Monday, December 20, 2010

Thieves and Villains

By Jenine Clancy

When you listen to “Virginia Woolf,” the first song on Thieves and Villains Myspace page you would swear this was Patrick Stump’s next project. Do not be fooled, because even though lead singer Sergio Otaegui’s voice sounds a lot like the former Fall Out Boy front man, there is something harder and grittier wrapped around his vocal cords that makes Thieves and Villains a lot like their name. The meaning behind the name comes from lyrics written by guitarist/pianist Chris Pennings. Even though in this interview they band said it could be determined as open-ended, the band has said in the past : "People often have to engage in sketchy behavior to get ahead, so we decided that instead of ever allowing ourselves to follow that path we'd name our band 'Thieves and Villains' so that we as people don't have to be."

The band had first formed in 2007 when Pennings and Otaegui decided to start playing together. Several lineup changes later they finally solidified things in Spring 2009. They had known each other from the local music scene in the New York area. After relentless touring, the band signed to Victory Records in 2008 and released their first full-length, “Movement.” Their songs had appeared on “Gossip Girl,” “The Real World,” and “Making the Band.” Their second album “South America” was released in august of this year. Absolute punk, offering some constructive criticism, praised “South America”: “Everything about Thieves and Villains is bigger and better now, a lot better. Sergio Otaegui has certainly breathed life into his voice now, adding more drive and heart into it. That goes for the entire band as a matter of fact." When asked if the band felt that this album was a step up from “Movement,” Otaegui replied: “Yeah, the new album is definitely a lot different than the first album. We just wanted to grow and take the band where we always wanted it to go.” And taking heat from the critics and if they have any influence… “We take the criticism and if it’s constructive then its even more welcome. But no, we never have anyone in mind when we're making music. We like to just go with our own vibe and make ourselves happy. Hopefully others will be on the same page.”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

For The Foxes

By Jenine Clancy

In the never-ending debate of nature versus nurture, it could be argued your surroundings make you who you are. The Jersey shore band For the Foxes, growing up with the cool breeze and sea air, the ambience is like the wind, blowing in and out of their music. Their two EP’s “Six Ways to Love,” released in 2008 and the self-titled in 2009 have catchy, carefree tunes about having fun and the trials and tribulations of the girls who inspire them. They are pure indie-pop, sometimes sounding having some rougher edges like on “Not Like I Like You” and circus-filled twee-pop in “I Know, You Know, I Know It’s True.” The band members agree that their unique sound could have come from their hometown of Barnegat, but not too keen on the idea that their was their main influence saying: “I'd imagine it has had some sort of influence on the music, any environment can.”

Lead singer Nick Dungo started the band in 2008 after recording demos and playing local shows. Guitarist Jimmy Brindley and drummer Danny Vassallo both joined in 2009. The name “For the Foxes” was derived from the title of Charles Burkowski’s poem. When reading the poem lines like : be sorry for the others who fidget, complain. who constantly
rearrange their lives like furniture. beware of them: one of their key words is"love." You could interpret these boys are cautiously optimistic about falling for the girls they sing about. It could also be interpreted that they show a sign of independence, not letting anything negative interfere with their positive aura.

Nick Dungo takes that independent attitude and strategically places it when determining how to write a hit. In past interviews he described how his band would sit and discuss what other bands were doing to make them so successful. They would take bits and pieces of others success, but then in-turn, make it their own. Their songs like their hit single “OMG” have appeared on MTV and “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” They just released their latest catchy single "Where the Heartache Is,” full of claps and danceable beats. A full EP is expected for 2011.

Having the ability to have hit songs also contributed to getting recently signed to Hopeless Records, the same record label that is trying to put Yellowcard back into the spotlight. With the positive attitude the band holds, they were again, cautiously optimistic about being the new kids on the block and being on a label with a band who had experienced the pitfalls on being on a major label: “Being signed to Hopeless is an incredible feeling. I remember buying my first Hopeless compilation at the Atlantic City boardwalk when I was just eleven years old. Now that we're signed to Hopeless we're ready and willing to work harder than we ever have before. I can't believe were on the same label as Yellowcard as well as bunch of other Hopeless bands. They've done amazing things as a band and hopefully someday we can have the same success that they've had. The music industry can be intimidating thing to get into, but we just try to stay focused on the goals we have for the band and try our best to achieve them.”

