to meet Joe at another show that he was playing not that long after that.