For the Foxes are playing at the Marlboro Rec Center on Friday January 14th, 2010.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Anthony Green Announces Title for Second Solo Album

By Jenine Clancy

When Anthony Green's 2008 solo album " Avalon" debuted, fans and critics knew the Circa Survive frontman had reached a different point in his life. After a tumultuous relationship with his on-and off- again girlfriend Meredith, the two wed that year. Flash-forward two years later Green and his love have a baby, and now this week announced he will start recording his second solo album titled "Beautiful Things." Green has made note in the past that he is not qutting Circa. In fact after the 2010 release of "Blue Sky Noise," Green grew as a lyricist, tackling deeply personal issues, such as his wife losing a baby, not once, but twice.

In regards to his second solo album, Green gave us a preview earlier this year of things to come in an interview with The Aquarian:
"Yeah, I have all these songs ready to go, and they’re the coolest songs. There’s this one song that I’ve been working on just on this tour, and it’s all about just wanting to be around somebody so bad and not know why. It’s kind of like a beggar’s song, telling someone that they’re fucking crazy and they’re awesome to be around. I wrote a song about antidepressants called ‘I Love You When I’m On Pills,’ and it’s a work in progress. There’s a song that’s an apology to Meredith for cheating on her for so many years and being such a terrible partner."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

April Smith Playing Asbury Park on December 11...A ghost onto herself

By Jenine Clancy

April Smith is not one to follow trends. Listening to her album "Songs for a Sinking Ship'' it would appear she was following the cabaret-esque type sound that many mainstream pop stars like Pink, Christina Aguilera and even Britney Spears have dabbled with the last couple years. Like an old-time magician pulling a rabbit out of his hat, do not be fooled, for Ms. Smith has been conjuring her brew of vaudeville-pop-rock for a long time.
The Toms River native, whose influences range from Tom Waits to Queen, gained her epic sound and archaic-like showmanship by performing for anyone and everyone, trying to impress, as she says on her website, “her insanely talented” siblings. Her haunting, yet euphonious voice blends well with her songs that sound like they came from an era where blues and swing were at the top of the charts, a time where the Andrew Sisters performed "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” and not Katy Perry.
Now Living in Brooklyn, Smith will be returning to the Shore with her band, the Great Picture Show, to perform at Asbury Lanes in Asbury Park on Saturday (Dec. 11). The show will be a holiday event held by “Hey Cole,” a promotional and booking service for musicians, whose founder Nicole Lipman, who after seeing Smith perform live, years ago, convinced Smith to be her very first client.
Asbury Park is like a second home to bodacious singer, whose video for "Bright White Jackets',” off her first full-length "Loveletterbombs,” debuted in 2007 at the Baronet Theatre. The 97-year-old theater was demolished this September after it was determined to be an imminent hazard by city officials. In an interview with the Asbury Park Press Smith lamented on the issue: “that just makes me so mad. A lot of people, instead of restoring buildings and preserving history, they just want to tear things down and put up condos, and I think that's such a stupid thing to do.” Also adding: “How do you tear down the Baronet? I don't know, but clearly that person had no connection with history.''
History…that is why April Smith works so well in Asbury, for the era she sings about is lost in this Jersey Shore town, but like a ghost, she serves as a cultural stand-in of a time that we yearn for, but can never get back.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The School House in Brooklyn Gets a Reclusive Indie God Out of the House

By Jenine Clancy

Anyone part of the local scene for sometime knows it’s always a right of passage to proclaim you knew a band “way back when.” However, what if it was in reverse? What if an already established musician decided to randomly come out of hiding to play a show, giving you the credentials to brag I witnessed history being made? Well, if you were one of 75 people at The School House in Brooklyn Friday night then you would have witnessed Neutral Milk Hotel frontman Jeff Magnum make a rare appearance performing songs off the band’s, now legendary albums, “On Avery Island” and “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.”
The 90’s indie band who disbanded after the 1998 release of “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea,” has been looked at as a band way ahead of its’ time. Stuck in-between post-grunge and the height of the alternative wave, Neutral Milk Hotel boisterous instrumentation and lyrical content gained the band some critical success. Not knowing something is good until it’s gone, NMH grew in popularity as time went on. In “Aeroplane Over the Sea” the album was rumored (and now confirmed) to be about the life of Anne Frank, making it at the time, unique for an indie band to do a concept album, way before concept albums were the cool thing to do.
In an interview with Pitchfork Ben Goldberg of Ba Da Bing Records, who helped set up the show, says, "I really can't say what this means in terms of future performances. This was a last minute show, done intentionally without buildup to let it be as simple and easy going as possible. It seems to have gone exactly like that. What I honestly feel like I saw tonight wasn't The Greatest Musician In The World Performing The Most Amazing Songs Ever, but rather a fantastic musician performing his wonderful songs. God, I have to say that is so much more gratifying than trying to look at it as a life -altering event. I bet others who were there would agree with me."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Flogging Molly announces tour dates

Irish Punk legends Flogging Molly have just announced their annual Green 17 Tour which as always includes stops to our neck of the woods! They're currently working on a new album which should release in the spring sometime after the tour so expect to hear some new material!

Flogging Molly 2011 Tour Dates:
02/08 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
02/09 – Houston, TX @ House of Blues
02/11 – Orlando, FL @ House of Blues
02/12 – Miami, FL @ The Fillmore
02/13 – Tampa, FL @ Ritz Ybor
02/14 – Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle
02/15 – Charlotte, NC @ Fillmore
02/17 – Myrtle Beach, SC @ Hosue of Blues
02/18 – Norfolk, VA @ NorVa
02/19 – Atlantic City, NJ @ House of Blues
02/20 – Albany, NY @ Northern Lights
02/22 – Providence, RI @ Lupo’s
02/24 – Rochester, NY @ The Armory
02/25 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
02/26 – Portland, ME @ State Theatre
02/27 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
03/02 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
03/03 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
03/04 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
03/05 – Nashville, TN @ War Memorial Auditorium
03/07 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
03/08 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
03/10 – Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room
03/11 – Chicago, IL @ Congress Theater
03/12 – Chicago, IL @ Congress Theater
03/13 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater
03/15 – Oklahoma, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
03/17 – Tempe, AZ @ Luckyman’s St. Patrick’s Day Bash
03/18 – Las Vegas, NV @ Beach at Mandalay Bay
03/19 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater

Friday, December 3, 2010

Nicole Atkins goes "indie" for new album

After being dropped by Columbia Records for not making a "commercially successful" enough record, New Jersey/Brooklyn (for hipster cred)'s Nicole Atkins is back with a new album coming out on indie label Razor and Tie. The new album "Mondo Amore" will have a sound that is described by Atkins as "psychadelic funk". You can catch her in NY or Philly during her tour:

Nicole Atkins 2011 Tour Dates:
02/09 – New York, NY @ The Bowery Ballroom
02/11 – Vancouver, BC @ Media Club
02/12 – Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern
02/13 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
02/15 – San Francisco, CA @ Cafe Du Nord
02/16 – West Hollywood, CA @ Troubadour
02/18 – La Jolla, CA @ The Loft at UCSD
02/23 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall
02/25 – Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rossa
02/26 - Toronto, ON @ The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern
02/27 – Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
03/01 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
03/02 – Madison, WI @ The Frequency
03/04 – Chicago, IL @ Subterranean
03/05 – St. Louis, MO @ The Firebird
03/07 – Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
03/09 – Washington, DC @ The Rock and Roll Hotel
03/10 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s